No Guru, No Method, No Teacher

Unless you’re a (Sir) Van Morrison fan, you probably won’t know the song referenced in the title of this blog. It’s great, but the words actually bear little or no relevance to the subject here. The title was just a good vehicle for a few thoughts.

I have only ever had one coach, and that was very many years ago. So much of my working life, when I was competing and had a proper job, involved such irregular hours that I found it impossible to do other than train on my own, and gather advice from wherever it seemed available.

The six weeks since my last blog here has been fascinating. I’ve actively sought out as much competition at time-graded open meetings etc as I could reasonably handle. In order not to overload myself, one of those people whose counsel I admire suggested I drop one training session a week. The logic was that a) I’d benefit from more rest time if competing more often, and b) as I’d be getting all my speed work at 100% effort, against the clock, the risk of injury was increased if I tried to compete more and train “normally”. That’s a bit chicken and egg, but the recipe worked for me, and results came quickly. It’s one of the few times in recent years when I’ve definitely been able to link cause and effect in my training. The oher times were a bit more speculative.

I lowered my Club’s age category record over 100 metres four times, and over 200 metres outdoors twice. I was still faster over that distance back in Poland indoors, which surprises me. I also had several races where I acquitted myself well amongst Masters athletes twenty and more years my junior, and I really got my competitive mojo back. The Masters Inter-Area match got me a 100 metres second place, and a third place at 200 metres, plus the very rare opportunity to anchor a sprint relay team home for a win. That’s rare for me, by the way, as I usually run the first leg in relays, not the last! Those three races were all within the space of about three hours. It was a great chance to test my resilience.

Then, six mostly restful days later, came the British Masters Championships in Birmingham. I’ve had a very occasional 100 metres bronze medal there, though not for a while. I was only placed sixth in 2014, too. This time it was second. My first British Championships silver medal! And another Club record. I was third in the 200 metres next day, too. I was, of course, quite pleased, and had great feedback from many fellow athletes who watched those races.

As I write this, it’s nearly a week later still, and I am on the road. I’m making a leisurely four day journey through some very familiar pieces of France, heading for the World Masters Athletics Championships, in Lyon. I’ll blog a bit on this journey, and while in Lyon.

So, minus “guru” and “teacher”, my “method” this summer seems to have worked on at least two levels: I’ve had modest success and I’m currently a very happy athlete. The two have not coincided for a few years!

Stay tuned!

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