Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 4)?

Week 4 and the mileage is stacking up. Another good week which you can see below.

Week 4 – 71 mi (8h 54m)

  • Monday – Easy  8 – run home from work
  • Tuesday – 8.8 (4 hard – Summer League  Race 3 – East Park 4 plus 2.7 mi warm up and 2 mi cool down)
  • Wednesday –
    • AM: 3.5 mi XC recover run
    • PM: 11.9 midweek LSR
  • Thursday – Hard 10.2 – tempo run (2 mi warm up + 7 @ 6.30 or faster plus 1.2 mi cool down)
  • Friday – Rest day
  • Saturday – 13 /mi – Progressive 20s – 20 minute warm up, 20 minutes @ 7.00 Min /mi, 20 minutes @ 6.30 Min /mi, 20 minutes @ 6.00 Min /mi (yeah right!) plus cool down.
  • Sunday – 15 /mi LSR

A solid week’s training with some decent volume and harder sessions. The key workouts were Tuesday’s race, Thursday and Saturday.

Although I was a little disappointed with the race and not dipping under 24, I have to be pleased with the fact that I’m racing close to an average pace of low 6 minute miling for that majority of short races. This puts me pretty much back to the same place this time next year. I just hope that I can now push on and break some of the times I set last year.

The most pleasing run was Thursday’s tempo run. Run entirely on my own in wet conditions, it was tough but good at the same time.

Saturdays progressive run wasn’t quite as good. The first two faster 20 minutes went pretty much to plan but then the lack old sleep and fatigue kicked in.

Next week plan is pretty much a repeat of this. Hopefully I’ll break 140 miles for the two weeks.,



Summer League Race 3 – East Park 4

EHH Summer League 3 (East Park 4 miles)

Race 3 of the Summer League and one of my favourites of the series. Partly because I’ve ran pretty well the two times I’ve done this race and it’s nice and short!  Last year was particularly good and still the only race where I’ve finished the race averaging under 6 minute miling. My times from the last two years are as follows:

  • 2015 -23:41
  • 2014 – 24:16
EHH Summer League 3 (East Park 4 miles)
EHH Summer League 3 (East Park 4 miles) – 18th out 217 in 24:13

I didn’t think I was in quite the same form as last year but still would have liked a very low 24 or ideally sub 24. For this reason at the start line I spied who was about, seeing Ian Grewer and Stephen Rennie were on the start line I decided they would me a good couple of runners to stick with as I know both often come past me in the first couple of miles therefore they start steadier but maintain the pace better. However onto the race and we did start steadier (or at least I thought we had!) but the first mile was still covered in a fairly swift 5:51 – about 6 seconds down on last year.

After the first loop of the left hand side of the park (the side mainly without the lake) we then start the first of the two loops around the lake and animal enclosure that will be very familiar to anybody that does East Park parkrun. At this point we still had a good group of myself, Danny Wilson, Paul Bennett, Ian Grewer, Stephen Rennie and a lad from Bridlington RR (Mark Woodley). After a mile and half we picked up the even faster starting Lee Alcock. At this point the group started to splinter as on the back straight past the lake Stephen Rennie pushed the pace (or we started to slow). Ideally I would have liked to have followed but it felt like I was running through treacle.

The first 2 miles was covered in  a decent 11:51. If I could just run close to 6 minute miling then I’d still stand a chance of around 24:00.

I always find the top section past the animal enclosures difficult and this year was no different. At this point I think Ian Grewer and Paul Bennett started to go away, at the same time I think I started to gap Lee Alcock and Danny Wilson.

Onto the final loop (second around the lake) and I have a significant gap on Lee and I’m still with striking distances of Paul and Ian. Just after 3 miles we pick up Eddie Rex and I try to encourage him to push on with me to keep Paul and Ian in check. We both share the lead pushing each other to keep going. Around the bend before passing the animal enclosure I have a cheeky look for Lee as I can no longer hear him. The gap looks significant and rather stupidly I think I may have the beating of him for once.

However I should know better and in the last half a mile Lee catches and passes me. I let the gap grow too much but I do put on an almighty sprint finish to catch and pass both Ian and Paul as you can see from the graph below:

ScreenHunter_1041 May. 20 15.03

My official time was 24:13 for 18th place out of 217 runners. At the time I was a little disappointed and in hindsight I am pleased with how consistent I have been but not happy that I lost so much time in the last 2 miles. However a 6am start (and awake at 4am) to drive to Liverpool and back in the same day before racing woudln’t have helped. Next year I have to nail that 3rd mile, for comparison here is the last two years:

2015 2016
5:45 /mi 5:51 /mi
5:56 /mi 5:58 /mi
6:11 /mi 6:14 /mi
6:00 /mi 6:08 /mi

The question is next year do I take the first mile even slower or trust that I can hang on better? A little break before my next race which is the Summer League again, this time Leven 10k which is my current 10k PB of 37:35 – the aim will be to go under 38 as I’ve only done it this once. In the meantime is back to back 70+ mile weeks.

Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 3)?

After two high mileage weeks, this week was a reduced volume week before increasing and hopefully surpassing the previous two weeks volume.

Week 3 – 49.3 mi (6h 17m)

  • Monday – Easy 4
  • Tuesday –
    • AM: Easy 4 Cross Country
    • PM: 5 mi (1 mi warm up and 0.9 mi cool down including 5k race – Phil Johnson 5k)
  • Wednesday – 12.5 mi (2 x 3 mile @ 5k pace with 1 mi recovery  plus 3 mi warm up and 1.5 mi cool down
  • Thursday – 12.1 midweek LSR
  • Friday – Easy 6.9 mi (in Dorking pre-friends wedding).
  • Saturday -5 mi (3.1mi hard – ParkRun @ Reigate plus warm up and cool down)
  • Sunday – Rest Day

The main two session this week was Tuesday and Wednesday, ideally I’d have fitted a tempo run in but with being at a Wedding on the Friday and general fatigue that just wasn’t possible. Plus the back end of the week was focused on recovery in time for my clubs next Summer League race on the Tuesday.

As for Tuesday the race went well. Overall I was happy with the pace, in hindsight it would have been nice to go under my 5k PB but to match it gives me the confidence that I’m almost back to the same level of fitness I had at the same time last year. For full details on the race, see the Phil Johnson 5k race report.

Wednesday is one of the toughest session I’m currently doing. After a steady 3 mile warm up I did 8 laps (2 x 3 mi hard with 1 mi recover) of a 1 mi loop of East Park. My legs were screaming at me but with mile splits as follows:

  • 06:28
  • 06:21
  • 06:28
  • 08:03
  • 06:27
  • 06:32
  • 06:26
  • 08:34

The end of the week was finished off in Surrey, an easy run around Dorking/Reigate plus Reigate ParkRun. The ParkRun is a good off road course and I finished in 19:33 after only 5 hours sleep and too much alcohol!I was extremely pleased to tough it out and hit my target of 6.30 mi pace  (or under) for the 2 x 3 mile reps.

Next week is all about volume (70+ miles) plus Summer League of course.

Phil Johnson 5k Series (Race 1)

Phil Johnson 5k

The Phil Johnson 5k Series is of 4 races run by Barton & District AC in Barrow with three 5k’s over the summer and a mile race in September. The inaugural (single) race was held last year to celebrate the life of local athlete Phil Johnson.

After a gloriously sunny weekend I was hoping that would last until the race on Tuesday evening, alas it was not to be. The rain started around lunchtime and the drizzle lasted until race time and beyond. However it was still warm enough for just vest and shorts but unfortunately no shades and a little moist underfoot. Also there was just enough wind that due to the nature of the course I knew at some point we would be dealing with a head wind.

However before getting onto the race there was the small matter of getting there. I live East Hull and the race was in Barrow, which is the other side of the The Humber River . I was working at home therefore the plan was to leave home at 4 to get a bus into the city centre. Then another bus from the city centre that would get me to Barton-on-Humber in time to get the train from Barton-on-Humber to Barrow upon Humber at 5.55pm. The bus was supposed to arrive with 5 minutes to spare, however I didn’t factor in the traffic getting out of Hull. In the end I had to get a taxi the 5 minutes down the road and then got in somebody else’s taxi!

Onto the race, after a good short briefing (mainly to warn people about headphones) the race begins at the Haven Inn at Barrow on Humber and goes away from The Humber River. I was penned in slightly by slower runners before finding some space. One group had already gone away and I found myself in the second group as I invariably do.  After a quarter of a mile we make the first left turn onto West Hann Lane. At this point there was approx. 6 of us and I would have been happy to stay in that group except the pace was a little off what I wanted plus there was a lady a little  bit ahead who seemed to be running a good pace. Nobody seemed to be making a move therefore I pushed on to close the gap, most of the group came with me.

Phil Johnson 5k - Race 1
Phil Johnson 5k – Race 1

The course along this stretch is flat but does have a couple of rises which changes your stride pattern slightly particularly if like me you can’t run uphill to save your life! At some point between miles 1 and 2 I had gapped the rest of the group except one athlete (Adam Weekes) who came with me.

The two of us made the second left onto New Holland Road with me doing most of the pacing at this point. As suspected at some point we were going to hit a windy section and this mile was my slowest and I assume the main reason was the wind.

Onto mile 3 and we made the penultimate left turn for the short section on Lincoln Castle Way before making the final left turn onto Marsh Lane for the run for home. I was flagging at this point and Adam was pushing the pace on. I resolved to keep him close enough and hope that I could outsprint him closer to the finish. For me this final section does seem to go on for along time. I think one of the reasons is you can see the finish from so far away. Eventually with about 200m to 300m to go I gave it everything to hit sub 5 min mi pace and pass Adam just before the finish.

I finished 11th out of 63 competitors.  However it’s not a very deep field therefore the main thing was to get close to 6 minute miling which I pretty much did therefore happy overall.  The next race in the series is June 14th when I hope to finally break 18:30 for 5k . Also hopefully there will be a few more competitors at my sort of pace.

For comparison here is last years and this years splits. I don’t think I can learn that much from the differences. The wind direction was different last year to this. The main thing is next time I need to run even splits for the entire race even if the first mile is quicker. A fast first mile followed by 6 minute miles will bring me what I want.

2015 2016 – Race 1
5:57 /mi 5:51 /mi
6:09 /mi 6:02 /mi
6:03 /mi 6:09 /mi
5:04 /mi 6:03 /mi

Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (Week 2)?

Summer League Race 2 - Sproatley 6

Before you know it week 2 has been and gone. Not loads to say as the training is similar to last week except for the addition of 6 mile road race in the form of “Summer League Race 2 – Sproatley 6”

Week 2 – 67 mi (8h 36m)

  • Monday – Easy 8 Cross Country
  • Tuesday – PM: 6 mi hard (race) + 2 mi warm up and 0.9 mi cool down
  • Wednesday – 12 mi midweek LSR
  • Thursday – Rest day due to being Liverpool for work all day.
  • Friday –
    • AM: Easy 4.2 mi recovery run
    • PM: Easy 10 mi
  • Saturday – Strength workout – 11.4 mi (8 x 800m with 400m recovery + 3 mi warm up and 2.5 mi cool down)
  • Sunday – 12 mi LSR

A really pleasing week. The race wasn’t quite the pace I expected but still averaged a good 6.12 per mile (maybe went out too fast with a 5.46 first mile – it is downhill!).  The easy runs were all around 7.45 /mi pace which felt very comfortable, as it should, however it’s still pleasing to know the strength in the legs is coming back.  Saturday’s strength workout was a real killer, I did plan to do 10 reps but after 8 for a total of just under 6 miles I decided that it was best to call it a day.

Now looking forward to Tuesdays 5k race, fingers crossed I’m close to PB pace (and the wind abates a little).


Summer League Race 2 – Sproatley 6

EHH Summer League 2 (Sproatley 6 miles)
EHH Summer League 2 (Sproatley 6 miles) – 37:30, 23rd out of 218

Race 2 in the EHH Summer League Series is the first of two races to start at Sproatley. This year I wouldn’t be doing the second race  as the Phil Johnson 5k series clashes with the Sproatley 7. And I’d prefer to do the 5k as that’s a standard distance. Likewise I’ll be missing the Skirlaugh 8 to do the Doncaster Open 5k.

Anyway back to topic and for some reason the Sproatley 6 is one of my bogey races where I never hit the paces that I can in other races. Partly I think this is the course and there is always seems to be some wind but also I’ve often done a race a couple of days before plus a marathon in the proceeding month. The times to beat were as follows:

  • 2015 – 00:37:30
  • 2016 – 00:37:44

This year I’d have no excuses of half marathons or marathons. Surely I could sneak under 37 if nothing else?

Onto the race and the usual quick first mile (5:45), it starts with a slight downhill and combined with the fast lads plus the initial race adrenaline it’s hard not to fly out the blocks. The usual group goes away and unlike the last race I found myself on my own. I decided to “run” with it (pun intended). It wasn’t too long, probably in the second mile when a group including the City of Hulls legendary Steve Rennie, Carla Stansfield and my clubs Eddie Rex. I tried to stick with them but to be honest even before the race I wasn’t feeling great. They gapped me fairly quickly and once again I was left running on my own with a few EHH lads not too far behind.

Around  2 to 3 miles my clubmate and adversary Lee Alcock caught me, the benefit is we could share the workload. However I was more concerned in keeping my average pace under 6:10 therefore I kept surging which Lee commented on post run. It would be better to run more consistently but no matter what I couldn’t maintain pace.

The last two miles is mostly in one direction and as usual I find this section a drag. There always seems to be wind on this section not helping me maintain target pace.

Finally the great downhill start means a uphill finish, around 5 to 5.5 miles Lee left me and finished just ahead.

Once again I missed sub 37, finishing in 37:20 for 23rd place out of 218. However it was my fastest time on this course so that is at least something. For the record I have gone well under 37 on  a different course at last years Champagne League at Kiplingcoates finishing in 36:24. Oh well there’s always next year 🙂




Enigma Need for Speed – 10 weeks to a half marathon PB (week 1)?

This years focus is all about 10 milers, so far they haven’t gone to plan. The idea was to train for less miles but increase the intensity. So far this year I’ve completed the Ferriby 10 (01:07:17), Snake Lane (01:06:07) and Vale of York 10 (01:05:13). Two of which are way off my PB of 01:05:10 set at Ferriby 10 last year when I was marathon training. Vale Of York 10 may have been better if it wasn’t for falling ill just before the week before the race. However by that time I had started to increase my weekly volume while retaining the intensity of a couple of key sessions per week.

What’s all that got to do with a half marathon? Read on to find out. My wife is doing the Enigma Need for Speed full marathon and myself the half on the 2nd July. After a slightly sub par start to the year the focus now shifts to that race and then later in the autumn, the Yorkshire 10 on the 9th October with the inaugural Manchester half marathon a week later on the 16th. For me the two distances are so close in distance that training does not have to be mutually exclusive. I can still try to bring my 10 mile time down while also targeting the half marathon in a couple of months and the two races later in the year.

Coincidentally I had purchased the Hansons Half Marathon Method Book by Luke Humphrey book, their philosophy of high volume with lots of easy running combined with some key sessions (speed, strength and the long run) sits well with my own thoughts on training anyway. The advanced plan tops out at just below 50 miles. As somebody who normally gets to that sort of volume and beyond I decided to loosely follow the elite training plan in the appendix. I don’t have enough time for 100mile weeks plus I wouldn’t want to ramp it up too quickly I have decided to do rolling three weeks over a 10 week period (the last week is race week) as follows:

  • Wk 1 – 60+ miles
  • Wk 2 – 60+ miles
  • Wk 3 – 50 miles
  • WK 4 – 70+ miles
  • WK 5 – 70+ miles
  • Wk 6 – 50 miles
  • Wk 7 – 80+ miles
  • Wk 8 – 80+ miles
  • Wk 9 – 60+ miles
  • Wk 10 – 30 to 40 miles inc. the half marathon

I’ll then have a couple of easy weeks before doing another 12 week training block before the two races in October.

Week 1 – 62.6 mi (7h 57m)

  • Monday – rest day after getting back really late from London the day before
  • Tuesday –
    • AM: Easy 3 XC
    • PM: 10 mi tempo + 1.4 mi cool down
  • Wednesday – 12.3 mi midweek LSR
  • Thursday – Another rest day due to being Liverpool for work all day.
  • Friday – Easy 10 mi
  • Saturday – Strength workout – 11. 8 mi (3 mi warm up + 2 x 3 mi @ 5 k pace with 1 mi recover + 2 mi cool down). One of the repeats included ParkRun in a slightly disappointing 19:40. The other 3 miles done in 20:04. Both 3 mile repeats were much slower than I expected, I need to be hitting 18:00 to 18:30.
  • Sunday – 14 mi LSR

A good week’s volume with three key sessions (Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday). I know I can run faster for 3 miles therefore I assume it was just fatigue from my first real big week for a while and a long day at work on Thursday. 9 weeks to go!