This week’s running – 18th to 24th of May 2015

5k PB attempt

It’s been too long since the last 5k PB

Another week, another PB attempt!

5k from work

Surprisingly, there was almost no reaction from my body at all on Monday after the race. I felt lively with no detectable fatigue at all, despite being unable to push any harder during the race.

Normally, I would have taken Monday off as a day of pure recovery. Faster Road Racing reminded me that even with the mini-tapers, my average weekly volume was still down given I hadn’t covered 5k at Parkrun and I was approximately 3 miles down on Sunday due to racing. Their suggestion is to bulk up the volume by extending warm-ups and warm-downs, and tacking on a few extra miles here and there where possible, which led to this 5k recovery run.

Even during the run along the canal towpath, things felt right as rain from my body with the average pace logged as one of my faster recovery runs.

Here’s the Garmin data for the run.

3x 1600m at 10k pace

Due to how fresh I still felt on Tuesday, I decided to plough on with this session as originally planned despite advice from blog-reader Carl to take things easy given I wanted to try and break new ground at Cardiff Parkrun later in the week. Had I have felt trashed then I most certainly would have dialled things back.

So, more of the same was ordered. The promotion to 4x reps last week was tangible progression; reassurance on top of racing that training was coming good.

The wind had really picked up and was awkwardly blowing in a direction that was difficult to hide from, whether on an out or return rep. The first two reps were fine, but fatigue struck on the third from fighting against the gusts. My form deteriorated quite significantly during the final 400m of the rep and prompted me to call it quits.

I wasn’t quite as fresh as I thought I was, but still felt a damn sight better immediately afterwards compared to previous weeks.

Here’s the Garmin data for this session.

5k from work

Wednesday saw another easy recovery run from the office. No further geese and gosling sightings along the canal towpath, so all was good!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

Cardiff Parkrun

It burns like a bad curry

Going for a 5k PB burns like a bad curry – photo by Paul Stillman

With a 5k PB attempt lined up for Cardiff Parkrun, I opted to do no running of any sort on Thursday and Friday in a bid to get myself feeling as fresh as possible.

One further change I made was switching my normal dose of a strong espresso before the run with a few Pro Plus pills. Reading up on caffeine consumption, there are many that recommended the pill form for convenience but also dosage consistency. 3 – 6mg per kilo of body weight (57kg for me) is the general consensus for a boost, which would have worked out as anywhere between 3x and 7x pills for the desired effect! I decided to go with the lower end of the scale of 4x to test things out. With the pep pills and a shot of beetroot juice in my system, I’m thankful there wasn’t any dope testing!

The target pace punched into my Garmin was 3:44 per km, which would equate to an 18:40 5k; gutsy, given I have not trained at that pace in recent times.

Vince Nazareth was also fired up for a PB attempt after last week’s 10k PB that wasn’t a PB after the race organisers officially declared the course short.

I went off hard from the line; I have to to even be in contention for a PB nowadays to offset the eventual slow-down in the middle. I stuck with the faster guys and was pulled through for a 3:35 opening km. I looked around me and there was no sign of Vince, who was utilising his tactic of hanging back.

Unusually, the second km also came up fast and only a smidge under target pace. I prepared myself for the eventual slow-down to come! Vince passed me somewhere between 2km and 3km as he always does and opened up 10 second gap. He looked strong and was clearly on to a breakthrough this season.

Passing by the 3km marker, I was close to my limit but was surprised to see a 3:54 split appear on my Garmin. “Not bad at all”, I thought to myself but reasoned that the eventual slow-down or blow-out couldn’t have been much further away.

I ran out of people to work with. A few guys had dramatically fallen off the pace to end up behind me, and a few folks managed to find second wind to storm by. The lead girl was part of the surging group and despite my best efforts to try and latch on, my body wasn’t having any of it to result in a 4:01 split.

I brought up the stopwatch on my Garmin. “15:30” was displayed, leaving just over 3 minutes to cover 900m; not impossible but also not very likely. Nonetheless, I figured I could tough out 3 additional minutes of suffering, so continued marching on. I reeled a few guys in ahead of me to reach the “400m to go” marker. I ignored the Garmin feedback and decided that whatever would be, would be. I kicked on and gained a few more places once I reached the 200m marker. Go-time! I gave it everything I had left and was even challenged by somebody for the line, but managed to find a little extra va-va-voom to get there first.

I grabbed my token and exited the funnel sharpish. Dripping in sweat from head to toe, I sat down on a log and checked the time on my Garmin. “18:57” it teased; sub-19 as should be for me at Cardiff but not enough for a new PB. Scanned and registered, I re-joined Vince who had finally beaten his years old 5k PB for 18:38.

Digesting the run data, I’m not sure I could have done much more to go faster. Even if I had been able to bring the rogue 4th km down to 3:55, that still would have only allowed me to equal my existing PB of 18:51. I’ve done next to no running faster than 10k pace, so some familiarisation at that pace will do me some good before the next PB attempt.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

I decided to sack off this week’s long run for bank holiday Monday, so straight over to the entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book:

Races are all about energy management

I don’t know who was the first to say this, but truer words were never spoken.

The only thing worse than running out of energy a mile from the finish line is finishing the race with energy left over.


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