Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Getting off on the wrong foot! (or Oops, I just discovered a major bug!)

Had an interesting night at athletics training tonight.  As is normal for Tuesday, we focused on the shorter sprints, working on pure speed, rather than sprint endurance.  After the warmup and a couple of standard drills, we did 5 flying 30m sprints - these involve building up speed in the first 30 metres, then going all out for the next 30, and then for the final 30m, relaxing, while maintaining as much speed as possible.  In this drill, I performed quite well, with good form and high speed.

Next, we were given a choice of activities.  I decided to work on my starts, because I haven't spent much time on them.  That's when the fun started.  It turns out that despite having quite a fast start, I actually had a number of significant issues, and I was achieving my performance on brute force in the legs, and possibly losing in the acceleration phase too.  My arms and legs just wouldn't coordinate.  Further investigation seemed to indicate I was starting on the wrong foot, so with guidance from one of the other guys, I swapped feet around on the blocks.  This got  the arms working right, though things were still a bit rough, as the unconscious mind was still trying to do its thing, and on one attempt, this conflict resulted in a minor groin strain.

So where to, from here?  firstly, recovering from this strain, which will hopefully only take a few days, and from there, sort out the issues with my starts.  It's going to take a lot of repetition and some guidance, with the promise of significant improvements in my times. The experiment continues... :)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Athletics Week 3 - 2 PBs and a hand in a record!

Had another successful day on the track today.  This week was the alternate program, for the first time this season.  I entered in the 200m and 60m sprints.

The 200m was first.  Conditions were warm, with a stiff breeze that was a full on headwind on the bend, and a slight headwind (1.2 m/S) in the home straight at the time.  Had a good run, able to maintain top speed for most of the race.  Despite the challenging wind, I ran a PB of 28.96 - 0.19 seconds faster than the previous PB from September.

The next event was the 60m.  With over an hour between events, I had to spend a bit more time warming up.  Had an excellent start, got out of the blocks ahead, and finished with a time of 8.91.  As my previous 8.8 seconds was hand timed, this would be a PB.

My last event for the day was the 4x200m relay.  As in previous weeks, I was part of an over 40s club team.  This week, I ran in second position, which meant taking the baton from someone else for the first time in 34 years! :)  This run went well.  With much easier wind conditions by now, it felt at least as fast as my individual 200m race, over 2 hours earlier, and both baton changes were reasonably smooth.  We were going for the track record, which we managed to break by 2.7 seconds, as well as beating another team in our age group, who also broke the old record. :)

So, another successful day on the track, finishing on a high note. :)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Athletics - Week 2

Today was quite different conditions to last week, with cooler temperatures and the wind starting out as almost a cross wind and turning into a headwind as the day progressed, but the draw was the same, so I entered the 100m and 400m events.

The 100m went well, felt like my best ever, and I had plenty of power right up to the finish.  However, the clock told a different story.  14.00 seconds, just short of my PB.  However, this is the first time since starting training that I've run with a headwind (1.7 m/S officially).  A quick analysis of the results shows that the headwind affected me much less than most of the others, which I did expect.  My time was slightly faster than last week, though last week I was being a bit cautious.  It is also only 0.13 seconds slower than my PB, which was set with a tail wind.

Again, 400m was next.  Conditions were tough, with the wind having now changed from more of a cross wind to a near headwind in the final straight.  For the first half of the race, I took full advantage of the tail wind on the back straight, before taking on the headwind for the last 150m or so.  Finished with a time of 66.65, 1.22 seconds better than last week's PB.  This run also took everything I had, which made it double as an excellent training run to build fitness.

My last event was the medley relay.  This involves 2x200m legs, then a 400m leg and finishing with an 800m leg.  I ran the first 200m leg, starting into the wind (where I had a power advantage), before turning towards the back straight with a tail wind.  This went well.  I had recovered from my previous all out 400m run.  Overall, we did OK, except one of the guys had some soreness, and a rough changeover later in the race (long after my stage finished).

Overall, I was pleased with the day.  My 400m performances continue to improve, far beyond anything I had anticipated when I started.  However, 100m improvements remains a challenge, and I am taking extra steps to try and improve my form in this event.

Next week is the alternate program, which means I will be entering the 60m and 200m sprints.  It will be interesting to see how I go in these events.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Track season begins.

Today was the official start of track season.  I had entered the 100m and 40m sprints, but due to an injury 11 days ago, there was some uncertainty about the 100.  However, I decided to go ahead with that race, as my injury appeared to have come good by Thursday.  So, I headed to the track on a hot and humid afternoon.

The 100m was my first event.  Not wanting to cause further injury, I took this race a bit easier than I normally would.  The start was my usual fast start, but after that, I eased into the faster parts of the race, only pushing things in the last 20 metres.  The time was 14.04, slightly slower than my previous 13.87 PB.

400m was next.  At this distance, I didn't need to reach quite the same speeds, so the risk of injury was very low.  In this race, I ran my usual race plan, allowing a bit for the headwind in the back straight.  Finished strongly in 3rd place in my heat with a PB time of 67.87.

After the 400m, I was asked to run a leg of the mens 40+ 4x100m relay team.  My position was first, to take advantage of my fast starts.  Like the 100m, I took this one carefully.  Once I was up to speed, I eased into the race.  At the 60m mark, I felt good, so I decided to push the speed up to near my top speed, before passing the baton to the next team member.  Together, we completed the event within 1.5 seconds of the track record, and all of us were running well within out capabilities! :)  Looking forward to having a real crack at the track record. :)

Friday, October 02, 2015

A couple of hiccups

This week hasn't been one of my better weeks.  Firstly, on Tuesday, I pulled a muscle in the left of my groin early in a series of short (30m - 50m sprints).  That ended the night's planned training, and it was off to treat the injury with ice. :(

Yesterday, I did manage two light training sessions.  I'm already capable of around 1/2 of my top speed and 2/3 of my 200m pace.  My best 200m interval was 42 seconds (compared to 29 second race time and 33-36 second training pace).  I also did well in the fire brigade training session afterwards.  Unfortunately, I had a cold come on suddenly late yesterday afternoon, so I'm now out of action because of that. :(  The silver lining is that it might be a good opportunity for a proper rest and possibly some targeted rehab training in the gym.

Athletics season starts on October 10.  I've entered the 100m and 400m events, and hope to be at least capable of the 400 (which is a lot less stress on muscles), but would like to run both.