Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Children of the Revolution

Not a great deal to talk about with regard to my training this last week. Having started the year with three solid training weeks, I decided I needed to spend a week recovering and repairing, which is exactly what I have done. Simply running three times, all around 4 miles, at a nice easy pace. I feel much refreshed and ready to start the next three week cycle of training which will be an easy week, a medium week and finally, in the half term holidays, a hard week to include the biggest test so far; running from Balmaha to Tyndrum. Last year I did this run in about 6:15 hours but will be happy with something in the region of 7:00 hours, with the number one priority of being in one piece at the finish.

I thought  would take a little time to tell you about my growing stable of athletes I am advising/coaching. The names of the innocent have been protected!

Everone has their own special needs, each a particular characteristic and each sits on a different step of the running ladder. Take S, she started running simply for the health benefits but after a while the lure of a proper race proved too great. She needed a simple plan to gradually increase her distances but also build some confidence. P is the adrenaline runner; he used to just hammer every run, which got him into good shape and made him competitive in lots of races but he really wanted to get that little bit more and focus on a few specific races. We have now got him having a purpose for each run, more variety in his training and some time to recover and regroup. He is a very experienced runner and really just needs someone to suggest what he already knows!

Now we come to the dynamic duo. These guys have ended up training together but, again, approach things from very different angles. Firstly, A is methodical planner. He has been training well, with a correctly structured week, the problem being that he did the same basic stuff, week after week. What we have done is build a plan for the year (on a spreadsheet, of course), targeting a number of races, peaking for his main target of an off-road marathon later in the year. This is the first time he has had a periodised training plan and, interestingly, he is finding that he may be getting too fit too soon, I think due to the built-in recovery periods which he has not used before. We are going to leave the plan as it is for the next month and then review things. Then finally, there is S. He is relatively new to running, like a puppy with a toy. His enthusiasm is catching but, again, he needs to be warned about hammering training too often. He is following the same basic plan as A, simply because they do most of their training together. S is at the point where he is making rapid gains in his performances, which is obviously great for his confidence, but his area for improvement is pacing, in both training and racing. I am sure that he will boss this as he gains more experience. On the plus side, this guy knows how to push himself; open the hurt box and climb inside!

I'm really enjoying giving advice to these runners and, in fact, nudge a number of others in the right direction, whether it be training, racing, kit, shoes, nutrition, etc. It probably benefits my training and racing too as it makes you spend a little more time analysing things which you may otherwise take for granted.

Finished off the week with a visit to The Revolution cycling event at Manchester Velodrome. What a fantastic evening. Three hours of non-stop entertainment, including some of the world's top ranked cyclists, like Sir Chris Hoy. They look fast on the TV, but it is a sight to behold in the actual stadium with 17,000 spectators cheering on. I have put together a short video of the races, however, you'll have to forgive the quality of the shots as it was done with my phone and they just move too bloody fast.

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