Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Statistics - again !!!

Before I start, there's one thing I forgot to mention yesterday. The total time I spent training last week was 33h 52:08.

With only three weeks to go before the 24 hr race at Tooting Bec in London it's time to look in depth at how my training has been progressing recently. Below are some training comparisons between now and three weeks before the Hull 24 hr race. The figures in red relate to an average week during the period 1 Sep - 28 Sep 2008 and the figures in black relate to an average week during the period 26 May - 22 Jun 2008. Both these periods include one week of crash training.

running miles per week ... 87.68 ... 73.68
running time per week ... 12h 54:34 ... 10h 52:45
running sessions per week ... 5.75 ... 5.50

cycling time per week ... 2h 05:24 ... 1h 30:26
cycling sessions per week ... 2.50 ... 2.00

stretching time per week ... 1h 25:09 ... 1h 15:38
stretching sessions per week ... 6.00 ... 5.75

strength training time per week ... 1h 41:42 ... 0h 56:47
strength training sessions per week ... 3.00 ... 1.75

eccentric achilles stretches time per week ... 0h 27:21 ... 0h 53:53
eccentric achilles stretches sessions per week ... 2.50 ... 4.50

ankle massage time per week ... 0h 35:27 ... 0h 32:49
ankle massage sessions per week ... 6.75 ... 6.25

wobble board time per week ... 1h 11:13 ... none
wobble board sessions per week ... 14.00 ... none

total training time per week ... 18h 06:49 ... 14h 35:36
total rehab time per week ... 2h 14:01 ... 1h 26:42

grand total time per week ... 20h 20:50 ... 16h 02:18
grand total sessions per week ... 26.50 ... 20.25

pulse on waking ... 45.5 ... 47.1
weight ... 57.7 kg ... 59.0 kg

running - better no matter how you look at it

cycling - again better all round

stretching - light change for the better

strength training - more sessions per week with bigger weights and for longer

eccentric achilles stretches - now down to maintenance levels after achilles tendinosis late last year and early this year

ankle massage - better because I missed some in late May when on holiday

wobble board - began using late July for an ankle problem which began in mid May

total training time - increased by almost 25%

total rehab time - increased by over 50% because of wobble board use

grand total time - increased by over 25%

grand total sessions - A large increase but a training session is often composed of more than one element, eg I often do some stretching followed immediately by ankle massage followed immediately by wobble board work.

Overall, it appears that things are improving rapidly, which I'm pleased about. Perhaps I need to look again at my targets for the London race which is now less than three weeks away.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Crash Training (summary)

Time to reflect on last week's training.

Normally I would have run 80 miles last week with two long runs [20 miles+], one fartlek session and one tempo run. I managed 160 miles with three long runs and four 'speedwork' sessions (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday). Total running: over 24 hours 6 minutes.

Normally I would have been on the bike twice and done two strength/conditioning sessions. I managed four of each. Total cycling: over 3hours 20 minutes. Strength/conditioning: over 2 hours 21 minutes.

Normally I would stretch six times a week. I managed to stretch every day for a total of over 1 hour 40 minutes.

Eccentric achilles stretching, wobble board work and ankle massage remained exactly as normal.

At the beginning of the week my average waking pulse was 45.4 ... at the end it was 45.5.

At the beginning of the week my weight was 57.9kg ... at the end it was 57.7kg.

Other observations were:

1 - I'm glad the weather was decent, it wouldn't have been much fun if the weather had been bad.
2 - hydration wasn't easy to maintain towards the end of the week.
3 - I wasn't as tired or sleepy as expected ... although I do feel tired now.
4 - The pace of my steady runs seemed to drop on Thursday and Friday but picked up again on Saturday (despite perceived effort remaining constant) ... I'm not sure why.
5 - On Sunday afternoon Fay reported that of late I had been a bit more aggressive than usual. I hadn't noticed this at all and it came as a bit of a shock. She couldn't say whether it was just tiredness or increased testosterone levels because of all the training [if that's possible].
6 - Good diet and recovery definitely helps.

Someone once said that "Ultraunning is an experiment of one."

Well, this entry (and those for the last week), I hope, provides some results of that experiment.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Crash Training (7)

The final training session of the week is now over and today's tally was:

8:30am - 20 miles, including Horsforth 10k
2:55pm - wobble board
3:20pm - strength/conditioning exercises
4:10pm - eccentric achilles stretches
6:40pm - 50 minutes cycling
7:45pm - stretching, ankle massage and wobble board

Today's run was a 6.9 mile run to Woodhouse Grove School followed immediately by the Horsforth 10k then a 6.9 mile run home.

Very pleased with my race time of 40:50.

The niggles were almost non-existent today - perhaps it was the adrenalin ... a very good night's sleep probably helped though.

Tomorrow - no training at all - I need a rest - I'll post a summary of the week.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Crash Training (6)

Well ... here we are having finished the penultimate day's crash training, which was:

8:10am - wobble board
11:40am - strength/conditioning exercises
1:10pm - ran almost 17 miles
6:55pm - stretching, ankle massage and wobble board

Today's run felt good (except at the start) and the overall time was about 5 minutes quicker than I would normally expect for a run of this length. The niggles described yesterday were quite bad for the first 15 to 20 minutes but they gradually disappeared and I had no more problems at all.

I still have the nervous twitch though ... but only when running.

Just about managing to keep my hydration in check but it seems that I've always got a drink by my side.

See you all tomorrow morning at the Horsforth 10k ... I'm not expecting a brilliant time though.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Crash Training (5)

Last night's run was a bit strange ... seemed to be running at a fairly brisk pace but the overall time was quite slow.


7:00am - wobble board
8:30am - ran just over 15 miles
2:20pm - 50 minutes cycling
6:40pm - almost 8 miles fartlek
8:00pm - stretching, wobble board and ankle massage

This morning's run was quite hard work but this evening's fartlek run was excellent.

Today I found it quite hard to stay hydrated and I've developed the odd niggle - right ankle and left knee. The ankle is definitely not achilles tendinosis or tendinitis. They don't feel serious but I need to be careful for the next couple of days. Ice and anti-inflammatory pills beckon.

During the Hull 24 hr race in 2007 I developed a nervous twitch which took at least 4 months to disappear - well it reappeared again this evening.

Wonderful sunset over Ilkley Moor today.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Crash Training (4)

Today's training so far:

7:00am - wobble board
8:10am - eccentric ankle stretching
8:45am - ran almost 20 miles
2:50pm - strength/conditioning exercises
5:10pm - stretching, ankle massage and wobble board

Later I plan to go for a run with Otley AC - 8.5 miles.

This morning's run felt good except that it took about 8 minutes longer than expected ... the pace didn't feel slow though !!!

Still feeling OK, not overly tired. At bedtime tonight I'll have another one of those recovery drinks from Science in Sport.

Received a good email this lunchtime - three photos of me at the Hull 24hr race [two of them are very good too] - from Alan Young (sponsor and handler for William Sichel). I'm not sure where he got them but I don't recall seeing any photographer at the race ... Fay has just told me that there was a photographer there.

I was obviously too busy to notice !!!

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Crash Training (3)


7:00am - wobble board
7:40am - 50 minutes cycling
1:20pm - yesterday's strength/conditioning exercises
2:45pm - run almost 19 miles; including 8 miles tempo [10k - half marathon pace]
8:00pm - stretching, ankle massage and wobble board

This morning I repaired the burst hot water pipe - so good to have running hot water again.

Today I don't feel as tired as I expected - had a good night's sleep last night though, no doubt aided by a product from Science in Sport called Nocte.

Still paying careful attention to diet regarding recovery, fuelling the training and keeping illnesses at bay ... seems to be paying off so far.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Crash Training (2)

Today's training:

7:00am - wobble board
11:40am - 24+ miles steady
4:40pm - ankle massage
5:15pm - stretching
8:55pm - wobble board

This morning started with a crisis. The hot water pipe to the bathroom washbasin burst ... hot water everywhere until I managed to turn off the water at the stopcock - not a good start.

This evening I had to go to a scouts meeting [I'm the secretary of Otley Parish Scouts Executive Committee] and I planned to do some strength exercises on my return but ... you've guessed it ... the meeting went on until 8:30pm and I'm not doing strength exercises at this time.

Better luck tomorrow hopefully.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Crash Training (1)

Today's training has been:

7:00am - wobble board
8:30am - ran just over 21 miles
1:40pm - cycling 50 minutes
5:45pm - eccentric ankle stretching
6:25pm - ran 8+ miles, including 4 x 7 minutes at 5k to 10k pace
8:00pm - stretching, ankle massage and wobble board

Quite a full day then ... with plenty of carbs, chocolate milk, fruit and vitamins B & C.

Oh yes ... Fay has labyrinthitis too (don't worry ... I didn't know what it was either).

Feel OK after day one - a bit tired but nothing major. I don't expect tomorrow to be quite so hectic.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Just found this ...

Tooting Bec 24 hr race - London. It appears the mistake lay with the organisers ... William Sichel will indeed be there and running.

Just found this interesting article. What do you think about it in the context of ultra distance running ?

No running today - just cycling, strength stuff and stretching.

Friday, 19 September 2008

London entries

Twenty three miles yesterday. The first 20 were at 7:50 per mile and then the last three were at 7:17 per mile ... and it was easy. The whole lot took well under three hours.

Tempo run this afternoon - seven miles in 47 minutes. Not too difficult but the headwind in the last mile and a half didn't help.

In the post this morning came the start list, and other stuff, for the Tooting Bec 24 hr race in London. At first glance a couple of things are noticeable:

1) there are at least three other Englishmen in the field who are capable of running 225k, ie the qualifying distance for next year's Commonwealth Championships. The three are Ken Fancett, Jim Rogers and Chris Finill. I've just re read the selection criteria and it does specify that up to six men will be included.

2) William Sichel isn't listed even though his website is still showing that he's taking part. Obviously there's a mistake somewhere.

3) Sharon Gayter is on the list although she writes on her website that she only starting running again in mid August following a stress fracture.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Yesterday's Tiredness

Yesterday morning I felt unusually tired so, on looking at my training schedule and diary, I discovered that my previous six days training had been:

Wed: 22 miles and 35 mins of strength exercises
Thu: 22+ miles [quite a bit quicker]
Fri: 11+ miles steady and 50 mins cycling
Sat: 50 mins cycling and 35 mins of strength exercises
Sun: Wetherby 10k
Mon: 23 miles

That's over 85 miles of running ... no wonder I felt a bit tired.

So, instead of my planned quickish 23 miler, I only did 10 miles but included strength exercises and some cycling.

Today is complete rest and tomorrow will be the long run.

Time to start looking for some decent decaffeinated coffee ... has anyone out there got any ideas ? While tapering for the Hull race earlier this year I used mainly Starbucks Decaf House Blend which is now my favourite, but there must be something better. I might try Whittards of Chelsea.

I have heard that decaf Sumatra is really good ... but I've not seen any for sale though.

PS. many thanks to Paul Clifford [and family] for the lift to and from Wetherby on Sunday. He was justifiably pleased with his 40:55 from very little training.

PPS. I've rearranged the stuff down the left hand side and at the bottom - and added a few things too - please take a look.

Monday, 15 September 2008


Yesterday I took part in the Wetherby 10k. I finished in 35th position with a time of 38:38 which I'm very pleased with this as it represents an age graded performance of 35:16.

This age graded time is my best age graded 10k time since the Harrogate 10k on 26 July 1998 where I ran 34:52 (34:14 age graded). Obviously my training is going well at the moment - especially as I'm keeping up the two long runs per week and ran a total of 75 miles for the week ending Sunday 14 September.

This morning I went for a 23 mile run which took in a stretch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal between Dowley Gap and Apperley Bridge. I then ran up the BIG hill to Rawdon before continuing home via Guiseley and Menston.

I ran up the big hill to Rawdon because for my next race - Horsforth 10k - I plan to run the 6.5 miles to the start before the race and then run the 6.5 miles home again which will involve this hill.

On the canal towpath I came across Ian Fisher out running (winner of many local races over the last 10 years or so - won the Leeds half marathon 8 days ago). Stopped for a brief chat ... which I was pleased about as I was beginning to flag a bit at that point.

Also yesterday was the Perth 24 hr race which, contrary to what I wrote earlier, did not count Sam Black among the list of competitors. He did tell me himself that he was taking part though.

The winner was Stephen Mason who completed a brilliant 239.396 km (148.755 miles) which is the best British performance for at least four years. William Sichel ran 201.671 km (125.312 miles) for fourth place [2nd man] in the race which saw the first woman break the Scottish record. Well done to them all - especially as it been wet for a good proportion of the race.

Stephen's distance has meant an update to the rankings page.

Also updated this page.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

10k race tomorrow

Yesterday I ran 11+ miles but unfortunately, after about 10 miles, I stepped on the kerb quite badly and twisted my ankle. Managed to get home OK but then I immediately began ice therapy and ibuprofen.

Seems much better today but I'm going to take each day as it comes.

Looking forward to tomorrow's 10k race in Wetherby. The last time I seriously raced 10k was at the Abbey Dash in November 2004 when I managed 38:15.

If my ankle feels up to it tomorrow afternoon I'll aim for under 40 minutes. Last year I ran the 17 miles to Wetherby ... recorded 40:50 in the race ... then ran home again. I'm definitely fitter this year, and not running 17 miles beforehand - 40 mins should be achievable then.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Training and planning

Yesterday's 22 miler incorporated Burley, Menston, Guiseley, Horsforth, Kirkstall, Headingley, Bramhope and back to Otley. Overall the pace was about 8:20 per mile.

In the evening I spent 35 mins doing strength exercises.

This afternoon's 22 miler was on the Otley 10 route and was well under 8 min miling. The last four miles were 30 mins 10 seconds.

Not sure where I'll run tomorrow - I'll decide while I'm on the bike in the morning.

Now I'm beginning to seriously plan my nutrition for London and, as always, I'm looking to improve things slightly. Research is ongoing into electrolyte replacement amongst other things.

All the best to William Sichel and Sam Black who are taking part in the Perth 24 hr race this weekend. This sounds like it will be a really good event and I hope it'll continue in future years. I know the organisers are hoping the course will prove suitable for the IAU World 24 hr Challenge sometime soon.

I'm off to Wetherby for a 10k race.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

friends & family results

I was going to write a post last night but forgot - so here it is ...

Keir ran well in the 1 mile fun run. He finished in approx 25th place with 7 mins 06. Not bad considering he does absolutely no training at all. Oh yes ... while I remember ... at his school sports day last July he came first in the high jump (again, no training at all) with 1.35m.

At the accompanying half marathon in Leeds on Sunday morning, Ian Fisher won easily proving that he is over his major injury concerns earlier in the year. His time was just over 69 mins.

Meanwhile Simon Anderson had a poor run and came home in just over 1h 30. He's running the Amsterdam marathon the same weekend as my next 24 hr race. I'll be thinking of him ... his race will last about 3 hours. Hope he remembers that my race will last eight times as long.

Ah yes ... Phil Robertson completed A Coventry Way in 8h 08 at the weekend in apparently difficult circumstances. Read more here.

At the moment I'm planning my week of 'crash training' which will begin on Monday 22 September and will conclude with the Horsforth 10k on Sunday 28 September. Daily updates will be posted as they were in June this year. Need to take on board extra vitamins B and C before and during crash training so I've spent some time recently planning my diet for the two weeks beginning 15 September.

Today is a training free day - I have an average of one per week - where all I do is rehab stuff. At the moment I'm running a bath and using some toiletries from Lush which I find very good for relaxing and muscular aches, etc. (wiccy magic muscle [massage bar], ma bar [bubble bar], elixir [bath ballistic]) ... brilliant stuff.

22 miles tomorrow, 22 miles on Thursday and 11 on Friday to look forward to !!!

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Shorter runs recently

After my very long run I had a day off and then, on Friday I ran 6 miles fartlek - basically 7 mins hard and 5:15 easy, repeated, on a hilly route.

This morning was 5 miles tempo (6:30 per mile) on a flatish route but through a very large puddle (sorry ... flood) about 2 miles from home.

Tomorrow Keir is taking part in the 1 mile fun run held in conjunction with the Leeds half marathon. He's raising money for Bradford Royal Infirmary - the hospital which has treated his father (me ...) on numerous occasions over the years: testicular cancer, lung cancer, broken bones, and a rare and serious illness as a child - a recurrent papilloma on my larynx.

Also updated this page.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Very Long Run

This morning I caught an early train to York and once there called at Starbucks for a large breakfast and coffee ... caffeine is good for these very long runs !!

I then ran back to Otley along the Ebor Way. The route basically is south along the bank of the River Ouse to Copmanthorpe, then east along the line of a Roman Road to Tadcaster.

From there it's along the River Wharfe to Wetherby and Harewood where the path heads uphill to Harewood House. Then the route is along a ridge which was apparently used by Iron Age merchants on their journeys between Ireland and Germany.

At Bramhope I took the direct route into Otley which meant I probably covered about 34 - 35 miles in total in a running time of approx. 4h 47

All in all this was an enjoyable run, quicker and easier than expected.

I also made my own isotonic drinks for the journey. This is the first time I've done this and it was surprisingly easy. I've put the recipe on this page.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Not much happening

After yesterday free of training - all I did was rehab stuff - today I'm back with the cycling and strength training before tomorrow's long run.

The plan is to cover 31 - 32 miles and this will be my longest run before my next ultra race next month.

All the best to Phil Robertson and Paul Tranter for their 40 miler around Coventry at the weekend. I know their training hasn't gone well recently but I'm sure they'll enjoy themselves in the midlands.