This weekend I’ll be doing my first race of 2014 – at last.
The Fit Magazine City Series takes place in the Phoenix Park in Dublin on Sunday 9 March, with races at 5K and 10K. I’ll be doing the longer distance.
You may laugh, but this 10K could be tougher for me than any of my marathons and half-marathons to date.
What with illness and injury since mid-January, I’ve only had two weeks of training – two fairly light weeks, in fact, with no sprints or threshold runs or hills. Last Sunday’s 12-mile long run has been my only rigorous workout, and while I lasted the distance I kept the foot off the accelerator all the way around.
All this week I’ve felt tired. I’ve started taking swimming lessons, and so I’ve alternated hard swimming on Monday and Wednesday with light running on Tuesday and Thursday. Last night I was exhausted and I slept like a hibernating bear. Today I feel a little fresher but I still need to recharge the batteries some more before Sunday’s race.
This is also my first ever 10K, so I don’t have any experiences or lessons to draw on from previous efforts. In January I ran a 5K parkrun in 20:55, but since then illness and slight injury have curtailed my training, including a three-week stretch in February where I didn’t run at all.
And while I ran the first 10K of last October’s Dublin Marathon in 47:49, presumably saving my energy for the next 32.1 kilometres, that was me at peak fitness after a hard summer of racing and marathon training.
So, what’s my plan for race day?
That parkrun in January and the marathon in October suggest that I could sail around in well under 45 minutes. While this would be great, I’m not sure I’m feeling it in my legs right now.
Still, I could feel different on race day. I usually get a rush of battle fever when I’m in the start area – last July I was feeling just as uncertain before the Frank Duffy 10 Mile but the pre-race buzz gave me enough of a lift to see me run a great time.
Also, the race is in the Phoenix Park, a place where I love running. We’ll be doing two laps of the same course as the Aware Christmas Run in December – another race where I ran well despite not feeling confident beforehand.
So, I’ll aim to run the first lap steadily and with a bit in reserve, hopefully covering that first 5K in under 23 minutes. That would give me enough of a boost to fire me up for the second lap. Once I hit the Furze Road second time around to take the finishing straight, I’ll kick for home with everything I have left.
And I’ll remind you if you have notions of taking me down when I’m not at my peak: You come at the king, you best not miss.
Whatever happens, I’ll get a 10K personal best as long as I finish. Bring it on!