Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Eating my words...

Who was it who mentioned recently that training at the rugby club didn't always involve much fitness work and often featured "standing around on a cold, damp field?"

Ah, yes - that would've been me then. Well, all I can say is that, last night, it was cold and it was damp but it was also very, very physical and I have to admit that today I am paying for my comments in a big way with various parts of my body reminding me that I'm 43.

After a reasonably gentle game of touch and 10 minutes' worth of warm-up exercises we split off into two groups of eight, with each group tasked to attack against a specified number of defenders from the other group in defined channels of the pitch, two narrow channels and one wider channel. Being full contact, it was hard enough work in defence, but there was usually some respite after each attack as other defenders could then step in for the next one. There was no such respite in attack - as soon as our group had finished one attack in one channel it was straight into the next one - easy enough when it was, say, eight against three in the wider channel but incredibly draining when it was, for example, eight against six in a narrow channel.

I must confess that after about 10 minutes I was totally knackered, all energy seemingly well and truly sapped, but somehow I managed to keep going until we'd completed the full 45 minute exercise. We then finished off with 15 minutes-worth of eight against eight in a slightly wider area, just to re-emphasise to my body that, no matter how fit I think I might be, no amount of gym work can really compensate for being bashed about in full contact rugby.

On the plus side, I was reasonably happy with my own contribution and in particular my physicality which I'd previously been concerned about. It was certainly an extremely useful workout ahead of playing my 2nd game of the season on Saturday - against Ruislip Vets who, the grapevine has it, are quite handy.

Another first for me last night - it was the first time I'd ever worn a scrum cap. The soreness of my ears after the last match persuaded me to invest in some protection and, although it felt a bit weird at first, I soon got used to it and who knows, psychologically it may even have helped.

Roll on Saturday - just as soon as I stop hurting!

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