Monday, 28 April 2008

First Long Run

This afternoon I went out for my first 'proper' long run. Before today the furthest I've been this year is 17 miles. Today I ran 25+.

I found it much easier than expected - the first half was covered at about 8:25 per mile and the return journey at about 8:10 per mile. It wasn't planned that way but I was just feeling very good. Compression tights probably had a part to play there, as did two litres of isotonic sports drink (some of which was caffeinated).

The route was quite hilly in places and the weather was less than kind - heavy showers (one was sleet) and cold at times. Warm and sunny though for the last five miles or so.

Well pleased with this ... and the best part is that the pinch test referred to by Noakes in his 'Lore of Running' indicates no damage to my achilles.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Today was my first run this year where I didn't use ice before or after. Only 5.25 miles but I feel OK ... and so does my achilles.

Just looked at the results of the Crawley 12 hr race (I was going to do this before injury struck, remember). John Pares won with just over 130k but I also notice that Derek Martin finished in third with over 102k - well done to them. It seems to me that I would have finished much closer to John than I have on the previous occasions we've raced - maybe he had a bad run, I've no idea - but I'd have been looking for something over 125k. Full results can be found at

Yesterday on my local BBC news program I was interested in their piece about the Three Peaks Race - 24 mile fell race in the Yorkshire Dales taking in Whernside, Pen Y Ghent and Ingleborough. They made it seem as if it was the most difficult race in Yorkshire !!! All us ultra runners know that it isn't (it's merely the race with the best scenery) and more difficult races include Fellsman (61 miles from Ingleton to Grassington), Round Rotherham 50 and Hull 24hr track race. I sent an email to the news program with this information and hopefully we'll get some publicity for ultra races ... or maybe not !!!

This morning I looked at Phil Essam's website ( and noticed that he is looking for a helper to post information while he is 'going part time' later this year ... could I do that ? Need to think about whether I can spare the time ...

Also noticed on that website that Yiannis Kouros has won the Ciserano 24 hr race (Italy) with 261k ... this took place on 20 April, just three weeks after he won the Brno 48 hr race with over 400k - amazing recovery.

If anyone comes across any good decaf coffee please let me know - thanks.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Time Spent Training

A few days ago I was asked how long I spend training each week. I didn't really know the answer so I sat down with pen, paper and training diary to try and find out.

Over the past 28 days I have, on average, spent:

5h 52 per week running
1h 32 per week cycling
1h 15 per week stretching
1h 45 per week strength training
3h 08 per week doing eccentric achilles stretches
1h 17 per week massaging my ankle
making a total 14h 49 per week

Over the coming months the time spent running will increase as my mileage reaches a maximum at the end of June. Cycling and stretching will stay roughly the same. Strength training will decrease as I approach important races, eg Hull 24 hr. Achilles stretches will gradually decrease to about 34 mins per week. Ankle massage will also reduce to about half the current level.

Of course these stats do not take into account time spent with ice on my ankle, or in the shower, or changing clothes, or fetching equipment, or writing training diary or ...

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

A simple update

Apologies for not posting an entry for a while.

Recently I've been re-reading the articles by respected coach Frank Horwill on the Serpentine Runners website ( and found a very interesting article about vitamin B6 and blood-boosting, etc. I think most of Frank's articles are definitely worth reading.

Still icing my achilles before and after the longer runs but now I'm not applying ice before the shorter ones. This means that I'm still unable to run with my club and racing isn't easy ... although I'm looking forward to those two 5k races in May which I've entered.

The compression tights I purchased a few days ago seem very good. I've just returned from a hilly 15 miler with absolutely no leg soreness at all. Whilst running I realised that as the compression helps return blood to the heart the tights will also help with my Exercise Associated Collapse (caused by low blood pressure after ultra events [caused by pooling of blood in the feet after running has stopped]).

Yesterday I was looking at the website of the Madrid 24 hr race and it seems to be a very good event - worth noting for next year perhaps. The Grand Union Canal Race is also on my 'to do' list but will require more planning regarding crew, etc.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Compression Clothing

For the past few weeks I've been doing some research about compression clothing (especially tights). Everything I've read, along with some good advice from William Sichel, suggested that they would be a wise investment.

Yesterday, after training, my calves felt very tight and sore (they still do but are much improved) so I decided to get myself a pair. Bought them this morning, not worn them yet ... will report back when I have.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Two 5k races coming up

One small thing I missed off the last post which I enjoyed from reading the aforementioned race reports: apparently 'ultra' is an acronym for U Live To Run Again ... very good.

Over the weekend I decided to enter two local 5k races in May (speedwork of course). It's been a long time since I've raced such a short distance ... they are on Wednesday May 7 and Wednesday May 14 and this means that my training on the first three days of those weeks will look something like:

Mon 5 May: 18 miles at 8:15 - 8:45 per mile
Tue 6 May: 18 miles at 7:15 per mile
Wed 7 May: 9 miles including 5k race

Mon 12 May: 19 to 20 miles at 8:15 - 8:45 per mile
Tue 13 May: 19 to 20 miles at 7:15 per mile
Wed 14 May: 9.5 to 10 miles including 5k race

At the moment I appear to have slightly strained a muscle in my stomach area which is limiting the amount of sit ups I can do ... a bit of a pain but I can still do all my other training as normal.

Starting to think seriously about exactly what food and kit I need for the Hull 24 hr race. Of course I'm using previous races as a guide but trying, as always, to improve things by using the knowledge gained from making detailed notes at the time as regards what works and what doesn't.

Also, for this race I'm going to try abstaining from caffeine for three weeks before the race. Hopefully this will help when I have some immediately before and during the event itself.

One more thing ... what's all this cold weather about? I shouldn't be running in tracksters and gloves in mid April. It has been sunny today though (except when I was running ... we had hail showers at that time !!!). Hopefully, if the warmer weather starts later than usual it'll finish later than usual too.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Not Much To Report

Today, for the first time this year, I haven't iced my achilles after being on the bike for 45 mins. Also went for a 6 mile run today on quite a hilly route - legs felt a bit heavy, especially my achilles, but overall my rehab seems to be going well.

Found two very good race reports on about the annual Self Transcendence 6 day race over in America. Very good reading ... especially the part about shin splints and cabbages !!!.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Two New Articles To Look At

Just noticed that over on the left (at the bottom) I've listed my Round Rotherham pb incorrectly ... I ran that time in 2006 not 2007.

Stopped taking the colostrum now. My supplies have finished and I just don't know if it's doing me any good or not so I can't see the point really.

In today's 'Metro' newspaper there's an interesting piece on page 36 where the headline reads 'improving vision can help an athlete realise their full potential.' I can see the point of this in ball sports where it's obviously an advantage to be able to see the ball clearly and as early as possible but on reading the article it appears that it's also a good idea to be able to properly see cars, etc whilst out training (and judge their distance correctly). Of course this is purely from a safety viewpoint and there's no mention of it being able to help in actual competition ... an interesting idea though.

Also, in the latest Otley AC newsletter ... which can be seen at ... there's a good piece by Bridget Barr about ChiRunning. I've seen books about this over the past year or so and thought that it may be a good idea to research this more thoroughly. Basically the idea is all about maintaining the proper posture whilst running and thus saving energy, cutting down on the stresses, etc.

Well worth investigating I think.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Thanks, Phil for the encouraging comments.

A long(ish) run today of about 12 or 13 miles. Still icing the old achilles before and after the long runs. Went very well and tomorrow I'll do the same distance but at least a minute a mile quicker.

Today I'm only doing the eccentric achilles stretches once - the first step on the long path from 14 times a week to once every three days.

I've also just entered the Self Transcendence 24 hr race in London in October. This is a condition of The Divan Centre sponsoring me. I don't mind as this is a very well organised race and I enjoy the conditions at Tooting Bec and get on well with the lap counters, etc.

As part of my next 'easy week' (28 Apr - 4 May) I've organised a walking break for me and Fay in the Yorkshire Dales as part of our wedding anniversary celebrations. So, the plan for that week is: Mon - 25 miles, Tue - 3 miles fartlek, Thu - 7 miles tempo, Fri to Sun - lots of walking. I'll also try to fit in the other stuff too ... cycling, strength training, etc.

Friday, 4 April 2008

Another Milestone

Just found out that my cheque for the Hull 24 hour race has been cashed. I guess this means my entry has been accepted. I was beginning to worry about my entry being lost in the post or rejected or ... Anyway, it's one less thing to worry about.

Today I ran, for the first time this year, without icing my achilles beforehand. Not far - only 5 or 6 miles - but another milestone nonetheless.

Yesterday William Sichel put me in the direction of an article about racing nutrition he's recently written. I've not had time to read it properly yet but at first glance it seems very good indeed.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

After my seventeen mile jaunt the calves feel very tired but I'm well please about how my achilles has held up - used ice though, 30 mins before and 30 mins after.

Having a well deserved two day break from running now. Still doing the cycling and strength exercises though.

Now I feel I can begin to make plans for my next 24 hr race: pacing plan and nutrition plan. Always bearing in mind the golden rule which is ... be prepared to change the plan during the race if circumstances indicate that it would be best to do so.