Friday, 30 December 2011

progressing well

After running on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday today is a scheduled rest day - well, no running.  The running has gone very well with the last two days being almost perfect.

The ankle is still a bit stiff in the mornings but I'm confident that with lots of stretching, ice, massage and specific exercises I can get that under control.  The four runs (40, 40, 45 and 45 minutes) have all been in the afternoon and I do realise that at some stage I'll have to try a morning run.

Probably next week.

All in all an encouraging four days.

Happy New Year to you all.

Monday, 26 December 2011

rehab ... next stage

Hope everyone had a good Christmas.  For the first time in a number of years I did no training whatsoever on the big day.

This afternoon I ventured outside for a run (of sorts) for the first time in six weeks.  I alternated 5 minutes running with 5 minutes walking for a total of 40 minutes.  I was prepared to only be out for 20 minutes if the pain or discomfort meant that would be wise ... but I managed the full 40 and I would rate that at about 76% where 100% is a run with no pain or discomfort whatsoever.

Pleased with that.  Same again tomorrow.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

injury news

Just arrived back from seeing the physio at lunchtime today ... and the good news is that I've been given the all clear to begin running (sort of) next Monday.

I've got to start with alternating 5 mins running with 5 mins walking and after a couple of weeks hopefully I can begin gentle runs of around 6 to 7 km (3.7 to 4.3 miles).  That will follow a return to the physio on 11 January.

So, on Boxing Day I'll be doing some training outdoors for the first time since 16 November.  Fresh air at last.  Not far at first, I guess I'll be out for about 40 minutes.  And then I'll gradually add more outdoor time and I should be up to 60 to 70 minutes by the time I report back to the doc.

The visit to Rome University at the weekend went well and Keir was impressed with their history department but on the flight home he quietly confessed that he would prefer to study at Queen's University in Belfast.  Was it worth going to Italy for the weekend I ask myself ...

And finally ... congratulations to Jen Salter and Sharon Gayter.

Friday, 16 December 2011

This weekend

Just time to let you know about a couple of things happening this weekend in the world of ultra running:

First of all Sharon Gayter is on a treadmill at Teeside University going well in her attempt to record the farthest distance ever in a seven day period.  The current record is 753 km by Lee Chamberlain back in 2009.  All the news is on Sharon's website.

Then, over in Spain, there's the Barcelona 24 hr race.  I know there's at least three British runners out there - Heather Foundling-Hawker, Paul Hart and Jen Salter.  I wish I could be there but, apart from my injury, I'll be flying to Rome this afternoon with Keir as he's been invited to look around the university there as it's his favoured place of undergraduate study at the moment.  He'll be reading Roman History from September 2012.

I wish the Scots, English and Welsh runners all the best.

Finally ... Athletics Weekly have just published, in their latest edition, something I wrote a week or two ago.  This is a good move as the media do tend to ignore ultra running a bit.  For instance, in the same issue, they have a month by month review of the year in athletics terms ... but for September no mention is made of the Commonwealth Championships despite all the home countries medals (and world best performance).  Not had time to check everything yet but I hope there's no typos and that any photos have been correctly attributed.  My apologies if anything is amiss.

And then there's the Otley AC Christmas handicap.  The culmination of a running competition lasting almost twelve months ...

Sunday, 11 December 2011

getting better daily

Well ... I'm no longer having any pain from my achilles and heel bone injuries which is a good thing.  Still cross training hard but the most frustrating thing has been that it isn't a running injury.  It happened when I fell down the stairs at home back in October.

Things are looking set for a gradual return to running at Christmas time but a visit to the physio in ten days will confirm that - hopefully.

The recent 24 hr race in Soochow seems to have been a hard one judging by Martin Fryer's comments on Facebook.  Glad that he's captured a couple of national age group records though and I hope he recovers well.  And a new women's world track record for Mami Kudo who ran 255.303km (158.637 miles).  It appears that those runners who were used to the heat and humidity did best in Taiwan.

That makes for potentially a fantastic battle between her and Lizzy Hawker next September in Katowice.

I was under the impression that Soochow was in the frame to host this year's World Championships but it couldn't be done because of scheduled works at the university where the track is situated ... or have I missed something ?  Obviously that all happened after the original venue, Basel, pulled out.

Also in the news this week ... a sprinter from London is seeking a sponsorship deal for the 2012 Olympics via eBay.  He intends to advertise on the site with a reserve of £30,000 ($47,000) for which he will wear a sponsor's branded kit at training in the run-up to next year's Games.  Full details can be found on the BBC website.

I like his ingenuity but I can offer any potential sponsor a similar deal at a fraction of the cost.  Please contact me for details but in brief it involves one race in mainland Europe in May followed by the World Championships in September.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

running dangerously

This morning I came across something on the BBC website which I've copied below.  My thoughts are that after suffering with three potentially fatal illnesses I know that my lifestyle is a lot healthier than most other people's way of living.  My lifestyle was in no way the cause of any of those illnesses though but exercise has been my way of coping with what life has sometimes thrown my way.  I remember having chemotherapy and training at the same time ... very strange for all the staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary to watch this as I trundled up and down the corridor of Ward 15 pushing a drip stand.  One doctor told me that I was the only cancer patient to leave the ward with blisters on his hand.

And as for marathon running being extreme - well that's just wrong.  My take on that aspect is that many runners find themselves drawn towards the marathon in the belief that 26.2 miles is the ultimate endurance challenge.  Television and press coverage of races such as the London Marathon tend to perpetuate that but, strangely, I have never subscribed to that point of view and have always believed that most people can, with training, run 26 miles.  The problems arise when trying to run that distance as quickly as possible.

Instead I believe that every runner should try a 24 hour race at least once before hanging up their trainers.  The challenge is immense and these races are very different to races over a fixed, and much shorter, distance.  The personal and emotional rewards are far greater too and the sense of achievement second to none - even if the material rewards are almost non existent.

Read the article yourself below

Marathon training 'may pose

a heart risk'

MRI scans on 40 athletes training for challenging sporting events like triathlons or alpine cycle races showed most had stretched heart muscles.
Doing extreme endurance exercise, like training for a marathon, can damage the heart, research reveals.
Although many went on to make a complete recovery after a week, five showed more permanent injuries.
The researchers told the European Heart Journal how these changes might cause heart problems like arrhythmia.
They stress that their findings should not be taken to mean that endurance exercise is unhealthy.
In most athletes, a combination of sensible training and adequate recovery should cause an improvement in heart muscle function, they say.

But they believe more investigations are now needed, since their small study in Australia did not look at any associated health risks.
Extreme training
The medical director of the London Marathon, Professor Sanjay Sharma, agreed that more research was needed and said the results provided "food for thought".
"My personal feeling is that extreme endurance exercise probably does cause damage to the heart in some athletes. I don't believe that the human body is designed to exercise for as long as 11 hours a day, so damage to the heart is not implausible."
But he said it was too early to say that taking part in endurance sports causes long-term damage.
And Doireann Maddock of the British Heart Foundation said the findings should not put people off doing exercise.
"It is important to remember that the health benefits of physical activity are well established. The highly trained athletes involved in this study were competing in long distance events and trained for more than 10 hours a week.
"Further long-term research will be necessary in order to determine if extreme endurance exercise can cause damage to the right ventricle of the heart in some athletes. Any endurance athletes who are concerned should discuss the matter with their GP.''
In the study, the scientists studied the athletes a fortnight before their races, immediately after their races and then about a week later.
Immediately after the race, the athletes' hearts had changed shape. The right ventricle - one of the four chambers in the heart involved in pumping blood around the body - appeared dilated and didn't work as well as it had been in the weeks leading up to the race.
Levels of a chemical called BNP, made by the heart in response to excessive stretching, increased.
A week later, most of the athletes' hearts had returned to the pre-race condition. But in five who had been training and competing for longer than the others, there were signs of scarring of the heart tissue and right ventricular function remained impaired compared with the pre-race readings.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

energy balance

This morning Fay turned to me and asked when I'm going to start running again.  I told her it would hopefully be round about Christmas but wondered about her interest.

"Because you've got too much energy" she said.

hmmm ... I didn't need to ask her to explain.

Obviously 16 hours of training per week (without the running) isn't enough ...