midway into track season – the Timed Trial

Blog seems kinda empty now since the most recent update is STILL about Phuket marathon which was what, more than 1 month ago. (oh, and the SRC still hasn’t refunded us our subsidy yet…SEAN!!!!! *hint*)

So I thought it’d be good to have an update about our fantastic (and growing) running team now.  Response has been good for both guys and girls. Trainings at the track now actually consist of more people than you can count with one hand. clap clap! (pun about the sound of one hand clapping…)  At least now we don’t have to be embarrassed about hogging up the first two lanes when only 2 ppl are running.

For those not in the know, the university track’s actually open to public as well and it can get quite crowded in the evenings during practice, especially when other sports groups want to run as well. But being the school’s long distance team, it just doesn’t make sense to NOT have the right to use the track. Especially since we’re only using it twice a week, 3 hours each time, and only using 2 lanes.  Those who do interval sessions regularly would understand how awful it feels to run zigzag through a crowd and not being able to run regular splits. Anyhow, that problem has been minimised now.

Recently there’s been some issue with timed trials. The coach feels we need it and he needs it to assess our fitness. But we’re all not ready.

But seriously, no one looks forward to a timed trial, especially after not competing for a long period of time. Half marathons don’t count.  Logically speaking, it’s just a timed trial, it’s just an assessment of your fitness. There’s no consequence. You’re not gonna be eliminated from the team if you don’t hit any required timing. In fact, there is NO required timing to hit. It’s just an assessment.  So what’s the big fuss?

Here’s my take on every runner’s perpetual fear of timed trials. Sometimes even if there is no official required timing to hit, there still exists our own expectations of ourselves. Especially with competitive runners – the expectations can be so mesmerising, so pressurising that we just don’t want to face the fact we can’t meet our own expectations. (alright at this point of time you probably know I’m just talking about myself and from personal experience). ok, I admit, I’m scared shitless about the timed trial too. Who isn’t? No one’s training has been totally obstacle free and we all have niggling doubts here and there that “my current form really doesn’t do my potential any justice”. Or, for most of the guys, the timed trial’s too close to the Army Half Marathon that a full-fledged PB or an accurate display of one’s current fitness is simply out of the question. And for myself, I’m still bloody sick, coughing, sneezing and still unable to complete a light workout, what more do a full 3000m race.

So what’s the point of the trial?  You can’t produce a good timing, you don’t do much for your self esteem,  you waste the energy on something so pointless and at the end of it all, you’ll just feel like shit.

Maybe it’s just to separate those who Think they deserve a shot at the race, and those who really do. As quoted from a very esteemed senior, Mr two-time Nair:

(1) Don’t assume you ‘deserve’ to be selected just because you attend all trainings and run all time trials. You are responsible for your own fitness and only ‘deserve’ to be selected when people are convinced that you will earn points for the team.

(2) Also don’t assume you ‘deserve’ to be selected merely because you turn up for time trial and manage to beat someone else, or that your PB is better than someone else’s. PB’s are out of date and by the time the race comes, so is the time trial. You may find your oh-so-fast PB/time trial timing obliterated on race day by the other guy.Plus, you may not even hit your PB. If you are fast, its your job to make sure people know it.

Selection should be based on the total impression the athlete gives to everyone in the team (and maybe even opposing teams. do you scare them?), but more so to their own captain and coach. I have no comments as to who has the final say.

Finally, I just want to say train smart and train hard, and the rest will fall in place. Fighting over the last few places in the team is not an admirable position to be in. If you don’t make the cut, accept defeat and learn from your mistakes, you will make it the next time.”

A timed trial is a means, not an end.  yeah, so what if you don’t clock a timing that you expect, or worse, lose to someone that you’ve been whooping ass all along. There’s more than one variable that determines whether one would clock a good timing on any given day. There’s definitely a difference between genuine reasons for not performing, and merely giving excuses for yourself.

A timed trial is a must, especially with our expanding team now. Do now, do later it’s still inevitable. Most of us would be running AHM, so doing it now would still nevertheless be an accurate way of ‘ranking’. But heck, it’s not permanent. Many things can happen in 1.5 months. Someone could take EPO, steroids, testosterone shots, or all 3 (I’m speaking hypothetically of course. But if you notice any of the girls suddenly growing a beard…..) . I’m sick, and if I do a timed trial on thursday or even next week when I’m recovered, it’s still gonna be quite shit, judging by the lack of training for the past week(s). But if one can still do an ok timing when just recovered, imagine what she could do when fully recovered. OR, if one does a shit timing, it’s still ok, sick what. Anyway it’s still gonna be pretty ok unless you start walking.

Perhaps I’m just comforting myself. Cos like everyone else, Timed Trials are still something to be feared. But maybe we just need to all get over it, and get it over and done with. No one likes CAs but we all gotta do it anyway. what the heck, it’s only 20% of the overall grade anyway…..

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One thought on “midway into track season – the Timed Trial

  1. Hey Sean… was wondering if u can help me by giving me the email to Dean of SRC…. wanna have tea wif him.. lol ;p

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