An overall progress report is due, me thinks.
I continue to attend my local Parkrun at Cannon Hill Park whenever possible, which is most weeks. After stripping away a massive 25 seconds from my 5k time immediately after the Great Birmingham Run (I’m not including Newport Parkrun), I thought I was starting to plateau again with a PB of only 1 second last week. This was put right at this week’s run when we were all asked to run without gadgets like GPS or music.
Running without digital aid was an odd, yet liberating experience. I normally run with GPS and check it every few seconds to make sure my pace is on target and also to reign myself in if I’m overdoing it in the early stages.
I had no idea whether I was doing well or not and could only base my pace on those around me. For a good portion of the race, I was running with 6 others in an elite runner formation like you often see in highly skilled races, sharing the effort of pace making but also carrying others along with you. I kept up with this for a while and the often-cited benefit of reduced mental and physical effort proved true, especially with a noticeable reduction in wind resistance. I moved on after a while because the overall pace felt too easy and a 5k should be run at around 85-95% effort.
During the later stages, I was more or less running on my own, though I could hear a runner close on my tail. At the gentle incline leading to the finish, she managed to overtake me and I simply didn’t have the mojo to kick any further with my pace so we simply maintained our positions to the end.
Crossing the line, I was none the wiser over my performance though felt I had put in a good effort and had an inkling that I had PBd by a few seconds. Lis’ early estimations based on her stopwatch had me clocked at 21:09; the result text and email that came in later that day had me PB with 21:08 so she wasn’t far off!
Dave also ran, with some injuries, and came in roughly a minute afterwards, which is a commendable achievement in itself. His development has been incredible recently with ability close to mine with only a few weeks of steady training versus my several months’ training it’s taken to get to where I am. We have tentatively agreed to do a training session after work once a week in our build up to the Bath half marathon with a target of 1:37/1:38 in our sights.
My goal right now with Parkrun is to get my 5k PB down to sub 20 minutes and beyond. I’m only a minute away right now, and based on my rate of progress this year, I’m approximately shaving a minute off for every 2 months of targeted training.
I’m beginning to concentrate more on my rough marathon training schedule. I’ve never traditionally stuck too closely to a plan, preferring the flexibility to make changes based on my own needs. My long runs are now at least 14 miles, looking to stabilise them between 15 – 18 miles, with an occasional 21+ mile run in the lead up to the London Marathon, hopefully once a month. I’m certain that these super long runs will improve and boost my running economy and efficiency, filtering down to my 5k and half marathon performances.
My weekday distance run hovers around 6 – 7 miles, helping to maintain fitness especially when tired from work and a weekday speed work session to keep cobwebs at bay. These two runs are normally run at 70 – 75% effort but feel harder due to reduced energy.