Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Parties Over For Now!

The Taper
With Marius Bakken

The beer has stopped flowing and the dancing girls have gone home. So I suppose it's time to stop celebrating my 'Victory' at the Liverpool Half Marathon!

Marius sent me a email;

Hi Rick,
Absolutely fantastic! It shows once again how committed you are. Be smart now for the last weeks leading up to London. It is all a matter of sticking to the plan when things are going as well as now and not "over-run" anything. I wish you the best of luck, I'll be checking in on your blog in these last weeks,
kind regards,
Oops; with Marius keeping an eye on me I better get back on the road again, I plunged my face into a cold bucket of water to sober up,then put on the running kit, which had been collecting dust in the corner, yeah baby lets get this party started, I mean Run!
Location; Kings Garden's One K loop
4 x 12 mins [ 4 mins marathon pace- 4 mins just below MP - 4mins 1/2MP]
45 sec Rec after each 12 mins

Going by the Garmin map it looks like I've been running on water!
Maybe Ewen is right after all:]
Things went pretty well, tough session all the same!

Finished with 6 x smart strides.

The strides always seem to bring my legs back to life after a tough session!
Shoes; Spira

Total time 1 hour 19 mins
Tue Easy run with Tess, sandhill 6 = 1 hour 11 mins
Mon easy run with Tess, Hillside loop = 32 mins

by stevemagness
Lactate is a key fuel source when you run fast; Learn how to train to be able to best use this valuable fuel:

You can't go to the next level with your current level of dedication.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

New P.B. At Liverpool Half Marathon! And Age Group WIN!!!

Well guys I did it!

My first race as a V 50 resulted in a new all time
P.B. 1.17.55 chip time
It was in no way easy, after 7 miles I went to my shorts pocket for a gel, hoping for some much needed energy BUT my pocket was empty, I'd stupidly left the gels in the car!
As a consequence I started to struggle in the closing miles especially miles 10-12.

I'll do a full report when I see the results.
Thanks once again to Marius Bakken.
To set new P.B.s after 18 years of hard training and racing is an amazing achievement I hope you will agree :]
It was a bit of a grim morning with low cloud hanging over the city of Liverpool, not very inspiring for breaking records.
The air was damp and cold but at least there was only a slight breeze!
7500 runners entered the race, a new record!
I got right to the front of the start looking for a good start.
Just after 9.30 we were set off, many runners sprinting off in front of me!
I held back but still reached the 1st mile in 5.34.
We were now climbing up Parliament St, runners I'd been catching slowly started to gain a gap on me.
I shortened me stride and speeded up my leg speed, hanging in the best I could.
Once over the top I accelerated hard and went up a gear, I started catching the runners ahead again, feeling more comfortable as my speed increased.
I pulled alongside team-mate Steve Wilko who suggested we try and catch the group ahead.
The course weaved it's way through the parks of Liverpool which concealed some deceptive hills.
I went through 6 miles in 35.00 pushing hard, at last I reached the group ahead.
I reached for a energy gel only to find my pocket empty, dam I'd left the gels in the car!
Mile 10 came in 58.48
The course now followed the sea front weaving its way along over concrete paving stones with many tight corners.
My legs started to become drained of energy and the hard surface hammered my legs.
Each time my speed dropped below 10 mph i kicked hard trying to hold pace.
At last I reached the last mile and my central governor decided to ease its grip on my effort level and all of a sudden my speed increased and my legs felt good again.
I sprinted across the line in a new P.B. and first in my age group.
It had been a very hard effort but an amazing result!

Also there were some great times by fellow club athletes;
Dave Hamilton P.B. 1.14
Steve Wilko 1.17.23
Chris Dunn P.B. 1.17.51
Mark Ashby 1.21
Steve Lewis new P.B. 1.23
Keith P.B. 1.24
Matt 1.26
Neil 1.34 [I think]

Saturday, 26 March 2011


No Limits

Nature knows no limits
Of what may be achieved
The measure of each confine
Stayed by what you believe
Adaptation knows no boundary
Necessity will find a way
Recognize the problem
Afford it no dismay
Minds can work miracles
Allow them to run free
It will only seem impossible
To those who cannot see
By Brian Beaudry

Friday, 25 March 2011

Liverpool Half Marathon Taper, My Legs Are On Fire!

I've been using Steve Magness's article on tapering[featuring Marius Bakken] to get ready for Sundays Liverpool Half.
Ever wondered why you feel flat on race day after a couple of easy days?
This article reveals all READ HERE
Felt really good!
Had to hold myself back as my speed kept increasing from the planned level one effort.
Last five mins I increased pace, aiming at 10K pace, I was soon hitting 5.30 then 5.20 pace.
Round a tight corner and me and Tess accelerated again, now reaching 5.10 pace, another couple of bends and we were on the final straight.
I was shocked to see 4.42 pace as Tess started to lag behind on the lead.
This run felt so beautiful and easy!
Friday will be a rest day with Saturday a easy run with with 6 fast strides to get the legs ready to race!
31 mins easy
30 mins easy
Total time 31 mins

Check out Marathon Talk
the best podcast on the net!

Great section on using caffeine to boost race performance in this weeks edition

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Half Marathon Motivation Video

Notice the RED ARROWS formation at the front of the race, works every time and nice running from Liz Yelling.
Digging the music too :]

Sometimes it gets boring working in a Supermarket, so we sometimes do this and blame it on the customers:] READ MORE
Lavender blue: In this impressive effort seven different spices are used to spell out a cheeky word

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Running With Confidence And Half Marathon Wins!

VCA 2010 RACE RUN from changoman on Vimeo.

First, I was delighted to hear that team mate Ben Johnson just went and won his first half marathon
Read More
Tess and me took Ben on a few long runs early this winter over the big sandhills and through the pinewoods, so it looks like the RicksRunning magic has done the trick for Ben... haha :]
More on half marathons;
Well this week I'm running the Liverpool half marathon, no outright victory planned for me, but I'm going to be pushing it to the limit in search of a new P.B. 1.16 sound nice, don't ya think!!!
Not sure why but I keep hearing 1.16 coming into my head when I think about running at Liverpool, so I've got to go for it!
The Marius Bakken plan this week has only one hard session [ which I did last night] with only easy running until Sundays race, this time last year I added an extra speed session being worried that it was not enough training, but this year I have far more confidence in Marius and will stick to the plan.
I want to be fresh to party on the roads of Liverpool!
Club session
Hard efforts from 400m up to 800m, ran down and back and included some extra min efforts at sub 10K pace and finished with 6 special strides, getting faster on each one.
Finished feeling really strong.
Total time 2 hours 2 mins

If your into bikes and cycle racing check out the latest podcast from; Velo Club Don LoganAWESOME!
Download the MP3

Sunday, 20 March 2011

The NYRR Half Marathon 2011 Video

Watch Here

Great running by Super Mo
for outstanding win!

Rupp at only 24 years old also has fantastic debut with 3rd place.
Not so good for Ryan Hall who still seems out of sorts, can he return to form for Boston?
Caroline Rotich sets new women's course record while carrying a big smile over the last mile!
Kara Goucher had a great run for 3rd and is looking very good for Boston.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

My 24 Mile 'Run For Japan'

Another hard night-shift, 3 hours in bed and it was time to get ready to RUN!
I left poor Tess at home as I blasted off to Parbold on my bike, sorry Tess but I've not got a helmet to fit you and you'd most probably jump off at the first cat you saw on our travels!

I met Paul at Parbold, I wasn't to sure how far he was running, as he'd been complaining of calf and knee pains!
We set off on a very hilly route, taking in Stony Lane, Hunters Hill, Ashurst Beacon, Crank Hill and back up the side of Ashurst Beacon before a downhill finish to Parbold.
Paul managed the first two climbs well and when he reached the top of the two mile Ashurst Beacon climb I was half expecting him to turn for home, but he was having none of it and pressed on for the very steep Crank hill .
The final hill up the side of Ashurst with its mini Alpine hairpin bends used up the last of Paul's flagging energy.
He told me to leave him to his misery, so I blasted off to the top then turned around to go back for him.
Once at the top I gave him my only gel, I didn't use any gels or water on this run, yet still felt OK at the end!
We finished with 24 miles on the Garmin, our longest run this year.
The downhills should really help strengthen our legs for the pounding of the marathon and I was really amazed by Paul's run!
I entered my run on RUN FOR JAPAN and paid my donation, so come on guys get out running for 'RUN FOR JAPAN ' and help a people in need of your help!
Doing the run for a good cause made it seem so much more worthwhile!
Thanks to Paul for the company and chat:]
Forgot to start my Garmin at the start so add 5 mins to Data GARMIN MAP


Thursday, 17 March 2011

Run For Japan

Total Donated So Far: £2019.21
Miles Run So Far: 780
Runners so far: 67

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Super Cool Progression Run And Why Ewen Comes From The Stars!

We are the children of stars. In the heart of a dying star new elements were being made. Every single atom from your body has come from these dead stars. This is the journey of the atoms that compose us starting today and ending at the beginning of time. They have travelled for billions of years through stars, space, Earth, and time until they joined together to create each one of us.


How a sandcastle reveals the end of all things - Wonders of the Universe

Spectroscopy of Stars - Wonders of the Universe: Stardust


Marius Bakken Progression Session
Location Kings Gardens One K Loop
3 x 9 mins [3 min L2-3min L3-3 min L4] continuous, 2 mins Rec between sets.
Felt sluggish warming up in the humid heavy atmosphere but felt strong and in control once I started the session.
Set one; L2 6.37 pace-L3 6.01 pace-L4 5.43 pace
Set two; L2 6.28 pace-L3 6.01 pace-L4 5.42 pace
Set three; L2 6.28 pace-L3 5.59 pace- L4 5.43 pace

Finished with 6 x smart strides Total Time = 1 hour 2 mins

My running biomechanics felt really good, thanks to Dr Steve Hoffman of Core wellness for ideas and advice!

Training Tip
Keep your head up, dropping your head down results in poor posture and bending at the waist!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Did I just hit 4.03 pace!!!

We go through life in our own safe little routines, oblivious to the fact life is so very fragile!
Please spare a thought for the people in Japan and our friend Scott Brown.

Ran down to the club session at sub 6.30 pace.
We did a pretty fast session, Steve Lewis was out for revenge after a sub par race at the weekend.
Steve dished out an aggressive pace and to be honest at times all I could do was follow!
Regularly saw the pace go under 5 min miling, this was ridiculously fast.
Ran home and did 6 x special strides and decided to finish with a half mile loop at sub 10K pace!
total time 2 hours
This week I have a progression session and a 3 hour plus run!

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Wising up and party,party,party!

After achieving my aims with 6.12 average pace for 20 miles last week I decided to back off my training and let my body recover and overcompensate, ready for the final weeks of hard training.

In the past I would have pushed my tired body into even more hard training, but at last I'm getting wiser and smarter!
So missed this weeks 2 hour progression run and did some easy running instead, I do feel better for it and will now look to the Liverpool Marathon as my final sharpening up race.
I truly believe that I can take my half time down to 1 hour 17 mins.
Saturday I went to watch my club Southport Waterloo A/c win the Mid-Lancs X/C league for the second year running.
Very frilling final race to watch and some great performances from the young senior squad!
After we went for a meal and in the evening Tracey organized a night out in town, to celebrate club victory and also my birthday!
Didn't get home until 6 am in the morning after much partying :]

Sun Run with Rob in the sand dunes steady, total time 1 hour 20 mins
Sat Rest
Fri easy run hillside loop = 32 mins

Satellite Photos of Japan, Before and After the Quake and Tsunami, shocking pictures of the destruction!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Return of the Rob!

Chronicles Of A Super Vet

A Runner's High by Ben Redmond from Mishmash on Vimeo.

Ran with Rob over the big sand dunes.
1 hour 3 mins, plus ran down and back.
Total = 1 hour 23 mins
Now back in 2009 Rob finished an amazing 2nd in the world hardest road marathon [Great Langdale Marathon].
Sadly shortly after he had a very nasty none running related accident resulting in a serious knee injury.
Thankfully after an operation to repair a damaged cartilage and a torn ligament Rob is at last getting back into training.
I felt much better today, as Wednesdays long run turned into a death march as the after effects of Sundays 20 mile race took hold, I cut the time down from 3 hours to 2 hours 35 mins to help my recovery.
30 x 1 min [ starting at below marathon pace and building up to 10k pace] with 30 sec Rec.
Felt stiff at first but soon got going, nocking out most my efforts at higher 10k pace.
Hillside loop easy, right calf muscle felt tight. = 32 mins

Man trains for sub 2.30 marathon eating only Big Macs
Read Here

What's it like to train with a Kenyan training group

if you have not been following @nicholasroche diary in the irish indo all this week check it out here great read

Wednesday, 9 March 2011


I awoke this morning to find myself 50 years old!
It seems to be, the older you get, the faster time flies by.
It's just another challenge to get even more drunk and get even faster!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

New unofficial 20 mile P.B. 2.4.01


A Plonkers Story Of How To Get Lost In A Race!

The day started with a beautiful morning and little in the way of wind, a great day for a record attempt!
This is the 5th time I've run the Trimpell 20, first time back in 2004 where I did my P.B. of 2.05.24.
We started with a lap of a running track before moving out onto a cycle track by the Lune River.
I got in a fast moving group, a bit too fast as we were averaging just on 6 min mile pace.
By 7 miles I decided to back off and stick to my planned pace, the group I'd been in pulled away and left me on my own.
A look behind showed me an empty path, It looked like I'd have to time trial this race all on my own!
Round a corner as I came to a bridge I took a wrong turning, carrying on for some time before the back-markers in the race came straight at me from the opposite direction!
Opps! I stopped turned around and thought to hell with it!
I charged after the slower runners taking them out one by one.
I ended up doing a loop round the village for the second time before going past the bridge again adding 1.77 miles to the race route.
There was only one target for me now, race the virtual man on my Garmin to 20 miles, I'd set him to run 2 hours 3 mins for the 20 miles.
To be honest I was having a lot of fun catching and passing the guys ahead of me, I guess this is one good reason to run negative splits, far better to be passing runners than to be passed :]
At 13 miles a guy caught me up seems he had run the first half easy and was now looking for sub 2.45 marathon pace for the second half.
We kind of worked off each other, really getting some speed going!
At last I reached 19 miles on the Garmin, so it was time to push all out to try and hit my target time.
20 miles came in 2 hours 4 mins and 1 sec, the fastest I've ever run going by my Garmin by over a min!
Having reached my goal I now had almost 2 miles still to run, I slowed to a jog until the final 400m on the track where I let rip with a burst of sub 6 pace.
Total time on my Garmin 2.15 for 21.77 miles.
Interestingly it turned out that the course was short, with most peoples Garmins reading 19.92 or there abouts.
So to sum up I'm really happy to have averaged 6.12 pace for 20 miles.
this gives me great hope that a 2.45 at London is possible.
To knock off over a minute off my best recorded 20 mile race is pretty amazing as I'm only 3 days off 50!
Next road race will be the liverpool Half Marathon,.
I'll be looking for an official 1.17 or better!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

How Much Do You Want It? How Much Do You Crave It? How Deep Are You Willing To Go To Achieve Your Goal?

These are questions I've been asking myself as I approach my 20 mile race tomorrow.
It won't be easy, but then nothing worth achieving ever comes easy.
I've endured the minus 10 Temperatures of early winter and come out stronger.
I've not missed a single days training so far.
So it's time to end the words and start the Motor!
After being inspired by Japanese runner Yuki Kawauchi [as many of you have] I plan to push all out for a new P.B.!

Tony Robbinstonyrobbins There is always room in your life for thinking bigger, pushing limits & imagining the impossible

"The Rocky of the Marathon World" - Saitama Governor Praises Kawauchi (updated) Read Here

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Southport Sand Dunes And the Sheep Penning Debate!

After being worried that our access over the local sand dune trails might be severely limited due to the plans for sheep pens in the area I wrote to MP John Pugh.
Yesterday I recieved a reply.
I have copied it here for all of you who may have concerns can read it.

Mr Bowker

Your email to John Pugh has been forwarded to me for my comments, regarding the proposed sheep grazing on Ainsdale & Birkdale dunes.

Sefton has a legal obligation to maintain the integrity of the SSSI

This scheme is 1 of many included in the agreed policy:

Sefton’s Coastal Landscape Partnership

It went to Cabinet member for Leisure & Tourism on 21st April 2010. The report contained the following extract:

Dune and Scrub Management – this project is mainly concerned with the management of the open dune system. It will develop a balanced approach to scrub management on the nature conservation sites, by tackling the problem of invasive scrub while implementing sustainable practices such as grazing and the conservation of scrub features for habitat and landscape values. This project will target areas of the Sefton Coast SSSI and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) in Unfavourable Condition and declining to assist land managers in restoring the dune landscape to Favourable Condition. The majority of this work will take place on the Birkdale Hills unit of the SSSI in the ownership of Sefton Council and will assist the Council in resolving a ‘risk’ identified in the Leisure and Tourism Service Delivery Plan.

It then went to Full Cabinet on 20th May

I include the above to highlight the fact that this scheme has been a council policy for some time. Proceedings actually started on 2005

Lottery money was obtained as part of the Landscape Project to clear the scrub.

Sefton then applied for, and won, a HLS bid - HLS stands for Higher Level Stewardship from Natural England as below:

Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in high priority situations and areas.

HLS is usually combined with ELS or OELS options. There is a wide range of management options, and these are designed to support key features of the different areas of the English countryside. HLS can contribute to a wide range of capital works such as restoration of hedgerows or traditional farm buildings.

This grant will fund the grazing by sheep to maintain the cleared scrub from the dunes. A tried and tested method used in any parts of the country.

There will be 4 large areas fenced off and sheep will graze over the winter months only (October - April). Using 1 pen at a time. The other 3 pens will be empty.

Members of the public will still have access to the dunes as before. Dog walkers will need to keep their dogs under control when sheep are in the pens, but 3 out of the 4 pens will always be empty and all 4 will be empty during the summer months.

All existing paths will include stiles to enter and exit the pens. More prominent paths may have gates instead of stiles.

The fen will hardly be noticeable and it will not be barbed.

Fencing will also deter motorcycles etc from entering the dunes.

Access to the dunes, for Rangers etc will use existing routes for Land rovers and quads. Large lorries will not be accessing the dunes.

Full consultation has taken place as part of the Landscape Policy, including a display at the Ainsdale Discovery Centre.

At the moment the SSSi is classed as failing. Once the grazing is implemented it will be classed as recovering, which may take several years to complete.

The recovering SSSI will see an increase in the population of the protected Sand Lizards and Natterjack Toads. The very things that attract walkers to the dunes.

The scheme will not involve any extra expenditure by Sefton.

There are no plans to include cattle.

The scheme will receive grants each year for the next 10 years - covering the costs of 2 Rangers to patrol and manage the area. The cost of fencing is also included in the grants.

Without the grant, taking the current cuts into account, it is unlikely that any of the remaining rangers will be able to manage this area to the usual standard.

All necessary consents and assessments will be completed at no extra cost.

I hope that the above gives a more complete picture of the background and nature of the scheme.

Your main concern seems to be over access to the dunes. I hope that my reply has highlighted the fact public will still have access to the same areas of dunes and that dog walking can continue as normal with the exception that dogs will need to be under control in 1 pen at a time during winter months.

I have coped my reply to John Pugh MP

Yours sincerely

Councillor Mike Booth

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

A Breakthrough And Maybe Time For A Face Lift!

Breathing Techniques, Exercises and Aids for Runners from Joe English on Vimeo.

Yes with just one week away from my BIG birthday I seem to have made a bit of a breakthrough due to my new breathing technique, its pretty simple really just replacing my normal chest breathing with deep diagram breathing!

Mondays speed session with the club was my best showing of the year, I seemed able to push harder and longer before going into oxygen debt. Neil did comment about my heavy breathing but I just said I was practising for a phone call I was making later that night :]
Also quite surprising was how fresh my legs felt running home after the session.
Total time 2 hours

An easy run with Tess, after about 5 mins my legs started to feel heavy and I remembered I'd not been thinking about my breathing.
I started diagrammatic breathing and almost straight away I started to feel more energetic and the legs felt lighter and more springy, I finished the run feeling good. .= 30 mins

Another long easy run with Tess.
Running over the sand dunes, through the Ainsdale and Formby woods before looping back.
Total time = 3 Hours 3 mins

I've got a 20 mile race on Sunday, I'll be looking to smash my P.B.

As I approach the big FIVE ZERO I reckon my body is in pretty good shape but maybe I could do with a face lift, so I'm going to try this CLICK HERE

Message from Torchlight 5K organizer Andy Hudson;

An event like this would not be possible without the continued support of local runners and the volunteers that help organise, marshal and make sure everything runs smoothly.

The Torchlit Tip 5k may resume again at the back end of the year subject to positive feedback and we now pass the baton over to Rick with the Rubbish 5k which will be making its return along with the lighter nights.

Thanks again to all those who have participated in any capacity and hope the support continues to grow for Rick's summer series.

Training Tip Of The Week: Alternating Fast and Slow Days

Excerpted from Running With Joy:

“Most runners run too easy on their fast days and too hard on their slow days. The basic principle of running is to break your muscles down on the workout days and then allow them to rebuild on the easy days. Take your easy days seriously and allow your body to recover. There is no point working the broken-down muscles again and again—your body will see little or no adaptation.

I used to hammer my workouts every day. I prided myself on being a hard worker and often competed with my teammates at Stanford when I should have been recovering with an easy run. My body could sustain such a training load for a little while, but before we reached the championship portion of our season, I was tired and regressing rather than building fitness. I had a hard time understanding why I was working harder than everyone else and yet seeing the least amount of improvement.

When my pride finally gave way to frustration and I was forced to take my easy days seriously, I gradually began to improve. Now, having observed the best runners in the world, I realize that those with the most confidence run their easy runs the easiest. My coach at Stanford, Vin Lananna, used to say, “Where does the big elephant sit? Wherever it wants.” Don’t let others dictate your pace. Reject the need to compete and to prove yourself on every run. I do a lot of my easy runs with Sara and the other girls on our team because my body is telling me to take it easy.

Learn to pay attention to your body on easy days and hard days. No one else can feel what you are feeling or determine what is best for your body. When I am working out, I constantly ask myself, Am I making a deposit today or a withdrawal? Only you can answer that question.”

Episode 10 – Ricco’s Kitchen Nightmares