9 months later…

As is the norm with this blog, my posts get increasingly spread out. It’s now been almost 9 months since my last post way back in April.

It has been a challenging year for us all. However, I’m happy to say that I’ve faired better than many. I’ve been working full time and have plenty to do. Several colleagues at work have been furloughed for several months while the Covid-19 pandemic grips the country… and world.

The good news is that several vaccines are becoming available and there are hopes that life may return to normality over the next 6 months although social distancing, face masks, bubbles etc may last for much longer than that.

During the 9 months, I’ve continued to work from home. This is something I’m very used to doing so it hasn’t really been a challenge at all, apart from when one or both boys are at home and they’re feeling needy! Their school has a shortage of teachers due to self-isolation so each of the boys does home schooling one day a week.

I’ve been busy providing Lordshill Road Runners with two virtual S&C sessions per week and in recent weeks I’ve also been recording an extra session. As well as that, I’ve produced a 25-video running course based on the content I used to deliver face-to-face. That has been watched by quite a few members and the feedback has been very positive.

The virtual S&C sessions have been going well although a few technical glitches have occurred in the last week or so due to a recent release of OBS Studio that’s been less than perfect in terms of its stability. Having said that, it’s given me the opportunity to extend the capability of the application I used to deliver the sessions to work around issues if they do arise.

In the picture below, you’ll see 3 screens. In the top left screen, the zoom application is running. This is where I can keep an eye on the participants. Underneath is the lower left screen in which OBS is running. This gives me a larger view of the content that I’m streaming. On the bottom right screen is my application that is mostly a control panel which allows me to transition through the session automatically putting up information panes (health and safety), exercise names, starting the timer as well as being able to swap between the two camera I currently use and, if one dies mid-session (which does happen) override which camera is being used. It now also allows me to jump between sections of the session without having to click through each individual transition. You’ll also spot a couple of crib sheets of the warmup exercises as I struggle to remember the order of the 19 or 20 transitions of dynamic stretches in that section of the session.

The view I have when delivering S&C sessions – excuse those lace curtains!

As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also been coaching a couple of club members which I’m really enjoying. Based on their plans, I’ve prepared an 8-week plan that I’m sharing with my Facebook group and several other members are following that.

The 8 week mesocycle

I’m also following the plan and am enjoying having a focus to my running. My distances are increasing and at the weekend I ran almost 8 miles including some meaty uphill sections including Bassett Green Road and Dell Road as part of LRR’s Scavenger Hunt challenge. I felt I could have run further so am targeting a 10-mile run this coming weekend and maybe a half marathon distance run before the end of the year. I used to loathe hills, avoid them where I could, and then suffer afterwards. With participating in 3 S&C sessions per week and a progressive training plan that includes a fair amount of hill sessions, I’m pleased to say that I’m now really enjoying them!

I was recently, and very kindly, nominated for the England Athletics Regional Volunteer Awards by several club members. This was a lovely gesture. Unfortunately, several other far more worthy coaches/leaders/officials from other clubs in the region deservedly won and I wasn’t shortlisted. Maybe next year…

Finally, although I’m a Coach in Running Fitness and have completed several other CPD courses including Movement Skills 1 and 2 and attended even more webinars covering Physical Preparation, I wanted to take my knowledge to the next level, and I’ve decided I want to quality as a Level 4 REP/CIMSPA accredited Strength and Conditioning Coach. That journey is likely to take me between 4 and 6 months and includes assessments and a case study. It is also costing several hundred £££s as it’s an accredited course. I like to immerse myself in knowledge and think that this qualification will be invaluable to the ‘services’ I offer fellow club members. I’m currently working my way through the fundamental modules of the course and hope to complete those in the next couple of weeks. The 80 or so study hours after that will take me into the Spring of 2021. Wish me luck!

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