Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The Salazar tempo run as warm down

Last week I tried something a bit different after racing a local 5k road event. The race went well with a second place in 15.10 after I had taken the pace out early and tried to drop the field.

Anyway the plan was to try out the 'Salazar warm-down after the race. The basic idea is that to get the most out of a hard day you need to make it hard. So after racing, Alberto Salazar often has his athletes jump into some kind of tempo effort to get some extra volume of quality aerobic work in. In recent times the likes of Mo Farah and Galen Rupp have been seen doing 15mins or so at sub 5 min miling after track races. A while back I often used to run a 3k in 10mins flat (2.20 marathon pace) after a track workout to get the feel for marathon pacing so the idea is not entirely new to me, but still, going for a longer effort straight after a race is.

Back to wednesday and after crossing the line a couple of seconds behind winner Shaun Antell and getting my breath back I jogged a few minutes back to the car, had some water and then changed shoes and top before running the opposite way round the course in 16.40 and this was a kind of crescendo effort with the first km being more like 3.35 and the last nearer 3.15 with the middle portion being about 3.20. It seemed to work out quite well and though I had to focus a bit the last km it was a surprisingly comfortable effort. With a couple of kms of quality running in the warm up that made for a 12km workout around a 5k race which I guess is the whole point of doing the workout like this rather than trying to come back the next day and run a 20min tempo on tired and sore legs.

Next morning my legs felt surprisingly good - which is about as scientific as saying fried chicken is super food because I once had a good race after eating it - but still, they felt pretty good. Its an experiment I plan to repeat after my other short races this summer.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Andriy Shevchenko and the joy of sport

Its rare that i'm minded to write about something other than athletics but watching a bit of last nights Ukraine v Sweden football match gave much food for thought. And in particular watching Andriy Shevchenko playing for host nation Ukraine.

Here is a guy who has had a stellar career by any measure, scoring goals for fun, winning championships across Europe and making a pile of cash into the bargain. He made his international debut as an 18 year old and in recent years as age has blunted his strikers knife he often cut a frustrated figure in club and national colours.

And then there was last night. An early miss that he would have buried in his pomp left you wondering whether he was in the line up just to please the supporters and paymasters. But it didn't seem to affect him, he kept making runs, getting into position and played with a smile on his face. You got the sense that being on the pitch, in Ukraine, playing for Ukraine was reward enough and he was going to enjoy the moment for all it was. And as runners we know that when you go into a race with that mindset, just intent on having a blast, then anything can happen.

For Shevchenko the miracles started to happen in the second half as he scored two goals (which the experts tell me were a master class in 'movement') and the sheer joy on his face as he celebrated with his team mates and supporters was something to behold. There is a lesson in there for all sportsmen and not just the highly paid stars who choose to 'retire' from international football. The journey is more important than the destination, so enjoy every minute of it and who knows how high you will fly.