During the past couple of weeks training has been consistent and I have had some great quality sessions. One of the areas I have been focusing on is my leg speed and speed endurance. The reason for this is that I have finally entered my first 10k road race that takes place in 3 weeks time on November 7th.
One of the things I mentioned in my last post was that I would be doing some shorter races during 2011 however it appears fate has come early as a couple of friends of mine wanted to do this and asked me if I would like to join them. The race is local to me, described as flat and undulating and only 10 pounds entry fee so of course I said yes.
It's strange when I think about it that I haven't actually run a 5k or 10k race given that I only started running back in May 2008. These distances are usually the focus for many newbies taking up this sport and I think it's great that thousands of people do. I have only run races of 1/2 marathon and above and the reasons for that I think are that I just haven't thought about the shorter race distances due to the fact I thought I would never be fast. Therefore I focused on the endurance side of running and wanted to go longer and longer to find a limit to what my limits were.
Until 12 months I ago I didn't really think about fast sessions in my training schedule but they have been firmly fixed since then and I believe they have helped improve my ability to run at a faster although more comfortable running pace during my long runs. One thing I love about the fast runs is that although I often dread the start of them after the first couple of miles the legs get motoring, focus on breathing, keeping good running form and then run the distance in a tempo fashion by building up through the run so that by the end of it I have the feeling that my lungs are on fire.
I had one such session earlier this week. I warmed up with a 7:23 min/mile and a 7:21 before clocking 7:03, 7:02 and 7:02 for the remaining miles on this off road session. When I got to my front door I fell to my knees and was taking in deep breaths of glorious air, surprisingly though I didn't have sored legs the next day so I know there is more in the tank.
I have no specific target time for the race although to average sub 7 minute miles is what I would like to achieve. All I know is that I am going to give it everything I've got in the last 1/4 of the race as for me that's where it starts. I picked out this great video of legendary Welsh runner Steve Jones running a 10,000 meter race in the 1980's. It shows to me clear as day how much guts and determination is needed when running these races.