Riverside parkrun, 29th April

Hoping to build on my 17.33 5k at Newcastle parkrun a week earlier I decided on a change of scenery and headed over to Riverside parkrun.

Having grown up in Chester-le-Street I do enjoy going back and I was surprised to see I hadn’t been there since Boxing Day 2015! How time flies!

It’s a nice drive down the A1 and I’m there in 15-20mins from my house so ideal for a change from Newcastle, my closest parkrun.

I had in mind a decent improvement from last week for a couple of reasons. Firstly Riverside is a faster course and secondly I felt good for another good week of training.

Having crunched some numbers I felt 5.34 miling was feasible and that would mean a sub 17.20 5k, perhaps in the range 17.10-17 and not far from PB on the course (17.10).

I felt confident of that and following my warm up I felt good and relaxed on the start line.

As we got away the pace at the front was also relaxed and I knew I’d have to push it on a bit after maybe 400-600m. Having said that after half a mile we (3 runners including me) were sitting on maybe 5.30 miling. And it felt very easy.


Riverside parkrun 29.04.17.jpg

First mile @ Riverside parkrun (credit: Bill Houston)


To be honest I was trying to dampen my excitement. I felt like I was going to fly round as I was still working well under lactate threshold and ahead of planned pace. But unfortunately I didn’t push enough.

I kept the lead from that point on and was unable to drive from the front. No excuses overall as my heart rate stats were very similar to last week (avg. HR 182, max HR 190) and so I would have expected to take the benefit of the faster course (and slightly improved fitness) in more than 6 seconds improvement in overall time (17.27 here versus 17.33 at Newcastle).

A further review of my run also shows that I got very lazy with my cadence in mile 2 and particularly mile 3. Mile 3 reduced to 173 steps per minute which would of contributed to the fatigue as I tried to lengthen my stride to compensate. This is always an aspect of my running that I need to pay special attention.

It’s worth noting that I’ve only finished 1st once before at parkrun.

Last time was Gateshead parkrun in March 2015 and I’d had a similar issue that time as well. A decent first mile followed by an inability to pick it up in the lead.

I used to gamble a bit on horses and I remember reading about certain horses that just don’t like getting their nose in front. The trick is to spot them and avoid them (unless you like an each way flutter)! They prefer to run off a pace and stay in the herd. I sometimes wonder whether I have a similar attitude. It’s certainly something I need to work on as my lack of drive from the front cost me my time target and just leaves me feeling a little disappointed with the outing. Main reason is I’m very keen to see incremental improvements in my performances as Blaydon gets closer.

That said it’s pointless being hard on myself at this stage. Parkrun is parkrun and it was another good workout. I can now turn my attention to the NEMAA relays on Wednesday and another solid week of training overall.

Thanks for reading.




Update – April 2017

As has become a feature of this Blog, I must begin with an apology for my lack of posting!

Blogging is like running, consistency is key and unfortunately as far as the former goes I’ve failed dramatically. But I’ll try and pick up where I left off in February.

The key has been getting out of the rut I was in with my right shin issues which I am happy to report are now behind me (touch wood). And so I’ve been able to get some quality running done and I’ve been disciplined enough to keep faithful to the gym which has been a vital tool to keep my cardio fitness decent through the non running periods.

I’ve even discovered treadmill walking at 6kph on a 15 degree incline which is a great substitute for easy/high aerobic running. Try it, it’s fairly taxing!

But to put my running (or lack of) in perspective, I set myself a general distance goal of 2,000 miles this year. Now I’m not a big fan of arbitrary mileage goals as I’m not convinced it’s the be all and end all. Of course getting the miles in is important, but it’s no use going out and running the same pace day after day just to hit a target.

But due to the setbacks I’m currently sitting on 488 miles year to date which, if I continue at the same rate, would equal a lacklustre 1,464 miles for the year. This demonstrates the problem of injuries and setbacks. I’m not downbeat about that though, not in the slightest. Reason being I feel extremely good for the mileage I’m putting in (average about 20-30 miles per week at the moment).

A lot of it is down to one thing – ATTITUDE.

Even when I was doing 40-50 miles consistently I wasn’t in a good frame of mind. Yes the miles were getting done and my times were coming down but I wasn’t in a good place mentally. I was fatigued and ungrateful. I was struggling to balance work (particularly work travel), training and life.

At this moment I am extremely motivated to improve my running. And I’m complementing things more with cross training and strength and conditioning which is keeping my body and legs fresher when I do get out for my key running workouts.

I was pleased last week with a little outing at parkrun where I put in a 17.30ish (quickest 5k this year). OK its 25 seconds from PB but it bodes well for the next few months where I will seek to keep building, and keep consistent.


Newcastle parkrun 22.04.17

Finishing off at Newcastle parkrun 22nd April (credit: MD Photo)


I’m also tackling some quality longer runs (10-14 miles) at a decent pace. On Wednesday I completed a 14 miler in around 1hr 32 and at times felt like I was flying, like someone was pushing me round. Never felt like that before.

I have a clear running goal (by the way – it is not sub seventeen for 5k anymore, although I will still need to break through that barrier to achieve my goal – more on that after I actually do break 17mins for 5k) and, perhaps more importantly, a plan.

In terms of races, next up will be the NEMAA relays next week which will be a short sharp test over a couple of miles. I did the same race last year in 10.23. But my key races in 2017 are The Blaydon Race on the 9th of June and the Great North Run in September.

I’ve never competed in a half marathon before so I am already excited by the prospect of a first run out at what is one of the most iconic races in the country. I’ve set my self an ambitious target of 1hr 17. I do need a sub 17 minute 5k to demonstrate I have the basic speed and stamina to go out and do that.

The Blaydon is obviously closer on the horizon and I would like to get a decent 5k and 10k (under/over distance) done as preparation for that. Possibilities are the Temple Park 5k in South Shields which could be a fast course and the Druridge Bay 10k which I feel would be more an out and out training run where time didn’t really matter too much, more about the effort.

Overall I’m excited about my running at the moment which is key. I do love my stats and I’m heartened by my current position on runbritainrankings, despite my lack of training and racing, which shows me to be in the top 5,000 road runners in Britain as well as 673rd Male Vet 35 (at the time of writing, see link here – runbritainrankings page). I feel I have a lot of scope to improve on those figures and I keep those in mind as I seek to reach my goal.

Thanks for reading and I do plan to update the Blog more going forwards this year.

Any comments or questions I would love to hear from you!