Men’s Newsletter – December

As is tradition, December is a quiet month in terms of racing so another case of brevity this month in this the final newsletter of 2014.

December kicked off with what is now the annual Club ParkRun takeover in Castle Park. A good number from the Club turned out to support the event and had the reward of seeing young (ahem) Malcolm run his 50th ParkRun event. The challenge for the next 50 is to run with your eyes shut Malcolm….

The inglorious mudfest that is the Harwich Cross Country took place mid-December with a decent turnout from the Blue vests. Good to see Joe Alexander back from his hard schedule of lectures to put in a great performance and finish in 6th.  Chris Warren decided that discretion was the better part of valour and although having travelled to the event, decided not to run due to illness. A really really sensible decision, one I know which he agonised over,  and a good example to follow. I always think if it’s a bit achy you can run, but never run with any pain and similarly with colds. A good steady run will do you the power of good but sometimes you have to just rest up and live to run another day. Listen to your body, one day off won’t kill you but a run when you are not in shape for it will do more harm than good.

This report pre-dates the fun and games of the Flitch marathon on NYE. But I hope you all had the run you wished for and ‘enjoyed’ (really?) the event. A shout out to Chris Warren who, during the course of the race will have clocked up 2000 miles in 2014, a great achievement. The back story being that it has been 2000 quality and carefully thought out and prepared miles, not simply a plod around to make up the numbers.

I want to say well done to all the award winners from December’s event.  Whether you won a major award, 1 or 5 club champs, ran all the Mickey Edwards series or Cross country in 2013 \ 14 enjoy it. If you didn’t then make 2015 the year you focus and step up so that next year is your turn. Enough has been said about what occurred at the periphery, but I want to say thank you to everyone who helped organised, set up and importantly cleared up at the event.

And now for runner of the month. With December being such a quiet month, I’m not able to make an award. I hope you understand this decision. Runner of the Month should be something that means something and is hard-earned not simply giving it out “because it’s there”.

Tip time…

Make 2015 the year you do something different in training to achieve those goals, aspirations and dreams in your racing. And properly target your training to forthcoming events. If your bag is social running and you simply enjoy the camaraderie then that’s fine. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, if you want to improve then you have to change things and don’t compromise on your running. For example, if you undertake a long training run in a large group, all of you will compromise in some way, either with the person at the back struggling to keep up or the faster ones not getting a workout. This is fine if it’s a recovery run or hard tempo depending upon where you are but if it’s your quality long run it is not doing the job. My Friday and Sunday Club runs for the last couple of years have been compromise runs but I ensured I did the necessary quality sessions that I needed. You either need to add in the extra runs or accept that your improvement may not come along. Similary, ParkRuns are a great workout but if you run the same race week in week out you can’t necessarily expect your other distance running to improve or for that matter your ParkRun times unless you have a focussed and balanced 5K training plan.

And here’s the breaking news as promised last month….

I am stepping down as Men’s Captain wef 31 December so this is the last set of ramblings from me. Someone said to me very recently “******” was a great captain because he led from the front”. I am sorry not to have live up to that accolade. However, my apology is tempered by the fact that I tried to lead from the front, middle and back where necessary and appropriate. For me, being Captain was not about showing how fast (or these days slow) I could run and disappearing off into the sunset and sometimes seeing people at the end, it was about recognising and encouraging the efforts of anyone who worked as hard as they could when they ran. As I mentioned earlier, if this meant compromising my own running to help others along the way, then it was more than worth it. This is not the reason I am stepping down, there are other fundamental reasons that I won’t go into here and I have to say that the most pleasure I got out of running in 2014 was helping others achieve their goals, I don’t need to be Captain to do that.