The 2020 handicap series – the show must go on

The minutes of the BRR Committee meeting explained that we will be starting this year’s handicap competition as a virtual contest. All you have to do is complete a 5k run in the week between Monday 14th May and midnight on Saturday 19th May. You can run the usual course in Barking Park but any 5k course will do. Send your result to Trevor Cooper by personal message no later than noon on Sunday. If you can send a screenshot from Garmin Connect, Strava etc to verify your result, that would be helpful. Trevor will then combine the individual results, apply the handicaps, and issue the overall results. No £10 prize but then no £1 entry fee either! We’re hoping some of you will submit photos too. We’ll try and get an article in the B&D Post but, if not, your achievements will be captured in the blog. Depending how long the lockdown lasts for, we will continue with the virtual handicap races every fortnight.

You may have seen that the Horndon 10k has been cancelled for 2020 and has offered either an 80% refund of entry fees or to carry forward entries to 2021. For those of you who had entered and are trying to decide what to do, I thought I should let you know that we had already decided not to select Horndon as a Grand Prix next year, as it sells out so quickly that it is difficult to get a place. If many entries are carried forward from this year, it’s likely to be even more difficult. That said, I’m carrying my place forward as it’s always a good day out and I do so love running those hills!

Test your cardio strength

The latest copy of Runner’s World magazine includes a guide to home workouts. I’m sure most of you already have an exercise routine that you are following (and many of us are continuing to ‘enjoy’ Debbie’s high intensity interval training sessions), but the guide includes a seven fitness tests I thought might be helpful. I’ll share them over the next few weeks.

The first is a test of your cardiovascular strength. A strong heart can pump more blood with each beat, delivering more oxygen to your muscles so they can perform at their best. The photo shows how you can test if your current cardiovascular strength is fair, good or great. Give it a go, and then try some hill work to improve your strength whatever your current level of fitness. As Rob has mentioned on WhatsApp, the hills in Mayesbrook Park near Lodge Avenue are great. After warming-up, run uphill at just under 10k pace, then jog slowly back down. Repeat six times if you are rated as fair, eight times if rated as good or ten times if rated as great.

Talking of strength, well done to the Coopers (Cristina and Trevor) who have been busily competing against each other in the international Ironman Virtual Club. The Club is holding a series of virtual races consisting of a 5k run, 90k cycle and 21k run. Cristina completed VR5 in 5.49.24 (I couldn’t find a result for Trevor).  Other members have been busy taking part in the more gentle parkrun-a-word challenge (completing a run that includes road names the first letters of which than spell out a parkrun-related word). So far we have run parkrun, barcode, and marshal.

Virtual Training Plan

This week’s plan (here) includes a timed 5k run in the schedule for anyone that wants to do it (good preparation for the virtual handicap race next week). The focus for this week is driving from the hip/glutes. Driving from the hips happens from the moment your foot hits the floor and comes under your hips until the moment it leaves the ground again and goes into the ‘recovery phase’. This is the part of your stride that creates propulsion and the more power you put through this stage the faster you will be. Your glute (bum) is your strongest muscle so it’s important to use it at this stage. A large part of being able to have a good hip/glute-drive is flexibility in the hips, which allow for your legs to extend fully behind you (followed by your knee then ankle) and push off from the ground. If you don’t have the flexibility you will invariably have quicker and shorter strides and rely on your hamstrings, calves and ankles to generate power which increase the chances of calf and tendon issues in the lower leg. Hips also cushion the forces from your lower body and upper-body when running, and having good strength and flexibility in this are stops your upper body from moving around when you are running which again affects the stride. Exercises for strengthening your hips include single leg deadlifts (good for balance, too), side lying leg lifts, and single leg bridges.

And finally…Barking portrait club

My favourite battle of the week has definitely been the battle of the portraits. So hard to choose between Dennis’ self-portrait and Paul Withyman’s portrait of his friend.


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