Rising Sun Parkrun 21st July

Well it’s been over a month since I posted on here. I’m not sure why I haven’t posted as I do enjoy blogging.

I guess I was worn out with the “Gillmore Groins” diary through May and June.

I’m glad to say that all has gone to plan with the operation and I have been gradually getting back to some running. That has been supplemented by a good background of cycling which I must say I’ve been enjoying a lot.

I’m now pretty much commuting to work on the bike everyday which is about a 13-14 mile round trip. And I’ve been doing a longer ride on a weekend. So in total I’ve been been doing about 70-80 miles cycling per week. I remember reading that Frank Horwill suggested 1 mile of running is like 6 miles of cycling. But I’m not so sure.

What I’ve noticed is the cycling is keeping me very lean. Perhaps too lean. So lean that I’m always now around what I regarded “race weight” of approx 73kgs. Indeed a few people have commented that it looks like I have lost weight recently. That despite an obscenely low running mileage.

Once again the key takeaway from my injury and operation issues over the last few months has been to not get sucked back into the running addiction. Perhaps addiction is too strong a word but it is easy to get sucked into a mentality of just running running, running.

Yes I have running goals (I don’t have cycling goals – maybe why I’m enjoying it so much! No pressure etc.) and logic would say to achieve those running goals I need to do as much running as possible. However, I am adamant I need to find my own way. What I do know is my way will never be to run 100 miles a week. It won’t happen and I don’t want it to either.

I have decided to focus solely on 5k, 10k and XC. Any HMs will mainly be for training and fun. I still have no desire to run a marathon although I love watching them.

So I feel I need to find that running sweet spot and maintain the cycling supplementation to the point where I reach a high fitness level without injury or illness setbacks.

I also want to focus on quality. I want to hit some good sessions in training and translate that to racing. At the moment I feel like I train quite well at times but don’t transfer it to racing.

My recovery has been good enough so far to warrant a return to Tyne Bridge for my first club training session since March.

It was good to be back and to be running in a good group again after what felt like an age of walking and going to the gym alone.

Those were lonely days but I also look back on them with fondness. It was a challenge. A challenge I tackled head on. I proved to myself that I have the patience, discipline and determination to get through the programme required. Now I need to continue that discipline as I get fully tuned up for my next challenge.

My key goal now is to have the best ever XC season of my life here in the North East of England. And then translate that into a sub 16 5k.

I was keen to not overdo my first club session but I felt so good. The session was a structured pyramid Fartlek with the shorter efforts at 5k pace and the longer at 10k pace. I was planning on 5:20ish and 5:40ish respectively.

I didn’t get the session up on the Garmin before hand so I can’t really report on my paces but I felt like I was completing the 10k pace sections in more like 5:30-35. I was surprised my “engine” felt powerful. If anything I had to hold myself back, reminding myself to not overdo it.

This weekend was an ideal opportunity to get out for a parkrun. I was keen to find a run with a nice bike ride from my home, similar to my work commute. So Rising Sun in Wallsend suited nicely.

I set off at 8am and the 6 mile ride was enjoyable and I was there a little early. I warmed up for 10mins and it was quite warm when the sun came out.

The course itself is excellent. I had decided to run to heart rate, keeping my effort around threshold of 180-181bpm.

The first section is pretty fast until you hit a wooded section. Strangely there is a fork with an option to go left or right. Having not run the course before I was unsure which would be best so I instinctively opted right. This was undoubtedly a slow section of the course until it wound down back onto the gravel tracks.

Coming out of the woods I was sitting in 3rd place with two guys well ahead although 2nd place seemed to have been dropped.

I tried to focus on working back to 2nd and I did feel like I was making headway. That said my heart rate had increased to 184-186bpm which was pushing into 10k effort.

I had no idea where I was in relation to the finish and I must admit turning a corner to be disappointed to realise I wasn’t as close to the finish as I thought! But that’s understandable given how long it’s been since I’ve tried a decent effort solo.

I did feel like I was slowing. Second place was looking around a lot and obviously slowing too. Had this not been a training run I would like to think I could pick up and take the bait but I kept it controlled into the finish.

In the end I was a significant 10 seconds behind 2nd, crossing the line in 17:53. The Garmin measured the course at 3.16 miles and as a result Training Peaks indicated that 5k was complete in 17:34.

All in all pretty pleasing given the last few months…

On Sunday I got out for a 10 mile long run with Michael Hedley and rounding off the week with approx 31 miles of running and >100 miles of cycling. In total I’ve exercised >10hrs all in and I believe that’s probably a record. Even at the heights of my running (completing approx 50 miles a week) I’d probably only be exercising approx 6hrs per week so I believe this balance of running and cycling could be the key to unlocking some faster running over the next 6-12mths.

Watch this space!

Thanks for reading.