A new PB :-)

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Just a short post to say that I managed to get a new personal best at 5km today at the Standard Chartered Great City 5k!  The race was pretty crowded at the start but I don’t think it cost me too much time, I had to weave a fair bit so maybe it took five – ten seconds off me but no more than that.

My official chip time was 19:25 so I only managed to shave three seconds off my previous PB but it is always a great feeling doing a distance faster than you have ever done it before.  It also means that I have the confidence of knowing that I am probably the fittest I have ever been (backed up by the 10km PB from a few weeks ago).   I now need to use this as a base to continue building and getting stronger, hopefully I can break the 5km PB again on Saturday at Parkrun.

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I feel like I’m getting somewhere

As I mentioned in earlier posts, May was a rough month and I wasn’t able to achieve anything like what I wanted.  June was a bit better but it is only over the last few weeks that I’ve been able to get more training under my belt and it now feels like I’m starting to make progress.

I’ve had a few really good runs over the last month.  Right at the start of July I got a new PB at the Regent’s Park 10km race.  It was a great race actually, really well organised and everyone was friendly and fun so I’d recommend it to anyone.  I ran off at a fast pace, around 6:05 for the first mile.  I wasn’t able to keep that going and the pace fell away but I still came in with a PB of 40:43 so I was pretty happy.

I then did the JPM Corporate Challenge.  It’s a weird race, distance of 5.6km has never made any sense to me at all and it gets incredibly crowded so it is tough to do anything special.  I had a great start as I was right up at the front of my pen so could get away without any crowd issues, that helped me do a 6:01 minute first mile.  After 1.5 miles I got stuck in the huge crowd of people from the pen before me, not sure I’ll ever really understand why people lie about their predicted times as they just end up being a road block for honest runners who are faster but have to start in a slower band…  It drives me mad and happens at every race.

I then took a week off work to do a holiday in the Canary Islands with my girlfriend, it was pretty relaxing and the hotel was amazing!

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I ran four times when I was on holiday which made me feel great because otherwise I’d have just felt like a fat mess as we were eating and drinking out loads.  The weather was brutal though, it got up to 34 degrees most days so I tried to avoid running in the hottest part of the day.  One run I did was really strong, screenshot below.  It was effing hot out there when I ran this one, even at 10am.  To churn out a 6:28 min mile average (with 6:15 GAP according to Strava) in the heat had me feeling really pleased with myself, I think sleeping lots and relaxing makes a huge difference to my running ability.

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So I’m now feeling like I’ve got a good bit in the tank.  I did a good gym session on Wednesday night and pushed myself hard on some interval work, throughout all of it I felt stronger than I have before.  Today I did my first big run since the marathon in April and ran for 14.5 miles.  It was tough but not as tough as I thought it would be and I kept my pace solid throughout.

The plan now is to build on the strong foundations of the last few weeks.  I want to start swimming and am going to try to do that tomorrow for the first time in London.  I’m an absolutely crap swimmer but I did a bit on holiday and it really felt like it was helping my legs heal up so I’m keen to give it a go here and see whether it makes a difference to my recovery times and general fitness.  I also think that I need to bite the bullet and do some tough interval sessions and tempo runs, I always avoid them but they do so much to improve speed and stamina so I need to brave it.

The next two weeks have a few really good chances for me to get PBs…  On Monday I have the Standard Chartered Great City Race.  It is a 5km race and if I get a clear run I feel like I could push my 19:28 PB.  The problem is that I almost certainly won’t get a clear run, just like the JPM race it is going to be crowded and horrible.  I think I estimated that I’d get a fast time so maybe I’ll be in a good pen but as I said earlier, everyone just lies about their times and then holds me up at the start.

If I don’t break the 19:28 PB on Monday then I’ll try at Parkrun on Saturday.  I honestly think the PB is close to falling…

At the start of August I have another big opportunity with my second shot at the Regent’s Park 10k.  There is no reason why I shouldn’t beat my time at the start of July…I am getting fitter so hopefully I have a PB up my sleeve and hopefully it will be closer to the big 40 minute mark…

So in sum, a big two weeks ahead and I am going to keep ramping up the pace work along with some swimming to see if that makes a difference…fingers crossed that the next update will have some good news.

Trying to find the time

It has been six weeks since my last post and it is really frustrating to put pen to paper and say that I have not achieved much on the running front. During May I ended up working 80 to 90 hour weeks for the entirety of the month. My life became work and running had to play fourth or fifth fiddle.

My goal for May had been to focus on speed over shorter distances (1 mile, 5km and 10km). I really want to break the 19 minute barrier for 5km and the 40 minute barrier for 10km – my PBs are currently 19:28 and 40:53 respectively. The plan was to push hard with intervals outside and at the gym and to see how it translates to my weekly Parkruns and the London 10,000 which was at the end of May.

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As you can see, it ended up with me doing a paltry 46 miles of running in May (15 miles of which were in the last few days of the month). I just didn’t get a chance to do any of the preparation that I wanted to do.

I ended up running the London 10,000 in 40:57 which, considering the month I had, is not that bad.  I missed out on a PB by just a few seconds and going into the race I was expecting to be a lot closer to 42 – 43 minutes.  All in all I am pretty happy with the result and it is a good base to try and push on from.

It has now been two weeks since the London 10,000 and work is still pretty intense.  It is better than it was and I’m on track to get closer to 80-90 miles this month.

Two big positives that I’ve had in the last couple of weeks are:

1. A fast 6 mile training run

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 15.10.04It is not as fast as my London 10,000 run but it is probably my fastest ever training run. I felt strong throughout and could have pushed more. The route I did was also very hilly compared to my usual London flat terrain and the wind was strong so I think the pace I maintained was good.  Was really happy with this one.

2. A new PB for 1 Mile

Screen Shot 2017-06-18 at 15.10.53I am by no means a sprinter so this time may not be impressive to people but I had never previously broken 6 minutes for a mile in my three attempts so it was very good for me.

I now need to focus on my goals over the next couple of months.  I have two chances to break 40 minutes for 10k, it will be tough. The first attempt is in two weeks and I don’t think I’m quite ready to break through the barrier, we will see. The next is in six weeks and if I can get some really intense training done then I think I have a shot.  I just need work to give me a break so I can really push myself!

An Introduction

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Who am I and what’s this all about?

I am a 28 year old Northern Irish guy living in London.  I am trying to become a solid medium / long distance runner and wanted to keep a record of everything I am doing to improve.

I have been running for about three years.  I started out with a few Parkrun 5 km runs and a couple of 10 km runs, I then added the odd half marathon but was only doing ten miles a week and wasn’t really taking it seriously.  I have a job that requires that I work long hours so my training was previously pretty infrequent.  Things have gotten a lot better recently and I get more of a chance to run during the week which is nice.

In the last year I have been trying to improve my times, increase my stamina and get some PBs that I can really be proud of – I have had mixed results.

Am I a good runner?

My PBs are:

5 km – 19:28
10 km – 40:53
10 mile – 1:06:50
Half Marathon – 1:28:49
Marathon – 3:39:06

What do I want to achieve?

I am an incredibly inconsistent runner, one week I will do a PB half marathon and then the week after I struggle to get anywhere near the pace I want.  So much seems to depend on my mood on the day.  I have had three really bad races where I have ended up walking and have wanted to give up despite being in good shape (I will post in the future about some of my ups and downs over the last few years).

I want to get fitter and stronger (mentally and physically) so that I am a more consistent runner.  I think that if I can really ramp up my speed and stamina then I can improve my PBs significantly.  My ultimate goals are:

5km – 18:00
10km – 38:00
10 mile – 1:05:00
Half Marathon – 1:25:00
Marathon – 3:00:00

Let’s see how I get on…