The Preston 10 Mile

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 Crazy gloves for a crazy guy : Heading to the finish line

Sunday November 20th and my first road race since August, a 10 mile road race that I have wanted to do for a number of years but for one reason or another I have never had the chance. The Preston 10 mile.

Ahead of the race, things didn’t look good heavy rain was forecast, my Friday run had felt a little sluggish and on my Saturday run I was unable to hit my training target. However, come race day, the sun was out and I felt well rested. Aided in part by my traditional long lie-in on the day before the race, something I started doing because I would often struggle to sleep the day before a race.

The next thing that went my way, was when standing at the crowed start line, a runner stood to my side on the pavement told me how he had a clear run and I pointed out how he would have if it wasn’t for the group of spectators down the road. To which, he replied don’t worry I know them, I’ll clear them, I know them. So I followed him and sure enough the crowd did move and for change I was able to run unrestricted right from the start. However, noting my pace was coming up as 5:40 I decided to slow right down to my pre-planned pace of 6:20, a plan based on my 10 mile PB.

Last time I ran a 10 mile race, I tried to hit 6:15 the whole way around with the aim of going sub 63 minutes, that didn’t work. So this time I had returned to my tried and tasted strategy of using my PB pace as my guide. However early on I was finding it hard to hit that time, with my watch often reading 6:10 or 6:15. One reason for this was that unlike in Elswick, I was surrounded by other runners who I could pace off. Although things were going too well as I completed the first mile in 6:09. So I gradually slowed, until I could find some runners, running at the pace I wanted to hit. I was then able to hit the next two miles in 6:19 followed by the next two in 6:20 pace. Pretty much perfect pacing.

The plan was to run mile six at the same pace, before using the next three miles of the race to gradually speed up before hitting a fast final mile. However, mile six came in at 6:15 pace, so I decided that the plan was already in action and I completed the next two miles in 6:08 and 6:09. Then came mile 8 and I was well ahead of where I wanted to be and feeling confident. However despite trying to increase the pace, I found this mile hard going and completed it in 6:21.

Worried that the wheels may be about to fall off, I put in one last effort, there was one mile left and I was going to give it everything, I had left to achieve my goal. Passing a number of runners along the way confidence returned and seeing one more runner up ahead who was struggling, I made it my goal to catch him and pass him. Something I did with perhaps 400 metres to go and then it was a matter of trying to hold on, completing the final 322 metres in 5:08 pace and the final mile in 5:58 pace, to complete the race in 01:02:18 a huge PB of over one minute!

So the return to road racing was a success, this was a course that helped me, being fairly flat and including several long straight section. The weather on the day of the race was perfect for me and training smart, I had dropped my mileage right down on the week of the race. I also felt stronger and fitter than when I ran my last 10 mile, it’s clear that the training I have been doing, aiming for the five S’s, is working and there could be more to come.

SmashRun provide you with estimated finish times for selected distances based on your run time and from this race they estimate I could run 5K in 17:50 (A PB), 10K in 37:30 (A PB), HM in 1:23:20 (Slower than my PB) and a marathon in 2:55:49 (A PB). So plenty of room for improvement and more PB’s to follow…….maybe…….hopefully……fingers crossed.

Twitter : @SJPC14
Garmin : SJPC14
Smashrun : SJPC14

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