How to develop three capacities to run a good marathon
How to develop three capacities to run a good marathon. From Long Runs, Tempo Runs and Interval Training
How to select a marathon training plan
How to select a marathon training plan and where to look to find four good ones.
AudioFuel - Long Runs
What is a Long Run? A steady tempo, slower than race pace run to help build endurance.
AudioFuel make 3 long run programmes. Each takes you up to a 2 hour long run. They come with music written for running to with a fast uplifting tempo and coaching. Every 10 minutes you get a time alert to help you add time and distance each week.
Use Run Easy for a target time of around 5 hours (walk and jog)
Use Run Free for a target time of around 4 hours (run the whole marathon)
Use Run Wild for a faster run of less than 3.5 hours.
Top 15 Reasons to Run
Created by the Runiverse.com
Pennine Etape Review 2012
Summary: Very hard, very hilly and very pretty.
One of the wonderful things about my enthusiasm is finding myself in the middle of an adventure I might have not fully understood.
So I was chatting over a drink with Charles Jefferson from IMG at an Olympics do and he casually mentioned he was putting a team of six together for the Pennine Etape and did I want to join in?
I said yes and didn't think much more about it, other than it would be good to finish race season with a nice bike ride. Though I had not ridden an etape before, I figured I was pretty fit and had done a long hilly ride at a triathlon training camp earlier in the year. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for.
The Marie Curie Pennine Epate, is a 78 mile (or 125k) ride in County Durham. It has 9 climbs (it feels like more) with a total official ascent of 2313m. The route had one sprint stage and one king of the mountain stage.
It's harder than it looks. And it looks hard.
The organisers posted a picture on Facebook in the day or so before the gun went of the view from the top of one of the climbs. So I knew were were in for some breathtaking views if the weather was kind.
Another stunning view, just one of so many.
It turned out that booking six bikes on a train is almost impossible, so one of our team, Duncan, kindly offered to turn his family car into team bus and support vehicle for the weekend.
We drove up on Saturday having booked to stay at the Radisson Blu hotel in Durham.
Are they still on the roof?
We arrived at registration Saturday early evening and picked up race numbers, there was a small village so last minute purchases could be made easily. The guys manning the shops had said though it had been a bright and sunny day, it had been cold in the morning.
The BBC website had said it would be four degrees in the morning warming to eleven degrees by noon, with bright skys, so that looked like almost perfect conditions.
BBC Weather. Usually a lie.
A 5am alarm was planned to give us time to eat, rack the bikes back on the car and travel to the start line ready for a 7:18 wave start.
As it turned out, there was a bit of a jam parking up, so we missed the start time, but as waves were going every 2 minutes it was easy to use the portaloo one more time before slotting in and joining a later wave.
Start to feed station 1 at 15 miles
Our team fast man Rich set of quickly, whilst the five slower riders began together. The sun was just coming up as we left, but the roads were mostly in shadow. It was cold, crisp and autumnal. And from the very start the countryside was incredibly pretty. Scene after scene of chocolate box views, just lovely.
About 5 mins after we had left my training partner Sarah announced her first mistake of not wearing full gloves as as she could no longer feel her fingers, so she upped the pace to warm up and we left Charles, Duncan and Adam to catch up.
The route had markers every 5 miles and at 15 miles was the first food station. I was hoping for a bacon butty but in the event it was shortbread biscuits and bananas (there would be lots of those). Just as Sarah and I were leaving the guys rode in, so after a short stop we set of in our five again.
To feed station 2 at 35 miles
We had been warned to take the first 40 miles easy as the route got harder and hillier from there onwards, so we rode at around 20 mph trying not to put too much out. Personally my dodgy left knee was beginning to ache by about half way so I was getting a bit worried.
The second feed station was at High Force, I had visited there yesrs ago, and as we got closer we saw glimpses of the River Tees below, yet more magnifcent views brightly lit by clear blue skys.
Sarah and I pulled in for fuel (another biscuit and banana), and the guys were only 5 minutes behind us so in the end we took nearly a 20 minute breather. The triathlete in me enjoyed a leisurly transistion, and much needed stretch.
How many hills? Sarah gets the info at feed 2.
King of the mountain
From this point onwards the route is mostly up (getting hot) and down (getting cold). Occasionally it is flat. Occasionally with a capital O.
Then you ride round the corner and you see a big hill, except in real life it looks bigger and longer. Photo from Etape Facebook Page
I rode this section with Adam, it was great to ride with him and chat (before we hit the hill), and stick to his wheel on the way up, grinding along with a steady cadence, with just the sound of breathing hard in and out in and out in and out...
The second half was harder, hillier and sometimes very very fast
The second half of the ride was amazing.
Endless climbs - with the occasional 18% kick thrown in for fun (!) and descents that were so so fast.
I think I'm good downhill, but I was not brave enough to sail down hands off brakes here, closed roads (yea!) made it OK to use the full width of the road, taking the racing line and feeling like Jenson Button.
The way down the the mountain my Garmin later told me (I was too scared to look) I hit 73 kph.
There was a crossing point right at the bottom of the hill and we all came to a stop, so I checked my wheel rims. They were hot to the touch.
I over heard one younger rider tell his buddy he'd hit 50 mph on the way down, who replied "Don't tell that to your mum". We all laughed still pumped from the adrenaline rush of riding on the edge just moments ago.
And they kept coming. Endless hills and descents, down fast through pretty villages and trees still full in green leaves and back up again to the treeless moor land.
By about 50 miles my legs hurt, my left knee felt like it was grinding bone on soft tissue, and I was stiff on top, like I'd done a hard full upper body workout.
And then, after the penultimate feedstation the road kicked steeply up, and (oh the shame of it) I got off and pushed.
Yep I was that knackered!
The last 10 miles
So now I was beginning to cramp and beginning to realise I had underestimated this race, underinvested in training and getting a thin on power for remaining hills. I should have done a few more Ride Harder sessions, but I had not and now I was suffering. In fact after another quite long descent, the second I tried to put any power down I cramped right up. Ouch.
So off I hopped trying to uncramp, knowing I had to take the last section pretty gently. I was lucky that Sarah helped haul my sorry legs though the last section and soon enough, after a few more hills we crossed the line.
Harder than running a marathon, harder than doing a 70.3 triathlon. Really hard IMHO. But very very lovely too.
Rich had finished well over an hour ahead of Sarah and I who took 6:32 mins. Duncan and Adam came in a while later to report that Charles had snapped his crank with 30 km to go and was riding with one leg.
Erm that should be down there?
So Charles got man of the match for a) organising us so well and b) riding 30k with one leg. Duncan did a 10 hour taxi job for the team, Rich put in the ride of the day, Adam beat me in the king of the mountains and Sarah dragged my sorry ass home in the last miles.
A great team, a great trip and a great day out.
I'd recommend this race next year, but suggest you treat it with huge respect and train properly for it.
If had been windy and raining?
Ugh that would have been one tough day out, a real test of mental strength or total carnage.
Having been so spoilt with such great weather it would be a gamble for me to do it again... but then again, I'd love to do it all without having to get off and push! I can't believe I had to do that, but I did.
Finally my feedback to the organisers....
What worked well
- The weather! nicely planned!
- The route was epic, well planned and very pretty.
- The marshals - esp the motorbike guys, they rode well, and stopped to check if someone had a problem,- excellent.
- The camaraderie, the other riders were great - lots of good positive chatter.
- The general organisation - it all just worked as it should have.
What might make it even better?
- The feed stations.
We joked we never wanted to see another banana again by the end. Serious point though, biscuits and bananas as the mainstay of a 120km ride were just a bit thin. I thought Zipvit came off badly in this event, though I like their products, I like their brand less after the weekend, as I felt their support of the riders with food was mean. All the messages I got from Zipvit were self promotion and making money (which is to be expected) without real support for the competitors. I don't think I have participated in any event sponsored by a sports food brand with this lack of support. (By comparison Maxifuel and Gatoraid were giving product 12 times on the 10k run at the London Tri) Finally a bit of savoury food would have been so welcome to my tastebuds towards the end.
- The road surface / signage
I hit over 70kph on one down hill stretch, and very nearly came off as the road surface became pretty poor. On these sections warning signs at the top / on the descent that the POOR ROAD SURFACE APPROACHING ' TAKE CARE /SLOW DOWN" might help prevent an accident? Just a thought. (were there any bad accidents?)
- The start
Whilst the start worked well, it might help ease anxiety if in the race briefing people were told, "don't worry if you are late you can slot into any wave..."
- Post race food / village
I hear some grumbles that there was no beer / poor post race food.
- A video on the website of finishers talking about how hard it is!
- En route signage
The markers every 5 miles were ace, and I would have liked a BIG gradient map, showing where I was on the route so I knew how many hills there were to go. There was LOTS of chatter and speculations about how many hills there were to go.
- A central Durham finish?
It would have been a bonus to ride past the cathedral and have a central (ish) finish - hard to do I know but a thought?
Love Your Brain
Jump start your brain with a run this morning! Have you noticed that you think more clearly after a run? Have you noticed improved creativity? Better problem solving? Yes running is good for your body but it is also good for your brain!
Give your brain some love in just 20 minutes. Try this.
Research/scan compliments of Dr. Chuck Hillman University of Illinois.
Sean v Jenson Button
I competed in the JB Trust Triathlon for Help For Heroes on Sunday 19th August.
It was hot and hard, but brilliantly organised by Human Race. I'd strongly recommend this short distance tri (300m swim, 9k bike, 2.5k run) next year, especially if you want to meet Jenson, who was charming and welcoming to each and everyone of us.
Jenson finishing heat 1, but would he beat me in the final?
I came 44th in the first heat, qualifying (just) for the main race in in the afternoon, meaning I had to do my second heat of the tri with the fast boys. But to qualify I'd pushed pretty hard.
Sensibly as I was resting and recovering from heat 1, during lunchtime I entered the Vodafone Spin Challenge, seeing who could go the furthest in 2 mins. I clocked 1.59k, which turned out to be the winning distance.
Sean, fast over 2k, on a spin bike
At 3pm I was back in the lake for the final against the hardcore fast men, and JB himself.
As swimming is my weakest discipline of the three by some way... I achieved a first... and was last out of the water! But the crowd always cheer the last the loudest so that was fine by me, as I had expected to be near or at the back of the pack!!
The bike course had 2 significant hills that were HARDER second time round. And so I arrived hot but still smiling into T2...
I later cramped on the run, and had to stop and stretch, which was another first - ouch!
Happy to see the finish line! It turned out I had swum quicker, run faster (with cramp - weird) finishing in 40:51. I'm not sure this middle aged body of mine is cut out for the anaerobic madness that is two sprint tris in one day.
FASTER THAN JB?
So for those who wanted me to beat Jenson, the question is did I?
Well if he had completed the course I'm sure he would have been quicker than me, but it turned out he bailed at the top of the first hill on the ride. He must have heard about my awesome pedal power and quit whilst he was ahead! A DNF (Did not finish) for him means it's:
Jenson 0 - Sean 1
I BEAT JENSON BUTTON! YEA!!!
The was a band, BBQ and awards afterwards, which really was a top affair, free beer was a nice touch!
Jenson awarded me his race number (which you can bid for...) for being a better triathlete than he is, for winning the spin challenge which was great!
I was very please that a friend Jane Hansom won 4th prize in the women s race, and she donated her £100 back to Help for Heroes fundraising efforts. That was very thoughtful and kind.
WIN JENSONS CAP
Finally I'm auctioning JB's Hat, Race number and goodie bag as part of my fund raising, so if you want to win this lot:
Please bid here.
It really is a top quality hat.
The blog post is dedicated to all those kind folk who have helped me raise nearly £600 so far, if you can please donate up until Sept 3rd!
AudioFuel and You. Working together to produce new 'Fuel
We've got a new interval training programme on the drawing board, and you're invited to help join in designing, testing or even coaching on it.
What is Interval Training?
For those who have not tried interval training, put simply intervals are periods of hard work followed by recoveries. Pyramid 180 MAX and MartinYellings 3 Step Intervals are two of the classic AudioFuel interval sessions. Intervals are a great way to get a short effective workout, and they are very popular in our shop and on iTunes.
Please tell us what you want
The first way you can get involved is by telling us what you want from a new intervals session. Fast or slow? long or short? how many intervals? what kind of recoveries? what kind of music?
There is a short questionaire here. We've got some ideas about the direction to take this, but two minutes of your time will help us make something that is right for you, and give us ideas about how we can make it great for you.
Or really be part of it - and get involved.
The second way you can get involved is by joining in. Literally joining in the making, testing, naming and shouting about the new intervals session.
Inspired by the idea of crowdsourcing, where the people who want something making help fund the development of it, here are 5 ways you can join in, from spending £5 by pre-ordering it to a brand partnership. Oh yes, and if you're a fitness trainer, coach or keen to make your very own version. You can.
The AudioFuel Version
Here's a Powerblast profile recorded on a Garmin. You can see the heart rate and speed build in the first 10 minutes, and the 8 x 1 minute sprints at a cadence of 95 RPM, then a 10 minute cool off as speed and heart rate settle.
Pyramid 180 MAX - Interval Training
Today's Blog by Sean Blair
© AudioFuel 2012; "AudioFuel" is a registered trademark of AudioFuel Ltd.