Sunday, 29 March 2009

British Summertime

Had to alter all the clocks and watches in the house last night and this morning. It's only at this time of year (and also at the end of October) that I realise just how many things I have to change. We have five clocks and three wristwatches but then there are clocks on three mobile phones, one telephone answering machine, two computers, one pocket watch and two video recorders (yes we still have a couple of those ...).

A lovely day though for the first day of British Summer Time. A bit cold but very sunny and hardly any wind at all.

For more about the strangeness that we in the UK call 'summer' please read this.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Marathon des Sables

All the best to Mike Blamires as he leaves Yorkshire today to travel to the Sahara Desert for the famous Marathon des Sables stage race. That type of event is definitely not something I could do ... carrying kit, food, etc across the desert in blistering heat for six days is not my idea of fun.

That isn't to say I don't admire the people who do take part ... and enjoy taking part. I genuinely do. But I couldn't do it.

Anyway, before I get into too much trouble I hope all his meticulous planning has worked and everything goes to plan. Catch up with his progress on his blog.

Saturday, 21 March 2009


Mike Blamires has recently put some very good posts on his blog. Of particular interest to me is the one from 20 March entitled Counting The Calories.

Maybe it's just my maths background but I find stuff like this highly interesting and useful ... or maybe it's a Gnarls Barkley moment again (see Tuesday 17 March).

Anyway, using the formula and applying it retrospectively to my 24 hr run in London last October we have, using the Harris-Benedict Equation, my Basal Metabolic Rate is

1.752 * (66 + (6.23 * my wt in lbs) + (12.7 * my ht in inches) - (6.8 * my age in yrs)) equals 2436 kcal per day

The running itself used 1 * 57.5 * 228.011 equals 13111 kcal

Therefore in that 24 hr period I needed a total of 15547 kcal

The problem now is that when exercising, the human body can only process 240 to 280 kcal per hour MAXIMUM which is 5760 to 6720 kcal per day. Which is at least 8800 kcal less than I need.

As Mike says the deficit is made up from body fat reserves. About a month after that race my body fat was measured at 14.1% ie about 17.88 lbs. The kcal here is 17.88 * 3500 equals 62500 which is easily enough.

One slight amendment to make here though is that I don't really want to lose more than 3% of my bodyweight as this will impair my performance. 3% of my weight is 3.8 lbs which, as fat, will have 13300 kcal. Again, more than enough.

For energy expenditure during a race, the table on this page gives more accurate results. According to the table I used 12997 during the 24 hours.

Thanks for all this Mike - have a good run in the desert.

In the next few days (maybe even tomorrow !!!) I'll email the first draft for helping my Run To London. I know you'll be too busy to have an in depth look though.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Nutritional Information

Here's a conundrum:

I've recently discovered that, regarding High5 energy gels, the nutritional information on their website is different to the nutritional information on the packaging. Which is correct? Also I have in front of me two two Energy Gels - both are Juicy Orange flavour and the information is different on both (eg one has 242 kcal per 100g and the other has 224 kcal per 100g) ...

So, what's going on here then?

I've sent an email to High5 asking them to explain and I'm awaiting a reply. In the meantime can anyone else explain?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


I remember when, I remember
when I lost my mind
There was something so
pleasant about that place
Even your emotions had an
echo and so much space
And when you're out
there without a care
Yeah I was out of touch
But it wasn't because I
didn't know enough
I just knew too much
Does that make me Crazy
Does that make me Crazy
Does that make me Crazy
And I hope that you are
having the time of your life
But think twice, that's
my only advice
Come on now
Who do you, who do you
who do you
Who do you think you are,
Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think you're
In control
I think you're Crazy
I think you're Crazy
I think you're Crazy
Just like me
My heroes had the
heart to lose
their lives out on a limb
All I remember is thinking
I want to be like them
Ever since I was little,
ever since I was little
it looked like fun
And it's no coincidence
I've come
And I can die when I'm done
But maybe I'm Crazy
Maybe you're Crazy
Maybe we're Crazy

song by Gnarls Barkley on the album St Elsewhere
written by Brian Burton, Thomas Calloway, Gianfranco Reverberi, Gianpiero Reverberi
copyright: Chrysalis Music Ltd/Warner Chappell Music/BMG Ricordi Music Publishing SPA/Atmosphere Music Ltd/BMG Zomba Production Music

One of my favourite songs of this century. It just seems appropriate somehow ...

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Commonwealth Championships

This afternoon I was just catching up with ultra news and when I came to look at the website set up for September's Commonwealth Championships I came across a map of the course.

It is a flat route in Fitz Park which will be about 1 km in length. Hopefully it will be fully tarmac (not quite there yet apparently) and Alan Young will hopefully measure it with his Jones Counter in April or May.

Should be really good. I just wish England Athletics would actually name a few team members, their advertised selection criteria indicates that the "first selection date will be on 1st January 2009, or shortly afterwards."

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

The Body Clock (part two)

Hello again. A couple of points to briefly write about today ... well, there's three actually.

First of all an update to a previous post about a TV program about The Body Clock. I put that post in the Run To London section by mistake but the follow up is here. There's a piece in the current issue of Athletics Weekly (26 February 2009, pages 38 and 39) about this subject which explains more fully the reasons why sports performance peaks in late afternoon and early evening.

Probable reasons include a slightly higher core body temperature which means that the body is better able to dissipate the heat from exercise by enhancing skin blood flow. More elastic muscles with lower internal energy losses and less viscous blood flow are also likely to play a role.

But how does all this affect a runner in a 24 hour race ?

The other item is on Scott Dunlap's blog. His post of 25 February is very good and an important point to bear in mind for all us ultra distance runners who consume sports drinks by the gallon ... the message here is 'brush your teeth after your shower'.

Recently came across Running Free, a magazine being given away monthly by Up & Running shops (and probably other sports shops too). I've only seen one issue but there's quite a bit of ultra news in there ... Dean Karnazes, William Sichel, Marathon des Sables, Himalayan 100 mile stage race, etc. And the editor, Julia Buckley, has recently been in touch about an article she's planning about the Run To London.