So here it is – my report on how the first Training Day went.
Due to the distance I decided to travel up on the Friday night straightt from work. It took a while through the traffic but it meant I had a proper night sleep before the big day. Battersea Travelodge was just 2 miles away from the track.
Friday night – because I got there late I had to find some food. The only place I could eat was a ub across the road from the shower. I have admitted this to Ruth so I’ll put it here – I had burger and chips with a pint of Fosters. Hell – why not. It had been a long day and a long drive. I also had to tell her because both Malcs and James had threatened to tell her
As Malcolm has pointed out in his post, we have all been very lucky so far with what this competition has offered us. The advice from the coaches, the guidance from Ruth and the kit from Asics and Garmin. I agree that we are being spoiled.
Starting the Saturday:
For our first training day we were located at Battersea Millennium Park. A very nice location but a nightmare go get into. The whole park seems to have one postcode so the satnav sent me to the wrong entrance. I eventually found my way in and bumped into Malcs and James as they were walking to the arena. It was a lovely venue – extremely busy with coaches, athletes and the general public all being put through their paces. Even Greg Rusedski was there hang a knock about with his son.
The Asics crew were all there when I arrived as were the other four runners. It was lovely to catch up with everyone and talk about how we were all doing. The Asics crew were their usually bubbly selves, making us all feel welcome.
As some of you may know I was due to film for a Welsh TV programme that day so they eventually arrived. Rhodri Gomer-Davies (ex Newport Dragons Rugby), a camera guy and a sound guru. All from S4C. James and Malcs proceeded to take the mickey out of me.
First on my agenda was filming some bits whilst I waited to catch up with Sam. The film crew took me to one side for an interview and some shots of me running. The interview was in Welsh. I’m sure they also interviewed Katie.
Coaches Update / Running
Due to time moving on my catch up with Sam was bumped to after the running but I did get the chance to sit with Sarah and evaluate my injury. So I did – off came the shoe, off came the sock and into the injury went Sarah. What she said was a bit of a blur but we did see that my trainers were not sturdy enough. The camera crew were hovering whilst Sarah prodded and poked my feet and shin.
We then got out running. Steve led us on a warm of up around the park. Not sure if he forgot that I am a Sub-5 runner so the warm up was nice and quick. Probably the only time I will run level with Roger (or any of the others to be honest). We got back onto the track and after a quick strides session around the track we went into three mile long sessions:
- Mile 1 – marathon pace
- Mile 2 – lap1: MP, lap2: HMP, lap3: 10KP, lap4: faster than 10KP
- Mile 3 – bends at MP, straights fast (5K ish pace)
Under no circumstances where we allowed to use our Garmin watches. The group were handicapped at one minute intervals so as the slowest I had to set off first in every session.
The first mile – I was meant to run a marathon pace of 11 min/mile. Well I screwed that up and ran the mile in 9:34 – whoops. What did become apparent was that the laps were consistent So some positive out of that.
I think I improved as we went through the sessions and thoroughly enjoyed being put through my paces. My leg wasn’t hurting but I knew I had an injury. I was worried and had noticed Sam and Sarah monitoring and watching my stride and technique as I ran around. Even Roger had taken a look during the warm up.
It was at this point my film crew departed after filming all sessions. Bye bye – I could relax a little bit. It was a lot of effort for a 4/5 minute slot on the Welsh version of the One Show!
So after the sessions, Roger led us around the park for a warm down before we got back. Again the only time I will probably run at the same pace as him.
he next session was technique with Sam. Interesting to be told that everyone except Roger had a bad running technique so Sam set about telling and showing us how to do it right. Sam wasn’t very well but put on a brave face to stand out in the cold telling us what to do. Fair play to her. Thank you.
It felt odd trying to change my running style but with a bit of practice I’m sure I can do it. At one point I felt a bit camp trying to rotate my body with every movement.
The photo session with Tom followed and I found it hilarious watching the general public and other runners watching us with curiosity. Who were these 5 people in Asics having their photos taken? Tim clicked away and we were papped in various poses and when running.
A quick shower and it was lunch time. Sam P had already collected our lunch order. I asked for meat balls and pasta. Very nice. A can of orange pop washed it all down and before I knew it Sarah was asking me to leave early so she could spend some extra time on my bad leg. This is where it all went a bit downhill for me.
So back I went to the athletics track and into the treatment room where Sarah bent me, poked and prodded me and basically came to the conclusion (after watching my footfall and technique) that I was on the verge of causing a stress fracture in my right tibula. It was sore. Sarah worked some magic and after a brief meeting with Sam it was decided that I take a week off running (maybe two weeks). Better to do this now than risk six weeks later on. I was told that I could swim, cycle and use a cross trainer. Important to keep up the aerobic fitness despite not running. Non contact for the feet.
Sarah and Sam were amazing in seeing that this news had knocked me for six. I went into my delayed coach session with Sam and we chatted about how to manage the expectation, the disappointment and the training that would have do be done. There is nothing much to say about this session as it had to be changed due to no running. I will be following orders – I’d been told not to disobey Sarah. She could hurt me with her thumbs and elbows so under no circumstances will I be disobeying her.
My final session was with Ruth – a chat about food. Now I had admitted to her about my meal from the night before so wasn’t as scared as I should be. Admiration must be given to Ruth for getting up at 3:30 that morning to fly down to the session from Edinburgh. She didn’t look at all tired considering the time and the 4 kids (who were not in tow).
Again, due to my injury the advice given had to be changed so that I could cope with not piling on the pounds when not running. We cut some calories out of my diet – namely the extra ones I had put in there to cope with fuelling the training. All was good.
With a 4/5 hour drive ahead of me I couldn’t really stay around to chat and decided it was best to get on the road. I arrived home around 8:30pm after driving through some bad rain and a storm.
So to repeat what has been said by others – thank you to Runner’s World for an excellent day. Thank you for putting me up in an hotel and thank you for the experiences I have been give so far. Thank you also for letting me bring the S4C camera crew. They are coming to Paris as well so should be fun.
The advice I have been given has improved both my running and me as a person. I hope my injury doesn’t stop me moving forward.