This week, after a couple of weeks of low intensity running due to some calf trouble, I went all in on my return to the track. On Wednesday we did 4 reps of 1km over barriers in spikes. This session was noteworthy for two reasons. The first was the remarkable fact that three people who collectively possess degrees in Mathematics, Economics and Biomedical Science can’t agree on where the start line should be for 1000 metres in lane 6. 100 metres further ahead is the answer, by the way. The second is that steeplechase sessions hurt. You can do all the drills and clearances you like over the winter, but nothing truly prepares you for the feeling of running hard over barriers. Although it got easier as the session progressed, the pain in both my lungs and calves was unexpectedly intense.
One thing that a winter of weekly hurdle drills has prepared me for, though, is being able to hurdle off both legs. Eight months ago, the idea that I would be able to clear a steeplechase barrier with my left leg leading seemed fanciful and ludicrous. Now, after gradually increasing the height of the clearances and forcing myself to do more reps on my weak leg than my strong one, I can hurdle off either leg. The benefit of this is that any foot readjustment on the approach to a barrier is minimal, and thus less time is lost at each of them. It also means that the muscular load of both taking off and landing is spread evenly across both sides of the body.
On Saturday we did a deceptively hard session. A distance runner’s response to hearing that the session is 12 reps of 100 metres is “is that all?” but I was well and truly broken afterwards. Each effort was a series of 6 hurdles, bringing the days’s total to 72 and the week’s total to 116, not including warm up clearances or water jump practice.
I hope it pays off.
Monday: AM 8km easy / PM 12km easy (20)
Tuesday: AM 8km easy / PM 16km easy (24)
Wednesday: 4*1000 over barriers with 300m jog recovery in 3:00-3:04, 2*400 in 67,64 (12)
Thursday: 15km easy (15)
Friday: AM 12km easy / PM 10km easy (22)
Saturday: barrier session – 12*100m with 6 hurdles off 20s, strides (9)
Sunday: rest (0)