Autumn (more or less)

I suppose I ought to start blogging again with the athlete head on, after the diversions of my summer holiday travels, which already seem like an age ago, though I’ve not been home three weeks yet. I say “home”, though that has become a bit of a mobile concept. I’ve spent 24 nights out of the last 40 in hotels or motels, in seven different European countries.

My 2014 track season came to a bit of a sudden end. My club didn’t make it to the Southern Counties League Final this year, pretty much for the first time ever, so my usual season-ending runs out were deprived me, except as photographer. Never mind, I thought, This year the British Masters decathlon and heptathlon weekend had been moved to Birmingham, and an attractive series of open-graded races was arranged to use up some of the down-time on the track over the weekend.

I like events like that. You get to race against opposition chosen on the basis of similar declared times to your own, regardless of age etc. Trouble is, I turned out to be just one of FOUR sprinters in the whole country who entered, and the events were called off with ten days notice. Oh well, I was going to Birmingham in any case, to photograph the decathlon and heptathlon, so at least I didn’t have the chore of cancelling hotel, etc.

I’d struggled to get back into proper training after the big Europe trip in August (see blogs about it, if you missed them), and the week after arriving home showed me how much that journey had actually taken out of me. “not as young as I was…. etc”. I felt sure I could race a couple of late-season sprints largely on muscle memory, anyhow. What’s happened is that September has become an unexpected “rest” month, and I’m beginning to focus on what form early winter training will take this year.

September as a “rest” month isn’t that much of a novelty, I guess, given that in 2011, 2012 and 2013 I was abroad for the whole of the month, and more. Only major difference this time will be that I get to start my winter at the beginning of October, and won’t be weary from the Alps or travelling.

It won’t be so easy to motivate myself this winter, on one level. Turning 60 at the end of the 2013/14 winter was clearly a one-off, and it’s hard to use “turning 61” in quite the same way. However, I’m still standing, most of the niggling summer-time Injuries appear to have retreated, and I know I’m still as competitive against the regular opposition as ever I have been in the last five or six years. None of them seem to be throwing in the towel, and I have no plans to do so.

I’m tempted to be a bit more serious about weight training this winter, least ways for the first half of the winter. I also realise that, hate it or not, I need to get more track training in than I’ve done for the last few winters. The indoor season will arrive soon enough. Focal point for the winter will be the European Masters Indoors in Torun, in Poland, at the end of March.

So, I’m going to make the most of another two weeks or so of basic idleness, then see what my plans look like after a bit more thought.

“Autumn” is an epic song by The Strawbs, by the way. Got to keep coming up with those music-related titles.

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