I really enjoyed the Long Clawson 10k last weekend so I thought I’d write a quick report. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures but it was a gorgeous day and a well-organised event.
I’ve spent the winter and spring focusing on MAF training with a couple of Mini Mountain Marathons thrown in an effort to develop a good base for big outings in the mountains this summer. After progressing fairly well, I threw in some higher intensity Fatlek sessions for two weeks about a month ago but other than that, my training has pretty much been slow and hilly, supplemented by body-weight strength and conditioning work. I haven’t run in a conventional race for a while and I have the Alnwick Trail Runner coming up next month so when I drove past a sign for the Clawson 10k last week, I thought I’d jump in to use it to see how my body responded to being pushed a bit harder. My expectations were not especially high due to a lack of speed training but I decided it would probably be good fun and hopefully provide an indication of what kind of shape I am in.
I’ve always had a bit of an issue with nerves before races but on this occasion I felt pretty good as we gathered at the start line, spotting some vaguely familiar faces among the various club vests. Immediately as the race started, I realised that I had made the basic and frustrating error of not getting close enough to the front at the start as I was caught up in a horrendous bottle neck of people clambering over a style and watched helpless as the leaders began the climb of the first hill. Whilst this was annoying, I think it helped me relax into the race as I felt as though I had everything to gain.
The course quickly began the sustained climb out of Long Clawson and I started to pick up a few places and regain some time. I was really pleased with how well I was climbing and continued to gain positions on the descents and more technical sections. I found this encouraging as these are the skills I have been trying to work on for the last few months.
On the down side I also noticed that my pace was slower on the flatter sections compared to some of the other runners, despite the fact that I was pushing hard. In fact, there were a couple of occasions where I gained position on the hills, only to be overtaken a little while after on the smooth stuff. I’m may choose to work on this prior to Alnwick as there is less climbing (relatively speaking).
Anyway, the race continued on what was quite a challenging course and as we looped back towards the Village, someone shouted that I was somewhere near the top 20, which surprised me given the number of runners I had seen disappear away from the bottle neck at the start. With one kilometer to go, I became aware of the dread sound of footsteps growing steadily louder behind me and sure enough, as I looked over my shoulder another runner came into view and began to wonder if I could hold him off.
The race came to a climax with a lap of the narrow 400m track and with every step, I could feel the other runner hot on my heels. Realising that both of us were a long way off from winning the race and not wanting to slow his time down, I moved aside and let him past but as we came within 100m of the finish line, I realised that he wasn’t pulling away. I kicked and we both surged for the finish, stretching every sinew with me arriving less than a second in front of him in 23rd place with a time of 47 minutes and a few seconds. I can’t remember the exact time but it was 6 minutes behind the winner.
Mo Farrah isn’t going to be having any nightmares about me with a time of 47 minutes but given the nature of the course, the mistake I made at start and my lack of specific training for the event I was actually really pleased with how things went and I think I’d be looking at a sub-40 minutes on a flat road course (maybe with a tail wind!). Realistically, the hold up at the start probably only cost me 1-2 minutes and a few places so I certainly don’t have any delusions of grandeur about getting close to the lead. The event was well organised, I loved the course and will definitely be returning next year.
In addition to my general progress and good health, this result has provided further proof to me that is is possible to go fast and hard after training smart and steady using the Maffetone Method. This was my main motivation in writing a report on the race as I would really encourage people to give this approach a try.
With this in mind, I am going back to MAF training this week before embarking on an adventure on the Isle of Skye. After that, I will monitor progress and if all is well I will try to add in a few speed work sessions before Alnwick.