Howdie Road Runners!

This weekend was mainly about the Chingford League, with the fifth race in this year’s series, which also doubled up as race #04 in the BRR internal cross-country competition. It has to be said, there was nothing easy about the Epping Forest course, with hills and mud, mud, glorious mud making it difficult to even stand up in some places, let alone run! So well done to everyone who took part, and thanks to Greg for the write-up. We still stand in a good position to gain promotion if we can put out strong teams for the next race, a civilised 5-miler on tarmac in Victoria Park on 5 February.

If you ‘enjoyed’ running in Epping Forest (and I loved it…once the race was over), look out for the John Clarke Memorial Race, which usually takes place on the evening of the Friday nearest to Midsummer’s Day on roughly the same course (bits of it, anyway). It is the only category A Fell Race inside the M25, which means it must average not less than 50 metres climb per kilometre. The 2021 race was 5.5k long and had 277m of climb. A real challenge, should you choose to accept it, only a few quid to enter and there is a free drink at the end. Lovely!

Athletics in the News

Athletics Weekly has reported that Laura Muir will attempt to break the women’s 1,000m world record at the Müller Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham on Saturday 19th February.

Muir already holds the British and European indoor 1000m record, a feat she achieved with a time of 2:31.93 in Birmingham in 2017. But the world record dates back to 1999 when Maria Mutola ran the distance in a time of 2:30.94 in Stockholm.

Muir plans to run the race as part of her preparations for the 2022 season. Speaking about the world record attempt, she said:

“I ran the British and European record of 2:31.93 on this track in 2017 which made me the second fastest of all time over the distance, so I would love to try and go one better and break the world indoor record.

“It won’t be an easy record to break – it has stood since 1999 – but the track is fast and the crowd in Birmingham are great, so hopefully I can run it close.”

I expect she will be eating a lot of Müller Light yoghurt in the lead up to the race. Muir (Diamond League AG)

BRR in Action

(Courtesy of Greg ‘the newshound’ Adams)

Barking Road Runners competed in Round 5 of the Chingford League this week which also doubled up as round 4 of the Club’s own cross-country series. Hosted by Orion Harriers on a new course in Epping Forest which was variously described as tough, brutal, hellish, fun and a ‘proper’ cross-country course, featuring large hills and lots of mud. Only the provisional results have been released so far and the men’s team are still in with a good chance of promotion with only one race and the relays left in the competition.

BRR had 20 runners competing on the day and first finisher for the men was Joe Stacey followed by Stuart Mackay and Owen Wainhouse. First finisher for the ladies was Jess Collett followed by Rosanna Fforde and Joyce Golder. Other BRR runners were Belinda Riches, Isobel Pinedo Borobio, Alison Fryatt, Colin Jones, Adrian Davison, Nehal Patel, Ron Vialls, Martin O’Toole, Gary Harford, Jason Li, Martin Mason, Les Jay, Dennis Spencer-Perkins and Rob Courtier.

With one round of BRR’s winter cross country series remaining the leaders currently are Jess Collett, Joyce Golder and Isobel Pinedo Borobio for the women and Joe Stacey, Gary Harford and Jason Li for the men.

BRR parkrunners

Barking Park

Peter Jackson 18:01, Andy Hiller 26:18, John Lang 26:20, Sally Bridge 27:43, Cristina Cooper 30:42, Greg Adams 30:52, Nikki Cranmer 35:30, Dawn Blake 35:31, Jenni Birch 42:51, Micky Ball 46:28 and Alan Murphy 48:02.

Chelmsford Central 

Vicki Groves 31:52.

East Brighton

Rory Burr 26:05.

Raphaels Park

Martin Brooks 27:31.

Bleep Test – Improving your score

Well done to everyone who took part in the bleep test at track last week and apologies for the teething problems – we will do better next time, I promise you! We are hoping to repeat the bleep test every three months so, while the organisers are improving our technical skills, you can train to improve your bleep test score. The added bonus is that you will also improve your general fitness, which will benefit your running.

As the beep test is a measure of your aerobic fitness, the best way to improve your score is to focus on improving that aspect of your fitness but you will also have realised that you need good technique too.

The bleep test gradually builds up from a slow jog to fast sprints. The exercise relies on both the aerobic and anaerobic systems (lactate tolerance), as well the factors of running speedacceleration and agility playing a part in the final test result. Below are some suggestions for different training sessions you can include. The specific sessions you do will depend on your current fitness level and ability, and other factors such as time constraints and availability of equipment. Make sure you have a least 1-2 days of rest each week to avoid burn out and aid recovery.

Aerobic Fitness

To significantly improve your beep test score you need to do specific and general aerobic-type training. The key is to do a variety of distances and intensities to best stimulate the aerobic system, making sure that you are working at a high enough intensity so that adaptation takes place.

Example training session ideas:

  • long slow running.
  • 3-5 x 1 mile or km runs at 75% effort
  • circuit training – incorporating whole body activities (running, cycle, stepper), and body weight exercises.

Running speed is particularly important when nearing the end of the beep test. Improving running speed starts by improving flexibility, and following a range of sprint drills (high knees, leg flicks etc.) and focusing on technique. Plyometric training (bounding) and other strength and power training can improve your acceleration. For improving maximum speed, nothing beats…running at maximum speed! Try a series of maximum effort sprints over distances such as 20, 40 and 60 metres, with recovery period between sprints.

Turning ability and acceleration are important in the beep test, as you need to quickly pick up the pace at the start of the sprint, turn efficiently, and accelerate out of the turn. It is important to include short acceleration runs in your training, and incorporate change of direction drills too. Field hockey and Australian Rules football, which require both speed and agility, feature heavily in the list of top bleep tests.

Test Specific Training

As well as following the training guidelines above, it would be wise to replicate the actual elements of the beep test in training so the body adapts to those specific demands of the test, and you are able to practice running at the required pace and to work on your running and turning techniques under test conditions. You should do a practice beep test about a week before the actual bleep test. There are plenty of bleep test apps that you can use to practice your technique.

BRR Diary

You can find further information about all Club events on the BRR TeamUp app. Just install the TeamUp app onto your phone, then enter the calendar key for Barking Road Runners when asked: ks67p21gt8p5gzdo66.

Saturday 22 January to Friday 28 January – Virtual Handicap #02. Still plenty of time to submit your virtual 5k run for the second handicap in the winter competition. You must remember to submit your time on the results WhatsApp Group by Midnight on Friday or your result won’t count.

7.00pm, Tuesday 25 January – Speed Development. Jim Peter’s Stadium. It’s the last Tuesday in the month and that means – the timed mile! As usual, afterwards we will do some 300ms with 100m recovery. For a change, the last 50 metres or so of each 300 will be a sprint. What fun!

 7.00pm, Thursday 27 January – road run from Jo Richardson School/Castle Green Centre. Usually around 5 miles.

 Saturday 5 February to 11 February – Virtual Handicap #03.

11.00am, Saturday 5 February – Chingford League #06, 5-miler. VPTHAC Club House, Victoria Park, Cadogan Terrace, Hackney, E9 5EG. After the rigours of Epping Forest, a civilised, pancake flat, road race all on tarmac within the park.

10.30am, Sunday 13 February – Ilford 10-mile XC. Hainault Forest. Only £7/9 and good preparation for the Brentwood Half. More details on Team-Up. Entry via:

10.00am, Sunday 20 February – Club XC05. Around 5 miles. Hainault Forest. The last race in the BRR internal XC competition.

10.00am, Sunday  27 February – South Essex Cross-Country League #01. South Weald Country Park. Due to higher fees being charged by the Essex Country Parks, this year organisers are charging £5 per entry. The Club will pay £2 each of the entry fee, so you will only need to pay £3. More details to follow nearer the time.

BRR Grand Prix Competition

Each year – Covid allowing – the Club holds its own, internal Grand Prix competition. The Grand Prix consists of 10 races, which must include at least one 5 miles, 10k, 10 miles, and half marathon race. The Committee selects a range of races in the East London and South Essex area. As for our other competitions, 100 points are awarded for first place, 99 for second and so on, with separate scoring for men and women (first claim only). Each member’s best six results from the 10 races count towards their overall score. Trophies are awarded to male and female for first second and third place. The races selected so far are listed below. You can find further details on TeamUp. We’ll select the remaining four races as more events are announced but note that there won’t be any GP races before Brentwood.

  • 20 March – Brentwood Half Marathon
  • 10 April – St. Clare 10k
  • 22 May – Great Baddow 10
  • 5 June – Thames Chase 10k
  • 18 September – Ingatestone 5
  • 9 October – Tiptree 10

Training Plans – the Long Run

Last week we looked at the easy run. This week we are following it with the long run. Why? Because the long run is just like the easy run but…longer! Most of us will already be doing a long run each week; it is a central component of the training plan for endurance athletes. The main benefits of the long run are:

Efficiency improves as your body more efficiently burns fat at low to moderate intensity

Running economy improves so you are running faster at sub maximal heart rates.

The strength of your heart also improves resulting in a larger stroke volume and lower resting heart rate.

What constitutes a long run will depend on your current level of running. But, if you already have a good base of distance running, you are probably talking about an hour upwards. The following rule of thumb is suggested:

5k/10k runners: there is no need to run for more than two hours.
Half marathon runners: keep it race distance or less.
Marathon runners: gradually build long run distance to just over two-thirds of the race distance, no more than 18-20 miles (29-32 km) or three hours.

Ultra runners: ask Colin Jones!

Remember the principle of progressive overload. If your longest run at the moment is an hour, don’t rush out and do two hours all at once. Increasing by 10-15 minutes at a time is a sensible increase and will reduce the risk of over-use injuries. Your long runs don’t have to be fast runs; they are more about time on feet than blasting out high speeds.

Athletes commonly have “no pain, no gain” mentality – unless they’re pushing hard, they believe there are no benefits. With the long run, slowing down is key. Most of your long runs should be easy and it might feel painfully slow if you are new to them, but that is better than starting too fast and fading, so you are unable to complete the run. You should aim to keep your long runs at conversation pace, or a pace that you can sustain over a long time e.g. at least two minutes per mile slower than your current 10k race pace. This will build your body’s ability to burn stored fats and ensure you are fresh for your other quality sessions mid-week.

Consistency over time is more important that frequency. Unless you are planning to run ultra distances, one long run a week is enough. And your body will benefit from ‘cut back’ weeks, where you reduce the length of your long run every four weeks or so.

For the best recovery and adaptations, fuelling before, during and after is important. Start fuelling early into your long run and ensure you’re also getting enough fluids, especially once you are running for 90 minutes or more. This isn’t a ‘nice to do’ – it will help to improve your performance. Fuelling soon after a long run is equally important. The 30 minutes after a long run is seen as the ‘golden window’ in which you should take on board some carbs, protein and fluids to replenish your fuel stores, and restore and strengthen your muscles, leading to faster recovery do you live to run another day.

Some people recommend doing your long run in the morning, so you are not fatigued from the day’s activities or from a long day at work. Most races are contested in the morning so it is ideal to set your biorhythms to the time of your next event, but you have to work around your lifestyle so, if the afternoon or evening works better for you, do your long run then.

Cracker Corner – in honour of Epping Forest

A man and a pile of mud had a race… the mud won by a landslide.

I recently overcame an addiction to rolling in mud…I’ve been clean for six months.

I told the waitress in the Daily Munch that my coffee tasted like mud. ‘It should do’ she said ‘it was fresh ground this morning’.

I’m not saying I’m unfit… but I tried mud wrestling and the mud won.

And finally…

I got an email from Eventim Apollo last week telling me that tickets were now available for the Vaccines. Imagine my disappointment when I realised it was a band, not an invitation to my next Covid jab…

Happy Running



BRR Chair










Leave a reply

©2022 KLEO Template a premium and multipurpose theme from Seventh Queen