Applying fitness

23 May

Whenever people ask me why I train, my first answer is always “for life”, because the training I do is functional, and that is the main reason. Beyond that, though, it is great to try and even compete in as wide a variety of sporting events as possible. This week has been about sport and varieties within it.

As you may remember, I competed in a low level athletics competition recently, which led to my team selection for this week’s event. Predictably, with this being a step up, the standard of competition is higher. As a team member who doesn’t stand out in any one discipline, my events were changed to benefit the team. I was entered into the discus, hammer, 800m and 4x400m relay. The competition was split over two days, most of my events falling on the first day. I was entered into the ‘B’ string for all three of my individual events and managed 3rd in the 800m, 3rd in the hammer and 1st in the discus. I was happy with all of these and, more importantly, gained decent points for the team. Whilst all these events made my slightly nervous, especially the 800m, the 4x400m had me terrified. I was the slowest runner in the team and knew I had to run at my absolute best for us to qualify for the final.

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The whole team ran well, including me, and we managed to secure our place in the final, an achievement in itself with the high quality we were up against. I now had chance to relax; the final was the next day and all my individual events were straight finals. I got to enjoy the performances of my teammates, many of which were very good.

The day soon drew to a close and saw us heading back to our temporary accommodation for the night.

Another bright, early start followed the next morning. In an attempt to calm my nerves, I stuck as closely as possible to my routine. The normal vitamins and D-Aspartic acid preceded a good breakfast and the drive to the track. I only had the 4x400m final to look forward to, but in line with tradition, that was the final event of the competition. I spent the day cheering on the team, supporting our tug-o-war team,

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And helping the PPS Nutrition guys sell their great products to the athletes and soldiers in attendance.

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The time came for the final of the relay, warmed up and psyched up we headed to registration and onto the start line. We knew three of the six teams had some very high quality runners, even a couple of sub 50 second guys dotted about! Our aim was simple; to run our best and beat the teams we knew we were capable of beating. I was running the 3rd leg, and by the time the baton reached me we were lying 4th with 5th and 6th hot on our heels. The nerves dissolved and I settled into my lap. 3rd place was about 30m ahead and, in spite of the leading runners being very fast, I targeted the athlete one ahead of me. I gave the lap everything I had and was very happy to finish still in 4th, slightly closer to 3rd and slightly further ahead of 5th. The anchor leg was run by our fastest runner, who ran very well to finish in 4th, the best we could have realistically hoped for. We were all thrilled at the result and had all run to the best of our ability.

Soon after the events and the tug- o- war had finished, the presentations took place. We gathered as a team and all made the same shocked expressions and noises as we were announced as the second placed team.

Elated, the whole team watched the football team win their final, before we all got together for a party to celebrate our various individual and collective successes.

So my moral from the last few days is simple; training for increased all round fitness is great, but every now and then you should take the opportunity to apply your fitness in as many varied ways as possible. As for now, back to normal training with an 8km run and a testing WOD planned for the evening. Details will obviously follow tomorrow along with the potential pitfalls of specialising in certain training disciplines.

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