Thursday, 21 September 2017

2017 T&F Wrap Up

A season wrap-up, September 2017

The track and field season is over, and with a final 800m race, as part of the South of England Club Championships, on Sunday 3rd September (and yet another 2:06 over the distance!), it's time to reflect on what's happened this summer.  

The Pessimist's View
Armed with my new gait, I aimed to better my 800m time (from 2014) of 2:03.75, with [what I hoped] would be a 2:02 or even 2:01.  This has not happened, and the best I could manage was a 2:06.2, quite early in the season. 

The Optimists View
ONE: 2017 was the summer when I learned how to run properly at speed.  It was a time for perfecting.  The opportunities for changing gait at speeds of 2:40/km, and under race conditions, are thin on the ground.  I've learned a lot this summer, and I will go quicker next year!

TWO: on three out of the four 2:06 performances, I did not hit the lactic wall before the finish, meaning I could have gone quicker.  I forgot how to hurt myself.  Although I managed eight 800m races this summer, they were over a 4 month period, and that's not compact enough.  Getting into 800m racing at the start of each season is about reminding your body that, despite exerting yourself at your limit, you're not actually going to die (literally - read Dr. Tim Noak's central governor theory).  This is why athletes will almost never achieve their best 800m performance within the first 3 races of the year.  My performances were too spread out, and next year I will plan better and compress them into a shorter time frame.

THREE: in my one and only 400m race this year, when I had to open all the stops, and just one week after a good 800m performance, I came within 0.2s of my 400m personal best, with a 55.9s.  I had to push myself on that one, I did hit lactic, and it proves I have the speed for a 2:03 800m.

FOUR: I won the British National Championships at the V50 age group.  Here I am with some very good friends, old and new.  Four of us doubled up in lanes, meaning we could all enjoy one race.

What Next?
So now it is in to Road Relay season, with the county, southern, and national relays on the calendar.  And the cross country, which I very much enjoy, but am not much good at!

I also got a number swap for the Bournemouth marathon from a friend who is not ready to run (not that I would call myself over-prepared!).  The race is 5 weeks to the day after that last 800m, and with a week off from the season to recover, that leaves me with 4 weeks to train.  What could possibly go wrong?  Needless to say, I'm treating it as an excellent winter base training opportunity on a get-round strategy!


  1. Congratulations David, and thanks for the excellent and captivating blog. May I respectfully suggest that you have omitted one key variable from your appraisal? Namely that none of us are getting any younger day by day. Sort your results on the Power of 10 by age-graded and, if I am not mistaken, you have a series of PBs this season.

  2. Thanks Adrian. Of course you're right, but I don't see it as a gradual decline, but a series of cliff edges!!! Men (I haven't studied female friends this closely!) seem to suffer sudden drop offs in strength (muscle mass I guess) somewhere between 45 and 60, and I see it all the time at the club. (BTW, this drop off is usually accompanied by a period of injury, as the athlete will try to up training to maintain those times!).

    Hope you had a good season, and are looking forward to the Chiltern XC league!! Go Watford!

  3. I'm proud to be a small part of this excellent post! The trouble with those cliff edges is that you can't see them coming. Mine wasn't related to injury either, it's interesting/baffling debate.

  4. Hi Andy, yo most certainly have some influence on these posts - thank you! If you're interested in talking about cliff-edges, the most considered opinions I have come across are those of Gareth Jones. Next time you bump into him (pretty much every Sat am in Southampton!) then bring it up! Dave