Friday, July 3, 2009

The “Big Run”

On May 31st I completed the Big Run part of the Little Big Run, it was a 10K road race. I say completed rather than competed in the race, while I ran a good 10 for me I was further back in the field than I thought I would be. I guess that’s racing though some days you have to take the good with the bad and the 10k was one of the bad (fingers crossed).

I started out pretty well, was running with a good group for about 3.5K and we were running at a good pace but after a slight rise in the road I wasn’t able to stick with those guys and started to fall of the pace, for the next kilometre or so I ran with one other person, but even he left me after the wind turned to our backs. It was this middle section that I really slowed down, so either I hadn’t warmed up enough or I went out too fast or a combination of both, as I was really suffering and I got past again at roughly the 7k mark by at least one other person. After this I started to come back around and the pace picked up to what I was running for the first 3k. Time-wise it was one of the better times for a 10k but I personally wasn’t happy as I believe that I can run a lot faster for that distance.

Races like the Half Marathon and 10K’s are great at showing you what you need to work on to get faster. In my case I’ve been doing a lot of running up until now and most of it without any direction. The Half Marathon in Red Deer showed me that I need to increase my tempo run (i.e. start doing them) as well as running longer, the 10K showed me that I need to be able to run at a much faster level than I am right now, which will mean starting intervals.

The thing with adding speed to your running schedule is not adding too much speed too soon, as this will only speed up the chances of getting injured. For longer intervals (800m up) running them at your 10k is fast enough while running shorter intervals (up to 800m) at your 5K speed is fast enough to start seeing improvement, Yes you could run them faster than that, but running intervals faster makes the recovery a little longer and the risks of getting injured go up. Ideally Intervals should all be run at the same speed, or making the last one you’re fastest and then with a day’s rest/recovery in between each interval session (which would be something like Intervals on Tuesday, recovery Wednesday and then Intervals on Thursday) as this is keeping in the Hard/Easy tradition, but for some of us it takes more than one day to recover, so the best thing to do is start an interval session and if you can’t make the time on the first interval, turn that run into a recovery run and try again the next day. This is your body telling you that you haven’t recovered enough from the previous effort.

July 1st – Happy Canada Day!!

The Canada day race, since I started running it is one of those special races that you always put down on your calendar as a race to do. I have run this race 4 or 5 times now and each time is special. This year there was a very strong field lined up for the 15K with most of the top runners from around the city taking part. I didn’t know what to expect from the race as it was my first race since the Big Run 10K and I had upped my training in the weeks leading up til now. I started doing intervals of 7x 3minutes with 2minutes recovery and a tempo day of 3x9minutes with 5minutes recovery or 27minutes continuous tempo. So I was using the race to gauge where the training was going before committing to training for the Dublin City Marathon. The only problem I have with the race is it starts so early in the morning.. a 7:20am start, which this year did not feel too bad when I got up at 5am as this was not much earlier than the time I normally get out of bed to go running. As a warm up I cycled there with my friend Kevin Masters, I think it took us about 30 – minutes to ride over to the start and then start doing some strides.

The race itself is tough, as there is a huge drop in the first Kilometer, which people tend to go down very fast, and then around 3 or 4 in there is a slight hilly section that brings you from River Valley Road into the park. Once you come out of the park its up the Emily Murphy hill, this is a fairly steep climb. From there the race goes around the houses and along by the University until it doubles back on itself and its down the hill you just climbed and back towards the finish which just so happens to be at the top of that first hill you came down. While I wasn’t fighting it out for the lead I was locked in a battle of my own, AJ Rankel and I ran together from the bottom of Emily Murphy on the way to the finish, neither one of us willing to let the other go. That is until the hill to the finish where AJ was able to pull away from me, I tried to catch him just after we crested the top of the hill but I wasn’t able to get close to him.

I ended up missing finishing in under 54 minutes as I had a finishing time of 54:01, which is the fastest that I’ve ever ran for that distance. Kevin ran a really good solid race and ended up beating me by just over a minute. Sometimes you place higher in the overall but run slower and sometimes you place lower in the overall and run faster, one of these days I’ll place higher and run faster.
A couple of interesting things that I came away with from this race was I ran the first 10K in the same time I finished the Big Run in, I also ran fastest in the last 5k of the race and lastly I noticed that when my pulse would get over 170BPM it felt like there was nothing there although on the hill to the finish I got my pulse up to 180BPM. I managed to maintain an average pulse rate of 168BPM throughout the race. This indicates to me that adding both the Tempo and Interval workouts to the training is starting to pay off I need to keep them up.

Marathon Training
I have decided to use one of the training schedules from Advanced Marathoning by Pfitzinger and Douglas in the build up to Dublin. From now on I’ll add an update every week on how the training is going, there is approx. From Monday there is 16 weeks until the Dublin Marathon which is plenty of time to get into the best possible shape for the race, While I’m not doing the schedule with the most mileage I’ll still be running between 80 and 100 miles a week in this build up, this means that there is going to be a lot of double days. The schedules call for a lot of Tempo runs and not a lot of track work, which suits me and my family schedule.

What’s next?
I’m running a 1500m on Saturday and a 3K on Sunday and then it’s straight into marathon training for Dublin, with a couple of half marathons and 10K’s added from August onwards.

Happy Running

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