Blackburn Winter Warmer 10k (05/02/2017)

Training has continued to progress nicely and I banked over 400 miles in January, with lots of quality sessions and decent paced runs. Our group at Blackburn Harriers is the strongest it’s been for a number of years and I’ve been reaping the benefits of being pushed each week by Tim Raynes and Jack Hindle. Going off all this training, I fancied my chances at surpassing my best time set in the Blackburn Winter Warmer from 2010, which stands at 31:23. With Tim also entered in the race, a performance of that level could well be required to win.

This years race was held in memory of local runner and Blackburn Road Runner, Andrew Boardman, who sadly passed away last year. It’s a very demanding 10k course, with some hefty climbing in the first 3k, so my aim was to attack this section and try to establish an early lead. I managed to get a small gap on Tim and Danny Collinge after the first couple of kilometres, reaching 3km in 10:29; which seemed slow given the effort I put in. I made halfway in 16:24, which is where the course gets quite a bit easier, still, my time of 31:23 looked to be out of reach. I pushed on but I knew my record had got away by 7k (22:49). I then just focused on keeping up the pace as best I could, knowing that Tim could still close the gap with a strong finish. I came on to the track for a final lap of 400m and I was satisfied with my time of 32:02. Tim Raynes finished well and was also under 33 minutes, which certainly points towards achieving a sub 31-minute 10k on a flat course. Danny Collinge flew the flag for TeamFish/Up & Running with a fine performance for third and was closely followed by two more Blackburn Harriers runners; the fast finishing Tom Blaney and Jack Hindle, both of whom are progressing really well. It was also good to see old friend and rival, Antony Ford on his way back with another race under his belt and hopefully Michael Hammer will continue his recent progress, training with us on Tuesday nights.


The next race was on Tuesday evening, which would be a first for me; an indoor track race! It’s strange that I’ve competed for all these years and never done one before, as I used to run quite a lot of outdoor 1500m and 3,000m races when I was a junior. I entered the BMC 1500m at Sheffield and it was quite a daunting prospect, even more so when I noticed Anthony Whiteman knocking around; I was definitely out of my comfort zone here! The event was divided into A and B races and I wasn’t quite quick enough for the A race (3:56), which was a shame, but I suppose I was saved from the fear of coming last! The target pace for the B race was about 4:05, with the pacemaker hitting 200m laps of 32-33 seconds, which would get us to 800m in 2:08-2:09. I stayed on his shoulder and initially it seemed rather easy, but I think this was to do with the psychological effect of doing 200m laps and that early comfort soon started to disappear. 800m was reached in 2:09, but the pace was already starting to burn and over the next few laps I gradually slowed, though I did at least have a decent lead in front. 1,000m was reached in 2:43 and I finished with 4:09; not quite the time I was hoping for, but it was a good experience to learn from and I’m looking forward to doing more in the future. For now though, my attentions will switch back to the road; Bath and Hastings half marathons in March.

Later that week I had the privilege of being interviewed on a local radio station, RibbleFM, where various running topics got covered during an hour slot. Kath is a keen runner, so it was quite easy to talk all things running for that period of time. They also offered to play some songs I liked, so The Smiths and Echo & The Bunnymen got a bit of airtime! Here’s the interview, minus The Smiths and Echo & The Bunnymen, which you’ll have sadly missed out on!

Results for 10k & 1500m.

The past three weeks training…

Sun 22nd Jan

9am – 15 miles to Clitheroe in 1hr 28.

Mon 23rd

6pm – 11.5 miles easy, including run with Running4CF.

Tue 24th

6pm – Session: 12x 600m (90 sec rec). 1:42, 1:40, 1:40, 1:40, 1:40, 1:41, 1:41, 1:41, 1:41, 1:41, 1:42, 1:41

12.5 miles total.

Wed 25th

11:45am – 4 miles hard in 20:47.

5:15pm – Session: 30x 400m (100m jog rec). Averaged 73 seconds.15.5 miles total.

Thur 26th

8:15am – 4.5 miles to Blackburn in 28:50.

5pm – 7 miles in 47:20.

6:45pm – 4 miles with Run Group.

Fri 27th

9am – 5 miles on the track in 25:58. A bit icy on the surface. 6 miles total.

7pm – 11 miles with Allan Hartley in 78:30.

Sat 28th

4pm – 5 miles in 35 mins. Groin stiff, only a short run today.


Sun 29th Jan

12:30pm – 13 miles around Entwistle Reservior. Ran there and back with Hannah.

Mon 30th

6pm 7.5 miles easy in 49:35.

Tue 31st

8:15am – 4 miles to Blackburn in 25:37.

6pm – Session: 1x 400m, 2x 800m, 3x 1k, 2x 800m, 1x 400m (1 min/2 min/ 2:30 recoveries) 65, 2:18, 2:18, 2:53, 2:53, 2:54. 2:17, 2:17, 63 . 12 miles total

Wed 1st

8am – 7.5 miles to Ramsgreave in 49:30.

6pm – 8.5 miles home from Clayton in 60 mins.

Thur 2nd

8:15am – 4 miles to Blackburn in 25:55.

6:45pm – 3 miles with SRG run group.

8:15pm – Session: 16x 200m (jog 200m rec) All around 32’s. 10.5 miles.

Fri 3rd

1:30pm – 12 miles around Edgworth in 1hr 21.

Sat 4th

6:45pm – 5 miles in 34 mins.


Sun 5th Feb

6:30am – 1 mile easy loosen up. 11 am: Blackburn Winter Warmer 10k: 1st 32:02. 10.5 miles.

Mon 6th

11:30am – 7 miles in 47:45.

6pm – 8 miles including run with Running4CF.

Tue 7th

10am – 5 miles in 34:30.

9:15pm – BMC indoor 1500m (B race) 1st, 4:09. 6 miles total.

Wed 8th

6:15pm – 11 miles in 75 mins.

Thur 9th

7:15pm – 15 miles steady progression run. 1 hr 35.

Fri 10th

6:15pm – 15 miles home from Burnley in 1hr 39. Had managers meeting at Harrogate, squeezed in a run on way back from train station.

Sat 11th

8:15am – 10.5 miles hard to Clitheroe from Blackburn. 10 miles was in 54:55, just under 5:30 pace with an easy half-mile.

4:30pm – Session: 5x 6 min reps (2 min jog rec) at threshold effort. 11 miles total.

TOTAL: 100


About vintagerunning

I'm an experienced club runner with a sub 2hr 20 marathon and hold a UK Athletics Level 2 coaching qualification. My main interest is in the post-war era of British distance running.
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4 Responses to Blackburn Winter Warmer 10k (05/02/2017)

  1. Ian Barnett says:

    Hello Ben. Your training as recorded on Strava certainly suggests a very good performance is just round the corner and I hope you nail the Bath HM. But just one thing should you be taking some time off in the lead up to these big races? I always think complete rest is rather under estimated by many distance runners and looks like you have the stamina and speed in your legs already. Do you think taking complete rest for the 2 days prior to Bath is going to freshen up the legs and let you really attack your PB? Cheers, Ian Barnett – a fellow Blackburn H. but bsed down south.

    • Cheers Ian. It’s something I’ve been trying to figure out and even after all these years of racing I’m not 100% sure myself. What I have found when I look back over my training, is that I’ve often got pb’s on the way leading up to a big race, usually with very little tapering, then when I reduce it going into a marathon I seem to struggle, though I think this is more psychological. I do plan to back off a bit in the week leading up to Bath and the aim is to hit these next two weeks hard. That approach worked for me in 2012/13, where I seem to thrive off 100-120 miles per week, then an easy week of 80 going into an important race. I plan to experiment with different approaches this year and take that experience into a marathon in 2018. In the past, I found days off rarely worked for me. March will be the test on whether my methods are working, as I don’t think the results have matched up to what I think my training has suggested. It could be something I reconsider.

      • Ian Barnett says:

        Ben, I understand it’s win at the Bath HM and a pb. Many congratulations and a pint or two of something is due after that one. Cheers, Ian Barnett.

      • Cheers Ian, yeah, been living like a monk these past few weeks!

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