For those who did not see my previous blog article, last Sunday (12th February) I ran the Valentine 10k. A 10 km road race starting and finishing at Easton College, near Norwich (Norfolk) through country roads, taking in a number of local villages. It was hosted by the Norfolk Gazelles running club, and the second race of the 2023 Sportlink Grand Prix series of races, with around 900 runners.
I instigated my usual, tried and tested, race-morning routine. Up; shower; cup of tea and breakfast (bowl of granola and honey yoghurt) – whilst watching the latest episode of BBC Click; toilet stop; and then out the door. A friend was also running the race, and I collected him en-route. We arrived at the event in good time to collect our bibs, and meet up with other fellow running friends for a quick chat.
Aiming for my Riegel predicted time of 41:40 (see previous article), I positioned myself near the start of the 30 to 40 minute pen. The starting funnel was narrow, as was the first 1.5 km of the route, which along with being a gentle incline made for a slow start. I hit the 1 kilometre mark at 4:20, and my legs were not feeling in their best shape – some soreness from last week’s race was still to be had in both my distal Vastus Lateralis muscles (the outer quadriceps just above the knee).
I gave myself a talking to, and pushed to up the pace
I gave myself a talking to, and pushed to up the pace, managing to complete kilometre 2 in 4:06. Great, I was starting to gain back some time from the first km – only 5 seconds behind target. Kilometre 3 was completed in 4:14, which meant I was now only 9 seconds off my target. The soreness in my legs had not increased, so things didn’t look too bad.
The route then became a nice downhill section, and I ‘rode with it’, flying through the the 4 km mark in under 4 minutes. I was now just ahead of schedule by 4 seconds.
I passed the 5 km marker in a time of 20:50, bang on my target.
I passed the 5 km marker in a time of 20:50, bang on my target. I had slowed a little but gave myself another few stern words, and forced my legs to push off a little harder, managing to reverse the trend. At 6 km I was behind, but only by a matter of seconds.
I passed a couple of runners, with one telling his friend not to worry as it was fairly much downhill from this point. “Only 4 km, and downhill”, I thought to myself, “perhaps I can keep this up”.
My mind was saying I could, my legs were telling me otherwise. The distal soreness began to creep progressively up my legs, and getting them to work in a coordinated fashion, was becoming more and more problematic. So much so, that I passed the 9 km mark over 20 seconds behind target. I did manage to pick up the pace for the last km, but it was already game-over, and I finished in an official time of 42:15 (at a 4:14 min/km pace), 35 seconds slower than my target.
Additionally, I should mention the people that called out my name whilst I was running. Thank you for your support, and if I did not seem to acknowledge you, my apologies. I was so ‘in the zone’ that on occasion it was a good number of seconds before my brain caught up.
I gave it my best shot, but it was not to be.
I may not have hit the intended goal time, but it was certainly not a disappointing performance. I think we all knew that given my hard-run 10 mile race only 7 days previously, that hitting the Riegel predicted 41:40 time was going to be a tough one. I gave it my best shot, but it was not to be.
On the flip-side, it was almost a 10 km personal best for me. Not that I have ran many 10 km races. My first 10 km was over 20 years ago, and from memory that was a matter of seconds outside of 42 minutes. In more recent years, I have run a few hovering around 45 minutes, but made a significant improvement last year, and managed to sneak in under 44 minutes towards the end of the year. So 42:15 is massive for me!
42:15 is massive for me!
Now back to the predictions. So whilst Riegel over-estimated my performance by 35 seconds (1.5 %), TrainAsONE under-estimated by 15 seconds (0.6 %). I’d pretty much call that a great result from both.
However, I believe that TrainAsONE’s consideration of recent training and (lack of full) recovery from the previous 10 mile race enabled it to make a closer prediction. Obviously this is a case-study of one, and not statistically meaningful.
Without this upfront prediction I doubt that I would have pushed myself as much, and likely come in nearer to 42:30. So performing such calculations for the last two races has been a bonus for my performance. I wonder if this is a novelty factor, or innate to my psyche.
However, I think the most interesting question is: How would I have faired if I was fully rested and prepared for Sunday’s race, i.e. not ran the 10 miler 7 days previously? I plan to provide an answer to this in my next blog post, so watch out for it!
And how did my running buddies get on? Two personal bests – one under 40 minutes. Did I mention they use TrainAsONE? 😀
A massive shout out to the race organisers, volunteers, and all those involved. A thoroughly enjoyable event. Thank you.
Happy training everyone.