In 2022 I ran 2 half marathons and 3 10Ks as well as many, many Parkruns!
I got my fastest 5K in June and my fastest 10K in July as well as covering the most distance since I began running when I undertook the Leeds Half Marathon in May.
I’ve covered a lot of ground since I began running in April 2021 – 24K over 13 times since November 2022, 40K 9 times since August 2022 and 80K twice since August 2022.
I thought it was about time that I documented my thoughts since I’ve been running for 2 years now. I've undertaken various distances, from 5Ks all the way through to half marathons - and I have a few races planned for the rest of 2023, too.
I’ve been through tough runs, good runs, happy runs, sad runs and runs I didn’t want to do but did anyway.
Throughout everything though, running has taught me that I’m resilient and capable of much more than I even think I am. I can push myself through tough patches towards the finish line on the other side. I’d like to say this echoes through to the rest of my life, but I don’t think it does!
Anyway, with all that being said I’d like to take a minute to reflect - so sit right there, and I’ll tell you all about my running thoughts from 2022 onwards!
My Running Thoughts – Reflecting on 2022 and Looking Forward to 2023
My running goals for 2023 are to just continue enjoying it and having fun. I want to push myself but not if it means I lose the joy.
I want to see if I can lower my times for 10Ks and half marathons though by working on my speed runs, I hope to be able to achieve this in 2023.
I want my half marathons to be enjoyable but I know where I’d like to improve – the middle miles are where I tend to start losing focus, although I did feel really good whilst running the Great North Run in 2022 so perhaps a few more months of training helped?
As far as times go, ideally, I’d like to get my 5Ks under 35/36 minutes, 10Ks under 60 minutes and half marathons under 3 hours. Although I don’t know how realistic these are to achieve, we’ll see!
I’d like to keep the mindset I have now, in 2023. So far I’ve been enjoying my running and I don’t want that to change in 2023.
To move forward more positively in 2023, I need to tune into my ‘why’ and not get too caught up in the numbers.
To run the right way is about more than my running form it’s also about ensuring that everything surrounding my running is going well too!
The challenges aren’t any different as in I’m not pushing myself any further in terms of distances, but rather in terms of times for the races/distances themselves. I need to respect the run/s/distances but also not be intimidated by them either.
Continuing to add fun to my runs by spicing up my routes, varying the runs I do, adding in speed runs and listening to different podcasts/music.
How have I changed? I like to think I’m a better person because I run, I know I always feel better afterwards. You can't think too much whilst running, so it allows my mind to be free.
It also keeps me fit, both mentally and physically, and makes me feel better knowing that I’m doing good by exercising and being a rockstar!
Running makes me feel healthy in body and mind. It makes me feel free and helps keep my mind clear of bad thoughts and depressive episodes. It’s always there for me when it can feel like everybody is against me.
I know I can always rely on running no matter what else is going on and above all else, I still really enjoy it and want to continue running into 2023 and beyond!
Looking Back At The First Six Months of 2023
So, in the first six months of 2023, I’ve trained for and taken part in my first half marathon of the year. I’ve also joined a couple of running groups in my local area which has helped me immensely whilst we’ve been running together.
I was *obviously* anxious when I first turned up on a random Monday night in February, but I put myself at the back of the group whilst we were out running and enjoyed hearing what everyone else was talking about!
I’ve been going fairly regularly ever since and have come to really enjoy meeting up with everybody on Monday and Tuesday nights – we’re guaranteed to run at least 5K each time, all the while chatting about anything that comes to mind.
I’ve actually been out a couple of Sundays with some of the group for a longer run (10K), which was also fun – despite the fact I’m usually at the back!
I joined these groups (SRG – social run group - run by UP & Running & Town Runners – an offshoot from Harrogate Town Football Club!) primarily to be more sociable.
I’m a solo runner in the main, which is fine mostly, but I thought it might be nice to at least have a couple of runs a week with other people.
At that point, I didn’t quite realise just how much of an impact they’d have on my mental and social health.
It feels good to know I have a support system in place for my running, especially as there really isn’t anybody else in my life who runs as I do, so they don’t understand what it’s really like being a runner and how you can feel if you’ve been going through a rough patch with your running.
Also, it means I've got an in-built support system – one which also happens to be entering some of the same races as me!
This is great for two reasons, one I’ll have support during my race – if I can keep up with them of course! And two – travel! It helps to have travel sorted on the day of the race, one less thing to be worried about! Plus, it’s fun travelling and racing, it bonds you together.
Speaking of racing together, there are a few of us all training for and running the Great North Run in 2023.
This makes it even more exciting as I know we’ll all be pushing each other during training and having lots of laughs along the way!
My Plans For 2023 – and Beyond?
So for 2023, I have another half marathon booked in, obviously, as well as nine 10K races, one 5K race and one 10 miler too! So quite a lot to keep me occupied for the rest of the year! I’m not sure how I’ll feel doing all of these, but I guess I’m collecting race bibs now?!
I’m kind of looking forward to travelling to all the different places I’m registered to race – Hull, Sheffield, Middlesbrough, York, Leeds and, of course, Newcastle!
I know it will be (for me at least) anxiety-inducing because of the travel involved and ensuring I get to the race on time, find the start line, ensure I’ve my race number, find the bag drop (if there is one), figure out my way back home after the race or back to my accommodation if I’m staying!
So much to think about! But I’m sure I’ll be fine as there’s usually loads of signage around whenever there’s a race happening so from that point of view I’ll not get lost!
I’m excited to get my 2023 running started, with one race already done I’m looking forward to ticking off the rest as the year unfolds.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading all about my running plans and thoughts for 2023. I’m so pleased I’ve found an exercise which I love so much and one which helps me whenever I need it.
I’d love to hear all about your experiences with running, if you have any and how it’s helped you.