10K Training and the Borders League

I’ve been off the blogging boil lately as there is a deadline for my coursework coming up. But, I haven’t stopped running.

I’m in the final week of my 8-week 10K training plan and out of the seven weeks done, I’ve managed to follow the plan faithfully on three of them. On the surface that does not sound particularly good.


In those weeks I should have completed:

  • 4 tempo runs – I’ve managed 6, ranging between 3 miles and 10 because there have been several races in the calendar, so I was a bit lucky here.
  • 3 intervals – I’ve done them all (roughly) evenly spaced out. I have one more this week to do.
  • 7 cross-training days – I’ve managed 5. I missed one because of our Anglesey holiday, and one because of babysitting duties (both of which I knew about and should have considered when making the plan).
  • 7 long runs – I have managed 5 as I had a little calf tightness mid-way. I’m only including runs above 9 miles.
  • 7 strength and conditioning sessions – have been a bit lazy here and I think I’ve managed 3.

So all in all, it hasn’t gone too badly. My weekly mileage has fluctuated, but apart from my dodge calf week, I’ve averaged around 19 miles, which is fine for now, especially with those 40-50 mile bike rides.

How all this will impact on next Sunday’s 10K is yet to be seen but judging by my race yesterday it all bodes quite well.

I had never heard of the Borders League before Colin in our club announced that Pensby Runners had managed to secure a place on it, but apparently, that was a big deal. Some of our members had even been considering running for their second-claim club to get into it.

A second what?

I know that many casual runners are scared of joining one running club, let alone two, but sometimes, and this is a good example, there might be cause to spread your allegiance a little more widely. Two is the max by the way.

So yesterday was the second race of the season, just outside of the very nice village of Tattenhall in Cheshire. This is not at all related to Tatton Hall, in Tatton Park over in Knutsford, which is also in Cheshire, but 30 miles further east. We worked that out in the car on the way over.

The very first Borders League race was run in 1984 between a handful of clubs in the Northwest and Wales. Since then it has grown to a current total of 18, and there are 7 road races in the season which are organised by each club on a rotational basis.

This Sunday, around 400 people rocked up in their club vests on a day that began a little chilly, but warmed right up just as we got going. As it was my first go at this, I had done zero preparation and hadn’t a clue as to what sort of hills to expect or the distance. Luckily someone warned me that the first three miles would involve a gradual ascent so I vowed to start off steady.

The course gradient aspect.
The Hill
Lots of runners in vests and t-shirts lining up.
Lining up for the start

After the two minutes silence for Remembrance Sunday, some guy shouted ‘Go!’ and we were off. I had deliberately placed myself near the back, but almost immediately, most of those behind me were streaming past and I couldn’t help but be pulled along. The hill was definitely there as my app showed but it was deceptive. Sometimes the gradient was so gradual that you couldn’t work out why you were finding it hard, and sometimes there was a proper steep rise in front of you.

I did end up walking on the steepest section for a hundred yards or so because my legs were tired from my long run the day before, but generally I was feeling quite pleased with my progress. I think I felt stronger as the race carried on, and not only because the second half was mainly downhill.

It felt exhilarating. Just the right amount of dip where I could lean forward and go with gravity, without worrying about toppling over. It was great. I was still the last Pensby to be counted in but that didn’t matter. My average was a whoppingly good 9.45 mins/mile. That would put me over the hour by 35 seconds if I maintained that pace next Sunday but that course doesn’t have a great big hill in the middle, so there is hope.


I have a recurrence of the sore right glute muscles that I’ve had in the past. It is probably because I’ve been doing a lot of sitting down at my desk and it’s fairly definitely because I’ve been a bit lax at doing my mobility exercises. It’s absolutely a sign that I also need to get back on the Yoga train with Adriene again.

Today, virtually all I’ve done is sit which has aggravated it even more but I’m going to put the laptop to bed in a minute and get that mat out, and fingers crossed I get through this final week on a high.

5 thoughts on “10K Training and the Borders League”

  1. Yeah sitting will aggravate anything, best to lie flattish(?) on the bed with a laptop if you can, especially after a hard run. Sitting I think has been one of the leading causes in disfunctionality in my running and therefore the injuries I sustained thereafter

    1. I try and do some of the reading standing up and putting my laptop on a higher shelf – when I remember!
      Also there is a great exercise that helps me, I called bum-shuffling: sit on the floor with legs flat in front of you; cross your arms, touching your shoulders and pull up your torso like it’s being raised by a string from your head; walk on your buttocks (imagine you have no legs and are walking on stumps); forwards for about twenty steps and then backwards. If I repeat this daily, my lower back and glute twinges do ease.

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