Why a 17.10 5k loves me but I don’t love it…

Past the 4k marker. The sub 17 5k is on. The scene Newcastle Town Moor – Newcastle parkrun #305 on 9th January.

This is where my running journey began in February 2012 and it would be nice to do it here.

I always said the goal was to do the sub 17 before my 35th birthday. That’s rapidly approaching on 10th March.

Went through 2 miles in 10.50 with equal splits of 5.25. Just need to hold on.

I’m experienced enough to know now that equal splits don’t mean equal effort. I need to increase effort now to maintain 5.25 pace.

But the 3rd mile bites as it always does.

I look down to see 5.50 average on 3rd mile so far, maybe a quarter in. Dig in.

I couldn’t really ask for more.

Conditions were good with no wind to speak of and any mud or gravel sections had been negotiated.

I’d been passed just before 4K by a young lad and we were running together.

Even he was helping me – “well done, keep going”. I returned the compliment but didn’t sound as controlled in the voice.

Still, I was grateful, you don’t often get support from other runners in the heat of the moment, even in parkrun (until it’s all done and dusted at the end).

I had the Angel on my shoulder telling me I’d done this many times before, just finish it off.

And the Devil on the other saying “I just want this to end, stop now”.

Before I knew it the young lad had gotten away. In the space of 400m since the 4K marker he had probably made up over 5-10s on me.

Nothing. I’d improved to 5.42/mile.

Come on keep pushing.

The young lad was pulling further away.

He’d go on to run 16.57…

Turning the corner and probably 400-600m to go.


Turning last corner... More than straining to get back on pace

One paced… Didn’t really think anything.

Was doing my best. I felt like the effort was there but nothing was happening.

Cross the line in 4th place. Click the watch.


Why does 17.10 love me but I don’t love it? No less than 4 times since April 2015 I’ve ran exactly 17.10.

On the plus side I ran well. Did everything right.

It’ll come and I’ll smash through into 16.– soon.

It’s all about stamina and a bit of belief. A few more weeks solid training and I’ll be there… I’m sure of it.


Sub 17 5k – Week 20 training diary

Following a very successful week for me personally in the Cross Country – finishing in my highest position ever (28th from Medium pack and 43rd fastest on the day) – and my club Jesmond Joggers (winning Division 3), I was back on the road with work. This time a trip to Genoa.


In action in the last XC fixture of the season at Wrekenton

I can re-trace my steps back about 3 years ago to April 2012 and North West Italy. Again I had a work trip to Genoa. I had been running only a few months following my first parkrun in February. And I recall doing a few treadmill runs in the Novotel.

Here I am back again 3 years later and for sure I am a different runner now…

The plan this week is to get a solid week in and deliver myself back down to Doncaster to visit Blizard Physio and Dave Tune for my third lactate threshold test. I’m excited to see what the test results reveal after what I regard as a big breakthrough in March following a rather drab February.

Training Diary

Plan – 45mins recovery

Got to Genoa about 5pm local time. Checked into the hotel. I’d already got the impression that Genoa isn’t a great city for running and reception lady confirmed. So got back in gym which had not changed from last time I was here. That said the treadmill is canny.

I got the planned 45mins in and sweated it out somewhat. Completed 6.4 miles averaging mid 150s heart rate.

Plan – 45mins threshold

Woke up 6.45am local time and wanted to get run in. Felt tired so scaled the run back to 5 min warm up, 20min threshold and 5 min warm down.

The threshold section felt tough but I got it done. Was hovering around 6min miling and pushed heart rate up to 175bpm. Bizarelly the Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo Di Caprio was on the gym TV which provided a bizarre visual to the mornings proceeding, i.e. copious amounts of drug taking and sex scenes! LOL.

Plan – 50mins recovery

Again up around 7ish. Wasn’t going to get all 50mins done in the morning so split it up into 30mins am and 20mins pm.

The morning session dragged big style and was an absolute sweat fest.

For some reason heart rate was staying lower and therefore needed to crank it up a few notches to get into recovery. A general observation I’ve made over the last few months has been a lower HR at rest and before runs etc. I take this as a sign of improved fitness and backing up my good recent form.

No problems in the evening and an uneventful 5k.

4.5 miles in 30mins AM.

5k in just over 20mins PM.

Plan – 40mins recovery

Woke up feeling a bit blah. Had been out for mussels and seafood the night before with work colleagues and stomach felt a bit upset. Decided to lie in half an hour and drink plenty of water. The run can be completed on Friday.

Plan – rest

Got out for the 40mins after work on the usual loop round Town Moor. Had what felt like a big breakthrough and was ticking off 6m 30-40s miles with little effort in my recovery heart rate zone. Ended up completing just over 6 miles in 40mins with an average HR of 155-157. Will be interesting to see how these runs go over the coming weeks.

There is always debate about what is recovery, what is easy, what is steady etc. Again, that is the great thing about heart rate training. Pace is forgotten, you get in the zone and let the body do the rest. But ultimately over time I want to see the pace getting faster and thats what’s happening. I remember in 2013 when I first started training with heart rate I’d be doing over 8min miles at the same intensity as I’m doing 6.40-7.15 now.

Plan – 45mins threshold

Fancied getting down to parkrun again and felt in shape to revise my Newcastle PB of 17.44.

The weather forecast was for a decent wind which could have put a spanner in the works but I resolved to leave the Garmin at home and just have a good, honest, hard run.

Leaving the house I was surprised how cold it still felt. Where is the spring warmth?

Getting on the start line it was nice to see Freya Ross. Was wondering how quick she would be running today. Looked her up when I got home and it’s obvious she’s been out injured for some time.

Confirmed during warm up that the wind would be hard in the face first 1.5k but was hoping most of the rest of the course would be sheltered.

Met my mate Glen on the start line and within no time we were away.

About 200m in I found myself just behind two and the wind was causing problems. That said I felt we could push on harder and gave it a go but the other two lads got going properly at 1k and moved away quite rapidly. Had a quick glance round and realised nobody had come with us and I geared up for a lonely run.

As it turned out one of the lads up front was Ross Floyd of Morpeth, coming back from injury. I’d been well and truly dropped and it looked like Ross was in second and the other lad had gotten away a little.

I was relieved to get onto the Moor to complete carm. Felt great after battling the wind. It also gave a chance to glance at the chasing pack but it looked like I had at least 50m on them so just got head down and tried to make up some time.

Coming to around 2.5k I noticed the lad in front had pulled off to the side. Looked like he’d pulled a calf. It took what felt like an age to get past him and Ross was miles ahead.

The turn past the military museum at 2 miles is always tough at the best of times but today the wind was stinging. Tried to relax whilst still gritting the teeth and getting through it. I had a small worry about letting runners behind close but then remembered that they still had to get through it and turning back onto the paths it felt calm again and I pushed on again.

This was my first real taste of running free in second at Newcastle and I enjoyed it. I felt like I ran the last km pretty fast. That’s the only unfortunate thing about not wearing the watch (not knowing your splits etc.) but I’m really loving just running hard and listening to the body.

Coming into the final straight I pushed on again. I finished 2nd in 17.31.

From my experience Newcastle parkrun is usually a bit longer than 5k and the strong winds certainly weren’t ideal so I really think this was a stronger run than the 17.18 at Riverside a few weeks ago and really sets me up well for the trip to Doncaster for my next Lactate Threshold test.

Plan – 80mins recovery

Lovely day when I woke up but had some bits and pieces to do so didn’t get out until about 3pm. Was planning on doing the whole 80mins easy and seeing how the legs felt. Fancied a different route so had a look down Gosforth and Jesmond Dene, round and back up.

Effectively did a 40 out and 40 back. Felt pretty sluggish if the truth be told and just got it done. Heart rate felt a bit higher than normal and a little dehydrated.

11 miles in 1hr 20mins with an average HR of 161bpm.

Weekly Totals

Running ~38 miles

Decent week ticking over and a nice strong 5k course PB at Newcastle parkrun.

Onto next week and another lactate threshold test and hope to get some fine tuning to my training for final preparations for a sub 17 5k and a debut 10k in April.

Sub 17 5k – Week 5 training diary

Check out http://www.run5kfaster.com for more of my thoughts on running

Overall last week was a bit off target training wise. The motivation wasn’t quite there and the focus was elsewhere in my private life but I ended well at Wallington Hall with a good performance, in the top 70 of >500 so that has galvanised some confidence and put a spring back in my step.

Going into week 5 I’m looking to re focus and I have one eye on a little time trial at the weekend if conditions suit.

Training Diary

Plan – 45mins recovery

As always seems to be the case on a Monday I went out full of running and bagged 6.4 miles in 45mins averaging 157bpm.

These runs are still hovering around the 7min mile mark and feel like they are energizing rather than tiring which is the purpose here. Pace isn’t really important, sticking to my recovery zone is.

Plan – 45mins threshold

Got out late for this run but felt absolutely full of running. I had one eye on the Norman Woodcock 5 miler at the weekend but as I started ticking off the miles on this run I started to become aware that I might be on for a PB on this training threshold!

Kept on strong and went through 5 miles in 30.45ish which is a pb versus the 31.16 I did in 2012. All in all very happy and only averaging 168-9 bpm.

Plan – 45mins threshold

The weather was very cold so decided to move this indoors to the gym treadmill. I’ve always liked the idea of treadmill running and if it’s good enough for Jack Daniels its good enough for me. The reality in the past though has been that I’ve never really enjoyed it.

It’s been a while and actually I did enjoy this session. I started steady and then put the machine to 15kph and kept banging out the miles. I was tracking pace on my Garmin foot pod which was recording average 6.08 miles and therefore faster than the treadmill speed. Heart Rate got up to a max of 178 although averaged 171. Ran slightly further than yesterday’s 45min threshold, was soaked in sweat and generally felt ace. Things definitely coming together strength wise.

Plan – rest

Plan – 30mins recovery

Just nice and steady and nothing to report really.

Plan – 30mins tempo

Having effectively PB’d over 5 miles in training on Tuesday I lost interest in the Norman Woodcock and my mind was made up that I wanted to try a 5k. My coach agreed so got down to Newcastle Parkrun. The only concern was the frost on the ground. Indeed it was hard to get full purchase with the footing but I set off strongly in a group of maybe 4 behind a runaway leader.

Went through the first mile in 5.44ish. Wasn’t aware of the split but felt we weren’t running hard enough so I pushed on into clear second. First place was away so felt I could give a good go for second.

Second mile was done in 5.35. I was aware of one runner right on my heels but still felt like I was pushing on strong. Pace dropped off beginning of third mile which is normal but picked up again before being taken into 3rd a little way past 4km. I was also aware another runner was sniffing around as well. This was all good as I needed the incentive to keep pushing. I settled into 3rd and waited for a chance to go again. About 600m from home I pushed back into second before fading slightly back into third. Again about 250m from home I put it on the line, got a nose in front but didn’t fully commit. The other guy seemed to picked it up without full effort and I didn’t try again for an all out sprint. Still from 3 miles to home I averaged 4.50/mile so a strong finish.


Finishing off at Newcastle Parkrun

With that I was able to hold onto 3rd and crossed the line in 17.44. Strava is reporting 17.27 for 5k and 5.37/mile average pace overall.

I had planned to average 5.38/mile based on my recent threshold pace of 6.08/mile on the treadmill and it’s incredible how accurate the Jack Daniels VDOT training tables are.

A great result and line in the sand and it’s still early days in my continued progressive training with Dave as coach. Really happy.

Plan – 60mins recovery

Was feeling a bit tired and not too keen in the morning so left it til later in the day. Was quite chilly and windy.

Deliberately kept it sensible although turned into a bit of a battle against the elements in the second half up hill into the wind. Just over 8.4 miles in the hour.

Weekly Totals

Running – 36.6 miles
Cycling – zero

Very happy with how this week has gone and moving strongly in the right direction towards my big goal of sub 17 for 5k.

I think this is my highest mileage week and also the quickest in terms of average training pace as well.

All eyes now on the North Eastern counties cross country championships next week. I’m not going to lie, this is going to be a really tough one and more than anything I just want to give it my best shot.