The Work Lap and the unnecessary obliteration of benchmarks

As it transpires, I’m not very good.

Truly, I can not help myself.

Most people set benchmarks with the sole aim of gradually chiseling away at them with a nail file in the hopes that they succeed in a few seconds here or a few seconds there. This becomes particularly succinct and transparent when working over shorter distances as the likelihood of breaking your benchmark tremendously is simply unlikely.

But not me, oh no. I’m not very good at that. I’m much better at setting a reasonable benchmark, dishonouring it by extirpating it and then never being able to match the new benchmark, forcing me to revisit my training tactics time and time again.

Today’s episode of “Benchmark Betrayal” features the aforementioned Work Lap which I have coined up. My new Friday routine (which may yet be moved from Friday for reasons I’ll explain later) is now already my biggest source of cardio controversy.

It wasn’t intentional, Your Honour… it just kinda happened. I felt pretty good. My ankles didn’t hurt, my breathing felt easier, the temperature was just right. All signs pointed to what would inevitably transpire to be a distinctly successful run.


What was I thinking? Just to clarify for those who missed the inaugural Work Lap, I smashed my benchmark time by a staggering 50 seconds. FIFTY. From 12:21 to 11:31.

That’s a little bit silly. I’m not really sure where that came from. Alas, I thought it’d be best to quickly study the “split” times as such (the 1.00 mile and the 0.45) to see if I could find any early trends:

Date Time 1.00m 0.45m
25-Aug 12:21 08:31 03:50
02-Sep 11:31 07:56 03:34
difference 00:50 00:35 00:16

So, as expected, I went out much harder in the first mile than my first effort but what surprises me just as much is my ability to maintain some of that into the final stint (which, by the way, is a gradual uphill for the first half or so).

NB: Rather annoyingly, my app only takes my time to one decimal place so although it looks like the figures above don’t add up, I assure you they do – it’s just, the app doesn’t convey that properly so I can’t show you properly. I’ll trust it though…

What it means, however, is that I’ve set myself an annoyingly difficult task for all of my future runs. I’ll still trying to figure out where I want to find myself consistently before I start incorporating a second lap into my routine. I reckon that come the end of September or October I’ll have a better picture in front of me and I’ll be able to reassess the goals. For now, it’s all about gathering as much data as possible. That may include increasing the runs to twice a week, but for now, once is more than enough.

Especially considering that I’m not very good…



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