Saturday, 11 October 2008

up, and running

Having eased myself back into training for the winter, the last couple of weeks have seen some very enjoyable training. Feeling refreshed, focused and.... basically not totally physically wasted, I’m finding renewed enthusiasm and energy. This could prove to be double edged sword – whilst I’ll continue to enjoy training when it is going well keeping my motivation high, the enthusiasm and energy that I have for harder sessions is hardly appropriate for the time of year – certainly contradicts my own training plan which should consist of 8 weeks building aerobic base - and will no doubt take it’s toll before too long. But just as long as I keep this in mind, and remember not to let the hours run away with me (18 last week, 25 this week) and recover effectively, I have a great winter’s training to look forward to with some interesting events lined up to keep me on my toes...

Winter racing is all about running really. The cross country season started yesterday with the first of the Met League races. A gorgeous day, certainly not the weather I’d associate with XC, but with the usual, totally disproportionate amount of fear of the hard 6km cousre we were about to run far too fast for out own good. Without much expectations in this scene, or with my current state of fitness, I started a few rows back and took my time working through the runners ahead. The lead girls as ever were way out of sight very quickly but in these events your score is based on position, not time so those unable to make the pace, don’t chase. I worked my way through the field , breathing hard but steady (unlike some of the wheezing and sobbing that you get to hear on these intense events), started the second lap in 20th position (which is my benchmark for cross country races), and finished 13th. There were a lot of drop-outs due to either the heat or just early season lack of fitness, but I was pleased with this position, and to score for my club.

We’ve also got the Regents Park 10k series to keep us going – the first being last Sunday. A day of torrential rain and mucho reluctance after a fairly solid 70 mile ride the day before, which itself was off the back of a Friday night long run of 15 miles. To be honest I turned up only in order to set a benchmark for the rest of the series, to be sociable with the good turn out of Tri London that these races attract and familiar faces from previous seasons. Despite my being really quite late, ,I was relieved that the start ad been delayed…and the morning took a further turn for the better when I was handed not only a prize of Runners Need vouchers but also my entry fees back! Apparetly I won last year’s series – having only raced 3out of 6 races and only actually won 2 of those. So if nothing else it was certainly getting out of bed and soaking wet for. I also had a very enjoyable race spending the entire 3 laps chasing the lead woman. She got a start on me, with a couple of other girls. But having Gabriel on the start line with an unspoken challenge helped me with my early speed and I soon dropped the other female contenders and had the one in front within sight. Kevin came by me (we have very similar race results and a little competition there too) so I tried to pick up pace, passing Gabriel in the process. I was unable to stick with Kev though and watched his back disappear. My focus then was to chase the lead, around 15 seconds behind her I felt that I had the psychological advantage as well as superior endurance, and didn’t try to close it until the final 2mile lap. Oh, and then did I push. I pushed and pushed until my lungs nearly came out my arse, but despite this, and all the encouragement from spectating friends, I could not reel her in. Of course she had known I was there and had something in reserve too. The best I could do was put a little squeeze on in the finishing 400m, and settle for second knowing that I could NOT have worked that race any harder. I was rather surprised, given the effort that I’d put in, that my time was 40:41. It’s not a fast course but I managed under 40 at the end of the last series. But – I really could not have run harder and it’s a benchmark.

Still on the running theme -Monday saw the start of 40 runs in 40 days. Last year we spotted this link:
and thought it was an excellent idea for kick starting the running without overdoing it on speed. Several club members found their running much improved after the end of the period, and I continued the theme expanding from 30 in 30 to 40 of 40 in 40 and finally, leading into IM Germany, 50 of 50 in 50. I’m currenty7 days and 6 runs into this one. Not having run today, I ‘owe’ run, which means that tomorrow I’ll need to run twice for at least 40 minutes each time. This means that instead of riding to the pool, I’ll run - it won’t cost me too much extra time. In fact, tat’s the great thing about the challenge – suddenly you’re running everywhere! And being time, not distance, based you very quickly learn how long it takes to get from your regular As to Bs at a easy pace. The ability to bank runs or o into debit, makes the challenge a little easier to manage than simple running everyday – not only from a time point of view but it does allow a little recovery if the legs are feeling the strain, or if my ride turned out to be a lot longer or harder than intended.

The hope is that with these regular 40-60 min runs, plus a long run and a short race each weekend I’ll be in decent shape for the coastal marathons that I’ve signed up for in Dorset in November and December!

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