The Benchmark – a regular track session

Alongside a couple of other regular sessions, the Benchmark is a track session that we keep coming back to at the running club, Guildford and Godalming AC (GGAC). 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.

The Spectrum Running Track, Guildford - scene of the The Benchmark

The Benchmark was the session on offer in just my second week at the track with the Gees in late 2012 so I have been lucky to be able to use the Benchmark to accurately demonstrate how my continued attendance at the track has directly affected my performance.

The Session

The session is a simple one; three sets of 900m followed by 500m. There is one 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.

My Times

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
03/10/2017 3:12 1:43 3:18 1:43 3:20 1:43
05/12/2017 3:18 1:46 3:17 1:43 3:17 1:39

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 hey picked up nicely in 2016 as marathon training endurance kicked in. With 2017 offering some recurring hip issues it will be good to see these numbers ramping back up again.