Categories
Stretching

February 2018 – stretch of the month

February sees the start of a new series of stretches from the Club Head coach Kieran.

Categories
News Newsletter

Catch A Coach, August 2014

We are pleased to announce the return of a new and improved Catch a Coach newsletter produced for your enjoyment and information.

Catch A Coach

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News Newsletter

THIS WEEKS NEWS RELEASE

 

RELAYS IN THE PARK

 

Fairlands Valley Spartans hosted another successful event on Thursday evening – the 3K Relay event- when nearly 400 runners completed the relay course. There were 47 women’s teams comprised of 3 runners and 50 men’s teams comprised of 5 runners.  Provisional results can be found on the Spartans website at www.fvspartans.org.uk but in the individual results the first man was James McMurray of St Albans Striders and the first woman was Lizzie Bird of Garden City Runners.

 

Krakow Park Run 5k, Poland.

 

Andy Neatham came  2nd in this race in a time of 17.57. which is a Vet PB by 1second and broke the Age group course record by over 30 seconds.

 

Thunder Run 24 hour Race

 

Spartans enjoyed a challenging weekend on Derbyshire for a 24 hour race on a very hilly course. The torrential rain and thunder storms were very apt for the Thunder Run race name and the dark, very muddy and slippery course resulted in some long, soul searching runs through the night. The format of the race was that in teams you each ran a 10k before passing the baton on to your next team member.

 

Three Spartans were in a team of five who came second, these were Todd Gray, Andrew Patterson and the stand out performance by Simon Jackson who accounted for 8 of the teams 31 laps.

 

Other Spartans enjoying the race included Kerry, Nikki Andrews and Darren Wilby.
The race was a fantastic event and thoroughly recommended
.

 

Spartan triple take on Northampton marathon double.

 

Three Spartans made the short trip to Brackmill Reservoir, just to the South of Northampton.

 

The trail marathon venue was at the Holiday Inn, and featured six laps each day around the reservoir on a mixture of surfaces.  The big killer for running marathons is the heat, and yet again the country was blessed with warm, sunny & muggy weather. The times reflected the conditions, as the Spartan trio took on the weather to complete 26.2 miles each day.

Day 1 (Saturday 27th)

Roger Biggs 4:28:10, Carol Paul 4:53:53 & Mike Newbitt 5:41:13

Day 2 (Sunday 28th)

Roger Biggs 4:44:25, Carol Paul 5:09:22 & Mike Newbitt 5:15:16

 

Inter-County

 

DAVE BOWKER was selected to represent Hertfordshire in the Senior Inter County Match in Abingdon recently.  He achieved a new personal best of 17 minutes 27 seconds (compared with 18:49!) and third place in the 3,000 metres walk.  The men’s team placed second overall.

 

A few days later he won the EVAC (Eastern Veterans) Five Mile Championship for men aged 50 plus with a time of 32 minutes 13 seconds.

 

Monica’s Gold

 

After a few weeks of enforced rest due to injuries an apprehensive Monica Brown turned up at Oxford for the British Master’s W45 Heptathlon. The decision to race over the 80m hurdles in trainers, to lessen the impact on a tender Achilles, was a good one as Monica was rewarded with a pb of 16.34 seconds. This was followed by a high jump of 1.33, 6.82 for shot and 29.08 (sb) for 200m which meant she finished day one in the lead by almost 500 points.

 

On day two Monica knew she had to try to keep her lead going into the long jump and javelin as she would lose considerable points over the 800m, her weakest event. A long jump of 4.20 and a javelin pb of 17.71 meant she was still in the lead with just the 800m to go. Despite finishing 37 seconds behind her rival, Monica’s time of 3.17.15 for the 800m was enough to win the gold with a new heptathlon pb score of 3603.

 

Second claim Spartan Louise Oliver also competed in the younger W40 age group. In a very tight competition Louise did 80m hurdles in 15.40, high jump 1.39, shot 10.14, 200m 28.26, long jump 4.60, javelin 29.32 and 800m 2.57.35 for the silver medal.

 

Wimpole

 

DANIEL BATES did the Wimpole Estate Parkrun near Royston recently.  He was 12th of 124 with a time of 20 minutes 46 seconds.

 

Then he did the Highbury Fields parkrun in Islington, London on Saturday 27 July and finished 21st out of 94 with a time of 20:41.

 

On Sunday Daniel competed in the 10 mile race organised by Harlow Runners Club at Harlow.  He had a great start, was a bit slow between mile 3 and mile 6 but managed to do 5km pace after that to recoup loss of time, and finished 57th out 249 runners with a time of 01.12.47.

 

Coming Events

 

Many Spartans will be enjoying a busy programme of races, social and training events over the next few weeks including the:

 

  • Handicap 5K in Stevenage on Thursday 5th September
  • Club Five Mile Team Champs on Tuesday 10th September
  • Herts Senior 5K Championships in WGC on Tuesday 24th September
  • County 10K Championships in Letchworth on Sunday 6th October
  • Herts Veterans 5K Championships in WGC on Tuesday 8th October
  • County 10 Mile Championships for veterans on Sunday 27th October
  • Stevenage Half Marathon on Sunday 3rd November
  • County Ten Miles Championship in Buntingford on 30th December 2013

 

Join The Spartans

 

Live in or near Stevenage?  Like running?  Fairlands Valley Spartans is your local running club and is on the up!  The club was voted the UK’s Best Running Club in 2010.  It now has about 400 members and encourages participation by all.  The Spartans have a varied training programme to suit those who want to run 5 kilometres through to full marathons. 

 

The Spartans weekday training sessions are on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  Go along to the new sports centre at Marriotts School – a Sports College, Brittain Way, Stevenage (SG2 8UT) at 7p.m.  Up to five running groups go out on training nights – there will be one to suit you!

 

The Spartan Starter group starts from Marriotts at 7.30p.m. every Monday (except public holidays) and 7p.m. every Thursday.

 

Most long Sunday morning training sessions start 9.30a.m. sharp.  Spartan track training sessions are held at Ridlins Athletics Track, Woodcock Road, Stevenage most Saturdays from 9.15a.m.  There are events to enter every Sunday.  Newcomers are very welcome – those who have not done very much running yet might prefer to start with a Thursday, Saturday or Monday session. 

 

Try a few sessions before joining.  Membership is only £35 per year, £25 without UKA membership.  Concessions are available.  Membership forms are available on the Spartans website www.fvspartans.org.uk  Please ask if you would like a paper copy. 

 

If you want to know more about the Spartans please contact Jim Brown (0793 968 7509 or 01438 354505), Vivienne Honey 07702 846304 or visit their website www.fvspartans.org.uk

 

E N D S

 

More from Jim Brown (Press Officer) 0793 968 7509 / 01438 354505 or Vivienne Honey (Secretary) 07702 846304

Categories
News Newsletter

January edition of Catch a Coach

Here is this month’s edition of Catch a Coach.

As well as the 10 of the best for the coming month, there is a reminder about booking your races, what the forthcoming Cooper Test is all about, coaching resources on marathon and half marathon training and a reminder about groupings for our Tuesday sessions.

Please take a look……..and best wishes for 2013!!

Catch a Coach newsletter January 2013v0.1

Categories
Training

Club Sunday runs – Winter/Spring 2013 half/marathon training

 

Club training programme -Sunday long runs – Spring Marathon training

Notes

The following information sets out a programme of runs that the club will support during the December 2012 to May 2013 period.

This is not intended to be a personal training schedule.  However, regularly completing these runs alongside the other club’s training sessions is a positive way to prepare for a Spring based marathon.

Selecting certain races (the list below is not meant to be fully comprehensive) is a good way to benchmark your training efforts but please take care not to over race!!

Appropriate training runs will also be organised by the Group C coaches.

Sunday

Sunday Standard club training – Group B (up to 10:30 min miling long run pace)

Sunday Marathon training – Group B (sub 4:30 marathon)

Race/club options to incorporate into marathon training

30th December

11 mile club   training run (Preston)

3 mile early + 11   mile club training run (Preston)

6th January

11 mile club   training run (Weston)

3 mile early + 11   mile club training run (Weston)

 

13th January

13 mile club   training run (Letchworth Greenway)

13 mile club   training run (Letchworth Greenway), increase with optional 3 miles over to   Manor Wood car park

Royston XC – league   fixture 4

20th January

10 mile club   training run (Hitchin)

5 mile early + 10   mile training run (Hitchin)

27th January

10 mile training run using the 5/10 mile handicap course

10 mile training run using the 5/10 mile handicap course

3rd February

10 mile club training run (Shilley Green)

7 mile early + 10 mile training run (Shilley Green)

Watford half

10th February

Club 5mile/10 mile handicap event

Club 5mile/10 mile handicap event

 

17th February

11 mile club training run

3 mile early + 11   mile training run

Bramley 20/10 or   Stamford 30K or Watford XC league fixture 5

24th February

10 mile club training run

5 mile early + 10 mile club training run

3rd March

10 mile club training run

7 mile early + 10 mile club training run

Silverstone half or Spitfire 20

10th March

13 mile club training run (Letchworth Greenway)

Run to and from   Manor Wood car park + 13 mile club training run (Letchworth Greenway) – up to 19 miles

Finchley 20 or MK   half

17th March

10 miles within the Club 20

Club 20

Club 20

24th March

10 mile club training run (Shilley Green)

7 mile early + 10 mile training run (Shilley Green)

Oakley 20

31st March

10 mile club training run

Cromer Windmill circuit (20 miles) or the ‘Route 12 expedition’ (TBC)

7th April

11 mile club training run (Datchworth/Aston)

7 miles early + 11 mile club training run (Datchworth/Aston) (8 mile option for those running   Brighton)

Sandy 10

14th April

10 mile club training run

10 miles for those running the VLM or 19-22 miles for those running the Edinburgh or MK marathons

Brighton Marathon   or Flitwick 10K

21st April

Early 10 mile club training run (wouldn’t want to miss the race on TV!)

Virgin London Marathon or 10-12 mile run if running the Milton Keynes marathon

Virgin London   Marathon

28th April

11 mile club training run (Datchworth/Aston)

11 mile club training run (Datchworth/Aston) (8 mile option for those running MK)

 

5th May

10 mile club training run

Milton Keynes Marathon (6th May)or 20-22 mile training run if running the Edinburgh marathon

Milton Keynes Marathon (6th May)

12th May

10 mile club training run

10 mile club training run (additional 3 miles for those running the Edinburgh marathon)

19th May

11 mile club training run (Datchworth/Aston)

11 mile club training run (Datchworth/Aston) (8 mile option for those running the Edinburgh marathon)

26th May

10 mile club training run

Edinburgh Marathon

Edinburgh Marathon

 

Categories
Cooper Test

The Cooper Fitness Test

The Cooper Fitness Test ( VO2max Test)

Objective

The Cooper Test (Cooper 1968)[1] is used to monitor the development of the athlete’s aerobic endurance and to obtain an estimate of their VO2max. VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen in millilitres an athlete can use in one minute per kilogram of body weight. Those who are fit have higher VO2max values and can exercise more intensely than those who are not as well conditioned. Numerous studies show that you can increase your VO2max by working out at an intensity that raises your heart rate to between 65 and 85% of its maximum for at least 20 minutes three to five times a week.

Whilst we have been using the ‘bleep multistage fitness stage within the club to assess aerobic fitness and VO2 max levels this can only be completed safely in dry conditions.  The Cooper test does not necessarily have that restriction and simply requires access to a running track.

The Test

This test requires the athlete to run as far as possible in 12 minutes.

  • The test will commence following a thorough and appropriate warm up.
  • The assistant gives the command “GO”, starts the stopwatch and the athlete commences the test
  • The assistant keeps the athlete informed of the remaining time/elapsed time at the end of each lap  (400m)
  • The assistant blows the whistle when the 12 minutes has elapsed and records the distance the athlete has covered to the nearest 10 metres

Normative data for the Cooper Test

Male Athletes

Age

Excellent

Above Average

Average

Below Average

Poor

13-14

>2700m

2400-2700m

2200-2399m

2100-2199m

<2100m

15-16

>2800m

2500-2800m

2300-2499m

2200-2299m

<2200m

17-19

>3000m

2700-3000m

2500-2699m

2300-2499m

<2300m

20-29

>2800m

2400-2800m

2200-2399m

1600-2199m

<1600m

30-39

>2700m

2300-2700m

1900-2299m

1500-1999m

<1500m

40-49

>2500m

2100-2500m

1700-2099m

1400-1699m

<1400m

>50

>2400m

2000-2400m

1600-1999m

1300-1599m

<1300m

Female Athletes

Age

Excellent

Above Average

Average

Below Average

Poor

13-14

>2000m

1900-2000m

1600-1899m

1500-1599m

<1500m

15-16

>2100m

2000-2100m

1700-1999m

1600-1699m

<1600m

17-20

>2300m

2100-2300m

1800-2099m

1700-1799m

<1700m

20-29

>2700m

2200-2700m

1800-2199m

1500-1799m

<1500m

30-39

>2500m

2000-2500m

1700-1999m

1400-1699m

<1400m

40-49

>2300m

1900-2300m

1500-1899m

1200-1499m

<1200m

>50

>2200m

1700-2200m

1400-1699m

1100-1399m

<1100m

VO2max

An estimate of your VO2max can be calculated as follows:

(Distance covered in metres      – 504.9) ÷ 44.73

We will use a Vo2 max calaculator to give each athlete their VO2 max result.

Analysis

Analysis of the test result is by comparing it with the athlete’s previous results for this test. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete’s VO2max. We will maintain a full history of the results of each test so that athletes can easily compare their results.

Referenced Material

  1. COOPER, K.H. (1968) A means of assessing maximal oxygen intake. JAMA. 203, p. 135-138
Categories
Coaches

Coach Jamie

Categories
Coaches

Coach Maria

Categories
Coaches

Coach Phil

Categories
Coaches

Coach Andy J.

Andy Jay, or the Jayster as he is known by many has been a Spartan for about 5 years now.

He has many talents which include drinking shots through a snorkel and tweeting endless snippets of useless information on Twitter.  Sadly however running is not one of his talents.  Neither is singing as all those present at recent Spartan Christmas parties can confirm.

Andy can usually be found hanging out at the Marriotts reception area or running behind Tracy Pez! (when he is not stalking Suzanna that is!!!!)

Categories
Coaches

Coach Barbara

Categories
Coaches

Coach Paul C.

Categories
Coaches

Coach Julie

Categories
Coaches

Coach Tessa

Categories
Coaches

Coach Steve S.

Categories
Coaches

Coach Tony

Q.When did you join the club?  

A. 1988

Q. Why did you join the club?   

A. The training times were more convenient than SNHAC or NHRR.  I am still a life member of SNHAC.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?

A. I am an experienced coach (47 years).  I wanted to help other members.

Q.What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?

A. Improve the overall standard  of members from Group1 to Group 5.

Q. When do we typically see you at training? 

A. Tuesday, Thursday (Ossie’s Angels) and Saturday (Ossie’s Angels).

Q. What are your aims for your running and/or coaching?

A. Personal running: to keep healthy and stay running as long as possible.  Coaching:  to help other members to enjoy their running and to improve.

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!

A. I have a blue belt at Taekwondo, the Korean Martial Art.

 

Categories
Coaches

Coach Steve W.

Q. How long have you been running

A. Well, I ran as an 18-yr-old, many years ago for a year or two to keep fit in the summer as a rugby player, but second time round, I am just coming up to 2-years of running after a break of 30-years!

Q. When did you join the Spartans?

A. September 2009

Q. Why did you join the Spartans?

A. I had lost a lot of weight and decided to take up running again. On my own I could only run walk around the lakes, so took the plunge, joined up and haven’t looked back.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?

A I have qualifications in coaching both football and rugby, and have always been interested in more than just participating. In a short time I have been helped so much myself, I want to help this great club get even better.

Q. What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?

A I would really like to be able to encourage people that have come into the club at perhaps a later stage of their life, and try to get them to realise they can achieve so much if they really want to.

Q. When do we typically see you at training?

A. Is this a joke question? Seriously, I have been injured on and off for nearly a year now, but am slowly getting back. As a rule, I would normally be at training on both Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and on one of the Sunday runs. I also help the starters on the occasional Monday evening.

Q. What are your aims for your running and/or coaching?

A My running aim was kind of achieved when I completed the London Marathon back in April, but perhaps not in the manner I wanted. Since then my aim has been to get back to running fitness. On the coaching front I plan to try and put what I have learnt into practice, and gain experience and more confidence in the role. I would at some point be interested in developing as a coach, further up the ladder.

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!

A Well, a few people may know that I commentate on football for BBC Three Counties Radio, but they might not know that I had the honour of commentating at the new Wembley Stadium, and the very first kick there in a competitive match as Stevenage beat Kidderminster. I have now worked there 3 times, all with Stevenage, and have had the pleasure of following the dramatic rise of Stevenage FC since.

Categories
Core

Core Stability training

Please take a look at the attached documents that provide information on what core stability training is, the benefits of this form of training and some recommended drills.  This type of training complements our running well and ensures you develop an inner/core strength that will make you a better runner and protect you from injury.  Try and incorporate the drills around your running based training – even if that is just one session of 20 mins (total) per week.

Look out for the drills coming to a running session near you soon!!!!

Core Stability for Runners

core-stability

Categories
Coaches

Coach Roger

Roger Biggs

Q.When did you join the club?

A. 1985

Q. Why did you join the club?

A. To run!

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?

A. Approx 10 years ago, to help other runners in the club.

Q.What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?

A. Just encourage members to improve. Help where & when I’m needed.

Q. When do we typically see you at training?

A. Tuesday

Q. What are your aims for your running and/or coaching?

A. To carry on running at a reasonable standard as long as I can. I don’t see my training going further at the moment, as I have involvement in the sport in other ways

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!

A. Many know about my marathons, but did they know that I’ve run 180 halves & 180 at 10 miles including my 100th 10, 100th half and 100th marathon in successive races, with my 100th marathon at the 100th Boston Marathon in USA

 

Categories
Coaches

Coach Charlie

Charlie Paterson

Q. When did you join the club?

A. April 2010

Q. Why did you join the club?

A.  My running was not improving — I needed something better and with structure rather than just pounding away at the treadmill.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?

A. To improve my knowledge of the principles of running and to be able to help others with my confidence in my answers.

Q. What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?

A. I would like to be in a position to motivate other runners, help them reach their targets whilst reducing the incidence of running injuries.

Q. When do we typically see you at training?

A.  Tuesdays in Group 4, Thursday speed work sessions, Saturday mornings at the track and a long run on Sundays!

Q. What are your aims for your running and/or coaching?

A. During 2012 I would like to stay injury free and work towards my first marathon.

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!

A.  During every race I wonder why I started but by the end of every race I am glad that I did!

Categories
Coaches

Coach Bev

Bev Harlow

Q. When did you join the club?

A. About 20 years ago, in 1991.

Q. Why did you join the club?

A.  I was lucky enough to have received a ballot place in the London Marathon.  I initially had planned to walk it but then thought I should get fitter and run it instead.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?

A. I was keen to join the team because over the last 20 years I have gained so much from the club that I wanted to give something back.

Q. What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?

A. I am hoping to retire in 2012 and so hope to have more time available from then.  In the meantime I am helping Tony Osborne with Group 2 on a Tuesday.

Q. When do we typically see you at training?

A.  I am a regular in Group 2 on a Tuesday and also at the Angel’s sessions on a Saturday morning.

Q. What are your aims in 2011 for your running and/or coaching?

A. As it is 20 years since I started running this year I have entered the Abingdon marathon which takes place on my birthday!!  I will be moving up an age category and may even get myself an anniversary PB, who knows!

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!

A.  My niece is the Olympic javelin thrower Goldie Sayers and I can’t run much on Sunday mornings as I am a church organist.

Categories
Coaches

Coach Andy N.

Andy Neetham

 

Q. When did you join the club?

A. September 2010

Q. Why did you join the club?

A.  We had just moved to Knebworth from High Wycombe and were looking for a running club with a good social side.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?

A.  I have twenty years experience of club running, with Barnet & District AC and Reading AC, and am a qualified scuba diving instructor. Those two things made it seem a natural thing to do.

Q. What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?

A. Pass on some experience and enthusiasm at the same time as learning some new things myself.

Q. When do we typically see you at training?

A.  When I’m not injured! My legs have a lot of miles in them and are not as young as they were!

Q. What are your aims in 2012 for your running and/or coaching?

A. Stay injury free so that I can actually join in with coaching and training. If successful with that I’d like to set a few VPBs (Veteran Personal Bests).

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!

A. I’m a Shetlander so there are not many that can accuse me of being a soft southerner!

 

 

 

Categories
Coaches

Coach Liam

Liam Herbert

 

Q. When did you join the club?

A. In March 2009, after braving a Starter Group session, and enjoying it.

Q. Why did you join the club?

A.  I had started up jogging as a way to better look after myself at University, but that got a bit lonely and I needed the motivation to improve and thought that joining a running club would be the best way to do this. I had little confidence or self-esteem in myself, or my running, when I ran with the Starter Group for the first time. This and my fitness have improved so much over the space of 3 years, thanks to the club.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?

A.  All the coaches in the club have inspired me at some point: we have to remember they volunteer their free time to ensure a safe training session, and use their passion for running to encourage others. After 3 years with the club I thought it was about time to give something back, to encourage people in their running just like I have been, and continue to be.

Q. What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?

A. There are a number of objectives for me: firstly to help the team, by leading and supporting sessions in a club with a large membership that caters for all abilities. I am also keen to promote different types of training outside of the ‘steady and safe’, such as the Thursday endurance and Saturday track sessions, which are fantastic for building strength, speed and developing form. Finally, I have been coached by someone in the club for the past year and they continue to inspire and push me forward in my own running. One day, I’d like to do the same for another runner in the capacity of a coach, rather than a group leader.

Q. When do we typically see you at training?

A.  Tuesday nights (Group 5), Thursday nights and Saturdays on the track.

Q. What are your aims in 2012 for your running and/or coaching?

A. I’ve become a little bit wiser in this respect, so will be keeping my cards close to my chest in terms of my running aims for 2012. Let’s just say that I improved a lot in 2011 and, this year, want to show that there is much more to come from me. Coaching wise, I’d simply like to gain experience of being a good group run leader and to give out as much encouragement as possible!

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!

A. Two for the price of one: I once set myself on fire at a Christmas party for 5 minutes and didn’t realise until someone darted over to put me out! I also share a flat with a robotic pet dinosaur called Pleo!

 

Categories
Coaches

Coach Todd

Todd Gray

Q.When did you join the club?

A. 2004

Q. Why did you join the club?

A. I had decided to run a marathon having enjoyed running when I was at school and got into to London marathon in 2004 but had no idea how to train for it, Steve Smithson suggested I came to the club as this would give me people with a similar goal to train with and I have never looked back.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?

A. I felt it would be a good way to develop my own running and give a little back to the club who have been so supportive over the years. Plus I was starting to feel left out as everyone has one of those snazzy orange vests.

Q. What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?

A. I hope to pass on some of my knowledge, experience and hopefully the enjoyment I get from running to other members of the club. I would also like to think that I could help my fellow club members improve and meet their running goals.

Q. When do we typically see you at training?

A. Tuesday, Thursday and the occasional Saturday

Q. What are your aims in 2012 for your running and/or coaching?

A. As when I joined the club but still have not managed I am aiming to try and break 3 hours for the marathon. I also hope to gain more experience coaching so I can begin to pass on some of my experience and learn more from the other club coaches.

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!

A. Only a small percentage of people can touch their nose or chin with their tongue but I can do both, special I know!!!

 

Categories
Coaches

Coach Pete

Pete Smith

Q.When did you join the club? 

A. 2008 I think

Q. Why did you join the club? 

A. Enjoyed running. When club came to gym centre, Mollie (my daughter) was doing gym, so instead of sitting watching her 6 days per week, I decided to go out with the club.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team? 

A. To gain some tips and advice about my own running and to pass on experiences to others.

Q. What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team? 

A.  I’d like to gain further qualifications to help others succeed in their aspirations.

Q. When do we typically see you at training? 

A. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Q. What are your aims in 2012 for your running and/or coaching? 

A. To run Edinburgh Marathon in 3 hours 14 mins and 59 seconds or preferably less to get the qualifying time for London good-for-age. To gain CIRF when I get the time to do the course. Also to try a different approach to promote the cross country season.

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know! 

A. I enjoy photography and have had several images used in gymnastics (see entry above about Mollie).  One of my images was used as a silhouette for the motif on a Scottish Gymnastics T shirt.

 

Categories
Coaches

Coach Niki

Niki Andrews

Q.When did you join the club?

A. 2009.

Q. Why did you join the club?

A. I had entered the London marathon through my previous club and, as they didn’t do much road running, it was suggested that I train with FVS on Sunday mornings. I then got a bit addicted and gave up the track for road running.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?

A. I’ve been a Level 2 jumps coach since I was 18 as part of my previous club. After helping out informally a couple of times for FVS at the track I decided that I may as well see if my skills were transferable to road runs… this is yet to be proven!

Q.What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?

A. I hope to get myself into group 4 on a Tuesday and drag some others from group 3 along with me (you have been warned!) Also just be an extra person around to ask for advice on general running (nothing too specific please!)

Q. When do we typically see you at training?

A. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays although if you ask me nicely I will come to the track on a Saturday when it’s sunny!

Q. What are your aims in 2012 for your running and/or coaching?

A. Running – sub 1.40 half marathon, try to compete in as many of the MWL as possible,

Coaching – get more ladies in the cross country team next year – and the team running them well!

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!

A. I was a SEAA high jump silver medallist and East of England record holder (indoors)

 

Categories
News Newsletter

Catch a Coach – May 2012 edition now available!

Catch up with the latest edition of Catch a Coach here:

http://fvspartans.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Catch-a-Coach-newsletter-May-2012v0.1.pdf

 

Categories
Recovery

Recovery after a race

The following comments are written in relation to recovering from a marathon race.  However, the general principles apply to any race distance.  Basically the longer the race the longer you need to recover.  A rough guide often quoted is 1 day per mile.  So to FULLY recover from a marathon it takes around 26 days, for a half marathon 13/14 days and so on.  You will of course be back in training long before that.  Fully recovered means back to your racing best.

Remember we are not all the same.  Some of us have memories of coming down stairs on our backside the next day after a marathon because it was the only way we could get down stairs! Other people are walking and even jogging gently the next day. Some of us can remember both.  You will even hear tales of runners who ran a PB a week after their marathon.  We are definitely not all the same. An example of a schedule for recovery from a marathon over a 4 week period is shown in the link below.

The time to start GENTLY stretching is immediately after your marathon finishes. This is true of any race finish.  Those of us who have actually run marathons know how difficult this is. However, difficult as it may be, try to GENTLY stretch as soon as your mind will allow.  Note as soon as your mind will allow.  Your body will probably object but it will be worth the effort.  Keep stretching as often as possible during the next 10 – 14 days.

Whether you are male or female the same applies, do not be macho. You are not trying to prove you are the toughest/hardest runner in the club, or the stupidest. You are, presumably, trying to recover from the marathon and get back to racing and running as well as you can as soon as you can.  As I have said already some members will be back to racing and training flat out within a few days.  Let them, it is their body, you look after your own body, no one else will.  Remember you only get one body, treat it like a friend, not something to be punished.

Gradually build up your running mileages over the recovery phase (i.e. 4 weeks for a marathon, 2 weeks for a half marathon and so on).  Start on race week + 1 by incorporating walking as well as running.  This is particularly true of those who have just raced a marathon.  Active recovery is the key. If at any time during the recovery phase you are feeling particularly tired or have any sort of grumbles in your legs etc, listen to your body and take a rest day!

Example-of-marathon-recovery-schedule

 

Categories
Calculators Calculators

Calculators

Race time predictor

The following link takes you to the RunnersWorld calculator that predicts your race time from another recent race time at a different distance.  For example, if you are racing a 10K and have recently run a 5K race you can use the 5K time as a means of predicting your 10K time.

http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/rws-race-time-predictor/1681.html

Training pace calculator

The following RunnersWorld calculator provides you with a range of training paces from a recent race time.

http://www.runnersworld.co.uk/general/rws-training-pace-calculator/1676.html

As a general guide, you can quickly calculate paces for workouts and races from your 5K race time.

Long intervals (e.g. Tuesday) — run at 5K pace

Tempo runs (e.g. Tuesday or Thursday continuous) – 5k pace + (30-45 seconds per mile)

Short intervals  (e.g.  Saturday track) — 5K pace — (10-15 seconds per mile)

Long runs (e.g. Sundays) — 5K pace+(45 seconds — 1:45 minutes per mile)

Easy runs — 5K pace + 1-2 minutes per mile

10K race — 5K pace + (15-20 seconds per mile)

Half marathon — 5K pace +(45 seconds to one minute per mile)

Marathon — Double your half marathon and add 10-20 minutes

 

Categories
Stretching

Stretching

There is a wide variation in stretches available for post run/training. The following eight-stretch routine is simple to follow and will keep you flexible in all your main running muscles. Follow it after every run or exercise/workout.

Remember:
· Don’t stretch cold muscles. It’s far better to stretch after a run than before.
· Do stretch lightly before speed work, after a 10-minute warm-up jog.
· Ease into each stretch: don’t bounce or force it.
· After a run, hold each stretch for 30 seconds; repeat once or twice on each leg.

1. Lying hamstring stretch
Keep your upper body relaxed and both legs straight as you pull one leg towards you (illustrated using a band but you can do this stretch by holding behind the knee or calf of your raised leg).

2. Lying gluteal stretch against wall
Keep the ankle of your front leg just below your knee and ensure that you’re close enough to the wall for your lower back to be off the floor. As gravity gently brings your lower back towards the floor, you’ll feel a stretch in the muscles around the side of your buttocks. Adjust the angle of your hips and front knee to intensify the stretch. If you haven’t got a wall to press against then using the arm on the opposite side of the leg bent at right angles, reach through the gap and holding the leg bent at right angles pull that in towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the side of your buttocks.

3. Groin stretch
Hold your feet and gently use your leg muscles to move your knees towards the ground. Keeping a straight back and bringing your feet closer to your body intensifies the stretch.

4. Gastrocnemius (upper calf) stretch
Keep the back leg straight and push the back heel into the ground. Keeping a straight upper body and gently lifting up your hips helps. There shouldn’t be much pressure on the front foot. If there is not a wall available then push against an imaginary wall or do the stretch with a partner, face on, pushing against each others shoulders.

5. Soleus (lower calf) stretch
Stand closer to the wall and bend one leg, keeping the foot flat on the floor. You should feel a stretch in your lower calf. Leaning towards the wall intensifies the stretch; there should be little pressure on the other foot. Again, if there is not a wall available then push against an imaginary wall once you have bent into the stretch or do the stretch with a partner, face on, pushing against each others shoulders once you have each bent into the stretch.

6. Iliotibial band stretch
Place one foot around the other, with both feet flat on the ground. Keeping both legs straight, lean your hips towards the side of your rearmost foot (so, if your right foot is rearmost, lean your hips to the right). You should feel the stretch down the outside of your leg and around your hip — if you are very stiff, it may take a few times before you feel anything. If a wall is not available then practice doing this stretch with a partner.

7. Hip flexor stretch
Keep your hips squared forwards and your upper body vertical; slumping forwards reduces the stretch.

 

8. Standing quadriceps stretch

Flex your foot and keep your body straight to maximise the stretch through the front of your leg. You can put one hand on a wall if you need balance.

 

Categories
Mobilisations

Mobility exercises – why do we do them?

A few years ago the chairman of Fairlands Valley Spartans and the Head Coach were having a chat and being mischievous the Head Coach bet the chairman he could get the members to do anything he asked. The Chairman accepted the bet and instructed the Head Coach to get members doing ‘ballet exercises’ in public, to this day it was the easiest pint he ever earned…..

But seriously why do we do mobility before all of our sessions?

When running most of the major joints used are synovial joints (or articulating joints) which have a cavity between the bones which make up the joint. The bones are separated by a synovial membrane which secretes fluid when activated.

This fluid acts as a shock absorber and lubricator to the joints, which in turn can help to protect the bones, cartilages and ligaments from damage in the long term.

The fluid isn’t released immediately, which is why in a normal session we warm up for approximately 10-15 minutes and then complete the mobility exercises to further stimulate the release of fluid and joint movement, before going into the main session where the hard work is completed.

By completing the exercises you are protecting your joints, helping you to avoid long term damage and remain as injury free as possible.

All the exercises we use are approved by the UKA and when combined with the mobility drills practiced on a Saturday morning at the track, will really help to not only keep you moving for longer but also improve your running form and efficiency.

So contrary to common belief Chris Leigh is not a ballet dancer, he does care about our joints and avoiding injuries, might own a tutu although will always deny it in public!

Andy Prior, Personal Trainer

Categories
Diet and nutrition

Diet and Nutrition – the basics

Diet and Nutrition — some basics

With so many different diets available to us it is easy to chop and change what we eat to try to get a quick fix, which can work in the short term as the body is an amazing machine, but over the long term the Food Standards Agency recommends that we use the ‘Eatwell Plate’ below to ensure we have a balanced diet.

The plate is divided into the five basic food groups

– Bread, Rice, Potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods

– Fruit and Vegetables

– Milk and dairy foods

– Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non dairy sources of protein

– Foods high in fat and/or sugar

The divisions are the rough percentages of the diet you should consume each day to achieve balance.

Unfortunately just getting the percentages right is not itself sufficient as you also need to consider the volume of what you are eating and drinking.

The term metabolism and energy balance is often used with regard to diet and nutrition and a basic understanding can be useful when considering ‘why am I no longer losing weight’ or ‘why do I run out of energy at the end of a marathon’. Metabolism is the range of internal activities that takes place in our bodies and the amount of energy that is required to drive these at rest is known as our ‘basal metabolic rate’ which is measured in calories. Your BMR is individual, although the general guidelines are 1500 kcal for ladies & 2000 kcal for men, as it is dependent on how much of ‘you’ there is.  Other factors are our body weight, how active we are and the ratio of fat-free mass to fat mass (body composition). One thing to remember is that fat-free mass (made up of fluids, bones and muscle tissue) are more metabolically active and therefore burn more calories than fat mass.

So what happens if you get the balance of energy used and calories consumed out of balance?

When food is consumed the body converts it to energy, if there is an excess of energy it is stored as fat weight. The key to losing fat weight is to create an imbalance between energy intake and expenditure.

Energy in > Energy out = weight gain

Energy in < energy out = weight loss

Energy in = energy out = weight maintenance

To lose fat weight a deficit needs to be achieved, a rough guide is to lose a pound of fat you need to burn approximately 3500kcal, which is best achieved by a combination of increased activity & reduced calorie intake.

People can get quite hung up on what to eat and when to eat but if you follow these simple guidelines you can concentrate on the training and getting faster;

  • Eat predominantly complex carbohydrates
  • Eat 5-7 portions of fruit and vegetables
  • Moderate intakes of protein
  • Restrict intakes of food containing high levels of saturated fat and sugar
  • Drink at least 2 litres of fluid a day
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Foods high in fat and sugar are not essential to a healthy diet (but do taste nice)
  • Most people learn when to eat by trial and error, keep a diary and try different times to see how it affects performance.

But the most important thing is whatever you do, to have fun doing it and smile a lot!!

Andy Prior, Personal Trainer

Categories
Race Preparation

Race Preparation

As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail!!!

Nothing is truer with racing. Here’s the ideal approach:

The day before the race

1. The most important thing to remember is to relax.

2. Prepare all your race kit .If you have your number already, pin it to the front of your race T-shirt. Double-check the start time and travel directions.

3. Decide on a race plan. If you’re aiming for a specific time, work out your target mile splits for the race. Choose even splits or a slightly faster second half. Copy the splits upside down onto your number, or keep the plan with your kit and copy it onto your forearm when you arrive at the race.

4. Drink plenty (but steer clear of alcohol). (You can use the urine test! It should be almost clear if you are properly hydrated). Have two glasses of water when you get up, and carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go. Have a tried-and tested pre-run supper, and if it’s a long race (half-marathon or more), take special care to eat plenty of low-fat, high-carbohydrate food during the day, such as bread and pasta. But don’t get bloated.

5. Don’t plan a day of hectic shopping, gardening, or anything else that will keep you on your feet for most of the day. Just relax.

On the morning of the race

1. Start with a shower to wake you up.

2. Drink 500-750ml of water to replace any fluids you have lost overnight.

3. Make sure you have breakfast. Your body will have burnt 400-600 calories overnight. These need to be replaced with easily digested foods (porridge, bread and honey or jam). Avoid anything greasy, heavy or that you know from experience leaves you bloated.

4. Head to the race. Aim to arrive 60 minutes before the start — just remember to factor in plenty of time if there may be parking difficulties or you have to collect your race number. This will give you time to use the loo, get changed, drop off your kit bag, find the start line, and warm up.

5. About 25 minutes before the race starts, do an easy jog to warm up. Try to remember that your warm-up should be inversely proportional to the race distance i.e. if you are racing a 5K then a 2 min jog is not enough whereas racing a half marathon may only require a light jog to the start as you can use the opening of the race to ease up to your race pace.

In the race

1. Don’t go off too fast. If you’ve made a pace chart of your mile splits, make sure that you follow it.

2. If things start to go wrong, don’t worry — just ease down and assess how you actually feel.

3. Walk through the drinks stations to ensure that you hydrate properly. For races over 10 miles, consider taking energy gels to restock your energy reserves (but practice using them in training first).

4. Enjoy the work. This will sound strange, but even if you’re having a slow race, have fun. There will always be more races on other days.

5. Only speed up in the last mile (1-2km) for a 5K, two miles (3km) for a 10K, and three miles for a half-marathon.

 

Categories
Race Tactics

Race Tactics

Some race tactics can be prepared well in advance but often you will need to respond to situations as they unfold, such as a competitor making an unexpected surge. You can practice stressful tactical moves in training workouts and mentally rehearse tactical possibilities so that you are more prepared for various situations that can arise in races. Here are a series of additional tactical points to consider in your racing and preparations:

One option is to pace to run your best time and be confident this will be good enough to beat your main competitors. This won’t exactly pit you in racing duels but can be the most effective way to compete for many of us;

Take the lead from the start, whether leading the entire race or just the set of competitors you are pitting yourself against. You can push for the first part of a race, say the first mile, before easing into a pace you can handle to protect the lead you have established. This tactic can undermine your competitors confidence and boost your own. This tactic is not without risk because it demands that you can break away and maintain that lead without faltering during the remainder of the race. You can adapt this tactic by forging ahead early on in a race but without pushing ‘all out’ and aim to wear down your competitors over a longer period of the race.

You can run with your competitors and look to push on ahead of them at a key part of the race. This could be at a particularly challenging point, for example on a hill, where the sight of you passing them and holding a lead can be a psychological killer blow. You need to practice putting in these surges as part of your training. The best opportunities for this are either in interval sessions or on fartlek runs. Start the session using a fast but controlled pace and somewhere in the middle of the session put in a faster interval. You can then finish the session pushing through with the remaining reps, feeling tired, to mimic the finishing conditions of a race.

Responding to a surge — if your competitor puts in a surge during a race then you will need to be ready to respond. Try mentally tossing out a line to them and gradually pull them back into contact. Resist the temptation to go all out by responding immediately and don’t panic or give up. Try and remain calm and consider how you will respond by gradually increasing your pace and drawing them back in.

Remember to adjust your tactics for different race distances. The tactics you use in a 5K race will not necessarily service you well in a half marathon. In a 5K race you need to be in contact with your competitors from the start whereas a half marathon distance gives you longer to respond to gaps that emerge between yourself and your competitors.

Don’t let others psych you out! Focus on yourself and what you need to do rather than letting others get into your head! Remember, you run the race with your legs and not your mouth!

Try running as part of a pack in the race. You can use other runners in this way to hold or push your pace, use them as a wind break or help you up hills.

Use runners as tow ropes — drop in behind someone who passes you and stay with the pace as long as possible. If you have to let go, take a break and then try to hook up with another runner.

Set passing goals – set yourself small goals of passing runners as the race progresses. See how many runners you can catch over the second half of a race, for example. You can play games with yourself by keeping a mental score – +1 for each runner you pass and -1 for each runner that overtakes you. By setting yourself scoring targets in final sections of races you can also help this to hold your concentration on the race and get the best out of your performance

Don’t get bogged down with the ‘pecking order syndrome’. If you analyse your competition and work out that you should be placed behind certain runners than that is what is likely to happen. Challenge the pecking order — dare yourself to move up to a new level!

Experience of racing will give you a greater understanding of what works for you in different situations. Practice different situations in training so that you are better prepared but don’t forget — don’t leave your race in the training session! (i.e. don’t over cook your training so that you are spent for that big race coming up).

 

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Tempo Training

Tempo training

What are they?

Tempo runs are the simplest of all speed workouts. Just warm up, run at a challenging, steady pace you can hold for the set distance and then cool down. They are also known as lactate, anaerobic or fatigue threshold runs. When you go above your threshold, lactic acid builds up, breathing becomes laboured, running form gets ragged, muscles tense and tighten as fatigue sets in. With tempo runs, you train close to your threshold without exceeding it. As a result, you’ll raise it, enabling you to run faster and farther before fatigue sets in. Holding a tough enough pace is the key to performance.

Tempo runs offer many advantages. Although your lactate threshold can be improved with shorter, faster intervals, tempo runs allow for a higher quantity of threshold training per workout, and at safer speeds. Since the pace of tempo runs is not as hard as other types of speed training, recovery is quicker and injury less likely. Its less stressful than intervals. Tempo running by its nature is controlled so it guards against the tendency to train as hard as you can. Tempo training will help you develop a feel for even pace (hence the term ‘tempo’) so you’ll run more evenly in races.

Tempo pacing

The key to tempo training is to strike the correct balance between speed and mileage. You should be aiming to complete runs (after warm up) between 3 to 5 miles at a challenging pace that you can hold for that distance. You can judge the required pace by ‘perceived exertion’. You should be running hard enough for breathing to become faster but you should not be gasping for air. Tempo pace will put you in a two strides-in, one stride-out rhythm for your breathing.  If you are breathing in and out with each stride then you are going at interval pace, so slow down! You should be able to think clearly and talk, but not in full sentences. You should be running in some discomfort but not so much so that it causes you to bring your run to an abrupt end. Tempo pace is usually approximately 15 to 30 seconds per mile slower than your 10K pace or 30 to 45 seconds slower than your 5K pace. If using a heart rate monitor the training should be at approximately 85% of maximum heart rate. A quick and easy rule to use is that of the ’20:20’. Most runners will get a great deal of benefit from a 20 minute tempo run ran at 20 seconds per miles slower than their 10K pace.

You won’t get it right first time! Practice is the key until you find the pace that you can maintain throughout the tempo run that is hard enough for you to get the benefits in respect to your lactate threshold.

You can run tempo runs anywhere. They can be, for example, completed off road or even on a treadmill. Just ensure you follow the pattern of (i) adequate warm up (ii) timed tempo run with a focus on pace and form and (iii) adequate cool down.

 

Categories
Hill training

Hill training

 

Hill Training has a strengthening effect as well as boosting your power. In hill running, you are using your body weight as a resistance to push against, so the driving muscles from which your leg power is derived have to work harder. The technique to aim for is a “bouncy” style where you have a good knee lift and maximum range of movement in the ankle. You should aim to drive hard, pushing upwards with your toes, flexing your ankle as much as possible, landing on the front part of the foot and then letting the heel come down below the level of the toes as the weight is taken. This stretches the calf muscles upwards and downwards as much as possible and applies resistance which over time will improve your power and elasticity. You should look straight ahead, as you run (not at your feet) and ensure your neck, shoulders and arms are free of tension. Many experts believe that the “bouncy” action is more important than the speed at which you run up the hills. Hill work results in the calf muscles learning to contract more quickly and thereby generating work at a higher rate, they become more powerful. The calf muscle achieves this by recruiting more muscle fibres, around two or three times as many when compared to running on the flat. The “bouncy” action also improves the power of the quads in the front of the thigh as they provide the high knee lift that is required. It can also mean higher running speeds and shorter foot strike times. Hill training offers the following benefits:

– helps develop power and muscle elasticity
– improves stride frequency and length
– develops co-ordination, encouraging the proper use of arm action during the driving phase and feet in the support phase
– develops control and stabilisation as well as improved speed (downhill running)
– promotes strength endurance
– develops maximum speed and strength (short hills)
– improves lactate tolerance (mixed hills)

Don’t blast up hills in the early part of your workout as this can stop you working through subsequent miles. The idea is to run constantly at a hard but not super fast speed. You should not feel like you are racing but as though you are running just slightly slower than your lactate threshold. Alternatively, if you are using a heart rate monitor this should be at around 85% of maximum during at least the last two-thirds of your run. The benefits of short, medium and long hills are quite different, and can be used at different times of the year.

Short hills

A short hill is one which takes no more that 30 seconds to run up and has an inclination between 5 and 15 degrees gradient. Your energy source on short hills is entirely anaerobic. You should focus on a running technique which has vigorous arm drive and high knee lift, with the hips kept high, so that they are ‘running tall’, not leaning forwards. The session is anaerobic so the recovery time can be long, a walk back down the hill, or a slow jog of 60 to 90 seconds. The total volume (number of repetitions) will depend on your overall fitness and the reason for doing it. A sprinter looking for strength might do 10 repetitions of 15 second duration up a steep slope with a long recovery where as a distance runner who is trying to improve sprinting speed might do 30 repetitions of 15 seconds duration. Example of short hill sessions:

– 8 to 10 repetitions over 50 metres (sprinters)
– 8 to 10 repetitions over 150 metres (middle distance athletes)
– 8 to 10 repetitions over 200 metres (long distance athletes)

Medium hills

A medium hill is one that takes between 30 to 90 seconds to run up. This is the length of hill that is a good distance for the middle-distance runner, because it combines the benefits of the short hills with the stresses on muscular endurance and tolerance of lactic acid. Use a hill as steep as one in six to one in ten, so that you can run at something near race pace. The energy source is both aerobic and anaerobic and you will experience the build up in blood lactate as you go further up the hill. A run up a hill combination along Martins Way in Stevenage, for example. Scuttling up the hill with a short stride and forward lean may be the best way to get up in a race, but in training, we are trying to develop particular qualities. It is better, therefore, to go for a longer stride and higher knee lift: running tall with the hips pushed forwards, keeping the back upright. Generally volume will depend on overall objectives again but a session of between 8 to 12 reps of 60 seconds is suitable with a slow jog back to the bottom for recovery.

Long hills

A long hill is one which takes from 90 seconds to three minutes plus. Here most of the energy comes from aerobic sources, but if parts of the hill are steep and you are running them hard, there will still be an accumulation of blood lactate. There will be muscular fatigue in the leg muscles, and possibly in the abdominal muscles too, but the main limiting factor will be your cardiovascular system. As these hill sessions are aerobic, you will not use as much power per stride as the shorter hills. They are particularly good for the cross country or road runner who is running distances of 10,000m and upwards. A session of, say eight times three minutes, with a run back of four or five minutes will make a good hard workout.

Mixed hill running

The attraction of mixed hill training is that it can be fitted in with the terrain you are running on and can, therefore, be interesting and full of variety. Two advantages can come from this type of hill training:

– Race simulation. It is a good principle to rehearse in training the situations you are likely to meet in a race, such as trying to break open a gap by running hard over the top of a hill and keeping the pace going instead of easing up, as many runners do.
– Downhill running. This is something that often causes jarring and strains. Repeated fast downhill runs are not advised but you should practice them within a mixed hills session to find the most relaxed way of running downhill without strain (see the section below on downhill running for further details on the appropriate running style).

Mixed hill running can also be used to improve running economy and boost your VO2 max level. A typical mixed hills session would be over a six or seven mile undulating hilly course, starting the session jogging at a modest pace and gradually picking up the intensity as you move through the hills.

Downhill running

For most races you spend as much time going down hills as you spend going up them so it makes sense to practice running down hills, even just a little. Used with caution, downhill training can be very beneficial, strengthening the quads and preparing them for the uphill training and racing you will be doing. A runner going down a hill can experience as much as 40 per cent more leg shock than on the flats so it pays to take care in your downhill training. The trick is to develop a feel for good downhill running form by practising it until it becomes subconscious to relax and almost throw yourself downhill at quick paces. That is not to say throw yourself recklessly down hills! For optimum downhill running your body should be perpendicular to the ground and relaxed. That is leaning forward by exactly the slope of the hill. This not only helps gravity give you forward momentum but it ensures that each stride carries you parallel to the running surface rather than bouncing you jarringly up and down. Avoid leaning backwards because this will result in a braking action, increasing impact through your legs and will lead to greater impact through your joints, particularly the knees. It also wastes a great deal of energy and speed.

Kenyan Hills

This is a method of running a series of up and down hill efforts using a constant effort. Unlike their European and American counterparts who tended to blast up hills and use the downhill sections to recover, the Kenyans would train using a constant effort through the ups and downs. This meant that they were not necessarily climbing hills at such a quick rate but were in better form during the downhill sections and achieved better pace overall. Kenyan hills training consists of finding a series of hills and running these as a series of repetitions, usually over a total timed effort e.g. 20 or 30 minutes. The training takes a degree of discipline in order to ensure that the whole session is run at a constant effort, holding back slightly in the uphill sections and using good downhill form (see above) to keep up the pace. These can be tough sessions because there is no perception of a recovery period throughout it if they are completed correctly but they have huge benefits in training the muscles for the hill repeats as well as the mind and body into maintaining a good, consistent running form and pace.

Categories
Mental Training

Mental training

Mental Training       

Tips for fighting off fatigue and pain

Fatigue and pain limit performance.  The following are some mental tricks that you can play on yourself to keep your mind occupied just at a time when it is searching for reasons to concede to distress!  You can’t outrun fatigue but the idea is that you can bluff your way through it.

1. Recognise any discomfort and talk your way through it (not out aloud otherwise you may get locked up!).

2. At the first sign of any discomfort or fatigue heighten your awareness in that area.  If you feel tightness, for example, in your quads late in a race tighten those muscles momentarily and then let go.  This reduces anxiety, helping fight off fatigue with relaxation.

3. Try repeating a relaxation slogan such as ‘calm, calm, calm’ if you feel fatigue or discomfort setting in.  Find a slogan or set of words that work for you and be ready to use them at key points in your runs.

4. Control discomfort by use of controlled breathing.  If you are struggling focus on deep, steady breathing.  This relaxes you so that you are able to concentrate on effort, not pain.

5. Practice talking to yourself!!  Remind yourself how well you have trained for this race, how much you have been through, the milestones you have achieved on the way etc.  Experiment and find what works for you.

6. Segmenting a race into chunks.  Try counting down distances rather than clocking them up.  In a 10K work down the remaining distance so that you are coming closer and closer to the end of the race rather than thinking you have completed 2,3,4 and then 5 miles etc.  Setting time targets for each mile and then banking those before moving on the next one is another technique you can adopt.

Go on and give it a go.  What have you got to lose????

Visualisation

This is a fancy word for daydreaming.  The difference is that rather than letting your mind wander, you take conscious control and entertain only thoughts that will help your running.  Memorise what it feels like to run correctly then replay that memory over and over again, concentrating on rhythm and flow of good form.  If nothing else, this should make it easier to distinguish good form from bad in actual workouts.  Visualisation is a great technique to use in race preparation runs and then races themselves.  It aids your focus and optimises your ability to perform at your best.  However, just like running itself you need to train your mind to make the most of visualisation.  Try it in lower key training sessions and perfect it before key races.

Crushing those negative thoughts

As runners we will come across a wide range of situations where negative thoughts and self doubts creep into our heads.  The result is impact on our performance and disappointments.  Here are some common scenarios with tips on how to deal with them:

Scenario – Pre-race nerves tend to get the best of you

Solution  – Laugh it off. The butterflies can stike on the night before a race or on the way there.  What we call nerves is actually heightened adrenaline. If you are really nervous before a race you will spend an excessive amount of mental energy thinking about it. If you suffer from race day nerves turn your attention to something that will elicit a completely different emotion.  For example, download your favourite comedy moment to your phone and play it before you race.  Laughing helps restore emotional balance and reduces stress.

Scenario – You always struggle with hills

Solution – picture yourself. get a running partner to take a picture of you running up a hill.  Smile broadly as if you are loving it! (even if you are not!)  Save the picture as a screensaver or home page and every time you use your phone/mobile device you will see yourself running the hill and loving it!

Scenario – you’ve hit a racing or training plateau

Solution – get your head in the books. Take comfort in the fact that the very best athletes go through periods where they struggle to reach their performance potential.  Read up on famous athletes who have coped with challenges over the course of their career.  Learn from the best and get inspiration!

Scenario – you want to give up during a race

Solution – stick it on!  Think of a time when you have wnated to give up but have stuck at it and seen it through.  Write down those thoughts on a post it pad with comments as to what you did to overcome the challenge.  Stick the note inside your running shoes. The note will be there every time you go training.

Categories
Fitness Tests

Multistage fitness test or ‘Bleep Test’

                   

Multistage Fitness Test or ‘Bleep Test’      

The test has become recognised as one of the most popular and valid tests of aerobic fitness and can be used to estimate a person’s maximum oxygen uptake, or VO2 max[1].

Maximum oxygen uptake has been shown to increase with appropriate training.  However, for an individual a large component part of their VO2 max level is determined genetically so improvements will reach a ceiling level.  The most accurate way of measuring VO2 max levels is in a laboratory but this involves the use of expertise and specialised equipment.  The bleep test is a means of obtaining an approximate VO2 max level for individuals through the use of a simple test that requires very little equipment.

The Test

The person carrying out the test has to carry out a series of shuttle runs between two lines exactly 20 metres apart, keeping in time with a series of audio signals (or bleeps).  The timing begins very slowly but becomes progressively faster each minute so that it becomes harder to maintain the set pace.  When the running speed increases at the start of each minute the test enters a new level.  The runner stops when he or she can no longer maintain the running speed and his or her score is recorded as the final level and number of shuttles completed (for example, 4 shuttles completed on level 9, 10 shuttles on level 11 and so on).  This score is then used to obtain a VO2 max estimate from the table below and also can be used as a reference point against which future changes can be monitored.

Prior to carrying out the test runners should carry out a thorough warm up and mobilisation programme so that their bodies are ready for the test conditions.

Table of predicted VO2 max for the Multistage Fitness Test
Fairlands Valley Spartans overall summary of results

[1] A person’s maximum oxygen uptake value represents the maximum amount of oxygen which can be extracted from the external environment (the air breathed in) and transported to the working muscles.  This is measured in millimetres of oxygen per kilogram of body weight per minute.

Categories
Routes & Session Plans Routes and Session Plans

Routes and Session Plans

Tuesday

Autumn/Winter training routes

Route E 5.8miles
Route H 7.4miles
Route I 7.4miles
Route J 8.1miles
Route K 8.1miles

Thursday

Starter Group 3mile

‘Technical’ sessions
200m shuttles
300m intervals
400m intervals
600m intervals
800m intervals
1000m intervals
1mile intervals

Speed endurance

30, 45, 60 seconds hills

Sunday

Less than 9 miles

5 mile circuit from Marriotts
Graveley loop
5mile circuit from Lytton Arms Old Knebworth
5mile circular route through Aston
6.2miles from John Henry Newman
Chesfield Loop 5miles
John Henry Newman to Great Wymondley loop 6miles
Knebworth loop from Fairlands Valley Showground 8miles

9 to 15 miles

10mile Hitchin loop
10mile circuit from the Lytton Arms
13mile fitness run
14.5miler
11mile circuit of Royston Heath
10mile Aston/Bennington via the Village Hall
11mile Circuit from Sharpenhoe Clappers through Streatley
10mile JHN to Preston
11.5mile Knebworth/Nup End/Shaws Corner
11mile Minsden Chapel
10mile Old Knebworth, Nup End, Codicote and Rabley Heath
10mile Pirton/Hexton
11mile Weston and Halls Green
11.5mile Willian and Weston Hills

Over 15 miles

18mile round trip of Stevenage
17.5miles SMT Cromer Windmill circuit
18 miles Hitchin/St Ippolitts/Gosmore/Preston

Off road

10mile Graveley and Willian
Bragbury End/Beane Valley loop (10.1 miles)
Willian Cross Country circuit (5.5 miles) – an additonal 5-6 miles can be added by running from JS Coreys Mill, Stevenage through Graveley and back
Weston loop via Roman Road (9.87 miles)

Categories
Catch-a-coach

Newsletters

News: Catch A Coach, August 2014 - August 18, 2014
We are pleased to announce the return of a new and improved Catch a Coach newsletter produced for your enjoyment and information.
News: THIS WEEKS NEWS RELEASE - July 30, 2013
  RELAYS IN THE PARK   Fairlands Valley Spartans hosted another successful event on Thursday evening – the 3K Relay event- when nearly 400 runners completed the relay course. There were 47 women’s teams comprised of 3 runners and 50 men’s teams comprised of 5 runners.  Provisional results can be found on the Spartans website […]
News: January edition of Catch a Coach - January 1, 2013
As well as the 10 of the best for the coming month, there is a reminder about booking your races, what the forthcoming Cooper Test is all about, coaching resources on marathon and half marathon training and a reminder about groupings for our Tuesday sessions.
News: Catch a Coach – May 2012 edition now available! - May 2, 2012
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Categories
Training

Be safe, be seen and be a Spartan!

Be safe!

– Never assume that because you have heard/seen a danger/obstacle that your fellow runners have. Make the call to advise them. If leading a run, set a positive example by practicing the advice set out in these guidelines.
– Where possible run in pairs or groups. If you haven’t got anyone to run with, ask another member of the club if they will run with you. There will always be other runners in the club that are training for similar races/events. Networking will help forge opportunities to buddy up with other runners, one of the many benefits in being in a running club.
– Whenever you venture out, even if it is for only 20 minutes, you should always let someone know where you’re going, your exact route and approximately how long you expect to be. If you’re heading out from an empty home or office, call a friend, partner or relative to advise them of your plans, and call them again to check in when you return.
– Plan your routes carefully. That doesn’t mean you should avoid your favourite routes because they go across remote areas or miss out on some spectacular scenery, but that you should take care with your choice. Try to limit danger points on your runs. For example, areas where you would be difficult to spot if you had a fall or injury, dark alleyways, or known local black spots.
– Carry Identification. ICE Tags are available from the kit team.

Route planning

  • Circular routes are safer because you don’t have to retrace your steps.
  • Vary your route to minimise chances of being targeted.
  • Try and avoid deserted areas or places where people could easily conceal themselves. For example: paths surrounded by bushes.
  • Choose well lit, populated routes, especially if you are running after dark.
  • Be aware of running on cycle paths — the cyclists may not be expecting to see you. You wouldn’t drive your car along the middle or right hand side of the road — use the rules of the road on the cycle paths and stick to the left. Where a path has dual use, make sure you run on the pedestrian side.
  • Look for places on or near your route where you could be sure of finding people and where you could call for help. For example: shops, garages etc.
  • If possible, check out your route first on foot or by car. Look to see if there are other people using your route — this is a good sign.
  • See if you can run with a friend or in a group. Is there anyone that could perhaps cycle with you instead?
  • Before agreeing to exercise with someone, take time to get to know and trust them.
  • Carry some form of identification with you. The club has a plentiful supply of Cram Tags — small plastic identification tags that can be threaded through your running shoe laces and hold your key contact details. If you haven’t already got a Cram Tag on your shoe please see one of the kit team.
  • When running on your own, always face oncoming traffic (unless running round a blind bend). This way you can see oncoming vehicles and take avoiding action if necessary. On blind corners take extra care and run where you can get best visibility. If you need to cross the road to do that be decisive and then cross back to face oncoming traffic as soon as it is safe to do so.
  • Cross roads at crossings and always be aware of traffic lights. If using a crossing, regroup before the entire group crosses as one (i.e. do not press any buttons until all the group are there!). Make sure you make eye contact with the driver before crossing in front of a car. When approaching an intersection/T-junction, make eye contact with the driver who is waiting to proceed onto the main road. If the driver does not see you, pass behind the car.
  • Be careful if anyone in a car asks you for directions – if you stop to answer, keep at least at arm’s length from the vehicle.
  • MP3/iPods may prevent you from hearing trouble approaching and distract you from your surroundings. Expensive equipment could also make you a target for thieves. Wearing MP3 players whilst out in a group will also mean that you will not be able to hear the coach’s/group leader’s instructions or be able to talk properly with your fellow runners.
  • When running with a group, ensure that all members of the group return safely. Start and finish together. If you need to finish early, let the group leader/coach know you are leaving. Do not leave the group without letting someone know what you are doing.
  • Listen to the coach/group leader at all times. This ensures that the group hear and can follow consistent instructions. Do not use an MP3/iPod during a group run (see below).
  • On steady/slow runs (e.g. Sunday training runs), faster runners must regularly return to the back of the slower runners. You should not leave the group before first speaking to the group leader/coach about what you are doing.

Be seen!

Precautions to take while running at night/low light levels

We always need to think about safety and being seen at night. The most important thing is to make sure you can be seen. Dark clothes and shoes can make you virtually invisible to motorists, particularly if you’re trying to cross a busy road or if you’re running along the edge of a narrow road without a footpath. You may also not be visible to other runners and/or pedestrians and cause an accident as a result.

  • Wear bright clothing and light colours; at the very least wear a white t-shirt as a top layer. You are also best to look for wind jackets, tops and tights with reflective strips that are highly visible even on the darkest road. The club kit team have a great range of hi-viz tops and jackets. Visit http://fvspartans.org.uk/ClubKit.shtml for further details.
  • Invest in a lightweight reflective running bib in a luminous colour with reflective strips around the middle. These are cheap and readily available at all good running shops. You cannot be missed in these even if you are padded up in many layers on the coldest of days, they will still fit.
  • Obtain a flashing LED armband. These are cheap and effective. Please see a member of the kit team.
  • Avoid using the roads unless you have to. When you are on a road watch the surface – wet or icy patches are considerably harder to see in the dark.

Be a Spartan!

We pride ourselves on being a friendly and considerate club. Look out for your fellow runners as well as yourself on training runs. Follow the advice in the Be Safe and Be Seen sections above and always lead by example.
During ‘speed’ sessions run at your own pace. Faster runners when finished should encourage slower runners until they have finished or continue with the speed session set until the last runner has finished. Then warm down together.
Remember that our training runs are just that (even ‘speed’ sessions). Don’t run so hard that you are putting your health, other runner’s health or members of the public at risk. Don’t leave your race on the training ground/route!!
Be aware of members of the public and other road/cycleway/path users when you are running. Don’t expect them to move out of your way, make room for them at the earliest opportunity so that there is no chance of any accidents. This means that when you are out in a group that you will need to be prepared to run no more than two abreast and be ready to get into single file to accommodate other cycleway users at appropriate times. This applies to runners of all capabilities. Above all be polite and remember that you are representing the club. You would not drive on the right hand side of the road so you should not run on the right hand side of a cycle track.
Listen to your coach’s/group leader’s instructions during the session and don’t wear MP3 players/iPods otherwise you won’t be able to hear them and have conversations with your fellow runners.
Above all enjoy your running and support those runners around you so that our reputation gets passed on!

Categories
Newsletter

April 2012

Catch a Coach newsletter April 2012

Categories
Injury Clinic

Dealing With Injuries & Injury Proofing

When it comes to injury we all need to accept that occasionally we are going to get injured! Some may be lucky and only have a minor injury and some very severe injuries. Injuries happen; it is how you deal with them that will improve your chances of getting back to your best. Below are some useful tips to help you reduce the risk of getting injured.

  • Roll your ankles 30 seconds one way 30 seconds the other. This increases your synovial fluid in your ankles giving you more shock absorption while running. Many tears are created in those first few strides! Every time you land when you run 4 times your body weight goes through your body so this is very important!
  • Balancing exercises. Your brain relies on nerve endings to tell it where your foot is during the landing process. If you’re weak on balance (proprioception) you’re more likely to roll-over on your ankles. A simple exercise to do to improve this would be to stand on one foot while brushing your teeth, swapping every 30 seconds for the 2 minutes of brushing. The last minute should be with eyes closed. This makes it harder because it takes away one of your senses but trains your brain and nerves effectively (much more difficult but important as you age!).
  • Warm up properly. Take 5-10mins (dependant on ambient temperature) to get up to ‘pace’ as part of your warm up followed by some dynamic stretches and maybe a few strides (before intensive work).
  • Don’t run hard workouts back-to-back (see the Hard-Easy-Hard-Easy method)
  • Stretch religiously after to bring your muscles back to a state where they can recover quicker and maybe to correct imbalances!!!
  • If you’re tired don’t train. Fatigue is a big cause of injury as the muscle cannot function properly leading to muscular tear — injury. Change that session into a light stretching session instead.
  • Ice baths. When you train you create micro-tears in the muscle which the body repairs improving its stress capability: that’s how you get bigger/more capable muscles for the use they’re being trained. A cold bath followed by a warm shower after intensive sessions will not only help the healing process (increased metabolism) but allow the body to flush out any lactic acid accumulated in the muscles to help with your recovery from the training session.
  • Warm down properly. You need to allow your heart to come slowly back down toward your resting heart rate (below 100 pulse). Failure to do so will cause blood pooling in the muscles and could lead to fainting!

What to do once you have an injury?   Remember PRICER

Protection — Protect the injury site from further injury.

Rest —  Immobilise as far as possible to allow it to heal.

Ice — Reduces the pain, slows down the swelling.

Compression — Will stop it from swelling.

Elevation — Keeping the limb above the heart if possible will reduce blood flow from the damages blood capillaries.

Rehabilitation — Seek help. Don’t think by leaving it that it will magically heal itself and you’ll be as fit as before. Normally an injury leaves the area weaker and prone to further injury!

Icing is very important for the first 48 hours. You need to ice every 2hours for 20mins. This should then be followed by contrast bathing (hot and cold: to speed up metabolism in the area). As the table below will show you need to gradually add heat to the treatment because once the inflammation stage is finished (0 — 72hrs) you want to add heat to kick-start the healing process.

Days

Start

Ice

Heat

Finish

0 — 2

Ice

20 mins

Ice

3- 4

Ice

4 mins

1 min

Ice

5-6

Ice

2 mins

2 mins

Ice

7 — 8

Ice

1 min

4 mins

HEAT

9 +

HEAT

20 mins

Heat

The process lasts for 20mins. So for example Days 3 — 4 you start by icing for 4 minutes then heating for a minute then back to ice for 4 minutes and so on until you do 20mins. Make sure you finish on the right contrast as stated above. You can use ice bags or frozen peas for your icing and hot water bottles for your heating.

Kieran Feetham 01438-748923/ Mobile 07817-995475)

Copyright Stevenage Injury Clinic 2009

Categories
Newsletter

March 2012

Catch a Coach newsletter March 2012

Categories
Racing

Pain management

When the going gets tough, dig in. Talk yourself into keeping going. The trick is not pushing too hard, too early. There’s a moment of truth in every race when you really dig deep, but you don’t want to face it too soon. Ideally you want to put it off until you can visualise pushing strongly through the last stretch — whether that’s 200m or a mile — without anything being able to hold you back.

Categories
Racing

Pacing

Race-day emotion and adrenaline can easily override judgement, especially early on in a race. Divide your race into sections and monitor your effort so that you build, rather than lose, momentum over the race as a whole.

Categories
Racing

Patience

Both during a specific race — by working out a race plan and following it — and by thinking long-term. Racing to your full potential is unlikely to appear suddenly. Consider not only the pace of your next race, but races one, three or even five years down the road. Set yourself a goal for the year (new distance, new PB) and work steadily towards it.

Categories
Beginners

Make running a part of your life

Take a look at the way you organise your life, how much you sleep, eat, and drink.
Then consider the balance within your training programme. Are you racing too much? Are you not making time to run those routes that are personal favourites? Are you running too much speed work with little time to recover? Just as you should keep the balance in your training, do so with the other areas of life.

Categories
Beginners

Build up your long run

Long runs are the definitive way to build endurance; strengthening the heart, the legs and the ligaments in the process. They also burn fat and boost confidence. If the longest you are used to running for is 30 minutes, gradually build up to an hour by adding five minutes to your run each week. Just minutes of extra running make a difference — but too much and you’re setting yourself up for injury or illness.

Categories
Beginners

Learn the hard-easy routine (see top tip HE-HE method)

Always follow vigorous exercise on one day with a rest day or a recovery run.
Even if you do feel fantastic the day after a hard run, temper yourself. If you don’t do that, you will struggle the following day, or worse, become injured. Stress on top of rest equals improvement, but stress on top of stress equals breakdown.

Categories
Beginners

Build a base

Once you’ve built a platform of steady work, and only then, should you start thinking about speed work, hill work and interval training. This base of running can last from six months to as long as a year, and should consist of steady running and jogging. Enjoy this period; if you’re an ambitious new runner this may be a useful stress-free period of running when you can gauge which distances may be right for you to race over in the future.

Categories
Beginners

Run by time not by miles

This advice is especially valuable for beginners and those hoping to build endurance. When you find that you can gradually spend more and more time on your feet, all that hard work seems to be paying off. If you’re a more experienced runner, you’ll find that thinking of time can prevent you tearing round your training routes at breakneck speed trying to set a PB. This can ensure that your ‘recovery’ runs actually provide the rest and recuperation all runners need.

Categories
Beginners

Set goals

Staying fit and healthy is great reward in itself, but setting a goal can make you more motivated and help you enjoy your running more. When you sit down and set yourself a goal consider four elements, incorporated in the acronym RACE. Firstly, choose a goal with a noticeable Reward. It could be a medal, a time, or a new set of clothes if your goal is weight loss. Secondly, make that goal Attainable — within your reach. Thirdly, make it Challenging. If your goal is going to be easy, you won’t work to achieve it. Finally, be Explicit: set out specific races, precise target times, and the crucial points along the path to achieving your ambition.

Categories
Beginners

Choose your running surface carefully

Most runners clock their miles on the open roads. Roads aren’t the worst places to run, but try to run on the Tarmac no more than three times a week. Certainly steer clear of concrete pavements whenever you can, which will pound your body. Running tracks are good for
speed work.
Grassy areas are the softest surface to run on, but they can be uneven.
Varying the surfaces you are using can generate variety in your runs and improve your overall running strength.

Categories
Beginners

Warm Up / Cool Down

Warm-ups let your body gradually adjust to the exercise, preparing you for the harder work to come and actually making the session easier. Five to 10 minutes of running or walking before you start putting your body through its paces will also lessen the strain on your heart and reduce the chances of injury.
An abrupt finish to exercise can cause cramps, dizziness, abnormal strain on the heart, and hamper the removal of the body’s waste products such as lactic acid. Just spend five minutes longer on your feet at a gentle pace to cool your body.

Categories
Beginners

Build Steady

If your running is to progress you will need to work harder over time, but if you punish your body too hard too soon you won’t improve and you’ll increase the risk of injury.
Make a clear plan of their intended weekly training and then increase mileage or intensity only every third or fourth week.
For example, if your current mileage is 10 miles a week and you’re aiming to build that up to 20 miles, add two to four miles every three to four weeks. Apply this same principle to increases in speed.

Categories
Beginners

Walk before you run

Few people are able to run a mile on their first day of running, so don’t try it. You’ll soon feel discouraged and give in. Instead, begin by mixing running with walking.
For example, run for 30 seconds then walk for 90 seconds, repeating this for a total of 20 minutes. When you can comfortably manage this four times a week, adjust your walk/run ratio to 45/75 seconds four times a week. Then try 60/60, 75/45, and 90/30. In time you’ll be running for several minutes without breaks, and then you will be able to run for 20 minutes without stopping!

Categories
Newsletter

February 2012

Catch a Coach newsletter February 2012

Categories
Coaches

Liam Herbert – Club Coach

Liam joined the Spartans in March 2009 after attending a Starter Group session, and he hasn’t looked back since!

Completely un-sporty in his younger years, a desire to improve his fitness got him out jogging whilst studying at University in 2006, but his love for running was ignited the following year when he entered his first 10K race and got overtaken by Paula Radcliffe halfway around (yes, this really did happen!). Since joining the club as a way to further improve his running, Liam has enjoyed throwing himself into the many weekly training sessions on offer, and in particular he enjoys the Saturday track and speed-work sessions.

2011 was pretty good for Liam after he completed his debut marathon in 3 hours and 18 minutes, setting 11 independent PBs along the way in all distances from 1500m to half marathon. Liam was delighted to be named ‘Most Improved Male’ and ‘Spartan of the Year’ at the end of it!

Liam is possibly most well-known in the club for his striking appearance … well, mainly his short spiky hair, long legs, dodgy fashion trends and a worrying fearlessness for wearing lycra!

Liam joined the coaching team in 2012 to give back, encourage others and to look good in an orange vest! He is our social media expert, looking after the club Twitter account (@FVSpartans — followed by 400 people), and he is also the club race promoter.

Outside of running, Liam is currently training to become a librarian. His interests include films, technology, good food, exploring new places and riding roller coasters.

 

Categories
Coaches

Steve Smithson – Club Coach

Steve started running in 1994 and joined the Spartans in 1995, his main reason for running being to stay fit and keep the weight off.  Running with the Spartans meant Steve started to train properly and soon found himself entering anything up to a half marathon. Like most people he achieved some quick gains in the first two years and won the most improved Spartan award. After lots of hard work he managed to achieve all the running targets & times he had set himself.

Steve doesn’t think his running is exceptional, but it is consistent and Steve has found it very fulfilling to make the Spartan team at many events.  Having (not that!) recently turned 40 he feels it is time to let the younger club members take up the mantle.

Steve joined the committee in 2008, but before then he was always keen to help the club at the many of the events we put on.

The one question that Steve is always asked is ‘when are you going to run the marathon?’  Steve says ‘having managed to avoid it for 12yrs his instinct is to avoid it for a few more!’

Categories
Coaches

Katrina Doyle – Club Coach

Katrina joined the Spartans in the summer of 2006. She initially joined only for company on training runs when her training partner moved away, and never expected to enjoy being a club member so much.  Prior to joining the Spartans she had run the London marathon twice. Despite vowing never to run a marathon again, she has finally succumbed and plans to run another marathon (Edinburgh) in 2009, and to enjoy the Club camaraderie of training with a large group.

Katrina was elected to the Committee in 2007 and was Race Director for the Relays in 2008. She is also a level 2 Endurance Coach, and has a particular interest in coaching complete novices to running.  Katrina, along with Tessa, set up the very successful Spartans Starter Group in April 2008. The Starter group has continued to go from strength to strength and the group now meets twice weekly, on a Monday and Thursday evening.

Away from the Spartans, Katrina is an Accountant working for the NHS, is a regular attendee at a local gym and likes to read to relax.

Categories
Coaches

Jo Laing – Coach

Jo joined FVS in 2008 having been a Joey-n-mates until then! Having taken up running in the early 90`s in response to a puncture heavy relationship with her bike, she soon realised that running was a far more reliable companion.(Sorry bike! I still love you!!)
Within a few months of joining, she knocked over 20 mins off her Marathon time. More importantly, she discovered that running is an adaptable pastime-solo or with friends and got the incurable bug.
Now a Coach in the Club, Jo loves the esprit de cours……and dreadful jokes that being in the Club offers.
She just LOVES running……………..end of……

Categories
Coaches

Andy Neatham – Coach

Q. When did you join the club?
A. September 2010

Q. Why did you join the club?
A. We had just moved to Knebworth from High Wycombe and were looking for a running club with a good social side.

Q. Why did you join the coaching team?
A. I have twenty years experience of club running, with Barnet & District AC and Reading AC, and am a qualified scuba diving instructor. Those two things made it seem a natural thing to do.

Q. What are you hoping to do through your involvement in the coaching team?
A. Pass on some experience and enthusiasm at the same time as learning some new things myself.

Q. When do we typically see you at training?
A. When I’m not injured! My legs have a lot of miles in them and are not as young as they were!

Q. What are your aims in 2012 for your running and/or coaching?
A. Stay injury free so that I can actually join in with coaching and training. If successful with that I’d like to set a few VPBs (Veteran Personal Bests).

Q. Tell us something about you that other Spartans will not know!
A. I’m a Shetlander so there are not many that can accuse me of being a soft southerner!

Categories
Coaches

Maria Rushton – Committee Member & Coach

Categories
Coaches

Andy Jay – Coach

Categories
Coaches

Jamie Drackford – Club Coach

E-mail: menscap@fvspartans.org.uk

Jamie has been running with the club since the summer of 2009. He decided to join after looking for a new challenge after spending all his sporting time playing football.

Last year he ran his first Marathon at London and is hoping to run a lot more in the future!

Jamie is the race director for the Stevenage half Marathon and this year came 3rd in the Herts Sports Partnership volunteer of the year award.

Jamie works for Marriotts and runs the Sports Centre where the club is based. He is a very keen sportsman and enjoy all sports and will normally be found of an evening in the dance studio taking classes for Dominate Fitness.

Away from work Jamie enjoys spending time with his Wife April who also works at Marriotts for and also their three Children.

Categories
Newsletter

January 2012

Catch a Coach newsletter January 2012

Categories
Newsletter

June 2011

Catch a Coach June 2011

Categories
Newsletter

May 2011

Catch a Coach newsletter May 2011v1