So on to Bolton and race three of the Red Rose Cross Country League (12/11/16) and whilst this race had no large hill climb to battle up (4 times as it was in Blackburn), I felt this three lap course was far more challenging as there were multiple hill climbs & descents of various sizes, there were twists & turns and there was a wide mix of terrain. An opinion slightly backed up by Smashrun, who gave this course exactly the same hill difficulty level it gave to Blackburn with its (4 out of 6).
Again my pace was slower than the previous two races, but I again I feel that this was yet another improvement in my cross country running. Like Blackburn, I approached the race more tactically than I did Leigh, but unlike like Blackburn I didn’t finish the race feeling like I could have given a lot more. Although I did still finish strong, passing a number of runners on the final lap and achieving my highest placing yet 47th. Which isn’t the slightest bit impressive, however it is almost 20 places above where I finished the last two times out.
So it’s a marked improvement, despite it being a tougher course, suggesting that my strength work is going to plan. I also managed to get spiked in the race, around the knee and quad area. I remember it happening……..well I remember thinking it had happened, it was only after the race that I noticed it had happened. I took a hill descent in my normal kamikaze style, ending up right behind a group of three runners. I then felt one of their feet come right up right up against my leg and I thought I am a bit close here, thank goodness he wasn’t wearing spikes, before nipping around the three of them and pushing on. Afterwards, I spotted a small amount of blood on my leg and in the car home I noticed two more marks and then today I spotted a fourth mark. So the lesson here is, do not run too close to someone in cross country or you will get spiked.
In other news, I am continuing to fit in at least one off-road training run a week and I have continued with my gym workouts. Covering the strength part of the five S’s.
I have also upped my mileage and this week I reached 60 miles, covering the stamina S.
I have continued to make to the track training sessions and I completed my new Thursday cycle by running my first tempo running since….well who knows….I can’t remember when I last did one of those. But i am glad i went out i did one, even if still felt slightly sore on the morning of Bolton. Something i think was due to me running the tempo faster than I should have. With Runners World, recommending i should aim for 6:10 pace and me hitting 5:55 pace at one point. So that’s not training smart and neither was the decision to run 18 miles, the day after race…….hopefully that won’t come back to bite me. So that covers Speed and I am continuing with my morning and evening stretching, ticking off suppleness.
Leaving just one of the five S’s, skill….and this more to do with running technique and I am consciously working on/thinking about that. So I would now say that I have successfully managed to incorporate the five S’s into my weekly training. How I will continue to do this as I increase my mileage, I am not sure. But I will try and that’s the main thing.
Next up my first road race since the summer, 10 miles and fingers crossed I will finally go under 1:03:00, something I think done in a half marathon but for whatever reason haven’t done it in a 10 miler. Annoying.
So unlike the cross country races, I will treat myself to an easy week, bringing the mileage right back down, putting the gym work on hold, step out of the three week Thursday cycle (hill reps, mile repeats, tempo) and hoping for the best come Sunday.