It’s incredible to think a whole year has passed. A year since we started writing this blog. Between us there have been so many different races from full marathons to half ironman. It’s good to take the time to look back at the moments we’re most proud of and to look ahead to the new year. 2017 was a great year for both of us, we’ve achieved so much and we can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

The Races

In 2017 I took part in two marathons. London Marathon was my first ever marathon and I was very pleased with how it went (click here for the race report). I managed to run at 5min/km and finished with a time of 3.33, which was a Boston qualifier. It also meant I was “good for age”, giving me automatic entry to London Marathon 2018.

I did the Abingdon Marathon about six months after London Marathon. I was recovering from an injury then and didn’t know if I had done enough training for it, so I was genuinely surprised to discover that I was able to run a faster second half on race day, proving once again that slow and steady training works…

It was also my fastest marathon with a finish time of 3:25. I was so happy to strip 8 minutes of my personal best – given that I had only planned to “run it steady” (see race report here)!

The Running

Overall I’m very pleased with my training. I spent months training slow and steady, making consistent progress. According to Strava I’ve done over 2000km in 2017 which meant that I was averaging at least 35km a week for the whole year (see Strava’s summary video here)! Given that I have been suffering from High Hamstring Tendinopathy for the past nine months (read more here) that was a big surprise.

I started the year with my usual training pattern, a long run on Sundays, an interval run on Tuesdays, a shorter run mid-week, a hilly 5K tempo on Saturdays. In the days leading up to races I added an extra run to work (12-15km). So towards the marathon in Spring I ran 5 times each week with a maximum of 60km per week. I also did regular strength exercises to strengthen my core and stretching about twice a week.

The Swimming

One of the other things I picked up in 2017 was swimming. I was suffering from a hamstring injury in the summer after doing the London Marathon so I decided to learn to swim and swapped a couple of running sessions with swimming sessions. After doing 2-3 swims a week for eight weeks I can now comfortably swim 1.5km with a few breaks in between. In September, I took part in an aquathlon for the first time (swimming 750m followed by a 5km run) (see race report here). I also did open water swimming in a wetsuit for the first time!

The Cycling

I bought a road bike in the summer and managed to go from doing zero cycling to cycling 60km. I’m not a confident cyclist and I’m not good on hills but I’m still very pleased with my progress so far.

The Blog

Another running related thing that was happening in 2017 is of course this blog. Clinton and I decided this time last year to start a blog where we would both share our thoughts on running and to motivate ourselves when training for the London Marathon. Writing a blog in itself has been a really interesting experience (we’ve written over 40 posts already!) and I love many aspects of it. We always try to improve this blog and always appreciate your feedback!

My Plan For 2018

I already have a number of races lined up. This year I have signed up to do the Ironman Barcelona 70.3 in May. I’ve never done a triathlon before so this will be a real challenge for me. I will also be doing the Big Half (half marathon) in early March and the London Marathon in April so I will be ramping up the training soon (as long as my hamstring doesn’t play up)!

As far as training I’ll try to do stuff more or less the same as ever but increase my mileage a bit more and try and work on all three disciplines: run, bike and swim. Also strength training will play a bigger role. I will also try to improve my diet and eat more as I’ve been shedding too much weight in the last few months. And of course I’ll keep improving and writing on this blog.

I think the main thing for me will be balance. I wear many hats in life and spent the last few weeks of 2017 feeling a little overwhelmed and run down. I need to introduce some balance into my life. We will see at this time next year if I’ve been successful!

– Jess

My year had been packed with loads of races – 2 half marathons, 2 marathons, 1 aquathon, 1 Olympic triathlon and 1 Half Ironman. I genuinely feel like I’ve made some great steps towards fitness this year, getting closer to some of the times I think I should be capable of.

My highlight was definitely finishing the Abingdon Marathon in Oct this year and knocking an hour off my previous personal best (you can read more about that day here). I was also really happy to finish the Ironman Staffordshire 70.3 and knowing that I could do better and I’ll get my chance to prove it in Barcelona 70.3 in 2018 (click here for the Ironman race report). I’ve got loads of races lined up and I can’t be more excited!