Up and down the country there are runners going out for a Thursday run with their clubs. I too went for a run with club mates tonight, along with a couple of hundred people from other Oxfordshire clubs at the 2nd of 5 “Mota-vation” races.
Summer has finally arrived! Leaving work with a blue sky, warm sunshine and the knowledge that I’ll be running 4 miles hard put a smile on my face tonight. Having marshalled the first Mota-vation race last month (it was just 4 days after I became a marathoner) I was eager to see where my post-marathon legs were over a hard and fast 4-and-a-bit miles in the Oxfordshire countryside.
Last year the Mota-vation series (I don’t know why it’s “Mota” rather than “Moti” either) really helped me push myself and run hard for longer. It’s great seeing so many local club runners (and some unaffiliated ones too!) out “enjoying” a run.
This year was no different in terms of a test of determination to keep the pace up but knowing more people from the club put a whole different layer on it. Not only was it great to catch up with fellow club members (talking about coaching, their running and what races they’ve got lined up) but it also gave me a number of boosts out on the course; as one of the bigger local clubs we supply some marshalls which means you get some extra friendly faces giving you a cheer and I had the fortune to have a few clubmates pass me, urging me on too.
Even if for only a few hundred metres, each time a club mate passed I dug in and clung to their shoulder as hard as i could. Not literally of course, that’d help neither of us!
I know some would have been surprised/concerned as I shot off in the first mile only to catch me up and pass me in the closing mile but as I said to a couple of people after the race, I’m experimenting.
Last year, whilst improving on all of my PBs, I found I was very strong at the finish – indicating I may have been running a little on the conservative side. Something I dabbled with in my marathon training, at a couple of parkruns, was to go out hard and try and hang on. So I thought I’d give it a go tonight.
I’m not sure I nailed it as I faded badly in the last mile but I’m chuffed to knock over 30 seconds off last year’s time and squeeze just inside a sub-7 minute mile average pace!
One thing that is fast becoming part of my coaching ethos is variety – if you go out and run the same distances at the same paces you’ll get very good at running those distances at those paces. Which is fine it you just want to run those distances at those paces. For those of you wanting to run further and faster you need to make sure you mix it up.
Sometimes that means a run might not go to plan. But sometimes you might just surprise yourself!