Monday, 7 February 2011

7th February 2010

       Good Morning.

      Back in Hull, monday morning, windy and wet, and not too difficult today to take a rest day. Four days on the Island and I didn't get half the things done that I set out to do. Sorry to anyone who I didn't get round to seeing, and there were a few, and hello to the many "new" people I met, it seems there are many people with this years Parish in mind. 50 years is a great milestone, and if the organizers get the target start list of 2,011 entrants, it'll look promising for another 50 years. Looking at Murray's list of people who have already entered, it's remarkable how many of the entrants are giving it a go for the first time. I spoke to a few people who declared an interest but hadn't taken part yet, and the main response seemed to be "I would, but I'm worried about....." before coming out with an unsubstantiated fear based on old stories or some gossip from someone who knew someone who had such and such happen and couldn't walk again, or was crippled for life. If the trainings done properly, and the correct equipment is used, there are no lasting effects, and you are just left with memories and probably new friends met along the way, as well as a new outlook on your own fitness. If in doubt, give it a go.

      The final Yorkshire winter season 10k yesterday (sunday) was a difficult affair, all competitors complaining of the conditions. The course was triangular, with a good climb up one side, unfortunately this was the side where the wind was behind, then turn the corner, and the longest side was against the near gale, with the other side having a cross wind which made race walking difficult. Got 60.24 myself, when all walkers were a good few minutes down on their regular 10k times, so I'm quite pleased. 4th out of 20 something, with some quick young athletes from Redcar and Yorkshire. 10k's over now, but the northern 10 mile in Dunnington in 3 weeks, and in the Yorkshire team for the National 10 miles in Coventry near the end of March... Just making up the numbers on that one!
      I took a new tack yesterday. Normally I try and keep up with the leaders from the start which leaves me struggling at the end. Call it inexperience, but it is the wrong thing to do. Yesterday, with the Garmin, I kept to 10min 30sec miles for the first couple of laps, slowly dropping down, feeling burn in the shins and the quads slowly easing as the race went on. At 5km, up the pace a bit. I had dropped to 7th and was worried if I was doing it all wrong. Picking up the pace though, I built up to 9m 30s miles, then in the last mile an 8 min 25s mile, which I hadn't done before! And instead of being exhausted, I could have gone on for another 10k, and spent the last lap picking off the places. Still not an official 10k under 60 mins, but my coach said it was a good walk, the style was smooth, and I looked comfortable. The most important thing, which I can pass on, is to warm up. Last week with my sports masseur, and after this race, I have tried to be more rigorous with my warm up. Stretching all muscles, and I'll go through them later on in the blog, is most important. And whether it's a race or just training, start slowly, don't put any strain on the muscles, and build up to your speed. It helps avoid injury as muscles that are cold can strain much easier.
       Stretch, warm up, train, warm down (the last mile of your training at a slower pace) stretch.

       One other tip to pass on, another coach was present, one who watched with my coach, and he noticed my style uphill and downhill. It hardly changed, something that can cause pain in the legs if you're pushing. If going uphill, shorten the stride and lift the arms higher. Slow the pace a little to save energy, reduces muscular lactic acid, and aids recovery time. Downhill, lengthen the stride a little and lower the arms and try to roll into the stride. Increase the pace to take advantage of gravity. Gravity is free and available at all good downhill sections of the Parish course.

       At least one of the competitors yesterday was already entered for the Parish, (I was wearing my "parish walk" baseball cap) he declared himself a little wary, although he was doing it for his father who had done the TT course walk and wanted to visit old walking grounds. Spoke to a couple of Centurions present, who also waxed lyrical about the TT course walk in the past. Why isn't it done any more? I would love to tick off the TT course from my list of things to do. All agreed it was fun, as is all walking on the Island, and agreed that the climb up the mountain out of Ramsey was the toughrest part of any walk they had ever done! Maybe I'll have to come across whenthe days are longer and do it on my own.

      I have to go now, I have a long day drinking tea and emptying my sky+ box of the weekends programmes. And I have to analyze my walks on the island of the last few days. Over 40 miles, mostly on Hills, gotta be pleased with that!

An extract from the National Academy of Sciences reiterating my point from a previous post:-

Walking a couple of times a week can help you in later life...

Recent research has suggested that walking for around 40 minutes a couple of times a week is enough to keep ageing brains sharp.
After a yearlong trial with 120 volunteers, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it has been proven that moderate exercise increased the size of the hippocampus – the area of the brain which makes memories.
This is a real breakthrough with around 820,000 people in the UK suffering with dementia and that figure is set to double by 2030. This latest work looked at healthy people in their 60’s and demonstrated how exercise may provide a buffer against the illness, as well as aged related memory loss. Experts have reiterated that until a cure is discovered, finding cheap and easy ways to reverse the trend is imperative.
No matter what age you are, this form of exercise is vital now and in the future.

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