Posts Tagged ‘running’

Yorkshire Duathlon

Monday, April 26th, 2021 | Sport

Racing is back! Last weekend, we headed up to Croft Motor Racing Circuit for the Yorkshire Duathlon. There were both a sprint and standard distance race that formed the national championship. Amy and I did the standard distance that is a 10-kilometre run, 40-kilometre bike and final 5-kilometre run.

The field was competitive and hundreds of people came running past me on the start straight. I wondered if I was going too slowly but my first kilometre came in at 4:10 and I held this throughout the first run section averaging 4:13 per kilometre. When I went through the 5-kilometre mark I realised I could easily run a 10k PB, and possibly take the family 10k PB as well. Alas, the run course came up 100 metres short on my Garmin so I cannot in good conscience count it.

Running so fast was a continuous decision to sacrifice the rest of my race and I collapsed over the barrier in T1. Luckily I managed to recover well enough to put in a sub-80 bike split. The final run was dogged by a stitch but I still managed a 23:09 for a course that measured a little over 5 kilometres so I was happy with that.

Disapline Time
Run 1 00:41:41
T1 02:06.2
Bike 01:17:00
T2 01:59.4
Run 2 00:23:09
Total 02:25:5

Amy put in a smashing performance that won her age group, including a sub-39 minute first run and sub-70 minute bike.

Racing on the motor circuit was excellent: the super-smooth tarmac and generous width really contrast with riding on the roads. There are constant pot holes to dodge and bumpy toad surfaces that make getting down on the aero bars unpleasant. There was none of this on the motor circuit which was as smooth as can be. It was a joy to cycle on.

The organisation by TriHard was very good.

Wuthering Heights Wander

Tuesday, April 13th, 2021 | Sport

Racing is back! Last Saturday I took part in the Wuthering Heights Wander in Haworth.

The course is an 8-kilometre trail route from Haworth village to the Bronte waterfall and back, taking in 180 metres of elevation gain on each loop. You can do a single loop (5 mile) or as many as six for the ultramarathon.

I’m not a big trail runner. I thought this was my first trail race but I have since remembered that I did do the Kirkstall Abbey 7 4 years ago. Additionally, it is rated 5/5 on Grim Up North’s difficulty rating (“Grimmer Than Grim”). Given this then, I decided to take on just one loop.

I was aiming to take it easy and enjoy it but ended up going around the course in 46:41, which was good enough for 7th place in the 5-mile category. Despite the better-than-expected pace I very much did enjoy the run. The descent down to Bronte waterfall was technical but it was otherwise relatively easy running albeit with some hill climbs. Might be very different after heavy rain! But fun enough that I am going to look at more trail races, and coming back to Haworth, in the future.

Plus, it was Grim Up North, so excellent homemade cake at the end.

Cabot Trail

Monday, April 12th, 2021 | Sport

The Cabot Trail is a 298-kilometre loop road around Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia. It’s also a Conqueror challenge that I recently completed running around. This one took me around three months to complete which maybe suggests I have not been running as much as I usually do. Too much cycling!

Running For Beginners book

Monday, March 22nd, 2021 | Books

Several years ago I launched a free Running For Beginners course to help people get into running. Thousands of people have since taken the course and we have a large community of over 8,000 runners on Facebook sharing success stories and advise.

Over the years, I have enjoyed answering questions and helping new runners, and I have also noticed that the same questions come up time after time. So, to save people time, I have compiled the most common questions and answers into a book. There are 69 questions but I wanted to avoid jokes about the number, I subtitled 50 questions with the view to under-promise and over-deliver.

The book is now available in both paperback and Kindle format from Amazon. Preview Running For Beginners: 50 Things You Should Know.

Trail running

Saturday, February 20th, 2021 | Sport

Traditionally, I’ve been a road runner. I like it. You can focus on the pain. Trail running is fun and I am not always a fun person. But I am challenging a lot of beliefs about myself recently and one of them is that getting my feet wet and muddy may not be as bad as it first seems.

Lockdown 3 has been miserable. It is long and the weather had been terrible for months (I am writing this in the middle of February). I have not taken my bike outside since Christmas Eve. But I have been running in the snow. Given it only snows a few days a year, and sometimes not at all in a year, and I am in my 30s, I may only have a month of snow days left. And that ignores climate breakdown. So, I didn’t want to miss them.

But running in snow is slippy when all you have is a pair of road shoes. As is running on the trail which I have traditionally limited to summer. So, I have finally given in and bought a pair of trail shoes. I tried the Hoka Speedgoat 4 as these match my Clifton 6s, but there was not enough height in the toe box for my giant toes, so I had to switch to the Torrent. Less cushioning but otherwise very nice.

While it is a little annoying to go through a puddle the first time, my feet did stay relatively warm at six degrees Celcius. And because of how miserable the weather was, I literally had Kirkstall Valley Nature Reserve to myself.

Training Essentials for Ultrarunning

Saturday, February 13th, 2021 | Books

Training Essentials for Ultrarunning: How to Train Smarter, Race Faster, and Maximize Your Ultramarathon Performance is a book by Jason Koop. Koop is an ultra coach and I like his book a lot. It challenges some conventional logic but does so with a heavy dose of academic referencing and modern theory on training.

One of the major premises of the book is that you should focus on fitness. This is often forgotten about with ultras. Many runners, including Laz Lake, will preach the benefits of miles and miles of training. And it is true you need to run a lot. But ultra runners should also do tempo runs and interval training. Why? Because if you increase your VO2 max by 10%, that makes running slowly 10% easier, too. And even running slowly is hard when you have to do it for 160 kilometres.

He follows a reverse periodisation model where you work on the least important things farthest away. In a traditional periodisation model, you would work on base fitness and add in speed work later. But Koop starts with speed work and then moves onto getting increasingly specific to the race as we move into the season.

If you want to deep dive into ultrarunning training theory, this is a great book.

Relentless Forward Progress

Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 | Books

Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons is a book Bryon Powell.

I have read so many books on ultras recently, I am not going to say too much about them for fear I am confusing different books. But everything about this book was very good. On balance, I prefer it to Hal Koerner’s Field Guidem which is also a good read. But the advice in Powell’s book feels a little more practical, comprehensive and accessible.

Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021 | Books

Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning: Training for an Ultramarathon, from 50K to 100 Miles and Beyond is a book by Hal Koerner (pretty obviously). Koerner is an ultrarunner who has won many of the famous American ultras including Western States, Javelina Jundred and Hardrock.

It is a solid book with plenty of advice. I would recommend it to anyone getting into ultra running.

Minimalist’s Guide to Running an Ultramarathon

Friday, January 29th, 2021 | Books

I read this book in about 20 minutes. I’m not against shorts books as long as they deliver value, but to me, this read like a rambling monologue with very little structure and I did not learn much about ultra running.

Alps to Ocean medal

Sunday, January 24th, 2021 | Sport

Last month, I completed the Alps to Ocean virtual ultra, which is a 290 km run across New Zealand. It is always a pleasure to receive one of the medals because The Conqueror put so much effort into theirs.