More tough training and some final preparations for judo star
Euan Burton: Final straight for London 2012
The last time I wrote for you I was mid-way through an intense period of high volume judo training out in Asia. This time I'm once again just home from the Far East, although the training has had a slightly different feel to it.
Our last excursion to Japan and Korea saw us partaking in long randori (sparring) sessions and getting high volumes of judo under our belts that would help to increase our judo conditioning and allow us to work on some technical ideas that we had been developing back home in the UK.
The trip was a success with the men's team all doing around 200 six minute fights over the four week period. However because of the high volume, the tour also took its toll. After returning from Korea we had very little time to recover before going into GB Squad training, the European Championships and then a domestic competition on back-to-back weekends.
In fact, I personally didn't feel recovered from that high volume period in Asia until I left for Japan again this time! Fortunately after a few days recovering from the demands of long distance travel I felt fresh for the first time in months and was ready to get down to business on the mat.
As I said at the start, this training period had a very different feel and focus to the last Asian tour. The volume for the sessions was drastically reduced with the intensity ramped up as high as possible.
It basically meant that I was doing less fights in each session but that I was to treat each and every fight as though it was a contest, starting at a pace that I knew my opponents couldn't match and hunting down that first decisive ippon score.
For three weeks, two in Japan and one in Korea, I made hunting that first score the most important part of my day. Of course there were other gains to be made on the trip, tough strength sessions in the gym and technical fine tuning but that contest specific fight style was the vital component.
I've been home a little over a week now. In that week I started on my final conditioning block. It's a block that will mean sessions that make me nervous before I even start them because I know the pain that is about to come. Never nice before or during the session but strangely satisfying when you are lay, completely spent, on the mat at the end of the torture!
Our training group from JudoScotland also welcomed the rest of the British Judo team to Edinburgh for National Squad Training at the weekend.
It was the wettest weekend I can recall with the rain unrelenting from the minute the squad training started on Friday afternoon to the final bell of the last session on Sunday. Not the best impression for Edinburgh to give on the first GB squad to be held here in the last four years but at least we take part in an indoor sport! I know that not one of the team believed me when I tweeted on Monday morning that Edinburgh was bathed in glorious sunshine.
At the end of this week we will compete for the last time in the Czech Republic with a four-day training camp to follow and then return to Britain to spend our final four weeks at home tweaking what needs to be tweaked and getting ready for the biggest sporting event in British history.
The judo team for London has yet to be announced but of course all of the players hoping to make it are training and preparing as though they are definitely going. There have been some fantastic pictures tweeted this week from various TeamGB athletes picking up their kit from Loughborough which has got athletes from every sport even more excited about the prospect of what is to come.
My nerves and excitement have only been intensified with the appearance of "Believe in Britain" Sky Scholarship posters appearing all over Edinburgh with my ugly mug having been spotted at bus stops and shopping centres all across the city.
It's fantastic for judo to be getting such positive exposure and of course it's nice for me to hear from shocked friends and judo colleagues that they were stood beside me at the local bus stop!
I hope we will hear the official announcement from TeamGB in the next few days and that I can finally say for certain that I will be on Our Greatest Team in a little over a month's time. I'll let you know when the announcement has been made and keep you up to date with how everything is going as we approach the big event.
Speak to you all soon.