Little Aston 5

What a nightmare 2018 so far.  Everything was going to plan in January and all the signs were there that I was starting to move to the next level.  As usual, part of training is about managing niggles and I had some minor ankle discomfort but over the course of a couple of weeks it got worse and worse.  It eventually got to the point of not running for a week but every time I tried to run again nothing had changed.

Roll forward five months and the ankle pain was diagnosed as posterior tibialis tendonitis but no matter what treatment I tried the pain would not budge.  I even had a dose of steroids, xray and MRI to try and understand what was going on but alas nothing.  In the end I rolled the dice a bit and at the beginning of July I tried some short runs (like 5 mins on a treadmill) and I was just about able to run pain free, although far from sensation free.  I've been able to build up bit by bit since then and I'm convinced the running in a controlled fashion has helped the recovery.

Posterior tibialis - pain in a very specific region as it happens exactly where the line marker points to.

During my off time I've been conscious to do what I can which for three months involved nothing other than cycling and rowing at the gym, progressing to ski-x and the recumbent (sit down) bike.  This has largely kept any weight gain at bay, but nothing replicates running.  Since July I've slowly built back up, just trying to learn to run again, its amazing how much you forget.  During August I've thrown in the odd mini session but at the same time it has been a case of trying to manage other muscular niggles, probably caused as a result of my legs not being used to the pounding and the different form from having inserts in the soles of my trainers.

I wanted to enter a local race to understand where I'm really at as it would give me an idea of what form I've lost, whether my legs could cope and tell me what I need to concentrate on going forward.  Five months of no running followed by 8 weeks of running from a zero base meant I knew any talk of anything near a PB was nonsensical.  However, the odd session I've done suggested my speed was half-decent - perhaps just a few secs per km off pace, my endurance was good, but my speed/tempo endurance had suffered.


For some reason I was really nervous about the Little Aston 5.  Although I've never done it before it is a race I know well as it was along a bread and butter type route I used to do all the time when I was running back in Sutton in 2007.  Not what I'd call a PB course by any stretch due to quite a few lumps and bumps all over.

About 500m in - 2nd.

In the first km, the leader really pushed at what looked like an unsustainable pace and I quickly slotted into second.  The first km went through in 3.04 which was a crazy pace, even when fit.  Some of this was due to the downhill start, but even so!  The second km went through in a hilly 3.15 and I drifted further away from the leader who clearly was a quality athlete although still wondered whether he could sustain the pace for the whole race.  In the meantime another runner had latched onto me and into the third km I let him take on the pace.  The 3rd and 4th km were done in 3.12 and I was amazed that I was at or around my 10k pb pace.  The 5th km went in 3.19 and I started to drift behind the runner I was with, but occasionally pulling back level before falling away from 6km.  I felt my legs getting very heavy from 5.5km and to be honest from then on to the finish it was just a case of hanging on.  The final 3km were 3.21, 3.22 and 3.24.  My pace clearly falling back bit by bit as the race progressed.


The end result was a clear 3rd and 1st V35 in a time of 26.19.  Strictly speaking also a clear PB (previously 27.49 at the Tamworth 5 mile in 2016) but is not a distance I do often.  Perhaps more importantly I averaged 3.16min/km, which compares to my 10km PB pace of 3.14min/km.  So clearly it tells me my pace was good and in fact I went through 5km only 24 seconds shy of my 5km PB.  I was also ahead of my 10km PB up to the 6km mark as well so clearly there are some huge positives to take.  The wheels then started to fall off, but it tells me that fundamentally my speed is good, I just need to focus on some tempo and tempo endurance sessions.  Any thoughts about marathons and competitive half marathons need to be parked for the time being.

1st V35

Overall, a good race time, certainly at the top end of what I was expecting and gives me a better idea of what I need to focus on between now and the end of the year.  However the number one priority is to stay injury free...


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