Saturday, December 17, 2011

A whole new beginning.

Once again, I'm back after a long hiatus from blogging to give you a long overdue update. You probably expect to read the same old story; a few months with little training but an improvement in consistency as of late. Well, that's sort of true I guess but things are a bit different this time. On quite a few occasions over the past 3 years, I was getting excited and optimistic about a return to competitive running once I started running close to 40-50 miles a week. This time I've actually had 2-3 fairly solid months of training and even competed in a couple of national championships. I've been running consistently over 60M/week over the last 3 months and close to 80M for the last 3 weeks. In the beginning of January I competed in the 10K at the Cyprus national XC championships and placed 4th in 35:42 (probably 300-500m longer than 10K though). Three weeks later I raced at the half marathon national championships and finished 3rd in 1:13:37. Having put in another month of training since then, where I've been increasing the mileage and running progressively faster workouts I can definitely say that I'm getting fairly fit and I really look forward to racing again.

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons that my training is back on the right track is that I'm now a member of Dromea Racing , one of the few running clubs in Cyprus. Dromea was founded about 3 years ago and has grown to a few hundred members, including people with a wide range of running abilities. There's a social part to being member of the club but I also get to train with a couple of pretty fast teammates, at least while I'm in Cyprus. I'm also being coached by George and Stavros Loukaides and having a coach has definitely helped me structure my training a lot better. I took a VO2 max test as soon as I joined and we based my training on the outcome (my VO2 max was calculated at 69 ml/kg/min). My first workouts were at a pace where I was getting a good workout but also feeling like I had more to give at the end of it. I hadn't run any track workouts in a long time and it definitely helped my confidence to come out of the first ones feeling strong instead of struggling to run an ambitious pace. The workouts have been gradually getting faster and more challenging but I'm still feeling strong at the end and I haven't had a bad workout yet. My race results also reflect the leap in fitness as I went from running a 35:42 10K (albeit a long one) to running a 35:05 10K enroute to a 1:13 half, only 3 weeks later. Having put in one more month of training since then I'm getting pretty excited and I'm thinking that I could be getting close to PR territory in another month or two.

So what's in the plans for the future? There's nothing definite yet but my long term goal is to pick things up where I left them before my Achilles surgery and move up to the marathon. That's not gonna happen in the immediate future, though, as I want to build up a solid base and have a few months of consistent training before I attempt to race a marathon. In the short term, I'll focus more on shorter distances, try to run some 5Ks and 10Ks and return to the track for the national championships. Interestingly enough I've never ran a 10K on the track and haven't really trained to run a 5K either so it will be good to see what I can pull off. One thing is for sure; I'm motivated, I'm having fun running and I can't wait to be a competitive runner once again.

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