Wednesday, 21 January 2015


For my regular readers, you will be aware that just before Christmas I set myself a 5K PB challenge, which you can read about here. My plan was to start focussing on this over the festive period (with the luxury of having some time off work to plan specific training sessions that were also triathlon friendly) however that all went to pot when I fell really ill for my whole break. Sucks I know.

Despite this setback, I've been doing some work either side of Christmas to kick start this journey. In the last week of training with my running club before we all set off out of London for the holidays, a few of us opted for a 400m relay in pairs with each person running 12 laps to reach just under 5K. I love doing stuff like this as I'm my most strongest over super short, speedy sessions. After finding out the athletics track was closed, we decided to map out a route for the session at Primrose Hill. The lap was a little undulating so all the more challenging. When we were paired up, we set off with me going first in my team. I noticed on my Garmin that the lap was in fact around 500m, so we decided to drop the quantity down to 10.

I found this session harder than expected. First off, it was freezing and secondly, the lap was rather bumpy and uneven making it even harder to keep a fast pace. Still though, the plan was to push hard and thats what I kept doing. It was nice to have the recovery breaks when my partner, Alice, was out in the field on her turn and overall I felt like I was doing a good pace. I suffered a slight technical glitch after lap eight when I forgot to pause my Garmin an despite this happening I still managed to finish the whole session under 20 minutes!
Looking at my splits, if I take off the 20 seconds (roughly) that I left my watch running on my rest after lap eight, I actually managed to keep a sub seven minute pace for each mile, which I was super pleased with. This is my ideal 5K pace if I want to go under 21 minutes and, at this time, I am still finding it quite hard to get my head (and my energy levels) around this. 

As I mentioned above, shortly after this speedy session, I fell ill with an awful cold which then developed into a nasty chesty cough and one that lingered for almost a month. I took a whole week off training as I could barely walk from the sofa to the kitchen without wheezing and I was worrying all my hard work would be wasted from this break. In the second week, I managed to jog 5K (and I mean jog, borderline crawl) a couple of days and I did get the hump thinking about how I was going to get my strength and speed back. 

That said though, it returned much easily than expected. By the first week of January, I kicked off the New Year with a five mile run and finished with an average pace of 8.17. Not bad considering the cough was still lingering (the coughing fit I had when I finished this run wasn't pleasant but who cares, I managed to run!)
By the weekend, I plucked up the courage to attend my local parkrun after a fellow running pal persuaded me to join her. We both were guilty of not going for a long time (the last time I graced this particular course was 18 months previous) and despite strong gale force winds, we braved the undulating/hilly 5K at Finsbury Park. I personally find this parkrun ghastly. I hate the inconspicious hill that looks, yeah steep but rather short when in fact it is beastly and tortuous on the quads. To make it even worse, you also have to head up it twice. Add in the horredous stormy winds and you have yourself quite a challenge when your almost two years out of parkrun shape. 

I finished in 24.30, a minute slower than my PB on this course. Secretly I was rather pleased as I was expecting far worse but it has made me see I have a lot of work to do if I want to achieve my dream sub 21. I most definitely won't be getting it at this parkrun but I do have another course in mind to target this time.

Finally, my latest 5K focussed drills were a couple of days ago on the track. Myself and a few fellow club runners boshed out a fartlek style session of 10x 200m, jogging 200m in-between each set. It was harder than it sounds as when you run each set, you practically sprint. By having no static rest periods, it was tough to keep going but I'm glad I did it. This again set me an average pace of 6.22 so I am able to get more and more familiar with the type of pace I need to hold for my 5K target. 
Overall, I'm still a long way off and whilst the horrid cough has pushed me back ever so slightly, I cannot use it as an excuse. I'm glad I have started up this training focus again and I'm hoping for a few more parkruns and HIIT sessions to get my legs more and more comfortable with speed. 

Lipstick Runner.

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