This week’s running – 19th to 25th of January 2015

Work and recovery are a dangerous mix...

Work and recovery are a dangerous mix…

This week was a tad manic and sadly, running took a bit of a back seat.

Extended recovery

After the delights of the Brass Monkey Half Marathon, I ended up taking a prolonged period of recovery. Not through choice; rather due to work. It’s a particularly busy time of the year for me and due to a number of late finishes and early starts, I simply couldn’t find many opportunities to run. Any runs completed would have been easy anyway.

The first run of the week arrived in the form of a not-so-challenging 10k out and back via Hagley Road (click here for the Garmin data).

This particular week actually got me musing over a few things. An online buddy of mine drew attention to my typical 25 mile week and compared it to the monstrous 47 mile week immediately after Christmas. That simply would not be sustainable and was rather a product of the perfect storm: have masses of time off, so will run! I think my sweet spot for mileage lies somewhere around 35 miles a week, so long as I can get chance to run home from work and complete all runs as planned.

The next item I mulled over was that of Jantastic. I’m struggling to get into it this year and the cynics amongst you might say that’s because I’ve lost the opportunity to gain 100%. And the cynics amongst you may be right… I will continue to participate, but only because I hate to leave things unfinished.

Finally, I’m secretly quite pleased (or not so secretly now) that I don’t have a marathon to train for this spring. Besides the obvious challenge of available time to do a marathon justice, it’s actually been incredibly refreshing to be able to see various PBs come tumbling down since December, rather than continually have to hold myself back for it all to come good on one particular morning of one particular day. I commented on 2014 being miserly in terms of PBs attained – could 2015 be able to reverse that trend?

Race calendar

2014 was a bumper year of races and 2015 looks to up the ante. I love regular racing and strongly feel it keeps me sharp. Here’s what my potential calendar looks like:

Sadly, there are a number of clashes as there are every year. I would like to run a half marathon in May, but sadly the two I have my eye on both take place on the 17th. To add insult to injury, the flat as a pancake Gwent Race for Wildlife 10k will be staged on the same day… I think the Tewkesbury Half Marathon will most likely get the pick.

Four weeks later in June, more clashes occur. I thoroughly enjoyed the Aldridge 10k in 2013, but it always clashes with the novel 2 Castles 10k. This year, there’s the addition of the Swansea Half Marathon to complicate things. If I can secure another place in the 2 Castles 10k, I would like to make this one happen, otherwise I think I will opt for the Aldridge 10k for simplicity of logistics.

And then it’s a clear run with no clashes in July, September and October.

Newport Parkrun

Not wanting to blow myself to pieces again so soon after the Brass Monkey Half, I decided to skip Cardiff Parkrun for its closer neighbour at Newport.

Things were cut a bit fine and required I jump out of the car to be able to get some semblance of a warm-up in before the 9am start. The layout of the start area indicated the winter route was back in action and unlike some events, is only wheeled out when absolutely necessary rather than all season.

I wanted to sneak under 20 minutes, feeling this was a reasonable target based on the 19:38 course PB I set a month ago. The first 2km were more or less on target pace, but things fell apart from 3km onwards; the mud started to sap the energy from my legs and I largely ran alone. Lapped runners also became a problem, with one guy cutting me up pretty badly in the final lap. Even with a final km kick, it wasn’t enough to reverse the damage inflicted and I finished with 20:12 on the Garmin. This was a 10th place finish, which I felt was a rather high finish position out of almost 400 runners; it turned out many were tapering for the Lliswerry 8 the following day, so mystery solved!

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

10 miles – to Usk and back

Based on how fresh I wasn’t feeling at Newport Parkrun, I scaled the pace of the Sunday long run back to around 8:45 per mile. No issues at all, bar a pesky headwind that hit on the return. I decided to include a mile at the end, serving as a warm-down after the intensity of the long drag up the hill on entering Tredunnock.

Here’s the Garmin data for this run.

And here’s the latest entry from Mark Remy’s The Runner’s Rule Book (it follows on from last week’s):

But if you do drop out, make peace with your decision

Don’t dwell on a DNF, a “Did Not Finish.” Chalk it up to expertise, and vow to train and race smarter next time. What’s done is done, and you’ve lived to race another day. So be it.