This week’s running – 5th to 11th of August

Andy Yu's 19:36 Cannon Hill Parkrun PB

I think I do a fairly decent job of keeping this blog up to date, but there are times when I have little tidbits to write about and they just don’t feel significant enough on their own. To remedy this, I’m going to do weekly summaries each week to pool all these things together.

This week has been a bit topsy-turvy due to having to shift my schedule around somewhat. Monday became my 6 mile mid-week run due to meeting up with Lis’ folks after work on Tuesday evening. Conscious that I can stand to lose a little bit more body fat based on my Asics Running Lab report, I decided to fuel the 6 miles with just an energy drink. My lunch isn’t terribly substantial and I do often go into my evening runs feeling hungry, but I need to train my body to become more efficient again at utilising fat instead of carbs, even if it’s just for the upcoming half marathon season. The run went well, though I did have a moment of light-headedness around the halfway mark which then became a bit like a runners’ high; hopefully a one-off and simply the effects of my body getting used to performing on low carbs. Here’s the Garmin data.

Thursday thus became my weekly speedwork session. Mike from Parkrun and I have been completing interval workouts together for mutual support and to dull the intensity of the session. We had previously completed 5 x 1k at 5k race pace with 1 minute recoveries, and this was just about doable, but we both felt destroyed afterwards. We both agreed that we should finish the session feeling like we could do one more rep and that simply wasn’t going to happen based on 5 x 1k; we adjusted the session to become 5 x 800m at slightly faster than 5k race pace with 1:15 recoveries. This felt like a much higher quality session and the recovery was just about right, though we both want to try 1:30 recoveries next time. Here’s the Garmin data for the session.

Saturday’s Parkrun was unexpected, making it almost magical. The successful speedwork session gave me some confidence that I am now capable of regularly clocking a sub-20 minute finish at Cannon Hill Parkrun. I woke up feeling fresh mentally but my legs were tired from the additional strength work I’ve been doing (Russian deadlifts) based on my Asics Running Lab recommendations. My Garmin had been set to pace me at 6:23 per mile; roughly a 19:51 – 19:53 minute finish. I’d been reading up on ideal 5k tactics and many runners out there seem to unanimously agree on running a hard first mile and simply trying to hang on until the end, so I was hoping for a fast early start. I completed the first mile about 12 seconds ahead of schedule in anticipation of some slow-down during the second mile. I caught up to Neil and David, two regulars that I know could run sub-20 in their sleep; I asked if I could tag on to their group and they welcomed me in. Neil said they were running at 19:40 pace, so I bravely followed; the sensation of running with others doing the pacing took the edge off the intensity and you can actually see my heart rate drop slightly at this point. David dropped off the group after about 2.5 miles, leaving Neil and I to continue on. At 3 miles, Neil said he couldn’t hold on to the pace for much longer and told me to go on; with 400m left to go, I began my kick towards the end. I overtook a few folks and closed my eyes whilst gritting my teeth, crossing the line in 19:36! I collapsed in a heap after the finish funnel and thanked Neil for his metronomic pacing. I only wanted to finish with 19:5x or so and shaving 21 seconds off my Cannon Hill PB and 17 seconds off my all time 5k Parkrun PB was unimaginable; I’ll have to re-evaluate my 5k goals for the autumn! Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

We now get to my long Sunday run. Following the advice from Asics, I incorporated a few miles of threshold pace running into today’s 11 mile run along the South Birmingham canals. I do plenty of easy paced runs at 8 minutes per mile, along with plenty of faster stuff at 5k and 10k pace; I, however, rarely run at threshold pace which is around 7:20 – 7:30 minutes per mile for me and very close to my half marathon pace. The more familiar I can become with this pace, the more I can expect from my autumn half marathon performances where I’m aiming for sub-1:35 at the very least. Here’s the Garmin data for this long run.

Finally, I’ve entered the New York Road Runners’ Dash to the Finish Line 5k in early November. Staged the day before the New York Marathon, it takes runners through Mid Town and finishes in exactly the same spot as the marathon itself in Central Park. It takes place at 8:30am on Saturday 2nd of November, so it’ll serve as my Parkrun substitute whilst I’m away. To collect my number and timing chip, I need to attend the expo for the New York Marathon which should be fun, but possibly quite expensive! This will be my first international race and hopefully, the first of several more to come.

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