Would you laugh at me if I said 10k's are harder than marathons?
10k's are short and sharp but also a long slog at the same time. You're working almost into your VO2 system for a sustained duration. That lactate can creep in and blowing up is an easy mistake to make. It's knife edge of going a few seconds per km to fast away from a disaster.
Marathons are obviously 4 times the distance and it takes 10 times longer to recover from. But the intensity is far lower, even talking pace. My average heart rate at the London marathon was 170 vs 180 over the 10k.
A marathon takes a lot more preparation and everything comes down to one day. If it goes wrong, its not like a 10k when you can just go and race again in a few weeks. You have to be more cautious, where as the 10k you can afford to take some risks.
I gave myself 5 weeks off racing following the marathon. In the last fortnight I've got back to around 80 miles a week, but with a foot niggle I wasn't sure what sort of shape I would be in come race day.
Could these marathon legs run any faster than 6 min/mi?
I had not ran a 10k in 18 months and my PB stood at 37.34. I had ran the first 10k at Reading Half in 35.45, so sub 36 was the goal in mind.
I still find it quite surreal going off elite starts. Warming up alongside the likes of 5 x Olympian Jo Pavey and all the marathon girls such as Tracy Barlow, Sonia Samuels and Charlotte Purdue. I still find it really inspiring brushing shoulders with my role models. However you have to be really careful not to get caught in the moment and go off too fast. Building up that lactate too early will bite later on.
Inevitably I went off fairly quick but nothing suicidal. However, mid race I dropped some horrific km's before managing to pull it back again and finish with my fastest spilt (despite feeling like crawl). There were a lot of girls around me and like the marathon I decided to race it rather than looking at my pace. I finished in 35.59 (that second makes a huge difference!) and in 20th place, just 8 seconds from 15th. We also had a very solid team performance with our Reading AC trio all being under 37 minutes.
I'm certainly pleased with the result and although I find 10k's incredibly challenging it's a distance I desperately want to improve.
It was a really fun day and it was great to be back racing. I love going to races seeing lots of familiar faces and having pre and post race chats. Running is a close knit community and races bring everyone together.
The next few weeks I'll be racing a few track races and Wargrave 10k whilst starting to increase my training load. My marathon build up will start mid July, so the next few weeks will be an opportunity to race short and sharpen up these marathon legs for my international debut.
Olympians claim British 10km titles in the UK capital