Lots of miles and a race

Last week was the start of my new training programme, it's quiet simple, 10 miles a day Monday to Friday. Saturday either a race or 10 miles and then Sunday 16.5 miles out with the group from Harrison Park.

The first couple of days were tough, just getting my legs used to doing the mileage again but the nice weather helped things pretty well. On a couple of occasions the plan was to run 2 sets of 5 miles but I really couldn't be bothered with the amount of showers I would need to have if I did a run at lunchtime and then again on my way home. 3 showers in a day is a bit OTT.

Saturday was Livingston 10km. The first time this race has been organised and it was a pretty tough race. The heat didn't help but the course is pretty undulating as well (Garmin stats below).

I started on the line, feeling pretty good about my race plan, get an average pace of 6:30 min/mi. Not super fast but considering the miles in my legs and the heat I thought it was a good strategy.

Went off maybe a tad too fast but it felt comfortable and within the second mile I was starting to pass people and also catch a small group who I chased for the next 2 miles. They helped me along the route, when I felt they were slipping away from me I would pick up my pace to stick with them. 

Mile 3 and it was time to get some water on board, I took a couple of mouthfuls and then the rest went over my head and it felt great. I reckon if I could have done this for the next 2 miles my pace would have been better. I just felt exhausted, heavy legs didn't help and neither did the train station walkway! Multiple tight turns and no chance to get a pace. I have to admit I did swear a couple of times and make comments such as "You have to be joking". 

The first half of the course was very well marshalled but the second half was a bit less organised. Some turns where you would expect a marshal and there wasn't and then when there was a marshal I had to ask them left or right. I obviously looked like I could read minds!

I finished the race in an unofficial time of 41:01, no idea on position but I think I could have been in the top 10. I made up quite a few positions in the first 4 miles then after that I was running solo or being chased by those behind me.

Sunday was my return visit to Harrison Park, the weekly running group who head out at 9am, up the union canal and out along the water of Leith. Once again I struggled to stick with the squad at the 5 mile 'heart-break hill'. It's a tough one and I'm determined to beat it, even if it kills me!
One of the squad was kind enough to hold back and show me the full 16.5 mile route, this did almost kill me! Their steady pace is my current marathon race pace so basically it was 2 races in 2 days, both on hilly routes. Harrison park 16.5 route is below

During the entire run it just felt like every time I hit any sort of incline my legs were shouting no! There were a couple of times where I almost stopped but Ryan kept on shouting at me to keep on going. One thing that he said was the pain will go as long as you keep on running and you know what, he was right! Before I knew it I was running a 6:03 min/mi, fair enough it was downhill but I can see how this 1 weekend run gives you everything you need in a good training run. It gives you speed work, it gives you hill work, it gives you the distance, it almost makes you cry!

I need to work on getting faster over the later stages of the route but I think that will come as my endurance improves.

Last night I ran home from the office and the first 3 miles felt slow and hard. Legs were really heavy from the weekend so I didn't look at my Garmin for the entire run home, just ran to how I was feeling and surprisingly I ran it at an average pace of 7:17 min/mi. Pretty pleased with that and already the extra miles a week are helping my fitness.

An average heart rate of 140 - 150 seems to be my easy pace so as long as I get that during my steady runs then everything is heading in the right direction.

As a friend on Facebook said to me - Onwards and upwards!

Owain Williams

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