Tarpley – it’s the best of what running is about; the race always has a positive vibe and an added bit extra given it’s our home Pacers event.
7th place / 62:02 chip time = 6.12/mile pace. I’m pleased enough with how the race went as it was very close to my expectations and, as I often do, I ran without a watch and just focused on my form, stride, speed and taking advantage where the course offers opportunities to up the pace. I felt strong throughout and I loved feeling the warmth of the sun all the way round. I’m less pleased with my time but it is what I was expecting; not fading and keeping strong to the end is the positive takeaway for me and now I can try and build some real speed, to go with the improved endurance.
I know I should be running sub-6min/mile pace for this sort of distance, but I also know I only did two long runs in training (one 11.5 miles and one 9.5 miles - not that long really) so there’s plenty more work to be done. Ickworth and the country lanes near Horringer remain my strength and endurance training ground. I’ve found a gem of a hill locally, Church Hill between the two parts of Whepstead off the main B road, and I’ve been out there at 7am on a Saturday morning getting in some hill reps – Strava told me 10 reps was 5km of running inc. steady runs back down – so if I can get some more of these in, that should help maintain my strength. As spring and summer draw closer, I know I need to add speed and I’ll try to get to some Monday night track sessions to achieve this.
Talking of the weather, it’s interesting that on the one hand running is genuinely one of the few all-weather all-year round sports and races go ahead in virtually all conditions, whilst on the other hand the weather has a huge impact on us as runners – the temperature, strength of wind and being wet or dry can all affect performance levels, mood, emotions, motivation to quite a significant extent. I feel this even more now I live in a village; the plus is the buzz I’m now getting back with lighter mornings (including this stunning sunrise on my run to the train station at 6.30am this morning). I loved the temperature for this year’s Tarpley 10 with no wind (I’d quite happily train and race in those conditions every day of my life) but then I’vealso done London three times and know what it feels like to train through freezing winter only to have your target time thrown out of the window because of 20+c temperatures come the day of the marathon – to such an extent in fact it’s put me off doing another spring marathon in the near future and I’ve vowed the next marathon I do will be an autumn marathon so I can train through the summer, when the longer days of light are a huge training and motivational aid and mean I’ll be more acclimatised to a marathon in milder weather late September or early October. This idea is already in the back of my mind for 2020, to finally get under 2:50 and put the marathon to bed once and for all and there’s some really tempting race options at that time of year.
Looking ahead this year, it looks like I’ll be racing shorter distances over the next few months – Haverhill XC, a 10mile trail race in Cornwall at Easter whilst on holiday, local 10ks – Breckland, Alton Water, a couple of the Friday 5s – Bury and Stowmarket, before ramping up the miles in late summer to target one or two half marathons in September.
That’s not that many races, but it’s important for me to maintain a balance – as with many others, running fits around full-time work, being a parent etc. March weekends include a work trip to Zagreb, my wife’s birthday and Mother’s Day so I know way in advance that racing is going to be limited at such times of year, but if it’s because of fun family times then it’s happy days and I’m less frustrated if I can’t fit everything in.