Welcome to the July 2017 newsletter.
Coaches Corner by Head Coach Liz Cooper
What does the Rate of Perceived Effort mean?
Rate of Perceived Effort (RPE), have you ever heard your coaches talk about this during a training session but thought that you don’t fully understand what it means?
Here is the definition from The American College of Sports Medicine:
“The RPE scale is a psycho-physiological scale, meaning it calls on the mind and body to rate one’s perception of effort…The RPE scale measures feelings of effort, strain discomfort, and/or fatigue experienced during both aerobic and resistance training.”
Gunnar Borg’s original RPE scale uses 15 points from 6 to 20, with 6 equal to rest and 20 equal to exhaustion. Borg subsequently devised a 10-point scale. Point 10 equates to maximal intensity — being chased by a big hungry dog for instance.
Borg’s 10-point scale:
|RPE 1–2: Very easy; you can converse with no effort|
|RPE 3: Easy; you can converse with almost no effort|
|RPE 4: Moderately easy; you can converse comfortably with little effort|
|RPE 5: Moderate; conversation requires some effort|
|RPE 6: Moderately hard; conversation requires quite a bit of effort|
|RPE 7: Difficult; conversation requires a lot of effort|
|RPE 8: Very difficult; conversation requires maximum effort|
|RPE 9–10: Peak effort; no-talking zone|
Training at specific paces is fine if your runs are flat, the weather conditions good, the terrain is firm. However, this is not always the case as we have the pleasure of fairly hilly terrain! So if you are running up hill, off road or in poor weather conditions your RPE will be greater.
5k Race Pace – RPE 8
For many road runners, 5k is the shortest race. It is a very hard pace to sustain, it is the fastest speed you can maintain for 5k or 3.1 miles. The body is producing lactate faster than it can use it or clear it. Running at this speed is uncomfortable, and talking is virtually impossible.
10k Race Pace – RPE 7
Not quite as fast as 5k, but a little quicker than half marathon pace. It is slightly faster than lactate turnpoint pace and is still very uncomfortable, especially after running for 6 miles or 10k.
Threshold Pace – RPE 6
For many new runners (and even those with some experience), threshold pace is the hardest to understand; not least because it is also often called tempo pace. We know what it feels like to race a 10k or half marathon, but we don’t have those associations to relate to threshold pace. Threshold — more specifically anaerobic threshold — is so-called because it describes the intensity at which the physiological changes occur at lactate turnpoint, whereas tempo is a name for a running pace (and not necessarily the same one). Lactate turnpoint is only really determined in the lab. It is the point at which lactate accumulates in the muscles faster than it can be cleared from the blood. It is however a crucial pace, because if we can increase the speed at which it occurs we will be able to run faster. Indeed, training at and around threshold pace develops the body’s ability to do just that Threshold pace is often described as the maximum pace you can sustain for an hour. For many runners it will be slower than 10k but faster than half marathon pace. Elite runners will run a half marathon near threshold, whereas a 60-minute 10k runner will be running their 10k at around threshold pace.
Marathon pace – RPE 4
In a marathon, the perceived effort in the first few miles will feel very different to the last few miles when that same pace can seem impossible; and sometimes proves to be. So, our RPE relates to how that running intensity feels whilst running per se, and not during the latter stages of a marathon.
Long runs and recovery runs – RPE 2
Long runs should be about building your endurance. If you run them too fast, your training will suffer because you will not be fresh enough to carry out the other important training sessions. The training effect from long runs occurs at surprisingly low effort levels. Use your long run pace as a pace not to exceed during your long runs. There are exceptions here because it is often useful to start a long run very easy and then pick the pace up to run the last few miles faster, perhaps at marathon pace to get used to running at marathon pace when highly fatigued. Recovery runs are an important component of training. For a recovery run to be effective, it must be easy. A recovery run should be run no faster than your marathon pace, and usually much slower.
There are plenty of training pace calculators available online if you are still unsure as to what pace you should be aiming for.
South Downs Marathon – Jun 2017 – by Jon Herbert
I look back on the South Downs Marathon with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it was well organized, challenging, with beautiful scenery, and a rather nice medal. On the other hand it was a living hell.
Admittedly, this was down to the conditions on the day rather than the course itself. I don’t run well in hot conditions, but despite it being forecast to be the hottest day of the year I still decided to go ahead. I had a hydration pack and no particular target time – what could go wrong?
The South Downs Marathon is a point to point route from Slindon College to Queen Elizabeth Park. Most of the route follows the South Downs Way and will be familiar to those who have done the relay. The total climb is about 2,900 feet so don’t expect a PB.
Included in the price is bus travel from QE Park to Slindon before the race, so you can leave your car at the finish. I made a school boy error on the way there, and put “QE Park” into the satnav rather than the postcode. Luckily I just made it round to the start in time and caught the last bus at 7:45.
The event includes Marathon, Relay, Half Marathon and fun run options. Both the marathon and the relay start off from Slindon College so it was quite busy there. It was all well organised though, with plentiful toilets, teas and coffees, and a bag lorry to cart your stuff to the finish. Unusually for a trail marathon, there was even chip timing.
At the start there is a lap of the field and you are soon onto a track leading up the hill. It was quite a long climb, but was through shady woods so it wasn’t too bad. The day was already heating up though so I was wary of exerting myself too much. The next section was fairly flat, followed by a nice downhill to Littleton Farm. Next though was a long steep climb in full sun. Most people were walking on this section but it was still very hot. There was then another flattish section before dropping down to Hill Barn, which was the half way point. I’d picked up time on the descent and was still under 2 hours at this point.
The climb back up to the wonderfully names Devil’s Bumps finished me off though. I can honestly say that I have never felt as hot in my life as I did on the second half of the race. I had always intended to walk the big hills, but increasingly I was walking the little ones as well, and not very quickly either. I was still OK on the flats and downhills though so at least I was making some progress.
By the time I reached the hill up to Harting Down I was really struggling. It was about 32°C and I was starting to feel faint. Thankfully, I got over the top without passing out and made it to the drinks station. I drank half the bottle and poured the rest over a scarf which I wore round my head for the next mile or so. Thankfully there were no photographers on that stretch.
After the hill into QE Park I hit the long shady downhill and raced towards the finish. Sadly, unlike in the SDWR the finish is not at the end of the downhill section but under the A3 and across a shade less field. I stumbled across the line in 4:34. The helpers at the finish took one look at me and told me to have a drink and a rest before trying to remember my shirt size.
The support in the race was very good. There were six well stocked drinks stations and the route was always well marked. I would do it again but not in those conditions.
Gӧteborgsvarvet, 20th May 2017 by Benny Coxhill
That is the Gothenburg Half Marathon to you and me.
Gill Berglund warned me it would be hot. How could she know in advance? She said it was always hot. She was right, of course, at least to start with.
It seemed a good excuse for a holiday and the west coast of Sweden is beautiful, so Sue and I booked up for the race and a long weekend away. My mum is from Kungӓlv a few miles further north and it was a good chance to meet up with Swedish relatives we had not seen for years.
It’s a bit bigger than most races, billed as the biggest half marathon in the world. 60,000 runners and 200,000 supporters turn up in Gothenburg and there are other races – trail runs and relays – during the week. We were advised to get to the start in the park at Slotteskogen early as later in the day some buses and trams stop running in order to make way for the runners. The race number and entry form were enough to get you free public transport from Thursday onwards, to allow you to get to registration in advance and to the race on the day.
We didn’t all start at once. It took three hours to get everyone past the start line. I had signed up rather late and I was in the second to last of the 31 start groups. The groups started at roughly 6 minute intervals, so there are some tactics if you want to use the gaps and not get caught in the crowd: you either work your way to the start of the pen or you linger at the back before crossing the timing mats and let the rest of your group get a head start before setting off just before the following group. I tried the former but after a while I still got caught in the mass of people. It’s not a race for a PB unless you get into one of the earlier seeded groups.
Somehow in amongst all those people a bunch of my relatives managed to find me before I set off and Sue went with them to hold my keys and head for the restaurant. They followed my progress on the app and managed to find me near the end too.
It is has a great party atmosphere. There were nearly 50 bands and DJs on the way round and spectators were still cheering even though they had been at it for hours. For a flat coastal town there are quite a few hills, mainly the two bridges on the route. There are lots of landmarks with the cranes around the re-developed port area and the Gӧteplatsen square at the end of Avenyn, the big boulevard filled with restaurants.
I’m proud to say that I came 14,003rd. Well it was out of 60,000. 1:54:58. There was a nice blue wavy medal, shown here in a typical Swedish context.
But beware the sudden temperature drop. In the morning as predicted it was a sweltering 24o but during the afternoon it dropped right down and when we caught the bus back with nothing but shorts and T shirts we were shivering.
As I said, we stayed in Kungalv just outside of Gothenburg. When we got back the party was just starting there with an American classic car “cruising night”. Hundreds of them were jamming the streets so we spent the evening watching that. Apparently this happens a lot in Sweden. I’d like to try driving one of those along Hurstpierpoint High Street.
So if you fancy a trip north for a run I’d recommend Gothenburg. The exchange rate isn’t too harsh at the moment. But book early to avoid disappointment and a start group at the back and prepare for the heat.
Jersey Half-Marathon (11 June 2017) by Dave Oldfield
I had already planned a short break in Jersey to do the parkrun event there but, when I found out the same weekend happened to be the Jersey Half-Marathon I decided, even though I was someway off full fitness, it was too good an opportunity to miss.
This was a point-to-point race, starting inland and finishing in the capital St. Helier, so ensuring a net downhill overall. The majority was either on-road or on good paths providing the opportunity for a fairly fast time. The weather was warm but it wasn’t quite as sunny as the other days I was on Jersey and the wind was relatively light. Chip timing was provided and there were 600 runners with a fairly wide range of abilities (the winner finished in around 1:12, while a number took in excess of 3 hours).
Although I was a fairly late entry, it was clear there were some pre-race administration issues, including problems picking up race packs, postal delays and some communication issues, which included the Race Director texting all runners at gone 11 p.m. the night before the race to ask if anyone not running could return their numbers/chips – not ideal race preparation! However, on the day all the key things went well, including the coach pick-up to the start, the bag-drop back to the finish, good signage on the course, enough water stations, and plentiful and supportive marshals at all the important points.
When the race started, it hadn’t been particularly clear exactly where the start line was, as initially we were all walked down a fairly narrow lane away from race control. I had ended up rather near the back of the pack and then suddenly, without any real warning, we were off. Chip timing normally means it doesn’t matter too much but a combination of an easy, gently downhill first couple of miles and the narrow lane, meant there was quite a bit of dodging in and out before we all eventually settled into our regular running pace. I had started with someone I had met at parkrun the previous day who was targeting two hours which I felt would be a good target for me too. As always I started a bit too fast and my running partner dropped back a little after a mile or so.
After the easy first few miles we reached the coast and following a sneaky uphill run around a rather large rock, we settled in for a four mile stretch alongside the biggest beach on the Island. Unfortunately, the road was just set back from the beach so I didn’t get to enjoy the view as much as I had hoped, and I actually found running on the dead flat quite demanding. I shouldn’t have worried as, at about the half-way point, the course began a quite steep uphill section away from the coast, which I found even harder, and at about that point my running partner came past me. However, I knew I was several minutes ahead of schedule and that the course from about mile 9 onwards was another gentle downhill section followed by a little over three mile run along the main promenade into St Helier, so I pushed on, keeping my running partner within view.
Unfortunately, the downhill did mean my knee problems started to resurface so by the time we hit the promenade I was suffering quite a bit. I tried to remember I was just a parkrun from the finish. It’s a sweeping bay into St. Helier meaning you can actually see the finish area from three miles out and it became quite a mental battle to keep going when every time I looked up the finish area seemed no closer! My running partner was struggling too and had slowed down, and I checked he was all right as I passed him with a couple of miles to go. Pushing on to the finish I was glad to make it well inside my two hour target and to receive my Jersey Island-shaped medal. The picture gives a fair indication of the effort involved in getting to the finish!
I was also glad to welcome my running partner into the finish a minute or so later.
I would definitely recommend the Jersey Half. Certainly my fellow competitors were a friendly lot. Honestly I cannot remember a race where I spoke to quite so many people during the run itself. Wearing my BHR vest meant I got chatting to many of the other visiting runners, including a couple of Bedford who were originally from Brighton, and a guy wearing a Forest of Dean vest who had previously lived in Lindfield! And the local runners were keen to offer me advice as to the course ahead, how much further to the top of the hill, where the next water station was etc.
My only real gripe was I later heard that they had run out of medals for the later finishers. I have heard this is becoming an increasing problem, with race organisers not wanting to order/pay for too many medals in advance, but for a Half charging as much as £40 for entry, it is a real shame that those runners who perhaps most deserve a reward, miss out receiving a medal on the day!
Track & Field Corner by John Palmer
After having nothing to say last issue (no the team didn’t get rid of me!), I thought I’d highlight the forthcoming Open meetings this time round.
You will probably be aware that Track & Field is not really what we do but some of you may not realise there are Open meetings if you fancy a race on the track at anything from 100 to 3000m (or thereabouts for juniors). If you’d like to know more you can check out my previous articles & reports in October 2016 & April 2017.
The nearest Open meetings to us are at Crawley’s K2 stadium and they have two remaining this year, both of which can be entered on the day.
Wednesday evening 26th July has a Graded Open Meeting. For this you should provide them with a previous time for your chosen event so they can place you in the appropriate grade race. I assume they can cope if you don’t have one. Speaking to one of the marshals on my last appearance I was told that they take your word for it and there is some flexibility so that I could, for example, ask to be well beaten by grown-ups rather than be placed with the U13s whose times I’m closer to! The meeting timetable can be found here.
Bank holiday Monday 28th August has the Tom Lintern Medal meeting. Not graded this time, they just group runners by age & gender if an event has to be split into multiple races. Being a daytime meeting this has a fuller programme of events, details of which can be found here. If you decide early enough you can pre-enter these events and save a bit of money, go here.
If you’re thinking of joining the small band of BHR folk attempting these events then let us know on the BHR Facebook or group e-mail. I’m looking forward to the current trickle of interest snowballing!
parkrun tourism by Dave Oldfield
Anyone who has had the misfortune to get chatting to me for more than about 10 minutes probably already knows I’m a bit of a parkrun bore. It’s not so bad with people who run but I have seen the glazed expression on many a non-runners face when they have been unlucky enough to get stuck next to me at a drinks party!
Many of you will know of parkrun tourism, going to parkruns other than your “home” event, and I have done this for many years on the occasional family holiday etc. or popping down to visit one of our other local courses in Brighton, Worthing etc. Towards the end of last year I decided, as much as I love our Clair parkrun in Haywards Heath, I would like to see a few more different events. I had heard of parkrun “alphabeteers”, essentially a group of tourists who spend their time trying to visit parkruns which start with each letter of the alphabet, so I decided to give this a go. There seems to be few fixed rules, the main one is that you take the first letter from the official parkrun name, so, for example, you could only count Clair parkrun as a “C” not an “H” for Haywards Heath.
So, I have spent the first part of 2017, filling in the gaps of my alphabet list and, at the same time managing to visit a different parkrun almost every week. I have virtually completed the list, with my only remaining letters being the impossible “X” and “Z” (there is officially no X parkruns in the world, and the closest thing to a Z is Żary in Poland – I have a visit planned very soon). I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting different parkruns. It’s always fun to run new courses and most events have been incredibly welcoming to visitors. And I never cease to find it interesting how each event is ever so slightly unique while, essentially, providing exactly the same, free, Saturday morning timed 5k run.
Rather than bore you with a long list of parkruns, I thought I would just say a few words on the more “tricky” letters, as these are the less common ones.
I is for Ipswich. Ipswich and Inverness are the only two UK parkruns starting with I – so actually Ipswich isn’t that far away! Unfortunately, I can’t say much about this event as the week after I ran it, they changed locations back to their Summer course. The Winter course I ran was tough (all up and down but on good paths) and my understanding is their Summer course is no easier.
J is for Jersey. This is the only UK option for J. I had been told this was a good parkrun and it didn’t disappoint. A fairly flat, fast run around a cycle track followed by an out & back on an old railway line. They are very welcoming to tourists. There are lots of flights from Gatwick, some at quite reasonable prices, especially if you can book in advance. I made my trip into a short break but I think, in theory at least, it is possible to get an early morning flight (BA or EasyJet) on a Saturday morning due in at 8.15 a.m., catch a bus direct from the airport (10 mins, £2 each way), do parkrun at 9 a.m., have the rest of the day on the Island and catch a late flight home that same evening!
Q is for Queen Elizabeth Park (Hampshire). This is the only UK Q parkrun other than one in Belfast. By far the toughest parkrun I have done, although I went on Christmas Day 2016 so that might be part of the reason. Certainly in the Winter, the mixed paths can be tricky with two laps (one short, one long) and there is a particularly nasty section with a full 1km uphill without a break, hard even by Clair Park standards. I remember not feeling great that morning and just being pleased that I had managed to complete the whole course without walking! Very friendly but I don’t know what the café is like because it was closed for Christmas Day!
U is for Upton Court Park (near Slough). This was officially the only U in the UK (until the recent Upton House near Poole started). It was a reasonable drive on an early Saturday morning, situated close to the M25/M4 junction. The recommended parking is probably a good 5-10 mins jog from the start area so worth bearing this in mind. It’s a fairly flat course, two laps, some path and some grass (but firm footing when I was there). In good conditions this could be a fast course. It’s based at a Rugby Club with teas & coffees and a nice-looking bacon roll available from the Clubhouse.
V is for Valentines (NE London). With the only other V being in Scotland, this again was my only real choice. It actually wasn’t a bad journey by train and tube. Valentines is a huge park not far out from central London with lots of things to do and see and with a very interesting history. It’s worth spending a bit more time looking around if you can. It’s run on lovely, wide, flat paths (two laps) with potential for a fast time. The volunteers were very friendly and I found the whole atmosphere noticeably more chilled than your average parkrun. Nice café within 50m of the finish.
Y is for Yeovil. Yeovil or York are the only Y choices in the UK. Yeovil is one of the parkruns based in the grounds of a NT property. Beautiful surroundings and well worth a visit if you are a NT member. Two laps (one short, one long around most of the perimeter of the grounds), virtually all on grass, some parts undulating and with one rather tough hilly section right near the end (this is not immediately obvious at the start and means it’s worth holding a little something back for the hard final 1k). On re-reading this I may not be selling it to you but I would definitely recommend it, if for nothing else than the start, middle and finish on the rather glorious, wide “Avenue” in front of the main house (as well as the nice tea-shop on site).
Having completed my UK alphabet, I’ll return to Clair parkrun more often than recently but I will definitely be continuing some parkrun tourism into the future. At the time of writing I have done nearly 40 different parkruns and I hope to be well over 50 before the end of the year. I have also now done my first overseas parkrun (apparently Jersey and IOW don’t count as overseas), on a recent trip to Palermo by visiting Uditore parkrun for their 100th event – I have to say it was the highlight of my stay and the local Event Director and runners went out of their way to be welcoming. At some level I had thought I might be a special guest and I wore my 100 parkrun T-shirt and took some cake along to help them celebrate. However, I was rather outdone by a Russian couple who brought Russian chocolates and treats, and another guy from the UK who had done over 300 events and was at the end of a three-week parkrun tour of Italy! And the Event Directors wife had made what looked and tasted like just about the best (and biggest) parkrun cake I have ever seen, certainly much nicer than my offerings!
I’m quite sure Uditore won’t be my last overseas parkrun visit.
If you have been inspired to try some tourism, there is an unofficial parkrun tourist Facebook group – once you have attended 20 different parkruns you can apply to become a member and can order a Cow cowl (“a distinctive black, white and yellow not-buff which members of the most events table are welcome to buy to allow themselves to be spotted by other tourists at home or away. Completely unofficial. Features no parkrun branding whatsoever at all”).
I have tended to do most of my parkrun tourism on my own but if anyone else at BHR fancies joining me on some early Saturday morning travels, please do let me know.
parkrun corner by Theresa Chalk
Some stats to ease you in gently. On the 14th September 2013 Clair park run had 47 participants. The least amount to date. On 15th April 2017 there were 201. Participants, the most recorded to date.
Out of approx 289 participating groups/club (I say approx as I’m bound to have lost count finger pointing) BHR have 204 registered to parkrun and at Clair amassed 3085 entries. We are closely followed by HHH who have 150 registered and have participated 3076 times.
Of BHR runners we have 24 in the 50 club and 13 in the 100 club. We also have 5 juniors in the 10 club. This could change before you read this. Neil Dawson has done his 100th and Chania HS has her 50th. Congrats on these achievements and in the some distant future you will be attired in a lovely new top displaying your number.
On a larger scale, in 2017 so far 52.9% of new walkers, joggers and runners welcomed to UK park run events for the first time have been female.
Now stats are over, we can move on to a topic that has got many people talking. Many have agreed and many disagree for all sorts of reasons. I for one welcome the change. Tail runner has been re named to tail walker. This will hopefully encourage more people of all ages and abilities to take up park running. Hopefully it will take out the fear for many and those who have felt it was out of their reach will now partake. So if you know people who are worried they are not quick enough you can tell them we have a walker at the back of the pack.
Eileen Adlam who is at around park run attendance 231(does she ever sleep) is catching Dave Oldfield who is around 242. Dave has tackled, well not tackled but gave himself a little challenge and added variety to enrich his park run experience. He has written it down for our pleasure and enjoyment to read.. May this inspire you too, to come up with variety to spice up your parkrunning.
A massive thank you to all of the contributors. Have fun folks.
Neil and the newsletter team.