Oh dear, its not exactly going to plan.
A combination of my age (52), a host of minor niggly injuries (a sore ankle, a tight calf and neural pain in my knee) and a loss of a bit of mojo are afflicting me at the moment.
My legs are feeling stiff and painful during the first mile or so of every run. Once I have warmed up my ageing tendons, I seem to be able to run reasonably freely.
I heard ex-elite athlete Jon Brown speak at the England Athletics Endurance seminar about 6 weeks ago. Despite twice finishing fourth in the Olympic marathon, his opinion of the event was illuminating.
He said, “I hated the marathon, it was so hard and the training was just so tedious”. I think I concur. Like me, he loved running and competing – he wanted to be successful and win medals; but despised his best event.
The marathon definitely isn’t my best event – judged on age graded PBs then 5K or 10K is my best distance (about 82-83%). I suspect my true best event is probably even shorter, maybe 800m or even 400m, however I don’t run those competitively (yet). In comparison, my best marathon performances are only around 77-78% on age grading.
I’m finding marathon training quite debilitating this year, it feels like a slog, and is slowly breaking me down. London will probably be my last go at the marathon distance. I’m not the sort of runner who just wants to jog around completing the distance. Standing on the start line of any race, I have an overwhelming feeling of wanting to give it my absolute best effort.
I ran two all-out 5K races last week (well one was 4.8K in truth), both held at the Brownlee centre cycling track in Leeds.
On Wednesday night I ran the second race of the Even Splits monthly 5K series. I gave it everything and I recorded 18:14, which I was satisfied with.
I’d just about got over that effort out of my legs when Saturday came around. I was in our ‘A’ team for the four leg Yorkshire road relays. The fact that I was in the A team tells you that we had a bit of a scratch team out (no disrespect to the other guys). We have some very speedy guys in the club at the moment – many of whom can run sub 16:30 for 5K. However, many of our super quick guys weren’t available.
The event was 4 legs of 4.8K each around the Brownlee track. I anchored the team and ran a respectable 17:52. It was the slowest leg of the four, but I gave it my best, which is all one can do.
I was disappointed in myself for poor racecraft though. By the time I was sent out on my leg, the race was very spread out. I soon conceded a place when a much faster runner caught me and zoomed away, there was not much I could do about that.
A Holmfirth runner caught me a bit later in the leg, though he wasn’t moving that much quicker than me – so I managed to dig in and keep within a few metres:
Halfway around the final lap, I was on his shoulder. I sat behind him for a few hundred metres and was feeling fairly comfortable. I should have just sat in behind him and waited right until the last 50 metres to try to beat him in the sprint. Stupidly, I surged with about 300 metres to go, thinking he was weak.
I got a gap of about 5 metres, but my nose was now out in the wind. I couldn’t quite hold the speed and he got on my shoulder and passed me off the crown of the final bend. I had burned all my matches and had nothing left.
I’ve no idea if I would have beaten him in the final sprint, but the way I raced the finish was just stupid.
I need to get one more proper long run in before London, hopefully that will be next Sunday. I am running on Saturday for Valley Striders in the National 12 stage road relays at Sutton Coldfield, so I expect I will be knackered again.
I’m ready for the taper.
LM -4 weeks
11 stone 4.6 lbs
23.1 miles, longest run 6.7 miles
Parkrun : None
RunBritain Ranking 2.8 (unch) (MV50 rank 232)