Since 2010 running has become an important part of my life and I couldn’t imagine myself without it. So, year 2013 has come to an end and I’d like to take a look back on the important events that happened to me during that time. I will also share my thoughts about gear and tools I’ve used.
The running & training
The beginning of the year was great with good volume of my training. But over the next months I devoted less and less time to training. Maybe it was because I was traveling a lot, maybe because I also lacked motivation. I was always somewhat unhappy about it, complaining to myself that I’m not training enough & regular. But looking now I’m quite happy on what I’ve archived.
Some highlights of my running over the year:
- 97 hours
- 77 activities
- 5 races
- one 13k
- 2 half marathons
- 1 marathon
- 1 ultra
My plan in 2013 was to complete marathon and an ultra. I’ve managed to do it, but not exactly archived the results I’ve expected. Lessons learned – I’ll be catching up this year.
X Krakowski Półmaraton Marzanny – 24.March
During first quarter of the year I was preparing to Cracovia Marathon in April and this half marathon was an important test. I was aiming to break 2 hours and I nailed it. It was great run. I’ve felt strong during second time and keep good pace, even keep negative splits in the end. Finished with 1:53 I was proud of this – my PR.
12. Cracovia Marathon – 28. April
This was supposed to be my peak. Unfortunately it failed to be. I’ve missed some of the important training runs and did not train frequently. To make it worse the day of the race I’ve sleep over. I woke up around 8:30 having only less than hour or so to the start. Straight out of bed I’ve rushed by car to the race. But the streets were closed and I’ve ended up running + 15 minutes to the starting zone. Already stressed too much. I think I’ve started ~10-15 minutes after official timer fired.
Of course I was somehow motivated to catch up with the rest of the people so I pushed early kilometers with stronger than usual pace. This was bad decision. Most of the time of the race I’ve struggled, I was getting weaker every km and realized that I have to fight to the end. Finished with 4:39 – which was not that bad for me, but my initial goals this year was to break 4 hours barrier.
From this event and my training I’ve learned a lot – that no matter how I feel about it – I can’t neglect the importance of regular training and its volume. Missing one or two runs is not a end of world, but when I started abandoning every second of my training plan, hoping that occasional run here and there will get me back on track. It didn’t. And I understand this now.
Ultramarathon “Chudy Wawrzyniec”, 50k route – 10. August
I’ve dreamed to run an ultra since I’ve read the amazing story about Caballo Blanco. I was fascinated by Scott Jurek, Killian Jornet and other athletes. I’ve got some plans to run one in 2012 but my training was not so good back then and I’ve didn’t participated in any. But I’ve made strong commitment to try one in 2013 and Chudy Wawrzyniec was an option I was considering. I’ve signed for it yet didn’t put enough focus on training properly to this. I’ve did some runs in the summer but none of them was longer than 15km. But my mind was ready to do it.
It was great, amazing experience. The course was in the mountains, with many beautiful views and paths. Of course it wasn’t easy. I’ve completed 50km with 9:42 blowing up my estimations multiple times. I’ve ended up walking a lot and it was really challenging to run over last 10-15 kilometers but this is the race I’m most proud of! I’ve enjoyed every moment of it.
7th Three Mounds Run – 6. October
This short 13km race is always hard for me. First part is downhill, then flat and then climbing up to second and third mound in Kraków. I’ve finished it in 1:17 which was better than last year but still disappointing for me. I always struggle in the last part.
Half Marathon Perły Małopolski, Rabka – 20. October
This was last race in 2013. I did it rather casually because almost of no training. Together with my friend Jakub we slowly climbed some nice hills in Rabka surroundings. It was quite slow, also because of some injury of Jakub in the second part. We finished 21km with 2:45. Even with slow performance I’m glad I did it.
Over the course of my running journey I’ve used multiple apps & platforms for tracking my runs. I’ve quickly become addicted to tracking and measuring my results in order to evaluate it later. The evaluation part was often later neglected by me, but I’ve liked a lot seeing that the kilometer counter is growing & growing. During last year I’ve used 4 tracking tools: Runkeeper, Endomondo, Strava & Garmin Connect.
- I’ve started with Runkeeper iPhone app couple years ago and for long time it was my only tracking tool. But since I’ve no longer needed an app (I’ve got Garmin FR 305) my interest faded away. The web interface wasn’t much appealing to me and almost no other friends were using it. Thats why I’ve only uploaded my runs there as a backup and never looked more into it. With the release of iOS7 they’ve redesigned their iPhone app and it started to look much nicer. But until that I’ve got to another tool Endomondo.
- I’ve decided to use Endomondo because many of my friends got it on Android. I liked the calendar view and the possibility of sharing activities on Facebook. Developers are much more active, there are challenges and recently training plans so it was nice tool of using it. Anyway I’ve used it mostly also over 2012 and in the beginning of 2013. After that my interest shifted to next app called Strava.
- I’ve heard first of Strava when I’ve noticed my friend using it for tracking his bike rides. I’ve checked the website and immediately loved it. They have set of cool features like segments which were nice visualization of some routes and set of achievements you could catch & conquer. This – together with nice sharing features and unique challenges – got me hooked to Strava platform and made it my primary tracking tool.
I’ve got all my favorite stuff somewhere between 2012/2013. I’m enjoying set of compression socks by cep, pair of ASICS GEL-Fuji Attack shoes, which (according to Strava) got me over more than 600km already. I’ve got great Nike jacket. Last but not least, I’ve got Salomon backpack (its the XT Advanced Skin 5 S-Lab Set) which helped me a lot on the long runs :-)
I’m quite happy that I’ve managed to do variety of races. Unfortunately, I’m not stunned with my performance, but understanding now how much of it depends on my regular training, I aim to prepare better for upcoming season in 2014.