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The Unelite Athlete

One Fast Month!

Some of you know that I planned to use the second half of the summer to race shorter distances. In a bid to get faster, I increased the workouts and concentrated on quality over quantity. So after an 8 week build up I had 3 races, in one month, all targeting personal bests. This was my experiment. Could I hack the shorter fast stuff, or would I be left on my hands on knees not able to breathe?! This is how things went down.

August 23rd – Portrush 5 mile road race

Never really a distance that I have considered myself brave enough to really grind out a fast pace and go out hard. I had my target in my head but, knew it was a case of needing to concentrate one mile at a time and watch the pace almost every minute or so.

Aiming for a sub 35 minutes was a good goal for me, and it would give me a good indication of where I was fitness wise. Had an absolute great race accompanied by a sprint finish to come in with 34 minutes 39 seconds on the clock. Goal complete.

September 1st – Waterside Half Marathon

Before I looked at training 8 weeks prior, I had written down a target time for this race of 1 hour 42 minutes. It would be the first time to run this sort of pace from start to finish. Normally I would go out a little conservatively but, this pace would mean running a controlled hard from the start and not easing off at all.

I had the perfect race. Nothing went wrong, even when faced with a climb over the Foyle Bridge at around the 10km mark, I kept a level head and hung on the last 2 miles for a big PB of 1:39:39. Another successful race!

September 22nd – Belfast City Half Marathon

This was my main target race when I started the new training block. I wanted everything to build up to this race because, it being my first ever race, I have a huge soft spot for it.

Before getting into any details, I felt pretty uncomfortable a couple of days before. My IT band on my right leg had shown negative signs and I ended up pulling the plug on my final workout before this race.

The weather on the day was awful, which added to the extra nerves I was carrying. I opted for a go out hard and hang on approach, which although my leg was disagreeing with 5km in, I held that pace until mile 10.

The pain was becoming unmanageable. No matter how hard I went I couldn’t pick up a pace and faded fast, crossing the line with 1:40:08 on the clock. It was a bittersweet ending to a tough month. It actually wasn’t until I uploaded my run to my phone and seen the stats. My time that my watch recorded was 1:39:06, which I know isn’t the official time but, it’s the fastest I’ve ever covered the distance. So another successful race.

3 races inside 1 month, and 3 BIG efforts. My body needs time to recover but, I did something that I didn’t know would work and it did. Now it wasn’t down to pure luck. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to run but, it was down to training. Putting in the work and believing that you can build enough confidence to go out and race as fast as you can. I’m taking a planned break now to recover but, already I’m looking forward and thinking about the next target.

Catch up with you soon

Calum

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