Tuesday, 3 January 2012

It's all about commitment!

2011. COMMITMENT TO TRAINING....... Over the Christmas and New Year period last year I was so troubled by the reoccurring pain in my left leg (piriformis problem)  that  I was not foolish or even optimistic enough to make any training/racing resolutions for 2011.   Resolutuions which  at the time would have  seemed totally unrealistic and out of the question. 
  If I could simply make a return to daily,  pain free running that would be more than enough.
  But gradually as the pain diminished the weekly mileage was nudged back up again to the average.  16, 22 ,24 36 and then 40.  Daily runs of 4 mile in January,  ticking over,  were gradually increased up to 10 miles.  

  I  ventured back to the track to attempt a 5K solo time trial which went quite well and encouraged me to start  looking at a "comeback"  race to kick off the 2011 season.  I  was pleased to run 43.28 for the initial outing on Mar 5  at Stanley Park, Blackpool.
  I was back in business  and fitter than I had thought.  I had predicted a time of around 45 minutes.
  Pleasingly I was able to go on enjoy  10 months of  interrupted training and racing  averaging 43 miles per week.  50% of  many weeks 25 years ago but a reasonable and satisfactory degree of commitment at my age and  running life I would suggest.  
  However, the last 4 weeks of 2011 with the calf strain naturally took that average down.   But  at least I was able to  recover well enough to  need just 9 miles  last Sunday  to bring the year's total up to 2080
and average exactly 40 miles for 2011.   
  A paddle strewn towpath  and torrential rain  tested the resolve but it had to be done, didn't it?!

 I could never be accused of over racing on a regular basis.  I have been guilty over "binge racing"  (several races in a very short period) but generally balanced out by a period of race inactivity. A "down season".

The greatest number of races in a year was in 1989 with a total of 29.
 This year if I had been confident enough to set a race number target it would have been 20.   I had reached
18  when I suffered the calf strain in  November. I would have  slotted in one of the popular 10 milers  and possibly a 5K .
  But hey 18 out of 20 doesn't look too bad so I'll settle for that.   I often say I only race flat road races nowadays but in fact the list shows otherwise with  some trail races in there and some testing road events.
There are exceptions but I would say generally at my stage,  working against old father time,  we have all on to maintain  race times year on year.  Perhaps a decline of 30 seconds over a 10K is more likely and that was what I could only manage. No improvement on 2010. 

 The best 10K was down by 20 seconds but the 5 mile only down by 6 seconds.   I managed 4 category wins in the year.  At 63 in the M60 section this will prove harder in 2012.

2011.  COMMITMENT TO THE CLUB...........
 Living in Yorkshire,  an hour and a half's drive from Sale Harriers'  club HQ  means I don't get involved with club training.  However,   I did respond to the call and turned out in the the Northern 12 man relay ("B" team)   and Northern 6 man relay ("D" team)  and  along side several teammates who completed the Manchester Parks Races Series.   Far  more in fact than many who live on the doorstep!

The majority of my "speedwork" is track based.  Some longers efforts being done on the canal towpath.
2011 saw 26 track visits.   Some room for more commitment there then. 

Only half a dozen  actual hill rep sessions.  Perhaps too much of a reliance on mildly undulating off road runs to  act as hill work but nothing like the intensity of sessions which i used to incorporate into the week in the "good years".    Again, something which needs to be addressed.

  In general  I  have enjoyed another year of near daily training; mainly off road, mainly traffic free in England's second best county of Yorkshire  and should be thankful that after nearly 50 years  and over 700 races I am still able to sit here and be able to write the above!
  That's it for 2011.  I hope as you look back over you running year you have achieved all that you aimed for and trained for.  But if not,  hopefully your running record allows you to evaluate,  establish where the problems occurred, reset fresh goals for 2012 and enjoy running towards achieving those goals.   
      I wish you well in your efforts. Go for it!

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