Run.

On Sunday 6th April I’ll be one of around 5,500 runners taking part in the annual Lincoln 10k road race. This will be my third time, having taken part the 2012 and 2013 events.

When I ran the event for the first time I’d never taken part in a road race before, and I ran just to see what kind of time I could get, finishing the race in a respectable but not earth shattering 00:46:25. Having set this as the benchmark for what I could achieve having put in no running training at all, I made a commitment that I’d train seriously for the 2013 race, and aim to finish in under 40 minutes.

I’d love to be able to say I spent the months leading up to the 2013 race putting in some serious miles on the road to give myself the best possible chance of achieving my aim. However, as I stood on the start line on Sunday 7th April waiting anxiously for the race to start, I couldn’t help feeling I’d let myself down somewhat by once again failing to put in a single session of training for the race.

I set off along Riseholme Road, and after about 1.5km my legs were already feeling like lead. I battled through to the finish line, somehow finishing in a time of 00:42:23, almost exactly four minutes ahead of my 2012 result. This can only have been as a result of my increased levels of fitness from my swimming and cycling, and despite knocking four minutes off my time I was disappointed I hadn’t bothered to put the necessary training in to finish in under 40 minutes.

And so here were are, in mid-January 2014, with just under 12 weeks to go until I compete in my third Lincoln 10k. There will be no repeat of last year’s disappointment, and this time I will cross the finish line in under 40 minutes!¬†For the next 12 weeks I’ll be following Bupa’s advanced 10k training programme, which is designed for people exactly like me, who have run a couple of races in the past and are looking to improve their time.

In the past, if I’ve put in any training at all, I’ve tended to approach it in a pretty haphazard way, by simply going out once every week or so and running a 10k route as fast as I can. This is a pretty poor approach, and is definitely not how to train your body to run a sub-40 minute 10k.

If I’m going to hit my target, and knock those two minutes off last year’s time, I’ll need to complete a structured programme, and run up to six times a week, varying the type of running and the distances I’m covering each day. Bupa’s 12 week programme consists of regular running of distances from 5km up to 18km, tempo running (running at a hard but controlled pace for a set distance), speed and hill work at maximum effort for short distances (this improves aerobic fitness, speed, and strength), and recovery runs. When all of these are built into a training programme, the end result should be a significantly improved overall race pace, and should¬†see me run the race in under 40 minutes.

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It certainly isn’t going to be an easy 12 weeks. I’m going to have to sacrifice my swimming in order to fit the running in, and it’ll be difficult to fit some of the sessions in around my shifts, but I’m going to stay motivated by knowing how disappointed I’ll be if I run a poor time on April 6th knowing that I haven’t done everything I can to prepare myself.

Today was day one of 81, and I ran a nice easy 5km in 24:55. And working to Bupa’s programme, tomorrow is a rest day! I’ve got a nasty feeling it isn’t going to stay this easy…

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