Saturday, 16 January 2010

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Hard As Nails

Welcome to the new Sunday Adventure Club "How To Do Stuff" feature!

Now that the great chocolate orange festival is over and as we gear up for the great chocolate egg festival I thought I'd share with you some ideas on how to do stuff. This tip is going to get you out running again in the big freezer, before you know it you'll be back out pounding the pavement, 6 minute mile-ing past old biddies clinging on to railings who will stare in wonder as they make another epic journey to the shops for Pandrops.

You could go out and buy some running "crampons" some of which have been reviewed by Pete here but they'll set you back a few quid. The inspiration for this came from this Screw Shoe blog.  Problem was when I went to B&Q (other hardware stores that provide a bag to get your bits home are also available...) I couldn't find sheet metal screws or anyone who had heard of them. So, I came home, tried a few alternatives and found that this worked best.

You will need : 1 x hammer, a couple of dozen carpet tacks approx 18mm long, 1 x old pair of running shoes (pref. without "air" soles as this could cause problems!)

A(t) tack
Step 1:

Pick up shoe and turn it upside down, then hold hammer in a manly fashion and hammer the nails in at an angle until only the nail head, at an angle, is sticking out. It's best to vary the angle so you grip in different directions, so nail some aiming towards the front of the shoe and some towards the back.

Step 2:

Make sure none of the nails are going through into the shoe as this might slow you down a bit. If they are then pull them out and hammer back in at more of an angle.

Step 3:

Find some ice and have a speed session!

I ran in mine for an hour and a half last night and did wonder about being able to feel them through the bottom of the shoe but had no problem. I stuck like glue to the hard packed snow and ice and even considered running over frozen-up Loch Ore last night for the ultimate test... best not try that.

There you go then, get out and get sprinting!

Next up in the series of "How To Do Stuff"... How to make your own grit when you've spent all your money on council tax... How to make a snowplough out of the empty grit box at the end of your street...How to make gas... Stay tuned...

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Backwards and Forwards

2009. It's been and gone. Another year down, lots of things done well, not so well and not at all. But if we did all the stuff then there'd be nothing left for 2010, so lets not get all in a rush.

Most of the adventures of 2009 are in this blog so if you feel inclined take a look back through the archives and you can see all the details. In short, I ran and ran and ran then I stopped ate biscuits, mashed tatties and washed it all down with flat Coke then ran more. Sometimes, shortly afterwards, I'd throw it all up again but mostly I didn't. Which was nice.

My favourite times were all had on the West Highland Way, in training and in racing. The chippy run in April was special, running from Milngavie to Fort William and back in four days (missing out a teenie bit, so unfinished business...) eating all sorts of high carb junk food, er sorry local delicacies on the way. Then the race itself, well I don't need to say anymore, simply my finest 16 and a half hours of running and events afterwards make the memories even more special.

Nothing else really mattered after June. I lost a bit of hunger after that but thats just natural, and I struggled a bit with recovery but I've learnt a lot from that. A lot of people have asked me how I did that WHW, to be honest there wasn't any one thing, more a combination of things, for me it's lots of racing and lots of training miles, I don't believe there's any other way to run long races than to put in the miles in training. That's just me though, and therein lies the key, I found what works for me. It is more complicated than that, I do realise, but that's what keeps this sport alive for me, the constant quest for answers, pushing the mind and body harder in training to try and run down the answers to the next big race.

2010. What's it going to hold for me?

I've two main races planned: West Highland Way and UTMB. I'll be doing loads more though but they'll be part of the training for the biggies, a few ultras slotted in and some hill races too. Everything is going to be off road too, since I've scrapped the plan to do the Athens 24 hour, my heart just wasn't in it. I'll be doing a big challenge run possibly February/March all going to plan but I've not sorted much in the way of detail yet so I'm not telling, apart from it's a long 'un!

So, the plans are laid, I've been doing lots of running over the Christmas period, mostly in the ever-deepening snow which resulted in me coming home and eating a whole orange in a oner one night (er, yes, a chocolate one...). It's been great training, making a 12 mile run a complete epic of staggering through knee high snow drifts which is brilliant fun and a fantastic work out. I just need to start building the miles up now and getting a few races under my belt.

Thanks for all your support in 2009 and Happy New Year!