As with the first four weeks of the 10k program, the final two weeks of the 10k program went great - all runs went according to plan and the speed work was excellent - the pace was much quicker than the goal, and the pyramid speed session in Week 5 was a great, tough hit-out.
5 sets: 10 chins, 12 leg lifts, 20 pushups
3x 800m followed by 400 jog recovery run at 5 sec faster than 10km pace (3:05), 3.50/km
2.59, 3.01, 2.59
4x 400m followed by 200 jog recovery run at 10 sec faster than 10km pace (1:26), 3.35/km
1.26, 1.25, 1.25, 1.26
5x 200 followed by 200 jog recovery run at 10 sec faster than 10km pace (37sec). 3.05/km
36, 37, 36, 37, 35
10km easy + accel
6.8km @ 4.12 average. Was shooting for 8km @ 4.10 but pulled up short close to chucking. Average pulse 175
30km long run - easy pace
9km recovery run
12km moderate run (4.45/km pace, 162 bpm, very hot)
5 sets: 10 chins, 12 leg lifts, 20 pushups
6x 400 @ 1.25 pace goal
1.23, 1.24, 1.23, 1.21, 1.21, 1.21
40 mins bike
So, with all the training done, the 10k went easy and I smashed 40 minutes? Well - not quite. The end result was a a great 5k on goal pace followed by a very strange asthma-like tightness in the chest and a fair bit of dizziness. Looking at my pulse rate, it was too high to sustain over the 10k distance, and despite being on pace I was pushing it too hard and maintenance of the sub-4 pace wasn't going to be possible even without the breathing issues.
I've let a few weeks go by to try and gain a better perspective about what went wrong and let the initial disappointment fade away. The first set of problems relate to the day of the attempt. The day was a typical Sydney February hot day with temperatures around 22 degrees at dawn and high humidity, and this was far from ideal for the attempt. Apart from the weather, the breathing problems were the main difficulty on the day. The rest of my family had come down with pneumonia over the first couple of weeks of 2012, and the week before the 10k attempt, I had a bit of a scratchy throat. This cleared up with a light week of training and I went into the 10k attempt with no obvious symptoms of being effected by any cold-like symptoms. I don’t think it’s possible to work out whether the breathing difficulties were because I was still fighting off the bug that had hit the rest of the family or were just a symptom of smashing out a really hard run on a warm morning. Either way, the run didn’t go to plan and that was disappointing.
I pondered whether to have another light week and organize another attempt at the sub-40 10k, but with TNF100 locked in as the ‘A’ race of the spring, and the difference of a couple of minutes in a 10k on a flat, paved course not being directly relevant to TNF100 performance, I made the call to focus on TNF100 training and schedule another tilt at the sub-40 10k later in the year as part of marathon training later in the year.
Overall the 10k program has been a highly positive experience. Its been the first time I've included dedicated speed work in my program and I've felt much quicker as a result. Taking the time away from ultra training has really freshened up my legs, and I'm going into the hard 12 week block on TNF100 training without any of the niggles I was dealing with last year. The right hamstring, which had been a niggling problem through most of 2011, feels great and there is no sign of any ITB issues in each knee.
I found the 10k program I followed reasonably good but felt I would have benefited from at least 4 tempo runs over distances from 8-16k and with paces from 4.10-4.30 min/km during the program. The training in the program seemed to be focused at the two extreme ends of the running spectrum - hard speed interval work up to 1km in distance and slow easy work below 85% max pulse rate, which is the pulse rate I run recovery work at (~155bpm). Running 10k at 4 min pace takes about 96% of my theoretical maximum pulse rate (~175bpm), and I found the training didn't prepare my well for that.
As with all things running, the program was a great learning experience - you can't find the things that work well if you don't experiment and are willing to try things that don't work out perfectly - and I'm extremely confident of getting through the 40 minute barrier this year as the weather cools and the speed picks up even more with the spring marathon training season.