This week was finally back on track in every sense. Things had become a bit disjointed of late with both John and I finally seeing our various busy commitments collide and our diaries failing to correspond for the first time. However, there has been no lack of intention and desire to crack on!
And it’s not that we haven’t been doing anything. Far from it! If you have read my recent blogs, you’ll have seen that plenty has been going on and I certainly haven’t been sitting around enjoying an inactive break.
There have been a number of evening runs from WatchFit Victoria office with a member or two of the team, the occasional early morning Body Pump class at my gym, weekend hikes, bike rides and runs and of course the recent Paris to London three day charity cycle challenge. So nice and active if rather ad hoc and not quite in adherence to a specific plan.RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
This is why it felt good to be back in tandem with athletics coach and fitness expert John Shepherd. We’ve developed a really good working relationship and it’s a real pleasure to keep it going. He has a really good approach to the process of coaching and all that it entails: instructive, explaining, motivating, empathising and pushing in all the right measures.
And I think in me he has found a very willing participant who, if anything, is more likely to try and push too hard too fast than to ever ease off and shirk real effort.
So it was back to the famous environs of Crystal Palace and a return to the track where I have been having my first taste of what it is really like to try and sprint properly.
And just to add to the authenticity of the place, three people strolled along, who John explained were elite athletes including Olympic sprinter Conrad Williams (pictured orange T-shirt), who is a Commonwealth Games and European Championships gold medallist. We had a nice chat and they seemed genuinely interested in what I was up to and were very encouraging. Now if that doesn’t add a bit of bounce to the stride I don’t know what can!
The thing is I will never be any use in a sports quiz. Whilst I’m fascinated by their skills and talents and what it takes to reach the top of a specific sporting discipline, I really know very little of the people, facts, figures, stats and trivia. I had no idea who these people were which is probably just as well because otherwise I might have later descended into a sinkhole of embarrassment.
These top flight athletes had turned up to set about some very serious training, instead they encountered an unusual distraction.
John and I had been working hard on various stair climbing drills right to the top of the giant stands.
While John and I sat at the top of the stand, recovering and chatting, champion athlete Conrad and his athlete mates appeared to embark on a really unconventional series of training protocols down on the track and in the infield area.
But hey, people at that level are always looking to do something new to find that crucial extra 1%, so I thought nothing of it. Then, after a while of this strange multi-directional-ground-touching training, the three athletes entered the stand and started the climb towards us. It was only when they arrived at our top tier seats that all became clear.
We had not in fact been witnessing a breakthrough in eccentric but performance re-defining training at all.
These elite sportsmen had actually been chasing down, gathering up and returning my possessions to me!
Unbeknownst to me, my various cards, money and other sundries had gone all over the place down on the track and the guys had kindly and diligently located every last item and returned them to this owner whose red face was not entirely as a result of physical exertion!
To Conrad Williams and his training mates I can only say thank you so much for finding all my things, not making any fuss and being so decent about it. I promise I will follow your athletics career far more closely and with great interest now!
Because of the gap in our programme we didn’t try to break any new ground this week, it was really more about maintaining where we were before, building on it, and pushing on. So there was plenty of dynamic work, the type of which we have been working on over the weeks whilst upping the intensity and duration.
The body is an amazing mechanism and it really does remember physical exertion superbly well!
If the process of tuning and training is gradual and properly effective, the ‘muscle memory jogging’ process takes no time at all. This all fascinates me, because I am feeling benefits and seeing how my whole body can move and perform so much better.
Like I said right at the beginning of the first blog – although there was maybe a kilo or two to shift and some body shaping to tighten and tone – I was not coming into this as an overweight and deconditioned person.
This was not about body transformation in that sense. However it has always been about adopting the kind of athletics training approach that anybody can follow that will strip unwanted fat, strengthen, increase explosive power, improve muscular endurance and greatly enhance all round physical performance.
I’m not likely to be joining the ranks of Conrad Williams any time soon, but that’s not the point. I am seeing how much more athletic I can become over a four month period and how my day-to-day health and all round fitness can benefit from this programme.
And I know I am already trimmer, stronger, moving better and generally more aware of quality of movement and physical dynamics. Now I just need to learn how not to litter one of the world’s great athletics arenas!