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Confession time: I got some personal bests

9 July 2019

Well, this is awkward. It took me a couple of years to write about facing up to a future of no more personal bests. “Personal bests are temporary, running is forever”, I wrote, waxing philosophical.

But… it turns out I could get another personal best. And, um, not just one. In May, three weeks after Boston marathon, I knocked over a minute off my 10k time at Langtoft Road Run. I love this race. Flat country lanes, wisteria clad cottages, and the weather was ideal: cloudy and cool. My legs felt rested and the pace (6:45 minutes a mile) felt just the right side of too hard. Nothing really hurt until the last mile and then there was NO WAY I was slowing down and letting it go. A pb! My first personal best since joining Yaxley Runners in 2016.

New 10k pb: 41:38

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PB Face

10 days after Langtoft, we met at the track on a warm Wednesday evening for the club’s annual Timed Mile. A love/hate affair involving no dinner, pre-race terror and a post-effort cough that lasts all night. It was worth it, as I went sub- 6 minutes for one mile on the track for the first time. Thank god that’s over for another year.

New mile pb: 5:57

Three weeks later in Ferry Meadows, I turned up to the first race of the Peterborough Grand Prix 5km series, interested to see what would happen. It was busy, and I was carried along by faster men and women for a kilometre before actually deciding to go for the sub-20. I’ve been there many, many times before, and failed. This time it felt possible. I had a moment of fear and a flicker of feeling I didn’t want to try. But then, belief! I was going to do it. The struggle in the last kilometre was real, but I forced my legs to keep turning over, kept counting to 60 (my last resort mental trick) and forced myself to sprint for the line.

New 5k pb: 19:54

This old girl, it seems, is on fire. The question is, why?

Is it my Boston marathon training kicking in too late? Is it a bit more hill training? Is it the handful of track sessions I’ve done? Is it consistent mileage? Is it pilates? Is it self-belief? Is it the cooler weather this summer?

I think it’s all of these things combined. My only epiphany during this purple patch is this: you won’t get faster by pushing harder during races if the pace feels hard, you’ll only get faster when that pace feels easier. You’ve got to put in the work to make it feel easy.

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