Tag Archives: London running

The Run Through Victoria Park Half Marathon 2019

On Saturday 5th January I took part in the Run Through Victoria Park Half Marathon. A group of us signed up because we have marathons etc lined up and we wanted to dust off the cobwebs after Christmas. With Victoria Park featuring heavily on my regular running routes I was looking forward to trying to hold a solid pace, making the most of the flat course. 

As we planned to go to our friends, Liv, Ben and Harrisons for lunch, Alex (Lorna’s brother) drove us to theirs. We then took the central line to Stratford and walked to the park helping to loosen the legs up a little. Ben joined us in taking part in the half marathon as he is building up for the London Marathon and we met Dean at the number collection point, chilling. 

We arrived at the race village nice and early so we could fit in a decent warm up. Number collection, toilets and the bag drop were all nicely spread out so everything was really efficient. It’s always important to be relaxed before a race so it was good not to have to stress about these things. Ben and I ran a few laps of the cinder track to try and warm up, before dropping off our bags and getting on the start line. With Run Through organising a 5k, 10k and Half with various start times there was a great atmosphere as friends cheered each other out of the start funnel. 

A couple of days before the event, James from Midnight Runners dropped me a message on Instagram asking if I was taking part to see what my strategy was going to be. We decided we would see how we felt on the morning but were both leaning towards running it around marathon pace. Due to Christmas and New Year I hadn’t ran much at the start of the week so I had done a few quicker 20ks on Thursday and Friday so was more than happy to try and work together around the 6.5 laps and hold a decent pace. Off the start line we settled into a pace around 3:50min/km, it felt harder than it should have due to recent mileage but I figured it would be a good test 6 or so weeks out from Seville marathon to hold it on tired legs. 

The first few laps went really quickly as James and I chatted about training and race plans for 2019. Passing the race village Matt Wood and others shouted words of encouragement to our little group; Markus and Sam had joined us. Sam was targeting a PB so we had an extra motivation to keep the pace consistent and get him across the line under 1:24. Throughout the run I had moments where I doubted I could hold the pace but the group was keeping me honest. It was tough but it was the sort of challenge my mind and body needed. 

Overall, we paced it really well. It reminded me that in the longer races you need to be persistent and work through the tough spells because your body can often handle more than you think. We crossed the line around 1:21:30 covering positions 14 through 17 and Sam clocked a minute and a half PB, result!

It was a great way to start the year and I feel I’m in good shape building towards Seville & London Marathons. 

Everyone else enjoyed the race; Alex smashed his PB, clocking a 5k PB as well on his way to 1:26:24. Lorna ran with Ben and Dean for the majority of the race, they clocked 1:39:11, 1:43:01 and a DNF respectively. Dean won’t mind me saying that, he planned a long run on Sunday so decided the laps weren’t worth the hassle. There were some other standout performances from friends including PBs for Michael Wiggins and Tony To to name a few, great work guys! 

It was the perfect start to the weekend and I can’t thank the Run Through team enough for braving the cold conditions to put on another superb event. I’ll be trying to fit in a few more Run Through races throughout 2019 for sure. 

Hope everyone’s running/training is going well. See a lot of you on the roads soon. 

Steve

The Run Through Battersea Park 5k

On Saturday 6th January I took part in the Run Through Battersea Park 5k. I signed up in December because I knew it would be a good opportunity to see what sort of shape I was in ahead of marathon training. Having banked some consistent mileage over the 5-6 weeks leading up to Christmas I was confident of clocking a time close to my PB of 16:30. During the week I completed a few tough sessions so I knew I would be racing on tired legs. However, in December I took part in a few parkruns and managed to clock times below 17 minutes on courses with hills and sharp corners.

I woke up on the Saturday morning really excited to race. Having not raced much over the last few months I couldn’t wait to push the pace and see what I could do. In recent weeks I have definitely started to enjoy racing 5ks more. This is probably thanks to some tough but great track sessions. I also feel as though I’m starting to embrace suffering more than I have over the past couple of years.

I decided to jog the 4km from home to Battersea Park to “warm up”. It was absolutely freezing! Arriving in plenty of time I picked up my race number without having to queue at all. With it pinned to my Iffley Road vest and having attached the timing chip to my trainers, I was ready to go. I jogged around the park for a short while to keep warm and then headed to the start line for the 9:30am start.

The Run Through races are great because you can choose which distance you want to do on the day. I opted for the 5k in this instance because a) it was cold and I wanted to get it done quickly and b) I wasn’t feeling 100% after a long tiring Friday moving offices. Two others and myself bolted off the start line. A runner in a Belgrave Harriers vest took to the front and opened up a gap pretty quickly, I was alongside the other runner for the first kilometre or so and then he dropped back. For the first lap I was in no-mans land but worked hard to hold around 3:20min/km pace. At first I struggled to get into my stride, in hindsight before the start I should have done some strides to wake the legs up.

Representing #TeamIffley in the Track White / Blue Lancaster Striped Vest

Mentally it was tough to see the first runner heading off into the distance and not have anyone to chase but over the last few months I have done quite a few tempos and been getting used to pushing the pace and embracing the struggle on my own. I kept thinking “don’t ease up, you can hold this pace”. Going into the second lap I knew I had a lot of work to do to get closer to my PB. With 2km left I knew I could afford to go for it. I upped my pace and found it motivational running passed the runners taking part in the 10k; it was great to hear a few shouts from friends. I got my head down and made the most of the final kilometre being slightly downhill.

I crossed the line in second place in 16:45. It would have been great to claim a new PB but in the circumstances I am really happy with the result. Overall it was a great event, Run Through always do a stellar job. I cannot recommend the Battersea Park race enough if you are looking to better your 5k or 10k PBs. Thanks to finishing second I have been given a free race entry to another of the Run Through races so I will probably be at the Lee Valley Park 5k/10k/half marathon on the 27th of January. I’m not sure which distance I’m going to do yet but it should be fun either way. Let me know if you’re going to be there or if you have any other Run Through races lined up. I hope those of you that took part in the Battersea race enjoyed it as much as I did and got the times you wanted.

This week has been a bit of a write off training wise due to the office move and struggling with a bug but I’m hoping to be back training hard soon. The London Marathon isn’t going to run itself and it is less than one hundred days away now!

See a lot of you soon.

Steve

Running into the New Year

It’s been almost two months since I last wrote a blog post so I thought I’d document what I’ve been up to since the Lisbon Marathon in October. With my championship entry for the London Marathon confirmed I have been focusing on building a good base so that I can train more specifically in the New Year and get a lot of really long runs in.

Looking back at my Strava training log in 2015 and 2016 I realised that despite taking part in Advent Running (the festive running streak) my mileage has been too low in November/December going into marathon training. With this in mind I have made more of an effort to run commute regularly, even if it has been freezing cold and dark. I have realised that generally no matter how tired my legs feel I can complete an easy 8k and they normally loosen up.

Despite December being busy in terms of Christmas shopping and drinks etc I have managed to get into a good routine and regularly attend the Run-Fast track sessions at Mile End Stadium on Tuesday evenings. At the time of writing I have been to track for  8 weeks in a row and after the last 5 sessions I have run an extra 20 minutes at around marathon pace (this is something I found beneficial before the Boston Marathon in April, thank you Simon Freeman for the recommendation).

I definitely don’t want to overcook it and peak too early but I am enjoying my running and my recovery rate is improving which should allow me to do more training of a higher quality in the New Year. On my Strava post “#AllAboutTheBase” Andy Waterman made a good point of dialling the pace back at track sessions slightly so I can run a good weekly mileage and not need too many full rest days.

Another reason I’ve been able to bank a few weeks of consistent mileage is I haven’t taken part in many races. Photo courtesy of Sam Pearce (@thefootpathlesstravelled)

I did the London XC Champs on the 18th of November which was great fun but apart from that I have just done the odd parkrun. Racing the shorter distances has allowed me to recover and still do a good long run the next day.

Over the last few weeks I’ve added a tempo run on Thursday nights. They have been tough as my legs have been tired from track but I think it is good training both mentally and physically to push the pace when fatigued. I am really excited to see what sort of shape I can get into in 2018 and for the first time in a while I have set myself some challenging targets across various distances.

In the New Year I am planning to start a weekly training log on here so you can all follow my journey to the London Marathon start line, I hope some of you will find it entertaining and/or informative. I’d be really interested to hear how everyone else’s training is going and what you’ve got lined up for 2018, drop me a message on Twitter or Instagram @SteveSkinner_

See a lot of you soon

Steve