Tuesday 7 May 2013

The Morton Stretch

This was shamelessly stolen from Jonathan Savage's blog, but definitely worth reposting...

At last year's World 24 Championship, Mike Morton was the talk of the steamy with his random mid-race squats.  Of course, when he went on to win the race and set a new American Record, everyone know wants to be Mike Morton.  And do everything that Mike does.  I guess I will see (and, er, do) a lot of this at the weekend.

Jonathan wrote: This mid-run stretch is modelled after the stretch that Mike Morton did while setting the American Record for 24 hours (172 miles) at the 2012 World Championships. I saw Mike do this stretch repeatedly during that race, and I've since emulated it. I've found that it refreshes my legs in everything from training runs to 24 hour races. The Morton stretch is simple and quick, but does not act as a traditional stretch that holds a muscle at full extension. Instead, it moves multiple muscles through their natural range of motion. Unlike many stretches, The Morton does not fully contract any muscles, which can lead to cramping. I don’t normally have a problem with cramping, but the quad stretch where you pull your foot towards your buttocks can trigger a nasty hamstring cramp if I do it after the 50 mile mark. The steps to perform the Morton Stretch is below.

1) Find something solid to hand onto, such as a pole, fence, tree, bench or even a friend's leg. If you're running, slow to a walk before doing the stretch to let your heart rate drop. A sudden stop can cause you to faint.

2) Drop gently down into a crouch. This position stretches most of your quads, glutes and hamstrings.

3) Rise slowly, pausing part way. This pause should let your blood pressure rise so you don't faint. You can use this position to also stretch your hamstrings if you wish, but it's easy to overdo that stretch and damage the muscles.

4) Return to standing and then set off again.o overdo that stretch and damage the muscles

Friday 3 May 2013

The Inbetweeners

I knew the recovery time between the Thames Path 100 and the World 24 hour was quite tight, but as I write this the former seems like five minutes ago and the latter is looming faster than I would like.  Still, I feel good and it's safe to say I've got the miles in my legs.

I've had my quota of canal/towpaths/flat runs, so I've doing lots of off road.  TP100 was my main preparation for the 24 hour, so after ticking that off the list, I've used the last few weeks to enjoy some fun and more inspiring runs.

GM on Lairig Mor
It started with GM and I having cracking run on the Kilpatrick Hills, which gave us the first signs of a late-arriving spring. It turned out to be one of those mornings you just wish you could bottle. It was crisp, fresh, sunny, cloudless sky and my legs and lungs were cooperating - just magical.

Top of the Devil's Staircase
 The weekend after the GM was running 55 miles from Beinglas and Fort William on the West Highland Way, as her final preparation for the 24 hour race.   I joined her at Bridge of Orchy and ran the 36 miles into Fort William.  Another glorious day with a wicked tail wind.   It was just perfect.  No bursting a gut, just jogging and enjoying a day out.  

As we arrived plenty of time before the train departure, we had time for the traditional trip to Morissons and a well-deserved beer. 

Recovery juice

The joy bubble was burst the next weekend, when I had to run 20 road miles with a red wine hangover followed by a recce run on the Lakeland 100 course. Now, if anyone reading this is considering a run in Lake District, please consult my training schedule before you embark on the journey. I swear we are jinxed.  We've now done four recce runs, all in horrendous conditions.

Due to time constraints, the GM and I decided on Ambleside to Coniston, with an out and back tagged on to bring it up to 20 miles.  It's a long way - a 300 miles round trip - to only run 20 miles, but it would be worth is to cover another three sections of the course.  Plus, it's all motorway driving, so it's really only a couple of hours away.

It chucked down from the moment we started.  It was hoods up the whole way.  And the longer we were out, the colder we got.  We had to stop at one point to check the map as we had gone slightly off course and I was shaking so bad I thought I was going to break teeth.  I even had to run for a mile with my rucksack unclipped and hanging off my shoulders as I couldn't get my hands to work.  I'll be honest, being that cold was really frightening.  Although it was good hill training, as we running up everything in a vain attempt to warm up. 

When we got to Coniston we were beyond soaked.  We got changed in the ladies room of an establishment which remain unnamed, as we practically flooded the place just with discarded garments.  Called a taxi and called it a day.  Despite still be slightly traumatised, it was - as mentioned - worth it to cover another three sections.   And I got us unlost with the use of a map and GPS.  Check me!

Sonic (finishing 7th in 7:44) with Cairn

After last weekend's Highland Fling, when we were on back up duty for Sonic, the GM (she's not sick of me yet) were so inspired that we decided to run from Milngavie to Balmaha the day after.   And we called on favours from Sonic to come and pick us up.  He was still in good mood after his incredible performance, so we didn't even need to twist his arm.

It's been a while since I've been on the south sections of the West Highland Way, as I kind of sickened myself of it.  My lord, what's happened?  I knew thr trail and been resurfaced and upgraded, but it's practically been steam-rolled.  And with the deforestation, I wasn't even sure we were on the right track.  It all looked so different. I was bitching about it for quite some time...until we got to the otherside of Conic hill heading into Balmaha.  No slippy mud and breakneck rocky descents.  I take it back, I think I kind of like it.

So, that's me.  A couple of short speed sessions and few easy runs and then I'm Holland bound for the World 24 hour Championship.  I can't wait.  And even though everyone I mention the race too says: "At least it will be flat", I'm still politely smiling like it's the first I've heard it. For now.