Monday 7 January 2013

Testing times.....

     After Christmas and New Year indulgences I find myself in a strange situation. Instead of getting fit BY racing, I'm now trying to get fit FOR racing. I ran a couple of times last week to open my 2013 account, six easy miles on New Years day when I felt to be moving reasonably well and another six hilly miles on Saturday that had me almost on my knees. That second run was a sort of fartlek session based on something I read a few years ago in one of Joe Henderson's books - Better Runs. Joe calls it his 1-1-1 work-out, i.e. once a week run one mile one minute faster than normal training pace. When I was younger, back in my M75 category racing days, I wasn't happy just doing one fast mile. Over an 8 mile route I'd slot in three of these fast miles, most of them at sub 7 min/mile pace and odd ones at sub 6.30.      
Down the long wall .... one of my fast mile sections
      Three of my M75 PB's were 45.32 for 10K, 76.20 for 10 miles and 5.39.83 for 1500m, so I reckon those modified 1-1-1 sessions must have been doing some good. I'll admit, all three of those measured miles were predominantly downhill, one of them down the 'long wall' being completely off-road and the other two also having off-road sections. But they were most enjoyable, giving this old man a nice feeling of speed, and it became one of my favourite sessions. For a while, until I got bored!  A glance through my racing diary reveals I haven't done it any time during the last two years. Until last Saturday.
     In need of moral support I set off with my wonderful partner over a shorter course of six miles to include just two fast ones - the last two of previous years' work-outs. It was reasonably dry as we plodded steadily up Hebden Ghyll which seemed devoid of all life except a solitary red grouse that scuttled away for cover as we approached Cupola Corner. We almost crawled up Moor Lane towards the little cairn I'd erected to mark the start of our measured mile. Passing the cairn I clicked my watch and put my foot on the gas down the stony track leading to a ¼ mile of flat road before descending slightly downhill towards Grassington. As I puffed past the mile marker at Edge Lane I stopped my watch, hardly daring to look at it.  7.52 is what it said. A full minute, and more, slower than past times.
Matt's excellent book.....recommended
     After jogging another mile I half heartedly attempted a second fast one back into the village, but I lost interest when sliding all over the place down the initial muddy section, and then having difficulty opening and shutting an awkward farm gate which I'd have vaulted over not so many moons ago. At the end of that mile I stopped my watch at a lamentable 8.25 before jogging the last 200m back home to collapse on the step with hardly strength to untie my laces. Unlike yesteryear, it had not been enjoyable, Far from returning home refreshed and rejuvenated I was absolutely knackered and would have gone to bed - except I never have and never will if I can possibly help it. Not during the day. Old men and poorly people do that!
     At least I now have a bench mark to work from but will have to draw on all my 27 years of running and racing experience to get anywhere near former levels of fitness - and then some. I've already made a start, first by enlisting the help of Matt Fitzgerald's excellent book - Racing Weight - dealing with nutrition in relation to racing performance, and secondly by investing in my own set of body monitoring scales to regularly tell me how well this new regime is working, or isn't, as the case may be. Watch this space!


  1. Don't get too down Old RF. Sometimes it's good to forget the watch and enjoy the run. Soon be Spring!

  2. great post :) --i was out running christmas day and new year's day - after a turbo session on the 24th and the 31st - i feel better having a drink and a bit of over-eating after some effort - strange how sport does this :)
    Happy new year to you