It dawned on me recently that I may have missed the boat to winning a Most Improved award. When you first get off that sofa and start running, the progress made can be staggering. From not being able to run for more than 30 seconds, programmes like Couch To 5K can get you running more than 3 miles in 30 minutes just eight weeks later!

This month, The Running Bug is organising an on-line challenge for its members. Split into four teams, the challenge awards a weekly prize to someone in the team that has run the most miles. However, it's also tracking who's speed has improved most over 1 mile. To be considered for the most improved title, you have to log your runs using a GPS watch or app, presumably to make it harder to cheat. Of course, I now realise I should have timed a painfully slow run and logged that as my first mile, before sprinting a super-fast dash near the end of the competition. That would be cheating in my book and I don't think my conscience (or my wife) would let me get away with it!

So maybe I've missed out on such prizes, but I'm still trying to improve the best I can. The most notable way I've found so far seems to be running farther. After I've been running longer distances for a couple of weeks, a 5k parkrun seems to go much quicker. I know there's lots of science behind it, that's way over my head, but as long as I see those numbers improve bit by bit, I'll be happy.

About Matt

Not known for sport at school, I took up running in my mid-forties. Very soon I caught the running bug and progressed from the Couch to 5K programme, via parkrun, various 10k races and the Great North Run to running marathons and beyond in the UK and overseas. Now in my fifties, I still run fast enough to impress my friends and family, but not fast enough to think I've missed a vocation as an Olympian!

Race History

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