[UPDATED June 6th, 2018 at 01:55 pm]
Good afternoon sports fans.
I have been meaning to write the below for several months, but have struggled to compose anything that doesn’t sound….well, a bit ‘naff’. If I hold off due to the naff factor though I don’t think I will ever write it, so here goes….be gentle. Also….for those short of time I have written 2 versions:
Speed training is amazing and does exactly what it says – increases your speed
The Monday night Track sessions in Tonbridge are particularly great (other sessions are available)
Monday sessions include:
- Awesome facility – including race quality surface track, flood lights, leisure centre facilities (toilets etc..), free parking
- Inclusive (all ability’s welcome and sessions can be shortened / lengthened depending on targets)
- Great coaching
- Challenging, intense, but short sessions (for those time poor)
- Different sessions each week, including occasional 1 mile time trial (excellent for benchmarking)
- Unbelievable value (£2 per session for Harriers)
- Dynamic warm up
- Coached post session stretching
Full details can be found here: http://www.twharriers.org.uk/about-us/
Long and completely over indulgent version:
Like the vast majority of you I’m very much in a ‘time poor’ stage of my life. When I break it down, over the course of most 7 days, I can chisel out a maximum of 8 hours ‘sports’ time….and much of that has to be evenings or early mornings. I try and do at least 1 cycle ride a week (this time of year anyway), which takes at least 2.5 hours. As such, I’m left with about 5.5 hours for running….but that needs to include travel to and back from running and any post run ‘rehydration’.
So, actual running time (moving time) equals about 2 hours a week….my Strava data actually puts this average a lot lower, at 51 minutes a week…but that obviously factors in time away from running due to illness, holidays, hangovers etc…
What’s my point then….surely I’m just highlighting the obvious….and (give or take) everyone’s in the same boat, right? Life is crazy busy and that’s probably not going to change anytime soon.
Well, my point is that the above has forced me to be brutal in selecting what I spend my available time on. About 2 years ago I made the decision (for multiple reasons) to focus on shorter distances (up to 10 Miles at a total push) and within that I set myself some time targets. For this (obviously) speed is important and I selected what training sessions I could do within my time constraints based on that.
Now, I’m absolutely not a ‘great’ runner by any true measure (certainly not in terms of other club members past and present), and everything I’m saying is purely from a personal point of view. I know nothing (very little) of real training plans, nutritional strategies or correct running technique.
What I do know though is that over the past few years my speed at shorter distances has increased…and at some distances is still increasing.
When I review what has been the biggest factors in this I keep circling back to one specific weekly session – the Monday night Track sessions in Tonbridge. Whenever I manage to attend these consistently (2 or 3 in a row) my form improves and my speed increases. It’s not just me either, I have seen the same thing happen to loads of Harriers, and it’s happening right now to several people (you know who you are).
I also personally really enjoy the sessions. Having the opportunity to push yourself close to maximum in a controlled environment, amongst people all doing the same and with a coach to advise – it’s a glorious kind of effort. I often find myself in the car on the way back home, buzzing from the post session endorphins, thinking – did we really just do that session, that was epic!
The real club experts will be able to tell you the scientific benefits of Track work (Bob is an awesome repository for this), all I know is that in my experience it’s pretty much the best thing I can do to increase speed.
I completely appreciate that simply running faster is not (and shouldn’t be) everyone’s objective and that for different targets (long distance for example) there are other sessions that may produce more value…albeit I know the coaches have always said that Track work can improve stamina too.
At the moment though the Monday sessions just seem like a bit of a secret, or maybe they appear intimidating to people? I guess the only way you are going to know for sure is to try it….and that’s really why I’m sending this email.
I will never be able to really explain in words how great the sessions are, and also how grateful I am to them for the effect they have had on my running. Not just in terms of speed, but in so many other areas. Running gait, intensity practice, running brain, practising in race footwear/clothing – it’s helped with all these things.
If there was a bar there, filled with all you lot obviously, it would be perfect….in my view 😉
So….dissertation over. If any of the above resonates with you then why don’t you give Monday Track a try….if only for the stretching.
All are welcome.
Mondays from 7.30pm
Tonbridge School track
Sessions run by UKA LiRF/CiRF coaches
Session costs £2 (to cover cost of hiring track)