Keep up-to-date, join in the chat!

Follow us on Instagram

Contact Us

Newsletter

The Model of Poor Running Form.

 

Take a look at the picture below.

Is that a runner……. or a Model?

The collapse through the hips thanks to extremely weak Glutes says ‘Model’.

When this is supposed to be an example of how good a runner should look in the correct shoes (Mizuno Wave Rider 20), why do manufacturers overlook their Marketing Departments habit of recruiting pretty looking non-runners to flap about in their product?

Bonkers.

 

Weak Glutes = TILT!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OMMbelievably We Survived – by Anna Hoogkamer

 

Anna Hoogkamer runs for Team Accelerate-inov-8 and is a seasoned Fell Runner.  Equally at home on Cross Country events, or Fell Running competitions (such as Accelerate/inov-8’s Gritstone Series), the 28th & 29th October 2017 marked her first foray into Mountain Marathons, with entry into the now infamous ‘OMM’ (Original Mountain Marathon).  Below is her account:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Original Mountain Marathon (the OMM to those in the know) is something I’ve wanted to do since the moment I first heard about it – two days of running in the fells, a night of camping and an incredibly fun weekend away with a friend – what more could you ask for?

So this year I decided it was time to take the plunge and enter. My training partner Megan happily agreed to join me having enjoyed her previous experiences at the Mourne Mountain Marathon. The sun was shining in Sheffield as we happily paid our entry and started planning…

And then suddenly it was Autumn and time for the fell relays to take centre stage. Megan and I ran together in paired legs at both the Hodgson and the British Relays and enjoyed ourselves immensely. I think racing in a pair brings out the best or worst in people –  luckily Megan and I work really well together and have our individual strengths which we can use to help motivate the other. Despite a few slight mishaps that ended up with Meg waiting patiently in the ambulance whilst I was patched up, we were both OMM good form and looking forward to the end of October.

Many people were kind enough to impart their wisdom prior to our departure to the Langdales (where the OMM was taking place). We were told everything from “don’t take too much” and “nah you don’t need any thermal layers” to “take plastic bags for your feet at the campsite”. Luckily we ignored the people telling us to take fewer layers, but sadly no one told us that the plastic bags for our feet needed to be good quality (unfortunately Asda bags didn’t cut it as they had holes in so our feet got wet anyway!). But mostly people told us just to go an enjoy it.

 

So off we went, full of excitement – this was the 50th Anniversary OMM after all!

Our journey up to the lakes was fairly uneventful – we stayed with a Uni friend in Ulverston the night before and then travelled over to the start on the Saturday morning. Our start was from 8:00am – 8:14am and the sun was shining despite the cold. We set off full of oblivious excitement at the thought of a day ahead. It being the 50th year the course map looked super tough but we were unperturbed even as we disappeared into the ever lowering clag. What followed was cold, confusing and at some points pretty frightening. Despite both of us being competent navigators in clear weather, we very quickly found ourselves getting disorientated. Add to that the fact that we had planned on running a lot (and so keeping warm) and were (stupidly) not expecting to have to spend so long wandering around the tops of crags in the 40mph wind and driving rain in shorts and you can perhaps appreciate how un-ideal our situation was. Despite this, we trudged on (mostly in the right direction) but were aware that it was taking us ages to get between check points. Most other people we met on the hill were similarly cold and disorientated so at least we weren’t alone.

Perhaps our lowest moment was after what felt like hours (and may well have been) battling head first into the wind on the top of Crinkle Crags, occasionally being blown off our feet, when we stopped and realised quite how cold we were. At this point I couldn’t even pinch my fingers together to do up a zip or even open a cereal bar. I have to say I was a little bit scared – we had all the kit we needed to pitch camp and spend the night on the hill, but in that state we would have been incapable of using it.

 

Having spent nearly 6 hours in a state of near hypothermia and still unable to find CP5 and not having seen or heard another team for about 2hours we decided it was getting too dangerous and that we really didn’t want to be caught out in the dark as well as the low visibility. Finally we worked out that we had somehow gotten ourselves onto Grey Friars (which had CP8 on it) although, even now, it confuses me how we managed to find ourselves there without losing any height or passing CP5. Anyway, at this point we had two options: head back and find CP5, go through 5-8 and then be back where we were but almost certainly in the dark and have to retire anyway; or make our way off down to the road and follow it to the campsite. I think we were sensible in choosing the latter.

 

We made it back to the campsite about an hour later having run for nearly 30km. I felt awful, never having not finished a race before and was expecting to find everyone else happily at camp talking about how it had been tough but they had completed it. Not so. When we finished only 4 teams on the A course had made it to the campsite and only one of those had completed the course. This made us feel slightly better, as did a hot mug of tea and some food. We set up camp in a nice cosy bog and settled down for what can only be described as the worst sleep of my life. Not even my exhaustion or relief at not camping on the mountain could overcome the cold sogginess.

However, Sunday arrived (eventually) and with it renewed motivation. It turns out only 10/70 of the teams who started the A course had completed it so we were definitely in the majority. Many had in fact not even made it to camp and had returned to the start or camped out. Lots of teams seemed to have had enough and didn’t start on the second day but not us – 7:15am saw us on the start line (this time in many, many layers).

The weather could not have been nicer. Beautiful clear, crisp and dry – fair weather navigators such as ourselves sighed with relief. We decided our aim was to complete the day/if the clag came down to make it further than we did the day before. It was much easier to see other teams and we had many nice chats with other pairs and recounted our Saturday story in exchange for theirs. The bond that you feel with someone who has also shared such an incredibly challenging experience is incredible and everyone was so friendly. We were really pleased with our navigation and although there were times when we could have perhaps taken a slightly straighter line, we were never lost and it was much more enjoyable.

I had a little grumble at about half way when it suddenly became apparent that three spoonfuls or porridge do not a sufficient breakfast make. Unfortunately this grump came just as we had to head straight up a rock strewn mountain side but Megan was very encouraging. I got a second wind at the top and we smashed on through the bogs and back up a different hill. At this point we were starting to worry about being timed out (as the course closed earlier on the Sunday and we had started later). So we pushed on and hit the last three controls dead on. Although we’d had a much more enjoyable day, it was such a relief to see the finish tent at the end of the final stretch of track and to realise that we were actually going to complete that day!

Competitive as ever, we decided we wanted to get the fastest final split and so made a real effort to run into the finish, where hot squash awaited us. We finished 14th and the only women’s team to finish either day. In fact, only 16 teams completed the second day and considering how many started I think we can be suitably proud.

WHAT AN EXPEREINCE. So much learned, so much to improve upon and also so much to be proud of.

Bonus: Megan and I are still friends despite such a gruelling experience. Time for a rest now, but we will be back next year to, dare I say it – complete both days!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks as ever to inov-8 for providing my kit, Stu for coaching/putting up with us both and the team at APC for all their support. Thanks also to SilvaGlobal who have provided both of us with headtorches and compasses (maybe next year we will be able to navigate well in the clag as well!).

Posted in Running Travel, Team Accelerate, Training & Racing | Leave a comment

The Voices

 

So it’s race day and once again you are standing in the start line…

Or maybe you’ve just stepped out ‘your car on a miserable morning and looked up at that hill you were planning to go up… You could have everything controlled… Shoes tied and taped, enough Gels to feed an Army. But as soon as you start, something else comes into play.

A little voice in the back of your mind saying, “you can’t do this, you can’t do this” over and over again. “That person is too fast, you’re feeling tired, give up” is muttered as you rise the hill, slowly getting louder in the face of your pain.

 

See – everybody has this voice, no matter what sport or activity and it plays a major part in becoming the best you can be.

A way of proving this, is to get a partner and hold your arm out straight. Ask your partner to push your arm into your body with you trying to keep it away from your body. Then repeat this with you saying out loud “I’m weak, I’m weak”. What changed? You should have found that it was much easier to push the arm down the second time.

Imagine now what that does to you during a race when you are thinking that you are not very good. It’s all well and good knowing this information, but the most important thing is actually dealing with the voices that slow you down.

 – Now,            

before I start,  I must say – that what works for me may not work for you.  So because this voice is internal, you must find your own way of sorting out your own voice – one thing people have told me works for them, is to sing a song whilst running to take your mind off….. But this is what I do to reduce my voice, I shout internally at myself to go faster, run harder. I use my breathing pattern to create a phrase so I can repeat it whilst running. This phrase must be made up yourselves and something that helps you push harder and faster than before. I’ve been heard saying things like “tally-ho” to people I overtake and a little bit of “Downhill is fast, fast is good” when on a descent…

The little things.

Thanks for reading. 

Kieran Loombe.

 

 

Kieran Loombe runs for Team Accelerate-inov-8

Posted in Team Accelerate, Training & Racing | Comments Off on The Voices

A Little Light Reading

 

We’ve recently acquired the rather impressive little head torch, by the name of Ninox2, from SILVA.  It’s a powerhouse of a torch.  Not because of its overwhelming brightness, (its modest 200 Lumens is ample by anybody’s standards), but because of its clever collection of features.

SILVA Ninox2

The thing is, in order to get the most from it, as with any product, you really are best to have a quick read through the instructions that come included within the box.

Described in the instruction book (as well as the torches own product page), is the clever little lever – built into the strap’s buckle, for use when opening it up/sealing it shut once the AAA cells are neatly in place.

Also in there, you’ll find out all about how to switch it on:

One press of the power button and it’s on full blast.

Another press and it’s down to half strength, but twice the battery life as a result.

One last press and it activates the emergency strobe for attention grabbing when in need of assistance/rescue.

Press and hold to switch it off, or continue to cycle through the above settings.

And finally, if you press and hold to begin with, it comes on in red (for camp use, or perhaps map reading, etc), so preserving night vision and not broadcasting your position as far as the white mode will.

Fairly straight forward, but if you don’t take a look at those instructions, you could be losing your finger nails, or damaging your brand new torch while unaware that they’ve already made it easy for you.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Little Light Reading

Light Relief

 

A word about lighting.

When running, your chief concern from dusk til dawn – is night time visibility.  That much is obvious.

But as you strive to secure that largest, most powerful equipment known to mankind, it might be wise to consider some of the more practical concerns associated with moving at speed through the darkness.

Accelerate Trail Runners every Tuesday evening

 

Here is my advice, based entirely on experience:

Criteria for a running headtorch are as follows:

Light – enough, but not over kill.  There are torches out there which put my car’s headlights to shame, but in reality – if you can see the ground before you and you’ve enough warning of what’s approaching, you’ll cope.  Which leads neatly into point 2…

You’re moving at a pace, so it appears that obstacles are hurtling at you from the gloom.  Bear in mind, that if you have enough power to illuminate 20 meters of ground, you’re unlikely to ever be taken by surprise.  You’d have to be running at an inhuman speed over uneven terrain to come a cropper due to something appearing out of the blue.

The difference between one torch and the next, aside from raw power, is the quality of the light itself.  Years ago, you’d be blessed with a very warm yellowy glow from a filament bulb, perhaps if you were lucky, it’d be backed by a little mirror to enhance the strength by bouncing the light that would otherwise be lost.  Soon after came the various Halogen options and then LEDs.  In various ways technology has improved the characteristics of a low power light source (via additional lenses, etc, much the same as with lighthouses), to the extent that at roughly 200 Lumens, you can see further than necessary, while also flooding the immediate area in such a way that you’d swear you had you own personal patch of daylight, as I like to call it.

The remainder is purely a matter of comfort.  Secure headbands, easy to operate controls, no nonsense battery installation and so on.

The clincher in many cases, might just be the little extras that get thrown in for good measure.  For example, some products come complete with a range of accessories.  Some arrive alone, but with the promise of accessories available separately.  Things like extra batteries, spare headbands of alternate colours, extension leads, belt clips, mounts for bike handlebars and so on and so on..

Weight.  None of the above counts for anything if the damn thing threatens to break your neck.  For a good while, it was a given that your torch would employ a pack of batteries, which would have to site on the rear of your headband, or if you had it good, upon your belt – via the aforementioned extension.  Well these days, it’s incredible just how impressive a super lightweight torch can be, while self contained on the front of your head, weighing in at a mere 86g, with the 3 x AAA batteries in!  You’re hardly burdened by the torch then, while still able to spot objects at 30 or so meters and the floor around your feet illuminated at the same time, thanks to twin lamps and an intelligent system of mixing flood beams with spots to offer exactly the right balance of light for all occasions.

And there’s burn time.  Where once you might have factored in a change of batteries at around an hour and a half, these days even the most modest of units could last up to 30 hours on its strongest setting.

So, with all of this, your buying guide might be something along these lines:

Get a simple, front mounted headtorch – that weighs next to nothing.  Try to make sure it runs on AAA batteries if you can, since it’ll be possible to stock up on Lithium versions, which are lighter, more powerful and more resilient against cold weather conditions, while offering you the chance to always have spares upon your person for safety.

Choose a torch with something like 200 Lumens available.  I have one that kicks out 180 and only ever really use it on half power, but it’s enough to see where I’m going.  So the many torches out there with three times as much power or more, are nice to be sure, but they’re a bit over the top and can’t be used in a group setting or when close to residential areas without causing offense, if not temporary blindness.

Make sure that it has a comfy stable headband and won’t irritate, or slide out of place.

Keep it simple, perhaps in a self contained unit without trailing wires or obvious points of weakness, but if these are vital, then be sure that they’re constructed out of good quality materials that won’t break while stuffed in your bag.

Waterproofing would be a bonus, since you’re inevitably going to get rained on at some point.  You might even accidentally drop the thing and it’d be nice to fish it out from a puddle/river/toilet and find that it still works just fine.

Finally, if you can see the value in it, grab one which allows a variety of light modes for use in close proximity, map reading without disturbing night vision, preserving battery life and so on.

An in-built power meter can be a good extra feature, since it might help you avoid heading out with batteries due for replacement mid-run.

And if it’s at all possible, make sure that your torch has more than one beam, working in conjunction, so that you can exploit a long distance spot, with a wide flood of light around your feet.

Sounds like a tall order, which might cost the earth if you’re not careful.

But in actual fact, we currently sell a torch that does all of the above for just £30!

It’s the Ninox2 from SILVA and it represents the lowest end of our current range of headtorch options in-store.  Dynamite.

SILVA Ninox2 – click & buy for £30

Posted in Random, Training & Racing, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Light Relief