Saturday, 5 December 2015

Week 5 of sub20 5K training

Firstly I will be honest, sub20 is not happening, well not anytime soon. If you are reading this blog for advice on how to run a sub20 5K this is not the place for you I'm afraid. However if you by some weird choice of reading materials are looking for a blog about how not to improve your 5K time and run a sub20 5K then welcome this is very much a blog for you!

The start of December this week has seen me embark on an #adventrunning challenge. I am aiming to achieve the standard advent running goal of 30 minutes of exercise, in my case mostly running on every day between the 1st and 25th of December, yes that's right, running everyday on the run up to Christmas and also running on Christmas Day itself. Running on Christmas day I know is not everyone's (including my wife who is yet to be fully happy with my running endeavours) idea of fun but whats 30 minutes before the festivities kick in?

At this time of year it seems everyone is embarking upon an #adventrunning challenge or a festive related #runstreak of some sort. I suppose it is a bit tedious that everyone on social media seems to be doing the same thing and runstreaks are not the unheard of phenomena that they once were.

There seems to be a fair amount of criticism against runstreaks so I thought I would just explain the reasons why I am running everyday for almost a month:
  • To challenge my own perceptions of what my limitations are 
  • To help offset my festive indulgences 
  • To keep me motivated to run during a busy time of the year 
  • To get stronger and fitter from the increased amount of running 
  • To get into the mindset of having running as an integral part of my schedule ahead of marathon training 
So on to what my training week this week has consisted of:

Monday - Rest day - bracing myself for the runstreak ahead

Tuesday - Runstreak Day 1. 31.45 minutes totaling 5.9K.

Another early morning 6am session consisting of a mile jog to the park, 4x300m sprint intervals followed by 4x200m hill sprints lit up by my head torch.

It was a good session where I felt strong and faster than I have in previous early morning sprint sessions.

The main talking point of the session was a fight I had with a bush, I say fight I ran into it and it attacked me with its prickly thorns, so more of an assault really. How did this happen I hear you ask? It was very dark and I was too busy checking my splits on my phone while jogging on a recovery run.

Honestly, it really is a worse injury than the photo conveys
Wednesday - Runstreak Day 2. 32.11 minutes totaling 6.6K

A 0.8K Warm up followed by a 5K session of 400m sprint/200m easy and 5 minute cool down jog.

Another good session that felt pretty good and I certainly felt some improvements in speed and strength but seriously hampered by lunchtimes pineapple upside down cake.

Thursday - Runstreak Day 3. 37.47 minutes totaling 7.7K

Working form home again I took the opportunity for lunchtime run and followed the same route as I did last week and aimed to knock a few minutes off my time.

I ended up taking over 2 minutes off my previous time with a 7K run in 32.47 which is 4.36min/km, I found this a very pleasing performance as it was a really hilly and tough route and I felt much more comfortable running at a higher pace for a sustained period.

Friday - Runstreak Day 4 - 30 minutes 5.3K a gentle recovery jog, saving my legs for tomorrows parkrun.

Saturday - Runstreak Day 5 - 21.55 parkrun plus plenty of time warming up & cooling down.

I headed off to Ilford Parkrun to put my legs to the test to see if I could translate my good training sessions into a good race time.


Ilford parkrun is my 5th parkrun venue and represents the nearest most convenient flat course at my disposal. Set in the lovely surroundings of Valentines Park its a pretty flat 2 lap route which is probably a little too twisty and turny to be super fast but is an enjoyable route.


My only grievance was the start of the run not kicking off until 9.07! I know its not a big deal and things can easily run behind time but I am quite a stickler for good time management.

The race itself was again a disappointment in terms of race time as I finished with an official time of 21.55. My 5K time was actually about 21.30 as the course went slightly over 5K, this is something I think I need to address as it is not the first time I have ventured a couple of hundred metres over 5K which is an important aspect to address when aiming for a specific time.

My race performance was OK, a first kilometre split of 4 minutes exactly followed by splits between 4.13 and 4.18 upset only by a 4th split of 4.28 caused by a shoelace malfunction.

Again as with my last parkrun at Hackney Marshes the weather was not ideal, although the rain held off it was still pretty windy which would have had an affect on times.

During the run I felt like I was really racing and pushing hard and it is becoming obvious to me now that I am obviously just not fast enough and not doing the right kind of training to deliver me the sub20 time I crave.

I still have two weeks until my sub20 showdown with my running buddies Chris and Tony, so there is work to be done, lets see what I can achieve!

Thank you as always to all the support and advice on my running from blog readers and from Twitter and especially from the incredible #UKrunchat community.
This blog covers my training week of 30 November to 6 December