Here is the latest post from guest blogger and Olympic runner Charlie Grice, who tells us what he has been doing during September.
After hanging up my running shoes for 2 weeks at the end of August, taking a well-earned rest it was time to change routine from September 1st for the start of my winter training. I have to be careful to gradually increase my mileage so I don’t get injured because my body won’t be used to the training straight away. I am excited about the current cross country season which runs from October until March. As I am a track runner, all the training in the winter is to build strength and endurance in preparation for the track season in the summer.
I am very excited as I have been invited by UK: Athletics to join their endurance camp in Kenya to train at high altitude for 4 weeks. This is where all the top UK athletes train including Mo Farah, a lot of them in preparation for London 2012. It is particularly good as far as I am concerned as I am the youngest athlete to be invited and I will be able to live and talk with the more experienced athletes and I am sure I will learn a lot from this experience. My college have agreed to let me take 4 weeks off from my studies although I will be taking a lot of work with me (this will be hard). This will be a test for me as I have not lived and trained at high altitude before and the first week of the training has to be very easy because the high altitude makes you very tired and fatigued because there is less oxygen available. As a target, within 3 days of returning I will be entering the European Cross Country Trials in Liverpool. The benefit of the high altitude training should have a marked improvement on my ability when coming back down to sea level. Everyone responds differently to altitude and this is a test for if we want to pursue this again later in my career and whether it becomes a regular occurrence in my training.
Last week I participated in the Sussex Cross Country relays and I was running for my club Phoenix AC. In this race, the under 20 athletes like myself run in the senior men’s race which is 4km each leg. I am very pleased that not only did we win the race but we broke a very long standing record at the same time. I will also be going in the record books as the fastest under 20 athlete and 3rd on the senior men’s all-time list so it is not bad going for a 17 year old. I was very pleased with this at this stage of the season because I ran 30 seconds quicker than I did last year. I am still not fully fit yet as I have only been back for a couple of weeks but my training is increasing very gradually each week.
On Monday I travelled up to Loughborough University with my coach Jon to undergo a physiological test prior to going to Kenya. The tests were to see the number of red blood cells (haemoglobin mass) that I have in my body. These are the oxygen-carrying vehicle around the body. Red blood cells are vital as the more I have, the more oxygen I can give to my muscles. Now we have the results prior to going to altitude in my body we can hopefully see the effects when I return and do another test. There are only 3 of the machines that could do this in the World so I was very privileged and lucky to have this done. The results of the tests were very good for my age and my coach and I are pleased.
As you can imagine, it is tough being back at college trying to fit in my work around training. Today I have been to Brunel University to see one of the UKA physiotherapists who has checked me over and has given me some more strengthening exercise drills to incorporate into my weekly training and gym work. It is essential to work on areas that are weaker than others in order to prevent injury and to develop further as I am still young. Toby, the physio will be coming out to Kenya for part of the time so he will be able to check on my progress which is good along with the physiologist I saw at Loughborough who will oversee any problems I have on the altitude (hopefully none)! I am forever thankful to UKA as if I was not on their development programme I would not be able to get all of this highly technical medical attention.
I am also getting my vaccinations done so this is yet more appointments with doctors. Needless to say I have no free time available at the moment! I am sure it will all be worth it when I get out to Kenya and it will be an amazing life experience.
The next blog I will be sending you will be from the UKA training camp in Kenya. One thing I can say is that life is certainly not dull for me at the moment and I am excited about the future!
Bye for now.
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