The Scribbler

24 March 2013

Starting to come good

Filed under: run,swim,training — The Scribbler @ 22:42
Tags: , , , ,

A couple of weeks ago, I was wrestling with some thoughts and expectations ahead of my first race of the season. My training has been noticeably different to previous years, with a firm triathlon focus and I was reflecting that perhaps I ought not to expect too much from my running, as it hasn’t been my sole focus.

But this week has blasted those doubts out of my mind with a brilliant run. I usually train with my PT on Thursday morning, but a change of plans meant there was an option of a Friday session and a chance for us to take on a 10k together.

There had been a shimmer of snow overnight, the ground a frosty white, with a crust of ice over the edges of the Tyne. We ran together along beside the bridges, in casual conversation, watching our footing on the slippery patches. The early morning air was still and bitter cold, but moving in step together, I did not feel it.

Ian’s got me running forefoot and when I started to tire and drop back onto my heels, he got me to think about one of our running drills and suddenly the pace picked up, and I felt light and easy again.

I had not looked at my watch. We ran to feel, but Ian was mindful of the pace I’d told him I’d been doing in training and determined to see me break it.

We turned and ran back towards our start point in the brightening light as the river began to come to life. As the end approached, he asked how I felt, and I answered honestly that the distance was starting to make itself felt in my hips, glutes and calves. “Ease back, then,” he said, “just a little,” and it felt like we just relaxed and I gained my balance again.

Not far to the finish, and we push on, my aching limbs forgotten. I even break into something approaching a sprint as we pick our finishing point, just short of 10K as it turns out, but mere metres. The time on the watch 53:48.

I can barely believe it. I haven’t run a 10K in under an hour this year.

I’d have been delighted with that if I’d raced it. But I didn’t race. I just ran, holding a conversation, dipping in and out of pockets of pace, and never once feeling like quitting, even when the aches hit. Looking at the stats later, we actually got faster every mile apart from the last one, and there was only a 4 second drop off on that one.

So there’s more to come. More to come from the new running style. More to come from the race experience. More to come from my competitive streak. Next Sunday’s race looks a whole lot more exciting. And that’s just the start of my season.

This week has also been swim focused, with three sessions in the pool for me. I almost always see an improvement when I get regular swim sessions in, and this week, I’ve been trying out some drills, paddles and working on my technique.

Today, I had the luxury of the pool to myself as I started and I decided just to get in and swim, no warm up, no drills, just a good endurance swim. I did 4x400m front crawl, with only 10 secs rest between sets, focusing on swimming smoothly, remembering to kick and trying to turn, rather than lift my head to breathe.

Timing each set with my PoolMate, I was very pleased to see I completed each 400m in around 8 mins 30 compared to my recent times of just over 9 minutes. It takes time to see a swim improvement, and there’s still loads to work on, but I’m beginning to see the benefits of the swim coaching and drills.

So, to borrow a phrase from Chrissie Wellington – no limits. Dream big, dream out loud at a high volume. Believe it and achieve it.

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