Friday, 27 July 2018

Technological advantages

Last May when Eluid Kipchoge attempted to break the 2 hour barrier for the marathon as part of Nike's Breaking2 project he wore a pair of Nike Vapourfly Elite shoes.  Which had been especially developed to enhance performance and aid in the attempt to go sub 2 hours.

The Vapourfly Elites which are now available on general sale, Nike claims improve running economy on average by 4%.  A claim that appears to have been ratified by a recent survey carried out by the New York Times. Having used data from Strava they analysed 495,000 marathon and half marathon times since 2014 and concluded that runners that wore Vaporflys on average ran up to 3 - 4% quicker than similar runners wearing other shoes.



So, playing devils advocate, does wearing Nike Vapourfly Elite give a runner an unfair advantage over others?

The IAAF have said that these shoes meet all its requirements and therefore the answer would appear to be not and going for the advantage the shoes provide is a matter of choice by the runner and / or perhaps access - they don't seem to be widely available, or affordability a quick look on ebay and you will be forking out over £200 for a pair.

But as Shoe manufacturers continue to seek improvements in their products, which will in turn help lead to improvements in the athletes performance, perhaps the time will come when we have to decide whether new feats in performance are down to improvements in human performance or just to technological advances.

This is not a new conundrum and also not one limited to running.  For example, FINA the governing body for swimming banned the LZR Racer swimsuit which they reckoned reduced skin friction drag by 24%.  There has also been some controversy surrounding  the British Cycling team's use of skinsuits (used since 2008) and said to improve performance by up to 7% and are ruled as being legal.

This is not the first time such questions have been discussed and as further advances in technology continue it is certainly not going to be the last.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

As the buzzard circled overhead

Warm conditions greeted the 166 participants for this years Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon.  My legs still not having quite recovered from the Endure 24, my aim prior to the race was to just run around and enjoy.



Somehow though, it never seems to just work out that way.  Although I didn't go flying off at the start my pace was faster than I had had in mind.  But I was feeling comfortable.  However, it was not to last.  Struggling on the hills my legs were telling me they had had enough by 8 miles and at 10 miles they were completely shot.



On the final climb, both hamstrings were so tight that I could have cut cheese with them and I was reduced to a mere shuffle and looking skyward, a soaring buzzard reminded of those old Westerns where the Vultures circle awaiting the demise of their prey.

Finishing 75th in 1.58.31. I just managed to creep into the top half of the field.  Oh well, there is always next year!



The winner was Kyle Grey of Metro Aberdeen in 77.24.  While first woman and 5th overall was Helen Cross of York Triathlon in 84.09

Thursday, 5 July 2018

24 hours of fun

Now that the dust has settled, quite literally, due to the hot dusty conditions at Bramham Park, Leeds for the Mizuno Endure 24, 24 hour race and I have had time to reflect.  I can only say it was a successful and very enjoyable event.




As stated in previous posts I was running this as part of a mixed pair, with my sister Catherine.  Neither of us had tried this sort of race before and both of us had had injury problems leading up to the race. So it was a bit of a step into the unknown.



Our plan was to run the 5 mile loop alternatively but to keep the plan fluid enough to adapt to any changes in circumstances.  Catherine led off on the first leg, coming back in 57 minutes, which was slightly quicker than she had targeted.  I came back on the second leg in 43 minutes, definitely faster than I had intended.  Despite trying to slow down my subsequent legs were at 45.27 and 47.56.


This I reasoned was going to have two adverse effects on our run.  Firstly, I was going to 'blow up' before the 24 hours were out and by my running quicker than planned, Catherine was not getting the recovery she had been expecting.  Luckily, this is where providence stepped in and as I returned from my 3rd leg I was unable to find Catherine in the 'change over' area.  So rather than wait I set of on another 5 mile loop and naturally slowed to a 56.11leg.



Things now evened themselves out and I started averaging just over the hour per lap to Catherine's roughly 1.20.  However after lap 10 Catherine's ankle injury made a reappearance and I set out on leg 11 wondering whether Catherine would be able to continue.


On my return to the change over, she was in some obvious discomfort but told me she would do 2 legs at a very slow pace to allow me to get some rest. I followed this with a 15 mile stint before Catherine painfully forced herself around what was to be her final lap.

I finished up with a 20 mile stint slowing badly over the last 10 miles to bring us home with 105 miles 'on the clock'. 

This was a great event and for our first attempt am happy with the distance we covered.  Thanks must go to our support team also - Beth, Francesca, Anita, Ross and Terry.

 
 

once again thanks to Francesca for photos

Monday, 25 June 2018

Was it not The Fugees who said .........

"Ready or not, here I come, .............."

Well that sums up the state of play ahead of this weekend's Endure 24 in Leeds.  Having lost another 3 weeks due to injury I managed to get a gentle 32 miles in last week  - at least I'm going to be fresh.

Sister, Catherine has also had her problems.  So its will just have to be a case of getting in what we can and enjoying the occasion.

If the weather forecast is anything to go by its going to be a hot one.

Monday, 11 June 2018

A race against time

Due to on-going problems with the bursa behind my left knee and the shin / ankle problems on the other leg I was marshalling instead of running this years Blaydon Race.  Stationed on Scotswood Bridge I watched as Chris Parr of Gateshead Harriers lead the field towards Blaydon.

Chris Parr leading the way
 
First Blaydon Harrier - George Rudman

Chris was overhauled in the closing stages of the race eventually finishing 3rd in 26.48 behind John Beattie of Newham and Essex Beagles (26.41) and Carl Avery of Morpeth.


Not having ran, now for just over two weeks and with my partner in crime Catherine also suffering with injury problems it is now becoming a race against time for us making the start line of Endure 24 in 3 weeks time

Thursday, 31 May 2018

A step to far?

Is there ever a good time to get injured?  If so, then this is probably not it.  Having steadily increased my mileage over the last three months, the injury curse strikes again with only 1 week until the Blaydon Race and 4 and a bit weeks until Endure 24.

Although I was not quite where I wanted to be, daily mileage of up to 35 miles may have taken away what speed was left in my legs but was giving me a good base for the Endure 24 in Leeds.

Now with shin splints which cause my right shin to swell if I walk / run any sort of distance further than half a mile and a bursa developing behind my left knee.  It looks as though I have taken that step to far.

I am now relying upon, ice, Ibuprofen, taping, stretching exercises and swimming in a bid to make the start line.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Did you know?

It seems as though everyone and particularly those with an interest in sport,  know that Roger Bannister was the first person to break the four minute mile.  Which is not surprising for such a mementos feat.  But, how many people are aware that just 23 days later, on 29th May 1954, Diane Leather of Birchfield Harriers became the first woman to run a mile in less than 5 minutes?

Her time of 4 minutes 59 seconds was not recognised as a world record (unlike Roger Bannisters sub 4) and is still not, but only as a world best. 

The reason being that the IAAF ratifies all world records in athletics and in 1954 did not recognise the mile as a distance for women (and did not do so until 1967).  In 1954 the longest internationally recognised distances for women were 800m and 880 yards.

This race at the Midlands Women's AAA Championships had not been Diane Leather's first attempt to break the 5 minute barrier.  In fact she had also attempted it 3 days earlier, on 26th May at Birmingham, where she narrowly missed out, with a time of 5.00.02.  There is a Pathe News film of this attempt which can be viewed here

I don't know about the race when Diane Leather ran the first sub 5 minute mile. But, it is interesting to note when watching the 'Pathe' footage that unlike Roger Bannisters sub 4, there were no pace-makers used and that she pulls away from the rest of the field midway through the race.