Back at Chippenham parkrun for the fourth time this year, I’m almost a regular at this rate!
Indeed, I didn’t attend the visitors briefing because I know the course well by now, although that meant missing out on a shout out when the RD was giving his pre-run instructions.
It was a wonderfully hot morning, and with my training plan instructing me to take this easy I wasn’t expecting to improve my PB for this course for the fourth time in a row.
In addition, I have the small matter of another half marathon tomorrow, so this was always going to be a ‘gentle’ run.
I had a plan beforehand of doing each mile in around 11:20, which would give me a finish of 35-minutes something.
And that was basically how it worked out.
As with my last run here I tucked in behind a couple of runners for the first mile, basically using them to pace me.
Despite that I was still around 20 seconds faster than I had intended, so I made the conscious decision to slow it right down for the second mile.
It helped that this took us into the trail part of the route, a section that always slows me anyway.
I actually found the trail more testing this time, possibly because the record heatwave made the surface harder and bumpier. Previously it felt softer but today it seemed like running on an extremely uneven road with each foot strike reverberating up my legs.
After that second mile I had got back onto my target pace, all that remained now was to bring it home.
By now, however, I was beginning to suffer from the effects of the heat and so, with tomorrow very much in mind, decided there was no point hammering myself.
Electing to just coast to the finish I then thought I’d try lengthening my stride for the last 500m or so.
There were a couple of runners in front of me, both very catchable. Putting the longer stride in practice, I duly passed the first one without an awful lot of effort.
It didn’t feel natural but nothing does when you’re trying it out at the start, so I kept at it and went past the second runner with relative ease as well.
I was pleased with my strong-ish finish, and with how the stride lengthening experiment went.
Initially I thought my time was two minutes down on my last visit here, which would have disappointed me, but it turned out to be just sixty seconds which wasn’t too bad considering I did deliberately ease off.
Bye for now, Chippenham, see you again in September!