This week you have a collaboration between me (Alison) and our newshound, Greg. We’ve submitted an article to the B&D Post – let’s see if they print anything!

As all racing, parkruns, and club training events are currently suspended, BRR members are having to do their training runs solo for now.  Not knowing when racing or group running will start again is making it hard to even to get out of the door sometimes. To help provide motivation some members have competed in virtual events, such as the virtual iron man which Trevor and Cristina Cooper take part in. Also, Debbie Coyle continues to put members through their paces with HIIT work outs on zoom or Instagram several times a week.

BRR Handicap

With restrictions on mass gatherings and social distancing still in place, BRR decided to hold the first race of this year’s handicap series as a virtual time trial. The runners in the seven race series are handicapped in relation to how far inside forty minutes they should complete 5k. Organiser Trevor Cooper works out their handicap using either last year’s times, recent parkrun or race results or, if the runner has none of these, the first race will be used to work out their handicap. Runners were given a bit of leniency on the handicaps and six days to complete their Time Trial on any 5k course. Several runners used the usual handicap course in Barking Park, while one runner did theirs in Miami we believe.

A total of 28 runners competed and the overall winner, with her fastest 5k for two years, was Cristina Cooper in a time of 26:47 (4:02 inside her handicap) followed by Alison Fryatt 32:20, (-3:20) and Colin Jones 20:16, (-2:31). In total 12 runners bettered their handicap and will be faced with a tougher handicap next time. Race number two is scheduled for two weeks’ time.

Fitness Test

This week’s fitness test is of your balance. Balance is extremely important in running. When you run you’re either airborne or have just one foot on the ground at all times, and your centre of gravity is moving forward. Only half of the energy your body uses during running actually goes towards forward propulsion. The other half goes toward preventing yourself from falling down. It takes a lot of effort for your body to continuously adjust its alignment to keep you upright while moving. If you can reduce the energy you have to put into balancing, the more energy you will have for running: better balance equals better running. But our sense of balance declines as we get older if we don’t work on it.

The test – Standing Stork. With bare feet, place your right foot against your left leg, above the knee. Time how long you can hold your balance. Stop timing when your foot slips or you lose your balance. Repeat on the other side, as the two times together and halve to get your average balancing time:

More than 50 seconds – great

26-49 seconds – good, but could be better

25 seconds or less – oh dear, get practicing your balance NOW!

To improve your balance, take any opportunity to stand on one leg; while cleaning your teeth, waiting for the kettle to boil, in the queue for the supermarket etc. Exercises to strengthen your lower body – such as squats and lunges – will also help.

Virtual Training Plan

We’re on week eight of the virtual training plan, and our second recovery week. Recovery is just as important to your training as running itself. If you’re constantly running flat out your body never has the chance to repair and adapt itself to the training loads you have placed upon it. This week’s plan can be found here.

Final thoughts..

I found myself on Sunday doing something I never dreamed I’d do: going to Hainault early to try and avoid my clubmates. It’s great to see people when you’re out and about (both Gary and Stuart flew past me and had a quick chat as I trundled around the forest) but please do keep a sensible distance for now. It would be awful if one of us became ill or worse when we are almost through this. So, please pardon me if I see you and cross the road – it’s for your own good!

Take care


BRR Chair


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