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New Blog

23rd February 2017

I've decided to start a new blog about my sports therapy, training and general musings! My London marathon training has been tough but I've tried to build it up gradually.  Starting from 1st January I've run 68, 75, 81, 91, 71, 85, 98 miles per week. This is normally with two sessions a week, a long run or race (or both combined!) and a midweek off road longish run. 

The problem is I am really struggling with tight glutes, despite much spiky ball work and stretching. However, it occurred to me that I've switched from wearing Hoka shoes, which push you forwards, to more traditional running shoes. Perhaps this has caused he to stick my bum out more and put an extra load on my glutes. Might be worth trying a run in my old Hoka and see what happens!

Snake Lane 10 on Sunday so lets hope! I have raced OK this year, including Dewsbury 10K in 33'24 approx (long course). So it's not all been bad!

Pain in the Gluteals!

27th February 2017

Sensible head on this weekend and pulled out of the Snake Lane 10 Mile Road Race. Shame because it's a good race but I had very tight glutes all week, to the point that I couldn't run fast at all. My two sessions were a waste of time, if I'm honest. So there was no point racing poorly and making it worse!

So Sunday was an easy spin on the turbo trainer and a day out with the other half and you know what? I didn't feel guilty at all! Put in a great 8 weeks of training since Christmas and its important to come into the London Build up races fresh and injury free.

Time to take my own advice now and foam roll/spiky ball every day to keep lose and I suggest all those who are marathon training start doing the same. Even if it means cutting the miles slightly. Squeaky bum time (or achy bum in my case!)!


London not calling but Edinburgh bound!

14th March 2017

Having struggled for a month or so I've decided to defer London to next year. I was already entered into Edinburgh as well, so it could be a blessing in disguise! 

On reflection, I did too much training in February and was probably over confident after good runs at Old Monks and Dewsbury. I'll be taking it fairly easy for the rest of this week and working off a 10 week build up to avoid peaking too early again.  I think seasoned club runners, who train all year around, have a tendency of starting marathon training unnecessarily early and burning themselves out. 

Last weekend I went to Dent in Cumbria to run the tough Dentdale 14 mile road race. We had already booked a cottage ages ago so I just had a steady run around and didn't push the injury. Its a beautiful run and Dent has its own brewery, so I certainly enjoyed myself after the run! The injury has continued to improve so I mustn't have overdone it. For what its worth, I came 10th and about 4min off my course best but its taken nothing out of me. So I must still have a fair bit of fitness from the winter and all good to go for Edinburgh!

Back to Basics.

29th March 2017

I'm having a good month at the clinic with new Pilates classes in Thornley and Billingham. The Peterlee Ladies have been tapering (and worrying!) for Manchester Marathon this weekend and a group of Run Peterlee runners took on the Dark Skies night marathon last weekend. I did Manchester last year and it was good but Dark Skies is definitely on my to do list for next year, having seen the amazing photos!

My own running is finally pain free but only as of this week and its too close to Edinburgh to ramp up the mileage. I'd  probably reinjure myself. However, I've been enjoying some fabulous stress free runs exploring Castle Eden Dene and getting off road. The whole saga could have been a blessing in disguise and got be back to running for fun, rather than following set routes a specific paces.

So the plan for this summer is to strength and condition, stay off road, race some trail races, pace some half marathon training races and hopefully I'll naturally get fit and strong enough for an autumn marathon.  M2N as I'm staying local to get into the racing scene up here.

Manchester marathon

5th April 2017

My partner and I decided to have a day trip out to watch the Manchester Marathon last Sunday. Debs' Dad was running and my brother. Plus all the lovely Peterlee Ladies Running Club who's progress I have thoroughly been enjoying following. They run from the Pavilion where my clinic is.

At first I was jealous that I wasn't running, then relieved when I saw all the casualties and disappointment, then jealous again when I realised that even if you don't quite hit your target, completing a marathon is still always a great achievement! If it was easy then it wouldn't motivate you to train through the winter but at the same time, you have to get the balance right and not get injured before the race.

I've also been doing some work for Horden Rugby Club and I was really impressed by the spirit in which local rugby is played. There was no cheating or deliberate fouling and each team was applauded off the field with a guard of honour by the other team.  Plus when a players ear is hanging off after some old stitches have come out they are not bothered and just want some tape wrapping around their head so that they can play on!

Running is still going well with basic steady runs around the Dene to get strong on top of my strength and conditioning, which is working a treat. Not going to get any crazy ideas of training for a 2'30 marathon again though and just enjoy, keep healthy, happy and injury free. So long as I keep to championship entry standard so that I have my pick of marathons then I'm happy.

Easter Weekend

5th April 2017

I hope everyone has had a good weekend of training and racing. I was at the Mermaid 10K spectating on Friday (here's a link to the results https://runscore.runsignup.com/race/results/?raceId=19593#resultSetId-76843) and I was supporting my partner at the North Tyneside 10K on Sunday by dropping her off at the start and then driving the car to the finish (results for this race can be found here http://sportstimingsolutions.co.uk/rd.php?id=168). She had a cracking run after an up and down few weeks of training. Conditions were reasonable for both races and some good early season PB's were to be had!

For my own training I did my first proper long run in ages on Saturday morning! 13.5m through Castle Eden Dene, along the old railway line from Castle Eden Village to Hetton and then back on the roads through Easington Village. I was very pleased with how strong I felt towards the end and an average pace of 6.47/mile after a lot of hills through the early part of the run.

Its back to work for a few days tomorrow before a long weekend in London next weekend! Alas, no marathon this spring but I'll be able to suss out the start etc for next year and might attempt a London Park run, which will be my first hard session back! In the meantime, a bit mire steady running and S&C this week should keep me in one piece for future races and in the long term.

London Marathon weekend

27th April 2017

Had a great weekend in London and witnessed some top performances from local athletes. We watched runners go through the 4m point at Charlton, which had easy access next to a tube station and everyone was still smiling at that point! Well done if you completed the marathon, its always an achievement, regardless of whether you hit your target time or not.

My own training was going OK but a park run on Saturday and a fartlek on Tuesday has left me very tight. Ordinarily, those sessions wouldn't be particularly hard but given I haven't ran fast since February, I need to be careful!

Overall I was inspired to pay for my deferred place as soon as possible for London next year, but it remains to be seen how much running I will be able to do this summer. For once I am just going to relax and see what happens!

Fun runner racing and hurt zone racing!

18th May 2017

Well May is turning into an unexpectedly good month for my running and the bum pain is minimal! Perhaps helped by the fact that I have split my training into 4 runs per week, 4 bike rides per week and 4 S&C/Pilates sessions (2 of each). Easy week to begin with and then I had a fun run around Sunderland half. Just ran a steady pace of 6'22 miles (aim was 6'30s but its hard slowing down!) and I thoroughly enjoyed cheering on all the local runners on the switch back sections where you can see people behind you.  I was totally blown away by how many shouts I got from Run Peterlee runners, considering I was wearing my first claim clubs vest! The plan is to run 5 half marathons this summer, increasing the pace by 15 seconds per mile until the Great North Run where it will be eyeballs out to hold 5'30 miles.

Second week I added a long tempo session and for the next few months I will be running one long tempo, one fartlek, one steady run and one long run (plus a long ride in non race weeks), progressively adding to the distance. Cutting right back every fourth week and missing the tempo session, mind. I finished the week with my first race in anger, the Pier to Pier. Thoroughly enjoyed this race too but for different reasons. It was good to get back in the mix, race hard and get in the hurt zone! Paid for it a bit the last 2 miles but finished a respectable 7th in 40 odd minutes, which is solid on that 7m multi terrain course. Its got to be one of the most fun races on the calendar and the goody bag is legendary!

The clinic has been busy and soon there will be a Runners Pilates class 5 nights per week with Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers/Run Fit/Tri Club starting a Monday class and Sunderland Strollers (who organise the excellent Pier to Pier race) having a double session on a Thursday!

I also my Run Leader qualification on 6th May and have started a Couch to 5K course, organised by Durham County Council on a Monday night. Working with Peterlee Ladies and seeing the selfless work that coach Colin Hancock does for no pay has inspired me to put a bit more back into running and I am also marshalling at more races, when I can.

This Sunday (21st May) sees the inaugural running of the Derwent Reservoir Trail Race organised by Run Peterlee.  There are limited places still available and you can pay on the day if you enter before https://racebest.com/races/derwent-reservoir-trail-race. Its a cracking route and for a good cause, Water Aid. I will be offering a 15 minute massage for £5 after the race and all proceeds will go to the charity. If you don't have any plans this weekend then get yourself entered and support a friendly, local running club as well as a great cause.

Finally, thanks for HMRC for inviting me to attend their Better Health at Work Day yesterday. It was great chatting to the employees and coming up with ideas to improve their health both inside and outside of work. Another Couch to 5K program on the industrial estate is on the cards and it beats waiting in traffic on the home time commute!

Edinburgh Half Marathon

30th May 2017

Last weekend saw me running Edinburgh Half Marathon for the first time and what a fantastic event it is. I must admit I've always been fond of this city and the fast and scenic course didn't disappoint! I was supposed to be running a steady 6'15 per mile pace and I was reasonably disciplined but still ended up with a 6.09 average overall but this is a much quicker course than Sunderland. Next up is Humber Bridge Half in 4 weeks time at 6min per mile pace but that will be getting tough as the race has a huge hill at 9m which lasts a full mile! So Edinburgh was probably my last easy race and I made sure that I took it all in and enjoyed it!

Last Monday I did my first Runners Pilates class for Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers/Hartlepool Run Fit/Tri Life Triathlon Team and everyone seemed to enjoy it. Shame about the bank holiday weekend disrupting things after only one week but we'll get a clear run of it from now until August Bank Holiday.  For those that don't know the class is on at 7.30pm on  a Monday at Life Centre, High Tunstall College of Science, TS26 0LQ.

As mentioned in my previous blog I was marshalling and offering massages at the inaugural Derwent Reservoir Trail Race on Sunday 21st May. The race was superbly organised for the first ever event and was won by popular local runner, David Best (see results: https://racebest.com/results/derwent-reservoir-trail-race).  Thanks to all of those who took up my offer of a massage in exchange for making a donation to Water Aid.  

Next on the agenda is to try and organise a Park Run event in Peterlee. We are very early on in the development stages but hopefully permissions will be granted and volunteers recruited soon! It would be fantastic to be able to show off our beautiful Castle Eden Dene to more runners from the north east!

Sunderland, Blaydon and East Coast

12th June2017

Had another busy week at the clinic last week plus new Runners Pilates classes for Sunderland Strollers running club on Thursday, with a double session (6pm-7pm and 7.15pm-8.15pm). It can be a bit nerve wracking teaching a new group but they absolutely loved it!

On Friday I took the day off to head up to Newcastle with my better half and run the Blaydon Race, This race has a great atmosphere but I didn't enjoy it this year due to a cold making me feel rubbish and unable to even manage the progressive run I had planned (6'27, 6'12, 5'57, 5'59, 5'57). It was very poor not to even manage much under 6 min per mile but if you're not well then you're not well! We still had a good night after the race!

I took Saturday off and then did a long run 1st thing before working at the East Coast Half Marathon, whilst by partner ran. My run went well and I felt healthy again, with a sub 7min average of a tricky, off road course. Unfortunately there was a strong headwind for the race but it was still a great turnout and the organisation was fantastic. Runners got medals, tee shirt and free tea and cake!

Despite Blaydon I had a good weeks training with my lonest tempo to date on Tuesday at 11.2m, which went well.  Kick on this week with a longer fartlek than I've done so far and a new race, Chase the Train, on Saturday. This is a race where you try to beat a steam train and it looks great fun.

Chase the Train

19th June2017

Its been a really busy week in the clinic and its been tough to squeeze in appointments when people need them. So please book in early if you are thinking of either having an injury assessed, getting a sports massage/general MOT or getting a tailored strength and conditioning plan designed for you.

We had some glorious weather over the weekend but it made for some brutal racing! I ran Chase the Train on Saturday and the race didn't start until 2pm, just to make sure any morning chill was no longer around! The train set off from Grosmont Station and then once level with us the runners set off in pursuit! It was actually not that pleasant running alongside a steam train blowing black soot in my eyes so I was glad to see it pull away. The train goes to Goathland Station where it has a stop and then sets off on its return journey and you have roughly 1hr 20mins over a tough 8.4m trail course to beat it. The first two miles were ok but then you head over rough ground with hills and steps (thought I'd avoided those last week!).

I beat the train and for what its worth, beat all the other runners as well but that's not what I was doing the race for (https://racebest.com/results/chase-the-train). I've always wanted to do the Chase the Train event in Wales so when one started in North Yorkshire, I was happy to get it ticked off my to do list! I also wanted a good, hard training run and I certainly got that!

On Sunday there were more popular local races like Pieces of 8 Half and 10k at Penshaw Monument and Newton Aycliffe 10K but I just went out on my bike to give my battered legs a rest from running.  

I'm looking forward to squeezing in some hard training this week, in and around appointments! I'm planning a tough 8m fartlek in the Dene and my 11.2m tempo run later in the week. Then its Humber Bridge Half at the weekend at 6min/mile pace, which will be tough as its not an easy course. I'll be happy with around 1'18 though and lets hope my cold doesn't come back!

Humber Bridge

27th June2017

This week I am starting a new stamp card reward scheme for my Pilates classes. If you attend 9 classes you will get your 10th class for free. Also, if you visit two different classes in the same week (e.g. Hartlepool and Billingham) you will get the second class for £2 instead of £4. Strength training is very important but I also understand that costs can add up. However, you can't put too much of a price on your health!

Last weekends race was Humber Bridge Half Marathon (see results http://www.sportstimingsolutions.co.uk/rd.php?id=189). The plan was to run at 6min/mile pace but this is a much tougher course than Edinburgh, so it was a big step up from 6'15s there! Thankfully I felt very comfortable and averaged 5'57/mile for the race. Still finished with lots to spare so I'm happy with how things are progressing and my careful approach is definitely paying off.

Another good local race on last weekend was Hadrian's Wall Half (see results http://www.hadrianhalf.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/HH17Results.pdf) and this is the sort of racing which I will be concentrating on next summer, post London marathon. I'm happy with my PBs and I've been chasing times for 18 years! Although I'm not quite ready for retirement, I plan to start doing more of what I enjoy, which is trail running and cycling, rather than chasing road times. There will be adventures to come however, and the Wall Ultra Marathon along Hadrian's wall has struck a cord with me!

Grand day and night out

6th July 2017

In between week at the clinic and Pilates classes I've also had a tough day out on the bike and a tough nights trail racing!

On Sunday I did the Ripon Tour Sportive (medium route), which was 76 miles long with 6,400 feet of climbing! Its the longest and hardest ride I've done all year, by far, but I was pleased with how well I recovered from it by Tuesday. I'd thoroughly recommend sportives to anyone who wants to have a dabble with bike events. They are not a race but a timed ride, a bit like park runs, with all levels of ability and prices of bike participating. The routes are well marked and with well stocked feed stations along the way, to keep you going. We also got a sausage bun and a medal for finishing! However, I'd forgotten how tough the Yorkshire Dales can be and needed my rain jacket on the tops, despite setting out from Ripon in glorious sunshine!! Beautiful route still.

Last night (Wednesday) I ran the Willow Miners trail race (organised by super friendly club Elvet Striders) and I was pleased with how well the legs felt after Sunday. I did a recovery ride on Monday and an easy run Tuesday with LOTS of foam rolling and stretching. The course was hilly and muddy, so tremendous fun! I just wanted a hard run and don't care about winning but I did take the lead after 2 miles as the leader started to slow but the lad in 3rd place hung onto me and went past as I buckled going up a steep hill towards the last mile! I didn't care and still got 3 bottles of race ale to take home for my efforts and we all enjoyed the best post race buffet in the history of sport. FACT! (results here: http://www.northeastraces.com/2017/2017-07-05-durham-r.pdf)

Friday at the clinic is almost full and next week is filling up fast so book in now if you need an injury to be assessed, maintenance massage or S&C plan.

Hexham Half - luckily only once and not 7 days in a row!

17th July 2017

I woke up with sore legs this morning after the Hexham Half Marathon yesterday. I was aiming for 1'15 or 5'45 miles but it was pretty obvious that it was going to be hard to achieve on a route with a huge hill and two awkward trail sections. So I decided not to look at the watch and just run by feel and I was happy enough with 1'17 or 5'52 miles. It was certainly a harder effort than at Humber Bridge and sets me up for GNR. I also came 1st and got a lovely trophy that's now on the mantelpiece!

Training is progressing nicely and I'm up to 2hr long runs, 90ish min tempo runs and 10m fartleks. I've done one of each in the past two weeks and another set of each this week will lead me into a much needed recovery week. I always cut back on the 4th week and everyone should cut back every few weeks to allow the body to recover and absorb the previous block of training. Then in August I begin my first specific quality sessions since February!

Next race is James Herriot Trail Race (14k) in two weeks time and its a personal favourite of mine. It has the scenery of a fell race but its on runnable trails, albeit with A LOT of climbing!

Last weekend was inspirational for me as many of my Tri Life Triathlon colleagues completed the Cleveland Steelman Triathlon (half Ironman Distance). My good friend Matt Turnball is also setting off on his epic 7 Ironmans in 7 days challenge today (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/7ironman7?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_

content=7ironman7&utm_campaign=pfp-share)! I will be giving Matt a massage every night to keep his body and lose as possible and enable him to recover for the following day.

This and the fact that my sciatica was ok when I used to  swim has inspired me to get back in the pool this autumn and do a triathlon next summer! It'll have to be half Ironman distance as the sprint events don't give you enough time to make up time lost on the swim! Bamborough in August looks like the best one to fit in with my other plans. I plan to do only trail races and sportives next year and Ripon 35 Ultra instead of an autumn marathon.  I'm really done with road running but I will make an exception with London Marathon as the crowds will help relieve my usual boredom when road running!

Full clinic today but appointments are available later in the week, so give me a call or message if you need to book in!

7 Ironman's in 7 Days - Challenge completed!

25th July 2017

Well, he did it! My good friend Matt Turnball completed his epic 7 Ironmans in 7 days challenge last week (https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/7ironman7?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_

content=7ironman7&utm_campaign=pfp-share)! That's a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile run every day and under strict Ironman rules which do not allow you to draft behind anyone on the bike and each day had to be completed in under 17 hours, which is the cut off time in Ironman events.

Words cannot really do justice to what an amazing feat this is and it was fascinating following his progress each day and watching his body adjust during his nightly massage. To be fair, there were no major injuries. Just extreme fatigue and depletion. There was a scare on Thursday when Matt started to develop compartment syndrome in his lower leg. However, Matt had adjusted his running style for the challenge to roll off his heel to minimise the strain on his calf, which has given him issues in the past. By returning to a forefoot running action the problem went away (there was still swelling but no pain). I'm always advocating a forefoot running style to reduce the impact on the ankles, knees and hips, plus speed up your running as your foot spends less time in contact with the ground.

Please donate generously because he is still some way short of his £10,000 target (£7000 so far) and he deserves to reach it after putting his health on the line. The charity is called Tiny Lives and it's to help premature babies and their families.

What really inspired me was the sheer mental strength and refusal to even consider giving up at any point. By the Friday and Saturday he was literally falling asleep mid run and hallucinating during his massage but never did he say that he wanted to quit. Always totally positive in that respect and you just knew that he would complete the challenge, no matter what.

I was also delighted to see another two of my patients completed the Outlaw. Bryan O'Donaghue ran most of the marathon with Matt, to complete his first ever Ironman distance event and Ben Flounders managed a near elite time of 10'28! More importantly, his calf which had been strained in May held up without any issues. He has learned a lot about looking after himself a bit better with foam rolling and strength training.

In the past I have said that I would like to do an Ironman one day but deep down, I always thought that my poor swimming ability would prevent me from doing one. At best I might have done a sprint triathlon. However, now I WILL do an Ironman distance triathlon and that will probably be the Outlaw Triathlon which Matt finished his challenge with on Sunday. The plan is to do the Steelman half Ironman distance triathlon next year and then Outlaw the year after. Swim training starts next week when I'll have my swimming watch for Strava!

As I was up late every night I had a very easy weeks training and I think that has been a blessing in disguise. I've a couple of niggles so have decided to take this week off training (barring stretching and strength training) and then I'll have a 10 week build up for Kielder Marathon. It sounds like a short build up but as I run fairly long runs all year around, I find that any longer a build up than this causes me to peak too early and then be slightly burnt out come the marathon. My PB at Manchester (2'35) came off a 10 week build up because I had to take a week off when I started a new job and that Christmas was a bit of a naughty one as well!

Lessons to learn from all the above is that less is sometimes more, you must look after your body away from running/cycling/swimming, mental toughness is almost as important as being physically well trained and YOU CAN do any event if you set your mind to it and believe!

New Challenges!

14th August 2017

August has been a great month at the clinic so far, which is just as well because I've had to have a break from running (takes your mind off it!)! The stiff glutes I'd been suffering with for a few weeks developed into tendonopathy so a break from running and even cycling was needed. This has given me chance to work on my swimming though and believe me, it needs work! I've also done a bit of aqua jogging and although not as much fun as cycling or as satisfying as swimming, its the best cross training a runner can do. I got  a Beco floatation belt off the internet and its excellent. Some belts I've used in the past have tipped me at an odd angle but this belt holds me perfectly upright, even when my feet aren't touching the floor. You can even use it to do underwater leg and core exercises with.

Pilates has been busy as ever and we even got some gentlemen to turn up for last Monday's session at Hartlepool, for the first time ever. Sunderland Strollers are completing their 10 week block booking this Thursday but they have booked another 10 week block for when the kids go back to school. If anyone reading this thinks that their club might be interested in something similar, then please contact me for details.

A few events are coming up with Peterlee Show on the 2nd September with a 5km Fun Run on the 3rd (Sunday) at 11am. Its free to enter so please bring come along to have a nice run (probably through the Dene) or if you would like to volunteer to marshall, that would be appreciated. Thornley Village Centre is also having a Fun Day between 1pm and 4pm on Wednesday 30th August, which will be a lovely way to finish off the school holidays.

As for my sporting goals, I'm taking a good break as I haven't had a proper rest in years. I hope to be jogging again in September but the only race I have booked in is Hardmoors 30 on New Years Day. No doubt it will be a tough event but there is no pressure to run a fast time and I'd just like to complete it and say that I've ran an ultra. Next year I'm looking more towards duathlon/triathlons and I'm looking forward to the new challenge.  My functional threshold power(FTP) test on the watt bike produced a decent score but my swimming needs an awful lot of work! Luckily the coaches at Tri Life Triathlon Club in Hartlepool are patient, knowledgeable and motivating people!

Almost there!

19th September 2017

Well its been one of the worst injuries I've ever had but I'm almost ready to run and cycle again! Although its been frustrating, its probably been a blessing in the long run, for a number of reasons. 

Firstly, I've a chance to properly work on my swimming and feel quite confident after one month that I will be able to swim reasonably well by next summer. So a half Ironman is definitely on the cards! 

Secondly, this is the first injury I've had which has needed meticulous and progressive rehab. So I have been an ideal case study for myself and I can feel the Thera band exercises working and the hamstring tendon adapting. With a tendonopathy, you have to stimulate the tendon ( it actually should hurt a little: 1-3/10)  to adapt or else it will never be strong enough to run on. Rest isn't always the answer! 

Thirdly, its put into perspective what's important to me about running and cycling and that's just being outdoors and also socialising. So rather than pushing to the limit for marathons at sub 6min mile pace, I'd prefer to be a little more conservative and make the start line! Plus enjoy all the banter with my running and cycling buddies in the lead up!

The clinic has been really busy, which has kept me occupied and I've also enjoyed the time out by doing some hikes with my now fiancée. Obviously I popped the question whilst stopping for lunch during a ramble! So this time next year I will be a married man so I'd best pull my finger out and get back out training hard while I'm still a free man (joking)!

Famous Friends!

18th October 2017

Last night I was really pleased to see two top blokes get the recognition that they deserve at the Hartlepool Sports Personality of the Year Awards. Matt Turnball, who founded Tri Life Triathlon Club last year and raised thousands of pounds for the Tiny Lives Charity by completing 7 Ironmans in 7 days this summer, won Sports Personality of the year. It was fantastic to work with Matt through the challenge and see what recovery strategies he was using (apart from my sports massages) to keep him going and repair himself throughout the challenge. It was also inspiring to witness his positivity and mental strength and now Matt is helping me towards my triathlon journey, starting from this winter. Matt offers coaching and bike fit so I have all the tools now to complete some long distance  rides and multi sport events next summer. He is also an exceptional triathlete which although some might say is not essential for a coach, I think it helps to be guided by someone who knows what it takes and how it feels to compete at a high level.  

Andrew Lilley, who formed Hartlepool Run Fit won Coach of the year. Andrew has allowed me to come along to some of the Run Fit sessions and offer gait analysis, as most of the runners are new to running and this fantastic club gives beginners the confidence to get started in their running journey. Perhaps the only flaw with the club is that because its so good, the runners who started off as beginners and have now got fitter and stronger and were supposed to progress onto more established running clubs, do not want to leave! However, the experienced runners still help and encourage the newer runners as they were at the same stage not long ago. Andrew himself is also a good runner and completed the Hardmoors Grand Slam this year, which involves a 30m, 55m, 110m and 60mile races through the year. He managed to complete this challenge injury free, barring a knee niggle which we quickly treated and rehabbed to get him through the 110. 

The clinic and Pilates has been busy. My claim to fame is GB runner Aly Dixon has been coming to my Sunderland class on a Thursday! Aly said last week that she was making progress and can now sit cross legged! Running high mileage for marathons has a lot of health benefits but flexibility is not one of them but it has improved!

I've also been doing a lot of pre and post marathon massages this month but it is important that you keep having a monthly massage throughout the winter to stay lose. I find the cross country season can cause a lot of niggles as the ground becomes slippery and you change your footwear (spikes or studs). I am offering 3 massages for £60 between now and the end of the year to help you to get into the habit and keep injuries at bay. Its an extra £5 for an initial assessment and rehab/strength plan but that would be well worth it for those with a niggle or not already doing any form of strength work. 

Forever Fit

16th November 2017

Its been a busy month in the clinic. Lots of Hartlepool Burn Road Harriers have been coming in and its great to see them doing well in the local NYSD cross country league. All running, cycling or triathlon club members are entitled to £5 discount, so don't be shy to ask if you are from any other club.

I've also been trialling some Forever Health & Wellbeing products on myself and my fiancé and what a difference its making. I can't prove that its made my injury go away (which it has) but I'm recovering very well from an ultra tough training schedule (thanks Matt Turnbull from Tri Life!:) The products are very high quality but the price is more reasonable than it would be if it were sold in a shop. So I can advise on the best nutritional aids, supplements and gels/creams to suit your needs and budget. I have been using Argi+ for vasodilation to improve performance and general health as it contains vitamins, Ultra Lite for recovery and as a snack if I'm training late, bee pollen for my immune system and energy, Move for my joints and as a natural anti inflammatory, Aloe gel for my gut health and as an immune modulator, plus the heat lotion to keep my dodgy hamstring lose!

Going back into full training and training specifically for triathlon has been tough but its so rewarding and varied. As you are only doing 3-4 sessions of each sport per week you have to make sure every session has a purpose, even if its just a few spin ups on the turbo to keep some zip in the legs. Gone are the days of aimless general runs! Its hard at times as sometimes you are doing two hard sessions a day but I'm loving it. 

I know lots of you are doing the cross country on Sunday so good luck and if you have any issues or tightness, I'm here to help.

2018 plans

14th December 2017

Like any year, 2017 has had its ups and downs but I'm looking forward to 2018 on a personal and professional level. I'm looking to roll out (pun intended!) a new foam roller based Pilates course across Hartlepool, Billingham and Peterlee. This is to show people how to get the most out of their foam roller for self massage, muscle release and to make some exercises harder. There will be some traditional Pilates and strength exercises as well but I get so many people in the clinic saying they have a foam roller but don't know how to use it that adding it to my classes makes sense. The cost of the 10 week course is £35 and you need to bring your own foam roller (mats are available at the venues though).

Training wise I am right back on it and have run 12 miles and done some fartleks and tempo hill sessions, as well as gruelling turbo sessions on the indoor bike and swimming, which I just struggle with full stop! I have a low key race on New Years Eve but no other plans to race this winter. Stockton Duathlon at the end of April will be my first multisport event and Ripon 10 in May is my next running event. I intend to run Burn valley half in July and Cleveland Steelman half Ironman distance triathlon in August, before having a try for a GB masters vest at an autumn marathon (depending on where the qualification races are but probably York or Chester). Plus I need to ride 100+ miles so I'll be doing a cycle sportive!

I definitely attribute my good recovery to good strength training and nutrition and please feel free to inbox me on Facebook for details on that. Otherwise, merry Christmas and good luck in all your festive training and racing!

Happy New Year!

19th January 2018

I hope its not too late to still be saying happy new year but its my first blog of the year! I hope you are all getting back into your training and managing to stay fit but injury free with all the snow and ice! I have had a ropey start to 2018 training wise, with a minor glute niggle and now a cold! Still 12 weeks to train for Stockton Duathlon from the end of January so I'm taking the rest of the month relatively easily, so as not to give myself bronchitis! Then I will have another 12 weeks training towards my next big target of 100+m Stockton Sportive and another 12 week block to (probably) Chester Marathon. Unfortunately, due to being extremely busy with work, the swimming has had to go (its so time consuming going back and forth to the pool) so a triathlon is off for this year.

Back to my glute niggle. I was disappointed at not being able to push at the Jolly Holly 10k on New Years Eve, due to tightness in my glutes. This is in spite of an extensive rehab program for strength and flexibility. So I went to get my running style analysed by a physio who is trained in the Running School's run technique principals and was shocked to see how bad my running style is! A small tweak to my arm drive and a small tweak to my pull back with my leg and what a huge difference! A few days later I was able to go out and do hill sprints at 100% for the first time in 11 months! I'm unwell so resting now but don't mind now that my running style isn't causing problems and I'm very excited about going on the next Running School course in March, so that I can pass on these principals to local athletes.

Pilates has been nice and busy with most of the courses full and the incorporation of the foam rollers has gone down well. If you are not sure how to use a foam roller or get bored using them then I suggest you join the next 10 week course starting after Easter! Some of its tough, some of its relaxing and some of it causes a few giggles but at least you won't be bored!

Marathon, cycling and triathlon race season training is now in full swing and there is still time for you to get your first sports massage of 4 before May, with the last massage free. That means you get one a month to keep on top of excessive tightness and niggles. Its always worth having a monthly sports massage but even more so when you are putting the body under extra strain as winter training reaches its pinnacle before spring. 

I also had a fantastic weekend away with Deb for our Forever Living Kickstart to 2018 training. There was a fascinating talk from a Forever Business owner who is a surgeon and he explained how some of the sports products work. It was great to hear such detail and have an endorsement about the effectiveness of the products from such a highly trained expert. Too much to write on here but bear in mind that if you are looking for cheap supplements, they may not be what they seem. Just because something has a certain vitamin or amino acid in it, it doesn't mean that its in a bioavailable form for the body to use. You would have to eat an awful lot of turmeric to get the same benefit as the Forever Move supplement (so much so that you body would reject it)!

Summer of doing whatever events I like!

19th June 2018

For someone a bit OCD and a lover of structure like me, this summer has been completely different. After a terrible start to the spring racing season at Helmsley 10k I honestly didn't feel like doing any more events and wanted the summer to be over before it had even begun, so that I could train properly (unlike last winter)! However, Stockton Duathlon was a turning point, in that I did much better than I could have imagined and really enjoyed it. From then on I decided to just do what I want and build up my cycling engine, which has included lots of sportives (ive got from never having ridden 100 miles to 4 100+ milers in 2 months!) and a few time trials. I also improved my standard distance duathlon time at Clumber Park and came 4th at Ripon 10, which isn't bad considering ive only been running 2-3 times per week.

Next years plan is to do lots of run-bike combined sessions in the winter to build up my power and speed to go with my endurance. As well as the usual long runs and bikes and cross country races (I don't even like them but I get stale if I don't race).

On a personal level my fiancé is 5 months pregnant and due one month after we get married! What's the betting he wants to come out while we are at the wedding venue?! We are also moving to Billingham and I'm delighted to be moving back to Teesside. I will be available to do mobile work throughout the Teesside area and also down at Darlington, where I'm doing a little bit of work for Up & Running. I really missed being part of the local running community going self employed so that will be fun. 

I'm joining Darlington Harriers as they were a very friendly club who let me train with them last time I was working in Darlo. Plus they have a great junior training set up to send the little man to in a few years time!