Deciding to have a short summer season to focus on a stronger winter has meant packing the races in like i’ve never really attempted before; culminating in five races on five consecutive Saturdays.
The 14th June meet in Dublin came about just days before. After winning the B race at the British Milers Grand Prix at the start of the month, I was invited to compete in the Ron Delaney 1500m in Dublin, part of the Irish Milers Club event. It was my first trip to the Rep. of Ireland, and the hospitality was organised to maximise performance of the athletes, with transfers, food etc. laid on. The race itself had a few drop-outs from the original start list, but nevertheless my room-mate Sean Wylie was fresh off a 3:41 PB in Germany.
The little Irishtown Stadium provided absolutely perfect conditions for racing on a still, overcast day. The pacemaker was aiming for 59/1:58 and hit 59 for the first lap as I just sat in behind two Irish athletes. Sadly a few of the athletes ahead didn’t keep on the pacers toes, as he also slowed down taking us through 800m in 2:01. It was then all about racing, and I felt like I executed the last 400m well, building each 100m to close in 56 seconds, to just snatch the win off Shaun in the closing meters in 3:44.76. The race celebrated Irish Olympic 1500m Champion Ron Delaney, which his local club donated a trophy for my efforts. All that was left was viewing a typically dismal England football match and a whistle stop tour of Dublin. Not a PB, but my second fastest time ever feeling super controlled. It certainly points towards a faster clocking in the right race.
Racing a National Under-23 Championship just seven days later was not ideal timing, but the volume of training stays on a much lower level during a race period; meaning I had plenty of recovery time. With over 30 entries in the 1500m, two heats were scheduled and I turned up early on the Saturday morning with the intention of saving as much energy as possible for Sunday’s final. As the time toward the heats ticked away, the heats were still yet to be drawn and barely five minutes before going into the call room, we were informed it would be a straight final. That’s five minute’s notice that you’re racing in a National Championship final. It was a busy final with 18 athletes, 1500m normally has about 12-15 in a race.
I guessed nobody in the race would want to take it out hard, so just stood still on the start line and filed onto the back of the pack to avoid any wasteful pushing and shoving. I began to take closer order heading into the last 600m, and was up to third by the bell. I tried hard to be patient in my kick again and just held my position along the back straight, and began to build in the final 200 meters. I found myself getting a little gap from the field around the final bend, but didn’t quite have the legs to hold off Will Paulson’s ferocious last 100m. Although disappointed to not finish off a winning position, it’s my second national silver medal this season and my first in an age-group championship so it was a bit of a bitter sweet feeling atop the podium.
You can see the race here: http://www.vincosport.com/videos/8817
Annoyingly the British Championships, my last race of the season was probably the most forgettable of the lot. I knew going in that I’d put virtually no proper training into the last month, easing down for race after race. It was interesting to see how long I could hold a ‘peak’ for, and five weeks was probably pushing the boat out a little too far. I was knocked out of the heats, and felt heavy and lethargic throughout. The first half of the race was fairly controlled, but as the change of pace came I fell away in the last 500m, finishing 10th in 3:51. Not the way I wanted to finish the season, but I like the fact I still have another Championship i’m hungry to perform better at in years to come.
So another season in the right direction: Two National Silver medals, two England vests, four consecutive years of 1500m PBs and PBs at 3000m, 5k and 10k.
Thanks to everyone who has helped out this year such as Brookes Sport, Masseurs Lesley Bryant and Martin Flook , Physio Sarah Wilkins, Strength Coach Chris Ross, Psychologist Mark Keep and most importantly my training group and coach Tom Watson back in Bristol. I’m now taking a couple of week’s complete downtime before building back up for the autumn. Having the entirety of July and August to build everything up means I can focus more than ever before on conditioning myself to deal with a heavier training load to extend the progression curve in years to come.
Thanks for reading.