Monday, 18 April 2011

Stretton Skyline LSR - 17/04/2011

(LSR = long slow run)

Yesterday I hit the Stretton Skyline after a few days without any running (I did a lot of walking around on Friday though). My calf injury seems to be pretty much cleared up now, so I was hoping to pace myself a bit better than last week and get all the way round.

I started at what seemed a gentler pace, albeit running all the way up to Pole Bank. 33:10 to the top was about the same time as last week but felt more comfortable. I got a nice rhythm going taking it much more steadily than last week on the descent to Little Stretton, but never getting out of breath. It was hot and I'd drunk all my water, so filled up the bottle at the campsite in Little Stretton before crossing the A49 and starting up Ragleth Hill.

I think I pushed too hard on the ascent here, worrying about being inside the 80 minute cut-off, which is stupid because this was a training run - the point is to go long AND slow. I made the top in 77 minutes, 4 minutes slower than last week. The descent was better though, I nailed the route properly and soon was at the car, strategically parked on Watling Street (92 minutes).

I had a few minutes break, eating a KitKat and a Banana and geting some more water down, doing a few stretches (I had twinges down the outside of my left leg) and refilling the water bottle.

I ran nice and steadily up towards the Cwms Road, feeling the first effect of a little tiredness on the climb to Cwms. I forced myself to climb Caradoc a bit more steadily than I had Ragleth Hill, but was probably still a little too fast, getting to the top in 2 hours 2 minutes. The descent was good but controlled (it's easy to go very fast here), although I always feel a little tired when I hit the road near Comley.

Climbing up the Lawley I made myself keep it slow and steady, but I found it quite hard to get running on top. I paused for a minute or two at the top (2 hours 28 minutes) and stretched a bit, before a very steady descent.

I was feeling like I was struggling to recover and catch my breath and there was thick grass and rough dried mud in the first couple of the fields after Comley, so I walked these, then jogged to the A49 (2 hours 53 minutes), where I picked up my last drink and a choccie bar which I'd stashed earlier. I ran round into Gogbatch, but was still having difficulty with getting my breath, so started to walk on the road, and had to keep walking all the way up to the cottage at High Park. From there I managed to start running again, very slowly and steadily at first, but then getting up a bit more pace to reach the top of Mott's Road in 3 hours 42 minutes.

I realised 4 hours might be on but was pretty tired, so I forced myself to go steady on the descent into Carding Mill Valley, but just about made it to the football field in 3:59:28, totally blown out at the end. This included a couple of two minute stops on the tops of Ragleth Hill and the Lawley, but excluded the 7 minute break at the car.

September's race time was 4:16:34, so that's a good improvement. If I keep on getting better at the current rate 3:45 should be within reach this year: I just need enough aerobic fitness that I can keep running after the Lawley - the legs were willing but the lungs just wouldn't keep up!

Message from this run, despite the timings given, is that I really need to ensure my long slow runs are at a very steady output (if not pace), that is that I don't go anaerobic anywhere along the route, and that I keep the effort consistent throughout. A couple of minutes slower up Pole Bank and Ragleth Hill today might have saved several minutes between Comley and the top of Mott's Road...

Total distance today (including jogging up to the start from Watling Street) 20.0 miles; 4,680' of ascent; total time about 4:13:00 so my pace was about 12:48/mile.

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