Welcome to the Runners Corner of Some Words On… where I take time out from talking about books, movies, and all my mostly nerdy exploits to write a little about one which is a little less about sitting quietly on the sofa and a little more about getting up out of the chair and into a pair of trainers.
Like the last post in this series, and the one before that, this is going to a bit of an exercise in self-congratulation.
Having blitzed my 10k expectations at Silverstone last month I felt confident that I could knock out a 5k PB in the right conditions too. My set PB was set during a Grand Prix series on a fast course, but back then running was just a distraction. I didn’t really care for it all that much and my ambitions were low. I just wasn’t running that much. These days I’m running double, maybe even triple the mileage I was doing on a monthly basis. It makes sense then that I was able to cut my 5k PB down from 19:11 to 18:28 (it did come up a smidgen short on my tracker, but still).
The best thing about running that time is that it averages out at just under 6 minutes a mile. Knowing that I can maintain a speed which gets under that 6 minute threshold is extremely exciting, and although for now I am more concerned about keeping up my mileage through the winter months, I’m looking forward to putting in some focused speed work in the new year to get ready for a local 5k Grand Prix (where I set my previous 5k time) where I’ll be looking to get under the 18 minute mark.
Not that I’m not doing speed work, it’s just that most of it is wrapped up in longer sessions. For instance during my long run last week I incorporated an hour fartlek into my 10.5 miler, maintaining an average of 7 minutes a mile across the intervals of roughly portioned 400-600m efforts, and the periods of running rest in-between. It was far from an easy session (especially since conditions were awful) but it killed two birds with one stone and was manageable whilst still being challenging.
That’s enough about me, but let’s see what else has been going on out there…well, actually the wider running realm has been a little quiet these past few weeks. It isn’t exactly the time of year for inspired bouts of running and racing, but there’s not time to stop! With all those Christmas indulgences on the horizon it’s important for the running conscious to keep-on-going.
Let’s take a look at just a couple of stories from the running world to keep us inspired:
Who better to offer up some advice for the winter training blues than an Olympian? Jackson suggests sharing the running load with a friend, keeping an eye on your diet, and a few more helpful hints to keep the miles ticking over nicely.
Sleep Reduces Injury Risk – Runners World, Elizabeth Millard
With the nights feeling so long, and the mornings so cold, it can be tempting to lay in…and perhaps that might not be such a terrible idea if you’ve been struggling to get the advised 8 hours a night. This article looks at recent research which shows how good sleep can help reduce injury, and how a lack of it might put you at risk.
Race Focus – Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon
And for those looking for something structured to force them out from beneath the sheets, take a gander at this festive marathon which raises money for the RNLI.
If you were worried that a marathon isn’t quite long enough for you to burn off all those mince pies you’ve been scarfing down, never fear – there’s a 50 mile ultra-marathon too.
Featuring chipped timing, bespoke medals, and oodles of Christmas Cheer, you can find more info at the event website here.