Jon and I went back to Sutcliffe Park for our hurdles events. As ever the coaching was provided by Richard Houlihan and Craig ‘Bring the Noise’ Lacy from GLL.
Before we went over our first hurdle Richard had us warming up for over an hour – which he assured was the norm even for elite hurdlers. The training taught us basic technique and helped us to work out which leg was our leading leg (there’s no standard rule).
Crucially, it also got our hamstrings warmed up and taught us spatial awareness – the aim being to minimise the number of hurdles we clattered.
All important if we wanted to avoid injury because, as Richard memorably put it, hurdles are effectively a series of trip wires laid across the track.
There are three hurdles races in the Olympics and we needed to think about which height of hurdles we were going to jump over. We were strongly advised not to use the full height hurdles for the 110m hurdles as these are 1.06m high i.e. well above waist height. We took one look at them and realised that we were never going to be able hurdle ten of these in a row without doing ourselves some fairly serious damage.
We ended up using 84cm hurdles for the 100m hurdles. The 100m hurdle is a women only race at the Olympics and the 84cm is the full height they use. We used something similar for the 110m hurdles (a men only event at the
Olympics) and 76 cm hurdles for the 400m (the height the women use at the Olympics).
It’s certainly not easy doing the hurdles. Stride pattern is absolutely crucial and there were any number of occasions when I thought I set off too close or too far from the hurdle. And trying to run 400m while also hurdling is completely exhausting.
In the end we got round without mishap and just about hit our usual goal of trying to complete the track events in twice the world record. (In my case, I recorded 1’30” for the 400m ; 24.9″ for the 110m hurdles and 24.5″ for the 100m hurdles.)
Thanks as ever to Richard and Craig for another fantastic session. And as always, if you could find time to sponsor my challenge (in aid of NSPCC, Cancer Research UK, Oxfam, Right To Play and Scope), then please visit my fundraising page. Every little is appreciated.