Over-pacing and over-racing.

On Saturday I had a total fail of a race.

Basically, I decided that after all my hard training, I wanted to see how a flat out 10k would go. I’ve only done one before, and it was a pretty long time ago – so I figured anything I would do would be a PB.

My last tri 10k took me about 47 minutes – and so I considered it would be reasonable to aim for a 45minute 10k on fresh legs. There was some vague arithmetic here, in that my tri 5ks are usually in the region of 2mins slower than my PB 5ks – so actually as far as I could see, this was on the side of caution. But then we all know maths is not my strong point. (Two of my GCSE results blacken my generally good record – one maths, one German. I did not like maths or German. I probably couldn’t even tell you ‘I do not like maths’ in German.)

I travelled up to London with friends Dave and Neil, fuelled on peanut butter and honey toast, and felt generally relaxed. This, after all, was a training race – and I was going to do ok and it didn’t really matter.

I should have been a bit concerned when climbing the stairs at the station felt like hard work. With a 90minute brick carried out only a few days prior it was still in my legs, but still I thought all was likely to go ok.

Fast forward to the start line. I’d not really planned on a pacing strategy, I was basically going to run hard. After all, I could run hard for 45minutes without a problem, right?

Dave helpfully pointed out my k’s needed to me about 4.30/k for a 45min 10. I’m pleased he did this or it could have been worse.

You see, I set off and knocked my first k out in 4.16-4.18ish. Now – to some this might sound insignificant (it depends how much you run), to others its huge. 12 seconds x 10 = 120 – so I was running at a 43min 10k pace. I can promise you now, with my little experience, and at that stage of a mid-training build cycle (training often goes in sets of 3 hard weeks, one easy week – I had just finished week 2 of 3 hard weeks), I was not capable of holding that.

So I slowed a little.

The next K took me about 4.20. So I slowed by two seconds. Why were my legs not slowing down?

Of course – they did.

Quite signifcantly, in fact. Right about the 6k mark I pretty much died. Thankfully, I didn’t actully walk or I never would have run again but it was still what one might call a blowout.

In the end, I came out with a time in the region of 48.40 (seconds not exact, I have erased the memory from my mind and I’d rather not check..).

This, I think, will have to go down in the book as a ‘learning experience’ – just because a run is not coming after a swim and a bike, it doesn’t make it easy and it certainly is not going to automatically go well.

When all else fails – I suppose I can see this as evidence I am destined to be a triathlete, and not a runner – thought I would have thought the fact I own and use a heart rate montitor, paddles and a 2XU trisuit probably says it all.

I actually have another ‘training race’ in the form of Bexhill Sprint on Sunday. I am not quite sure I actually want to do it. My body, you see, appears to be tired.

Maybe that is just week three of the three week build talking. But regardless, after this race, it is all about Hever, and I will require a few weekends to not race in. I genuinly cannot wait for a lie in, and a few sociable bike rides.

When races stop being exciting, and become a bit of an inconvenience, both to life and to training, it really is time to take a little bit of time back for yourself. I am excited for Hever, I would very much like to see it as the jewel in the crown of a pretty good season – but I really do need a break first.

And yes, I have a time in mind. And no, I have no intention of sharing it with anybody.

Published by michellearthurs

I'm an NCTJ Journalist and work at Cycling Weekly. Previous to this, I was the Editor at Total Women's Cycling. I've also dabbled in marketing and copywriting - having been Marketing Coordinator and Social Media/Content Editor at Evans Cycles. My first job was working on a local newspaper.  I've written for a variety of titles on a freelance basis, too. I got into cycling when I entered my first triathlon in 2010. I now race crits, road races, time trials, and do a lot of track training for not very much track racing.

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