A Running Decade In Review: From Cake to Deadpool!

A Running Decade In Review: From Cake to Deadpool!

How can you possibly link cake and Deadpool? By reading my thoughts on my running over the last decade. This works out nicely as I think it’s roughly the amount of time that I have been running ‘properly’ as well. LET’S DO THIS!

I Changed How I Run

At the beginning of 2012, I tweaked something in my knee. There is no fancy story behind this: I was on a treadmill and just felt something give. It felt weird. I finished my session without thinking too much of it, but the burning sensation grew and it niggled at me pretty severely.

…. To the point where I was wearing a knee brace for some relief. I even found a picture:

No, it’s not a big sock.

Through some training in CrossFit, I found out a bit about minimalist running. This was advocated by the ‘shoes of choice’ at the time: inov-8. I was very much a heel-striking runner, and very heavy with it as well. Now, the whole running gait thing is very much up for debate, but for me personally I could feel how my knees were getting a battering.

So I changed.

I started working on the ‘natural’ style of landing more on the forefoot. No pun intended, but this felt much more natural to me, and the issues with my knee cleared up very quickly. I did do the classic mistake of ‘Too Much Too Soon’ by not easing into it gently, and my calf muscles were exceptionally sore for a few days, but all good after that!

I Got Faster

Running is enjoyable in its own right, thanks to those lovely chemicals that get released.

Hitting goals, such as getting faster, are the icing on the cake. (Note: It’s pretty much the Law that runners have to love cake).

When I first started out in parkrun in 2010, my time was 24:10. That was doing my best at the time. In 2018, I hit a PB of 20:52. Still 52 seconds to go for my fabled ‘Sub Twenty’ target, but I will get there!

I ran the Great South Run seven times over the decade. I started off at 1:24:18 in 2012. The times varied a bit after that, but I set a PB in 2019 of 1:15:24. The stars aligned a bit on that one. I have written an extensive account about what happened there, should you want to know more!

I’ve confident that I can built on all of this over the next year or so, provided I keep the right focus. Improvement is going to need hard work.

I Met Great People

The running community is full of wonderful, positive people.

Joining a running club was one of the best decisions I ever made. Training with like-minded people brought immediate and sustained improvements, let alone the social aspects!

I started off in Farnham Runners, then moved to Waverley Harriers after moving house. A shout-out to the wonderful people of FitStuff as well!


I Ran In Some Cool Places

Not An Actual Olympian
Spot the film….

I Learned Cross-Country Is Fun!

Cross-country running is the best running. I need to do more of it. It’s challenging but the conditions just make it FUN. Plus as the events are club-focused, they are very social as well. Which adds to the FUN. You should do more cross-country too!

Effortless. Narrator: “Not effortless”.

I Didn’t Always Wear Standard Running Kit

Blame the Bacchus events for these…

The Best Costume
Yes, animals were the theme…

I Dabbled A Bit With Other Sports…

Well, I did exactly one triathlon… c/o Blenheim !

Scenery better than the rider

I did really enjoy the event, but it highlighted just how bad I am at swimming nowadays. I have total respect for those that do triathlon regularly due to just how much training is required to be good at all three of the disciplines. I don’t think it is for me though: Ultimately, I enjoy running to the extent that I struggle to find the motivation to cross-train.

100 MILES!

I did some standalone cycling too. The Ride 100 was really enjoyable (despite doing precious little training). I also did the London to Brighton a few times, but the most gruelling was the Farnham Bike Ride… I did the 75 mile version, as a warm-up for the Ride 100, but… the hill profile was insane. Not an enjoyable experience near the end!

I Got Somewhere In Refereeing

I started football refereeing in 2009. That meant youth football and the lowest possible adult leagues, including Sunday mornings.

I did something right, as I was able to progress to referee on the Contributory Leagues, and act as an Assistant Referee and 4th official on the National League.

Refereeing is challenging, that’s for sure! I’ve learned a lot about myself in experiences of taking charge of so many games over the last decade.

Supply league refereeing. I was promoted after this season.
My first National League game (Eastleigh v Sutton United)

I Embraced The Running Tech

I think the pictures alone help show how things have evolved:

Key ways that devices have evolved that I have enjoyed:

  • They aren’t bricks on your wrist.
  • GPS acquisition doesn’t take about four years.
  • They look good enough to wear in non-running situations.
  • Performance analysis tools (I like statistical eye candy)

How will these tools evolve over the next decade?!

I Learned That Running = Cake

Running and cake goes hand in hand, it seems. So much so, we had a cake ‘bake off’ at our wedding…. BEST WEDDING EVER.

Want to have more cake? RUN MORE.
Always have your running shoes with you. Always.

I Started Running For Three

The wonders of running buggies (thanks Out’N’About !) has meant being able to share the joy of running with a (current) 10 month old and nearly three year old!

Buggy running is a challenge in its own right, but it has solidified my desire to want to set a good fitness example to my children as they continue to grow up….. OK, maybe I should cut down on the cake then…


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