This week’s running – 23rd to 29th of June

Andy Yu joins the Parkrun 100 Club

100 Parkruns accomplished. Only 150 more before Club 250…

This week was all about my 100th Parkrun and working on going faster.

So very, very tired

I’m struggling to identify where being tired ends and being over-trained begins. I ended up cancelling my Tuesday run entirely because of how lethargic I was feeling. I guess that’s what several weeks of high quality sessions and races will do to you:

  • 31st of May – 19:31 at Cannon Hill Parkrun
  • 3rd of June – 4x 800m reps at 3:50/km
  • 8th of June – 41:10 at 2 Castles 10k (10k season’s best at the time)
  • 10th of June – 4x 800m reps at 3:50/km
  • 14th of June – 19:08 at Wolverhampton Parkrun (5k PB)
  • 17th of June – 6x 400m reps at 3:30/km
  • 21st of June – 20:22 at Newport Parkrun (course PB)
  • 22nd of June – 41:01 at Caerphilly 10k (current 10k season’s best)

I recall feeling very tired at this point in time during last year’s schedule, which is not dissimilar at all to this year’s. It may not even be the intensity of the training I’m taking on at the moment, but rather a lack of quality sleep. My body has gotten used to getting up at 7am each Saturday for Parkrun, but adding another 7am (or earlier) wake-up call on Sunday to arrive at a race startline is taking its toll.

4x 800m reps at Edgbaston Reservoir

Sometimes, all you need is a break to feel refreshed and not running on Tuesday did just that for me. My legs felt more like their normal selves and I felt quite perky for the session.

Due to car-related shenanigans, I decided to run to Edgbaston Reservoir as my warm-up, which actually made an awful lot of sense in terms of time savings. It probably takes me 10 minutes, door to door, to get to the reservoir car park and I then have to run 1.5 miles anyway. Factor the warm-down on the return leg and that’s roughly 20 minutes saved.

I increased my target pace from 3:50/km to 3:45/km. I typically run the splits 2 or 3 seconds faster than prescribed anyway, so anything between 3:47/km and 3:43/km would be within the tolerance.

First rep felt fine as always and nailed it at just under 3 minutes. Each rep that followed grew tougher to hit, but I did it time and time again at under 3 minutes.

I was destroyed by the end of the session, but I was incredibly pleased to see that I was consistently running at roughly 3 to 4 seconds faster per rep than on previous occasions. Furthermore, these are the paces I need to be hitting if I am to break into the sub-19 minute 5k territory.

Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

Anybody for cake?

Lis’ cakes went down a storm at my 100th Parkrun

100 fewer Saturday morning lie-ins and 500km later, I finally made it into the Parkrun 100 Club! Lis made a variety of cakes to celebrate the occasion and share with the good folks at Cannon Hill.

I only wanted to dip under sub-20 due to how tired I was feeling, a heavy protein-packed dinner and a late night on Friday. Once I had started running though, I actually felt pretty decent and decided to follow the target pace more loosely, opening up the throttle if I wanted to. Despite a reasonably quiet morning in terms of attendance, there was a good number of folks for me to run with and reel in, allowing me to finish feeling very strong for 19:42.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Congratulations also go out to Ed Barlow who also hit 100 runs; he managed to run a tidy comeback PB but turned up 20 minutes late!

A big thank you to everybody that’s helped me along the way (in no real order before you all start bickering amongst each other), but in particular:

  • Elsa for joining me on our first Parkrun outing on 24th of December 2011
  • Lis for coming along and spectating on many a Saturday morning when she’d rather stay in bed
  • Iain for also coming along most mornings/sacrificing his bike ride to spectate my 100th run
  • Dave for motivation and rivalry; that 19:18 joint-PB for both of us is stuff of legends
  • Yvonne and Philip for driving me to and spectating at Newport and Cardiff Parkrun

4x 1 mile reps

With some focused VO2max work in the form of 800m reps, my 5k ability is starting to move in the right direction again and I feel a sub-19 minute finish is only a matter of weeks away. All I need to do is keep at it, stay injury-free and then simply make it happen at Cardiff Parkrun (flattest and fastest course I have access to).

Now with all that in mind, you’d think my 10k times would be making similar gains, right? Wrong. Whilst I have taken almost 40 seconds off my 10k times in the last 3 races, I’ve still yet to come close to my PB of 40:39, let alone my target of a sub-40 minute 10k by the time of the Cardiff 10k in September. I’m definitely faster than this time last year but my 5k ability doesn’t seem to be translating upwards to my 10k as much as I had hoped.

To remedy this, I’ve done some research and asked a few talented runners what their go-to 10k strengthening session is. One session was above and beyond the most popular: 6x 1 mile reps at just a smidge faster than 10k goal pace. Looking at it, this makes perfect sense; get the body used to running at target 10k pace as much as possible without actually running a race at goal pace. I’m all for doing things differently because after all, if you always do what you’ve always done, you only get what you’ve always got, right?

It was a coin-toss between Edgbaston Reservoir and the recently repaved canal towpath out towards the Soho Loop. In the end, the towpath won out but I wish I’d have laced up my low-heel drop trail shoes instead of my racing flats; due to the slightly loose terrain underfoot, I simply didn’t have the traction I needed to firmly plant my foot down and then push off.

Anybody that’s been watching the British Athletics Championships on the BBC will have heard the commentators repeatedly say how windy the conditions were out at Alexander Stadium; the same was also true for me out on the canals with each of my splits away from the city centre being bombarded by a 10mph headwind.

All said and done, each rep felt pretty good but definitely had me working. My max heart rate at 90% of max was about where I wanted it to be. I reckon I could have pushed on for 5x reps, but 6x would have definitely finished me off. Better to live to fight another day and work my way up to 6x reps.

Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

And here’s this week’s entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book (he’s American and I’m quoting directly, hence the spelling of some words):

Non-runners don’t care that much about running

It’s fine to chat about running with non-runners. If they ask you about it, of course, it’d be rude not to. But for everyone’s sake, know your limits.

Here are some examples of what’s acceptable and what’s not, when socializing with civilians.



Mentioning your last marathon  Reciting the mile splits of your last marathon, along with your heart rate when each split was recorded, the relative humidity on race day, what you wore (and why), and exactly what happened just shy of that porta potty at mile 17
Describing the color of your favorite running shirt Describing the color of your urine (“It’s pretty dark, almost like iced tea, which means I’m dehydrated. Speaking of which, can I get you a drink?”)
Quoting Sebastian Coe Quoting Sebastian Coe, then becoming belligerent when no one recognizes the quote as being from Sebastian Coe
Showing off the weight you’ve lost since you started running Showing off the toenails you’ve lost since you started running

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