Friday, 29 February 2008

Stage Three

This morning I began stage three of my rehabilitation ... actually a 35 minute run. Ran slowly and covered 4 miles with no ill effects at all but I did ice my achilles for half an hour before and after.

Lost approx 600g in weight during the run [21 ounces]. At this rate I'll soon have my weight down to a more respectable level - 61.6 kg is far too high for me [9 st 9.8 lb].

Yesterday I passed the North of England 12 stage relay entry form to Zack (Otley AC team captain). Will I be able to run. Probably but don't expect me to gain much speed before April 6.

At the moment I'm reading two books I received as a birthday present (earlier this week) - very good they are too:

(1) Run Strong by Kevin Beck
(2) Performance Nutrition For Runners by Matt Fitzgerald

Nutrition during ultra races is essential to get right for optimal performance.

Also received a pack of chocolate coated coffee beans to try during a long run - as recommended by Dean Karnazes in his book 'Ultramarathon Man'.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Progressing well

Just back from training. Not a lot to say except that I'm looking forward to Friday when I don't have to take walking breaks any more.

Today's training was worth 98 again but got better as the run progressed.

This morning I learnt that William Sichel has decided against the Hull 24 hr race this year [competition too strong ... ?]. He's opted for a six day race in Germany instead !!!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Time for a sandwich

Later this week, all being well, I can move onto the next stage of my rehab. For the past fortnight I've been alternating running and walking 5 mins each and I'm now up to a total of 65 mins. On Friday I plan to run continuously for 35 mins [wow ...].

By the middle of March I should be able to run for an hour continuously and then I can begin normal training ... long runs, tempo runs, hill reps, etc (starting gradually of course).

Rated today's run at 98 out of 100, yesterday's was 97.

Whilst out training (!!!) my toenail came off - an old injury from last year's Hull 24 hr track race.

Must go and try Ian Fisher's recipe for a cheese sandwich [hmmm ... salad, or not ?]. This amazing champion's recipe can be found at (17 February).

Have fun.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

One less ultra

Forgot to mention earlier ... last Tuesday Mick Jeffrey apologised for not including Andy Milroy's 100 mile race report in the newsletter he was editing. He said he ended up with enough articles from other sources and perhaps it would be better in March when I'm editing Otley AC's newsletter.

Today I've just found out that the Rochdale Canal Relay (ultra runners are invited to take part as a one man team) will not take part this year due to a 'change in circumstances' [whatever that means].

I was looking forward to that one in early June.

Recovery is not progressing as well now. My last two runs were only given 94 and 95 points. Still very optimistic though and the cycling, eccentric ankle stretches, massage, strength exercises all seem to be working. Today I ran 5 mins, walked 5 mins, ran 5 mins, etc for a total of one hour.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Making Plans

Training (if I could call it that) is going very well at the moment. Yesterday's outing scored 98 and today's did likewise.

Time now to look at putting together a proper schedule starting from mid March ... things such as long runs, hill reps, tempo runs, intervals, etc. One question though: my races last year were 1 mile, 5.7 miles, 5.9 miles, 5 miles, 24 hours, 24 hours and 2 trail relays so how do I estimate what my 10k, 5k, 3k half marathon paces should be ? I also ran a 10k but that doesn't count because I ran 17 miles to the start before racing (ran home too after the race).

Using the World Masters Age Graded Tables and some clever stats I've decided that the above training paces should be (per mile): 6:26, 6:11, 5:52 and 6:38 respectively.

Also beginning to look at races - not entering anything yet (apart from the Hull 24 hr race). Those that interest me include:

Wakefield 10k, S. Leeds Stadium 5m, North of England 12 stage relay, Rothwell 10k, Bradford 10k, Harrogate League, John Carr 5k Series, Black Sheep Series, Meanwood Valley Trail Race, Wharfedale Off-Road Full & Half Marathons, Bradford Millennium Way Relay, Stainland 7, Mileta 10k, Wetherby 10k, Sutton 7.

The following ultras are also possible: Ridgeway 40, Fife 50k, Gordon Bentley 12 hr, Marlborough Downs Challenge, Dartmoor Discovery, Rochdale Canal Relay, White Cliffs 50, Self Transcendence 24 hr.

These things all depend on how my rehab continues to progress ... but things are looking good.

Just seen in Athletics Weekly that two ultra runners are standing for election to the Road Running Leadership Group: Hilary Walker and Pam Storey. As secretary of Otley AC and Race Director of the Otley 10 I believe I'm entitled to vote (twice). After reading the information on UK Athletics website I think I'll have to go with Hilary ... sorry Pam !!

PS can you tell I'm in a much better frame of mind that I was in early January.

Monday, 18 February 2008

My next ultra

Training and rehabilitation going very well at the moment so I've entered the East Hull Harriers 24 hr track race which will be on 12/13 July 2008.

At this stage my target will be 220k but this is subject to constant revision depending mainly on how the next few weeks of rehabilitation goes.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Getting Better

Just got out of the shower following a 50 minute run/walk jaunt. Feel very positive about how my injury management is going.

If I were to score each of my last five runs out of 100 (where 1 is painful achilles and 100 is absolutely no achilles pain), the scores would be:

Monday 11 February ... 80
Tuesday 12 February ... 82
Wednesday 13 February ... 84
Thursday 14 February ... 84
Saturday 16 February ... 90

Obviously going in the right direction. If tomorrow's run follows this trend I'll definitely be entering the Hull 24 hr track race on Monday.

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Otley AC Newsletter

February's Otley AC Newsletter arrived yesterday without Andy Milroy's report of the Tipton 100 mile race in 1975 (see blog from 31 Jan). Not sure why ... ultra ist perhaps.

Today's 45 min outing went almost perfectly. The only minor hiccup was when running uphill for a while at 20 - 22 mins.

Well pleased with this.

Rest day tomorrow.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Feel good

Sitting here with ice on my achilles after just finishing my second 40 minute outing. Went well again - pleased with this.

Still keeping up with the colostrum, eccentric achilles stretching, cycling, strength/core stability exercises, stretching and massage.

I've gained a few kilos since I stopped running though.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Stage two begins

Well, it's done. My first run of any type since 24 December 2007. How did it go ? Well ... I iced my ankle for 30 mins before setting off and for the first 15 - 20 mins it didn't feel normal but I put that down to the ice and the type of shoes I was wearing [Nike Air Max Bounty] which are still quite new and stiff. For the second half of my 40 minute outing my ankle felt absolutely fine.

I know that alternating 5 mins running with 5 mins walking is still a long way from proper training but this is another milestone reached. Tomorrow will be identical in terms of running - I hope the result is too.

After a shower the pinch test as advocated by Noakes in his 'Lore Of Running' indicated no deterioration in the achilles. Fantastic.

Used ice for 30 mins after the run too.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

T minus one and counting

Tomorrow I begin stage two of my rehabilitation. This involves alternating 5 minutes running with 5 minutes walking for a total of 40 minutes. This will increase to a total of 70 minutes on 28 February (all being well). Feel good but still nervous.

On Friday I attended the Otley AC Annual Presentation Evening at Korks in Otley. It was a very enjoyable evening and I was extremely surprised to walk away with the prestigious President's Trophy ... not least because his business is sponsoring me ( and I can't run in the first race of our informal agreement.

Been thinking about sponsorship a bit over the past couple of days. Is now a good time to try and attract another or would it be better to wait a few weeks until I'm fitter ?

Thursday, 7 February 2008


As supected, it looks very unlikely that UK Athletics are going to send a team to the 24 Hr World Challenge which will be held in Korea later this year.

In fact there is no mention of the event at all on the UK Athletics website. Not even in the list entitled 'Major International Fixtures', but there is mention of that very important (!!!) cross country race on 13 January ... 31 Cross della Vallagarina which took place in Rovereto (Italy).

Priorities, priorities ...

Talking of which ... I'm still a little apprehensive about next Monday's return to running. I only plan to run 5 mins/walk 5 mins for 40 minutes in total but I've not run a step since before Christmas. I know I'm doing everything I can recovery wise but I'm still unsure ...

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Serious Competition

Just been looking at William Sichel's website and he's just posted his races for this year. They include the Hull 24 hr race in July ... the one I'm aiming for. After an email conversation with him last summer I guess his target would be about 247k or 153 miles (the UK age group record [M50]).

William was UK number 5 last year whereas I was a lowly number 7. He's been running ultras for a long time now and is definitely one to watch as his achievements are fantastic. They can be seen on his website

I also noticed that he plans to run the Surgeres 48hr race in mid May. This will give him only 8 weeks recovery before Hull !!

Will this give me an extra incentive to maintain my new found professionalism regarding diet, time management and willingness to do the work needed to succeed - of course it has.

Need to look at last year's training to see what can be improved and how. One thing's for sure though, I think I'll stick with the cycling but need to find a way of incorporating it properly when running commences.

Monday, 4 February 2008

A couple of questions

Added a couple more links (1) Abichal Watkins' Multidays website, and (2) the governing body for ultra races ... International Association of Ultrarunners.

With the World 24 hr Challenge now taking place in Korea in mid October - will this effect the quality of the field at the Self Transcendence 24 hr race in London (18 Oct)?

The Hull 24 hr event doesn't carry an IAU label. Does this mean that a runner who posts a massive distance will not have that result ratified for purposes of qualification for championships?

Saturday, 2 February 2008

Lots happening but no running yet

OK, here we go, quite a lot of things to talk about today.

Bought myself some bathroom scales yesterday. Will use to weigh myself before and after each run and this will help determine my fluid requirements when running at various speeds when taking into account different air temperatures and humidity. It sounds complicated but I'm sure it won't be and I'll get used to it after a few weeks. Obviously not using the scales yet but I will be by March.

Will have to buy some Sorbothane heel pads too for when I start running again - but how many miles before I need some new ones?

I'll have to email Pam Storey later today to let her know that I'll definitely not be able to take part in the 12hr race she organises at Crawley - sorry Pam.

Looked at Les Croupiers website yesterday to see who's taking part in their annual Barry 40 mile track race. Found that John Pares hasn't entered yet (2006 winner, 2007 runner up) but Paul Tranter has. Paul lives in Otley like me and has run in Barry twice before - the last time was in 2006 when the weather was probably the worst in the long history of the race. That was my first ultra and the doctor pulled me out at about 31 miles with a badly blistered right foot (I still have the scar!!!). Good luck Paul - I guess you'll be aiming for 5 hours.

My daily schedule has now settled down to:
  • morning: 3 sets of 25 achilles stretches with a weighted back pack
  • two hours after breakfast: 300ml colostrum drink
  • mid morning: five or six minutes massaging right achilles with Deep Heat
  • lunchtime: 20 minutes of strength and conditioning exercises every other day
  • lunchtime: 45 minutes on exercise bike two days out of three (followed by icing my achilles for 30 minutes)
  • early evening: five or six minutes massaging right achilles with Deep Heat
  • about 8.00pm: 300ml colostrum drink followed by 3 sets of 25 achilles stretches with a weighted back pack followed by 20 minutes of stretching exercises
I've also started looking at compression tights which I believe will help recovery during and after ultra races - a good idea but at £50 a pair ...

Over on the left you'll see that I've started a list of web links. The first two are my club and my sponsor (The Divan Centre - the owner [Carl Walsh] is President of Otley AC). I feel really bad though because no sooner do I get myself a sponsor than I develop a pretty bad injury. I only hope I can justify his faith in me later in the year.