After a few days of wrestling with twelve A4 sheets of paper, each one for a separate month, I reached the conclusion that I should totally focus my efforts on the Great North Run in September, not try to kill myself by running another half in the spring, but instead concentrate on improving my shorter race times and do a few shorter races. Bingo! That’s me sorted for the year then!
I decided, for no obvious reason, to start by improving my 10k time. At the moment my race PB is 65 minutes and I’d really like to get under the hour, at least. So, once again, I’ve turned to Jeff Galloway for guidance.
I know that everyone has their own running gurus, but Jeff was my saviour when running all of a sudden became incredibly painful and every run was soul destroying. His run:walk:run system has been well proven by even long standing runners to work, allowing them to run as fast in the closing stages as in the starting ones by allowing muscles to rest before they become tired. My own interval times are invariably constant, if not faster towards the end.
Of course, not everyone understands the concept. A friend has told me that I should be looking to lengthen my running times, as if I couldn’t run without walking! I feel like shouting of course I can run without walking but I choose not to because this way is better! It’s not cheating or giving up. It’s making good use of different muscle groups, effectively eliminating fatigue. What’s not good about that? Many ultra runners use a run:walk system and, blimey, if it’s good enough for them…
Anyway, back to the plot.
I have started using Jeff’s Easy 10k app, with it set to improve my 10k time. I’ve set the goal and he’s worked out a training programme with an appropriate walk interval length and pace. It works exactly the same as the 5k programme of his that I used to hit my 30 minute 5k target last summer. The app, designed by LoLo, uses beat synced music, either theirs which you can download for free or your own for which they work out the bpm. It’s pretty impressive and their own music has grown on me as I’ve used it!
My first session was a 6.5km run. It started nice and easy with a 4.8 kph walk and then I did two run intervals of 10.3 separated by a one minute walk. It sped up slightly after that to 11.3; not a problem. Then Jeff said let’s do it at race pace. Holy moly, I wasn’t expecting that! 12.2 kph for hours! Well it seemed that way! I just about managed it and, to be fair, the more I did, the easier it got. This was followed by a five minute run at 11.3 and then a three minute walk. Let’s say I knew I’d done it!
I’m also trying to build up my core. Nice and easy to begin with because last time I ended up hurting my shoulders and neck. I’m focusing on planking to improve my general core strength and leg raised crunches to improve my lower abs, my weak spot. Once I can see that I’m getting somewhere with those I can start of my obliques and upper abs. There is method in my madness.