Sunday, 28 February 2010

Marathon build up - week 1

So here we go, 9 weeks until London. Strap yourself in and prepare for another rollercoaster ride of a marathon preparation. This is what makes this sport such fun, the ups and downs, the aches and pains, the great workouts and the miserable slogs when your legs feel like falling off. And at the end of it the reward of being in shape to push yourself to your absolute limit by racing 26 and a bit miles as fast as possible. Insane.

Coming in to this race my shape is OK but not great, certainly not the shape I was in at the start of my build ups to Toronto and Geneva. But then again for both those races I probably peaked a few weeks early so this could be a blessing in disguise. For those of you who follow my blog you will know that 2009 was a bad year with the first part written off by injury and then my plans to run the World Triophy 50k scuppered by ill health which also threatened to end my competitve running. The good news is that magnesium has restored my electrolyte balance and since december i've been able to train without any problems and really enjoyed racing again.

The name of the game is going to be to take some risks in the next couple of months. I've got a huge aerobic base from 10s of thousands of miles over the last 20 years so now is the time to tap into that and let rip. Who knows what will happen !?

Week 1 was all about getting those first couple of marathon specific workouts done and getting the feel for it again. Over the coming weeks these workouts will get progressively more challenging in a number of ways, watch this space.

AM 2hr 11mins starting easy and building the pace on a hilly course, last hour at a good clip (3.40/km)

AM 35mins regeneration
PM 45mins including 5x30secs fast stride

AM 45mins progressive finishing at threshold
PM w/u 18x400m with 200m recovery in about 50 secs. Just running relaxed rather than forcing the pace

AM 55mins easy
PM physio then 35mins easy. Good to get my pelvis straightened out before cranking out the big tempo sessions

AM 45 mins easy - I used to have a complete rest day but find I stiffen up quite a bit so experimenting with just a single easy run

AM w/u then 6x3km Marathon Pace on an undulating course. Horrid weather but got faster as the session progressed. Strarted in trainers and full winter kit and finished in shorts and racers. Could have kept going all day which was encouraging.

AM 67mins felt surprising good after yesterday
PM 43mins

Just over 100miles and 3 key workouts in the bag. A good start to the build up and my appetite is thoroughkly whetted now !

Friday, 26 February 2010

Saucony ShoeLab in Somerset on 20th March

Good news for runners in the south west if you are after a new pair of shoes for London or your other spring races.

The Saucony ShoeLab will be in Yeovil at the Tri UK store on the afternoon of Saturday 20th March. Video gait analysis and special offers in store.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

A lap of Olympic Park

A few days ago I was working out in the East End and on a glorious morning took the opportunity to go for a run around the Olympic Park in Stratford. Its nothing short of awesome, both in the sheer scale of the site and in the details of the venues under construction. With just over a couple of years to go there is still a lot of work to be done but the major venues are coming together and with a bit of imagination you can picture how its going to be during those 2 weeks in July. Its already got the feel of Britishness from the army of construction workers supping Tetley tea to that Temple of the High Priestess of retail, a Westfield shopping centre. Now here's a thought: tea drinking and shopping to be Olympic sports ? more guaranteed golds for Team GB...

The venues are simply mindblowing - heading round the southern perimeter from Stratford the first venue is Zahara Hadid's controversial aquatic venue (left). To me it looks worth every penny and The Wave is set to be just as iconic as Beijing's Water Cube and hopefully will bring even more British success for Becky and co. I hope we have a got a plan that gives our team plenty of opportunity to train in the new pool and perhaps we should get the aquatic version of British Cycling's Secret Squirrel Club to optimise the water temperature for our guys and gals.

Heading round the perimeter along the Greenway the next stop is the main stadium itself. Much has been made of the temporary nature of the main stadium with 30,000 seats housed in a 'hole in the ground' design with another 50,000 or so in a temporary grandstand. We are good at temporary structures in this country - remember the Millenium Dome ? I've got a feeeling that this one could go the same way, especially if a deal is done to get West Ham United in as an anchor tenant post Olympiad. This is going to be a classic British fudge.

We knew at the outset that the optimal legacy solution was a football/rugby club tenant with a running track for major athletics events just like the Stade de France has in Paris. The sticking point was the cost and consequences of designing retractable seating for the lower tiers. So we decided to go with an unviable pure-play athletics stadium. and now the numbers don't add up we are going to end up retro-fitting a football/athletics solution at probably even greater cost. Still, we should have a stadium fit for athletics and a fantastic home (hopefully) for West Ham. Why can't we get this right at the outset (note to decision makers on High Speed Rail ....).

Onwards from the stadium and along the network of canals and rivers that cut through the whole area. Its down here that you can see the area's industrial heritage and marvel at what a hive of activity this place must have been in a different age. You can only hope that regeneration extends to tempting new business to set up shop along this natural highway to bring a new age of prosperity to the Stratford. Just building appartments along these waterways would surely be a missed opportunity. Onto the northern side of the site and the 'goldmine' aka the velodrome is also taking shape. You can safely bet that Dave Brailsford and his guys have been all over the design like a Chris Hoy skinsuit to make sure that we have the best track for our pedalers.

And the 50 odd minutes later I'm back at Stratford where I started. That gives you a feel for how big the site is and I just hope that come 2012 we do what we are best at and put on a party. To have a sterile, remote controlled park would be a real mistake. Britain is festival country and we need to recapture the atmosphere of Henman Hill, Stowe corner at Silverstone and Glastonbury. And before we throw too many stones at Vancouver lets have a contingency plan for too much rain, as long as it doesn't involve Sir Cliff serenading Usain Bolt.