Author Archives: runnerstudley

The Final Five

Deciding to have a short summer season to focus on a stronger winter has meant packing the races in like i’ve never really attempted before; culminating in five races on five consecutive Saturdays.

The 14th June meet in Dublin came about just days before. After winning the B race at the British Milers Grand Prix at the start of the month, I was invited to compete in the Ron Delaney 1500m in Dublin, part of the Irish Milers Club event. It was my first trip to the Rep. of Ireland, and the hospitality was organised to maximise performance of the athletes, with transfers, food etc. laid on. The race itself had a few drop-outs from the original start list, but nevertheless my room-mate Sean Wylie was fresh off a 3:41 PB in Germany.

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The little Irishtown Stadium provided absolutely perfect conditions for racing on a still, overcast day. The pacemaker was aiming for 59/1:58 and hit 59 for the first lap as I just sat in behind two Irish athletes. Sadly a few of the athletes ahead didn’t keep on the pacers toes, as he also slowed down taking us through 800m in 2:01. It was then all about racing, and I felt like I executed the last 400m well, building each 100m to close in 56 seconds, to just snatch the win off Shaun in the closing meters in 3:44.76. The race celebrated Irish Olympic 1500m Champion Ron Delaney, which his local club donated a trophy for my efforts. All that was left was viewing a typically dismal England football match and a whistle stop tour of Dublin. Not a PB, but my second fastest time ever feeling super controlled. It certainly points towards a faster clocking in the right race.

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Racing a National Under-23 Championship just seven days later was not ideal timing, but the volume of training stays on a much lower level during a race period; meaning I had plenty of recovery time. With over 30 entries in the 1500m, two heats were scheduled and I turned up early on the Saturday morning with the intention of saving as much energy as possible for Sunday’s final. As the time toward the heats ticked away, the heats were still yet to be drawn and barely five minutes before going into the call room, we were informed it would be a straight final. That’s five minute’s notice that you’re racing in a National Championship final.  It was a busy final with 18 athletes, 1500m normally has about 12-15 in a race.

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I guessed nobody in the race would want to take it out hard, so just stood still on the start line and filed onto the back of the pack to avoid any wasteful pushing and shoving. I began to take closer order heading into the last 600m, and was up to third by the bell. I tried hard to be patient in my kick again and just held my position along the back straight, and began to build in the final 200 meters. I found myself getting a little gap from the field around the final bend, but didn’t quite have the legs to hold off Will Paulson’s ferocious last 100m. Although disappointed to not finish off  a winning position, it’s my second national silver medal this season and my first in an age-group championship so it was a bit of a bitter sweet feeling atop the podium.

You can see the race here: http://www.vincosport.com/videos/8817

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Annoyingly the British Championships, my last race of the season was probably the most forgettable of the lot. I knew going in that I’d put virtually no proper training into the last month, easing down for race after race. It was interesting to see how long I could hold a ‘peak’ for, and five weeks was probably pushing the boat out a little too far. I was knocked out of the heats, and felt heavy and lethargic throughout. The first half of the race was fairly controlled, but as the change of pace came I fell away in the last 500m, finishing 10th in 3:51. Not the way I wanted to finish the season, but I like the fact I still have another Championship i’m hungry to perform better at in years to come.

So another season in the right direction: Two National Silver medals, two England vests, four consecutive years of 1500m PBs and PBs at 3000m, 5k and 10k.

Thanks to everyone who has helped out this year such as Brookes Sport, Masseurs Lesley Bryant and Martin Flook , Physio Sarah Wilkins, Strength Coach Chris Ross, Psychologist Mark Keep and most importantly my training group and coach Tom Watson back in Bristol.  I’m now taking a couple of week’s complete downtime before building back up for the autumn. Having the entirety of July and August to build everything up means I can focus more than ever before on conditioning myself to deal with a heavier training load to extend the progression curve in years to come.

Thanks for reading.

Is losing learning how to win?

Two more 1500s in the bank, but with pretty contrasting outcomes.

A fortnight ago I was selected for the British Universities team to compete at the Loughborough International. I’d heard a lot about the uniqueness of the event and it was great to compete in front of a packed crowd for a change! The build-up to the race had been consistent, so the plan was to compete with a top domestic field and be confident at the business end again.

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The pacer announced in the call room he would be taking us through 800m in 1:58 and asked if anyone wanted it quick/slower..to which he got 12 blank looks. Those blank looks seemed to transfer onto the track as the pacemaker strode away as I was bustling for a position about 50 metres behind. True to his word, he hit 1:58 but the race itself was happening quite a way back, as we went through 800m in 2:10. I was really struggling to get myself into a good position with 600 to go and heading towards the bell I was out as wide as lane four to move into a good position.

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The wind on the back straight was gusty and it seemed to just stand me still. I came back a bit in the last 50m but the race was pretty over, as I placed 10th in 3:50, and four seconds off the winning time.

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Although disappointed, there was loads to be learnt about staying settled and saving energy at the right times. It was also great to round off racing for Oxford Brookes with a BUCS medal and a representative honour, a nice reward for all the help I have had on Scholarship these past two years.

Fast forward 13 days and a complete misunderstanding happened in Manchester, as 60,000 screaming fans who thought they were heading for a top-level European distance running meeting, in fact got shepherded to the stadium beside to watch some lads mime some songs written by some other lads.

Regardless,  the meeting went ahead in perfectly still conditions with PB after PB falling throughout the night. Running goal 1500 pace in training has been feeling easier by the week, so I had a lot of confidence I could get to 800 and be relaxed to build-up. The first lap was perfect, through on pace in 59, although the pacemaker then dropped the pace a little through 800m to a 61 (2:00).

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I focussed on holding the pace to the bell and trying to kick on. I passed 1200m in 3:00 still feeling like I had a lot of running in me. I attacked the last bend and swung out to lane 3, took a deep breath and worked to the line. I passed 2nd with 50m to go, and closed down the leader and dipped for the win in 3:43.64. A two second PB and a 58 last 400m.

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This was my twelfth 1500 PB since running 4:12 in January 2011, and got me thinking what is the fastest 1500m race I have ever been in? Digging into my Power of 10 it turns out it was Saturdays win, and here is the fastest three:

1500 times

 

 

 

The next step is hopefully to get in a race of the 3:39-3:45 range and test myself going out harder and seeing what I can achieve.

Thanks for reading.

British Universities

Coming off of a successful pre-season training camp filled me with a lot of confidence going into the first track race of the season. The British Universities Championships always falls over the May bank holiday weekend which is awfully early for a National Championship, but I guess means students can compete before exams etc. commence into the summer.

Having only done two specific 1500m session on camp, and prior to that seven months of 10k Road/XC training; I was intrigued to see how a far more endurance based preparation would fare.

Round one and day one we were on bright and early at 10:30am, meaning a 6am wake up to make sure I took on the right nutrition prior to racing. The heats are always tricky at BUCS with a range of abilities meaning you have to bide your time and be sensible. I pretty much did the opposite and fought around some elbowing, before getting clear in the last 150m and finishing 2nd in 4:02.

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Checking I was safe through the first round

The kind scheduling meant the semi-finals gave us a whole 31 hours recovery; being the last individual event on the Sunday night. It was first five to qualify for Mondays final, and I tried not to panic as the pace started kicking. Again the focus was picking my position, and I slotted into 3rd place at the bell and tried to build the pace for each segment of the lap. I felt the lactate building up into the last 80m of the race, but was mightily relieved to see a gap behind and finish in 3rd, comfortably in one of the five auto spots. Relief.

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Running very scared with 50m to go

So to my first ever British Universities finals day. Back in the Olympic Stadium in my first year I was knocked out of the semi-finals, so racing three times in three days was a totally new experience for me. I felt great warming up, and tried to envisage executing my race plan as well as the semi’s turned out. The first 800m was hit in a (relatively) pedestrian 2:10 as I carefully made my way around the outside of the main pack and slotted into 3rd approaching the bell lap. I was amazed through the final lap that the gaps started opening like they did, and once at 150m in 2nd place I was far too scared to look behind,and gave it everything to the line to take the first national medal of my career. Coming away with a silver medal in a race where my PB was I believe 6th fastest out of 12 certainly proves the aerobically focussed preparations paid dividends over the three days. I was also not ashamed to be beaten by a 3:40 French Erasmus student who was a class above throughout the weekend, and totally deserved the win leading from gun to tape. I’m sure Guillaume will go onto break the elusive 3:40 barrier this season!

A video of the final can be seen here

Results are here

On the podium for my first National Medal

On a National podium for the first time

Just five days later and after numerous late nights finishing off my undergraduate degree,  I completed the 800/1500m double in abysmal conditions at the British League. Our Bristol team was pretty decimated, meaning we came 4th of the 8 teams in our first match in Division 2, certainly not a reflection of what we’re capable of this year! I took 2nd (1:55/800m) and 3rd (4:02/1500m) which was a pleasing points haul for the club despite not feeling by any means 100%, but nevertheless a good workout.

The BUCS performance meant that I have subsequently been selected for this Sundays British Universities team at the Loughborough International against the Home Nations; my biggest accolade to date and hopefully a competitive 1500m race to boot.

You can catch the race live here at 4:55pm – www.vincosport.com

Thanks for reading.

Como chegar rápido ao sol

With a month passing, and the regular track season getting underway in just over a week, I thought this would be an apt moment to update the site. I am coming to the end of a successful 16 day training camp in the south of Portugal, where the specificity of summer training is starting to go into the programme, whilst keeping the volume fairly constant with ample time to rest and recover.

Before heading out on camp I raced the National 12 Stage for Bristol & West. Sadly in the days leading up to the race we had a few key drop-outs which meant our chances of challenging for a medal took a big hit. Certainly not the fault of the people who couldn’t make it, but this more underlines the fact that you need 15-20 good standard athletes in order to be competitive at a 12 stage relay. So our team manager’s plan was to top-load the team to leg nine to give us the most competitive run-out and hopefully hold onto a good position.

I ran leg five and took over in 14th place on my first ever long leg. I started conservatively up the first hill then began to build into a good rhythm along the top. Words describing the three mile out and back portion of the course from club mates included ‘disgusting’, ‘never ending’ among others not too relevant for a family audience. I felt good throughout and managed to take a couple more places in the last mile to finish up in 11th place and run 24:47 for the 5.06 mile course. We managed to get the team as high as 7th by leg nine, but faded to 12th, a fantastic effort to get 24 Bristol athletes out with the B team in 47th place too. My leg time ranked me 9th fastest of the day; certainly proving the aerobic strength that has been built in the past month.

Four days later I headed to Watford for the first open graded meeting of the ‘summer’ (April 4th and barely 5 degree’s!). Like the previous year, the organisers totally unanticipated the number of entries on the night and my 3000m didn’t get started until gone 10pm….the bonus this year was the floodlights did stay on for the duration!

Having done nothing under 1000m in terms of intervals, and no specific track work I raced in flats and sat in a group of 4 or 5 athletes, going through the first 2k in even k splits of 5:43 then started to build. Wearing flats I was a bit weary of leaving a kick too late, so started to get the pace moving with 600m to go. I managed to close in 58 seconds, taking the win in 8:21. It was a good start and was a nice gauge of where I was at before the speed work started to be implemented.

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Since Watford two weeks ago i’ve been based in Vilamoura on the Algarve getting prepped for the season in a great environment. Conditions have been perfect for training, 20 degrees and sunshine most days, with lots of coastal and dirt trails to get the easy miles in. We also have use of the ex-European Cross-Country course from a few years ago and a stadium track in the city. Tempo work out here has been some of the best sessions to date and the speedwork is becoming easier every session. More importantly the lifestyle of the camp means I have got 150 miles in feeling totally fresh and recovered throughout. I’d like to pass on my thanks to the Arthur Daggett Memorial Fund and the Brookes Sport Scholarship programme for making this trip possible again.

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I head back to the UK in a few days for the British Universities Championships first up on the May bank holiday weekend. This will be my last race for Oxford Brookes University, so I look forward to giving back a good final performance after what has been a tremendous support mechanism over my three years as an undergraduate.

Research Project

This time something (slightly) less running orientated, but as part of the final year of my undergraduate degree I have undertaken a dissertation project, and the link below is a ‘highlights’ version (Abstract and findings) of what I produced. In the field of human geography, I was assessing the sociological and cultural reasoning behind the success of Kenyan distance runners, looking into themes such as upbringing, community and development.

Hope it makes for an interesting read!

Condensed Dissertation

Running into Spring

I have definitely learnt over the past few years the spring period is the most important for getting your track season right. A balancing act between keeping the training endurance heavy, but also incorporating occasional bursts of speedwork seems to work for me; but I guess everyone is different. After the Armagh 5k I took an ‘easy’ week, with just five miles running every other day to refresh and get ready for another training block.

The past few weeks have been really successful and have incorporated a good mix of endurance sessions. At this stage of the year the volume hasn’t changed from the winter, averaging 80 miles per week, but a little bit more speed emphasis is placed upon sessions. An example session from this month was breaking up a 10k tempo into 2mi/2mi/1mi/1mi off 60 seconds recovery in 30:25; with obviously the purpose of the ‘break up’ to get the pace moving a little quicker than what I would expect running continuously.

© Brian Smith

© Brian Smith

Last weekend I substituted an intervals session to race a short leg for Bristol & West at the regional road relays. I was running the 12th and final leg, and when taking over we were in clear bronze medal position, two minutes away from 2nd and 90 seconds clear of 4th. The course was just over 2.6 miles, so was a nice ‘blow out’ and I felt really controlled throughout. It was great to be part of a very-nearly full strength Bristol team and to collect another road relay Bronze medal (same medal we took in the six-stage in September). I was surprised to also be awarded with 2nd fastest short stage of the day out of the 375 runners; which certainly bodes well for the Nationals Relays in a few weeks time having not eased down one bit.

Results can be found here: http://www.race-results.co.uk/results/2014/m1214.htm

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I now have four more days of this training block before heading out to America on Friday morning to check out some possibly exciting plans for my next few years in the sport. All will hopefully be revealed very soon…

Until next time.

Armagh Road Race

A month since my last blog, and it hasn’t quite been the month I was expecting after coming off probably the most successful two-month training period of my life. About 4-5 days out from the British Universities Cross-Country I came down with a cough that steadily got worse and became chesty towards the race. With this being the target race of the winter, I obviously ‘made a go of it’, and looking back should have just not bothered. I got to about the first mile and everything held up OK in the lead group, but then my chest started to burn and I was struggling to breath. As soon as I started going backwards my head just dropped and I stepped off the course. This was the first time i’ve ever dropped out of a race and i’m determined for it also be my last. Lesson learnt.

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The recovery period from this probably took even longer because of a weekend in Stirling, so I took the whole week off and got back easy running 10 days out from the Armagh 5k. This meant I had very little quality going into the race, but managed to squeeze in a 6 mile broken up tempo and a short intervals session in the days leading up to get the feel for racing again.

As always Armagh really is a special event on the calendar. The organisers do their up most to make sure athletes can prepare in the most professional manner for the race. You are flown out the day before and athletes from the local club volunteer to take the 50+ elites all day to and from airports to the race hotel. The race is always late on the Thursday night, so having over 24 hours to relax in your room is such a luxury and is the perfect preparation.

I was lucky enough to have been selected to run for England at this years race in an inter-country match between Wales, Northern Ireland, Rep. of Ireland, Poland and England. This added a bit more flavour to the race and meant usually I come here to purely run a fast time and positions are pretty irrelevant, but this time I was also running for points for the team.

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Weirdly I was hardly nervous at all, mainly because how the last three weeks have panned out I literally felt like I could run anything from about 14:10 to 15:30. Conditions on the 1k lapped course were cold, almost freezing, and gusty winds so the plan was to settle in and just see how I felt and try to make the last 2k the fastest. I got a comfortable start but was pushed about a bit in the opening 1500m as the race is so bunched up. It’s a completely different experience to any other road race as there are so many people of similar ability, it is hard to get some clear road for a lot of the race. 3k came in 8:37 and I was still in the lead group of about 15, with it reducing by numbers all the time. The group still didn’t diminish heading into the final 800m, until London Olympian Nick McCormick put the hammer down and before I knew it the pack had strung out. I guess it was a bit disappointing not to have that real race sharpness back but nevertheless I ran a PB by 2 seconds of 14:28 finishing 12th and 8th Brit, with McCormick winning in a much slower time than predicted of 14:11.

So quite a few positives to take away:

  • Two seconds fastest than last year
  • Three places higher than last year
  • Stayed with the lead group for 1000m longer than last year

On the team side of things I was second scorer for the England team, with Rich Weir finishing 2nd and Ryan Mcleod 14th meaning we took the win by five points, with Wales in second and Poland third.

A race video can be seen here:

Obviously a little disappointed with the last month as a whole, but sometimes you have to just deal with what you’re dealt. I am now having a few days downtime to make sure I am healthy for the next stint of training. What is the key for me is consistent periods of training and learning to say no to certain races, which the more you improve is often harder to do. I won’t be racing seriously for another 10 weeks now, so I am excited to build on what already is a fairly solid level of fitness despite the setbacks.

España campo a través

After my performances at the Ribble Valley 10k and South-West Championships I was pleased to be moving in the right direction, but didn’t expect to be asked to compete for England so soon after.

Last weekend I headed to Seville as part of the England men’s team to compete at the Cross Inernacional de Italica in Seville. The event is one of a series of IAAF Cross-Country Internationals which apparently (for the professionals) has good prize money for the top athletes. My build-up had been good, but only having two weeks since the South-West Champs meant I hadn’t put a great deal of volume in, but felt like i’d recovered well and got the bits of sharpness in I needed to be ready to race again. In a race period at the moment the weekly mileage barely tips 50 per week, so it’s important the quality is good when you lose 20-30% of your volume.

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I was the youngest on the team by a few years and was joined by GB Internationals Jonny Thewlis and Jonny Taylor, and US Graduate Tom Wade. As per my previous trips with England, the hospitality and race preparation is organised to fully optimise performance. We fly to the race hotel 48 hours before and have the day prior to relax and familiarise ourselves with the course. I’ve never stayed anywhere where you get a sink each and a hallway that was bigger than my student bedroom, you could have probably slept about 30 in there! All the talk prior to the trip was off a hugely firm road-like course, but the course inspection turned out to be slippery, heavy clay which made for horrible conditions underfoot and your trainers doubled in weight after an amble around the 2k loop.

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We even squeezed a couple of hours sightseeing in!

Come race day and the course we saw in the rain the day before looked completely different, it turns out the race organisers had brought in sand to fill in the heavy areas of the course and flatten any uneven areas down. The biggest thing to take away from the weekend was how the Spaniards make cross-country a spectacle so much better than we do in Britain. After the age group races there was a masses 10k fun run which goes out on the road and finishes around the cross-country course. This brings an extra 1000 spectators onto the course to watch the elite races. Also on the course was numerous beer tents, full sound system and everyone bashing on the metal hoardings and screaming ‘VAMOS’ constantly, the noise was pretty deafening at times, certainly more than just your coaches and parents turning out back home. Also many courses on the continent have numerous laps, which keeps the spectators interested with more opportunities to watch the race unfold.

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The elite mens race had just 43 runners, and the start was pretty ferocious with the group of East Africans immediately hitting the front. I followed training-partner when i’m back home Jonny Thewlis into the top 20 on the opening lap, and tried to stay relaxed although really was feeling the pace after a lap, and was starting to get very worried i’d completely overcooked it. Luckily it seemed I wasn’t the only one, and the middle two 2.1k laps felt more controlled as I got a better understanding of the twisty nature of the course and didn’t hit some of the sharp bends quite so hard. Into the penultimate lap I opened a little gap on Jonny, but stayed cautious for the final lap as Spaniards have a tendency to finish quickly so wanted to save something for the last 1000m.

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I was really pleased with how I finished and although utterly exhausted at the end; I had to be physically dragged onto the warm down. I finished up in 18th place, 10th of the European athletes and 2nd of the four of us on the team behind Jonny Taylor. You never know how accurate cross-country courses are but I was through 10k in roughly 30:35 for the 11k course, which I thought was pretty quick considering there must have been thirty 90 degree turns throughout the race. It gives me a lot of confidence to mix it with some of the best runners in the country now, with my aerobic fitness feeling like its continually developing well.

Full results are here: http://www.crossinternacionaldeitalica.es/resultados/PDF/Internacional_Masculino.pdf

A highlights video is online here: http://www.rtve.es/alacarta/videos/cross/atletismo-cross-italica-carrera-masculina/2327629/

It was yet another fantastic experience, a huge thankyou to the English Cross-Country Association for the opportunity, and all that was left to do was finally take full advantage of the outrageously (in student terms) impressive hotel buffet post race!

Until next time.

Festive Feats

Having a clear goal and focus in running is, for me anyway, an integral part of understanding where your training is being funnelled towards. Back when I last blogged in mid-October, what I thought to be a little ‘quad niggle’, turned into countless physio appointments, countless exercises and rehab resulting in well….still a quad niggle. Five weeks passed of 20-30 miles a week, trying to run, feeling fine, trying to run again, bit painful and so on and so forth, until I saw an Osteopath in Bristol recommended by my team managers. He seemed to think my quad problem was irrelevant, and instead pushed my shoulder back, wiggled my neck a bit, twisted my pelvis straight and said don’t worry about the quad. I was a bit sceptical at first, but after a pain free 45 mile week, finishing with 3 x 10 minute efforts at 5:15 pace, I was ready to build back up.

Back to the point about goal setting, I was ready to train properly again on the 11th November, meaning barely 10 training days remained until the European Cross-Country Trials, so a new goal was thought out and we decided instead to make my debut over 10k on December 29th at the Ribble Valley 10k, known for its classy fields and good times.

The six weeks that followed were seamless, averaging 70-75 miles per week and watching the times in tempo’s and sessions fall each week, definitely one of the most rewarding feelings as an athlete. The focus was very much toward endurance, and we barely touched on efforts under a mile until a week or two before the race, when a bit of sharpness was added in to get my legs used to racing again. Also having a consistent block of training mean’t all the little things around running could be done such as strength training, core stability, plyometric and hurdle drills to keep my mobility and strength continually developing.

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Heading into Ribble Valley I wasn’t too sure what to expect as it was to be my first race for three months and the start list did look ferociously strong, with over 20 entries under the 30 minute barrier. With torrential storms battering most of Britain over Christmas, we were extremely lucky to get a windless, clear day in Lancashire, which made taking advantage of that and running fast a big motivator.

From the word go I was screaming the word RELAX into my head and I settled into the lead pack of around 20 as the first few km’s ticked off feeling a lot better than I was expecting. 4k came as the pack was down to about 15 and by half way it was down to 10. According to the lead car we hit halfway on 15:12, and Jonny Mellor and Callum Hawkins pushed hard from this point and had 20m on the rest of the field in no time. I found myself pulling away too from the rest and looked left and right expecting a few more to head a chase pack but it wasn’t to be.

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Jonny Mellor leading the charge at halfway

I felt great going through the gears in the latter few km and was 10-15 seconds behind 2nd placed Hawkins (29:36) from 7k all the way until the finish, so I was maybe a little disappointed to not have had the courage to latch onto them, but that’s for next time.

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Finishing off a good days work

I didn’t have any idea what time I was on for heading down the long 200m finishing straight, and I didn’t see the timing clock until about ten metres to go as it was very small. Nevertheless, 29:48 and 3rd place in a 1500 strong field did indeed exceed my own expectations. If the Km markers were correct my second 5k would have been 14:38, a PB over just 5k alone back in 2012! I knew I was capable of running sub-30, training had certainly been pointing towards that, but to do it on a tough course with a few climbs was really pleasing. It mean’t I sneaked in at 18th and 3rd Under-23 on the UK Rankings for 2013.

Full Results are here: http://www.ukresults.net/2013/ribble.html

A Highlights video can be seen here:

After a week of making sure I was recovered with just one ‘semi’ tempo run, I headed to Exeter for my first cross-country race in 12 months yesterday, the South West Championships. The new venue at Killerton House will i’m sure meet its critics with some outrageously steep climbs and dangerous descents: my initial thought was don’t get injured!! I was slipping and sliding around the mud warming up, but made sure I relaxed in the opening mile of the 9k race and felt really controlled. I didn’t want to hit the front too early and tried hard to settle into the group and work off the rhythm of the other athletes, as running fast in deep mud is something I haven’t done for a long time.

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One of the ‘easier’ parts of a tricky course

From walking the course I worked out one 2-300m section of flat and (relatively) good going, so kicked on hard along there and established a healthy lead. The focus then was just keeping my rhythm and being careful on some very undulating terrain. I was pleased to take the win in the end by 53 seconds, and help Bristol & West retain the South-West team title in the process. Although I almost didn’t finish, as the marshall stood at the turn for the finishing straight was adamant I had a lap remaining and it wasn’t until 40m into my 4th lap that a few waving arms at the finish made me cut across the field and head up the finish funnel. He might have got sacked in the morning.

A highlights video can be seen here:

A positive two races after a mixed autumn period, not achieving what you set out to isn’t so bad after all….

Going to plan would be boring

I’m not sure there are many things in running more annoying than just starting to get back in shape then losing a period that puts holt to training. Following a solid opener, running the 10th quickest time at the Midland Road Relays, the week following was my first ‘full’ training schedule, totalling 80 miles, with two interval sessions and a tempo run. During the week I had a faint ache in my quad and just assumed this had been a result of steadily increasing the mileage.

By Mon/Tue, the start of last week, it turned into a sharp pain and a couple of efforts into Tuesdays session the pain exacerbated commencing each effort and forced me to stop. After a few days rest and treatment, it turned out a tight back and a small disc bulge was aggravating the femoral nerve down the front of the leg when running. It’s taken the past six days for the pain when attempting to run to settle down, and after numerous physio sessions, massages and specific exercises I am back running pain free this week.

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I’m genuinely gutted to be missing out on the Saturday’s National Road Relays, where we’ve amassed a real quality team and look set to be competitive at the top end of the Championship, but i’ve got to focus on the main target this season. Obviously I want to be in shape heading into the British U23 Trials in just over six weeks time, so making sure I get healthy to return to full training should be paramount.

With nearly 4,000 quality miles amassed in the 12 months prior to this autumn, five days recuperation shouldn’t indent too seriously on my fitness levels and it’s exciting to have 3 weeks without racing to build the sharpness back into training.

Good luck everyone this weekend at Nationals, especially those in red and white, come on Bristol!

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