Pre-Race Thoughts

It has been a month since I last raced; a month since I last posted. It was sunny on that night, but the mind was very clouded. The sun shines even brighter this evening, I’m sure that has partly helped to burn away some of the mental haze. My thoughts are mostly positive. They are, for the first time in a long time, not solely focused on one dark thing. That in itself I am sure will help with everything in the short to mid to long term.

Shortly after that last race I, somewhat hastily, it transpires, announced my sabbatical from racing. For tomorrow, all things going well, I will once again don the race vest, pin the number to my chest, put on the racing flats and do battle against myself and others. The distance of choice is five miles and the lure of a PB is the main driving force behind the late decision to enter. The allowance of the sabbatical to be broken is that there is absolutely no reason for me not to be out racing tomorrow. So I will. (For the record I’ve also entered the London Marathon on the Good For Age scheme – whether I’ll run that is totally out of my control at the moment).

Since the last race the focus has very much been on trying to get out and run as much as possible. With no real training goals or targets, instead I’ve allowed the clarity of mind that running can attain arguably more than any other activity to work its magic on me. In any circumstance, the summer months of running are an opportunity to enjoy the sun, when it shines, and the countryside. We have been fortunate thus far to have had plenty of sunshine and also fortunate that where we now live that there is plenty of countryside, much of it scenic and running friendly. There has been a fair amount of exploring and a little getting lost, but, as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Somewhere in the last couple of weeks I finished the initial cycle of eight weeks of my Quick Strength For Runners book. By then end the twenty minute programs had nearly tripled in length but there can be no doubt that my balance has improved, and the perennial problems in the back and hips have lessened in recent weeks. It may be coincidence but I’d like to think not. I’m now back repeating the cycle at week two and the exercises feel much easier than when I first began – a sign of progress. It won’t be long before I’m brave enough to balance on the Bosu Ball for advanced forms of the exercises – the ball that has been a fun trampoline for my daughter, but has seen little use from myself as yet.

Most of the running has been in the easy pace zone 7-7:20 minute miles. I did one 10 mile run at something around marathon heart rate, which went very well considering it was done on the spur of the moment and it was 25C or so. There has been a little bit of Stravalek thrown in, but mainly it has been easy or steady paced running.  Mileage peaked at 65 miles in the final week of June – sitting at 50-56 miles through July, mostly because I’ve not had chance to complete a weekend long run.

I’ve done just two intervals session in the past month – one a set of 800 meter reps with the club, which still felt a little too pointless (Back and forth, back and forth…) to be worthwhile (Enjoy the countryside whilst you can…). The other was just this Saturday gone, when I tested myself three times over a 2km loop which climbed for the opening km or so. Despite being tired and pretty dehydrated (It’s been hot and sunny recently) I was pleased with how the session went and so go into tomorrow’s race with, I reckon, a 50/50 chance of coming home with a new PB.

The five mile PB stands at 28:19, set at the Coventry Autumnal 5 back in 2012, which beat my previous PB, set in June 2000, by one whole second. The Summer Solstice time suggests that this is beatable if I have a solid run. A lot will do with how warm it is tomorrow (It is looking like another scorcher) and whether I can get in a good group of runners. Last year’s race suggests that what it lacks in numbers it more than makes up for in quality. I’ll take that if I can be towed around to something half decent.

Whatever happens I want to go out, race, and enjoy racing again. If I come away with a good placing or a PB – great. If not, well at least I was out there giving it a go.