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Embrace the Pace – The Art of Running Together.

 

It’s a classic misconception: faster runners are going to leave you for dead.

Well, if you’re racing, sure.  But when it comes to running for fun…….socially………together…..

The fact is, that a good runner will understand the value of running slowly.  It’s the best way to generate strength and fitness in the body.  So to become a better running machine and to stay in shape, running slowly is key.

Fast runners don’t have to run fast at the risk of losing their speed.  They need plenty of recovery like the rest of us.  They also need to stay strong and avoid injury…….just like the rest of us.

Add to that the likelihood that a capable runner will already have tested him/herself to their limit, in accordance with their personal training program, before accepting your invitation, or asking you if you fancy a run.

If a runner has a big week in training, or completes a tough event – only to then ask you if you fancy a jog, don’t be put off or intimidated.  Understand that they’ve been desperate to join you or to catch up in general, but have had the pressure to nail their training until now and it’s finally possible to switch off and run for fun.

Go share the experience.

They’ll genuinely want to share time with you and enjoy a chatty run for fun.  It’ll be their chance to rest and recover.  So go with it.

All great runners started at the beginning.  All good runners still run slowly a lot more than they run fast.

Running slowly with someone who could, if they chose to, leave you in the dust – will do you both a lot of good.

If their motive is to enjoy seeing you and that’s the main thing, then you can enjoy narrowing that gap as time goes on (and you will).

Sure, there are ****holes who do show off and never let you off with an easy run, always making sure they’re one step ahead and treating a group social as if it’s a race.  But they’re not likely to have suggested a simple run that suits you in the first place.  Nor are they likely to have accepted your offer of a friendly catch up either.

So trust that if a familiar face, who just happens to have been a runner for longer than you have, suddenly chooses to exploit the opportunity and combine your newly shared interest, with a chance to catch up and spend quality time together – you should go.

The worst that will happen is that you’ll up your game and they’ll get a well earned rest.  Ideal for both of you, as long as it’s at the right time/place and you still do your own thing the rest of the time.

Have fun.  And if in doubt – slow down.

See you out there.

 

 

 

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In Praise of Injinji – by Kate Wilkinson

 

Kate Wilkinson has run for years, representing Team Accelerate on occasion.

She frequently attends Accelerate events and is an ambassador for the Accelerate Performance Centre.

Here she offers some perspective for those who’ve questioned the effectiveness of Injinji Toe Socks.

 

 

 

 

 

So, you’ve seen those funny looking toe socks that look like gloves for your feet?

Maybe you’ve been tempted to try them but are worried that people in the gym will give you funny looks?

Yes they will, but it’s worth it.  It’s no exaggeration to say that I love these socks and they are one of my favorite items of running clothing.

Admittedly they are a bit of a faff to put on, but once you manage to wiggle each toe into its own individual socky house, you will feel like you’ve just acquired a new set of super powers – such as the ability to scale vertical walls like Spider-Man, hang from tree branches by your toes and even run a long way without getting blisters.

When I first started running, blisters were my nemesis.  I would set out full of enthusiasm, to return hobbling by the end of every run with a fresh set of glowing pustules.  Not pretty.

I tried everything, but to no avail.  Even soaking my feet in vinegar.  Running is supposed to be a low-cost activity, but not so when every long run requires an entire box of plasters.

Then one day I decided to try the weird toe socks, really just for a bit of entertainment.  Then I tried going for a run in them….

They feel a bit funky at first, but you get used to that and… amazing, no blisters.  Thinking it must be a fluke I repeated the experiment.  Longer runs, trail shoes, fell runs, thicker Injinji for the winter.  I won’t lie, I still get the occasional blistery problem so I have not quite put Compeed out of business but they’re probably wondering why profits have taken a nose dive.

So, happy feet all round and I rarely wear anything else to run in.  I have even wasted valuable seconds during triathlons putting on Injinji in transition.  All well and good but, having an inquisitive mind, I was curious about what was behind this apparent sock wizardry.

On the Injinji website it mentions proper separation and alignment of the toes (check), better moisture management (check) and elimination of friction (check).  But why?  I wondered… and then I knitted myself some mittens.

In case you didn’t know mittens are warmer than gloves, try it if you don’t believe me.  And applying the same principle means that toe socks keep your feet cooler. It’s all to do with heat transfer. Hot feet surrounded by colder air will cool down but the rate at which this happens is determined by the surface area of the hot thing (foot) in contact with the colder thing (air).  Toe socks increase the surface area and keep your feet cooler, and we all know that hot feet = blisters.  Mystery solved, injenius you might say!

So if you want cool feet try Injinjis.  If you suffer from cold hands get yourself some mittens.  Isn’t science great?

By Kate Wilkinson.

Accelerate supported runner and ‘frequent shopper in the Accelerate Store.

Click to Purchase Injinji Performance Toe Socks.

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A well earned recce

 

Hey.

 

I feel like there’s a race coming on.

More precisely, for all the running I’ve been doing, I thought it ought to be time to enjoy an event somewhere.  It’s been ages.

So I entered something local.  A 20 mile Trail Race called the Hathersage Hurtle.

This last weekend, I decided to go recce the section from start to 6miles (approx), since that looked like the part I was least familiar with.  That’s how recces work.

Here’s how it went.

I packed a few essentials and over dressed in a long sleeved top I’ve used throughout most of the winter.  It was fresh early on Sunday morning, but turned ot pretty mild with blazing sunshine at times, so the hilly start to my run quickly created a few problems for me.

I was killing a few birds, testing the route, some new HOKA shoes (review to follow) and nutrition that might soon appear in-store (yummy goodness).

But the recce was the main focus.  Race is May 21st, so not much time to get a few hilly trails in before taper.

I parked at the Plough Inn just outside of Hathersage village, a stone’s throw from where Race HQ will be on the day.

Click map to enlarge:

My Route – quarter of the race route.

 

 

I had my phone with me, but really couldn’t be bothered to take any pictures, despite using the phone constantly as navigation aid (following a screenshot of someone else’s GPS recce result).

Slowly but surely I negotiated my way across the area, taking note of where the route deviated from my assumptions about where I’d be heading.

It really does pay to approach these things with an open mind and think as if you’d never visited the area (if you have already).

I made slow progress, but got it all right first time.

It was still hard work though.  Up for about 4 miles.  So the long sleeve had outstayed its welcome after around 30 seconds.

I met people and announced “good morning”, to then reflect and acknowledge to myself that it was already well into the afternoon.

I stopped to let Horses past, mainly because I was stuck behind a car doing the same.  I passed a group of elderly walkers who had placed themselves on a high hillside and were admiring what was a pretty awe inspiring view.  That view was of the entire valley and by coincidence, represented the remainder of the race route, so a little daunting.

I had an off road motorbike wizz past me, then appear up ahead, coming in my direction – and having reached a gate first, waited for me to arrive and open the gate for him.  I’m not entirely sure of the etiquette in that situation, but I think it means that he’s a ****ing **** or something?

Anyway, I then got to enjoy a clear 2 mile stretch of downhill trail.  Hard earned, but brilliant fun.  Sharp right, and I was back on a serious, but short lived climb, until levelling and again heading gently downhill into Shatton.  I almost committed to running full tilt, splish/splosh/splash through the ford at the bottom, before realising last minute that there’s a narrow foot bridge to one side.  Ace.

Click Graph to enlarge:

Picking up a few good hints along the way and no errors in navigation (for a change), I then left the race route, in order to return directly to my car and head home.

10 miles of pure pleasure.  It’s been way too long.  I’m really looking forward to the event itself.

Posted in Nutrition, Tested & Abused!, Training & Racing | Comments Off on A well earned recce

Suck it up!

 

Those who know me probably recall that I’ve long had a love/hate relationship with my drink bottles.

Hard bottles (which I long favoured for their structure and easy access/replacement when using a running vest) have always come with a constant ‘slosh’ noise.

Threatening to drive me crazy on long runs (some might say it’s too late).

Soft Flasks however, were the supposed solution to this problem, in that they reduce in volume as you drink the liquid from within.  Remove the air and there’s no slosh whatsoever.

So far – so good, but then comes the irritating behaviour when the bottle shrinks inside the purpose made bottle pocket.  They become a little unruly.  They are also still a little bit of a faff when attempting to replace in a hurry.

So happy days – along comes the new Ultimate Direction Flexform 350ml bottle.  Not a soft flask, but not exactly hard either.  A hybrid.  And it’s working.

 

FRONT

BACK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Okay, I still get the slosh.  But I’ve gotten used to that.  It almost becomes metronomic and so might actually help me keep a running rhythm.

Aside from that – the results so far are WOW!  Comfy soft edges.  Easy to grip.  Easy to squeeze, so assisting the flow.  The rubber bite valve is a simple pull/push to open/close and again works brilliantly.  Available in 600ml form, I opted for the 350, partly as a means to ensure the fit in all of my running vests, not just the UD, but also because I’ve plenty of 500ml bottles, so increasing my range for whatever I’m faced with throughout the year.

Without naming names, if you’ve a run vest that came with relatively crummy bottles and you’d love to trade up, then the UD Flexform are the answer.  No more slipping and failing to open them when sweaty or wet from rain.  The chunky tops are great to get hold of and twist (careful).  The bite valve is easy to get along with, just suck and out comes the drink, perhaps better with a slight squeeze of that flexible bottle.  Done, the bottle returns to shape and is still easy to slot back into the pocket without prodding and poking like a magician stuffing a handkerchief into his fist (not even going to dignify).

The rear surface of the bottles are flat, to allow a great contact against the body.  They don’t press or irritate in the time I’ve used them.  I’m looking forward to some longer runs in them, so I can say for sure, but they’re shaping up to be my favourite new piece of equipment of 2017 so far.

Quick, easy drinking from a smart little bottle.  Oh and they only cost £7.50 a pop!  A lot less than I’d have expected.

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Adios to the cross-country season!

 

So the XC series is over for another year! Having completed what in my mind is the ‘complete xc series’ (Southerns, BUCS, Nationals and Inter-counties) for the first time in a loooong time so here’s a little look back over the last few weeks of racing…

Southern XC in Parliament Hills, London

Representing my home club City of Norwich in our wonderfully bright vests with my long term running buddy Mabel!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feeling strong at the finish! Here I am on the home straight finishing 40th (my highest ever placing at Southerns). Pleased to see my technique remaining strong after 8km of muddy pain! Thanks to Stu for all the help he’s been giving me on improving my form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BUCS XC in Graves Park, Sheffield – 55th

Really pleased with my performance at BUCS (British Universities and Colleges) XC this year. Pleased to have finished 2nd out of all the girls at Sheffield Uni and 55th out of around 600 competitors! Here I am jumping over a hay bale and having a lot of fun!

With Ellie and all smiles after a tough run! Feeling cosy in our #TeamAccelerateInov8 jackets!

 

National XC, Nottingham – 98th

Again feeling strong and super pleased to have snuck into the top 100 in my first nationals as a senior lady. There were almost 800 people in our race, which was totally mental

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Managing to maintain form despite the mud!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inter-counties XC, Loughborough – 111th

Team Norfolk after a not so hilly 8.5km of pain! Pleased to still be making the team and wearing the same vest that I got 10 years ago. It is signed by Steve Cram, so despite the fact that it’s getting rather small I am determined never to get a new one! The field was much stronger than at Nationals so really pleased with where I came and also the fact that I managed to pass a few people who’ve been besting me all season!

 

Lessons learned:

  • Technique technique technique!
  • Hill strength can be transferred to flat speed but it is important to get some tempo sessions in as well
  • I haven’t been injured in ages (touch wood) and I’m putting that down to the strength and conditioning program I’m doing (and also the help and support from the Team at APC when I get a niggle!)

 

As per, thanks to the support from Team Accelerate and Inov8 and the team at APC it’s great to see it making a difference!

 

 

Posted in Team Accelerate, Training & Racing | Comments Off on Adios to the cross-country season!