Sunday, 30 June 2013

Hard Times - The Human League

'Hard times' - Callis, Oakey, Wright

We saw some really hard times during the weekend's ULTRArace.100. It's fascinating looking on at a 100 mile race as you really get to see what people are made of. Over the years it's become a well written script where we KNOW what will happen and it becomes a bit of an inevitable car crash...

Most run far too fast for the first 30 miles and eliminate halfway the race winners are virtually decided and in the dark there's always one person that gets right royally lost, many times.

At 80 miles people are pretty destroyed, at 90 they are back in the land of the living and at 99.9 miles they are running like Usain Bolt.

If it was easy, we'd all be doing it. If you've done one yourself, you know exactly what I mean... if you are thinking about doing one, do your homework, run/cycle/drive the course, 100's are seriously difficult - don't make them any harder.

More tomorrow...

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Reeling in the Years - Steely Dan

Passing Bridget Jones Parents' Cottage
'Your everlasting summer, you can see it fading fast' - Becker & Fagan

Seems only yesterday that I was out there running around 100 miles of the Cotswolds myself. The 23rd of May 1997 isn't a day you'll probably remember yet it's one of that forms part of my whole modern being. It's one of the building blocks of my personal foundations and it's part of the backbone of my ULTRA-skeleton. got it, it's very important to me.

I drove the whole route today ahead of tomorrow's race and 16 years on, it was still fresh in my mind and I can still remember how I felt as I ran my way around 103 miles in less than a day (the course was longer then btw).

Hopefully, the runners will get the same buzz out of running tomorrow's ULTRArace.100 as I have over all these years... I wonder? 

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Turn me on - The Tubes

Might get myself one of these...
'Got a feeling something's taken hold, 'cause I'm flying by remote control' - Spooner/Steen/Prince/Welnick/Cotten/Anderson/Waybill/Styles

Have you ever tried to teach your partner to drive? If you have you'll probably have got your ears burned and had a few harsh words thrown at you during the process. The solution to an easier life was probably to let someone else do your dirty work and take the flack on your behalf.

Now you know where I'm coming from when I say I tested Jenny today to find out where her fitness is after her 6 month layoff from running with the V02 Max test I use on my cleints.

We made it...JUST... and she did let me hold her remote control for a couple of the 12 minutes that she ran for. Funnily enough when she did pass the non-argumentative residual equilibrium (now known as non-arse) mode, she ran like a train and clocked the furthest ever of any female I've coached.

But then I knew that and hopefully she does now too... I wonder if she'll let me get in control again soon? 

We'll see eh?

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Epitaph - King Crimson

'Knowledge is a deadly friend, when no one sets the rules' - McDonald, Sinfield, Lake, Giles & Fripp

It feels only right that I bang on today about commitment to the task in mind, and also about not under-estimating the amount of time, energy and expense needed to make it through the extremes that we pit ourselves against.

To take on The Marathon des Sables from a standing start just 40 weeks away from the start line not only takes courage but UTTER COMMITMENT in my book. If it's taking you an age in June to walk/run 26+ miles now and you are in the last 10 of any race... you have your work cut out between now and next April.  My advice would be to defer if you can't commit yourself to what you've signed up for.

I'm already training for MdS'14 and I've done it 10 times before - that's because I know what's in store for me and I have a busy year ahead of me outside of running to accommodate too. If you aren't yet raising your game, YOU NEED TO. Take my word for it and believe me when I tell you it was bloody tough this year, I looking for an improvement on my 403rd place. Yes 40% in the field isn't bad but it IS in my book.

Power Hour done today and speedy 5km tomorrow - how's your commitment.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Deep in the Motherlode - Genesis

Knebworth Programme
'If you knew then what you know today' - Mike Rutherford

Seems quite apt on my 35th anniversary of seeing Genesis at Knebworth back in 1978. It feels like only yesterday too and at the time was a real baptism into adult life mid GCE's as I remember. 

I wonder what I'd have thought then if I knew 35 years later that I would have just run my #774th marathon at The Cheltenham Circular? At 16 you're not sure what life has in store only that it's one big adventure waiting to happen and that it can't happen quick enough.

The Mighty Genesis
At 51, I'm now trying to slow the process down! Enjoy the adventure and positives that fitness and running brings. The Cheltenham Circular provided just that and I had a great day out of running with mates Nathan Williams and Jason Bulley.

I wonder what the next 35 years have in store?

More later...

(btw a Knebworth Festival Ticket for 24th June 1978 cost me £5.50, a bit cheaper than next weekend's Glastonbury).

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Status Quo - Rain

'Yes I can live without the rain' - Parfitt 
(Released on my 14th Birthday in 1976, if you were remotely interested).

There's only one thing to do following a Power-Hour and that's to climb Pen-y-fan on a ridiculously wet day in June. It was all Jenny's idea as we had a Saturday going free and an opportunity for an expedition where Rocky the Dog could also get an airing.

It all went far too well, with a Power Hour in the gym first that was hard enough of a push at the top end and fast enough at the bottom end to enable a good recovery before the next effort. I'm really feeling the benefits...

From there it was off to Brecon...The idea of climbing the 886m high mountain was to provide a good way of getting some fresh air into the lungs before tomorrow's Cheltenham Circular. Sandwiches in rucksack, in slight drizzle we set off merrily to infinity and beyond.

Nice idea but the 50 mph winds at the top and the driving torrential rain slightly dampened the trip. Poor Rocky ended up a drowned rat and we drove back to Caerdydd with the heater on full heat, eating our sandwiches.

Let's hope tomorrow's weather is a bit more up my street eh?

More then... 

Friday, 21 June 2013

I hear the sound of drums - Kula Shaker Part 2

Well the hill rep splits got people thinking and Chris Carver got the closest to the reasoning behind the much better performance of the second training session. His observation of the slow first rep of that session is a reflection of the apprehension and recollection of the first sessions exertions but also shows how it helped me get into the flow of the remaining climbs which still matched those of the previous weeks even though there was 50% less recovery on some of them on the descents.

My own thoughts are that ,like everyone else who runs, it's just far too simple to take the easy way out and under-perform. Also that after the previous sessions hard run, it's only natural to run inside a comfort zone this week which will reduce the training effect.

I for one don't want to grind to a halt. Therefore I'm going to take my data and I'm going to try harder next time and speed up the climbs as I believe there's some room for improvement and I'm not so scared of the suffocation feeling I get when I am hill-repeating or running at speed. 

BTW the hill is Leckwith Hill and it's 8 ups and 8 downs if you were still wanting to know on a 342m run with a 34m climb.

I hear the sound of drums - Kula Shaker

'I feel the time has come' - Darlington, Bevan & Mills

Hmm... data's an interesting partner and used wisely shows progression in a very matter of fact way. I've listed my hill reps from two successive weeks of training which makes fascinating reading. 

I'd be really interested to know what your thoughts are on my efforts and I'll blog again with those thoughts and my thoughts later...

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Glasser - Apply

I had the dread of all runners today as it's Wednesday and that only means one thing - HILLS... even worse than that, my running partner Nathan couldn't make the session and that left me with the 'Salter Running Machine' to smash me on ALL of the climbs.

It was ALL looking a bit negative if I'm being honest as we jogged away from ASDA (yes I'm so romantic) to go and attack Leckwith Hill on the hottest day Cardiff has seen this year.

As with most things you DREAD, they don't seem so bad once you get  started and it wasn't half as bad as I thought it was going to fact it was a lot better and I really enjoyed the climbs.

I must be getting used to the demands and the training effects that 8 x 643 metre climbs can deliver.

It's an MdS Training Day tomorrow so it will be back to rain no doubt...more then.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Mad World - Tears for Fears

'When people run in circles it's a very, very mad world' - Roland Orzabal

Well now I'm over running in circles for a while, it's time to get back on track (no not a track, don't worry) and get some speed going back in my legs again.

I have been coerced into a 2 miler on Friday evening by Speedy Salter, now she's back on form and running FAST; not so easy for me however if you've just bashed in 9 x 26 milers in the last 31 days!

Yes, my legs feel quiet hammered right now BUT I think a trip to the gym today is in order to get 'em motoring again.

We'll see eh?

Sunday, 16 June 2013

God is Dead - Black Sabbath


When will this nightmare be over? Tell me!' - Ozzy Osbourne

I felt this a lot yesterday going round in 26.2 loops at The Littledown Marathon in Bournemouth (you know how I hate laps). Don't get me wrong it was a great day out at Ade Holloway's race, nice and low key as well as great support at the mile pit-stops but the laps on a grass circuit which was half uphill and downhill was a complete 'Brain-bomb'. The last 3 laps were purgatory.

There's simply nothing you can do to relieve the agony of the dreaded countdown to the finish line...

However, there's were some benefits of being on the mile course as I was passed every few laps by Jenny, so we could say hello, (she went onto win the ladies race and pot £100 for breaking the course record) and in slowly catching and passing people along some of the long straights. Danny Kay took a lot long time to wind in I can tell you!

For the record, the course added about 10 minutes to your average marathon time and for me there's far less leg ache for me today than a comparative road marathon. Essentially this was a bit of a number cruncher/mind training exercise with a bit of fun thrown in. 

It's also hardening me up for mega-days later in the year.

More later and thanks for the music Ozzy!

Friday, 14 June 2013

Paperback Writer - The Beatles

'It took me years to write, will you take a look' - Lennon & McCartney

I'm of course talking about my lastest newsletter and I love putting this together each month. I try to report back to my readers about the successes of my clients and provide an insight into UNDERSTANDING some of my thought processes about running in general.

Hopefully you'll enjoy the read and be inspired to take the plunge into being coached to better race times, performances and enjoyment of a very SIMPLE passion that can be made very hard.

I'm at the Littledown Marathon tomorrow and I'll let you know how I get of course!

More then.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Gold - Spandau Ballet

'You've got the power to know your indestructible' - Gary Kemp

I did my hill session with MdS2014 runner Nathan Williams at 10am this morning in the pouring rain of a Cardiff morning. It's a good job that I'd prearranged this with him as I'd never have gone of my own accord as regular blog-readers will know by now that 'I don't do rain'.

The thought of running up and down Leckwith Hill 8 times didn't fill me with too much inspiration I can tell you.

The funny thing is that if you plan a session with other people of a similar ability with a similar goal who have to endure the same discomforts that you have to endure - it loses its negativity and becomes fun.

'I really enjoyed the session' - there I said it. I'd never have thought that at 9.59am but it was awesome and it really got me racing. I believe Nathan did too and his last climb blew me away, literally.

I'm going to do it again next week come rain or shine as I beleive the benefits are amazing both in body and mind. Is something stopping you do your hardest sessions?

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Keep on Running - Spencer Davis Group

'Keep on Running' - Steve Winwood.

I really had itchy legs today... No not from the nettles at the weekend, even though they are still zinging a bit, but because they want to RUN. Not running today was quite a strong urge that I successfully quashed, especially hard as I feel great after last weeks mega-marathon efforts.
It was only right that I should listen to my own advice - the same advice I'd given one of my clients earlier in the day.

He's young, gifted and a great athlete but like running a car without oil had just disconnected the warning light and had just carried on through a complete list of injuries and problems. The thought of losing fitness and gaining the weight he's worked so hard to lose was blinding his reason... It's a simple trap we all suffer from time to time.

My prescription of 30 days total rest will help him recover and test his desire to keep on running when he shouldn't. In the long run it will save him and make him appreciate the wonderful gift that running delivers. Mark Pickard's story was foremost in my mind...

Is your warning light disconnected?

Monday, 10 June 2013

Enjoy - Janet Jackson

Muchelney Abbey
'So let's enjoy the simple things, enjoy the day life brings' - Lewis, Harris Iii, Avila, Jackson & Avila

I went to the Langport Walking Festival for a 42km running event that's now in it's 14th year. It was actually the lowest of low-key events that you could ever take part in BUT it didn't matter as it was just a really enjoyable 'day out' with like minded people and a good opportunity to catch up with old friends.

After a week of long running with clients it was nice just to be out enjoying the sun and the chatter as we ambled our way around overgrown fields of nettles (my legs are still zinging today) and navigated from one place of interest in the Somerset Levels to another.

It wasn't was just FUN. Isn't that why we run?

More tomorrow and good to see Big Dave Carter on my travels :-)

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Dreams - Fleetwood Mac

'Now here I go again, I see the crystal visions' - Stevie Nicks

I've had a couple of days training with two lady athletes both of whom are looking to run their personal bests. The best of it is they already have the endurance with my help they get the confidence to absolutely smash their goals.

Sarah Dudgeon, a 3:02Pb marathon runner ,has the ability to move up to 100km races and beyond as she really HAS what it takes to make it happen as does Jenny Cass whose goal is to break the 3:30 barrier in 12 weeks time.

I love training clients who are prepared to work and who have the devotion and talent that both of these ladies possess - do you have a marathon dream? HAve you got what it takes? Are you training at 100%?

Come and see me...

Friday, 7 June 2013

Fleetwood Mac - The Chain

'Run in the shadows' - Buckingham, Fleetwood, McVie, McVie & Nicks

It was a case of keeping cool with James Everson-Crane on his MdS Training Day with me in a boiling Wales yesterday. Cardiff's usual inclement climate is avoiding us quite nicely right now and the South Wales Coastal Path is a most wonderful place to get a taste of what trail running is all about.

My previous day's epic with the other James didn't seem to worry me too much and the miles are building nicely in my legs to hopefully provide the massive amount of endurance I'll need for a mega-run planned later in September and October.

Today though, I am going to enjoy a nice day off in the Sunshine (yes it's nice AGAIN today) and put my feet up until Sunday's Langport Marathon.

More then...

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac

'Don't stop, thinking about tomorrow, Don't stop, it'll soon be here, It'll be, better than before, Yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone' - Christine McVie

Well, well, well what a day it's been more for young James Link-Patarou who ran 25 miles today, 20 more than he'd ever run in one go...EVER! It's remarkable just what can be achieved when you put mind over matter. Luckily I had a relatively fit young man with a good strong positive mindset and he had me to do the thinking and strategy of how to cover 25 miles with only 5 miles of running range in the bank.

My thoughts before James turned up for one of my MdS Days were that it would be good for him to see just what he was in for in just 302 days in Morocco as yes he's doing MdS next April. With only a 5 mile running range I thought it best for him to run for 1/2 mile every 2 miles of walking at 4mph. 

And it worked a treat! He was still able to run the last 1/2 mile and finished in a good state with just a couple of small blisters.

Amazing - and he'll be fine in MdS and I'll keep you posted on his progress over the next 301 days...

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Getting away with it - Electronic

'I don't know where to begin' - Tennant/Sumner/Marr

Luckily I do and it's been another heady day of Coaching in Cardiff. This afternoon's candidate was no less than Nick Mead of The Guardian who turned out to be not only great to coach but also an awesome ULTRA-athlete. I'm really looking forward to pushing him to some very fast times at Race to the Stones and The CCC. So please watch this space...

Tomorrow as a complete contrast I will be coaching a client for MdS14 who has a five-miler as a furthest run ever completed and about 300 days to get 137 miles fit!

We both have our work cut out... and we'll start by finding where his limits of endurance really are...

More then..

Monday, 3 June 2013

Take me to the River - Talking Heads

The Pier BEFORE Renovation
'Take me to the river, drop me in the water' - Al L GREEN, HODGES & MABON

I must say that my quads were feeling it this morning as I came down the stairs... they always do the day after, the day after if I've been pushing my pace in a marathon or ultra.

Luckily I live right by the sea and I took time out today to soak my tired old legs in the Severn Estuary for a good 20 minutes. Even on a lovely hot day in June it still froze them nicely and the DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) instantly relieved. They now feel 99% recovered... it really is amazing just how much it helps to get in that salty brown water!

I'm going to have another day off as I've got a heavy running workload with clients later this week so I might go to Penarth again later as well as tomorrow.

What do you do to recover?

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Highway Star - Deep Purple

'I love it, I need it' - Gillan, Blackmore, Paice, Lord, Glover & Anderson

I had a great time yesterday, despite a very early start, at The Kent Roadrunner Marathon organised by my good friend Ian J Berry. It's been a race that I'd been looking at having a good run at because of the nature of the 'flatish' multi-looped course.

Beating my 3.55 target by 11 seconds in 3.54.49 was most satisfying and I was actually at halfway in 1.53 but was slowed by the heat of the day and the long drag up to the start/finish line some 17 times! Anyway, I'm really chuffed as it was it was my 5th 26.2 miler in the last 16 days.

It's certainly food for thought and a great day of marathon running and socialising as I saw lots of my old marathon mates, including Brian Webber who looked after the runners during the Flora 1000 Marathon Challenge back in 2003! Happy Days...

and more tomorrow.