Welcome to my weekly blog!  

The purpose of this blog is to help athletes see what training/sacrifice and dedication is required to achieve their goals as well as let them see that during a structured training mesocycle, there will be highs and lows; and hopefully it will help you understand what it takes to believe that the glass is half full and not half empty.  It will also let you see my full training rota with 'No Secrets'... a lot of athletes or coaches are very secretive over what they do, or what they advise.  How is that approach ever going to develop future athletes?  As a full time athletics coach, I want to let people see what they get from me before they commit to being coached.  'Would you ever buy a car without taking it for a test drive or knowing what it can do?'

I am not an author, nor do I know how to use spell checker, so please take that into consideration when reading...

Mark McManus

Copyright All Stars Sports Academy 2015. All rights reserved.

WEEK 1:  "FINDING PARAMETERS"

10/04/2016

After a pretty successful year last year, I was pleased, but I am still very eager to improve as I know I made many mistakes in training, my main mistake was being self coached...I was trying to set sessions, run sessions, coach sessions, but I wasn't seeing certain things that NEEDED to be seen, like fatigue buildup etc... So this year, I have been very fortunate to be put in contact with a guy who I'm really pleased to call Coach .... His knowledge of athletics is second to none, and I am already benefiting from his vast knowledge... Such a helpful man!!!
A friend of mine asked me....."if you post all your training online, you will get people copying it and benefiting from your coach!!".... That doesn't annoy me at all.... In fact it excites me!! But I need to issue a warning now... The training that will be posted is VERY INTENSE, and not suitable for everyone, I've been specifically base building for this plan for over 5 months, so if you have not a sufficient quality base built, please DO NOT attempt to copy, as it's a sure fire way to end up injured!! This plan is specific to ME.....!!

Monday: 6x300m @ 80%
This was a total shock to my system.... I headed to the Town Park on a cold, windy day to attempt my first attempt as speed work since August last year, after a pretty intense warm up I headed to the start line, I was quaking..... And if you know me, that's not me!! But I was so unsure on what speed to run these intervals.... I was scared to 'over cook' the 1st interval and totally wreck the whole session, but was also dubious of not committing enough and 'jogging' intervals. But once I bit the bullet and started the stop watch, it came natural.... I was buzzing, actually didn't even notice the cold or wind!! 300m is roughly 1 lap of the town park if you know the area... I Ran all 6 intervals between 46.1 & 47.3 seconds, cool down, stretches & protein was next on the list.... Followed by the dreaded WORK.....:-((

Tuesday: 30mins Steady run & strides
I woke up on Tuesday morning and felt like I'd got a beating.... DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness), it was expected but not to this scale.... Boy I was stiff!!! After loads of stretching during the day, I was ready to do an easy 30mins run around the Town Park while I was coaching East Coast ACs speed session!! Session finished off with strides to 'reboot' the legs after 30mins continuous running

Wednesday: 30m accelerations & 100m short recovery session
Again my good old friend DOMS were present again, but I headed out early on Wednesday morning to complete this session before work... The accelerations are very important to me, as these were one of my flaws from last year... But this year I'm gonna be as sharp as a tack with these in my sessions,if you stand and watch 30m accelerations look easy, but they are playing a vital role in an athletes development regardless of their age or ability... After these I got stuck into the 12x100m with short recovery... This is a very tough set, as you are never fresh and ready to start at each interval and the lactate levels just keep increasing, but this is what I need to feel in training as its what I'm gonna face on a massive scale come race day!! Session completed and off to work.....


Thursday: 30min steady run with strides
Again I was lucky enough to be able to incorporate this session into my clubs training session, 4.6 miles at a steady pace in the time which was followed by my increasing set of strides, DOMS were now gone and my body is adapting well.... No niggles or injuries.... So all good!!! Protein and 8 hrs sleep needed!!

Friday: Off
Boy I needed that.... Woke up like I just slept for an hour, really tough, busy day at work, so a day off training was perfect for today, still spent a bit of time stretching though!! ‪#‎goidpractise‬


Saturday: 3x200m, 1x900m, 1x110m
Since Thursday, I was being warned by coach that this was gonna be tough... And I can tell you.... He wasn't lying...lol!! This was more intense than any session I done the whole of last year, and it's only day 6 of my plan!! I travelled to Mary Peters Track to complete this as I felt it was important to start replicating things early in my plan... There were many points during this session where I wanted to pull the plug and go home, but NO.... Not a chance!!! Determination is running through my veins this year.... I WONT BE DEFEATED!!! So the session was completed as set.... ✔ a wee bonus as well was after the session I checked my times/paces (not something I usually care about) but during one of the 200m intervals, my average moving pace was 2-48 min/mile.... Not too shabby for a 41 year old!!! Full session completed and headed home with a massive confidence boost.... WOW that was good!!!

Sunday: 40mins easy run 
It was a beautiful morning for this run, so it was a pleasure to put on the trainers and headphones for this easy run, I left drains bay and made my way over to carnfunnock, up past the old hospital grounds, and out into the back forest, headed to the far entrance and then retraced my way back, it was awesome.... For the 1st time this week I was able to enjoy my music, and again if you know me, you'll know how much music is important to me, it motivates me and my current playlist is in my opinion.... The best one yet!!!

Song of the Week: Stormzy.... Shut Up, if you've never heard it, maybe you should!! Lol!!

I hope yous have all enjoyed this 1st blog of my training, I will be posting every Sunday evening, but in the meantime if you have any questions or wanna know more please feel free to contact me anytime.....please also feel free to LIKE & SHARE "ALL STARS SPORTS ACADEMY"

Mark McManus

WEEK 2:  "TIME MANAGEMENT"

17/04/2016

Hi everyone, hope yous are all well??.... Grab yourself a coffee and chill while you read this weeks episode... It could very well be a long blog this week as it has been hectic to say the least... Hence this weeks blog title "Time Management".... I hope yous all enjoyed Week ones blog, I've heard some great feedback from yous, for which I'm thankful, also a bit of positive criticism, which I'm more than happy to take, after all I want this blog to be able to give you an Insight to ME!! The training, work, partner, father & coach!! (Obviously not in that order!! Lol) So this weeks blog will have a bit more non running content so it may give you a better idea of the commitment/dedication it takes to be a 'part time athlete' with a full time job, which pretty much ALL of us are!!

Monday: Session: 200/600/3x400/110m
Everything started really well on Monday.... Woke up nice and early (for me) and had breakfast, packed my training gear ready for a morning of speed work, dropped my boys off to school for 9am and immediately headed to the Town Park to get the session started, today's session was all about parings... The first 200m&600m were to be run at specific paces to start the build up of lactic, the 3x400m segment was the most intense part with the paces expected to be much quicker but consistent.... All 400ms were run in under 60seconds, session finished with a flat out 110m to replicate a heavy lactate feeling at the end of a race!!! Totally Busted is the best way to describe it, but also invigorated.... What a way to start a week... While everyone else is running in the 'Rat Race" I'm running intervals.... What a feeling.... Although while lying in the bandstand drinking my protein, I remembered the horrible fact that I had to go to work this afternoon.... DAMN!!! But thankfully I still had time to call into The Prom to meet up with 3 lovely ladies for a coffee and a croissant, lunchtime soon came and after a quick change that Superman would have been proud of.... I was on my way to work!!! For those who don't know.... I'm a self employed Carpet Fitter & also an Athletics Coach, today was Carpet fitting only... Staircase in Larne, bathroom in Larne followed by a bathroom in Doagh, the afternoon soon disappeared as it was 5pm before I got home, quick dinner and I was out the door again.... For an important 6-30pm meeting, I'm a big believer in reaping what you sow, so I keep trying to plant seeds regardless of opposition met!! Arriving home at 8pm, just in time to put my boys to bed.... Boy what a day, thankful that they are all not like that!! But I knew tomorrow was gonna potentially be worse....

Tuesday: Session: 40mins Steady & Strides
Unfortunately today I didn't have the luxury of training in the morning, nor coffee in the prom!! Lol!! Straight to work after dropping the boys to school, a large staircase in Larne in the morning followed by a large bedroom in Ballynure was the fittings I had on, but it kept me busy until 12.30pm, arriving home and prepping junior training session while eating lunch, I was back out the door to Coach after schools athletics from 2pm-3pm with kids aged 4-7.... This is a very rewarding part of my life, I absolutely love coaching these kids the fundamentals of my sport, someday we will be seeing some of these kids performing as a professional sportsperson all because they were given a chance, finished coaching and headed home for a bit more paperwork for my athletic clubs (East Coast AC) launch of our new Junior training group.... This group has been in the pipeline for over a year now, but the conditions were not correct until now, this group is for all kids aged 11-16, and until now it was our clubs missing link in the progressive pathway from infancy to adult, but we now have it secured and the future of East Coast AC looks VERY BRIGHT!! So at 6pm I went to the Town Park to coach this group with my assistant coaches, what a turn out, our market research on that age group was correct.... There is a massive market there for this age group, of which we can accommodate easily, if you or your child would like to get involved in ANY TRAINING GROUPS mentioned in this blog, feel free to contact me anytime... mark@allstarsni.co.uk 
At 7pm I had moved my coaching position, I was now at Sandy Bay for East Coast ACs Senior training, this was my opportunity to get my session done too, 40mins with great company, that's how I like to train!!

Wednesday: Session: 500/400/300/200/100m & 300m
Yet again Wednesday was a work day 1st.... Today I started to feel a bit jaded... Really couldn't rise my head off the pillow this morning, fatigue has hit!! But none the less, the same drill.... Boys were packed off to school for 9am and I was straight to work!! Starting off with a unnecessary drive back to Doagh to look at Monday's vinyl fitting.... After 60 seconds of work I was on my way back to my 1st real job... A large staircase on Bay Rd, Larne.... This took me to after 12-30pm, so yet again I was in Superman mode, quick change and food so I could be at my 2hour session of Afterschools athletics for another primary school from 2pm-4pm, again it was awesome to be working with these kids.... Some new faces from P1 in my first group.... So I had to be on my best behaviour and make their experience an enjoyable one, after finishing coaching, I didn't even make it home to get changed again.... In the carpet shop toilet (sorry M) but I was on my way to Ballycarry for another large staircase booked in for after 4pm.... It certainly was after 4pm alright... 5pm start, although I didn't mind too, as this was in a house that I remember so well... It was one of the jobs that has stuck in my head for years.... I done this staircase 14 years ago with a green/blue tartan carpet.... It was still down when I arrived, so I had a wee laugh and a yarn about it with the owner... Looked like new.... ' must be the way it was fitted!!!' Lol.... Any way I was heading back home just before 7pm, Jenny was working so I was In charge of the bedtime routine with the boys... They were sorted & tucked up in bed for 8-30pm, I'm sure you've noticed.... I've missed something..... Yip!! As the time ticks by and my motivation levels decrease, I've still a speed session to do!! This session was balancing on a knife edge at this point... I NEEDED to do it, but I really wanted to go to bed!!! So I made my decision..... At 9-30pm I left the house to head to the Town Park to do this session!! I had won the battle in my opinion.... Normally a runners concern in the town park is the numerous dogs running around off leads, but not tonight, they were all tucked up in bed... But tonight I had a different problem..... Teenagers..... I'm not one to tar with a brush, but the attitude and language I received from these kids was nothing short of horrendous.... Thankfully things like that doesn't intimidate me.... In fact the total opposite.... When it comes to my training or any my athletes training, I take NO BULL.... Apart from the rowdy teenagers, tonight's session was really tough... Maybe due to fatigue or maybe due to the time of day, but it's done and done well, I now now with all the good endorphins pumping I was not going to be asleep anytime soon!! Lol

Thursday: Session: 30 min Tempo & Strides & Hurdles
Yet again it was the same drill for me today, boys to school & straight to work, but today was slightly different... I was going to a job today where I knew I'd be for 2 days... A MASSIVE job.... 2 Bedrooms and a HUGE Border Staircase, I had been dreading this job for 2 weeks, but it was now here, after a full morning of heavy lifting & cutting I was ready to perform my Superman moves again to head to my final Afterschools sessions of the week.... 2pm-4pm.... Because I was so busy in the morning I had missed my lunch, so I was totally starving when I arrived home, thanks to Jenny for always sorting that problem ❤❤.... More paperwork as tonight our Cheetahs started back training tonight... Aged 4-11, this is East Coast ACs youngest junior group, so there I was from 5-30pm setting up, and from 6pm coaching, same drill as Tuesday night 7pm I was now at Sandy Bay with the Senior group.... Due to the massive help of our coaching team/leaders I was able to be off Rota, so I could complete my session without concern... It'd been a long time since I had done any tempo work, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, apart from the huge blister that had appeared on my 2nd toe, boy it was sore... It had burst and was exposed, need to look after this as I've a weekend of hard training to come!! Tonight was the first also that I was using the hurdles... Including walk throughs, up & unders, lateral leg raises and also a bit of plyo... The hips/pelvis were burning... All good though!! Protein & Bed!!!!

Friday: Session: Off
No 'official' training today, but with the work that lay ahead today I would beg to differ.....back to my border staircase..... Starting at 9-30am I kinda walked out of the house at 5pm, bit more of a shuffle if I'm honest.... My back is broke!!! ‪#‎tooold‬ 
I was so glad to get home from work as I knew Friday night is Chinese night in our house.... And I was thinking about this from lunchtime.... To be honest Friday evening was pretty uneventful and nothing too interesting happened, I couldn't move off the sofa.... What a week of work, thank goodness it's not normally like this.....

Saturday: Session: Test/400/200/200/300m
Woke up on Saturday morning with MASSIVE FATIGUE.... Had planned to go to the Mary Peters track in Belfast to complete this session, but my motivation level was in minus numbers... I just wanted to eat & sleep.... So I kinda did!! 3pm I had another meeting, which I scraped myself together and attended.... I'm glad I did as it totally remotivated me!! Spent the rest of the day with Jenny & the boys..... But all I wanted was Bedtime...... Guess what..... Yip, no session!!! Sometimes you've got a take a step back to progress.... Today was that day!!!

Sunday: Session: 40min Steady Run & Strides
So glad I didn't train yesterday, I've woke up this morning fully charged after 11hrs sleep... So I have a session or 2 to do!!! Breakfast consumed and boys delivered to Granny & Grandas for their weekly spoiling session, I was out training by 10am with maximum motivation.... I also had just git some new Nike training gear, and as we all know how much new gear makes you feel.... I coulda ran in the Olympic 400m final this morning... I really felt that good!! Definitely made the correct decision yesterday.... So today's speed session was carried over from yesterday, it is a test run, 3 intervals totalling 800m to be done at 800m race pace, with short jog recoveries, finished off with 300m at max speed.... What a session.... Thank you KD....!! All splits were hit exactly.... And the last 300m is all about how much hurt/burn you can tolerate, and everything still felt good to about 170m, but from that to the end, my quads, calves, hamstrings, hip flexors were on FIRE, but I kept driving, I kept saying to myself...... 'How do you expect to get faster if you ease off when it gets tough!!' Too many people stay in their comfort zones.... I was told by KD to suffer in this interval..... And I can assure you I lifted my game for it.... It's the quickest 300m interval I have ran since I was 19....(22 years).... I wanna be in a position when I race my GOAL RACE that I can say that I gave everything... Last year, I like my comfort zone, but this year the barriers are already broken, and I love it!!! My advice to anybody is this..... Never look back on anything and say 'what if!!' Commit to it NOW.....
After a short recovery, I was back out on the trails at Carnfunnock completing my 40mins steady run, it felt really good too especially when I met Jenny to conclude the run, back to the Car Park for my strides and I was really chuffed with a comment I received..... To date all of my speed session have been completed alone, so having Jenny there while I was doing strides was helpful, she is also an athletics coach & PT so she knows what to be looking for.... While doing my strides she told me that I was 'much looser and faster than this time last year' this has done wonders to my confidence as I feel it, but it's hard to know, and as I really respect her opinion, it helped me loads!! 


Motivation Level - 100%
Confidence Level - 110% (not arrogance.....CONFIDENCE!! There is a difference)

Can I take this opportunity to thank everybody involved in helping me on a daily basis, without your help/encouragement/support this would be impossible.... So thank you again!!!

I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog.... It's been a mega busy week on all fronts for me, but everything has been completed as set.....‪#‎timemanagement‬
See yous next Sunday!!

Mark!!