Monday, 5 December 2016

The Need For Speed

Hill Reps
 This week’s thought is about speed. It has recently entered my mind due to the fact the second biggest race; for me, of the year is next weekend. The State Trail Champs. Which as far as I’m aware, is flat, lending itself to a speedy course. It’s also short, at only 12km’s in length. This means everyone will be pushing themselves from the word go as it’ll be over in the blink of an eye.
Unfortunately the turn-over from 4 Peaks until next weekend is too short for me to lose my mountain legs and gain speed, so the thing I’ve been trying to do over the past two or so weeks is to remind myself I can run fast.

Before I got into mountain and trail running, I was a middle distance track runner and short(ish) distance road runner. I hit my peak back when I was 16.5 (the racing season is in the summer and I was born in the winter) and broke 2.15 for the 800m, 4.50 for the 1500m and 19 min for the 5000m. And I broke 40 mins for the 10km about 6 months later on the road. None of these times are that fast, mind you. Never got me to Nationals, but they are a heck of a lot faster then I’ve run all this year. And to try and get me back into the mindset of being speedy I went back to my old track coach; Denis, who helped me run those times all those years ago.
For the past two weeks, Denis (and pro Adidas runner Craig, his son) from the The Tan Track Club have had me doing interval sessions, hill repeats and hill climbs, back-to-back workout days and tempo runs to try and drill into me a 4min/km pace, which is what I’ll need to run if I want to have any chance of standing on that podium this weekend.

So far I’ve been able to hit all the times they’ve set for me but quite frankly, I’m unsure whether or not I’ll be able to do it. My preparation time for this race could’ve been better. I could’ve planned my race calendar out better; to focus on this race I shouldn’t have done the Great Alpine Road Half Marathon a couple weeks ago. And with my niggling foot injury I haven’t been able to run as much as I had wanted to (for more details on the injury check out my race report here), but I think I can chalk both of those down to bad luck and limited experience.
So as I’m reading this once I’ve finished my Exercise and Sport Science degree and hopefully many ultras later, I’m hoping I’ll be able to answer these questions. How long did I actually need to prepare for this race properly? And how important is speed for mountain trail running, the form of running I want to be good at?
Until then, lets hope my body remembers what it’s like to be quick and hopefully I’ll be able to end up on the podium for my last race of the year!


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