Greetings to you all,
We hope that you enjoy the March newsletter. Words of wisdom from our Head Coach, Race Reports, the parkrun FA Cup, lovely parkrun news, a bit of Cross Country and a recovery drink recipe are all heading your way.
Coaches Corner by Sue Baillie
Stride length & cadence
The two variables affecting running speed is stride length (SL) & stride rate/cadence (SR). There’s been some debate & research over the last ten years and the here are the conclusions I’ve collated.
It seems athletes favour either longer strides or increased cadence. It maybe due to differences in the nervous system or power generation. Powerful athletes may rely on generating a large amount of force thru’ their stride and become stride length dependent. Or runners that rely on the nervous system’s ability to rapidly turns the legs over become reliant on stride frequency.
In conclusion SL is related more to increased force production & SF is associated with faster leg turn over and neural activation.
So to enhance performance we can individualise training. Stride length dependent athletes might need to do more turnover workout/neuromuscular work to improve their SR and therefore speed. If we can run sub-maximally with our natural strategy and then be able to switch strategies when fatigued you can change the muscle fibres that are recruited slightly, and thereby changing how they work (powerful as in a long swing stride or rapidly as in a short swing stride).
The 180 steps/minute is just a guideline, even elite runners vary off this number a little. Increasing your cadence if it’s a lot less than 180, helps because;
1) to eliminate over striding.
2) to give you another weapon in your running arsenal.
For example nearing the end of a race if you change to a faster turnover rate you recruit fresh muscle fibres capable of producing a sprint finish. But this takes practice, adding weekly doses of speed training, teaches the nervous system to fire and apply force in a quicker amount of time. Speed work teaches the body to push off against the ground more powerfully in a short period of time.
If you want to increase your stride length do not reach forward this may lead to over striding and produce a breaking force. Better to lengthen it out the back side. Use your gluteus & hamstrings to create propulsion.
Several ways to do this:
- plyometrics; explosive exercises, jumps produces more force with less ground contact time, for us distance runners this would translate to a more powerful stride.
- bounding; exercises like single leg bounds increase your running economy and teach you to extend your stride out the back.
Avoid Over Striding
Over striding is sometimes seen in runners with low cadence, it not only can slow you down (breaking force) but puts undue stress on your joints increasing risk of injury. If you’re prone to this, the easiest and most efficient way to cut down on over-striding is to increase your cadence. Tools to help achieve this;
- we ideally hold our arms at 90-degree angle, but if you increase this it creates a smaller arc for the arms to swing thru’ forcing the legs to turn over quicker.
- Try some barefoot running in grass field for several minutes, then pop on your trainers and mimic these shorter barefoot strides.
Albert Park parkrun, Melbourne, Australia by Jon Lavis from November
Any holiday these days for most runners seems to involve checking out the local parkrun if available. Our family holiday to Australia this year was no exception. My brother-in-law, a Melbourne resident, is a regular at Albert Park parkrun. Those Formula 1 fans amongst you will immediately realise that this is also the venue for the Australian Grand Prix, although apart from the Pit Lane complex the track is unrecognisable in its normal state.
We all know that the parkrun format is pretty much identical at every venue. Australian parkruns differ only in that they start at 8am. I am not sure why other than Australians seem to be early risers with most of their recreational activities taking place in the early morning before work.
So our first Saturday in Melbourne saw us up bright and early and on our way to Albert Park, a 30 min drive which by Australian standards is just down the street! Parking was straightforward and a 2-minute walk to the start saw us at the meeting point at the side of the lake. The Albert Park parkrun course is a simple as they come… the path around the lake is just under 5k, so with a small overlap at the start the course is one lap of the lake and unless you find a kerb virtually zero elevation.
There were a fair number of runners at the meeting point and the Race Directors briefing took the normal format. I was expecting to be one of a few tourists, however this turned out to be far from the case, with the RD asking for a show of hands from visitors from within the State, then from within Australia, and then from the UK and then the rest of the world! I estimate out of the 266 runners at least 100 were tourists, the family standing next to us being from Portsmouth!
My run was pretty uneventful; the course was very easy to navigate with marshals positioned at a couple of the footpath junctions and outside the occasional boat house to prevent you colliding with a launching crew. The turn at the top of the lake brought a view of the City skyscrapers which never seemed to get any closer on the way back, those familiar, with the run into the Brighton Marathon Finish and Brighton Pier will understand what I mean! I was pretty pleased with my time, nothing special and not unlike my normal times.
I summary we experienced the normal parkrun welcome and it was fun to run somewhere different. I would recommend anyone visiting Melbourne to give it a go, don’t forget the 8am start!
Zurich Maratón de Sevilla – 17th Feb 2017
(By Darren Chilcott)
I pretended that I decided to enter this race on the recommendation of my coach (James Elson at Centurion Running) as part of a longer term plan as he said it was a good, flat course with PB potential in what was likely to be favourable weather for marathon running. Yeah, right, that as well 🙂 In reality, I’ve always wanted to explore Seville and very much fancied a few days away escaping the grim UK weather and sampling some nice rioja and tapas. As it turned out, and this is a hearty recommendation, Seville is pretty much perfect on both counts – it’s just a shame a series of niggling injuries since the summer have prevented me from training at anything like the level I’d hoped, with only a couple of long runs (18m the longest) since my last race in July.
Having decided to stretch the visit to 5 days we arrived in Seville on Thursday evening and after a 20 minute cab ride were soon settled into our lovely city centre hotel. Race check in on Friday morning was at an Expo centre (similar to ExCel) out of town – registration was very quick and efficient and there were some of the usual range of kit and race stands to browse around. I also bumped into another of the Centurion runners who warned me not to end up, like he had, in a Flamenco Bar at 3am in the morning as it may not be great race prep. We spent Saturday wandering around the city – it’s a gorgeous place – wide streets, fantastic architecture, plenty of shopping and a river running through the centre. With hindsight I may have spent a bit too long on my feet on Friday and Saturday but it was such a lovely place with so much to see it was difficult not to.
The weather was perfect (for sightseeing) on Friday and Saturday – bright, sunny and reaching the low 20s. My racing in any kind of heat has always been poor, so I wasn’t quite as pleased as I otherwise might have been. I needn’t have worried – I woke at 6am on Sunday and as I made my way to the start/finish at Estadio Olímpico de La Cartuja, the stadium that was built for the World Athletics Championships in 1999, I was delighted to find it was cold, windy and drizzling with rain. Very like the last few months at home in fact. The mainly Spanish entrants were not so pleased – multiple layers, ponchos and (yes James) bin bags were the local choices of pre-race kit as everyone sheltered on the stadium concourses.
The field of around 14,000 runners were ushered into the usual timed starting pens on a closed section of dual carriageway outside the stadium for the 8.30am start – there was a great atmosphere amongst the runners as we waited and soon we were off. The Seville course is a mixture – there are some fairly uninteresting bits, plenty of long, straight, flat sections and virtually no hills at all – Strava showed the total elevation at less than 500ft.
The course really comes into its own from around the 20m mark as you start to get back into the heart of the City, particular highlights for me being the loop around the absolutely stunning Plaza De Espana, through El Parque Maria Luisa (complete with wild parrots) and then through the narrowing main streets of the City Centre as the crowds get larger and larger (and louder and louder). At times there was a real narrowing of the course as the crowds encroached (there are no barriers) – not dangerously so, just excitedly. It made for a great atmosphere over the difficult final miles.
You leave the main city streets with about 2 miles to go, where things quieten down a bit as you re-cross the river and head back to the stadium, before entering through the main tunnel and on to the running track to complete almost a full lap through to the race finish. Several thousand spectators were in the stadium at this point which means the last 300 yards will probably be everyone’s quickest.
………..some of the race route sights including the Plaza de Espana
As a race for me personally it was firmly in the ‘OK’ bracket. It wasn’t what I was hoping for when I registered about 9 months ago, but after the interrupted training I’ll take a 3.57. As usual, I tactically made a bit of a balls of it, running the first half at an aspirational full-race pace I was never going to maintain, so (yet another) lesson for me there (and another bo**ocking from James).
After finishing and collecting a decent medal and my lovely blue plastic sheet (modelled below) I wandered back to the (super-efficient) baggage area, collected my stuff and met up with Debbie. The 40 min stroll back into town (past those still finishing) was a lovely way to loosen the legs up again, and was of course interrupted by a proper refuelling stop at one of the many hundreds of excellent (and stupidly cheap by our prices) tapas bars that dominate Seville.
Would I recommend this race? 100% yes. Very well organised, flat, fast, traffic-free route, well supported, loads of aid stations in a wonderful, inexpensive city where the weather is likely to be pretty good for running. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
Thorpe Park Half Marathon – 26th Feb 2017
(By Helen Pratt)
On Sunday 26th February 2017 about 11 Burgess Hill Runners decided the thrill of a theme park would be a great venue for a half marathon. Destination: Thorpe Park.
It was a new event put on by ‘Run Through’, the people who also do the Hampton Court Palace half and the Wimbledon Common half.
We eventually arrived with little time to spare, having been caught up in the traffic getting into the park.
Having done the pre-race necessities we excitedly got into the pens. They were marked in times but as we were quite late getting into them we didn’t notice.
Soon we were off. We were all excited about running through Thorpe Park but it wasn’t long into the run we realised the closest we were getting to the park was the car park and service road.
The course was good once we were out onto the roads. We ran along the quiet country roads in the surrounding area. We ran through Egham, Thorpe village, Virginia Waters and Lyne, crossing over the M25 and M3 to the sounds of horns from the cars and lorries.
Unfortunately we were expecting a flat course so the undulations and 2 bigger hills were a bit of a surprise as were the many cars on the ‘closed ‘roads.
Eventually we got back to the park, well the service road and car park and the finish line. The medal, T-shirts and goodies.
Despite the run not being quite as expected it was a great event and in future years these things will be sorted.
Oh and not to forget the bling. We can all say we proudly gained a fantastic broken medal. The bottom had to be cut and filed off due to them being made before permission was not given to use the Thorpe Park logo.
XC Sayers Common – My First Cross Country Race – 11th Feb 2017
(By Oli Jones)
I got home from work and had about an hour to myself before I had to leave to go to Sayers Common for the XC race. I managed to get in a quick slice of toast with peanut butter and a cup of tea. John had informed me that the race had been cut down to 5K instead of the normal 5 mile race because of bad weather, it would be 5 laps of a 1k course. I was expecting a lot of mud!
I got to Sayers Common at about 14:20, this gave me enough time to go and register and pick up my number and meet up with my team mates. The team consisted of John Palmer (who was not running but took the photos and organised things), John Boxall, Neil Grigg, Andy Sayers, Ian Jones , James Collins and myself. I had time for a quick warm up, about ten minutes. I had been warned by my team that the runners will just go speeding off and not to worry about it.
My team mates were right and at the start whistle almost everyone went off into the distance, I must have been second or third from the back at this point. I gradually got used to the surface and got myself into some sort of pace, I managed to get past a couple of people on the first lap which helped my confidence. The surface was gradually getting worse as each lap went on and I managed to keep my footing.
Laps three and four were my most productive I feel as I managed to step up my pace a little and get past quite a few more people, still slipping and sliding a bit I managed to hold on to my place until the end despite being lapped a few times by the front runners going at a bonkers pace.
I finished in 96th place in the end , which I was very happy with and somehow managed to get a 5k personal best of 22.47.
I really enjoyed doing the XC race and would do one again if I get the chance. A good atmosphere and well organised event.
Steyning Stinger by Chania Hemsley-Smith
Will i do it again…. definitely half or full…tba, but will have to get a better running jacket…!!
parkrun FA Cup by Oliver Day
Today (Saturday 11th March) was the day that our parkrun FA Cup Final was competed between Steve Roberts and Hugh Stevenage. This email is for mainly intended for those who haven’t been following the event today on Facebook.
The competition started at the end of last year with 18 runners putting themselves forward to take part. These 18 runners competed through three rounds and a semi-final with Steve and Hugh surviving to reach the final. Their initial timings for the start of the competition were Steve 27:57 and Hugh 29:48, with a time gap of 1:51.
Both Steve and Hugh ran exceptionally well today. However, Hugh’s tactics which consisted of sticking to Steve’s shoulder for as long as possible paid off. The result – Hugh managed to close the 1:51 time gap to 10 seconds and consequently won the final. Well done to Hugh.
Their times today were; Steve 23:42 and Hugh’s 23:52, both setting personal bests and improving them by over 4 minutes and 5 minutes respectively.
Thank you to the 18 original runners who made this event possible; Stuart Condie, Alice Tellett, Sally Symes, David Leen, Jamie Goodhead, Eileen Adlam, Kim Gow, Mark Craigs, Jay Wadey, Oliver Day, Catherine Kempton, Dave Oldfield, Trevor Symes, Steve Roberts, John Palmer, Theresa Chalk, Malcolm Slater and Hugh Stevenage.
Feedback about this event has been very good, so if you are interested in the next competition then keep a look out for announcements later in the year.
parkrun Corner March 2017 by Theresa Chalk
This month I have to mention a couple of youngsters in the JM10 category. Jonathon Beckett who ran the course in an incredible 22.32. I’m always in awe of the adults who run this fast and even faster but when a junior achieves this , to me its mind blowing. And how come these juniors run and make it look so easy. I don’t even hear them huffing and a puffing. Jonathon has now completed 20 runs at Clair park and 4 junior park runs.
Then we come to little Seb Bennett. In January he ran Clair in 40.04 then in February he did 35.59. Such little legs running such a long long way. I had the fortune to be near him as he ran with a very smooth talking and encouraging coach by the name of Mr Gary Foley. It was a pleasure to hear an adult supporting a junior in a way that was encouraging without being forceful or pushy. Seb has done 3 Clair Parkruns and 4 Junior park runs.
Well done both boys. We are proud of you.
Onto Parkrun reviews, I got in a bit of a muddly twist and brain fog and banged to get two reports on Preston Park run. Both good reviews and both make a good read. The first is from Marie Carey and the second from Dougie Cooper.
Well worth a visit and only a 15/20min drive from Burgess Hill is Preston Park parkrun. There is plenty of free parking, public toilets and a nice cafe for your well deserved post-run coffee.
All on tarmac paths which are wide and allow plenty of space once you have negotiated the first section which can be quite congested with an average attendance of 400+ runners (so make sure you position yourself near the front at the start if you’re after a quick time). There are also bollards to be aware of at this point. The course is mainly flat with one, short uphill (which you run up 3 times), and a longer, gentle downhill.
Overall, a fast course with potential for a PB, and a very friendly event where it is not uncommon for the faster runners to then become barcode scanners once they’ve finished.
Preston Park parkrun is just about to reach its 200th running (11/3/17), it is a large and well established event with, recently, anywhere between 300 and 450 runners. Despite the size, they are friendly and you can usually see a handful of BHR faces. There is a huge range of ability taking part, from the very fast to walkers (at least the last couple of times I went). Certainly there will be quite a few finishers in the 40mins plus range.
The run starts from the cafe/pavillion in the middle of the park, with toilets and refreshments. The course is all on good quality wide paths and is mostly flat, just three short fairly gentle climbs at the end of each lap. There are however three sharp turns around a cone, as the course runs out and back along the bottom of the park each lap, but even so this could be your chance for a PB.
Get there by 8.50 and there is easy parking on The Ride (off Preston Drove, inside the park, next to the cycle track).
Thank you for giving us those reports and if your trying to avoid hills, (completely understandable) give Preston Park a go.
ICE ( in case of emergency)
Statistics as from January for Clair Park run show that the number of Runs are 681 and of those 571 have ICE. A percentage of 83.8. Volunteers are 69 with 55 having ICE. Percentage 79.7. Go on your personal parkrun profile and check your Emergency Contact details are complete. Lets get Clair Parks percentage up.
Lastly. Want to own one of these?
Volunteer 25 times and you will be one proud owner. At parkrun we need marshals, time keepers, barcode scanners, number checkers. If none of these appeal and you like to run then Tail runner is just for you.
Meanwhile lets continue to enjoy our park runs, keep healthy in body and mind.
Cross Country Corner with John Palmer
And so we come to the last Cross Country Corner of the season. Unless of course the club agree to funding me on a trip to Uganda to take the flag & tent just in case any of you turn up for the World Championships.
Testing conditions of mud and the odd snow flurry greeted us at the final race of the league season at Hickstead, with reduced distance events going ahead on an altered course in order to persuade the Hickstead people not to cancel. A strong men’s A Team turnout ensured survival in Division 2, Rosie Becket kept the juniors involved but the Worthing Half decimated the women’s team. A depleted men’s B Team welcomed Oli Jones along for the first time and you can read his report elsewhere in this issue. My photos can be found here with the results being:
- U13 Girls: Rosie Beckett (30th, 13:49)
- Men’s 5K (reduced from 5 miles):
- Team A (3rd Div 2): James Collins (11th, 17:04), Jon Boxall (43rd, 19:05), Neil Grigg (53rd, 19:19) and Jason Collett (57th, 19:24)
- Team B (12th Div 3): Andy Sayers (91st, 22:12), Oliver Jones (94th, 22:47)
Rosie Becket demonstrates that Cross Country can be fun while James Collins powers his way round in his last Cross Country League Race in BHR Colours.
So what are we going to do now that the season is over?
Well as mentioned in my very first article, I do like to compare the cross country league to the fun run season. So start preparing for next October by turning out throughout the year, you can’t miss Jay’s calls to action! Men, women, Juniors, we need more of you all next season. And if you are considering it, don’t let other runners put you off by telling you you’re not good enough. If for example you are of Alice Tellett’s standard and someone tells you that, then politely tell them they may be wrong (and by that I mean punch them in the face!) [note to editor: if you think anyone will take that seriously please feel free to remove]. Feel free to talk to me, Stuart Condie, James Sorbie or any of the regulars throughout the year if you are interested, we’ll give you guidance on whether it would suit you.
Thanks for reading, thanks to those who ran, I’m sure all the newcomers found it worthwhile. I look forward to seeing a few more next season. And on that note I‘ll leave you with a final thought:
- Don’t book any holidays, weddings etc. for mid-October onwards until the new seasons dates are known 🙂
RECOVERY DRINK by Martin Skeats
To help recovery after a heavy session it’s best to re-hydrate, then take in protein for muscle rebuilding and sugar to refill the glycogen stores.
If you can, eating some food within the first 30-60 minutes is best. The ratio of 1 protein to 4 carb is currently the most recommended balance for the meal.
However, it’s not always possible to get a meal so having an alternative is useful. There are plenty of recovery bars and drinks around, these are useful but expensive.
British Athletics have a nutritionist who has designed a recovery drink that BA promote as providing a balanced recovery product. Based on milk products ,any type, and milk shake powder, the recipe uses Nesquick as it has added vitamin and minerals required by your body following a hard run.
I use this recipe after long runs and very hard training sessions.
One pint of milk, any type (I use skimmed cows milk)
50 grams of Nesquick
50 grams of Marvel skimmed milk powder, vegetarian and vegan alternatives are available.
Mix the powders together then add the milk and shake
A big thank you to all of the contributors. We really appreciate it.
Take care, Neil and the newsletter team.