‘I’ve been running now so long, I’m scared, I’ve forgotten how to stand.’Frank Turner- The way I tend to be…
Things are simple at the minute, just run. Base miles and base fitness, the endurance phase, the long process and drawn out slog. A process, leading eventually towards the bigger process. Eventually. At the minute (it happens every year), at times unavoidable but it happens. Things become neglected, things happen out of our control, but really there is only ourselves that can actually do anything about it!
I’ve neglected rest and recovery, massively, work pattern has changed, temporarily. Meaning I have earlier starts, so it means early get ups and late nights. Losing vital sleep, relaxation and recovery time. Putting into context and kudos to anyone who works nights, or has children or even worse jobs than mine! I’m complaining but it’s only temporary for the summer period.
Another thing I’ve neglected, due to the amount of Wednesday evening races and midweek events. As a group and myself as an individual, we’ve been doing ‘marathon speed sessions’ which are great and are working and are building endurance. Which is great! It’s great to see people turning out and putting themselves through the pain and torture. Sadistic game! However I’ve neglected the shorter stuff, it’s not my ball game. You’re right there. But it affects that sharpness, the sharpness you need to race and race fast. The dam wall has flickered into the distance, desperate myself for it to return. The tuning of your body, to get itself running speed and top end speed a little more comfortably. Finding it hard, tough and way out of my comfort zone to run any faster than marathon pace. Something that will eventually come, it isn’t what this phase of training is about, like I mentioned earlier; this is my endurance phase, it’ll lead into my fine tuning phase, where my speed should be tuned up a gear and the comfortable feeling and turnover should eventually return.
Like I said, there is only me that can do anything about it. It’s me that acknowledges it and me that can change it. Feeling leggy, feeling heavy, feeling tired; it’s expected. I’ll grunt and I’ll moan about it, but it is expected. It wouldn’t be marathon training after all.
We don’t train, so that the pain is easy, so that the race is easy; we train, just so we can tolerate it.
Rant over, onto the small matter of Askern 10 Mile. A race that is a frequent feature in my racing calendar, it isn’t a particularly fast course, but it is local, it is friendly and it is a superbly organised fixture! The week in build up has seen me race at the Spencers Dash, jog around Locke Park parkrun, run in an 800m race, chase Scott over 5000m and throw a javelin. It has been busy and it has been fast, I have worked 45 hours, run for about 14 hours and showered a lot more than that! Ellie also competed at the track yesterday, the last fixture of the year so her last chance to set some PB’s and break some club records. Taking on the Long Jump, 800m, 100m, Discus, 400m, High Jump and 4x 400m. Managing to set PB’s and club records for the discus and 800m; 16.91m and 2:37.3 respectively. Need to start calling her a decathlete soon!
Askern 10 mile has been a great judge of where I am at the beginning of marathon training, it’s never a true representation in terms of time or pace but it gives me something to build on. Back in 2013, it was actually my 4th ever running event or race. Running Milton Keynes Marathon, Sheffield Half and Rother Valley 10k prior to that. It was set right at the start of something, I clocked 71:51 for 109th place. So as a race, it does hold a sweet spot. It was something to build on and a marker for the rest. My race times are listed below:
It has been roughly a positive progression at the Askern 10. In my early years, it was a PB course, but I have since found faster races and different places. Gilberdyke, Vale of York and Thirsk; for those interested! But here I am, back again.
Race starts at 10:30, set off just before 9 ish. Got there around 9:30, went got my number, bumped into plenty of people on the way before returning to my car, fixing my number to my vest then off on a warm up. A steady 5k set me just fine and felt comfortable, enjoying it! Now the small matter of racing, back to the car, got my vest on before making my way to the line. You know you’re at an Askern race when you hear the words, keep off the road!
Stood chatting and plotting the race before the words, GO! Quickly off and down the road, a slightly downhill start and straight into gear. Out in front, with Gareth Lowe and Arron Larkin around me. Slight headwind, making it clear that the headwind will be a story for everyone today. It definitely wasn’t calm. First mile over in a flash, 5:26. I dropped off of Gareth and Arron, leaving them to their own race. Steadied to a comfortable pace, right on my own. Askern is a fairly simple course in terms of elevation, uphill for 5, downhill for 5. Nothing as simple as that, you skirt around, make some loops and make your way eventually to an ‘uphill’ finish. It’s got country lanes and quiet villages. Some fast descents and steep climbs. It’s alright, you know! To the mile 4 and then to the mile 5 marker come your challenging bits, after half way it’s fairly flat or down after that.
Still in 3rd place as we run towards Campsall and Norton, along the road that I usually use as a warm up for the Norton 9. Familiar looking territory, then the climbing begins to start, as we skirt away from Norton. I planned to look after myself until the half way mark and then push on from there, using the challenge of the hills as a marker at 5 mile to see how I’m feeling. It wasn’t going to be eye balls out until after that anyway. Knowing that’s it’s usually a negative split at Askern 10 as well. Reaching half way in 27:30 would’ve been the dream to land me the under side of 55. But it would be a big ask today! So reaching half way in 29 is more of a realistic target, giving me 29 minutes to equal my course PB from 2018. More than achievable!
The hills were upon us, hitting the foot of it with a cracking headwind. I’d gone through the first 3 mile in 5:26, 5:35 and 5:41. Now I’d expected my pace the drop, the effort however didn’t. The effort remained the same as gravity worked against me. Looking at previous years, I’ve gone as low as a 7:39 and 7:42 up here. With a 6:16 and 6:02 in 2018. So it isn’t something to be dismissed. Arron and Gareth were still battling it out at the base of the hill, yo-yo’ing with each other. It would be a different story by the top with Arron taking the charge and dropping Gareth Lowe, a 2:24 marathoner! Then we hit the top, a glance at my watch clocking the 5 mile marker in 29:06. Roundabouts where I wanted to be. Now it’s time for the easy bit, picking up pace as gravity begins to work with me. 5:17, my fastest mile of the race. Throwing myself down the hill back towards Campsall. Hitting the right turn and in familiar territory on this course! Before then hitting another right turn as you begin to stall, hitting another climb to halt your progress as we climb what feels like a mountain towards Burghwallis at this stage! Still holding my 3rd place, feeling like I’m making some ground on the mirage that is Gareth Lowe out in front. Back on the downhill now and opening the legs up for a run. Twisting and turning our way on the roads, enough distance in them to get a good rhythm going. Then we reach The Owston, the pub that always means you turn left. Kicking on for the finishing mile now, feeling like it anyway. Knowing that there is the secret lap of the cricket field ahead, the lap that throws all the Askern 10k warriors out of sync! Arron entering the field in 1st out in front, followed by Gareth and then followed by me. A glance at my watch, elapsed time counting up on the stopwatch, the finish getting closer and closer.
A course personal best but some way off my distance personal best of 54:21 set at Thirsk earlier in the year. Hung around as I watched everyone else make their own charge towards the line. Chatting about people’s efforts and taking it all in, before making my way out towards Campsall again for a bit of a cool down/ extended morning run out.
Another Askern 10 miler done for another year. My 7th time at the event and I’ll be back again next year!
I’ve things I need to do and things I need to work on, I’m going to start and knuckle down on my speed as mid August approaches and begin my fine tuning phase. The marathon season will be here before we know it! The base phase is more or less done, I’ve averaged 131 mile weeks now for the last 8 weeks. Averaging 6:38 minute miles for my pace, with a few cracking races and PB’s thrown in for good measure. An holiday as well. Not a bad effort!
No races in the pipeline next week, but I do have 2 days off of work! The longer races are harder to find this time of year and then as autumn approaches they become a little more difficult to choose.
Just Keep Running!