I’ve Been Running Not Blogging

I’ve not posted a blog about my running, training or any running events for almost 6 months now. After the Flitch Way Marathon I carried on with my training and then entered the London 12 hour Enduro in June. Part of the reason I blog about my running is self motivation and a way of holding myself accountable and disciplined with my running as well as, I hope, inspiring and motivating others. I began running 3 1/2 years ago after 3 friends passed away within 6 months, one being my best friend who I spent the first 26 years of my life doing everything with. Running helped me with my grief and focused my thoughts and energy..In June, In the darkness of night somewhere on Wimbledon common In the middle of the London 12 hour Enduro I was at last at peace with their passing and my own grief, some 3 years down the line. In an emotional moment I called my wife and told her I didn’t need to punish myself running ultras and I was ready to throw it in for the night and come home. I didn’t. After I hung up I forged on feeling a sense of peace I hadn’t felt for a long time. I felt good again, free and my waning energy began to return. By the end of the night I had completed 54 miles in 11 hours 36 minutes and finished in 8th. I didn’t feel the need to tell people about it or blog about it and share the experience. It seemed for me an almost too personal a moment of closure to put in to print.

Since then I have changed to doing shorter and faster runs. I have started to attend Parkruns on a regular basis, I’ve changed up my diet a little again this time too a zero added sugar, the biscuits and cakes have gone! My bodyfat has dropped from 30% to 19% and there is just a portion  of fat around my waist that is preventing me from having abs again! And since July I have had 3 new PB’s and begun to run sub 20 minute 5k’s for the first time since my teens. My 5k PB is now 19m 32s, 10k PB is 41m 11s and half marathon PB is at 1h 32m 27s. I put most of this down to the regular parkruns. Longer term I am aiming at Brighton Marathon to complete the new set of PB’s.

 

I have been doing plenty of runs and events  I could have blogged about but haven’t, maybe it’s time to get back letting people know about my experiences again. The moral of the last 6 months has been that actions speak louder than words, I’ve been working on all aspects to improve. I’m ready again to add some occasional words for others enjoyment and motivation.

 

 

 

2015-10-25 14.41.41

Advertisements

Flitch Way Spring Marathon 2015

Having received my new work roster for the rest of the year I have now been able to look through and pencil in possible races for the year. After finishing Paris I had no particular races in mind and ran Birchanger 10k a couple of weeks back. Knowing I had Sunday 17th May free I had a look at what races were available. There was Great Baddow 10 mile, Wimpole 10k, Richmond Marathon and the Flitch Way Marathon. I opted for the Flitch Way Marathon. The Flitch Way Marathon is one of Challenge Running’s many races, this is now the fourth of Lindley’s races I have taken part in.

Image result for flitch way

The Flitch Way is now a footpath that follows the route of an old railway line that used to run from the town of Bishops Stortford to Braintree but was removed in 1969 under the Beeching cuts. It is predominantly flat if a little soft under foot in places, to the extent that one section runs on a wooden walk way through the worst of the boggy patches. The Flitch way Marathon route starts in Great Notley Country Park, heads out along the Flitch Way towards Takeley for 13 miles and then back to finish at the top of a steep hill in the park as seen below.

Image result for flitch way

 As I hadn’t trained I planned on taking the run easy and treating it as a training run. The weather was as perfect as it could have been for running and with the Flitch Way bordered by hedge row and trees it was very shady and cool to run along. I was dropped off at the start around 9am and saw Lindley the race director who pointed me up to the race HQ. After collecting my number and storing my bag I chatted to some of the other runners, some of whom I had met before, others I hadn’t. I had initially told my running friend Gin Craig I was going to run with her as I reckoned I was only going to run between 4 hours 30 minutes and 5 hours. After we set off that barely lasted 1/2 a mile, the pace was 9m 25s per mile and I felt comfortable enough to run a bit stronger than that.

 After winding our way out of the park and heading onto the track itself we crossed a road. A short distance on runners were greeted by a cafe set at one of the old stations, Rayne,  complete with an old railway carriage.

Image result for rayne cafe

 The route then continued along a firm packed track. Being a clear warm day the track was quite busy with family walkers and cyclists. The route headed toward the town of Great Dunmow. I had quickened my pace a touch too much and was at 8 minutes 15 seconds per mile and slowed a little to someone who was close by and holding a comfortable pace. It turned out to be Jaime Neill who is an online acquaintance from the Facebook page Run 1000. He was holding a very steady 8 minutes 30 seconds per mile so I decided to run and chat with him. What had started as a day off and taking part for the fun of it was now turning in to a run that was currently better than PB pace! I was mindful to make good use of all the aid stations along the way, the first of which was manned by Rich Cranswick whom I’d met at the SVP last year. At Dunmow the route deviates very briefly through part of the town then linking back up with the Flitch Way route. The ground in parts along here was very soft and quite wet but I managed fine with my road shoes and stayed up right! I always use Nike+ app on my phone when running as it gives an audible pace every 0.5 mile which I like and lets me know if I’m working too hard or even not hard enough. The pacing was still very steady at 8m 30s a mile. Heading ever closer to the turn around point I was hoping I wouldn’t hit any type of problems until well after the 20 mile mark. wanting to get a good amount of drink onboard at the half way point I told Jaime I was going to push ahead to give myself a couple of minutes to stop. The legs were still felling strong despite not having a long run further than 13.5 miles since Paris Marathon.

Image result for flitch way

 After the half way point there started to be more a bit more of a difference in pacing, sometimes catching people, sometimes being over taken. As I headed back towards the town of Dunmow I had to take a left hand turn through a hedge and into the industrial estate. I missed the turning and went straight on.  A runner behind me followed, we both hadn’t gone far and I started to question it, it didn’t look right. I stopped, he carried on. I back tracked and bumped into another runner also heading along the same path. I told him I thought it was wrong and after going back a few hundred yards saw the gap we should of turned through. I’ve no idea where the other runner went or if he’s even finished yet! My legs had started to feel things now and were getting tired. The new runner I was now with was David Rogers. He had initially been ahead of me before slowing enough that I could catch and over take him before meeting up again when I made the mistake. Both tiring we decide to stick together and pace each other back to the finish. My pace was now fading away quite badly and the chance of a PB had gone but I was still on for a strong run. The finish of the marathon is at the top of a steep hill which has a large sculpture on it, upon touching the sculpture you have finished the race.

Image result for flitch way

 Having been running together for 3 or 4 miles I suggested to David that we should race the hill up to the finish together. I’m not sure if he thought it was a good idea but he agreed anyway. We returned back passed the cafe at Rayne station, back on to the track and just had to get back down into the park. we could see the hill ahead with the bird sculpture on top, the bottom of the hill approached, a quick shake of the hands and a wish of good luck and I was gone!! I put my foot down and powered up the hill not looking back to see if David was hot on my heels. A sprint of the last 30 yards and I had finished another race. If counting ultras this was now my 7th race of marathon distance or greater. The organisation and marshalling is second to none at challenge running events and can’t recommend them highly enough. Get over to their website, have a look and sign up to one of their future races.

Initially I wasn’t really sure what my time was but found out via Lindley that it was 4h 14m 19s. 12 minutes faster than Paris marathon and only 14 minutes 26 seconds away from my PB so quite a good day. Now to just keep the miles up and stay injury free!

Position Race Number Forename Surname Gender Club Finish Time
1 11 Ian Coxall Male Ipswich Jaffa RC 03:16:22
2 15 Robert Dixon Male   03:29:27
3 23 sebastian parris Male barnes runners 03:30:09
4 33 Pete Jones Male   03:36:31
5 39 Nick Butcher Male Trent Park Runners 03:39:58
6 8 Charley Jenning Female   03:42:43
7 16 Vincenzo Arduino Male   03:43:12
8 12 David Ferris Male   03:43:45
9 53 Nigel Harrison Male Ipswich Jaffa 03:47:42
10 21 Paul Cross Male   03:53:52
11 1 Gary Paul Male   03:58:53
12 17 Adam Waller-Toyne Male   03:58:58
13 29 Mark Loftus Male   04:04:22
14 26 Jamie Neill Male Great Bentley Running Club 04:07:36
15 43 chris poynter Male   04:09:39
16 36 Alan Li Male adidas26s 04:11:09
17 38 Barry Taylor Male Saffron Striders RC 04:14:19
18 47 David Rogers Male Leigh on Sea Striders 04:14:28
19 13 Andrew Wilmott Male Halstead RRC 04:15:10
20 46 Damon Jackson Male   04:23:45
21 32 Karl Simon Male   04:24:15
22 31 Noel Bundy Male Mid Essex Casuals 04:24:16
23 34 Verne Barltrop Male 100 Marathon Club 04:24:19
24 40 Peter Maddison Male Crowborough Runners 04:24:20
25 19 Kim Freeman Female   04:27:49
26 2 Stuart Mellows Male WDAC 04:27:50
27 42 Duncan Anderson Male Bracknell Forest Runners 04:30:29
28 54 Daniel Smith Male Halstead RRC 04:38:07
29 20 Gin Craig Female Sudbury Joggers 04:42:33
30 10 Steve Morris Male Royston Runners 04:43:03
31 41 frances cooke Female 100 marathon club 04:47:17
32 55 Richard Weeks Male   04:47:43
33 25 Bob Parmenter Male 100 Marathon Club 04:49:31
34 51 Richard Townsend Male Saltwell Harriers 04:52:55
35 4 Sally Denwood Female   04:52:59
36 44 Sally Silver Female Canterbury Harriers 04:59:07
37 52 Steve Harvey Male   05:07:42
38 6 Emily Adams Female   05:09:53
39 7 Paul Adams Male   05:09:53
40 49 David Clare Male 100 Marathon Club 05:17:59
41 14 Jonathan Hyde Male   05:30:12
42 48 CAROLYN THOMSON EASTER Female TRA 05:30:52
43 56 Hazel Kurz Female 100Marathon Club 05:40:54
44 45 John Kew Male Bristol And District 05:49:03
45 5 Fran Thorne Female   05:59:23
46 35 Ric Falco Male   06:33:45
47 37 Des Connors Male   07:04:56
48 18 Dean Woodcock-davis Male   4:12:078
49 3 gemma colling Female   DNF
50 9 Benjamin Ficken Male Great Bentley Running Club DNF
51 22 Susan Foot Female North Herts RRC DNS
52 24 Cynthia Neldner Female RRC DNS
53 27 Chris Witmore Male Bungay Black Dog RC DNS
54 28 martin mead Male   DNS
55 30 Tracey Ranson Female Springfield Striders RC DNS
56 50 Tom Fairbrother Male Woodbridge Shufflers RC DNS

Schneider Paris Marathon

Soon be time for the Paris marathon, training has gone reasonably well and the worst of the injury I had has passed. A fuller blog post and report will done after the race. In the meantime I have the following I need tweeted on Twitter, thanks to anyone willing to help.

 

 

If you could include #BelievewithSE along with #Run42! and @Traindriverbaz. Every tweet equates to an amount of distance and the target is 42k. These three bits would equal 400 metres of distance so to reach 42k I would need around 105 tweets!!

 

West Highland Way – Re Visited

 Last year I took myself away to Scotland to run 35 miles of the West Highland Way from Bridge Of Orchy to Fort William. After writing up my blog post on how things went and speaking to friends at the running club my friend and fellow club member Tim Mcmahon said he would be interested in covering the route as well. So the organising of 35 mile re run was put into action.

west highland way copy

 We set out on the over night sleeper service from London Euston to Scotland and arrived at Bridge of Orchy at 08.15am. The weather was fantastic and a big improvement on last years overcast and rainy day. I had been briefing Tim on the route and what to expect but just as I had found last year the run is a shock to the system from the start having to climb up through a pine forest for the first 1.5 miles before coming up to the Inveroran hotel and a surfaced road to run on. With the weather being warm we were sweating right from the start and tried to keep an even and slow pace. The road way then leads onto the old military road way and on towards the Kingshouse hotel on the A68.

parliamentary roads

20140516_100910Yours Truly, Baz Taylor

Heading down toward the Kingshouse hotel the wind had picked up quite a lot but was still very warm, we were only about 1.5 miles from the infamous devils staircase!

20140516_102553

20140516_100806Tim Mcmahon

I knew we were going to have to hike the devils staircase as initially I had tried to run it last year and found it impossible and led to me cramping badly on the following decent

staircase

Given how steep the staircase is we managed to get to the top within about 30 minutes and the legs were feeling pretty good. We started a slow run down and headed on to Kinlochleven. We were now 17 miles in and things were going well, no cramps, energy was good and averaging around 11 minute miles. Given the steep terrain and the climb having us down to around 2 miles an hour I was more than happy with that. The path down was really hard on the ankles and very steep in spots so it took a lot of strength from the legs to avoid falling over. I found a pigeon step run heel striking was an effective way of being able to run downhill but retaining control at the same time. The scenery was breath taking and the miles were ticking by and we soon came down to Kinlochleven. The time was 12.40pm which had us around 20 minutes ahead of last years time. Again as per last year we went into the village shop and topped up on water before continuing on. There is a short steep climb out of Kinlochleven back up to a military road so again we walked this as it was too steep to possibly run.

kin

 Once up on to the road it levels out so is far easier to get running on. Now 22 miles in I was tiring quite badly and made sure to keep eating and drinking to keep the energy up. After traversing along the mountainside for around another 6/7 miles we came upon a point of the trail where there is a couple of different route possibilities. Last year I had gone left and followed a tarmacked road back into Fort William, this year we decided to go right and follow the off road trail instead. In hindsight this may have been a mistake as it was extremely tough, very steep in places and very energy sapping. I was beginning to suffer quite badly feeing sick and dizzy, trying to keep on top of things I soon used up my remaining water. If you attempt this do not underestimate how much water you need. Over the entire distance I had only carried and consumed 2 litres of water, I could easily have drunk 4 litres!! The route climbs up and enters a very dense pine forest which was amazing and straight out of a Hollywood movie, very dramatic and heavily scented with the Scots pine. I kept moving through phases of sickness followed by feeling ok and energetic enough again to run more, quickly followed by more nausea. Now around 33 miles in we used the gravity of the downhill parts to help get back into a slow running rhythm. We only a matter of a couple of miles from reaching our designated 35 mile target, the same distance I had run last year, I could quite easily have laid down, not moved and just stayed there out in the open. It was a real help having Tim along this year as He was able to keep encouraging me. We soon came across the long awaited signpost pointing to the campsite that marked our 35 miles. The weather was turning, rain had been forecast but for later in the evening, it had arrived early. It was really starting to blow a gale and the clouds were closing in, we twisted around the final descent and could see the campsite through the trees. Out into the open and we reached our 35 mile target in 8 hours and 20 minutes, this was 41 minutes quicker over the distance than last year but the alternative route we took at the end was far, far harder. We dropped into the campsite shop and refuelled and after 10 minutes I started to feel a little better. Tim had faired really well but admitted he had found sections very tough and was shattered. Another great running experience, but for now I think I’ll return to some shorter distances no doubt before misplacing my marbles again and tackling another ludicrous distance.

The 8 S’s Of Running

SPEED

When we refer to speed as runners we are talking about our movement over distance and how much time that takes. So how can we improve our speed so it takes less time to cover a set distance. For shorter distances like 5 km or 10 km interval training is a great method to improve speed. This is running a set distance or amount of time at a high speed, anywhere between 85% and 100% of your personal effort. For increased distances like a half or full marathon we need endurance runs or tempo runs. As these suggest it is maintaining a higher speed over an increased distance or amount of time, somewhere around 75% to 85% of personal effort. You should be able to maintain this for about an hour, These runs will help your muscles deal with lactic acid as well. For any greater distances like ultras i would suggest HRM training, running very long and very slow keeping the heart rate around the 140 BPM mark. You will probably find you need lots of walking breaks to keep the heart rate in check

STAMINA

Stamina can be put into two types, cardio vascular and local muscular. Through a regular exercise regime your lungs and heart will strengthen and become more efficient in delivering oxygen to the muscles. A person can expect to gain a lower heart rate and increased stroke volume of the heart. Muscles will improve their ability to store glycogen to help with their endurance.

STRENGTH

There are three types of strength we use. Explosive strength where the energy is used in a single action like jumping or throwing. Dynamic strength, the ability of your muscles to support you over a long period of time. And static strength, the force that can be applied against a static object as in weightlifting. As runners it is dynamic strength that we are interested in. Bodyweight exercises are great for dynamic strength. Exercises such as squat jumps, bounding, hopping and various medicine ball exercises are all great at improving dynamic strength. Fitting in just one or two sessions a week will still be of a long term benefit.

SUPPLENESS

Suppleness refers to how we move and bend at the joints. Also referred to as flexibility, improving our suppleness can help reduce the risk of injury. There are a multitude of stretches possible. I have tried many and found a select few that work well for me hitting points of my muscles that tighten regularly. A favourite is the kneeling hip flexor stretch with raised foot. I find this really loosens my hips, helps with my gait and improves my speed.

SLEEP

Sleep is another very important factor in running. All of the bodies major repair is done during sleep. Getting 8 hours of sleep can help improve mood, concentration, improve athletic performance and you are less likely to get ill. I know how hard it is to get a decent amount of sleep as i am regularly home from work at midnight or later and then need to be up at 7am to help the chidren get ready for school and also to give myself time to run before starting work. So I am usually only getting 6 1/2 to 7 hours sleep and over a week i can end up getting quite exhausted. So I try as best as possible on days off to get to bed earlier.

SKILL

Learning and performing techniques will help improve your running. Pacing, you don’t have to take every run at race pace. It’s ok to slow down, long slow runs will improve your running just as much as short fast ones. Sprinting, adding short sharp bursts will activate different muscle fibres and will help in race situations when you need to increase the pace or overtake. Recovery is just as much a skill, cooling down and stretching will help with muscle repair and help make you stronger for your next run.

SPIRIT

Our state of mind when running or even thinking of going for a run plays a strong role in our participation, improvement and enjoyment of running. There are a lot of people that are very disciplined and rarely have any down periods with their running, I am not one of those! My moods towards running rise and fall constantly, especially this time of year when runs are gloomy, wet and cold. I personally help myself along by reading magazines, books and websites to keep my motivation up. I am also a running club member which is of a great help, we have regular social meet ups for meals that really helps boost mental positivity. Setting and hitting realistic targets is also a great way of staying positive.

SUSTENANCE

Diet is very important in not only improving health but also our running ability. Personally the way I tackle my food intake is to work out my calorific needs and then eat as much healthy whole non processed food to meet that need. I include oats, bananas, almond butter, rapeseed oil, nuts, seeds, dates, noodles, brown rice, avocados, beans, peppers and various other fruits and vegetables. Diet can not only help with energy levels but also improve cholesterol levels, lower the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

 

If you take the time to cover the 8 S’s you’ll be setting yourself a good regime for improving. Spring isn’t far away and the improvements will show when the warmer weather returns. Don’t give up, keep striving and you’ll reach your targets for 2014.

Are All Sugars Equal?

2013-07-25 12.05.01
We all know we need sugar to survive but most of us don't give much thought to the vast array of sugars that are out there. We get our sugars mainly from fruits and vegetables and also processed foods like cakes, biscuits and chocolate bars.Our bodies run on glucose by breaking down carbohydrates to create APT for energy. The liver is the bodies processing unit for sugars. If sugars are consumed in liquid form or in high sugar foods like cakes or chocolate bars thus can put a high load on the liver. This in turn causes an increase in uric acid causing inflammation, gout and increased blood pressure. Over time this can also create a fatty liver which is the main cause of insulin resistance leading to diabetes. Sugars in fruit or vegetables are far better because the fibre content helps slow the load on the liver. Therefore high sugar foods or sports drinks should be limited to when exercising when those sugars will be used very quickly by the body.
The recommended intake of sugars should be 10% of daily calorie intake so roughly 50g for someone consuming 2000 calories. Limiting carbohydrates is an effective way of reducing sugar intake and helping to lose body fat. A big problem with this method is increased hunger. The University of Sydney, Australia performed a satiety test to find foods that satisfied hunger the best. The most satisfying foids were boiled potatoes, raw fruits, fish and lean meat. The worst were croissants, doughnuts, chocolate bars and peanuts.

I have compiled a list of commonly found sugars and where possible the GI for those sugars. The GI of glucose is given the value of 100 and all sugars are measured against this. So a food with a GI of 95 is almost as pure as glucose. A food with a GI of 20 on the other hand won't raise blood sugar much at all.

2013-07-25 12.05.39
Ose = sugar
Itol = sugar alcohol

SUGARS
Agave 11
Aspartame 0
Barley Malt Syrup 42
Beet Sugar
Brown Sugar
Cane Syrup 43
Coconut Palm 35
Confectioners Sugar
Corn Syrup 75
Date Sugar
Demerara
Dextrose 100
Fructose 12-25
Fruit Juice Concentrate
Glucose 100
Glucose Syrup
Granulated White Sugar 80
High Fructose Corn Syrup 87
High Maltose Corn Syrup
Honey 32-87
Invert Sugar 60
Jaggery
Lactose 46
Maltodextrin 110
Maltose 105
Maple Syrup 54
Molasses 55
Muscovado
Rice Syrup 25
Saccharin 0
Sorbitol
Stevia <1
Sucanat
Sucralose 0
Sucrose 58-65
SUGAR ALCOHOLS
Erythritol 1
Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysates 35
Isomalt 2
Lactitol 3
Maltitol
Mannitol 2
Sorbitol 4
Xylitol 12
Tagatose
Turbinado 65

The main factors to consider with sugars are.
1. Avoid fruit juice and fizzy drinks
2. Stay away from processed foods as they can contain added sweetners.
3. Try and get your sugars through the day from fruits and vegetables
4. Limit sports drinks to when exercising
5. Try and limit sugars to a GI of 50 or less to limit the load on the liver and reduce a high insulin response.
6. Last but not least try and reduce cakes and chocolate bars.

Thanks for reading and keep up the great running.

Running, Diet And Struggling To Recover

diet

 

 

For some while now, probably as far back as March when i did the half marathons i feel i have been struggling to recover from runs. Any run over 5 miles i will ache for days after where as previously i would have felt good and strong again within about 24 hours. I decided to evaluate what i was eating and see if i was lacking somewhere. Quite shockingly i was about 1000 calories short on where i need to be in comparison to calories burned. Also i was very low on protein intake. No wonder i have been struggling to recover and getting small injuries appear! My diet was looking like this:

 

Banana and coffee pre run

Breakfast – Oats 60g, Rape Seed Oil 30ml, Honey 5ml

Lunch – Tomato and Onion Pasta

Dinner – 3 x Chicken Thighs, Cous Cous 130g

 

This was coming in at approximately 1340 calories and only 64 grams of protein! To maintain body weight i should be consuming 2000 calories add running to that i should be consuming about 2500 calories. I can see obviously why i haven’t been recovering very well.

 

fuel

 

 

So i sat down and made some tweaks to the above adding some extra foods in to bump up calories and protein. Now the diet is looking like this:

 

Pre Run – Banana and Coffee

Breakfast – Oats 60g, Rape Seed Oil 30ml, Honey 5ml and added Whey Powder 25g

Lunch – Tomato and Onion Pasta with Cheddar Cheese 50g

Mid Afternoon – Whey Powder 50g and Rape Seed Oil 30ml

Dinner –  3 x Chicken Thighs, Cous Cous 260g and Spring Greens (or other leafy veg)

 

With these adjustments the calories are now 2300 and protein is at 148g which is a decent improvement and i hope will help my recovery after runs. I always felt what i ate was quite good but i just haven’t been eating enough. Hopefully this will help with my long term goals of increasing the distance that i run as well. Thanks for reading and i hope to update you with another post soon.

 

diet1