I HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER BUT BLOOD, TOIL, TEARS AND SWEAT

I HAVE NOTHING TO OFFER BUT BLOOD, TOIL, TEARS AND SWEAT

As I write this blog, we seem to be rapidly heading towards the end of the year and you’ll no doubt be starting your winter training ready for next year. Although most of us approach those cold, wet winter training sessions with a sense of foreboding, this is arguably, the most important phase of your training. It will help lay those strong foundations for you to build on as the new year and spring arrives.

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Hygiene first!

Hygiene first!

Over the month or so, I’ve been struggling to shake of a cold and chest infection. As we become more involved in our chosen sport, we are often driven by key performance variables such as increasing our strength, running pace, functional threshold power and maximal aerobic capacity. However, we sometimes overlook the fact that months of hard training, commitment and preparation can be set back by illness.

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Watch out for the wall!

Watch out for the wall!

Mass endurance events like marathons are a great opportunity for recreational athletes to compete on the same stage as elite athletes. Everyone taking part shares the prospect of hitting the wall at some stage in the race. From a physiological perspective, hitting the wall occurs because your body’s stores of carbohydrate are unable to provide the energy required to maintain the current pace. This is due to muscle glycogen depletion and low levels of blood glucose. Hitting the wall is characterised by a drastic reduction in running pace of around 30 seconds per mile for elite athletes and 1-2 minutes for recreational athletes. It may mean that some people end up walking because they simply do not have the energy to go any faster.

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Hot stuff!

Hot stuff!

It finally feels like we're saying goodbye to the winter. The evenings are getting lighter and the spring sunshine is getting warmer. Whilst this warmer weather makes training a lot more bearable, it does present some challenges for long distance endurance athletes. Even this early on in the year, it's easy to underestimate how quickly we get warm when exercising. It’s important to remember that keeping cool is better than looking hot! 

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Pre-event tapering – the key to successful endurance performance

Pre-event tapering – the key to successful endurance performance

For anyone running a spring marathon, you should now be reaching the ‘business end’ of your training and no doubt starting to have a real mix of emotions.  As marathon day becomes closer, you’ll probably start feeling a mix excitement and apprehension as you start to analyse the effectiveness of your training. It’s perfectly normal to have these doubts and this is something that is common among first-timers, seasoned marathoners and elite athletes alike. 

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Marathon training - Christmas is over, what now?

Marathon training - Christmas is over, what now?

Christmas is over and the New Year celebrations are just beginning to wear off! As we approach the beginning of January, you should be starting your marathon training if you haven’t done so already. For those of you new to marathon and half marathon training, here are some of my initial thoughts and suggestions:

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Elite & trained male cyclists required!

Elite & trained male cyclists required!

Is ‘brain-doping’ the future for endurance athletes? This is your opportunity to join a developmental and breakthrough research programme at the University of Brighton.

Neuro-doping (or ‘brain doping’) is a relatively new development in the world of sports science. It involves the modulation of brain activity using electric or magnetic fields with the potential for an improvement in the physiological and psychological aspects of sports performance.

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Marathon training support.....BECAUSE 26.2 MILES IS MORE THAN JUST A DISTANCE!

Marathon training support.....BECAUSE 26.2 MILES IS MORE THAN JUST A DISTANCE!

Next spring might seem like a long way off but if you are planning of running a marathon then it makes sense to start planning your training now.

Although a lot of training plans may not start until December/January, I would really recommend starting some easy runs now in order to build up a base level of fitness. For complete beginners, this may mean bolting together small blocks of running and walking until you are able to continuously run for say 40-60 minutes by mid-December. Even if you are an experienced runner, it is always sensible to start your planning early and include other aspects like cross-training and strength work.  

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Sports science has many elements!

Sports science has many elements!

Sports science is often associated with high profile Olympic sports such as marathon running, triathlon and track events. However, elements of sports science can be used in a variety of ways across a full spectrum of sports. Over the last three years, I’ve been involved in helping champion Motocross rider, Mel Pocock prepare for his winter training with Sol Gilbert.  With a relatively small training window of 6-8 weeks, Sol has the job of getting Mel and several other riders ‘race ready’ for the forthcoming season.

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What is sport and exercise physiology?

What is sport and exercise physiology?

Exercise physiology is the study of how exercise alters the function and structure of the body (EIS: http://www.eis2win.co.uk/pages/Physiology.aspx).  A sports physiologist examines the short term responses and long-term adaptations to sports performance in a variety of environments. A physiologist, possesses a wide-ranging understanding of the body, enabling them to advise athletes and coaches of how training and preparation influence competition performance.

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Monitoring your training

Monitoring your training

I think we all know that athletes  need to hard in order to improve. However, many athletes new to endurance sports may not appreciate that adaptive training gains can only be maximised to a threshold point.

Beyond this point, additional training will not produce further performance gains and could lead to overtraining and athlete ‘burn-out’.

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