Monday, 31 October 2011

TV ... carbs ... injury

Hope you all watched the program on Channel 4 (UK) on Saturday morning at 7.00am.  It was almost an hours worth of coverage from the second Commonwealth Mountain & Ultra Running Championships which took place in Llandudno a few weeks ago (as if you didn't know).

A very good program showing about 20 minutes from each of the three races.  If you haven't seen it yet you can find it here.  I believe it's available for another four weeks or so and it's well worth watching.

A few days ago there was a brilliant piece on the Sweat Science website about carbohydrate intake during exercise.  In a nutshell we used to believe that humans could metabolise a maximum of 60g carbs per hour when running but recent studies have founds that 90g per hour can be achieved if we use 60g glucose and 30g fructose.

I know this isn't such a new idea (it was mentioned in Lore Of Running by Tim Noakes) but this piece reinforces, with me at least, the need to try a mixture of glucose and fructose in my future training and racing.

This afternoon I was at the physio again and the good news is that my ankle injury is much less serious than originally thought.  It turns out to be Achilles Tendinopathy and the course of action is a further weeks rest followed by four or five weeks gradually returning to full training.  All the while I'll be cycling lots and building up strength and flexibility in both ankles with weights, stretching and eccentric contractions.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The old ankle is feeling much better now that I haven't run for a few days.  On Monday I get the results of various tests and scans and after that I'll know what I can do ... and more importantly what I can't do.

Because the pain seems to have settled down very quickly I am confident of a return to full training well before Christmas and in the meantime I'm keeping as fit as possible with cycling, strength work and stretching.

Finally, congratulations to Scottish ultra runner Richie Cunningham on his marriage this morning in Dundee.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

oh no ...

This morning's run was not good.

Yesterday afternoon's was perfect.  I ran 13.4 miles (21.5 km) in 1h 45 ... easily.  This morning though I woke up with a pain in my left ankle (as well as both elbows).  The ankle felt stiff all morning and was quite painful for the first half of my 8.6 mile run (13.9 km).

This afternoon it's been fine but I'm a bit worried about the possibility of having picked up an injury.  I would like to think that it was caused by falling down the stairs on Saturday night (without the aid of alcohol I may add ...) and that a few days rest with ice and ibuprofen will help enormously.

But I won't know for sure until I've seen the physio tomorrow.

Thanks Anth for recommending Basel as a possible 24 hr race next May.  That's definitely one to consider - even if in recent years UK runners have not done well there.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Welcome back ...

Recently had a week or two break from training and that's been really enjoyable.  Still been running but not training ... I feel that there is a difference.  Sometimes a big one.

For the past two or three days I've started looking at possible races for next year.  Ideally I'd like a 24 hr race in May followed by the World & Euro 24 hr race in September (to be held in Poland) and finally a long ultra toward the end of the year.  Possibly Barcelona to make up for having to miss it this year.

Also I'd like, if possible to run the Round Rotherham 50 in October.  I've done that one a couple of times now and really enjoyed it.  I know I can't be competitive in that type of race but I still found it enjoyable.  And it's not far from home either.

A few days ago our energy supplier told us that our monthly payments should be raised from £83 to £130.  Needless to say we were not impressed.  I know prices are rising at the moment but 56% is not on.  We put in an official complaint and we're waiting to hear back ...

Last night was a strange night.  At about 10.00pm I was coming down the stairs at home when I slipped.  Badly.  From about two thirds of the way up.  By the time I reached the bottom I had a bruised left heel and left ankle, bruised right thigh and cuts to both of my elbow.  At the time it was a bit scary and I suppose I was lucky to escape with only a few cuts and bruises.  Iced my ankle for a while and cleaned my cuts before taking some ibuprofen and going to bed in a sorry state.

This morning, after not a good night's sleep [painful elbows!!!] I took part in the monthly Otley AC handicap.  This month it was from a local village named Esholt.  The weather was wonderful - warm and sunny - but I was unsure how I would manage.  mainly because of last night's incident but also because I hadn't done anything other than steady running since before the Commonwealth Championships.

The sticking plasters on both elbows didn't hinder me too much although the left ankle was a bit painful for running ... but I was well pleased with my 32:45 on an undulating multi-terrain 5 mile route.  Especially as I had to stop at least three times to allow other people past on some of the narrow footpaths [walkers coming in the opposite direction].

To help pay some of the extra energy bills ...

Over a number of years now I have found that writing an account of a race or other challenge or explaining some aspect of training and/or racing has been an increasingly enjoyable part of my running.  Hopefully other people enjoy what I write and get something from it.  Be it training knowledge, inspiration or something else.  I know at least one person has taken to ultra running as a direct result of reading my words.

My work has appeared in various magazines, websites, club newsletters so:  if you are a magazine/newspaper editor or journalist interested in commissioning me to write for your publication about any aspect of ultra distance running please feel free to get in touch by leaving a comment on a blog post or using the contact details here.  You can also contact me via facebook.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

the first steps to stronger shoulders and upper back

Woke up this morning ... and there was no electricity supply to the house.  Nothing worked.  No lights, no switches, nothing.

Phoned the generating company and they said they'd send an engineer out.  Meanwhile I went for a run.  It was still only 7.00am but it was a wonderful morning.  Sunny, cold and foggy.  A great and peaceful time for running.

Shortly after I returned home the engineer arrived and went to the sub-station which I can see from the kitchen window.  Fifteen minutes later the electricity came on and he departed - shortly afterwards I received a text letting me know the problem had been repaired.

A blown fuse in the sub-station (again !!)

For the past week or so I've been looking around (books, websites, etc) for strength and flexibility exercises for my shoulder and upper back.

One source has been the Virtual Sports Injury Clinic website.  Particularly this page for flexibility and this one for strength.

Also found some good stuff on Ultra Fitness Training, the site set up by William Sichel and Shaun Brassfield-Thorpe.

Brian MacKenzie ahas some useful stuff on his site too. has some good things too.  On this page.

Now all I've got to do is integrate it into my normal stretching and strength training routines.

I haven't started looking at races for next year yet but I will start doing that in the next day or too.  Meanwhile if you haven't read about my last race yet - here is the report from Llandudno.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Race Report

OK ... I know it's late but here it is.

My race report for last months Commonwealth Championships ... read it on

Friday, 7 October 2011

I'm still here ... a bit busy though

I know I'm supposed to be writing a race report following the Commonwealth Championships but I've been a bit busy the past week or so.

The main thing has been Keir.  He's wanted help with university applications and with research for his A level History coursework - 'The Causes of the General Strike of 1926'.  He's doing the work of course but my role has been to look for (and buy, of course) relevant books and other source material.

There's also been a couple of meetings to attend, at school and for the local scouts.

I have been working on my report between this and my paid work and training and I'm pleased to see that it's very close to completion so you won't have to wait too long now.

In the meantime Matt Bixley from New Zealand has written a good report.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Yesterday morning while out running I fell over in Menston.  Apart from a badly dented ego I finished with two bruised hands and a bruised left hip.

Also grazed both elbows and, strangely, the outside of both knees.  How did that happen ?

That's twice in six months now ...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

one week after

Went for an 11 mile run this morning in glorious sunshine.  Left home at 7.30am and the temperature was already 13.25 Celsius (55.85 Fahrenheit).  Amazing for October.  The run itself went very well with no major problems ... recovering well it seems.

My shoulders are still painful though, especially the left one.  I guess I now know my weak spot ... and now I've got to learn what to do about it.

I found earlier today (thanks to John Pares) that footage from the recent Commonwealth Championships will be shown on British TV as follows:

Channel S4C on Sunday 9 October at 5.00pm
Channel 4 on Saturday 29 October at 7.00am

Should be good viewing.  The cameramen must have had far more footage than they could possibly hope to use.  I hope it's been edited and put together well.