... ... Mile27 - Mile27
Aug 022018
 

Mile 27 Coach Ben Duffus joins us on the blog to talk about how constantly focussing on improvement rather than results can lead to better outcomes and more enjoyment of the process.

Ben works towards mastering the UTA 100 course.

The title of this post might sound a little contrived, but these are the 4 words that pop up on my phone’s to-do-list app each morning. Perhaps that says a lot about me, but it means that every single day I have to do something to better myself before I can tick it off. Each word has been carefully chosen: “Relentless” because it is unwavering and unceasing, “Improvement” because the aim to reach ever higher, “Towards” because there is always room to do better, and “Mastery” because I’m striving for much more than competency.

But the point of this post isn’t to let everyone know that I enjoy corny motivation slogans or that I’m lost without my phone reminding me what to do each day; it’s about how I believe that constantly focusing on improvement rather than results can ultimately make us better ultramarathon runners, while also enjoying the process more.

Some of you will already be quite familiar with concept of a “fixed mindset” versus a “growth mindset”, and for anyone interested in reading more about the topic I highly recommend Prof. Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Briefly, a fixed mindset is the belief that certain qualities cannot be changed whereas a growth mindset is the belief that they can be improved. Everybody has a little bit of both mindsets and it will vary depending on the topic, their mood, etc, but most of us have a tendency to fall into one or the other a majority of the time. Which pattern of thinking we tend to fall into can have been brought about by many different factors, such as how and for what we were (or weren’t) praised for as a child. Such details are beyond the scope of this post (but again, I refer anyone interested to Dr Dweck’s book and/or research papers). Continue reading »

May 252018
 

Road runners pounding the pavement in the London Marathon

We, as trail runners, gravitate to trails for a number of reasons. It might be the scenery, the lack of focus on split times and PBs, the grassroots atmosphere of trail races or simply because we prefer running in nature than on roads. But somewhere along the way I think those of us who have made the switch have lost some of the important lessons that road running can teach us.

How many of you get to a flat section of a race and start wondering when the next hill is so you can walk? How many of you struggle on the road sections of races? If there isn’t a rainforest to run through or mountain vistas to gaze upon do we enjoy our runs less? Is the enjoyment of our runs more related to external stimuli than internal?

Continue reading »

Mar 142018
 

What do you use to determine the intensity or pace in races or training on trails?

For road runners pace is a good a metric as any to work from but pace on trails varies too much for it to be of any value.

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The Stryd Power Centre

What about heart rate? Heart rate training has been around for a while and has some merits but also some limitations. It is subject to many variables – mental fatigue, physical fatigue, caffeine, adrenaline, stress, weather and cardiac drift to name a few. There is also a lag between your hearts response to an increase in effort.


Heart rate is a measure of the hearts response to the work being done by the body. Why not measure the work directly and use that instead of heart rate? Power meters allow us to do just that. Continue reading »

Sep 062017
 

Time spent in aid stations during an ultra can range from minutes to hours and can be the difference between making the race cut-offs and DNF’ing. It can make the difference from a top 10 performance or top 50, a silver buckle vs a bronze buckle.

In this video Ben Duffus; who surely has the record for least amount of time spent at aid stations in a 100km race, 54 seconds at the UTA100 in 2015, and yes that’s all recorded aid stations, not just one, takes you through how to get in and out as quickly as possible.

Jul 092017
 

Running poles are common place in mountainous ultras but when you first start using them you can be left wondering what the fuss is about. They can seem more of a nuisance or hindrance than something that aids performance. A lot of that comes down to technique. Whenever I watch beginners using poles I see some very common technique issues which limit their usefulness.

Luckily, Mile 27 Coach Ben Duffus has put together this great video series to show us how to get the most out of using poles.

Continue reading »