Perspiring, pushing, panting, pausing, pressing, preparing. The mental state, physical capabilities, emotional adaptations, spiritual awareness. These sum up all the factors contributing to the mood and state that I am in during this competition season.
It began with the Brisbane Track Classic. It has been a long time since I last raced in Australia, the last meet was in Darwin when I was 17. I love the weather at this time of the year in Australia; it is cool, not too humid and sunny at the same time. Prior to competing in Brisbane, I was supposed to head to the Adelaide Track Classic. However, I had a hamstring scare. In addition, I did not have a single sprint session training so it was not feasible to start competing. I had to give it a miss and that shortened my plan to compete as I was left with 5 weeks before the close of the qualifying season. The Brisbane Track Classic was a good start and I managed to clock a season’s best of 10.62s.
I have been changing my running style, and I’m still adapting to the difference between an Asian to a Western technicality. Now I am running a consistent 10.6s for the past 3 races. However, I am still puzzled by what I have been doing correctly or wrongly. In sprinting, the action is so quick that to the normal eye, it looks good and the same. But when you break it down to many more frames per second in the slow-motion function of the camera, the differences in the angle of each joint has a vast effect in the role of force production.
Looking back and reflecting after each race is important as it helps you understand the difference that has been implemented. Looking at my race in Brisbane, I realized that my stride efficiency was good; there was not much of a break in the momentum. The area that I can improve on was to produce more force with each step a.k.a put more emphasis on the feet action toward the ground. I had to PUSH more with each stride yet remain relaxed.
In sprints, the heart rate increases rapidly due to the short burst of energy while the rate of PANTING increases after the race. Some world class sprinters hold their breath to reduce the amount of rapid air intake to maintain their heart rate. For the longest time, I wanted to adapt to that style but it was really difficult because it felt like I was tensing up too much. After watching the World’s Fastest Man – Usain Bolt sprinting and breathing with each step, it was an indication to follow suit.
The PERSPIRATION from our sweat glands increases with increased body temperature and heart rate. However, in a low humidity climate, it gets increasingly hard to perspire, thus harder to lose heat. I actually love perspiring as it feels great to feel the ‘effect of working out’. In order for me to PRESS towards my goal, I need time to PAUSE is important to allow muscle recovery, neuromuscular stimulus and mental relaxation. This month has been challenging as I have been racing 3 weekends in a row (Brisbane Track Classic, Sydney Track Classic, Hong Kong Track Series 2), with the 77th Singapore Open up next. It will be held in the Sports Hub for the first time and it will be last competition to qualify individually for the individual events; the stress and pressure is on everyone to perform at their best. It will be a challenge for myself to PREPARE and focus all my energy on this race weekend.
I thank God for His everlasting promises in Hebrews 10:36 (NIV) “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised”. Sprinting has been a gift from God; His doors are still open for me. I am going to trust and persevere to give nothing than my best and to enjoy sprinting for His glory! To God be the glory and praise!