Thursday, 6 December 2012

Am I still capable of a PB?

At 38 years old I am starting to wonder how much longer I can keep improving my PB each year. There can't bee too many years left, surely?

I know that running isn't just about getting PBs and for the most part I don't concentrate on trying to get PBs. In fact, this year I have only attempted 3 PBs, two at parkrun (5km) and the other at 10km and each time I achieved my goal.

I do have friends in their very early forties that have been runners for many years and yet have still managed to achieve PBs in the last year at a number of distances. So it should still be possible for me for a year or two, but probably not much longer than that.

It's not that my PBs are bad, I'd just like to improve them a bit more whilst I can. It's a challenge after all.

My parkrun PB History:
First parkrun (April 2010): 20:18
2010 PB: 18:14 (8 PBs in the year)
2011 PB: 17:49 (only 1 PB all year)
2012 PB: 17:28 (only 2 PBs all year)

So on progression alone, in 2011 I took 25 seconds off my 2010 PB and in 2012 I have taken 21 seconds off my 2011 PB. That's not much of a trend to go on, but I would say that somewhere in the region of 10 to 15 seconds improvement in my parkrun PB should be achieveable next year with the right preparation.

Then of course their are other distances. There is the 10km for sure and I really think I'm ready to step up to the a half marathon again next year. I thought I was going to be this year, but that never quite happened.

So, after telling myself a few weeks back that I wouldn't run hard for a while and I'd just give myself an easy month or two (the rest of the year really), that break has refreshed my mind and now I am looking forward to trying to improve next year.

I have booked my first 10km race for next year for 7th April at the Leamington Regency Run. The 7th April was my Mum's birthday and next year she would have been 66. This year I did a parkrun on the 7th April and beforehand agreed with my brother that we would both get PBs to mark what would have been her 65th birthday. We both smashed our PBs that day and I haven't even tried to get near mine since. It has felt out of sight for a while to be honest. On that day it was a case of just not caring how much it hurt. That day we were getting PBs come what may! I'd like to think I can do the same for a 10km PB on that date in 2013, but it's not going to be easy.

I also realise that it is not just a case of saying I am going to do it. That is just the final justification to push that little bit harder and hold on for that little bit longer. Before that I need to make sure that I have a chance. I know that a lot of preparation is required, so the next steps in this plan are to work out what needs to be done and what needs to be right on the day in order to have a chance of a PB next year.

A few follow up blog posts to come on this subject I think!


  1. I ran my first parkrun in Feb 2011. Since then, I've improved my best time 26 times (in 83 runs), the most recent was 3 weeks ago. I might be around 4 mins slower than you but at the ripe young age of 55, I have no intention of giving up on the PB chase just yet! If your 5k times start to drop off and you feel the PB boat has sailed, start on the longer distances (or any distance you've never run before) and the chase is back on!

    Happy hunting :D

  2. 26 times - that is incredible!

    That is a very good point, move up the distances. I have only done 4 10km runs and two of them I was injured, so there is certainly scope there. And only 2 half marathons - again so much scope.

    One day the marathon is all I'll have left I suppose.

    Good luck going for number 27!

  3. Please don't give up on the P.B's. I am 65 and my lifetime best for 5k-or any distance!- was many, many years ago. BUT, I can run P.B's for each age bracket and each year, if need be.I started parkrun 23/12/2011 and have had 4 parkrun P.B's and am planning many more.
    Also, I am the WORLD RECORD holder of the 3 and a bit miles along the canal for over 65's. And loads of other courses as well.Can't wait till I am 70!!!!
    Stan Cottier

    1. It's a great attitude Stan. I do similar on some of my runs.

  4. I am desperate to get my first PB at Graves. In 16'ish attempts since my first appearance and I have never come close since that first run. The long, boring, plain, list of times with nothing in the far right column is depressing. Given a wind free day with the course dry and a fit, light and injury free athelete it can be done! Unfortunately that athelete has not been me - yet. The above 5 elements occur less often as the years go by but that doesn't mean they never occur and I remain hopeful. There are always different targets, my holy grail is 70% but not at Graves - the toughest in Yorkshire. Pushing hard is in my dna I will never be able to take it easy.


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