Time To Go Fast

As I travel home from a post-work training session, happy that I was coerced into joining a track session, I now know the scale of the task ahead of me. I have an inkling of a plan to compete in Masters athletics once again, it gave me a target, a definite goal to aim for. Having not raced for nearly a decade, my training has been very generalised, no specific aim except to retain a modicum of fitness.
Sprinting, the discipline I pursue in Masters athletics requires a tailored type of training. Being fast is, of course, a requirement, but that is not all there is to it. There is acceleration, strength, endurance and reaction to consider, all whilst trying to stay relaxed and let your body go fast.
The quest for speed can be all consuming, the technical aspects of sprinting more intricate than most realise. There are distinct phases in a race, beginning with the stillness and focus, ending ten, twenty metres past the finish line. Even though I know how to sprint and run, understand the mechanics, have been fortunate enough to train with people who have vast experience in athletics, I still have a gnawing feeling of not being particularly fast or quick.
The truth is, this is just a midlife dream chase. I remember as a boy mimicking a character from the martial arts television show The Water Margin, who ran like the wind. I would make wind sounds and bound around the playground, in my mind, whizzing at high, wind-like speed. Of course, I wasn’t. I was slow, especially in comparison to other kids my age.
More than four decades later I am still trying to be fast, even with so many other things that could use my undivided attention, the quest for quickness goes on. This goes beyond fitness or health, this is a personal journey to see if I still have the wherewithal to achieve a goal, a big goal. Probably not since training for a black sash in kickboxing have I really pushed myself to attain a specific goal.
That is not to say I have not achieved anything in the past twenty years, it just means that nothing has seemed as challenging since my kickboxing days. Admittedly, I have not sought out challenges. I have allowed work and relationships and chasing ‘The Joneses’ to get in the way of a life. I have, like so many, allowed myself to be comfortable in apathy, just accepting life’s twist and turns, bumps and lumps with an apathetic shrug.
I have been coasting through life for a while and not just when it comes to training. Work has for a long time been a monotonous and repetitive chore, my approach to it has reflected that. Not so much my classes, which I enjoy, but my personal training and, obviously, my own training, have taken a real hit on the enthusiasm front.
My interest in fitness has always remained high, it has just been my application of it that diminished for various reasons, none of which would have probably affected my approach to fitness individually, but as a collective has eroded my drive and confidence in the industry.
So it is back to basics. Not exactly where it all began – that would be with martial arts and I think I may be a bit too long in the tooth to be getting punched in the face on a regular basis anymore! – back to the track, where my fitness career, work and experience really came about. I had never trained as a track athlete in my youth, never even ran on a track before I was thirty, but after martial arts, it is probably the sporting discipline I now know most about, not only through my own experiences but also from the vast experience of the many athletes and coaches I have been lucky to meet whilst working at a track.
It is time to rediscover that feeling, that drive. It is time to go…..fast!

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