A bit of ‘speed’ work

In the past I considered 1500m and certainly 5k as distance events that I’d only do to gain some endurance for my 800 meters but with all the ‘proper’ long distance events I’ve been doing this year they have now become short races for me and used to stay in touch with faster running.

On Wednesday 23rd July I was meant to be pace making at the BMC regional races in Coventry while there to watch two athletes I coach but an event cancellation less than 24 hour before hand meant a switch to the Oxford open meeting instead, which didn’t require pace makers so I decided to run the 1500m.

When doing middle distance training, as I have done for most of my life, the aim for this event would always be to break the 4 minute barrier, which I’ve done on five occasions and been pretty close most other times but I knew I wasn’t in that sort of shape having done very little shorter reps in training for quite some time and I’d predicted just beforehand that I would run around 4.10 which turned out to be very accurate as I managed 4.10.71 to finish 2nd in the race.

I shared quite slowly as it took me a while to get going but just after the first lap I got myself into 2nd place and started there until we approached the end of lap two where I felt the pace wasn’t fast enough so took the race on. I lead until just before the bell where I went back into 2nd place but felt ok.

I was in a good position with 200m to go and getting ready to strike for victory when from nowhere the guy who had taken on the early running flew past and started to move away. I still felt I had a good finish in me but left it a little too late. I moved past one but the finish line came before I had time to catch the leader so I had to settle for 2nd place.

On reflection I was a little lazy from 150- 100m to go and should have reacted quicker to the move but I can put that down to lack of track racing and I felt it was still a decent workout and about as much as I could have hoped for. It was good to get back to racing on the track as I still feel that’s where my true talents are and I will return to one day.

A week later on Wednesday 30th July I made my way to Bedford with some fellow PJR members for the Doug Anderson 5k.


Again, I’d done no specific paced training but was a little more confident of running well in this one as strength plays a bigger part but within the first 800m I realised that lacking in speed was once again going to be my downfall.

Normally the first mile of a 5k race feels quite easy and I have to really hold myself back from running too quickly but this time it felt fast yet checking my watch I was actually slightly slower than my target PB pace I was going for.

I was in 5th place and remained there for the rest of the race. The leader was well clear then one runner from the next group of three slightly lost touch and I did my best to close the gap on him. I slowed slightly in the second mile then again in the last but did manage to finish quite well and finish within 3 seconds of 4th place.

My finishing time was 16.43 so nearly half a minute away from my PB. I felt I could have ran another mile without slowing too much but I know the endurance is there and it was the speed that would cost me but these two races will have helped to improve that and it’s good to know my current weakness has always been my biggest strength giving me the confidence to know I can get that back when it’s really needed.