This week’s running – 26th of August to 1st of September

Half marathon goal is 95 minutes or better

With the bank holiday weekend, my training schedule was thrown into bedlam and as creatures of habit, we runners need routine.

Bank holiday Monday became my long run day where I decided to reccy the Great Birmingham Run route. Like a fool, I didn’t fuel up properly before the run and I only took an energy gel out with me to consume whilst on the route. The run was tough, with the warm late morning sun beating down on me, causing further dehydration. The comedy hill in Edgbaston was worse than I remembered and did its best to kick my arse and hand it back to me. I was destroyed when I finished and promised myself I’d be better prepared for the next long run. Here’s the Garmin data.

I like to try and leave a day in between runs during the week, so Wednesday became my speedwork session. I decided to do this session in Kings Heath Park where the terrain is flatter and of better quality. I wanted to do 4 x 800m reps at 3:50/km with 90 second recoveries and punched this into my Garmin. Annoyingly, each rep ended next to a bench that had been occupied by some chavvy lads. Surprisingly, they didn’t hurl any abuse at me and actually gave me some positive feedback about my speed at the end of my 4th rep. Reps 1 – 3 were perfect but sadly, the 4th rep was over 3 seconds slower so I knew it was time to call it quits. I’m really enjoying these quality sessions at the moment; now that Mike’s back from his holiday and Dave is literally back up to speed, I have some speedwork buddies again. The session data can be found here.

Beet It beetroot juice shots

I didn’t want to blow myself to pieces with my usual Thursday 6 mile run so I took an extra rest day. Instead, I went nutrition shopping and found Holland and Barrett selling the Beet It beetroot juice shots with a buy one, get one half price offer. They’re normally £2 each so you can see why I decided to stock up…

Saturday arrived and it was of course Parkrun day at Cannon Hill. I wasn’t aiming for anything special, just some consistency so something around 19:45 would have suited me fine. The run started off well and I was on my target pace. Bizarrely, my Garmin beeped to indicate we’d hit the first mile and I knew we were at least 0.1 miles away from the first mile marker. My virtual pacer shot up to say I went from 1 second ahead to saying over 30 seconds ahead of target pace, so I knew something was up. I carried on at a pace that I would call comfortably hard, so around 8/10 in terms of difficulty. With 400m left to go, Dave scared the hell out of me and zoomed past looking very strong and going for a sub-20 minute attempt. I crossed the line in 20:03, feeling really fresh and it turned out Dave had earned himself a shiny new 19:57 5k PB! I’m pleased as punch he’s hit sub-20 minutes, which is a real achievement for any runner. As for what happened to my Garmin? I believe it hadn’t achieved full lock-on before I started running because both the route of my warm-up and Parkrun were all over the bleeding shop, which you can see here and here.

Nike Pegasus 30 - my new long run shoe

My Nike Pegasus 30s finally arrived and I love the fit and feel. They look a little retro but the cushioning is so nice to have after regularly running in two pairs of Lunarglide 3s that have gone past their use by dates.

Today, I went out on another Great Birmingham Run reccy, this time with even more emphasis on covering the route in as much accuracy as possible where health and safety allow. I also wore my Pegasus 30s to break them in. Learning from Monday’s mistake, I had a better breakfast and took a Powerade and an Isogel out with me on the course. It was much cooler today but with enough sun to still heat things up when not running in the shade. I was chicked twice on the Pershore Road by two girls that had phenomenal speed; I later realised they were being followed by their coach on a bike so I didn’t feel quite so bad. I tried to find the Selly Park detour but had to approximate this as best I could. I threw some faster miles in during the middle and these felt amazing, feeling smooth and strong and will hopefully be able to recreate this feeling in Cardiff next month. The Edgbaston hill is still unwelcome but the simplified jaunt through Edgbaston immediately afterwards allowed for a moment of recovery. Personally, I’m pleased with these two minor changes to the course which should allow for a slightly faster finish for folks. Take a look at the map below to see what’s been changed:

Great Birmingham Run 2013 route

The reccy run was good; I finished it faster in training today than I had actually raced it last year! Here’s the Garmin data for the run. Oh, and the highlight of the run? Some random guy in a blue Nissan Micra that shouted out “You can do it, mate! Keep going!” whilst frantically punching the air.

The Cardiff 10k race pack

Finally, my race pack for next week’s Cardiff 10k arrived. The black technical t-shirt looks really good, though I still have last year’s blue t-shirt that’s been unused with tags still attached… Dom will also be running and it’ll be good to catch-up, not having seen him since the Bath Half.

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