Saturday, 16 May 2009

Day 20 - running the home stretch

Type - tempo run

Distance - 5 miles

Time - 38 minutes 30 seconds

I went home for the weekend, a trip to see the parents delayed from the week before my birthday by helping the marathon running loons and long overdue. I take my running kit, and have planned for a run on Saturday morning.

After the great paced run on Thursday the goal for today’s tempo run seemed initially modest. I wanted to tick off one of the three objectives Jarlath had set for the coming weeks (to run 7 miles in under an hour, 5 miles in under 40 minutes and 6.5 miles in 52 minutes). Given I had already done a longer steady run this week I decided to go for a tempo run and beat the 5 miles in under 40 minutes.

Five miles in 40 minutes calls for running 8 minute miles, which, with a slower warm up time included at the start, meant something like 7½ minute miles for the bulk of the running.

I plan a route that will take me into Leyland along Croston Road, a loop behind a housing estate and back along Croston Road until a final loop round Church Lane and Coote Lane – largely linear but ‘bulked out’ by the two loops to take it to five miles. I put the finish at the top of School Lane, thinking about the hill that reaches from Church Lane to this top. Ah, its not steep – it’ll be fine. Plus I get to wear the new clothes from my splurge yesterday.

The run is over a perfect route – largely flat (but remember that last hill, Ian), few obstacles or roads to cross and easily memorable mile markers. It is early, and there are few cars and people around. A few dog walkers are out, all old men with cloth caps and bright eyed black and white spaniels – is it a club? But the time, a threat of rain and stiff wind keeps most people indoors. I start with a warm up jog, and ease into a decent pace. Perhaps too quickly, I finish the first mile in eight minutes. With a longer warm up this should have taken maybe nine minutes, perhaps longer.

Then I relax into a very comfortable pace through two and three miles, heading down towards seven minute miles for these sections. It is still windy, and soon a light drizzle settles in (fine rain, the sort that soaks you through – a special north-west nod to Peter Kay). It feels good to be running in the rain and it is not cold. And then my legs start to ache. Maybe I have peaked too soon, paced a little aggressively as the run up to mile four is noticeably harder. I am finding it harder to stretch into a longer stride, to keep up the speed.

A car pulls over, and the driver hails me. I reluctantly, but politely stop, remove headphones and listen to him ask for directions to Sainsburys. I direct him, and have wasted 40 seconds in the exchange. It doesn’t do to be rude, especially back in the friendly north, but that was annoying. By mile four the pace is back to around 7½ minute miles, and I have ten minutes to get the run in at under 40 minutes. I turn into Church Lane, and climb the smaller bridge that crosses a railway line, and then remember the last half mile will take me over the hill.

That hill. That stupid, triple humped, twin railtrack crossing hill. It stretches upwards from the junction of Church Lane and Coote Lane for about half a mile before curving downwards to my finishing line at the top of School Lane. I powered up the first hump, crossing the single-track line to Ormskirk, thinking that there wasn’t much further to go I tried to power up the second hump, crossing the Pennines Line. I could do it, but there wasn’t much left for a burst of speed. I reach the top and use the downward momentum to build up to a sprint, before staggering up the final climb to the finish.

I finish at 38 minutes 30 seconds. With either a flatter finish or not stopping to give directions I would have done it in under 38 minutes, or five miles at a 7½ minute mile pace. That said I shaved 3 minutes and 45 seconds from the time on Friday 8 May, and felt in fine fettle. Other observations – I don’t mind adverse weather, I really like my running t-shirt but I am not convinced by compression shorts. They slightly chafed my inner thigh, and if this is the case at 5 miles then I worry for greater distances. I will buy some looser running shorts and see what I make of them.

I finish at the top of my street, and walk home the few hundred yards as a nice warm down and then stretch off. There is no water at home – the mains has been cut off. I end up washing in the Evian I had bought as a post-run drink. Who said its grim up north?

No comments:

Post a Comment