My first '100 Mile week', plus some other examples of 'tougher' training I carried out.

After reading the previous pages training content, I didn't want to give any readers the impression I was a 'slacker' on the training front, although some of the sample training shown was pretty light as I explained previously. To rectify this I have dug out some 'heavier' weeks from my old training logs to prove that I did undergo periods of more intense training to get the end results I achieved. I would hate any young aspiring athletes, or anyone else reading my logs to think that you can get by, purely on 30 miles per week. Although it was extremely rare to see my weekly total over 80 Miles, I did infact have a 'handfull' of weeks around the 100 mark, but on average my weekly milage totted up to around the 50-60 miles mark more often than not.

Here's my 'first 100 Mile' week, which came over the Christmas holiday period at the end of 1997/ beginning of 1998....

Mon 29/12/1997:-A.M-13 Miles, easy pace around Sandwell Valley, stadium and canals. (1Hr:31:45)....P.M-1 Mile uphill, followed by (10x20''second hill reps, jog down recs finishing with final mile in 4:59). (total 5 Miles)

Tues 30/12:-A.M-4.5 Miles (28:50)....P.M- 7 Miles (47 Mins) including (10x50''second hill reps, jog down recs.)

Wed 31/12:-A.M-7 Miles (44:18) wet and muddy run all off road, + 4x60m strides to finish...P.M-5 Miles (28:38) nice good pace on roads.

Thurs 1/1/1998:- 10 Miles (66:49) from 'Brocton' on Cannock Chase with Tim (Werrett). Good hilly route, gale force winds and raining the whole way!!

Fri 2/1/98:-A.M- 8 Miles (52:49) River burst it's banks! Splashing through mud and water most of the way. Raining again!...P.M- 7 Miles (38 mins) Good solid pace on roads.

Sat 3/1/98:-A.M- 2.5 Miles w.up followed by efforts of (2x90 secs, 4x60 secs,4x30 secs, 4x15 secs...with same recovery as previous effort). Followed by 8 hilly laps 'tempo effort', (uphill one side across top and down other, repeated for 8 laps totalling approx 2 miles) then jog back home through floods, mud and gales. (total 12 miles)...P.M-5 Miles steady (30:06)

Sun 4/1/98:-A.M-16 Miles (1Hr:49 mins) Drove to Cannock Chase with Tim to meet Tony Milovsorov, Paul Cadman, Dave Rowley and Dave Smith. We ran the complete 'Cannock Chase Trigg Point' race route. Nice pace, good hilly route. Tired at end of run, my biggest training week so far!

Weeks total:-(100 Miles/12 runs) This training week came at the end of a consistent period of training for me when I ran for 11 weeks without a day off! I know, not quite up to Ron Hill's standard's, but it was unheard of for me! I just don't know how Ron managed it. I very often tried to run through colds and injuries, but more often than not would have to 'sucombe' in the end, wishing I had taken a couple of days off before things got too bad!


 

My race results at the time were probably more 'consistent' too, without being spectacular. My 'Birmingham League' results in the 97/98 season were 8th, 9th, 12th and 9th, with an 8th in the 'Midlands XC' at Mansfield thrown in and 10k times always around the 30':00''-30':30'' mark, but never any quicker. The above training was not 'sustainable' for me, and so I would drop back down to lower milage again, which would keep the 'niggles' a little more at bay.

My other biggest 'weekly milages' were recorded on my first visit to 'Altitude', where we spent 16 days training in 'Font Romeu'. After reading, and being advised to take the first few days 'easy' when starting your training at altitude, I somehow ended up doing the complete opposite running 101 Miles in my first week (well, with nothing much else to do in an environment made for running, this was perhaps on the low side given the circumstances). We also managed to bump into a certain Paula Radcliffe, who invited us to meet up for several runs, all of which turned out to be pretty fast, (well what did I expect!!) but all the same, very enjoyable and inspiring. After all, it's not every day your out training with a future World Champion and World Record holder and then stop for a chat with a fellow runner carrying out his stretching routine before a run, and who just happens to be a certain South African star by the name of 'Hendrick Ramala' is it?!! Although I only managed to get away on a couple of 'Altitude' trips whilst running, I would fully recomend it to anyone who hasn't tried it. I came back, even after carrying out the toughest training of my life, in great shape and feeling like I could run forever! those extra few red blood cells certainly make things feel a 'hell-uva-lot' easier!.... Below: The 'clean crisp air' up at altitude...

 

I followed this training stint up with a good run in the 'Scottish' mountain running trial race for the 2001 'European Championships' held at the 'Spittal of Glenshea' just north of 'Perth' in the annual 'Glas Tulachean' uphill race. After a fast run out along the river through the valley, I was passed by Bobby Quinn near the base of the climb, eventually winding up 2nd in 34:58 to Bobby's 34:40, which I was told by race organiser-former 10k track star Martin Hyman, was one of the quickest times set over the course at the time. Our cause hadn't been helped by the heavy rain which had quickly turned to snow as we climbed the 2,200ft ascent, and on reaching the summit had formed a 2'' covering on the mountain top. 

This run earned me an 'England' travelling reserve spot for the 'European's' in Slovenia, along with Salford's John Brown. On race day, all of the 'England' team were ready to run with no injuries or illnesses, and so John and myself were up early for breakfast ready to run the 'open race' which was being held over the same course that the 'European's' would be run over later in the day. The course in Slovenia, after an initial pretty gradual climb, really steepened up while ascending the winding woodland paths, with John eventually coming out on top for victory in the well supported 'Open race'. His time of 51':31" stood up well against Italian World Champion, Antonio Molinari's course record of just under 50" mins and later in the day discovered his time would have actually placed him 10th in the European's that would be held in the afternoon after our race. I finished 2nd in 52':30" with a 3 minute cushion over 3rd, with my time placing me 17th amongst the 'Championship' racers later on. Molinari was pushed all the way by a 'Czech' Olympic Bronze medalist Cross-Country skiier later in the day to take the 'European' title, again just breaking the 50 minute mark. In the mean time, John and I had been re-fuelling ready to cheer on the men's and women's teams up the final steep 'ski-slope' run in up to the finish. Even within 2 minutes of finishing his race, John as ever was in search of some 'liquid refreshment', and still dressed in race gear and Walshes, hit the beer tent with intent!! The first pint was downed in one, only to be 'projected' back up at light speed, much to the amusement of the girls serving the beverages. John, always a brilliant source of entertainment, again had not disappointed!

Sandwiched in-between these runs I had won a tough 10k held over 'Barr Beacon', in the 'Aldridge 10k', really 'cruising' in 30':59'' with the week later running 30':06'' on a 'twisty' 10k course for 4th after a good battle with Salford's Andy Morgan-Lee in a good quality field (see pic left). I wasn't too disapointed to be beaten only by 3 top athlete's... 'Godiva's' Glynn Tromans took victory in 29':29'' with Birchfield team mate Rob Birchall 2nd and Tipton's G.B World 'Half' representative Nick Jones 3rd completing a quality 'top 3'.

Pictured above in the 2001 'Manchester YMCA 10K' road race. Pic courtesy of Steve Bateson at www.runningpix.co.uk

And so it was on to 'Lenzerheide' in Switzerland for the annual 'Grand -Prix' mountain race held over the fast 'up-hill only' route which I hoped would suit my style of running at the time, after recording a good time and 7th place the previous year. the race went pretty well with me gaining revenge over John (Brown) finally winding up in 5th position, just breaking my target of 42':00'' minutes in the process by a single second, and setting a p.b by exactly 30'' seconds. 'Multi World Champion', Antonio Molinari took the win in 40':39'', clipping his own course record by 2 seconds in the process. John wound up a solid 7th, with former race winner, and 'European' Silver medalist Richard Findlow in 8th resulting in a good day for us Brits. I had missed standing on the podium by a mere 4 seconds, which meant narrowly missing out on a 'champagne soaking' by Molinari, which I was quite relieved about! He certainly knew how to celebrate along with his Italian team mates who seemed to 'wipe the floor' each weekend throughout the 'nineties' and early 2000's.

Later in the season saw me finish a close 2nd to Neil (Wilkinson) in the World Mountain 'Trial' race held in Wynlatter forrest park, just north of Keswick. The course was just to my liking, held over fast 'runnable' gravel tracks, apart from one minor descent which caught me out each lap, seeing me lose vital ground on the other lads who seemed to 'bounce' down the 100m rocky path like rubber balls!! Luckily, the race finished down one of the more gradual descents, where I managed to get away from John Taylor, and finish just 8 seconds down on Neil at the line. This run, being first English runner home behind Neil who represented 'Scotland', earned me a run for 'England' in the World Championships to be held in 'Arte Terme' in Italy, but before this race I had a run out in the 'Shelf Moor fell race' which resulted in another great battle between myself and the late, great John Taylor in the end. After climbing well and holding a good 30 second advantage over John by the 'shelf' summit, the expert Bingley 'fell' man gradually eroded my lead, until he 'pounced' on the steeper part of the descent down to the final stile before the final long flat run-in to the finish. As we raced towards the finish, both 'flat out', I didn't seem to be gaining on the flowing figure 30 yards up the road. With 200 yards left to go I had to give it my all, and launched my final 'sprint' for the line, it was muck or bust! I managed to get on to John's shoulder only for him to respond in his typical gutsy fashion, but somehow I managed to edge my torso infront to 'nip' John by the thickness of a vest. As 'sporting' as ever, John was the first to congratulate me...but what a race he had given me!! We had both run p.b's, with mine almost 30 seconds quicker than my win from the previous year, to run 41':32''. We were both shaping up well for the World's in 2 weeks time. It was just a good job the race hadn't been against John's Champion Bingley team mate, Rob Jebb, as he always used to tell me that it wouldn't count if I ever beat him in any 'flat' run in to the finish off the fell!! I remember sprinting around the fields at the finish of the 'British Champs' fell race at 'Eildon Two Hills' up in Scotland, and not quite catching 'Jebby' again after he had destroyed me on the steep descent off the hills. He quickly turned round in the finishing funnel to tell me ''it wouldn't have counted anyway Mike, if you'd have caught me on't flat...the race finishes on't fell lad''!! We had finished in 4th and 5th places, with me, as usual losing 4 places on the descent! Rob was always one for taking the pee out of me, with me coming from a road running/ X-C background, and not being the best steep descender around to put things mildly! He never changes even when I see him these days!!

Above: 'Hanging on' to John Brookes of Lochaber A.C on the first climb at 'Eildon Two Hills'. This great shot was kindly donated by Dave Woodhead - www.woodentops.org.uk

 

I thought it might be interesting while I was on the subject to construct an 'all-time' list for the race explained above...The 'Shelf Moor Fell Race' as it has attracted many great fell runners over the years and has had 'Championship' status on 4 occasions, in 1994, '97', 2004 and 2010...so here goes, for the ''sub 42':00'' runners... 

1st. Colin Donnelly (Eryri) 39':45'' (1989)

2nd. Mike Prady (Glossop) 40':24'' (1989)

3rd. Mark Kinch (Warrington) 40':32'' (1994)

Warrington's British Champion Fell runner Mark Kinch showing the great technique that helped him take many top flight victories including 'Shelf Moor' where his time ranks him in 3rd spot amongst a quality list of athletes.

eq 4th. Gavin Bland (Borrowdale) 40':40'' (1997)

eq 4th. Rob Hope (Pudsey & Bramley) 40':40'' (2010)

6th. Mike Whyatt (Glossop) 40':41'' (1989)

7th. Lloyd Taggart (Dark Peak) 40':44'' (2010)

8th. Simon Bailey (Mercia) 40':52'' (2010)

9th. Mark Roberts (Borrowdale) 41':01'' (1997)

10th. Dave Neil (Mercia) 41':04'' (1997)

Staffs Moorlands champion Fell runner Dave Neil (pictured above) ran a fine race, running then in the colours of Mercia Fell Runners, over the undulations of Shelf Moor to take a fine 4th position in the 1997 British Championship race. The modest veteran runner has taken many English and British titles in his long and distinguished career, and now almost reaching his 60th year, he continues to leave many younger rivals in his wake. 

 

11th. Griffiths (Hebog) 41':06'' (1989)

12th. Ian Holmes (Bingley) 41':11'' (1994)

 

 

Ian Holmes shown descending down Snowdon on his way to victory in the International mountain race. The Bingley man who has lifted countless British & English Fell running titles sits well up at Shelf Moor in 12th place overall.

13th. Gary Devine (Pudsey & Bramley)41':15'' (1997)

14th. Andy Trigg (Glossop) 41':30'' (1997)

15th. Mike Bouldstridge (Birchfield/Mercia) 41':33'' (2001)

16th. John Taylor (Bingley) 41':34'' (2001)

17th. Andy Wrench (Todmorden) 41':37'' (1997)

18th. J. Parker (Ilkley) 41':43'' (1994)

19th. Paul Sheard (Pudsey & Bramley) 41':45'' (1997)

20th. Alan Bowness (C.F.R) 41':54'' (1997)

21st Rob Jebb (Bingley) 41':58'' (2010)

The list shows some of the names that made the 'Rivington and Lantern all-time' lists as you can see. 'Shelf Moor' was a race I felt I could compete o.k on as the descent was pretty gradual, although a little 'bumpy' and soft (good for me as I often took a few tumbles!! including the 2001 'Shelf Moor', when I took several falls whilst being quickly chased down by John, (while the pressure was on!!). My first win at 'Shelf Moor' came the year before (2000) which I won in 42':01'' despite losing a shoe near the summit in one of the 'pete bogs'. I quickly pulled it back on, and luckily for me, John who was in 2nd and who had travelled to the race by Bike (taking the hilly route!) was already a little jaded. He certainly made up for it the following year!

Below: Some of the 'methodical Training Logs'  I have produced over the last 27 years, although the last few have been a little 'sparse' in content unfortunately!!

The following week after 'Shelf Moor' saw me run solidly to a 30':16'' for 16th in the AAA's 10k road race, whilst holding a little back for the forthcoming World Champs, which was to be my debut in the event. Unfortunately, on the Tuesday before the race, I woke up with an extremely sore throat!! What luck I seemed to have before big International races. I seemed to be doomed!! I managed a couple of 3 milers to keep the legs going in the preceeding days, but with another 'streamer', things were not looking good! By race day, the cold had eased slightly, and suprisingly I started the race pretty solidly, although still not 'firing on all cylinders', running with John (Taylor), Tim Davies and John Brown, with me a little stronger on the climbs, and them much stronger on the descents. We were all positioned around the late 20's, but my choice of wearing no socks turned out to be an 'inexperienced' mistake of a road runner, turned fell/mountain runner, that ended up costing me vital minutes as I 'hobbled' in with no skin left on the balls and heels of my feet, eventually winding up in 64th!!. My poor feet earning me the 'nick-name' of the ''Soul-man'' or ''Sole-man'' for the rest of our trip to Italy! And so the season wound up with a disappointing end, but overall it had been pretty successful and a good experience, and proving that some higher milage on average had benefitted me in general.

Please read onto my next page for my running career 'highlights' categorised on my 'Running C.V'