|I get knocked down....|
Its taken me 2 months to get back to a vague semblence of fitness since the Spine Challenger. I'm sitting down and looking at my times and training from this time last year and realising that I'm way off the pace that I was. Not only that, but the time it is taking me to recover from efforts is longer, and I still feel pretty damn tired after decent days out.
All this is fairly understandable, but prior to doing the Spine I did think I would be a bit more immune to the effects than I have been. There was me thinking I was going to be back running in January and racing in February.
Not a bit of it.
Even now, the speed and climbing stamina feels a long way off - with the Welsh champs having started last weekend, the English champs started a couple of weeks ago, and a whole raft of stuff lined up in April/May/June, I am starting to wonder if this year might be a "run around, take it easy and see what happens" kind of year, not worrying too much about results.
Despite being able to jog around and do bits and bobs in the hills I still feel an overwhelming heaviness of legs when climbing hills and attempting to do anything approaching a decent speed. I wonder if it is because of the continued recovery (even now) from the Challenger, or if, perhaps, it is simply expecting to be at another level.
This time last year I had put in a significant amount of training right the way through the winter. My reps were faster, I was generally stronger, and this may well have been because of the continued progress that was being made through the winter months.
As it is, I feel almost like I'm a couple of months behind where I should be (about right seeing as there was little I could do in terms of running in Jan and Feb), though don't want to be making excuses for performances in races and in training.
At this point, it really is a case of recognising that going out and hammering reps as hard as possible might not be the only thing I need to do. Having had a couple of colds in the last few months when I normally get none has shown a possible reduction in my immune system, as well as general fatigue, nutrition and intelligent training are just as important, if not more so, now that I feel a little behind.
The nice thing is that I am still enjoying getting out on the hills, even if I'm not quite as sharp as I think I should be.