Vic Mitchell talks about her recent race in the Hunter Track Classic and takes a look at what went wrong.
You know something is wrong when running feels like a big chore and when you watch other athletes and feel tired just thinking of doing what they are! It was only about two weeks ago that I started to feel a bit overwhelmed, begging my coach not to make me run the 1500m on the 11th and thinking I needed to taper off the training so I would feel good. I ran easy for 2 days then rocked up to training Tues night and after doing 5 x 400m decent reps in 67-8secs off a 2min cycle I laboured to do 3.40 per km for my 4km tempo!! Crikey. Being the optimist I am I put it down to still needing to freshen up and stomped out that little voice of doubt that whispered ‘You’re f&*ked!’
I prepared as I usually do for any race and even feeling a little heavy in the legs in the warm up didn’t phase me as sometimes that happens and you run well. I went into the steeple confident and positive, starting at a good pace and taking the lead regardless of my heavy legs. ‘Work into it Vic’ I told myself, just execute the race plan I reminded myself as Heiner took the lead. All I have to do is stay within one metre of her. But it was only 2 laps into the race that I wanted to step off the track, feeling like I was 100kg and getting slower and slower. What a nightmare. I remember running past the clock approaching the 200m mark and it was showing my PB of 9.30. I thought to myself ‘I’m supposed to be crossing the finishing line about now’ as I blocked everyone out and just trudged on. I wished I had teleportation powers to beam myself out of there as soon as I crossed the line.
Being an experienced athlete I could rule out any mental lapse and surely no psychological issues could influence a performance to such a degree? Put me in a nut house if that’s the case! So it comes down to the physical and my gut instincts tell me my iron is low. It feels like this and I have been anemic on several occasions. I analysed my training and diet and it’s obvious that with the extra efforts at altitude I should have been supplementing my diet with iron rich foods or taken an oral supplement to facilitate the increased production of red blood cells my body would be trying to make. I also manipulated my period using the contraceptive pill so I could race during my strongest phase and this meant I had an extra menstruation this month.
If it turns out that it isn’t my blood then I will assume it’s overtraining due to my symptoms of fatigue. Either way it is time for me to scale back my 3 gym workouts per week to 1-2 during this competition phase of training. I’ll increase my easy running and maintain my speed sessions. I’m now a much stronger and robust athlete due to the foundation of gym work over the past 3-4 months so this should make for a great season and injury free running.