Saturday, 31 May 2014

Express Yourself - Madonna

'Don't look for second best' - Wright and Bray

Following an eight day rest, I'm now ready to get back in the zone and get running again. It's been a bit of a half-term break from clocking up the miles and one that I believe has done me the world of I feel pretty rested right now, apart from my bad back from laying concrete.

At 52, I'm not as young as I used to be and my tired old bones and muscles definitely need a well earned break every now and again, so hopefully I will be in good shape for my STAGgerthon Marathon tomorrow.

It's more of a ramble than a full on rumble but who cares, as it will be an easy entrée back into 'Coleman-World'.

Are you guilty of not taking a break?

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Hooks in You - Marillion

'But now your heartbeat's thumpin' - Hogarth, Helmer, Kelly, Mosley, Rothery & Trewavas. (Saw them in Birmingham in July 1990 and 'Hooks' was the best on the night - Great Gig)...

My Heartbeat was really thumpin' last night on a speedy 10km up to Llanishen, which is north of Cardiff from our home in Canton. The beauty, if you can call it that, is the constant and in places quite severe incline of the route.

The interesting part for me is as one's legs get more fatigued by time and distance, the gradient increases which gives the run an evil and bizarre twist and makes it difficult to maintain a sub 9 min pace (but I did!!!). Looking at my run here you can see that for the last 20 minutes my HR was 161bpm+...Yep, flat out. No wonder I was speechless at the end, I actually lost the ability to swallow?

All very good, but what's the point? Well I'm doing a couple of days a week now of double day running, easy am hard pm to see if a) my old body can cope with the workload and b) to see if I can dramatically improve my speed over 42.2kms, and if this doesn't all kill me then hopefully it will.

I've got the Flete Marathon on Sunday, which I really enjoyed last year and I'm now tapering for that and it will be interesting to see how much 'Gas is in left the Tank'...

I feel fine and not hurty today so maybe I'm getting used to the new stresses on my body...

Hmmm, we'll see! - more tomorrow.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Definitive Gaze - Magazine

'I've got this bird's eye view, and it's in my brain. Clarity has reared it's ugly head again'. - Devoto & McGeoch (not Mick!, although that would be REALLY cool).

Yep, it's plainly clear what I have to do to get myself in peak condition for September. And there's a lot of work for me to do to get me feeling 100% about myself as yesterday's gym session proves. My Pectorals are KILLING ME today!...It does make you wonder where all this fitness you get goes!

I did take lots of encouragement however from my client Alan Treharne this morning who is climbing his own fitness mountain in the same time-span and his fresh outlook on life really hammered it home to me. We can both do it!

Enthusiasm is infectious you know...might be worth you catching some...

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Avalon - Roxy Music

'When the samba takes you, out of nowhere and the background's fading, out of focus.' - Ferry

Can't go wrong with a bit of 'Roxy' and it's ages since I heard this 1982 offering from the old Bryan 'Swivel-Lips' Ferrymaster himself. It helped brighten up a three mile out-and-back to Fairwater and an hour on the treadmill later on this afternoon.

Following yesterday's eight ascents of Leckwith Hill, it felt very easy to trot along at an easy 9 minute mile pace. The run highlighted that I tend to speed up as the miles go by and I had intended it to be more of a steady recovery run rather than one where it had the attributes of a rising half's session.

With this in mind, my afternoon session gave me the opportunity of a more scientific run with the hours treadmill pace set at a constant but SLOW 8 kph. The effect on my Heart-Rate was most interesting and never rose above 120 bpm, in fact going down during the last 10 minutes which makes me wonder just how long I can keep it that way. Not the most exciting of sessions BUT a good start on the next few months of training.

More tomorrow...

Monday, 19 May 2014

Incommunicado - Marillion

Sometimes it seems like I've been here before, when I hear opportunity kicking in my door. Call it synchronicity call it deja vu, I just put my faith in destiny - it's the way that I choose.' - Marillion

Oh dear it was a training session back on Leckwith Hill today and I say 'Oh dear' as I died after the fifth rep seeing my heart-rate hit a rather fruity 170 bpm. I thought it was going very nicely for the first couple of ascents but obviously I paid for last weeks exertions, today.

It was a good start though and I'm more than pleased with this 'line in the sand' as it can only get better from here in my 2014 Summer Hill Rep Campaign.

I now feel ready to ask my regular hill-repper Nathan Williams to come and play or anyone else out there who wants to feel the pain of 'Leckwith Hill'.

You know you want to...and more tomorrow.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Love can build a bridge - The Judds

'I'd gladly walk across the desert' - Judd, Jarvis & Overstreet

I gladly RAN across the Old Severn Bridge today, with gusto too averaging 7.51 min/miles for my 4.51 mile out and back effort. There's something quite magic about running high up above the Severn Estuary and at 27 degrees it was ideal running weather too.

Considering I ran 26.2 miles yesterday, today's tempo run was really encouraging and it shows that my endurance is improving. I did throw up at the end of my run which shows just how much effort I'm putting in right now!

You never know...I might get close to my 3.30 goal at this rate :-)

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Echo Beach - Martha and the Muffins

'I know it's out of fashion. And a trifle uncool. But I can't help it. I'm a romantic fool' - Gane

Good job Martha wasn't down at our beach today as she would have been disgusted with all of the McDonalds wrappers that MdS hopeful Craig Barnshaw and I picked up along a nine mile stretch of the Wales Coastal Path. The best bit is that we were alerted to the clean up by @keep_wales_tidy who were outside the Dr Who Centre who are sponsored by....yes you guessed it MCDONALDS!!!

I would estimate that half of the litter we saw was from McDonalds and I know it's not their fault that folk just chuck it out of their car windows BUT there must be a better way of serving up the food than a load of brightly coloured logo'ed litter.

Education would be a great way forwards perhaps and folk should take their own container OR Mcdonalds could charge for it.

Any ideas? How self righteous am I?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Once upon a time - Simple Minds

'You raise me up when I know you're around' - Kerr, Mcneil & Burchill

It's all about my recovery this week and I'm really surprised at how the old 'Coleman Bones' are getting over the repeated stresses of marathon distances. After three 26 milers in the last eight days a steady 10.25kms today felt remarkably easy, which is very encouraging as later on in the year I'll be running lots of back- to-back Ultras again during Stoptober.

I'm not saying it's all plain sailing as it's very TIRING which is strange as the very early bright mornings in Cardiff wake me up well before 6am. It could be overtraining BUT it's just really light and as I'm a morning person, as soon as I'm awake, that's it...I have to get up and start the day!

Let's see if I still have all my get up and go for tomorrow's MdS Training Day with Craig Barnshaw who's in training for the 2015 race. Yep, with 327 days to go to the race next April, I've already started getting next year's hopefuls into shape...

I've booked a nice, warm sunny day so we should have a good run...

Well here's hoping anyway.

Monday, 12 May 2014

These are the days of our lives - Queen

'When we were kids, when we were young, things seemed so perfect you know? The days were endless, we were crazy we were young, the sun was always shinin' we just lived for fun.' - Deacon, May, Mercury & Taylor.

Hopefully in years to come I will look back as fondly about my present years as much as I did about my teenage years way back in my dim and distant past. I'm sure rose tinted lenses get rosier over the years but sometimes it's easy to ignore the 'good PRESENT days' too!

Take this weekend and I had a brilliant day out on the Stroud Trail Marathon. I'm not saying the race was brilliant as it needs a few tweaks, just that I had a brilliant time. It hadn't started out that way as after a few miles down a disused canal isn't the best entrée to a marathon BUT then it just got ridiculously hard and extremely hilly. Which made it totally amazing.

It was just one of those days that was FUN! Being able to do this stuff at 52 is a real blessing and I'm going to make sure that I don't take it for granted as I want to go on having fun for many years to come...I'm going to have to go back and do this one again.

Are you having fun?

Saturday, 10 May 2014

It's oh so quiet - Bjork

It's nice and quiet - Lang & Reisfeld

A song that's worryingly nearly 20 years old now but a very apt title for today's blog as the world seems quite dead in Caerdydd today. Maybe it's just me but just trying to raise my pulse somewhere over the 50bpm seems to be quite an effort.

Yes, it's quite easy to say that it's last weekend catching up with me but I'm not quite sure it is. I reckon the weather and the phases of the moon have a lot to answer for you know. As a test in a couple of days when the moon is full, I'll be able to see if I'm more tired, less tied or completely barking mad! I've known a few folk that go a bit bonkers every few weeks both male and female so that's my highly scientific upcoming research sorted out.

Impressed? It took me a good sleep thru the F1 Qualifying session today to come up with that one and there could be another spell f philosophy arriving on the horizon with a Eurovision Song Contest to get the eyelids well and truly shut for a deep and informative sleep tonight.

Let's hope tomorrow's a more energetic day eh?...

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

So now you know - The Horrors

'You can mean what you say' - The Horrors

It's been a fascinating few days watching the UK's best runners and the UK's newest runners undertaking their respective running challenges. My Carphone Warehouse, Average to Awesome #cpwa2a have a fantastic thirst for knowledge and are making huge strides in their fitness journeys which is wonderful to be part of and watch.

At the upper-end of running, it's seems to be a whole lot harder... I spend a lot of time talking people OUT of racing, training hundreds of miles and taking them back to their early days of running just like my #cpwa2a runners. Successful ultra or marathon running is dependent on successful periodisation and peaking for an event planned hopefully 12 weeks in the future.

I'm seeing more and more folk falling into the 'too many races - getting slower and slower' regime than ever and there's very few mortals that can run more than one good 100 miler, 24 hour race, 100km and marathon in 12 months and then repeat it the next year...I see some trying but it takes time to recover, both physically and more mentally. From my observation post, it's blatantly obvious and after a run of disappointing results it's far too easy to blame everything except yourself for not resting and having some time out.

If you are in need of the evidence, look at those who ARE succeeding and look at THEIR results and see how often they race, who's coaching them, who's advising them on how to train. Their results speak volumes.

I'll honest about my own running in that I plan for two peaks a year (Spring and Autumn) and the rest of the year I am recovering or in training for the next peak, oh and ENJOYING MYSELF. Right now I'm running steady back-to-back 3.53 marathons at even pace and happy with that. In fact, I'm still recovering from my 28 in 28 last year (oh yes, it takes time to get over a month of ULTRAs), the Barry 40, which was the focal point of my Spring '14 and  the Marathon des Sables. so how on earth would I expect to be able to run a 100 miler right now as I'm not in the right frame of mind to do so.

Lots of people I meet think they can and having someone else on hand can help you achieve so much more. I'm really lucky to live with a great athlete and one whom doesn't react well to high mileage and regular long distance racing. At times It's a tricky path to Coach your partner but we've found a way of working together and her results and achievements tell the tale. I've drawn inspiration from her too, which has improved my race performances too.

Does the above sound a familiar story? If it does, you are over-racing and trying to achieve better race times when you are fatigued. Being tired is telling you that you need a break and it could help your running and your enjoyment no end. In the past few years, I've seen a lot of people appear on the ULTRA-scene, achieve, do too much and then disappear never to be heard of again and it's tragic to see as a Coach.

Do you remember how you felt when you first started running...My #cpwa2a guys are proving a great inspiration to my running!

How's yours?

Monday, 5 May 2014

Simply the Best - Tina Turner

Miss Salter - UK 100 km Champion
'Simply the best, better than all the rest' - Chapman & Knight

Well, I thought I'd had a good run at the National 50km Ultra Championships on Saturday clocking a 4.42.00 at Gravesend's undulating Cyclopark Circuit but when you look at Jenny's 8.24.53 for 100km mine pales into insignificance as she ran the race of her life to blow away the Nation's Best ULTRA-distance athletes. I ran bang on 9 minuets miles yet her second 50km was 27 minutes faster than mine!

This now means she qualifies automatically for Team GB at the 100km Championships later on in the year... Jenny's the most modest of people ever but luckily I'm here to broadcast her successes and her 8.24 is the 7th fastest in the WORLD this year and she puts all of her success of course, down to her coach :-)

It's a real feat too as most athletes struggled with the 20 metre ascent/descent of the 1.3 mile loops BUT neither Jenny nor myself were phased and I'll own up that my previous criticism of the course not being flat making for fast times could well be flawed as a) the course is the same for everyone and there was a national record in the men's race, and b) the resting of different muscle groups going up and down the gradient might actually have helped, as did the heat on the day.

I'm so proud! And she's downright bloody awesome.

My second marathon of the weekend was a much more relaxed affair at the off-road Neolithic with some of my Carphone Warehouse #cpwa2a trainees. Their training is coming along brilliantly too as they just ate the miles up and will have no problems in completing the #racetothestones in just over two months time.

Today? - It's a well earned day off of course!

More tomorrow...

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Fix You - Coldplay

Lights will guide you home and ignite your bones - Berryman, Buckland, Martin & Chapman

It's been a week where I've been emailed by lots of folk looking for wonder-physios who are able to FIX a multitude of differing lower-leg complaints. Now over the years, I've come into contact with some genial Physios, Osteopaths and Doctors who I believe can help FIX most running complaints BUT why do folk get in that situation in the first place?
If you are constantly tearing calf muscles, have the dreaded Runner's Knee or you're a Barefoot Runner with Plantar Faciitis then why don't you work out WHY it's happening. I liken it to someone having a car with an engine that is constantly breaking down through lack of oil and just finding a mechanic that can rebuild the engine only for it to go wrong again through the same lack of oil. It makes for an expensive and frustrating time...some runners I meet just go on all the time about being injured and it's just such a negative position to be in.
Most of not all of Runners' problems are down to running style and footwear choice I found and if I'm describing your running history of run - injure - recover - run - injure etc. then maybe you should come and see me and go back to basics and start running injury free.
It's better and cheaper in the long run...
More tomorrow...