My 5K Times: 2013 vs. 2014 (so far)

So, about that 5K I have on the schedule for this weekend… I’m getting pretty excited for it!

Earlier this week Jennyย wrote an awesome Year in Review post complete with the best looking running charts I’ve ever seen. Not only because her running over the last couple of years is completely inspiring for someone like me hoping to get faster, but because her analysis is just … incredible! If you’re a data nerd too, you HAVE to read this post.

I’ve started using her charts as a guide and have begun working on my own so I can track my progress more easily through the years.

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After all, I’m planning to be running until I’mย at least 100 years old! ๐Ÿ™‚

Since I’ve got my final race of the year coming up on Sunday and it’s a 5K I thought I’d share my stats comparing last year and this year (so far).

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This exercise was actually a sharp reminder to myself that I’ve only been doing this thing for two years.

A lot of the blogs I read are written by runners who have been at this thing far longer than I have. Sometimes I find myself comparing my progress to theirs and wonder what I’m doing wrong.

Maybe I don’t have the competitive drive. Maybe I’m too lazy. Maybe I’m not focused enough.ย 

You know, all the normal self-doubt stuff that I think most average runners face from time to time. Maybe all runners in general.

Seeing this chart, as ridiculous as it looks, made me feel a bit better.

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The chart is OBVIOUSLY really misleading at first glance. It looks like I made a gigantic step forward in my running and paces for the 5K distance this year, when in reality I (so far) have made a 2 minute per mile difference.

That’s actually pretty good for the 5K distance though, right?

I’m hoping I can improve these numbers even further after Sunday’s race!

Time to get after that new PR to close out the year!

What are you up to this weekend? Anyone else racing?

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28 Comments

  1. December 19, 2014 / 11:52 am

    Shaving 7 minutes off your 5k in a year is incredible, and you should definitely be proud ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck on the PR!! Tomorrow I’ll be celebrating 3 years with my boyfriend, and Sunday I’ll be trying to get in a long run before work ๐Ÿ™‚

    • December 21, 2014 / 9:33 pm

      Happy anniversary to you two!! Hope you had a great weekend celebrating and getting in your LR!

  2. December 19, 2014 / 12:03 pm

    Congratulations on your big improvements! I love the blog world and I love reading running blogs, but it’s so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. You’re doing awesome!

    Plans for the weekend: Some runs and lunches with friends, and getting ready for the flood of relatives that’s going to hit our house on Monday!

    • December 21, 2014 / 9:34 pm

      Thanks, Liv! It is really hard to not get caught up in the comparison trap. I think we should all take a moment every 3 months to look back over our individual accomplishments as a reminder that we’re on our own journeys and doing well!

      Hope you enjoyed your weekend with friends and that you’re ready for the gang to arrive tomorrow!!!

  3. December 19, 2014 / 12:24 pm

    A 2-minute per mile pace difference is huge! Good luck this weekend and I bet you will PR ๐Ÿ™‚

    The comparison trap is real, and it’s hard. I’ve been running for about four years, though not always very consistently, and I’m only now starting to make some improvements. But so many blogs I read are written by people who have been running for 5-10 (or MORE!) years, often at a competitive level in high school or college. It’s impossible to compare with anyone other than one’s self. Running is a journey!

    No racing for me this week, but I have 4 miles easy pace on Saturday and 6 miles at goal half marathon pace on Sunday.

    • December 21, 2014 / 9:38 pm

      Hope both of your runs went really well this weekend!

      I have noticed that A LOT of run bloggers ran competitively in college which makes it seem like their 6 min pace is totally normal and what everyone is doing.

      I also noticed this weekend that I should race more because that is a good way to see the full span of running paces. There will always be plenty of people in front of me, but it’s nice to see people behind me too HAHA!

  4. December 19, 2014 / 12:29 pm

    Seriously, 2 minutes per mile improvement is great at any distance! I think especially for 5k… eventually people are setting PRs by seconds, so if you’re still measuring in minutes, you’ve making huge strides forward.

    I do have a lot of spreadsheets with running data, but I should reorganize sometime to make some pretty charts, I like charts. ๐Ÿ™‚ Every run for 2013 and 2014 has been logged (distance and average pace); I wish had data before that, but I only kept track while doing half training plans, not otherwise or not for shorter races training.

    • December 21, 2014 / 9:40 pm

      I wish that Garmin would create charts for us! I like flipping through my data on the Garmin Connect site but charts are just such a nice way to get a quick pulse.

      I used the RW training log for a while and they put together nice charts with your data. Garmin could totally do it if they wanted to!

  5. December 19, 2014 / 1:29 pm

    A two-minute/mile difference IS huge, especially for a 5K! Congrats on your progress! It’s awesome, especially since, as you’ve pointed out, you’ve only been at it for two years. Good luck and have fun at your 5K this weekend!

    • December 21, 2014 / 9:41 pm

      Thank you!

      Sometimes it feels like I’ve been running all my life. When I stop and consider it’s only been two years I feel pretty proud of where I’ve gotten so far!

  6. December 19, 2014 / 2:08 pm

    High 5 for a fellow data nerd! I love the excel spreadsheets. It doesn’t make sense for me to do them the way you and Jenny have because I race so infrequently… this year was a “big” racing year for me with 3 races! Sometimes I download the data from my garmin and play with it though. I like to put a trendline over my paces and see it tilt down ๐Ÿ™‚

    I never would have guessed you’ve only been running for 2 years. I assumed you’d been running much longer than I have. You gotta love moments that make you realize how irrational your self doubt is… like your huge leap forward in 5k times! You downplay it, but 2 minutes is huge and it’ll probably be even more of a difference by the end of the weekend.

  7. December 19, 2014 / 2:38 pm

    Good luck – can’t wait to hear all about your new 5K PR!!!
    I think you are wise to make charts and track your own running – comparison to others never makes us feel good. I sometimes look at all of y’all and think I’m not a true runner because I don’t sign up for all kinds of cool races but I know that for me it is best to just run.

    • December 21, 2014 / 9:43 pm

      Whaaat, I can’t believe you would ever think that! You are such an amazing TRUE runner! You’ve done things I can only dream about, but best of all I love that you know what works for you. Racing helps me push myself right now, but someday I want to take the same approach as you and just run to run with a few choice races here and there.

  8. December 19, 2014 / 5:47 pm

    I know I don’t have the competitive drive; I think I did when I first began racing but lately I’ve just been running to run. Maybe I need to focus on getting faster in 2015 as a new and interesting goal!

    It’s such a great exercise to look back on our progress. You’ve come a LONG way in just 2 years!

    • December 21, 2014 / 9:47 pm

      The marathon is such a beast it really required 99% of our focus this year! I think next year it will require 95% of my focus, but I do hope to work on short distances at some point in the future. I’d really like to get a lot better at the half!

      Whatever goals you decide to set for 2015 I am sure you will crush. I love following along with your training!

  9. December 19, 2014 / 6:47 pm

    Awww thanks for sharing and did inside jumps when I saw your spreadsheet ๐Ÿ™‚ I am so happy for you, your training, and running this year!! You’ve made so much progress – so proud. Ooooh I hope Chicago happens will be so fun! Good luck with your 5K – you’ll do great!!

    • December 21, 2014 / 9:48 pm

      I’ve got my fingers crossed that you get into Chicago and decide to do it! Would be a blast to hang out a bit!

      Thank you for the idea to create the charts!

  10. December 19, 2014 / 8:15 pm

    It’s so awesome to see how much your times have improved! It’s easy to forget how far we have come when we are always focusing on the next race and next PR. Good luck this weekend I can’t wait to hear all about it!!

  11. December 19, 2014 / 9:00 pm

    2 minutes per mile in the 5k distance is a huge improvement. I know it is easy to fall in the comparison trap, and it surprises me that you do sometimes. I mean, it is human to do so (and I do it too!), but I just picture you as really confident. ๐Ÿ™‚ And you always post your stats, and your stats always keep IMPROVING. I am very excited for your 5k and I am so inspired by your drive and dedication to your ultimate goal of running an ultra!

  12. December 19, 2014 / 10:58 pm

    2 minutes is a big deal! keep on going at that rate and you will be down to single digit minutes per mile in no time ๐Ÿ™‚
    Good luck this weekend! I hope you get the PR you’re hoping for!!!

  13. December 20, 2014 / 5:05 pm

    Two minutes per mile is so good!! I love those charts, I think I may have to use the idea myself. I’ve only been running consistently since 2011 but I feel like I’ve been training lackadaisically the last year or so, I’m excited to see what I can do when I really put my mind and body into it. Good luck in your last race of 2014!!

    • December 21, 2014 / 9:50 pm

      Thanks, Lily! You should definitely make the charts, they provide such a great way to quickly get a pulse on your progress over time! You’ll be glad you made them at the end of 2015 when you see a HUGE leap in your progress! ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. December 21, 2014 / 3:47 pm

    Love the chart idea.! It’s really easy for runners to compare themselves to each other sometimes. But when you look at your overall progress it helps show how far you’ve come.!

  15. December 21, 2014 / 9:26 pm

    That’s amazing! I am totally not organzied enough to complete a chart like that but it would be hugely motivating to see! I hope you had a great 5k!