Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2016 – Day 4

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It was an active recovery day at the 2016 Lanzarote multi-day training camp. It was kicked off with a guided 3-hour walk through some of the islands most stunning volcano sections close to the Timanfaya National Park.

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Famous for it’s volcanic landscape, today everyone was able to appreciate up close how dramatic and tough these trails can be. Black lava sand, interspersed with jagged rocks but ultimately everyone was blown away with the dramatic and somewhat eerie vistas. In the early 1700’s, this area had six continuous years of volcanic eruptions that created this stunning landscape.

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Elinor Evans, a yoga expert undertaking Marathon des Sables for the first time in 2016 commented after the walk:

“It’s been a really special day in this environment. We have walked with our packs, covered some miles and in the process had a wonderful learning experience. It has been magical.”

It was a sentiment echoed by everyone in the camp and with 5-hours of running waiting for everyone tomorrow, the opportunity to walk today was welcome.

The evening discussion was all about food and hydration for multi-day racing and we discussed the different nutritional needs for someone who may be looking to compete, the mid-packer and the walker. Of course, it’s all very personal, but many similarities from all three scenarios crossed over providing all the participants with plenty of key and essential information that they can now take away and formulate their own strategies for their chosen race.

Tomorrow, Sunday, kicks off with a 5-hour run along a new coastal section that will involve some climbing, scrambling and of course a plethora of mixed terrain.

If you are interested in a multi-day training camp, our 2017 dates are set and you can view HERE

Many thanks to:

Raidlight, OMM, inov-8, Berghaus, PHD, MyRaceKit and Scott Running for the support with this camp.

Lanzarote Multi-Day Training Camp 2016 – Day 2

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The Lanzarote 2016 multi-day training camp got underway today with an easy 1-hour run along the coastal trails of La Santa to Famara.

In total, we have a group of 27 runners with a broad range of 2016 objectives such as Marathon des Sables (Morocco), The Coastal Challenge (Costa Rica), Big Red Run (Australia), Cape Wraith Ultra (UK) and the Everest Trail Race (Nepal).

It’s always great to see so many runners of mixed ability come together with one goal in mind; completion of a challenging multi-day race!

Tomorrow, 4-hours of classic desert terrain awaits the runners as they depart in three groups lead by Elisabet Barnes, Niandi Carmont and Marie-Paule Pierson. Ian Corless, camp co-ordinator and planner, will move through the groups, running out-and-back to ensure that everyone is on track and comfortable.

In the afternoon, a group talk and discussion followed with an easy 30-60 min run.

Lanzarote, situated off the coast of Morocco provides the perfect environment to simulate many of the conditions that runners will experience in a classic multi-day race; wind, sand, rocks, tough terrain, climbs and maybe even a little scrambling.

If you are interested in a multi-day training, dates for 2017 have been set and you can view HERE

Many thanks to the following brands for helping with this camp:

MyRaceKit, OMM, inov-8, Berghaus, PHD, Raidlight, Scott Running

 

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

run-ultra-logo

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?

©iancorless.com_ScottEnduro-00076

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

 

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

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Website – talkultra.com

Episode 102 – Sally McRae, Mike Bialick, Mark Gillett

A_GRAVATAR

This is Episode 102 of Talk Ultra. Happy Christmas everyone! We speak with Mike Bialick about that storming 100 mile run, Sally McRae talks all about her running and finding balance and we have a tribute to fellow photographer, Mark Gillett who sadly passed away. Niandi co-hosts.

00:01:31 Show Start

00:19:10 NEWS

Divinio San Francisco, walking the streets of La Palma HERE

Running the Caldera de Taburiente rim, Roques de los Muchachos HERE

DESERT SOLSTICE INVITATIONAL

Zach Bitter ran 11:40:55 for 100-miles – he went through 50 in 5:33 and 100k in 6:58 he broke his own 100 record by 7min but missed the world record which is still a good chunk of time away.

Katalin Nagy dropped from the 24-hour but won the 100 in 14:48 and set a US Track record for 200k in 19:19:05

BARCELONA 24HR

Well done to Marco Consani winning ‪#‎barcelona24‬ with 256km (159miles) course record and PB. Now that’s awesome and a long way!

RUN CLEAN, GET DIRTY – http://runcleangetdirty.org/athletes/

00:37:08 INTERVIEW  with MARK GILLETT

00:52:41 INTERVIEW with MIKE BIALICK

02:19:30 INTERVIEW with SALLY McRAE

UP & COMING RACES

Australia

New South Wales

Narrabeen All Nighter 100 km | 100 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Germany

Bavaria

Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Dezember | 108 kilometers | December 30, 2015 | website

Hong-Kong

Tsuen Wan, Ta Shek Wu, Fo Tan | 115 kilometers | January 01, 2016 | website

Ultra Trail Tai Mo Shan | 162 kilometers | January 01, 2016 | website

Yuen Long, Ta Shek Wu, Fo Tan | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Nepal

50 km | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

78 km | 78 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

The North Face® Kathmandu Ultra 50km | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

The North Face® Kathmandu Ultra 80km | 78 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Netherlands

Limburg

SMU-Loop | 58 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

South Africa

Festival of Running 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | January 01, 2016 | website

Sri Lanka

50 km | 50 kilometers | December 27, 2015 | website

USA

Alabama

Recover from the Holidays | 50 kilometers | December 31, 2015 | website

California

Woodside 50 km | 50 kilometers | December 27, 2015 | website

Woodside Trail 50km Run | 50 kilometers | December 27, 2015 | website

Florida

Croom Zoom 100 Km Run | 100 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Croom Zoom 50 Km Run | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Louisiana

Wild Azalea Trail Challenge 50 | 50 miles | January 02, 2016 | website

Michigan

Yankee Winter Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

North Carolina

Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50k | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50k | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50k Relay | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Salem Lakeshore Frosty 50k Relay | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Salem Lake Shore Frosty Fifty | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Tennessee

100K | 100 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

100 Miler | 100 miles | January 02, 2016 | website

50K | 50 kilometers | January 02, 2016 | website

Texas

50K | 50 kilometers | December 26, 2015 | website

Virginia

Boyers Furnace | 40 miles | December 26, 2015 | website

Redeye 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 01, 2016 | website

Wisconsin

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

02:19:28 CLOSE 

Finally we want to thank you for all the support over the last 12-months. Difficult to believe that another year has passed. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and we hope 2016 is awesome!

02:22:52

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Website – talkultra.com

Running or Walking Efficiency when Climbing

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VK world record holder, Urban Zemmer

Recently I have produced a couple of articles about how to ensure that you are an efficient walker when participating in long or mountainous events. You can read them HERE and HERE.

The first article discusses Training to Walk for Ultra, Trail and Mountain Running and the second article is about Walking, Running and Climbing with Trekking Poles.

On December 15th, the University of Colorado Boulder released a document called, CU-Boulder researchers discover optimal range of slopes for extreme uphill running.

This article made me take a look and read in-depth for two reasons: first and foremost it ties in nicely with my previous two articles but more importantly and secondly, research into VK data dates back some 16-years and was pioneered by the ISF (International Skyrunning Federation) who created the VK format as a racing discipline.

To clarify a VK is 1000m of vertical ascent and the objective is to climb the elevation gain as quickly as possible. The original context of the VK always was about research and data.

VK courses vary greatly but the ISF consider a true VK to be under 5km in length. To understand the variables, some VK’s, for example the Dolomites are just over 2km in length. By contrast, Limone Extreme is a considerably longer course with a less extreme gradient.

Fully, Switzerland has long been a testing ground for VK performance and a post from the ISF which was updated 22nd October 2012 adds some very clear and specific points to consider:

“Italy’s Urban Zemmer rocketed up the 1,000m vertical course, only 1.9 km long, in just 30’26”, 20 seconds faster than the standing world record set here in 2011.”

In addition, the ladies records tumbled:

“French runner Christel Dewalle was first in 36’48” followed by Axelle Mollaret in 37’44” and third, Maude Mathys from Switzerland in 37’56, all beating the previous world record set two years ago by Italian Valentina Belotti in 38’50.”

Notably, the ISF commented:

“The new men’s record nears a speed of 2,000 vertical metres per hour (precisely 1,971m) an incredible ground-breaking performance that the ISF has been monitoring for many years in a scientific research project… Depending on the course and type of start, poles are permitted and yesterday, most of the runners used them.  However, to date, the advantages of using poles has not been scientifically demonstrated.”

In 2014, the record for the VK was once again broken by Urban Zemmer at Fully, Switzerland with the incredible time of 29’ 42”.

©iancorless.com_Limone2015-7046

Remi Bonnet prefers to run a VK and never walks

So by simple logic (I am no scientist), it would suggest that the steepest course is the fastest as Fully is only 1.9km long. To quote, Run the Alps,The Vertical KM race in Fully, Switzerland is considered to be the fastest vertical kilometer course in the world. The race, held on a former funicular route, is home to both the men’s and women’s world records.”

You can watch a YouTube clip of the 2013 Fully race HERE

Watch the video of Fully and you will see varying techniques, some walk, some walk/ jog, some (most) use poles but one thing is consistent, the effort is almost maximal for all. Therefore, in a non-scientific look at Fully, the fastest performances come from the genetically gifted who have all the elements required for an optimum VK performance: lung capacity, V02max, lactate threshold, power to weight ratio, technique and so on.

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Marco de Gasperi like to mix running and walking

But what about the optimal slopes for uphill running as questioned by CU-Boulder. They posed the question:

“Imagine that you are standing in Colorado at a trailhead where the base elevation is 9,000 feet. Your friend challenges you to race to the summit of the mountain, which tops out at 12,280 feet, roughly 1,000 meters of elevation gain. There are several different trails that go to the summit. They are all steep and some are extremely steep. One trail averages a 10 degree incline and the sign says it is 3.6 miles long. A second trail averages 30 degrees, but is only 1.25 miles long. A third trail averages 40 degrees, but only 1 mile long. To get to the summit the fastest, which trail should you choose and should you walk or run?”

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Poles or no poles on a steep gradient?

This is a question that the ISF have asked and researched for many years. A paper titled, “Energy costs of walking and running uphill and downhill at extreme slopes” looks into this:

Davide Susta, Alberto E. Minetti*, Christian Moia and Guido Ferretti

Département de Physiologie, Centre Médical Universitaire, 1211 Genève 4, Switzerland, *Department of Exercise and Sport Science, Manchester Metropolitan University, Alsager ST7 2HL, U.K.

The energy costs of walking and running (Cw and Cr, respectively, in J kg-1 m-1) increase with the slope uphill (up to +20%) and decrease with the slope downhill (down to -10%) (Margaria, 1938; Margaria et al, 1963). Outside this range, no measurements of Cw and Cr are available in the literature, even though walking and running on the mountains at greater slopes is becoming commoner and commoner practice in leisure and sport. We therefore set out to carry out the present study, the aim of which is to determine Cw and Cr on men walking and running at slopes up to +45% and -45% on the treadmill. After local ethical approval, 10 subjects (Skyrunners) were admitted to the study (age 32.6 + 7.5 years, body mass 61.2 + 5.7 kg, maximal O2 consumption 68.9 + 3.8 ml min-1 kg-1). They are all endurance athletes practicing mountain racing. O2 consumption at the steady state was measured by the open circuit method, using Leybold O2 and CO2 analysers and a Singer dry gas meter. Heart rate was measured by cardiotachography. Blood lactate concentration was determined after each run as a check for submaximal aerobic exercise.

Each subject performed up to three walking and three running trials at progressively increasing speeds on the level, and at the slopes of 10, 20, 30, 35, 40 and 45 % uphill and downhill. The duration of each trial was 4 min, and expired gas was collected during the 4th min of exercise. Minimum Cw on the level was: 

1.85 + 0.57 J kg-1 m-1 (n = 10) at the speed of 0.69 m s-1. During uphill walking, Cw increased with the slope, to attainthevalueof18.08+1.57Jkg-1 m-1 (n=9)atthespeedof0.69ms-1 andat the slope of +45%. During downhill walking, minimum Cw was lower at the slope of -10% (0.81 + 0.37 J kg-1 m-1, n = 9) than on the level. At slopes below -10%, it progressively increased. At -45%, it was 3.46 + 0.95 J kg-1 m-1(n = 5). Cr on the level was 3.40 + 0.24 J kg-1 m-1(n = 30). Cr increased with the slope, to attain 18.69 + 1.42 J kg-1 m-1(n = 6) at +45%. 

During downhill running, Cr decreased and attained its lowest value at the slope of -20% (1.73 + 0.36 J kg-1 m-1, n = 24). At lower slopes, it increased. At -45%, at speeds higher than 1.38 m s-1, it was equal to 3.79 + 0.57 (n = 7). The mechanical efficiency for vertical displacement was 0.216 + 0.015 at +45% and 1.078 + 0.275 at -45%. This data on the level and at slopes up to 20% correspond to those found by others on non-athletic subjects (Margaria, 1938). At higher slopes, the increases in Cw and Cr are such as could be predicted assuming that all energy is used to lift the body. By contrast, at -10% and -20%, both Cw and Cr are lower than in non- athletic subjects (Margaria, 1938), suggesting greater recovery of elastic energy at each step in the present athletes. At slopes below -20%, the increases in Cw and Cr are such as could be predicted assuming that all energy expenditure is for negative muscle contractions.

REFERENCES
Margaria, R. (1938). Atti Acad. Naz. Lincei 7, 299-368.

Margaria, R., Cerretelli, P., Aghemo, P. & Sassi, G. (1963). J. Appl. Physiol. 18, 367-370. This work was supported by a grant from the FSA- Federation.for Sport at Altitude

Referring back to the CU-Boulder research:

“Based on our research, we now know that choosing the second trail (30 degrees) and walking as fast as you can within your aerobic capacity is the fastest way to go,” Kram said. “For either running or walking, slopes between 20 and 35 degrees require nearly the same amount of energy to climb the hill at the same vertical velocity.”

This new study (HERE), which was recently published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, is believed to be the first to examine the metabolic costs of human running and walking on such steep inclines (suggested by the CU-Boulder researchers.) However, I would question this and refer to research by the FSA – “Energy cost of walking and running at extreme uphill and downhill slopes.” Received 29 November 2001; accepted in final form 29 April 2002. You can download this detailed documentation HERE and it is essential reading.

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Who is the most efficient?

It would appear that gradients of 20-35 degrees require the same amount of effort and interestingly, CU-Boulder research found in a study:

“A vertical rate of ascent of just over 1 foot per second, is a pace that high-level athletes could sustain during the testing. At that speed, walking used about nine percent less energy than running. So, sub-elite athletes can ascend on very steep uphills faster by walking rather than running.”

In simple terms, this is something I have found out by attempting VK’s in my own time in and around events. More often than not, the effort required to run is so hard that it becomes counter productive. I have even found that including run sections to be counter productive as this raises my heart rate, increases lactate acid and requires me to recover while still climbing. However, if I maintain a constant effort walking, this produces the best results for me.

CU-Boulder research went on to say:

“The study examined 15 competitive mountain runners as they ran and walked on the treadmill at seven different angles ranging from 9 to 39 degrees. The treadmill speed was set so that the vertical rate of ascent was the same.  Thus, the treadmill speeds were slower on the steeper angles. The athletes were unable to balance at angles above 40 degrees, suggesting a natural limit on the feasible slope for a VK competition.”

In regard to the latter point, this in some respects relates to Fully, Switzerland and brings in another element, the use of poles and if poles allow a faster ascent when the gradient steepens. One only has to look at the Dolomites VK and Fully VK where poles are used by nearly all participants. The ISF plan to do a new test with and without ski poles, but it is not easy to do a serious test. Although not scientifically proven, it’s fair to say that using poles with gradients under 20% it will mean more Kcal and a reduced performance. However, with gradients steeper than 25 or 30%, the use of poles can correct style, etcetera and can improve the overall performance.

The CU-Boulder article is available to read in full HERE.

I can quote technical papers and research all day, however, as a runner you want to know the answer to the question, should I walk or should I run uphill and should I use poles?

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Irrespective of if you plan to run a VK or not, the research and thoughts provided by the FSA and CU-Boulder confirm that running or walking uphill provides an incredible workout. Importantly though, research confirms that walking should be a key element in any training plan, (*…walking used about nine percent less energy than running) especially if you are racing or training on hilly or mountainous terrain.

When participating in ultra events, reverting to periods of walking may well produce greater results and faster times. This is very evident when the terrain steepens; running will only expend more energy and produce slower times. The use of poles appears to benefit performance when gradients steepen, this is not scientifically confirmed.

On a final note though, many other factors come into play when looking at results and as with everything, there are exceptions. Urban Zemmer, Remi Bonnet, Laura Orgue, Christel Dewalle and so many more are able to run when others need to walk. We can’t choose our parents or our genetic pool. Ultimately, find out what works for you but practice makes perfect and the more climbing you do, the better and the faster you will become.

Embrace the mountains and going uphill.

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Christel Dewalle, ladies VK world record holder

Getting your head in the right place!

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Getting your head in the right place is something that we all need to do. I am in La Palma, the home of Transvulcania Ultramarathon. It’s a place that I have been coming back to since 2012. It holds a special place for me, especially at this time of year.

The days are a little longer, the weather is perfect and the island is beautiful.

I’m writing a book called, Running Beyond which will be published late in 2016. In real terms it is a photography book with words. However, after a year on the road I realised the only way I was going to get the words written was by getting myself, or should I say my head in the right place.

The plan is to get back to some regular time on the trails and split my days 50/ 50.

I’ve been here since Friday, so only 4-days but I can already feel it working.

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The writing process is taking place and I seem to be slowly but surely making my way through the list of things I need to do. Plus Niandi and myself have had some time to relax, taking in sights at local towns and we have been on the trails; hiking, jogging and at times, running!

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On day 1 we went to Los Llanos, the finish of the Transvulcania race. Its a beautiful place of cobbled streets and pastel coloured buildings. In the late afternoon we went up and down the VK route from Tazacorte Port; always a favourite. We timed it just right as the sun was setting as we made the final descent.

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The following day, Sunday,  we visited a local market at Argual. It is a place I have visited many times before but the people and some of the sights are always interesting. We followed this with a run from El Pilar, taking in an out-and-back route through the Volcano route. It was a little cloudy and windy along the tops but it is always stunning. Back at our car we had the best Tuna Bocadillo ever; the simple things huh?

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Monday I did a 90-minute run alone. It was the end of a long day of writing and I needed an outlet and a release. Run? it was actually a hike up and a run down. Nothing special but it helps get my head in the right place. I even took a selfie!

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Last night, (this morning) – I walked the streets of Santa Cruz from 3am with Niandi and Divino San Francisco, a group of singers who move from house-to-house and sing traditional Christmas songs. My good friend Angel, is one of the singers and it was he who told me about this. For 9-days (not always at 3am I must add) in the lead up to Christmas they sing every night to represent the 9-months of pregnancy.

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It was something quite special! Quiet lonely streets with just string instruments and stunning voices to welcome in a new day. It was so special; it made me realise why I was here, to get my head in the right place.

Despite a night of no sleep, today I can feel the positive vibes from a stunning night. It’s a night that Niandi and myself won’t forget. Families opened their doors to us in the early hours, they welcomed a large group of musicians in and then proceeded to feed them and provide drinks, it made me realise what this time of year is about.

We all need to get our heads in the right place. Make sure you make it a priority to find your place, I guarantee 2016 will be better because of it.

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PHOTOGRAPHERS wake up!

photo-credit-graphic

You may remember a previous post of mine. It’s not hard to forget as I was ranting. I seem to be getting good at ranting. If you can’t remember the post, refresh your mind HERE

The above post dates back to February this year. At the time, the post gained great momentum and plenty of social media time. People in the creative industry could relate to my plea. I would say since that post, things have improved. Of course, that may well be because those looking for a freebie shouldn’t contact me!

However today, I had one of those emails. And I quote:

“Hi Ian. I’m a contributor for **********, and I’m working on a winter running post with *********. I noticed you have a beautiful shot of her atop a mountain. Wondering if you would be willing to provide that image un-watermarked in exchange for a full credit and direct link to your site. ***** is part of a massive national network of action-sports publications, so the play is potentially big. Would love to talk to you about other images for the future, too! LMK what you are comfortable with.”

It is easy to think on first reading, wow, ******* want to use MY image on TV and in articles. But hold on a minute. They want an unbranded image for free?

“so the play is potentially big”

What, so big that you can’t pay me to use my image?

I replied:

Hi *****,

Many thanks for the email and interest in my photography/ work.
I don’t supply images for credit and for free. I make a living at this and without payment, I can’t go to the stunning locations to capture the images you like. This post puts my thoughts into perspective HERE.
I am more than happy to work with you and to come up with a working relationship moving forward. 
If ****** is as big as you say, I am sure money for great photography can’t be too demanding.
Yours in sport,
Ian
In other words; don’t take the piss! Photographers, designers, magazines, anyone in the industry and other industries, please take note.
FUCKING WAKE UP!
I received a reply:
Duly noted. As a fellow freelancer it is always awkward for me to ask for something for free. Unfortunately too many good photographers are giving it away, as you know, which has created a spiral effect. ***** actually used to pay for images and even full photo collages, but I guess the good stuff came too cheap and they moved away from that model. I will certainly keep you in mind for paid gigs going forward, as you obviously have an eye and we are in a similar area for content. Cheers!
This is my job! I am not playing at this. I don’t want sympathy, I want photographers and those who work in this industry to WAKE UP and stop giving work away for free.
YOU ARE KILLING OUR PROFESSION
Rant over. If you agree, sympathise, like what I and those like me produce, then please share. Without our work, content, images, writing and stories, what will you have? You will have bland free content that all merges into mush. That is not good for me, for those like me and it is certainly not good for you, the consumer, who has to look at and read shit!
Apologies for the rant!

William Sichel sets new World Record in Norway

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Orkney-based ultra marathon runner, William Sichel (62) ended the year on a high by running 315.565km/196.083 miles to claim 3rd overall in the men’s race, from 37 starters and first in the over 60 age category with a new World Age-Group Record in the Bislett International Endurance Indoor Festival 48 Hour race in Oslo, Norway.

As is often the case William worked his way gradually to the top positions from much lower down the field in the early hours.

“As always happens, people start too fast, eat too much and get sick.  I just stick to my plan and used my experience to run a more even pace throughout the race.  Sometimes it’s important to see the whole race as a whole and not be too myopic.”

William set a life time best time for 100-miles indoors of 19 hours 56 minutes, 28 seconds and covered 184.791km/114.82 miles for the first 24 hour period.  This was only 3 miles less than he ran when coming 3rd overall in September’s Tooting 24 Hour track race in London.

“I then went on to do just over 81 miles in the second day, when the track was less crowded and added a substantial 25 miles to the current World Age-Group record for indoor 48 hours which was set last year in Alaska. To be honest over-crowding wasn’t too bad most of the time but I did find it far too noisy a lot of the time and had to run with ear plugs.  The high noise level also interfered with my system of having quick 20 minute naps as I couldn’t get to sleep.”

William would like to thank his crewman Alan Young from Dundee who travelled to Oslo to assist him as well as all sponsors who helped to make the trip possible.

William will now check all the records set at intermediate distances and times to see how many records were set all together.

Read all articles about William Sichel HERE