Racing is Training.

Another weekend, another 10k. 

It’s the first time I’ve done back to back races in I don’t know how long, and the first time ever that both of those races have been at the 10k distance. The second event, at Prestwold Hall in Leicestershire, did not deliver quite as satisfying a time performance (37:17) as the first due to factors like strong winds, an open course, and, erm, not running as fast, but overall it was a good day out with some friends, and not a bad performance overall. 

Plus, is there any better training session than a race?

I have a ten miler coming up next, and I was thinking about the tempo sessions that I need to get in before that event arrives, but I realised that I’ve already hit two key sessions over the last couple of Sundays: a 36:23 10k, and a 37:17 10k. I never would have run that distance at either of those paces in normal training. 

A race is a kind of culmination, an end of term test, but it isn’t the end of the journey. More tests will come your way and the experience of one will help you ace the other. Fuel up, recover, keep on running, and that race is going to put some spring in your legs a few weeks down the line. Beyond that, into months and years later, that race experience is going to be useful when it comes to racing again. We learn by doing, and I doubt there is a better way to become a better 10k racer than by racing 10ks.  

The next course on the calendar is trail rather than road, so that will be a different kind of test. I’m hoping to put times out of my head to try and enjoy 10 picturesque miles around a reservoir in the Peak District because times, in the end, are arbitrary. They can be handy for setting goals, and I’m not saying I don’t care about getting quicker because I definitely do. I do want to get a sub-36 10k. I do want to get a sub-17 5k. I’m just aware I can’t only hammer at those numerically defined goals, or I might burn myself out. Getting off the road, switching focus, whilst still enjoying a race environment, is my way of taking a bit of a break from those goals, appreciating the progress that I’ve made over the year, and keeping my motivation topped up.

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