Former GB international Colin McCourt reflects on his early career and recent progress as he gets set to attempt a sub-16-minute 5km to avoid getting 17 tattoos
Colin’s comeback: Rekindling an Olympic dreamJuly 16, 2017
It started out as a mission to break 16 minutes for 5km to avoid getting 17 tattoos, but now former GB international Colin McCourt has higher ambitions
For the last week I have been nursing a calf strain which is my first hiccup on this journey and it came from me being silly. This might sound nuts but a lot of factors came into this little strain and all the signs were there.
I was tired and hadn’t stretched or used the foam roller in a few days, I only got two hours sleep the night before, I got up at 6am as I had a full day of work to get done and I wouldn’t have time if I didn’t run before work. I was kind of desperate to run and I didn’t want to have a excuse like ‘I was up all night’. Mainly because of all the times I should have/could have run in the past, all the lazy days that made me not quite get to my dreams – I didn’t want to be that guy again.
So, I got out! I was 6 miles into a 10 miler, clipping along lovely, starting at 7 minute miling then slowly creeping it down to 6:05. I was feeling good, then at 6 miles my left calf completely locked up. I was mad! I was not a happy boy for about 10 minutes walking back to the hotel.
As I walked back I started thinking clearer, there was a reason why I had just strained my calf. It had come from my hips, hamstring and my glutes on my left side. I have been overloading on my left side and where I hadn’t been using the foam roller or stretching properly, it just tightened up and pulled through my calf. It’s funny but as a “professional athlete” I very rarely stretched, got a massage or any physio sessions. I used to like my body at a certain tightness basically, that’s why.
“I want to do the thing I have always loved and make an Olympics. It was a dream when I was 14 and it’s still my dream now. I just lost sight of it for a bit”
I had convinced myself that getting a massage would ruin my spring and speed, which was silly and ultimately held me back. It is the main reason why I was inconsistent as an athlete, I never flushed out the sessions or all the hard training I did. I just kept it in my legs, collated all that lactic in the knots in my muscles and got on with it.
Now as an older gentleman, I know I must use the foam roller and get my legs and body seen to. If I want to keep pushing forward I must have a good maintenance programme to keep my body loose and flowing.
Anyway, on Monday I did my first tempo session in two weeks and it went well. It was 2 x 7 minutes off 90 seconds with the first 7 minutes at 5:30 miling and the second at 5:20. I am happy with that as it had been two weeks since I could run hard.
I move into a big bulk phase now that my leg is healed and I can push forward. I will be upping my mileage and doing a lot more sessions and hills, most definitely hills. I want to not only break 16 minutes for 5km, I want to smash it. I want to see what I can achieve.
People fear saying their dreams out loud because they are worried what people will think and what happens if they don’t achieve them. I don’t care. I want to be back at my best, I want to compete again, I want to do the thing I have always loved and make an Olympics.
It was a dream when I was 14 and it’s still my dream now. I just lost sight of it for a bit.
If you are reading this – it is never too late!
» Colin will be running the Simplyhealth Great South 5k on October 21 and will be sharing updates on his progress at greatrun.org