Thursday, 14 July 2011

Living and training above the clouds

Fancy A Run On Cloud 9?

Well I’ve been in training in the Pyrenees now for just over 2 weeks and generally speaking things have been going really well. The weather has been a bit changable at times with glorious sunshine and temperatures in the mid 20's to electronical storms and heavy rain. Yours truely made the wrong choice the other day, driving up to La Calme, the one of the highest point in the area (also referred to as the plateau) just as an electrical storm was passing overhead, not a cleaver choice in hindsight!

From my first few days here my running and fitness has felt good and my first full week here gave me just over 120miles for the week, my key sessions have been good too. I had a good track session last week with 5k runner Ryan Mcleod, Ryan and I have the same coach (John Nuttall) and so we were able to work it that Ryan had his last big volume track session alongside a typical one for me during marathon training. I have also spent a bit more time in the gym over the last 2 weeks, whilst I have been doing my typical weights and core sessions each week I have also been spending 2 to 3 additional sessions per week doing my calf/achilles exercises and doing the hurdle drills that I must admit I don’t always manage to fit in every week back home. The additional calf/achilles exercises or as it’s been renamed calf club! Is an array of exercises to strengthen my calfs, the soleus muscle and achilles tendon which I have been doing with the physio here and athlete Chris Thompson. I am prone to achilles niggles on my right side due to my running mechanics, nothing that has ever stopped me running but the sort of thing that if not given a bit of attention can lead to secondary injuries if you’re not too careful so it’s been good to make time for this. Although I have broken the first rule about calf club, that nobody talks and about calf club :)

Recovering after a run at Lac de Matemale, near Les Angles.

The great thing about being on a training camp of this nature is that you not only have more time to recovery from a sometimes hectic home life but the environment in general is ideal. There are many other athletes here all equally focused, with athletes from both the UK and also from USA this time and UK Athletics have some of their best staff out here too who are second to none, certainly from the perspective of being a non-lottery funded athlete like myself this is as good it gets.

The only minor interruption I have had these past couple of days has been a toe infection of all things! I picked this up on Monday, after training as normal I didn’t sleep a wink that night due to the infection being so uncomfortable. Fortunately the UKA doctor John Rogers had arrived that same day and I am now on a course of antibiotics to sort it out. It only meant two days of not running, two I would have preferred not to miss but on the second day I was able to put my energies into some cross training. Motivated by the Tour de France I took to the bike for a spot of hill work. I used the road that leads to the plateau, the road is just short of 5km of continuous climbing with a different of around 1000feet from the bottom to top. The road is ideal for hills sessions by bike or by foot as is fairly quite road. It took me 15mins to reach the top on a near all out effort, my quads are not designed for cycle that’s for sure! and following some further shorter 3mins reptitions I have to admit that my enthusiasm for cycling was somewhat lessened that but it served it's purpose of getting my heart rate up. I am pleased to say that after that little interruption though I’m now back running as normal and ready to crack on with training.

To The Plateau

Pictures courtsey of

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