The Lap of Richmond Park

After running 10 miles (3 miles to and from the Park and then 7 miles to and from a specific point) earlier this week, and then subsequently discovering that a lap of Richmond Park is also 7 miles, I decided to go for the whole lap.

The last run, which was the longest I had ever done, was after work and in the late afternoon heat, so I thought that starting early in the morning on a Bank Holiday would help, and it definately made things easier.

Also I started off a little slower – I knew I was capable of running faster but also I knew that maintaing that speed would then mean I would struggle towards the end, so I started at about 10 minutes 30 seconds per mile and hovered around this pace.

I did actually want to get an average of under 10 minutes per mile but when I upped my pace to try to make up time I soon tailed off again, so knew I wasn’t quite ready to run at this pace yet, but tried to keep the pace consistent and under control.

The first few miles flew by. I got to the tea hut, the 5 kilometre point on my 10 kilometre run, and felt like I had barely started, so at that point I knew I was going well, and then when I reached the 5 mile point I was confident of going all the way.

I hadn’t run beyond the 5 mile point in Richmond Park before so anything from that point on was totally new to me. I noticed a slight incline, that continued for a bit, and then gradualy led to a hill. Wow, that was some hill.

According to the Ordnance Survey map it is called Spankers Hill Wood and is 44 metres above sea level, and according to my GPS track I went from 11 metres above sea level to 58 metres above sea level in 1.05 miles.

The steepest section was climbing 16 metres in 128 metres, approximately 1 in 12, and that alone felt like a one mile run in its own right. I kept going to the top of the hill, although now was considerably more tired that expecting, and my split time for this mile was some 50 seconds slower.

The rest of the lap was quite straightforward. I was vaguely familiar with the west side of the park as I drive my hire cars to and from Norbiton along there so knew where the hills were and what milestones and markers to expect.

There were still some unexpectidly spectacular views though, particularly between Sidmouth Wood and Holly Lodge where the pedestrian path actually went into some quite thick trees and provided some very welcome shade.

I could see Richmond Gate in the distance so knew things were going well and I arrived there at the time I was expecting and I was still in good condition. I could have done with a drink at this point but didn’t want to stop as my pace was good.

On the run down towards North Sheen I deliberately pushed a bit harder as I did have some energy in reserve and actually made up a small amount of time. The level crossing was down so I jogged along Manor Park road in order to keep warm.

I wanted to maintain an average of under 11 minutes per mile, and was hoping to get as close to 10 minutes per mile as reasonably possible, so was happy with an average of 10:34 seconds per mile, and this was an improvement on my pace of 11:06 per mile from eariler in the week.

My fastest split was 10:01 for the third mile and next fastest was 10:17 seconds for the fourth mile, so I still have some way to go in order to maintain an average of under 10 minutes per mile, so I will work on this next while doing some more laps.