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Email newsletter #2: 01/10/2019

On Saturday 21 September I ran the LG Trail race and it went very well. I finished in 12h37 for 4th place overall. The weather was perfect which meant we had incredible views over the riviera and lake and could clearly see the alps on the other side of the lake. The race was well organised and the race atmosphere was light and fun. After the race I was thinking about running one last race at the end of the summer season (three weeks after LG Trail), however, I have since decided that I need more time to recover and that LG Trail will be my last race for summer 2019. I'm taking a couple of weeks for an off-season now and recovering from a season fulled with lots of ups and downs.

Articles online

I really enjoyed reading this article about Kenenisa Bekele and his training in the Netherlands. It's a little ironic that someone from a very desirable training location (Ethiopia) would end up going on a training camp in the place where many of the athletes who go to Ethiopia come from. Of course choosing a location of a training camp often needs to be based on specific environmental factors such as altitude and climate, however, it's perhaps the lack of certain factors, homely distractions, that is most important of all. I also found it interesting that one of the greatest athletes of all time managed to make improvements by working on the basics: good nutrition, sleep, and consistent training.

I read an article about mental toughness and then clicked through to take the quiz. While the article was more an introduction, I found the quiz and its results to be useful and interesting. The quiz was about 5 minutes long and provided a multi-factor result with scores for different components of mental toughness. There isn't any specific guidance as to what to do with the results, but it's a great starting point to identify weakness in certain components of mental toughness.

HRV4Training released a new feature in the Pro platform. This feature is training monotony and it tries to identify how varied an athletes training is with the premise that more variation is better. It's an interesting concept and something worth reading further about. Even if you're not an HRV4Training user, it's a good article giving an overview of the idea and providing some additional links to dig deeper.


Mikael and the team at That Triathlon Show shared a podcast this week about base training. I enjoyed listening to it as it helped me to start thinking about how to structure my base training over the winter. There is lots of good information in this podcast; the important points I took away were to include strength and injury prevention training in the base and to work on technique while the training intensity is lower.

Friends' race results

Andrew Espin was 15th in the Burgos Way of Legends stage race. It looks like a stunning race and his photos from exploring the region after the race are also fantastic.

Lucja Leonard finished the Trail des Aiguilles Rouges in 12h45. An impressive outing just four weeks after UTMB.

Email newsletter #1: 17/09/2019

It has been just over two weeks since I got a cold and had to drop out of CCC. Since then I've managed to recover and fire up the training again. I'm planning to run the LG Trail race this weekend so I spent some time running on the route and trying to sharpen up a little before the race. I'm feeling positive about the race, the weather conditions look good, and I'm all set to use the fitness and condition I built up over the summer. Hopefully in the next newsletter I'll have some good news to report!

Articles online

Jim Vance from Running with power talks about Ben Kanute's training before the Half-Ironman World Championships. The interesting point I took from this discussion was the inclusion of walking in the run training of his athletes. For recovery runs he recommends 4' run and then 1' walk and for maintenance runs he recommends 9' run and then 1' walk. It's a good way to keep the easy days easy and to reduce injury.

Dan Plews from EndureIQ contributed to a study on using HRV to guide training. I already use HRV daily as a useful objective measure of my stress and I believe it is a useful metric, however, it's always good to see tools I use backed up by science. "These results suggest manipulating the session performed at a daily level in accordance with HRV has favourable effects on the adaptive response to training, even without altering total training load."

Here are some classic cross country sessions to include in training if you're thinking about running any cross country over the winter. I really like #1 and #2.


@SportSciPod is an awesome podcast by Ross Tucker and Mike Finch. This week I listened to the Running Shoe Technology podcast and really enjoyed it. They debate deciding how to find the right shoe for you and what science tells us about shoes. The answer is that "it depends", but their guidance of starting with trying a few neutral shoes in the store and then buying the one that feels best makes sense to me. From there it's an interative process adjusting based on how you feel in the initial shoe with the goal to be in the right shoe after one or two rounds.

Friends' race results

Natalia ran Tor des Geants and finished in 129:23 - that's 5 days and 9 hours! The TdG instagram account was great all week. Definitely worth following to see the mountains and terrain this amazing race traverses.

Stuart ran in the Cape Town Marathon and finished in 3:24.

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