Author Archive

Another Layer

Todays run I found myself mourning the summer. It takes me a mile to warm up and as I ran through the wet grass and sheep shit all I could think of was those dark, cold runs through the middle of winter to look forward to. I know that spring will bring back all the good stuff.

I was talking about this to a bloke at work and putting a real downer on it all. He said “what about those runs in the snow with big blue skys on an early Sunday mornings” That’s what I want and that’s what I will look forward to. The dark evenings also provide that anonymous envelope that I enjoy when I run. So…………bring on the winter…..come on!!!

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Delamere Forest 6 Miler

Running on the trails in the woods with plenty of undulation is pretty much the perfect run for me. This was a bit impromptu. A quick text exchange and the next thing I’m off my couch and in forest plodding along at a nice pace with a good mate on a nice day at the beginning of Autumn.

We have run quite a few organized events in around these woods, 10km’s and half marathons. If you ever find yourself in the area it really is worth the time and effort to get running around these tracks.

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Assistant Athletics Coach Course

I completed this course this weekend. I was a nervous wreck during the run up to the course starting. It ended up being one of the best courses I have ever been on. It was all so relevant to what I am doing at the moment. It was delivered in a really engaging and enthusiastic way that you couldn’t help come away feeling positive.

With my wife being the fully qualified coach and myself as a qualified assistant we are both now talking from the same script. Lesson plans and drills all make much more sense now. We have a really enthusiastic group of kids to work with and I can’t wait to get back to doing the sessions.

If you found this post and are thinking about doing this course (UK based) I can highly recommend it.

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Wet 4 Mile Run

As I was finishing work I looked outside and it was hammering it down. I then have that constant internal argument with myself if I should go for a run or not. I come up with loads of little excuses, all of them a lie. I then see memories of people out running in the rain, in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter and promptly get my kit on.

I always feel so glad I made the effort when the start was such a struggle.

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No Hangover

Waking up on a Saturday morning of a bank holiday weekend without a severe hangover is quite an achievement for me. There you go. That’s a top running tip for you. Try not to get hammered the night before a training run. It’s pearls of wisdom like that got me to where I am today. A mediocre middle aged runner.

A steady 4 miler down the beach with no wind.

 

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IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS LONDON 2017

Just come back from an amazing weekend at the IAAF World Champs in London. We stayed in a hotel right next to the Olympic Stadium and had tickets for the Saturday morning session and the evening session. Both sessions gave us a wonderful experience that I will treasure for the rest of my days. It was electric.

I got to see Usain Bolt qualify for the 4×100 meters and his breakdown at the final. Mo Farah coming 2nd in his last ever track race, the GB women getting a silver in 4×100 relay and the cream on the cake the mens GB team winning gold ahead of the U.S.A in the 4×100 relay.

I have a sore throat and a croaky voice from all the shouting.

 

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7 Mental Habits of An Adventure Runner

By Ultra-Runner, Explorer & Christopher Ward Challenger Jamie Maddison

Running and adventuring are two sides of the same, very weather-beaten, coin. They can both land you in some crazy spaces – geographical, physical and psychological – far out of your comfort zone and with little else to do but grit your teeth and keep going or risk complete failure.

I first noticed this similarity several years ago. A dyed-in-the wool adventurous person, I’ve ridden horses across Kazakhstan, lived with eagle hunters in Mongolia and explored untouched valleys in Kyrgyzstan’s Tien Shan mountain. I then became interested in running, and over the past three years have raced every distance, from a 4-minute 34-second road mile all the way up to an “eight marathons in eight days” crossing of an uncrossed desert called the Betpak Dala, or the “Steppe of Misfortune”.

With all of these activities, the challenge is as much in the mind as it is physical. Here are seven key mental habits I believe you need to cope on both adventures and long-distance runs.


Adaptability
Situations change. It doesn’t matter whether you’re running low on resources in a far off country, or simply running out of steam mid-race, being able to clearly assess a situation and then change one’s behaviour, as a result, is one of the most important skills an adventure/runner can have. It can be the difference between success, failure, and even injury or death.

Patience
The crossing of Kazakhstan by horse took me 64 days to complete, through very barren terrain; rolling steppe, uninterrupted and completely flat, save for the odd small river. It seemed to take forever to get anywhere, an experience many long-distance runners are all too familiar with. Being able to cope with extended periods of monotony and boredom is essential and hence patience has to be one of your key virtues, on a run or en-route to completing an expedition.

Meticulousness
Competitive runners stick to training calendars, record daily run logs, even create nutrition diaries. Prior to a race they are known to research the course, discuss race tactics, and plan everything all the way down to the how fast each and every mile should be run at. Likewise, on my upcoming expedition to cross a hundred mile desert on foot, I recently made a database of 144 geographic coordinate of each and every-turn I need to take for the most efficient crossing. That’s a waypoint for every two-thirds of a mile. To excel at both disciplines, a meticulous and planning-orientated mindset serves wonders in keeping you on the path toward success,

Creativity
Coming up with interesting places to explore or expeditions no-one has ever tried before requires imagination. This is also true in running, where an inquisitive approach pushes you to set out and find new routes and terrain to run over. This approach keeps the activity fresh and you enjoying the sport, essential if you’re to keep hammering away at it, day in and day out. A creative mindset also helps strengthen Point 5, patience, as it’s amazing how quickly time passes when you’re daydreaming about something else.

Being a “Jack Of All Trades”
A mark of a truly great runner is being as formidable in the mile as you are in the marathon. It’s a skill few other than the greats such as Haile Gebrselassie, Kenenisa Bekele and Mo Farah have ever achieved.

Likewise, the great adventurers, humans such as Edmund Hillary, weren’t confined to one discipline: Hillary also undertook hard polar journeys such as the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition to the South Pole, as well as his historic summiting of Everest. Being a quick and skilled learner who can operate in many different situations seamlessly is an inherently useful trait for both adventurers and running.

Introversion and Extroversion
Adventures require an insane amount of hours spent inside one’s own head, with precious few other people to speak with. Being able to rest within your own company is essential for success both activities (Point 3 also helps with this), but that’s not to say the sports favour recluses. Being able to converse freely – whether it’s with the locals in Tajikistan or in-between sets with your running mates – helps create a support network for you, that can only help ensure success with your project.

Courage
Whether you’re on the fourth lap in the 1500 metres or the last day in a multi-day ultra marathon, being able to cope with pain and discomfort, and still keep going, is vitally important for seeing both activities through. It also takes courage to push into the unknown, to keeping going even though you do not know what lays around the next corner, or what the next 10 minutes might bring.


Luckily – like all of the mental habits listed – courage can be taught. It is just a matter of practice; of learning the ropes slowly, practising, and digging a bit deeper day by day. Until one day you’re there, and you’re ready to head out and blaze out into the world. And the best way to practice? Running, of course.

Jamie Maddison is running 100 miles over an uncrossed desert in Kazakhstan this September, supported by the Christopher Ward Challenger Programme. To follow his journey, please visit:
https://www.christopherward.co.uk/jamie-maddison

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