I entered the race late on in the hope that months of training for the London Marathon would have had a positive effect on my 10k time.
I had set my last PB at Stubbington in 2011 of 38:02 the week before the Gloucester Marathon having completed a good period of marathon training as well. In contrast at Stubbington this year I had run a 38:15 – a decent time but right at the beginning of a training cycle that marked the start of of my run training for the year. Throughout November and December I had focused on swimming and cycling and did little running.
I was confident of running a good time as I feel in good shape at the moment and had run strongly at London. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was how well I had recovered from the marathon two weeks ago, I felt OK but you never know just how much lingering fatigue there is in your legs.
My pre race plan was to pace for a 37:xx, a pace I thought was achievable at 3:47/km and see what happened. The weather was foul – cold and wet and there was an athletics meet going on at the Mountbatten Centre – hats off to all the volunteers and officials stood in the pouring rain!
I stayed under cover until the last possible before a quick warm up and a dash to the start line. As the gun went I started quickly and was surprised that in the first 200m I could only see 5 or 6 people up ahead and nobody came past me. The course itself was completely flat and the only hard part was the wind coming in off the sea and whilst the weather waiting for the start was unpleasant, when running it wasn’t too bad.
I went through the first km in 3:35 and decided to settle down to a sustainable pace. The second and third were 3:43 and 3:44 respectively and I thought about slowing to my pre race plan pace but pride got the better of me – it didn’t want to be overtaken!
Km 4 was another 3:43 and there was no going back. I tried to maintain that pace and hold it to the end. I splashed through the puddles pushed on through the headwinds.
By the start of the second loop still nobody had come past me and those chasing were a decent distance back. I know that around 3/4 distance tends to be the hardest part of the race as you are tiring but the end isn’t quite in sight so I made a conscious effort to speed up on km’s 7 and 8. In doing so managed again to maintain pace rather than lose time which is easy to do. These again were a 3:43 and a 3:44.
The only thing that remained was to push for the finish. I hadn’t been able to see anyone in fromt of me for a while so it had been a lonely run. The final meters were around the running track and I pushed as hard as I could - I’ve been overtaken on the line before for a third place without knowing there was somebody there so I kept looking over my shoulder!
As I came into the closing straight I could see the clock ticking towards 37 minutes and knew I had a chance of going under it so I put in a proper sprint for the line and just made it in 36:58, a PB by 1:04. A massive amount of time over 10k, especially at that pace. Marathon training turns out to translate to other distances!
The final km splits from my Garmin were remarkably consistent with a faster first and last km:-
I ended up in 8th place out of 147 runners, an average HR of 169 and pace of 3:41/km (5:55/mile). A good days work.