Back on the ‘path

[Originally posted on Bristol Running Resource, 04/06/11]

Yesterday’s Towpath 10k was my first outing at 10k for more than three years. Having missed the Bristol 10k last month I thought I’d enter the next local race that I could get to, if only as a target to keep the training moving forward. I’m pretty sure it’s the first time I’ve run the Towpath 10k since I ran for GWR in the 2005 Inter-club Mob Match.

So how did it go? Well, given the problems I’ve had with injury over the last few months it went surprisingly well. Doubly so because I’ve only managed to run more than 6 miles once in the last three months. And that was last Sunday when I did 75mins on the flat.

I started right at the back. That’s not a bad strategy if you’re not sure how things are going to go. If you’re feeling good it means you get motivated by passing people. I also aimed to run an even pace. This usually means passing people throughout the race because a proportion of people always start off too fast.

I set off at a steady pace that was slightly faster than I’ve been training. It was clearly an effort. I’d call it ‘race pace’ although that might be overdoing it a bit. The most pleasing thing was that I ran the race at an almost totally even pace. My time for each km was the same to within +/-5 secs. Given the lack of training I was expecting to fade after 8k but everything kept going. It may be some sort of Pavlovian reaction to the course, having run the race quite a few times many years ago. Whatever the reason, I was pleased that I held it together.

So what about times? Well given the recent history of injury and lack of training I set my sights low. I thought that if I came in under an hour I’d be pleased. I wasn’t entirely sure I’d manage it. Going back six or seven years I was running regularly enough to know pretty closely, from my training, how I’d do in a race. I’ve lost sight of those benchmarks. Anyway, in the end I arrived home in 51m56s. So, from one angle, that is great. Of course, lurking in the back of my mind is the knowledge that this time is more than 10minutes slower than my lifetime best. So inevitably – if entirely unrealistically – there is a little sense of disappointment.

But, more important, I feel like I’m properly back up and running. That is a spur to getting the training a bit better organised. Or at least it will be, once the monumentally large blister on my right instep heals!

If you’ve not run a race in the Towpath series it is well worth considering. There are three more races this summer: 8th July (10k), 5th August (10k), 26th August (5k).

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