For the past few months I’ve done an awful lot of solo running. Whether it’s long runs or track sessions, my training schedule has meant that almost everything is done alone. So it was lovely to spend a bit of time running with others over the last week or so.
Last Wednesday I paced a friend on a nine mile progressive run. I’ve never really done any pacing, and I really enjoyed it – the sense of responsibility to get it right, to not look like you are labouring, but also not make it look (wrongly!) like it’s easy. Of course in a race, that responsibility must be considerably heavier, particularly in the longer distances. A marathon pacer must be sure of being able to complete the distance in the allotted time – but still, so much can go wrong in 26.2 miles. A pulled muscle, a malfunctioning GPS … So I’m not signing up for marathon pacing any time soon, but I would like to see if I can pace for a 10k or a half at some point. Anyone else tried it?
Then on Saturday I ran in the Surrey Road Relays with my club. It’s a not-quite-three mile loop up past the All England club (and I do mean up – that hill is killer) then back round to finish where it starts, in the Wimbledon Park track. Because each team has four or more members, there are lots of handovers to watch, plenty of teammates to chat to and a good atmosphere. Despite feeling that my marathon-training legs weren’t going to have any of this short fast stuff, I was chuffed to run the course a good 40 seconds faster than last year (17m 51sec) and far better, my team won our category. We were all very pleased with our ‘gold’ medals. Mind you, I’m still picking my jaw off the floor at the fastest time overall, by Phil Wicks of Belgrave Harriers in 13m 29sec. That is most definitely not hanging around …
So how was your weekend running – have you ever tried pacing, and do you run mostly solo? Even if you don’t have a lovely local club, perhaps you have a regular running buddy? I am lucky to have both – and even when I don’t get to run that often with my friend Alex, we probably about the same amount of time each week comparing the state of our aching legs ….
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