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Running for Retrak: Week 4
This week’s 20km training began in a snowy Bois de la Cambre and ended with a record-equalling distance and record-breaking whinging at the resultant aches, pains, coughs and sniffles. You wouldn’t catch Paula Radcliffe stopping every two minutes to blow her nose like that. Mind you, you wouldn’t catch me relieving myself by the side of the road in front of millions, so I guess that makes us even.
I’ve never got on so well with running: wrong build, no stamina, no discipline. Back at school, those of us doing German got out of doing extra cross-country, for some reason, while the day of the 1,500m was always the day we ‘forgot’ our kit. And I still remember, aged 12, being berated by our PE teacher, Mr Glasscock, after single-handedly losing the relay at school sports day. “Honestly, Tipper, you get slower every year.” He had a point. Also, I suppose you have to cut some slack to a man who’s had to go through life with a name like Glasscock.
But now, I’m slowly starting to appreciate the joy of a good run, and I’m rather chuffed at equalling my best-ever distance. That’s halfway to the 20km, and from here on in, every extra km is progress. One thing I’m struggling to get to grips with, though – and perhaps someone can advise – is pace. My longer runs are supposed to be at ‘race pace’, but whatever the distance, I don’t get going until 4 or 5km in, the pace hovers around the same (slow) mark, and the final km is always the fastest. So how do you decide on your race pace and how do you enforce it in training?