Something awesome happened this weekend. My friend and training partner Dan took well over a minute off his personal best time for 10k. His stated aim before the race was to break 34 and he absolutely smashed it, going through half way in 16:30 and nearly skipping the 33s altogether to record a time of 33:03. Dan, the Sergei Bubka of the local running scene, had been telling me the previous Tuesday how he only tends to improve by very small margins, citing his 4 minutes in 4 marathons as evidence. This has proven not to be the case.
Dan’s story is inspiring and is proof, if any is needed, of the value of sheer hard work and graft. Dan trains hard and puts the miles in and in the last few months his approach to training has really started to pay off. In September he ran his fastest marathon ever, in October he ran his fastest half marathon ever and in November he made a mockery of his former 10k PB. I predict a quick 5k before 2012 comes to an end.
This also tells me that I need to reprogram my brain and consider carefully what is possible. If someone I train with can break their PB by so much, why can’t I? I need to aim higher and Dan’s performance is just the spur I need. No more conservative goals. No more messing around. Sub 32 here I come.
Three weeks until the half marathon. Ran a 10k personal best on a tough course, getting outsprinted in the final 400 metres. Unsurprising given my lack of speed work. I’m sure I can get my 10k time lower with a bit more training.
Monday: 10 easy (10)
Tuesday: 8×1000 tempo intervals off 200m in ~55s. 3:13/13/10/10/09/09/08/04. 32:40 total time for 6 miles. (12)
Wednesday: 13 easy, 100 mins (13)
Thursday: 12 with 6 steady on grass ~36 mins (12)
Friday: 8 easy (8)
Saturday: 6 easy (6)
Sunday: Lichfield 10k, 2nd in 32:55 – PB. 16:25/16:30. Hot and hilly. (11)
Week total: 72 miles
2012 total: 2383 miles
Monday: 5 recovery. sore. (5)
Tuesday: 3 mile warm up and 5x(7min hard / 2min easy) and warm down on a 10 mile loop. Hot. 1:27 total running time (13)
Wednesday: 12 mile trail run. Sopot to Gdynia and back along hilly coastal route. Pushed it on the hills. 1:26. (12)
Thursday: AM warm up, 10x(1 min hard / 30s easy), 5 mile tempo 29 mins, 10x(1 min hard / 30s easy), warm down. 1:49 total for 15 miles. Tough. PM 5 mile beach run (20)
Friday: 7 easy. (7)
Saturday: 10k tempo on track. 34:46 – 17:30/17:16. Very hot. Stiff from flight. (11)
Sunday: 22 slow (22)
Week total: 90 miles
2011 total: 2090 miles
This week I ran more miles than I have ever run in a week. From Monday to Sunday, 101 miles of track, road and trails passed beneath my weary and battered feet. Coupled with the fact that there were only 167 hours this week due to the clocks going forward (no more running in the dark – great news!), this total gives me my best mile per hour average of any week; about one for every hour I’ve been awake during these 7 days.
Now, the reason I felt the need to write about this is that the recording of my weekly mileage has never required a third digit before, and I have wondered for a while now what a hundred mile week would feel like. I know it isn’t a huge achievement; the proof of the pudding is always in the eating and mileage is meaningless if it doesn’t help you go faster on race day. There are people I know who regularly hit this kind of number so it isn’t a particularly impressive feat. Any man who is anti-social enough and has a forgiving enough wife (mine is wonderful) can run high mileage if he builds up to it. However, I still feel quite pleased to have pushed myself through it.
This wasn’t really a week of junk miles either. All my ‘in between’ runs – Monday, Wednesday and Friday were run at a decent pace and I hit some good sessions too. Tuesday was a 10k time trial, run solo on the track. The most boring session in our programme, it is never easy and always requires a sizeable dip into the reserves of mental strength. I ran it in 33:06, which is a personal best. I know that you should never race in training but my ‘proper’ personal best, by which I mean run in a race, is one of my weakest and doesn’t really reflect the shape I’m in now. Wednesday was a double with a tiring day at work sandwiched between the bread of a 4 mile easy and a half marathon. I had nothing in my legs for Thursday’s 300 and 600 session with the club, but put in a decent set of reps.
I tried something new on Saturday – my South African training partner’s ‘Elana Meyer’ session, a workout used by the Olympic medallist in her marathon days. It involves doing 1200m, 5000m, 1200m, 5000m and 1200m on the track with 45 second recoveries. The idea of the session is to run the 1200s hard to build up lactic acid in the muscles and try and hit the 5ks at marathon pace or quicker. The tiredness this causes in the legs is a fairly good simulation of the last few miles of a marathon when you really do need to concentrate on keeping the pace up. I managed to hit my target splits, with the exception of the last 1200. I felt like I was wading through treacle on this one and was much slower but it didn’t matter as much, as it is really only there to stop you running the second 5k too fast.
Today’s long run was a drag. I had heavy legs and didn’t really want to push the pace and fortunately my group were more than willing to go slowly too. I normally finish a week on 80 miles, not start my long run having done that many already. It was the last one before London.
The next three weeks are taper weeks, so I’ll be having some rest days and cutting a few miles off each run. It will be a strange feeling – my body has got used to running a lot – but it should mean I am fairly fresh on the 17th April.
Training’s banked. Now I’ve just got to do the business on the day. Easier said than done.
I’ve entered a race on my birthday. It’s the first time that has happened. It is the London 10,000 in May (not a track race, just a strangely named road 10k) and I entered yesterday at the suggestion of my wife.
Mo Farah ran 27:44 there last year which suggests it’s a quick course. Of course I’m not going to run a time like that but am hoping to be in good 10k shape by then. Low 33s perhaps.