Top 10 tips to run efficiently

 

I have written a blog on my top 10 tips on how to run efficiently and therefore help you get PB’s and improve your running. This is what I have learnt over the years from experience and from my coaching courses. It’s not in depth, as I can go on for ever, so it is a brief overview. I hope it helps you to reach your goals.

 

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Technique

Firstly and most importantly is your technique – this is so important in being able to run efficiently, the problem is most runners ignore this or just simply start running without realising this. The most efficient way is to be tall and arms to be at a 90 degrees angle with them being relaxed your shoulders. This allows you to take in more oxygen and use less energy. A good coach will help you with your technique or at running clubs. However an easy solution is to get someone to film you while you run. You can then analyse it with good form and technique videos from the internet.

 

Drills

Drills are very important and this is neglected by many runners. You can notice runners neglecting this. Before any sessions, knee raises and walking lunges can help with your technique and form. There is a wide range of drills which you can see on the internet. This will improve form and make you use less energy. My favourite is knee raises and then doing strides with high knees. Walking lunges with a 90 degrees arm action is another good one to improve technique. You don’t need to do too much, just a few minutes at the start of each run.

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Strength

 

 

Working on strength is very important, you would be surprised the amount of people who do not do any strength training. Doing strength training such as core work and glutes not only keeps the injuries to a minimal but does in fact make you stronger, faster and most importantly keeps the injuries to a minimal. This makes you stronger so when your body is fatigued in training/races you can still produce good times as your body will be used to this. Plenty of core work such as press ups, sit ups and planks will work a treat. Clams, lunges and squats work well for your glutes and lower body.

 

Run tall

Running tall allows you to run effectively and efficiently, if you run tall you can get more oxygen into your lungs which will make you run better. To run tall you need to work on your core and keep conscious of your running. If you know you are making the mistake you can correct this. This can be by getting someone to film you whilst running.

 

Run Cadence

Run cadence is important and will not only improve form but will also make you more efficient and quicker. This is done by interval training, if you run mile reps all the time you may have a long stride but the cadence is slow. By simply adding sprint work such as 100m/200m/400m reps into your regular running plan you will improve the cadence.

 

Have a plan

Having a plan and structure on what sessions you have to do is important in keeping focus and the key to being motivated and improving yourself. Having any sort of plan will measure your progress and what works and does not work for you. Most people go hard too much so having a structure will help you improve. Having a period where you train then having an easy week every so often is vital. I work in 6-9 week blocks depending on the time of my season. I always have plenty rest days and easy weeks in my training regularly.  So for example in a 6 week period of training I will slowly ramp up the training and intensity, then maintain it for 6 weeks, while not over doing it. I then have an easy week with two rest days with training all stripped back. However I still keep the intensity up but for example if I was doing 4 mile reps before I will do 2 mile reps.

 

Don’t train all year round, your body needs to recover and runners are awful for this. Having a week or two off in a quiet period will help your body recover. You will come back refreshed and could even be running quicker a few weeks later. But remember if you are injured that does not count as full rest.

 

Long easy runs

Long easy runs are your butter on your bread. Long runs make you more efficient, if you do not over train and keep going out hard. Most people go wrong in this area and always run race pace in their long runs. What this does is make you over train and therefore cause injuries. By slowing yourself down and running at 60% to 70% of your heart rate max you should not feel tired and in theory be able to train again the following day. By doing this you are able to make yourself more efficient and go harder on your speed sessions.

 

Stretch

Stretching regularly will help make you more efficient, maintain form and keep the injuries away. Stretching after training and races is very important; I stretch every morning, before bed and after a training session.

 

Hydrate

It is vital to keep hydrated at all times, not only is it a source of food for your muscles it keeps cramps and injuries away. I never run dehydrate as that will cause problems – drinking plenty of water helps my muscles strong and flush out any lactic and soreness.

 

Shoes

Highly recommend you get a gait analysis to see if you are running in the right shoes. This can be done in running shops such as the Bay Running Shop and they even do it online too. By doing this you will discover if you are a neutral runner or over pronate. This will keep the injuries to a minimal and also can aide to a performance gain.

 

All these parts are like a puzzle and when implemented and put into place it makes you a stronger and more efficient runner. Have a go and see what happens.

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All roads lead to Penticton 2017

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So 2017 arrived and I am now in full training mode for the European Aquathlon Championships in Bratislava and the long road towards the Penticton World Championships in August.  It is a long way away but both will come around fast and before you know, it will be the end of the season.

So I have worked out my plan leading up to the European Championships and the National Championships and decided to put some New Year goals and targets into place. Below are my targets and goals for this season/year.

  • Improve my swimming technique and get faster
  • Improve my strength 
  • Improve my running as a whole
  • PB in running races in 5K, 10K, 5 miler, 10 miler and Half Marathon
  • Improve aquathlon race times
  • Target podiums or near at the Nationals and Europeans
  • Top 20 World Aqauthlon finish

 

Improve my swimming technique and to get faster

My first goal is to get my swimming stronger and have recently started getting coached again by Matt Tithecott for this. We have already notice technique flaws and are looking to correct this. I need to get faster and stronger with a better technique so I have started working early with him this year to correct this has it will take a while.

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Improving my strength 

This is a must for me, by improving my strength I will be stronger in races and therefore will be able to push more. I started working with my Strength and Conditioning coach Craig in October and we have been working on my core and power ready for this season. I have already seen some progress and I am looking to further progress. I will write a blog about this soon.

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Improve my running as a whole

In the off season and winter months one of my goals is to make my body more efficient and stronger in order to improve my running. As a running coach I have been able to work on my technique and looking at my arm drive and my stride length. I concentrate on these areas while on my easy long runs which at the moment are a must for me to improve my running economy by long easy HR runs. Please read my previous blog about HR running HERE. Training has changed and I will continue to change it in order to keep improving and getting better such as longer reps in the winter months and shorter reps in the summer.

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To PB in running races in 5K, 10K, 5 miler, 10 miler and Half Marathon

Over the winter season and towards my major races I have some races that I want to improve my times in all race disciplines (5k, 10k, 5miles, 10miles and Half marathon). I didn’t get many PB’s last year so I want to correct this. First of all is to record a 5k time of less than 18 minutes officially, as I have managed this in some Aquathlons and longer races last year. My race plan has changed and finding the right pace is hard at the moment and I am working on it. This is why recently at Parkrun I went and had a test run but struggled to get the pace right. This resulted in me going to slow the first mile and struggling to make up the time in the other miles. A big lesson learnt.

I raced in the Parker Tools Canterbury 10 miler recently and that was a target race for a PB. I hoped to go better then the Thanet 10 mile race in December and work towards a sub 1 hour 10 miler this year.  Next target race for me will be the Vitality Reading half marathon in March, this is where I really want to PB and hope to go well under the 1:23 mark. These two are my next target races up until March. Once April is in full swing I have Aqauthlons and 10ks to keep me busy. I am aiming for a sub 36 minute 10k this season and also PB in my 5 miler time.

Improve Aquathlon race times

This is a huge target and goal for me, I am looking to improve my Aquathlon times as a whole. This is a must if I want to achieve my next two targets. I will be doing this by what I mentioned in the previous section and getting plenty more races in to practice.

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Target podiums or near at the Nationals and European’s

This is simple, I need to put the training and effort in to try and go better than last year. I will give it my all and try my best. I will aim for the podiums but if I don’t achieve this at least I have tried. I will be looking at improved performances for these races.

Work towards a Top 20 World Aqauthlon finish

I will target a top 20 finish and higher this year. I hope to go better as the heat won’t be an issue and have the experience behind me. With a future goal of being in the top 10.

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So what is happening at the moment? My swimming training has now begun and I am looking forward to working hard and improving this. Gym sessions are tough but they seem to be working and I find them fun and different.

 

 

Winter Training Update and Thanet 10 Miler

img_5911Winter is well and truly here now and makes training hard in the freezing cold, the last few weeks I have had to put a lot of layers on for the first time in a long time.

My first target was to improve on my PB or get near my 10k PB time for the Brighton 10k.  with very little speed work leading up to it I wasn’t sure how it would go because my last race was a cross country race and it is very difficult to judge where you are with your fitness levels.  Although I got sent the awesome number 1 for the Brighton 10k race, it was unfortunately cancelled due to very bad weather in Brighton.

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So still suffering with this Achilles niggle I have to be careful with training so that I do not make it worse. Most of my runs are easy at the moment and therefore making me more efficient – you can read up about HR training from my last blog HERE.  No point training too hard and too much speed work when my main races don’t start until May.

I have been working with my strength and conditioning coach Craig Coggle for the past two months and he has completely changed up my training in the gym and it appears to be making me stronger but it is a tough session in the gym. I am looking forward to seeing the future results and will keep you updated.

Swimming wise I am still getting in the pool on a regular weekly basis but again I am just ticking over until next year. No speed work at present just technique work as no point pounding away yet. However I am meeting up with my swim coach in a few weeks and I am pretty sure the training will be starting soon.

So after Brighton I decided to enter the Alan Green Thanet 10 miler on the 4th of December. A race I have raced in the previous two years. 10 miles isn’t a distance I race in regularly so I didn’t taper for this and decided to use it as one of my normal runs.

Training runs had been going great and I am very pleased the way they are going, I decided to try something different and start the race off slower than normal and see how it goes. I normally start out too fast and try to hang on the last few miles. The wind was against me for the first 5 miles and I think I was around 24th position after the first mile. I don’t normally count positions but I wanted to see if what I was trying to do would work. I was aiming for any time under 01:03:46 to be quicker than last year and 01:02:46 was my PB so anything around that time would be great.

I proceeded with the plan and did not get carried away with people I normally run near being further away at this point. So I started off slower and by mile 4 and 5 because of the wind I found keeping to my current pace a struggle and was a lot slower at that point from the first 3 miles. I then turned back at the half way point and found that there was no wind and started to push and overtake people. I kept going and each mile I was getting faster; by the time I hit mile 8 I was in 4th place and catching 3rd. I kept going quicker and the last mile I went for it, I just couldn’t get close enough to 3rd place but I finished in 01:01:40 and over the moon with my time and beating one of my winter targets and nearly two minutes quicker than last year in the same race.

As a result of the other Harriers doing well, we picked up the team prize and I was 4th overall and 3rd senior back. When analysing my data I realised I had been 3 minutes quicker the second part of the race and managed a 5 mile and 5k PB.  I also looked at my Heart Rate max and it appears I was not near the max, so sounds like I didn’t try harder enough or paced slightly wrong.

So what next? My next 10 mile race is in January the Parker Tools Canterbury 10 miler and my target is still the same to try and improve my time and work towards a sub 1 hour time. I am going to keep my training in 6 week blogs and reevaluate at a later date. January is a busy month with the Cross Country races starting up again.

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Chilham Castle Challenge 5k

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One of my first running races was 5 years ago on the 16/10/2016 at the Chilham Castle 5k, coming 3rd. However much has changed since then; I remember going into this race wearing normal trainers and sliding everywhere and was a bit down on my time. But hey this is a challenging cross country race which I have gone on to support every year and is one of my favourites.

So due to my injury problems and off season I didn’t target this race but as it’s only a few miles down the road I decided to do it again this year.  Having won the race twice in four years and winning it last year I wanted to retain my title. I knew I wasn’t in great shape but I have improved a lot this year and recorded some much quicker times then my current official PB’s in my Aquathlon races this year.

The plan was to go out and enjoy it a bit like the previous week but much faster. I decided to practice concentrating and listening to music before the race. This is something I am working towards with Gobinder.  I was quite relaxed and I had also decided the night before to try negative splits, this is something I have never done in the past and want to practice over the winter. Being relaxed is one of my goals through the winter as I now know this is very important in performance on the day.

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At the race there were some familiar faces doing different events from my running club and competitors I have raced against. It was also nice to see some fellow GB athletes. I guessed the night before I could break my course record because last year I got sent the wrong way by a marshal and had to turn back round. Picture of Jenny and I below, Jenny broke the course record in her Duathlon.

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So I started the race at the same time as the Dual athletes so I had to be careful not to race the wrong person. I quickly found myself on my own in the lead, so I stuck to the plan and didn’t push too hard. The race went by so quick and I didn’t look at my watch that much. I came up the last hill and eased off. By this time I had crossed the line in 1st place and was happy to win this local event. I had kept to the plan and had negative splits; this is something I do need to work on.

I was then told by the race director that I broke the course record again by 40 seconds; I was over the moon with that. It’s not my quickest time because of how hard the course is but gives me a base to work on from here. My target race is the Brighton 10k which will be a test of my current fitness levels. Of course I would love a PB but will have to see because I don’t think I am near that yet.

It was again a great event by Liz and her team and I made the local paper too.

 

 

Givaudan Ashford 10k running with a different experience

img_5255As some of you may be aware I am currently nursing an Achilles injury.  I had signed up a few months ago to the Givaudan Ashford 10k on Sunday 9th October as it was my running club (Canterbury Harriers) Club Championships and I was sorting this out for the club. Due to my minor problem I was advised by my phsyio not to race Sunday and run round with my wife. At first I was a bit disappointed but I knew that was best for me as I have only been doing easy training. My wife liked the idea of me running with her and pace her to a PB.  We never run together so I thought it would be nice.

It was the 30 year anniversary of this race with record numbers; this is the biggest 10k in Kent and attracts around one thousand runners. I do recommend this race as it is all on closed roads and you get a nice finish inside the Julia Rose Stadium.

The day came for the race and I was very tempted to race because I had a chance to place highly in the club championships. Despite the wet conditions there was a record turnout of 48  Harriers – the biggest number of Harriers in any race since the club`s formation in 1993. That felt good as I really tried to get a lot of Harriers to do it. I decided to wear my GB tracksuit to the race and make use of it. I did feel a little uncomfortable when I first got there as quite a few people were staring and pointing at me. I also found it weird turning up to a race at the Julia Rose Stadium because that is where I train on a weekly basis after work.

So I warmed up on with a couple of Harriers and I knew that it would be a different experience running a race at a much slower pace. It was chucking it down, so I stood at the start line with my wife and when it was time to start I let my wife go in front and I tucked in just behind her as I didn’t want to put her off.  Due to where I was running I heard lots of people talking to themselves. For example one lady stressed she had gone out too fast to herself. I suddenly found myself in the way of other runners so I moved to the right to allow people to pass me. I let my wife run the first mile without any advice and after one mile I started to tell her what to do and what pace to stick to.  It was nice to see lots of runners I knew and this time I was able to cheer them on.

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The rain kept coming down and I was freezing; I thanked some of the marshals on the route. I was still tempted to run fast and it was just a weird feeling to be where I was but it was also fun. At certain parts of the course I was helping my wife by encouraging and telling her what to do; when we came up to inclines I would say to her attack the hill you can recover in the down hill section. When we came down to the last 400m I said to her its up to you what you want to do and she sprinted for 200m then eased off then sprinted again the last 100m, overtaking people at the end. I know she likes a sprint!  Well she left me behind in the sprint and she finished in 47:22, taking a huge chunk off her last PB in May 2016. I was very proud and happy for her, I really enjoyed running a race with a different point of view.

As featured on Triradar.com Yiannis Christodoulou Represents Team GB After Olympic Inspiration

Yiannis Christodoulou Represents Team GB After Olympic Inspiration

This year has been an amazing journey; my first year competing at a national and international level in Aquathlons. It all started back in June at the National Aquathlon Championships where I took home a bronze medal and two weeks later at the European Aquathlon Championships I came home with another bronze medal, this time during my debut competing for Great Britain. This led me to compete in the ITU World Aquathlon Championship in Mexico.

What inspired me to do this? Well it started four years ago, just after the 2012 London Olympic Games. I started swimming to keep fit and was a very slow swimmer with poor technique; I hadn’t run since my school days and just wanted to keep fit. Inspired by the Olympic Games, I joined my local running club, the Canterbury Harriers.

y3I slowly improved but started to get a lot of injuries.  The following summer, inspired by the Brownlee brothers, I entered a local Triathlon. Unfortunately this didn’t end well as I sustained a bad calf strain and had to jog back to the finish. I was out of action for 7 months on and off and nearly gave up running. By the time the following summer however, I had regained fitness and competed my 2nd triathlon. Sadly a few weeks later I had an Achilles injury and was out for another 3 months.

I remained positive and watched a lot of triathlon on the TV. Feeling inspired by this, I decided I wouldn’t quit and I kept trying to be the best I could be. The following year I decided to try Aquathlons and I finished 5th in my first race with 3 GB athletes in the top 5. That spurred me on and three months later I had taken minutes off my time which meant I had qualified to represent Great Britain. My greatest memory is the sprint home, 800m from the finish to pass two athletes and take home the bronze medal from the European race.

y2This spurred me on this season and I have achieved success I didn’t think was possible as I approach my mid-thirties. Looking back over the last four years, I am proud of what I have achieved with hard work and dedication. Of course, I wish I had taken up swimming and running much earlier, but it is never too late!

To read the article click here

V02 Testing – Is it worth it and can you benefit from it?

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In March 2015 I was approached by Phil Anthony from Christ Church University sports lab to be part of his research and test subject.  I jumped at the chance as Phil is an amazing runner and ran London in 02:16 a few years ago and was a national Ultra champion. I wasn’t sure if it would work and benefit me so I decided to try.

What is V02? Research shows that successful performance in endurance running is closely related to the level of aerobic metabolism that a runner is able to sustain throughout a race. This directly impacts on the runner’s ability to maintain their speed throughout the duration of a race. Aerobic metabolism refers to the body’s ability to convert oxygen, delivered to the working muscles, to usable energy. The maximal point at which each athlete is able to achieve this is referred to as their maximal oxygen uptake or their O2max.

The test consisted of a ramp test where you run on a treadmill in stages of four minutes with each stage going up a level in speed until you need to stop. The second test was a 5k time trial on the treadmill after running at 16kmph for 10 minutes.  The third test was that I had to run my long run on another day which was 1 hour and 30 minutes at 70% heart rate.

After this I was sent away for 6 weeks where I had to increase one long run by 6 minutes for 3 weeks and the other long run by 9 minutes for 3 weeks and then maintain it for a further 6 weeks.  I then went back into the lab and preformed the 3 tests like before. I was given my results and this showed my V02 max had gone down so could struggle a bit in my runs but my running economy had improved hugely and something I needed to work on more. So what is Running Economy?

A common method for assessing an athlete’s running economy is to look at the volume of oxygen ( O2) they are able to consume at a speed of 16km h-1. The average O2 in well trained runners at this speed is~52ml•kg-1•min-1. However, as an individual athlete’s running economy can differ according to their speed, and 16km•h-1 can be too fast for many athletes, it can be better to assess RE in terms of distance covered ml•kg-1•km-1. The average RE for well-trained runners, when expressed in this form, would be ~200ml•kg-1•km-1.

So mine had improved but was still poor so I was told to work on easy long runs at 70% heart rate through the winter. This was to purely make me more efficient and burn fat instead of carbs. I found I enjoyed the winter months as the training was easy and in a space of a year I had managed 15 PB in all different types of disciplines.

So I was asked to go back in August this year for another test but this time a test for the difference between running indoors and outdoors. This test consisted of a Ramp test on the treadmill, 5K time trial after running 15kmph for 10 minutes on treadmill then I had to do this on the track.

So what did I learn this time? That running on a treadmill is quicker as I was 20 seconds quicker on the treadmill. Does that help me? Probably not but the data I got from it does. I was told my V02 max was a lot higher than last year because I was purely training for 5k’s, however my running economy was still poor but much better than last year. So looking at the data the short running reps help for 5k’s but the longer distances help for the longer races. As I have decided not to do a marathon next year I will be focusing on speed in the winter but also targeting my running economy.

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Did I find the data useful and did I improve? Well I did, at first I didn’t think this would work but now I have the science behind me I can move my training forward. The first test last year did work hugely and now it’s time to put the August test in practice.

The next journey begins now. Goals for the cold winter months!

After a very successful Aquathlon year and being able to represent GB twice which was a huge honour, I have not been able to PB much in running and improve my running since the winter months. Therefore while the Aquathlon season is over until next spring, I will be focusing on improving my running on a whole ready for next season; of course I will still be swimming and improving so I have included all my targets from now to start building for another successful year.

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Please keep an eye out on my website for my current race schedule as it will be updated regularly and my Twitter account for my results.  My goals are:

  • One area is my 5k time, to officially record a sub 18 minute 5k; I have run aquathlons quicker than my official 5k PB, so I want this to now show in PB times.
  • To improve on my 10k time of 36:50 set in May 2016. I hope to do this by the end of next year. Ideally I would like a sub 36 minute 10k.
  • To improve my 10 mile race time of 1:02:46. I would like to take off a big chunk. I aim to do this in either a race in December 2016 (Alan Green 10 mile race) or January 2017 (Parkers Steel Canterbury 10 miler). With the main aim of running a 10 miler under an hour in the future.
  • For a half marathon, I aim to PB this year to beat my time of 1:23:32 set nearly two years ago. I don’t do many half marathons so next year is a focus to do a couple and improve on my time. With the main goal of dipping under 1:20.
  • Build on my swimming and to improve my swimming times over the winter.
  • To have a successful cross country season with Canterbury Harriers.
  • Work and prepare with Gobinder (My confidence coach) ready for next season.
  • Strength training through the winter.

These are my goals for the quiet winter season which will keep me ticking over until spring. I have in mind my goals for next year in Aquathlons but will set these out in the New Year.

So I have treated myself to a new pair of Adidas cross country spikes and a pair of Adidas Ultra Boost. So what’s next for me? Why have I chosen these targets?

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Well because of all the aquathlons this season I was unable to record PB’s in my road running races, so this is the target for the winter months. The good thing about the winter is that there is not many road running races so I can focus on a good winter of training ready for the spring. Being a running coach I have sorted my plan out for the next 6 weeks, so I will be doing 6 week loading plans with the 7th week easy running and then start again. I will revaluated myself every 6 weeks and target what area is needed in my running from this. I am looking at targeting quicker times in half marathons so will be doing a few of them and building up the endurance for this. I will also be competing in some of the Kent Fitness League cross country races because this is important to strengthen me up ready for the summer.

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I have decided that swimming is an area I need to improve on a lot for next season and I will be working with Matt my swimming coach in December. This is much earlier than the previous season as I only started working with him in April and only had a few months to get stronger and faster.

I am a regular gym user and like to do weights in the gym twice a week depending on training. I figured that I needed help in this area so shortly I will be working with a strength and endurance coach. This is going to be very important to build strength up to make me stronger and faster and keep those injuries at bay. I am looking forward to this and it is going to be a new experience for me. I will keep you posted about this in the future.

Another aspect to improve is my confidence; I have just recently worked with Gobinder who has already helped a lot and we have implemented aspects ready for next season. I look forward to this journey as we have just started and look forward to the end outcome.

So what’s next?  Well keep looking at my current schedule as I will update it regularly. I have had two weeks off from training since the World Championships and to allow my body to fully recover. Unfortunately after the race I picked up an Achilles injury which I am trying to manage. I have slowly got back into running and swimming but only easy sessions and I enjoy the free time I have now.  I have entered the Givaudan Ashford 10k on the 9th of October as I organise the Canterbury Harriers Club Championships there, so wanted to run it. I am not fit for the race due to having a rest and I am yet to decide whether to run with my wife or to just race it and see where my current fitness levels are at the moment. I have also entered the Trispirit Events Chilham Castle 5k the following week which will be the first week of proper training. I have entered this because I won it last year and hold the current course record and it’s only a few minutes away from where I live so I wanted to do it. Ater this the hard training really begins with a target race being the Brooks Brighton 10k on the 20th of November. This is the race I hope to be fully fit for and hopefully knock on the door of a PB.

The World Championships experience

14292532_10154332576330225_815161498534774009_nThe 14th of September came round very quickly and it felt not so long ago when it was June and I took home 2 Bronze Medals. Could I do it again?

I was in tapering mode, however preparations didn’t go to plan. After the Whitstable Surf and Turf I decided to rest my leg as I was getting a problem when racing and doing speed work which was making it worse. For some reason jogging was fine so I decided to take 9 days rest from running and I still had 6 weeks left until the World Championships. So I decided to do more swimming sessions and realised my running fitness wasn’t going to be affected too much. After the 9 days of not running I was back to normal and running fine.

Just before I headed off to Mexico I had five days in Greece for my cousin’s wedding, where I ran on a treadmill those days in the hotel. But I decided to shut the windows in the gym there so I could acclimatise for Mexico. It was tough and very hot but good training.

So I raced at the Ocean Tri Aquathlon on Wednesday a week before the World Championships and finished 3rd. I tried a few things different on the day like listening to music as Gobinder my confidence coach recommended. I found it helped and got me ready for the race. At the race itself, I didn’t push too hard and found my 5k time was where I wanted it to be; my swim time was around 1 minute slower but I knew that would happen as I wasn’t wearing a wetsuit. I finished 3rd and only 50 seconds off the winner, so I was happy as I took it easy and was the only non-wetsuit swimmer. I didn’t use a wetsuit as I wanted to get used to swimming without one for the World Championships.

The time came and I was off to Mexico, I was raring to go but I had a slight concern at the back of my mind as I had an Achilles niggle. I arrived in Mexico safely and the first thing I done was check the beach out for training. It was amazing, I have never seen such clear water and white sand; this was paradise. It was even better when swimming in the sea as I could see loads of fish. I had one easy one hour run a few days before the race and it was hot and tough because of the heat.

The day before the race we headed down to the ferry port to Cozumel and found out that there were no early ferries for Wednesday that would get me to the race on time. This sent me into panic mode and I was stressing about it, which didn’t help. I then went back to our hotel in Playacar and grabbed my stuff in a rush – my mind was all over the place. I headed to Cozumel and went to the Expo first to register, then I went walking round with my wife looking for a hotel for the night. We managed to find a hotel. The hotel wasn’t great but it would do for a night. After we checked into the hotel, I was more relaxed and then it was time to go to the team GB race briefing, have dinner and then sleep.

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I woke up on the race day at 5am with the race at 8:50am, I wanted to be wide awake and ready to go. I always race better and train better in the evenings so it was important to be up early. I started to hydrate as it was very hot, roughly 32 degrees.  By the time I got to the race I had drunk over 5 litres of water which I found out later was probably not enough.

I then went and put my stuff in transition and I soon found Alastair Brownlee walk past me; he was racing too. It was a huge honour to be in the same race and transition with him.

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The race then started and I started off hard because of the different format of a 2.5k run followed by a 1000 metre swim and 2.5k run again. I was going strong and in 5th place after a mile, however all of a sudden my pace dropped and I started to struggle. I got into transition and felt dazed. My wife usually tells me where I am in transition and I chat back but something wasn’t right as I was feeling awful. I proceeded into the sea and found it a struggle to swim the first 500 metres with my shoulders feeling dead. Afterwards I started to feel fine and started to push the swim. I came out into transition and sprinted out onto the run; I then started to find I was struggling and my pace started to slow down. I saw a person collapse near me but the last part of the race was a bit of a blur. I remember the last 100m sprinting and taking a while to move away from the finish.

 

 

Overall I finished 28th; I am happy with my performance and the heat did affect me and therefore was not able to perform to my best. This has now given me a new experience and learning curve that I can use to build on next year at the Europeans and World Championships. It seems all the European Athletes suffered as the heat was awful, however I enjoyed the experience and hope to come back even stronger next year.

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On the evening of the race it was the parade of nations, which was a great experience  to be part of it.

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I have set new goals and targets and you can read this soon on my blog.

I am Team GB

I was asked a few weeks ago if I would kindly turn up to the Whitstable parkrun for their 309th run for the I AM TEAM GB day. This was a day nationally celebrated for the Olympians on 27th of August.

As it was a local event and only down the road, I was over the moon to be asked and was quite shy about it. So I turned up very early on the day, with my wife who was running the parkrun. Everyone was very friendly and chatting to me. The run director introduced me and said “This is what a real athlete looks like” I liked that however found it slightly embarrassing! This parkrun is special to me as it was where I started running my first 5k’s and won the Whitstable Surf N Turf recently, so it was nice to come and support them. I also used to train down there a lot when I lived nearby.

The Whitstable parkrun had record numbers of 259 runners. Well done to Jacky, the race organiser, for getting this started.

I had a lot of runners coming up to me after the run and families asking for photos with me, that was a nice touch. I really enjoyed the day and was very happy to be asked. Thank you.

I would always recommend a parkrun, because its very good training and you get to meet other people that share the same hobby as you. It was nice to see lots of Canterbury Harriers supporting the run, a few of them are below.

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You can read the full report from their run director here.

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/whitstable/news/