Before you head into the New Year, it’s important to review your running year, evaluate what worked, what didn’t work, and what you can improve next year.
2019 was a fantastic running year for me, in review. I ran four 5k’s, two 10k’s, one 10-miler, and five half marathons. I set a new personal record in each distance, including my Air Force 1.5-mile fitness test.
Before you can adequately set realistic goals for the new year, it’s important to review the previous year, celebrate successes, determine what methods worked and which ones didn’t.
To conduct a review of your running year, do the following:
1. Make a list of all the races you ran and/or significant running milestones during the year.
2. Which one was your most important goal for the year? (I had two—one for spring and one for fall).
3. Did you meet your biggest goals? If so, what contributed to you meeting that goal? (Ex: long runs, weekly mileage, nutrition, speed work, more endurance training).
4. How can you apply that information to your upcoming goals and training plans?
My 2019 Running Year in Review
This year truly was awesome. My running fitness improved, my endurance improved, and I lost 10 pounds over the course of the year. I’m getting closer to my “racing weight” and excited about the progress I’ve made.
I even placed in my age group at several of the smaller races!
Here is a comparison of my personal records at the beginning of 2019 to the end of 2019.
1.5-mile fitness test | 12:48 (May 2018 at sea level) to 12:29 (May 2019 at 4700’ elevation)
5k | 28:00 (Nov 2018 at 482’ elevation) to 25:34 (Aug 2019 at 4200’ elevation)
10k | 1:00:00 (Aug 2018) to 57:17 (May 2019)
Half Marathon | 2:19:41 (Sept 2018) to 2:00:17 (Oct 2019)
The greatest improvement—by far—was my half marathon. This makes sense, because my two biggest goals in 2019 were the Salt Lake City Half Marathon in April 2019 and the Air Force Half Marathon in September 2019. Also, I ran more half marathons than any other race distance this year.
Factors with the Greatest Impact on My Improvement
- Obeying the 80/20 Running Principle
- Learning to Fuel Properly
- Slowly Losing Weight
- Incorporating the 5 Nutritional Habits of Elite Runners
- Strength Training
Let’s do a quick round-up of each race this year.
2019 Running Year in Review: Spring Races
This race was in February 2019, and my husband ran with me. It was cold but the roads were clear and dry. The course was difficult with an uphill second half. I finished in 28:00 to tie my previous 5k PR that I had set in Ohio at significantly lower elevation. Even though the time was the same, I knew my fitness had improved because this 5k was more difficult.
I ended up placing 3rd in my age group, and my husband placed 2nd in his.
Click here to read the full Sweethearts 5k race recap.
Ogden Striders 10-Miler
This race was a practice run for my first big goal of the year: the Salt Lake City Half Marathon.
I knew if I could keep up my half marathon goal pace for the 10-miler, I should be able to do it for the half marathon. Except…I didn’t realize this course would be so damn hilly! These hills nearly killed me, but it was a good lesson: check the race elevation before you show up.
Despite all the hills, I still finished right on my goal pace (9:55 min/mile) and completed my first 10-miler.
Click here to read the full Ogden Striders 10-Miler race recap.
Salt Lake City Half Marathon
The Salt Lake City Half Marathon was my biggest initial goal for 2019. My goal was to finish faster than 2:10:00, and I crushed that in 2:08:11—which was nearly 11 minutes faster than my previous half marathon PR of 2:19:41!
I credit much of this improvement to consistency in my training after discovering Matt Fitzgerald’s principle of 80/20 Running. This race was also my first real experience with running gels and fuel, and I learned how to navigate long run fueling through trial and error.
Related: 80/20 Running: Why You Need to Slow Down
Click here to read the full Salt Lake City Half Marathon race recap.
Hill Air Force Base Half Marathon
I didn’t do a recap for this race, but I did share my major lesson learned with my email subscribers. (If you want to know how to get on the list—grab one of my freebies!)
I also wrote a blog post about the importance of having a race day plan and FOLLOWING that plan. My failure to follow the plan resulted in me walking the last 5 miles of this half marathon.
I started off far faster than I knew I should have, and it resulted in my hip/knee screaming at me by mile 7-8. The last 5 miles were completed using the run/walk method, but as the pain got worse…it was much heavier on the walking side. Still, I managed to cross the finish line somewhere around 2 hours and 25 minutes (I don’t remember the exact time, nor did I care…)
My husband also ran this race with me (his first half marathon!) and was sweet enough to walk with me through the finish instead of leaving me to die (figuratively) out there on the course.
Ogden Half Marathon
The Ogden Half Marathon was just 1 week after the Hill Air Force Base Half Marathon, and I was extremely nervous to push myself too hard in this race and get injured. After my knee screamed at me the previous week, I started out slower than I needed to on this race. It was also pouring rain, but the views were great!
As a result of starting slow, I finished really strong in this half marathon passing people left and right over the last 3 miles.
Click here to read the full Ogden Half Marathon race recap.
Side Note: I’m an Ogden Marathon Ambassador for the 2020 race! Click Here to learn more about the Ogden Marathon and grab a discount code to join me at the race in 2020.
Run for Grief 10k
I didn’t do a recap for this race either, and I’m not sure why. I’m guessing life was busy and I already had plenty of topic ideas for blog posts.
In this 10k, I ran almost a 3-minute PR after my previous 10k PR that stood for nearly a year. My knee acted up a little in the middle of this race as I tried to push the pace, but I found that focusing on good running form and a quick cadence can make all the difference. It also was pouring rain for this entire race.
My previous 10k PR was 1:00:00, and I finished this race in 57:17!
2019 Running Year in Review: Summer Races
Handcart Days 5k
After my heavy training load in the spring, I focused on shorter race distances over the summer. I did about 4 weeks of focused speed work leading up to this 5k, and was set on hitting a new 5k PR. My last one was 28:00. I was hoping for around 27:00.
Not only did I hit a PR, but I blew it out of the water with a finish time of 26:20! This 5k ran the same course as the Sweethearts 5k.
I was utterly amazed at the results of this race, and it felt like everything fell right into place on race morning. I actually placed first in my age group, but they didn’t have any type of unofficial placings and awards weren’t going to be until at least 2 hours after I finished.
Plus, my husband and I were moving into our new house that afternoon, so my husband demanded (understandably) that I return home to help move promptly after the race!
Click here to read the full Handcart Days 5k race recap.
Roy Days 5k and Hooper Tomato Days 5k
I didn’t write race recaps for either of these races. They were small-town, local races with just a hundred or so people.
In the Roy 5k, I finished in 26:29. I placed first in my age group, and my husband placed 2nd in his.
The week before the Hooper Tomato Days 5k, I was sick with a terrible head cold AND on a work trip. Due to the cold, I took 1 extra rest day and ran about half as much as I normally do in a week. As it turns out, the rest did me well. I finished the Hooper Tomato Days 5k with another PR of 25:34!!
At the end of the race, I couldn’t believe my time. When I started running 5k’s I thought anyone with a time of 25 minutes was crazy fast. I also thought I would be lucky if I ever could run a time like that with my terrible, unathletic genes. As it turns out, hard work and consistency over time can trump unathletic genetics!
2019 Running Year in Review: Fall Races
Air Force Half Marathon and MAJCOM Challenge
This race was my biggest one of the year. I was selected in June to represent my organization’s team at the race and was extremely excited to race as part of a team, not just for myself.
My big goal for this race was to break the 2-hour mark, and my training had me on track and confident to do so. Until…most of the things that could have gone wrong on race day did. I still finished in 2:04: 14, which was respectable given the race conditions and mistake that were made.
The good news is, we learn valuable lessons from each race whether they were good or bad.
Click here to read the full Air Force Half Marathon and MAJCOM Challenge race recap.
Halloween Half Marathon
The Halloween Half was my redemption race—my second shot at breaking the 2-hour mark. The most frustrating part about the Air Force Half Marathon was that I felt my fitness was there to break 2 hours, but the day was not.
I went through a recovery phase, peaked my mileage, and tapered again over the course of 5 weeks. Then, I ran the Halloween Half Marathon. The course was a bit longer than my watch said, so my timing was a bit off. I pushed at the end and finished in 2:00:17. Nearly there, but I was very happy with my performance and my fitness improvement throughout the year.
Click here to read the full Halloween Half Marathon race recap.
Thanksgiving Day Races Turkey 10k
Working up to this 10k, I was really hoping to break my PR again. However, this race was another one where my fitness was there, but the conditions on the day of the race were not. Actually, I really shouldn’t have even risked the drive down to this race.
But I was stubborn, so my husband and I ventured out on Thanksgiving morning while we were in a Winter Snowstorm Weather Advisory that we received about 2 FEET of snow during. Even after the race course had been plowed once or twice, there was still at least 4-8 inches of snow on every road we ran.
If the course had been dry, my goal was to break 55 minutes. However, with all the snow—it was clear that wasn’t the day for a PR. I ran smart through the snow just happy to be burning calories and getting 6 miles in before the Thanksgiving feast…and admiring myself for showing up to run in a snowstorm!
Click here to read the full Thanksgiving Turkey 10k race recap.
What was the best part about your running in 2019?
- Transitioning from the Half to Full Marathon: 7 Critical Factors for Success
- 6 Smart Hydration Tips for Running in the Summer Heat
- How to Pace Your Half Marathon with 4 Simple Strategies
- Ultimate Direction Women’s Race Vesta Review
- What is a Recovery Week and How it Can Boost Your Running
About Me: I’m Alexis, Founder of RunningMyBestLife! I am an avid recreational runner, half marathoner, wife, dog mom, busy professional, downhill skier in Northern Utah. My mission is to help new enthusiasts fall in love with the sport of running. I believe that running is a catalyst to taking control of your life and living your best life by design. Learn More –>