Saturday, 30 July 2011

aching quads

In the last couple of weeks I've added a new dimension to my training - plyometrics.  About seven or eight months ago when planning my training for 2011 I read a book entitled Running Anatomy and got a few ideas and suggestions which I incorporated into my training.

These included four plyometric exercises and the suggestion was to do one to five repetitions of each, one or two times a week, in the final 10 to 12 weeks before an important race.

After just two sessions my quads have become very sore indeed ... in fact it's had me searching around trying to identify the problem.  I've now identified the problem as Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and the main causes apparently are too much plyometrics or too many hill reps.  I've been doing hill reps all year with no problems at all so I can rule that one out.

My sore quads has barely interrupted my training but it is something to be aware of.  Further research, eg the book Run Further edited by Kevin Beck, has suggested that plyometrics be used during base training not speed training.

Very contradictory but in the meantime I'm not doing any more until further research provides the answers to exactly what to do, how many to do and when [in the training cycle] to do them.

Can anyone out there help ?

ps ... short reviews of both of the above mentioned books can be found on this page.

Monday, 25 July 2011

a few days rest

Just arrived home from a few days in Newcastle upon Tyne.  A while ago Iron Maiden (Fay's favourite rock band) announced a tour but as every UK date inexplicable clashed with one thing or another we couldn't get tickets.

About a week ago the sad death of a friend meant that we had nothing to do on 24 July and, by a strange twist of fate, three of Keir's friends wanted to sell their tickets for the Iron Maiden gig on that night [Metro Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne].  I snapped them up and quickly organised travel and a hotel room before telling Fay on Friday evening.

Because of that and also horse racing in Newcastle on the same day the only hotel rooms I could find were out near the Metro Centre in Gateshead.

Iron Maiden aren't really my thing, they're OK but ...  We had a good time though and Fay really enjoyed the show.

Back training tomorrow fully refreshed and rejuvenated with less than nine weeks to go before my next ultra race.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

scary stuff

Yesterday I decided to get my bike out.  This was the first time in a week or so but it wasn't where I always leave it.

And the odometer was showing 67 km more than after I last used it.

Fay and Keir swear they haven't used it, so ...

I don't know what's been going on but it isn't the first time I've had a supernatural encounter in this house.  The first, and most vivid, was when something rushed past me as I was putting some clothes in a wardrobe.  I felt a presence brush past me which caused me to almost fall backwards onto the bed.

Then there's the missing map and calculator.  OK that was Keir but the stuff above is still unexplained.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Selection news

Just noticed on the very good Australian Ultra Runners Association website that they have selected nine runners for the Commonwealth Championships 24 hr race.

Congratulations to Jo Blake, John Pearson, Anth Courtney, Dave Kennedy, Rick Cooke, Sharon Scholz, Susannah Harvey-Jamieson, Meredith Quinlan and Allison Lilley.  I immediately noticed that the men's defending champion, Martin Fryer, is not on that list ... but that's probably because he seems to be moving up to longer distances in recent times.

I believe, though, that Anth has injured himself in Koln recently ... I hope it's not too bad.

Strangely, the England team has not been officially announced yet but I do know that Jim Rogers, Pat Robbins, Vicky Skelton and myself have been selected.  But Vicky has recently injured her knee ...

Get well soon Vicky.

Chris Finill won't be there because he'll be half way across America with Stephen Pope ... running.

From the other English athletes I expect Sharon Gayter and Richard Quennell have also been selected.  And John Pares for Wales.  Stephen Mason and William Sichel for Scotland too although there's no news from their respective websites yet.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Recent training

Recent training has been going well and I've now started including more speedwork as it's only 10 weeks before the Commonwealth Championships.  The organising committee have set up a new website at  Well worth a look.

A couple of long runs last Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning showed that I've recovered from the 100 miler.  The Monday run especially as that was my first long fartlek since 31 May.

Yesterday evening I took part, again, in the Otley AC organised Washburn Valley Relay for the club's B team.  Sadly I'm not quick enough any more for the A team although someone mentioned that for a club to have an international runner in their B team ...

I ran the first leg (of three) and covered the 3.02 undulating miles in about 20:30.  Pleased with that as it improves my course best by about 50 seconds.  An excellent event at which there appeared to be a record number of teams taking part - the large car park was overflowing.  Official results are not available yet but check the club's website in a few days and I'm sure they'll be there.  Thanks to Nick Hodgkinson, John Dade, Andrew Robertshaw and Julian Mawson for their work in organising this relay in, what regular readers will know, is my favourite local running location.

This morning, bright and early [well it was when I left home !!!] I ventured out for a session of hill reps up and down Newall Carr Bank on the northern outskirts of Otley.  After about 20 minutes it began raining and progressively got worse over then next hour or so.  I just smiled to myself as I remembered the ULTRArace.100 in the Cotswolds when it rained continually for 12 hours or so.

After that deluge I'm sure I'll never be put off by rain ever again.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Race report

The report from my recent 100 mile race in the Cotswold is now available.

You can read it at

I'll keep a link to it near the top of this page for at least a week but after that there will be a permanent link to the report from the page which lists all my races - here.

Friday, 8 July 2011

planning and training

This week I have just started planning my race in Llandudno.  This mainly involves pacing and nutrition.  I now have quite a lot of data from previous races so I am beginning to learn what works for me and what doesn't.

Although I'm always keen to try new things which may work better there is a dilemma.  Because my next race is the Commonwealth Championships (which means it's important) do I stick with what works and aim for what I know I can achieve or do I take a risk and try something a bit radical which, if it comes off, could add quite a big distance to my pb.

I know my pb is 238 km and I know I can run further than that.  The nutrition aspect seems OK although I am still learning what my body can cope with and what it rejects.  This also changes with the length of time I've been running.  I have tried something new in every race.

For me it's the pacing where the real choices are - and where the risks are - and the rewards if it comes off.

Recent training has been good and, although I'm quite out of the woods yet, I appear to not have any lingering injuries or pains after the recent 100 miler.  Last week included hill reps, a long run, cycling and a fair amount of strength work.

Next week will include two long runs, fartlek, cycling, strength work, plyometrics and, hopefully, a race in the wonderful Washburn Valley.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Eight days later

Over a week after the 100 miler and I'm back to normal training ... well, almost.  I've got all the ingredients back but not in the same quantity as before.  That will come in another week or two.

My last couple of runs have shown that I've recovered well and that I'm all set for the final 12 weeks before this year's big race.

Recently I've been reading 'Mental Training For Runners' by Jeff Galloway which goes some to explaining the workings of Tim Noakes' Central Governor Theory (of which I am a big fan).  This book has definitely been helping me over the past few days.

I've also added a couple of things to this page.