December 2016 Newsletter

Greetings to you beautiful athletes.

It’s the December newsletter.  Lots of really good stuff here.

We all hope that you have enjoyed the resurrected newsletter and hope that you will continue to contribute during 2017.

Wishing you all a happy read, a great Christmas, a wonderful New Year and may 2017 bring you everything you wish while wearing trainers and lycra.


Coaches Corner with Sue Baillie

What Causes Stress Fractures?

Believe it or not, stress fractures are actually not that unlike most other common running injuries. While bone is of course fundamentally different in structure to muscle and tendon, it is just like all tissues in as much as that our bones too experience a great deal of stress and strain as we run. Appreciating what causes stress fractures is the beginning of being able to recover quickly and return to running.

Bone can break-down and fracture under repetitive stress, in much the same way as muscles strain and tear when overloaded. Metatarsal stress fractures, tibial stress fractures and stress fractures of the hip are not at all uncommon in runners.

Running is of course a high impact activity. However, the human body is well suited to absorb the demands of training and racing, while everything is in balance. When there is a flaw in the system, or a mistakes are made in training, the injuries such as stress fractures, sometimes also known as hairline fractures, can unfortunately occur.

In recent years, Stress Fracture diagnoses have expanded to include the sub-category of ‘stress reactions‘, essentially a Bone Strain which may not show up on an X-ray.

Think of stress fractures and stress reactions as a bony equivalent to the scale of severity used to describe muscular strains.

The symptoms for both are similar: Pain during your activity that is gone at rest, swelling and pain that is mostly spot specific, but might radiate.



Of course, it’s very quick to blame the ‘wrong shoes’ or biomechanical issues. We have to also remember that sudden changes in training load are probably the most common factor in runners sustaining stress fractures, e.g. training intensity, volume, terrain, footwear, diet or even sleep can all be important factors in what causes stress fractures.

For the sake of this discussion, let’s assume that there have been no big changes in your training. Your running gear and diet hasn’t changed. Also that you have no family history of osteoporosis or bone density issues.

What does that leave us in terms of potential causes?


While the minimal-or-maximal running shoe debate rages on, the reality is that our muscles remain our primary shock absorbers. If you run with an efficient running stride, your muscles can dissipate much of the impact with each stride. This particularly occurs during the early part of stance phase in running gait.

That said, even before your foot hits the pavement, muscles are working to decelerate the swing forward of your leg. This happens in preparation for contact with the ground. When your foot strikes the ground, other muscles go to work to absorb the impact.

At the ankle, the muscles along the front of our shin contract to keep our ankle from collapsing. The quads contract to keep our knee from buckling under our weight just like the Glutes do at the hip. If form is compromised (usually with fatigue) the impact forces tend to increase with each stride. At this point, with poor running form, more impact is transmitted through our bones.

If you let your form slip, shock will be less efficiently absorbed and the chance of something breaking-down will increase. As far as bony injuries are concerned, stress fractures are often the result.


In order to walk normally, you need to be able to extend your hip. You also need to be able to fully straighten your knee and move forward over your ankle and foot. This is equally true when it comes to running where those mobility requirements are even greater to allow for adequate shock absorption and stability. For a sport like running, cumulative fatigue and insufficient recovery can exacerbate this problem.


Like mobility, there are minimum strength requirements we must meet to be able to walk and run efficiently. Not only do we need the strength and stability to repeatedly hop from one leg to the other (which is basically what running boils-down to), we also need to propel ourselves forward.

To make it more complex, we need to do that on varying terrain, at varying speeds, for hours on end. No matter how you look at it, that’s a lot of work. Add in cumulative fatigue and insufficient recovery and it’s easy for imbalances to start building. This can create compensatory movement patterns, sometimes resulting in adverse loads on areas of bone which aren’t able to cope with the stress.


As endurance athletes, our muscles are constantly in a cycle of breaking down and rebuilding to adapt to our training and racing demands, this is a good thing, it’s how training adaptation works.

Poor recovery can result in over training. Let’s also not forget, most of us aren’t full-time athletes. Not only do we need to recover from our sport, but we also need to recover from the stresses of our day-to-day life.

Improper recovery will lead to a compounding of any one of the issues discussed above. Developing an effective recovery strategy will help you keep running successfully for years to come!

Sue B.

Article edited from Kinetic Revolution, Oct 6, 2016  by Leigh Boyle


Dublin Marathon by Sue Lyle

Dublin Marathon October 2016

Having not done a road marathon in 2016 and forgetting to sign up for London Good for Age in time I was looking for an autumn one that could hopefully get me the necessary time. Dublin seemed a good option. Not too far away, easy to enter, no ballot, and it had good feed back. Also, my husband’s late wife’s mother ( Patsy aged 91) lived there, and despite sending her Christmas cards for the last 28 years we had never met.

Having been to Jan’s talk on marathon running I realised that, as usual, I was totally under prepared. I had not followed a training plan, I have never stretched or done strength training before during or after a run and the only massages I have ever had have been a few days after marathons when I have been in agony. Too late to start now, the marathon was three weeks away. I did give up alcohol for the month before the date but I didn’t lose any weight as I had expected to do.


I went straight to the expo from the airport on Friday evening which was a long bus ride but at least I had my number. The expo was a very low key affair with a few stalls but very enthusiastic volunteers.

Saturday was spent exploring Dublin which was a great city with a vibrant feel. The only problem was I couldn’t try the Guinness yet.

At last race day arrived. It was about a mile walk from the hotel and the instructions said get there an hour before, so I duly set off at 8 am. Arriving at the start it was deserted with just a handful of volunteers. We were guided to different starting pens around the streets of Dublin . I have never seen so many loos! There were no queues even at the line right by the start. The start was in waves which meant there was no bunching up and you could start at the speed you wanted. I was in the second wave at 9.10. Off we went with great support from the crowd through the centre of Dublin, and up to Phoenix park where the zoo keepers cheered us on in animal costumes. Up to the top of the park, then a long cruise down. The route continued undulating through the outskirts of Dublin before heading back into the centre. The support was great but not overpowering, there were quieter stretches which I like. At 17 miles we passed the apartment where Patsy lived and I realised I would be back there later for a late lunch. It was tempting just to turn up early.

I had been told it was down hill from mile 23 and it probably was but there still seemed to be the odd incline. At last the finish line. A nice medal and a long sleeved technical t shirt that actually fits awaited. I got a Good for Age Time and a pb so I was very happy. I don’t know what Patsy thought. I arrived on a high and having been teetotal downed a few drinks to rehydrate.

Never mind, I did write a thank you letter. Needless to say I was in pain afterwards and had an emergency massage.

Next time, Jan, I will try and take your advice. Of course I would recommend this race. If you want a city marathon but not too much hype this is for you. Who knows you could even get a pb.


Lancing Cross-Country by Joe Beesley

Perfect cross country conditions (perfect as in sopping wet and cold) greeted a large field of eclectic Sussex athletes of all ages, there to test themselves against the slippery inclines and declines of Lancing.

The course is a testing looped course, featuring two initial shorter loops of the field adjacent the leisure centre and two longer loops up into the hills, returning back down again.

The long loop inclines seem to roll at a competitor in waves, making it feel almost endless, however, there are no enduring sharp spikes in the undulation so as long as you pace yourself, you can make each climb in relative comfort.

The downhill is where most will want to open up their stride and really let gravity take over and recover after almost a mile of uphill effort.

The course is well marshaled and the event is well supported, many over-hanging tree branches that might interfere with your head room have been tagged with a streak of hi viz paint, along with any pesky tree roots, rocks and any other underfoot nasties that might want nibble at ankles.

The weather conditions and visibility sadly didn’t allow for any enjoyment of the views, however, I’m sure on a clear day every competitor would have got their reward at the top of the two main inclines.

Course Summary:

Distance: 5 miles.

Profile: Undulating to hilly.

Format: 2 x short and 2 x long loops.

Terrain: Fields, firm paths and localised woods.

Cost: A fiver.

Shoe type: Trail/off road (spikes not necessary).


Cross Country Corder by John Palmer

Proper cross country weather arrived in time for Lancing to welcome our newcomers to race two of the Sussex Cross Country League season. I’m delighted to say that despite a few regulars being unavailable due to injury or pending babies (congratulations to Jon & Sarah Boxall), we had a great turn out, fielding a junior runner, a complete Women’s team and 2-and-a half men’s teams.

Joe Beesley’s race report appears in this issue, the provisional results being:

  • U13 Girls 3k: Rosie Beckett (14:02)
  • Women’s 5k: Jo Bryce (21:18), Kirsty Armstrong (22:37) and Miranda Skinner (24:04)
  • Men’s 5 mile:
    • Team A (7th Div 2): Paul Sargent (35:16), Jason Collett (36:46), Neil Grigg (37:45) and James Sorbie (38:48)
    • Team B (9th Div 3): Joe Beesley (39:11), Andy Sayers (40:35), Jon Herbert (41:26) Ian Jones (42:12)
    • Team C: Stuart Condie (43:02), Nigel Cruttenden (44:55)

Well done to the newcomers Rosie, Joe, Nigel and Jon (who I think was actually returning after a number of years). As I was unable to run myself you can get an idea of what you missed from my photo album here.

By the time you read this, Race 3, at Stanmer Park, will have happened. A report and news will appear next month. The league now goes quiet until February so watch out for details in January when we will be paying a bit more attention to the juniors now we have at least one out there!

In the meantime you may like to consider the following January events, watch out for advance entry information when details are confirmed (the next Newsletter may be too late!):

  • Saturday 7th January; Sussex XC Championships; Bexhill (TBC)
    • 5 miles men, 4 miles women (team and individual completion)
  • Saturday 21st January; Sussex Masters XC Champs; Lancing Manor (TBC)
    • 6 miles M40; 5 miles M50 & M60; 4 miles W35 & W45/W55 (team and individual competition)
  • Saturday 28th January; South of England XC Champs; Parliament Hill
    • 15km men, 8km women (team and individual completion); Closing Date 16th December

That’s all for now, Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!


parkrun corner with Thereza Chalk

Hove Prom parkrun has now been added to the list of club championship events for next year, so here is a first hand account of what is Hove Prom parkrun by Keith Brown:

I have completed a total of 9 runs on this course out of my current total of 53
parkruns.  I enjoy it as it is a unique and different course that offers an opportunity to develop a different style and confidence for running. All of my 9 runs have been within 24:00 and 24:40 with my PB being 24:00.  There are normally always pacers at this run who are from one of the Brighton Athletic Clubs and this is really helpful to achieving a PB. Parking is easy in The Drive, opposite the council headquarters, on a Saturday morning and costs only £1 for an hour. The course starts on the seafront adjacent to the Lawns Café which is just to the left of The Drive as you reach the seafront.   From the start you head west towards the King Alfred Leisure Centre for about 1/2km before a 360 degree turn and a long run east towards the new i360 observation tower for 1 ½km before another 360 degree turn and west for another 1/2km back to the start.  Then you repeat this again for a second time finishing back where you start.   There is no elevation at all and you will always be running with the breeze (that is always present) on you back for the majority of the run.  What I like about this course is that it is very wide and spacious for many runners and as a result, and unlike other parkruns, you get your own space almost immediately from the off.   This is a very fast course that enables runners to experience pushing themselves hard due to the ;at course.  The finish is a fun fat sprint from the last turn.  It can be breezy and cold down there so bear that in mind when dressing for the run.

There are a very committed band of regular volunteers as I have seen the same faces on nearly all of my visits.  In particular a gentleman who takes photos of all of the runners and I have found my picture on their Facebook page on numerous occasions.  These are great photos that usually have stunning scenery in the background.

The café at the finish serves great bacon sandwiches and nice coffee if it isn’t too cold to sit outside. If you haven’t tried this run yet I would recommend it and suggest you try it.  I’m happy to help with any further information or join you on a run if I am available.

Good luck everyone.


Here is a section on the parkrun FA Cup which is being organised by Oliver Day.

The parkrun FA Cup is a tournament style running competition where individual runners pit themselves against other runners in a knock-out competition. Just like the FA Cup, there are several rounds, depending on the number of entrants, which then lead to the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final. Unlike the FA Cup every runner has a real chance of winning this competition. This is because the winner of each round is the runner who performs best compared to their own parkrun time. Which might not be the fastest person on the day. As an example, if the fastest runner is 20 seconds slower than their best parkrun time and the slowest runner is 10 seconds slower than their best parkrun time, then the slowest runner is the winner of that draw as they are the one who has closed the gap on the day.

The competition uses each entrants personal best parkrun time from their previous runs at Clair parkrun. This time becomes the benchmark time for which each round’s time difference is measured.

The competition also makes use of the FA Cup home or away venue, whereby competing runners choose to compete at home (Clair parkrun) or another local parkrun venue chosen for them from the nearest six parkrun venues – Tilgate, Horsham ect.

The competition is for everyone to have a go – fast or slow, young or old, it’s all about your timed run on the day so everyone has a great chance to proceed and win the competition. It also gives you a reason to visit other local parkruns and to organise lift share and parkrun date with your competing runner, so a great way to get to know other Burgess Hill Runners.


Being in the  final weeks of 2016 we have a few stats:

30 BHR have a mile stone tee shirt for participation runs

Gayle Tyler is 5 away from her 50th. Lucy Tyrrell is 5 away from her 100th. Jay Wadey is 3 away from his 100th. although no tee shirt Claire Giles is 3 away from her 200th parkrun.

A reminder that Clair parkrun is happening on the 24th and 25th December. Fancy dress welcome.

And finally a little ditty to sing your way through. Pretend its the start of the New Year and you want to get in a PB at Clair parkrun by the end of the year. You have 12 months to achieve this. To the tune of 12 Days of Christmas but instead its 12 months before Christmas and you start at 12 not 1. Also be creative with the tune to make it fit. So really it doesn’t fit at all but there you go!
On the 12th month before Christmas I gave myself a gift:
A Garmin 220. (sub 30 here I come)
On the 11th month before Christmas I gave myself a gift :
2 trainers from Nike. (a pair in other words)
On the 10th month before Christmas I gave myself a gift:
3 training tips. (run, run and run some more)
On the 9th month before Christmas I gave myself a gift:
4 running tops. (each with a different BHR logo)
On the eighth month before Christmas I gave myself a gift
5 jelly babies. (all orange cos that’s my favourite)
On the 7th month before Christmas I gave myself a gift:
6 pairs of socks. (So many different types out there)
On the 6th month before Christmas I have myself a gift:
7 wine bottles (full) and full of iron
On the 5th month before Christmas I have myself a gift
8 protein shakes (yuk)
On the 4th month before Christmas I gave myself a gift
9 hours sleep ( I wish)
On the 3rd month before Christmas I gave myself a gift:
10 Quality street ( soft centres for me)
On the 2nd month before Christmas I gave myself a gift:
11 chocolate biscuits (mmmm yum M&S)
On the first month (which I think is Christmas) I gave myself a gift:
12 inches wider round the waist.

Ah well there’s always another year. Bring on Christmas time.

Merry Christmas everyone.

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