This week’s running – 20th to 26th of June 2016


The 2016 Wythall Hollywood 10k – photo by Terry Arnett

Week 7 of the 22 week marathon schedule saw another 10k race, so back on the mini-taper I went.

4x 1600m at 10k pace

Much like several weeks ago, I used last Tuesday as my final run with effort to allow for adequate recovery ahead of Sunday’s Wythall Hollywood 10k. On the menu were 4x long reps of 1600m at 10k pace – a real groan fest!

Conditions were warm and humid, and to add insult to injury, pollen levels were through the roof to trigger all of my hay fever symptoms to manifest.

Target pace was, again, 3:53 per km, or 6:15 per mile for the imperial fans out there.

All of the splits were manageable, though I regretted walking instead of utilising jog recoveries, resulting in my heart rate slowing down a tad too much before each new rep. Bizarrely, the return 2x reps were into the headwind, yet they produced the fastest splits of the evening (and also made my bottom row of teeth go numb):

  1. 6:12 / 3:52 per km / 6:14 per mile
  2. 6:14 / 3:54 per km / 6:17 per mile
  3. 6:07 / 3:49 per km / 6:09 per mile
  4. 6:05 / 3:48 per km / 6:07 per mile

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

5 miles from city centre with strides

This was the final run before Sunday’s 10k race. It was only meant to be easy with some strides thrown in…

O. M. G. Who the hell cranked the humidity up to 11?!

Kitted out in a vest and a pair of shorts, this still wasn’t enough to counter the effects of the chunky air; throw in a bag on my shoulders for additional weight and lessened airflow and I was literally soaked in sweat from top to bottom by the time I hit the second mile.

I even had to stop midway through the run to apply some Bodyglide to my neck that was being chaffed raw by the bag’s shoulder straps and the drenching I went through!


Almost 15 minutes spent in zone 3/tempo effort over 5 miles, at 8:40 average?!!


Only 10 minutes spent in zone 3/tempo effort over 17 miles, at 8:00 average!!!

Comparing the heart rate of this run with last week’s 17 miler, it sums up precisely how much the humidity affected me, where I ran 8:40 per mile average over 5 miles requiring more effort than 8:00 per mile average over 17 miles.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun


Lizzy, Simon and me at Cannon Hill Parkrun – photo by Geoff Hughes

I once again did my part and volunteered my services at Cannon Hill, seeing as I had a race the following day. The organisers must love seeing me sweat because they tend to place me at the most critical points on the course – this time, the first intersection between laps 1 and 2. Lizzy, a relatively new face to Cannon Hill and Kings Heath Running Club, assisted me. Proving what a small world it is we live in, it turned out she was a fellow Aberystwyth University alumni and was first introduced to Parkrun in the university town (I really need to get back there and try the course out).

We did have to tend to a lady that fell due to a dog that tripped her up from behind. It wasn’t clear whether the dog and its owner were part of Parkrun, or simply a regular park user; I hope for the latter…

We also got to witness the Cannon Hill course record fall for the first time in years. The lead the chap had on second place was enormous, and Will Richardson’s no slouch either as a frequent first place finisher. Truly a spectacle to behold and I was glad to hear the marshalling was on point to ensure he didn’t go off course. Unusually, the new record holder wasn’t only new to Cannon Hill, but new to Parkrun, too!

For anybody planning on making a visit in July, be aware that the event will be cancelled on the 9th, 16th and 23rd due to the In the Night Garden show taking place elsewhere in the park. My plan is to visit Walsall Arboretum Parkrun on the 9th, Arrow Valley on the 16th, with the 23rd remaining a mystery for now.

Wythall Hollywood 10k 2016 review

For the full low-down on the 2016 Wythall Hollywood 10k, please click here.

The road to the Yorkshire Marathon

There was nothing marathon specific at all this week, but racing a 10k helped to keep things interesting. The 10k distance has always been my Achilles heel in terms of race distances, where I’m simply unable to sustain the effort over the distance without dropping the target pace down a touch. It stands to reason that if I can continue to improve over the 10k distance, then all of my other distance performances should also fall.

I have one more 10k race coming up in about five weeks’ time – the Magor Marsh 10k. The desire is to get as close to 38:15 as possible, which is no longer the ridiculous flight of fancy after the Wythall Hollywood 10k. Whilst the McMillan Calculator suggests I should be at around 38:05 based on my now six month old half marathon PB, I’m confident I would currently be faster over 13.1 miles, so the 10k target should probably be more like sub-38… Gulp!



3 thoughts on “This week’s running – 20th to 26th of June 2016

  1. Ugh humidity is the worst isn’t it – I think it’s worse than rain! Well done on a great week though, even with the crazy heat.

    • I’ll have to disagree with you – I’d much rather have rain over humidity! A good thing seeing as we have torrential rain right now as I type this and I’m due to go for a run…!

  2. The heat and humidity thing with respect to heart rate … your body thermo-regulates by pushing blood to the surface of your body which means less blood volume and less oxygen to the working muscles. Training to pace is always going to feel a lot harder in those circumstances. Keeping an eye on heart rate in the heat is a good way to avoid getting into trouble with heat. Your watch does vo2max I think … that measurement trends downwards through the summer months (though can nudge upwards if the training is improving your fitness).

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