Saturday 10th August 2013

Workout Soundtrack: Creedence Clearwater Revival – ‘Ultimate Greatest Hits & All-Time Classics’ (on the way to the pool and in steam room) & Bone Thugs & Harmony – ‘E.1999’ (on the way back from the pool)

4x25m warm-up (freestyle)

40x25m 29:17

4x25m warm-down (50m breastroke/25m backstroke/25m freestyle)

I had a great day watching the Women’s marathon from the opening day of the World Athletics Championships. I really do enjoy watching marathon racing – it’s so technical, tactical and calculated! It was a joy to see Valeria Straneo of Italy teaching the world a thing or two about strong, controlled front running and it was a shame to see her pipped by Edna Kiplagat with about a mile and a half to go. No doubt about it, Edna is very strong over the last few miles and she calculates her kick to the metre!

It was also brilliant to see a Japanese runner on the podium. I have a lot of respect for Japanese distance running and I really enjoyed watching the men and women up close and personal at the Olympics last year. Kayoka Fukushi showed the world how to finish a Marathon properly by smiling and waving for the final 300m as she ran in for Bronze – a joy to behold! Also, interestingly, Kiplagat proved to be the only African in the top 10 finishers. Link this up with the fact that no Ethiopian men managed to complete the London 2012 course and it seems to be prophetic – could we finally be seeing East African dominance over the distance coming to an end…time will tell!

26.2 miles later and still smiling!

26.2 miles later and still smiling – a well earned Bronze medal on a hot and humid Moscow afternoon!

After watching the marathon on my phone at work I managed to get home in time to see Mo Farah win the 10,000m World Championship in his own inimitable style on my TV. My palms were dripping with sweat with about 1,500m to go as it looked like it was going to be a repeat of Daegu 2011 all over again – not this time though! Mo put his foot down and is now well on the way to joining Zapotek, Bekele and Gebrselassie as an all-time legend of the distance!

By now you’ve probably noticed that I’ve written solely about running and not a word so far about my swim workout! Well, it took a lot of discipline and restraint not to throw on my shorts, vest and runners after watching Farah and the marathon!

My left calf has felt tight and quite sore all day so that helped my decision making and workout selection – I figured I’d go for a gentle 1km swim in the pool with reduced kicking. Just like yesterday’s running workout today was more about getting the metres in, building up muscle memory and focusing on technique over speed.

Today’s workout was my 10th day in a row so it was one of those that took all of my effort just to get out the door and on the way. All I could think about on the walk to the pool was ‘my calf hurts, this is not a good idea, maybe I should just go home’, however, as I got further from my front door I began to talk myself up – sometimes it’s hard being your own coach, being hard on yourself is not easy!

My warm-up swim felt sluggish and with each stroke I felt as if I wanted to yawn, stop and get out of the pool. Again, I gave myself a mental beasting and took a deep breath before setting off on my main 1km workout – 40 laps with minimal kicks. For the first 16 or 17 laps of the pool I was thinking that this was going to take far longer than I’d anticipated and as I checked my watch on lap 20 I saw that I was swimming about 2:30 slower than usual. However, from about lap 25 I started to get into the rhythm and began to enjoy the workout. I relaxed, cleared my mind and focused on breathing and counting laps allowing the occasional reward based thought into my head: ‘when this is done you can go and sit in the steam room with some music for 20 minutes’!

And so it was, after an almost 30:00 km and a varied stroke warm-down I got out of the pool and headed to the steam room with my iPod shuffle. I was ecstatic when I found the room to be baking hot and empty – not a soul to share it with. I sat back for 20 minutes listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival and began to start visualising how I’m going to tackle my first marathon – I’m determined to cross the finish line smiling like Kayoka Fukushi did today in Moscow and that is regardless of whether I’m hitting my time target or not!

There we have it then, 10 days on will now be followed with 2 days of recovery. I intend to visit the steam room on both days, hell, I might even go twice a day as it really does give me the space and atmosphere to visualise my future endurance endeavours…and, of course, it helps with dropping down to race weight and staying there! Tuesday and Wednesday’s workouts are going to be weights and core based as my Hansons Marathon Method training plan kicks in on Thursday.

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