As part of prep for an Ultra, go and do an ultra. Go figure
10 laps of a 5.1 mile loop. The weeks of consistent training contributed to a positive mindset and confidence in what pace to set. Strong 15 mph winds down the prom for 2 miles. 1 mile of zigzags, stairs and shelter before drilling back into the wind for 2 miles. A fine balanced session.
There has been plenty of mileage going in. However, endurance at low intensity 60-70% max and interval training at high 90%+ efforts both compliment the future physical demand.
Every lap was followed by a 3-8 minute break to apply nutrition and manage body.
This included, amongst others, topping up bottles of electrolyte. Foot and socks being wiped as the sand was building up every lap. Full clothing change in the second half to freshen up and insulate as the body tired. Eat a meal of omelette and coffee.
A steady pace was maintained thanks to an amazing group of mules, friends and Jayne. The Oner will be solo paced, however there are 9 checkpoints where support is available and required! Thanks to Teresa, Doug, Neil, Katie, Dale, Nikki, Mark, Paul and Jayne. Pacing and patiently listening and coaching throughout.
Jayne is the third lung during this effort.
Throughout this session there was constant mantra repeated. "This is training" - chill out, rely on experience, pay the distance respect and get up tmw with a spring in the step.
Including the mini breaks, overall active time was 8:40, with a moving time of 7:40. Pace was maintained throughout. I woke up on Sunday feeling healthy and minimal soreness.
Its great to see the fundraising money go up and still 5 weeks to rally some more money for the Royal Marines Association. www.justgiving.com/fundraising/onemadmule
Another opportunity to practice what I preach. Learn from others. Understand purpose. Keep a level head on reality.
Going long is no joke, though, it is funny.
There appears to be no reason to do it, UNLESS,
it is embraced, approached with respect and creates a layer of happiness.
Best in living
Rich - just another Madmule
It's 8 weeks until The Oner. Organised by Brutal Events, it is a race against the clock over a magnificent stretch of the South West Coast Path. 82 miles in under 24 hours.
Having completed Brutal's Midnight Mountain Marathon twice I thought I'd have a crack at convincing people to sign up. A marathon up and into the Brecon Beacons starting and finishing in the small village of Talybont Usk.
# starting at 5:30pm, you will have 6:30hrs to complete the marathon distance.
# there are two significant "hills" to accomplish before the 7 mile fuel stop and the path leads into the ridge line of the mountain range
# once up on the ridge, one of two factors will take your breath away guaranteed. Either the stunning views or the winds that can batter the intended and perceived pace. Having experienced both, at the same time, it was worth the effort for that memory alone. Nothing like being exposed to the elements.
# Pacing the 2 significant mountain climbs relies on a smart training plan completed in advance. Stair climbing, weight lifting and flexibility all help to keep an even pace to the top of Pen Y Fan. This is before the halfway marker. Strength and endurance combined.
# a descent that will challenge the health of every sinew and joint in the body. Fast, technical, dangerous to the hasty - I fell hard at mile 16 the first time. A combination of over confidence, disrespect to the terrain and failing light. The mark is still on the hip and the shoulder has never been 100% since. 5 miles of this section.
# once through the final checkpoint at mile 19 it is all downhill, steady and dial in a zone and focus that only few marathons will demand you to find. More challenging mentally than physically.
# the finish. Before midnight? The light will have to be turned on before ten and changes the complexion and feeling of achievement once over the line, greater than the average daytime road race. My other half can testify to that. Jayne finished last year in 6:26. 4 minutes to midnight. It isn't the sparkly medal or the cool Brutal tech t shirt that presses her ambitions to seek similar challenges in the future. It's the memories. The recall of emotions. The desire to get the same high.
#cracking campsite and showers at Pencelli Castle. Clean, green and having done the marathon a good nights sleep guaranteed
Thanks to Brutal for the efforts to provide everyone the opportunity and encouragement to find out what that feels like.
Best in all your efforts this year. If you have tapped into "why" and are able to explain "purpose" then you have probably done the Midnight Mountain Marathon.
The final block of training has begun. There remains 6 full weeks of prep to capitalise on.
I had a positive experience at Sunday's Lytchett 10 mile road race. A lumpy session, however the training for strength, springiness in stride and endurance helped to pace the inclines with speed available on the long descents. Finishing with a time of 60:56 has reassured me that speed endurance has markedly improved.
Now comes a phase of pacing strategy for the 82 mile challenge in April.
Completing an endurance session does require a plan. Yesterday I completed a marathon in just over 4 hours and for approx 30-35 minutes of that I was walking.
A planned ten minute break in Corfe to refuel bottle, electrolyte mix, eat some ham and chill the legs. Self discipline to repeat the same strategy, finish a cross country marathon with 2800 ft ascent and have minimal muscle soreness in the following days.
. Including the 10 minute break, overall time for 26.3 miles was 4:18. The Oner I have broken into 4 sets. 27, 27, 18 & 10 with a predicted goal time of 20-21 hours for completion.
The block ahead will prepare the mental mental and physical attributes necessary to cope with this plan.
Come and join me for a lap or 3 on 24th Feb on the Poole prom. 10 laps of 5.1 miles, all part of the training plan and effort to raise money for the Royal Marines Association
With psychological momentum, a marathon distance is now considered part of the training mechanism. All going well and another one will be completed within the next week at the same pace.
I'm working a lot on conditioning the trunk and hip complex for my goals of ultra running.
Amongst the standard and effective squat, deadlift, lunge and multi joint weighted exercises, I have always trained movements that insist one plane of motion at one end of the body whilst presenting a differing plane or balance point,at the other. The benefits show on descents and ascents during the endurance sessions and latter stages of speed endurance sets. A lot of the patterns are also performed as a mobility and activation series before a standard weights session.
The variations are endless and documented in leading education and performance pathways. My own introduction and understanding of multi directional (MD) patterns was first through National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), 2002, where they started to employ and present movement patterns. Also very persuasive has been the Gray Institute. These were the first mainstream groups to document and advance multidirectional movement patterns within the personal training spectrum, albeit heavily influenced by physiotherapy, professional sports conditioning and sports science research specialists from years past. To this day the "movement patterns" are endless. I watched a video last month whereby someone presented 10 various ways of completing a burpee. It was good to see a level of creativity that will help to bring more people, even if it's just one, to realise their bodies potential. It still pains me to see a burpee being employed by anyone who can't touch their toes first but that gripe will have to wait. At least focus on Madmule clients to progress them correctly.
Changing foot stances in a body squat, moving hand positions in a press up, MD hops, throwing an object in different directions, sending a pulse of human locomotive energy into a rope and seeing the result displayed in endless waves.
It's a pretty exciting time to be trainubg the body. It is one of the few times an individual gets to fully express themselves, and now we all have the tools and knowledge to do it in a way that creates a sense of challenge followed by achievement. Win win!
I use small looped therapy bands a lot with clients, both for general fitness conditioning and elite performance level tennis. For an inexpensive piece of elastic it can help correct faults within a complex lift, produce varying degrees of resistance in injury reduction exercises and be utilised for added resistance in dynamic spring drills.
Staying on point with multi directional movements, the following exercise is part of my current conditioning set. A progression from a standard 'prone, kneeling, single arm, single leg extension' or Quadruped. See images below. Adding the band to place greater resistance against the hip extension, I also place the opposite hand by the temple , elbow in a "prisoner" position. Whilst pressing the band away, I also rotate away from the floor in the upper body. All the while conscious of maintaining balance and stabilising the back. I'll name it the "flying mule" - kickbacks with attitude. 'There are many like it but this one is mine' - FMJ :-)
Climbing them there hills will be endured in an efficient manner.
Seek professional advice when unsure about setting a plan of activity. It will save a lot of time. "Ism's" are trending at the moment. So make sure you are being presented "multi directionalism" based movements as part of the broader outlook and progressions. This does not include standing on a Swiss ball catching dog fish over your shoulder unless you're joining the circus anytime soon.
The tech has spoken. Thanks to the food and specifically the minerals.
2 million steps in 112 days.
Approximately 2000km of running and walking combined. Merrel- I will link you- and if you happen to read this I have gone through 3 pairs of your running and trail shoes in 3 months.
What is it when throwing out old shoes? I may as well have held a memorial service if the way I placed the last pair into the bins is anything to go by.
One of the gems I have been introduced to is the product I'm using for performance and hydration. Recommended by Jamie Richards, International Nutritionist and "Psych Guru" - he asked me to invest in Elete Electrolytes. Cheaper than booking a flight to the Savanna and licking the ground with elephants.
Whilst there is still a requirement to eat other food types during longer sessions, Elete has been a revelation.
Before, during and after. Elete has improved my health, recovery and performance immensely. With this comes a growing confidence. Mentally stronger does translate into going longer.
As a busy trainer and active individual the lessons learned over the years from fuelling correctly and incorrectly have built personal protocols that I can vouch for. This is a problem. It is personal. It is my system.
Nonetheless, there are some areas that we all have in common and MUST practice for the human body to operate at an optimum performance level.
Due to the last 3 months experience with Elete Electrolyte I can say with confidence that this one product, when integrated correctly to the individual requirements, is a must for anyone with a desire to reward their body with beneficial and essential nutrients.
I'll speak more about how I am using the product in later posts. 2,000,000 steps are not fabricated from just trying. One has to recover and get going positively the next day. Nutrient intake is pivotal to making that a reality.
I've been fine tuning for many a year and still learning. It's an exciting time to be pushing on and getting out of the comfort zone as much as before.