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Training – Week Beginning 13 May

Sunday 19th May 2013

One hard run midweek and 3 races on Saturday. Eased off down the home straight in the 1500. The 5000 was tough on tired legs and the 400 relay was fun despite coming last by a long way. A great day out.

Monday: 15km easy (15)

Tuesday: 14km easy (14)

Wednesday: ran home, moderate/hard effort ~60 mins (16)

Thursday: 13km easy (13)

Friday: Rest (0)

Saturday: Midland League Division 2 – Yate. 1500m – 3rd in 4:10.8 (3:25pm), 5000 – 2nd in 15:44 (4:05pm), 400m relay leg 4, 6th place 60.6 split (5:00pm) (18)

Sunday: 24km easy (24)

Week total: 100km

Are You Happy With That?

Monday 6th May 2013

Good race? Good time? Happy with that? You’ve got to be pleased with that time, right?

I’m as guilty as any one else of asking these questions, but when faced with them myself, never really know how to respond. But surprisingly I knew the answer yesterday, and even more surprisingly, it was ‘yes.’  I ran exactly 32 minutes for 10k yesterday morning, which is a 22 second improvement on my previous best time. My target for this year, set a few months ago, was to break 32 minutes by the end of the year.  Strictly speaking I haven’t done this, but I can see very clearly where that extra second is coming from (though the end of year target is now likely to revised downwards). My training recently has mainly been 3k and 5k pace work and I haven’t really done anything 10k specific, so I know that with some of that under my belt I can get comfortably into the 31s. I will probably have another go at the end of the summer.

But back to the point of the post, being happy. Runners are rarely happy with their performances in races. Satisfaction is often mistaken for complacency amongst my type and as a result we are usually very self critical, often ridiculously so. It is not unknown for athletes to set a personal best and complain that it was still outside (insert time). I managed to avoid doing this yesterday. Runners are unwilling to express satisfaction with their progress for fear that it might lead to stagnation. Bizarrely the feeling of inadequacy is just the thing that spurs some athletes on. But there can be a middle ground, being happy and wanting more; the two needn’t be mutually exclusive. I am very happy with the progress I’ve been making since I started training with a new group 6 weeks ago but am fully aware of what I need to do in order to be a better athlete. In fact, training and racing against people much better than me, for example the 39 people who finished ahead of me yesterday, has made me realise that there is a long way to go. It has also reminded me of the importance not putting a limit on what I think I am capable of. Targets should be a floor rather than a ceiling.

So with that in mind, I plan to race again on Wednesday night, provided I can recover sufficiently. 3000 metres on the track this time. The floor is 8:55. The ceiling is, wait, there is no ceiling.

Training – Week Beginning 3 September

Sunday 9th September 2012

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

Eight Fifty Three

Thursday 21st June 2012

I like racing on the track.

Last night I took part in the 3000m at my club’s open meet, which also doubled up as the Warwickshire county championship race. The race itself had a very different feel to it; it took place at 9pm, much later than I have ever raced before, and there were over 20 people toeing the start line, many more people than there usually are in a track race. We set off in two starts, merging on the home straight after the first bend. There must have been 15 or 20 people ahead of me when we did. I thought to myself that I was either going to come last or that everyone had gone off pretty hard. I turned out that the latter was true.

I went through 400 in around 72 and spent the next couple of laps overtaking traffic in lane 2. The clock was at 3 minutes dead when I passed through 1k. At this point I passed my clubmate Martin who was bidding to win the county veteran title. Ahead of me was a runner from Bournville who had beaten me at 5k the previous week. After a couple of laps I caught him and tucked in behind. My 2k split was around 5:58. The pace started picking up with two laps to go and I just managed to hang on down the back straight. As the pace dropped with 500 to go I made my move and started kicking for home, and managed to surprise myself with my acceleration on the last lap. I held off the people just behind me and finished in 8:53, a big PB for me. Though I didn’t win the race overall (It was hard to tell with so many athletes on the track, but I think I finished 3rd), I was the first in the county championship race.

At exactly the same time last year I ran 8:59 in a time trial but this felt much easier. It’s interesting to compare my training with what I was doing last year and there are some subtle but important differences. I have been following a schedule put together by a friend, which has us running one session per week at target pace for 3k or 5k. This is supported with quicker than race pace intervals which makes the race pace sessions feel much easier. I’ve also cut the length of my long run from 20+ to  around 16 miles, which gives me a bit more freshness when I’m trying to run hard track sessions a few days later. The main difference is that I’m not trying to cram too much in. As long as I do 3 out of short intervals/long intervals/tempo run/long run in a week I’ll feel I’ve trained well. A year ago I would have tried to do all four.

I’ll probably still look at my current training in a year’s time and decide that in fact it is all wrong, but it seems to be working for me at the moment.

The next mission is to take down my 5k time.

Training – Week Beginning 11 June

Sunday 17th June 2012

One day off. A good track session. Slightly heavy legs for the race on Thursday. I reckon I can go 15 seconds quicker on that course with better conditions and preparation.

Monday: Rest (0)

Tuesday: 1600,1200,800,400. Recovery equal to next rep distance. 4:45,3:31,2:14,62. Hard. (11)

Wednesday: Long bike ride, 6 easy (6)

Thursday: Rowheath 5k, 4th in 15:56. Rainy and cold. (12)

Friday:  12 easy (12)

Saturday: 6 mile tempo in 32:59, 3 miles of sprint straight/jog bend (14)

Sunday: 16 easy, 2 hours. Sore. (16)

Week total: 71 miles

2012 total: 1690 miles

Taken from my training log.