Monday, 19 November 2012

Wow - Kate Bush

Yesterday's Luton Marathon proved a couple of things to me... Never run a marathon with a man-cold and that if you train hard and follow a properly structured plan for a few months, you smash your PB into oblivion.

No not this Rory - I coughed my way to a dismal 4:26 clocking my #747th Marathon, but the other Rory... Rory Gonzalez.

Talk about commitment, this girl flew in from South America on her way home to Germany to clock 3:46... Some 45 minutes off her times of May this year. I'm very proud of her achievements this year. Although I can't be too soft as she can do a 3:30 I believe :-).

Just shows what can be done and when I'm better its time to bash in a speedy one myself.

Maybe after some R&R with me Jenny who is home today - Yippee! - The Home of ULTRArunning in the UK

Location:Salisbury Road,Hillingdon,United Kingdom

Friday, 16 November 2012

Experiment IV - Kate Bush

It's felt like an experiment this week, but in Human Endurance as it's only now that I am starting to feel anything like normal again following my extreme case of Manthrax. This is also after my 'Pholcodine Hangover' of Wednesday morning, I am now very wary of the evil drink... I would point out that it's cheaper per pint than Stella Artois and you wouldn't get angry as you'd pass out after your first half!

Anyway, hopefully it's history now as I am busy sprucing up Pembroke Mansions for Jenny's return on Monday.

More tomorrow...

Thursday, 15 November 2012

And Dream of Sheep - Kate Bush

There's a school of thought that you are your fittest just before you break - well I can vouch for that one! After bashing in 84 miles of hard running at the Druid Challenge at the weekend, getting an elite start along the way, I am now huffing and puffing like Dot Cotton blowing up party balloons...

It's a rarity for me to be under the weather and hopefully the dreaded cough will soon go so people stop telling me to 'Toughen up Buttercup'.

My Jenny is back on Monday and I have her nurses outfit ready, ill or not!

More later... If I am still alive, as my Manflu has become Manthrax...

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Life in the fast lane...

Got the foot to the floor today at Druids day two... Well for me anyway and earned myself an elite start for tomorrow's last days stage of 28 miles.

Lets hope I can keep smashing out the miles eh?

More then... - The Home of ULTRArunning in the UK

Location:Grove Street,Wantage,United Kingdom

Friday, 9 November 2012

Druids Challenge Day 1

Well, that's day one of the Druids Challenge under my belt and what a great day it's been.

29 hard miles on the Ridgeway, brightened by running with my mates Chris Whistler and Ian Calder... Real fun and side split tingly funny.

More of the same tomorrow hopefully and it's brilliant to run someone else's race for once! - The Home of ULTRArunning in the UK

Location:Love Lane,,United Kingdom

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

1984 - Eurythmics

Well I've just been online and filled in my new photo ID needed for my driving licence. As you start filling in the information, it does make you feel like you are entering the world of Big Brother as the Government website wants ALL your information... and I mean ALL. Also it cost me £20!!!

It does seem rather OTT and I have to thank the lady at my local bank who pointed out that it was 'Out of Date' and that I would get a long term prison sentence if I didn't update it immediately.

Strange old world ain't it... maybe I should go to the States as it seems to be chilling out over there and there's more to taking a trip to Colorado and Washington now as they have become the first states to legalise marijuana... wonder when it will happen here? No doubt you will need a licence...

More tomorrow...

Monday, 5 November 2012

Heaven and Hell - Black Sabbath

OMG it's November already and that means it's Druid's Challenge week and there are three marathons to get in this week for some of us brave enough to weather the elements of a very wet and windy UK. With the huge rainfall this last weekend it doesn't bode well for a trek along The Ridgeway on Friday.

I'm looking forward to it of course as it will drag me three closer to the 750 marathon target I wanted to surpass by the end of this year... but it's a far cry from the 29 degrees that Jenny is 'suffering' in Sydney right now on her hols and at a clear 28 degrees warmer than Doncastershire right now, it does make you realise why people decide to go and live down under.

All I can think is that in a couple of months it can only get better... I don't mind sub-zero temperatures as long as it STOPS RAINING as it really is my personal HELL.

More tomorrow... when I have toughened up a bit. Now where's my feather duster?

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Mystery Song - Status Quo

Can you believe it but the Mighty Quo are set to play yet another farewell gig some thirty years after their last one back in 1981/2 when I was all set to go and see their final performance EVER. Somehow, and I can't remember the reason why, I didn't go and in hindsight I must have realised back then that it was NEVER going to be the last we'd ever see of the three chord wonders.

BTW if you fancy playing along you can always check this out.

Might be worth going along and seeing what all the fuss was about... they were actually bl%dy good in their day so check 'em out.

More tomorrow...

Friday, 2 November 2012

Wax - Rosana

Kylie Minogue?
The Louis Tussuad's House of Wax in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, which has cult status on the internet because so many of its models look nothing like the people they are supposed to represent is in fear of closing. It's a sad day...

The ageing owners Peter and Jane Hayes have been running the wax freak show for almost 60 years now and they have children or family to take over their business.

There are lots of photos of their wax dummies online today and apart from the Kylie one, I didn't get any of them right as they really aren't anything like the real person but I suppose that's part of it's charm. Adolf Hitler and Michael Barrymore are a couple of the villains they feature... I wonder if they have a JS in there?

It would be a shame for it to close though as it's so English...Maybe one of the Dragons will take it on... I'd love to know what Duncan Bannatyne would think of this one!

More tomorrow...


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Communication Breakdown - Led Zeppelin

Apparently 4G went live yesterday in Caerdydd giving the internet a well earned turbo in our area. Only it doesn't seem to have had much impact as the 3G we already have is still dead patchy and NTL has been down all day in some kind of internet conspiracy breakdown.

Yes, I know I need an iPhone 5 to get the maximum benefit of the new Welsh Super-Hiway but as usual with all things mobile phone it would be good to get the previous manifestations correct across the whole country before promising the next big thing and then not delivering...

The annoying thing is that the technology is already there but the support network isn't. I am uploading tonight using my T-mobile Broadband and it's pretty dammed slow even though it's boasting 3G performance when I plug it into my laptop.

Bloody Internet... anyone else feeling the pain?

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

As Cold as Ice - Foreigner

People are always asking me for my favourite races and runs and I was telling one of my clients earlier tonight about a 40 miler I did in Germany in 2004. The run in question was one of Rudolf Mahlburg's special creations where everyone ran together at the same speed, with fantastic almost military like precision.

It really was a day that I will always remember and it was a magical run thru the vineyards of Baden Baden, that finished in a traditional Christmas Market.

It was pure Bavarian Magic!

And if you are looking for some pre-Christmas training - it's ideal.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Simply the Best - Tina Turner

Well our annual pilgrimage to Eastbourne and the Beachy Head Marathon was it's usual sparkling self yesterday and in my opinion is the best marathon experience in the UK. It always has been in my mind since I first did it's predecessor the Seven Sisters back in 1999. If you are looking for Marathon X-Factor then this ones for you...

It followed another grand-day-out on Friday at The Woolwich Foot Tunnel Marathon. We made our way thru the tunnel before 25.2 more miles of out and back running along the Thames Path. What it lacked in scenery, it made up for with it's entry of 100 Marathon Club runners, past and present.

The bar has definitely been raised for the next couple of marathons, let's hope it happens at Luton eh?

ULTRArace - The Home of ULTRArunning in the UK.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Tunnel of Love - Dire Straits

Did you know there's a special Marathon on Friday in the Woolwich Foot Tunnel. Well the first 800 metres are in it anyway and at a brisk walk I hasten to mention. Nice idea though as back in 2000 we ran a similar race in the Greenwich Foot Tunnel to mark it's centenary too and it was a great success.

As I remember it was a very colourful night running 57 up and downs of the tunnel, which eventually made the walls sweat and made everyone go grey with oxygen deficiency. It was the talk of the 100MC for sometime afterwards.

Well here we are celebrating exactly 100 years of something we take for granted but at the time the tunnel was state of the art stuff. In fact the tunnel engineer, Maurice Fitzmaurice was knighted soon afterwards in 1912.

Maybe we'll give him and all those who dug the tunnel a thought on Friday, the 100th Anniversary of it's opening and also to 100MC member Tad Lancucki whose idea it was to run this marathon but sadly died before the 100 year anniversary came up.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

End of an Era - Midnight Juggernaut

My word Ceefax is being switched off for good... yep it's the end of another era. It was state of the art stuff back in 1972 when the transistor world was flying high with Concorde and the jet age. Isn't it funny how something that was so advanced at the time is now seen as being totally past it and redundant.

Ceefax did have it's quirks of course - can you remember just missing the page you wanted to see and then having to wait ages for it to come around again? I didn't ever book a holiday on it as it would have been murder. Did you? I did use the TV pages as I remember though oh and the quiz page, although it was so slow you were likely to get a birthday card before the answers.

The Nokia Phone and CD are already destined... I wonder what else is heading that way?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Talk Talk -Talk Talk

If you are going to The Marathon des Sables Expo on Saturday, well I'll see you there. I'm looking forward to seeing my old chum MdS Race Director, Patrick Bauer and meeting Sir Ranulph Fiennes of 7 marathons in 7 days fame...Thinking about it I could give him a few pointers with my 43 ultras in 43 days.... hmm maybe I'll have a pep talk with Sir Ran.

Anyway, I will be blasting on about training of course, especially as I had four of my Performance Coaching Clients set new PB's at the weekend and I am already seeing huge differences in my training and performance with my uplift in speed, diet and distance.

Being able to do this stuff at 50 feels very important to me still and it's a good thing it's not about the winning like it is for Paula Radcliffe (btw she'd win ANY road race in the UK by miles and they take her funding away even at nearly 39), but is for me to see if I can be MY best...

Whatever that is...

Are you running YOUR best or is there still some in 'The Tank Frank'... I bet there is...

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Say it right - Nelly Furtado

Stupid pack sizes in this photo - No wonder they are struggling :-)
If you say your going to do something... then make sure you do it as it's far too easy to back out or give up. Being committed to the task brings massive rewards in the long run and more and more we are seeing people prepared to give everything they've got to make sure they get to the finish line.

It's fascinating that we see great performances from people who haven't even necessarily peaked in their training but just because they have completed EVERY session they have succeeded in doing well.

There's a huge difference between training and performance... Every run or gym session isn't a do or die. Yes they can be very hard but they are designed to strengthen and prepare. But doing the training makes all the difference - you have to put the miles in.

We see this over and over again with folk doing The Marathon des Sables. People get all fired up when they enter and love buying the kit then don't train for The Worlds Toughest Race. If you are running the MdS next year and you have been to see me... are you doing all of your plan? If you're not, please start as you will do a whole lot better in Morocco believe me.

I intend to do well next year, do you? Are you committed to the task or just talking about it... - The home of ULTRA-running in the UK.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Voice - John Farnham

Sometimes you have to listen to the voice in your head and get your head down and get some 'Miles in the bank Frank', especially following our Nottingham ULTRA yesterday. All that bl%dy speedwork has been worth it and on Saturday when we were marking the course, I felt on fire and ran with real tempo and ease.

In fact it made me a bit cheesed off that I wasn't running in the race itself as I'm sure I would have had a great race... ah well. It's one of the problems of staging races yourself as I would have done my old favourite the amazingly, unamazing Mablethorpe Marathon. Congratulations BTW to Paul Nicholls running his first marathon there yesterday.

It did make my 10 miler easier today as well so hopefully it bodes well for a good run up to The Druids Challenge next month.

Let's hope I keep talking myself up to the task ahead...

Thursday, 4 October 2012

9 Minute Man - That's Me

I've just started to look really closely at the speed of my training runs as I am fully aware that I need to speed up a tad... And I've found that it's amazing how many of them are either at 8.37 or 8.52 pace. It seems that I have an inbuilt speed metronome, sadly one that's fixed on a too slower speed for my liking...

So it's time for stepping up the pace and bringing on the speed as I would really like to achieve some fast times before the end of the year.

It's not going to be easy but with my far speedier critics Jenny and Mick snapping passing the odd rib-jabbing comment no doubt I will make in-roads in my need for speed and this 9 minute man might become an 8 minute man once again...

Watch this space...

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Granddad - Clive Dunn

Well it had to happen sooner or later I expect but yes, someone (he was 2years old for heavens sake) referred to me as Granddad when I was in the Wacky Warehouse with my daughter Pearl (7) yesterday.

I wasn't too pi55ed off as he was 2 BUT it did dent my ego and all I can say is that the poor lighting didn't help to hide my craggy old chops.

Pearl of course thought it most amusing and possibly I could quite easily be a Granddad with other children of 21 and 24... Especially in Long Eaton!

I'm going to take it as a compliment that this is the first of many future Dad/Granddad mistakes that are going to happen from now on. Then again it doesn't matter what people think... Pearl and I know who's who.

More tomorrow... Now where are my slippers?

Monday, 1 October 2012

Get ready for Christmas Day - Paul Simon

Did you know it's just 12 weeks until Christmas... yeah it doesn't sound that brilliant does it? Anyway every cloud and all that and what it does mean is that there's the perfect time span between now and the festive period to make a huge difference to your fitness and race performances.

As you know, I am right at the start of my big push towards next springs big marathons but I am wondering what YOU have in your sights for 2013 and whether you can make the rest of the year really count for you just like my clients... Andy, Aurora, Patrick and Peter have in the last couple of weeks...

Who needs the extra motivation?

Sunday, 30 September 2012

On the Road Again - Canned Heat

Well after a month of virtual inactivity, for me anyway, I feel like I'm back out there in the world of running banging in the miles again. We are told that a rest from exercise does you the world of good and gives the body time to recover from the stresses and strains it undertakes when doing extreme exercising... I'm sure it does but during the time off it does make you feel just a bit rubbish and does make you wonder if you'll ever get back to your previous best.

I've got quite a few marathons coming up this autumn and some renewed vigour will hopefully help me bash out some over 50+ performances that I can be proud of...

Do you ever take a break?

More tomorrow...

Friday, 28 September 2012

Lady GaGa - Born this Way

Now if you are a regular blog-reader, you'll know I'm not into the old Lady GaGa music, I'm more of a Radio GaGa man... however, I am interested in what is trending newswise and what is seen by the general public as news or as being important to value comment etc.

Take the picture of GaGa for instance and it's top news on MSN this morning showing a rather more rounded raunchy songstress than we have previously been used to seeing. Apparently it's her 'Body Revolution'...On further investigation, GaGa has gone on to say that she is happy with her new +25lbs size on twitter. I'm sure she's not...

Is the Lady heading down a Britney route of self image destruction? Let's hope not eh... she needs to take heed of Madonna's best part of  30 year s'success has been based around being lean and sexy... There's a lot to learn from Old Maj about longevity in the limelight as you have to work extremely hard to get your goal but even harder to stay there...

I'm not sure if The GaGa is coming to Cardiff but if she is I'll quite happily get her down to the gym and run a few miles with her to shake off those extra pounds like lots of my clients do, very easily.

I'll even give her a free 12 week plan... as long as she promises not to sing! Can you run in fishnets btw?

More tomorrow, might give that a try :-)....

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

19 - Paul Hardcastle 12'' Mix

Whatever happened to the good old 12 inch record eh? For the young at heart, this was a 30cm vinyl record the same size as an LP but played at 45rpm which were extended mixes of popular songs mainly of the 80's with lots of added scratches, blips and wow and flutter.

I've been out running today listening to some great songs, rather poorly extended in some cases but strangely motivating none-the-less in glorious MP4's.

There's nothing better than a bit of extended Spandau Ballet or Duran Duran you know... What's your favourite as I would love to know....

Monday, 24 September 2012

Forever Autumn - Justin Hayward

Well it's Autumn and it's official as it's been lashing it down all day. I have finally managed to get my trainers on and get back out running following my three week sabbatical in Poland and Ireland. It turned out far better than I thought it would and I really enjoyed my 6km tempo run. So I am off to a good start... Let's hope that tomorrow's 10 miler proves just as easy...

I must say that I'm looking forward to stacking in a lot of running this Autumn especially after the Nottingham ULTRA in early October as I have to get race fit for The Woolwich Foot Tunnel and Beachy Head Marathons later in the month.

Might shift some of my M2M Ultra spare tyre!

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Been Around the World - Lisa Stansfield

Jenny with Heike Christ at the 24hr World Champs
That's how it feels anyway as I've been to Poland and then to Ireland on two very different running events with some amazingly driven individuals. The World 24 hour Championships in Katowice gave me the opportunity not only of supporting Jenny on her maiden voyage into international running but also to witness the worlds top endurance athletes battle it out for the World and European medals.

I even got to see Greek running legend Yiannis Kourous in the flesh too... and yes he's still awesome at 56 years of age. I'd like to say there's hope for us all but there isn't in Yiannis' case as he is literally one of a kind.

Anyway, less of Poland and more of our M2M Ultra event in Ireland... and it was a brilliant 11 days as our runners ran the 345 miles from Malin Head to Mizen Head. It was a shame that we didn't have more runners and potentially some help from the 100 Marathon Clubs of Great Britain and of Ireland might help swell the numbers if they remove a rather silly rule that the daily stages of 30 miles or so don't count as marathons... as if they did people could add 10 to their tally of marathons in one easy go. I'm sure the organisers of Brathay 10 in 10 would agree with me on this one.

What I do know is that you can share the highs and lows of the M2M on and if you are interested in running in the event in the future please let us know. And also that it's great being back home in WALES... ARAF...

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

A New World Record - ELO

Well it was a great Woverhampton Marathon on reflection...4 of the 5 runs looking for times made it including two new pb's for Anthony Taylor (3:07) and Andy Saville (3:13). I crept in at 3:59:47 to make it my #734th Marathon with the help of Ian Calder who also beat his 4 hour target. It will be a sub 3:30 for Richard Oram at Luton! You watch...

The refreshing thing for my Perfoemance Caiching is that for the guys who beat their previous personal bests it has really, really worked and I beleive they will do even better next time. Andy said that it's had been an easy progression this year from 3.49 to 3.13 as all the thinking has been taken away from him and that 'It's a been a piece of pi55 with his Coach'...

Let's hope all the coaching pays off for Jenny this weekend at The 24hr World Championships in Poland... she's worked so hard for this one.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Killing in the Name - Rage against the Machine

Wow, I don't think I've ever been so excited about The Wolverhampton Marathon as much as I am this weekend... I must add here that I've never been to enamoured with the course but for a two lapper it's always been a prequel to Nottingham and a bit of a notch on the belt for my marathon total...

ANYWAY... I've got three of my Performance Coaching Clients going for a sub 3, sub 3.15 and sub 3.30 pb's and one going for sub 4 with me... funny thing is that I'm the one with the least training miles in my legs so we'll see!!!

I have high hopes and will keep you posted on their performances on Sunday night... there's nothing like some added pressure both for them and me to make it public. Luckily I have Jenny at halfway for some support as she is resting prior to the World Championships next weekend.

I did 3.57.01 last year... let's see what's in the legs eh?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Isles of Wonder - Underworld

Tonight well see the opening ceremony of The Paralympic Games... I wonder what we have in store here as how are the organisers going to follow the spectacle and achievements of the Olympics earlier this month.

I know they are different, and in fact what will unfold during the next two weeks will take monumental courage and will have been a massive personal test for some of the athletes, even to get to the start line.

Hopefully, the sponsorship from Sainsbury's will help promote the games to a really wide audience and that the British public will fully embrace the nature and spirit of the games... let's hope our Team GB win a whole host of medals...

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Start - The Jam

Today's been an awesome day and I've been lucky enough to have started 'Outdoor Fitness' reporter Ben Wilson on his way to his 100 mile race dream planned for next June's ULTRArace.100. Now I'll be honest and I must own up here to being more than worried about what I'd promised I could for Ben. As a Performance Coach who is more than confident about his abilities, even I thought that I might have over promised on this one.

On meeting Ben, all my trepidation disappeared - what a lovely guy and in the gym took the 'Coleman Baptism of Gym Programming' very well. Indeed so much so, I believe he'll do a good marathon on the way to the 100.

For me, I really want him to complete the 100... under 30 hours will be a total triumph from where he is now... under 24 hours would be simply inspirational. You'll be able to read  about his progress in the magazine and here of course.

Good Luck Ben... I now believe WE can do it!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Earth - Jefferson Starship

Well hopefully you had a much drier Bank Holiday than we've had down in ARAF... it feels as if the the nation has been in suspended animation as people try and wring the last dregs of summer out of their holidays.

World News has been dominated by 'The Armstrongs'... sadly for Neil as his amazing life came to it's natural end at 82 but more so for Lance who will no longer be held in such sporting reverence ever again following his alleged doping charges.

Whether we'll miss either, who knows? And only time will tell. It is sad that such an iconic figure of the 20th Century is no longer with us and also that a sporting legend is no more... We need people in our World to inspire and drive us on to greater things.

Who are your legends? Sir Chris Hoy? Sir Ranolph Fiennes...I'd love to know.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Forever Autumn - Justin Hayward

Is it just me or does it already seem a little bit Autumnal out there?... with the August Bank Holiday and September looming fast I feel 2012 is speeding by at an alarming rate right now and before you know it we'll be welcoming in 2013... Talk about life in the fast lane!

Fitting in my own training right now is also proving hard but I'm doing my best to match some of my clients mileage and The Wolverhampton Marathon is now my main focus on September 2nd and a <3:56 is my target...

To help that it's watch what you eat week in our household which makes life slightly dull but Jenny's GB kit being delivered this morning certainly brightened up the day...

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Life in the Fast Lane - The Eagles

Well what a day it's been out on our ULTRArace Peaks 40 miler.... Talk about hot... it was FAST too, for everyone I think as we had course records and new pb's for lots of the runners. Hats off to Pawel Oboz who smashed Charlie Sharpes course record to run an amazing 5hrs 10minutes in his first ever ULTRA.

However, my runner of the day was Bill Mitchell, a mere 67 year old runner from Ashbourne who ran a great race and finished far from last and looked mighty sprightly at the finish. It just shows that age is no barrier to ULTRA-running... it just shows how running can be a sport to be enjoyed throughout life and Bill's a lesson to us to keep running for as long as possible.

All that's left is to add the race photos and get the results online - there's never a dull moment!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Burn - Deep Purple

Talk about HOT!!! It's roasting up in Derbyshire tonight and we've been sweating buckets today out on the ULTRArace Peaks course, getting it marked up for our runners tomorrow.

The 40 miles has some very challenging hills to negotiate but I really enjoyed running them as i believe that the altitude running I did in the Alps is still lingering in my legs. I ran some hills I walked last year :-)))

Let's hope we have good weather again tomorrow for the race and that we have a really enjoyable day...

More post-race...

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Time - Pink Floyd

Boy Oh Boy... where does the time go? We have just put our ULTRArace.100 on-line for 2013 - that makes it's 5th year of running. What will make it very special for one runner is that I will be training them from scratch to go from Zero to Hero we hope to see if you can run a 100 mile race with just 10 months of preparation...

We both have our necks on the line with this one! I have massive belief in my coaching skills, of course but it's make or break as the race date is now set in stone for the last weekend in June 2013.

Do you think it's possible? I'd love to hear your comments...

More tomorrow from Derbyshire...

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

It's raining men - The Weather Girls

The lady in our local post office says that the weather is going to be really good for the next 17 days. And I am more than happy to take her prediction as the iPhone one we have been following for the past few days has been totally inaccurate. Don't get me wrong as a rule of thumb, I would expect a good downpour most days of the week in Cardiff but actually it's been bright blue skies and brilliant sunshine since Friday. Maybe our Lady in the Post Office should takeover down at the Apple Weather Centre... I reckon she'd do a better job...

Anyway, whilst Jenny was in talking to Cardiff's version of Michael Fish, I was routing thru the glovebox and came across an A to Z (of Birmingham of all places) that hadn't been thumbed for many a day as of course we now use the iPhone to navigate our way from place to place across town and down entire countries, especially in our case last year on Jenny's 'Length of Ireland' Guinness World Record.

It all got me thinking that if the weather is that inaccurate - how come the maps are so good?

Let's see how we get on tomorrow... we are route marking the ULTRArace Peaks course and it is proposing heavy rain right now... Maybe I need to call the Canton, Cardiff Post Office, for a more accurate picture?

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 12 August 2012

And I will Kiss - Underworld

More like and I will Pant!!! Especially after living and training at Altitude in the French Alps for all of last week... Yes that's where I've been... And an amazing experience it was too as it's some time since I was in the Atacama Desertrunning at 15,000ft in 2006 and Cardiff, (in God's Country) is only a matter of feet above sea level.

On day one just climbing a flight of steps caused mild panic in me as my lungs couldn't supply the necessary oxygen needed to stop me from going into mild asphyxiation... it's a feeling that I absolutely hate and the first run of five miles finishing with the aptly named Cardiac Hill bent me double and gave me back a shocking post run smokers hacking cough. It was total HELL...

Hmm, I am not sure that I am selling it very well so far BUT over the next week, boy what a difference the altitude running made. Jenny and I stayed with good with our good friend Chris Whistler who being roughly the same speed as myself made me a great partner in crime and we ran  out together up some mothers of hills... with very fast finishes.

Our maddest challenge was to run for 4 miles up a 1000m climb to a 2804m summit on very rough trail... it was pure pride that got us there the first day and we were in tatters at the top and laid down to recover... funnily enough we did it the next day too, this time a lot easier. I felt awesome! Really fit...

The training effect really works!

On our return I ran a Park Run 5km PB... beating my previous one set in 2011... just shows what you can do naturally with some good training and great belief in what you are doing is good for you.

It's good to be back... and more tomorrow!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Bike - Pink Floyd

After my post on our Paula causing some great debate on Facebook, I wanted to write here about how amazing Bradley Wiggins did today. Totally understated in his performance and today spoke volumes about his confidence and level of training this year.

I always say that in any event it's all about 'Range' - the confidence to go the distance and perform at ones best on the day is what makes Champions and World Beaters. Bradley has it in buckets... If we could bottle it, I'm sure that we'd be in a far better medal position at this point in 'The Games'.

Working out a strategy for the future is the most important thing for our Sports Governing Bodies right now. Because it will be 2016 before we know it and we'll be in the same GB boat again.

Come on GB - let's get the 'Wiggins Effect' working across ALL sports!

More tomorrow...

Monday, 30 July 2012

Broken - Tears for Fears

Well what do you think about Paula not running in the Olympic Marathon? I can't say I was surprised. I thought that in the twilight of her career she was better off retiring gracefully WELL BEFORE the games and might have been better off becoming one of the Sports Ambassadors or Commentators rather than putting her head on the block once again.

Instead I believe she'll now just disappear off the radar and then retire from competition all together. It's a shame because the public has her down as a quitter and she's far from that!

I believe she is simply the most awesome female distance runner the world has EVER seen... I was lucky enough to be there the day she set the Marathon World Best in 2003. It was an incredible run, a once in a lifetime achievement. Next time you are at the gym, set your treadmill on 18.8kph and see how long you stay on... 2hrs 15mins and 25secs if you want to equal our Paula's record... 2 minutes is a challenge, I can tell you.

As a nation, we need to capture what made Paula that much different from the rest and implement it in our young athletes... it's what makes Britons Great!

More tomorrow and hopefully some Gold Medals... PLEASE!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

And I will kiss - Underworld

Well are you watching? Are you feeling the full inspirational effect of The Olympics? I am! Following the AWESOME opening ceremony (where the Isambard Kingdom Brunel section, with it's chimneys and final lifting of the rings into place was just jaw-droppingly fantastic) I've been glued to the events ever since.

It's just so dramatic... Every event hangs by a thread. It's been shock after shock already. I just hope that the pressure doesn't get too much for our GB hopefuls. After seeing what's happened to Rebecca Adlington in the Swimming this morning and Mark Cavendish in the Road Race yesterday as well as hearing that Paula Radcliffe is only 50:50 fit, we have to make sure that our expectations don't outweigh our ability.

Any medals will be good for our GB competitors... and we should celebrate that and make that a staring point. The 'Salter Motto' of 'It's the winning that counts, not the taking part', maybe doesn't apply, well not yet eh?

I'll be there cheering them on... Will you?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

The Final Countdown - Europe

Well it must be like Christmas Eve in the Coe household tonight as the seven year wait for the start of the Olympics is just less than 24hrs away. Its been a long time coming but lets hope and pray all goes well for The Games.

Personally I am really looking forward to watching ALL of the sports and the added attraction of the games being in London has really heightened my Olympic interest, far more than four years ago in Beijing I hasten to add. Let's hope that the performances of the next two weeks on the track far outweigh any negative press stories that are sent out to destroy all the goodwill that has been and that will be created.

The best part is that we can all sit back and watch it all unfold in the comfort of our own homes... be inspired and get the most from the Games - I know I will.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Run to the Hills - The Mighty Iron Maiden

Well the hills beckoned me yesterday - the Big Mother one going out of West Hallam on Potato Pit Lane in fact. The heat on the tarmac made it all the harder but I did seven hard run ups as well as seven hard runs down which certainly pushed me well out of my comfort zone. Each climb and descent took me five minutes and with a run there and back gave me 60 minutes of running. Parking at the local Tesco provided me with a cool place to recover and plenty of cool drink options post run.

Boy that milkshake tasted sweet!

I remember a couple of years back now really attacking my hill training and it's time to attack again...

More tomorrow...

Monday, 23 July 2012

ULTRA - Depeche Mode

I had the pleasure of watching Jenny and the UK's TOP Ultra-runners at The Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km Race in Wales yesterday. I found Jenny's run truly inspiring and it got me thinking about my own entry into ULTRA-running...

This is for a future article so your feedback is most welcome...

Even if you’ve never run a marathon, you might be surprised to hear that ULTRA-marathon running could be for you. Personally, I would go further than that and suggest that ULTRAs are for EVERYONE. Compared to the likes of Cross Channel Swimmers and Himalayan Mountain Climbers, it’s a relatively short and cheap road to accomplishing the fitness required and to achieving an Extreme Challenge.

Many people take up ULTRA-running as a means to extend their running careers and achieve new running goals by running FURTHER rather than FASTER once they have peaked at other running distances. I arrived at my first ULTRA-marathon with a different perspective as it was only my 7th running race (my current career total stands at 728 marathons/ULTRA-marathons). In fact my marathon PB came six months after I had discovered ULTRAs, and only a week after running a 40 mile trail ultra across the muddy Yorkshire countryside.

You see for me it’s all about the ‘Challenge of the Distance’ rather than performing in classic city marathons, even though I have run most of the marathon majors many times over. When I took up ULTRA-running it was a fairly underground sport with relatively small numbers competing in mega-distance races. I loved the fact that it made me stand out from the normal marathon crowd.

ULTRAs suited my personality I found…

Running your first ULTRA

For me it was a 34 mile ULTRArace along the disused Grantham Canal Run. I wasn’t too sure what to expect on the day and I ran at my marathon pace all the way which meant that I finished high up in the results. I enjoyed running on the grass towpath, hurdling five bar gates and negotiating canal bridges and road crossings along the route. I was tired but elated to finish and found the process of travelling from A to B using just my own two feet felt really satisfying. For me I had discovered exactly how I could tick all of my own personal achievement boxes in one go and quickly looked for my next ULTRA-marathon challenge.

If you are considering running your first ULTRA, entering a race to train for is the best way to focus the mind. 50km is a great starter distance and there are plenty to choose from. I host one of the UK’s most popular of these - The London Ultra - which welcomes all levels of ability from beginner to elite. There are 6 months until the 2013 event in February, giving ample time for ANY runner to train. It is the perfect way to make your ULTRA-marathon debut and test your limits of endurance over a well-marked and interesting ULTRA-marathon course on the City’s trails.

What you will need

Lots of Courage, Determination and Enthusiasm. When you are stood on the start line you will also need to know that you are capable of covering the distance, something I refer to as ‘range’. Running in HOPE rather than BELIEF is a common error amongst fledgling ULTRA-runners. I believe that training for an ULTRA-marathon is like saving money in a bank account that you will take out on race day when you perform. The more miles you ‘bank’ in training, the richer your BELIEF will be on race day. It’s actually a great strategy for your entire running career.

In my early days of running marathons and ULTRAs I used the ‘VERY Long Slow Distance’ approach to running coupled with some very fast shorter training runs. It helped me to reach a sustained level of ULTRA-fitness but I trained myself very unscientifically and without any research or guidance. It possibly hindered my progress in some ways and I would have definitely benefited from being fast-tracked by a Coach or Training Schedule/Resource.

Just like anything else in life, if you want to be successful in your running career you need a PLAN - a basic structure to your training is imperative. Nowadays, finding clear and reliable information can be difficult - the Internet can be a very useful tool but it can also be a dangerous ‘information’ source for the more novice runner. There is a plethora of bad information online and knowing where to get accurate information that is relevant to your level of ability is an art in and of itself.

This is where my role as a Running Performance Coach is now helping people make that leap of faith into ‘The World of ULTRAs’. I have run the miles and done the exams and am now helping running clients of all levels of ability to enhance their fitness, re-energise their running, set new PBs, break Guinness World Records and run distances that they never would have imagined possible.

What’s next?

Take the next step… it’s time for you to pass 26.2 miles. ULTRAs are like running in 1080HD with Dolby Surround Sound when all you have been used to is a Black and White TV. I have run massive ULTRA-distances across countries, deserts and mountains. You could too and when you have, you will know what I mean.

Happy ULTRA-running…

Rory Coleman – Running Performance Coach

Friday, 20 July 2012

Tour de France - The Almighty Kraftwerk

When it comes to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, next December, I hope that Bradley Wiggins gets a darned good mention. With the Olympics there to over-shadow The Tour de France and it being 'Team Sky', it might well get glossed over...

He's truly inspirational and it's amazing to think that in just a few days after 'The Tour', Wiggins will be in London competing at 'The Games'!

I know from my own multi-day running experiences how long it takes to recover when there's no respite between events. Wiggins must have fatigue and muscle wasting that we are not made aware of AND he's going to compete in the Olympics... How many other athletes will arrive at the games having competed in probably the toughest test of human endurance in sport and then try and win gold?

The cycling is one sport I will be glued to on TV... and hopefully Wiggins will win there too and get the accolade he truly deserves.

More tomorrow...

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Home by the Sea - Genesis

Living in Cardiff has some real benefits as after living in the landlocked Midlands for nigh on 50 years, I now find myself living just a couple of miles from the Sea. I find it more and more relaxing and intriguing every time I go down to the bay or one of the local beaches or headlands. Southerdown above is a real favourite.

There's something powerful, natural and rejuvenating about the ocean and it's twice daily tides. The coastal paths down here are rugged and testing to run on as well as fragile as the pounding of the waves is slowly cutting them further and further back. It's an ever changing landscape.

Hopefully when we do get a summer I can investigate more of the coastline of South Wales which has recently been opened up as a mega-long distance footpath. I feel that's more my bag than lying on a Beach...

What do you think and I wonder if the Sea has the same attraction for you?

More tomorrow...

Sunday, 15 July 2012

ULTRAfast not ULTRAslow

After a great couple of days training with MdS13 hopeful Pete Wright from Jersey (very nice chap and great runner), I thought I would add a piece I wrote recently about training... maybe it hits a few nails on the head?

I find Ultra-running fascinating right now - it’s progressed a long way since I ran my first BIG running race back in 1995. It seemed a lot more serious back then and a sub 3:30 marathon was a pre-requisite for running the long gone 55 mile London to Brighton Road Race. The runners on that day were marathon runners who had trained to run a double-marathon and a bit FAST… very fast in fact running sub 7’s to finish in just 6 hours. I beat the 9hrs 30mins cut off by 6 minutes and enjoyed the occasion so much that I did the race many times finally getting to the dizzy heights of 8hrs 54mins finishing in the top third of what I considered to be the best ULTRA-runners at that time.

We had some great ULTRA-runners then - Stephen Moore, Greg Dell & Hilary Walker immediately come to mind all of whom ran great Marathon times as well as ULTRAS… That’s where I believe the difference is between now and then. It’s now all about how long and not about how fast. ULTRA-runners look now for a lifestyle experience it seems and at ULTRArace we do exactly that as we cater for all distances from 50km at our London Ultra to 858 miles at the JOGLE Ultra… and very popular they are too along with the plethora of ULTRA-marathon races out there. The shame is that the challenge for most is to finish, not to compete.

I wonder if there is anyone, right now, who could match the ULTRA-runners of the past. Would anyone get near Don Ritchie’s 3hrs 48mins in Barnet in 1982, which interestingly is still a World Record? I personally think they could with the right training combined with the leaps in nutrition and supplement technology and the right support.

In a sport where theoretically all you need is a pair of trainers, there are now a hundreds of gizmos and running aids that people are using to help them go the distance. Experience and knowledge passed from one runner to another has made times in the bigger races diminish – so much so that the 145 mile Grand Union Canal Race looks to be heading sub 24hrs very soon and the standard of GBR front runners at the Marathon des Sables continues to improve.

All of this made me think about my own running career at its peak and how I could project some of ‘my belief’ and some of the ‘old values’ of distance running into the ULTRA-runners that I now coach. It’s been a very interesting journey so far… with some great observations.

When you are quick at 100km, you are also quick at a marathon, half-marathon and even a 5km it’s just one’s brain that tells you otherwise… believe me, when you are race fit, any distance is fair-game and a fast run out with the local running club works wonders for lifting your pace. However, there’s no substitute for miles and proper gym conditioning too as this works the core and mentally toughens the mind to coping with increased lactate levels.

To be honest, I believe that there are some incredibly gifted runners out there who run ULTRA-marathons. They simply don’t know it, or are running so many races that they have no structure to their training hence they are running slower and slower over any distance they run. EVERYONE on their first coaching session admits to running in a comfort zone and when pushed delivers far more than any expectation they had. The best results have come from just having a structured 12 week plan where all athletes have to do is tick off their daily fitness task giving them the freedom to perform and enjoy their session rather than worry about whether they are doing the right thing. Using this training platform, Marathon PB’s are regularly smashed sometimes by 30 minutes or more. It’s great to see an athlete perform to their full potential.

So, the BIG Question is: ‘When was the last time you ran an ULTRA like you meant it?’… I did a couple of times last year as well as a fast marathon and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It didn’t just happen, I had to work at it and get fast… as fast as I could and give it my best as it really mattered. Does it matter to you how you do…? I’m sure it does if you’re reading this article. At our ULTRArace events I see some amazing athletes, (yes athletes not ULTRA-runners) who could be miles better with some proper Coaching and Training behind them… if you are looking for a new PB or want to crack 3hrs 48mins for 40 miles, I’d love to hear from you.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Tina Turner - I can't stand the rain...

It surely couldn't rain anymore in Cardiff but even so, I was out there tonight running thru the deepest puddles ever on a quick seven miler with the Les Croupiers Running Club. My guide for the night was Andrew Sedgemond, a better runner than me that paced me just right as we circumnavigated what seemed to be miles of canal paths and trail.

Luckily for me his glasses steamed up in some of the wooded sections which gave me some respite but I do feel that the hard work that I am putting in, is working.

Blood, sweat, tears and a lot of Rain to go I'm sure but the 'Journey' will be well worth it, I'm sure.

More tomorrow...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Short and Sweet - David Gilmour

Here's a session that you could fit in if you get half-an-hour to yourself and have a treadmill to hand as I did today. It all happened after an extended morning session with one of my star pupils Rory Gonzalez, from Germany. She's top of the class in commitment right now, especially as she flew over from Dusseldorf,  to be with me!

And even better than that, I quickly found that she's really been pulling out all the stops since I saw her just five weeks ago... seeing how she has improved in such a short time made me motivated to go bash out a very quick 30 minutes on the treadmill.

It's not an easy run for us ULTRA-runners as it really makes you pick your feet up for the first ten minutes at a time when you are trying to breathe steadily until you really get into a good 10km pace... after that it's OK and at the end I did a bit of a minor air-punching as I was happy to have completed the session. (Yes, I know it was a bit sad).

It really focused me on RUNNING rather than a slow ULTRA-dawdling...

It made me feel like a RUNNER... and that can't be bad... thanks Rory G...more tomorrow!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Happy Talk - Captain Sensible

Lots of you have commented over the months that I am a GOM (which I am fully aware of) and have asked for far more positive blogs relating to running and achieving great things. Well I promise to do this over the next few days and hopefully blast out a few rays of sunshine.

Thinking about it, it's been a very positive past few days with ULTRA-marathoner Bethany Clague (with Olympic Torch) coming to stay for a few days of training prior to her running M2M Ultra in Ireland in September with us once again. She is always an inspiration and we love having her here as it's very uplifting for both Jenny and myself as Bethany has overcome so many barriers to achieve so much in her life.

Then I had two Doctors join me for an MdS day where I could ask them all things medical whilst they asked all things MdS in return. A fascinating insight into Medicine and Psychiatry all in a day, most of it applied to me! Yikes...

Anyway, all of this plus a FULL training dairy of clients and training has kept me on target with my training too... so it can't be bad eh?

More tomorrow... now is that more positive?

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

I feel good - James Brown

There are many times when you are on an extensive training programme, when you can feel exhausted, frustrated and wonder why you are even bothering to try as the more you try, the worse it feels. I'm finding out that my own plan has challenged me in lots of ways especially in how it has made me feel but it seems like I have come out of the darkness and into the bright light of feeling fit and ready to run with confidence.

The 'C' word is the key here as there hasn't been much change in my overall fitness for the past few years but I have been able to affect my level of confidence so that I get two peaks a year which I can coincide with The Marathon des Sables and The Robin Hood Marathon.

If I could bottle this, I'd be a millionaire... the interesting thing is that recreating it in other people is actually a lot easier and the athlete's I am coaching are running with heightened confidence levels. I'll keep you posted with their achievements but I have high hopes for all of them.

Maybe that's where I am getting my inspiration right now as I now have to lead by example.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Crystal Method - Keep Hope Alive

There's always HOPE, well we HOPE so, as Wimbledon passes into it's second week and Andy Murray edges nearer to failing yet again to reach the FINAL, let alone win the darn thing and at least clock up one Grand Slam in his uneventful career. You see he'll NEVER win much but as a nation we have that annual misplaced HOPE that he will - aren’t we ALL funny! Even his Mum didn't give him much of a chance of winning TODAY let alone any other matches on this morning on TV.

Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see him do it but basically all the other players would have to be ill or injured for him to do it and that just ain't going to happen, oh and they are much BETTER than him, so maybe it's time to face up to the music for our No 1 HOPE.

We need academies we're told and now there's even a Coaching Academy that's being built to get our National Coaches singing from the same hymn sheet in a very loud Best Practise voice. We'll see eh? Or maybe we won't as it's going to take ages for our grass roots sport to catch up with the rest of the world.

Poor old Andy, he's just over Henman Hill I'm afraid and it's a lifetime perhaps till we see a Grand Slam won by a British Athlete... It's all a bit rubbish really and you mark my words that Murray will be watching the final on TV just like you and me...

More tomorrow.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Jeans On - David Dundas

I went to a wedding yesterday (no, not mine!!!) and did the usual man thing and went thru my meagre wardrobe very last minute to find a suitable wedding suit. Amazingly quite a few of my suits have made it thru the years and I started to try them on. (I have to add here that this followed a complete Jenny fashion show, where she looked great in everything...

Anyway, I was really pleased that even my Jeff Banks suit of 1999 vintage still fits... as do all of the others I possess.

It got me wondering if any of my readers can still get into their old clothes and in fact what's the oldest item of clothing that you still regularly wear?

More tomorrow... now where did I put those platform shoes and baggie Brutus Jeans...

Friday, 29 June 2012

Over the Hill - Communion Jam

What no Becks at the Olympics! No not the beer, I mean our David. What the heck was Stuart 'Pyscho' Pearce thinking about leaving him out of the GB team? He's the shining example of what it takes to pull on a national vest and perform for one's country... he's always delivered and I'm not impressed with him being left out!

I wonder if 'Seb' has other 'duties' for Becks? I hope not  as it's the momentum and inspiration that he delivers to his team members that can be the break of winning and us getting a medal of some description or not...

Maybe Becks can be reconsidered - let's hope so for his sake and for the sake of the GB team. I'm sure he's gutted and this isn't about money for him... it's about PRIDE and it's a sad way to leave a career where he's given so much.

More tomorrow...

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Survival - Muse

Well there's less then a month left until the start of the Olympics, and I am wondering just how many Sebastian Coes there are? He was shown in the news in three different places yesretrday and he's popping up everywhere right now as we enter the final run into the seven years of preparation for what could be the sporting event of our lifetime.

Hopefully it will run as smoothly as all of the Olympic Spin dcotors are predicting and they will find the 1.5 million school children they need to occupy the empty seats in the stadiums during the events. I just hope it's not going to be a 'Global Flop' as the UK promised so much to get the Games in  the first place.

I will be watching closely and drawing inspiration from my new Coaching Hero, David Brailsford as I am fascinated to see how the cyclists get on... especially Bradley Higgins (also in the Tour de France). 'Bout time we won something...

More later...

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Record Breakers - Roy Castle

On a day where we've had a new course record on our UR100, it's quite spooky that I sit outside our finish at Stratford Leisure Centre as this is where I set 6 Guinness World Records back in 1998.

It was literally just a few metres from here that I ran for one day of my life to gain that special accolade that so many chase... I feel really lucky to have been able to do that and make my mark... That kind of thing is important to me and its been good to see that drive in so many people out there on the course today...

Sure it's tough and some have overcome some massive physical barriers to get here to take part today - with a smile even when the going for them has tested their limits of human endurance.

So why do it then? You might ask... Well it's because it's important and they have to - if you understand why, then you are an ultrarunner too and you'll be out there making your mark this weekend just like I did in 1998...

Oh to be 37 again... - The Home of ULTRArunning in the UK

Location:Bridgeway,Stratford-upon-Avon,United Kingdom

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Tea for Two - Vincent Youmans

Well would you believe it... drinking large amounts of tea could increase the risk of prostate cancer, according to the latest research. Apparently sscientists found that more than seven cups a day raised the chances of men developing the disease by 50%.

Isn't anything good for you nowadays?... I've ditched the fags, booze and coffee, got extremely fit, run marathons AND go to the gym BUT I am now being told that my nice cups of Earl Grey are going to fry my nether regions if I'm not careful... what a nightmare!

Is it time to put the teapot at the back of the cupboard?... Is water bad for you?

Maybe we'll know in another 37 years...