RACES: Trialling Gibbet Hill

As readers may have caught up on over the weekend, I decided not to do Gibbet Hill during my intense hill work phase as Nobby Hashizume told me “You don't pull out the plant to make sure it's rooting correctly. Have faith in the program.”

However, I was going along with Aoife to support her defense of her victory in 2009 on the root while she’s testing her own reactions to her prolonged injury. She showed that despite a year of very sporadic (or often no running), she was still capable of both winning the race and not being too far of last year's time. For myself, I ran through the coures in my head and it seemed a perfect spot to do a “sort-of-Lydiard-session” in a very time-effective way.

If I got a number I knew it’d be racing like a maniac, so I didn’t take one and let the crowd go off with a lead of 400m or so. Then I followed at an easy aerobic pace at first, warming myself into the route on the flat start. My idea was simple: Run the full course at a solid aerobic effort (not jogging) then start doing my exaggerated uphill running on the many ups and stride the downhills. The course was really perfect for this combination of the Lydiard session and a fartlek and the movement was surprisingly effective!

My legs were finally recovering (they’d been feeling much better after Friday’s two-hour run, there’s no better cure than a long aerobic run) so I felt great for the beginning and although you got a bit of that tiredness you feel at the end of a good steady run, I arrived at the finish in a very good condition knowing I had put more money in the bank instead of taking it out.

The time reading was very promising at 52:46, only 1:39 slower than last year’s time when I was racing my heart out in defense of the second position I held from early on until the 9th kilometre and the last fatal steep climb. As time trials go, this bodes well for my current form and allows me to “see if it’s rooting correctly” without pulling up the plant. I was never anaerobic during the race and my stride was relaxed downhill until the final descent when I wanted to really practice the quick feet. I could do this with a 3:14 kilometre which shows that I’m getting there whilst still not fully geared to crunch out a 3-minute kilometre or below (the anaerobic training starting next week could provide the extra energy system for this final push).

All in all, this was a fantastic way to do a session: A beautiful sunny course with great views. “Pacers” throughout to latch onto and a much happier reunion with the big steep hill at nine kilometres: It was interesting that even aerobically I could run kilometres 9, 10 and 11 faster than last year. I slowed down a bit on the 300m so as to not interfere with the finish just in time to see Aoife finish her race and catch up with Mick who had finished second behind Martin Monaghan who looks like he is the man to wrap up the League at the third race at the Dunes in June.

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