Yesterday I competed for Warwickshire at the inter counties. Although my relatively poor performance on the mud meant that I did not catch up with many people in the literal sense of the phrase, it was great chance to catch up with friends. Tim and I used to run together several times a week when he lived in Birmingham but see each other infrequently these days. As we were both racing we agreed to meet up afterwards, and in the warmth and comfort of a pizza restaurant in Loughborough, caught up, reminisced and talked about mutual friends. Running a race is a good excuse to get together. In fact, the last three times I have met up with Tim have been in running-related circumstances. Some time soon we should meet up without needing to run or watch athletics before hand, just like normal people do.
Less expected, though, was bumping into a runner I knew at university who I had not seen for ten years. Running together at various stages of the race, we exchanged some knowing glances but did not say anything until we crossed the finish line two seconds and two places apart (he won). “I know you” was the best I could come up with. John replied with “you’re Ed Smith.” He got my first name correct. We chatted, moaned about the course, talked about racing plans and exchanged email addresses. Later that evening I looked at my phone to see an email from John, presumably sent from a coach somewhere between Loughborough and Edinburgh, asking how I was and telling me about his plans.
I don’t just run because it is a good outlet for my spare energy or because of the sense of purpose and achievement it gives me; I like the friendships that are forged on the track, the mud and the road. Runners are just about the only people who understand other runners and I have formed some good friendships through this great sport.
Monday: rest, unwell (0)
Tuesday: rest, unwell (0)
Wednesday: 15km easy (15)
Thursday: AM 10km easy / PM 10km with 2 miles hard (20)
Friday: 7km easy (7)
Saturday: Inter Counties XC, Loughborough – 115th (16)
Sunday: 22km easy (22)
This was a tough week – highest mileage week for a long time and three hard sessions. Sunday’s long run was a 20 miler with Tim with a 58 minute second half uphill. I just about managed to hang on. Next week I will taper down for the league race.
Monday: 16km easy – ran home (16)
Tuesday: AM 10km easy / PM 12 x 400 off 1 min – started on 71, ended on 64, 68 average (27)
Wednesday: 16km easy – ran home (16)
Thursday: AM 10km easy / PM 18km moderate (28)
Friday: rest (0)
Saturday: 16:12 parkrun then 5 short hill reps. All solo, very sore legs (20)
Sunday: 33km progression run. 20 miles in 2:07 with a much quicker second half (33)
Week total: 140km
It was recently brought to my attention that I haven’t written much recently. In fact, looking back through the pages of this blog, I note that that last thing I wrote that wasn’t just a summary of my week’s training was posted on December 22nd. Six weeks and nothing original. But on the plus side, I have been running plenty.
The man who brought this alarming fact to my attention is a friend, training partner and club-mate who goes by the name of Tim. Tim also writes about running. He’s good at it.
Tim is a distance runner who dabbles in the odd bit of architecture (or was it the other way round?) and it seems that his fondness for design has also led him to a very meticulous approach to designing his training. Last October I sat down with another runner-buddy and composed what I thought at the time was a detailed outline of the training we would do for the next six months. I emailed it to Tim who then sent me his. Whilst I had used the ‘that-looks-pretty-impressive’ approach to planning my training, Tim had created a plan using the ‘grounded-in-rigourous-sports-science’ approach, one not previously known to me. This is also a man who rarely deviates from the schedule and sets himself tough but attainable goals; in this case 15:50 for 5000m at the university champs in May.
Beyond the vocabulary I have learned from Tim (still not sure about the difference between a macrocycle and a mesocycle though) I have learned the importance of setting yourself goals and being meticulous in the way you plan your path to those goals.
So here’s my goal and plan. The goal is to break 15:15 for 5k by this time next year. The plan is to train harder and smarter.