I’m not sure how many times I’ve ran as far as Half Marathon distance since I started running in 2012.
I would guess may 2 or 3 times have I ran that far or further.
Truth is I’m not a fan of the traditional long run. Never really been too fussed on running for longer than 60-80 minutes.
But this week just gone things didn’t quite go to plan.
I had completed a decent club session at Elswick Harriers on Tuesday night. It was only the second time I’d managed to make a session since joining in the summer and by coincidence it was my second go tackling the “Walbottle loop”…
23 minutes of running taking in Walbottle bank. Last time I’d tackled 8 approximate half mile loops. It had been a tough session but it felt beneficial. Like a good threshold session with the added challenge of having to get up the hill. Plus a test of technique on the downhill bit just after the climb when you’re still gasping for air.
I was looking forward to another go.
Super vet Lee Bennett was there again. He kicked my arse the first time I’d tried to stay close to him. He’d beaten me soundly at Druridge Bay XC as well but I had a loose plan of seeing how long I could stay with him here…
About two loops was the answer!
On the second climb I was on his shoulder and he no doubt heard my breathing as I laboured…
It was the downhills last time and it was the downhills this time. As I’m struggling to keep the stride ticking over he’s away down the hill.
Anyway I dug in despite some pain and the heart rate reaching 189bpm at one point. I never push that hard on my own and an obvious benefit of making training a little more competitive from time to time.
I got my 8 laps done somewhere between 24 and 25 minutes. Overall satisfied on what was a typically blustery night.
Anyway I digress.
The main point of the week was to get on the start line of the Norman Woodcock Memorial 5 mile race on Saturday in one piece and raring to go to smash my current PB of 31.16.
It’s a false PB as I’ve ran 30mins on several occasions on threshold training runs so I knew that would go but by how much?
Unfortunately the weather signals weren’t good and Elswick Chairman Frank Watson had already called in the water pump to try to sort out a flooded course.
The race was finally cancelled on Thursday and I was a little disappointed.
Reason being – I’m in bloody good shape!
I’d been out on the Town Moor and had a little spin of what was planned to be a mile but end up about 3/4. I let fly a little and enjoyed it. Just over 5 minute miling and feeling strong.
It was all I needed to feel confident of ticking off 5 in 5.30-5.35/mile at the race in decent conditions.
Not to be.
That left me a little in limbo and knowing I had no races until after Xmas and New Year.
It would be easy to lose any semblance of discipline in those circumstances but I am motivated to keep fit over the festive period. I’ve even managed to keep my little morning strength routine going!
Rest day on Friday and decided to do some sort of treadmill session at the gym on Saturday whilst “Desmond” did his worst.
But such had the way the week had been I had to ditch that to help my girlfriend out which I was more than happy to do as I was feeling a bit weird with what felt like an ear ache.
Not to worry, one treadmill session missed isn’t the end of the world.
Waking up on Sunday I felt good. Had some breakfast and coffee far too close to the run and came up with the madcap idea of 6 & a 1/2 minute miling a solo Half Marathon. Looked it up on the pace charts in Daniels and saw it would come out around 1hr 25mins and sounded about right for what I wanted to do.
Set the cadence vibrate on my Garmin (really enjoying this feature) and got out just focussing on getting in the 6.30/mile rhythm.
I was really surprised how easy it felt. It really felt like a jog. Got to 40mins and apart from the “I’ve got to keep this going for another 45” it was a walk in the park…
I got to 65mins and my heart rate was still very settled at 160-165bpm which is lower than full marathon intensity. But I had to head back up home which is a little uphill.
And so the last 20 minutes were tough but I actually picked up the pace. Was working harder at 165-170bpm but was averaging 6.25/mile.
In the end the HM was done in just over 1.24.
That’s a huge training PB. I don’t actually know what my previous is but it was probably 1.28.
Anyway, to run a half in sub 1.25 at an average heart rate of 163bpm is a huge surprise and gives me a lot of confidence in what I can do in the next 6-12 months.
I’ll be spending the next couple of weeks setting some goals for 2016.