Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Making good progress...

Already at this early stage, I am making steady progress in my track training.  The longer sprints are showing the biggest improvement.  On Sunday, I ran a 73 second 400m training run, and that was after slowing down, because I was targeting a specific pace, so I'm capable of a significantly faster time.  3 weeks ago, I ran 74.55 in a race, so I'm easily beating recent race times now.  At 200m, my 31.6 second race time from last month has been bettered by steady training runs around 30 seconds, again with plenty in reserve.

100 metres is more of a challenge.  While my natural power suits this event, improvement here relies on improving coordination, rather than sprint endurance, which is where the gains have been made in the longer sprints.  However, I feel that I am gradually adopting better form.  In addition, my starts are among the fastest in our training group, being able to gain almost a metre in the first few steps.  I feel as though I'm expending less effort to maintain the same speed, though with a mild groin strain from Sunday, I wasn't able to really push my top speed.I will have an opportunity to see how much my race time has improved next month.

Looking forward to seeing what the summer seasons (both track and fire brigade) bring.

Saturday, August 08, 2015

More training

Another training session.  This one consisted of 6 x 200m sprints with decreasing rest between them (5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes respectively).  The aim is to run each of these at a 400m or 800m pace.  Given that this was likely to be a tough workout, I was initially conservative, with my first run being around 38 seconds, which corresponds to a time of 76 seconds for 400m.  My time for the 400 was actually 74.55 a few days ago, and I was surprised that the first 200 was so fast.  The next 4 sprints were in the range of 33 - 36 seconds, all faster than my 400m pace, and the final 200m run, which took place after only a minute's rest after the previous run, was still around 38 seconds.

I enjoyed this session and surprised myself at how well I performed in this training session.  I thought I knew myself well, but I'm discovering my capabilities are well in excess of what I had thought.  I'm really looking forward to competing in the coming track season.

And the athletics club have been showing interest in having me run in the 4x400m relay in my age group. :)

- Tony

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Breaking new ground - conquering a tough distance.

Made a major advance in my sporting pursuits last night.  I attended a small twilight athletics competition after training last night.  Because it was a small meet, event choice was limited - 1500m, 400m and 2 miles.

I am a sprinter by nature, but have always struggled with the 400 metres, and to a lesser extent with the 200, so I didn't expect any miracles with the 400 and was doing it more as a training run and to participate in the program.

During my training session, I did a number of 400m runs with a break (usually a lap of walking) in between.  The first run was like so many 400m runs of the past, a good strong start, fading around the 200 metre mark, but it was still around 80 seconds - among the faster ones I've done.  I did several more 400m runs, but eased back a bit, as well as some run throughs on the main straight to keep warm.

So, race time comes, I got off to a good start, then eased back - 100m, 150m, 200m and I'm still feeling rather good.  Hit the 300 metre mark, still feeling good, much to my surprise, so I decided to give it everything for the run home, and instead of running out of steam, I actually got faster, finishing strong.

The final time was 74.55 seconds, somewhat better than expected, but more significantly, with what happened, I feel I will improve on that dramatically, because it's as though I've unlocked an energy system that until now has been largely inaccessible (but most people have).

For the future, I will work on my 400 metre race more and see what I can do with this new found ability, and I will experiment with 800 and maybe 1500 metres to see what effect this has in the middle distance range, which has always been the most difficult for me.  Another benchmark will be my 3km cross country runs, where my performance is now well studied, with a couple of recent PBs among them.

- Tony

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

A new strategy, and two new sports!

After a successful 2014-2015 season, I took the chance to review my performances and looked for areas of improvement.  I feel I can improve.  Firstly, my strength preparation wasn't as good as it was the previous year, which may have contributed to injury issues.  Secondly, I haven't been satisfied with my top speed and have been looking for training options in that area.

To address these issues, I've stepped up the gym work to deal with the strength issue.  This has been going extremely well over the past 2 months, with good gains all over, and key muscles are as strong as they've ever been.  Resistance training has proven in previous seasons to be effective in both injury prevention, as well as developing the power required to haul the reel down the track.

To improve my speed, I decided that coaching by a sprint coach would be the way to go.  Through contacts, I was put in touch with the local athletics club, and have commenced cross country running (for a bit of stamina, as well as social interaction and networking), and have just started training with the club at the local athletics track.  Coincidentally, the week after I started cross country, there was a winter athletics meet, so I entered in the 100 and 200 metre sprints.  Despite being at the end of a 4 month break from any sprints, not having spiked and the weather being wet, I did quite well ib the 100m event, especially in the start, where my power worked to my advantage.  The 200m was a bit more of a struggle, but I've never been particularly good at this distance.  Definitely need a lot more work there.  Anyway, I've got the athletics bug, and though the season overlaps the fire competition season, I should be able to compete in a number of meets over the warmer months..

So I've now started training.  Tonight was particularly well suited to me, being focused on speed work.  I think the process of rewiring my motor pathways is already beginning, I felt a noticeable improvement as the drills progressed, though there's still a long way to go.  My goal is to take more than a second (preferably 1.5+) off my 100m time, which will give me the time I need in one of our key events to get down the track and up the ladder in a time that would give us a State win.

Anyway, the big experiment has begun, how successful it is, I won't know until at least the summer.  Pushing this boundary is something I have seen no documentation on for autistic people.  However, I have noticed one side effect, my mood in general has improved, even in the middle of the coldest winter I've experienced for over 20 years.

- Tony