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Fundamentally Speaking

 

In just about every sport I can think of, coaching is part of the improvement process for the participant, yet not so often in running.

I suspect because it is so much more of an individual sport and everyone can run, can’t they?

Well, therein lies the question, there is running… And there is running.  And I am not talking about who is the faster.
There does appear to be one very common thread throughout what people talk about, with regard to Running Objectives. This occurs across the spectrum of running participation, regardless of time spent running on a daily or weekly basis:

“I don’t want to be injured”.
Yet, inevitably, injuries do happen. It’s associated with movement and with being human.  I’d be a rich man for every time I heard something along the lines off, “I have an injury so it must be time to get some new shoes”.  There so often appears to be an anticipation that the new shoes will somehow fix things…yep, they can sometimes help, especially if the old ones are badly worn out, yet for the most part they must, I reckon, also come with a sachet of fairy dust.
This whole process of looking for items which can help once injury strikes is all to common. There is a ‘Rule of 1%’ whereby external items can aid in the process of injury prevention.  An item of Compression clothing would be one such example.  Tweaking an already healthy diet would be another.

The fundamental thing is this, there comes a time when we should stop looking for external answers and look at ourselves. Turn the search for solutions toward fewer injuries (prevention), upon yourself.  Look inwards if you will.

Be more Anna – Strong with good stability and running technique.

We’re right back to the fundamental requirements that make you a ‘better you’ and a runner less likely to suffer an injury.  For example, if you are looking to reduce the risk of landing flat on your back whilst out running, take a look at your own off road technique and have that checked.  Agreed, a grippy pair of fell shoes will help, but they are not the whole of the answer.

Core stability, running technique and general strength for running are all key things that each and everyone one of us should be doing something about on a regular/ongoing basis. They form part of the fundamentals and indeed, the foundation for all types of running.  So too does planning your training effectively, taking time to think about what you need to do in order to make you a more resilient runner. In doing so, you may just find it easier to run further or faster.

We will at some point injure (ourselves) and we are always keen to ‘get back out there’ so we go see a physio. Some would argue money well spent – others would argue our time could have been spent more wisely in getting the fundamentals of our running sorted, ahead of time.  Prevention being better than cure.

It often does come back to taking the time to speak with a good running coach. Not just someone newly qualified, someone with experience and know-how to join the dots. The fundamentals of running are so important and can prevent so much, enhancing our own running even more.

Good planning, strength, stability and good technique. These are things you can do something about.

Accelerate Performance CenterThe Accelerate Performance Center offers 1 to 1 coaching for running plus strength and stability coupled with running technique. Alternatively we can help with your run technique at Thursday morning’ Continue reading

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Running off into the Unknown #Hello2018

 

Reflections on 2017, the ups, the downs and the near-death experiences:

2017 has been a very exciting year for me in terms of running. Here are a few of my best (and worst moments) as I look forward to what 2018 might have in store!

My 2017 fell season started off with one of the local fell races, Wolf’s Pit. I dragged my housemate along for her first fell race and I’m pretty sure she enjoyed it!

Lesson learned: although it is not ideal preparation, sometimes being covered in glitter from the night before can help motivation during a race!

 

 

 

 

 

Then came the Trunce, a local trail/fell series. I had a cracking race and managed a massive PB, also getting at time which I think puts me in the fastest few women ever in a race that’s been going for years and years!

Lesson Learned: it’s always best to splash straight through the puddles/rivers (it may or may not be quicker but it’s infinitely more enjoyable)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that I had an embarrassing race where I was beaten by a 14 year old and also smashed open my knees after falling off a gate (Wirksworth Incline)

Lessons Learned:

  1. Don’t accidentally die your hair ginger
  2. It was not a fell race

 

 

 

 

Inter Counties time! Here I am racing for Norfolk (flattest county ever) in the British Mountain Running Inter Counties. I was 3rd U23 which is an improvement from 2016!

Lesson Learned: I’m still asthmatic and need to take my inhaler with me on longer races!

Next up I started on the English Champs races – first up: Barnoldswick Weets

2nd Under 23 and just outside of the top 10 senior ladies on a scorching hot day. Pictured below with Ellie Crownshaw who was 3rd U23.

P.S. I’m brunette again wahoo!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson Learned: smiling makes you feel less like you’re burning up in the million-degree heat:

 

 

 

Next up was another local race, part of the Gritstone Series – Castleton Fell Race. Here I took 3rd, just not quite able to outsprint Zoe Procter (pennine) after letting her get away too quickly up the hill! Lesson Learned: Castleton Fell Race gives really good prizes

Another championship race (this time and English and British counter): Tebay Fell Race. Again, temperatures reaching boiling but an incredibly beautiful day with amazing views. 3rd U23 and 16th lady.

Lesson Learned: making friends with your competition makes racing so much more enjoyable. (Pictured here with Hannah Russel, English U23 Champ)

 

Team Accelerate outing to Hope Wakes Fell Race (Gritstone Series). Total chaos ensues as everyone takes different routes. Read my blog post about the race to hear more about this! 1st Lady despite taking an extra detour up the hill!

Lesson Learned: It’s amazing how much time you can gain even if you get sent the wrong way and end up right at the back of the race. I kept pushing and fought my way back through the field to take the win!

This is the part where I run the Hodgson Brother’s Relay with team mate and bestie Megan Ellen and fall over and break my coccyx. Oops. In true fell runner style we battle it out to the end and come in first female team having set off on our leg in 3rd place.

Lesson Learned: Broken coccyx is very very very painful and everyone gets very panicky when you get funny pins and needles in your legs, but it’s okay because I’m fineeeee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Gritstone Series – Curbar Commotion. Featuring a broken coccyx but some fab new, extra grippy, shoes from Inov8 to stop me falling over and making it worse! 1st Lady.

Lesson Learned: You might want to give up but it’s amazing how much time you can gain on someone on a downhill finish – Sorry Caroline!

Time for a photo shoot with Accelerate Run Store and Inov8.

Lesson Learned: There are some really cool parts of Sheffield if you want to run on the roads (which mostly I don’t!)

 

Nearing the end of the end of the season and time for another relay with Megan. British Fell Relay Champs. Another fall and another trip to an ambulance.

Lesson Learned: maybe it’s not the best idea to continue to race with a broken coccyx but if you’re going to do it, make sure you race with someone who will sit in the ambulance with you afterwards!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then came our infamous adventure at the OMM. (read OMMbelievably we survived if you want to hear about us nearly dying but generally enjoying ourselves anyway)

Lesson Learned: The most beautiful of days come after the hardest (and in this case coldest and also soggiest) of nights

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final fell race of 2017: Dark Peak Fell Championships. 1st U23 and 2nd Lady

Lesson Learned: Dark Peak Dinners are fun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last ‘race’ of the year – Christmas Day Parkrun with Daddy, complete with tinsel.

Lesson Learned: it’s worth getting up on Christmas Day to spend the morning running around a park with 798 other mad people.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So that’s it for 2017, thanks for all the support from Accelerate, Stuart Hale (what a brill coach), Issy (for the best massages ever), and Inov8 and SilvaGlobal for their support with kit.

Here’s to 2018! Happy New Year and Happy Running!

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What is Gait Analysis and what will it do for me? By Colin Papworth (APC)

 

Colin Papworth is Accelerate Performance Centre‘s resident Podiatrist and Running Form Expert.  His knowledge and understanding of the Running Gait is second to none.  The Accelerate staff team place a great deal of stock in the information and advice he shares, on matters relating to form, feet and footwear.

 

 

 

With many more people taking up running and access to increasing amounts of information via the internet, gait analysis has become a bit of hot topic. There has been much discussion and information concerning what is the best running style, with lots of information on how you should run and why.  There is no standard, fool proof way to run for injury prevention or just running better, everyone seems to have an opinion and most sound plausible.  A comprehensive Gait Analysis should provide you with information regarding to you personally and not just a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Each of the assessments that I carry out will firstly look at your anatomical make-up before you start running and then combine this with video analysis of you running.  Understanding how you move as you do can provide very useful information to help with your running. The gait analysis we offer in clinic is very different to a shop gait analysis in many ways. The entire process will take around an hour although we do offer different services, and these may take up to 2 hours.  We look at all of you from the back and from the side so we can see all of your body and how each segment is working together.

We should use all of our body when we run, it’s not just about feet and legs, so we have to look at you as a whole.

For many sports, learning correct technique is considered a vital aspect when starting up, running technique is sometimes not considered at all.  I often find it is right at the bottom of the list of things that people investigate when either looking at an injury, or trying to improve performance.  Most sports or activities usually involve some sort of coaching or advice on how to go about it, with running pretty much all of us just sort out some shoes and go and get on with it. This is one of the good things about running.  But sometimes we come unstuck.

Things that might signal that your technique may be an issue, are often recurrent injuries relating to the same issue, different injuries moving around our bodies.

Not being able to go faster or longer without putting in a disproportionate amount of extra effort, or sometimes we just lose the love of running along easily.  These things may indicate that you are not using your body as efficiently as you could be.  Sometimes we get stuck in a certain movement pattern and this puts strain on a part of our body, our body then compensates to relieve the pressure which puts a strain somewhere else, which the body then compensates for and so on and so on…

We can then find ourselves running out of options, but we have developed poor posture and running technique through no fault of our own, just letting the body do what it is good at – sorting out the problems we throw at it.

So, my job is to try and sort out why you are running as you are and see what can be done about it.

This will involve having a chat about all those little niggles that seemed to be no trouble, along with the bigger issues.  Often where you are getting most pain is not the main issue – we need to find where it all started from.  The most painful point is where the body has not been able to compensate from and usually not the cause of the problem.  So, we look at all the painful bits, see how all your foot and leg joints are working, have a look at muscle flexibility and strength in both lying and standing.  I’ll have a look at you barefoot walking and then running with your usual running shoes on.

Your running is captured on video and then we have a look at this together.  I then try and work out what is going on and discuss this all with you.  Remember – running injuries are most often repetitive strain injuries (unless you have just sprained an ankle or fallen over), caused by repetitively loading tissues that are not able to take the loads you are placing on them.  Therefore, we need to reduce the damaging load and make the tissues stronger, so they can take it.  We can do this in a number of ways, both in the short term and to make longer term changes.

 

 

So once we have identified what we need to change we can then discuss how to do this.  There are often a number of factors that need to be addressed, so the ‘how and when’ to address these will be discussed. The main issues we address are; posture / technique, strength and flexibility, footwear, training sessions and such things as orthoses or taping.  After discussion of the changes I feel need to be made, you will then go back onto the treadmill and try to make said changes.  This is then videoed, so you can see the changes.  Using your body in a different way will feel strange at first, so having the video confirmation will help you make changes.

Changes need to be small to start with and you will likely be given some complimentary exercises and running drills to help you make the changes. There will also be a review session set up, so we can check on progress.  We can also discuss things like footwear changes, changes to your training, further strength and conditioning and orthoses.

If you are interested in finding out more about the gait analysis service, then please get in touch.

 

Accelerate Performance Centre take bookings via the Accelerate Store, on Tel: 01142422569.

Colin attends the Clinic every Thursday and can perform an in-house Gait Analysis for upto 60 minutes.  He also offers a complete Running Form/Gait Analysis Service for approx 120 minutes, which involves indoor and outdoor assessments, Run Drills, Video Anaysis (for you to keep for future reference) and more…

Feel free to call or email colin.papworth@accelerateuk.com if you have any questions.

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The Lady With the Limp – 2017 Review by Dot Kesterton

 

2017 Annual Review.

Dot (Nightingale) Kesterton.

The year started as well as I could hope for. The arthroscopy on medial and lateral meniscus in early December seemed to be healing well. Mr Brown, surgeon, suggested I start gentle training after two months. I took his advice and used the first few months of the year to rebuild and strengthen muscles around the injured knee. it took a lot longer than I expected but by the end of the summer felt ready to enter my first race of the year, Dig Deep 10K trail race. The legs gave me the support I needed but months of forced rest meant my breathing was laboured and heart rate high. I was very pleased to come in at just under an hour, 2nd V50 and 6th female of 69.

Dig Deep 10K

With my confidence slowly returning I pressed on with strength, conditioning and drill work to complement my Accelerate supported training programme and decided to enter the Lakeland Trail ‘Dirty Double’ races over two days in mid October. As a trial I ran the Ten Ten Ten trail race from Endcliffe Park thinking of it more as a training and preparation run. it was a huge surprise therefore to finish first in age.

TenTenTen

The weather at the Helvellyn and Ullswater races was pretty typical for the Lake District. It rained and rained. The massed ranks of the Smiley Paces running club braved the elements and made a huge impression on the event. I had to run smart with this one since I needed to conserve energy for the two day event, both demanding hill runs on sodden terrain. Again, to my surprise I came in first in age in each event. Furthermore there was very little pain or swelling in the repaired knee cartilage.

Lakeland Trails ‘Dirty Double’

The Monyash Trail race was a beautiful 10miler in the Peak District. I had entered late, actually the night before, thinking I could again use it for training purposes. The weather was awful. It had snowed overnight and had begun to thaw so the trail was slushy, slippery and at times icy. I took it very steadily, relying on my reliable Inovate Roclite fell shoes to keep me firm and steady. The course was challenging so I was delighted to finish first in age again.

Lakeland Prizes

Without doubt I found my first road race of the year particularly tough. I rarely run on roads now so it felt harsh and unyielding. I struggled to get any advantage at the start and had to weave through slower runners before the crowds thinned on the dam wall. By then my pace had suffered and I found it hard to recover over the remaining miles. I came in at 47:43, well down on my pb of 44:

Percy Pud 2017

Imagine my total surprise then to hear that my perceived indifferent race placed me at 9th on the UK 10K rankings for V65 in 2017.

Year at a glance

Smiley Paces, still my ‘Spiritual Home’

Catterick Parkrun

So my year ended so much better than it started. The Lady with the Limp is off to the Lake District again soon to see what I can do on the fells in 2018.

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Best in Test 2017: Equipment – Accessories

 

Accessories.  Those little extras.  They add value to your running experience.  Or at least, they should.  While optional, many of them make a big difference when you’re battling extremes of temperature, or terrain.  Some exist merely to add a little fun.  Others can prove so useful, you wouldn’t know how to cope without them.

Here then, is our breakdown of the top three contenders from the ‘Accessory’ category, introduced over the last year:

UD’s Flexform 350

Ultimate Direction Flexform 350:

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I’ve never been a fan of the Soft Flask.  Perhaps because of the time spent previously, with a full size hydration reservoirs.  Removal of that ‘sloshing’ sound hardly makes up for the unruly way in which they squash in your hands, reduce in volume and begin jumping up and down inside pockets once you take a drink.  They crumple when you try to refill them and are a pain to wash.  When all said and done, I always got along perfectly well with hard bottles.  They slot back into their pockets a lot more easily than the softies too! (think magician stuffing a hankerchief into his fist).

But I’m a fickle so-and-so, always secretly envious of the fun others appear to be having.  So while the soft flasks left me cold, I definitely hankered for a slightly more comfortable bottle than my old, cylindrical 500ml affair, which feaured a wide opening for fast refills, hard structure which assists a quick removal of the lid when reaching checkpoints/marshalls.  It also had a brilliant soft rubber bite valve which never leaked once snapped shut.  But the shape meant that they always pressed into my ribs while using half the vests I own.  And the diameter of the bottles was so great that only some of the pockets could accomodate, while designed for the soft flasks now fitted as standard.

Solution – 2017’s Ultimate Direction Flexform 350.  a hybrid bottle that comes in a pre-moulded shape, with a flat side and a rounded side.  Trasluscent of course, so you can tell how much you have/have consumed.  Wide opening, with a very easy to grip top that opens quickly when the time comes, while allowing a super quick refill by even the most inept runner…  Once partially emptied, the shape is maintained, so although easy to squash and assist the flow of drink through that oh so comfy rubber bite valve, the bottle retains its shape inside the pocket and the overall fit of your vest remains unaffected.

Hallelujah!

 

Polar’s M430

Polar M430:

Slightly more sophisticated is the latest GPS run watch from Polar, the M430.

An updated version of their M400 (which I already use and love).  The main, but not only difference being that they’ve added a wrist sensor (six sensors to be precise) and now boast that the watch can be used without the need for a chest strap for Heart Rate Training.  It still works with the optional H10 Chest strap however, which is still by far the more accurate set up.

The exciting update isn’t the hardwear though.  The watch looks exactly the same as the M400 and yet the software has been massively improved.  chief among the improvements – GPS is now recorded in a choice of settings for accuracy.  So instead of either absolute detail or off, we can enjoy a ‘half power’ setting, that records your position every 30 seconds or so.  The result is expanded longevity during activity.  The once disappointing constraint of M400’s 5.5hrs total run time was improved by Polar’s generous update service (regular;y upgrading software and allowing more features to those who’ve already invested in a Polar product), to a much better 7.5hrs by end of summer ’17.

In came M430 and a massive 15hr activity time to those exploiting the all new settings.

So, a more user friendly watch in all sorts of ways, with the freedom to use wrist based heart rate when deemed convenient, or more accurate chest based for serious conditioning.  Longer battery life, via better software, meaning longer activities, or more of them before having to upload/update via the imcredible Polar Flow website.  Ever improving thanks to their update service.

Silva Explore Headtorch

Silva Explore 2:

We saw a frenzy this Autumn, for a lesser know headtorch by the name of Ninox2, by Silva.

But despite that torch’s bargain £30 price tag, for a 200 Lumen torch – the more interesting story was its big brother, the Explore 2.

Explore 2 comes in much the same housing, with a very minimal size/weight and in just the same way, runs on 3 regular AAA batteries.  But with 50 additinal Lumens to throw a littel more light and an expanded array of settings, for its slightly higher £60 rrp, you’ve a much more versatile torch at your disposal.

Brighter and with a deeper range, it also allows amber mode for use with certain navigational mapping where red light confuses the features on your map!  White however can glare and reduce night vision to almost dangerous levels.

It still has a dimmer setting and power indication upon switching off, so you should always be aware of when to swap batteries in advance.  The addde extras in the box….  a ‘lantern bag’ which not only provides a place to store the lamp and spare batteries, but also converts the torch into a lantern when sitched on and placed back inside.  So perfect for camping or group stops along a led route.  Finally, with the Explore 2 – you get a clip thrown in that allows you to mount the torch on a belt, shoulder strap or chest rig, so providing a more appropriate low slung beam in mist or fog (where the glare at head height causes near blindness), so you can still see the ground!  Absolute genius.

 

And the winner for ‘Best in Test 2017’ in Accessories….

Polar M430 takes it for being everything we loved about the M400, with bells on!  Wrist based HR Monitor, without losing the accuracy of the chest strap.  Same tidy unit, with less bulk than many on the market.  Greater battery life and longevity, thanks to the new GPS settings and updated software.  Throw in the usual Polar Flow connectivity, App, Phone alerts, on-screen feedback and more…  well, it’s a no brainer!

There’s even a deal on right now, where for purchasing any Polar Flow compatible product, we’ll hand you a £25 Gift Voucher, which you can redeem immediately for £25 off, or offer somebody else so that they too can treat themself to ‘something Polar’.

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