Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fun times at Westerfolds parkrun

I'm starting to use my (almost) weekly Westerfolds parkrun as a training exercise where the aim is to run even splits despite the undulating terrain. All the other parkruns in the Melbourne area are quite flat as far as I know, so I think Westerfolds and its second-half hill is a great way to work on running strength - provided I don't start too fast and struggle up the hill!

On the weekend I intentionally went out at an easy (but not slow) tempo, hoping to run fairly even splits throughout and end up with a faster final half than first. The start is a bit difficult to control as everyone bolts and there's a steep descent down to the Yarra at the 1km mark. I focussed on my breathing in an attempt to ignore the runners ahead of me in case I pushed too hard to catch them. It definitely worked as I was slowly reeling them in without losing my rhythm or feeling too bad by the time I got to the top of the first hill at 2.5km.

At this point I spotted the people I usually run amongst mixed in with the other parkrunners ahead - Lesley, Evelien, Tim and his pram, Amanda, and finally Matt and Bram running together at the front end of the drawn-out pack. I stuck to my current pace during the false flat so that I could survive the precursor climb and still take on The Hill. Not pushing too hard up the first climb meant that I reeled in Lesley and Evelien on the false flat as they were recovering, Tim at the bottom of The Hill (because pram), and was on Amanda's tail at the top of The Hill at 4km. Hard work done, I just let my legs turn over on the run down to the bridge and got back into rhythm for the final climb to the end. My pace slowed from 4:45/km to 5:30/km during that bit, so I think I'll need to try and get into the habit of kicking to get the most out of this kind of parkrun-based training.

Run analysis by Smashrun
The white line is elevation, the colours and black shadow are pace.
I'm very happy with the splits although my first km was probably a bit too easy - it looks like I took a while to get going! I also scored a 17-second PB on the Climb to the Chalet Strava segment (which is the one that incorporates The Hill) and thus found myself back in the Top 10 on the leaderboard since I was briefly there for a few hours on March 15. My overall time was 26:37, but I've had three sub-26 runs this year on that parkrun course so I think I'll be able to speed up a bit without losing the even splits.

Although it was nice not to be falling apart at the end for once!
This is my "felt-good-during-ALL-of-the-run" face.
From the Westerfolds parkrun Event #37 album.

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