The guys on Marathon Talk frequently say that “if you want to run faster, you have to run faster”. Simplistic, but true.
With that in mind, the last two weekends have seen me taking part in two very different races as I seek to get back fitter and faster.
The first was the Wimbledon 5k Dash which hosted the Surrey 5k Championships. Starting and finishing on the Wimbledon Park track, this is a truly club focused race, with 250 good standard runners taking part. The route includes a climb of approximately 100ft, but is then pretty much downhill to the finish.
I raced reasonably well with a couple of sub six minute miles sandwiching one of just over (the hilly one). This brought me home in 18.40mins for 59th place. Six other Guildford & Godalming AC runners finished ahead of me in under 18minutes (a remarkable performance).
5k club road races are few and far between these days. While the hill mid course is an annoyance, this is definitely a race with PB potential given the competitive nature of the speedy field. I am already looking forward to next year.
My second race, the Thames Meander Half Marathon, took place 6 days later in Kingston. An out and back course along the Thames path towards London, this is a fabulous race. I had originally intended to take part in the marathon, that sets off at the same time, but given my lack of fitness decided that was a step too far. While the underfoot surface isn’t always quick on the path, it is a flat course so reasonably fast.
I prefer smaller races like this to the big city marathons. The race organisers can talk to everyone at the start and the running community binds together brilliantly – you are never on your own. I set off at a reasonable pace and got into a consistent stride after a few miles. I picked things up from half-way and managed to finish in a comfortable 87.14mins for 10th place.
Neither race was close to a personal best time, but both saw me run significantly faster than I have for months. Like many people, I find it hard to replicate the speed of races in training. So, if I want to get fitter and faster, I need to keep racing. Bring it on.