I’m not a great fan of early alarm calls, 10k races*, lapped races or repeating races I’ve already run, so I’m still not quite sure what I was thinking when I signed up for all six of the winter series of 10ks organised by the Mornington Chasers.
Race 0 (the last of the summer series) was a purely social affair, entered on the day as an ankle test a mere four days after I’d started running again. I ran the first 8k with Alma, a kilometre on my own and the last kilometre with Rachel, who was struggling with a chest infection.
Race 1 was a line in the sand. My training plan was starting to return to normal and my ankle was feeling solid, but an all out parkrun attempt on a pancake flat course in perfect conditions had netted me a time that was over 5 minutes off my PB. I needed a boost, and I also wanted to lay down a “this is where I am now” 10k time to try to improve upon. Luck was on my side. Having shifted her cold, Rachel was after a conversationally paced (for her) run and seemed happy enough for me to run with her, panting more loudly than a steam engine and holding up my end of the conversation with the occasional grunt.
Race 2 was an altogether different affair. Rachel was back on form and no more than a speck in the distance, and I wanted reassurance that four weeks of progressions, kilometre reps, tempo running and other assorted sessions featuring the words ALL OUT and HARD were having an effect. I dutifully set my alarm for 6:15am, inhaled some porridge, cycled to Regent’s Park, picked up my race number, changed into my running kit, defrosted my toes, met up with Rachel, and lined up at the start.
The course is three flattish laps, though the mischievous hill pixies mean that each one feels slightly less flat than the last. There are kilometre markers so large that even I don’t miss them, and because each lap is 3 1/3 km, you can use them to tick off every 333m stretch. There are enough competitors to work off, but not so many that you’re tripping over them or permanently gap spotting and it has a slightly downhill finish to help you sprint for whatever sub XX:XX time you are targeting.
Apparently progressions, kilometre reps, ALL OUT and HARD are having a positive effect. Here’s hoping they continue to work their magic over the next four months.
* They’re too hard, not too short, before you ask.