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Training through races

Terrigal Trotters getting ready to head for the Avoca Steps
Tomorrow is the Woodford to Glenbrook 25km trail race in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, and I'm travelling down with a busload of Terrigal Trotter clubmates.  The event was originally scheduled for late June, but was postponed because heavy rain had led to the National Park, through which the event runs, being closed.  I'm not in shape to take the race seriously, but not having run it before, I decided to keep my place in the bus and in the event.

Rounding Avoca Lagoon
That meant a decision had to be made about whether I should do all of this morning's 13.5km Avoca Steps run with Trotters, or have an easy day and rest up for tomorrow.  In days gone by, when I was training for a big event some months in the future, I rarely let myself ease up for an interim race unless it happened to coincide with a scheduled easier week's training.  Over time, experience showed me that whether I eased up or not, didn't seem to affect the quality of performances.  If you eased up, you felt physically and mentally fresher, but by the middle of the race it seldom made much difference.  I'm not saying you should train hard the day before.  In any training schedule, even when there is a heavy load, there should be easier/recovery days between the quality days.  I would just schedule that easier day before the day of the race.

Near the top of the Avoca Steps
After mulling over my options, I decided that shortening today's run so I felt better for tomorrow's run was not consistent with my need to maintain some training intensity.  Instead, I decided to run the full distance, but take it easy and avoid getting competitive.  To deal with the bronchial trouble, I took two puffs of Ventolin about half an hour before the run.  Maybe this was the reason that climbing the first steep hill out of Terrigal, my heart felt like it was racing and I struggled to get any rhythm.  I plodded up the hill, hoping things would get better, but they never did.  Although my heart rate settled down, my legs felt leaden, perhaps the result of standing around at an art exhibition for three hours last night, or maybe connected to the earlier Ventolin-induced exertions.

The Avoca Steps were very hard work, as was the last hill up Tramway, and I finished the run near the back of the field, very tired and somewhat demoralised.  My painful right Achilles had restricted my stride, and my right arch was still a little sore, so they may also have been factors.  I just have to remember that, although not stellar by any means, I ran better on Wednesday and last Saturday, so this morning's run should not be seen as representative of my current fitness.

I'll give the Ventolin a miss for tomorrow's run, start slowly, and hope I can redeem myself a bit.