Eat, sleep, run, repeat. I love that I’m able to run again and touch wood pain free for the majority. As I mentioned in my training blog last week I am slowly rebuilding the miles in training. I’ve yet to re-introduce speed work, that’s still to come. With my comeback it’s a long term goal and not about short term gains. As much as I find it frustrating to have lost my top end speed. To give you a time figure, my first parkrun of the year was 20:54, I have in the past run almost 4 minutes quicker!. Now I drew a line in the sand at the start of 2020. Cleared the records and started fresh but I would be lying if I didn’t have ambitions to get quick again, however patience is paramount this time round.
With nearly 8 years of running under my belt I’ve learnt loads. I know it usually takes around 6 weeks of consistent training to notice a difference. It can take months, years in fact to build up speed, but when you don’t train for months it is easily lost, however it’s not all doom and gloom as I learnt from doing my personal training course is muscle memory. In that the years banked in training your muscles retain that knowledge by consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. So slowly my body is beginning to remember what I used to do and by slowly rebuilding and I get my fitness back, my speed is slowly returning. It can take months maybe even the rest of 2020 before I’m back to where I’d like to be. My first and main aim is to be able to run pain free for the rest of the year.
However, anyone who knows me knows I am a competitive runner. I want to be the best and fastest version of me, I set a goal and soon as I achieve it I set my next target. When I did my first parkrun of the year, my goal was to finish and set a benchmark. I achieved that. My next goal was to run sub 20:30. That came last week and as I was only 3s off sub 20, my next goal was to run sub 20 for parkrun. This brings me to this past Saturday’s parkrun
It was Hillsboroughs 7th birthday. Here is a fact in a previous life I ran the 3rd ever Hillsborough parkrun way back in 2013, there was 94 finishers that day and I finished with a 23:58. Fast forward 7 years and this past weekend over 700 runners finished. The course in my opinion in parts struggles with that amount of runners. As it’s tradition the birthday run is always done the opposite way. Now it has potential this way to be much faster as you have a short sharp hill then a fast flowing downhill before a slight climb back to the start, however now due to the volume of finishers the section from the car park to the start/finish straight is too narrow and with runners being lapped means there is no room, the vast majority stay right allowing others to pass on the left but a few with headphones are in their own little bubble and not aware of their surroundings and means you have to slow or go on the grass to get round. For me I would rather slow and lose time then risk slipping on the grass, however I do think headphones should be turned down so they can hear instructions from marshals and other runners. Anyway slight moan over.
After the pre-run speech from current run director and the original founder, it was a mass movement as everyone had to change direction and walk to start at same time. Then it was go time. I shot off like shit of a shovel as I do and was soon in my stride as we rounded the library. I was feeling good as we descended down the park and was well under 6 minute pace. As we rounded the tennis courts and back up the park we all slowed due to the strong head wind and I lost around 30s just in this section but still came through first mile in 6:19. Happy with that I knew I need to push before we started lapping. I did find the downhill a little tough on the knee but again the first half of lap felt good running sub 6 pace then we began to lap folk from the tennis courts. I dropped a couple of places as I had to either slow to avoid collisions or to shout “on your left”. Coming back up park was a nightmare as it was so busy, I just past when I could and waited when I could not, I had to cut the top corner just to get round and then was a case of holding on in last lap. Truth be told I felt quicker the previous week but second lap buzzed in 6:24 which was good but the entire last lap was a battle to get past folk.
Attack when I could and sit in when I couldn’t I lost more places on the top half of the lap but couldn’t get leg speed up again on 3rd downhill section and then those who were happy to run on mud took me on the climb back up and just scrapped into the top 20 as was out sprinted on final 0.11. I looked at watch and said 19:57. I was shocked as thought I was slower but it turned out I had knocked another 6s off my parkrun time. Another goal achieved, however, I now want to do it on the usual route especially as the downhill section is back to normal instead of the zig-zag down the hill it is straight as the path has been repaired. After I achieve a sub 20 on the normal course I will focus on 19:30 as my next target.