The Middle Ground

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08/11/2012 at 16:55

WAVA adjusted planks? What did I start?

I certainly couldn't stretch for hours each day. Not only do I not have the time but are there any benefits to be had by being hyper flexible? I think having some flexibility can help regarding injury proofing and performance to a certain extent, but we're no gymnasts so is it really worth carving out hours a day?

Dan, sounds utterly brutal, no wonder it didn't work out. Well 2M @ 5kp isn't a bad session...

You guys should come up here for some 10 milers. It's basically impossible to run one that doesn't have you scale Everest and K2 in hills.

YP, I find running even with a few things in a bag is enough to affect pace by a large margin. Good running.

5*200 today. 29.0, 28.0, 27.9, 27.9, 28.1. Been a bit of a hard trainign week so far & started to feel tired after rep #4 so cut it one short. Reckon my economy & basic speed is improving quite a bit right now as I don't think I could have run this a month ago.

I have next Saturday (17th) off so I'm hoping for some non-wind on the prom to blast a parkrun 

08/11/2012 at 17:14

Nice one Duck.  One of these days I might turn up to the track and blast a single 200 just to see if you're running inside my potential PB each time.  Where's me spikes? 

They've just publicised a start list for Sunday's race and I've identified my nemesis.  Not only was he first V40 last year (and third overall in what looks like a ridiculously tasty time), but he was also 1st V40 at Cabbage Patch this year... and last year!  Dammit! 

Edited: 08/11/2012 at 17:18
08/11/2012 at 17:31

Duck - In the Art of Running by Julian Goater (which I recommend), he talks about running speed being a function of how quickly you can step and how long your stride is.  And by increasing your flexibility you increase your stride length.

08/11/2012 at 18:18
Josh Blatchford wrote (see)

And by increasing your flexibility you increase your stride length.

I'm always a little puzzled when I see a statement like this.  Because really it depends upon how you define stride length.  I've been through this before, but when I think of stride length for running I think of the distance between your footprints on the ground.  Now, to improve this distance, you have to fly further.  To fly further you need strength and elastic rebound.  Stretched muscles aren't necessarily elastic - certainly not if you go too far!

I've seen stride length in places defined as the distance you can get your feet apart.  I can put one foot a long way further in front of the other than I do when I'm running, increasing this 'stride length' but that's of no help to me when running because it means my heel is in front of me, and that's just putting the brakes on.

So I think this is exactly the kind of situation where a little care is needed in understanding where you have to be flexible, and how flexible you have to be.  The ability to push behind you needs long quads and a supple core, the ability to get your knee and heel up needs flexibilty around the front and back of the leg, and back.  But calf and groin, are they necessary?

So not disagreeing, just stopping to think about this.

And Phil, on the morning of my 41st b'day I couldn't touch my toes.  I could the night before.

08/11/2012 at 19:40
PhilPub wrote (see)
They've just publicised a start list for Sunday's race and I've identified my nemesis.  Not only was he first V40 last year (and third overall in what looks like a ridiculously tasty time), but he was also 1st V40 at Cabbage Patch this year... and last year!  Dammit! 

The b'stard probably also went home with your cabbage!

Don't get angry ... get even.

Ratzer wrote (see)
An Phil, on the morning of my 41st b'day I couldn't touch my toes.  I could the night before.

I'm 46 ... I can't touch my knees. Not sure I like where this is heading .

Easy 5.1M for me today on the canal ... 9:01/m for 72% maxHR.

Edited: 08/11/2012 at 19:41
08/11/2012 at 20:51
Ratzer wrote (see)

And Phil, on the morning of my 41st b'day I couldn't touch my toes.  I could the night before.

  I'm almost looking forward to it now...

Very pleasing little tempo-lite run this evening.  6.25M w/ 3M at 5:36/m - 5:42, 5:34, 5:31. Didn't feel particularly progressive but I think that just tends to happen. HR got up to max 89% so I'm satisfied I was only working up to threshold and could've carried on much further at the same pace. Legs felt strong again.

08/11/2012 at 21:21

Ratzer, would calf not help with elastic rebound on the achilles? Or something like that? Groin.... I strained my groin and I could feel it when I ran or did strides so I make sure I stretch it now, just as a precaution.

NIce figures Dan, does that compare well to recent runs?

Phil, go for it! Did you say on club sessions you were doing 32.xx for 200s? Would be interesting to see how the quicker long-distance runners stack up in a flat-out 200. Nice tempo-lite as well.

Just to get the competitive juices flowing again - 6'07 for the plank just now 

08/11/2012 at 22:14

There is a good diagram in the Coe book that demonstrates how a more flexible ankle can result in a better toe-off and therefore a greater stride length (for the same effort, which is what is important). Apart from that, I'm not convinced that flexibility helps that much. I have found it helps me recover, or feel better, and that's about it.

On my LIFR course we were taught that you should not hold a stretch for more than about 15 seconds after a hard session. The logic is that your muscles fibres have been through enough already without subjecting them to further torment - which prolonged stretching does - which will delay your recovery.

08/11/2012 at 22:20

Nice session Phil and plank Duck

I'm 48 and can touch the floor after a bit of warm-up...

Club run tonight at a good tempo effort.  No stats, but I know how it feels to run tempo and this was close enough!  Good to feel strong again even with my normal pace not quite there yet.  It will be soon though!


09/11/2012 at 14:27

Wow, you learn something every day. I've just been informed by a guy that took up running three weeks ago that taking a vitamin pill every day will make me much stronger. As proof he sent me a link to Vitabiotic's web site. If only I'd know this a year or so ago, I could be running sub-4 now

09/11/2012 at 15:22

Ratzer - It is hard to say really.  The trouble is that it is impossible to prove that flexibility in a particular area will not improve running performance.  I think flexibility anywhere will help, but it is not worth becoming super flexibile when you are not a full-time runner.

Duck - what do you do to pass the time when you are planking for so long?

Simon - This reminds me of the runners who take on gels every 15 mins just because the manufacture says so

09/11/2012 at 15:25

Speaking of flexibility, time for a Friday afternoon poll.  Who can touch their elbows together behind their back?  I can!

09/11/2012 at 17:05

Dr. Dan or others who train by HR can you take a look at this (change it to speed versus heart rate to see the bit I mean):


Magpie had a bit of a funny turn on our run last night, was able to finish the rep, but felt unwell. It got better rather rapidly though, and to my knowledge is the first time he's had that sort of odd trace.

Just wondering if its something to worry about?

09/11/2012 at 21:35

Looks familiar ... did he feel bad at 40-43 min by any chance?

09/11/2012 at 21:37
Phil - nowhere close! I thought it sounded easy until I tried it. 35 is feeling a bit rough so hate to know what getting older will feel like. To be fair, my core work has been almost non existent since my gym membership ran out in April, I should probably rectify that.

Well, I'm feeling quite smug for doing my LSR today, which means I have my first Sunday off in what feels like forever. Apart from marshalling at the race of course - can't escape running! 89 miles so far for November, tiredness is catching up.
09/11/2012 at 21:39
Curly - can't see the trace as don't have Flash on ipad.
10/11/2012 at 03:32

Ratzner: 41 and past it?  Many here can claim PBs at 40.

Hilly, a nipper at 48 Are you still doing the Cawthorne run on Sundays?


10/11/2012 at 11:27

Dr Dan - yes I did feel bad. It started during the recovery after our first of three mile reps and continued into the start of the second. I felt a bit lightheaded and nauseous and I did feel like I might collapse. I was very glad not to be running on my own and that Curly was just in front of me. However, a couple of minutes later I felt ok again and I completed the session with no further problems.

I tried to tell myself I'd imagined it and it was only when I uploaded the Garmin data and saw the high HR trace that I realised that something may actually have been wrong after all. In all honesty, I was quite frightened by how I felt at the time. As Curly said, I'd not noticed anything like this before.

I've been looking at the AF thread on Fetch and your pSVT thread on here and do think it sounds similar to what you experienced. I think I need to get registered with a GP...

Edited: 10/11/2012 at 12:16
10/11/2012 at 13:43
PhilPub - good luck tomorrow I'm planning on doing an early morning long run with the dog over to Box Hill tomorrow, so if you see a mental black Labrador chasing you, he's called Fred, and all he wants to do is lick you

Curly / Magpie - I also can't see the Garmin trace on my iPad, but I would definitely go see a Doc if I had any concerns about my heart rate...

Kelly - nice miles for November, and it sounds like you deserve a day off!

Duck - you're becoming a serious planker I can just about manage 2 mins before my arms, legs, everything begins to wobble.....

In running news, I just did a very easy 6miles, with average HR of 125bpm which takes my weekly total to 43....
10/11/2012 at 17:45

You even got me atempting the plank in my front room this week Duck! What have you started?  My attempt was in just over 90 seconds so a lot of work to do there if I want to improve that! 6 minutes or so is my equivalent of trying to get a sub 30 minute 10k from the level of fitness of where I am (there is more chance of me winning the Euromillions then!). 

On the general theme of core fitness, I don't do enough by far but am trying to get to my local gym at least once a week and will try and incorporate more of this into my routine!


This week has been pretty decent up until today. I am generally trying to get my mileage close to 30 a week at the moment....I need to do a long slow run tomorrow to achieve this and hopefully I will fit this in what with my parents visiting some point tomorrow....


Training this consisted of a steady 5 miles or so in Winchester on Tuesday (following inline hockey training on Monday)....this was a very enjoyable run with some hills and areas I have not ran through previously in just over 8 m/m pace running on Wednesday although I did attempt the plank and managed some sit ups. Thursday consisted of a little more gym work which mostly included a treadmill workout (I know a few have said about this before and the split opinions on treadmill running but I did try and keep a fairly steady pace without pushing too hard). Last night was a fairly easy 4 miler around my local all in all a fairly decent week. 


Today though was a very different story when running the Eastleigh Park Run. I have not ran this competitively having previously ran around with my it was a junior led park run and they did a fantastic job running and marshalling this in very muddy conditions! However, I never really appreciated just how muddy the course would be and how difficult it would be following my previous experience running around the route. The first mile was in just over 6:30 m/m and this got progressively slower with a last mile in over 7:30 m/m. So over 30 seconds slower than any mile in the Lordshill 10 last week although the mud had been made all the worse on the hillyish 3 lap course by then!


The mud was therefore a huge factor and this resulted in a fall and slide into the mud bath just before the 2k mark (it really was more like XC today!) final registered time was 22:18 so not the best by any stretch today. The winner I believe is a 32 minute 10k runner (told this at the end by someone but I can definitely believe it) and finished in just over 18 minutes so this should perhaps explain something about todays underfoot conditions...and it appears that a lot of runners PB's were generally way down! Next time I think I will also try and run in some more decent footwear for the conditions. But I won't deny that it wasn't the best performance today and also felt fairly heavy legged (possibly an accumulative impact from a number of races since the end of September). Despite this, on reflection it was strangely enjoyable as well as very fustrating! All in all though, I do definately feel that I am struggling with distances shorter than 10k at the moment though with the race pace so will need to rectify this for the Stubbington 10k which is in January!

Edited: 10/11/2012 at 17:58
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