Well, what an interesting week! The last 7 days has epitomized how running performance often works in “peaks and troughs” starting in pain and finishing in pride.
The week started out with what was meant to be an 8m easy run. The pace felt MUCH tougher than it did last week, though this was off the back off a particularly difficult Sunday run as I wrote last week. At the time I shrugged it off and figured I’d be OK tomorrow.
That was until that next day… where I needed to do 8 miles with a set of (6 x 800m Intervals). To start with things were OK, but the 5th interval rep was absolute hell. I even had to have a brief pause midway through such was the agony. I managed to ‘Man Up’ for the last rep but the 4 mile recovery jog afterwards was just awful to the point I could have cried. It was just hideous, my legs were in pieces. Still the set of intervals were in the right ballpark pace range.
Thursday was a 5 mile recovery which was again, hard work, but I felt a lot better for doing it, and my legs felt fresher come the end.
Thankfully, Friday was a rest day, and I treated myself to a much needed sports massage for my legs. I wanted to stay local, and found Bow House Physiotherapy in Langport, not far from our office. The masseuse was Denise Rees and for the bargain price of £30 I had an hour and twenty minutes deep tissue massage, relatively pain free. I came away feeling so refreshed and relaxed – my legs fel warm for the rest of the day and it was an absolutely pleasure – I highly recommend them!
On saturday as always we went to parkrun, and our tour continued, this week at Maidenhead parkrun.
It was a lovely 2 lap course on gravelly trail and tarmac round a nature reserve. The start and finish were on a pretty muddy field but other than that, road shoes would have been absolutely fine. There was loads of parking (we parked close to the road but there is also a car park MUCH closer to the start), toilets in the Toby Carvery and also at the Athletics stadium.
Newcomers and tourists alike were made to feel most welcome, and the first timers briefing was all about inclusivity – superbly delivered with clarity.
This really was an excellent parkrun and we will definitely be back! It was made even more interesting by the presence of Karen Weir – one of the original 13 “parkrun pioneers”! Always nice to have a brush with some parkrun royalty!
As for my run, I knew I was racing on Sunday, but wanted to check to see if I had any pace at all given my problems earlier in the week. So I ran it as a progression, right up to my target pace. Felt very comfortable! So either I had recovered fully, or the massage really did work wonders!
Sunday – Bramley 20/10
On Sunday we went to the Bramley 20/10 – a full report on the race can be found here that I wrote for the club.
Going into the race I really wasn’t sure how I would do. I know that sounds like sandbagging, but its totally honest. With how my legs felt on Tuesday and Wednesday I wasn’t hopeful. But I knew that if I wanted to be “on track” for Manchester I needed to run 1:07:59, which is about 6:47 a mile. This was ambitious, as my tempo runs had been just about slower than this, and only for 6 miles. Either way, I set my virtual pacer and went for it. And as you can see…
… I smashed it! The first few mioes flew by pretty comfortably, and after a while i realised I was running at a similar pace to number 278 – he looked and sounded a bit like a short John Bishop!
I kept plugging along, naturally easing off for the slopes which were on the course, but somehow making the time back up as it rolled downhill.
With about 3 miles to go I knew that I’d make my goal, and if I could put in a quick last mile not only could I break 1:08, I could also break 1:07 – so I went for it and absolutely nailed it! Official chip time 1:06:44, a PB by 1m46 seconds!
Looking at the race analysis below I can see the consistency really paid off with the first 3 quarters (2.5 mile splits) all within a couple of seconds of each other, then a kick finish down the hill.
To say I’m pleased is an understatement. Its a big sign that the training is working and I now have masses of confidence. Could a sub 3:10 be on the cards at Manchester?
Time will tell. I’ll assess that after the Cardiff Half. If I can break 1:29 at Cardiff then I’ll seriously think about doing Manchester in 3:09:xx.
Well frankly I’m bloody delighted. Despite a tough early part of the week I’m on a total high! Now to come back down to earth, focus on the next few weeks training and set my sights on the next tune up race – a 5k parkrun. Surely sub-20 has to be on the cards now?
Extra Bramley Photos
All Credit: Barry Cornelius (http://www.oxonraces.com)