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A MOment to reflect..

Mo Farah is amazing. After yet more successful medal winning competitions over past weeks we are all still in awe of him. He just keeps on going and impressing us all. I wanted to know more about the man, so I have been busy doing some research and thought I would share some of this in case you want a little slice of inspiration today.

So, who is Mo Farah and where did he come from?

He was born Mohamed Muktar Jama Farah on 23 March 1983 in Mogadishu, Somalia. He moved to Britain at the age of eight to join his father and has a twin brother by name Hassan Farah. He went to school in south London. Among those who saw potential in Mo, was a PE teach at Feltham Community College, Alan Watkinson. Farah was a natural athlete. Mo became the best javelin thrower in his school at that time. He started to compete in cross country events including the London Youth Games.  In 1996 at the age of 13, Farah represented his school in the English School Cross-Country championship and finished a creditable ninth. He went on to win five English school titles from that next year onwards. It was the start of what was to become a glittering career, littered with broken records and medals along the way. As we all know he didn’t look back and continued competing in events all over the world, winning along the way.

Farah competed in his first road competition in the ‘2009 Great South Run,’ held at Portsmouth.  I was there!  But I was a bit slower than Farah who won the 10 mile race with a time of 46:25!

We have Clair Balding to thank for the famous “Mobot” pose.*  We have all come to recognise and love this signature sign.

With sugar coated cereal for breakfast, pasta for lunch and grilled chicken for dinner – Mo’s diet is what you would expect for an athlete and his coach’s secret formula energy drink clearly helps.  Yes, you need the training and the fuel, but as we all know, the winning formula is never complete without drive, determination and dedication blended in.  Mo has tons of that and he is very resilient too.  He runs about 130 miles a week and has an exhausting training regime – here is an example of a typical week.**

Monday
AM: 10-mile recovery run (6:00min/mile pace)
PM: 6-mile recovery run
Tuesday
AM: 4-mile warm-up run; 8-12mile tempo run anywhere from 4:40 to 5:00min/mile pace (depending on altitude and terrain); 3-mile cool-down run
NOON: Strength and conditioning session (1 hour)
PM: 6-mile recovery run
Wednesday
AM: 12-mile recovery run, followed by a massage.
PM: 5-mile recovery run
Thursday
AM: 11-mile recovery run
PM: 5-mile recovery run
Friday
AM: 4-mile warm-up jog; 10x200m intervals (with 200m recovery jogs) on grass in 29 seconds each rep; 10x200m hill sprints at equal effort, walk back down to recover; 4-mile cool-down run.
NOON: Strength and conditioning session (1 hour)
PM: 4-miles easy
Saturday
AM: 11-mile recovery run, massage
PM: 6-mile recovery run
Sunday
AM: 22-27 miles, no slower than marathon race pace + 1 minute (for Mo, this means 5:40min/mile)

So what is going on for Mo now?  If you watched it, you would have seen that Mo Farah just missed out on a fifth major championships distance double in a row as he finished second in the 5,000m at the 2017 World Athletics Championships. The 34-year-old, who won the 10,000m gold medal, was swamped by his rivals in the final lap and Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris broke clear to win gold. Britain’s Farah kicked again to take silver at the London Stadium in his final major track championships.

Our four-time Olympic champion will finished his track career with a record of 10 golds and two silvers in major championships. He announced he will focus on marathons after his final track appearance on 24 August where he won a thrilling 5,000m in the final track race of his career at the Diamond League event in Zurich.

More recently, Mo was joined by up to 57,000 people who took to the streets in the Great North Run.  Success again for Mo who won this event for the fourth time in a row.  The four-times Olympic champion won the elite men’s race in one hour and six seconds.

*** “It’s been a long journey but it’s been incredible,” Farah told BBC Sport in a recent interview.  We know that you are incredible Mo Farah.  All of us here at Eventrac wish you the very best of luck for the future and thank you for all those wonderful “MO” moments that inspire us all to keep on running!   We will continue to follow you with interest.

Information taken from:-

*Boomsbeat.com

**BBC Good Food

***BBC Sport 

 

Carbohydrates – a simple or complex debate?

Carbs are a hotly debated topic – apart from the old wives tales and myths, the running & fitness magazines are full of dietary tips and hints and carbohydrates get a lot of exposure both positive and negative.  Carbs have had a bit of a bad press of late.   We have special diets and recipes telling us one thing then are faced with the array of tubes, packets and boxes on the supermarket shelves all telling us what is in our food in different ways.   There is so much information being thrown at us that it is no wonder we are all a bit confused.  Of course, then there are always those who will quote what they believe to be true or love to share what works for them – and why not – the sporting community might be competitive but we do look after our own!   One thing is for certain, what we eat can have a huge impact on our physical well-being.

As sports persons we need to know what we need and when we need it to perform our best every time we get active. We also want to have an easy life and not spend hours slaving in the kitchen preparing complicated meals when we are on the run or just back from one! The battle of carbohydrate versus protein is just another distraction that takes us off our course and leaves us wondering what we should take in to keep our fitness levels fine tuned.

So what exactly is a Carbohydrate?  If you remember your school days, there are simple carbs and complex carbs. Carbohydrates are one of three nutrients that form a large part of our diet found in food – the others being fat and protein. Hardly any foods contain only one nutrient and most are a combination of carbohydrates, fats and proteins in varying amounts. There are three different types of carbohydrates found in food: sugar, starch and fibre.

Sugar is found naturally in some foods, including fruit, honey, fruit juices, milk (lactose) and vegetables. Other forms of sugar can be added to food and drink such as confectionary, biscuits and soft drinks during manufacture, or we can add when cooking or baking at home.

Starch is actually made up of many sugar units comprised together and is found in foods that come from plants. Starchy foods, such as bread, rice, pasta and potatoes, provide a slow and steady release of energy throughout the day.

Fibre is the name given to the diverse range of compounds found in the cell walls of foods that come from plants. Good sources of fibre include vegetables with skins on, wholegrain bread, whole wheat pasta and pulses (beans and lentils).

Being a time poor veggie, I am particularly fond of ingredients that provide a one stop shop of a healthy balance of calories, carbs, protein, fibre and fat. I often turn to those that are readily available from my local supermarket such as Quinoa, Bulgar Wheat, Durum Wheat (Macaroni), Whole Barley, Coucous (I love the giant variety), and if you hunt you can also get those less well known ones such as Cassava, Sago, Millet, Taro and Buckwheat (which can be a nice alternative to rice).  All of these contain carbohydrates and can be used as the basis for some brilliant and mouth watering recipies that don’t take hours to prepare but will keep well in the fridge.

Jane Griffin, a Sports Dietitian and Nutrition Consultant in an article entitled “Mood Foods” says that “Carbs are good” (I’m liking this lady) Jane says “The glucose in our blood comes from carbohydrate-rich foods and the body really likes to keep a steady level of blood glucose at all times…. The main sources of simple carbohydrates are fruit and fruit juices, milk and milk products, honey and sugar. Sources of complex carbohydrates include bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, breakfast cereals, pulses and sweetcorn. Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy in the diet, being the primary energy source for exercising muscles, the brain and central nervous system.

Just eating sensibly and not over indulging is the best advice and the bottom line is that Carbs can be good and bad for you. You just need to choose your carbs carefully. Check out this article by Nicole Lana Lee  which I found interesting to read.  It dispels some of the carbohydrate myths and offers some sound advice.

Perhaps just keeping an open mind, a balance of dietary information, a healthy dose of common sense  and eating sensibly will be your recipe for success.

A useless piece of information – did you know that the first known use of the word Carbohydrate was in 1851! We’ve come a long way since then on both the sporting and the dietician front haven’t we.

Got an opinion or do you want to share some advice? We would love to hear from you on this debate – or perhaps you might like to share your favourite recipe.  Please send comments or articles through to info@eventrac.co.uk*.

 

 

*submitted articles will be subject to approvals and we cannot offer any guarantee we will publish

Pure Hydration

Continuing the theme of elements (last month focussing on “earth” – ie Mud Runs), today’s blog turns to water. When you think of water you think of living! After all we could not be without it. Running round it, swimming through it, skating across it, sailing or rowing over it – water offers boundless opportunity in all its forms and dare I say it in in the company of athletes, its not half bad with a bit of gin poured over it when frozen into cubes!

I woke up thirsty this morning with H20 definitely on my mind this a very timely blog! Last weekend Hermes Running held the Bewl Water Half, Full and Ultra Marathon. Bewl is one of a series of events organised by lead organiser David Ross throughout the year and the courses circuit the reservoir that spans across the Kent/East Sussex Border. A hidden gem hidden behind woodland just off the main A21 London to Hastings Road, Bewl is not just a pretty sight – it is the largest reservoir in south east England providing drinking water for catchments across East Sussex and Kent. A superb place to circum-navigate. The three routes take in forested areas, open countryside trails overlooking the lake and along quiet country rural roads with record numbers taking part this year, loyal followers who return year on year for their Bewl fix plus many newcomers – it is a great event and you even get a medal with a fish on it! But, if you missed the “jewel that is Bewl” then don’t throw in your towel yet, you can still soak up the atmosphere – check out this Youtube video and a date for your calendar is coming very soon.

To drip feed you with an additional spot of good news – Bewl is only part of the Hermes Series journey which continues to navigate close to water as the events unfold – turning upstream this time to Surrey to follow the course of the Thames. There are two 2017 dates to choose from either 12th August or 4th November and even better a new date is about to be set for March 2018. Each date offers the option of a half or full marathon. Why not put the kettle on and check out this superb video produced by Stephen Cousins of FilmMyRun. Taking part in the marathon event himself last year – he offers great insight into the route, the people he meets on the way and gives his own honest and personal experience. His film which lasts just over 9 minutes – gives a great flavour to whet the appetite and steer you towards entry for either the August or November event this year.

What do they say – you can take a horse to water but you can’t make him drink! Ok so that’s enough of the watery puns – I promise. Seriously though hyrdration before, during and after an event involving strenuous exercise is important. There is a so much written about the subject it can be confusing but according to Matt Fitzgerald – author and Training Intelligence Specialist “the exercise hydration advice is in fact to drink according to your thirst. As long as you keep an adequate supply of palatable drink accessible during your runs, you will naturally drink enough to optimize your performance if you just drink as often and as much as your thirst dictates”. There are plenty of water stations on all the Hermes routes – make sure you get what you need.
Check out all the events that Eventrac has to offer – both watery and on dry land – a real cocktail of experiences to have with on us…

Cheers!

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

This weekend Ashdown Primary School are holding their annual mud run and will be having lots of fun raising funds for the school PTA.  We wish the families and kids taking part well and hope they raise loads for their PTA.  This muddy experience has prompted me to look into the mud event phenomena.  Ashdown join a host of other event organisers who are turning to mud to challenge and entertain and a whole industry has sprung up in recent years. Mud is gaining ground!

Its not uncommon on a weekend to see exhausted people walking along the road covered head to toe in the brown stuff looking like they have been dragged behind a tractor on a rainy day!  The dirtier you get, it seems, the better you will feel and yes, this is exercise!

Crawling through tight muddy tunnels, wading across icy water, dodging electric wires and jumping over fire. This is not everyone’s idea of fun – but a multimillion-pound industry has grown on the back of increasing numbers of women and men doing just that.  A recent BBC article:  Mud, Sweat and Cheers,  gives some fantastic and seemingly incredulous examples around the world of mud and challenge runs that would make you feel dirty and exhausted just looking at the photos and leave the reader wondering  how on earth anyone makes it to the finish line alive!  (I quickly step in here and say don’t be alarmed – a primary school’s event will be very safe and they won’t be doing all of that!)

But what draws participants to these ultimate challenge events?  Perhaps lives have just become too clean and safe.  Perhaps there is a need to reconnect with the experiences of ancestors who had to endure extreme hardship just to survive. Perhaps these events are seen as the next level of endurance race.  Everyone may have a different reason to take part but once you do, what appears consistent is that you become well and truly embedded in the concept.

Spending time in mud is good for us too apparently.   A Telegraph article written (about children) last year by Linda Blair: Mind Healing the Psychology of Getting Dirty: tells us that parents should encourage children to get muddy.  It says that there are many advantages and cites “Spending time outside encourages the production of endorphins, our natural painkillers that trigger feelings of wellbeing and being outdoors helps set our biological clock and promotes more restful sleep”. Ashdown Primary may be leading the way here!

Well done if you have taken part your own mud challenge. We look forward to hearing how you do and good luck to all in the Ashdown Primary School event this weekend.

Useful links:

Obstacle Course Race Association is a governing body formed to ensure that this type of event is safe – check out http://www.ocrauk.org.uk.  “Train safe, Race safe.”

PHOTO by Steven L. Shepard, Presidio of Monterey Public Affairs