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Friday, 14 January 2011

A busy running week: Part 1

With Christmas and New Year I have found myself somewhat out of the habit of posting entries on my blog. Today I am trying to turn that around with this blog post to cover all my runs over the last 7 days.

Last Saturday saw me take part in my first parkrun event of 2011 and my 24th in all. Even 10 minutes before the start of the run it was blatantly obvious that it was going to be a very high turn out. I suppose the New Year's Day Coventry parkrun had been a good indication of the popularity of the event. If 99 people can turn up to run at 9am on New Year's Day, then you would expect a few more the following week. In the end the number of finishers was recorded as 160, just 2 short of the event record. I would put a large bet on that event record being broken at some point in the next few weeks. Maybe not tomorrow though as rain is predicted, but we shall see.

I started last weeks parkrun event fairly quickly and soon found myself settled in about 6th position. I didn't feel at my very best and decided to tuck in behind another runner for a bit of drafting. I stayed in that position pretty much for a lap and a half, gradually working our way to 3rd and 4th (me) about 2 minutes into the second lap. The first lap had been completed in a mediocre 9:30, but I didn't feel the usual strength left for the second lap (that I would hope to have) given a first lap at that pace.

Just after the halfway point of that second lap I decided to put my foot down and stormed past the guy I had been drafting behind. That change in pace saw him quickly left behind and I was confident that I had sealed 3rd place. However, after less than a minute at the higher pace I could feel my energy running out and had to slow slightly. It was then really a case of drifting home in 3rd place. I finished in 18:52, a time that I considered OK at the time, but have since been a little disappointed with. I suppose I am disappointed to be so far (38 seconds) off my best.

Well my disappointment at that result and my failure to lose any of my Christmas weight last week drove my decision to try to add an extra run into my weekly schedule. For a few months I have been running 3 times a week. Before that 2 was the most I could manage. But last Sunday I decided to up that to 4 a week. For the moment at least I have added Monday evening to my Wednesday, Friday and Saturday runs. It was logical really, because for a long time now I have been resting on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Therefore running on a Monday still gives me a day either side for recovery.

I also decided that Monday and Wednesday runs would be pushed hard. Monday will be a hard 10km run and Wednesday will be a hard 5km (freedom parkrun) run. Friday will remain an easy freedom parkrun and Saturday the main parkrun event.

I am hoping that this plan will help me both lose my Christmas weight and get my fitness levels back to where they were a couple of months ago so that I can start challenging my parkrun PB again within the next 6 weeks.

On Monday I braved the cold and the heavy rain on a route that I have not run for 6 or 7 years. With it being an evening run, and not fancying the unlit park, I went for a road course. When I used to run this course, somewhere around 22 minutes was my best time. So I had a target. I was aiming to run one lap hard and then maybe an extra half lap if I fancied it.

I set off really hard, pleasing myself with my pace. I was enjoying the run and was mainly just pleased with myself for getting out and doing an extra run in that horrible weather. I completed my first lap in 21:13 and decided to do a second lap, continuing straight on, but slowing slightly feeling the effects of a fast first lap. Within a minute I had already persuaded myself that I had to beat my first lap time. I knew this would be hard, but always enjoying the challenge of beating my own times I pushed on hard. I completed the second lap in 21:04, beating the previous lap time by a pleasing 9 seconds.

I have since measured this course on mapmyrun.com and found that it is 4.99 km per lap. This is great as I now know that a single lap is good parkrun prep and 2 laps are great for a 10km. I now have both laps times and 10km times to try to beat on this course. Rest assured that I will be giving either or both a go on Monday!

I'll carry on with the rest of my running week in another post shortly.

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