Training Diary

[Sunday 8th May 2011.]
(Apologies for the lack of blogging from Tuesday 19th April to date.)
Race day. Oh gosh. Nerves started to kick in from the night before, I could hardly sleep. This wasn’t even a major event, but to me it was, as it was my first outdoor this year, and in the new U17 age group. Before every race, I do my research… I check on Power Of 10, and see if I’m racing anyone ranked higher than me, sometimes it helps, sometimes it gets me more nervous. But I already knew someone who was going to be in my race, with a 400flat time of sub 53, and a 400H time of sub 61. After seeing there was no one else ranked in Power Of 10, I didn’t shut my self off by thinking ‘I’m racing for 2nd’, but I just aimed for top 3!
Like every other race, of course I warmed up, but I was slightly happier knowing my event started at 2pm, instead of normally warming up as soon as I got there, ready for the sprint hurdles. Running at Lee Valley, was like training. It’s our venue, and home track, and didn’t feel any different, as the atmosphere wasn’t so lively. Regardless, I came to run for myself, and yes for points for my club, but mainly myself.
“Could the U17 Men 400 hurdlers report to the starting line”. – Okay, this was my queue. My heart was beating, but why. I quickly needed to get this fear out of my mind. “George, you’re tiny but mighty”. “George, aim big”. “George, who gives a crap”. Different forms of advice people had given me, for preparation of a race. Phew… I wasn’t as scared, but more relaxed. Goulda (a physio, and coach of our group) who gives the best massages, and occasionally advice was calling me a loser, a joke, and there I say it, a wasteman. What the f-. Fudge! Why’s she doing this… She’s making me angry JUST before my race is about to start. Argh, is there a need… there’s a time a place.
…Take your marks….Set….
Slow to react to the gun, I was still angry at this stage, I actually attacked the first hurdle, like proper. Despite I wasn’t even running as fast as I should. I had the advantage of running in lane 2, so I could see the other runners, and already saw George (my 400m runner friend) making ground. Who cares. With 200m left, I was knackered. My legs were hurting, my heart was pounding like crazy, why did I do this race. Never the less, I continued to run… though I kept stuttering on virtually all the hurdles between the 200m start, and the 100m start. “Let me just give this my all”. I already saw my friend ahead, 1st place, and decided to give it my all with 70m left. I picked up my pace, and slightly narrowed the gap between 1st, and 2nd. Finished. In a respectable position (2nd), and with 63.7 seconds. I realised Goulda was trying to get me angry for the race, it worked, but I’m not one to run on anger, but more relaxed. But, it did help.
After the race, my legs were on fire. My hamstrings had never experienced such burning pain, never. I knew that 400mH was hard, but not that hard, and this wasn’t even an amazingly fast time. Wow, I’ve got a lot of work to do. Speed endurance is key, sprints will be put on hold in training. Thanks to Goulda, and the support of my team members, I did feel quite happy with my race, regardless of the time. This was my first race, and further down the season, I will learn how to run it well, because I knew I started off too slow, and tried to pick up at the end.

[Tuesday 19th April 2011. 18.30 - 20.30]
It’s Tuesday, the day on which we do runs, normally speed endurance runs. Great. I was feeling quite tired and gloomy from yesterday’s great but hard and energy consuming session. When I asked our coach what runs we were doing and he replied with five 150s, atleast, my face literately dropped. However this session is ideal for the event I’m looking to break through in, the 400m hurdles, yet I was feeling sluggish and tired.
As usual, we did our warm up, drills, stretches… like any typical training sessions, and was split up in two groups. The first 2 runs were good, I felt as though my knees were coming up as they should be, and I was attacking the bend. I felt as though my legs were also moving slightly faster, though I was still feeling quite heavy. These runs were 100% as we had 7 minutes rests in between each. Gradually getting towards the end of the session, the lactic was really kicking in, to an extent that on my 4th ran, I could barely stand up. Huffing and puffing, aching and shaking, I was thinking to myself I should just stop now. And the fact that I had forgotten my water bottle didn’t help at all.
This was my last run. I had somehow convinced myself that even though I was feeling like crap, I should finish the session, get my money’s worth and see the outcome in a competition. However, I didn’t even do a 4-point start, I did a standing start and raced at my body’s limit. I am a great believer of exceeding your limits, but I did honestly try my best. I started off quite slow on the bend, but with 70ms left, I gave it my all. It was worth it knowing I completed the session, but the aches and pains are rather outweighing the positives. But, hard work pays off! I was hungry, thirsty and tired, I couldn’t wait to get home to eat, shower and sleep! Today was hard! Summer’s here.
[Monday 18th April 2011. 18:45 - 20:45]:
Since it’s officially outdoor season, we’ve stopped circuits on Mondays, and moved outdoors for runs. Happy days. As usual, we did our warm up jog, stretches, and drills. We also did some hurdle drills, step overs, over and ups, and the whole lot. After doing some 400mH yesterday, I was just a little tired, but nothing major and was shaken off deeper into the session. 
Today I also did some more hurdling. But this time it was more sprint hurdler as opposed to the endurance of the 4h. Coach started me off with 10 hurdles, with 13 pigeon steps in between (1 stride hurdling). This hurdling drill taught me to snap my leg down closer to the hurdles faster in preparation for the next one. I did 6 reps before moving over to running over my new height and distanced hurdles (100mH U17). Since this was my first time running over the new heights, I was sceptical about if I was going to make it. First rule coach always tells me, never doubt yourself. But that was hard at first but soon got that into my head a little. 
So at first I was stuttering to the first hurdle, experimenting to find out which leg to start on. As my height before, and my usual 4-point start, it was with my stronger leg back. So I then ran to the first hurdle like it was a 100m race. Crash. I cleared it, but I totally smacked it and it went flying, which then put me off running to the next one. My coach had told me it was because I was leaning back, not attacking the hurdle enough, though it felt as though I was. He then told me and a guy from my group to run together, as we’re both U17, but he’s in the higher year. *The whistle blows* Set… Bang. I ran, attacked the first hurdle, and in my mind I was jubilating and dancing, ran and cleared the second one. I was so happy, I literately just stopped and didn’t complete the other two hurdles. Though I was tired after, I was happy knowing I was, and am able to clear the hurdles. Now, I’ve just got to work on my speed in between the hurdles, as well as my flexibility. Tomorrow’s runs should go well, though my muscles are rather tired.
[Sunday 17th April 2011. 13:30 - 15:45]:
Today’s session was my very first 400m hurdles practice. Normally, the hurdling I’ll do is drills that will improve my hurdling speed, technique and ability but often got quite tedious. So I was rather happy knowing that today’s session was different. As usual we started off with a lap warm up, followed by approximately 30-45 minutes of stretching, drills and generally warming up. This including common drills such as A-Skips, C-Skips, mountain climbs, scissor kicks and a variety of other drills. 
So as our group was divided, hurdlers from the sprinters, we then put out the hurdles, but only for a 300m length. I was running with/against my training partner who had previously done some of this, but I was confident that I would do well. As our coach blew the whistle, I was off. Too fast. I was sprinting instead of running around 80% as he said before. I felt the pain around 220m of going off too fast and not saving no energy. However, for my first time, I managed to beat my partner and get a decent time trial.
I repeated this 4 more times, and subtly improved each time. From today’s session, I will learn to compose my speed at the beginning, attack the approaching hurdle as well as to sight the hurdle, and also to keep the strides even. These pieces of information were previously given to me by more experienced, and older athletes that I have spoken to through Twitter/Facebook however, when it came to practice I completely forgot. Though next time, I will try remember these thins and put it in to practice. Though I felt lactic after just the first run-through, I recovered within the time of 8minutes given and managed to do it again. After the session, I did feel some aches and pains, especially in my hips and knees, but these pains aren’t so bad.

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