Monday, 28 February 2011

Hill Training

Brian (My Work colleague and regular Running Partner) and myself met up for the first time this Sunday morning with our Dailymile friend Tim.

It was a glorious morning and the perfect opportunity to get some proper hill training in. Tim is quite a veteran on the hills in this part of Surrey. Brian himself has done some hill work recently and me....A hill newbie!

I've been doing some more hillier runs local to work but nothing compared to what we took on here today.

The main reasons for wanting to get some serious hill running into my training is a) To become a better runner, and b) I am competing in my first Marathon this year, the Farnham Pilgrims Marathon.

The Marathon course takes in part of the route we were running, so it is a bonus being local and to be able to train in the area. The terrain is made up of a number of sandy trails and plenty of steep ups and downs, so this Marathon is not a race to be setting PB's.

After meeting and having a quick chat with Tim, we all made our way along side the River Wey and along the Shalford Road before cutting into more Rural scenery and taking the Pilgrims Way. From here on, underfoot went from tarmac to winding, steadily climbing trails.

By now the route was fast becoming steeper and it wasn't long before we came to the ultimate of hills. The hill leading to St Martha's Church is steep! Now I know I'm a newbie to Hill Training (or a St Martha's Virgin as Tim would call me!) but I can assure you, and any locals reading this can confirm, St Martha's hill is pretty Hardcore!

St Martha's Church

It seemed Brian and Tim with little effort made the climb, but for me, it was the first time I have ever walked while on a run. The Lactic Acid flushed through my legs like a Tsunami! and I was reduced to walk the last third of the hill.

Views from Top of St Martha's

After a short photo stop at the top of the hill we made our way down and then progressively back up the hill from the other side. This time the climb was more stretched out and my legs had become a little more used to the new terrain they were experiencing today. Actually from then on and for the rest of the run our collective pace picked up as we head back into Guildford Town Centre finishing at a decent pace.

Me,Tim and Brian at St Martha's

Sadly we were too early for a deserved pint in the nearby Pub, one we'll save for next time.

Over the run we had climbed somewhere in the region of 280 metres, so I think this counts as proper hill training and put into perspective for me just what hill training really is. I really enjoyed this type of training, I've got so used to running along a flat canal towpath that this was just what I needed to give my training schedule a shake up. This run with the guys will definitely become a regular event, as well as putting in weekly hill runs in between on trails near to home.

Google Map and Elevation (Click image to enlarge)
Hopefully come September and the Farnham Pilgrims Marathon, I will be able to handle these hills with ease. :)

The Route (Click image to enlarge)



Wednesday, 23 February 2011

It's a Miracle!!!

....And God said "Let there be light, and there was light". And then God said "Let there be support for over pronating feet, and there was.....The Scholl Orthaheel Sports Insoles!!!"

Well it's been a miracle for me! I've upped the mileage over the last couple of weeks and as always with increasing mileage comes the risk of injury. This is exactly what happened! I'd been feeling a niggle on the inside of my right knee for a little while now, but after adding two twelve mile runs into the weekly schedule the pain became worse and I had to consider taking time out. This was the last thing I needed with a Half Marathon less than a month away.

I have used Heel supports recently for my Achilles, and knew of Orthotics that can be designed especially for your feet (but not your bank account).

So there were two options I considered - New Trainers or Off the shelf Orthotic Insoles.

I went for the latter. The Scholl Orthaheel Sports Insole £25.

They offer a 30 day money back guarantee, so what did I have to lose.

I've lost nothing and gained a Miracle! Tentatively I embarked on a 4 mile run, with hills to give a good test.

While on the run, no pain. After the run, no pain. Days rest, then real test, 12 miles...No Pain!!!

The Insole reduces the amount of pronation and helps eliminate:  Pain under the heel, Pain at the back of the heel, Knee pain, Metatarsal pain and for some, lower back pain.

This wasn't my planned post, on this my Blogs 1st Birthday, but it's been a revelation and I had to share this as this could be a big and cost effective way of getting through those niggles and the injuries as Runners we all get.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Master Yoga!

When I was younger, I used to think I was invincible. I used to play football (soccer) without warming up. No stretching just straight in, run around for 90 minutes, no warm down, and not an ache or injury in the body afterwards. However as I approach my 40th year my invincibility appears to have left me and much of last year was spent sidelined with an Achilles injury.

I used to think Yoga was either for Hippies or the pop star Sting, they were the only people who took this activity up. But Yoga is now ever popular and fast becoming an integral part in pro longing careers in sport.

Ryan Giggs the famous Manchester United Star (I think everyone, apart from readers in the US will know who this is!) has used Yoga to pro long his football (....Soccer) career. At 37 years old he is still very much at the top of his game and still competes at the highest level for one of the best teams in the World.

Giggs has even brought out his own DVD called 'Giggs Fitness'. The great thing about this DVD is that it concentrates on Strength and Conditioning specifically related to Football and RUNNING!

The Exercises are based on Yoga and are designed to concentrate on building your core abs and glutes, become more flexible, build stamina and reduce injuries and muscle tightness. The DVD is divided into 3 parts:
  • Strength and Conditioning
  • Core
  • Flexibility
Although inspired by Yoga the program has been developed and adapted for Football and Running in mind. So it may not be quite as relaxing as you may think.

The format will suit everyone who is keen to become stronger and works well for both Male and Female. As well as Ryan Giggs performing the exercises, they are also performed and taught by Sarah Ramsden who developed the programme and has worked with many leading athletes.

I attach a clip from the DVD below: