When I first started out with race walking last September, I naively thought I would have no problems, either technically or physically. How hard can it be ?
I now know, not only it is hard to perfect your technique, it can be extremely stressful on the body if you are not properly in shape. I went to see a physio last week ( won't mention names but can highly recommend this person if you ask me ) about my bad back and came out of the session with my head in a whirl - I never knew there was so much wrong with me ! I only went in for a haircut and came out with a makeover ! I found out the arches on my feet were worn away, my calves needed stretching, my core was weak as were my hamstrings, my buttocks were not functioning at all and I have one hip higher then the other. Oh is that all ! We never even got to my back during the hour long session. Basically I was told that I had been happily plodding through life as a Ford but was suddenly trying to convert myself into a Ferrari ( well not in my case but you know what I mean ) and my body was having none of it.My lack of muscle tone has been contributing to my ailing back. So I am going to have at least 8 weeks of intensive physio to strengthen up the critical muscles and also hopefully prevent major injuries.
Anyone else who is a newcomer to racewalking and has maybe been inactive for a while, I would strongly advise getting yourself checked out first with a professional to make sure your engine is up to the stresses and strains of the sport.The mechanics of how your body works is important to know beforehand if you intend to take up this game. I am only glad I went now and didn't leave it until later as there is no way I would finish the Parish in my current condition. In addition to training and working on my technique, I now have 4 months to build up muscle strength.
The turn out for the Final round of the Winter League yesterday was tremendous with a really high class field with Peter Kaneen, Sean Hands, Mike George and fellow blogger Steve Partington in attendance ( nice to see Steve out, the local race walking scene needs him ). I make no excuses for mentioning my father- in- law Dave Capelen who to his credit was competing less than 2 months after a serious heart attack. Well done mate. Also thumbs up to his brother Simon, who despite minimal training, dipped below the hour mark for 10K in his first race for god knows how long.
The race went fine for me but as usual I went too quick in the early stages of the race and paid for it in the middle. I gritted my teeth for the final 2 miles and was pleased with my time of 66min 54s, knocking almost 2 minutes off my last time. However, I know that my technique is slowing me down and I need to work on it badly. It is a pity the league is now finished so I will have to keep one eye on the fixtures - a race really does bring you on.
One thing I must admitting to not doing is enough ( or any for that matter ) hill repeats. Everyone I talk to stresses the importance of this to build up stamina. This will be my objective over the next couple of weeks - honest !