First of many races this week
This week was all about the tapering for and recovering from the DK10K.
With the DK10K as the first of my 10k races that I’ve seriously trained for, a small but significant taper was called for with no running on Monday or Tuesday. Achieving my sub-40 target at the race was needed to put me in the right frame of mind for the rest of the season. Not all of my 10k races will get the taper treatment, with a small number being treated as hard training runs.
For the full fat run-down of how the DK10K went, please click here.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. The DK10K managed to destroy my legs with both of my quads aching the following day, and my left knee feeling out of sorts.
A very gentle 5k jog home from the office was exactly what the make-believe coach ordered. Here’s the Garmin data for this run.
Cannon Hill Parkrun
There was a lot of hubbub last week in response to Cannon Hill’s course change. Some loved it and felt it returned a few valuable seconds that were sorely missed after 2014’s finish line relocation. Others felt it was another move that slowed a course down further by introducing traffic between faster runners and lapped runners. Being absent last week, I waited with bated breath to sample the changes for myself.
2x short laps and 1x long lap make up the new Cannon Hill course
So, what exactly has changed? Cast your eyes over the course map above. Essentially, there are now 3x laps of the park; 2x short laps skipping out the route next to the duck pond in favour of going past the tennis courts and golf course; the final lap has runners heading out towards the triangle and back as before, re-joining the main park perimeter for the remainder of a short lap towards the uphill finish.
Warm-up with Nigel done, we returned to a jam-packed bandstand surrounded by Kings Heath Running Club and Bournville Harriers, along with everybody else. The day was in honour of John Enright, a Bournville Harrier member that sadly passed away last year. It was touching to see so many present, many of whom I’d never seen at Parkrun before, come forward to celebrate one of his passions.
Lis ran again, looking to complete the whole course without walking, much like last week at Cardiff. Elsa also made an appearance to boost the total attendance numbers for the day.
Whilst listening to the briefing, I bumped into Selena who was back in town and just had to get a Parkrun fix in as well. Too busy gassing with her, I missed my opportunity for a decent spot on the start line, but found myself stood on the grass next to Alex and Jonny. I wasn’t entirely sure how fast or slow I wanted to go and simply settled on sub-20. Before too long, the starter’s orders were given and we were off.
Nigel mentioned to me last week that the new start produced a fast opening mile; without any corners, a slight descent and the adrenaline from the start line, it was very easy to see how this happened! It was only the congestion from the boosted club runner numbers that slowed things down.
But one man’s congestion is another’s running company, and I’ve often complained about the lack of people to run alongside at Cannon Hill. Not so on this day when there were plenty of people to track and trace. I found myself following Nigel, Alex and Jonny for much of the first half of the run. We did end up lapping some of the runners towards the rear when we passed the bandstand for the second time.
In and out of the triangle, I sensed the pace was slipping so I took the lead and pulled away. Before the run, Nigel also highlighted that the changes to the course meant the right time to begin winding things up was from the MAC through to the finish. I struggled to grasp this at first but once I experienced this for myself, I knew exactly what he was referring to. Three years of running from the MAC, past the duck pond and then through to Fergal’s/Dave’s corner, meant this change to the course made things feel much more progressive. Lis also agreed with this after completing her own run.
One final kick up the hill – photo by MudRunner Sports Photography
I crossed the line in 19:31, so a lot faster than the sub-20 result I envisaged. My legs didn’t feel too bad and my cardiovascular system was able to keep up, so no complaints from me or my body. Here’s the Garmin data for this run.
No complaints either from Lis who scored another PB of 32:16 after Cardiff last week. A sub-30 minute finish can’t be far now – she’s taken almost 2 minutes off her time in 2 weeks!
I’ve got to say I do approve of the new course changes, where it does indeed feel faster. I had my reservations initially when I found out we were required to run around the sharp turn next to the tearoom bin three times, but this did not pose much of a problem yesterday. These changes go some way towards returning some much needed speed to the course after the addition of the finish hill in 2014.
It’s the Parkrun Ambassador’s weekend next week, but it won’t be happening at Cannon Hill due to the park being used for a food festival; instead, the event will take place over at the nearest neighbour, Perry Hall Parkrun. There are normally an array of guests and last year saw Paul Sinton Hewitt, Tom Williams, Steve Way, Chrissie Wellington, Liz Yelling and a few others in attendance. I’ll be marshalling at the event, treating it as a mini-taper for a race the next day, so hopefully see a few of you there!
10 canal miles
This was the worst feeling long run in a good while. I delayed heading out until the afternoon, so I was full of a protein-packed lunch to make me feel bloated and heavy. The out section on the canal towpath was also entirely into a raging headwind. At least I didn’t see any geese with their goslings!
The return leg was loads better and I duly picked the pace up. I still felt crappy but at least going faster meant it would all end sooner.
Here’s the Garmin data for this run.
Time for your weekly fix from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:
This just might be the single most useful rule about racing. And it works on more than one level.
- Relax in the buildup to your race: Added tension and anxiety can only hurt you.
- Relax the night before your race: At this late stage, you’ve trained enough to meet your goals or you haven’t; things are in fate’s hands now. And there’s certain relief in that. Take advantage of this relief to get some much-deserved rest.
- Relax in the hours just before your race: Apart from a brief warmup walk/jog, spend this time thinking pleasant thoughts – or not thinking at all. Focus on running a smooth, fast race. Visualize yourself smiling on the course. Imagine the finish line, and yourself gliding across it. Then go do it.
- Relax during the race: Clenched fists and hunched shoulders will only sap energy that should be devoted to moving you forward.
Oh, and don’t forget to relax postrace, with the recovery beverage of your choice. My personal favourite is Blue Point Toasted Lager.