Living the dream

My training camp here in Kenya is in full swing now. I have been here for over 2 weeks and have so far put together some really good training.

As I mentioned previously this is the perfect environmennt to inspire you to get out and put the miles in but you have to be very careful not to over do things in your first week or you can ruin the rest of your trip.

I’ve learnt this from experience and kept everything very sensible, I ran very easy for the first 5 days and then I started off with a steady track session of 16x400m. From then on I’ve ran hard on my sessions and easy the rest of the time. With the help of Kate Spilsbury, the camp physiologist, I have been closely monitoring my body weight and hydration levels to ensure that these stay stable as any drop in either of these can dramatically effect training up here.

Along with the perfect environment for training we have also been joined by the performance director at UKa – Neil Black and the head of endurance Barry Fudge – so its easy to get carried away tying to impress these people. Luckily I’m the ‘what you see is what you get’ type person so I don’t try to put on a show for them.

We’ve also been very fortunate to have the greatest female marathon runner ever – Paula Radcliffe – here to mentor us through our training. Its been great to spend time with Paula asking her about her training and getting advice on areas where she thinks I can improve my training to help me achieve my goal of sub 2.30.

I’ve ran with Paula a few times and she has supervised a few of my workouts and even played water boy on one of my long runs. She has given me some great positive feedback and compliments on what I have done so far. Hopefully I will get to keep the link with her after the camp is over.

Last saturday we all went along to the opening of the new track. The track is part of the Lornah Kiplagat Sports Academy and is for sole use by visitors to Lornahs camp. It was part funded by London Marathon to give us Brits a proper track to train on which is good for those doing fast speedwork.

The track was officially opened by Paula, Mo, Kemboi and Lornah in a big celebration hosted by London Marathon. It was a hot but fun afternoon with lots of singing, music and Masai dancers. Luckily though we got to miss the speeches as Kenyan speeches are famed to last forever!!!

I’ve not used the new track, I’ve just stuck to the old dirt track for my 2 sessions so far. Last Tuesday I did 10x800m down there with the girls. The track is always busy on a tuesday morning and with there being little rain lately the groups were creating massive dust clouds. I came off looking like I’d done a shift down the pit!! But if its good enough for Mo and the Kenyans then its good enough for me!

Thursday was tempo day. 8 miles down the road towards Eldoret.  The 1st 3 miles was meant to be ran at goal marathon pace, the next 3 miles at goal half marathon pace and the final 2 miles back at marathon pace.

I ran solo but I had Paula riding in the bus behind me timing, giving splits and handing drinks when needed. I set off and nearly passed out when she stuck her head out of the window and shouted 5.30 1st mile – 13 seconds too fast! Luckily I managed to keep that pace for the next 2 miles before picking it up to half marathon pace then nicely back down to goal marathon pace.

It ended up being a really good workout. Paula said I looked smooth and really strong and even said I didn’t look like a duck whilst running – bonus!

Todays long run was a bit of a lonely affair. I was doing 20 miles and the nearest distance anyone else was doing was 14. As we run more or less in one direction along a road with a bus following us to hand us drinks and to bring us home at the end, I thought it was only fair for me to do a loop before I joined everyone else so that it cut down the length of time some of the guys were on the bus for after they had finished running.

I ran 3 miles then set off with the rest of the group. My plan was to run easy to 8 miles then steady to 15 and then pick it up for a fast finish. I executed this to perfection finishing with the last 5 miles all in sub 6 mins and an overall average of 6.24. However, it did mean a lonely last 8 miles as I dropped everyone or they reached their distances.

So as my last full week here begins tomorrow, its a case of head down and crack on – the end is insight!

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1 Response to Living the dream

  1. Will Mailloux says:

    Fascinating entry Aly. Really enjoyed reading all the details. Thanks for taking the time to record what things are like over there.

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