Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Does having a pacemaker make a differance?

Statistically, having a pacemaker makes no significant difference.

That is the findings of recent research from South Africa.  In a study entitled 'The Effect of a Second Runner on Pacing Strategy and RPE during a Running Time Trial'.

For the study 11 club runners with 5km times of around 20 minutes carried out a series of 5 time trials over a three week period.  They ran the first and last time trial on their own and the middle three with a pace maker.  Of the trials with a pacemaker, one was ran with the pacemaker slightly in front, one with the pacemaker slightly behind and the other with the pacemaker alongside.  In all cases the pacemakers were faster over the 5km than the subjects.

The results found that although the subjects felt that the pacemaker had helped them run faster, the results showed no significant difference for performance, heart rate or perceived exertion and concluded that "These findings indicate that an athlete's subconscious pacing strategy is robust" and therefore not helped by another nearby runner.

So although, statistically the results show "no significant difference" looking at the average times ran(see below) I would rather be running the faster times.

Average times ran by the 11 runners:

First solo time trial   20.26
Pacer in front          19.57
Pacer behind           20.10
Pacer at side           20.24
Second solo trial     20.03

Monday, 28 November 2011

A mixed bag

Blaydon was the venue for the third race in the North East Harrier Cross Country League and since it was on home soil, I did not want to miss it, despite this lingering bout of cold.

Although my clocking of 34.19 was about a minute down on what I would have expected to run, it was definitelyy a better performance than a fortnight ago, on the Town Moor.  Finishing in 72nd position I was first counter for the Blaydon team.

New club member Peter Hodgson was second counter, finishing 94th in 34.45 in his first cross country race.

Full results can be found at www.race-results.co.uk/results/2011/index.php

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Hidden talent

This mornings local newspaper the Newcastle Journal featured in its health section a young man who six years ago was a 15 stone "couch potato".  However, this year he ran the Great North Run (half marathon) in 1hr 20 min and last month beat 900 other competitors to win the Newcastle Stampede a 10km assault course/adventure type race in under 30 minutes!!

Closer to home, one of my training partners at Blaydon Harriers joined the club just over a year ago, weighing over 14 stone and with a time of around 45 minutes for the Blaydon Race (5.7 miles).  He now weighs 12 stone and completed the recent Town Moor Memorial 10km in 37.45 to finish in 34th place and the way he is going in training that time is due for further revision.

It makes you wonder just how much running talent there is out there.

In the meantime I continue to sniff, splutter and cough my way through the week as this cold seems determined not to give up.  Monday and Wednesday saw easy 3 mile runs, while on Tuesday I opted for 8 miles, with an 'easier' session (is any session ever easy?) of 5 x 2 min with 2 min jog recovery.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Easy - like a Sunday morning

What a beautiful Sunny, bright, cold, Sunday morning with a touch of frost along the side of the River Derwent.  Unfortunately as my cold has made an unwelcome return and as my chest is feeling very tight I decided on just an easy 11 miles - and what a fantastic morning for a run!!

Yesterday, while in the Town shopping we as we usually do, stop for coffee.  As we sat down Anita mentioned past times.  Ah, I thought is the conversation going to be about some of her past times in the Blaydon Race? Or is she going to pander to my ego and talk about some of my past times? Or was she warning Francesca not to mention any of my past times as I can get a little grumpy, now that I am not running as fast.  But alas she was talking about Past Times the high street retailer.  A shop full of wonderful things you never knew you didn't want.

I notice that the IAAF have changed their minds and that Paula Radcliffe's 2.15 marathon time will now stay as the world record. I should think so too!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Sticking to the plan

Following Sunday's 'race' I decided to have a few easy days in order to get myself sorted and that's exactly what I have done with very gentle 4 milers on Monday and Wednesday and a steady 7 miles on Tuesday.  Although I still don't feel on top form and still have cold symptoms hanging around I did feel fit enough to do some harder running last night.

So last night was an 8 miler around Newburn and Scotswood bridges with a session of 4 x 5 mins with 75secs recovery.  I found it tough going but enjoyable.  To ensure I did not get carried away I aimed to make this an 85% effort and kept my heart rate at between 138 - 146  (83% - 88% of max) for each of the intervals.

I intend to go back to steady running for the remainder of the week.

For anyone who is racing this weekend - Hope you have a good one!

Checking the Stats page for this blog I have noticed that I have picked up a reader(s) in Guinea I have also heard on the grapevine that Mr T is working out there now - So if that's you Paul, hope things are going well!!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Not just that Monday feeling

Have been feeling under the weather all day (tired, headaches, sore throat) so hopefully this is some sort of indication as to why I had such a poor run yesterday.  For the record my official time was 41.13.

So, although its not what I planned, I think an easy couple of days are called for.  Hopefully picking things up again towards the end of the week.

Results for yesterdays Memorial 10km can be found at http://www.heatonharriers.org.uk/

Luke Aston of Blaydon chasing 2 Heaton Harriers

photo courtesy of Heatom Harriers

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Return to the Moor - not a good one

It was probably a combination of not having recovered enough from Thursday's and Friday's sessions and going off to quick but today's 10km effort was a bit of a disaster.  After 2km there was just nothing in the tank and as I sank down through the field it was an effort just to keep going.

Today was the Heaton Harriers Memorial 10km on Newcastle Town Moor ( I seem to have spent most of the last 6 months racing there).  Prior to the race I had had hopes of showing a continuation of improving form, but during the warm up I felt sluggish and as for the race itself well the wheels just came off.  I have not seen the official results yet but I clocked myself at 41.10.

I will just put it down to one of those days and look to put things right for the next time

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The week so far

6 x 1min, with 1 min jog recovery was last nights session.  Although it was dark, misty and with a persistent drizzle, it was a mild evening and quite pleasant for running.  A bit of an shorter session than of late but a lung buster nevertheless.

Monday became a rest day as I attended the GNR Review on Monday evening and was unable to fit a session in.  The Review was a pleasant and enjoyable social affair, with Brendan Foster suggesting (tongue in cheek) that following the New York Marathon organisers saying they wanted 100,000 runners, that the GNR should go for that number also!!!

Watching the television and reading in the newspapers the build up and the hype towards next years Olympic Games in London is certainly well under way.  But this Friday will see the decision being made as to who will host the 2017 World Championships.  The two contenders being Doha and London. If you visit:


You can join a vote to give your preference.  The current standings are Doha 49.7% of votes with London on 50.3%

Friday, 4 November 2011

Tempo run

Following the eye-balls out session on Tuesday, it was an easy 4 miles on Wednesday and then, last night an 8 miler around Newburn and Scotswood bridges with a controlled 20 minutes tempo in the middle.  By controlled I mean heart rate at 85% of maximum.

The distance covered in the 20 minutes was 3.2 miles which equates to 6.40 min mileing (if my math is correct).  I am happy with that, especially considering I was still feeling heavy and tired from Tuesday's session.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Into the red

As the dark nights are back with us, club training sessions have returned to the roads with street lights and last night was a return to that old favourite - Scotswood Road, with a loop around the Newcastle Business Park.

The session was 8 x 2min with 1 min jog recovery - total distance covered 8 miles.

For me it was an eye balls out session.  I must admit it has been some time since I worked quite so hard in a session. (reminded me of the old days when you had not worked hard enough unless you threw up after the session).

As we finished the intervals about 3 miles from home it was a very slow warm down as I dragged my body back - definitely well into the red!

But, still, all in the aid of a good coarse -

getting FITTER - FASTER !!