Monday, July 6, 2020

A wet week...

Not much to report this week - training has been utterly minimal due to the weather. Many runners I know tell me that rain is their preferred weather condition. All I can say here is it isn't mine. Twice in the last week I have set off in wet conditions, got fed up and just done short runs as a result.

On Wednesday, I did have a good run - setting off, it was (as always) raining, but very fine, there was little or no wind and the plan was the standard early morning 5k. I had recently done this in 23:06 - so going under 23:00 was the aim. Definitely possible - conditions in my favour and feeling good this morning. Well hydrated - caffeine gel in my pocket ready to kickstart me at the half way point and a 'plan' (if you can call it that) to set off as fast as possible and try to take a good 30 seconds off the first 2k. If I can do that - 22:45 is definitely achievable. Given that the last 2 km is generally downhill, energy should still be ok and let's see!

Setting off involves routines...stretches until my joints stop cracking, a few bonus calf stretches once outside and then set off...sprint the first 100m or so and then settle into a rhythm. If you have read previous entries, you will know that the run to the top of the road is about 300m and is up a pretty steep climb (8-10%). Recent runs I have been hitting the bend at the top at around 1:00 - which has been good improvement and as I slow down to negotiate the sharp right turn (wet underfoot as well), I look at the watch, which is showing 55 seconds - it is these moments that give the boost required to keep going. Feeling good now, I settle into a decent stride pattern, telling myself to do shorter, faster paces. As I hit the familiar landmarks, I keep glancing at the time - Village Store - around 4:30, obelisk 6:30... what? 6:30? It's normally over 7 minutes to here...what is happening? Am I actually running pretty quickly (this landmark is, in old money, a mile). Buoyed by this, I carry on up the next bit, up the hill, and up to the turnaround point - Last time (23:06 overall) I reached this in around 12 minutes - just over. This time, the watch is telling me 11:30 roughly. I know the wind is now blowing today, so no assistance down the hill today. Time to turn round and see what happens.

The rest of the run is pretty much uneventful - seemed to be going ok, but no more watch glances - just keep going, keep running and one final push downhill at a decent rate sees me home...22:!5!!! A new Personal Best (and one I don't think I will ever beat!) and here we have the splits - interesting reading! (If you like looking at graphs)

Looking at this, it is easy to see where I made the inroads... 17 seconds off each of the first 2km is where the progress came - 4:23 for that first km I find the biggest shock. When I started running in March, this km always took me well over 5:30 and often 6 minutes - the decision to try to start faster is definitely making a difference. 

The rest of the week was so wet, it was hard to face going out - I managed to get out on Saturday with the aim of a longer run, but after 15 minutes, I was soaked the skin and feeling cold and miserable - with two months to go, there is no point training when I don't have to and resenting this, so I don't feel too disappointed.

So what next? As I type, Great North Run has obviously been cancelled and the organisers are working on #GreatNorthRunReimagined - which means on the day, I will still run a half marathon, but this will be a solo run rather than with 50,000 others! I have now planned and settled on my route (more on that next week!!!), so from here on in, all the plans will go towards doing this in the best time possible and also to try and raise more vital funds for Shelter, my chosen charity. If you are enjoying the blog, and want to help out, please consider paying a visit to my donation page, which can be found at the link below:

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