This week’s running – 19th to 25th of May

It's time to burn rubber!

It’s time to burn rubber

This week was all about going fast. To quote Maverick and Goose from Top Gun, “I feel the need… the need for speed!”

4x 800m reps at Edgbaston Reservoir

I’ve been persevering with my weekly dose of speedwork and you know what, it’s genuinely had a positive impact on my overall speed. Everything from my basic sprints through to longer distance training runs all seem to have benefited from the regular high intensity training.

I increased the target pace by 5 seconds, which worked a treat for the session. I think I’m going to hold on to the 3:50 per km pace for a little while longer to really become accustomed to the intensity, which should hopefully pave the way towards a new PB sometime during the summer.

Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

6 miles along Hagley Road

After racing on the warmest day of the year last week, it was quite a contrast to then complete the wettest run I think I’ve ever covered. And despite all the rain, I felt bloody fantastic during the 6 miles; effort levels felt lower than usual whilst hitting the same paces and I also managed to royal flush too!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

Continuing the trend of wet weather, Cannon Hill was a particularly moist Parkrunday. Arriving at the bandstand, Suz informed me that Darren Hale, a regular 17:30 runner, would be providing pacing at sub-19 minute pace. I was urged to have a bash and upon toeing up on the start line, I decided I’d give it a go as a test to benchmark where I realistically was in terms of fitness and ability.

The first few hundred metres proved a little too quick for me, so I let Darren’s group charge off into the distance. I joined a chasing group after half a mile or so and pretty much remained with them for the entire duration of the 5k distance.

A chap with a pushchair was creeping up on me and this was enough to spur me on to a 19:35 finish – a season’s best in less than optimal conditions. I had even managed to beat a rival of mine on the final hill where he had clearly run out of steam in his pursuit of Darren, who finished in 18:43…

Oh – only 5 more Parkruns to go before I hit the big 100!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

7 miles of Llanhennock hills

Whilst in Wales visiting the future in-laws and scoping out possible wedding venues, I decided to return to the particularly tough Llanhennock hills for my Sunday run.

The route isn’t easy by any means; rolling hills offer few opportunities for recovery and there’s no rhythm to be had at all. Yet, I somehow managed to royal flush with each subsequent mile becoming steeper and steeper (yeah, go and figure that one out)! It’s a great training run but as I’ve said before, training specificity is very important – I see little point in doing loads and loads of hill runs if all of my races are pretty much flat and I’d be better off getting faster runs in on flatter surfaces.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

And that brings us to this week’s entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:

Stretch if you want to

If you’re looking for hard evidence of stretching’s benefits (or lack there of), good luck. Fact is, it just doesn’t exist. And if you want to ask other runners or doctors or physical therapists or high school track coaches or the guys replacing your neighbour’s roof for their opinion, for it. Just be prepared to hear a different opinion from each one of them, delivered with exactly the same level of conviction. (The only thing most folks seen to agree on is that if you’re going to stretch, do so after you run. Or at least after a warm-up.)

Runner’s World’s advice? Save yourself a lot of grief, and follow this rule:

If stretching seems to help you run better and feel better, then stretch. If not, then don’t.


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