Testing The Pace
With only a week to go until the BM10K, I had hoped to get a final 10K run in on Sunday to test out my pace for the big day. But, as often happens, things didn’t quite go to plan.
I had been feeling a bit sniffly on Friday and hoped that Saturday’s long walk would have helped to clear my head. I felt pretty good after the walk but when I woke up on Sunday morning, the head cold had kicked in and I felt pretty rubbish. I barely had the energy to go to the shops for some Lemsip, never mind go for a run along the seafront.
Monday was pretty much the same, but today I started to feel much better so I headed out after work for my final 10K run before the weekend. The plan was to try to maintain a pace of 6:45 minutes per kilometre for the first 5K and then gradually pick up the pace for a strong finish.
It was nice and warm down on the seafront and there was still plenty of daylight now that the clocks have gone forward. This made it much easier to keep an eye on my Garmin to see if I was pacing myself properly.
The run itself started off a bit slower than I would have liked but as I still wasn’t feeling one hundred percent, I decided not to push it. I’d just take it easy and speed up gradually, trying to finish the first half with an average pace of 6:45 as planned.
This worked quite well and pretty soon I started to find my stride, but I then I had the opposite problem – keeping hold of my pace to make sure that I didn’t go too fast!
Round about the eighth kilometre, however, I found myself struggling and started to wonder if it was such a good idea to be doing this – running with a head cold less than a week before race day! I seriously considered stopping, but deep down I knew that would be a bad idea.
One of the reasons for doing the run was to give me confidence for Sunday’s race. It didn’t matter how fast I went tonight. In fact, I knew that pushing myself to go fast would be a bad idea. Feeling the way I was, I’d only end up feeling exhausted, unwell and probably injured. No, the whole point of the run was to simply run 10K. That was it.
Even if it was a bad run, even if it was my slowest 10K ever, it didn’t matter. It could even be a good thing – if I got the bad run over and done with, then maybe there would be more chance of a good run on race day.
By this point it was starting to get dark and I had to use the light to check my Garmin, so I decided to forget about the pace and just focus on keeping myself going, one foot in front of the other. I had a good idea of where the 10K point was, so once I knew I was nearly there, I tried to pick it up a bit more. No heroics, no final sprints, just a little bit faster to see what I had left in me.
To my surprise, when I heard the final beep and stopped the timer, I discovered that I was only 5 seconds away from my PB! I couldn’t believe it. After all that struggling and nearly quitting, I was so happy that I’d kept going and finished what I’d started.
I don’t know how Sunday’s race will go, and I don’t really mind if I have a slow run or that I might not get a new PB. It’s just good to know that, even if I’m not feeling one hundred percent physically, I can keep going if I want to.
How do you keep yourself going when you feel like quitting? Please share your thoughts in the comments.