I agreed to do the Ribble Valley 10k relatively last minute with my friend Simon because he promised it was a flatish PB course and that I’d be able to run it at full throttle.
I’d put in a fair few miles from the start of October, through to the White Rose Ultra and then carried on after because I’d set some ambitious targets for 5 and 10km times at the start of the year but in all the plodding miles for ultras I’d not really run flat out other than a few times at Parkrun so wanted to see what where I was speed wise right at the end of my second year as a runner.
The last 10k I’d raced was actually more than a year ago at Barnsley (42:12) and I knew I was significantly faster than that a year on having also just raced the Travellers 6, a hilly 6 miler in Denby Dale in 39:47 so I figured on a flatter course being dragged around by a seriously competitive field at Ribble Valley I might break 39 minutes for 10k and be happy.
I’ve been trying to race smarter and pace myself better recently and running a more even pace instead of the traditional Parkrun Forrest Gump style mad dash off the start line I’ve been planning the pace I want to run and trying to stick to it even when it feels easy at the start, I know it’s going to get harder towards the end.
With that in mind, I knew I’d run at just over 6:30/mile pace for Travellers 6 on a tough course so figured I could probably do 6:10-6:20/mile on a friendlier course if I didn’t get carried away in the first 2 miles! That would put me in and around 39 minutes.
Ribble Valley 10k is an extremely competitve race. The CR is 29:10 and it was won in 29:12 this year. I find it useful in races where there are a lot of people in front because it pulls me along at a better pace.
In the end, I went at close to 6:00/mile pace and apart from slowing slightly in mile 2 to catch my breath a little I managed to maintain a sub 6:10/mile pace reasonably comfortably through the first 5 miles then hung on for dear life for the last 1.2 miles including a speedy dash up the final kicker of a hill and the deceptively long finish straight for a massive PB of 37:50.
Running even splits in the last 3 races has led to big improvements in the overall time for me and while it takes all my willpower not to get carried away I’m happy to have finally got the knack of it to a degree!
Congrats to Simon as well for smashing his PB with a 43:28 as well.
The course was a little undulating but forgiving enough for a PB that’s for sure. The organisation was excellent, and I’m delighted I ran the race I’d planned and knew I had in my legs and it’s given me plenty of food for thought regarding targets for 2014 in 5 and 10k because I know there’s more in the tank if I dedicate some time to specific speed work.
I know for sure I can run a 17:xx 5k if I have a good day. I narrowly missed out on one at Parkrun the following week (18:07) so that’s next followed by Dewsbury 10k in Feb where I’ll be looking to get closer to the 36 minute mark. Fingers crossed.
The Strava report