Friday, September 25, 2015

Encouraging early signs

Training has been going well at the athletics club.  Those who have been following my posts on this blog will recall that I initially started training with the athletics club to improve my sprint performance for the fire brigade competitions, and I later decided to compete in athletics as well.

Anyway, last night, the local fire brigades held a "winter comp" (yes, it's Spring now, this is the tail end of the series).  Last night's events were the 2 man marshall, in which we ran just over 19 seconds in our best run.  This time is at least a second better than anything I ran this time last year, yet, I felt I could go significantly faster.  The next event was the 2 man Y, which only juniors (under 17s) run in the main competitions.  Our best time was good enough to get 4th place.  In these two events, the distances between each piece of work are very short, so the improvements aren't due to increased sprint speed.  I suspect that training has subtly improved my overall gross motor coordination, giving me slightly better agility.

In the final event, I had a chance to try out my sprint capabilities, as after I finished my work, I then had a sprint of around 20 metres to the finish.  The sprint did go well, and I had to pull up much harder to slow to a safe speed, before I ran into the fence at the end of the track! :)

In the meantime, training has been going well.  Speed and sprint endurance are still gradually improving.  Ran some hill climbs on Thursday, which brought out my power - I don't slow down that much going up hill.

So, early indications are promising for the coming summer on the fire track.  Time will tell, when the season starts in early December.  In the meantime, athletics season starts on the 10th of October, which will give me plenty of opportunities to test and improve my speed.

- Tony.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Success on the track!

Today was the "Spring Special" athletics meet, which finished just under an hour ago.  This is the first real opportunity to test how my training is progressing.  I started intense training around 6 weeks ago with the local athletics club, but the effects of training are already clearly evident.

Today, I entered 3 events, namely the 3 sprints - 100m, 200m and 400m.  My previous PBs for these events were:

100m - 14.68 seconds, set July 12
200m - 31.62 seconds, set July 12
400m - 74.55 seconds, set August 6

The July times were before I commenced training, and the August time was within the first week or two of starting, so they are baseline figures.

Today, I ran 13.87 in the 100m.  This is a 0.81 second improvement, due mainly to improved technique from training.  However, there is a lot more room for improvement, as I push my neurological limits further.  I have very high power available, from the fire competitions, but still have to convert more that to speed.  My starts, where the power shows, are as good as anyone else.  Today's gain represents approximately half of my goal to achieve by March (in the order of 1.5 seconds over 100m).

In the 200m, I ran 29.15, which beat my previous mark by 2.47 seconds.  Here, a small part of the improvement was technique, with the bulk being improved sprint endurance and better race strategy.

400 metres was the big improvement.  I used to always struggle with this distance in my school years.  I ran 68.09 seconds, which is a massive improvement of 6.46 seconds.  Here, the bulk of that improvement comes from a combination of improved sprint endurance, as well as applying pace management techniques I've used for years in longer distances (1km to marathon) to the shorter race.

Overall, I'm really happy with my gains, and there's more to come.

- Tony

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A breakthrough, and a test to come!

Made a breakthrough this week in training.  With the help of the coach, I was able to significantly increase my stride length, which in turn increases my top sprint speed.  Now, I just have to practice that technique consistently, to make it ingrained.  It took a few goes to find a way for me to understand the instructions, then sense and make the necessary changes to my technique.

Good timing too, this Sunday I will be competing in a track meet.  I have entered the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints, and look forward to seeing how much progress I've made against my previous performances.

Also, the fire brigade training starts in a couple of weeks, which will be another opportunity to review my progress.  Looking forward to this summer! :) -Tony