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Steve – Holidays and hiccups!


Since my last blog, I have enjoyed a brief but very enjoyable holiday. The holiday did however involve snowboarding and unfortunately meant a few tumbles on the slopes. I came back from it in one piece but with some bruising in what is technically the glutes area (well the lower back and bum area). This didn’t help my running at all and putting on my shoes even became uncomfortable. With the Inter Counties cross country race looming in Birmingham and the chance of finishing in a good position, I was allowed to leave it until the last minute to make my decision about competing. As frustrating as it was, I decided to withdraw from the Oxfordshire team. As it was pointed out to me, been able to run the following week was more important than spending another 3 weeks on the side lines by making matters worse. For me, March and April means 12 stage Relay time, which requires all club members to turn out otherwise your team manager has one hell of crisis on his hands. So I was left to await the results of the Inters via the internet but the fact I didn’t feel as though I’d missed out, made me realise that I’d made the right decision. Some of you may run no matter what the problem (especially when asked to represent your county) but sometimes you are required to be a bit selfish and think about the bigger picture (at the end of the day you need your legs and I personally want to avoid persistent injuries). I was fortunate that after 3 weeks of very little running (holiday and injury) I was on the line at the Southern 12 stage relays ready for action but there’s a good chance I would have been in a lot of pain if I had of ran in the Inters a week earlier.

The relays themselves went well but probably more because my brain didn’t tell my body that it hadn’t ran this fast for a while. My Bedford & County team came home in 4th place and I wasn’t ashamed by the fact GBR runner Chris Thompson came steaming past me on my 4.8 mile leg. The relays give you a good chance to watch other runners and also admire just how fast some people are. I don’t eat Weetabix but I don’t think even that would help me against some of those speed machines.

Normal service has now been resumed with training and after a few beers this coming weekend to celebrate my birthday, I shall be looking forward to the National 12 stage relays at Sutton Park on 5th April. Hopefully from there onwards, the spring sunshine will make for nicer running conditions and some track transition training.
Looking back at the winter, I am pleased with how it all went, even if I did miss out on a chance to win a National cross country gold team medal (something the team happily reminded me of following their triumph in Nottingham). I set out with a few goals, and however large or small they may be, it was nice to achieve a few of them. This may be in the form of, race wins, positions or just improved training sessions but it’s good to set them out at the start of each season. For me, the goals were trying to defend my Chiltern League Cross Country title; for a good finish in the Southern Cross Country Champs; and to make sure I include threshold runs in my weekly training programme. Of the 21 week season, I averaged a weekly mileage of 38 miles and competed in 8 races (1 missed due to illness and 1 called off due to the weather).

On the training front, not all sessions are going to be enjoyable but I do try and make a note of a particular session that that I do like (what you may call a bread and butter session). I then revert back to this maybe once a fortnight as it sometimes help me feel better about myself and helps me keep relaxed when running.
Well, I think I’ve digressed enough, so I’ll say goodbye and happy training to you all.