This week’s running – 12th to 18th of December 2016

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For all you Trading Places fans out there this season

A return to normality after Telford 10k’s DNF.

9 miles from work

In spite of pulling out of the Telford 10k at halfway, I was pretty much right as rain again some 54 hours later. Depending on whether you’re a glass is half empty, or full, kind of person will determine your view on whether my return to health was badly timed or short enough so as not to be too disruptive to the grand scheme of training for the Brass Monkey Half Marathon in mid-January (fewer than four weeks away by the time you read this).

Fortunately, the P&L schedule only called for 8 miles with some strides thrown in, which was perfectly fine to ease me back in. Effort-wise, the run could have felt easier and wasn’t helped by the near-constant headwind I found myself moving into. All in all, though, it was great to be back at it!

I also broke a new pair of tights in; due to my haste in leaving the office, one of the ankle zips wasn’t positioned as well as it could have been, resulting in some chafage and raw skin exposure… Lesson learned the hard way.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

4 miles recovery

Irrespective of me wearing high-vis, a head torch and using a zebra crossing, drivers really, really don’t seem to be able to see me.

It was the first time in months since running through Cannon Hill Park in the evening that there was no sign of British Military Fitness in action. Guess with Christmas on the approach and a likely drop in attendance, they opted not to lay sessions on?

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

9 miles from work

Very much a repeat of Tuesday’s run, except with additional rain and much more wind.

Mentally, I was fried from an all-day meeting at work. The thought of having to run-commute all the way home from Smethwick really didn’t appeal, though I was pleased to get the job done.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Cannon Hill Parkrun

This was only ever meant to be a casual 19:00 minute or so 5k to leave a bit of capacity for Sunday’s prescribed run (14 miles with 3 at half marathon pace). Instead, it turned into an impromptu run in anger, thanks to Steve Dunsby aiming for 18:00 minutes and some gentle persuasion to chase after him from my peers…

The first km was swift, but not breakneck fast like I’ve experienced in the past. Every time I made a move to reduce the gap between Steve and me, he would edge away ever so slightly to put another metre in. 3:34 came out for this opening split.

The pace kept up and I found myself being able to hang on to Steve, though not without the effort beginning to creep upwards. The gravitas of the situation didn’t dawn on me until we began overtaking some recognisably faster runners… 3:39 for some minor slow down due to the climb back to the bandstand, but otherwise consistent.

I knew I couldn’t keep the effort up, what with a lack of 5k and VO2max workouts and recent illness. The awkward middle km of a 5k struck and I found myself moving backwards as those we overtook regained their leads to come past me. Steve continued to creep away and within only a few minutes, he may as well have been in a completely different run to me. I did my best to throw a few surges in to regroup with those ahead of and minimise the pace rot from festering. The third km came in at 3:44.

The wheels finally came off, not helped by the triangle section for further slowdown. At one point, I even saw 4:02 flash up on my Garmin for the km, though it finally settled on 3:54.

With just 1km remaining, I could see the group of runners ahead were also flagging and some interest in finishing strongly was renewed. I was very obviously hanging on to the coat tails of the group, but there was no mistake that I wasn’t part of the ensemble as everybody made their way through the finish.

Whilst I clocked 18:31 for myself (I was a little late stopping), the official results promoted me to 18:29 for my second fastest time at Cannon Hill, and my third fastest 5k of all time. I’m not so sure I could have gone any faster that morning; it’s commonly agreed that a fast 5k is more likely with a fast opening, and then hanging on for dear life as I did. I just need to minimise that middle section, where I’m no longer fresh but also still nowhere near finishing.

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

14 miles with 3 at half marathon pace

I dreaded going into this run, especially having thrashed myself over 5k only 24 hours prior.

To give myself the best chance of success, I kept the 3 miles at pace as late as possible into the run so as to allow for as much warm-up in my system. This did the trick; whereas my legs were tight and heavy to begin with, my stride felt loose, long and purposeful by the time I turned around at The Cube for the return.

As anticipated, the opening mile at half marathon pace was a touch off target, though the average between all three splits was pretty much bang on:

  1. 6:32
  2. 6:28
  3. 6:20

Here’s the Strava data for this run.

Brass Monkey Half Marathon update

Seeing as I’m two-thirds of the way through the P&L half marathon plan, I figured I would shed some light on how it’s going.

Thankfully and crucially, even with the week of illness, I don’t feel like I’m any worse off. In an ideal world, a fast 10k effort, whether it achieved a PB or not, would have been one heck of a stimulus to my training.

I do feel like the regular lactate threshold and half marathon pace workouts have done some good. Whilst I don’t feel sharp (that’ll come in the next four weeks’ VO2max workouts), I do feel like I could specifically run for longer at a higher intensity than normal, which is exactly as intended and hoped for.

Merry Christmas

I hope everybody has a merry Christmas with maybe a running related gift or three under the tree.

Yes, I will of course be running on JC’s birthday, so I’ll see some of you folks at a nearby Parkrun somewhere…

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