Looking Back on Running in 2023, and Ahead to 2024

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I just got back from my last run of the year – a nice, easy 16 mile long run.

As is customary at this point, I wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on how things went over the past year and think ahead to what lies in store for me in 2024.

My 2023 Running Year By the Numbers

Let me start with some numbers.

For the fourth year in a row, I’ve run more miles this year than I ever have before. With today’s long run, I finished the year with 3,260 miles.

I ran every day this year, continuing a run streak that I’ve had going since November 30, 2021. I also ran doubles on 91 days – for a total of 456 runs.

The most I ran in a week was 85 miles, and the least I ran in a week was 32 miles.

The histogram above shows the number of weeks I ran a given mileage. I made it into the 80’s four times, and I ran in the 70’s another 17 weeks. The vast majority of the year (38 weeks), I ran 60 mpw or more. The other 14 weeks were mostly recovery periods after my marathons.

My pace during easy runs continues to improve. Today, I averaged 8:33/mi on my long run, and it was super comfortable. I’ve done some easy runs anywhere from 8:15 to 8:45, and it’s not uncommon for me to get down to 8:00/mi at the end of a run once I’m warmed up. At the beginning of the year, I was still hovering around 8:45 to 9:00/mi for most easy runs – and 8:30/mi would have been pushing it a bit.

I’ve got my weight back down to around 165. I was in that range in the summer of 2022, but I put on some weight at the end of the year. I started 2023 back above 170, and I didn’t really notice until April when I ran Jersey City. I got things back under control, and dropped to the low 160’s over the summer. I drifted up a little bit after Erie, but only to 167-168, and weathered the holiday eating storm much better this year.

As far as races go, I ran 2 marathons, 2 10ks, 1 8k, and 5 5ks. I set PRs at all four distances.

I went through two pairs of daily trainers (New Balance 1080s) and two pairs of trail shoes (New Balance 481s). I’m also retiring my pair of New Balance FuelCell Prisms that I’ve used for workouts since my first marathon. I’m still using my New Balance Rebels for workouts and shorter races, and I broke in my New Balance SC Elite V3s at the Erie Marathon. They’ve got a couple more races in them, and I plan on using them again for my two marathons this year.

I’m not 100% sure how many miles I put on the 1080s vs my trail shoes. But I’ve been using this pair since July, and it must have been 800 to 1,000 miles. They still look and feel pretty good. I definitely don’t agree with the stock advice that you should rotate your shoes out after 300 miles.

My 2023 Running Year in Racing

So how did those races go?

In April, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10k in Newark. I PR’d there in 40:59.

Two weeks later, I ran the Jersey City Marathon. I had high hopes for this race, and I expected to come in under 3:10 for a Boston qualifying time. That wasn’t in the cards. I was on pace for the first half, but then I faded quickly. I came up lame with a slight hamstring pull two miles from the finish. I jogged it in for a disappointing 3:26.

After recovering from the marathon, I ran a June 5k – the Fitzgerald’s 5k Lager Run – with some friends. This was also the USATF-NJ 5k Championship, so there was a pretty deep and competitive field. It was a hot day, and I underperformed a bit. But I still eked out a PR (20:49), and I just made it in the top 100 men (#99) to get a commemorative pint glass.

I signed up for the Erie Marathon in September, grasping at my last chance for a BQ for Boston 2024. Despite the warm, humid conditions, I did manage to qualify – with a 3:09:47. My 13 second cutoff wasn’t good enough to actually get into Boston, but I was still happy with the result.

After I recovered from the Erie Marathon, I ran a series of races in the fall. I wanted to work on my speed. I finally dipped under 20 minutes in the 5k at the Running with the Devils 5k. I improved on that time over the course of the season, and I ran a 19:28 at the Rutgers Big Chill in December. On Thanksgiving, I had a great race at the Ashenfelter 8k – finishing in 31:52 for a solid PR at the 5 mile / 8k distance.

Looking Ahead to Running in 2024

2023 was, for me, a success. I hit new peaks in mileage, successfully trained for two marathons, and improved across the board.

The only failure would be my failure to qualify for Boston 2024. Going into 2023, I had my sights set on that. I wanted it to be the first major that I ran on my six star journey. But it was out of my hands, given the record number of applicants and the deep cutoff time.

I’ve got two marathons on my calendar for 2024.

I’m running Jersey City again in April, and I plan to get my redemption there. I feel like I’m in great shape to knock a significant chunk of time off my PR from Erie. I think I can break three hours – or at least come close – and lay down a qualifying time that will be solid enough to get me into Boston 2025.

My time at Erie did qualify me for Chicago 2024. So in October, I’ll be heading to the Windy City to run in my first World Major Marathon. To say I’m looking forward to that is an understatement.

I applied through the lottery for the NYC United Half, but I didn’t get in. I also applied for the Brooklyn Half in May. We’ll see in a couple weeks. I was hoping to run one of those in order to clinch a spot at New York in 2025. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just have to hope that my time in Chicago is good enough to get me in. NYRR changed the time qualifying rules, so that they will now use a cut-off similar to Boston for times run at non-NYRR events.

Other than that, I plan to run a string of shorter races throughout the year. I’ve neglected my speed over the last year by focusing too much on the marathon, and I want to run some 5k’s, 10k’s, and 10 milers to help work on that. Racing this fall already helped a bunch, but I think I’ve got more potential to tap into. That should, hopefully, set me up for more success in the marathon in 2025.

Since I’ll be doing more local racing, I joined USATF-NJ. This gets you a discount on a lot of the local races, and you can also compete in the individual Grand Prix. I’m also looking into local running clubs, and I’ll probably end up joining one of the two clubs in my area (Essex Running Club or SOMA Fox Running Club).

As for my weight, my goal is to stay in the 160 to 165 range. I want to stay below 165 and get to the low 160’s for my races. If I go up a bit during recovery periods, that’s ok, but I don’t want to creep back over 170 again.

How Was Your 2023? What Are Your Goals in 2024?

What about you – did you achieve everything you hoped you would in 2023?

And do you have any specific running related goals in 2024?

Leave a comment. I’d love to hear about them!

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