Monday, 31 March 2008

An Easy Week

The first day of my first 'easy week' this year. Every fourth week I take it easy and only run about 60% of my usual mileage. I've done this for a number of year's now and as it works well for me I don't intend to change.

Tomorrow I'm off for a very long run (by my recent standard) of about 16 or 17 miles. Not too far but in some ways I'm a bit apprehensive as it's by far my longest run for 15 weeks.

Will report back when I get home tomorrow.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Important Date For Next Year

The date has been confirmed for next year's Commonwealth Championships for Ultra & Fell Running - 8 & 9 October in Keswick.

Apparently the organisers are viewing this as a trial event with a view to getting these two disciplines properly included in the Commonwealth Games.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

I wish I were racing too

I'm now well into my second week of proper training and it seems to be going well except that when I'm doing a paced run my actual speed is all over the place. It'll come back with practice though.

Good to see the Barry 40 results in last weeks Athletics Weekly - one ultra race which makes the results pages every year although there should be an in depth article about this race considering the number of world bests set there over the years.

All the best to Sharon Gayter and Paul Tranter who take part in the Marathon des Sables later this month and to William Sichel who's in Athens as I write this for a 24 hr race.

In the accompanying 7 day race Wolfgang Schwerk seems to be doing very well (839k after 5.5 days). I also notice that the Italian bloke who just beat me in the London 24 hr race (last October) is also doing very well - he's in 5th place at the moment with 677k.

I'm just jealous of you all, that's all. Still, it won't be long now before I'm back racing.

Hope everything goes well with Pam Storey too and her 12 hr & 6 hr races in Crawley - wish I could be there Pam.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

All's Well

Well, the first week of 'proper training' is over and I'm glad to report that (almost) all is well.

The achilles problem alluded to in my last post has definitely turned out to be a minor heel injury and not an achilles problem.

Another day off tomorrow then two long runs beckon, well 9 or 10 miles each - I know they're not long really but that will be the furthest I've been since the beginning of December.

My achilles is holding up well though.

Friday, 21 March 2008

The third training run of my new regime was not so good, I thought my achilles was injured again (or most likely not recovered properly yet). That was two days ago now. Yesterday was a scheduled rest day and today I ran a shorter distance but a bit quicker (planned) with no problems at all.

Obviously I'm still icing the injury before and after each run but I feel a lot better than I did yesterday.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Stage Three

Finally began training properly yesterday ... and it felt good to be back.

Ran 8.6 miles steadily and today tried the same but a bit quicker - no problems at all except that I couldn't find the Otley 10 mile markers (the ones I paint on the road every year).

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Advanced Planning

Spent an hour or so, earlier today, at Roundhay Park in Leeds where my son was running a mile for Sport Relief (well, 3 miles actually this year).

It was well and truly packed and he could hardly run at all for the first 5 mins or so. Still, he managed the hilly course in under 30 mins and made me very proud of him. He raised a fair bit of money for the charity too.

My schedule is coming along nicely:

RUNNING: three days on and one day off; including long runs, fartlek, tempo and the occasional very long run and short race (5k - 10 miles).

CYCLING: retain at two or three times a week but increase the quality.

STRENGTH TRAINING: keep this as it's obviously working.

ECCENTRIC ACHILLES STRETCHES: gradually reduce from 14 times per week to once every three days. Keep increasing the weights in the rucksack for now.

MASSAGE WITH DEEP HEAT: continue twice a day for now then once a day for a few months before stopping altogether.

COLOSTRUM: stop using when current supplies are exhausted as I'm not convinced it's doing any good.

ICE: gradually reduce the use of ice after cycling and also before & after running.

HEEL RAISES: continue with these in all my running shoes for all my runs.

STRETCHING: 15 mins or so every day; quads, hamstrings, lower back, calves, achilles and abductors.

REST & RECOVERY: every second non-running day will also be non-cycling and non-strength training.

Also keeping up with the good footcare routine and much better diet than last year.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Well Done and Good Luck

Well done to Paul Tranter on his new pb at the Barry 40 last weekend. I guess that's about 10s per mile quicker than his previous best time which dates from 2005.

Also, all the best to Phil Robertson (another Otley AC runner) who's taking part in the 31 mile Wuthering Hike this weekend. As you can probably tell by the name, it's over the moors around Haworth in Yorkshire.

I wish these long trail races were in summer ... winter is too muddy/slippery for me.

Felt a twinge in my ankle/heel this morning whilst cycling ... I don't think it's a recurrence of the injury but it needs treating with caution for the time being.

Friday, 14 March 2008


I've just found this item on the Multidays website. I'm not religious as such but I must admit that I do find things like this inspiring.

It is titled 'The Ultrarunner's Prayer' and can be found at

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Back To Normal ... And Looking Good

Thank you William for the comment on my previous post ... it's always nice to know there's nothing seriously wrong with me (don't tell my family though ...).

On Wednesday everything returned to normal regarding training (well, rehab following ankle injury).

This afternoon I've been out for 55 mins and need to seriously start looking at where I go next week as it looks increasingly likely that I'll need to change from rehab to training proper.

Lots to think about though: running, cycling, strength training, eccentric achilles stretches, general flexibility, achilles massage, use of ice before and after running/cycling, colostrum intake, diet ... and now compression clothing.

Glad to report that the weight is also down below 60kg for the first time this year, aiming for around 58kg.

Monday, 10 March 2008

What Happened?

I'm still unsure as to exactly what happened in the early hours of Saturday morning. I walked about 10m, down one flight of stairs, walked another 10m, stood for a minute or so ... then collapsed.

I didn't trip and I didn't slip.

On the floor I remember feeling a bit nauseous and when Fay laid me on my back with my feet elevated I began to feel better.

All this does sound like Exercise Associated Collapse (EAC) ... but surely not after a minute or two. I've run 40 or 50 miles without EAC [in fact, it's only happened to me in the past after reaching 200k].

I'm aware that a major factor is a sudden drop in blood pressure after stopping running so could there be something else that caused my blood pressure to drop suddenly ... or is there some other mechanism at work here?

This afternoon I ran by myself, carefully, for 50 mins with no achilles or other problems at all.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Head still hurts ...

Went for a run this afternoon. Up to 50 mins now and as my son is doing the Sport Relief mile next weekend I thought it a good idea that he came with me ... just in case, you understand !!!

He's actually doing the 3 mile version but he's never run so far before. Him being with me made sure I ran slowly and with care today.

Recently posted on the England Athletics website is the selection criteria for this year's Anglo Celtic Plate 100k (18 May - Cardiff). Basically performances since 1 Jan 2007 will be considered but candidates will probably have taken part in either the Epney Gloucester 50k, Draycote Water 35 or Barry 40 this year as proof of fitness [I hope I've interpreted that correctly]. The full article is at

I know I'm nowhere near fit enough at the moment for a 100k race in May but this information is useful for future years. And possibly can be used as a basis for selection for the Commonwealth Championships 24 hr event in autumn (?) 2009 by substituting dates and races in their statement.

Had a fantastic reply from William Sichel about compression clothing which I'm very grateful for (and also his concern about yesterday's incident).

And to anyone else who's reading this, no, I wasn't drunk. I've not touched a drop since my birthday about a fortnight ago.

I hope William doesn't mind me picking his brains every now and again but I find it really useful talking to more experienced runners about the intricacies of ultra running.

Saturday, 8 March 2008


You'll never believe what happened last night. At about half past two in the morning I woke up needing to use the toilet but when I got there I keeled over !! Apparently I made such a thud that Fay woke up and, fearing the worst, came to find me ... I was still on the floor.

Later she described me as suffering from 'Exercise Associated Collapse' [see Lore of Running (4th edition) by Tim Noakes, pp244 - 249]. Fay has first hand experience of looking after me in this situation as I've suffered EAC after each of my last two 24 hr races.

The only difference this time was that I have quite a nasty gash on my forehead.

No running today then.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Performance Tights

Yesterday I emailed William Sichel to ask his opinion on whether compression tights would be too warm to wear in summer. I can definitely see the benefits but shorts in warm weather seems far more practical and comfortable.

His reply didn't answer my question but did confirm my thoughts in an earlier post about the Hull 24 hr race not having an IAU label and therefore very unlikely to be recognised for major championship qualification purposes.

Over the past few weeks I have come to think that the selection criteria for the Commonwealth Championships (autumn 2009) will not even be published before summer therefore I have at least two further attempts to post a good distance.

I've just seen in Athletics Weekly an advertorial for the Vasque Ultra Running Championships. Although this is definitely a step in the right direction by the magazine all the races are off road and some promotion for track and road ultras wouldn't go amiss, particularly as major championships and records are all (of necessity) road/track courses.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Review Time

Looking forward to tomorrow - no cycling and no running - a rest day.

Earlier today I looked at how things have progressed since Monday 11 February (23 days): 16 sessions on the bike, 11 strength training sessions and 18 running sessions (of a sort).

No wonder my pulse is rapidly returning to pre injury levels.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

A Good Weekend

Another good run today although I could've done without the hurricane strength winds this morning ... in this weather I don't think I could manage more that 4 or 5 miles anyway (I was out for 35 minutes).

Forty minutes tomorrow !!!

Yesterday I helped at the latest Otley AC handicap at Eccup. I'm not allowed to run 10k so I did the timekeeping - it was cold though. Phil Robinson was first home closely followed by Antonio. If I had have been running I'd have been last starter ... by at least a couple of minutes. Back home I had a 90 minute session on the exercise bike.

This afternoon I booked our hotel for Hull. Three nights at the Innkeepers Lodge for me and a crew of two for £108 in total. Not using the middle night though as I'll be running ... but it's good to have something just in case the worst happens. All this planning recently is definitely helping with the mental thing regarding the injury and the fact that the Hull 24 hr race is now only 19 weeks away and I still can't manage 5 miles [let alone 135].

Good to see an ultra result in Athletics Weekly - Thames Meander 54. I see that the twelfth finisher came home in 8h 59 (9:59 per mile) ... shame I'm injured. Useful info for next year though. The winner was D. Afshar (7h 16) and the first two women were Ramona Thevenet-Smith and Sharon Gayter whom I last competed against in London in Oct 2007 [beat Ramona, narrowly lost to Sharon].