Tamworth 5

Today was my last scheduled race prior to the Bournemouth Marathon in 3 weeks’ time.  Whilst only a 5 miler, part of the course goes within 20 metres of my front door so any opportunity to have a bit of a sharpener was not to be missed.  I purposely did not ease off during the week and made sure I did a reasonably decent Thursday session followed by my normal Friday run and then just eased back to a shorter run the day before.  As a result my legs were pretty fatigued going into the race, but frankly that was the whole point.  I also wanted to test out the Nike Vaporfly 4% racers I had bought about 18 months ago but due to injury have never worn.  These shoes were released to much fanfare as part of the Nike ‘Breaking 2’ project where it was claimed that due to the plate inside it could make you run up to 4% quicker – something not to be sniffed at if true.  The plan today was to break them in and see how my feet got on with them and if all went well to use them at Bournemouth.

As the Tamworth 5 is a local race, if I’m honest I was expecting to win.  I was a little over keen at the start and managed to step over the line before the gun went off, before quickly correcting myself.  The irony wasn’t lost on me that my last race before Bournemouth could have been a DQ!  I went off fairly hard as I went round the athletics track and straight away I could feel that the trainers were quite springy.  As I exited the track I just tried to enter a zone as I knew even at this early stage I was in all probability going to be time trialling.

Lining up, just before I almost false started!

Already taking an early lead after 200 metres.

The first km was mostly downhill and I ended up doing 3.06 which was a touch on the fast side but perhaps due to the descent not entirely unexpected.  The second km starts off flat but really from this point onward the course gets pretty tough and I was already starting to blow.  There was a moderate climb up to the 3km mark of about 30 metres and during this ascent I knew that I had probably overcooked it a bit, more so considering my legs were already tired going into the race.  None the less my km splits were reasonable – a 3.10 and 3.13.  The 4th km involves a sharp descent and re-ascent – an area I know very well as it goes very close to home.  My splits were starting to slow a bit with a 3.15 but again not too bad considering the hill.

About 1 mile in.

I did have a look behind me at this point and couldn’t see anyone and it was difficult not to switch off a bit.  Despite descending by 25 metres I only ground out a 3.12 km which is pretty poor.  The final two km were pretty similar – 3.13 followed by 3.15 (albeit the latter had a short sharp climb); I was still pushing but within a certain level of comfort and had I needed to I’m sure I could have gone a fair bit quicker.  In the end I crossed the line in 25.47, about a minute ahead of 2nd.

1 mile to go.  Thumbs up.

Overall it was a PB by about 30 seconds on a far more challenging course compared to the Worthington 5 a few months ago.  In that respect it is positive and looking at my times after the fact show that actually it was the fastest I’ve ever run on any road course which is no mean feat as it certainly isn’t one that should have had PB potential, more so because I switched off a bit in the last couple of miles.  On the other hand my Lake Vyrnwy time last week suggested I should have been a fair bit quicker still, but perhaps I was expecting too much on tired legs, a hard course and no one to race with.



As for the trainers, I do believe some of the hype.  They certainly aid leg turnover and I could feel the springiness of the shoes.  I’m not sure about the 4% claim though, perhaps 1% - 2% is more feasible but is certainly not to be sniffed at when it comes to a marathon.  That said my calves were extremely sore post-race which I 100% attribute to the shoes.  This worries me a little when the distance is 5 times longer in three weeks’ time.  I will probably need a further run on them to make my final mind up.

Asked for an interview - largely talked gibberish but wasn't exactly planned!

I now have one more week of training before the taper starts and I’m now starting to think of what time / pacing I should be thinking of for Bournemouth.  My PB set at the Chester Marathon is 2.26.11 and using various race calculators my predicted time based on Lake Vyrnwy last week suggest 2.23.30 is on.  That said the same calculators suggest my 10k pb should be 30.30 when in reality my PB is 32.13 (albeit I haven’t recently done a race at that distance on a flat course)!  My gut feeling is to probably try and aim for 1.12ish at the half way point and then see what happens, but there is every chance that the race situation will take priority.  The problem with 1.12 pace is that Lake Vyrnwy involved me being in a solid group all working together on a pancake flat course and when combined with not having done that many long runs it may be a touch on the hot side for Bournemouth.  On the other hand I do feel a bit fitter than Chester so perhaps my true state of fitness is somewhere in the vicinity of 2.24 – 2.25.  I’ll soon find out!


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