The Benchmark

Alongside a couple of other regulars, the Benchmark is a session that we keep coming back to at the running club. The idea is simple, perform this short-but-sweet session on a fairly regular basis in order to get a pretty accurate measure of where your fitness and speed is improving.

This was the session on offer in just my second week at the track with the Gees in late 2012 so it has been able to show how these sessions have affected my performance directly.

The session is a simple one; three sets of 900m followed by 500m. There is 1 minute recovery between the reps, and three minutes between each of the three sets. I don’t know the science behind the distances, but they are long enough to be hard work, and short enough to know that there is no excuse to leave anything in the tank.

In the table below I will continue to update this post each time I run the session.

900 500 900 500 900 500
27/11/2012 3:27 1:53 3:32 1:55 3:38 1:54
20/03/2013 3:32 1:56 3:32 1:50 3:30 1:47
14/05/2013 3:29 1:52 3:21 1:51 3:25 1:47
03/03/2015 3:39 1:59 3:42 1:59 3:42 1:55
01/09/2015 3:20 1:48 3:21 1:49 3:22 1:46
01/03/2016 3:20 1:43 3:24 1:45 3:22 1:44
01/11/2016 3:18 1:48 3:26 1:48 3:26 1:49
07/03/2017 3:25 1:49 3:29 1:52 3:31 1:53

In March and May 2013, I was technically injured but didn’t know it, and training for the NDW50 was in full swing. At this point is interesting to note how my pacing was improving and remaining a little more consistent throughout the session than I had done in the first attempt in 2012. I was then out of action for a long time, either with the injury to my knee getting progressively worse, or with recovering from the resulting surgery since September 2014.

With that in mind, it is not surprising to see that my paces in March 2015 dropped lower than when I first started at the track but to see that just six months later I am now faster and more consistent than ever before is testament to the consistency that I have, so far, managed to achieve.