Tonight I tested myself on my old favourite tempo course. It's not a fantastic scenic route, or particularly fast course and it's an odd distance (3.94 miles)! It is however a course with some history for me as I have used this course for about 5 years and have built up a "bank" of times that I can use to assess my fitness.
I intended to use this course tonight to see how I was. I have done this course twice in 2011 clocking 22.24 and 22.09. It is about two months since I last ran it and have trained reasonably well since then and clocked up a few good 10ks in the past few weeks.
Five minutes before setting off the heavens opened and the wind whipped up...tonight's run could be a challenge! The start of the run is about half a mile away so I jogged to the start and did my usual limbering and stretching. The first mile into the wind I clocked 5.32 and felt comfortable. Mile 2 5.33 and Mile 3 5.35. Encouraged by these mile splits and feeling realtively comfortable I pushed on thinking a sub 22 might be on the cards. This would be a best ever clocking on this course (previous best ever 22.09). I wanted to stay as relaxed as possible on the last section and maybe this was my downfall as I clocked 22.03 for the course. I'm happy with that effort which was an average of 5.36 miling! Still though the Sub 22 eludes me! It's getting closer though!
I'm reading an interesting book called "Run - the Mind Body Method of Running by Feel" by Matt Fitzgerald. In this book the author talks about "making it matter". Quote: " the degree of suffering that a runner is willing to tolerate is largely dependent upon the perceived importance of the effort". For me this sums up why I use this tempo as a regular effort. I could choose a better course, a more even distance, less traffic, flatter, faster etc etc but this course has become important to me because I have used it for some time.....It means something to me...it has history...it is screaming at me to get a sub 22! Tonight it told me "I'm ready and in better shape than I have been for a while!"
Roll on Chester!