Whoop! Whoop! I can’t believe it – almost time for the first track session since March! Not that we’ve been slacking while track was closed, as this week’s race report by newshound Greg shows:

Greg’s news story

“The penultimate race in BRR’s virtual 5k handicap series took centre-stage this week and once again there was a new winner; this time Rabea Begum took the win, smashing her handicap time by 2 minutes and 11 seconds. Rabea was followed by Gopal Myilsamy who bettered his time by 1:16 and Kevin Wotton, 0:55 inside his handicap. In all, six of the 21 runners beat their handicap this time.

With one race to go, Gopal Myilsamy has now gone to the top of the leaderboard with 490 points. But, with three runners in joint 2nd place on 455 points (long-time competition leader Nehal Patel,  Trevor Cooper, and Jason Li) there is still all to play for in the final race in two weeks’ time.

Colin Jones completed his 853 mile Lands End to John O’Groats virtual run. A fantastic effort by Colin, BRR’s endurance runner extraordinaire, who completed the run in less than four weeks and finished in 6th place overall.


Hope you’re all looking forward to track on Tuesday. A reminder that we won’t be able to use the building as we usually do (access for leaving bags, loos, and washing hands only) so let’s hope the weather is a bit better than it has been over the weekend. You will be asked to complete a Covid pre-activity questionnaire before we start. If you are feeling poorly, or have been in contact with anyone with Covid symptoms, please stay away.

We plan to do a timed mile but, as we will have to socially distance the start line, and stay distanced in lanes, please bring your sports watch – if you have one – to time yourself. Rob and I will then compile the results. In the event that there is a problem with the track after all these months, we will switch to a hill training session on the Mayesbrook hill. Here’s the session, if you want to prepare mentally:

Jeff Galloway’s Magic Mile

  1. Warm-up by walking
  2. Run a minute, walk a minute
  3. Run 800m EASY
  4. 4 x 50m strides – accelerate but DON’T SPRINT
  5. Run the mile
  6. Warm-down by reversing the warm-up

Debbie has kindly offered to do a 5-10 minute abs session afterwards as there will be no HIIT session on Tuesday. So be prepared to work hard!

This Sunday – the Tad 5

Hope to see a lot of you in Hainault Forest at 10.00am on 2nd August for the BRR Tad 5, the Club’s new trail race. The distance is a tad over five miles, starting near the Global Cafe. The course should be reasonably familiar to those of you who have done the hill work warm-up loop, or who did our XC race earlier in the year, but we should have some marshals out there to show the way. I’ve also got a big bag of out-of-date yellow split peas to help mark the course – your goal is to find your way around before the wildlife eats them!

Garmin workaround

He won’t see this, but thanks to Barking parkrunner Richard Newman for posting details of how you can upload your Garmin data to Strava while Garmin Connect is down (sob). Access the article from the Guardian website here.

Sad news

Some of you will be aware that Cristina’s Mum lost her fight with cancer last week. I’m sure you’ll all join me in sending Cristina and Trevor our condolences, and our thanks for processing the handicap results at what must be a very difficult time for them both.

Barking (Not)parkrun

Another week without proper parkrun and no sign of it starting again in England any time soon. So sad, as it would have been Barking parkrun’s 8th birthday on Saturday (as well as BRR member and parkrun hero Mick Moohan’s birthday) so a good excuse for lots of cake. But at least we have (not)parkrun to partially fill the parkrun-shaped hole. In overall first place at Barking (not)parkrun this week was Belinda in 23:45, followed by Jason (26:11), Greg (29:56) and Sarah (33:06 and a new PB!). Lovely to see Belinda’s family also taking part this week and finishing in excellent times.


Well done to Cristina who, despite everything she has been through this week, managed to complete a virtual Ironman distance Tri, consisting of a 39.32k swim, 184k cycle, and 44.3k run. All of that in 13.55 hours. Makes me feel tired just thinking about it!

At the other end of the spectrum, I completed the Go-Tri distance – 3.75k run, 10k cycle – of the Leeds Virtual Duathlon on my trusty tricycle (Go-Tri means Go-Tricycle, right?). I finished 222 out of 233, almost exactly an hour slower than the winner (his time 28:25, my time 1:28:58) but at least I wasn’t last and I’m proud to have completed my longest-ever cycle, especially as I’ve been diagnosed with a stress fracture. Better follow doctor’s orders and start resting now.

Is more really more?

We all know that it is important to build rest and recovery days into our training plans (you do have a training plan, don’t you?). Rest and recovery days are as essential to our training as the exercise itself. It is during the down time of a rest day that our bodies become stronger. During the rest phase, our bodies adapt to the physical stresses we have placed upon them, preventing overuse injuries, allowing for restoration of glycogen stores, giving the body time to heal and repairing any soft tissue damage, and preventing mental burnout.

But, being bonkers runners, we are always wanting to do more in the belief that more running means better and faster running. If you are thinking of adding extra days to your training plan, here’s how to do it sensibly, according to running coach Jeff Gaudette:

  • Time it right: Try it when you have no races coming up, or early in a new training plan. ‘This gives you the opportunity to experiment without ruining race preparation,’ says Gaudette.
  • Test it: Start by adding a short, easy run – about half the distance of a typical easy day for you. Injuries, anxiety or bad sleep should prompt a return to your previous schedule.
  • Assess it: After a few weeks, take stock. Maintain the frequency if you feel good, but scale back if you note signs of overtraining such as fatigue or slow performances.
  • Step it up: Once you know the extra day won’t break you, add a mile every two weeks until you match your other easy days. Then you can add short bursts of faster running if you like.

If you’re gonna do it do it right – crunches

Target: abdominals

Crunches improve posture, stabilise the core muscles and contribute to a healthy back. Common mistakes that reduce the effectiveness of a stomach crunch are tucking the chin into your chest, jerking up into a crunch, raising yourself too high off the floor, and not keeping your abs contracted throughout the exercise.

All the work should come from the abs, not the neck. If done properly, you shouldn’t feel any strain in the neck. Doing hundreds of them is probably a waste of time. No matter how many crunches you do, you won’t get a 6-pack if your abs are hidden under layers of fat.

How to do a crunch correctly:

  • Curl up until your shoulders are about 3 inches off the floor.
  • Don’t tuck your neck into your chest as you rise – imagine a tennis ball between your chin and chest.
  • Contract your abs throughout the exercise.
  • Don’t jerk your head off the floor.
  • Keep breathing!

And finally…

As you’ll all be aware, Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee’s long-awaited report into Russian meddling in the UK was published last week, but some of the content was withheld due to its highly sensitive nature.  However, I have been able to pull strings and access some of the most sensitive information. Please treat confidentially. Of course, relations between the Club and the Russians have soured somewhat since the Garmin Connect fiasco… read the report page here.


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