Thursday, 25 September 2014

Back in the Game

It’s been a little while since my last blog and my training trip to Spain. Before I went I had started to up my training but it was Spain where I feel the start of my current progress began. On my return it was obvious the training had been tough as both my achilles were aching. Of course mentioning this to fellow athletes and physios that I work with brings out all the advice one could wish for, but I knew it was just from tired legs and so I treated myself by taking an easy week. With the North West Road relays the following Saturday and not having run any decent times this year I thought this would be an opportunity for me to show where I’m at, in terms of form.

It wasn’t that easy a week in the end, I trained just once a day but because I was in the Salford F team there wasn’t really anything to save myself for so I agreed to take a client out for a run on the Friday, normally this would’ve been a rest day. As it turned out I had a decent run in the relay; 12:18 for 3.6k. Ok, nothing spectacular, it still only equates to 17:08 for 5k, had I been able to maintain pace, but it was more about how much closer or ahead of my peers I was than I had been all year.

Once again Salford showed their strength in depth with 9 teams (not including the juniors), both the Men’s and Women’s A teams finished 3rd overall, with the Men taking 2nd Greater Manchester. Sadly no teams for Cheshire or Lancashire and I think the Women’s was a mixed county team so no county medals there either. My F team, featuring Trevor Rayner, Rob Tudor and John Lloyd finished in 23rd place, not bad considering we averaged close to 50 years of age, though with baby face John in the team it kept it nearer mid 40s.
Two of Salford's teams in action, I must be running fast, both feet off the ground at the same time.

The following week it was the North of England Relays. With 6 Men in each team and not being county dependent I found myself promoted to the D team, but still nothing to prove and as my achilles was no longer sore, as I suspected it wouldn’t be, I bunged in a hard week of training. Faster, longer, harder and back to two sessions a day, plus another client wanting a run on Friday morning.

This was a bit longer, at 6k, and I knew I’d suffer more than the previous week but I was still determined to have a crack. Unfortunately our A leg runner wasn’t feeling well and had a nightmare leg, these things happen, I should know, but at least it gave me something to chase and someone to chase me as the leading Women’s team was just behind us. I went hard, perhaps too hard, but I held myself together and managed to pass more than 20 runners and nobody came past me, though I was caught by the leading Lady (never know if I should call them Women, Ladies or Girls), unfortunately for her I was just at the point of telling myself to do what I tell my clients to do, relax and push, and I pulled away again – though she ran 2 seconds faster than me in the end, nice one. I was pleased with my effort, it shows consistency and placed me close enough to my peers to give me some confidence that my training is going in the right direction.

Salford again had great strength in depth; 8 teams, not including the juniors, with our ladies finishing in 6th place and the men in 4th (men’s B team in 7th), my team finishing in 73rd – not bad for a D team.
Coming towards the finish, wish I could learn to keep my mouth shut

So now I’m back training hard, I have a little gap before I’m due to race again so it’s more miles, more pace and more effort before I ease down for an important race. Of course with increased intensity comes the risk of injury, my knee was sore on Monday after the 2nd session and now my IT band is a little sore, at least the knee has survived the week. I’ll be keeping a close eye on how my body reacts to my training and I will ease off if necessary, but I’m really enjoying being able to push myself towards my limits and I’ve lost that couple of pounds that have been hanging around for the last couple of years. And I do feel like I’m back in the game.

Written by Roger Alsop

pictures courtesy of Sid Sacks and Jerry Watson

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