This week’s running – 16th to 22nd of June

Much running happened in Wales

There was much running in Wales this weekend

This week was all about sharpening up my speed and some last minute preparations for the Caerphilly 10k.

6x 400m reps

With the Caerphilly 10k looming only several days later, I wanted to do something to sharpen up my speed that also wouldn’t leave me feeling destroyed afterwards. I decided to try my hand at 400m reps…

Never having formally run 400m reps before, I was unsure of how to best approach the session. How many reps would be ideal? What should the target pace be? What should the recovery time be? You get the picture. Referring to the McMillan Running Pace Calculator, I punched in my latest 5k PB and out came my recommended speedwork paces for 400m reps (and other distances). For 400m reps, I should run them at a pace roughly 10 to 15 seconds/km faster than 800m reps, so 3:40 to 3:35/km; it was also good to see I’m running within the pace recommended pace tolerance for 800m reps. As for how many reps and how long each recovery should be, your guess would have been as good as mine. I decided to go with 6x reps and 90 second recoveries, but more on this later.

Lis and Elsa also came along for a run, but not with me I hasten to add. After my normal 1.5 mile warm-up, I launched into the first 400m rep at what the target pace as highlighted by my Garmin. Everything felt hunky-dory immediately after the rep; a little short of breath but generally very positive. I did notice that I really had to concentrate on my form to maintain the speed throughout the rep.

The second rep really was all over the place. I can only put this down to getting into my stride.

Reps three to five were pretty much bang on target, with rep six ludicrously faster than the rest.

Running 400m reps was an odd sensation; the speed was much closer to my sprint but I was definitely still running aerobically. Workout-wise, I didn’t feel nearly as exhausted at the end compared to 4x 800m reps. I definitely felt the number of reps was low and the recoveries were too long; in future, I’ll make this session 8x reps with only 60 seconds for recoveries. I still think 800m reps are my go-to speed endurance workout, but 400m reps should help to further refine my speed.

Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

10k around Cannon Hill Park

Considering England were due to face-off against Uruguay at 8pm, there was a remarkable number of people still out and about at Cannon Hill Park at 7pm. Maybe there are more people out there than I thought that don’t give a toss about football?

All I wanted was a simple 10k to get a little distance in my legs ahead of Sunday’s Caerphilly 10k. In terms of effort and heart rate, it was rather relaxed but I did feel like I was working ever so slightly harder than the previous week whilst hitting a similar pace.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Newport Parkrun

Parkrun number 99 (actually 100 – I forgot my barcode once) took place at Newport. I really wasn’t sure how to tackle it; slow and easy to help with a taper for the Caerphilly 10k or at 10k race pace to help familiarise the body? In the end, I decided to try and have a stab at going sub-20 to try and tick off all the events where I’ve yet to hit the milestone.

Jogging from the car park, I bumped into Mike who I’ve paced on a few occasions before. He too would be running at Caerphilly the next morning and had even read about my race report from last year’s outing. We parted ways to continue our warm-ups and after 2k or so, I was ready to roll.

Standing on the startline, I knew what I was planning to do was foolish. I’d raced hard two weekends on the trot (2 Castles 10k and Wolverhampton Parkrun); I was somewhat sleep deprived and I simply didn’t feel like myself. Newport’s course can be considered to be more of a trail run so fast times are much harder to come by, so I knew I would be working hard to cross the line in a time beginning with 19:XX. After a delayed start, we were off into the wilds of Tredegar Park.

The start of Newport Parkrun is really quite wide and is what I imagine Bushy Parkrun to be like. I quickly carved out a nice space for myself and by the first corner, I was definitely in the top 20 or so and running at target pace according to my Garmin. My trail shoes were working a treat on the rugged terrain and really gave me the confidence to push hard with each foot strike.

Entering the wooded portion of the sort of two-lap course, the Garmin suddenly went from reporting a bang on target pace of 3:59/km to 4:04/km. My Garmin 910XT really seems to struggle when it can’t see the sky above and whilst it looks to have correctly tracked my course on Garmin Connect, it didn’t self-correct the distance covered, so the virtual pacer was always going to be increasingly off.

Once it reported I was over 30 seconds off, I eased off the gas to give myself half a chance for the race the following day. It was only once I reached the 800m mark and noticed that my Garmin had just ticked over into 17 minute territory that I thought I had a chance of going sub-20 again, so I picked up the pace all the way to the end. The reward for my efforts? 20:22, so way off target but a course PB nonetheless.

I had a catch-up with Nigel afterwards, who would also be running in the Caerphilly 10k. In fact, had it have not been for the race last year, he would have never gotten in touch with me via this very blog!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Caerphilly 10k

For my full review of the 2014 Caerphilly 10k, please click here.

As ever, here’s this week’s entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:

For Pete’s sake, stand still at red lights

Sharks die when they stop moving. Runners do not. Please keep this in mind next time you encounter a DON’T WALK sign or a busy intersection.

There’s no need to shuffle or bounce or jog in place or dance from foot to foot like you have to pee. Instead, just chill. Wait a few moments. Then resume running.

Don’t worry – you will not “cool down” catastrophically in the time it takes the light to change. Your quest for fitness will not suffer a setback. Your heart will not freak out, wondering what the heck is going on.

Consider using this downtime to shut your eyes and take a few deep breaths, or look up and appreciate the sky for a bit – things you can’t do while running.

Note: if a non-runner waiting with you to cross the street is dancing from foot to foot, he or she may indeed have to pee. Give this person some room.

Mark Remy's The Runner's Rule Book

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