Will Thames

swim, bike, run, tech

You Don't Have to Choose Between Endurance and Speed

I fancied a change of pace recently and signed up for the 14km City 2 South race - it’s quite new but well received last year, and not too pricey with the easily found online discount (got my last minute entry down to the early bird price).

I hadn’t really specifically trained for it (I got chatting to a sales assistant at the race expo, who asked me if I’d been training, and what was the furthest I’d run - I think my honest replies convinced her I was ready for it!) but except for the Tuesday before the race, which was two days after my Camp Mountain marathon, when my quads were still shot, I felt I was running well enough.

In terms of goals, I had Twilight Half Marathon and last year’s Bridge to Brisbane to set expectations - I knew I wasn’t 100% fit for B2B so figured I should theoretically do around the same pace - 4:30/km and be able to do quicker than Twilight which was 4:45/km. So I was thinking 63 minutes would be a good target, and even getting under 70 wouldn’t be too embarrassing as I really wasn’t sure whether I was ready for fast efforts following The North Face and the accompanying cold.

I got to the race in good time - about half an hour before the start, which meant I could get right to the start of my wave, which was the second to leave. The first wave left at 7am, and we left at 7:05. I was a bit worried about congestion so I made sure I kept near the front of the wave without going out too hard. Once I was a km in I made sure my breathing felt right and concentrated on settling in to a sustainable rhythm.

The first 11km or so is relatively flat with the odd lump here and there, which kept it interesting, I concentrated on not “burning too many matches”, to use Matt Fitzgerald’s metaphor from Iron War, and trying to keep a consistent level of effort.

Around UQ I seemed to catch up with the back of the red wave, so it got a bit annoying for the next couple of kms with lots of weaving around people. But I was still running well and happy, but with the knowledge that I needed to save myself for the last 3km too.

Once back across the river, the climb started from Dutton Park to the top of Highgate Hill. All the trail running training really helped here as I was able to pass quite a lot of people, and was 149th fastest for the uphill section. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to capitalise as well on the downhill section, where I was 402nd fastest, and lost 17 places.

One flaw in my race execution was that my watch was saying 13.7km at the end, so I hadn’t realised how little I had left to do - I was saving myself for the last 300m that didn’t exist.

Over the line in 1:00:10, 279th out of 3827, an average pace of 04:23/km. According to McMillan’s running calculator, extrapolating that to a 15km time of 1:05, that time predicts a 3:17 marathon and a 1:33 half. Both of which would be massive PBs.

My training regime has not been at all focused since The North Face, and other than hill training, very little of my training would have had much impact on speed.

Two things that are worth bearing in mind - 10 hour training weeks leads to weight loss without much thinking about diet - and I haven’t really gained much weight in the last month. And the weather is perfect for running at the moment - it’s a little chilly in the mornings and evenings. Tonight, the day after the race, I did a 53 minute 11km, which is much faster than I usually manage. But with a cool evening temperature, there’s no need to stop for water, breathing is easy, and sub 5:00/km is comfortable for me.

I’ll be having a week off running from Friday - I’m not taking my running kit away for our wedding anniversary. Wednesday will be the usual trail run, and I might do some Kangaroo Point steps on Thursday to maintain an edge.

I’m loving running right now, so many things I want to achieve. But that will be a separate post.