My 45 Minute 10k Diary
I set myself a challenge to double my regular running distance from 5 to 10k, and record a 10k run in under 45 minutes. Incentive? I’m not eating chocolate until I do it.
I started going out jogging at the end of 2009, weighing over 15 stone and not being able to run for more than 60 seconds without needing to stop. I’ve no idea what possessed me to keep going, but I somehow stuck with it, and I think it was the biggest thing I’ve ever done for myself.
Fast-forwarding to the end of 2011, I’d become a bit stuck in a rut. The first painful jogs were about 2 miles long, and after two years, I’d only just got used to running 3; I just got comfortable.
So for 2012, I set myself a challenge. I’m going to do 10ks, I’m going to enjoy them, and I’m going to pick a number out of the air (45 minutes) and see if I can record a 10k run somewhere beneath it.
January & February
Step 1 was to just make the full distance. I figured I’d just keep adding quarter of a mile a month and then in December I’d be running 10k. I guess I thought if I grew steadily, I’d be building up enough stamina to sustain the 45 minute pace (8.3mph) over the entire course.
But I surprised myself. By striving for my target I managed to push a mile further within a few weeks, then two, and then I cracked it. I dragged my forlorn body around a full 10k in about 47:30, and this was only the last week of February.
So feeling kind of annoyed that I might be close to underwhelming myself by hitting my target early, (of course, I wasn’t really that close at all) I decided that I’d make the dare more interesting by giving up the main one of my many food vices: chocolate. On March 1st, I stopped eating 2 chocolate bars a day, and said I wouldn’t have any more choc until I’d broken 45 minutes and melted it over a saucepan of boiling water.
Since I’m more fond of chocolate than I am of most people, I wanted to speed up my progress. It turns out that beating 45 minutes is quite a common target, (usually for over 40s but let’s not talk too much about that!). Most of the advice pointed towards more running, and structured interval training, which bores me to tears but seemed to be working.
So, stepping up the number of miles, I contrived to make sure my left knee disintegrated almost instantly somewhere in the middle of March. Preparing myself for a chocolate-less easter, I spent the next month trying to shake the pain.
I took 4 weeks off, with a little test run after two (a 1 mile run that left me practically crying). Then booked in to see a doctor. He confirmed that it was probably some called iliotibial band syndrome [ITBS], or ligament damage in essence. I got a physio referral that could take something like 14-16 weeks to materialise!
May & JuneThroughout my 8 weeks off, I engaged in surely the most boring quad & core strengthening exercises known to man so that when I got back to the running, there would be less pressure on my knees to do all the work; the upside of which was that I definitely saw more definition in my quads, just in time for speedo season.
I very tenderly built back up from running 1 mile at a time to doing about 20 miles a week by the start of July.
I was invited to do a charity 10k run with people from Christ Church Woking’s youth community. These guys go out to places like Goa and Kibera once a year to do charitable work at orphanages and slums, and I’ve been lucky enough to have been given the opportunity to help with some of the fundraisers for these trips.
I put myself in a group that expected to finish in sub 50 minutes, and regretted that decision pretty quickly. The pace to keep up with these guys was really quick. I stuck with the pack as best I could.
I came 4th in that group. My time was 45:26, but, if you believe the Runkeeper GPS app that I use, the course was a bit longer than 10k, and my 10k split was 43:51! Smashing my best time by about 2:50.
So writing this now, I barely believe that I did it; and I definitely wouldn’t have done without having that pack of faster guys to chase. So I obviously owe a lot to the guys from CC for letting me get involved with a fun afternoon, and for running so fast, igniting my competitiveness!
All I need to do now is try and do it without a pacemaker!
I think that taking 6 months to beat the time has made me really appreciate just how dedicated (and gangly, probably) competitive runners have to be to run below 40, or below 30 minutes for 10km. I want to try and do a 40 minute 10k before I get too old. I think my body has got it, but I don’t know how dedicated I can be to a diet & training plan.
Here’s a timeline of the runs I have managed to record in pursuit of my goal. I extrapolated some of them because my app didn’t reckon I’d done a full 10k. Where I did longer runs, I’ve put in the 10k split.
|Date||Total Distance||Total Time||10k Split (Extrapolated)|