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.

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