Christine Ohuruogu is one of my sporting heroes. I would go further, and say that I think she is the greatest track athlete Britain has ever produced. Maybe not the highest profile or the most glamorous but on results alone she is out there.
Chrissie O was the first British athlete of either gender to win three global titles (Olympic and double World Champion) in the same event; she remains the only female British athlete to have done so.
But the statistic I like best is that she has only ever run under 50 seconds for 400 metres four times. Once to win the 2007 World Championships, once to win the 2008 Olympic gold medal, once to win the Olympic silver in London 2012 and finally to win the World Championships in 2013. Her peak performances have all come in the final of her target event. Christine Ohuruogu is brilliant at peaking at the right time.
I could just about run 400 metres in twice Christine’s time – so on the track I have little in common with her. But I do want to try to follow her example when it comes to bringing my training to the boil – but it isn’t as easy as it seems.
My target race for the year is in July and I have already started training for it. The race, an Ironman, has a 112-mile bike leg and yet at the moment my training rides are 45 miles. I sometimes feel like I am not doing enough. Same with the run – in July I need to run a Marathon, but at the moment my longest run is 7.5 miles.
The impatient part of me wants to step it up and prove to myself that I can nail these distances. But I have to keep telling myself that my training program is exactly that – a program. It is progressive and all designed to come together six months from now. Sometimes its hard to see that it is leading there, but too much too early is not only counter-productive, it is a recipe for injury. There is plenty of time for some real volume training but there is no point being ready now for a race that is six months away. I just have to trust that while my training doesn’t have a very “iron” feel to it, I am doing the right thing.
The concept that I have difficulty coming to terms with is that I only have to peak once. I only have to cycle 112 miles and run a Marathon once. Everything that goes before is all designed to ensure that on that one day I can do those things. It doesn’t matter what I do the week before or the week after, I need to be ready once – on 20th July. If I keep telling myself, it will sink in!
In other news, training seems to be going OK. The biggest challenge has been the weather – over the last month we have had rain of biblical proportions meaning that I have had to temporarily abandon off-road running.
I try to go to my Tri Club track sessions as often as I can as that provides a different but important type of training. I also love the company!
At last night’s track session I did a Cooper Test for the first time. This test measures your VO2 Max (volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity) or in English it is a benchmark of your physical fitness as an endurance athlete. The test is simple – how far can you run in 12 minutes? In my case 2,810 metres which apparently translates into a pace of 6.52 mins/mile and a VO2 max of 51.53. I am not quite sure what that is describing but for my age group it rates as excellent. That has done something to settle me down and reassure me that my training is one the right track. Whatever the number means, what matters is that it is my current level of fitness and I now have a benchmark against which I can measure progress throughout the season.
Hopefully, like my 400 metre hero, it will improve gradually reaching a climax on 20 July!
Well what did you expect this post to be about…….really?