re High5 gels, you don't need to take those with water. When I am on those I take gels and water about 10-15 mins apart, and then only a sip of the water........
I also"front-load" the gels i.e more in the first half of any long run - when running hard the digestive system tends to shut down in the latter stages, which is why you hear the familiar wail - " I took my 1st gel at mile 18 and felt sick ....." etc
Interesting CC2 - my Tuesday effort was 2 mins on; 2 mins off and I focused on the time not the pace. When I checked my watch later, I was at 6:18's pretty consistently which I was happy with as a solo run in the dark.
Good practice to dial into a pace without constantly looking down at a watch and I noticed my form improved as I ran more upright.
Thursday was straight tempo stuff - 4m at 6:33 - 6:44 + w/u & c/d another 4 miles. Ran on a gravel pathway round an old airfield and I think averaged out at 6:48 or so......this was a freezing run, literally I thought I was going to get frostbite on my nose, -3 degrees C and running fast into an easterly wind, no idea of the windchill, but it was certainly character forming.
Last year I had exactly the same problem (Goring 10k).....my solution was to arrive early, run the 10k route in reverse direction slowly, have a rest of about 30 mins, a quick drink & gel, then the race, followed by the remaining miles required for the day......
Seemed to work - three of us beat the age-grade + 60's, course record in the race, sadly I was the third.....must try harder.