My 10k race where I beat my personal record set only 5 weeks before. Can TrainAsONE’s new ‘train for target time’ feature enable me to do the triple and go under 40 minutes in 4 weeks time?
Last Sunday (9th April 2023), I ran the East Sunday Trowse 10k. As mentioned in my pre-race article, this is a 10 km road race hosted by the City of Norwich Athletic Club, and takes place around the quiet roads and tracks of the village of Trowse, Norfolk, England.
My week leading up to the race was a little hectic, which meant not reading the pre-race information until the morning of the race. Where upon I discovered that the race had a 9:00 am start time, and not the 9:30 that I had in my mind. Consequently, it led to the need for a more rapid than usual morning routine to get out of the door and begin the journey to Trowse. Fortunately, I always give myself plenty of time for my whole pre-race routine, which still meant arriving and parking up in good time to collect my race number and make my way to the start line.
With my TrainAsONE predicted time of 41:03 in mind (see previous post) I settled myself near the start of the 40 minute corral. I knew I needed to average 4:06 min/km to hit my target. However, I was also aware of the significant (for Norfolk) hill that we would climb twice at around 3 and then again at 8 km, which would need to be factored in. For me, that would mean pushing only a fraction harder on the flat, but letting go on those downhills. (Running downhill is something I have always found relatively easy and not caused me any issues or complaints.)
It was not raining, but there was quite a bite to the breeze and I was hoping for a prompt start so as not to get too cold. Fortunately we started exactly on the dot – I don’t think I have ever started a race exactly on time! (Well done organisers.)
The first kilometre was flat and on road, being covered in 3m54s. 12 seconds ahead of schedule. I felt I could ease-off a little into k 2 which was a bit more twisty with a couple of sharp bends along a scenic track by the river – not that I took too much notice as I was laser focussed… The second kilometre was passed at 7m55s. I was now 17 seconds ahead and feeling good.
At this point I rightly asked the question of whether I should slow down, but with that hill in mind I decided to keep with the pace.
Let's see what this hill has in store...
The 3 kilometre marker appeared just as we hit the foot of the hill. Pace 3:52, time 12m18s. Now 31seconds ahead. “Let’s see what this hill has in store…”
Immediately as the grade increased the inevitable slowing of pace happened, and it was only a matter of seconds before other runners began to overtake me. I noted the first to do so was a tall athlete wearing a red vest from Norfolk Gazelles. He would be my target for the downhill stretch…
He would be my target for the downhill stretch...
In terms of splits the hill is almost perfect. It starts at 3 km, and is roughly 1 km to the summit. The steepest part of the hill is near the top. I glanced at my watch 5:46 min/km. No need to panic, I told myself, the end was in sight. On reaching the peak, the path turned sharply left and it was a gentle down slope and then flat for 100 metres to the 4km marker. I allowed myself a little breather and reached 4km in a time of 16:24. I was now 4 seconds ahead of schedule. I knew it was all downhill to the 5 km point, and half-way. I let my legs roll with the hill, and picked up speed and cruised through the water station – no time for a drink today! By now I was passing many people and it was not long before I was overtaking the runner from Norfolk Gazelles who overtook me on the uphill stretch. It only seemed a moment before I was at the bottom of the hill. 5 km reached in 19:59, 3 minutes 39 seconds for the k, with a top downhill pace of 3:32 min/km. I was now back to my 31 seconds ahead.
Just under 2 km of flat road to go before that hill again.
We were now on flat roads again, and there was the momentary dip in pace as I had allowed my legs to adjust. Just under 2 km of flat road to go before that hill again. My strategy was to keep as near to my original 4:06 min/km target before I hit it. I reached 6 km in a good pace of 4:03 min/km, but by then my legs were starting to tire. The run to the foot of the hill seemed to drag, but I still managed 4:05 min/km.
As soon as I started to climb, it was a case of déjà vu.
As soon as I started to climb, it was a case of déjà vu. I slowed and a successive stream of runners continuously passed me. This time though, I knew the hill a little better and once I turned towards the last climb to the summit I permitted myself to push a little harder. No time for even the slightest breather this time as I started the descent. I passed the 8km marker. 4:33 min/km.
I let the legs flow, and one-by-one picked off those uphill specialists.
I was now 8 seconds ahead of schedule. Only 2 km to go and my downhill skill put my race target and a new personal record within my grasp. I let the legs flow, and one-by-one picked off those uphill specialists on my descent to 9 km, in a pace of 3:45 min/km. This time with a top speed of 3:20 min/km.
In the last stretch of the hill, just before 9 km, I overtook 3 runners I had not seen before, and it was at the 9 km marker that they re-appeared and seemed to effortlessly pass me. I took a few seconds to compose myself and then decided to try to keep with them. My legs were starting to scream, and with 400 metres to go I was just behind the first two. The third was about 25 metres ahead of them.
With about 100 metres to go I made a sudden big push and overtook the nearest two. We turned a corner and the finish was in sight. I doubled down with all I had left, managing to stave off the challenges from behind as I crossed the finish line.
Official time, 40:20, and a new 10 km personal record.
To say it took a little while to get my breath back is an understatement!
Nearly a week on from the race, I am still a little in shock. Where did that come from! It had only been 5 weeks since my previous 10 km race, and that was a big personal record. So to go and beat that by around 50 seconds seems mad.
Here’s the now ubiquitous box chart and table to help compare my result against the predictions.
|Algorithm||Predicted Pace||Predicted Time||Error (seconds)||Error (percent)|
|Riegel (3.2 km Assessment)||4:39||46:30||370||13.3 %|
|Athlete data analysis platform||4:26||44:20||240||9.0 %|
|Riegel (6 min Assessment)||4:22||43:43||203||7.6 %|
|Sports watch company||4:18||42:56||156||6.2 %|
|Riegel (20 mile Race)||4:16||42:50||150||5.5 %|
|Riegel (10 mile Race)||4:13||42:11||111||4.3 %|
|Riegel (10 km Race)||4:07||41:13||53||2.0 %|
I don’t think there is much to say. TrainAsONE was the closest. And I outperformed all the algorithms, with only TrainAsONE and the Riegel (20 mile Race) predictions calculating that my result was statistically likely.
With a gap of only 4 weeks between the Trowse and my next race (another 10km), I’m already back into full training. I have now set my target time to 40 minutes. 4 weeks is a limited training period in which to prepare to try and shave off another 20 seconds, but I’m going to give it a shot with the help of the new ‘train for target time’ feature of the TrainAsONE app. This is currently available as an early access preview to a subset of users and will be made more widely available to all premium members in the coming weeks.
Look out for the new Train for Target Time feature in TrainAsONE - coming soon!
By way of a quick preview of what to look out for, the option will be available as part of your individual race settings, as shown below.
A massive shout out to the race organisers, volunteers, and all those involved. A thoroughly enjoyable event. Thank you.
Till next time.