No, not gallloping very quickly with a tiny Irishman on my back. Instead, I have decided to take a leaf out of the late, great Ginger McCain’s book by using the golden(ish) sands and azure(ish) shallows that run alongside my adoptive, one horse home town of Southport to make my long runs a little more effective and enjoyable, while endeavouring to avoid more injuries.
After all, this is the training regime that enabled Red Rum to win a record three Grand Nationals. So if it was good enough for him, I’m bound to say that it’s good enough for me; especially as I generally look like an old nag that’s been ridden hard and put away wet after a training session anyway.
You see, having reached the age where it’s nigh on impossible to train hard and still make it uninjured to the start line of a few races every year, it’s definitely time to start training smarter; especially as this year’s big date with destiny is the Rat Race Scotland Coast to Coast. Naturally, that means spending more time making use of the sand dunes to reduce strike impact. But current thinking is that soft ground can be just as problematic as pavements, as it can allow the heel to fall below the level of the front of the foot, thus overstretching the Achilles, not to mention putting additional stresses on ankle ligaments.
My new and revolutionary (for those of a non-equine persuasion) method enables me to run on hard-packed sand that has a little bit of give, while providing my feet and lower legs with a constant cool dousing of salty water, not to mention some useful additional resistance.
Naturally, it’s too early to say whether this rare splash of horse sense is going to help keep me injury-free in the future, but while I’m obviously not going to be troubling the bookies at Aintree, I can at least report that my new Red Rum Regime (which may well be the title of my best-selling exercise book if this all works out), has at least managed to reverse the terrifying decline in pace that’s been afflicting me for the last 18 months.
If the truth be told, that still means I’m running at more of a trot than a canter, but at least it proves, contrary to popular opinion, that I’m not ready for the knacker’s yard just yet…