Perivale 5, 2014

My practical preparation for today’s Perivale 5 mile was thorough. I checked my public transport connections (overground Clock House to London Bridge, Jubilee Line to Bond Street, Central Line to Perivale), checked the BBC weather forecast and chose clothing for a couple of possible weather scenarios, packed vaseline for my tender male chest parts in case the more apocalyptic of these scenarios transpired, selected my Oystercard, a credit card, a £20 note and £1 coin (for the lockers at Perivale Park Athletics Track), made sure my phone was charged for post race tweets and generally felt very pleased with myself. This last part being primarily, and almost uniquely for me I think, because I did all this the night before the race.

As I waited on the Jubilee Line platform at London Bridge for a tube to Bond Street I re-did some mental arithmetic and rehearsed my per kilometre pace plan – 3:54, 3:53, 3:52, 3:51 and 3:50 for the remaining 4.05 kilometres – giving a projected time of 31:02. I hoped that with a fast finish I could dip under 31 minutes. Satisfied with this and for no apparent reason it then came to my mind that I hadn’t actually packed my running shorts.

note to self - just knowing what shorts are isn't enough

note to self: just knowing what shorts are isn’t enough

Fortunately I was wearing running tights for warmth whilst travelling and of course decided to race in those. This aside my planning bore fruit and I arrived in good time and walked from Perivale station to the track deep in running conversation with two other entrants I’d met en route.

After a brief warm up over two and a bit laps of the track I adjusted my laces and race attire and lined up pretty near the front. The race starts on a closed road but this barely allows the field to be a dozen abreast at most and the strong, fast field combined with the need for everyone to move off the road onto the right hand pavement in time for the first corner onto an unclosed main road within 400 metres makes for a frenetic start. Unsurprisingly then I was swept along in the flood, despite being prepared for it by having raced the Perviale 5 twice before, and noted my pace at 3:40/km early on. I eased off as much as the running traffic allowed as we ran no more than two abreast down the pavement to the side of the main road. After this initial 600 metres or so the field had spread out enough to allow normal progress. I deliberately checked my speed and completed the first kilometre in 3:52. Wanting to get back as close to my planned pace I took the next kilometre relatively easy at 3:55 and tried to establish a comfortable rhythm. The comfortable part proved difficult.

Comparing my pace plan against the actual splits recorded by my Garmin it’s clear that I wasn’t able to maintain the pace required in the second half. During the race, as I reached the almost half way point, where there is a sharp 90 degree left followed by a slightly more forgiving right kink (fortunately only negotiated once in what is essentially a two lap course) I knew from how I was feeling that my sub 31:00 target was impossible today. Even before taking into account the slight over recording of distance typical with a GPS device which would mean I was already several seconds behind, I knew I couldn’t increase my pace further and maintain that level for the second half of the race. In this case the 8.05km recorded as 8.15km which means I was running about 3 seconds per kilometre slower than my FR620 displayed at the time.

planned pace displayed pace
k1 3:54 3:52
k2 3:53 3:55
k3 3:52 3:51
k4 3:51 3:54
k5 3:50 3:49
k6 3:50 3:57
k7 3:50 3:56
k8 3:50 3:45
final 0.05km 3:50 (equates to ~11 seconds) 3:01 (recorded as 0.15km and hence equates to ~27 seconds)

To be more generous I was pretty close to being on plan, at least in terms of displayed pace, until k6 and k7 where I slowed most significantly. And ultimately I did record an 8 second PB, even if that was short of the target I’d set.

Reflecting on this and my previous two races (Brighton 10k and Bournemouth 10k) there is apparently a pattern here; in all three I slowed significantly in the later part of the race notwithstanding that I was still able to finish quickly. Whether this is mental, physical or both it is certainly something I need to address.

race data summary

finish time 31:28
HR splits 150, 155, 158, 159, 160, 159, 160, 161, 165 (final recorded 0.15km segment)
biometric summary average HR – 158
max HR – 166 (estimated personal maximum – 172)
average cadence – 187
approx start weight – 67.2kg
positions overall – 49 out of 316
gender – 46 out of 183
category VM40-49 – 13 out of 55

Today was also of course day 7 of the Advent running challenge …

Advent running summary

total consecutive days 7
(3 less than 30 minutes)
total distance 46.2 km
total time 3:34:17
average distance per day 6.6 km
average time per day 30 minutes 37 seconds


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