South Yorkshire Road League 5 Milers - Worsbrough
If you race local, if you race often and if you race hard then you might notice a pattern. You get to recognise other runners who run at a similar speed, finish in the same time as you and look just as knackered as you. Basically you find another running version of ‘You’.
This all started for me during fell races where I would notice one runner who always seemed to finish 10 seconds ahead of me, a running nemesis. No matter what tactic I used during a race he always seemed to just be tantalisingly out of reach come the finishing line.
This has now become that case at the South Yorkshire 5 Milers. Within my club there are two runners who are very similar in race times to me. Each time we end up running in what could be described as a ‘holding pattern’, similar to aeroplanes coming in to land. No matter the course or the conditions we fall into line and remain 10 to 20 meters apart. Welcome to threshold running.
If you’ve never tried to maintain running at your threshold you might think that 10 to 20 meters is a very small gap and a sudden burst of speed would close that. You’d be wrong. You’re as close to flat out as you can maintain, racing against another ‘You’ who is doing exactly the same. Within that scenario there’s very little you can do.
Your main hope is that the runner in front dips too far into the red, blows up and allows you to close the gap, but you wouldn’t risk doing that so why would the other ‘You’. The only way out of this closed loop is to put in some serious training…but then you’d only upgrade to another nemesis.