Friday, 14 November 2014

Running with the Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club

As I'm enjoying a week's annual leave from work, I have been able to have a run or a bike ride every day.  Unexpectedly I had TWO runs yesterday.  Furthermore my whole family went running!

You might have already clocked my youngest daughter, Hannah, has taken up kayaking and is really getting into it.  Now the clocks have changed to GMT a winter training programme has kicked in, supplementing the kayaking that takes place every Saturday morning.  So I said I'd take Hannah over to Linslade for the training and maybe join in.  Turned out Rachel wanted to come along, Becky too (eldest daughter).  Besides our friends Nettie and Charlie were going to be there too.

I had said to Hannah I would stick with her in whichever group she found herself in - there are two groups.  These were a faster/longer group and a slower/shorter group.  Hannah found herself pointed towards the faster/longer group and the others were with the slower/shorter group.

At 6:30om we were off!  The destination was a road name I didn't know and about 15 of us sped off into the night around Linslade; I didn't have a clue where we were going and I wasn't sure exactly what was going to be involved.  As a group we seemed to spread out quite quickly and everyone knew where they were going.  It was quite a fast pace but we kept up okay.  I should say this was a faster pace than I'm normally used to, especially in terms of getting warmed up but, I thought, "what the heck, let's just go for it".  The pace seemed to settle down as I was getting warmed up.

The interval training starts

We got to a residential area.  Reggie the coach explained we were all to run around the block as fast as we could; I think it was about half a mile, give or take a bit.  On getting back to the start we were to line up in the order we got back.  Next was to pair runners up, so the fastest was then paired with the slowest.  Then the second fastest with the second slowest.... and so on.

Hannah was paired with Nigel: grey haired, lean and fit looking.  I was paired with James, seriously fit looking.

The instructions then were this: run in opposite directions around the residential block with one jogging and the other going like the clappers.  When we met each other face-to-face we then "high 5'd" each other and turned to run back, switching from jogging to fast, or vice versa.  We were to do this five times.

This was great interval training i.e. fast and raising the heart and breathing rate for a few minutes, then settling down for a few minutes while jogging.  It was great!  I noticed that I was jogging slower than many - it was so tempting to go faster and I kept reminding myself of the instructions and the whole point of it all.  Naturally jogging for a few minutes brings my breathing and heart rate right down and then I could delight in run much faster for the next section.

It is just as well James was on-the-ball as I completely lost count of how many intervals we had done.  Once we had completed we reassembled ready to return to the Club House.  It was an opportunity to chat to both Reggie and James.  I asked James about his running, as it was obvious he was an accomplished runner and it was impressive to learn he had spent time running at 80 miles per week previously.  Eighty miles a week is seriously impressive but I guess there's a limit to how long that can be maintained for.

Fitting in with kayaking

I think LBCC are spot-on with their approach.  Being a good 'kayaker' or 'paddler' needs good all-round fitness and this is naturally of benefit anyway.  While the sport draws on upper body fitness, running and core based work all fits in and maintains good levels of fitness which is highly relevant for the kayakers.

It's also great to see such a wide cross section of club members - from youngsters right up to senior members with impressive levels of fitness.  They're a friendly bunch and it's nice getting to know them gradually.

I find myself wondering if I'm on the edge of getting drawn in to this new sport?  I wouldn't rule it out and there are real benefits from being a non-paddling member i.e. taking part in these training sessions.  You might have picked up already, I do like the opportunity to enjoy a nice 10 mile run on Saturday mornings and I do enjoy the "me" time as well.

Oh I should say Rachel, Becky, Nettie and Charlie enjoyed their session which was run on similar lines but on grass at a more gentle pace and shorter distances.

To sum up.... 

A nice club, nice company, nice atmosphere and nice to take part in this kind of group training.  I always find myself running faster with other people - and I know it's good for me!  An unexpected opportunity and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I guess we did around 5 miles.

Thanks to Reggie, James and everyone else at LBCC.  Here's their website: click here

Enforced fartlek training

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