Here's an update on how our team of athletes are faring with their coaching to date.
David Bone - Tooting 24 Hour
Daz on photo duties
We like to test things out on ourselves so first to experience the daznbone coaching method was our very own David Bone. David is gunning for a new 24 hour best at the legendary Sri Chinmoy Tooting race in September. After a fantastic performance in the open race of the World 24 Hour Champs in Belfast last summer, coming 8th and covering 131 miles, we're very excited to see what David can do at Tooting.
Following a back injury in the spring and a curtailed build-up to the London Marathon (where he still managed to run 3:05 despite the soaring temperatures) we have been building David's mileage back up to "ultra" levels. Using a fairly classic cycle of 3 weeks of
building mileage followed by a "rest week" where the built-up fatigue will translate into improved fitness, we are seeing steady improvements in David's fitness numbers:
This has mostly been achieved by gradually increasing the number of easy paced mileage runs that David completes each week. He also does a long run each week, alternating between long-long (around 30 to 35 miles) and medium-long (around 18 to 20 miles). To keep some zip in the legs and fun with his buddies he also still participates in the weekly Victoria Park Harriers speed sessions on Thursday evenings. Things are building very nicely but we won't be jinxing Tooting by making any guesses about what mileage David can cover on the day.
"The Martins" - Spitfire Scramble 24 Hour Relay
Next up are good friends Martin Denham and Martin Longhurst. "The Martins" will also be running a 24 Hour race at the Spitfire Scramble in Essex on the 14th of July. This one is a relay race and the guys will be competing in the pairs event. This is the first time running an "ultra" for either runner although they are both experienced marathon runners and Martin Longhurst is a strong triathlete.
The coaching approach for the two Martins has been slightly different as they were at different levels of fitness coming in to the last five weeks before the event which has comprised the coaching period. Whilst Martin L was on a strong streak of fitness coming off some great spring performances and a "nice easy day out" at the Devon Coastal Marathon very recently, Martin D had been somewhat struggling for consistency due to work commitments and various minor illness setbacks.
We therefore concentrated on rebuilding Martin D's fitness as much as we could in the time available, with many confidence building "easy" runs of 4 to 9 miles, and a weekly longer run. This culminated in a 5 hour run/walk session last weekend which Martin completed brilliantly and feeling like he could have gone on.
The Spitfire Scramble is a 5 mile loop and the guys will alternate laps for as long as they can, possibly taking a longer shift each late in the night to allow the other to rest. At first they will be covering the loop in a little under an hour, but as limbs tire, light turns to dark and eventually minds turn to sleep, it will be fascinating to see how the teams approach the challenge.
We're very excited to see what the guys can do in this race and feel really privileged to have helped in some small way on their journey. Chocks away chaps!!
Dr Alex Littaye - Caballo Blanco Ultramarathon 2019
Alex has a strong sporting background having boxed at a good level in her student days and is a strong swimmer and equestrian. Being the founder of the amazing Azure Foods, Alex has a keen interest in ultra running and has a dream to run the Caballo Blanco ultramarathon in Mexico's Copper Canyons. (if you have never heard of Caballo Blanco we highly recommend reading the amazing Born to Run by Chris MacDougall for the full story).
We are taking Alex' mileage build-up nice and gradually due to a troublesome knee and her hectic business commitments. At the moment we are doing around 18 to 22 miles per week spread over 4 to 5 easy paced runs. Alex is very keen to "do more" especially in terms of speed but we are determined that this has to be a steady build-up to protect the knee and give her body time to get used to frequent running. Whilst it is very tempting to add volume quickly, someone relatively new to running needs time to build up the necessary joint, ligament and muscle strength to withstand the forces that running puts through the body.
Alex is doing brilliantly with the running and will race a 10k in Mexico later this month, finally giving her the chance to let it rip and run fast for once. We're really excited to be working with Alex on this journey towards Caballo Blanco next year.