This year for me is focused around running 15 official marathons, a few of the majors and few smaller events such as my first in Anglesey. It’s great fun to be in official events; I always get excited when I pin my number to my kit and line up on the start line alongside hundreds or in some cases thousands of runners, with ability ranges from amateurs to world record holders (seriously excited to race in London with Paula Radcliffe AND Dennis Kimetto!)
This blog is about making another training day or free weekend your OWN event. Why do we need to wait for an event to pop up to compete? Why do we need to pay their entry fees? Why do we have to feel the pressure of the event we’ve been telling everyone about for months? Each and every time you put your sports gear on you have the chance to adventure into your own event. Pick an event/distance you saw during the Olympics and GO FOR IT, you’re guaranteed a GOLD, living outside your normal training plan/official event will give you physical and mental development as well as a sense of accomplishment in pushing yourself into a new experience.
In the summer of 2014, two years on from memories I will cherish forever from the London Olympics I ran two events in and around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park; the inaugural ‘Hackney Half Marathon’ and the ‘Anniversary Run’. On both occasions post race I took the chance of to relax on a sunny Sunday afternoon in the Olympic Park, this is when for the first time I went inside the velodrome. This was the one venue I was gutted to have missed out on during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I pictured cycling round the 250M track to the roar of 6,000 spectators with everything feeling so close and alive, Team GB excelling being a bonus. From this moment I decided I was going to cycle on that track in the worlds best velodrome.
At the end of last year I booked an introductory track session with a work colleague. I haven’t got a great deal of experience in the saddle and was going into this more for an experience rather than seriously thinking I would make it as the next Sir Chris Hoy. He is a keen road cyclist so when he mentioned he had no idea what to expect it gave me a little boost. We were actually quite early for our session, so watched Commonwealth champion Alex Dowsett train ahead of his attempt at the ‘Perfect Hour’ (attempt to break the world record for distance on a velodrome track in an hour, currently 51.852Km) His intensity and speed was ridiculous as it was inspiring.
As I walked out into the middle of the track from beneath the seating area, I had a smile on my face trying to recall all the professional cyclists which had made the same walk.
Track cycling accreditation at the Olympic velodrome is a four stage process and I’m planning to blog about the four stages at the end, so will keep this brief. I was amazed at the progress made by everyone in the group, no one fell off their bikes, no one took the coach out and no one freaked out in fear when facing the 42° inclines at each end. I was on an adrenaline bender for the whole hour! As we warmed up and honed our skills, we were rapidly moving up the track. As we were brought back in for another quick briefing, the coach discussed over taking as he could see our speed and eagerness was building. As I set off again, my adrenaline pumping it took me back to the feeling of bungee jumping, a case of just GO FOR IT! I built my speed up again and eyed up the ends, as well as others of course! I gained on each lap until before I knew it I was higher than the Lee Valley stickers you can see in the photo. I would thoroughly encourage you to experience the rush of track cycling!
In addition to my 15 marathons, this year I will compete in my first Ironman triathlon, to date I have never competed in a triathlon. Having cycled in the velodrome, I had ticked off something which I had been eager to do for months, now it was time to swim in the Olympic pool where Michael Phelps became the greatest Olympian of all time. It was also the first time I had swam in a 50M pool. I can swim but have never regularly swam so building up to 2.4 coastal miles is going to be a big challenge in itself. I plan to swim in the Olympic pool or an equivalent 50M pool as often as possible so mentally a length is 50M and hopefully this will build my endurance faster. Each time I swim I will attempt to swim at least a further 100M, on this occasion I started with 1000M.
Having cycled and swam in Olympic venues it made sense to make this an Olympic triathlon of sorts. I took a gentle 5K run around the park. It was good to see the park being fairly well used on a chilly January evening; I passed many runners, a few doing some intense speed training and a run group. My pace was easy but I had a smile on my face as I ran because I had done something new and no one else had trained as I had on that day.
This was my first triathlon, I didn’t get a medal nor a tee, I got the personal achievement of breaking my own boundaries.
I encourage you to create your own unique events, training days or even an adventurous weekend away in a national park with unlimited possibilities.
I’m really thankful for the support and donations to Macmillan Cancer Support I have received in recent weeks for my challenge this year. If you would like to donate, you can do so here
What’s next for Adventure Adam? Track cycling – stage 2 on Tuesday 3rd & my first training run with the Uganda Marathon team on Sunday 8th.
Have fun planning YOUR training session!