Ha, you weren't expecting this, especially after I stated the last post would be my final blog, but I've been inundated with an e-mail (sorry, an old joke, I've been touched by the messages of support and thanks, I'm responding to all of them so if you haven't heard back yet, I will do soon.) asking for final tips, lessons learned and what I'm planning for the future.
I'm out training again, I was tempted to go to the Northern 5k championships in Leeds last saturday, I haven't done a 5k yet, I expect it'd seem to be over before it began and at 3.05 miles I'd like to post a sub 30 mins. I spoke to my coach on friday and he said even though I felt fine, my body was still surrounded by metaphorical scaffolding whilst it repaired itself. Another week at least, although I came away with no injuries, and any old niggles seem to have packed their bags and given up the struggle.
Looking back over the Parish, many ask if I'm disappointed that even though I became the 9th fastest man over the course, I only came 4th. I keep saying, I was racing myself, my plan was a sub 16 hour time, and I'm perfectly happy with that. I knocked over an hour and ten minutes off my time. I could have "raced", but as I've only been speed walking for a few months and I wasn't sure what my bodies reaction would be, I took the safer option of dropping to a more comfortable pace to guarantee my target.
Stats for the first 40 miles, Douglas to Jurby
and the last 45 miles.
I've shown the stats above, trying to explain technicalities etc I could write all day, (and no-one would read it...) but a sub 1hr 10k is about 9m 45s a mile. A good time for a 10k race, most people would be happy. When we did a sub 1hr 10k and a sub 2hr 20k before Rushen, I eased back knowing I was taking the cautious route. I have to admit, I don't know if I could have kept this rate up, but looking at the calories burned per mile on the right, when I did ease back, I was suddenly burning half the calories. The four calories burnt over 100 are climbing the sloc. The trip out from Jurby to Bride (2nd sheet, mile 41 to 52) and I'm burning less than 50 calories a mile while averaging 11 mins a mile, so resting, taking it (relatively) easy, and keeping to the plan. So it all worked out in the end.
One thing you have to watch out for, and something I didn't do last year after the Parish, Centurion and End to End in less than 3 months, is the body repairing itself, and the changes that take place. This last week I've been eating like a horse. (a large amount, not bales of hay!) Breakfast lunch, evening meal, and all the snacks in between. Nearly 5,000 calories a day, yet I've put on no weight at all. The body has to repair itself to microscopic level, which takes time, anything up to 2 weeks. The problem is that you are doing nothing whilst this is going on. if you carry on doing nothing and eating everything in the fridge, then when the body puts it's "open for business" sign out again, you'll start to gain weight.
So get out the trainers, get onto a nice easy level road, and start walking. A couple of miles, nothing too strenuous or demanding. Then you can assess your fitness level, and plan for further walks. I started to walk to work this morning, (10 miles) and kept it to 12 to 13 minutes a mile. I didn't push too hard, but got the blood circulating, and had a protein shake to finish when I got home. I got halfway and work rung me to say the ship had cancelled so I turned round and came home again. Don't you just love mobile phones?
I'll look at the Dunnington Fair 10k on the 23rd of this month, dunnington, near York, is a very popular event and the locals come out in force to cheer on the walkers. Aiming for a sub 55 mins 10k on that one. Then on 31st it's the Bradford 35k, a hundred and how many years old, the oldest continuously run race walk in the world. 3h 47m last year, when I was green and slow, so possibly a sub 3h 30m. It is hilly, which takes some out of you, but I play to my strengths on that one.
August 20th is the Inaugural "Hell on the Humber", Saturday 7pm to Sun 7am, as many crossings as you can in 12 hours. Run, taking regular breaks, or continuous walk. There is talk of over 50 miles from the runners, I think 60 miles is a good target for myself, which is 15 crossings. (it's a big bridge, 4 miles across and back)
September and the End to End back on the Island. I can't leave my personal best at 7 hours and 2 minutes. I'll be back, all things permitting, to knock that 2 minutes 51 secs off.
A week later though will be the National 50k championships in Northampton, an Olympic qualifying race again, and one in which my coach has got me down as a 4h 50m hopeful. Damn him, give me a target like that and I want to go out and beat it! 3 months of speed work and chuck off a few more pounds to see where it gets me. I was speaking to Michael George on the ferry after the parish and he indicated that he might be going as well, so one friendly face there, although he's much quicker than me so maybe not good news. never mind, it's the taking part that counts.
Then the Northern winter 10k series, and before you know it, it'll be the parish again. At the moment, yes, I'll be there, possibly for the last time as rearranging work time takes it's toll on ordinary family committments, but then again, you can never tell.
Final tips for future Parish walkers?
You don't really need to walk over 20 miles in training, but if you do, just make the 20 miles you eventually do in training count. Cardio, good, hill climbing, good. Start on the winter leagues wherever you are in the UK. pick up speed on the short races and it'll help in the longer ones. If you enjoy the 10k walks, join a club. Race walking clubs have races for any age, any level. You'll get fit, make friends and have something to do on the occasional sunday morning.
For the Parish walkers who got blisters, do an occasional barefoot walking session. Smooth tarmac, without stones or glass, ten minutes at first, land on the heel and roll through the foot. It toughens up the soles without taking out essential oils. If you feel comfortable, move onto running. I suffered no blisters whatsoever this year when it seemed everyone had at least the odd small blister popping up here and there. And, as I can tell from experience, after walking for thirty minutes barefoot, when you put your shoes back on it's like walking on a bed of cotton wool!
One thing I forget every year, layers on as soon as it starts to get dark. You don't feel the cold as you are experiencing a gradual drop in temperature as the sun drops, but you'll soon start to feel it as your cooling muscles start to cramp up! Pauline has to dress me every year, forcing me to put layers on. It's worth it in the end, don't leave it too late. Your Support crew will feel it best when they get out of a warm car, so leave the judgement to them.
Well, I can't think of anything else, although I'm still getting e-mails so something might crop up. I'm rearranging this blog into chapters and adding lots of hindsight, consulting experts and shuffling bits and pieces to try and get a decent training manual out before christmas. Proceeds to Macmillan Cancer Support, and hopefully a good training manual for future endurance events. I've still lots more to add and lots to correct, but a training plan explained while it's taking place might help others in future.
Once again, if anyone has any tips, advice, stories or anecdotes about their parish, please feel free to contact me on
Hope you have a Happy Tynwald day, see you later, somewhere on the start line of a race walk somewhere, all being well.
Support crew, Will and Pauline, Dad, (80 years young, planning on next years Parish.. only joking!) and Helen, Douglas Prom, just before midnight (Yes!!!) Saturday, 25th June
21:45 (just gone half past nine...)
Just clicked on the comment below, it's inundated with adverts for a sri lankan scaffolding firm. Why would a sri lankan firm want free advertising on an English/manx blog? Doesn't bother me, it's a little flattering because it must mean the blog is popular enough to want free advertising from. I don't know if all the links are safe though, so I don't recommend clicking on them. I might remove the comment later, right now it's nearly an anecdote.