Regular readers here will know that I run marathons not for the medal or the sense of achievement, but as a 26.2-mile warm-up for my next 10K race.
Last autumn, two weeks after the Dublin Marathon, I set a new 10K PB at the Run in the Dark event in Dublin. And this weekend I’ll be hoping to do something similar with my spring season – four weeks after my Tralee Marathon performance I’m lining up at the Great Ireland Run in the Phoenix Park.
Even after four weeks of post-marathon resting, punctuated by the occasional light trot, it wouldn’t be true to say I’m back to top form. Last Saturday I dragged the body back to the scene of the crime and did the Tralee parkrun – I found it a slog and just missed out on a sub-20-minute time, which was frustrating.
That said, Tralee is a slow course that includes three 180-degree out-and-back U-turns, and I still finished only 6 seconds down on my previous time of 19:58. But it felt like a slog and that’s usually the takeaway point from such runs. And the second half of the Great Ireland Run route is a stern challenge, taking in the hilly west side of the Phoenix Park.
However, I know this route well, from last year’s event and the many other Phoenix Park races that share the same roads, and on a tough course that’s a great advantage. Plus, for my Tralee Marathon training I did my long runs in the Phoenix Park and took in the full Great Ireland Run course.
Also, the memory of that post-marathon Run in the Dark 10K last autumn encourages me. That route was also slow – it included a tight squeeze on the narrow paths and sharp corners around the park in Ringsend. Plus, I finished strongly that night; I kicked for the line from almost half a kilometre out, and probably started dipping from there too. (I just snuck in under 42 minutes for that current PB of 41:59.)
And if anything is guaranteed to work up my battle fever it’s a race in the Phoenix Park, especially the finishing straight on the Furze Road.
I really want to get under 40 minutes for a 10K, but that’s a 2-minute improvement and it won’t be happening tomorrow. A new PB would be a good result, though – and then for that sub-40 I might prepare with two marathons.