DIARY: Coaching therapy

My injury is progressing finally despite yesterday’s power-walk up Scarr to watch the IMRA race there. Despite not running and not being able to avail of the golf-course like conditions (I could feel my Inov-8 X-Talon 190’s crying as the runners passed me by and I walked on, restrained), it was good for the soul (and my quickly shrivelling heart, lungs and arteries) to be out and I was thankful enough that I donated a fair portion of blood to the local midges.

Coming home I was greeted with the sort of news that makes me thankful I began coaching even while I am only in the early stages of my own running career: Nothing lifts the mood better than hearing of another strong performance from an athlete you work with.

This particular runner, who shall remain unnamed under athlete-coach confidentiality, had his track debut yesterday and impressed with a strong time. Being new to roads and track, I have had high hopes for this athlete who possesses great natural speed and strength and therefore is a prime candidate to benefit massively from the aerobic conditioning of the Lydiard program. The first cycle has been a joy to watch with strong debut times on the half-marathon, 5k and now 3000m, each one set at an increasingly high performance level which bodes well for the first peak race in a few weeks time and better yet for the years to come.

Your debut on the track is a very special thing, despite the nature of it, standing there between the white lines can be more daunting than staring up at the steepest mountain. The track does not throw steep slopes at you, rather its lack of natural barriers sweep away the field of runners in a hurricane of their own making, a place where a second’s unawareness is not punished by falls or a resort to slow trudge, but rather imprisonment in a boxed position or the breaking of a tiny gap to that all-important wind-shield meant to deliver you effectively within striking distance of the finish line.

Nine days to get healed. Two weeks ago I was meant to stop thinking of racing and start doing it. I still wait.