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.