... ... Running training - Mile27
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?

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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 »

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.

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Apr 132017
 
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Mile 27 Coach Scotty Hawker cruising in the early k’s of TNF 100 before his first top 10 finish

At some point in an ultra many of us cross the line from racing to surviving. We go from feeling confident about finishing well, feeling in control of our legs, able to run sections we think are runnable, meeting our target time, running a PB, to being resigned to just finishing, wanting it to be over, wishing the finish line would come a lot sooner so the pain can be over.

The cross over point is usually around 60-75% of race distance. In a race like Ultra Trail Australia 100 it’s the leg from the Aquatic Centre to Queen Vic Hospital, the 54-78km mark. At UTMB it’s usually just before or after Champex at the 120k mark. It’s the point mentally where there still seems a long way to go but you have already come so far that your the legs and mind can feel very fatigued.

Fortunately the ability to race the whole distance is not confined to the elites. Racing the entire distance is relative to one’s ability so anyone can race the whole distance. All it takes is a good training plan and good race execution. There are two main areas to focus on in both training and racing to improve your ability to race the distance – physical and mental. Physically it comes down to a number of things. Training being the most important. Without proper training it’s not a matter of if you’ll go into survival mode but when. Continue reading »

Feb 052017
 
Coach

Ben Duffus with Coach Andy after finishing 7th at the 2013 TNF100

As an online running coach I’m obviously a big believer that a coach is a good investment in your running. It’s not just for the elite, in fact many of my clients make up the back half of the field. If you want to take away the uncertainty of what type of training you should be doing, if you want to reduce your risk of injury if you want to improve your performance or want to take on a race that scares the pants off you then a good running coach can help. Above all though a good coach will help you enjoy your running more.

Over the last few years I’ve seen a big increase in the number of online coaches, which is great for the runner, more variety and different price points make coaching an affordable option to just about anyone. However, like any industry, there are good coaches and let’s say not so good coaches. How do you go about determining the good from the not so good? A few pointed questions and a bit of research can help you sort through the good from the average. Continue reading »