This week’s running – 15th to 21st of September 2014

Andy, Nigel and Dave at Cannon Hill Parkrun

After 6 weeks of waiting/not being around, I finally have my 100 Club t-shirt!

This week was all about working hard and working harder.

2x 2 miles at half marathon pace

This session still puts fear into me, even after several instances of running it with regularity. My problem with it is that compared to 800m reps, I know how the 800m reps should feel and I’m never too far away from the end if it gets a little intense. A 2 mile rep at half marathon pace is a slow burn that grows in intensity the closer I get to the end; something I’m just less familiar with.

I certainly felt the benefit afterwards but as per usual, I didn’t have the oomph in me to push out another rep, leaving me able to run another day.

Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

Recovery run from work

I’m still keeping these up to help with overall weekly volume and they’re still as enjoyable as before. A short run with no pace pressure really does lift my spirits after a long day at the office.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

1x 1 mile, 2x 800m, 1x 1 mile

This is a favourite session of mine, running it again on Thursday. Whilst it is a bit of a “Jack of all trades” approach without any specific focus, it does get me running at half marathon pace (1 mile reps) and 5k pace (800m reps) without the greater intensity of pure half marathon pace sessions or pure 5k pace sessions.

I also bumped into Nigel Beecroft at Edgbaston Reservoir for a brief but pleasant exchange.

Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

Cannon Hill Parkrun – the Dave Burton edition

Dave on his way to victory!

Dave on his way to victory!

Earlier in the week, I proposed to Dave that we run ourselves into the ground at Cannon Hill Parkrun to mark the anniversary of our 19:18 joint PBs from 2013. I had put some good training into my workload, as had Dave, and the effects of the Cardiff 10k should have been absorbed for an almighty smackdown between the two of us.

I was pretty fired up for Cannon Hill Parkrun – PB attempt or no PB attempt. I’d been absent for 5 or 6 weeks due to races, holidays and simply being out of town. I also had my 100 Club t-shirt to collect after first earning it at the end of July. My usual routine of beetroot juice and coffees got the system started.

Due to the Midland Road Relays later that day, a good number of club runners chose not to run, staying away or volunteering instead. The start line was noticeably thin as a result, leaving a sweet spot right in the centre of the front row for Dave and me.

The run started fast at 3:47/km pace for a targeted sub-19 minute finish. I felt comfortable for the first few hundred metres but after the first km, the intensity had caught up to me. I wasn’t as fit as I was back in July and the lack of Parkruns lately made the pace feel dramatically alien. My training workload was also pretty heavy in the days leading up to Saturday, so the odds were well and truly against me. And what of Dave? Well, he was clearly having the run of his life. The gap between us continued to grow and after 2k, I decided to resign from the sub-19 attempt and shouted this out to Dave, who was confidently zooming off into the distance.

At the triangle, I calculated he was roughly 45 seconds ahead and the gap continued to grow as I slipped more and more off pace. I struggled to find groups of people to work with and whilst sometimes you can muscle through this if you’re feeling good, it’s one of the worst things that can hit you mid-race if you’re fading.

On the approach to the MAC, he had over 400m on me and I was certain he would produce a PB, if not a sub-19 finish as well in the process.

Now that's a race face!

Now that’s a race face!

With just 400m left to go, I started working with a girl that had overtaken me but was starting to fade. I urged her to keep going, not realising that she was only mere seconds away from her own PB.

I finally crossed the line in 19:48 – almost a minute behind schedule. I felt like shit and concluded that I could have run a much steadier and less stressful performance if a 19:48 was all I could produce that day. I found Dave and he looked reasonably fresh considering the effort he’d put in. And his time? 18:53! He did it and even managed to shave 3 seconds off from my PB set at the much flatter and faster Cardiff Parkrun! I was over the moon for him where he’d executed his plan to perfection. In less than 14 days, he managed to chop down my 5k and 10k PBs set earlier in the summer and it’s more than likely he’ll also take down my half marathon PB in the next 14 days, too.

Truly legendary stuff is our Dave!

I caught up with that girl I’d urged on in the last 400m. Turns out we’d actually run the last few hundred metres of this year’s London Marathon together! Alex said she’d recognised me from my über geeky Autobots tattoo on my leg and we even managed to piece together that I was the guy she saw kneeling down to propose. It’s funny to think that I’ve now managed to finish two London Marathons with a fellow Cannon Hill Parkrunner on each occasion.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

13 miles of Birmingham canals

Gone are the days when 13 miles during my marathon schedule were considered a short to medium length run.

This was my last chance to get a proper long run in ahead of the Cardiff Half Marathon in 2 weeks (made it into the fastest start pen – woohoo). Distance has taken somewhat of a back-seat during this summer so I’m hoping the addition or more training at higher intensities will see me through.

The weather was gorgeous and exactly what I expect of early autumn – perfection for a long run. Sadly, a headwind persisted in knocking the stuffing out of me almost all the way round the 13 miles for some pretty exhausting stuff on top of an already exhausting week.

The route finished up at Edgbaston Reservoir where like last week, it was pretty busy with people most likely training for the Great Birmingham Run in 4 weeks’ time.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

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

Having a million things to do is an excuse for running, not an argument against it

There are hundred excuses not to run. Being busy just isn’t one of them. Why? Because taking even 20 or 30 minutes for a run will help you organize your thoughts, clear your head, wake up, and return to your tasks with a clarity and energy you can’t get from coffee or even a nap.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed or overbooked, put the to-do list down and lace up your running shoes. You’ll be glad you did.

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