Thursday, December 30, 2010

A different take on Marathon training

I came across this article via the US Runners World group on Facebook and am sharing it as it seems to chime with what Jon says to us and how he trains us.,7120,s6-238-244-255-13791-0,00.html

Obviously, it's written by a 2'40" runner, but the point is well made that it can apply to us mere mortals too.

Could be the way forward for VLM 2011....

Happy New Year to all!


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hellrunner Down South 28th November

Hi all,

My first post one here so I thought I would tell you about the Puma Hellrunner I completed back at the end of November. It took place at the Longmoore Military Camp down in Hampshire and it was freeeezing! The route was 'between 10 and 12 miles' (they dont give a specific distance) over cross country and a few bogs (the worst being the 'Bog of Doom!'). Up to your chest in black water trying to get to the other side and then running for another few miles soaking wet!

Some very steep hills and some very scary descents were thrown in for good measure particularly when the legs are tired and fingers and toes cold. I came in a 34th in 01:15 which I thought was quite respectable as it was my first trail run but hoping to do some more. Had to sit in the car for an hour afterwards tho with the heaters on full blast to warm up!

The link can be found here... and they have a few more lined up in the new year which I hope to get my name down for.

Happy xmas!


Monday, December 13, 2010

brief digest: optimising your marathon training

Last Tuesday a few of us went along to hear about how we might optimise our Marathon training, hosted by Balance Physiotherapy. It was a pretty interesting evening, and I think each of us took away at least one new thing to think about when we train, even if we’re not all looking at marathons in 2011. Below I’ve used my (annoyingly incomplete) notes to summarise some of the main points of both lectures. Some will be more interesting/useful/relevant than others, but I hope they have been recorded faithfully and may be one or two of some interest to you.

Lecture 1, delivered by Raphael Rinaldi, on ‘how to prepare your first Marathon injury free’ was a little difficult to follow, but here’s what I picked up:

RUNNING STYLE: be sure to incorporate a torso twist/mobility of the trunk into your running; land on the balls of your and since your ankle receives the most impact when you run (followed by knee), it’s important to have very flexible ankles.

TRAINING: its very important to train to increase your ‘eccentric’ strength. ‘Eccentric’ muscle contraction is when you increase tension on a muscle when it lengthens, so in essence this means that you should train for endurance and stability goals in a way that involves different body areas. Circuits are ideal; with 8-10 stations, 1 min on each station and a minimum of 3 rounds of each station.

He talked about 3 TRAINING PHASES:

1. ADAPTATION – learning to run (applicable if you’re starting from scratch) (1-8 weeks)
2. RUNNING – learning to train – getting fit (9-16 weeks)
Underlying narrative: training is not about quantity, but quality. Don’t go out for a run to rack up the miles if you're feeling distracted/under the weather/unmotivated. Do something else instead.

Lecture 2 was given by Dr. Stewart Laing, a Sports Science Consultant at Balance. He seemed to know his stuff; having done several pieces of research into nutrition, including a full review of the relative effectiveness of all sports drinks on the market! *

In essence the aim of training is to improve the ability of your cardiovascular system to transport and deliver oxygen to your muscles, and then to optimise ability of your muscles to be able to use this oxygen. This involves improving your aerobic capacity (by running for longer) and your lactate threshold (by running harder).

To do the former you should try light sustained easy exercise – such as aerobics, light runs and for the latter, you need to do threshold runs, fartlek interval training – all of which are slightly different from one another but should push you into lactate burn and muscle fatigue because you’re at the point at which you shift from aerobic to anerobic activity. If training is effective, you’ll have shifted the point at which lactate begins to accumulate in your body.

NUTRITION: If you run a sub 2hr marathon, your body uses 3000 cals. Slightly less if its sub 4hrs. Ultimately the aim of training is to improve your body’s ability to use carbs and fat energy stores, and to shift the reliance of using carb stores onto fat stores. If you’re doing a run over 45 mins, you should refuel during the run using solid or liquid energy, as you prefer.

FLUIDS: dehydration is inevitable: you sweat around 4 litres in one marathon (1.2l/hour) and so would need to drink 200ml every 15 mins to prevent it. Since this isn’t possible, the next best option is to drink 200ml an hour (sip little and often) and to start hydrated before running. Its definitely wise to practise drinking like this during training to teach your body to tolerate this.

THERMOREGULATING: difficult here to get the right balance between over and under-dressing, especially in the winter. He recommends removing extra layers though as you begin to warm up, so you reduce the risk and negative consequences of overheating.

IMMUNE SYSTEM: some research indicates that moderate exercise increases the body’s immune system nicely, whereas high intensity exercise impairs it. When training for a marathon you’d be classified as doing the latter, so it follows that the risk of getting ill is greatly increased. You can mitigate this slightly by ensuring you don’t train when you’re feeling under the weather, and that you stay hydrated and don’t allow yourself to have a dry mouth. Saliva IgA protects against bacteria and viral infections but cannot be produced if you’re not taking on enough fluids.

*short answer: those with electrolytes, sodium and potassium

Check out for more information on this second lecture.

Running Repairs

After the sucess of the educational talk about marathon preperation at Balance physio last week, i thought it was long overdue to get the Running Repairs injury advice blog up and running!!  Over the next few weeks i will be answering any questions that you guys have on injuries, marathon training and making sure you all stay injury free.

The saturday morning sessions are going to under go a review to help structure them more around what phase of training you are in along side the ongoing pre-hab and strength and conditioning that is currently in place. 

If you have any burning questions about your training feel free to post on the blog or email me directly at

happy running

Paula :-)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bedford half & upcoming races


Just got back from a chilly run out at Bedford! It was well organised and we ran through some lovely countryside, but jeez there were a few sneaky hills!! I took it slow and steady but hope to up the anti next year when marathon training gets into full swing!

Just a reminder that international entries for Madrid (17 April) close on 31 December 2010 so if you're keen, make sure you sign up soon!!

Also, in the lead up to the marathon season, these races usually sell out early, so get onboard when you can:

Silverstone half 4 Feb

Hastings half 20 Mar

Reading half on 20 Mar already sold out:-(


Sunday, December 5, 2010

Chilly morning; Regents Park 10K

With all the snow at the beginning of the week, I was secretly hoping that the race would be cancelled as I didn't really fancy skidding around the park. However as the roads/paths were clear I didn't have a good enough excuse not to run!

Although the snow had melted the morning was still freezing cold, luckily running warms you up and after 5k I was starting to get some feeling back in my hands (even though the rest of my arms were like ice cubes). I really must find some gloves which I can run in.

Despite conditions I thoroughly enjoyed the event, the 3 laps round the park were varied and each km was marked. The runners were spread along the course making it a great place for a p.b. - I broke mine, with a time of 47.30 so I was very pleased. The race also make me feel very virtuous and smug as when I got home just after 11, Martin was only just getting up!

Thanks to Frank who provided the lift and who also recommended the race. The next one in the series is the 2nd Jan (which I may miss as it's too close to the New Year), however I'll definitely be up for the one in Feb. For more info click here.