Friday, 30 August 2013

You get what you give - New Radicals

'We ran the Miracle Mile' - Nowels & Alexander

I've been lucky to have spoken to three of my favourite and most inspirational friends namely Andy McMenemy, Mick Mcgeoch and Traviss Wilcox in the last 24 hours. All of them, extraordinary in their own unique way, are just wonderful to talk to as they simply GET IT - by the BUCKET load.

Now when I say GET IT, I mean they UNDERSTAND what all this running is about, what it DOES for us, how it CHALLENGES us, how it makes us FEEL and how to inspire others to come and experience what they've experienced when they've been running.

It's extremely refreshing as I meet people looking to me for inspiration - talking with these guys really fueled me up for the weekend and my next big project.

I did 6.58 at the mile time trial tonight, which I'm very pleased with so thanks Guys.

Who do you look to for your inspiration? 

Breathe - The Almighty Pink Floyd

Waters, Gilmour & Wright
There's always a bit of a lag before a race but I'm going to enjoy it as I want to do well at Sunday's Wolverhampton Marathon. It does mean that I've got a couple of easy days of training including a ridiculously easy 5km today which really just kept my legs turning over before the weekend.

Taking time to carbo-load up on fructose, hyper-hydrate and ease the mileage down was always a big part of my early marathon running achievements. Working out how to prepare mentally and physically made a huge difference to my times and took the tension out of race day. Nearly 20 years and I'm still replicating my preparation process only nowadays my races are sometimes only a day apart rather than a couple of months. 

Hopefully this will make Sunday's race a good one. Anyone else going to be at Wolverhampton?

More tomorrow... - The UK's Leading ULTRAmarathon Coaches.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Pink Fairies - Do it, Do it

'Well don't talk about it, all you do is do it, do it' - Rudolph; Sanderson; Hunter; Twink

I read with interest on the Marathon des Sables 2014 Facebook group about how people are training for next year's race and their thoughts about the task in hand for them AND yours truly. The next 218 days are vitally important to their success next April and they as in most years are being blinded by the kit right now...There's actually a better use of time and some simple steps can make this process a WHOLE lot easier and it's one that I can't stress enough to them OR YOU if you are hoping to do your best in this event or any other in the near future.

Here's the FREE advice, after improving your diet and getting as lean as you can run some HILLS, do some INTERVAL sessions and then KEEP ON doing them and you'll see amazing results over a relatively short period of time. 

It's really that easy!

Here's the proof and it comes just 12 days before my next BIG CHALLENGE as I did my fastest INTERVAL session yesterday, followed by my best ever HILLS today. It's given me a HUGE confidence boost and I'm sure it will help me with MY TASK ahead and I'm pleased following the training period I've followed these past three months.

It was simple today, I felt strong, hydrated and ready to take on what for me is a tough couple of sessions well above my COMFORT FACTOR.

It's got the old ticker going and made me feel REALLY ALIVE.

Is it time you escaped your COMFORT FACTOR?

More tomorrow and thanks to Chris Purdon (he of the Space Ritual Band fame, for the song title).

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Treat Infamy - Rest Assured

My World Record Venue
'I know I'm ready and I wanna go, get on a roll like a rolling stone' - Rest Assured

On a power hour tonight the above track surfaced at 50 mins on my headphones and it really boosted my way to completing the dreaded hour long treadmill session. It immediately took me back to 1998 and my day of breaking five Guinness World Records, where at 3am in the morning the same song played, as I battled the dark hours of the 24 hour treadmill run.

It's funny how music is so evocative and how much it means to how I feel and perform... I just love running to tunes...

I'll be making sure that this is on my MP3 player at next Sunday's  Wolverhampton Marathon (birthplace of my dear mother), where I hope it's going to fire me up for another sub-four performance.

We'll see, as I have hills to negotiate tomorrow morning with Jenny and more hill climbing guests... more then.

Better get my Hawkwind album fired up!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Good Day Sunshine - The Beatles

On Bank Holiday Monday there's nothing better than having a few hours relaxing in some wonderful Cardiff Sunshine.

With very itchy legs from not running, it would be a shame to waste the last rays of summer by spending a couple of hours tied to a treadmill in the confines of the gym.

All too soon it will be September and with dimming evenings and the horizontal cold rain we just love down here, its time to enjoy the heat - whilst it lasts...

A couple of easier weeks ahead with just The Wolverhampton Marathon on the horizon to keep the races ticking over before the hard work starts.

More tomorrow, now where's that P20 Suncream? - The UK's Leading ULTRAmarathon Coaches.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Lazy - David Byrne

'I'm lazy as a man can be' - David Byrne

Don't know about you but these bank holiday weekends are a bit of a brain-killer. The Grand Union Canal Race graced it once as I remember and there is the chance of clocking up three marathons around the UK to keep the 'marathon number-clocker' happy but my bank holiday has come at a time when I am starting to wind down my training for my next big project and I've done nothing for the past three days now as part of my recovery programme.

It's made me feel VERY lazy indeed. It's not helped by a general countrywide lethargy it seems and thank goodness we are going to get a long run in tomorrow. 

Hopefully I'll get a good night's sleep to add to the couple of hours I managed to get in during the Grand Prix! I think that's why they were invented. All I need is a good Bond Film to help me drop off.

More tomorrow...

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Extreme Ways - Moby

'Extreme ways are back again' - Moby

The Bank Holiday Weekend hasn't come soon enough as it's been a busy old week on the old running front. Jenny and myself were going to get even another marathon in today but have decided that Monday's Kent Coastal Marathon is actually a far better option and that today and tomorrow will provide a couple of well earned days of rest.

I actually feel GREAT...and thankful thatmy body has coped really well with the extreme loading I've given it this week.

However, I've heeded to Jenny's advice (my coach of course), as she's wanting to be careful not to overdo it and get injured before I start my next exploit. It's difficult to stop running, as that's what I like doing but she's right and luckily I have her second sight and sense to keep me safe, sound and on task.

More of this tomorrow...

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Shoot to thrill - AC/DC.

Centurion Ben
'And I can't get enough' - Young, Young & Johnson

AC/DC became our band of choice for journalist Ben Wilson and myself during the past couple of days as he finished his four consecutive marathons in four days. It's been an amazing journey for Ben as this time last year he was a complete 'Non-Runner' and it's been a year of hard work to get him from 'Zero to Centurion Hero'.

The transformation is completely inspiring and as a coach it's been a pleasure to facilitate this process.

I'm not sure that most folk would find seven crossings of the Old Severn Bridge their ideal way of spending a day out BUT for Ben it was the ideal way of preparing mentally for the last 26.2 miles of the 100 mile race he has planned for next May.

In fact, it was obvious from the start that we both loved the Bridge and it does have a certain magical property that some places have and on a bright clear day with the Severn flowing out to low tide and then back in, the day gained a certain rhythm.

Don't get me wrong, it was a tough old day as there's quite an incline every time to negotiate if you are on foot as well as the odd cyclist to watch out for BUT a great day none-the-less and one for Ben won't forget.

I think we can call him a 'Runner' now...

More tomorrow after a nice day off from running, Coaching at Merthyr Mawr.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Arcadia - Election Day

Ben Wilson at Penarth Pier
'Cause maybe we have more playtime than money' - Le Bon, Rhodes & Taylor

We saw Simon Le Bon's yacht in Cardiff Bay today as I did yet another marathon, this time with MdS14 wannabe, Matt Neal and Ben Wilson, the journalist I've been coaching now for the past 12 months for a Zero to Hero feature.

I always really enjoy coaching someone going to the Marathon des Sables and Matt proved most interesting as he's an anesthetist (anything medical is fascinating) and he's from Doncaster (where I have a lot of family). He'll do well out at MdS too as he's got a good eye for detail which gives you a much better chance of getting a good MdS result and generally surviving!

As for Ben, well what a change... this time last year he was an overweight chap and could run just a few slow miles. Well, today was his third marathon in three days and he's doing another one tomorrow as part of the feature he's writing for Outdoor Fitness on his way to a 100 miler next May.

He really banged out the last couple of miles too. So we'll see how much he's got left tomorrow with 26.2 miles up and down the footpath on the Old Severn Bridge... 13 crossings of that should finish him off and help his mental strategy for the 100 I hope.

More then...

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Higher Ground - Stevie Wonder

Leckwith Hill - Halfway up or down...

'Gonna keep on tryin', till I reach my highest ground' - Stevie Wonder

Gosh it's been a day of trying on Leckwith Hill but not for me, for my clients. I spent most of my working day on the 321 metres of tarmac that are fast becoming famous in these parts.

Most impressive of all was Andrew Jordan who is really developing his ULTRA-marathon running and has diminished his waistline dramatically since we first started training together. You can just see him in the picture!

Every few weeks that we meet, it's like meeting a new improved version of the same man.

I'm very impressed with how he's done this and look out for him, or what's left of him should I say, at The Ridgeway Challenge over the weekend.

For me, it was a day off running before another 26.2 tomorrow... bring it on.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Baba O'Riley

'I get my back into my living' - Pete Townshend

Yep, I've been getting my back into my living for sure today and bashed in yet ANOTHER 26.2 miles, this time with MdS 2014 runner Rob Leonard. A very pleasant day it was too as he was great company out on our run past Penarth to Sully and back.

Considering this was the day after a VERY hilly marathon at Cheddar Gorge, I'm really happy at not feeling too pooped tonight after 52 miles in two days.

It's my job of course BUT it's more serious to me now as I have a MASSIVE mega-day marathon spree coming my way, which I have to be SUPER-fit for next month. There's three more of these this week to survive so I'll keep you posted with my progress.

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 18 August 2013

In the Cage - The Almighty GENESIS

'Rockface move to press my skin...Turns Sweat turn Sour' - Sir Peter of Gabriel.

I felt very caged today as I grappled with yet another Marathon, this time in Cheddar Gorge. Only it wasn't, it was above the gorge and on a very strange two lapped off road roller-coaster of an affair that at first got me wondering why we had bothered to enter but by 18 miles had got me completely suckered in and running with ease.

Don't get me wrong as this could be a real classic with a few corners knocked off and its very tough if you are looking for a big challenge for next year.

I actually ran well within my comfort zone and held back along some of the more treacherous parts of the route BUT on the open sections I just couldn't help but overtake a few people I felt didn't deserve to be ahead!

I didn't catch Jenny of course as she WON the ladies race after saying she was going to stay in bed this morning! What it's like to have options like that eh?

I've got a lot of miles to get in this week so it's an early night and I'll be back at the Cheddar Gorge next year for another helping I think - The Marshals were 10/10 btw.

More tomorrow :-) - The UK's Leading ULTRAmarathon Coach.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Love like blood - Killing Joke

'And self-preservation rules the day no more' - Walker, Ferguson, Ferguson, Coleman & Raven

There was a lot of jostling at the Cardiff Park Run today and I gave as good as I got in the first 100 metres as it was very Mo Farahesque with the bumping and barging. One guy tried to run thru me rather than around me and it took many hard elbows into his solar plexus to finally make him believe it wasn't a good idea to mess with me. What a plonker...

The Park Run philosophy is wonderful and getting people out and exercising is brilliant...I find it's always ruined by slow folk at the front and people running the first km too fast and then dying.

I did die a bit myself but in the 4th km with a 4.40mins following 3kms at 4.32 min pace and rallied to finish just 2 seconds outside my 5km Pb...but I was pretty happy with that (though a bit annoyed as I was so bloody close) but it's not bad considering I had such a hard running week. Best news was that it was good to see Jenny back running at her best too in 19.07. All in all, it's a good end to the week and we are at The Cheddar Gorge Marathon tomorrow.

If you are going, we'll see you there...

Friday, 16 August 2013

Syncronicity 2 - The Police

Too much hair, sand and sun for Cardiff...
'Daddy only stares into the distance, There's only so much more that he can take' - Gordon Sumner (aka Sting).

I could take a lot more today as a matter of fact but there's a busy week ahead with 4 x 26.2 milers to contend with and I'm going to Park Run at Cardiff tomorrow morning.

This means that I've had a nice break today from running myself BUT I did have a very enjoyable time coaching local runner, Sarah Morris in the gym at aspire fitness for the Marathon des Sables 2014.

It's always a good session and I'm sure with our help Sarah will do well out in the desert next April.

More tomorrow...

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Cemeteries of London - Coldplay

'Save the night time for your weeping, your weeping' - Martin, Berryman, Buckland & Champion
If I coach you, don't ever complain to me about the 'Power Hour' as I've just done my third one on consecutive days and it was as always a bloody nightmare of sweaty emotion.

If you Power Hour yourself, you'll know it just goes on forever especially between the 20-40 minutes where you think time simply stands still.

For me, it works. It's simple, brutal and teaches hardship all in sixty lovely satisfying minutes.

I might do another one tomorrow... - The UK's Leading ULTRAmarathon Coach.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Cold - The Pines

'Snakes venom in my veins' - The Pines

I'm on fire at the moment and I have to thank Chris Purdon for coming to my Leckwith Hill session this morning (when all others failed to make it) and Jenny for going to the gym this evening giving me a perfect excuse to bash in yet another dreaded 'Power Hour'.

Put a high quality sports massage in the middle of all of that and it's a pretty good fitness sandwich to get one's fitness filling on for a day.

I must say that it's getting easier and I posted my best hill session times yet so my training must be working and I'm getting used to little recovery and always being very hot and very sweaty.

Take a look at the treadmills pool of sweat to the left of the console.


More tomorrow...

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Abracadabra - Steve Miller Band

'I heat up, I can't cool down' - Steve Miller

I've been doing both today in part of my warming up and cooling down for exercise programming. It was again in the form of a 5 minute bike (yes bike!) to get my legs turning over before the ravages of my regular Power Hour slot.

It really helped too as the Power Hour didn't seem THAT bad and I felt quite majestic as I finished the 3 hour long 60 minute running session.

This new approach to recovery as that's what I need right now is opening my mind to a more intensive approach to my running which I can then pass on to my clients - beware, you red that here first.

More tomorrow...

Monday, 12 August 2013

And you and I - Yes

'Life tempo change out and inside me' - Anderson, Squire, Howe & Bruford

Marathon recovery has always been set in stone for me and normally Monday is a COMPLETE rest day. However, I did a small triathlon of recovery today cycling for 15 minutes, running 5km and a 20 minutes pool session... and I must say that I feel great.

Yes, ok my quads are sore and my adductors feel tired from helping to lift my tired knees yesterday but coming out of the pool felt absolutely 100% so it will be interesting to see how they feel tomorrow after another night's sleep.

In the light of having to be really fit and having tolift my game for September's Running, speedier recoveries will only go to underline that I'm getting fitter and can run FASTER and HARDER for LONGER.

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 11 August 2013

5-4-3-2-1 - Manfred Mann

Salisbury Cathedral
'Down the valley on their horses they thundered' - Manfred Mann

I thundered a bit today at The Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 (brilliantly organised btw, if you are looking for good races). Following yesterday's Park Run PB and hills session at Merthyr Mawr, I wasn't too sure how my legs would go on the off-road 42.2km course and after a couple of miles warm up I'm sure my recent outings actually helped me out.

Last year, the marathons seemed to go on forever but they are now getting a whole lot more manageable and a lot more FUN. It was FUN today and at 21 miles I really upped my pace and certainly used the downhill speed that I have recently been working on.

It was great to see loads of the 100 marathon club there too today and I must thank Pete Morris for providing some great competition over the last few miles.

4.34.05 off road is a good time for me :-) Speed and good LSD runs are working a treat for me, is your training working a treat for you?

More tomorrow...

Saturday, 10 August 2013

And you and I - YES

'And you and I climb, crossing the shapes of the morning.
And you and I reach over the sun for the river.
And you and I climb, clearer, towards the movement.
And you and I called over valleys of endless seas'.

Anderson, Howe, Squire & Bruford

I ran a 22.45 PB at PARKRUN this morning which I'm REALLY pleased with as it comes following a good period of training in the Alps and a couple of months of regular hard hill climbing. 5km isn't my favourite distance at all and I can't say that the training has always been pleasant BUT the results are undeniably VERY PLEASING.

Of course I have to thank my mentor Miss Salter for dragging me kicking and screaming to some of the sessions but as she says 'You'll feel a whole lot better about YOURSELF when you've done it'. And how right she is!

Currently I feel pretty much on top form and we followed PARKRUN with a 5 mile sand dune session down at Merthyr Mawr with a couple of the MdS#14 runners. The sand didn't feel half as hard as it usually does and even three straight reps of 'The Big Dipper' wasn't too much of an issue.

Let's hope there is still something in the legs for tomorrow's Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1, my #780th Career Marathon.

More then...

Friday, 9 August 2013

Parallels - Yes

'You've got the way to make it all happen' - Chris Squire

I was making Jenny laugh earlier today explaining ' 70's Prog Rock' to her... I'm not sure how interested she was in the bands and the music that I had found so inspiring in my teens. She did keep he eyelids open for a while anyway...

What she did find my refreshing was my 'ENTHUSIASM', I beleive, which grew the more I went on about those old ELP and Yes albums I had bought for just £2.99 from WHSmiths in 1978. I'm listening to them now as I write this blog and they still sound AWESOME only digitally and perfectly crackle free. What I'd have done back then for the quality of the 21st century music, I wouldn't even start explaining Wow and Flutter to her!

Anyway, music has proved to be such a life partner for me as regular readers will know...I believe it's the same real love and enthusiasm that's helped me run all these marathons and keep it FRESH in my mind and still so HYPER-IMPORTANT to me, some 20 years on. It's REALLY important right now.

I'll be running later on and I'll be listenning to 'Prog Rock' if my quads recover in time...

If only I still had my long hair!

More later...

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Legs - ZZ Top

'She's got legs, she knows how to use them' - Billy GibbonsDusty HillFrank Beard 

I followed Jenny's legs today up that Leckwith Hill but with very sore quads from the couple of fast runs I've put in earlier in the week. Therefore I took my time going UP adding just a couple of seconds onto a climb BUT I hammered the decents and actually took a couple of minutes OFF my whole session. I did in fact do a 1:59 midway in the session without too much distress and after quite a few fast down runs with little recovery...

Explain that one - or maybe again is shows that I can in fact run faster than I think I can if I can escape my comfort level.

These Reverse Hills sessions really get you did for Andy Saville when he did them too and now I know what he mean't when he said it killed his quads. I think I finished mine off with this session!

More tomorrow... - The UK's Leading ULTRAmarathon Coach

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi

'Whooah, we're half way there' - Sambora, Jovi & Child

I've spent a great day out on the coast at Llantwit Major. Wales on a hot summer's day is simply unbeatable, in my opinion, and it has some of the most dramatic scenery you could ever wish to experience... it was simply wonderful.

Less wonderful but hopefully very helpful was another 6 miler up to Llandough and back including a pasting up and down Leckwith Hill as part of my on-going training and running improvement.

I knocked a good 90 seconds off yesterday's outing and I feel really good about that especially as it was SO humid this evening.

Let's see how it goes again tomorrow...

Monday, 5 August 2013

Hocus Pocus - Focus

It's amazing just how much FOCUS you can gain on your training when you have a goal driving you on. I'm quickly running out of time before one of the biggest challenges for about 10 years and I'm now really pushing myself on now to train hard and concentrate on getting myself into my best physical shape possible to take it on.

I wonder if you feel the same about how you are training right now?...Is it far too easy to stuff that last piece of pizza you shouldn't be eating into an already FULL stomach? 

I know the feeling only too well as I love my food.

Well now it's time for action and if you are carrying far too much baggage with you when you run, best is to keep an eye on this blog to see how you can lose those extra few inches and kilos which are costing you time and energy as well as ruining your running fun.

How focused are you?

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Achilles Last Stand - The Mighty Zeppelin

'As proud the head with heavy feet' - Plant.

I've been more and more surprised this week with just how hard the people I meet make this running lark.

It's not rocket science, it's just a case of putting one foot in front of the other for as long as you or your body can stand it.

Personally, I love the feeling of running and where it can take you physically and mentally. Lots of folk complicate it IMO. Take the research at this years Marathon des Sables into weight and training versus performance. And I'm not knocking the research as it was impeccably produced but the edited 30 second version is that; Funnily enough those who were lighter, trained harder and raced frequently did better in the race...

Well who'd have thought that one eh?

Yet some of next year's competitors want to take the kitchen sink in the heaviest pack with stores of food they will only end up throwing away in crazy trainers that will only give them blisters and problems between now and the race...I've learned to take the complication out of running and that's what I teach to my clients.

Funnily enough they then run a whole lot better and faster...hopefully those coming next Saturday for some dune running will be up for some reprogramming.

Lets hope eh? - The UK's Leading ULTRAmarathon Coach.