It's going to be a close call…

As regular readers will know I’ve set myself the target of a sub 50 min 10k for my first ever repeat race on Easter Sunday. And if you’re not a regular reader, welcome (where have you been?)

Reaching my goal means knocking a massive 6.23 off last year’s race time and 2 mins off my PB for the distance. So I’m training hard. I have a plan, courtesy of my PT, Ian who has already helped me achieve incredible things.

So there’s your quick recap, here’s how I got on this week:

Tuesday intevals
I took myself out at lunchtime and ran 1km run, recovery for 6km. It’s not the best route and I was held up at the start of my second run, having to wait to cross a busy road, but it was a run that inspired me with confidence.

After a rest day on Monday, I set off too fast on my first tempo run (why do I always do that?), but I managed to keep it together up the hill and onto a much needed recovery to settle my breathing.

Pushed hard on the second interval to try and make up for lost time crossing the road and managed the recovery better. Don’t really recall the third interval, except for feeling I was stretching out my stride a little better than I have been of late.

The last interval was the hardest, because it’s a lap of the building where I work. But in some ways, knowing where the finish of the 1km was, rather than desperately hanging on waiting for the Garmin bleep made it more manageable. This was the run I was most pleased with. My breathing was smooth, legs kicking hard, building up the speed more gradually, more controlled, in a good place.

Together with a relaxed recovery and a warm up that was 6.5km in 35 mins in the bag. Taking into account the stop to cross the road there’s 4k in there at around race pace.

6.5k 35 min
1. 02.55 (535m warm up)
2. 04.34 (1k)
3. 02.41 (500m)
4. 05.18 (1k)
5. 03.05 (500m)
6. 05.03 (1k)
7. 03.24 (500m)
8. 04.57 (1k)
9. 02.56(500m)

Wednesday 10k
Today I met Ian for our usual fast and challenging 10k. A great day for a run, nicely cool, not too windy and as soon as we set off I found a good rhythym.

When we’ve run this route before, I’ve tended to go out fast and fade from about 6km onwards, so today we decided to try and keep it steady on the way out to leave plenty in the tank for the second half of the run. I had some fun with Ian stopping to tie his shoe lace within the first couple of hundred metres, telling me to keep going and he’d catch me up (I didn’t speed up…much).

We settled into our usual chat and I felt good, breathing lovely and easy and legs stretching out nicely. Even slowing and stopping to cross a couple of roads didn’t upset my rhythm.

I felt the pull on my legs of a couple of inclines, but was soon rewarded by my favourite bit of the route, away from the pavements and traffic and on paths beside the trees and a stream.

But my calves were really pulling now, muscles stretched and tight. Ian encouraged me to think about my form, rolling my foot, pushing forward, relaxing arms and shoulders and it worked for a bit. Resisting the urge to tense up further and fight it, relax and smooth and ease it away.

We passed a fellow running pal on the way back, a smile a wave and a bit of a boost as Ian pushed on to pick up the pace, encouraging me to stay shoulder to shoulder with him.

But the legs haven’t finished with me yet. They tighten and strain again. I manage to work them loose and then it hits again. And I can feel my strides shortening. Feet hitting the ground on the end of lead pipes, feeling like they’ve been dipped in liquid nitrogen and could shatter at any moment.

It’s only the way back, but it’s always been the tough bit of this run. The wind can hit you like a knife down this strip and suck all your mental resolve away in a breath. All the good stuff is leaking away. The breathing’s breaking down, I’m starting to shuffle, all I can concentrate on is keeping it together.

If I wasn’t running with Ian I would have dropped back way before now. It’s an effort to relax but push on. Time and again I push to catch up to him and then fall back a few strides almost immediately. I know he’s slowed down and I so want to push this, not to let him down.

Again I beat the tenseness and thinking of nothing else but finishing, I give it my best shot over the last few hundred metres. We were looking good at the start, will it be enough? The clock stops at 52.45 – about 15 seconds slower than last week.

Later I chat to my running pal (aiming for 47 mins in the same race) and I’m positive about it. On race day, adrenaline firing, picking off runners, even with the hill to tackle, I can surely get close.

But there are so many variables and what ifs. If that’s the best I can do with the best coach in my corner, how will I cope when there’s just me out there on my own?

I’m going to give it my best shot, but it’s going to be so tantalisingly close.

I know I have a tendency to overthink things, so I’m trying not to focus on all the different ways it could go. Instead I’ll take some time and visualise success, imagine myself crossing that finish line, looking up to the white of the lighthouse, a smile on my face and clocking those magic figures on the watch face.

10k in 53.45
1. 4.54
2. 5.02
3. 5.13
4. 5.31 (road here I think)
5. 5.01
6. 5.22
7. 5.30
8. 5.24
9. 5.24

Author: The Scribbler

I'm a writer, based in the North East of England. In my working life I give a human voice to business communications. As well as writing, reading and language, I enjoy running and triathlons and I often write about races and events in the North East

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