I am edging tantalisingly close to cracking the sub-18 for 5km, with an 18:05 PB at Main Beach parkrun a few weeks back. Surely, it’s mine? Any week now!
Unfortunately, the desire to hit this goal has started to have a negative effect on my running. I’ve been concentrating on speed and strength training, and then resting my legs so they are fresh for the Saturday morning parkrun. This has seen my mileage drop away from 60-70km per week to about 40km per week. And that 40km pretty much consists of three hard-out threshold sessions: a hills run, a track session and then the 5km parkrun. With all of that hard running, my legs have been getting tighter and sorer, and although I’ve been getting faster, my endurance is in danger of falling away.
I was OK to let the endurance slide for a few weeks because the sub-18 5km goal seemed imminent. But I also want to build my long run up to 3 hours before Xmas. It seems these goals aren’t completely compatible! Having given the 5km a couple more cracks (and come up short with 18:30s), it’s time to work on the endurance again. And that means more runs, and longer runs.
Last week I was chatting with a fellow parkrunner who had a very similar record to mine, except he continued on where I blew up for a few years with dodgy calves. He eventually got his 5km time down to a low 17min, but even more impressively, his half marathon to 1:16 and his marathon to sub 2:40! My hopes – that my steady 40-60km per week would yield similar results – were dashed when he revealed that he was running at least 120km per week! (It’s also worth noting that he got a stress fracture when he built to 170km per week!) I’ve got no sub-2:40 marathon dreams, but sub-2:50 is one of my Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals.
So I’m going to forget about the 5km for a month and try to build up to 100km/week. The easiest way for me to add mileage is to arrive an hour earlier to my regular Tuesday and Thursday runs and do an extra 10km warmup; on Saturday, I can run to and from the parkrun which will make that a 25km roundtrip. That gets me to 65km. If I add a 15km trail run on Sunday, all I need to get to 100km is a couple of 10km runs during the week – probably on Monday and Friday. I’m going to feel six runs a week!
I’ll need to decide which run I’ll build to 3 hours – either the Saturday 25km (with parkrun), or the Sunday trail run. Actually, there’s no choice there – it’s got to be 3 hours on the trails! As I increase that Sunday trail run, I can probably reduce the Monday 10km to give a bit more recovery.
So there we have it: a plan for a 100km running week! Sounds easy enough. All of the kms I’ve added will be run at easy/steady pace.
I’ve already started building towards this – last week I ran 90km over 5 runs. That brought on a few little niggles, so I’m being cautious and it might be a couple more weeks before I get to 100km.
Now, what to do with that run fitness? Interestingly, in five weeks there is the Kurrawa to Duranbah 50km (with options for 30km and 15km). Gold Coast. Summer. Hot. Humid. 50km. Hmmm…