Well, the Summer didn’t really go as planned, the foot trouble gradually eased off eventually, but it meant that I had to scale back the racing and focus on training. Still, by the start of September I had managed over 2,500 miles of running, which is okay after a dodgy June/July. In August I just ran in a 5,000m track race, finishing well behind Gary Priestley and then had a better outing at the Sale Sizzler 5k, coming 5th in 15:07. Mileage has been good over the past two months and recently the speed sessions have started to click into place, which is what makes my performance at Lake Vyrnwy half marathon so disappointing.
I’ve averaged 80-90 miles with the exception of one (66) since late July, even getting in some 100+ weeks on occasion. Over the past few weeks I’ve started to see the back of the plantar fasciitis and have been nailing some decent sessions, such as 24x 400m (30 sec rec) in 72/73’s and on the Tuesday last week I was happy with 10x 600m (90 sec rec) in 1:41/42’s. I certainly felt in better form than this stage last year and was aiming to run under 67:30 and hopefully retain my title.
It was a warm breezy afternoon and at 1pm we were on our way around this scenic and fast course in mid-Wales. All seemed to be quite well in the early stages; the first three miles were covered at a good pace in 15:10 and by this point it was just myself and Ryan Holroyd battling it out slightly ahead of the others. The race carried on in this fashion over the next couple of miles, but it was around this part where I was surprisingly starting to struggle and having to work hard to contest the lead. Holroyd certainly seemed to be moving a lot better than I was and I knew it would only be a matter of time before the inevitable happened. By the seventh mile (35:5o-ish) I was still hanging on, but after another ten minutes of running I lost contact and was barely able to hold together any sort of respectable pace; I got slower and slower and slower – I think I ran the 11th – 12th mile close to six minutes! The gap behind me had closed almost as drastically as the one opened up ahead of me; I was 30 seconds ahead of third place, but nearly two minutes behind Ryan Holroyd, who ran superbly to bag the victory and a new pb in 67:59. My time of 69:56 was far from impressive and totally at odds with what I “thought” was my current form. It also didn’t stack well against other runs I had here, my previous times have been 66:55, 67:43, 66:50, 68:04, 67:53.
I have plenty of racing planned over the Autumn, so that will be the test to figure out if it’s a blip or whether I’m struggling to compete at the level I used to these days. I’m confident of a much better performance in my next race, the hard work will continue and also increase and hopefully there’s still some decent races before the year’s out. Perhaps a change of approach is required; compared to my days living in Manchester, I’m doing lots of hillier runs but at slower paces and it’s no coincidence that my best races this year have been on hilly courses.
Results can be found here: