15 March 2011 – Season Starts Here


It’s been a tough couple of weeks.  Following the heavy (running) mileage weeks at the end of February, I had a short recovery period to take me into a 10mile road race.  This was a last minute entry.  If the Kingston 16mile Breakfast Run is a precursor pace-indicator race for the London Marathon, then this 10mile race served as a precursor to the Breakfast Run.  I hope that makes sense!  I was not 100% in terms of fitness, but I ran a balanced optimal effort.  


RACE: Sat 5 March 2011

Sri Chimnoy (Battersea Park) 10Mile Run

Time : 57:38

Position : 4th

Race Report : As I’ve mentioned before I’ve adopted a different start to my run races.  I used to go quick at the gun and get myself some space.  I used to find the first 50-200m very easy as my leg turnover is/was quick (history of squash and track work).  In recent years it’s a little more of an effort and I’m now going the other way ie starting off my anticipated average race pace and building through the first 1-2miles.  This strategy also means I’m overtaking for most of the race, rather than being overtaken, which is much better from a mental perspective and I’m only losing out in most cases on 5-10secs.

Anyway, the course involves six laps within Battersea Park.  It’s a hard surface and flat which is good for fast times although I also suffer soreness in these races and with the number of loops you have to start dodging slower runners in the second half of the race. 

The lead runner had a blinding race, breaking the course record in 51mins.  We didn’t see him after the first two loops.  2nd to 5th were also on a good pace, running together 20secs ahead of the next group (6th to 10th) including myself.  After a couple of miles at 5:45/M the group started to break up and two from the lead group started to gradually drop back.  I held fourth place and the same pace throughout the race, although I couldn’t quite claw back the 20-25secs to 2nd and 3rd.  At five miles I picked up a 150ml bottle of carb/water solution from GF, but this was a hindrance and I lost my rhythm trying to put it away.  The final two miles were very painful and I really had to dig deep to try and get near 37:30. 

Overall I was pleased with the result based on my fitness that day.  I’m also really lacking in speed having based all my running on endurance+ and hill work.  My GF commented on the fact I looked more ‘relaxed than those around me.


On Mon 7 March I drove over to Likeys in Brecon, Wales.  Always great to meet Martin and Sue!  I’d already bought some basic training gear at Decathlon (Surrey Quays) for the new season but I now needed something more specific/technical for off-road ultra running.  I still need to sort out some shoes (deliberating on cushioning and grip at the moment as I’ll only be investing in one pair for the season), but came away with some useful race items:


Raidlight Ultralight 5L  The benefit of this is you have the option of hands-free drinking when handling a map and compass.  I’d also prefer to top-up one or two bottles in a race rather than carry the weight of a bladder, with the option of adding salt tablets on the move. 

OMM Kamleika Race Smock  Needed a waterproof, breathable, close-fitting, hooded, lightweight race top.  This has a good balance of everything, with good taped seems and thumb loops.   

On 8-9 March I did a recce of the Malvern Hills Ultra course.  I was still suffering Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) from the previous Saturday which didn’t fill me with much confidence as I had to shuffle along the first few miles to work through the stiffness and mask some of the pain with light adrenalin.  But the main aim was to make sure I knew the course (so I wouldn’t get lost on the race day), check the terrain and get an idea of race-pace.

  The race covers 54miles (based on Garmin data from last years race) running along the Severn, Malvern Hills and the Worcester Way.  There are five checkpoints en route providing water and some food. 

Based on the sore legs and a B&B booked in Great Malvern I decided to skip the first section along the Severn and start from Worcester.  This still ended up around 28-29miles including the main Malvern Hills range.  Really enjoyed the first day and the binge-eating in the B&B on Tues night!  A full English and a relaxed hike back up the Malvern Hills on a crisp morning reminded me how much I love the great outdoors and these little challenges.  Despite the previous days effort I managed to cover another 24miles on Day 2 at a reasonable pace.  Despite getting lost four times and increasingly longer walking breaks (particularly to take-in the views!) I managed to turn over a decent pace.  I’m looking forward to this race as much as (if not more than) the London Marathon.  At the moment I’m looking at a 8hr-8hr30 finish carrying a 500ml bottle (gel) and 750ml bottle.  The 500ml bottle will be freed-up after the first couple of checkpoints (~1hr), so I will have 1.25ltrs capacity for the longer sections (~2hrs) later on. 



Sun 27 Mar – Kingston 16mile Run 

Wed 30 Mar – Civil Service 10km Champs (Battersea Park)

Sun  17 Apr – London Marathon 



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