Pursuing A Podium – Parkrun PB And Speedwork

During my last post, ‘Change Of Pace – Time To Compete’ we looked at my plans for the rest of 2017. After completing my first marathon, I want to compete and try to attain a podium finish at any distance. Given my lack of ‘natural talent’ this will be a big ask and take a lot of hard work. Sooo, back I go to the five day running week and monotonous strength and conditioning.

To help you understand the improvement required, here are some stats. Since seeing Jayson my best race finish was 16th in the Hardmoors White Horse half, my time sub 2hr 30mins over 16.7 miles. That was in April and averaged 8:57 minute miles. One of the races I want to podium in is the Hardmoors Osmotherley Half Marathon, about 16 miles and far harder course with double the climb of White Horse…third place last year was 2 hours 12 minutes, an average pace of 8:15 minute miles.

Essentially I need to knock almost 45 seconds per mile off my White Horse time while taking on double the elevation gain. Below is my race plan, the podium attempts are in bold. I thought it best to start with shorter distance events, seems easier to add endurance on top of speed as opposed to the other way around.

  1. Dalby Forest 5K park run – 15th July
  2. York 10K – 6th Aug
  3. Endurance Life Trail 10K Ravenscar, 8 miles – 30th Sept
  4. Hardmoors Osmotherley 1/2 Marathon, 16 miles – 22nd Oct

Two weeks in and Tuesday nights have become my pain chamber, with Moneghetti’s, Lasso’s and hill reps. Its been tough going, especially managing my tight calfs but the results  are starting to come through. My first practise run, the Dalby Forest Park Run was this weekend.

Dalby Forest Park Run

A few weeks back Jayson used the term, foot turnover which really struck a cord. As I attempt to increase speed I’m more aware of how hard it is to increase my leg turnover. 5K races are just this. I felt a sub 20 minute 5K would be a good start considering my previous best of 20:44. I managed 19:36 and was really puffing at the end but happy all the same. Would be a real struggle to attain sub 19 but thats a thought for another day.

In three weeks time I’ll race the York 10K. I think my goal has to be sub 45 minutes and then we are onto the big races, the ones I want to podium in. I’ll eventually spend some time on the courses in Ravenscar and Osmotherley, only then will I get a true feel for what race day will be like.

I do lack confidence, despite the improvement I’ve made since October 2016, so despite saying I want a podium I’m not sure I believe its possible. I still see myself through old eyes, as untalented and not capable of competing…definitely need to work on that if I’m to stand any chance.

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Darren Smith

Training with purpose since October 2016 Darren has gone from trailing the pack to winning local races and the times keep on falling. A true believer in hard work over natural talent he writes to help others realise their true potential. Darren's race schedule for 2018 includes the Hardmoors Wainstones marathon (1st place), Keswick Mountain Festival (10th place), Scafell Skyrace and Salomon Ring Of Steall (World Championship race.)

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