Due to my injuries I haven’t been able to arrive at the start of the Leinster League with all energy-systems properly trained and I have had to abandon the dubious practice of “racing myself fit” for the same reasons.
Inevitably, this means having to do a few without having all the necessary components in place to perform at your very best. For me, Prince Wiliam’s Seat and Gibbet Hill are a double-header this week where I will do just that. But if you’re not ready then why race?
Well, there are three reasons:
1. Practical (you need seven races to score in the Leinster League and I’ve hand-picked mine)
2. Personal (I’m going to Wexford anyway this weekend and want to support the Open Trail Series)
I take it the first two require no explanation but the third may need a bit. I will take a quote straight from Seb, Lord Coe, from his new book “The Winning Mind”: “Sometimes you race and call it information.”
To do this properly it’s worthwhile establishing what you are likely to learn from races done in sub-optimal condition. My questions may serve as inspiration and are as follows:
1. What racing performance can be gained from the current aerobic conditioning? (as it takes 2-4 weeks for training to settle in, I am looking at the adaptations from week 11-14 of this year)
2. Are there any positive gains already from the hill training or is it too early yet?
3. At what stage in the race will the lack of anaerobic conditioning become apparent and how great will their effect be?
4. Will any new weaknesses rear their face and if so, how can they best be addressed in the upcoming training?
5. What’s the degree of residual tiredness left by my record-mileage
By the end of the race, these pieces of information will offer invaluable data for the next crucial steps of the training programme and will shape their precise design instead of me merely guessing. It will also offer a good trial before the Fairy Chase race which will be fast and furious and is not a race for someone as ring-rusty as I currently am.
A good result will yield little information apart from the aerobic training working faster and more effectively than expected.