|12th Feb||Rest day|
|15th Feb||Rest day|
|16th Feb||Rest day|
|18th Feb||Rest day|
|TOTAL||216.09||347.78||1 day 17:22:08||4,832||4,883||25,780|
Training didn't quite go to plan last week.
On Sunday I was going to take a short walk from Onchan down into Douglas to pick my car up, which had been left there from the night before, but I felt better than expected despite the tough session (walking!) the previous morning so took the longer route out to Liverpool Arms, down into Groudle and back into Douglas along the Onchan coast road.
It was the first time I have taken that loop in a clockwise direction and it was really enjoyable. It's largely flat and downhill except for just 2 climbs, firstly out from Whitebridge up onto the Liverpool Arms straight, and then a longer climb from Groudle up to 'windy corner' at the top of the coast road.
I was pleased to stay well within my Zone 1 range (125-135) for the full 8.25 miles at a decent enough pace too.
Monday 15th was a planned rest day, and with the 20k coming up on Saturday I was hoping to just do a couple of shorter walks on the Tuesday and Thursday. Unfortunately the weather wasn't particularly favourable on Tuesday night so I gave it a miss and instead opted to do one of my longer 11 mile loops on Wednesday and have 2 days recovery before the 20k.
I was really tempted to do an easy 4.13 miles on Thursday to record my highest week at 40 miles but decided against it. I am already just ahead of target for my 2016 KM challenge so no point pushing with a race coming up.
I think 20k has to be one of the most difficult distances to race. It certainly is for me anyway.
5k and 10k races are tough too because they are at a quicker pace, but they only last for around 30-60 minutes so you just hang in as best you can.
50k, 85 mile, 100 mile are no breeze either, but they are raced at a much slower pace (for me) and come with a whole host of different challenges and pain points that you have to push through.
I think what makes 20k so tough is it's a 'short' enough distance to make you want to push really hard, and then after a couple of miles you realise you need to try and maintain that pace for another 90 minutes or so!
I was really hoping to get under 2 hours today which means, ideally, I needed to reach the 10k mark in just under 1 hour as there is pretty much no chance I could race a negative split in a 20k (e.g. first 10k in 62 mins and second 10k in <58 mins).
Things started well for the first couple of miles and I was walking slightly quicker than target pace, but then I just started to lose energy in my legs. They just started to feel really heavy and I could feel my pace slowing right down. With 9 miles still to go I knew the next 90 minutes were not going to be much fun!
In addition to losing energy early in the race I also started to struggle from around 5k with a stitch in my lower left ab area. This really didn't help matters and persisted on and off pretty much to the end!
I have a feeling I made the wrong breakfast choice today (porridge, toast with peanut butter and a large coffee about 3 hours before the race). I'm usually fine with that before a longer (slower) walk, but maybe it wasn't the best choice for a fast 20k.
It just didn't settle right at all and I think it was partly to blame for the stitch and also the lack of 'quick release' energy to the legs.
I haven't seen the official results yet, but my unofficial (Garmin) 5k splits were something like this:
5k 29 minutes
10k 30 minutes (So still just under the hour with 59:?? for 10k, so I'm happy with that)
15k 32 minutes (race time 1:31:??)
20k 32 minutes unofficial (Garmin) race time of 02:03:41
Despite the loss of 'umph' in the legs, and the persistent stitch, the drop off's aren't too bad.
My final unofficial time of 2:03:41 is 1:44 seconds off my PB from 2 years ago, which is not too bad over a 2 hour race, so I'm happy enough. Of course I'm a little disappointed I didn't break the 2 hours, but given I only broke 1 hour for 10k two weeks ago (for 2 years) I think I was a little enthusiastic to think I could do 2 back to back sub 60's just 2 weeks later !
Congratulations to everyone who took part today, but in particular a huge well done to Ray Beattie who himself finally broke the magic 60 minutes for 10k after missing out by just a few seconds in the last 2 races.
Finally a big thank you to all of the organisers, marshals, judges, timekeepers, lap scorers, photographers and supporters for giving up your time today, especially in the cold, wind and rain.
Today's performance has definitely not changed my view on the 'train slower to race faster' principle, and I will continue to stick closely to my heart rate training plan, but I will definitely try and add 1 faster session per week, be that a quicker 'tempo' (zone 3) walk or a hill/interval (zone 4) session.
I can take away from today that my long, slow training is definitely building my stamina and endurance, however if I want to improve my 10k and 20k times I do need to add a bit of speed into the mix.