Author Archives: like2run

Small update, Media coverage & The near future

Just wanted to make a small post to touch base,

I have recently been featured in a number of local newspapers following the 26.2 Marathon Challenge, the latest of which is The Sussex Express @ http://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/local/ready-and-set-to-take-on-26-marathons-in-a-year-1-5486654

It is nice to have some support from the local press, fingers crossed it helps raise awareness for CLIC Sargent even further!

In 3 weeks time I will be running the Bournemouth Marathon, followed shortly by the Beachy Head Marathon. I hope to break the 3 hour mark at Bournemouth, which is looking promising after a 20 mile run (2hrs15min) last weekend, with a cold and a slightly sprained ankle. Following these runs I will be increasing my training run distance to the 26.2 distance in order to add a few marathon distances to the tally over the winter/christmas period, as well as running some X-Country and 10K Events to mix things up a little.

Peace & Happy Running!

100 Mile Run… 106 miles From Chipping Camden to Bath in a weekend – “The Report”

I am still in a little haze from the weekend just past, stiff legs and back and a punished immune system are residual – but the sense of achievement, admiration, inspiration and some new friends to boot is overwhelming.

I will sum up each day with a few quotes to help me remember some of the details that I may miss!

Day 1:
4 hours sleep
Set the alarm for 4.00am, and decided that no matter the cause this is a ridiculous time to be getting up to go running. In any case, I managed to skip breakfast in a rush to pack the last few bits and pieces – almost omitting underwear and a towel! Fortunately my mental check list managed to pick up on this and I squeezed it all in.

5 hours driving
Paul picked me up from home at 4.30am and our journey had begun. This was it. A painless 3 hour drive to Bath with a quick stop for some breakfast and a drink at Reading services. We parked up in a random residential street and got a taxi to the Coach Park with plenty of time for the pickup at 8.30am. Another 2 hour drive to Chipping Camden, and within the first hour we had met Reece, who had covered the SDW100 in an amazing 17hr55min a few months previous; and a couple of ladies who had run the MDS *TWICE*!! Paul’s #outofmydepth hashtag could not of been more accurate, yet it was somewhat comforting to find that for most people in the coach, it was their first dabble into ultra running. We were not alone! We also met our friend Szilard (“Szil”) from “PARIS OF THE NORTH”… aka Stoke-On-Trent. 

Eager Start, Sun Shining, Sun Burn!
We arrived in Chipping Camden, and after a quick registration we found there were no more maps left (we were last to register). Fortunately I had plotted the entire route on my iphone and was confident this would correct us if we went wrong at all. I am rubbish at map reading most of the time, so this was my plan anyway. We turned up at the start, and myself, Paul and Reece went to get a picture at the start. Immediately after we got started and we unintentionally ended up leading from the front. Now our lack of experience meant we obviously set off a far too quick pace, and this would later catch up with Paul’s poor calves!

Start of the 100MileRun

Start of the 100MileRun

We got going, and I managed to vine a few 6 second videos!

Day 1a Day 1b Day 1c

All for a well earned Badger’s Bottom!

We arrived at the Camp after Paul had some cramp at around 11-13miles and really started struggling. No joke in that his Calf muscle literally retreated up into his hamstrings, there were gremlins running around inside them! We dropped the running and walked some, with a nice downhill finish we then picked it up back into a gentle pace. Paul enjoyed an Ice Bath and a Massage, while I pitched my tent and had a shower – we then went to flavour some of the locally pressed Cider – “Badger’s Bottom”. A few of our fellow new found friends / drinking buddies joined us, and each of us could give you a full history of the Cider’s origins.

Day 1: 15.8miles, 3 hours

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Day 2:

Wrong turn after 100 meters, oops!
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After a rough night’s sleep with a few noisy downpours, and an average breakfast of bacon and sausage baps we got started for Day 2′s slog of what was meant to be 27 miles – although we had heard rumours of it being a bit longer. We set off intentially at the back, but within 100 meters the pack had all missed a turning, and where they had to turn back and catch up we found ourselves at the front again!! Needless to say, we took this much steadier and allowed runners to pass. We walked the initial long climb at 3-5 miles and passed the first 5 mile check point in 59 minutes. We hit 10 miles at just under 2 hours, and were passing people at this point. A group formed, and we ran most of the day from 15 miles onwards with Hannah – what grew to be a strong running partnership between the 3 of us!

IMG_0038 Day 2a

Hannah’s husband, Ben, joined us at around Mile 19ish for a short pacing stretch up until ~23 Miles where we briefly had Szil join our pack and we passed the last checkpoint. Unfortunately Szil was struggling at this point and had to slow a little more, as he had made the same mistake we did the day before and had hit the wall a little early! Paul had some more cramp at around 24 miles; but he ploughed on and had a second wind – I was really impressed at his fortitude at this point. We caught a glimpse of the leading pack of runners leaving the check point, and our competitiveness saw us trying to gain on them – which we managed to just after the 26 mile point.

Feet up and enjoying the sunshine... The Simons!

Feet up and enjoying the sunshine… The Simons!

"Down the hill, past the purple flowers, left of the pub - if you get to the phone box you've gone too far!"

“Down the hill, past the purple flowers, left of the pub – if you get to the phone box you’ve gone too far!”

few miles to go...

few miles to go…

Which way to the Gun Show?

Which way to the Gun Show?

Marathon Day 2

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The Irony of this video strikes me, as we thought we only had 1 mile to go here – little did we know it would be 2 miles longer than we thought, and 2 of the biggest hills still to come!!

So we crossed the 27 mile point, and Paul and Hannah had gone with me as I went to catch the leading group and felt strong. We got to Cooper’s Hill, bringing back memories of the Cheese Rolling event I attended in March – another insane day, one I will never participate in myself!!

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We eventually arrived at the Scout Camp in Cranham, and Ben had overheard us discussing our fondness of Coca Cola post-run and had fetched us 4 x 2L bottles to share round – what a legend!! I had a quick massage with Elaine the physio, showered, and enjoyed a few rounds of shooting and archery!

Paul found the Gun Show!

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Bulls Eye!

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And Szil found the Snakebite! He also enlightened us on his Swedish Viking Clan Storytelling experiences…

Distance covered: 29.1 miles, 5 hours 30 minutes

Day 3:

I was last out the camp, and had unfortunately had my Garmin pinched / accidentally picked up overnight, but managed to catch up early on after 1 mile with Matt & Mary. They literally carried me every step of the way on Day 3 and after a near collision with a golf ball at 3 miles, we managed to catch up with the other runners which meant we had made a good pace. We felt soo good at Mile 21 we even opted to run the BONUS 2 MILES around the golf course. I was promised amazing views, alas I was sorely disappointed as the weather was pretty terrible. Nevertheless, it was another good solid day of running with some dodging through cornfields to boot!

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At the camp, it had just started raining as I went to pitch my tent, and another Matt, Matt B, mentioned he had a room in the B&B on the camp site – Myself and Paul quickly took up this offer and we enjoyed a solid night’s sleep without even realising it had rained! Great decision!

Distance covered: 26.3miles, 5 hours 15 minutes

Day 4:

The final day, with 33 miles to cover we had one plan – to walk the ups, run the flats and downs, and pace ourselves sensibly to make sure we didn’t blow up. A few others passed us early on, but it wasn’t long until we formed a group of 7 until Mile 18 with Myself, Paul, Rachel, John, Matt, Mary and Szil. At this point Rachel, Matt and Mary stopped for a drink of Coke in the pub (clearly Coke is the way forward for long distance running!) and it was down to the 4 of us. John met his wife at Mile 23 check point (which was apparently 25 miles in; but none of us had GPS running), and we were down to the last slog!

On numerous occasions we were convinced that we would see Bath over the next hill, yet we were sorely disappointed to find out there were yet more hills..

Early on in the day I met some more CLIC Sargent Runners en-route, a perfect photo opportunity!

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Check point 2 at 18 miles, and our first sign of bath – literally.

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And then, after a few extra miles than we thought – we had arrived in Bath! One quick stop for a Mo-bot at the Royal Crescent; and we were there. Job done!

We followed this up with a fun after party at a local pub, where we played “Spot the runner”

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Spot The Runner…

 

 

Cotswold Way Challenge – 100 Mile Ultramarathon

On 2nd August, Myself and Paul Henderson will embark on our first Ultramarathons. This will be marathons 4,5,6 and 7 on the way to a 26.2/12 month marathon challenge, despite them being split up somewhat. We have put in some solid training in the last 8-10 weeks, and I am confident that we will both do extremely well. The last bit of preparation is going to plan, and the last thing I need to do is check I can pitch my tent properly! The last time I was required to camp out, I forgot to check I had packed the pegs – awkward moment on the Brecon Beacons in sub zero temperatures and snow when we realised we had no pegs…

For more information on the challenge, check the link here:
http://www.100milerun.com/cotswold-way-challenge/

You can sponsor me, if you wish, for a very worthy cause here:
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/mattsoutham

Training Week 5: 13.5.13 (“Rest Week”)

Monday - Felt stiff in calves and a 12 hour work day, so a day off running! 1 Hour gentle swimming in staff training.

Tuesday - Day off, stretched tightness.

Wednesday Off

Thursday Planned to run, but it didn’t quite come in to fruition here!

Friday 45 minutes of intervals on spin bike. Tabata & Wattage Ramp Sets.
Drank in evening at freedom summer party. Great turnout!

Saturday AM: 1 Hour Spin
PM: Football match, 90 minutes

Sunday AM: 12 miles with 10 x 2 minute efforts.

Weekly Summary: Total Mileage 12 (lol) / Hours: 5

The Long & Short of Stretching – What does science tell us?

This is aimed at anyone who wants to improve their endurance running performance and get the most out of their time spent training.

Firstly, please forgive me as I did not set out on writing a ~1000 word report on this, but I got rather stuck into it and wrote most of this around 1.00-2.30am last night. I have done my best to keep it as concise and understandable as possible following some time out of the review writing game.

As most people who know me will know, I work at a Leisure Centre – one which offers a wide array of classes for a similarly wide array of people. One of these is “Flex N Stretch”, which to my understanding was originally designed for vertical pole fitness enthusiasts. Sorry, I mean it’s a Pole Dancing Fitness class.

However – I do know of a lot of people who use the class who actually have little to no interest in pole dancing (please correct me if I’m wrong ladies!), and quite a lot of interest in running, and use the class to improve their flexibility. As the name suggests, there is a lot of stretching – a lot of partner work and a lot of static stretches. After a cancelled class I took it upon myself to run a small stretching session (and regarding foam rolling I will cover this another day), to focus on the major leg & hip muscle groups/complexes. I am a firm believer in maintaining flexibility (range of motion around your joints), mobility (your ability to utilise that range of motion effectively), and a combination of the two; yet the sport scientist in me compels me to investigate further. I wouldn’t want to waste a £10k+ education now would I? To be honest, I was never really the best at literature reviews and report writing, and I imagine if James, Lee or any number of the UKSCA coaches catch a glimpse of this they will be happy to pick apart this post with critique!

Anyhow, my findings were somewhat conflicting as with anything that involves scientific studies (for a somewhat cynical reference, go and watch Room 101 S13E02 – Terry Wogan on Health fads, although I couldn’t find a link anywhere). However, I will try and bullet point concisely what stretching can do for us endurance runners. and what we should and should not be doing in order to get the most out of our pins.

The Good

  • Some research shows that Dynamic Stretching improves strength & power. -1
  • Research also shows that Strength & Power training improves running economy. -2
  • Running Economy is your bodies oxygen requirement at a running speed.
    Better Economy = Easier Running.
  • Stretching Improves Flexibility & Range of Motion (but not necessarily mobility)
  • Better Range of Motion can lead to better Strength Training sessions through good, functional movement patterns; i.e. full squat vs half squat.
  • Post-exercise stretching releases IGF-1 and MGF (growth hormones) which can lead to increased strength gains and recovery.

The Bad

  • Static Stretching reduces endurance running performance -4
  • Increased Flexibility reduces Running Economy -5 & 30 minute running performance -6
  • Increased energy demands for endurance running after stretching -6 -7
  • Stretching has no significant effect on injury rates in runners-10

“What About Me!?” (WAM!?” for effect)

If you’ve made it this far, you might have noticed that stretching does not really do that much for us in terms of directly improve running performance. Yet it can allow us to train our strength more effectively? Interestingly, stretching also has no significant effect on injury rates in runners-10, yet certain types of warm-up can improve our performance significantly -9 (see below).

A benefit of stretching (specifically Dynamic Stretching) appears to have on our body, is that it allows us to enhance the gains from our strength training sessions by “warming up” the neuromuscular pathways (the connection between our brain and our muscles that produce a movement). This will allow us to train at a higher intensity and recruit more muscle fibres, which will produce a greater training stimulus on our bodies and increase the strength of our muscoluskeletal system and movement patterns.

In turn, our Running Economy (a key factor in running performance) will improve -8. Researchers pin this on the elasticity of our muscles and our ability to move efficiently, thus reducing the load on our energy systems (like riding a bike with pumped up tires and a well oiled chain).

To summarise:

  • Perform Strength & Power training to enhance elasticity in your muscles (not length, elasticity). -2
  • Utilise Corrective Exercises to improve your compound lifting technique.
  • Dynamic Stretches on Strength Training Days to ensure good ROM. This will improve the quality of your strength training sessions.
  • Perform a short low intensity cardiovascular warm-up for 5 minutes; followed by, a high intensity warm-up of 6x50m strides and 1x200m at target pace. -9
  • Need help on Corrective Exercises, Dynamic Stretching & Strength Training?
    You can contact me to arrange a session here.
  • Post exercise stretching combined with strength training will release growth hormones, improving recovery & strength gains.
  • Pump up your tires, and Oil your chain. Metaphorically speaking of course, unless you are a triathlete or cyclist – In which case you will want to do this as well.
  • Ditch the pre-exercise static stretches, unless prescribed by your Sports Physiotherapist.

- Matt

References

-1 Basic principles regarding strength, flexibility, and stability exercises.

-2 Explosive-strength training improves 5-km running time by improving running economy and muscle power

-3 Physiology of a Women’s Marathon Record Holder.

-4 Effects of Static Stretching on 1 Mile Uphill Run Performance.

-5 Sit-and-reach flexibility and running economy of men and women collegiate distance runners.

-6 Effects of static stretching on energy cost and running endurance performance.

-7 Effects of dynamic stretching on energy cost and running endurance performance in trained male runners.

-8 Factors affecting running economy in trained distance runners.

-9 Improvement of 800-m running performance with prior high-intensity exercise.

-10 Interventions for preventing lower limb soft-tissue running injuries.

Training Week 4: 6.5.13

Monday - PM. 6.2miles / 10k in 39:51 Progressive Tempo Run. 6.48, 6.32, 6.30, 6.29, 6.19, 5.59 + 0.2@5.53 Garmin followed Cuckoo trail, felt good after 1 mile and managed to pick it up a little. 3.1m out, 3.1m back home.

Tuesday - AM. 8miles easy, split between outdoors and treadmill @ 12km/h and 8:00/mile. Watched an episode of Fringe to chill out before work :)
PM. 30 minutes stretching / foam rolling; small group session in the gym

Wednesday PM Circuits

Thursday Off

Friday Treadmill Marathon – 26.2miles – 3:35 (3/26)

Saturday Off

Sunday Hastings 5 Mile Road Race: 29:48, 11th place (5:58/mile average).

Weekly Summary: Total Mileage 45 / Hours: 8

Training Week 3 – 29.4.13

Monday AM. 4m TEMPO 6.04avg splits: 6.01, 5.46, 6.26, 6.05. Garmin

Tuesday AM. 8m STEADY 6.47avg splits: 6.53, 6.50, 6.46, 6.36, 6.50, 6.51, 6.43, 6.41 Garmin
AM. Stretching/Mobility 20mins
PM. Track Session.  400 1.15 / 600 1.47 / 800 2.38 / 1000 3.31 / 800 2.35 / 600 1.50 / 400 1.05 Garmin

Wednesday AM. 8m STEADY 7.25avg splits: 7:17, 7:19, 7:21, 7:34, 7:42, 7:24, 7:25, 7:18 Garmin
PM. Stretching 20 mins

*slight shin pain, calves still tight, not been a problem whilst running but noticeable otherwise, rest Thurs AM as a result.

Thursday PM. 6x300m, 2 sets (100m/1lap rest)
Set 1: 58,58,58,56,54,56 // 53,52,52,51,51,47 — uneven surface, chopped up grass track :(

Friday PM 6.2m/10k @ 7.57avg, Planned a little longer but got to 2.5m and out of nowhere my right soleus cramped up – grrr! Made it back home though a little annoyed… Garmin

Saturday – REST – Social / Alcohol in evening

Sunday – REST – Enjoyed a day off. Planned a run but spent time with family instead, leisurely walking in PM.

Summary: Happy with the week’s training. 35miles

My Top 5 YouTube “Motivational” Gems

Before a run, whether it is a training session or a race, I will often peruse YouTube for something to help me get fired up – particularly if I am not really “feeling it” that day. Sometimes a song will do the trick, other times it takes something more.

There is an ever-expanding library of videos available to spend countless hours watching when we should often be doing other things. Fortunately, some of these happen to be incredibly inspiring / motivating.

I’ve picked out my current Top 5, and I have probably watched some of these 100s of times.

#5 – “Never, Ever Give Up”

#4 – “Unite!” (the relevance of this speech even today amazes me)

#3 – “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful”

#2 – “Be Great, Be Powerful Beyond Measure”

#1 – “I Am A Champion!”

Breaking Mal Hábito

Bad Habits,

We all have them, some more than others and often to lesser or greater extent between us. I’ll be covering a few to look out for…

Firstly, I found it amusing that “bad habit” in Latin is “mal habitus” – contrary to most women’s belief it is apparently unrelated to the word “male” in reference to the gender.

So why should we try and break some of these bad habits? Well, it will not only make us better runners, but we may also be happier & healthier individuals. Fortunately, most of them are very simple to fix. So we will tackle them one at a time.
Mal Habitus #1 – No Slip No Slop No Slap

For those of us blessed with fair skin, you will certainly know what I am talking about. For the rest of you with darker skin, this still applies to you.

SUNCREAM!

It’s that time of year, and perhaps I’m being a little optimistic given the crappy 8 months we’ve had. In any case Summer is coming, however brief and interrupted it might be, so it is important for your skin (whatever your melanin levels) that you protect it from the Sun’s UV rays.

Did you know?

#BREAKIT

  • Wear SPF15+ (50 for me) on sunny days. (Slop it on)
  • Slip on a shirt, Slap on a hat – this will also help.
  • Avoid running around mid-day – early morning or just before twilight will avoid the worst of the Sun’s rays.
  • SLIPSLOPSLAP it.

Like this? Please help me “Liking” and “Sharing”!

 

What are your bad habits when it comes to running? Post in the comments below!