Getting the balance Right.
Even by my standards this blog is a long time in coming, considering my last blog wasn’t since early May. I am finally back on it terms of blogging and I should have a bit more time to post more regularly given that I am now out in Font Romeu for a training camp.
Firstly racing… last Sunday I ran my first race since the London Marathon, which took the form of the half marathon in the Natwest Island Games in the Isle of Wight, competing for Guernsey for the first time since last October. The course used was a fairly challenging one, with a number of decent sized hills in each of the two bigger laps but given that I was aiming to use the race as part of my marathon preparations for the World Champs (later this summer) it workout quite well. I ran 68.36 which considering the challenge circuit this equated to about marathon pace effort for me. As well as individual gold, I also picked up team gold along with my Guernsey team mates Mike Wilesmith and Steve Dawes, who placed 4th and 5th respectively. A great run by Mike who is very new to the running, unfortunately my fellow training partner (in Guernsey) Steve was suffering with a virus and was unable to run to form.
Our achievements and Team Guernsey in general seem to have been received well back at home, It was also nice for us and for athletics to win gold given that they were the first gold medals won by Guernsey at these multi sport games. Also I always say when interviewed by Guernsey media that its nice to pull on a Guernsey vest (given that I rarely get the chance these days) and this was no different. With the course being a multiple lap race (as opposed to one big circuit) we were also able to great support as even from fellow Guernsey athletes and supporters alike.
Unfortunately I wasn’t unable to hang around for too long at the Games due to a planned training camp out in Font Romeu, where I am currently located. I would have loved to have stayed for the full week long event in the Isle of Wight and would have like to have enjoyed the team camaraderie that comes with it, but with so much going on for me this summer it just wasn’t possible.
As some of you maybe aware my wife and I are due to have our second baby soon, with the due date being the 5th Aug, I want to be there for the birth but I am also aware that if I am to achieve my goal of competing at the Olympics in London next year I need to be able to prepare as best as possible. The World Championship Marathon on the 4th September provides me with the first opportunity to qualify, as by finishing inside the top 20 places this will count as achieving the Olympics A Standard Qualification. So this will quite literally be my most important race of my running career. Teresa has been very supportive and understanding these past 12-18months to say the least… infact it’s usually the first thing people say to me… ‘you have a very understanding wife!’, the second thing they usual joke is that how on earth were you home long enough to get her pregnant…but I don’t like to brag :) In terms of training at altitude I usually aim to spend 3 to 4 weeks there to get the desired benefits but then return to sea-level approx 2 to 3 weeks before my race so to maintain the benefits (they usually only last up to around 4-5 weeks but with the peak benefits being around 2-3 weeks after). However in this instance I have gone earlier and will be back at sea-level 5 weeks before the race (one week before the due date, if baby arrives as planned!) so I will then use my altitude tent for additional 2 weeks or so on returning home to maintain the fitness benefits gained from the training camp. My only potential problem of course being that babies don’t always come when you want them too! We said we would cross that bridge if it arises, which well take the form of early return home, but hopefully you can at least see the dilemma I was faced with. I guess my the compromise in this instance (which I would like to point out was more of a compromise between myself as a father to be and one as an elite athlete) was that I have gone to my altitude training camp slightly earlier in the instance keeping my fingers crossed that I will not regret the decision should the baby come early that the due date!
As for Font Romeu the training continues and the first few days have gone really well, I feel at the moment that my previous altitude camps have help me in terms of feeling more comfortable with the altitude from day one. I have still taken things a bit easier in terms of the intensity I have been training at but the pace of my first few runs have been good with my heart rates remaining low (usually the first few days of altitude you can experience elevated heart rates due to your body having to work harder due to less available oxygen). I feel settled as much as I can be away from home and all being well I will have a good few weeks of hard training ahead of me and be home in time to experience the imminent arrival!