Saturday, March 19, 2016

Athletics season ends

As March draws to a close, with Easter taking up next weekend, the summer athletics season came to an end yesterday.  With the fire brigade running season finishing on the previous weekend, I turned my attention back to the athletics track, resuming training the day after getting back from Mildura, when  everyone else was still recovering, and putting in some tough 400m fitness work on Thursday, an areas I was forced to neglect for nearly 2 months.

Anyway, for my final meet of the local season, I entered the 100m, 400m and long jump.  First up was the 100 metres.  First challenge was adjusting to the athletics start style and getting re-acquainted with blocks, a piece of equipment I hadn't used since the end of January.  My start was a little slower, but I was able to call on some extra speed in the latter half of the race, allowing me to take the heat and a new PB of 13.51 seconds.  One of the guys who helps coach me noticed I'm still far from my potential, so there's a lot of technique to work on over the winter months.

Next up was the 400m.  I was hoping for a run around 65 seconds, around my PB, maybe a slight improvement, but I had no idea how I would go.  The longest sprint I do with the fire brigade is around 20 seconds (admittedly with a lot of weight in tow!), and I needed around 3 times this length of effort.  Furthermore, although I ran good times, I found Thursday's speed endurance work tough.  Anyway, I got off to an excellent start this time, reaching top speed and passing the two competitors staggered ahead of me, before settling down to race pace in the back straight.  I managed to maintain pace and finish first with a new PB of 63.35 seconds, well over 2 seconds faster than the old PB!  Obviously my 400m fitness hasn't fallen off. :)

Straight after the 400m was the long jump.  After taking a rest for 10 minutes to catch my breath, I started my jumps.  First one was a bit shaky, but still a PB, somewhere around 3.4 metres.  Second jump was a bit over 3.9m, so I gave it all for the final jump to try and break 4m, which I did, with a new 4,14m PB.

To end the day, myself and another club member teamed up with 2 members of another club to run a 4x100m relay.  I enjoy the relays, so this was a great way to end the official season.

With the heavy period of competition now over, I've pulled up really well.  Even the minor niggle I had in recent weeks has almost gone away and had no impact on my performance in the past 2 weekends.  I'm feeling strong and ready to take on other competition, though I will take the opportunity to do some recovery in between training days, now that things have slowed down a bit.  The next couple of weekends also have some social opportunities, now that most of my weekend time has been freed up.

Now that athletics is over, the focus will be on cross country.  For me, cross country is more a way to get endurance training, any wins or placings I get are incidental, but I will be using my GPS to track progress through the season.  I'm sure this work will give me that extra endurance to break the 60 second barrier in the 400m, especially now that is only a few seconds away.  Winter will also be a break from regular blog posts. :)

However, athletics won't go away entirely.  Next month, I have the Victorian Police and Emergency Services Games.  I've entered the 100m, 200m and 400m sprints, and with 4 more weeks to train for the games and in good form, I'm looking forward to pitting myself against others in the emergency services.  Additionally, there is the prospect of a couple of off season athletics meets through the winter months, which I will also have a go at, if only to monitor my progress.

Stay tuned! - Tony

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