It was Vinny who first told me about the Saturday morning sessions and invited me along. Prior to this my preparation for the Parish Walk involved heading out and getting as many miles in as possible, whereas Vinny was insistent that only by training with walkers that are faster than you, will you get any better. The first few times I went out with the group I really struggled, but slowly I started improving and keeping up! I soon learnt that performance on the day is about the quality of the miles you do, rather than the quantity. In the build up to the 2010 Parish Walk my peak mileage in a week was probably 70 miles, whereas this year was probably no more than 40 and the improvement was evident. Also, if you are doing too many miles your body doesn't get time to recover properly between long walks.
The Saturday walks are mainly interval training, which are bursts of high-intensity work interspersed with periods of low-intensity work. So after warming up, we will do say half a mile quickly and then take it easy, quick again, and so on. Personally, I think this type of training is quite difficult to do if you are on your own, so going out in a group works for me. Also, Vinny puts a lot into his training, so he is constantly at the front setting the pace if he thinks it has slacked off!
After the walk I had an exciting start to my afternoon, as I had to do some ironing. However, the rest of the family was out, so I watched the
Went to the pub to watch the 5.30pm KO, which was Man United v Aston Villa with Vinny and Michael Bonney (also a 4 time Parish Walk finisher) and undid the good work in the morning with a few pints of Guinness. Not a great match, but we won and that's the main thing. After the match I had a few games of darts and pool with Michael - I knew beforehand through the walking that he was competitive, but didn't realise just how much! It's fair to say I got hammered at darts, but we were even on the pool.