The GEAR 10K – a race that served as a wake-up call that I don’t get to cut corners with my training. 

I felt quite up for the event beforehand which normally bodes well for the race itself. 

Having raced the Yarmouth 5M, 10 days earlier it gave me an idea of what sort of pace I could hold. Given Sunday was a mile further, I adjusted accordingly and gave myself a range of between 3:50-3:55 minutes per kilometre for the 5K with the idea being to push on in the second half. 

I left it a little late to get in my starting pen and it was only when I stood still chatting to a few of the other runners that I appreciated just how hot it was. 

I did what most runners do in this situation, briefly thinking that I should adjust my pace a little, before disregarding this and adopting the ‘it’s only 10K and it’ll probably be alright’ mindset. 

I kept it controlled in the first kilometre but already I was getting a dry mouth and signs that I had probably not done enough to hydrate properly on the morning of the race. 

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When there was tree cover the temperature it felt great but outside of this it was hard work. 

By the fourth kilometre I was thinking ‘I really hope this feels easier soon’. I went through the 5K mark in around 19:40 on my watch, which was about where I wanted to be. However, it was becoming obvious that I wasn’t going to be able to sustain this. 

I hung in for another kilometre in the vain hope I would be able to rally but I was now starting to find it really difficult; the thought of taking a walk break crossed my mind, which is the first time that’s happened in a while. 

There was only one logical option: I had to back off. 

I reduced my pace to around 4:20 minutes per kilometre; any thoughts of time goals had gone out the window now; it was damage limitation and just getting through it. 

Thankfully, it felt better. I told myself that I would just have a kilometre at this pace before trying to get back up to my desired pace but I just didn’t have it in me on Sunday.  

I tried to enjoy the run back into the town centre along the river but, in truth, I still felt pretty uncomfortable. 

As we came down the home straight, I looked at my watch and it was clear that a sub 40-minute time wasn’t on the cards, so I jogged it in. 

The race has served as a reminder that you don’t just keep fitness; it doesn’t magically stay with you. It has to be earned and maintained; the running gods don’t care how hard I worked earlier this year, the fact is I’ve dropped off in recovering from a calf injury. 

I need to rebuild my aerobic base that I’ve lost due to a lack of consistency in my running. 

It’s all good though; after Sunday afternoon where I moped a little, I gained a little perspective where a ‘bad’ race experience still resulted in a time of 40:27 – that's not a bad time, it’s just not what I wanted. 

So, I feel pretty positive. Managing my mileage in a way that my body can cope with has to be the priority. Hopefully, I can place an emphasis over the next month or so on building up my mileage with lots of easy/steady runs. 

The bigger aerobic base I can build, the more fun I can have racing later this year. 

I would wholeheartedly recommend the GEAR event to anyone though – it was excellent with lots of support and plenty to keep you occupied on the course. If I was to nitpick then it would have been nice to have had the two drinks stations further apart rather than less than a kilometre away from each other. 

But I noticed that they are already selling places for the 2025 event and it’s one that I’ll keep on my radar. 

There’s a feeling of unfinished business on a fast course... if you’re fit enough to run it that way!