8 Weeks to Go

Training Round Up (Week to 12th July)

A bit of a poor week on the cycling front, I didn’t have a dedicated cycling session this week.

I commuted in on Tuesday and Thursday, which amounts to only around 54 km of cycling in total all week. That being said, it is great feeling when you’re on your bike and most people are suffering sitting in traffic in 25+ degrees weather when there’s a tube strike! It was great seeing so many people on their bikes, even if they were on those abominations known as ‘Boris’ bikes.

The strike prevented me from getting into the gym on Wednesday, however I did manage two circuit sessions on Monday and Friday.

Lee Valley 10 km Race

On Sunday I had my last race (running) before I solely dedicated my training for Ride Across Britain. The weather was great for July, it wasn’t too warm and generally cloudy (I massively struggle if the temperature is anything above 20 degrees when running).

It was a comfortable 10 am start, however I started off quite hard, far quicker than my pacing plan. It’s a rookie mistake to start off quickly as you get caught up in the excitement and adrenaline at the beginning of a race, because you’ll definitely rue it later when you run out of steam and 99% of the time you’ll be slower than if you’d started off steady. I noticed this after half a km and slowed my pace down. I had to keep reminding myself to forget my pride as other people overtook me, knowing that I’d eventually overtake a lot of them as the race went on.

After that I ran at a decent pace running between different groups of runners as I incrementally raised my pace every few km. I reached the halfway point just under 24 minutes, the plan being to run a negative split (the first half of the race being slower than the second), but I was slightly down on my target time.

In the second half of the race, not a single person overtook me and I overtook a fair number of runners, many who’d sped past me in the first few km. A lot of the race after that is a blur and I just about managed to look at my Garmin at each km mark to determine how much further I was falling behind my pacing plan. After the 8th km I decided to put the hammer down in an attempt to get back on track. It was definitely a foolish move as I was really suffering in the last km. I pride myself (at least from experience) on my turn of speed in the last few km’s of a race, but this time I really struggled, with technique going out of the window as I fought with my mind to just keep on going. The finish line was after a bridge, which felt incredibly steep at that point in the race, however I sprinted as hard as I could through the finish.

My official chip time was 45 minutes 24 seconds (48 out of 247 runners), which I’m delighted with. I’d eaten really badly the day before (I’ve self diagnosed myself with an eating disorder, but that’s a story for another time). Moreover I’ve been suffering a long time with ‘runner’s knee’, originally in the left knee and when I thought I’d recovered, it had started in the right. Although I had raced a duathlon earlier in the year, this confirmed that I was getting back to my peak in terms of running. I was less than 30s off my PB and I know I can smash that in the future.

The race though was a glorious revelation. Of the handful of races I’d previously taken part in, they’ve all been mass advertised and mass participation, where you’re fighting for space with thousands of other people. Some of these races charge up to £50, which is ridiculous compared to the Lee Valley Race which was only £12 with chip timing! OK so you don’t get a branded running t-shirt at the end or a medal (I’ve got plenty of crappy ones, thanks), but the difference in cost could cover the entry fees for a few more races.

Overall the course was quite flat apart from a few bumps over bridges. Although you can probably set a quick time, a lot of the race is on trails and there are a number of sharp and narrow corners so it’d be hard to set PBs. Still I definitely want to race here again in the future.

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You’ll notice I’m writing this post quite late, I ended up doing absolutely no training the following week as I was focussing on revision for an exam the Wednesday after, nor did I have any time to even write this post. Normal service will resume shortly….

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8 Weeks to Go

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