It’s hammer time!
This week was all about prep and finishing touches towards next week’s DK10K race.
3.5 mile errand run
I needed to get to the Royal Mail sorting office so I ended up treating this out and back as a recovery run. As luck would have it, I also got caught in the rain on the return leg only for the rain to cease once I’d reached home…
3x 1600m at 10k pace
Lis decided to tag along to Edgbaston Reservoir to get her run in, though I hasten to add that she did not do the session with me and instead did her own thing!
There seems to be a swirling vortex of strong winds circling the UK at the moment, but this did not deter me from trying to get all 3x reps as precise as possible. Foolishly, I allowed the pace on the first rep to step up imperceptibly; it was only recently that I said I wouldn’t do this and would look to extend the number of reps at the same pace. 3:55/km over 3x 1600m did not feel too bad but it did leave me umming and ahhing over a fourth and final rep. I ultimately decided against it for fear of overdoing things, but the good news is that if I had hit all 3x at 3:58/km like I should have, a fourth rep would have certainly followed.
Here’s the Garmin data for this session.
We’re starting to approach the 10k season with races springing up left, right and centre. The DK10K is a local, mid-week race that’s been going for nearly thirty years and I’ve finally pulled my finger out to enter it.
Yeah, it’s not the flattest course around, but it has a good reputation for attendance from club runners. At £15 for unattached runners and with chip timing to boot, what’s not to love? My only reservation is how many runners will have defected to run the inaugural Great Birmingham 10k today?
This will be my very first mid-week and evening race. I’m curious to see how I feel out there as a morning person, if there’s any difference at all.
The target, as ever, is to get under 40 minutes. I anticipate it’ll be quite tricky on an undulating course and with 16mph winds forecasted, I’ll have to wait and see. Darryl Thomas of Bromsgrove and Redditch AC is also running and I’m hoping our abilities align to allow us both to work together towards a common goal.
Come back again to see my next blog post and to find out how things went!
5k from work
Several weeks ago, I donned a vest for the first time this year on a training run. I ended up wearing a long sleeve top again on this run home from work, due to the sudden drop in temperature.
Here’s the Garmin data for this run.
8 canal miles with fartlek
I was pretty tired come Thursday and almost ducked out of this run entirely, so it made perfect sense to not only cover the 8 miles but to also throw in some fartlek as well!
The fartlek sections during the second half were really to get the legs turning over at a faster rate – not an easy task on the loose stone chips of the canal towpath.
I almost forgot that this was also my sixth day of consecutive running for the third time. Here’s the Garmin data for this run.
Lis and I were back in Wales for the weekend so I’d arranged to be at Cardiff Parkrun. No face-off with Vince Nazareth this time since he was volunteering and tapering for a race the next day, and it was probably for the best since I’ve only ever beaten him on one occasion out of six…
The weather was pretty miserable and right on cue for the bank holiday weekend. I didn’t fancy my chances of anything spectacular, recalling last week’s struggle at Cannon Hill Parkrun to go much faster. Also, many of the local faster runners were either recovering from recent races, or were tapering for upcoming races, so there would be few to work with.
The warm-up felt much better than usual, with none of the heavy legged-ness that had plagued me last week, despite the six consecutive training days earlier this week.
Toeing up on the start line, there was indeed reluctance from folks to come forward and I found myself a nice spot in the second row with plenty of breathing space around me. Lis was not so fortunate and resigned herself to the rear of the pack for fear of being trampled to death by being too far forward. On Phil Cook’s “Go” (he was filmed running alongside Paula Radcliffe in last week’s London Marathon), we were off.
I stuck with the lead pack for the first 800m or so before the leaders started to pull away. My Garmin reported a pace that was 13 seconds ahead of target; the sensible side of my brain begged me to slow down a touch and I duly obeyed to fall in-line with and lead the chase pack. My legs felt remarkably fresh considering all the hard graft I’d been putting in over the last few weeks, though my lungs felt a smidge uncomfortable with the fast pace.
I passed through 1k with a 3:37 split, which was waaay ahead of the 3:45 target I had in my mind. Everything continued to feel decent despite early reservations, so I didn’t think too much of it. The ground, whilst wet, didn’t appear to pose many problems for traction and the wind was not nearly as harsh as weather reports had made out.
My pack broke up to leave just one other guy and me on our own. Each time he crept away, I was able to cover him and stayed in his slipstream, straying no further than 2 or 3m behind at worst.
Through 2k and my split came in at 3:51; slower certainly but I was still up on target according to the Garmin virtual pacer and crucially, I was still feeling pretty damn good. I tried to focus on my breathing to stay calm and relaxed, taking in deep breaths from the belly to maximise the capacity on offer.
I reached 3k with 3:55 for further slow-down. I had overtaken the guy in my group, sensing that he had slipped from the pace. Another guy from behind came from nowhere to shoot ahead and gave me a new target to chase down, though he was always just out of reach to leave me on my own. I spotted Lis on the other side, approaching the 2k marker looking in good shape. I’d big-upped the Cardiff course to her many times over the years and was quietly confident it would produce a new 5k PB for her, even if only by a small margin due to the flat route.
The guy I had dropped found second wind from somewhere and surged past me just before 4k to join the chap ahead. I was breathing hard and my lungs were in flames, but my legs remained free from fatigue to make no sense at all! I glanced backwards for the first time and the next person behind was nowhere near me, unable to provide a tow to the guys in front. My Garmin beeped with a 3:50 split, so I was speeding up as I got closer to the finish. I switched my Garmin over to the stopwatch and I was actually pretty damn close to a new PB if I could muster a big kick.
Like I said, a face like thunder – photo by Paul Stillman
I had a face like thunder as I went through 800m, which must have been a real sight for the marshals as I passed by. I let out two very audible cries of “Argh” that surprisingly helped to ease the anguish my body was going through. I kicked the pace up just a notch in an attempt to close the gap between the two guys in front and me, but to no avail; they too had sensed the end was nigh and did exactly the same. I was maxed out and could only manage a lame sprint to bring me home with a season’s best of 18:52, and only 2 seconds shy of a new 5k PB. Had I known how close I actually was, I’m sure I could have found a few seconds, especially during the 3rd km.
Here’s the Garmin data for this Parkrun.
After a brief moment of composure on the side lines after grabbing a finish token, I checked my finish position and had netted no.18 to also equal my best finish position at Cardiff. A real morning of nearlies and almosts, right?
Lady in red – photo by Paul Stillman
Lis came back in with 32:25 for her fastest 5k yet and proudly exclaimed she ran the entire distance. She’s making good progress and with a little more work, should break 30 minutes before too long!
Not a bad morning’s work and confidence inspiring ahead of next week’s DK10K.
10 miles – to Usk and back
I didn’t want to overcook the long run given the enthusiastic 5k the day before, so kept this one sensible. Unexpectedly, conditions were pretty hot and humid on the out leg to Usk where I even considered going bare chested!
The return was straight into a headwind, but thankfully this was just a minor annoyance at the gentler pace.
Here’s the Garmin data for this run.
Time for this week’s entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:
Run the mile you’re in
Especially for longer races (but even for short ones, like 5-Ks), it can be tempting to dwell on the total distance or on how far you are from the finish line. Try not to. Instead, focus on the mile you’re running at that particular moment.
Be mindful of the full distance, of course; mentally and physically, you should be aware of how far you’ve got to go. Primarily, though, keep your head in the here and now.
That’s a nice metaphor for life, too, by the way. In case you were looking for one.