Monday, 13 June 2011

Congratulations & Time to Recover

Well done to all finishers!

Congratulations to all of the finishers of the Half Marathon yesterday! It was a great event and a huge success for all involved.  

The conditions were quite good for the race first thing but there was a noticeable sea breeze building up around the seafront and as the race progressed the wind became a little bit stronger and made the last few miles a little bit tougher.  

It was great to see so many people crossing the line with smiles on their faces and obviously ecstatic about completing the Half Marathon which is a great achievement…I’m sure many people will have been raising money for various charities, completing some personal challenges or simply running to try and gain a personal best.

This is the second time we have used this course and from last year we made a few changes. There have been a lot of positives about the course and the race but as always we will be using the feedback from runners and marshals to help us make the event even better next year.  

I am sure many of you will be a little bit stiff and sore this morning so a few words about recovery!   

It is expected that after an effort such as a Half Marathon you may be a little bit stiff and achey! This is down to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. Don’t worry it wont last long but over the next few days you may feel sore due to tiny microscopic tears in the muscles. This should only be temporary and will ease after a few days. Sometimes active recovery can help ease some of the symptoms but there is no miracle cure. Increasing blood flow to the muscles through gentle exercise (walking, swimming) may help or ice, compression or in extreme cases some anti-inflammatory medicines may help.   

Once the dust has settled and you can start to think about running again why not think about a new challenge? There are lots of good quality races in the area – Middlesbrough 10Km, Darlington 10km,  Hartlepool Marina 5 mile race, New Marske Harriers 5km and 10km’s to name just a few. Or if you fancy something a little bit different why not try a Triathlon. 31st July will see a new Triathlon in Redcar with a 750m Sea swim, 20km bike and 5km run. Further details from

For those unattached runners out there (Unattached simply means you do not run for a UK Athletics affiliated club) why not consider joining a running club. In the Redcar and Cleveland Area we are blessed with a number of running clubs who cater for all abilities from fun runners to International standard runners.  

Here are details of the three clubs who have been particularly helpful to the Redcar Half Marathon and supplied many of the Marshalls as well as being represented by lots of runners taking part in the race.

North York Moors AC
New Marske Harriers
Redcar Running Club

Friday, 10 June 2011

Last Minute Preparations

Race Day
After all that preparation Race Day is almost here. Sunday morning will be the pinnacle of all your months of training and it is ready to unleash the racer in you!
Getting to the race and toeing the start line may have involved many miles of training so don’t let last minute lack of preparation let you down.
Now is the time to think about Sunday and your travel, kit, shoes, strategy etc.
Firstly the race starts at 10am. It wont wait for you so you need to be on site at the event area in plenty of time. That means getting up in enough time to breakfast, travel and arrive on site to have a warm up, visit the toilet and sort out any last minute issues.
I like to be at races about an hour before the race starts. This gives me plenty of time to sort out my kit, jog a mile or so, visit the toilet. This last hour at a big race like Redcar also gives you enough time to put your kit into the baggage store, familiarise yourself with the location of the start and finish as well as enjoy some pre-race “reflection” to sort your head out prior to the race.  
Here are my top ten tips for race day.....
1.      Arrive in plenty of time. The park and ride buses are running early and will run often but don’t leave it to chance. Better to be on site early than late!
2.      Breakfast well and early enough for it not to give you any problems. You should know by now what works for you and what doesn’t. Don’t eat anything you wouldn’t normally eat but maybe lay off the fry up!
3.      Drink plenty of fluid – sip little and often but don’t overdo the coffee and tea! There are drinks stations at 4 miles, 7 miles, 9 miles and 11 miles.
4.      Sort your kit out the night before and do a, watch, socks, shorts, vest, number, CHIP!!!, safety pins, old t-Shirt to wear pre race once you have put your baggage in, baggage label, Vaseline (to rub on parts of your body that may chafe!), race instructions, drink, snack and anything else you may need.
5.      If travelling with others ensure they are as prepared as don’t want to be turning round half way into the journey because someone hasn’t been as organised as you!
6.      When on site check out where the finish is and also check out the start. The start on Sunday is about 500m from the finish area. It is located near Salisbury Grove so allow enough time for the short walk or jog to the start.
7.      Don’t fight to get to the front unless you think you are likely to stay at the front.  Your chip will record your time so an easy start will do you more good than harm.
8.      Maintain a positive has been proven that a positive outlook will help you run faster! It might not be true but every little helps! Also please be aware that most of the marshalls are volunteers giving up their Sunday to help you. If something goes wrong please don’t give the marshalls a hard time! Everybody wants the race to be successful in every way but sometimes things go wrong.
9.      Don't wear new kit to race in...the kit you choose to race in should have been worn a few times so you know it wont rub etc and cause problems.
10.  Finally please remember there is a load of information available on the website  There is also an event helpline to help with any last minute issues such as lost chips, missing numbers etc. The number is 0757 278 3796.

Enjoy the race and best of luck!


Thursday, 2 June 2011

It's Nearly Here Sunday 12th June

The Final Countdown

With just over a week to go until race day I thought I would take a look at the final week in terms of preparing for race day.

You may have heard the old saying “fail to prepare – prepare to fail!”

This week we had a question from a participant asking what training to be doing in  the final week and also to suggest a nutrition strategy. There is a huge amount of information that covers these subjects on the internet so I thought I would try and answer this with a mix of tips gained through my own experiences.

In terms of training the last week is an opportunity to fine tune the training you should, and hopefully will have, already done. In the last week before the half you should certainly not be doing anything strenuous such as your longest run or a hard interval based session. Training volume (or number of miles) should be at least two thirds, possibly even half of what you have been doing in the build up to the half marathon.   This is an opportunity to refresh yourself (known as tapering) ready for race day. If you normally run five times a week it may be a good idea to run just four times and run slightly less miles on each run. In my last Half Marathon I ran 28 miles in the 7 days leading up to the race and had two full days off in the week (compared to close to 55 miles per week and running 7 days!). This worked for me but the critical things were that I didn’t do any hard sessions in those seven days and had a day off the day before the race to replenish energy stores.   It is also a good idea to try and keep off your feet the day before the race and not do anything too extreme. A day shopping or climbing Roseberry Topping should not be considered the day before the race!

It does take a bit of experience to get the “taper” right before a race and how much you taper will depend upon how much training you are doing. As I have tried to explain stick to some golden rules for the last seven days:

1.                   No speed work or hard sessions
2.                   Don’t cram miles in last minute – reduce your overall training volume.  Last minute miles in panic will not do you any good and may have the opposite effect.
3.                   Take one or two days at least as rest days
4.                   Don’t do anything unusual the week or days before that will make you stiff or sore or tired!

Nutrition – again this is a massive subject that is far too complex to cover in a short blog article so here are a few rules of thumb to help guide you. I would say that in the days leading up to the race you should eat relatively normally. By reducing your training load and eating normally your body should be storing up energy as glycogen in the muscles which will help provide valuable energy on race day. Drink little and often in the days leading up to the race – particularly if the weather is hot. Don’t overdo the tea and coffee or alcohol in the last week and stick to fairly simple, normal foods. The night before the half marathon is not the time to experiment with rich, spicy foods – as tempting as that may be! You may also be tempted to over snack as you may be tempted to substitute normal training with snacking on biscuits, crisps and the like!

In my next (and possibly final pre race blog) I will cover in more detail race day and will look at race nutrition, final preparation and race day strategies.

Finally use the last week to sort your kit, your travel arrangements, make sure you have your number and chip (which will arrive in the next few days) and fill in your medical details/next of kin on the back of your number.   If you have bought new kit make sure you have tried it once or twice at least before the race (longer if you have bought new shoes).

Happy Running.