Next ultra ~ a change of plan

Map of Kent
North Downs loop

ultramarathon no.8

The North Wales Coastal Path and Oxford to Richmond are on hold for now. A few logistical things to sort out. Meanwhile, the Kent loop of the North Downs way is calling.

Setting off from Wey, not so far from Ashford, the route heads down to Folkestone before following the coast to Dover, taking in the white cliffs. Turning inland, the trail winds its way up to Canterbury. From there it heads south west, meeting the Way back towards Farnham (the West start point). At the split, I will continue back round towards Folkestone for a few kilometres to the start point, Wey. I calculate about 90km in the day.

Keep an eye out for #upandrun on Twitter and Instagram and FB — RT and share the story and the messages: we can help people improve their lives, no matter the start point.

See the pain points here to start understanding your pain

A resource for GPs here who want to improve the way that they help patients improve their lives

And listen to Richmond talking about overcoming pain here on various podcasts

#upandrun No.8

Richmond Stace co-founder of UP running for #upandrun

It is time to think about the October #upandrun ultramarathon now that I have recovered from the Snowdonia adventure and am back to running around locally.

There are several choices, both of which are solos. That is when the runner heads off on his or her own, unsupported, making their way from A to B.

The one I shall go for is Richmond to Oxford along the Thames Path. Previously I ran from Hampton Court to the Thames Barrier, so this will be going the other way; out of town so to speak.

The route is 100 miles. I will chunk this into two days, finding somewhere to stop overnight. Any suggestions are welcome. Preferably somewhere quiet, with nourishing food where I can dry out and put my feet up for a few hours before setting off again. All I will carry is what I can fit in my backpack.

So that’s the plan. I will confirm the dates soon.

If you are interested in sponsoring this run and the October UP workshop, or sponsoring/associating with #upandrun do get in touch >> richmond@specialistpainphysio.com

Hitting the hills!

Map of Snowdonia

Maverick inov-8 ultra series ~ Snowdonia 2019

For the 7th ultra I am hitting the hills, or rather mounting the mountains….

Most of the races so far have included some steep hills. Over the South Downs near Ditchling Beacon on my way to Brighton from London, traversing the Seven Sisters from Eastbourne towards Brighton and along The Ridgeway on Race to the Stones, have all challenged my thighs. Running and walking uphill is one thing, coming down is another. There’s an art to the latter. A balance between controlling one’s descent so you don’t fall and saving your quads! The Maverick inov-8 ultra has an elevation of 3020 over 60-odd k.

Elevation chart

Traditionally I am not great with heights. So this ultra presents an additional element and feature for me to cope with whilst climbing, descending, walking trotting, hopping, shuffling and running. Don’t look down! Having said that, I have been on mountains plenty of times before and usually enjoyed the views, fresh air and freedom.

Recently I was thinking that #upandrun would continue for 12 months, #12in12. But then I thought about afterwards and what I would do. I can’t see that I will stop, so this will continue indefinitely with a blend of races and solos that accompany the monthly UP workshops (next one on 18th Sept >> tickets here).

You can support Understand Pain here, helping us to run the workshops each month so that they are free for those most in need, to increase the number of workshops and the reach. Meanwhile, I’ll keep running to raise awareness and bring the tools to people so that they can improve their lives.

RS

South Coast Challenge 29th August

Running a ultramarathon along a coastal path

6th ultra: South Coast Challenge

The next in the #12in12 ultra series for #upandrun is the South Coast Challenge 100km, from Eastbourne to Arundel.

The course follows an undulating route across the South Coast taking in Beachy Head, Brighton and the South Downs along the way.

You can follow the run on the day on Twitter with the usual hashtag #upandrun & @painphysio and on Instagram. I will be posting photos and videos on the way round.

And as ever, the purpose is to raise awareness of the problem of pain; the No1 global health burden.

You can support our work here >> thank you

RS

UP Ambassador Chris Peskett at Grossglockner Ultra 2019: in pictures

Grossglockner Ultra — read here

Chris Peskett ~ ultrarunner & UP ambassador

Those hills look alive….

Packed and ready

 

Night running

Check out that scenery!

Look out for part 2!

#upandrun

#upandrun is an Understand Pain project raising awareness of the problem of pain — the No1 global health burden. We are working to reduce the enormous suffering caused by chronic pain that affects millions and costs billions.

#upandrun ambassadors

26th June 2019 NEWS

UP has two ambassadors joining #upandrun

As the UP story gathers momentum, in particular the #upandrun project (ultrarunning, marathon running and the UP education programme), we are delighted to welcome two new UP ambassadors: Chris and Jeff. Both will be running for #upandrun so keep an eye out for blogs, pictures and always the hashtag!

If you see #upandrun hashtag, give us a shout out! Take a pic and post it on Twitter or Instagram.

Chronic pain affects so many people for so many reasons. The measure of our success will be how many people we can inspire to move on to live their best lives.

This week look out for…

Richmond running along the Thames Path tomorrow (Thursday) from Hampton Court to the Thames Barrier

Next week look out for…

The UP talk and workshop on Weds 3rd July at 2pm at The Groves Medical Centre. Get your place here >> tickets

On we go!

Ultra before work #upandrun

Thursday morning >> ultra before work

You could say that ultrarunning is addictive. A few years ago, a study entitled ‘Would You Stop Running if You Knew It Was Bad for You? The Ultramarathon Runner Response’, found….what result do you think (n=1349)?

…that 75% would NOT stop running, even if it was found to be bad for you. Those who would stop (25%) ‘..were older, more likely to be married, had more children, were running less, were more health oriented, were less achievement oriented, and had less psychological motivations for running.’

One of the most fielded questions is why? Why do you do it? Last weekend I ran for a couple of hours to drive my wife home. Yesterday I ran for a few hours with an old friend (old in that we have known each other for almost 40 years, not that he is old…) to a BBQ. We arrived sweaty but not smelly. No-one wanted to hug us. You just fit it in, the mileage that is. Early starts, a mode of transport, when home alone etc etc.

Reading some of the writings of the great ultra runners, all will give their reasons. They are personal and varied. Some of my reasons include pursuing a purpose (#upandrun to ease suffering and improve lives affected by chronic pain), wanting to know how far I can go, pushing beyond the pain barrier, exploring consciousness, feeling fit and well (despite consistent aches and pains from the running — paradox?), seeing places, being alone, meeting people, being part of something a bit mad, to impress my wife :), and more. This is in no particular order, although it is often my purpose that keeps me going.

This coming Thursday I am running from Hampton Court to the Thames Barrier along the Thames Path before doing my afternoon clinic: an ultra before work. An ultra is anything beyond a marathon (26.2 miles). This is part of the prep for Race to the Stones on July 13th, which is 100k.

Thames Path
Last section up to the Thames Barrier

I’ll be setting off early, so if you are out on a run, walk or commute along the river and you see me, do give me a shout, tweet a pic or on Instagram using the #upandrun hashtag.

The next Understand Pain Talk and workshop is on July 3rd >> read here

ultrarunning
Richmond Stace

RS

UP Top 5 Marathon Training Tips

Top marathon tips
Sanjay & Richmond

This is the first in the series of top tips this week in the build up to the London to Brighton 100k ultra in association with Pursu nutrition bars. Pursu was created by Sanjay (above), who followed his dream and is pursing his passion for cycling and healthy eating. As well as being delicious, there are features of these bars that really stand out: no sugar, the finest ingredients (and they really mean that!), and sustainability (read more here). Pursu and Sanjay have been sponsoring #upandrun, which I am immensely grateful for, especially when I need fuel!

UP Top 5 Marathon Training Tips

There are many tips one could give, and indeed I have been given lots of advice that has helped me. Here are my top 5.

1. Get to the start line

This may sound obvious, but this is always a primary goal. It means that you have followed your programme and not over- or under-done the training. Along the way there are always aches and pains; that is to be expected. However, sometimes there is a decision to be made: should I train or not? This maybe when you have a recurring pain or an injury (they are not the same or well related — read here) or if you are unwell. The former you should take advice to determine what has happened and what you must do, and the latter will require a period of recovery.

People often fear that they will be behind in their training or lose fitness of they cannot follow their programme to the letter. However, when you remember that only by getting to the start line will you be able to participate, then the best decision becomes clearer.

IOW start line

2. Chill out the week before but plan it

For at least a week before take it really easy. It’s a wonderful time relaxing, eating and having more time…also known as tapering and maranoia! Suddenly it seems like you are not training, which can throw you. Keeping focused and planning the week is important. You will feel better for it as the excitement builds.

Your training plan will include tapering. This means a few easy runs to keep moving at an easy pace, and perhaps a short one (just a few kms) at race pace for the feel. The rest of the time can be spent keeping your body moving and relaxed with a daily stretching programme, yoga, lots of movement if you have a sedentary job, walking, easy swimming, breathing exercises, meditation, focusing on what you want to achieve (see below), consistent bed times and fuelling up. Make a plan for this and stick with it. Writing down your plan makes it more likely you will follow it.

3. Plan your travel and logistics

As relaxed as you maybe, plan what time to arrive at the start and how you will get there. You will be excited and nervous (they feel the same, so you can decide…), so to fully enjoy the build up in the morning, know what you are doing. Late surprises or forgetting kit is annoying and can easily knock you off track. Keep it simple.

This is a habit of peak performers, paying attention to the detail and focusing on what you can control: your plans and attitude. Things to consider: pack your kit the night before, time to arrive, how to arrive, breakfast, hydration, bag drop (there can be long queues), toilet (there can be long queues), when to get to the starting pen.

Top tips for marathons

4. Use visualisation as a way to focus

Keeping focused is important, especially as the excitement builds. It is also a great thinking tool when tough moments arise during the run. What do you want to achieve?

There are many things you can focus on to lift your energy and maintain direction towards your picture of success. For example, visualise running over the finish line, bring to mind the purpose of your run (what is the reason why you are running the distance?), or think of loved ones who are spurring you on. Notice the change in your energy as you do.

5. Enjoy it and look around

It goes by in a flash. So, from the moment of registration until the end, look around and take it all in. You maybe running somewhere stunning or be surrounded by inspiring people who are running for great causes; take it all in and feel the positive energy.

All the training has been done. Usually the training is much harder than the actual day — that’s the purpose in a way. With two weeks or so to go, there’s nothing to be gained fitness-wise, so focus on preparing to be in the best shape (see above) so that you can enjoy the day. The moment that you duck under the finish line, you will feel an incredible wave of emotion in the light of what you have just achieved. The final straight is as close to sensing what it is like to be at the Olympics as people cheer and shout, and suddenly you experience that famous burst of energy, striding towards the end. For many though, this will not be the end. It will be the beginning.

Look out for more tips this week!

RS

London to Brighton May 25th ~ a few tips on keeping going

London to Brighton 100k 25th May

The next stage of #upandrun for Understand Pain is the London (Richmond upon Thames) to Brighton. 100k from city to coast. I lived in Brighton for some years, so it feels a little like running home.

This time I will be doing it in one day; the full 100k. Of course I am expecting and preparing for challenging moments along the way. That’s why we do it! To face, overcome and complete.

Running can be a great metaphor for life. Inevitably life is full of ups and downs. These are unavoidable. However, our approach and attitude define them as opportunities or obstacles. Whilst these moments maybe hard and unpleasant, the way we view them determines whether we learn and move on or suffer more than is necessary.

The tougher moments when running include fatigue and heaviness in the legs, knowing that despite going for hours, there are still hours remaining, and various aches and pains. I’ll share a few strategies that I use to re-focus and keep going.

1. Re-focus on what you want and keep going

Everything comes through the mind. The mind is embodied. These are both important considerations. There is no separation between body and mind. Instead we have a (whole) person. The way we think is embodied, the decisions we make are affected by our body state, and our bodies keep the score of all our thoughts and emotions. Skilfully appreciating this and using it to our advantage is one of the habits of peak performers. We can all be peak performers in our own way.

In that tougher moment, you learn to take a perspective and re-focus on what you want to achieve as an outcome. What is my picture of success, or dream? When you focus on what you want, you feel your energy lift. In one way, this is how you know you are focusing on your picture of success rather than something else. For instance, paying attention to the feeling of heavy legs and any on-going thoughts brings on further sensations of heaviness — it gets worse.

2. Remember your purpose

Knowing one’s purpose is healthy according to research to date. Since Viktor Frankl wrote Man’s Search for Meaning, there has been interest in purpose as something that spurs us on, gets us up in the morning and drives persistence in the face of adversity.

Many people run with purpose. Often this is for a cause such as a charity, chosen in the name of a loved one who suffers or has passed on. I believe that is why events such as the London Marathon are so emotive.

In that moment when it is ‘sticky’, you recall your purpose, the person or people you are representing and drive on. You know that no matter how much it hurts right now, it is nothing compared to the suffering of others.

3. Fuelling skilfully

On longer runs, your fuelling is essential. It is also personal and unique in as much as each person must find out what they need. The experimentation should take place on training runs so that you know and can prepare fully for the actual event.

The night before I always have a (big) bowl of spaghetti bolognese. In the morning, I am up early having porridge with blueberries and honey. At least one shot of coffee is also essential for me, together with two shots of beetroot juice. Until the start, I will nibble: a banana, a Pursu nutrition bar, cashew nuts; and sips of water.

During ultra runs, I re-fuel around the first 10-12k mark and then at the rest points. On the Ultra Challenges, the rest points are every 10-15k ish, offering a range of fruit, pastries, cookies, flapjacks, sweets, coffee, water, sports drinks, pick n mix, hot meals (at lunch) and more. Typically I will have a banana, salt and vinegar crisps, a cookie, water, a shot of coffee, pick n mix (yum!), watery fruit (e.g./ melon), sports drink and refill my bottles. I carry gels and use them as needed, but typically towards the end when I need a little booster.

The principle I follow is to keep hydrated and fuelled rather than wait. I used thirst as a guide, but only very mild thirst, sipping regularly, especially if it is hot. When I notice a particular type of heaviness and I know that there is a way to go before the next stop, I will use a gel.

Marathons are different because the are no rest points; the run is non-stop. Fuelling and drinking are on the go. It can be messy!

Whichever way you find works, it is a key strategy to use in order to keep going.

#upandrun moves on to the Isle of Wight

It’s been a great weekend in Brighton, but now it’s straight back into training to be ready for the Isle of Wight Challenge at the start of May. That means a 20k trot today.

The route yesterday was lined with supporters giving enthusiastic encouragement. Some of the stretches were long and straight, meaning that as you were running, you could see the sea of bobbing heads stretched out in front for some distance. Coming back from the power station to Madeira Drive, the 360 and the pier were landmarks. With the wind blowing at you, they seemed so far away!

The final stretch to the finish line is an incredible moment. The crowd are going absolutely crazy and because you are stretched out, it feels like you are the only runner. Suddenly you’re filled with energy and find yourself sprinting (it feels like sprinting…) to the line. Awesome!

So now onto a longer run that is a totally different experience. My preference is off road, trailing running so although this is 53k x 2 (Sat/Sun), for me there’s no sense of needing to hit a pace. Instead it is about enjoying the ride, meeting others who are in for the long haul and marvelling at the scenery of the island’s coastal path.

As ever, this is for UP, so do follow us with the #upandrun as we seek to raise the awareness of the problem of pain, especially chronic pain, and what we can do as a society to ease suffering.

RS