There hasn’t been a great deal to document with regards to racing, but as my training begins to dovetail into some sort of vague relevance; I suppose a blog post feels necessary. My 5k performance (14:01) in February was built on a consistent endurance base with a little bit of speed thrown in, so it seemed silly to not repeat this pattern heading toward the outdoor season.
Leaving the British University and Under-23 stages of my career means a lot less pressure on getting fit quick, and a lot less pressure on hitting specific times and more about consistently improving and building year on year. Training through March and the start of April looked more like that of a 10k+ runner rather than a 1500/5k specialist, but hopefully means that the strength can aid my speed development at the more important end of the track season.
Before Monday night’s opener, I spent pre-season out in Portugal like I have done the past few years. It provides a reliable climate, lots of soft trails and a ‘hub’ for European athletes preparing for the season, so has always worked well for me and the group. I headed out hours after my first leg at the National Road Relays, narrowly missing out on the win from National XC Champion Charlie Hulson, which I learnt once I landed on the Algarve, gave me the fifth fastest time of the day; and Bristol & West took a respectable 8th position.
It was another successful camp, utilising the time to make sure all the non-running parts of the programme were given more priority such as drills, core, weights etc. The first week I linked with a group of Belgian athletes, and it was great to see the differences in how training is undertaken and continue to learn how I can do things better. Obviously recovery is one of the key reasons for getting away on camp, taking you away from the daily routine and focusing on nothing but running (even if I did miss Bradford away, distraught!).
A few days on from training camp; and I opened my season down at the British Milers meeting at Millfield School over 3000m. Rain was conveniently forecast to come in post-race, but obviously this is Britain so the torrential rain and gusty wind added to the fun. The track officials couldn’t announce the pacemaker or race entries because his paperwork resembled mash potato more than entry lists by 7pm. Bet he had a great night.
I tried to set out relatively strongly, but once the pacemaker dropped off after 800m, 2200m on my own made the conditions feel even tougher, so just made sure I felt relaxed and could finish strongly. I comfortably took the win in 8:22, nowhere near what I was looking for, but in the circumstances an unspectacular rust buster to get the season started.
Next up I am off to London to open Bristol & West’s British Athletics League campaign. It seems we have made some good signings over the winter, so hopefully can make a promotion charge and head towards Division One.
These races should give me the sharpness towards my 5000m debut in a fortnight, where I have recently been accepted into the IFAM meeting in Oordegem, Belgium; a fantastic opportunity to race some of Europe’s best over 5k.
Until next time.