Monday 31 October 2011

X/C Running Technique Secrets!

Ever wondered why some runners are better at X/C than road and vice versa?
I was thinking my running style works well on the road but not on the cross country.
Talking about this to Team mate Matt on Saturday he mentioned that he had noticed that good X/C runners had a high knee lift!
I remember a very good runner in our club called Kevin Taylor, he had given me some advice on running over mud, he'd said it was important to work at driving the knees!
On the road the natural stretch-reflex action of the hip flexors means you don't need to think about driving the knees forward BUT on soft surfaces its a different matter.
The mud holds your foot down and slows the forward swing of the leg, driving the knee forward pulls the foot out of the slime and increases leg speed!
I also found this article by Brian Mac on X/c running technique which you might find useful.


As the going is softer and often slippery, the stride length must naturally be shorter. If you use the road-running action, with the heel striking the ground well in front of the body, you are likely to skid. Similarly, if your back leg is to far back, you will lose something in the push-off. A shorter stride requires greater leg speed made more difficult by the fact that there is less elastic return. In road and track running energy is stored by compression of ligaments and tendons in the ankle and knee joints. When running on soft surfaces, much of the energy is lost in compressing the ground underneath, so less is stored in the joints. This means that the runner has to bend the legs slightly more at the knees and ankles and use more effort in straightening them. The athlete will have to make a more deliberate effort to pick the thighs up, which requires more work from the muscles that run from the pelvis to the thigh, and this in turn imposes a greater strain on the abdominal muscles, which have to hold the torso rigid while all this effort is going on.

Where as the efficient road or track runner can glide along relying on bounce and balance to make the work easier, the cross-country runner has to muscle their way along. As the ground beneath their feet is uneven, the runner has to make constant adjustments in balance, using more muscles. Even the angle of the foot will be different. When running on hard surfaces the straight line from heel to toe should be pointing in the direction you are running. On soft surfaces it is necessary to point the toes slightly outwards, so that you slip less. This is less economical than running in a straight line, but the wetter and softer the surface, the more it is necessary.

RicksRunning say; Maybe I shouldn't be giving you all this information, as I guess you could use it against me in the next X/C race!

But I believe in good karma and maybe something good will come my way :0]

P.S. spread the good karma and leave your X/C running tips in the comments section.

Cheers Rick

Sunday 30 October 2011

Arthur Lydiard Training Week 4

The plan was to have 3 weeks of high mileage followed by a lower mileage week to allow full recovery and adaption, then go through the 4 week cycle again.
But as I've got a 1/2 marathon [Lancaster 1/2] next Sunday I decided to leave the easy week until Monday.
UPDATE; Oops, just checked with Keith Livingstone's recommendations and he says during base training have an easier week after every 2 weeks of higher mileage! [No wonder I was starting to feel a little tired and jaded, a lingering cold over the last week should have told me that I was starting to not fully absorb my training. Note to one's self; Must be smarter in the future if I don't want to end up on the great Marathon runners scrapheap ]!
Also this week I decided to run the Beacon Park X/C for training.
I found the race quite tough, the short steep hills and mud make this a very challenging course.
I doubt I pushed much harder than marathon pace as I just didn't have it in my legs to go any harder.
We got 8 guys out with Peter Roome [first back for the club] having a great run to finish 20th, I was way done today in 52nd!
The elite quad went to the Burnley X/C where Ben finished in 21st averaging 5.45 pace, impressive running over grass and mud!
So I'll back off a bit next week replace the one hour at MP with the half Marathon.
Maybe I'll set off at sub 2.45 marathon pace then if things are going good push it in the second half.
Mon Club fartlek session, plus extended run down and back = 2.09
Tue MP run out and back to Busters Lagoon 54.35 [longer loop] plus warm up and down.
Wed Big sand dunes with Ben easy-steady = 2.19
Thur 16 x 10 sec alactic sprints on grass, plus easy sand hill run =1.34
Fri Regeneration run, Hillside loop 60-65% MHR = 33 mins
Sat Beacon Park X/C Race
Sun Velvet trail then S6 with Jon and Sarah easy pace = 1.40
Total for week 9 Hours 47 Mins

Interesting Fact;
Komon's coach Renato Canova stated that more and more young African's are running great marathon times because they already have over 10 years of base training in their legs from running to school and back, plus when they are in there early 20's they have much quicker recovery from the hard training needed to race a marathon!

If you missed The Great South Run [10 miles] watch Komon try to break the 10 mile record HERE

Thursday 27 October 2011

Junk Miles Help You Run Faster!

Article by Steve Magness
A couple somewhat recent studies have come out that help show the importance of easy running. Both were done in Spain on relatively well trained distance runners (in one, performances ranged from about 30-34min for 10k I think).
The original study set out to quantify a group of runners training for two CC races using HR. They split training into 3 HR zones and recorded their HR during all training for 6 months. The 3 zones essentially came down to easy running, threshold type running, and interval/speed type running. It’s more complicated but that makes it easy to think about the training. At the end of the study 75% of the training was done in zone 1, 21% in zone 2, and 8% in zone 3.
The surprising thing was that the ONLY thing that significantly correlated with how an athlete performed was the amount of training done in zone 1. So, the more training in zone 1 an athlete did, the better he tended to perform.

This was obviously surprising since you’d expect that the amount of training in the faster zones would correlate to race improvement since they were racing over 4.1km and 10k. So, they did another study to figure things out.

In the 2nd study, they took a group of runners and split them into two even groups. One group did had a zone distribution 80%, 10%, 10%. While the other had a distribution of 65%, 25%, and 10%. They made sure the training load (calculated based on HR, essentially it is volume X intensity) was equal in both groups. Basically, the 1st group did more easy and steady running, while the 2nd group did more tempo work.
What happened? Both groups improved. That’s good. BUT, the group with more easy running improved even more so. In fact, they improved a statistically significant amount more.
So, what does all of that mean? EASY running, including junk mileage, has a place! It works.

Lastly, let’s look at Moses Mosop’s training prior to the Kenyan XC champs, which he won. For the months of November, Dec, Jan. and Feb. he had the following avg. miles per week: 124, 127, 88, and 125. That’s a lot of running. Let’s look a little deeper at the average training over these four months.

Weekly mileage –AVG= 116.2mpw
Regeneration Mileage (< 6:10/mi)- AVG=52.33%
Basic Aerobic Mileage (6:10/mi ><5:30) AVG= 27.73%
Aerobic Endurance Mileage (5:30-4:50) AVG= 10.7%
Aerobic Power Mileage (4:50- 4:25) AVG= 7.89%
Specific Speed Endurance Mileage ((4:25-0) AVG= 1.02%
Speed (faster than 15” per 100m) AVG= .11%
Short Length Hills (60m >< 150m) AVG=.03%
Medium Length Hills (200m >< 300m) AVG= .19%

Just to compare it to that last study, approximately 80% of Mosop’s training would be in “zone 1”. 10% in zone 2, and 10% in zone 3. Pretty crazy how that works out…
It’s no surprise that his training percentages come out that way. There’s some research that suggests that higher percentages of intense work may suppress the sympathetic NS a bit and effect catecholamine secretion. The important thing though is that because of Mosop’s large base of support on which to work, he can handle more TOTAL work. Thus his total work at the intensities is higher than someone else might be able to handle. Thus, why that someone else can only run 80mpw with similar percentages of intensities while Mosop can handle 120mpw with the intensity.

With all this being said, I think it is very important to look at EACH training session. Look at the progression of the training that Mosop did for example, it’s great, especially the long run progression. Looking at averages just gives us an easier way to look at how an athlete globally trains.
Check out
Moses Mosop's training log [Coached by the legendary Italian Renato Canova] which got him 2nd place at this years amazing Boston Marathon.

How To Run A 2.24 Marathon At Age 46!

His Secret; consistent 100 mile weeks
Tempo Runs and Strides READ MORE

Training Alactic Sprints
Purpose To improve biomechanics,leg speed,strength and running economy.
Keith Livingstones says these short 10 sec sprints can be done year round.
The short duration of the efforts does not cause lactic acid build up so can be safety done during aerobic base building.
Start at 10 strides and over the weeks build to 20 efforts.
16 x 10 sec Alactic strides, one sprint every 400m on grass.
Followed be easy run over the Velvet trail and S5 course.
One hour 32 Mins

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Long Run with Ben And More Improvements!

I got a text from Ben this morning, "Are you going for a Run today, looking for an easy run round the sand dunes?"
Well YES, you'd have to tie me down with a steel cable to stop me running right now, my enthusiasm is that high!
Me and Tess jogged down to the local leisure centre in the early afternoon sunshine to meet with Ben.
It turned out Ben had just recovered from a slight injury so was happy to run at my less than elite pace!
The time soon passed as we chatted and ran up and down the sand dune trails.
It's amazing the difference running with someone else makes, I did not feel tired or fatigued in any way!
But poor Tess after pacing me well on my Marathon Effort run yesterday started to suffer in the closing miles!
Well at almost 70 she's doing well!
= 2 Hours 19 Mins
Marathon Effort Run 80% MHR
Ran the usual out and back sandhill route with Tess chasing my heels on the way out.
At the turn around point she took the lead and bounded off in front, checking behind from time to time to see If I was still hanging on!
Finished about 25 sec faster than last time which gives me a total improvement of about 2 mins [at the same effort] in just over 3 weeks of doing this MP session!

Reading an old book On Greg Lemond's winter training [around 1986] he states that one of the best sessions for improving his fitness is a Sub-threshold one hour motorbike paced ride at 80% MHR.
Well I haven't got a motorbike to pace me but Tess does just as well!
Looking at the rest of his winter training it looks very Lydiard in many ways and Greg went on to win the Tour De France in impressive style that year!

RicksRunning Gets 4,516 Hits in the last 30 Days [New record]!
Summary Chart

Monday 24 October 2011

RicksRunning Upsets Local Club Runners!


I went down to Ainsdale for the clubs weekly fartlek session, only to receive a barrage of abuse from team mates Neil Adshead and Stevie Lewis.
They were not happy with my Standish Trail Race Report.
Neil wanted it known that he had finished only 20 sec behind me and on ONLY 10 Miles running a week!
Neil's [nice bloke that he is] natural ability at X/C running is legendary as to is his lack of willingness to get off his backside and train. As a result he may have wasted much of that talent over the years, which is a great shame!
Having said that I'm more than happy to kick his ass when I can :0]
Stevie felt unhappy that I did not mention every one else in the club that ran and felt I boasted too much about my race.
Ouch :0[
I should point out to Stevie this is not a club website, I did write race reports for the southport club for quite a few years and felt it was time for someone else to do the reporting, this blog is about me and my struggle to run faster than ever before!
I am more than happy to write about people who inspire me and also feature runners who have achieved amazing things-Amanda-Ben and Steve Prentice have been featured here for good reason!
Please read my report again, I do not feel I was boasting about my race performance.
I was just very happy that I felt really good after following Keith Livingstone's Lydiard program.
Hopefully this blog can inspire a few to greater things, to think more about your training and enjoy running!
In the last few weeks I've have had some hostile reactions, for some strange reason when I tell runners I've switched to Lydiard's training methods, I've no idea why? but I really don't care as I know it's the right direction to take and my results will prove them wrong!
P.s. Stevie i think your idea to start your own blog site 'Stevie; Women and Running' is a good one and I will give you a free plug here when it's up and and running, I'm sure it would be far more popular than RicksRunning!

Sunday 23 October 2011

Standish Hall Trail Race And Feeling Good Again!

I ran the Standish Trail race on Saturday with team mates DR Simon,Rob,Paul and Stevie.
It's a fun course with pot holed cart tracks, short steep climbs, some fast flowing descents, forest trails and MUD!
After getting a sore throat on Wed, feeling rotten with a bad stomach on Thur, feeling somewhat better by Fri I had no idea what to expect in the race.
So I looked at it as being a fun day out and take it from there!
Away from the gun I took it easy, as everyone settled down I gradually made my way through the bobbing masses!
As there was a strong headwind I sat in behind a small group until we turned left and up the first hill.
I found I was feeling pretty good, a passed a few runners as I powered my way to the top.
Next a fast downhill before heading into the forest for a magical mystery tour, another hill then out across the edge of a very muddy field.
It was at this point team mate Neil [Dosshead] to his friends caught me up!
I glanced across then kicked up a gear as we started the second lap.
This time I really motored up the hill then kicked again across the top.
I was feeling the best I've felt for a long long time.
I'm now starting to get aerobically fit as apposed to having good anaerobic fitness with a poor aerobic base!
Big difference I felt fantastic, pushing close to the limit it felt almost effortless, it was very uplifting to feel this way, very joyful!
It's a pity everyone doesn't understand 'THE SECRET' of building a solid aerobic base first before smashing out gut wrenching 400's that will burn you out and make you fry!
Lydiard says after 12 weeks of aerobic training you will be in a 'Tireless State' where nothing will wear you down and your energy levels will be boundless!
All I can say is the training works and racing will feel FUN again!
I finished the last lap still full of energy, crossing the line a happy 16th.
I'm still way off top fitness but in just 3 weeks I've gone from a burned out anaerobic mess, who had trouble getting out of bed and was suffering with depression to a happy aerobically fit person again :0]
There was a great turn out by the club with Steve Wilko 7th and Steve Mclean 13th and I think the girls won the team prize too.
Thanks Paul and Wigan Phoenix Great race!

Arthur Lydiard Training Week 3
Mon club fartlek session, plus ran down and back = 1 hour 52 mins
Tue MP session [80% MHR] Busters Lagon out and back= 54.20
Wed Long Run big sandhills-pinewoods = 2.15
Thur Alactic leg speed session, 12 x 10 sec strides every 400m then finished with a easy run over the dunes =1.32
Fri regeneration run 60-65% MHR Hillside loop =32 mins
Sat Standish Trail race 16th 42.27 plus warm-up
Sun Regeneration run, Velvet trail,then S6 loop with Jon = 1.40
Total For Week 9 Hours 40Mins

Thursday 20 October 2011

Amanda Crook 2.55 Debut Marathon Sensation Talks Of Her Training And Racing!

Amanda Crook Chester marathon 2.55.46

I started running aged 8 or 9 participating in primary school Cross Country events. When I was
growing up my dad used to enjoy running regularly so I couldn't wait
until I was old enough to go with him! After constant pestering
he finally agreed to take me on his Saturday morning run from our
house in Upholland. We ran approximately 6miles over the Beacon to
Dalton church and back! Although i found this experience hard and
probably a bit far for my first proper run I instantly loved
I continued to run through high school competing in interschool cross
country winning most of these events. However I have always been a
nervous competitor so when it came to progressing to English School
level I was always to scared to compete. During my last year at High
School I overcame these nerves with the encouragement of my Dad and
competed in the school level trials for the Lancashire Cross Country
team and was surprised to finish 6th securing my position in the
Lancashire team.
At this stage although I had never been a member of a running club I
had kept fit by playing school team sports and occasionally running
over the beacon with my dad.
To prepare for the English schools I started running 4 to 5 miles
every other day. I came 134 in that race, feeling very disappointed I
gave up running until the age of 19.
On reflection i think my position was very good considering my
training, maturity level and extreme nervousness but to a 15 year old
girl with little experience it was awful.

I started running again aged 19 during the summer break in my first
year of university as I was feeling unfit and being a 19year old girl
wanted to lose weight! I entered the Liverpool 10k (2005) for
motivation and met Rob Berry for the 1st time. Rob was studying the
same course as me at edge hill we started running together and he
encouraged me to join SWAC. My running developed from there.

I decided to run Chester mainly for an aim and meaning to my training,
Liverpool was run on the same day but Chester had experience of running a
marathon and this being my debut I didn't want any problems on race day.
A typical week running for me consists of an average of 50 - 60
miles I run between 5-6 times a week including a long run up to 2hrs.
All my running is paced on feel and is generally relaxed.
In preparation for Chester i increased my mileage and long runs to a
maximum of 3hrs.
The ten weeks prior look like this.

10 - 70miles, including a 2h20 long run
9 - 50miles, on the very hilly cliffs of Devon
8 - 70miles
7 - 80m including a 2h30
6 - 70m including a 3hr
5 - 70m including a 2hr
4 - 65m including a 3hr and a 5.5k road relays race in 19.23
3 - 60m including a very hilly Garstang half marathon in 1h26.19
(slower than half way in Chester)
2 - 70m
1 - 25m

Race Day
As i do not train at a specific pace i had no idea what to expect and
with a very slow time at Garstang the initial 3hr barrier seemed all
the more a challenge. I decided to run on feel, reading the advice
Rick gave on his blog for the Liverpool runners i thought run 10 miles easy
get to half way cruising, 20miles in as good shape possible then all
out the last 6.
Anyone who has run Chester will no that the first and last few miles
are hilly with the middle 20 being perfectly flat. I took one energy
gel in my pocket and would take a drink at each station.
Setting of at 6.30 pace for the first 3miles felt so easy, I must of
slowed as i remember hitting 10 miles in 1h05 although i felt fine my
legs did feel a bit fatigued. I was taking the drinks provided
cruising along with a couple of men sheltering behind them from the
wind then all of a sudden at 12miles my legs were feeling heavy! I tried to stay
relaxed by slowing a bit but this caused me to fall off the back of the
group, from then on i was on my own. At this point i thought get to half way then
consume the energy gel. At half way i took the first taste of my
lucosade gel, having never had one of these i was shocked at the
disgusting taste and consistency.
I got through the second half feeling tired but under control, i
focused on getting to each drinks station then taking 2-3 mouthfuls
of gel and washing it down with water. i could feel the energy fill
my body each time, only to start flagging just before the
next station.
After the last station i squeezed the remaining scraps of gel out of
the tube drank as much water i could and focused on the last three
miles to the finish line.
As i came in to the race course a marshal managed to send me the wrong
way! I quickly got back on track and crossed the line in 2h55.46 i was
amazed that i had actually completed the distance and achieved sub
I am very lucky to have the instant knowledge and experience of Rob at
home and i know that if i want to improve i need to listen to him more!
I am also very lucky and fully appreciate the support i have from Rob
as he always takes time out of his working day to allow me to train
while he watches our 19month old son Richard, I would not be able to
train and race without this support.

Thank you for reading

Amanda Crook

RicksRunning Writes: Congrats on a brilliant first ever marathon Amanda.

To put her run into context on the same day at the Liverpool Marathon ONLY one guy from The Southport Waterloo Team ran a faster time than her!

She kicked some serious ass!

So now both Amanda and Ben have Championship places at The London Marathon 2012, great news for the future of the club :0]

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Runners High!

Arthur Lydiard marathon Training Week 3

Big Improvement!
Marathon Pace Sub-Threshold Run
The wind was howling outside, not a good day for my long marathon paced run my subconscious mind kept nagging me!
This was the 3rd time I've run this session and I was sure the wind would slow me by a minute or more.
Heading out into the wind with Tess sheltering behind me I kept to marathon effort [not pace], I kept my breathing steady, the effort felt good and relaxed!
Reaching the tops of some of the bigger sand dunes the wind almost blew me over on more than one occasion.
After turning around at the half way point [Busters Lagoon] Tess took the lead and bounded off in front of me.
It was good to have someone to follow, we got into a groove and rode the trails back home.
With the wind on my shoulder progress was good.
With the final 3/4 of a mile on the road our pace quickened to 6-6.10 pace.
Tess paced me well and in shocking conditions we ran over a minute faster than last week with the same effort!
This Lydiard training is magic!
MP Session
Week one = 55.49
Week two = 55.29
Week three = 54.20
Sub-threshold Runs [MP pace]
Keith Livingstone told me Lydiards boys would do this session over 10 miles on the road, starting at about 62 mins and being able with the same effort after 8 weeks base training to drop their times down to 55 mins !
These sessions are the safest way to push up your aerobic threshold, faster tempo runs [10K-15K pace] should be saved for the final four weeks of your marathon
training to bring you to a peak!

Saturday 15 October 2011

Running In The Shadow Of Lydiards Waitakere Mountains

Arthur Lydiard Base Training Week 2
Got inspired to do a pretty serious hill run after listening to a 3 hour training talk by Arthur Lydiard and Peter Snell
My run round Parbold and Harrock hill inc 5 climbs and the route took me over road trail grass and MUD!
Keith Livingstone says in his book 'Healthy intelligent Training' that you may start to feel tired by the end of the second week, but don't worry the body will soon adapt and things will improve quickly!
Well Id felt great until Friday night where at work I suddenly was hit with a feeling of overwhelming fatigue!
After a short 4 hours in bed I headed off to Parbold for my version Of Lydiards Waitakere Mountains.
My aim was to keep to 70-75% MHR [maybe a bit higher on the climbs] for the distance.
As I got into the 3rd climb I hit some seriously deep mud that almost sucked my New Balance 101's off my feet!
It was about this point when my energy started to slip away,.
Keith recommends doing the long runs without taking gels or energy drinks so you train the body to burn fat and become more efficient.
But I still had an hour to run, would I make it ?
Once I got on the road again I seemed to pull around and find a new supply of energy, maybe my body was now switching to fat burning mode, whatever I was motoring again and hitting 75% MHR for the roller coaster road loop to the finish.
Not quite Lydiards 22 miles but 17.4 miles and 2000 ft of climbing will do for now!
Sandhill 6 with Sarah and Jon, plus ran down and back at 60-65% MHR = 1 hour 21 mins
Parbold-Harrock Hill =2 hours 19 mins
Regeneration run 60-65% MHR Hillside loop =33 mins
Warm-up then 10 X 10 sec sprints [leg speed session] on grass, one sprint every 400m with full recovery, followed by some easy running = 1 hour 30 mins
Big sandhills run at 70-75% MHR = 1 hour 32 mins
Marathon effort [80% MHR] Sandhills Busters Lagoon, out and back run = 55.29
Club Fartlek session, ran down and back = 1 hour 42 mins

Total 9 Hours 27 Mins of running for the week

Recommended Reading

Running Into Obsession: The Church of Arthur Lydiard


It sets us apart from the common man because we are in touch with our true spirit! Quote RicksRunning 2011

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Running back to the future!

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Sunday 9 October 2011

2.39 Is Possible At London Marathon!

How Lydiard Would Approach Marathon Preparation Click Here
Talking to Keith Livingstone by way of email has changed my belief in what I can achieve at London next year.
After hearing that I have done little in the way of aerobic base training over the years makes him think that I have a big room for improvement.
He said I should not think of aiming at 2.45 but think bigger and go for 2.39.
Thinking back I guess there were only two years I ever did something like Lydiard base training., 2003 when I set many of my P.B.s 21.31 for 4 miles, 27.11 for 5 miles and 57.28 for 10 miles, these times on the McMillan calculator do give me a 2.40 marathon!
Also when I started this blog back in 2007 I tried to follow lydiards training methods, I didn't have all the info I needed but I still had an amazing period where race after race went extremely well, until I started adding in hard interval sessions, first I stopped improving then burned out and went back to being a very average runner!
It seems I have been given another chance to find out what I can really do, thanks to Keith I'm starting to understand how the Lydiard method works and how I can turn this broken down misfiring single cylinder lawn mower engine into a high powered aerobic sub 6 cruising rocket!

Week One Arthur Lydiard base training
Decided to rest after a very poor 10K race :0[
Marathon paced effort up to one hour
Set off on the road with Tess at about 6.20 pace, to make it FUN we heade3d out over the sand dune trail on an out and back course.
Reached half way in 29 mins.
we had the wind on our backs coming home, kept a good steady effort going [felt good] last 3/4 on road where we easily hit 6.20 pace again! + 55.49
Big sand dunes with Tess, kept heart rate at 70-75 % of max = 1.35
Fartlek [speed play] session, two laps Hillside loop.
Putting in efforts up and down the small hills and flats = 58 mins
Regeneration Run at 60-65% of MHR = 33 mins
Big sandhills and pinewoods with Tess.
70-75% MHR, felt OK up to last 30 mins where I ran out of energy and started burning fat = 2 hours 13 mins
sandhill 6 with Jon and Tess, ran to start and back = 1.23
Arthur Lydiard states that a fit working adult can handle 10-12 hours of good aerobic running plus any extra easy 60-65% MHR running that can be fitted in!
After an old lady came up to Arthur Lydiard at a lecture he was giving saying she'd just run a 100 miles in the week, but that she'd found it very hard to achieve because it had taken her 20 hours! Arthur changed his training programmes from miles to hours!
My plan is to start at 8 hours running with a gradual build up to 10-12 hours.

Liverpool Marathon Results

results for Stevie Lewis 3.40.50 chip time



Chester Marathon

4th Amanda Crooke 2.55

Johnny Fandango-Bananas with his 3:18.28. estimate wins as he is the closest!

RESULTS for other Southport runners at Liverpool

M Clarehugh (8th) 2.48.05

M Ashby 3.04.58

M Nelson 3.23.16

W Tansley 3.27.01

T Hanley 3.36.44

S Lewis 3.40.50

P Tinsley 3.43.08

C Pedder 3.44.48

N Silcock 3.47.41

P Boyd 3.55.40

Rachel Jacks 3.55.51

J Brooker 3.55.36

Sue Stewart 4.01.14

Helen Lavelle 4.05.56

M Cunningham 4.12.00

Mary O’Brien 4.17.44

C Jones 4.19.03

I Kilshaw 4.19.03

Patricia Blyth 4.21.01

M Davies 4.32.09

Margaret Cooke 4.37.20

Rebecca Dennehy 4.38.35

Racel Thomas 4.42.43

D Marsh 4.47.33

Gill Shandley 4.40.17

J Vis 4.56.57

Thursday 6 October 2011

Liverpool Marathon And Race Day Tips For First Time Marathon Runners!

OK Guys
I just thought I'd give you Marathon virgins a few tips on how to run your best race!
Count the miles down instead of up , start at mile 26 and work your way down, subtracting the miles instead of adding them really has a positive effect on your mind.
Don't race 26.2 miles all in one go, split it into nice easy to chew mile segments, concentrate on one mile at a time. Take your lap time each mile and work to achieve your desired pace just for that mile. This helps you stay in the 'NOW' and help you avoid thinking ahead and worrying about what might or might not happen later on in the race.
For the first 10 miles it should feel like your holding yourself back, if you feel like your trying really hard and your breathing is labored or raged BACK OFF your going too FAST!
Listen to your body, does your planned race pace feel right on the day, if not adjust to what feels right!
Most seasoned Marathon runners will tell you the race starts at 20 miles, this is very true, you MUST get to that point in good shape.
Think like your driving a car with a limited fuel supply, to get to your destination you MUST conserve as much energy as possible. Stay relaxed but focused, avoid tension in your face-shoulders and hands, no clenched fists please!
Don't worry if you see other runners sprint off at the start, run your own race, keep it controlled!
As you tire remember to keep good posture, run tall, hips and chest pushed slightly forward.
Don't let your hips drop back [Arthur Lydiard called this sitting in a bucket] as this will cause you to land to0 far in front of your G.O.G and slow you down as well as increasing the pounding to your body.
Remember to take your gels and take regular sips of water at every station.
Think of your favourite 6 mile training course, not so far to go!
Now is the time you must by strong, keep pushing, keep thinking just how much this will mean to you at the end of the race!
Keep ticking the miles off one by one.
Mile 26, almost there, job almost done!
Smile at the start and smile at the end, enjoy it, this is a special day!

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Great Langdale Mountain Marathon Champion Steven Prentice Writes For RicksRunning On His Training And Race Victory

Hello - Rick,

I have put some words together with a quick description of how I managed Langdale this year.....


Langdale Training Plan

It was a surprise to me to win the Great Langdale Marathon, and I didn't really have a specific training plan for the race to write about. My philosophy with running is to enter a race each month in the year to give me a focus and reason to put my trainers on when it is raining. Langdale marathon was my 19th race for the year, the 2 races previously being the Great North Run one week before the marathon and the Great Scottish Run, half marathon 3 weeks before it. I got a Personal Best half marathon time in the Scottish one (1:17:23). I have completed Langdale 4 times previously and knowing the course and my recent times I was aiming to finish 5 minutes quicker than last time, in 3:10 and maybe based on previous results this would get me near a 3rd place.

Overall my goal this year is to have completed 3 or 4 marathons, and my training up until May was building and maintaining a good stamina base with typically 2 club sessions a week (a long session (up to 3 miles) and a speed session (up to 1 1/2 miles)) depending on the whim of the coach, with two or three, 10km training runs, and races. Paces for these sessions would be as hard as possible for the club sessions and the 10km runs at a target pace of 10mph, or 6 minute miles. This early training allowed my to completed the Edinburgh Marathon in 2:53 in May.

In June I became a dad for the first time which is brilliant but does cut down on the amount of time I can spend on long runs. June being a critical month for a marathon in October, 4 months before race day is the time I should be increasing my training, sleep deprived and spending time with the baby isn't a good start. The base I had built for Edinburgh worked well though and I have managed to carry the fitness through to October with the reduced training.

In June my training has changed, instead of getting the train home after work I have made my commute home as my training, and one run at the weekend - a race, 5km 'parkrun' or a long Sunday morning run. The shortest run home is 2.2 miles and with added loops and extra bits this can take the route home up to 6 or 7 miles, I run 4 times a week after work plus one night a week a double session with a run home and then the club session - the other club session has turned into baby bath time!! In April I bought some Vibram five fingers barefoot shoes which I have added into my training. The commute I do with a few pounds of work clothes in a backpack

That is how I arrived at my training for the Langdale Marathon and a typical week in the 16 weeks leading up to the Marathon would be something like this:

Monday: Short run, 2.2 to 3.5 miles in Vibram five fingers

Tuesday: 4 miles in trainers

Wednesday: 6 to 7 miles in trainers

Thursday: 2.2 miles in Vibram five fingers then a club session (shorter speed work)

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Parkrun or Rest

Sunday: Long run, Race or Rest. The rest depends if I ran on the Saturday

Sunday Long Runs:

1 week before: Half Marathon race

2 Weeks before: 10 miles, marathon pace

3 weeks before: Half Marathon Pace

4 weeks before: 16 miles marathon pace

5 to 16 weeks before: 10km runs or 5km Parkruns on Saturday

This has been giving me a meagre weekly mileage of about 20 to 25 miles for most of the time. July and August had me running only 2 other races, a 7km race and a 10k race though June I competed in a series of 4 races (12 place in the last 10k out of about 1000 – just showing off there)

After the 2 half marathons I rested on the Monday and Tuesday (taking the train home), and then carried on with running home from work.


This is as important I think as running miles and miles for the marathon. Make sure your fuel tank is full before you set off and you can go further before the body says to slow down and refuel (hitting the wall). Generally I eat well. For the week leading up to the marathon there is a lot written about carbo loading, however for that week I look at it as if I need to fill my fuel tank to the brim - so I will just eat bigger portions of my usual food... forget large plates of plain pasta, cous cous and rice with a disproportionate amount of meat to go with it - just make mine a larger portion of everything for that week - my view on carbo loading is that it is fine if you stick to it by the letter bit for the average runner they arn't going to do that - for the week before a marathon, don't change anything including what you eat. The morning of a marathon I enjoy a bacon and egg bun, cup of coffee and as a concession to runners, a bag of jelly babies. This years Langdale was no exception with a real bacon and egg bun in the little chef - the egg yolk did run down my arm properly.

During the race I carried 8 energy gels. These have about 100 calories or 1 mile of energy in them, the wall happens at about miles 18 to 21 where the body runs out of energy so I reckon I need 6 to 8 extra miles of energy with me - I took 1 gel every 4 miles for the first 14 and then every 3 miles after that, leaving 1 spare for emergencies. Langdale marathon is old school in a way that the water stops are just that - water, no sports drinks, electrolytes, or anything fancy, just 3 smiling faces and a plastic beaker of water - anything else you have to carry and take the litter home again.

And did it work? Well I think something worked on the Saturday, I felt good all the way and was told that I looked strong at the half way point, I pretty much led from the top of 'Rocket Rods Pass', and would have been 7th in the half marathon! I was overtaken at about mile 17 but pulled the distance back and at mile 22 we were running together until mile 24 1/2 where I managed to pull away on the deceptive hill at Chapel Style and was stronger to the finish. So something worked well for me.


I like to pretend that I am invincible like we all do, and tried to run on the Tuesday which resulted in 2 legs with very tight tendons, Wednesdays 2 mile run home was aborted after a mile and I rested until the Monday, 8 days after the race where I did a 3 mile run home feeling OK (tired from no sleep but running felt good). And what next, well Langdale was marathon 2 for the year, marathon 3 is two weeks afterwards and I am feeling recovered to think I can have another good go at a marathon, though sensible head says to run round with another from my club and enjoy the day - I have already got a good marathon result under my belt this year and don't need to push hard as much now. The next big goal is to do something I will never have chance to do ever again and that is to run a race as a defending champion!! I will try very hard to defend my win next year and to see a better runner take the win - and they deserve it, anyone who can complete that course has done something quite special and very very hard.

And that is how I arrived in the form that I did to win the Langdale Marathon, I hope you find it an interesting read and if I can leave with one but of advice.... try your hardest to win a race because it really, really did feel good,

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Arthur Lydiard Training Program With Heart Rate Values And Win A Arthur Lydiard Training Book!

Yesterday I got a comment from Neil as to how fast do you run the long run when Lydiard base training, the best answer I've found comes from Keith Livingstone of HEALTHY INTELLIGENT TRAINING' read his great article Here

Competition WIN the book Healthy Intelligent Running.

It's one of the best books going on how to train the Lydiard way and I'm giving one NEW copy away to the person who guesses the following.
Team mate Stevie Lewis is running the Liverpool Marathon on Sunday, it will be his first ever marathon.
He's been running for two years and ran a P.B. for 10k last week 37.24 and he also ran a 1.25 1/2 marathon on a hilly course a few weeks back.
So just guess his Liverpool Marathon finish time correctly[leave your estimated time in the comments link below] and you could WIN! Competition closes Sunday morning before race start.

More News
Steven who won The Great Langdale Marathon has written a fantastic article for Ricksrunning, on his training and how he won the race.
Read it here tomorrow!

The Coach Of International Mountain Runner Tim Davies Talks Endurance Conditioning!

British coach, Colin Livingstone
Colin was a competitive distance runner in New Zealand, representing Auckland in national competition over road and cross-country from the 1970’s to the early 1990’s. He relished fast ‘bush running’ on the wild hilly tracks of Auckland’s west coast, long before the days of mountain running as an official sport. He coaches British and Welsh champion, Tim Davies, a three-time winner of the annual Snowdon International Mountain Race, and top performer at European and World level. Tim went from being 15th in Britain to 5th in the world within three years of this progressive endurance conditioning.

Many British runners today have subscribed to the formula of effort=improvement instead of effort+recovery+ relaxed running=improvement. Several years ago, I read in Athletics Weekly how a British International, running near 47 minutes for 10 miles, with a marathon around 2hrs14, was going to ‘drop training 120 miles a week at 6.30 a mile, and run 80 at 6.00 or better’. His rationale was that the ‘heavier’ mileage left him ‘tired and heavy’.

Therefore, if you are 10 minutes slower than Gebresellassie and know the best marathon runners in the world are running lots of supplementary running along with faster work, perhaps upwards of 150 miles a week…then why would you think that you are going to have a better chance …or that dropping 50 miles a week is somehow going to get you under 2 hrs 10 ? The Marathon is all about distance and endurance.

So, our British friend drops the training because he ‘feels tired’ when Gebreselassie and the Kenyans run it anyway, regardless of being tired, raising 6 kids in a mud hut, occasional packs of wild animals,a full day’s work reaping corn…or any other ‘obstacle’ that comes their way. Endurance running, above all, is about endurance…the ability to resist and endure. So, how can one be a distance runner without putting in resistance and endurance, the ability to run through tiredness ? Gebreselassie runs mileage, knowing that he can run still run 46 minutes for 10 miles when in heavy training…and well under 45 with a bit of peaking. Kevin Ryan, a great distance runner in New Zealand, could, if required, run a ‘heavy’ 49 minutes for a club 10 miles at the end of a 150 mile week, knowing full well that by tapering for a few weeks, he was actually capable of 47 over a tough, hilly course.

This British guy also named half a dozen other athletes he trained with on a regular basis.He did not consider the idea that his natural competitiveness and training with other good runners may have seen ‘recovery days’ become steady or faster running…gradually sapping glycogen, iron and ferritin stores, because he was not allowing his body to adapt and recover.Therefore, the slower, relaxed mileage is blamed, instead of the unnecessary, faster mileage.

At the time, I said to Tim that although this bloke would feel light and nippy on his feet for a few months, that by dropping the longer relaxed, ‘mitochondrial’ aerobic runs, his 47 minute 10 mile would go to 49, then 50…and instead of reaching that 2hrs10 marker for the marathon, he’d run 2hrs20 out on his feet.That is exactly what happened…

Now, to get to brass tacks…an idea of winter training

Your mission is to build yourself up, not drag yourself down. You want to reach your potential , thrive on your training and look forward to every session. Winter is about strength and getting the work in.Like Mo Farah, El Guerrouj or Bekele…you embrace the necessary.

One idea would be a varied cycle of weeks, with plenty of variety and differing terrains, in order to build a substantial base. It takes at least 6 weeks of progressive aerobic conditioning in order to adapt, but 12 or 18 weeks is far, far better. IMAGINE HOW STRONG you would be after 18 weeks of miles, followed by 6 weeks of hill springing…before the spring and summer racing season started !

I suggest something like the following. REMEMBER THIS IS TRAINING NOT STRAINING !


A long, relaxed run over varying terrain, forests and hills of 2 hrs and 30 minutes, perhaps longer. DO NOT RUN HARD. This does not need to be at pace, as time on your feet will develop the mitochondrial, cellular development that we are after. You want to feel invigorated, worked yet good at the end, perhaps looking forward to that cup of tea and hot shower. A lot of runners do not realise this is the benchmark of many champions. You know in the early days that these runs are doing their major job when you finish on “tired, heavy legs”. Later, you trot around with nothing like that fatigue, and faster usually, as you naturally progress.


a RELAXED run over 70-90 minutes. If you can afford twice a day training, perhaps an easy 70 minute run in the morning, followed by an easy 30-40 minutes in the evening, with 12-15 x relaxed 60-70 metre stride outs on grass.


PM Warm up for 15-20 minutes, then run for an hour at a steady, strong pace, not racing or time trial….but at a comfortable strong pace that is well below the anaerobic threshold where one starts to get out of breath. You want to get back pleasantly tired, knowing you’ve done a solid block of work that will challenge the higher aerobic systems without overdoing it. Remember, it is very safe and sure to push up your “anaerobic threshold” up from below. For a 50 minute 10 miler, 58 to 60 minute pace might be okay , no need to run quicker than 55 at this stage ! You should feel strong and invigorated, with plenty in the tank. After 6 weeks, the 58-60 pace might come down to 55 or 57 without any perceptible effort, after 12 weeks…you may run 53 to 55…but you do not want this run to become a time trial. At the end of the conditioning phase, a 50 minute 10 miler looking to run 48-49 may well run a strong aerobic Tuesday session in 53. No need to run any faster for this session to fulfil its purpose…which is to develop your higher aerobic zones and ‘anaerobic threshold’ by steadily “pushing it up, from below.” .

Again, perhaps a morning jog of 30 minutes if time allows.


A relaxed longer run of at least 1 hrs 30, perhaps up to 2 hrs if you want, in a forest. Today is about longer recovery, flushing the system, invigorating and stimulating the aerobic system…putting money in the bank !


AM Easy 30-40 minute jog.

PM Warm up for 15-20 minutes over a good forest trail, golf course, grassy park or similar…then perhaps run 12-15 x relaxed 60-70 metre stride outs …like you are running for a bus, not sprinting after Usain Bolt. Plenty of easy jogging after each; maybe do one stride a lap on a grass track or sports field. This is alactic (without lactic acidosis), developing relaxed speed and turnover, good mechanics and balance, without endangering the aerobic system with the cumulative sprint fatigue you would get with 150 metres, for example. Anything over 10 seconds in length starts to wander into the lactic acid system for most athletes. However, most athletes can stride 60 metres at near top speed, alactically, many times over, without entering the lactic system too much.

After warm up of 15-20 minutes, then run 30-40 minutes of relaxed, invigorating fartlek, perhaps rolling, hilly bursts with efforts of 2-3 minutes, mixing it up in an enjoyable, varied pace session. This stimulates your aerobic capacity and develops your VO2 in a fun manner. You could do next week’s session over hills, but those 2-3 minute injections of high aerobic pace are what create the desired reaction. The ideal workbout should not exceed 3 minutes at 3000 metre pace…in order to create a powerful running stimulus. Jog a 10 minute warm down afterwards.


Relaxed run of an hour, any reasonable surface.


After warm up of 15-20 minutes, then perhaps run 12-15 x relaxed 60-70 metre stride outs. Jog for 5 minutes, then do one of the following sessions. I have plenty of other variations, but these will start the system response for now. NOTE: the uphill efforts are on very long steep hills in Wales, home of fell-running. So long as you work the uphill efforts hard, you’re developing VO2 max without running at the high speeds usually associated with it.

1 Race tempo practice run of 15-20 minutes (3-4 miles) on good, firm surface, at pace between 10k or 10 miles race speed. 5k is a good distance, so if you are a 30-31 minute 10k man, a 15.30 to 15.40 is reasonable. Warm down jog of 15 minutes. As you get in better condition, towards 12-18 weeks, this could get whittled down to 15 minutes without any perceptible increase of effort. This is quite a tough session, somewhere between anaerobic threshold and Vo2 max pace, but if there’s plenty of steady aerobic all around it during the week, it’ll just be a good “toughener”. Club races have a similar conditioning effect.

2 Fartlek session. After warm up of 15-20 minutes, then run 30-40 minutes of relaxed, invigorating fartlek, perhaps rolling, hilly bursts with efforts of 1-2-3-5 minutes, equal recovery or whatever it takes to get comfortable again, mixing it up in an enjoyable, varied pace session. Jog a 10-15 minute warm down afterwards.

3 Hill VO2 session.After warm up of 15-20 minutes, then run 15 x 60 metres stride outs…followed by 6 x 3 minutes uphill, perhaps a 25% to 30% climb, with recovery of perhaps a minute to 90 seconds. Uphill VO2 works the entire aerobic system without tearing muscle fibres. Alternating this with leg speed is a great, stimulating, invigorating session. Tim’s Todleth cross country course or our Pant Glas road session are good.

4 Hill VO2 session.After warm up of 15-20 minutes, then run 15 x 60 metres stride outs…followed by 3 x 8 minutes uphill, perhaps a 25% to 30% climb, with recovery of perhaps 3 MINUTES MAX.

5 Club race or pack run, not exceeding 10k at full pelt. Any efforts at this stage are purely ‘development runs’ or time trials that push the development of the energy systems above anaerobic threshold intensity.

6 After warm up of 15-20 minutes, then perhaps run 12 x relaxed 60-70 metre stride outs. Jog for 5 minutes, then “VO2 run” of approximately 8 minutes (OR 3000 METRES) on good, firm surface, at your best, well judged pace. This run should only be used once a month in winter conditioning as a stimulus…then more regularly as a pure VO2 session or time trial in lieu of a race, while sharpening up to a peak.

Tim may run this in 8.38 in the middle of winter mileage, yet come down to 8.20 in the summer. Before 5th in the World champs, he ran 8.29, 8.26 and 8.23 with 3 days relaxed running and stride outs between each, over a final two week taper. In the final few days, he ran an easy 2k around 4.45 to 4.50 mile pace…as a bit of an effort without risk, whilst counting down the hours.

Later, he ran an 8.16, an 8.14 and an 8.12 on an accurate road loop course before winning Snowdon and top European performances. I feel he was right on the ‘knife edge’ with these performances in training, however. My recommendation is 95-% of that intensity in future i.e a strong 8.25 in training will not take any edge off a race, where an 8.14 might, for a world-class mountain runner.

Hope this all makes sense, READ FULL ARTICLE

Sunday 2 October 2011

Lydiard Training Starts Next Week!

I got a reply back from coach Marius Bakken and he said;
Hi Rick,

Good to hear from you and that you are ready for another shot at 2:45 !

I think your plan makes sense. A structured approach with Lydiard, leading into the 100 day plan. Especially as you have quite a bit of experience with the plan at this time and would likely be able to go through it even stronger with a bit of a wider base to it.

In addition to this, pay attention to the self-massage part I talk about in the 100 day plan. This is powerful stuff if you do it at a regular basis.

I wish you all the best of luck,

kind regards,

The story of Arthur Lydiard [click on page to enlarge]

Arthur Lydiard was so far ahead of his time it's almost mind blowing, check out this interview below [1996], in the last section he talks about minimal running shoes and how they will make you FASTER!