Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2016 – Day 1

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Day 1 in Lanzarote for the 2016 multi-day training camp. It’s all about scouting courses, checking out terrain and looking for some specific routes that will put our 26 clients through their paces that will help simulate classic multi-day races like Marathon des Sables, Atacama, The Coastal Challenge and more…

MDS 2015 champion, Elisabet Barnes is here and just recently she has secured a three year sponsorship deal with Raidlight. Lanzarote is not only an opportunity to test new Raidlight apparel and packs but also to train and pass on Elisabet’s experience to those who may well be undertaking a multi-day race for the first time.

Our other coaches, Niandi Carmont and Marie-Paule Pierson will also be passing on their own wisdom from their own multi-day experiences. Niandi in particular has been racing ultras for approximately 20-years, anything from 50k, 100k, 100-miles and of course multi-day races such as Marathon des Sables and The Coastal Challenge,

Our clients arrive tomorrow, Thursday. It will be a settle in day with an easy run late afternoon and then all the action starts on Friday with a coastal run that includes mixed terrain, soft sand, some scrambling and of course great weather and great views.

Thanks to OMM, inov-8, Scott Running, Raidlight, Berghaus and PHD of the support on this camp.

Episode 104 – Candice Burt, Lucy Bartholomew, Zach Bitter

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This is Episode 104 of Talk Ultra and I am pleased to say Speedgoat is back. On this show we talk with rising Australian star, Lucy Bartholomew. We speak to fast man, Zach Bitter about running 100-miles super quick and Candice Burt talks Hurt 100 and the appeal of 200-mile races.

Our show has always been and always will be free for you, the listener. If you like what we do, please consider a donation.

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HERE

00:01:30 Show Start

00:14:17 NEWS

HURT 100

1 – Jeff Browning 21:22

2 – Gary Robbins 21:55

3 – Yassine Diboun 22:39

1 – Denise Bourassa 30:24

2 – Candice Burt 31:28

3 – Junk Suzuki 32:29

00:25:36 INTERVIEW with CANDICE BURT on her 2nd place and her running history as a racer and RD.

BANDERA 100k *Golden Ticket Race

1 – Jim Walmsley 7:46 (fast!)

2 – Chris DeNucci 8:06

3 – Paul Terranova 8:38

1 – Cassie Scallon 9:19 (fast!)

2 – Vanessa Taylor 9:40

3 – Michele Yates 9:45

ZOLKAN 4 DAY in Chile

Won by Veronica Bravo and Moises Jimenez

THE SPINE 268 miles

Eoin Keith smashed the old course record  to finish in 95:17:18 (approx 15 hours quicker.) Last years winner, Pavel Paloncy finished 2nd in 100:34:58 and Pete Wilkie 3rd in 117:15:15.

Only 2 ladies finished, Zoe Thornborough 11:40:12 and Anna Buckingham 167:17:05.

In the Challenger 108 miles (shorter race) last years Spine winner, Beth Pascall smashed the CR to finish in 30:32:10, Sarah Davies 2nd 44:35:50 and Sharon Sullivan 3rd 52:24:45.

Tom Hollins was 1st man 29:37:25, Matt Bennett 30:25:33 and Scott Morley 38:26:37.

01:26:46 INTERVIEW with LUCY BARTHOLOMEW who smashed the ladies record at Bogong to Hotham is Australia

02:10:56 INTERVIEW fast man ZACH BITTER talks training for, racing and looking for that elusive super fast time for 100-miles.

UP & COMING RACES

Antartica

Antarctic Ice 100k | 100 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

White Continent 50K | 50 kilometers | January 25, 2016 | website

Australia

Queensland

Beerwah at Night – 50 km | 51 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Beerwah at Night – 50 km | 51 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Cambodia

128 km | 128 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

64 km | 64 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Canada

Yukon

Yukon Arctic 100M | 100 miles | February 04, 2016 | website

Yukon Arctic 300M | 300 miles | February 04, 2016 | website

Yukon Arctic 430M | 430 miles | February 04, 2016 | website

Chad

Half TREG | 90 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website

TREG | 180 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website

France

Essonne

Raid 28 | 80 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Semiraid 28 | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website

Eure

47 km | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Eure-et-Loir

Ultra Raid 28 | 120 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Tarn

La Ronde Givrée | 62 kilometers | January 31, 2016 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Januar | 108 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Brandenburg

HallenMarathon 50km Ultra-Lauf | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website

Hesse

Rodgau 50km Ultramarathon | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Hong-Kong

Green Power Hike 50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Vibram® Hong Kong 100 Ultra Trail® Race | 100 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Kenya

Kimbia Kenya 100 km | 100 kilometers | January 29, 2016 | website

Kimbia Kenya 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 29, 2016 | website

Netherlands

North Holland

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 100 km | 50 kilometers | January 22, 2016 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 22, 2016 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 75 km | 75 kilometers | January 22, 2016 | website

New Zealand

Ian Priest Memorial Ultra Marathon | 60 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

The James Mountain Stampede Ultra | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Nicaragua

Survival Run: Nicaragua | 70 kilometers | February 03, 2016 | website

Oman

Wadi Bih Run | 72 kilometers | February 05, 2016 | website

Réunion

Transvolcano | 52 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website

Spain

Canary Islands

Marathón ‘Isla del Meridiano’ – 86 km | 86 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Thailand

The North Face 100® – Thailand | 100 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

The North Face 100® – Thailand – 50 km Solo | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Cornwall

Arc of Attrition | 100 miles | February 05, 2016 | website

Lancashire

Marmot Dark Mountains™ – Elite Course | 53 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Milton Keynes

Quadzilla | 164 kilometers | February 04, 2016 | website

USA

Alabama

Mountain Mist 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Arizona

100 Mile Trail Run | 100 miles | January 23, 2016 | website

52K | 52 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

52 Mile | 52 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

California

Bandit Ultra Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Crystal Springs 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Crystal Springs 50 Km Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Folsom South Side Trail 38 Mile Run | 38 miles | January 30, 2016 | website

Folsom South Side Trail 50K Run | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Fort Ord Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Ordnance 100K | 100 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Colorado

Frozen Dead Guy 50km | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Florida

55K Ultra Individual Marathon (34.2 miles) | 55 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

55K Ultra Relay (each leg is 3.1 miles x 11 legs = 34.2 miles) | 55 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Ragnar Relay Florida Keys | 199 miles | February 05, 2016 | website

Minnesota

Arrowhead 135 mile Winter Ultramarathon | 135 miles | January 25, 2016 | website

New York

100 Miler | 100 miles | January 23, 2016 | website

50 Miler | 50 miles | January 23, 2016 | website

North Carolina

50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

50 Mile Relay | 50 miles | January 30, 2016 | website

Maysville to Macon 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | January 30, 2016 | website

North Carolina Fat Ass 50k | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Ohio

Run for Regis 50K | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Winter Buckeye Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website

Texas

Horseshoe Trail Run 50k | 50 kilometers | January 23, 2016 | website

Utah

Snowshoe Festival 50K | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Washington

Lake Youngs NUTS 50K Run | 50 kilometers | January 30, 2016 | website

Virgin Islands (USA)

St. Croix Scenic 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 24, 2016 | website

St. Croix Scenic 50 Mile | 50 miles | January 24, 2016 | website

03:05:25 CLOSE

 

03:08:10

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The Long Run – How long should it be?

The Long Run

Recently I have produced several articles (links below) on planning your training, walking for ultra running, base training, speed work and now I ask the question, how long should the long run be?

Short distance runners often run over distance in training. Think about it, a 10km runner may run a long slow half marathon to build endurance. A half marathon runner may run a long and slow steady 16-miles in preparation for a fast race.

This all falls apart when we go to the marathon and beyond. How often have you heard in marathon training that the long run should be 21/22 miles or 3 hours and 30 minutes in preparation for a race.

Long runs and adapting for an endurance run such as an ultra comes from not one run but a combination of all runs. It’s about your accumulative run history. They all add up to make you an endurance machine.

First and foremost, consistency is key and long runs should be progressive and based on ability and experience. A long run should test you but not break you.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE ON RUNULTRA HERE

Make sure you catch up on other resources that will help you plan your 2016 season:

Planning a Running and Racing Year HERE

To Base Train or not To Base Train? HERE

Base Training HERE

We also have a series of articles on walking and climbing:

Training to Walk for Ultra, Trail and mountain Races HERE

Walking, Running and Climbing with Trekking Poles HERE

Running and Walking Efficiency when Climbing HERE

Compressport Ultrun 140G Pack – Race Vest

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Just when you thought a running hydration vest couldn’t progress any further in terms of design and fit, Compressport tip the apple cart over and come up with the ULTRUN 140G PACK which is available in a male and female versions. On test, we have the male version, you can view the female version HERE.

On first impressions, this pack is considerably light, good looking (red and black always works) and most definitely makes you look twice due to some very unique design features. The pack comes in one size and although Compressport say the pack will expand to many different sized people, I do wonder how big? I tried the vest on over a jacket and then a down/ padded jacket and it still fit with comfort. Ultimately, I think if you have a big chest, it may well be a good idea to try on in store before purchasing.

In total, the pack has 10 pockets that vary in size which are all made from expandable and stretchy mesh, The benefits of this are easy to see, if you are being minimalist, the pack remains small, lightweight and you have no excess material flapping around. If you need to carry anything from i jacket to a whole list of mandatory kit, the pack can expand and stretch to your needs. It can actually expand considerably. The other plus side is that mesh holds everything tight and therefore reduces bounce. The down side? Well, you just need to plan carefully on how you fill the mesh pockets. Just make sure essential items go in last so that they are near the top.

Weight of the pack on test is 169g which of course is considerably light. It’s closest rival/ competition would be the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 3 which weighs 129g, review HERE.

Compressport say it has taken 3-years to develop the pack and it boasts the ability to hold 3.6L of liquid in addition to the usual mandatory kit for an ultra-trail race. The liquid capacity is calculated as follows:

  • 2 x 500ml or 2 x 750ml bottles on the chest pockets.
  • 1x 600ml soft flask sitting in the lower back.
  • 1 x 1.5ml bladder in one of the compartments in the upper section on the back of the pack.

Unfortunately the pack comes with no bottles or soft-flasks. A major flaw in my opinion. I would at least expect 2 x soft-flasks for the front of the pack and due to the unique design of the pack, I would like to have seen a 1.5l bladder for the rear. I’m not a fan of bladders but I wonder how easy it is to purchase a bladder, off-the-shelf that will fit in the Ultrun 140G?

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I must note here, the option to sit a hard bottle or soft flask in the lower back is an inspired idea. It sits in it’s own sleeve which can opened on the right or left. As mentioned, I am not a fan of bladders so to have 2 x 5-750ml bottles on my chest and a spare bottle in my lower back is ideal. To clarify, you wouldn’t want to keep adding or removing the bottle from your lower back. You can access it without taking the pack on and off but it would be a little messy while trying to run. The idea here is to carry a spare and then change it with an empty bottle on the chest. A soft flask does sit more comfortably here but is harder to add and remove. Don’t need an additional bottle? This pocket can be used for a windproof, gloves, buff, hat etc.

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In regard to capacity, the pack is spacious and it’s ideal if you want to carry essential items such as:
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  • Gloves
  • Hat
  • Windproof
  • Lightweight trousers
  • Buff
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But I am not sure how much more it could take? For example, I don’t see how it would be possible to add mandatory kit for a race such as UTMB where waterproof jacket and trousers are required in addition to other base layers. This is not a criticism, I am just clarifying that the Ultrun 140G has a limit.
Sitting high on the torso, the Ultrun 140G fits comfortably with little or no bounce and the design allows for plenty of breathability. Compressport call this Ventilation 360º.
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 Fastening at the front is quite ingenious using a knotted lace pulled through holes on the left and right. It’s so simplistic it’s brilliant and it is fool proofing even when wearing gloves.
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The lower fastening method uses a classic male/ female buckle that again is large enough to be opened and closed whilst wearing gloves.
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As you would expect the pack has a whistle which sits on the upper right hand shoulder strap. It’s possible to remove this and place elsewhere should you wish.
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The bottle pocket will accommodate  a 500 to 750ml bottle or soft flask and it has a draw cord to ensure that either system is held in place. A smaller bottle or flask fits more snuggly and has less bounce.
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On the outside of the bottle pockets its a small elastic pocket that would hold a gel/ gels and/ or hydration tablets etc.
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On the hips on either side are two mesh pockets with a tab and velcro fastening. They are designed for on-the-go access to food and or other essential items. You can squeeze cloves or a hat in them too should you wish, but not at the same time as food!
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Sitting just under these pockets and 2 elastic cords with a toggle. They are used for attaching poles and finally the system works with many of the new shorter poles such as the Black Diamond Z pole. The poles are intended to attach to the side but I also got them to sit in my lower back underneath where the bottle would sit.
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The ergonomic design has been created to allow for complete comfort and I can confirm, it feels great. It’s refreshing to have a pack that has had a refreshing rework in design over what is currently available from other brands. At the end of the day, it’s a race vest and many products are available to choose from. If you are looking for a vest, I would recommend giving this a look.
It’s still early days for our testing and so we will come back with an update in a few months.
What’s wrong with the pack?
Well, not a great deal. It fits, it’s comfortable, it holds essentials and provides plenty of options to carry liquid.
However, on-the-go access is limited to just the 2 small side pockets, which for many runners will hold food. So, should you need your jacket, gloves, hat or any other item, you will need to remove the pack. To be fair, this applies to most other packs, the exception coming with the larger packs offered by inov-8, Salomon and other similar brands.
Click on the images to view larger:

Compressport can be found HERE

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BASE TRAINING for Ultra Running

Base Training

Recently I have been writing a series of posts about training and starting a new year of running on the right foot, no pun intended. A recent post called, ‘Planning a Running and Racing Year’ HERE.

Base training is something that all endurance athletes are familiar with, it’s about laying a strong aerobic foundation for the coming years racing. But if you are an experienced ultra runner I question if you need to base train. For me, flipping things on the head now would be a good idea. Drop the distance and time on feet and go short and fast, get some speed back in those one- paced legs and become a fast ultra runner later in the year. Read a post, ‘To Base Train Or To Not Base Train’ HERE that discusses these points.

But if you are new to running, new to ultra running or are coming from shorter and faster running, say 5k, 10k and half marathon, base training is for you.

Ultimately at this time of the year (and all times) we should ask:

  • What we’re doing and why?
  • What are the real reasons for doing any training?
  • What are the actual objectives we are trying to achieve?

Without understanding your objectives, you will never be able to understand how to structure your training and maybe more importantly, you won’t know when you have achieved your goal so that you can then move to the next phase.

So why is ‘base training’ important?

Read the full article on RUNULTRA HERE

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Scott Kinabalu ENDURO – First Impressions

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Since 2012 I have been using Scott shoes, yes, Scott make run shoes in addition to bikes. I say that, because that is what I get when other runners look at my shoes and say, ‘Scott, oh, thought they made bikes?’

Since the original T2 Kinabalu, I have been a fan. I remember the original incarnation in 2012 which I used to run all over the Transvulcania course (Review HERE). Since the original model, the T2 Kinabalu has had a few tweaks and the current incarnation is the 3.0 HERE.

Scott launched the Kinabalu Supertrac (original look HERE) and this shoe went on to be my favourite shoe of 2015. I even went through many other shoes I had been testing to work out which shoe (for me) was the best. The ‘Supertrac’ won, see HERE.

As 2015 came to a close, Scott informed me of several new shoes, one being the Enduro.

Well, the Scott Kinabalu Enduro has arrived and here are our first impressions and look.

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One thing is for sure, there is no hiding in the male version. Bright yellow, these shoes from the off say that they mean business. The ladies version is also bright but considering that many women wear bright apparel, I’m sure the colours will appeal. Certainly the original reaction from Niandi (who will test the ladies shoe) was wow, I LOVE the colours.

The shoes are not light. In all honesty, they were both noticeably heavy when removed from the boxes. The ladies a UK 8 weighs 380g and the mens UK9.5 weighs 418g. That is heavy; no doubt about it and I have to say initially disappointing.

Looking at the shoe closely, you soon realise why. The whole upper of the shoe has a plastic coating on top of the mesh below.

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I have to say, I asked why? Why is it necessary to add some much structure and protection to the upper of the shoe? Scott call this: Protective-High-Abrasion-Casing.

I took a look at Scott’s website and the description is as follows:

The brand new SCOTT Kinabalu Enduro is the latest addition to the range. The seemless one piece upper offers protection and comfort for all day adventures while the eRide tuned midsole and VIBRAM outsole provide performance and stability during your run.

Seamless upper – perfect

Protection – great

Comfort – brilliant

eRide – works, so great.

Vibram – tried and tested, so great

I still have to question though, why so heavy? My only point of question on the excellent Kinabalu Supertrac was the weight. Here Scott have beefed up the Kinabalu and made it bullet proof, it’s obviously way to early to tell but on first impressions, if you want a shoe to last and get value for money from, this may be the one!

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Cushioning as you would expect from Scott is good with 28mm at the rear and 17mm in the forefoot. However, these two figures cause me a little confusion, why for 2016 are Scott releasing a shoe with an 11mm drop? They dropped the ‘Supertrac’ from the Kinabalu’s original 11mm drop to 8mm drop and this for me made perfect sense. 8mm is a perfect sweet spot that appeals to many a runner and when running long it’s not too low to cause any issues. Having said that though, after just 2 runs in the ‘Enduro’ they do feel comfortable and offer a great feel. I have said this before, the ‘rocker’ system that Scott uses does give the shoes a feeling of lower drop due to the rolling action. I must point out too that I do fore foot strike so that will also help.

eRide – “Dynamic stability is the body’s own way to run efficiently and safely over uneven terrain. The eRIDE TUNED midsole has strategic flex zones to provide asymmetric flexibility and enhance ground adaptation while a EVA foam provides cushioning.”

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The outsole sits somewhere between the T2 Kinabalu and the Supertrac and therefore it will be a great all rounder for those who may well be looking for a ‘one shoe does all’ scenario. Made by Vibram, the outsole uses ‘MEGAGRIP’ as witnessed on the Supertrac but this version is less aggressive. From repeated year long use of the Supertrac I can confirm that this outsole is tried and tested and a favourite. This version does feels stiffer and less supple than the Supertrac version, we shall see?

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Lacing is standard and incorporates the ‘lace bungee’ for storing excess lace after you have tied your shoes. It’s a very simple and effective way for removing something that may catch on branches or trail obstacles.

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Heel box is very plush and secure. Always a key feature of Scott shoes and it really does add a secure and confident feel to the shoes.

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Sizing feels a little larger than normal. I always take a UK9.5 and the ‘Enduro’ does feel just a little more spacious, so, if you are new to Scott or if you have used Scott in the past, you may just want to check on sizing. The toe box is a little narrower than the T2 Kinabalu 3.0 and Kinabalu Supertrac and this may be why they size a little larger? If you like a wide roomy toe box, this may not be the shoe for you?

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Technologies:

  • Lace Bungee
  • Protective-High-Abrasion-Casing
  • Seamless-One-Piece-Upper
  • Rock-Protection-Plate
  • Vibram-Megagrip

Initial Conclusion

Our initial reaction to the ‘Enduro’ was shock. We were surprised at how ‘protected’ this shoe is. But having run in them on just 2 occasions and reflected on what Scott are trying to do, I completely understand the the addition of this shoe to the Kinabalu range. This is not a shoe to replace the T2 Kinabalu or the Kinabalu Supertrac it’s a shoe to be used in addition. So, if you like the other 2 models you will like this.

I’m still perturbed that the shoe is 11mm drop and not 8mm but it runs well; so why worry?

What’s the shoe for?

Well I guess you can use the shoe for any running, from groomed trail, fire trail to mountains. But considering the protection that has been added to the ‘Enduro,’ one has to think that this is intended for the rough stuff; rocks, snow, ice, gravel, slate and so; anything that can really batter a shoe and reduce its life.

For perspective, I recently ran for 1-month in La Palma on the Transvulcania course, I used a brand new pair of Supertrac and I used them every day, at the end of the month I threw them away. I am not saying the ‘Supertrac’ was no good, on the contrary, I love the Supertrac but the trails out in La Palma are harsh and abrasive; it eats shoes. The Enduro may well be a good shoe for a course like that due to the key elements of:

  • Protective-High-Abrasion-Casing
  • Seamless-One-Piece-Upper
  • Rock-Protection-Plate
  • Vibram-Megagrip

We will be reporting back in a couple of months after long term testing and only then will we really know how the Scott Kinabalu Enduro stacks up.

Scott shoes are available HERE

 

inov-8 ROADCLAW 275 – New road shoe for 2016: First look and photos

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Trail and fell running fans need no introduction to inov-8, for just over 10-years the brand has been very much pioneering the way for the off road market. In recent years the brand has tweaked and launched new models and currently the Mudclaw 300 (Review HERE) , X-Talon 212 (Review HERE) and Terraclaw are my favourite shoes.

I’ve said this before, I always have respected inov-8’s very logical approach in not only providing a shoe design in different drops but also making it very easy, at first glance, to see what drop the shoes are. The arrows on the back clearly signify with 1, 2 or 3 arrows. In simple terms, 1 is low, 2 is medium and 3 is higher; typically 3, 6, 9mm drop.

In the last 18-24 months, the launch firstly of the RACEULTRA (Review HERE) in 4mm (270) and 8mm (290) drops and most recently the TERRACLAW (Review HERE) in 4mm (220) and 8mm (250) drops have certainly revived that ‘middle’ ground for the ions-8 brand.

I have been very much on the middle ground with the RACEULTRA despite it’s incredible popularity. For example, at the 2015 Marathon des Sables, I saw many people using the shoe because it neither had too much or too little tread and most importantly it has a wide toe box. I find the shoe just lacked feel, it lacked responsiveness.

The TERRACLAW followed suit and for me is a far better shoe than the RACEULTRA, it has a more aggressive outsole that is great for off road (when not too muddy) but it equally handles hard trail and rocks well and some road. It’s a responsive shoe, lightweight, comfortable and gives great feel for the ground. If you like a wide toe box too, the shoe has loads of room, even for a Hobbit’s foot… maybe too much room for some. I find the additional room great when it’s flat but less so when going up or downhill. But hey, this is all personal. Ultimately a good shoe.

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So now for 2016, inov-8 are looking to get their claws back into the road market with the ROADCLAW 275.

inov-8 have made road shoes before currently on the website they have the ROAD-X-XETREME 220 and 250. These shoes most definitely appealed to the out-and-out road runner. The imminent launch of the ROADCLAW 275 signifies a departure for the brand in terms of road shoe as it obviously has a very similar look and feel to the RACEULTRA.

For clarification, the colour way is for ladies.

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On first impressions, the shoe looks and feels very much like the RACEULTRA, maybe too similar? However, as you look closely you start to notice the differences.

  • The upper is a more open mesh to allow the foot to breathe.
  • The toe box although still wide narrows a little quicker.
  • Toe protection from the bumper is less.
  • The lacing is wider.
  • Support on the upper both on the left and right side is a little more substantial.
  • Although a neutral shoe it feels as though there is a little support for the arc – just a little?
  • The heel box is a touch wider but still offers a snug fit.
  • The outsole is completely redesigned, as you would expect and uses 2 different compounds, in this shoe, black and pink to offer grip where required.
  • The shoe has ‘META-FLEX’ at the fore of the shoe a DYNAMIC FASCIA BAND both present in the RACEULTRA.
  • Drop is 8mm which for me is perfect.
  • Weight 275g as the name suggests for sample size UK8

It’s early days running in the shoe and currently it’s being tested on road, dry trails and treadmill. Initial feedback is good and certainly if you are a RACE ULTRA fan and need a road shoe, this is one for you.

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We have to say, on first impressions we thought the outsole looked a little aggressive for a road shoe but hey, I guess that is why it’s called ‘ROADCLAW.’. However, when running all feels good, particularly on the current wet and mildly slippery roads and pavements.

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As we get more miles in the shoe, we will come back and provide a detailed report on the pros and cons of this new inov-8 shoe. It’s certainly an interesting step for the brand and it makes one question, what else have they got up their sleeves for 2016?

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You can read more and find out about inov-8 HERE

INOV-8 ROADCLAW 275
New for 2016, the ROADCLAW brings together all inov-8 has learned in the mountains to deliver an ultra-smooth ride with the company’s iconic grip in a road shoe. No matter how rugged the road, the ROADCLAW is the master of its terrain.
ULTRA SMOOTH RIDE: Run effortlessly over any road conditions with inov-8’s unique POWERFLOW midsole technology. POWERFLOW delivers 10 per cent better shock absorption and 15 per cent better energy return than standard midsoles.
MAXIMUM POWER TRANSFER: inov-8’s iconic grip has now been optimised for road running. This means every ounce of energy generated by the body is transferred to the road through the outsole. With inov-8’s three-rubber TRI-C compound delivering industry-leading traction throughout the gait cycle.
ULTIMATE SECURITY: Feel 100 per cent sure footed on any road with grip and stability delivered through an inversion of our claw cleat lug design.
Suggested retail price: £110 (110 UK pounds)

Planning a Running and Racing Year

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You have looked back over 2015 and decided what worked and what didn’t for you, haven’t you?

 

With that information, you have looked at your strengths and weaknesses and you have now started to plan 2016, you have haven’t you?

If the answer to the two above questions is no or maybe even yes, please read my thoughts on what you should be doing now in preparation for a great 2016 of running and racing.

In a previous post I questioned if ‘Base Training’ is something that you should be doing now? (Read HERE) This post was directed at experienced runners or ultra runners who have been in the sport for sometime and have already accumulated many miles and hours of running. They may not need more endurance but speed.

But planning is key. You need to periodise training so that you get the most from it. Below I go through a classic training program that has key phases for a successful season. It’s a classic training program that includes:

  • Base or Speed
  • Build
  • Maintain
  • Recover
  • Build
  • Race
  • Recover

Depending on experience, how this plan is put together is very much dependant on the individual. However, certain key elements should be present in any training plan and this article is intended to provide the basics from which you can develop a strategy that works for you. I must stress, for you!

Firstly, asses last year and understand what worked and what didn’t. This will give you a list of strengths and weaknesses.

  • Did you lack endurance?
  • Did you lack speed?
  • Was your strength and core weak?
  • Were you mentally strong?

The answers to the above questions will help you understand what your plan needs in the coming months.

Secondly, decide on objectives for 2016 and decide on A, B and C races. Put them in a diary and ideally have a wall planner so that you have an overview of the year. It’s easy to see how a year looks on a planner.

Set a timescale and work back from THE key ‘A’ race. In our scenario, we are saying that our key race is a 100-mile race, 28 weeks away.

Yes, it’s a long way off but don’t be fooled into thinking you have plenty of time. Key races have a habit of sneaking up on you.

Fancy an early season 2017 multi-day TRAINING CAMP? HERE

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100-miles is a long way so *base training and getting the miles in is key. We have allocated 8 weeks for this in the plan below. Hours of easy miles progressively building up to a C race (marathon or 50k). It is always good to have a goal and a target to aim for. The C race is a training race and will have no taper, you would race through it as a training long run.

*A traditional pyramid training plan starts with base and then typically adds speed as an event comes closer. However, we are ultra runners and it is important to be specific. High intensity training creates a lot of fatigue and this is why I am a huge fan of reversing the pyramid and getting speed work done during the winter so that the training plan that leads into an A race is specific to the demands of the race.

So, if you are an experienced ultra runner looking to improve in 2016 with years of running and loads of endurance, think about making weeks 1-8 speed based with a fast marathon as a C (or maybe even A) race objective at the end of this block.

When you enter your racing season this will be in the build phase so it’s a good idea to place a B race objective that will allow you to progress to the A goal or multiple A goals.

As you come to the end of the build phase, you should be in form and race fit. What you want to do now is fine tune that form, tweak it and hold it for the A race. If you are cramming long runs in or looking for speed, it’s too late. You basically misjudged the planning or started training too late.

Maintaining what fitness you have is also about being specific to the A target.

  1. Is your 100-mile target race on groomed trail with little elevation gain?
  2. Is it an out-and-out mountain race with gnarly terrain and plenty of elevation gain?

It’s important to be specific now, the two races above require very different approaches. This is something that you will have understood in January (or earlier in the year) when you looked back at last year, looked ahead to this year and understood your strengths and weaknesses so that you could plan accordingly.

  • Scenario 1 requires running, good form and leg speed.
  • Scenario 2 requires hiking, climbing, leg strength and plenty of endurance.

You can’t perform well at every event and this is why A, B and C races are important. Yes I know the elite runners manage to race several key races a year but look at the training and look at the planning. We have all seen top runners turn up at early season races and place just inside or outside the top-10.

Rob Krar and Francois d’Haene provide good examples of how to:

  • Build,
  • Peak,
  • Win,
  • Recover,
  • Build,
  • Peak,
  • Win,
  • Recover,
  • Build,
  • Peak,
  • Win,
  • Recover.

In 1 racing year, both Rob and Francois won 3 x 100-mile races.

That is an incredible skill and for sure as racing becomes more aggressive, faster and more brutal, this training approach is going to become far more important for those who want to race to their own potential and maybe more importantly race year-on-year. We have all witnessed the damage that racing and training too much can do at an elite level runner. Listen to my podcast with Geoff Roes HERE as he provides a great insight into potential problems.

Ask questions such as:

  1. Do I race every weekend?
  2. Do I rest?
  3. Do I allow easy and recovery weeks?
  4. Do I cross train?
  5. Do I sleep well?
  6. How is my nutrition?
  7. Am I constantly tired?
  8. Do I feel alive and full of beans?
  9. How’s my resting heart rate?
  10. Is my pace good?
  11. How’s my strength?
  12. How’s my recovery?
  13. Do I have a plan?
  14. Have I structured my plan to an A race?

The above questions are a starting point. Read through the list and add your own questions to appraise what type of runner you are. It may well be that running for you is an escape and social thing, you may be happy to race week in and week out and you are not worried about gaining a PB or improving; if that is you, great. I’d still say planning some RnR is a good thing to avoid burn out.

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If you are someone looking to perform and improve, you need to be more self critical. Plan your training and periodise your training so that you are able to (hopefully) predict good form on 1 or multiple A race days in a year. This is not easy.

Carefully plan your races in terms of importance, ‘A’ being the most important. Also make the races progressive and inline with your A race. For example, if your A race is a 100-mile race, a C race may be a marathon, a B race may be a 50K or 100K and then the A is the big step of 100-miles.

Remember you can only hold form for a limited length of time and if you want to peak, you need to make sure that this planning stage is done early so that you understand what you are trying to achieve. It’s all about stepping stones.

Ask yourself, what is the purpose of the training blocks you are planning:

  • Are you laying base training?
  • Building fitness?
  • Maintaining fitness?
  • Racing?

A training block with 2 x ‘A’ races (the 2nd race being 100-miles) may look like this:

Base Training Phase

Week 1 – Base or Speed

Week 2 – Base or Speed

Week 3 – Base or Speed

Week 4 – Base or Speed (with the addition of a longer run)

Week 5 – Base or Speed (with the addition of a longer run)

Week 6 – Base or Speed (with the addition of a longer run)

Week 7 – Base or Speed (with the addition of a longer run)

Week 8 – Base with C Race probably a marathon.

Build Training Phase

Week 9 – Build

Week 10 – Build

Week 11 – Build maybe a C Race just as a long run?

Week 12 – Build

Week 13 – Build

Week 14 – Build with B Race 50K.

Maintain

Week 15 – Maintain/ Specific

Week 16 – Maintain/ Specific

Week 17 – Maintain/ Specific

Week 18 – Maintain/ Taper with A Race

Recovery

Week 19 – Recovery

Week 20 – Recovery easing back into Build.

Build

Week 21 – Build

Week 22 – Build

Week 23 – Build

Week 24 – Build

Week 25 – Build

Week 26 – Build

Week 27 – Taper

Week 28 – Taper and A Race (this scenario 100-miles)

Recover, Recover and Recover.

This article is not a hard and fast plan, it’s a guide for you to go away, look at your targets having assessed past targets and hopefully it makes you think about 2016 objectives so that you can plan for a successful, injury free year of running and racing.

How long should The Long Run be? HERE

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Episode 103 – Olson, Jornet, Johnson, Jurek, Fiennes

A_GRAVATAR

This is Episode 103 of Talk Ultra. A very happy new year! Talk Ultra is 4 years old and to signify this landmark we are bringing you 4 interviews from our back catalogue, one from 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015. In addition, we may well bring you a few sounds, music and memories.

Niandi is back with me….

The La Palma story continues – watch our GoPro story of tackling the Transvulcania route (GR131) over 2 days HERE

La Palma, (Transvulcania) photo galleries can be viewed HERE (more to follow)

00:01:31 Show Start

00:26:45 NEWS

00:28:30 Remember the 10 Commandments?

00:32:16 Remember the Christmas Do’s and Dont’s from 2013? Don’t mention Mingling

Guess what, very little news… but hey David Laney and Magdalena Boulet were voted ultra runners of the year via UltraRunning Magazine.

The incredible Ed Ettinghausen aged 53 ran 481.86 miles at the Across the Years 6-day to beat David Johnson’s 450.37. Full results from the weekend are HERE

00:50:49 MUSIC  The Comrades special is still maybe one of our most popular shows and I am pleased to say we have had countless messages about how we inspired so many to run this iconic race. Episode 8 way back in 2012. A magic show and too long to replay here but due to popular demand here is Shozolossa – I cant listen to this without a tear in my eye and we interviewed the Comrades King –

00:53:01 INTERVIEW Bruce Fordyce

In episode 48, we featured Nepal and the Everest Trail Race, hiking down a mountain on the 2nd day I was joined by Nepalese children who sand for me… pure magic!

And in the last episode in the wee hours of a December morning I walked the streets of La Palma with Niandi listening to the amazing sounds of Divinos san Francisco.

01:24:19 INTERVIEW Okay our first interview comes from 2012 and it is from Episode 12 and the inspiring and mind blowing story of Timmy Olson.

02:16:44 INTERVIEW It may come as no surprise but in 2013, episode 43 I interviewed Kilian Jornet just a day after his incredible Matterhorn Summit record.

02:52:21 INTERVIEW Episode 57 in 2014 provided an inspiring interview with David Johnston about his incredible Iditarod Trail Invitational record breaking run.

03:42:24 INTERVIEW And finally, the Jureks from episode 95. Scott and Jenny nailed the AT and provided one of the most insightful and entertaining interviews ever.

Believe me, choosing 4 interviews from 4 years has been incredibly tough. I can’t tell you how many amazing memories and moments there are. It has been incredible to refresh my mind by looking back. Please go back to the archives and take a look – Ryan Sandes, Marshall Ullrich, Gordy Ainsleigh, Eliie Greenwood, Max King, Lizzy Hawker, Anna Frost and so on and so on…

05:01:35 INTERVIEW Considering Niandi is co-hosting it only seems appropriate that we give you a bonuss interview from Episode 78 with legendary, Sir Ranulph Fiennes

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

Queensland

Bogong to Hotham | 64 kilometers | January 10, 2016 | website

Hares And Hounds 50k Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2016 | website

Victoria

Two Bays Trail Run 56km | 56 kilometers | January 17, 2016 | website

Brazil

Brazil 135 Ultramarathon | 135 miles | January 20, 2016 | website

Brazil 135 Ultramarathon | 135 miles | January 20, 2016 | website

Brazil 281 Relay | 281 miles | January 20, 2016 | website

Brazil 281 Relay | 281 miles | January 20, 2016 | website

Brazil 281 Relay | 281 miles | January 20, 2016 | website

Chile

Ultramaratón Licanray – Villarrica | 70 kilometers | January 17, 2016 | website

Germany

Lower Saxony

  1. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website
  2. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website
  3. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM| 100 kilometers | January 10, 2016 | website
  4. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website
  5. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website
  6. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM| 50 kilometers | January 10, 2016 | website

North Rhine-Westphalia

Nord Eifel Ultra | 56 kilometers | January 10, 2016 | website

Netherlands

North Holland

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 100 km | 50 kilometers | January 22, 2016 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 22, 2016 | website

Dutch Coast Ultra by Night 75 km | 75 kilometers | January 22, 2016 | website

Serbia

Mojstir Extreme km Trail Run 100 | 100 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

Spain

Valencian Community

GR10-Xtrem Valencia Ultra Trail | 93 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Sweden

W-R-T Sandsjöbacka Trail Marathon – 68 km | 68 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

Thailand

Columbia Trails Masters – 50K | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2016 | website

United Kingdom

Buckinghamshire

Country to Capital | 45 miles | January 16, 2016 | website

Derbyshire

Montane Spine Challenger | 108 miles | January 09, 2016 | website

Montane Spine Race | 268 miles | January 09, 2016 | website

USA

Alabama

Nicholas Wilson Memorial Tashka Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

Arizona

50K | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

California

Avalon Benefit 50 Mile Run | 50 miles | January 09, 2016 | website

Long Beach Enlightened Ultra 100K | 100 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Long Beach Enlightened Ultra 100 Mile | 100 miles | January 09, 2016 | website

Long Beach Enlightened Ultra 50K | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Long Beach Enlightened Ultra 50 Mile | 50 miles | January 09, 2016 | website

Pacifica Foothills Trail Run 50K | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

San Diego 50 | 50 miles | January 16, 2016 | website

Steep Ravine 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

Florida

100K | 100 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

100M | 100 miles | January 16, 2016 | website

Clearwater Distance 50K Ultra | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2016 | website

Georgia

Savannah Rails to Trails 50K | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Hawaii

Hilo To Volcano 50k Ultra Marathon and Relay | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

H.U.R.T. 100 Mile Endurance Run | 100 miles | January 16, 2016 | website

Idaho

Wilson Creek Frozen 50k | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

Illinois

Frozen Gnome 50K | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Iowa

Tripple D Winter Ultramarathon Run | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2016 | website

Maryland

PHUNT 50K | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

PHUNT 50K | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

Massachusetts

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

New Jersey

Watchung Winter Ultras Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

North Carolina

Neusiok Trail 100K | 100 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Neusiok Trail 43 Miles | 43 miles | January 09, 2016 | website

Weymouth Woods 100k Trail Run | 100 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

Oklahoma

Ouachita Switchbacks 50K | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

South Carolina

Harbison 50K | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Tennessee

Swampstomper 50k | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2016 | website

Texas

Bandera 100km | 100 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Bandera 50km | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Big Bend 50 | 50 kilometers | January 17, 2016 | website

Virginia

Willis River 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | January 10, 2016 | website

Washington

Bridle Trails Winter Running Festival 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Pullman Winter Ultra Series 50K | 50 kilometers | January 16, 2016 | website

West Virginia

Frozen Sasquatch Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | January 09, 2016 | website

Wisconsin

Frozen Otter Ultra Trek – 32 Miles | 32 miles | January 16, 2016 | website

Frozen Otter Ultra Trek – 64 Miles | 64 miles | January 16, 2016 | website

Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon 150 Mile Run | 150 miles | January 08, 2016 | website

Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon 35 Mile Run | 35 miles | January 09, 2016 | website

Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon 75 Mile Run | 75 miles | January 09, 2016 | website

05:41:09 CLOSE

05:43:00

ITunes http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/talk-ultra/id497318073

Libsyn – feed://talkultra.libsyn.com/rss

Website – talkultra.com

To Base Train Or Not To Base Train

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Marc Laithwaite and myself have often discussed in ‘Talk Training’ on Talk Ultra Podcast about BASE TRAINING.

Coming from cycling backgrounds, Marc and myself where used to getting in the miles over the winter months as this was imperative to a great season of racing. We had the term, ‘winter miles makes summer smiles.’

But bike racing for us both was often fast, furious and long, so we needed to be complete cyclists. Endurance for the long ride, speed for when the racing really started and the ability to attack, ride fast and open up a gap on the competition. Base training in December, January, February and March was essential.

But as an ultra runner, what does base training mean for you? Do YOU really need to go out and lay base miles now for a stronger racing season? Is that not what you did while racing; you ran slow and steady. Think about it, racing for most ultra runners is not about accelerations, fartlek, making a break and so on, it’s about aiming for a strong and consistent performance over the duration of the event to produce not only the best performance but the fastest time.

Over the years Marc has wrote about the benefits of base training and how it should be conducted for greatest effect. It should be slow, it should be long and the heart rate should be controlled to burn fat etc. As mentioned above, Marc and myself have also discussed and recommended that ultra runners, ‘reverse the pyramid.’

We have posed the question, ‘Does base training have any benefit to endurance athletes?’

Would ultra runners gain more from doing high intensity training throughout the winter to raise their maximal output?

Is base training the way forwards or is shorter and higher intensity workouts better? More interesting is that in the last couple of weeks, Marc has seen 2 posts, one from Brett Sutton and one from Training Peaks, both supporting the ‘reverse pyramid’ (doing short and hard in winter and then going longer in the summer). This is the first time Marc has seen blogs supporting ‘reverse pyramid’ so clearly it’s catching on and for once he and I may get a little more support on the matter.

Even Competitor.com resorted to the same old information in a recent web post (article HERE) but I quote:

“Aerobic endurance is the key to everything else in running. You can’t get the most out of the hard repeats, hill workouts and tempo runs until you’ve built the base to handle them. Plus, physiologically you can make bigger gains in aerobic endurance and capacity than you can in any other training zone.” – Ben Rosario, head coach of Northern Arizona Elite, Flagstaff, Ariz. – Quote link HERE

“A properly executed base phase provides a platform of fitness from which distance runners can draw throughout racing season. An aerobic development phase like this is also critical to connective-tissue strengthening, giving an athlete the ability to work harder and at higher intensity with less risk of injury.” – Pete Rea, head coach, ZAP Fitness, Blowing Rock, N.C. – Quote link HERE

You can’t tarnish everyone with the same brush.

Here’s the key point that you must take away with you: one single approach is not suitable for everyone. The articles by Brett Sutton and Training Peaks and those quoted above, whilst informative and correct, were suggesting that ‘everyone’ should use one method; reverse or base training. This is pretty standard and the problem often lies with many coaches. Most coaches tend to be in one camp or another, either they are the reverse pyramid followers (minority) so everyone they coach follows reverse pyramid, or they believe in base and foundation, so everyone they coach follows base training during the winter months.

Coaches and runners need to realise that there’s more than one way to skin a cat and we are all individuals and hence we need to ensure that we are following the correct programme. It’s also confusing for you as an athlete, if you hear 2 opposing views, you ask the question, ‘which one is correct and which one do you follow?’

Endurance sports are very simple and you need to ask 2 key questions:

1. How fast can you go?
2. How long can you keep it going for?

Okay, so let’s consider 2 people training for a spring marathon.

1. Sandra and Michael have run 17 marathons with a PB of 4 hours 20 minutes. They run marathons and ultra distance events and can run until the cows come home but have no change of pace. In fact, they both have 10k PB’s set during a half marathon race. Sound like anyone you know?

2. Rita and John are track runner by trade, they were 1500m runners at county level but rarely go above 10k. Whilst they may be rapid, endurance is not their strength. The marathon is going to be a real challenge for them as the distance is well beyond their comfort zone.

Here you have 2 classic extremes, the plodder and the burner. Sandra and Michael would benefit far more from reversing the pyramid and spending a winter, trying to reduce 5k and 10k times. Once the speed is in place, they can then increase their long runs and learn how to ‘keep it going’ for the full marathon. Rita and John have ample speed, but they have no base fitness. The classic winter base training model would therfore work much better for both of them as it has for many others before them.

The classic base model tends to work best for fast people with poor endurance, that’s who it was initially invented for. That’s also the classic model for athletics, when 1500m runners are too slow, they step up to 10k, when they’re too slow for 10k they step up for marathon. These are fast runners, who need to add endurance.

But you as an ultra runner do base training while racing, no? You are more inline with Sandra and Michael.

If you’re running multiple marathons but you struggle to get below 9 minute miles, base training is not going to work for you. No amount of slow mileage will make you a quicker runner, it’ll just allow you to keep running slower for longer.

So how does this help me?

You need to assess yourself as an athlete and ask the 2 simple questions:

1. How fast can I go?
2. Can I keep it going?

Are you a burner, plodder of somewhere inbetween? The classic base training pyramid can be used to great effect, but so can the ‘reverse pyramid’ method. You, as a runner just need to work out which programme over the winter period to follow. Neither one is better or worse, they’re different, just like you and me.

If you are based in the UK, Marc Laithwaite can provide a more accurate assessment of your personal strengths and weaknesses via sports science assessment. You can BOOK HERE.

*This article is a combined article by Ian Corless and Marc Laithwaite

About Marc:

Sports Science lecturer for 10 years at St Helens HE College.

2004 established The Endurance Coach LTD sports science and coaching business. Worked with British Cycling as physiology support 2008-2008. Previous Triathlon England Regional Academy Head Coach, North West.

In 2006 established Epic Events Management LTD. Now one of the largest event companies in the NW, organising a range of triathlon, swimming and cycling events. EPIC EVENTS also encompasses Montane Trail 26 and Petzl Night Runner events.

In 2010 established Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 LTD. This has now become the UKs leading ultra distance trail running event.

In 2010 established The Endurance Store triathlon, trail running and open water swimming store. Based in Appley Bridge, Wigan, we are the North West’s community store, organising and supporting local athletes and local events.

Check out the endurance store HERE

Endurance Store Logo