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You can not expect to 'wing' a 1min50 800m!!!
Since writing my last blog, my frustration has continued. I have managed to run a few races, but success has come to no avail.
In my first race at the BMC in Eltham (after 8 days training) fellow St Mary's athlete and friend of mine Jason Prickett timed his finish well and I couldn’t react. The time in that race was 1.54.3, not particularly startling but not bad off how limited my preparation had been. Around 10 days later I ran in a British League in Southampton. Conditions were windy and no one wanted to take it on so I decided the best idea would be to take it through slow and wind it up. This was perhaps a naïve decision as I was found wanting for speed in the last 100 and could only clock 1.55.6 off a 58/59 first lap. What was promising was that It was the least painful 800 I had ran for a very long time.
At the start of July I went out to Italy to run a 400 and an 800. Equipped with a new rehab plan sorted out by the very helpful Nicola (new physio at st Mary’s), I was trying to keep on top of my lower back and hamstring issues. My warm up was good. Casual 10 minutes of jogging, loads of work with the foam roller, a range of dynamic and static stretching and some quick strides. The loosest I’d felt in some time. I was hoping to run around 48/49secs for the 400m, following a 63.7sec 500m rep I had done in training. My absence from 400m sprinting told when after about 3 strides the guy on the inside lane had startled past me and I was wondering what was going on!!! Trying to react down the back straight I clambered for any more speed I could offer. There was nothing there, the top of the hamstrings both hurt when going at this speed and I was reduced to running as quick as I could, pain free. The result was 50.13secs and last place, in a race which was won in 47.63secs . The other race was 2 days later and I had not reacted well so decided to not race.
Returning to the UK I focused on getting on top of my problem and it looked as if it was going well again. I went home (Cumbria) around a week after returning from Italy and the weather was stereotypically wet! I had entered the BMC at Hexham on July 23rd and just thought 'Yes why not?'.... Mistake! First lap was 58 and I could not quicken at all. 1.56.37 . A time that I had ran in 2008. If I’ve learnt anything at all from this season it is to never take for granted how lucky you are to run a pb. To be in shape and to be injury free are the holy grail for all athletes. Unfortunately, the 800m is not an event where pure talent can get you by. Without the background of steady running and quality 800m pace sessions on the track you can not expect to 'wing' a 1min50 800m!!!
It's not all doom and gloom. I feel positive about the progress of my back. I've been doing a lot of strengthening exercises, including dorsal raises on a Swiss ball. When I began doing this I could manage about 10 reps before fatigue sunk in. Now im up to 60 reps with some including twists to the side. Another critical aspect of my rehabilitation is to strength the glutes. The largest extensor, the glutes are often neglected. Too much slow running without the required strength and conditioning will have you in trouble. IT band problems and general knee tracking issues can all be affected by weak glutes. With regard to running quick, if your glutes are not 'firing' then the hamstrings take the brunt of it, and you end up with hamstring problems. It's ever so complex isn’t it!
I've been asked to talk about what music I listen to. Well, it depends what im doing. I was in the gym earlier today and I was listening to Sebastian Ingrosso's refune radio podcast. Many of you will not be aware of him, he’s a Swedish electronic artist. Very upbeat! If its a long run through the Cumbrian countryside, then I like to listen to largely instrumental music. Favourites include Moby- Everloving , Brian Eno- An Ending and Jakatta- American Dream.
Hope you've enjoyed the read, and I’d highly recommend purchasing some of the Run Breeze gear now your even more inspired to get out training after watching the Olympics!