Coburg Fun Run 12km

I highly recommend the monthly fun runs put on by the Coburg Harriers each month. I have participated in their various events over all my years of running and they never disapoint. They have found a simple formula that works. Accurate, traffic free courses. A low key, very welcoming and friendly style that includes everyone of all abilities. With a little bit of tradition thrown in, it is the style of event that first really got me hooked on running.

This Sunday was a 12km affair. Two laps of an out and back course, starting at the Harold Steven's Athletic track and run along the Merri Creek path. A bit of wind and a reasonable hill makes for a good race. I'll be repeating the effort next month over the same course too. My plan is to go for placing and not worry too much about time. For me it's not a time trial, just a chance to try out some different race tactics based on how things unfold.

Still feeling a bit of extra weight in my legs, I decided on a long warm up. It really did take about 7km before I started feeling right to race. At the start I marked who was likely to up front in the 12km. Making sure I wasn't going to trying to beat the those covering only half the distance.

On Your Marks...


Off the track, through the gate and within 100m the race was already spreading out. Two runners put in hard an a got a good gap early. Initially it looked like I was going to be in a small chase pack, but those around me slowed down a lot. That left me with the leader of the 6km race to chase down the two frontrunners. Then as we hit the hill I was on my own.

Stuck in no man's land, with a good head wind until the turnaround, I wasn't in the ideal position. One positive was it looked the gap back to 4th was big. Reminding myself it was about where I finished, not what I time I did, it was clear some painful action was needed to improve on 3rd. I increased the pace, to something a fair way above sustainable. Hopefully fast enough to close in on the front two.

The great thing about an out and back course is you get an accurate time gap at the turnaround. Counting the seconds around the 3km turn I was 25 seconds behind the leader, but second place had falling back and was only 15 seconds ahead of me. They both looked to be hurting, but then again so was I.

Heading back towards the start I concentrated on keeping the effort just above a controllable level. We hit the athletics track for the turnaround. First place was now over 50 seconds clear and looked like he was going to keep improving on that. At exactly 6km I moved into second place. Having considered just sitting on my opponent for the next 3 or so kilometres to allow some sort of recovery that option was taken away. My opponent slowed at the drink station I immediately found myself a few metres in front. It was either a good move where he was forcing me to take on the headwind and pace making, or he really had blown up.

Assuming he was making a tactical move I surged as hard as I could. Using the next 400-500m to put in as big a buffer as I could. The effort had my legs trying to switch off, but it worked. Second place looked safe. At the far turnaround this was confirmed with a 30 second gap and only 3km left. First place was now about 90 seconds clear.

For the return journey I backed off, but always kept on eye on what was happening behind. Surprisingly I never had to worry about fighting anymore to maintain 2nd. The early work had paid off, and I was able to enjoy the last couple of kilometres in relative comfort.


Just a quick not to answer some recent questions:

John I am aiming run sub 3hours at Melbourne Marathon.

Paul the links explaing the reasoning behind the MAF and 400m tests are: Basic Extensions, Q and A, Maffetone.


  1. Hi Jason

    Really enjoy the blog - very interesting and I always learn something new to take back to my own training.

    I just wanted to pick your brain on a couple of things:

    1. What do you think of hill work in the base trg phase? Am about to start a new phase and was looking at basing the majority of my quality work (10% total) on some hill efforts. Just not sure whether to look at hill intervals or longer repeats?

    2. What do you think of 'strides'? (60-100m sprint efforts before or after easy runs for speed) Are they worth including in a base phase?

    Thanks for any wisdom.

    Good luck with the training - looking good for sub 3 hours.


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