DIARY: Sub-40 10ks

I’ve had the sniffles and a rough sore throat since Saturday so ended up having to cut Sunday’s run down to just 13km. The loss of a long run is not something I like to see with only 6 weeks remaining for Copenhagen but with the Wexford half-marathon looming this weekend, I need to keep a full-blown flu at bay.

My new VivoBarefoot shoes arrived yesterday, both the off-road and road running version and my impression is overwhelmingly positive so far. Will post review and pictures later. Either way, I took an easy Monday as well to try and burn out the cold (didn’t succeed but enjoyed the short run).

I was never myself during Tuesday’s work hours but I thought that since I had found the strength to go to work I could clearly run my session. Instead of a hard anaerobic session, not that useful for a marathon anyway, I had pencilled in the stamina workout 20x400m with 100m active recovery. The 400s are meant to be run at 10k pace.

Amidou, Jeff, Eamonn and I picked one of the grassy loops in Marlay after a 4km warm-up and the set of basic natural movement drills. Amidou has now begun his proper training and thus is in the aerobic phase. I didn’t want him to do a hard session, so I told him to just stick to my shoulder, my 10k pace should be about his 15km to half-marathon pace and with the 100m floats it would be a high aerobic workout for him rather than lightly anaerobic as for me.

I had calculated that 87 seconds was equal to my current target of 36:24 for 10km and we hit that precisely in the first 400. But then the incline on the southern part of the lap kicked in and the grass and wind factor and splits became quite erratic but we stayed steady. Amidou sat comfortably at my shoulder and I was working without ever feeling like blowing.

When we hit midway just under 20 minutes, I thought it would be fun to ensure I didn’t slack of the effort so much that we wouldn’t break 40 minutes for the 10k. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while in training. It’s not that meaningful anymore when I’m training to run at sub-4 minute pace in a marathon but under the conditions, and my feeling well below my best, it was extremely encouraging to cruise in at 39:45 before jogging another few kilometres back to the car park.

It really is hard to believe I had to put in more effort to sneak in close to 40 minutes in the La Santa 10k back in November. Four and half months later, fitness is in an entirely different place.

My only worry is that once the adrenaline went, I felt quite flat and then had the long drive home this evening. It can go either way, I may awake with a man-flu turned into flu and need a day to sleep it off, or it may burn itself off over night. Here’s to the former!