Hatfield Broad Oak  – “It’s Only 10K”

On the May bank holiday i took part in the Hatfield Broad Oak 10K Road Race for the second year running. I was particularly excited about this one as in 2015, after years of no running I took part and got a PB of 62 minutes. This year I was hoping because I had run it before and I had just completed a Half Marathon, the race would be a piece of cake.

Maybe I had got a little cocky thinking “it’s only 10k” and therefore I didn’t focus in the week leading up to the race. But I know for certain I got a number of things wrong this time round.


Drinking the night before! In the run up to Hackney Half Marathon I was very sensible. I stopped drinking. Even though some nights, when the sun was shining and all i craved was a glass of wine in the garden – I stopped myself. I had self control. In the lead up to HBO it was the Bank Holiday weekend with some rather satisfying weather. So, i drank on the Friday night, the Saturday night and even on the Sunday night. The night before the race, I had two big glasses of wine. Yes “My Name is Gemma and i’m a Wino.”

Dehydration – a big issue for any runner. Safe to say due to my lovely wine the night before and having less water than I normally would over the whole weekend, I was rather dehydrated come Monday morning. Instead of hydrating before the race I had sips of water – paranoid that I would need the toilet 50 times. I also did away with my hydration belt. I think my words were (again) “It’s only 10k – I’ll be fine.” How wrong I was. That first 5k without water and having to run up the hill into the village to get the water, was a killer. I was gasping by the time I reached the water station and barely able to drink it.

Breakfast the most important meal of the day. In recent months I have managed to get the pre run breakfast almost right; mixing up between Bagels with Peanut Butter, Porridge or Greek Yoghurt with honey depending on how long I would be running for. On the morning of HBO, everything went out the window. My breakfast was a glass of orange juice – I couldn’t stomach anything else. Big error, no wonder I felt that the tank was empty very soon after we set off!

Over Training! It has always been a big problem of mine. I tend to go for quantity over quality which results in me being over tired and not being able to give the job at hand 100%. The day before this race not only did I complete a Boot Camp session but I also went out for a run in the evening too. Now, I did run the day before the half marathon – which was more about stretching my legs and getting rid of any nerves. It definitely helped, so running before the HBO 10k wasn’t the issue. The problem was Boot Camp. After running round doing such exercises as Jerry Can pushes and burpees (to name a few) one is bound to feel that in the legs the next day.

So as you can see, I had a fair idea of how the race was going to pan out. My mind was not in it and my body clearly wasn’t ready for it. But you live and learn. I know for a fact that I can run this one faster – I did it in 2015. So, I cannot say I can’t run that fast. And I know I made a number of mistakes which led to poor performance.

I need to take this as a lesson to myself and learn from my mistakes, listen to my body and just be sensible in the run up to these events.

So, this Sunday (19th June) I have another 10k race at Hatfield Forest, which will be slightly more undulating as it is a trail run. Something I have not done before – unless it involves obstacles. I don’t expect to see a PB. But what I am expecting to see is a significant improvement in myself. Not just speed, but also mind set and preparation.

I need to bring back the positive mental attitude and strength I had this time last year. Once it returns I know I could up my game. The only issue is the mind is the hardest muscle to train……


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