Coburg 12km 2012 - Race Report

First race of the year. First race without orthotics. First race since trying to re-establish a training base. So back to another Coburg Harriers Run.

I needed to approach this race with a good dose of realism. Training recently has been looking quite a bit better. I've been getting in some level of consistency. The long and moderate runs have been covered. While everything seems to be going to plan, the plan at this stage involves mainly slow running. With the exception of a handful of strides and a weekly hill session that dabbles around the anaerobic threshold, every run has been slower than 6:00/km. That might be a problem when wanting to run sub 4:00/km.

My racing style would have to take the above into account. This meant heading out relatively conservatively and limiting any spikes in effort. My lactate tolerance and race pace conditioning would be low, so I would need to be as economical as I could. The plan was to avoid the common initial overspeed and subsequent slow down that these races usually involve.

Despite a couple of people complaining it was going to be hot, the morning was perfect for summer racing. A bit of sun, hardly any wind and mild temperatures. My soon had me feeling race ready. These days most of the warm up is based on chasing a certain feeling. I have moved beyond the regimented guidelines that is the standard advice. It took only about 500m for my racing flats to feel right without orthotics. In fact they felt better than what I have been used to.

Again I lined up on the front line by default. No else seemed keen to take a front. The gun sounded. I had a strange stutter step over the start line, but then found my rhythm and pace straight away. The front position let me choose a clean line over the grass, through the gate and around the corner over the bridge, while the others jostled a bit for position. I felt like I was holding back way too much, but I knew I wasn't.

Over the first kilometer and first time over the first hill, the field sort itself out. The 12km and 6km runners were all mixed together, and I was settled in 7th place. Who was in the shorter event I didn't know. My best bet was to aim for an even pace. See where I was at the end of the first 6km and do what I can from there. The rest of the 6km lap was straight forward. I kept up a solid pace, but it was certainly getting harder. Around the athletics track at the end of lap one. A head count of those still racing, versus those finishing. I was in 3rd place. About 2 minutes away from 1st, and about 40 seconds off 2nd. Fourth place was chasing, but I was confident if I didn't blow up I wouldn't finish off the podium.

Onto the second lap and the burn was seeping through my legs. There was a tempation to ease back, but I really wanted to take 2nd place. I figured I couldn't put in a big surge, that would create a too drastic slow down over the last couple of kilometers. Instead, all I could do was lift the intensity a little. This I did, but the pace out on the 2nd lap was a bit slower than in the first section. At the turnaround, I had managed to get within 30 seconds of 2nd place. Heading back over the final 3km, I ran hard. It was a mental challenge to override my body, I managed it. Unfortunately I just couldn't get any closer up front.

Back onto the athletics track, the pain dissipated until I crossed the finish. Safe in third place, but I was struggling to stay upright, and anything in my stomach threatened to revisit the outside world. A time of about 46:16, gave me my second fastest for the 12km course. Looks, like sub 4:00/km wasn't too big an ask off all the slow running.


  1. Good time (and race). Interesting about the +6 minute k running and still being well under 4s for a race. No doubt the strides and hill session are enough to keep some memory for the required speed. There are quite a few examples of 'slow trainers/fast racers' -- I recall one from Running Times (can't remember his name), who used to 'jog 8-minute miles' during the week and race at close to 5-minute miles on the weekend. Also, Speedygeoff, who runs 'easy mileage' then races close to 4s for 3 to 5k.

  2. Thanks Ewen. It is a consistent finding over all my training years that I often don't take enough notice of. That was probably my biggest mistake last year. I moved the focus to much towards the faster running. Plenty of easy running with a judicious dose of high intensity work is the plan this year.


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