Confessions of a Rugby Amateur

Confessions of a Rugby Amateur

Sunday, 20 March 2011

To train or not to train...

Just to be clear, this isn’t a moan and whinge about how training is too hard/tiring/physical. Far from it. I genuinely look forward to training as a release from the static nature of office work. No, the issue I have is timings and logistics.

At the start of the season, I started a new job in Covent Garden. I have been living with my parents in Berkhamsted as my wife and I save up a house deposit, meaning I am now one of the commting hoardes squeezing onto packed trains in the mornings. I have officially entered the Rat Race!

The company I work for, Seven46, is a sports based company so they are very understanding and keen for me to continue playing Rugby - despite the frequent black eyed Monday mornings. However, even when I leave in good time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have to tear through the streets on my Boris Bike like a man possessed and then sprint through Euston concourse to shoe-horn myself onto the 6:40. An excellent warm up if nothing else.

The 'Boris Bikes' - keep an eye out on Tuesdays and Thursdays as I'm usually in a rush!

Once the train pulls in at Berkhamsted (usually around 7:15-7:20), I’m back on my other bike which I leave chained at Berkhamsted station. It is a 10 minute uphill dash back to my parents, quick change, jump in the car and finally get on the field for a quick stretch at 7:45. By this time, I am already pretty drained, hungry and normally dieing of thirst as I have forgotten to grab a water bottle.

Training starts at 7:15 so I have already missed all of the fitness and most of the skills drills as well. Now, this may sound like a workout in itself and it is to a degree but it still doesn’t compensate for proper fitness sessions with our conditioning supreme Steve Bumstead.

On a serious note, I feel my performances have not been as consistent as I would like due to my fitness levels. I am probably one of the smaller Number 8s in the league so I need to make sure I am fitter and quicker than my opposition. I think I am quicker than most, especially when breaking from the scrum, but the fitness is a constant battle.

I try to do what I can outside of training. I have a regular running route mapped out but I can only manage about three miles before the boredom rot sets in. Inspired by boxing and a certain music video, I bought a skipping rope as well which I try and use as often as possible.

Unfortunately, the phrase ‘affordable gym’ is totally alien to London culture. Also, by the time I get home when not training at roughly 8pm, I simply can’t be bothered to then go out again to the gym for an hour. Call me a sentimental fool but I would actually like to enjoy my evenings and spend a bit of time with my wife (we were married 1 ½ years ago so I give this crazy notion another year!)!

Much of my free time is currently spent looking at mortgage options, colour schemes, furniture ideas, etc, etc, etc, as we prepare to move into our first home. So the only ‘gym’ exercises I have time for these days are a few body weight routines in the back of Men’s Health. Certainly not ideal considering some of the mutants we come up against.

This year has been something of an eye-opener for me. I have to accept that time is ticking on. I am no longer a fresh faced 21 year old. I have responsibilities and will soon have a mortgage to pay so my work has to start taking more of a priority. My job relies on making good first impressions when meeting people and driving new business - so black eyes, facial scars, limbs in plaster and the like may well be an ice breaker but don’t exactly create the image the company is after!

So I have some big decisions to make this Summer. I need to see what the commute will be like from the new house. I won’t be able to completely stop (I tried that and it didn’t work!) but I will have to make a decision about the how much I can commit. For the time being, though, there are three massive games left for this season to guarantee our highest finish in this league.

Do you have any issues with training or sport/work/life conflicts?

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