Tuesday, March 18, 2014

English Schools Cross Country Trip

Channel Islands Junior Girls Team
Alternatively planes, trains and autombiles, plus boats and buses!
Following from the previous post, just getting to the race venue proved a major challenge as a couple of days of fog left flights in disarray and our flight to East Midlands Airport was duly cancelled.  Ironically the race venue at Castle Donington was actually at the end of the runway at East Midlands Airport, so what should have been a nice relaxing journey delivering us right to the door then turned into a logistical challenge.

Firstly we booked onto the ferry to Weymouth, the hire car was cancelled and a new one re-arranged with a pickup at Weymouth.  Then the ferry was delayed with the volume of passengers and speed was reduced due to the fog.  Still we would have a long drive into the night and still get to the hotel by midnight.

Then it transpired no car hire was available in Weymouth.  Now we were really getting stuck.  We walked to the train station and caught a train, the guard was going to sell tickets on the train as the queue for tickets was long and the card payment facility was broken!

Once on the train my wife in Guernsey managed to book a hotel in Eastleigh and a hire car from Southampton the following morning.  So an early start and then a minor panic as the hire car company didn't immediately have the car we had booked.  Transpires 7 seaters are by special order with 48 hours notice - but no one told the website !  Fortunately they had a car with pop up rear seats that made a 7 seater.  Not long after we were on our way. 

The drive was un-eventful until the traffic jam at the venue.  But I got the athletes there, they raced and then i took them to Manchester and we flew home as originally planed.  A bit tired, with mixed results but with lots of smiles and enthusiasm.

Results and more photos linked from GIAAC website post

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The youngsters would seem to have it all...

Last weekend's World Indoor Athletics Championships provided some great viewing and a reasonable medal haul for GB, despite some disappointment for athletes like 800mtr runner Laura Muir who going to Sopot was ranked third fastest in the world and a medal prospect. A bump and barge and she was eliminated in her heat and did not get the chance to run for a medal.  But at 20 her time will surely come.

Letsrun.com in their weekly round up page focussed on the age of the new champions and also put in some added perspective of  the ages of World and American record holders.  It seems that 26 is now old for a middle distance athlete.

Bernard Legat's silver at 3,000mtrs at age 39 ( after his gold at age 37) does give hope that there is life after 26!

It serves to remind us our prime athletic years are relatively few in number, even though we can potentially perform at a high level for many years. Our young athletes need to appreciate that they have no time to waste in their quest to become the best athlete that they can be - not to waste a year, a season, a month or even a single training session.  You never get that time back.

This weekend I am taking six of Guernsey's best junior endurance athletes to the English Schools Cross Country at Donnington Park.  They'll get an amazing opportunity to test themselves against the very best runners in the country and to experience the thrill of a major event.  Among the runners will be the future senior elite runners of the future. The future elite may not win, or even place highly this weekend, but the event can create the inspiration and determination to apply themselves and strive for their goals.  Seeing athletes enter into a cycle of become inspired, committed and getting rewards for their hard work is also truly rewarding for me as a coach, which is why it is great to be able to take the athletes to these events.  What is harder to impress on the youth is that they have not got long, so they should make the most of moment and not let the future happen, but make it happen.

Junior boys stream towards the finish line at the 2013 English Schools Cross Country.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Winter Training Break - Club La Santa, Lanzarote

It was my first time visiting Club La Santa in Lanzarote for a training break though I have been very aware of it as a destination for both pro and recreational triathletes or many years.  Specifically I went as part of a group of four to help prepare one if our runners for attempting to get a qualification time for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games before the Guernsey CGA's qualification period ends in late March.

Hurdles set up for drills at Club La Santa
For me it was the chance to put in a good block of training.  The holiday itself had been motivation to train solidly such that I could make the trip worthwhile and be able to accomplish a decent amount of training whilst there.

Weather was a bit cloudy and cool for the first couple of days but then the sun shone progressively more and the temperatures rose.  Lanzarote is known for being windy and that certainly made biking challenging as the road network is quite limited which makes for routes that can have very long slogs into the wind.  Add to that some decent climbs and we had a great set up for general conditioning training.

Having all of the training facilities to hand without having to drive anywhere plus classes and gym to choose from along with treatments including massage and of course relaxing areas by the pool made for a very nice break away from the usual routine.

I clocked up about 16.5hrs of swim / bike / run in the 6 days and that included a couple of easier days so it proved to be a good block of training.  Included in the running was two track sessions - the second along with 2013 Hawaii IronMan winner Frederick van Lierde - so you never know who you are going to be rubbing shoulders with !   he was doing a 10k volume progression running session with hos coach periodically taking bloods to test lactate levels in preparation for his first race of 2014 in Abu Dhabi. (He placed 4th).

We also took the time to video running styles and running drills so as to work on detail technique - just the sort of things you need plenty of time and a warm environment for.  Do I think I'll go back? - quite probably !  The club is being extended with 2 further 50mtr pools (yes 2!) , more apartments and more sports facilities.

Sun beginning to set at the end of another day at Club La Santa