Loch Leven Half Marathon - Another poor race

Some of you may have seen my tweets (@scottishrunner) about Loch Leven half marathon, some of you may have not. In short, it didn't go well.
The race plan was to go and get a PB but I wasn't looking for the sub 1:20:00 I was simply looking to shave off a couple of seconds from my 2011 PB of 1:22:16.

I arrived at Kinross with plenty time before the race to collect my race number and chip and then make my way to the start line. I took myself away from everyone else, put my headphones on and did a 1 mile warm up run down to the start from the Community centre.
Once at the start, I did some stretches to loosen my legs off and then I was ready to go and we started right on time. It was a windy day but I felt confident that I could maintain a good pace and get a PB. I ran my own race, stayed nice and relaxed and was really enjoying the course.

The first water station was a nightmare, only two people on the station and they were handing out plastic cups of water, one at a time! The two guys in front of me ran to the station, got water but then that meant they didn't have any for me or the other 2 guys behind me! I didn't need the water but could have done with something just to wet my mouth.

 

The rest of the race went fine, I just got slower and really struggled with the hills and the head wind from mile 9. I shouldn't complain too much as I still finished 25th / 531 but I should have been faster.

After the race I have had time to think about what has gone wrong this season with my longer races, Alloa Half I blew up with a stitch, Edinburgh Half I felt fine but it was a week before London marathon so took it a bit easier and ran it at marathon pace. London was a nightmare race with a poor performance since I was aiming for 2:50:00 and now Loch Leven, the slowest half since 2010! My best year was back in 2011 so I have had a look at my training log and then one thing that really stood out was, I was training more with Mandy, doing runs with her but still doing my longer distances as well.

This got me thinking and I started to look online and tweeting about my training and there it was, in black and white, my short distance times have improved but my longer distances are not what I would expect and the reason seems to be all my training has focused on running fast. Even my easy runs have been fast, or at least, faster than they should be.

I have trained my legs to use the fast twitch muscle fibres but I have neglected to train my slow twitch muscle fibres. Fast twitch are the fibres that give you the speed, the short burst of power, the sprint, but they have a very limited amount of energy and get tired quickly. Slow twitch muscle fibres are the opposite and are ideal for endurance events such as 1/2 and full marathon distances. Due to me training to run faster I have neglected the endurance muscles and now I am paying for it with slower times in distance runs.

Yesterday I went out and ran 4.5 miles at 8:00min/mi pace, it was really hard! I kept on wanting to run faster because it felt easier but this again is the fast twitch muscles trying to kick in. Woke up this morning and it felt like I had ran a really hard race. Got some work to do but at least now I can work on the endurance side of things and get my sub 3, dare I say, sub 2:50 at Moray Marathon later this year!

The start of the longer runs begins this weekend as I am planning on heading up to Harrison Park to run along the canal with a group of like minded runners. Not sure what pace this will be at yet but I'm really looking forward to it. Hopefully I won't keep them back!

I would like to take this chance to thank some fellow twitter users : Kenneth Hislop @Miltonruns, Ross Houston @runner_ross, Cath Ferry @katierun and Paul Gaughan @googan for their comments about my training and blog posts.

Owain Williams

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