Mixing it up

Last year I wrote a blog called “20 odd miles”. It basically summed up the way I keep running fun and mix it up. In that post I wrote how I ran 4 times in one day running a parkrun, with friends, at an event and home from the event. Although I am in the “tapering” phase of marathon preparation I am still mixing it up and thought I would document what I’ve been up to this week. 

Last Saturday I ran Hilly Fields parkrun (@hillyfdsparkrun). This isn’t my local parkrun but I make the the effort to get there because it is a great, fun course and the race directors (Adele, Emma & Glenn) and volunteers are awesome. I enjoy it mainly because it is hilly, as the name would suggest, and consequently is a bit of a challenge. This was the first time I’ve been back to do the parkrun in a long while due to work and other things and so I wasn’t sure what time I would manage. My Hilly Fields PB from around this time last year was 18:57. Recently my running has been going well, especially at Reading Half, and therefore I knew I would get close to PB if not better. I set off at 6 min/mile pace and aimed to stick at it for as long as possible. It definitely helped I was in second place, I kept pushing to stay a constant distance from first place. I think I may have even gained some ground (I know parkrun is not a race!) It’s kind of amazing how another runner can help you without knowing it. I finished with a big course PB time of 18 minutes dead. This made it three PBs in the last 3 weekends. I’m wondering if I can make it 4!? Ha  


In the middle of last week I spontaneously decided to sign up to Kingston Half Marathon. I was thinking I would take it reasonably steady or use it as a marathon paced run having already done North London and Reading Halfs the two previous weekends. This didn’t quite happen. I felt good on the start line and ended up running the race at 6.30min/mile finishing in 1:23:52. Next time I want to do a steady or marathon paced run I’ll know not to sign up to a race/event.

I had a rest day on Monday and then went to Mile End Stadium for #TrackTuesday with Run-Fast (@RunfastLtd). I started work for The Running Works (@RunningWorks based along Houndsditch in London) / Run-Fast on Monday and had been invited to track sessions with them months ago but hadn’t been able to make it due to work etc. This was my first ever time on the track and I loved it. It was good fun and great to run with people much faster than me. The track session was lead by Peter McHugh, the founder of Run-Fast. I didn’t know what reps we would be doing as Peter likes to keep it a surprise. We ran 3x2ks at 10k pace with 2x400s in between, finishing with straights and corners (striding the straights and jogging the corners). I think it will take a few sessions to get use to the surface and knowing how much to push it but I can’t wait to get back on track. It’s kind of ironic but I know running in circles is going to get me much further than doing lots of steady, possibly “junk” miles. In the next few weeks I will try to balance speed work and getting in the miles for race to the stones.  


Although I should probably be tapering more than I am I think it has been good to work on speed and sharpen up before Brighton Marathon. A few months back a customer described tapering to me as sharpening the pencil. I like this analogy and expanded on it a little by sketching “If runners were pencils”. 

Obviously in the drawing I should have drawn a track on the sharpener.

I rested on Wednesday and then got in a fair few miles yesterday. I ran one of my standard 5 mile Victoria Park routes in the morning. I then ran 3 miles into work to run nearly 6 miles with a few of the guys from work to think about routes for the run club we will be starting soon.

Today I ran 6 miles to Covent Garden to do a short run with the Nike group. The weather wasn’t great but it meant it was nice and quiet along the river. I will be parkrunning tomorrow but haven’t decided where to go yet. The weather may play a part in that decision. 

I hope everyone is enjoying there running and you all have a great Easter weekend. 


Twitter: StephenSkinner6

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