This week’s running – 24th of February to 2nd of March

This week was all about the half marathon

Taper time for the Silverstone Half Marathon

This week was all about tapering for the Silverstone Half Marathon.

Prevention rather than cure

I’m really getting into this sports massage malarkey where I paid another visit to the sports therapy clinic at the nearby college.

After the usual stretching and massaging, my flexibility measurements were taken again and whilst I was a little less limber compared to last week, I was actually perfectly balanced with 130 degrees in both legs.

Where time allows, I’ve also beefed up my foam rolling antics to try and keep a certain run-rate of flexibility going.

Tuesday taper

Whilst I’ve decided to train through the Silverstone Half Marathon, I am still going down the traditional taper route by cutting back on the volume of training, but maintaining the intensity.

At Tuesday’s speedwork session at the gym, I only completed 2x reps at 5k pace compared to my usual 5x. I find I lose fitness reasonably quickly without maintenance work where I feel sluggish on race day; the aim of a taper is to give the body an extra recovery boost but without it feeling like it’s becoming sedentary.

Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

Thursday taper

I really wasn’t in the mood for a run on Thursday but given it was only a short one, I figured I had better zip up the man-suit and just get on with it.

As with Tuesday’s session, I only wanted to run half the normal distance covered so a 5k was in order along Broad Street and Hagley Road. I was feeling hungry with just one Clif Shot Blok fuelling my run, a total contrast to normal where I’m usually far better prepared. Target pace was meant to be 8:30 per mile but ended up being a complete mess, with a slow first mile, an 8:16 second mile and a 7:10 third mile. Nonetheless, the run did the trick and made me go through the gears so Sunday shouldn’t be such a shock to the system.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

I really, really could have done with a lie-in on Saturday morning but I had already committed myself to assisting with processing Cannon Hill’s results. As I said earlier, my body functions better on routine than exception and it meant I’d be one step closer to the 100 club…

Continuing the taper trend, I typically perform better if I run Parkrun the day before a race at around my target race pace; so around 6:55 minute miles. I find this helps me to lock in on race pace and how it should feel in an actual race environment; we all know how dramatically different race pace can feel on your own and out of context. This to me is the beauty of Parkrun where you can really use it in a variety of ways to help you train more effectively.

The weather was perfect for running, with bright conditions and no wind. After the initial scramble, I found myself running the majority of the course with Khalid. Another regular tagged on to us and stuck with Khalid and me until the very end when I urged him on to attack the final hill and score himself a massive PB. I only later found out that this mystery regular is a member on my Jantastic team (Cannon Hill parkrun – there’s only a few of us). Small world or what?

After some catching-up with a few folks, I made my way over to join Alan and Ben to process the results. We encountered a few hiccups, but none like last week’s critical timer failure. The whole experience of managing the results can be a real eye opener to how runners behave at Parkrun. The time checker (somebody may come and ask for your time and record it on a clipboard) is a barometer to measure the official times against those recorded by individuals. What is interesting to note is that the times from the top gradually become less accurate as they filter through the pack. Explanations for this can range from runners not hearing “go” on the startline, through to runners only activating their personal timing devices when they pass the startline (like you would with chip timing).

Next week, I’m going to try and hit my Marchvellous target of 19:37 as my flat out timed run.

Here’s the Garmin data for this Parkrun.

Two Castles 10k

I’ve wanted to run the Two Castles 10k for nearly two years but due to places filling up fast, I’ve always missed out when I actually remember to enter.

Not so this year! I had set reminders to jump on a computer once 8am on registration day hit so that I could take part in this iconic 10k, which starts in Warwick Castle and ends in Kenilworth Castle. Dave and Elsa will also be running, and it seems there’ll be a fair attendance from Cannon Hill Parkrun attending.

I don’t think I’ll be in 10k PB shape by the time the race takes place, however it will be instrumental as one of several 10ks I’ll be racing to help get me to there.

Silverstone Half Marathon

For my full-fat Silverstone Half Marathon race review, please click here.

Here’s this week’s entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:

Training plans must go on the fridge

Technology is a wonderful thing. Many web sites – including, of course – offer online training logs, plan generators, and so on. You can create training programs, log your routes and mileage, and track your progress through graphs and such. Some programs let you generate pie charts for crying out loud. Pie charts!

Still, nothing can replace the printed-out training plan stuck to the refrigerator.

This is not to say you can’t or shouldn’t take advantage of the online versions. You can and should. It’s just that you really do owe it to yourself to have that hard copy there on the fridge. Whether it’s the daily, in-your-face placement or the old-school tribute factor, there’s simply no substitute for having your full 10-, 12-, or 16-week plan out there for all to see on good, old-fashioned paper. Plus, there’s a singular satisfaction to be had from drawing a big fat X through the previous day’s workout.

So put the plan on the fridge. Remove a child’s artwork to make room, if need be. We won’t judge.


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