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...