XC season is fast approaching! 

The mud awaits you!cross country mud

 

XC or cross country for those who are not in the know is a team racing event over the autumn /winter period in the UK. USA I’ve seen your XC and I can only dream of those lovely manicured trails ;-).

For most British runners the first time we did XC was at school when the P. E teacher hated every single one of us and made us run laps of fields and woods in the piss pouring rain avoiding stray dogs and the cool kids having a crafty fag in the bushes.

Not really selling this am I? 


Now fast forward some years (more than I can comprehend tbh, in my head I’m still 18!), XC should be part of the building blocks for your spring season, be it marathon, 10k or 5k.

It’s muddy, it’s often wet and cold and there are some unbelievably fast lads and ladies competing against you ….

BUT 

  • It will build strength like you won’t believe, nothing builds leg strength like wading through mud UPHILL!
  • It builds camaraderie (when you are freezing and covered in mud there is nothing else to do but take the piss out of your team mates).
  • After a full season of xc you will hit the spring road season leaner, stronger and faster (Xmas pudding excess withstanding).
  • You will become an expert in Gazebo construction in gale force winds.

 

A few tips for XC. 

  1. Buy some spikes or fell shoes (trail shoes or your old school pumps won’t cut it). 
  2. Set off SLOWLY, road times count for nothing in the mud, let those racing snakes head off like rockets.
  3. Bring some warm dry clothes for afterwards, you will feel a million dollars.
  4. Support your team, turn up early for the ladies race /stay later for the mens. Make a day of it.
  5. Most importantly get a cool picture to add to Facebook so all your friends know you are a badass/ little mental

Just look at how much fun I’m having…..

rossy xc

See you in the fields!

Five training tips 

 

Running isn’t as mystical or as difficult as some would have you believe, here are some of my favourite tips .

1. Be consistent

Many of my coached runners ask me how to get faster, I always tell them it isn’t magic. You don’t have to hire a wizard or rub a magic lamp, you just have to be consistent! Just getting outside and running will see you better than changing training plans every two days!

 

Here is a very simple schedule…

Three runs a week (every week)

One speed or hill session

One EASY run

One long run

will see big improvements for most beginner runners.

2.Keep a diary 

THIS!
Keeping a diary used to be a staple of all runners everywhere. Keeping a diary helps you and your coach look over your training and see what could be tweaked. It doesn’t have to be too technical, just something simple like……

Distance of run 

Terrain 

Time 

Weather 

How you felt. 

If your training starts to stagnate a little having a diary is a great way to look back and find the culprit. Feeling under the weather? rubbish nights sleep?, heavy training week? It’s easier to have it wrote down than trying to remember.

And no strava is not a training diary!

3.Ask questions

From everyone, about everything. Read books, listen to podcasts, read blogs or text your coach at 10.30 pm while he is trying to watch a re-run of father Ted.

Knowledge is key, understanding how to train is half the battle of a decent training cycle.

And remember nobody has all the answers to all the questions, we are all still learning everyday.

4.Rub yourself

Now now you at the back giggling, I’m talking foam rolling! Buy one, befriend it and give it a name.

learning how to effectively self massage and stretch can have a  massive benefit to your training. There are literally hundreds of vids on YouTube teaching you how to stretch and foam roll.

5.Don’t sweat the small stuff

So many people I talk to worry about the final 5% rather than putting precedence in the first 95%. Building a solid training foundation should be your first priority. New fancy running styles, the latest headband or those fancy new shoes that are 1.2 grams lighter than last seasons won’t mean shit if your Friday night staple is eight Stellas and a kebab.
Keeps these things in mind and you will be on your way to a more successful training cycle.

11 weeks to Snowdonia !

Its new years eve 2016,the fireworks are going off outside,the drinks are flowing and the mood is good. I however am hunched over my PC bashing F5 like a man possessed.

It’s that time of year again- entries to the 2017 Snowdonia Eryri marathon are OPEN!

Billed as one of the UK’s hardest road races as well as the most scenic i usually miss it as it sells out in thirty minutes and like most other self respecting human beings i’m usually blind drunk and talking to the remote control by midnight New years Eve!

Not this year though,this year im ready! Why they open the entry at midnight i will never know,the RD must be a cruel man (or a loony).

 

Fast forward to now……. 11 weeks to go, am I in shape for another marathon this year? at the moment far from it BUT a lot can change in 11 weeks,thats 44 training sessions and its not like the course is THAT hilly……………..

snowdonia-marathon-profile

Current weight   72kg

weekly mileage    11

 

 

Why I run 

A lot of friends and family ask me why I run. Usually when I’m hobbling around with yet another injury (I have the left ankle of a goldfish!). I usually give them these few answers…. 
Running is fun

For me and I bet most of you reading, running is a bloody good laugh, there is nothing better than chewing the fat with your mates and talking absolute bollocks on a Sunday morning long run. (although some of my club mates think it’s acceptable to start long runs at 6am, they don’t get the normal witty chat, just all the swears). 

Gadgets 

Garmin, suunto, Tom Tom… Apple watches (😂) we all wear them, we all stand outside our homes with a hand in the air like a demented person waiting for GPS signal, we all know that you can’t finish a run on 9.99 miles (up and down the street for you my friends till you hit ten). 

People love gadgets, like magpies the shinier the better! Remember if it’s not on Strava it didn’t happen! 

Endorphins 

You have a shit day at work, get home strap on those shoes and get out there and soon enough nature’s little drug pats you on the head and everything is OK in the world (don’t worry if you still want to kill your colleague a little nobody’s perfect). 

Seeing the world. 

Running can take you far and wide, especially in the UK. The mountains of the lakes. The wonders of the capital, laps of a sewage works, hey if there is a medal I’m there! 

Last but not least. 

I run for one simple reason, not for PB, not for health reasons but for one simple little thing, one thing people have run after for years (no not lycra bums you mucky sods) I run for 

BEER! 

 

Cheers! 

Peak skyline race report

So Sunday was the Peak skyline ultra marathon (Previously part of the skyrace series).

The event is advertised as 29 miles and with over 6000ft of climb.

If I’m honest I had never heard of the event and bar a club mate competing in 2016 and singing its praises I may of missed this gem!
The race starts and finishes in Buxton and takes a circular route taking in axe edge moor,the roaches, shutlingsloe, the cat and fiddle (the second highest pub in England ) and more places of beauty than should be allowed in one event!

A novel approach regarding pricing was an entry to the event and an option for add ons,(t shirt and medals). Now I think ALL race directors should take note this is an excellent idea! I did buy a t shirt but have never really got the medal thing.

The HQ was massive and really laid back feeling,plenty of loos and showers , no real wait at registration and I could just sense these guys knew their stuff!

After faffing with kit and meeting team mates for the obligatory photo we set off at 8 am….straight up the first hill to Salomons temple (no not killians jornets house). 

The race itself has very little road and is a trail running paradise ,I stopped several times just to admire the view! Course marking was absolutely spot on,just enough to keep you on the right track without you feeling you was having your hand held. 

The terrain was boggy in places but mud = fun ! Nothing really too technical underfoot although the climb up shutlingsloe after twenty miles was just cruel 😉.
I went into this event a little more confident than I should of been after not running anything long since three marathons within eight weeks in spring but thought a sub 5 hour finish should be achievable,how wrong was I! 

The climbs took a little too much out of me on the day and I came in just over 6 hours . Next year I’ll grab that sub 5 though with some bloody  hard training.

Checkpoints were spot on ,I only refilled water as I tend to just race on gels but there seemed to be a lovely buffet for those who wanted. The marshals were all super friendly and I thank you all for giving up your time.
I really enjoyed the event as did my team mates one of which grabbed third lady!

See you next year !

For the kit geeks 

Footwear : inov8 race ultra 290 – perfect for the course.

Shorts : ronhill trail shorts – old faves.

Top : club vest 

Pack : Ultimate direction Peter bakwin vest 3.0 – excellent,  (review to follow ).

Nutrition : Sis gels and hydro tabs.