Monday, 19 July 2010

Holme Moss - it went to plan

In my last blog entry I was planning out how my Holme Moss race would go. Obviously, this was partly tongue-in-cheek. Let's revisit that plan and see how much of it came true.

1. Set off too quickly - No. I think I set off a bit too slowly.

2. Still feeling fresh after about 5 miles - Yes.

3. Get cocky and overdo it - Yes.

4. Lose the person in front - No. But there were a lot of them.

5. Head towards Scotland by mistake - No, but only because there were lots of flags showing me the way.

6. Finish in a crumpled heap - Yes, definitely.

I said I'd probably finish about 150th, but I was hoping for top 100 and I finished in 97th.

I was aiming for 3 hours 15 minutes and I beat that to finish in 3:11:34 (here are the results).

So on the face of it, I should be pleased with my performance. But I am not. I think it was the style of my race that leads me to not be pleased. Relative to previous years, when I've trained for long races, I have done:
- more long, slow runs
- a greater run-in period of long, slow runs
- more overall mileage.

But the last 3 miles of this race were like the last 45 minutes of every endurance event I've ever tried: my muscles saying "that's your lot" and me having to jog back while streams of people overtake me.

I don't like to turn my back on things that I haven't got the hang of, but I'm erring towards Mrs Noel's advice on the subject of long races - "what's the point?"

However, these pained musings are demonstrating to me what the point is. It's a challenge. And despite the fact that I would like to turn my back on long races, the more I do of them, the more I want to do them well.

So, whenever I pluck up the courage to enter another long race, here are the main points I've learnt from doing this race:

1. Train more, in terms of overall mileage per week and distance per outing.
2. Train up to the race distance. I need to know I can do the distance, and not mis-pace it because I'm used to running 2 miles shorter.
3. Do a few long races during the run-up to my target race.


  1. Noel, you've just finished in the top 100 of a rock hard championship counter. You should be very, very pleased. Top job.

    Balancing off the training between long events and speed events is tricky. I've resolved to do three longs across the course of each whole year, which should force me to keep my distance training permanently topped up. But do I sacrifice parformance in the shorter faster races as a result?

  2. Thanks Simon. Yes, perhaps I'm dwelling too much on my form over the final 3 miles.

    I like the idea of picking a few over the season to keep me topped up. Oh hang on - that means I should be picking another one now!!!!

  3. I'm intending to do the same core three every year, and use them as a frame of reference for my overall distance 'fitness'. Hope Moors & Tors next in October (which should mean I will breeze through Windgather the following weekend), 20m, 3700ft. Up for that one?!

  4. Next years' goal is clearly to come back faster than you go out!
    Daf and I were not overtaken in the second half of the Sheffield half and it is such a satisfying feeling peeling off struggling individuals one by one :) I should point out that Daf is nicer than I am and not as competitive as me and didn't really appreciate the target-selection commentary.


  5. Simon - I like the idea of Windgather (but not moors and tors). The problem is my body stops working for the winter - another spanner in the works of me maintaining my stamina. Late October to February is off-season. Good luck though - I'll be watching your progress.

    Jenny - you're my 20th follower. Thanks. Yes, I think finishing more quickly is definitely better for the mind. The problem is I always think I am going to, but then don't :(

  6. moors and tors is a great race, you should consider it, its early enough in the winter for you to do it on the back of your summer fitness, its a low key event where you are pretty much guaranteed a decent result ( i was 19th last time i did it... so you could probably aim for top 10 quite safely)and other than the last 2 miles navigation is easy, I may even be off the injury list and able to jog round it myself fingers crossed

  7. Cheers Dave. I've said yes to things like this in the past (Edale, stupid bike rides, etc) and it normally ends in tears. It all sounds so innocuous when you suggest it a few months in advance ;)

    I hope your injury is still on the mend.