Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Week 3 of sub20 5K training

Week 3 kicked off and I was ready to hit it hard and make up for the lost training opportunities of last week. A busy week in prospect though so fitting in training was going to be another challenge...

Monday - The wife's birthday so a difficult day to justify spending too much time out pounding pavements. Unfortunately I had to be at work while see took a well deserved day off, knowing we would be going out in the evening I was up bright and early for an early morning run.

The plan was for a 5K run following a 400m hard (approx sub20 target pace 4min/km) and 200m easy (approx 5.15/30min/km) rhythm. 

However I didn't feel particularly great, my stomach didn't take kindly to being up early and being out running before it had had enough chance to go through its daily routines, if you get what I mean. So the long and short pf it was that my run was cut short as I aborted my session to head for home and to seek solace in the comforts of the bathroom. Its possible this intestinal discomfort had something to do with the visit to Choccywocydoodah (see my last post for details and more importantly photos!)the day before, its no wild idea to think that eating close to my own body weight in chocolate goodies didn't have the best affect on my stomach.

I probably managed 4 x 400m sprints with 200m rest periods and with a bit of a warm up and a cool down so not a completely wasted session but not a super high intensity workout that I had hoped for. 

Monday evening was a bit more enjoyable though, a few drinks then a tasty meal in the local Thai restaurant. 

Tuesday After a bit of a late night last night and a work function in the evening today was allocated as a rest day as there was no opportunity for training which was why I was all the more frustrated that yesterdays session hadn't been as hard as I had planned.

A slight panic set in when I realised I was meant to be heading over to Hackney Marshes parkun on Saturday for a race with running buddies Chris and Tony. Its these two guys with whom I am undertaking this sub 20 5K challenge and although the challenge is really against the clock and in trying to beat the 20 minute barrier the underlying challenge is the race between the three of us. I had some how missed this date in my diary and knew I was seriously underprepared to run any kind of race at the weekend, oh well I would just have to see how it goes!

Wednesday - Tuesday evening was spent staying in a hotel in West London following my work function and there was no way I was not going to take the chance of going for a morning run in Hyde Park when it was only a few hundred metres from my hotel!

A 6.3K fartlek run in a rather glorious early morning wintery Hyde Park was a very enjoyable way to start my day. The run included some drills, some faster sprints and a kilometer in 4.14min which felt pretty good.

The evening also ended on a high with a gig by one of my favourite bands Reverend and the Makers at one of London's most amazing venues the beautiful KOKO. An awesome band giving a typically high energy performance, so much so I was still buzzing the next morning despite getting to bed late and having to get up early.

Thursday - An early start with work and a late finish but I still had time and energy for an evening run. 

The plan was to really test out my 5K pace with a view for gauging what was possible for Saturday without tiring myself, so after a half Km warm up I launched into 2 miles aiming for a sub 21 minute 5K pace. I concentrated on my pacing and breathing and pushed myself without going flat out, the result? A pace of 6.48 min/km which is pretty much a 21 minute 5K, and it felt comfortable enough so not bad, not bad at all on the back of a less than ideal week or two of training. 

Friday - Rest day after last night and wanting to rest ahead of Saturday's race

Saturday - Wherever you were on Saturday I am sure you had bad weather, freezing temperatures, gale force winds, rain and in many cases snow. So what lovely weather to get up early and go out for a run!

By the time I had headed over to Stratford the cold sleety rain was pelting down and Hackney Marshes were a wet and miserable sight under a grey and groggy sky full of rain.

We managed to hide out in the cafe until it was time to head to the start line where brave runners and even braver volunteers assembled while trying to some how stay dry and not be blown away by the gusty winds.

The race that followed was somewhat challenging in the weather conditions but it was far from unrunable. After the first mile my pace was about 30 seconds slower from where it was on Thursday evening despite feeling that I was pushing the pace as hard as I could. at that point I knew this was not going to be a good run and nothing anywhere near the area of sub 20. 

I had targeted a time of 20.40 pre race which was based on Thursdays session but that completely disappeared out of side as I eventually finished in a despondent 21.38. What made it worse was that Tony was around 10 seconds ahead of me and Chris another decent distance ahead of him. Even though we were all well short of our sub20 aim I was disappointed to come last.

Its easy to suggest the conditions attributed to a slower time for all of us which is partly true but I really wanted to put a finger on why I was not only so far from my aim of 20 minutes but also not even close to my PB of 21.00. My evaluation is as follows:
  • A serious lack of running and of miles in my legs, which is an obvious explanation from my schedule the last week or two.
  • The weather really took a focus off the race, rather than 'getting in the zone' I was more concerned with battling the elements. So this is a good reminder to stay mentally focused on the task in hand and to try and block out external distractions.
  • Sub20 is a massive goal and will require a lot of work which I just haven't been able to commit to in recent weeks.
I summarised this run with the phrase 'sometimes running is shit', meaning although my training hasn't been great I felt I was better than my performance and I did not get up early on a Saturday morning in the cold, wind and rain to run 30 seconds plus outside of my PB. Running is a cruel mistress that sometimes kicks you when you are down, but whatever happens you can never cheat running you will never get out what you don't deserve.

Sunday - Rest day, much work to do....

This blog covers my training the week of 16 - 22 November 2015