Friday, 27 June 2008


Beginning to feel a bit nervous already - the race is 15 days away still ...

All the best to William Sichel who's attempting a Scottish record in Germany - he's running the Hamm 6 day race and aiming for well over 850 miles.

Been off the caffeine all week and feeling OK, no problems at all although I have a slight worry that when I take caffeine during the race I'll end up with intestinal problems. My crew and I don't think so as I only plan to take 4 x 80mg which is the equivalent of about 4 cups of coffee over the entire 24 hours.

Training this week has been light after last week's crash training. Club handicap on Tuesday (6 miles in total) and 7 miles fartlek yesterday. Also done 45 mins cycling and one session of strength exercises.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Otley - home of the ultra distance runner

First of all a big well done to Phil Robertson of Otley AC who has completed the West Highland Way Race (95 miles) in just under 28 hours - an amazing achievement. He was with Paul Tranter [another Otley resident] who has now completed the Marathon des Sables and the West Highland Way Race in less than five months.

For more details about Phil Robertson see his blog at

Just noticed, on the UK Athletics website the selection criteria for the IAU European Championships and World Cup 100k to be held in Etruschi, Italy on 8 November. Basically they are only considering individuals if they are confident of a top 15 placing. This means they have set standards of 7h 05 for men and 8h 15 for women. In the last 18 months only one man and two women have achieved this (Jez Bragg, Adele Salt and Emma Gooderham).

They have also set lower, team standards, of 7h 20 and 8h 30 but, again, I think that perhaps they are setting their targets a bit high as no other British runners have achieved this lower mark in the qualifying period which began on 1 January 2007.

I wonder what the criteria will be for the 24 hr World Challenge in Korea on October 18/19.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Crash Training (summary)

Decided to stop crash training one day earlier than planned. My right ankle is beginning to show signs of breakdown and if I look back, the day before crash training was a 10 mile cross country race.

So, I had seven days of intense training which included two races, one long tempo run, three long runs (20 miles +), one interval session and one fartlek (!) session.

I also managed one session on the bike, stretching every day, one strength training session, four sessions of eccentric achilles stretching, and daily ankle massage.

Felt extremely tired on Thursday afternoon and had a nap but apart from that I didn't feel much more tired than usual. Also used a product from Science In Sport called Nocte. This is designed to aid recovery whilst asleep - used this three times (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). I definitely found it beneficial.

Also used ice after every run from Wednesday onwards and increased my intake of carbohydrates and vitamins C and B. Began using ibuprofen on Friday to control possible inflammation.

During the seven days (15 - 21 June inclusive) I ran 130 miles. The four weeks before that had an average of 59 miles.

Stats then:
during that week I ran for 18h 50
cycled for 45 mins
stretched for 1h 27
did strength training for 35 mins
performed eccentric ankle stretches for 59 mins
and massaged for 37 mins

This means that, taking the last 28 days (25 May - 21 June), an average week was:
running: 11h 04
cycling: 1h 19
stretching: 1h 12
strength training: 57 mins
eccentric achilles stretches: 1h 10
massage: 33 mins

At last, I've now reached the stage where eccentric achilles stretches (for achilles tendinosis at the start of the year) need only be done once every three days.

Next week will be an extremely easy week but as this is my first tapering week it isn't a problem at all. My four runs will include a club handicap, a tempo run and two fartlek sessions.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Crash Training (4)

This morning ... just over 10 miles (including 4 x 1 mile at approx 5 mile pace)
This afternoon ... almost 8 miles steady

Friday, 20 June 2008

Crash Training (3)

Yesterday morning ... 20+ miles which included a large hill at about 15 miles
Yesterday evening ... sprint drills, etc with the club coach

This afternoon ... just over 13 miles at sub 8 min/mile pace

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Crash Training (2)

Yesterday morning ... 20+ miles
Yesterday evening ... 5.9 mile Harrogate League race (36:46)

This afternoon ... just over 21 miles

Monday, 16 June 2008

Crash Training

After cutting short Friday's training and feeling very fresh after yesterday's 10 mile relay leg over Haworth Moor I've decided to change my last week of 'proper' training before tapering begins next Monday.

I've decided to have a week of crash training. This basically involves all the components of a normal training week ... but twice as much of it. This will be followed by a week of reduced training - which is part of my tapering anyway.

Having read about crash training in articles by Frank Horwill I understand that very careful attention has to be paid to recovery, healthy eating, injuries and listening to my body.

Today I began with almost 12 miles of which 8 were at sub 6:40 per mile.

After extensive testing it appears that sorbothane insoles work better when used instead of the insoles which are supplied with shoes.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Yesterday - ouch, today - much better

Yesterday I had planned a 24 mile run where each mile was to be quicker than the previous one. After about a mile I put my foot down awkwardly on the kerb and went over on my ankle - the right one. The immediate pain wasn't too bad but the next four or five miles found me running with a limp - not good. The following couple of miles were much better but I decided it would be wiser to stop at eight miles instead of treble that distance.

Back home I applied ice immediately and took some ibuprofen. Will continue with this course of treatment for at least a few days even though my ankle feels almost normal again now.

In a slightly unrelated development it seems that Les Hill of Dumfries RC has signed up for the Hull 24hr race. Les is obviously a decent runner having taken part in the last six editions of the Round Rotherham 50 mile trail race and finished 14th, 2nd, 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th. He also competed in this year's Anglo Celtic Plate 100k in Cardiff, finishing ninth in 8h 37.

Although he's much better than me over the trails, 8 hours in the mud hardly compares to 24 hours on the track. I also believe I'd have finished one place ahead of him over the 100k had I been fit. Still, he's a definite threat though.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Tired today

Yesterday's race went brilliantly apart from a lack of manpower at the finish. We were saved though by Roy Hollingworth of Dragons RC who stepped in at the last minute to help out - many thanks to him.

I must admit that today I feel a bit of a fool. Derek Martin (Abbey Runners) turned up to hand out race entry forms for his club's 10 mile race - The Eccup 10 [a very good race, which I would run if it were not on the same day as the Hull 24hr race]. At first I didn't recognise him and when it dawned on me who I was talking to I forgot his first name. I know he's running in Hull too and I hope he does well - he was 4th last year (and second in the Crawley 12 hr race this year I believe). Apologies to him then for my disrespectful attitude at times.

This morning I ventured out on a slow 23 miler - including a very hilly 10 mile section - to make sure all the signs, etc have been collected. Last year I had to carry a sign (36 inches by 24 inches - on a wooden stake) back home from the 4 mile point ... not much fun.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Otley 10 this evening

Luckily the organisation of this year's Otley 10 has hardly disrupted my training at all. The only change I've had to make is to move this week's two long runs from Monday & Tuesday to Thursday & Friday.

On Monday I ran around the course checking everything over and painting on the road exactly where the mile markers should be placed. Although it is known as a hilly course I was surprised how easy the run was, I wasn't running fast but I expected at least to be very tired at the top of the two (big) hills.

This morning I spent a couple of hours with a team mate putting up signs, etc around the race HQ and taking delivery of the mementoes. A specially commissioned bottle of beer from Hambleton Ales.

Later this afternoon I'll be off around the course again (with another team mate) putting up the 'caution runners' signs and mile markers as well as making a final check that everything is OK.

And then, tonight, the race. As in almost every other year that I've organised this race I'm a bit worried that we don't have enough marshals, funnel officials, etc. I'm sure everything will be fine though ...

Still not found any decent decaff coffee. I'll probably end up buying some decaf house blend from Starbucks (help ...)

Pleased about my weight. Since the beginning of the year I've lost over 2kg (4.4lb) and I'm consistently under 59kg, I feel much better for it too.

Friday, 6 June 2008

busy, busy, busy

Had lots of PC/internet connection problems recently ... I think they're all sorted out now and normal service can be resumed.

The full length sorbothane inner soles I bought in London recently don't seem to stop the balls of my feet from being painful on long runs ... in fact, I would say they make it worse. A couple of days ago I had to change my shoes twice during a 23 miler.

The instructions say to use them over the top of the inner soles provided with the shoes. Perhaps I'll try them "instead of" as opposed to "as well as".

Still using the sorbothane heel raises though but the long standing achilles injury is now officially no more ... ie I'm injury free for the first time since October last year.

Ran a Harrogate League race in Thirsk last night, approx 5 miles (probably a bit more). I came away with my best time ever on that course, which I'm very pleased about. One of our team, Gilly, came away with an injury to the back of her left knee though which doesn't look good - she couldn't straighten her leg or put any weight on her left foot. She seemed a bit sad, which is only natural as she's been running well recently. I hope she's OK.

Seriously beginning to think now about exactly what food, drink, painkillers, suntan lotion, kit I'll need to take to the Hull 24 hr race - gels, rice pudding, custard, jaffa cakes, grapes, Turkish Delight, electrolyte sports drinks, salt, sun glasses, the list goes on and on ...

Also been busy allocating tasks for this Wednesday's Otley 10. I have to find at least 50 volunteers and allocate tasks such as marshalling, car park attendants, timekeepers, lead car driver, sweep car driver, finish recorders, people to give out mementoes and drinks after the race. Also have to liaise with local police and councils, scouts, town mayor, other sports clubs who share our car park, etc. Very busy at the moment.