The Kenley 10K is always the first ‘race’ of the year. I say ‘race’ but for me it’s more an event rather than a race. The race is always against the target result that is in my head rather than any other runners.
Today that target was a sub 50 minute time.
The strategy was there (see previous blog) – three and a bit laps at 12 kmph = 50 mins – easy. I raced the Kenley 10K last year and hit a PB of 53 mins 41 seconds. So I was looking at taking off 3 mins and 41 secs based on, effectively, 6 weeks of quality training.
I run comfortably at 10.5 kmph, I can push this and sustain it, to 11.5. But to push it to 12 kmph and keep that going for 10K was a big ask.
As it turned out too big an ask.
The course is an initial 1K, then 3 laps of 3K each. I set off way too fast, but realised and dialled back to 12 kmph and by the start of the first lap I had hit the target pace. I did the first 1K and the first lap in 19 mins and 56 secs. Bang on target – 4K in 20 mins. But (and it’s a big but) I was knackered. There was no way I could have sustained that pace at all yet alone for another 6K. I had to back off the pace, so I did. I gave up on the sub 50 mins and if anything it was now about survival and finishing.
The next lap I just did at a comfortable pace, it was hard, very hard. It was raining and very windy at some parts of the course. It was a struggle. To be honest I wasn’t sure I could do another lap as the second lap came to an end. I looked at the Garmin and it said 36 mins. My mate Steve Groom was just finishing having won the race!
I quickly worked out that lap had taken 16 mins as the initial 4K was 20 mins. I realised if I ran at the same pace for lap 3 as lap 2 I would hit 52 or 53 mins. I could achieve a PB still. So lap 3 I pushed on. I don’t think I went any faster on the last lap even though I was pushing, but I did need to push to sustain the same pace.
I was impressed at how much ‘easier’ the 3rd lap was versus the 2nd lap. I had recovered a lot whilst doing the second lap at an easier pace.
So a finish time of 52 mins and 42 secs. A new PB but no sub 50 mins.
Now the question I am asking myself is whether a sub 50 mins was realistic.
Six weeks ago I was 12st 2lbs, coming off of a cold over Christmas, had done little training in December. I took 1 minute off of my previous PB in my first 10K of the year, in wet and windy conditions. Steve, my mate who won, finished in a time 1 minute longer than he wanted and blamed it on the conditions.
There is a sub 50 mins in me, I am sure of it. But whether it was realistic to achieve it after just 6 weeks training and in my first race of the year might have been a bit of an ask.
The positives of today were:
I realised I was not going to sustain the 12 kmph pace and backed off.
I recovered quickly on the second lap so was able to have a ‘better’ third lap
I dug in deep, feeling bad, soaking wet, wind blowing etc and I focussed and carried on – believe me that was hard.
Only 6 days until the half marathon at Dorney Lakes. Straight away I was saying ‘I want a sub 2 hours’ but in my head I was after a 1hr 55 mins. But I think, at this stage, I want a good steady run, where I can push at the end and see where I am. Rather than go for a time and maybe blow it trying to achieve a fictitious target I just made up one day.
Thanks for reading.