Saturday, 12 November 2011

Planning for success

It’s between a while since my last blog even by standards but plenty to update you on, despite my lack of racing…

I took my usual break after the World Champs as planned, actually that’s a little bit of lie as I actually started running a few days earlier than planned. I usually get out on my push bike just to do something in the second week to fend of the boredom but unfortunately my bike was out of action so went out for a few easy runs instead. Nothing major just 20 to 30mins of easy jogging on a daily basis but it at least kept the cabin fever at bay.

I have since been building things up again training wise and despite not feeling particular fit I ran the National Road Relays for my UK club Newham & Essex Beagles only a few weeks after starting back. I have only competed for Newham a small number of times over the last 2 years, mainly due to events clashing with other racing plans but I enjoying doing something as part of a team when the chance arises. On previous outings for Newham in UK competitions I have always been on a winning team, but with a slightly weaker team (partly down to me not being in shape) and coming up again a strong Aldershot team we had to settle for 3rd spot on this occasion. I ran 4th leg for the team and whilst my time was somewhat short of what I would expect to run I came away thinking I can now kick on the training. Unfortunately no sooner did I touch down back in Guernsey airport that night after the relays did I come down with a stomach bug, this let to no running for following week and when I did start back again things took a good few days before I started to feel a bit more like myself again. For those reasons I decided against running the Great South Run which I was down to do originally and decide I would be better just getting myself back to full health.

Since the Daegu Champs I have a lot of time to analysis my past season and also look ahead to the next 12months and most importantly how I will tackle it. One of the main things I have done is sit down and think about how I can improve things and find those little difference, the one percenters which will all add up to an overall better performance. I have always set myself targets and within that the little processes which will get me there. A book which first encouraged me to start thinking like this was ‘Gold Minds’ by Brian Miller, a book which my old coach recommended to me. The book is a few years old now but the principles are still useful, although recently it’s been useful to fine tune things following a meeting I had with a guy called Tim Newenham. Tim runs a company called Javelin Consultancy and the Guernsey Sports Commission have been using him to help develop a support programme for athletes in Guernsey. Tim helped me fine tune my goal settings a little more which helped identify a slightly clearer path to achieving success. I still have one or two things I need to finish off in terms of my full season plan, namely the marathon I will run in the spring, but I plan to decide this over the next couple of weeks.

I am now a couple of weeks on from the road relays and I’m actually out in Kenya at the minute on a UK Athletics & London Marathon funded altitude training camp. I will be here for just over 3 weeks with the plan to use the altitude and extra time away from my usual environment to focus on things like rest and recovery a bit more. I have to admit I have found the past 8 weeks challenging at home with our little girl Jessica (who is only 13 weeks old) still not sleeping through the night yet. I do find it hard to be away from the family these days but the training camps and the altitude exposure in particular are something I see as a an essential ingredient if I’m going achieve my targets. Our boy Thomas is a really good sleeper at night fortunately so all being well Jessica will follow suit, I joked with my wife that it she could get her sleeping through the night for when I return that would be sit nicely with me :) I won’t repeat what she said to me!

I leave you with something which made me laugh following a conversation with my son on the phone the other night (sorry I have become one of those parents who talk about their children all the time). He has been given the part of father Christmas in his nursery nativity play and he has to sing the song quoted below, however he when he sang it back to me he replaced the final word (the word out) with the word ‘off’, hopefully he gets it right on the day!

Father Christmas got stuck in the chimney,
So he began to shout,
If you boys & girls want your toys,
You better pull me out.

You can see our concerns at his mistake!

I will try to post up regular while out in Kenya, with what Kenya & the camp in general has been like but in the meantime if anyone has any questions please feel free to leave comment or questions in the comment box below.

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