Josh has been quiet since his goal race at the Commonwealth Games marathon……
It had now been 6 weeks since I had competed in the Commonwealth Games marathon where I placed 15th. Since then I took a week off from running where I just did some light exercise and stretching in order to help me recover both physically and mentally. This was followed by a week of easy running to get my body back in the routine of running. After this very easy two week period I felt healthy and recovered to resume training properly again with only four weeks until I raced the Vitality London 10k. Training in this period had gone well, I completed several track, road and hill sessions in this time, as well as building my long run back up to 16 miles. This is much lower mileage than I was doing prior to the Gold Coast but I was keen to focus more on quality and improving over the shorter distances before attacking another marathon. Having not raced for 6 weeks, you never really know how training has gone as you don’t push the same in training as you do in a race. I was excited to be back racing though and it was also great to be back in London, a city where I love racing because of the amazing crowds, excellent events and my previous experience in the capital.
As it was a bank holiday weekend, the race took place on Monday morning, starting on the Mall, and finishing in front of Buckingham Palace. It was a great route and was lined with spectators the whole way around. It’s not the fastest course I have ever raced but definitely one of my favourite. I travelled up to the race the day before by train and arrived in my hotel at around 5pm Sunday evening. I attended the race briefing where we were presented with our numbers, and were served with some good food (I had pasta, vegetables and chicken) before turning in for the night at around 10pm.
I always like to wake up early on race day so that I have plenty of time to relax, eat and hydrate before getting into race mode. I woke up at 5:30am and had my usual breakfast of rice and a coffee. I ate this in bed whilst watching Netflix on my ipad. This allowed me to relax and gave time for my food to settle before racing later. The elite athletes gathered in the hotel lobby at 8:30am to walk to the start area which was close by. I settled down in the tent and sorted all of my race gear before starting to warm up at 9:10am, 50 minutes prior to the race start. After a 2 mile jog, stretching and drills. It was time to change into my racing shoes and head onto the course to complete my pre-race strides. The athletes were then lined up prior to the start of the race.
The race started at a very slow pace, we didn’t pass through the first km until 3:05 and the slow pace continued up to the 5km mark where there was still a very large group of athletes. Mo Farah was at the front and dictating the pace of the race. Normally it wouldn’t be the case that 1 athlete has the power to do this but when you are the class of the field and so much faster than the rest of the field, it just happens like that. A surge was made at around the 6km mark which broke up the field, around 6 athletes had got away up the road and it was going to be difficult to make up ground on those guys. By the 8km mark it was clear that I wasn’t making ground on the top 6 and was now in a battle for the lower positions. In the end I was outkicked and finished in 9th position. It was a highly competitive domestic field and a great race to be a part of. I feel that with a few more weeks training I could have placed much higher however at this point in time, the race reflected my current fitness and was definitely the blowout I needed to kick-start my summer racing season.
It was great to have been able to get back into race mode after a 6 week absence and thoroughly enjoyed racing amongst a strong domestic field. I now have a quick turnaround as I am racing again this Saturday night in the Czech Republic, this time over the half marathon distance. I’m hoping that the London 10,000m will have blown away some cobwebs and I am now focussed on running well this weekend. Keep an eye out for my race-report early next week from the Ceske Budejovice Half Marathon. Thanks for reading.
Josh finished in 30 minutes and 20 seconds. Nearly a minute behind the 10k PB he set in January during his preparations for the Commonwealth Games marathon. What this should tell us is that all athletes, even elite, international athletes perform within periodized cycles – ie they cant be/ aren’t always at the top of their game AND IT’S OK! For context, Mo Farah ran 29.44 – two minutes slower than the 3 British guys (Alex Yee, Andy Vernon and Chris Thompson ran in the epic British 10000m championships at the Night of the 10000 PBs in May. Josh knows himself well, he needed a break after the Commonwealth Games experience just as we all need a mental and physical break after a big goal race. Give yourself permission to perform below your own standards, for a while…..