Training the Taubertal legs

Last year I'd completed the Leek half marathon and loved the challenge of it. Yes, it's on road/country lanes/pavements and path, however there are enough undulations to keep you on your toes.

This year the distance was 10 miles as 3miles of the route included a road parallel to the Roaches and the roads had been closed due to huge fire damage. For safety of the runners, the organisers coupled with the local fire officers agreed that the race could still go ahead however with the revised plan. Additionally, this had been chosen as a North Staffordshire Road Runners Association (NSRRA) awards event, adding more incentive for local runners to compete.

The week training had been a little haphazard as a small calf pain/strain had me balancing good quality runs with rest and mending asap. It kind of throws me out of kilter when the week hasn't gone to plan and by Friday and Saturday I'd barely strung a couple of easy miles together through the two days. I was unsure how the calf would hold out for the Leek race and therefore I had no expectations, which were to put an effort into a 10 mile run.

I turned up and warmed up and felt the calf immediately. So, I took it easy and made a vow to run easy and see how it goes. I'd placed myself up front on the start line, something I rarely do. I wanted to start getting out of my comfort zone with some of the habits I have paved and so whilst I had no reason to believe I'd stay up front, simply being there on the start line is alien to me

As the miles clicked, I found myself leading the ladies and to my surprise that's where I stayed the whole race. Now, that's a first. I was much more used to be the hunter not the hunted, so this was a whole new ball game. I wasn't focused on positions or times though as the primary goal was (take it easy) and work on some mental strengthening. Typically this meant not giving any weight to thoughts about what others were doing, how they were racing and positions. As soon as my mind attempted to labour on speculation and guess work, I simply acknowledged it and let the thought dissipate naturally. Even at the half point turn around, when for the first time, observed 2nd lady a minute behind and 3rd lady another 30 seconds or so, I simply didn't ponder it, I acknowledge it then got on tanking it down the hill for the fun. The calf held out and I think I was conservative enough to not exacerbate the slight pull I'd been feeling.

Thoughts turned towards the finish line and the memory of last year when the 2nd lady was just in front of me and I struggled with energy to put an effort in on the last hill to catch her. This year, there was no lady in front and i relaxed and enjoyed the climb to the park where the race ended. I was super pleased, no major issues with the calf, a great training run which I'd put more effort in that a plod around the streets on my Tod, and a win to boot. If I had to describe the training purpose of this race and how it links to a 100 mile race, it would come into the 'speed endurance' realm in order to increase cardio vascular fitness and the opportunity to strengthen mental tool kit, calving new neurological pathways which could arguably be the single most determining factor when I'm tired in a long race and the thoughts need to be automatic.

Add caption

See below for video highlights.

Leek 10 mile race highlights