Last updated at 17:53, Monday, 13 August 2012
KNOWING I was attending an athletics class the next day, I should have kept my gym session to an hour.
But, after body pump finished, I found myself queuing up for the next gruelling hour-long session – body attack.
A very sporadic gym user, I tend to take a couple of weeks off before feeling guilty and trying to make up for my lack of exercise by working out for a couple hours when I next attend.
And it wasn’t until I woke up in agony the next day, struggled to walk up the stairs at work and felt physically sick at the thought of attending an athletics class, that I realised what a mistake I had made.
Athletics is one of the most popular sports that will feature at the London 2012 Olympic Games and it is also the biggest single sport, featuring 2,000 athletes competing in 47 events: running, walking, jumping and throwing for gold.
There are four main strands to the athletics competition: track events, such as the 100m; field events, which include the high jump and the shot putt; combined events such as the decathlon, a mix of track and field elements; and road events, among them the marathon.
My session with Barrow Striders began with the hurdles, a sport in which athletes are expected to be supple and flexible in their hips and thighs – two areas completely out of action for me from doing the squats the night before.
During the Olympics women will be running over 1m high hurdles, but luckily for me and my weak legs, training at St Bernard’s sports hall meant we were restricted to using much smaller plastic alternatives. Instructor Paul Burns talked me through the basics. “Don’t jump over the hurdles, you will lose momentum, it should be one long stride,” he explained.
“Try to reach out one arm to help you over them.”
A professionally trained hurdles coach, I took what Paul said into consideration – until reaching the top of the track.
With a horde of children watching me, getting the right technique went out the window, and all I set out to achieve was reaching the end of the race without tripping over.
After a few laps and attempting to correct my technique Paul noticed I was feeling the strain and suggested I have a go at the javelin.
Pleased to give my aching legs a rest, I picked up one of the foam javelins and joined a small group who agreed to show me how it was done.
The concept of throwing an object as far as I could seemed pretty easy but Paul assured me that there was a correct way to throw a javelin, to make it fly further.
After a briefing from Paul and the class I gave it a go myself, and was surprised at how much further it travelled just by twisting my elbow in the right direction.
As I had asked for an athletics taster session, and requested trying a few different disciplines, Paul let me have a few more throws and then rushed me over to the long jump area.
As a youngster the long jump had been my forte. A growth spurt during primary school saw me outgrow quite a number of my fellow pupils and I found that my longer legs gave me an advantage over the other children.
Fifteen years on, measuring an average 5ft 6in, with aching muscles and feeling very unfit, I found I was no longer a J.J. Jegede in the making.
Wincing every time my feet landed on the floor, I felt like an 80-year-old grandma, and embarrassingly had to give up before my knees gave way.
Watching the children having fun running around obstacles and trying their hand at shot putt, I was jealous that my body would not allow me to join in and cursed myself for going overboard at a far less interesting gym class.
- For information on trying athletics visit www.activecumbria.org/athletics
First published at 13:13, Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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