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January 29, 2014

It’s hard to fathom just how a month of 2014 has already virtually elapsed. Sure there are times when life seems to pass slowly when time is filled with tasks that realistically do nothing except to prevent total boredom. But it seems like only 20 minutes ago that I was posting the final blog entry of 2013 before trying to tune out with other activities and events to watch rather than participate.

Yet I have constantly stated to myself that January 27 would be “S Day”, the day that my training for the year starts to become a focus. Even so there have been a couple of other sessions just to keep the legs ticking over, and even a Gym session incorporated into Footy training that according to my arms was the most ill-advised 30 minutes I’ve spent on Earth. Whilst I’m certain that there are benefits of interval training that would outweigh doubts, queries and negative thoughts, by Wednesday morning I was having difficulty moving either of my arms with pain focused just above the elbow on the inside of my arms (I’m sure there’s a technical term that I can’t be bothered researching). Fortunately by now the arms are back to 100% health, but the left calf sometimes can be restrictive despite recent improvements.

Training did indeed start on the 27th of January as scheduled, although the schedule did need a little changing from the original plan. Mind you, perhaps I would derive greater benefit from a trio of hard 2km efforts with recovery in between rather than a stock standard long distance flat run. There’s plenty of time for longer runs as the time draws closer to the 2014 events, plus improving my speed should help me address what I see as a weakness, a sustained final sprint. As you may have read from past blog entries, I have had a habit of peaking too early when it came to a final sprint and instead of hitting the finish line at close to top speed, I have had to virtually trot across the final timing mat which I figure has cost me anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute for my final time.

I also would have liked to complete more efforts on the day, but the thought of overexertion, combined with fading natural light put a hold on those plans. Again I am repeating to myself that the time I want to peak is in April, not in February or March. The aim is to build a base, not to hurry the final level of fitness. Plus I used a lesson learned from my time as a student teacher at the start of the last decade (where does THAT time go!?). No matter how much and how detailed your plans may be, always be willing to alter the plans should the needs arise. Back in the classroom I was changing subject matter in order to maintain attention spans, on the training track its to continue to find another approach in the time remaining to complete something close to what I feel is necessary.

It’s back out on the open roads this morning and back on the hills. There have been people who have asked me questions relating to how I vary my training methods, and certainly changing terrain from flat roads to hilly roads could be considered a favorite. Without feeling the need to use gym or pool work that others prefer (it’s a preference rather than being the best method, others rightly will feel that those methods will work better for their program), my way to vary training includes….

– Distances travelled (10km minimum for road running, likely to go up to 30km in a month’s time. Whilst there are base circuits that I follow I may vary this to extend some sections or shorten others)
– Routes (many hills, some hills, virtually flat, even city to city)
– Targets (Distance or Time Splits per kilometre are the two I like to use, although recently it’s been pain thresholds that have determined the target more than anything else)
– Time of Day (when work allows and on weekends, sometimes I’ll run late in the afternoon rather than early in the morning which is the normal time. Sure mornings may have more risks but there is less traffic to deal with and older folk to say hello to)
– Perhaps even entering events to use as training events (this year I’ll be aiming to do 1-2 shorter events for training purposes, even though I’ll be tracking times and certainly will be writing about them here so stay tuned!)

Will I have a set program which many professionals and coaches recommend? At this stage I won’t be religiously following a set program, but having seen many examples I at least have an idea of progression into longer distances. Plus set programs often involve activities that either are not cost-effective, but also are not what I feel can be a major benefit to me personally. Whilst a swim may be nice every now and again, I don’t mind saying I haven’t been a strong swimmer for some time, probably because I rarely visit beaches or pools.

Off the training track planning will continue as well in terms of organising the little things that are involved in taking part in an event. For Canberra in April, the entry has been organised and paid for (with the bib to arrive in the mail sometime in March). The plan is to ensure over the next 3 pay cycles that something requiring payment is booked. What remains at this stage is Accommodation (and this includes choosing the type of accommodation, whether it be backpacker hostel, motel or even serviced apartment) and transportation, for which I will probably book the legs of the journey separately. There have been times where I have used long distance buses and trains if it means saving dollars and time (this may be an option for a potential training event in Brisbane in March), but this time flying will be the number 1 priority given my tentative weekend schedule. Apart from all this there is also the task of booking leave from work, which is as simple as signing forms as my leave balance almost dictates I will have to take leave rather than be told I don’t have leave available.

So for the next month it may be a frustrating slow burn, but there’s targets on the horizon to look forward to. It’s all about getting through the grind as the exciting bits are actually not all that far away. Before you know it, I’ll be checking in from the Nation’s Capital.




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