On Monday 28th May 2018 I took part in the Vitality London 10k. When I used to aim for PB’s and do a lot of strength and speed work, this was one of my favourite events. I ran it 3 years in a row 2011, 2012, 2013 with a fastest time 38:57 in 2012 (this was shortly followed by my PB of 37:27 at British 10k 2012). Since then I haven’t been able to take part in this event having ran London2Brighton 100k twice, and paced other events that have clashed. With a very busy schedule I hadn’t entered this event, and was really pleased when offered a place by Fitness Rewards (after being picked by Kelly Holmes for #motivationmay) that it didn’t clash.
I got my race kit ready as always the night before. It felt really strange preparing for a race that I wasn’t pacing. I also felt really nervous, it doesn’t matter what other people think, but I put pressure on myself. With an opportunity to run a 10k I wanted to push myself a little bit. Having not trained at intensity since 2012 I can’t expect to be at my best. In 2012 I could have ran faster but suffered from injury. Since then I’ve been steadily slowing down over the years, without any real personal targets; enjoying time with my family and helping other people achieve their PB’s. The first run at pace I’ve tried for ages was last weekend and I ran a 5k in 19:44 feeling comfortable afterwards. I am also running on tired legs having paced sub 4 last weekend at Liverpool Marathon. In many ways I am a better runner, I can run longer and more consistently. But I am not as strong or as conditioned, so running at speed is harder. The biggest issue is the lack of confidence, to go all out you need to have confidence in yourself, and I need to train more to have this confidence.
It was nice meeting up at the beginning for some pre race photos with #Ukrunchat. The atmosphere in Green Park was awesome. I was also struck by how easy it was to get to and from the event.
The weather was fantastic for spectators, which always means a bit too hot for runners. I had come in with Kirsty, but she had left me to go to the #runmummyrun meet. So we wished each other luck and parted ways.
You can’t really rival the start line of the London 10k, lining up on the Mall with Buckingham Palace behind you (this is usually where I would insert a photo but I forgot my race belt so I left my phone in baggage). I started in the first wave, so right on Mo Farahs heels, so it wasn’t too congested. Even with the waves starts I imagine it would have been tougher further back.
We started on time at 10:00 am and I wanted to run around 6:30 min/miles. I ran nice and steady but I did find I was being held back for the first couple of miles through slight congestion. I always think 10k is one of the hardest distances to run, you basically go out on 5k pace and try to hold on. It was very very hot and I was running towards my 10k limit. When we got to the first of two water stations I didn’t like that it was in cups. I grabbed one but it had hardly any water in it, and I got even less in my mouth. Fortunately I could see that on the return journey the water was in the small bottles, so that gave some comfort.
The first 2 miles I ran at 6:30 min/miles as planned, then the third I slowed a little. There were a few bumps, but most of all it was my confidence and determination to carry on. It was obviously hard, but not so hard that I couldn’t push more. I wasn’t exhausted, but my legs did feel really tired, I’m putting it down to the marathon running. I knew I would have to really give all I had if I were to get sub 40, and deep down I think part of the issue is that this would still be 2 minutes away from a PB. I struggle with the idea of completely wiping myself out and not getting a PB, so instead I want to enjoy it and steadily get myself back into the right condition. That way when I do have it in me I will have the confidence and a reason to push harder.
Mile 4 and 5 I coasted a little bit. I wanted around a 42 so rather than pushing what I could I adapted to do what I needed. Part of me wishes I didn’t take the easy way out, especially when I finished with more to give. London is a fantastic place to run, the support from spectators is unrivalled and it is great to run through the closed roads of London. For the last mile I sped up slightly, but not too much. We had great views running towards Buckingham Palace to finish. The main thing missing from this event is pacers, I would love to pace this event.
I’m really happy with 42:44 and a good little run. It’s not my quickest, but I enjoyed having a little blast, I know I can do more, I just need to train for it. I will be getting back into it alongside my pacing, and will follow these tips on “How to run faster“.
After the event I found it really quick to get my baggage, and I like the technical tee from NewBalance. I went to grab a burger and had a little walk around whilst waiting for Kirsty.
Kirsty really enjoyed herself as well.
It’s been a great May, and I’m looking forward to June, including pacing St Albans and Shrewsbury half marathons. What do you have coming up?