Posts Tagged ‘The running Academy’

10 things you never knew about ultra running

September 19, 2014 at 4:25
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Ever thought about running an ‘ultra’? Growing fast in popularity, ultra running offers an incredible experience and stunning scenery. Here Fitbitch ultra coach, Sarah Perkins reveals her top ten insider tips to ultra running..

Ultra running offers stunning landscapes and an escape from the norm

Women rule

Ultra running is one of the few sports where age and gender don’t matter. Infact, being female and slightly older can be an advantage. 

Because women have more body fat, we have more energy for longer races. And while we usually lose speed over short distances as we age, our endurance capability gets stronger with the right training. So, the longer the race, the small the gender gap in terms of performance. It is not uncommon for women to be the outright winner of ultras, including the 2012 Grand Union Canal race of 145 miles.

Ultra Therapy

Ultra running is incredibly therapeutic and you will learn things about yourself that may surprise and/or disappoint you. Whichever way, you’ll gain a better understanding of yourself, both weaknesses and strengths. Celebrate these new insights and work to change what you don’t like.

What to eat

How much to eat, what to choose and how to avoid an upset stomach quickly becomes a hot topic amongst ultra runners. Some runners do best on real food, such as sandwiches, cheese and nuts while others happily run on gels, Haribos and energy drinks.

I’ve found that eating lots of carbohydrates early on in an ultra can easily make me crash. I prefer to nibble on fatty foods which provide me with a steady supply of energy without a sugar spike.  Either way, it‘s vital to try out what works for you on training runs and not during a race.

Friends for life

Runners are naturally a friendly bunch but there is something about the challenge of an ultra which is incredibly bonding. You will never meet a friendlier bunch of people. Compared to the other sports I have done, ultra runners are the most down to earth, friendly, humble, inspiring, and cheerful people.

Get used to hearing ‘Don’t over do it’

You may have turned from an overweight, smoking, lazy, alcoholic coach potato into a fit, healthy runner capable of running great distances,  yet for some reason, people will be more worried about your health than ever before. Don’t be put off by people trying to put you off.

It’s addictive

You start with a 30 mile race, and before you know it, you are signing up for 100+mile events and planning all your family, social and other commitments around it. A clear sign that it has become the norm is when your kids start measuring distances in marathon units. “How many marathons is your race on Saturday, Mum?”


Get ready to dive into a whole new world of chafing in places you never thought possible. Not to worry as you will soon be experimenting with an equal number of lubricating products, and the pre-race session of rubbing, smearing and rolling the products onto various body parts will become an entertaining but essential part of the routine.

Forget pedicures

Don’t get too attached to your toe nails. Expect to lose one, two, three or even more. This will be rewarded with a great level of respect from other runners and photos of said nail-free toes, raw feet, blistered faces, chafed backs and broken limbs get high viewings and earn kudos on social media.  And don’t worry, your toe nails will grow back.

Pit stops

Worrying about where to go to the toilet on a race is something that preoccupies lots of people. On an ultra, you don’t need to worry because there is so much space and not as many runners.

Expect an incredibly scenic experience, although you may have to use what nature has to offer instead of toilet roll. Some races do have portable toilets but I  would always choose a flowering shrub over a smelly plastic toilet.

It hurts

Running a marathons hurts, so running twice, three times, or even more than that distance is going to be painful.  Your feet may hurt, your head, legs, back and more besides but it is all worth it. The euphoric feeling of crossing that finish line and the wonderful afterglow that stays with you for weeks makes all the effort worthwhile. Even if can’t get down the stairs without assistance for a few days.

We will be holding a workshop with Sarah and performance sports psychologist, Midgie Thompson on The Runner’s Mind this Autumn. It will form part of our Performance strand open to men and women.To keep abreast of our workshop programme, please sign up to our newsletter on the home page or follow us on Facebook.
Sarah Perkins is also available for coaching sessions. For info and prices please contact 

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New Season Shoes – Brooks Autumn Winter 2012

September 14, 2012 at 4:23
Posted by Rachael Woolston


While Grazia, Stylist, Marie Claire, Elle and The Observer magazine are full of this season’s new heels and winter boots, we are just as excited about the Autumn running shoe collection.

Back in July we were invited the view the Brooks Pure Collection range, which boasts three different shoes to suit runners from neutral to over pronation – the Pure Connect, Pure Flow (both £95), Pure Cadence, £100, and their trail shoe version, Pure Grit, £95.

These are cushioned shoes and so are not barefoot but are Brooks version of an entry level to minimalist running. They include  a toe flex which allows the big toe to function independently for a a more efficient toe-off propulsion and are much lighter than other traditional running shoes on the market.

For runners used to supportive shoes, these will feel  noticeably lighter and more natural and would be good for experienced runners who want to try something less supportive. For those used to a more minimalist shoe though they may feel too restrictive.

I have run in the Pure Cadence shoe for over a year, and while I liked them at first, I now find them too structued and they make my feet and ankles feel restricted. But the Cadence is their most structured shoe in the line so  the other types might feel different.

Plus, Brooks are due to launch Pure Drift in Spring 2013, for a more natural feel.

Our other top picks are the Pure Grit, which has been developed with the help of one of the world’s greatest ultra runners, Scott Jurek of Born to Run fame. TheMen’s Running Editor was also raving about this shoe at the launch and we are currently reviewing these, along with the  Racer St 5, £75

This latter shoe could be the answer for those training for a marathon as they are super light shoe, but feature cushioning that kicks in when you are tired.

As you run long distance, your muscles fatigue which can dramatically change your stride, gait and bio mechanics causing many runners to over -pronate. This is when the support of the Racer St 75, would kick in providing support.

Midway through my training for the Lake Garda Marathon in October, I will be reporting back.

All that tech stuff but what about how they look? We are loving the colour ranges, particularly those with our brand colour purple.

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