2016 Athletics Season Review

Let’s try and kick start this blog again (like I always say), but I mainly want to start this for two reasons:

  • Next year will be 10 years since I ran my 400m PB of 49.58.
  • After ending the season on 50.7 off just running training, I have started weights again after 6 years without any and believe I can run sub 50 again.

So this is #ProjectSub50

The 2016 season could be described easily as ‘consistent’. Not consistently poor, not consistently good, just consistently average.

With a new coach I had new type of training, and was attempting a bit more mileage with the hope of achieving two goals:

  1. Run at least 1.56 over 800m
  2. Run at least 50 point over the 400m

Firstly looking at my winter training, as we hit November and about to start the hills I had a foot injury which made it painful to do any type of training. I didn’t run again until mid January! So that was the indoor season out the window and a big chunk of winter training missed.

Once I was back training I hadn’t lost too much fitness and was quickly back in to the swing of things, but a long way behind where I wanted to be.

In April I took to my first 400m of the season! A horrible windy day in Yate, and how poor was I? 54 seconds of poor running! Lets leave it as that.

After that I went on to run a couple of bad 800m races, and then 5 more races over 4 weeks. A total of 8 races over 7 weeks! Here are my times:

800m – 1:58.82

800m – 1:58.74

800m – 1:59.14

400m – 51.26

800m – 1:59.22

At this point I pretty much wanted to give up 800s, I was fit, training well but just couldn’t perform. 600m felt like the distance for me.

The rest of the season was pretty much the same with a 1:58.63, and another 1:59.06 and a few 51s and 52s over the 400m.

The season was going to come to an end early August after the last British League but I agreed to do one more competition for YOAC, and aren’t I glad I did. I had no 800 and did a sprints day of the 100, 400, 200 and both relays in that order. A seasons best in all and a 400 time of old, 50.7, I haven’t done a time like that since 2009 when I also ran my 800m PB. So I suppose that gave me some promising end to the season.

After that time it made me look at my next stint of winter training differently, is it time to go back to 400s? If I do I need to work on my speed so a 49 would be easier, combine that with my 800 (or 600 as it seems) strength then it could be possible. As part of my training I will also be getting back in to Olympic weight lifting, something I haven’t done since 2009/10. Surely that will give me some extra few tenths of a second, if not more and some speed.

So looking at next year I am calling it #ProjectSub50 and will try and blog more about it with updates of my new training elements and sessions. Then at the end of the season, which is a long way off, we can see if it had any benefit.

Goals for 2017:

  • Do an indoor season
  • Sub 23 200, not an event I am targeting but sub 23 will be good for my 400
  • Sub 50 400
  • Sub 1.56 800, last time I ran fast in the 400 it supplemented my 800
  • There will be some weight session goals too but they will come further in to winter
  • Regularly hit 30-35 miles a week

Winter Training update – not everything goes to plan for a runner

5 months since I’ve posted on here. Not great is it, especially when I’ve had lots to update everyone on.

My winter training plan hasn’t really gone to plan. Every year of running is the same, we have all these plans, I’ll do this, I’ll do that, this race and that race. But, as every runner knows, this doesn’t always happen. Mainly due to injuries. A previous coach always said ‘runners will always have more steps backward than steps forward’.

I had a nice indoor season planned in my head, and all was going well. After 6-8 weeks of training with my new coach, I ran an 85/86 over 800m in hideous weather in November. But I was battling with a foot injury, one which was in pain every day. I had physio treatment, acupuncture, and still tried to train lightly. It didn’t work and I ended up missing a large training period from mid November to early/mid Jan. Gutted and frustrating were a few feelings I had. But it’s something a runner has to deal with and look after. Out came the small massage balls, ice packs, balance cushions and strengthening work. I looked after it and treated it. It took some time but I got back.

Over this period of injury I missed a key training session…. hills. Hills is not something that I have done much of before (or ever but don’t tell my coaches that). Since I have got back training I have been doing a hills session every week. Something I’ll write more on in a future post. But I definitely feel the benefit.

Anyway, I have been back training for about 6 weeks, and I am ecstatic with how everything is going, I have managed to get back to fitness quite quickly. This past week in particular has been great. It has been one of those where everything has clicked. It started off with a track session Tuesday (500m, 300m, 300m and 3x150s. 10min rest after the 500, and both 300s). The aim of this session is to run the 500m just off 800m pace, so the initial aim was 74s, and then speed up the 300s i.e running faster on tired legs. I managed 70, 39 and 41, the fastest I have run on this session.

Then Thursday was my hill session, which went even better with my reps improving by over 5 seconds. With only 6 weeks until my first outdoor race of 2016, I am really excited for this year, even though my targets from my coach are quite ambitious in my eyes (1.52 for 800m and sub 50 400m).

I will continue to update on how my training is going and what my training weeks often look like building up to the track season.


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Winter training has began

I was due to start my winter training plan 2 weeks ago, but due to a family bereavement it took a slow start. In times like these I find running and training can go two ways, it can either take your mind off it all, or its just constantly on your mind and you find no motivation to keep going. I suffered the latter, on the 12th rep of 15x200m I just gave up. I just could not be arsed one bit. So I decided to delay my winter start by a week just to get myself together.

Last week I began my work towards a successful indoor and summer season 2016 (I’m hoping). With a new coach, and now a training group which is something I have lacked over the past few seasons I’m feeling reinvigorated and determined to get where I want to be. And when the coach says its possible for me to run 1:52 for 800m after watching me train for one week, things look promising.

Last weeks training went like this:

Mon: Non-training day

Tues: AM: Slow morning run (3 miles). I hate morning running. Lunch: Upper body weights. PM: 2x10x200m (90 sec between reps and 5mins between sets)

Wed: Lunch: 2 x tabata circuit. PM: 5 mile recovery run

Thurs: Lunch: Upper body weights. PM: 3x800m (7 min between each) followed by hurdle drills.

Fri: Easy 5 mile run

Sat: Steady 5 mile run

Sun: Easy 8 mile run

So last weeks training started well, I excelled on the track sessions, hate morning runs, have zero mobility and am trying to build up my upper body. With the new coach, he has picked up on a number of things in my technique. My arms are pretty much at 45 degrees rather than 90, so they are being of no assistance to my leg movement. My mobility is terrible therefore with improvements by doing hurdle drills I will be able to extend my stride further. My upper body isn’t as strong as it needs to be, which will stop me from tightening up when the reps get harder.

Right now training over the next couple of months is training hard to get fit to train even harder. It will consist of similar stuff to the above, plyometrics will come in on the Saturdays, leg weights on Fridays and a bit of speed work. Once I am fit, the hard lactate work for 400s and 800s come in towards the indoor season. Its an exciting time and I am looking forward to it. Look forward to writing my next training updates.

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Time to call a close on the season

Since my last track race on the 8th August I had signed up to two more BMC races this coming week. But as the weeks have passed my legs are telling me more and more to close this season and rest. After 30+ races over 4 months I think I have finally hit my tiredness stage of the season.

My season has not gone as planned, but it has been better than my previous four. I have run my best times for a four or five years over the 400m and 800m, but I am still not happy. It was a trial year, new coach, new regime that was more towards 800m/1500m and I gave it a shot, but it wasn’t for me. It’s time to step back to 400m/800m, that’s more me, less mental strength and more lactic pain. Just how I like it.

It’s now time to take 2 weeks off. Which means 15-20 light miles per week with some light weights to tick over, then week commencing 7th it’s back in to the winter training HARD. Again this will be under a new coach… Last year I trained on my own, and it was pretty tough going, uninspiring and boring. This year I’ll be with a group all striving for the same goal, to get faster. So I am excited going forward and seeing how I will get on next year.

But for now it’s time to switch off, relax, and give the legs some time off.

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Why I love team atheltics

Yeovil Olympiads (my athletics club) held the final British Athletics League Division 3 match at the weekend. We went in to the final fixture knowing that only a win would give us a chance of promotion. Before the final match the league was as follows:

Swansea – 23

Bedford – 19

Yeovil – 15

Bournemouth 15

Trafford – 14

Southend – 13

Derby – 6

Mansfield – 3

We knew that to be promoted we had to finish at least 5 places clear of Bedford, a very big ask considering the size and history of the clubs. In the end top 3 finished:

Swansea – 30

Bedford – 24

Yeovil – 23


The whole team put in a monumental effort both on and off the track, shouting & supporting every team member that competed. And this is one of the reasons why I love team athletics. This club has been through some ups and downs, arguments and banter… what team doesn’t. But at the end of the day we all come together to compete for the team, and we have hell of a laugh doing it.

Having been part of the mens team for 12 seasons now, I’ve been there since the Southern Mens days and seen the club and team grow to reach the heights of the BAL, and can say this year has been one of my favourite seasons. This team knows how to compete, and it knows how to relax and joke. I am already looking forward to 2016.

One thing about being part of a team is that you respect decisions made about selection. Having been training for 800m all season, I have not been quick enough and missed out on the opportunity to race the 800m in the last match. I was gutted, but I haven’t proved myself, and I take that on the chin. But I did get chance to run the 400m and 4x400m relay with times of 51.49, and 50.29 relay split.

For my last main race of the season I am content with the times, but I know I can do better. Looking at the 400m I know I haven’t done any speed or lactate training towards it, no strength and conditioning work, or hills. So looking to next year, I will for once get a proper winter in with all elements of 400m/800m training and will look to run sub 50s in the 400m and 1.56 in the 800m again.

Two more 800m races to go this season and then rest

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Disappointment, anxiety, nerves, and anger… The results of Athletics in 2015

Those are the feelings I get after competitions this year:

Disappointment – I have trained better than ever this year, enjoying it and running good times comfortably. Yet when it comes to racing it just doesn’t come together.

Anxiety and nerves – Before races I’ve started to become nervous, and have even been a little sick before a race. I don’t know if this is just something that has just developed or goes in hand with my poor race form.

Anger – I’m just angry with how this season has gone. With such good training form, why can’t I replicate this in racing. I know conditions this year for racing haven’t been great, but still I am better than I have been.

Last week I had one of the best training week’s I have had in some time, just what I needed before the British Milers Club event in Exeter last night. Yet when it came to the race it fell apart. I will admit the race time, pace and whole event was not for me.

  • Race scheduled to start at 20.56 – Was late and cold by this point
  • Pace 58 for first lap – for me, to run 1.56 I need a 56/57 lap
  • The BMC was behind schedule – this was a first for me, BMC’s are never behind schedule. I didn’t actually run until 21.30. 35 MINUTES LATE!! I was pretty cold by this point, and that took its toll on the last 200m.

Nothing seems to be coming together in the races, and after each race I consider my place as an athlete and whether to call an end to the season or my whole lifestyle as an athlete. I have a month until my next 800m, so I think I will continue until the end of August with some hope that I can at least get close to my PB with my training form.

3 races to go!

The race itself…. I stuck on the shoulder of the pacemaker and went alongside him at the bell as I knew the pace would be too slow for me. Then kicked slightly to 200m, hoping I’d have some speed left for the last 200m.

I was strong, however I just couldn’t get my cold legs in to the next zone, or the next gear to go that little bit faster. And then athletes just started coming past.

There is work required to look at my last 200m, why can’t I kick like I could 5 years ago?

Time: 1:59.49.

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South West Athletics Championships – 800m

Date: 19th July

Venue: Exeter Arena

Competition: South West Athletics Championships

Event: 800m

Last weekend I took part in the 2015 South West Athletics Championships in the Senior Men’s 800m coming 5th overall in a Seasons Best of 1.58.13.

Has my season taken a turn

After running two times of 1.59.03 and 1.59.14 at the start of May I thought my season was on course to be a good one moving forward, however I have struggled with racing. I am training faster and stronger than ever, but when it comes to racing it just hasn’t been coming together. I think it’s a mixture of confidence and poSouth West Athletics Championships 2015or race form, I recently ran an open and ran the first lap in 56 and didn’t have the grit or strength to finish it off, and then ran a 59 first lap with ease in another race which left me too much to do.

I knew the field was strong at the South West Champs, with 4/5 guys running 1.55/56 this year, so I went in with nothing to lose and had to be brave. I sat on the back of the group and went through the bell in 56 and finished with a Seasons best of 1.58.13. I did lose the lead group on the back straight, so I know where to I need to work on in my next race. South_West_Champs_2015_800m_1.1But to finally come away with a seasons best with around 5 races left to go this seasons I still believe there is chance for PB.

I do often peak in August, I never know why but it happens every year. So hopefully my times will start to tumble over the next month.

Is the South West Champs over hyped and over priced?

For Seniors entering the South West Champs it costs £7 per event with no discounts for more than 1 event. Years ago this used to be an event where your county selected you following the County Championships, however with the decline of the standard at Senior level at these champs, it has caused a decline in South West Champs. So I understand the need to make it an open event for people to enter themselves.

However, over the sprints there were only 2 competitors in the 100m, and 200m, and only one in the 400m. So athletes are still not turning up.

On arriving at the champs there is a cake stand, burger van, printed merchandise and ice creams. This tells you that this event is aimed more so at junior level but is it just becoming another money making event? And the programme, you’d expect something worth paying for, but it was just a register of everyone that entered. Pretty much impossible to work out who was in your event.

I do feel this event is still worthwhile, especially when the 800 attracted 9 Seniors, but there is a much needed rethink to encourage more to attend, make it value for money (the medals aren’t great in my opinion).

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