Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Yesterday's 3000m race

Yesterday evening was the annual Otley AC 3000m track handicap ... with a difference this year. Due to new rules drawn up by Leeds Metropolitan University we were only allowed to have five people on the track at any one time.

This meant that we had to scrap our usual handicap format where runners set off at different times with the intention of all finishing together. Instead, the 14 runners were seeded by the handicapper into three separate races of the normal type (ie everyone sets off together).

Ian Fisher won the first race in 9:24 which is actually quite slow but we'll forgive him as he's still recovering from quite a serious thigh injury.

I was second in the second race (won by Lloyd Best in 11:06) with a time of 11:13 - a new pb. I then proceeded to run the 9.3 miles home [I ran to the track too for a total of over 20 miles].

Finished writing a training schedule leading up to the 24 hr race in London (18 October). It includes all the usual suspects: long runs, very long runs, fartlek, tempo runs, cycling, stretching and strength exercises. I'm keeping the eccentric achilles stretches every three days and the achilles massage daily and I've added some wobble board work twice a day. Not forgetting at least one rest day per week.

Cycling and strength exercises are ever increasing in quality and this time my two long runs (on consecutive days) will be followed immediately by a run 60% of the length of the long runs. Leading up to the Hull race it was 50%.

I've also decided to keep the 'crash training' week immediately before tapering as I thought it worked very well.

Oh yes, forgot to mention earlier, yesterdays race was my first ever 300om race.

Saturday, 26 July 2008


After the Hull race had a week with no running at all - I deserved the rest - and then, this week, I have eased back into training with a steady 5 miler on Monday, hill reps on Tuesday, 8 miles on Friday and another 8 today.

For today's run the mile splits were 7:35, 7:35, 7:37, 7:38, 7:47, 7:50, 6:38, 6:40. Very pleased with this, the last mile was uphill too. Recovery appears to have been good and all is set for twelve weeks solid and consistent training before the London race ... a few short races would be nice though.

The last few days have seen lots of changes to the layout of this blog ... mainly to the stuff on the left hand side (web links, etc) and there will be more changes to come, including the use of labels which will start with this post.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Selection Criteria

Yesterday I found, on the England Athletics website, details of the selection policy for next year's Commonwealth Championships at 24hr.

Selection Criteria 24 Hour Commonwealth Championship

Keswick Cumbria between 17 th Sept to 20 th Sept 2009.

Up to six athletes Female and six athletes Male will be considered for selection.

A Standard (Individual) Men 225kms Women 200kms
B Standard (Team) Men 215kms Women 185kms

Selection date and considerations

The selection date will be on Saturday 20th June 2009, or shortly afterwards
Important – England Athletics will only consider performances in IAU Label Races
Athletes who wish names and relevant performances to go forward for consideration for selection should forward details by email to or write to Norman Wilson,61,Darell Close,Quedgeley,Gloucester.GL2 4YR by no later than 1st June 2009

Qualifying Period

1st May 2008 to 31st May 2009 it will be necessary for current fitness to be evident prior to selection and to be injury free.

After reading this, very carefully, one or two things spring to mind:

1) 225km seems to be very harsh. I've just checked and last year only five runners from the Commonwealth achieved that distance (three Brits and two Aussies).

2) It seems William Sichel was correct in that the selectors will only consider performances in races with an IAU Label.

3) Between now and the end of May 2009 I am able to compete at least three times over 24hr if necessary. My next race - Tooting Bec (London) definitely has an IAU Label.

4) How exactly would 'current fitness be evident' to the selectors.

5) I know I can run 225k. It's only 8.4 laps more than I achieved in Hull when I was easing down for the last 4 hours. See the race report from Hull for details (

I also found out more details of a couple of new ultra races to be held in Perth, Scotland on 13 September. Apparently Scottish Athletics are looking to stage an IAU World Championship in the next few years and these races are basically a feasibility study.

I definitely hope everything goes well for them as a World Championship in Scotland would be fantastic. For more details see

Meanwhile ... my training schedule leading up to October's race is coming along nicely apart from one question if I may: which would be more beneficial the day after a long slow run:

a) a long run of 24 - 28 miles at one minute per mile quicker, or
b) a long run of 24 - 28 miles where each mile is about 5s quicker than the previous mile
c) does it depend on what stage I'm at regarding my preparation

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Race Report

Finished writing the race report at last. There's a link to it here - and also one on the left where I'll keep a list of links to all future race reports.

Over the next few days I plan to begin adding photos and other stuff to this blog - hope you all approve.

Monday, 21 July 2008

First Run

My first run since the race has gone very well. It was only 5 miles at a slowish pace but, importantly, there was no aches and pains from the race which was only 8 days ago.

I've spent the last couple of days writing a detailed race report which I'll post on this blog as soon as possible.

Will spend the next few days planning a detailed training schedule for my next ultra which will be the Sri Schinmoy 24 hr event at Tooting Bec track in London in October.

In the next few days I also hope to have details of the English qualifying criteria for next year's Commonwealth Ultra Running Championships.

Friday, 18 July 2008

Tonight's Relay

Went to the physio yesterday for a check up ... just to make sure I was OK to resume training next week. The only problem he could find was of a proprioceptive nature in my right ankle.

This morning I acquired a wobble board from the local scout troop and will use it for five minutes twice a day.

This morning I had a 45 minute session on the bike (at a reduced intensity) with no ill effects and this afternoon I did a strength training session, again at a reduced intensity. Feel good about my recovery which seems much quicker than in the past. I attribute this to the compression tights I wore during the race.

The race report is coming along nicely but tonight is the second of two races I organise - The Washburn Relay - for local clubs around the Fewston and Swinsty Reservoirs a few miles north of where I live. A good social event in a wonderfully scenic part of Yorkshire. So far we have 50 teams of three.

Obviously things will be on hold for a couple of days now while the relay takes precedence - correlating results is quite a time consuming task.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

More thoughts

Recovering well.  Compression tights definitely work for post race muscle soreness ... but not for my Exercise Associated Collapse [I've got the bump on my head to prove it !!!].

Looking at all the amazing stats kept by my crew. Let's see what we have here:

1) position and distance travelled at the end of each hour
2) a note of what I ate and drank - EXACTLY how much and when
3) how far I walked during my breaks (to nearest tenth of a lap) and how long it took
4) exact times of all toilet stops (and their duration)
5) time and duration of vaseline stops and changes of clothing
6) notes regarding how my digestive system reacted to the various foodstuffs I asked it to deal with whilst running

This stuff is amazing and there are no words to describe how essential a good crew is - without a doubt they deserve the prizes just as much as me. During the race all I do is run and report how I'm feeling, everything else is the crew's job.

Right now I'm starting to piece together a race report which will appear on this blog when complete. I'm also starting to plan my next campaign (already - yes I know - not too long though before London in mid October). I feel 225k will be a realistic target for that one.

Next week will be very important though - training resumes and I'll soon discover any lingering injuries.

Thanks to all who've offered their congratulations, from Otley AC members to members of other clubs to non runners including the Otley Police Officer whose name I have mysteriously forgotten (sorry about that but you know who you are).

Finally, spare a thought for Samuel Black. He took part in Hull at the weekend and just before he left home for the race his club (Abbey Runners) persuaded him to run in the Washburn Relay on Friday 18 July. A 24hr race on Saturday and a 3.5 mile race six days later !!!

And you lot thought I was mad.

Monday, 14 July 2008

First thoughts

Back home after a good weekend in Hull.

I finished first with over 221k/137 miles.

A fantastic race, from my point of view as an competitor, the best I've been involved with.

More details later ... still recovering.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Almost There ...

First of all an apology (again ... )

On June 25 I included a link to Phil Robertson's blog that was incorrect. The actual address is [I guess I must've been thinking of Iron Maiden !!!].

With only a few days left I've started applying a thick coating of vaseline to my feet at least twice a day. It feels strange when walking but it definitely helps reduce blister formation during these long races. [Another tip from William Sichel although everyone is different and you must adjust it to your own needs/requirements].

For the last few days it's taken me longer than usual to get to sleep at night. I guess this is a consequence of being less active recently because of tapering.

Had my last run of any worth today - 7 miles fartlek. The final run will be a 4 miler tomorrow evening showing runners around the route of the Washburn Relay which I've organised for 18 July.

The weather forecast isn't exactly brilliant for the weekend - heavy showers. Nothing I can do about that though except hope it's wrong.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Good news for ultra running

Just found this on the Planet Ultra Marathon website:

100km and 24hr Commonwealth Championship - 2009

The inaugural Commonwealth championships for 100km and 24 hour will take place in Cumbria, England in September 2009. Upon successful completion, the events should become fixtures within the Commonwealth games structure and eventually the Olympics. Congratulations to the IAU and to Norman Wilson in particular for this major development.

For more details (and more news about other ultras) see

Also good news (and not so good) for William Sichel. He has won the Hamm 6 day race in Germany with a new pb of 857.07km. [The second placed runner completed 580.18km].

Unfortunately he just missed his longed for Scottish record which is 878.7km by George Cameron - set in 1882 !!!!

Well done to William ...

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Just Ticking Over

All the hard work is done and now it's simply a case of fine tuning everything:

a)before the race - travel plans, lots of rest, still running but at a much reduced volume, eating plan to write up for crew

b) during the race - target times, kit, first aid, food and drink, spares

c) after the race - practice not passing out, back to hotel.

Still running fartlek, tempo runs, etc but no long runs, indeed, I have a 4.8 mile race tonight at Hudswell near Richmond. Part of the Harrogate League series.