Well what a week that was. I have detailed my illness woes but after an evening of shopping and two full days (oh yes) of work I felt that I could at least have a trot around the Maidstone Parkrun on Saturday morning in order to blow some much needed cobwebs out.
Well I say a trot around, as well all know such things are purely relative. I started trotting and feeling great, then got better and more comfortable. My watch it seemed though was having a bit of a fit on me, beeping every few seconds off and on. This is where I had forgotten about fiddling with my watch after my last run! I had been playing around with the settings and had turned on the pacer mode.
This I must say is a brilliant setting and I can't believe I have never thought to use it before. Normally I just 'lock and load' with the time elapsed and the distance covered on my arm. This has worked well so far but as far as training goes I don't think really would help me in the long term to maintain and improve my pace and speed over routes. The virtual pacer was causing the watch to beep away at me so much because I was under or over or on pace. The pace I set was a perfectly maintainable 5:20 per km split and so running just under pace was not too difficult, it wasn't easy but it wasn't impossible by any means. I think it would have been easier to maintain had I not been ill this week!
What I now need to remember to do is to change the pacing to suit the race/distance I am covering. For instance for the 5k Parkrun I can set a faster pace than a 15 mile trail run.
So there I was trotting along with my beeping watch and everything felt comfortable, so naturally I decided to increase the pace and match my watch, as a matter of fact I ended up running the route mostly ahead of pace.
One slightly annoying thing was that my GPS didn't connect until the beginning of the run even though I had been trying to get a lock for a fair few minutes before hand.
So the watch didn't record a full 5k but I still got an official time. This was remember my first run in nearly 10 days due to illness. However I still managed to run 5k in a PB time of 23:36 and come 35th out of 206.
Now I know I always say PBs are not the be all and end all, I think they are mostly useful for showing progress in training. However I am fairly pleased with this time, hopefully I can edge towards a 20 minute 5k and then be able to maintain that pace for longer events. Certainly my legs and breathing feel strong enough to do that. There is though still a long way to go. However it now I think will come down to training and a lot of mental preparation!
I do need to work on running longer and longer distances in order to get my limbs used to the distance and the feeling especially when running with a forefoot strike. One thing that I noticed today was a pain where the ball of my foot was striking the ground. It is amazing how some inactivity for a few days can soften your foot so much. I am also a little worried of the distance being more punishing on joints than I am used to, and the return of chaffing - never a good thing! However it is time to start upping the mileage and running longer distances.
Speaking of longer distances I have taken the plunge and entered my first Ultra Marathon. It's 35 miles and in May so I have plenty of time to work up to it. I think I will enter a few shorter races, especially trail marathons up to the event to get my race pace/distance all where it needs to be. The event I have chosen to enter is the Ox Ultra Marathon organised by White Star Running. There are a few other ones I am looking at as well but for now the Ox is the goal!
The one thing I will say is the money doesn't half jump up from entering a 10k to entering an ultra event. I suppose I will start to be incredibly selective on which events I run, or get a sponsor in order to prevent this becoming a very expensive hobby!