There's a 400 metre grass track down at Calwell which I've been using since the early 1990s. Mike Sainsbury coaches a group of runners there numbering about 15 and ranging in age from 12 to 49 (although most are under 20). I've been assisting him since the mid-1990s. The track is only about 2 kilometres from home but I usually drive the car or ride the bike there before doing a 2.5k warm-up run with the kids. Am I becoming lazy, or is it that I just can't face dragging my tired, fat, wombat ass, 2km uphill after training?
Last Thursday I decided to run a very basic track session... 'hundreds'. I haven't been doing serious fast training for six months or more. 'Hundreds' is running 100 metre repeats. There's nothing more basic. I mean, everyone has run 100 metres, right? All the kids know what 100 metre speed means. Mike might say to a runner "do 700 metres at 21 seconds per 100 for the first 400 then 18 seconds per 100 for the last 300". They know exactly what he means!
I tried to run my 100s with good 'middle-distance' runner's form, not resorting to the frenetic leg-speed of a sprinter. Good 'middle-distance' form means 'running tall', having 'good arms', good knee-lift and driving strongly and quickly off the ground. I avoided the uphill first 100 metres and used the back straight, bend and home straight. For recovery I just walked around until I felt ready to run again (about 45-55 seconds). I ended up running 23 x 100 metres averaging 20.7 seconds. This is not very fast! It's the same pace as 5:10 for 1500 metres or 34:30 for 10km. Obviously I'm not running fast enough to attempt 5:14 for 1500 metres! I need to practise more for speed and do 'fast drills'.
At the other end of the scale, on Saturday morning, I attempted my first 'really long' run in training for the Six Foot Track Marathon. It didn't go well! I felt really tired after just 17 kilometres and walked all of the last 10k of the 29.5k 'run'. I don't rate it as a total failure though as the Six Foot Track requires 'good walking'. Perhaps I should stick to running 'hundreds'?