The result in Brighton was an almighty relief, scraping inside 30 minutes with just a couple of seconds to spare for another big chunk (17 seconds!) off my 10K PB from Speedway earlier in the year to finish in 29:58!
The Brighton 10K was the spring target race from January & the aim was to be fit & in the sort of shape where I could really go after a 29 minute result. Given I’d ran 30:15 in January while still returning to proper training 29:XX should never have been in doubt… If only running was that easy! 16 seconds when you’re already putting everything into training is A LOT! That said, I only needed to be running at 4:49 mile pace & through March this seemed well within my range.
A consistent mix of good volume (92mpw average so far for 2019), faster tempo-type workouts (from 24:30min 5M, through 51-52min 10M to ~80min 15M) & sessions ranging from 200’s to km’s got me fit & confident! A couple of decent runs at the Midland & National 12 stage relays without easing down helped break up the monotony of training.
The elite list was released early in the week & even allowing for a few late withdrawals it looked stacked! Perfect. Even if the race went out hard I should be able to latch onto what I expected to be a big lead group. To the elite tent an hour before the start & once back from an initial 20min jog it was clear there hadn’t been many withdrawals!
I’d felt good all week & was ready to race. I wasn’t ready to be hurdling fallen runners right at the start (hopefully no major issues), nor was I ready for things to get going at quite such a pace! As we weaved our way out of the park & onto the main road I was immediately part of a third group someway off the main group. It felt plenty fast enough though & I just concentrated on settling into a good rhythm to halfway.
Matt Bergin was one of the fallers but soon caught us & was pushing the pace as we took on the only climb on the course. Approaching halfway & we seemed to be making ground on a few in front. Although some were coming back very quickly the majority were still running together so we were clearly clipping along at a decent pace – making it much easier to concentrate on racing rather than being a slave to the watch.
As we hit the seafront for the last few km’s on an out & back things had split up. Nick Goolab passed on his way to a huge win & looked like he’d cut the turnaround point short such was his lead! There were a couple more small groups way in front but after that a few runners that looked within reach, or at least they did until we turned into the cold wind we had to battle with for the final couple of km’s! Fortunately for me a few of them were just close enough to provide a target & having came a step from inching ahead of Tom Merson (11 seconds in front at Speedway, although Tom went out hard here) it just provided the extra couple of seconds to dip inside 30. A mighty relief on receiving the chip time & a realisation that took a couple of weeks to properly sink in.
I’m under no illusions that simply running inside 30 minutes puts me anywhere near elite level at 10K however having optimistically set this as one of my ultimate running goals way back when I was a tubby plodder venturing into ‘proper’ running it is a big thing personally! Nothing better to bring you down to earth regarding your own running palmares than attending a wedding where you’d struggle to make the top ten if a race broke out – congratulations Kev & Heather; a fantastic day & great time relaxing around Ireland before getting back into training.
That’s spring done with the early season target race going to plan! Onto a fairly busy May/June looking for further improvement at 5/10K before taking stock in early July to plan out the remainder of 2019 towards to the marathon at London in 2020 (happy anniversary Jo!) aiming for something well inside my current PB. No doubt the outline plan is already in place!
I owe a lot to Andy McNeil for his ongoing support & belief in my ability (also his taking the time to understand what does/doesn’t work for me), putting vast amounts of time into planning training as well as regularly joining me for the hard sessions round the Wilne loop that are key to bringing the results we’re after! That said I might not be so grateful when I see what training is up next…
To finish – how impressive is Kipchoge?!
In loving memory of Aunty Kay, who with Uncle Graham supported me (& the rest of the family) up & down the country over the years.