Friday, 30 April 2010

Fame At Last, I get interviewed by Tips4Running.Com



Ashurst Beacon hill race and RicksRunnings future, long and short term aims

On Wed I took friend and team mate Tracey down to the Ashurst Beacon fell race.
My plan was to enjoy the scenic views and pace Tracey round at the same time [ stopping myself running round at race pace and doing myself some serious damage just 3 days after London].
The race starts at the top of a 550ft climb with a suicide downhill for a mile, first on tarmac then dusty dirt tracks.
Away from the start I found myself still up with the leaders after 400m,.
I looked round and saw Trace was some way back, ooops, I pulled over and waited for her to catch up, I then made downhill progress at a more sensible pace [ I still hit 4.25 pace on one section].
After a mile we came out onto the valley floor, up ahead the monsterous climb up Parbold loomed ahead.
Over the Leeds Liverpool canal Bridge and the 1st climb started, I let Trace take the lead and tried to give helpful tips!!! Lean foreward into the hill [from the ankles] keep relaxed, remember to take deep breaths etc :]
We made good progress to the top, coming out onto the main rd by the icecream van, sorry Tracey no time to stop!
After half a mile along the top rd we turned left and descended down Fairy Glen [ no sightings of fairies today, not even the human kind!] see photo; Fairy Glen.
My legs felt very good, but was glad I was not pushing all out, soon we reached the bottom and took some wooden steps up and over a wall, across green fields, then back along the dirt track we had been on some 15 mins ago.
Now we had to climb straight back up to where we started from, Tracey was working hard and I tried to encourage her forward [ speed your legs up and shorten your stride, imagine there is an elastic band attached from the guy in front to you, pulling you in etc].
At last we turned off the rd and followed the final track up to the Ashurst Beacon monument.
I remember trying to sprint up the very steep bank here a couple of years ago, man it hurt, no problem for me today but poor old Trace went through hell and collapsed in a heap over the finish line!
Tracey achieved her aim of finishing first of the Southport girls back and it puts her in a good position for the club GP.
Me, I had a great time and enjoyed the run up and down the hills on my favourite trails, with no damage to my legs. RESULTS
Disclaimer; this was not part of the Marius recovery plan :]
I was going to tell you about my future racing plans, but I've run out of time,.
Lets just say I'm planning to run the hardest, toughest and meanest Marathon in t
AB_004jpghe country in September, more news soon!

Recovery Week
Sat 1st May
easy run over the big sandhills with Tess = 1 hour 25 mins

Fri 30th
easy = 28 mins
Thru 29th
easy = 28 mins
Race = 48 mins
Velvet trail easy = 37 mins

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Hi Rick,

I got your message, congratulations on an absolute fantastic run ! I had two friends running London this year and they both had to add several minutes to their "normal time" because of humidity during the race. If you continue to train smart, you'll break the 2:45 next time you try - I'm sure about that.

I wish you all the best with your training and many congrats again.

Kind regards,

Monday, 26 April 2010


Running round the closed roads of the most famous capitol city in the world, with the most enthusiastic loudest crowd ever, you feel like you are the center of the worlds biggest carnival! It's an incredibly uplifting experience. DOES IT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS ?
I travelled down to London on Friday with friends and team mates Joanne, Paul, Simon and my wife Niz, this meant we could pick our numbers up at the Expo straight away once reaching London and have Saturday to relax!

The BBC were giving warnings of super high temps for race
day, I took this with a pinch of salt, it seems the media these days are looking for shook horror stories or try to make everything more dramatic than it really is! My own weather source had predicted rain since last Wed. Saturday dawned bright and sunny with nice fresh air and lots of oxygen, A great day for racing or a sight seeing and shopping trip as Niz took me round Chinatown, Covent garden and Trafalgar square.
Before the shopping trip Simon, Paul and myself went for an easy jog round Regents park for 20 mins.

Sunday dawned cloudy and humid with the threat of rain mid morning, temps were said to by 16 C, not to bad but the humid air might
prove to be a problem! After a walk to the train station we boarded the train to the start, the others were on different starts to me so we wished each other good luck and I made my way to the 'good for age red' start. I met team mate Peter Roome in the enclosure and we talked for a while. Peter collapsed at the finish of last years race with heat stroke so he was happy when the rain started to come down! Just before the start the rain stopped leaving a damp humid atmosphere behind!
I got a good start, just 10 sec to get over the line, 'my race was on'.
I was planning negative splits, something I have never managed in the past! Try
ing to run exact split times for each mile proved very hard and in fact impossible for me, the course is not flat, granted no big hills but there are constant rises and falls for the whole route. Mile one 6.27 mile two 6.21, mile three 6.11, mile 4/ 6.12, mile 5/ 6.15 I needed to slow down a bit, but as i did my legs felt heavy, my rhythm felt wrong! This felt bad! 6/ 6.39, 7/ 6.28, 8/6.23 9/6.28 I hit 10 miles in 1.03.10 just ahead of the plan, now I had to speed up to 6.19 pace.
As I ran faster I felt better, now instead of runners passing me in a constant stream I started passing runner after runner, 10 mile 6.17, 11/ 6.15 12/ 6.15, 13/ 6.21, 14/6.18, 15 and 16 miles 12.39, 17/ 6.24, 18/ 6.15, 19/ 6.26, 20 miles 2.07 about 15 sec slower than target pace, now I was meant to run at 6.15 pace until the end! From the st
art it felt like I was running into a headwind, confirmed by Simon, yet when we turned around it was still there nagging away at my energy, in truth it was just the thick humid air that was difficult to push through, increasing air resistance!
I reached 20 miles without hitting the wall, infact I was in the fast lane taking out runner after runner all the way from 10 miles, now I was focusing in on each runner in front of me and passing them at speed, I remember only one runner passing me in the last 6 miles. Runners dramatically slowed or stopped right in front of me but I charged right through, my legs felt a bit weird the whole race but I was strong for sure, but not strong enough for 6.15 pace! 20 miles 6.18, 21/ 6.37, 22/ 6.39, 23/ 6.27, 24/ 6.17, 25/ 6.46. 26.2/ 7.55, Total 2.47
That was my strongest ever finish. I took out shed loads of runners in the second half [ this felt ' AWESOME'].
If only I'd run 2.46 I'd have been mega happy, I knew to run 2.45 I needed to be feeling fantastic and the weather conditions had to be spot on for me too ! Even so a new all time P.B. after a 17 year running career and at the age of 49 this is pretty 'FANTASTIC' I think you will agree?
I now believe if I stick to Marius's plan I can still improve for some time to come, I know I've badly over trained in the passed and the proof of his training are my two P.B.s so far this year. Thanks Marius :]
On a final note I tried the new breathing method but found it impossible to concentrate on my pace and the breathing at the same time, so gave up on it after a few miles, I'll work on that in training in the future.
3 min 39 sec faster than last year!

1 min 18 sec faster than my old P.B. set 7 years ago when I was only 42!
1/ carb loading on saturday :]
2/ wearing white and green, at 22 miles
3/ Club photo after finishing in style :]
Year Age Actual Time Age Adjusted

1999 38 2:49:53 2:49:25
2000 39 2:56:15 2:54:33
2002 41 2:54:53 2:50:47
2003 42 2:48:52 2:43:43
2004 43 2:52:34 2:46:06
2009 48 2:51:15 2:38:48
2010 49 2.47.34 2.34.11

Mon 26th
Recovery run, felt quite good apart from slightly tight calf muscles = 15 mins
One conclusion from my run today and looking at my race photo's is i think i was running with my pelvis pushed back [as in sitting down], this is a bad habit of mine and noticed myself doing this on some of my tempo runs, the result is loss of power and a general feeling of weakness in my legs, pushing my pelvis forwards increases my momentum and increases the power in my legs.
25 April 2010: Old timers lead the way at London Marathon

Sunday, 25 April 2010

New life time P.B. at London Marathon 2.47.34

Place Overall Place Gender Place Category surname BIB Category HALF Finish time
376 369 30 » Bowker, Richard H (GBR) 31513 45-49 01:23:12 02:47:34 Add runner to 'my favourites'

Thursday, 22 April 2010


Here I am, standing on the very edge of a ginormous cliff, waiting to jump off!
Like a little bird about to take it's maiden flight, will I go soaring into the clouds or tumble down into the rocks and disappear into the crashing waves!
Yes it's Marathon time again! It only seems like yesterday when on a freezing dark winters day I was looking through Marius Bakken's training plan, thinking jeez can I really do all this training and come out the other side?
The answer is yes! I'm fitter, stronger and maybe even a little wiser.

I'm ready, you bet I'm ready!
I changed my diet and lost 10 pounds.
I changed my running mechanics, so I can take advantage of the 'muscle stretch reflex ' principle.
I've changed my breathing pattern so my body will absorb more oxygen into the working muscles.
I changed my shoes to ones that will give me maximum return of energy.
I've worked on mind training and positive thought!
So here I am now, on the very edge of the cliff, ready to jump! From here on in, the time for words is over, the time for action is now, it's time for guts and determination and a belief that the impossible is just a restriction on my perception of the possible!
See you on the other side:]

Tuesday, 20 April 2010


Should I go for negative splits! What do you think?

Photo; A 'young' Ewen and Scott

Last real session before the Marathon, cold and windy!
4 x 1 mile at Marathon effort. location; Selworthy hill 1/2 mile loop
Mile 1/ 6.13 av pace
Mile 2/ 6.12
Mile 3/ 6.08
Mile 4/ 6.06
Average BPM 130 [about 80% of max]
Total time 51 mins
Almost had a moment of madness! Self doubt tried to creep in, " go on run the last mile flat out, I think you need to see how well your really going" !
"Piss off self doubt" I said! I've done my training, the long miles,progression runs, and tempo sessions, my 1/2 Marathon time show I'm ready, I'm not having you f**k my big day up.
I know you too well 'Self Doubt' so just shut up!
With that he left in a sulk and I kept to my training plan. :]
From now on I will call my self doubt 'Brian'.
With a name he will be easy to deal with :]

Easy run with tess,Velvet trail = 39 mins


and interview with Ryan Hall. CLICK HERE

2010 Boston Marathon

Ryan Hall - Boston Marathon 2010 from Runblogger on Vimeo.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


Yes it's true, that's why I only look 24 [from the inside] REPORT

One Week To Go, Virgin London Marathon
My tune up and taper has gone well, I will use the fragmented breathing method in the race, think it might be worth 10 secs a mile!
Next weeks training has one session of 4 x 5 mins at marathon pace, one easy 40 min run and then the Big Race [ I might add some easy short runs through the week]

Tracey sets new P.B. on Sandhill 6 with 40.19

RunCenter: Boston Marathon Day One CLICK HERE

Friday, 16 April 2010

Amazing result; Fragmented breathing V normal breathing evaluation road test

After only 2 days of practice I decided to put Fragmented breathing to the test.
After 30 mins easy running I ran 4 x 1/2 mile loop [Selworthy rd] with 1 min rec between.
Running with an average Pulse rate of 125 bpm I got the following results
Lap one, normal breathing 6.40 pace average at 125 bpm
Lap two, fragmented breathing 6.33 pace average at 125 bpm
Lap three, normal Breathing 6.37 pace average 125 bpm
Lap four, F/B 6.32 pace average 125 bmp
Conclusion; Fragmented breathing allowed me to run 6 sec per mile pace [av] faster per 1/2 mile lap than normal breathing, with same pulse rate!

As it is said that 5 day minimum is required to fully learn the new breathing method more improvements should be possible:]
For more info on fragmented breathing read posts below.

Thursday, 15 April 2010


Fragmented respiration is based on a cycle of four successive inhaling followed by exhaling.
Such a breathing cycle during running promotes the saturation of hemoglobin with oxygen and allows;

To adjust breathing to a number of strides in which the first two inhaling take place during the first two strides, followed by a further two inhaling in the next pair of strides, uninterrupted exhaling takes place during the third pair of strides.

The frequency of breathing is regulated by the running speed as breathing is synchronized with the running rhythm.

Newspaper Report

Scientific report showing pulse rate [and lactate levels] dropping by up to 10 bpm at racing speeds using
Fragmented Breathing LINK

After many hours of searching the internet I found the article on how to do fragmented breathing [thanks also to Greg for newspaper article], i will now work on this breathing method over the next week and report back!


Thur 15th

Ran with Tess over the Velvet Trail for 40 mins easy.
worked on using NEW breathing method, conclusion so far, legs felt lighter when doing 'fragmented breathing method' but lungs felt like I'd just blown up a hot water bottle after run!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

How to dramatically improve your running performance by focusing on breathing!



Run longer,


Learn to breathe with your diaphragm, practice it all the time until it becomes a natural reflex.
Came across this great article on Steve magn
ess's twitter site CLICK HERE
Anyway on a session of 20 x 400m i decided to check my breathing, I found i was only breathing into my upper chest, after changing to breathing deep into my belly i noticed the following;
I felt stronger and more relaxed.
Able to keep my pace going with less effort.
Recovered faster after each effort.

Optimal breathing for runners CLICK HERE
I've never really thought about mybreathing when running before but after doing some research I've found that belly breathing increases the amount of oxygen to the body and muscles and hence increasing performance.

20 x 400m
Felt really strong on the session, I was only meant to go up to 10k pace [5.44] but soon found myself hitting 5.25 pace and faster, in fact I finished the session feeling like I could have run another 20 efforts!



8 x 6 mins at 5.59 pace [ H.M.P.] with 2 mins active recovery between each effort at 6.48 pace.

Mon 12th
Blustery wind again but sunny, my legs did not feel quite right and it was not until the last effort that i realized that I'd been 'sitting down' when I ran, pulling myself up tall brought a dramatic improvement and my legs started to flow round and I finished strongly inc 6 x smart strides at end.

Note to oneself; check and recheck for good posture!
Average pace inc active recoveries 6.16 pace, plus 6 x 20 sec smart strides .
Total time [ inc warm up - down] 1 hour 17 mins
Note from Marius Bakken

I wanted to give you an extra tip in the last 3 weeks leading up to London. It will be parts of a revised 100 day marathon plan that I'll have ready sometime this summer (have to finish up medical school first, my final exams of the 6 year study is in two months) The tip is to be extra careful with the 6 x 20 seconds for the tapering period after the runs. In this period that you are in now, only do these at about your 3k to 5k pace , no faster, not even at the end of them ! This helps you preserve extra elasticity in your muscles. Otherwise with the increase in rest you risk using this extra rest in those strides and pump "speed" instead of preserving them in the longer effort runs / the marathon itself that you need for the last parts of the marathon.

Saturday, 10 April 2010


UPDATE; Sun 11th
Ran with Tracey, Sarah, Jon and Tess round the sandhill 6
Tracey ran 42.33 which makes her the fastest girl on the course [after Tess!] total running time = 1.25
Hope these video's give you a sense of the FUN, ENJOYMENT and ACHIEVEMENT I get from RUNNING!
Beautiful day, ran 5 climbs on my 18 mile off road [with a bit of road ] Parbold run.

Hope you enjoy the video.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

LONDON MARATHON FINAL TUNE UP AND TAPER ! Less than 3 weeks to go! The Marius plan now moves into final tune up and taper mode.
This week I have just one hard run, a long easy 2 - 2 1/2 hour run and some easy running in between.
On Tuesday a had the following session to do; 4 x 12 mins [ 4 mins 5.59 pace-4 mins 6.48 pace-4 mins 5.59 pace] with 45 sec recover between each 12 min effort.
It was windy and a bit wet as I stepped out the door [ living on the coast you kind of get used to the wind, but it's always nice to have a calm day for this type of session, mmm I can dream!]
Legs still a bit sore from my weekend hill run, but i managed to nail the session pretty well and finished the last effort with a final burst of speed that took me sub sub 5 min mileing:]
I then jogged easy for a few minutes before sprinting 6 x 20 sec up hill, reaching a max speed of 13.2 MPH. My legs just flew round with little effort. On the final sprint I tried really hard and ran slower showing that muscling and straining only leads to less speed and more pain, for best results you have to sort of relax the legs and let the muscle 'stretch reflex action' take place.Photo's Marius Bakken
Hillside 5K loop
4 x 12 mins alternating pace, 4 mins 5.59 pace-4mins 6.48 pace-4 mins 5.59 pace with 15 secs recovery after each 12 mins effort.
1st 12 mins 6.15 pace average
2nd 12 mins 6.15 av pace
3rd 12 mins 6.23 av pace [ mostly headwind and uphill]
4th 12 min 6.10 av pace
Plus 6 x 20 sec uphill sprints, max speed 13.2 mph
Total time 1 hour 21 mins
Mon 5th
Sandhill 6 with Sarah and Jon, easy = 1.18

Found this on Steve Magness's website, interesting stuff!

Stuart McGill is a professor of spine biomechanics at the University of Waterloo (Canada). He is the author of many scientific papers that address issues related to low back function, injury prevention, rehabilitation, and performance training.

He sits on the editorial boards of the journals SPINE, Clinical Biomechanics, and the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. As a consultant he has for many years worked with elite sports people and performers in a wide variety of professional sports, both as an educator and as expert opinion on specific, difficult to resolve back problems. He has also worked extensively with track & field athletes from a variety of countries. His advice is frequently sought by governments, corporations, and legal experts from around the world, and he is the author of two popular text books focused on specifically on optimising back health; 'Low Back Disorders: Evidence based prevention and rehabilitation', and 'Ultimate Back Fitness and Performance'.

For more information and useful links visit Stuart McGills website at

Right Click > Save As to Download Stuart's Interview PODCAST

Saturday, 3 April 2010


This was the last of my really long runs before London.
Marius Bakken said to keep to an easy pace, so I did not push all out on today's very hilly run, inc 5 big climbs, stony lane [500ft], Hunters Hill [500ft], the 2 mile Ashurst Beacon climb [600ft], the fearsome Crank [550ft] and finishing off with a sideways route back over Ashurst Beacon for a
total of 23.2 miles, 2500ft of climbing, average pace 7.25.
Elevation Profile
when I did this route last year my quads were screaming at me by the end of the run, No problem this time :]
I F****D up the video again, aaaah***!!!, but I'm not going back to do a retake :]


Niz ran in the Women's race and enjoyed the experience and I took a few video's that went a bit wrong oops, please adjust your sets [sideways!]
Most amazing run came from Amanda Crook [see second video] who finished 4th, just 2 weeks after giving birth to baby Richard! RACE REPORT