Rick’s Month in Running – July ’23
I get a lot of emails from my dear colleague Sarah, but this one looked different. It was titled: ‘Proposal for September’. Knowing our individual relationship statuses, this could only mean one thing: a race.
Specifically, a 10k race in the New Forest. That stunning part of southern England which also happens to be a touch hilly. Immediately, I thought: “Am I actually up to it?” I knew I could get around, but race conditions mean we push ourselves more than normal and it’s a long road back to racing after a high tibial osteotomy. You simply don’t push too soon! As much as I bang on about it.
Training looks rather different nowadays. It’s all strength and conditioning and maybe one short session on a treadmill, then a five kilometre race or run on a Saturday. I manage it that way. Pain-free. Which is where I want to stay. I’m still finding my feet with this 16 months post-op, but finding your feet means sticking to some limits until you find the next level. We then move up again.
My current sexy mix of strength and conditioning includes the beloved Bulgarian split squat, then a little shake into a weighted hip thrust with a bar. Then it’s a hop and a jig into some wicked prone leg curls. The more fun stuff comes at the end with the dynamic moves of single leg hops, box jumps and jump lunges. For these, the looser the shorts the better – I’ve ripped a few pairs recently.
Some days I realise I have just done something I’ve not done in years, like running in the rain, which – as basic as it seems – I’ve dodged post-surgery. I still don’t quite get the full thrill of this, but it’s better than running in meteorological wind (as seen in the photo above, taken at parkrun).
Then there was a track race with The Running Channel team at the famous Iffley Road stadium in Oxford, which hosted the first ever sub four-minute mile by Sir Roger Bannister. This race was a pizza mile, which was as rough as a dog. I lost, but I’m sure half of the team cheated – I saw crusts lying on the track discarded. I thought runners were an honest bunch.
I really enjoy reading the other presenters’ blogs and Mo’s June ’23 blog caught my eye. It was about how coaching keeps him motivated in his own fitness. Mo’s a really great guy to be around and we are all chuffed to have him as part of the team, although it’s slightly annoying that he’s built like a tank yet runs like a gazelle.
So now I need to train for a 10k race, without doing much actual running. That said, I’m reliably informed that a former Aston Villa footballer called Olof Mellberg never used to train during the week, as he had no cartilage, but would still go straight into the first team after strength and conditioning on a Saturday. He was one of their best players. There’s always a bright side!