Archives // cross country

Training – Week Beginning 5 November

Sunday 11th November 2012

Feeling fitter. Happy with the XC race which I didn’t really taper for. Will probably hit 3000 miles for the year on Tuesday. Our club had a great showing at the league race.

Monday: 12 easy/steady (12)

Tuesday: Rest (0)

Wednesday: Ran home + 5x400m hill efforts + 2 mile tempo: 79,77,77,78,78,10:48 (14)

Thursday: Easy out, steady back with 10x10s hill sprints (12)

Friday: Easy out, steady back (8)

Saturday: Birmingham League XC, Leamington – 37th in 35:59. 10k approx. (10)

Sunday: 18 easy (18)

Week total: 74 miles

2012 total: 2985 miles

I’m Seriously

Sunday 4th November 2012

This week I have been off work and have spent my time running, sleeping, relaxing and catching up with season 16 of South Park on a website that may or may not be legal.

I also raced cross country for my club in the National Relays, and after a pretty mediocre performance reminded myself of the words of South Park’s very own Eric Cartman: “I’m Seriously.” You see, I just find it hard to train seriously for cross country. I can’t remember ever having tapered for a cross country race, nor can I remember a time when I’ve really gone for it and fully committed to a race on grass and mud. I tend to view them as good training for road races rather than something to be taken seriously in their own right.

My latest half-arsed attempt at a taper consisted of a tempo run on Tuesday, a track session on Thursday and the highest mileage I’ve logged in a week since my last marathon. No wonder I ran poorly. Despite this I had far too much left in the tank in the last few hundred metres, a consequence of starting off too conservatively and not attacking the race from the gun.

So, was it the chicken or the egg? Am I a relatively weak cross country runner because I don’t take it seriously or do I not take it seriously because I feel I’m no good at it? Probably both, but my instinct is the former. If I’m going to do well at cross country and not get beaten my people who I can beat on the road and track, I probably ought to start training earlier, do more long reps on grass and mud, do more hill sessions and actually get some rest before the race.

Despite the first league race being six days away now, I still can’t see that happening just yet. Seriously.

Training – Week Beginning 29 October

First XC race of the season. Finished feeling like I could have given more; started too conservatively. Highest weekly mileage for a while due to being off work and having more time. Slight pain in left glute/hamstring area.

Monday: AM 4 easy PM VO2max test (11)

Tuesday: 8.2 miles on grass 48:45 (14)

Wednesday: Hilly 10 (10)

Thursday: AM 4 easy with Stephanie PM 8x10s hill sprints, 8x10s on track, 3×400, 3×600 – 65,65,65,1:47,1:46,1:44 (14)

Friday: 10 easy (10)

Saturday: AM 3 easy PM National XC Relays, 75th on leg 1 – team 50th. 17:23 (11)

Sunday: 18 steady 1:56, 2 easy (20)

Week total: 90 miles

2012 total: 2911 miles

Taken from my training log.

Training – Week Beginning 28 November

Sunday 4th December 2011

Happy with this week’s training. Two good speedwork sessions and a cross country race.

Monday: 4×400 off 400 – 61/63/62/62. Brutal. (8)

Tuesday: AM 3 easy (3)

Wednesday: AM 12 easy ~90 mins PM 5 easy (17)

Thursday: 10×300 alt. 2 steady/2 hard – 55/54/46/47/52/54/46/46/55/54 (7)

Friday: 5 easy (5)

Saturday: Birmingham League XC, Cofton Park. 10k in 34:17, 55th (10)

Sunday: 20 easy, 2:24 (20)

Week total: 70 miles

2011 total: 3249 miles

Weekend Round-Up

Wednesday 23rd March 2011

This past weekend was a big one for fans of athletics.

Domestically, the clubs turned out for the regional 12 stage relays, the qualifying events for the national at Sutton Park on April 9th, whilst some of the top British men and women tested their London Marathon fitness at the Reading Half, where 6 broke 65 minutes and 29 broke 70.

The big story of the weekend came from the Big Apple, where Galen Rupp and Mo Farah were making their highly anticipated debuts over 13.1 miles in the New York City Half Marathon. Facing them were the likes of Ryan Hall, Meb Keflezhigi, Peter Kamais and the man who won in this city on his full marathon debut in November, Gebre Gebremariam. British men’s marathoning has seen a decline in recent years and there are strong calls for Farah to step up to the long distances and reproduce his excellent track form on the roads. Rupp, his new training partner with Alberto Salazar’s Oregon Project, must have been asked the same questions about ‘stepping up’ in the States. And step up they did. Starting steadily, and still in a lead group of 10 at halfway, Farah and Rupp worked together to push the pace and drop everyone but Gebremariam, a renowned kicker. It came down to a final mile burn-up. Farah outkicked his Ethiopian rival in the closing metres to seal the win in 60:23, a truly world class time and a National record. Andrew Lemoncello, using the race as a warm up for London, ran a personal best time of 63 flat.

It must be remembered, of course, that the man whom Farah beat into second place on Sunday is not just an excellent road runner but a World Cross Country champion to boot. Sunday also saw the latest edition of this event, held this year in the Spanish Town of Punta Umbria. Say what you like about the decline in popularity of Cross Country, but the World Cross is one of the most competitive events on the planet. In conditions usually reserved for summer track meets – I imagine the British guys found it tough – last year’s star of the Diamond League circuit in the 5000m, Imane Merga, kicked away from the Kenyans to secure his first individual title. Having 4 of the top 5, Kenya wrapped up the team gold in style. Vivian Cheruiyot won the women’s race with her compatriot Linet Masai taking silver. The USA’s Shalane Flanagan impresed by winning the bronze medal.

With all this racing going on, Zersenay Tadese’s world record attempt at the Lisbon Half Marathon is unbelievably a footnote to this racing review. He came to Portugal last year to remove 10 seconds off Sammy Wanjiru’s record, running a staggering 58:23. He returned on Sunday to try and put the record further out of reach but fell short by 7 seconds. He now holds the two fastest times ever over the distance. The man is without question the best half marathon runner in the world.

Maybe Mo Farah will try and change that.