Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sligo Athletic Club News: Running Shoes

It was day 5 on our training camp in Johannesburg at 1800 Mt's above sea level. The temperature was 32 degrees. Robert Heffernan 8th in the Olympic games 20 klm race walk in Beijing was doing a 40 klms training session. This was the longest distance Rob had ever walked. He is preparing to make his debut over 50 klms in a race in Dudence in Slovakia at the end of March. I gave him his drinks at every 2 klms point along the route.His finishing time for the 40 klms was 3hrs 12Min's. 40 klms is just 2 klms short of the marathon distance so his time would equate to a 3hrs 22Min's marathon. This statistic will give the readers of this column some idea of the speed that our elite race-walkers travel at. Bearing in mind that this training session took place at altitude and in such hot conditions is testimony to the ability of Rob when he does tackle the 50 klms event. That very evening of the 40 klms Rob was out again doing an 8 klms recovery session from his morning exertions. Colin Griffin from Ballinamore is also training for 50 klms and he will be racing that distance in the world race-walking cup in Mexico in mid may.One morning after a 5 klms warm up Colin done a 7 x 2 klms in 8 Min's 50 secs per rep. However, the key to this session was his recovery between each rep where he covered 1 km in 4 Min's 45 secs. A lot of athletes make the fatal mistake of allowing too much recovery time between each rep. Remember there is no recovery time in a race. Jamie Costin another one of our athletes here done a similar session to that but he done it much quicker as he is training for 20 klms. I know many athletes in Sligo are now training for a spring marathon. While its essential that they have one long run weekly, they should include sessions such as I have just outlined. Training for race-walking at 20 and 50 klms is very similar to training for a marathon. Great emphases on the training here is the amount of time the athletes put in off the track and road. Gym work core work, flex ability, stretching and receiving physio are all part of the days work. Of course the other big thing is recovery. The 2 hour afternoon sleep is an essential part of every day as is the 8 hours sleep every night. Finally on behalf of all athletes, officials and supporters of Sligo Athletics congratulations to Mary Cullen on winning the Sligo Weekender overall award at the Annual Weekender awards night in the Clarion Hotel last Friday night. I have to say that since last weeks Running Shoes column I had a few text messages berating me for only describing her as Sligos best ever sports women. They all reckon she is the best sports person ever to come out of Sligo and I have no problem with that!

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