Some things to keep in mind before running a Marathon/Ultra Marathon.

I have a look at some points to remember before you face a marathon or ultramarathon. This should be helpful for Comrades runners.


Mike Roscoe.

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Getting some Running Shoe stuff off my chest.

I want to get some running and shoe related stuff off my chest. So, while hopefully not offending too many, here goes –

  1. Running shoes should not be called ‘takkies’. Ever. They are amazing pieces of equipment that are designed to protect you from anything from hard road surfaces to slippery rocks. I study them, run in them, admire them, and blog about them. To use the word ‘takkie’ is, well, tacky.
  2. Many runners come to us to find out if they pronate. The subject is a complex one. You can read a bit more about it here. Here are some of the basics:
    – almost all runners pronate.
    – pronation is one of the body’s mechanisms to help reduce shock, therefore, pronation is not the enemy.
    – too much pronation, however, can cause issues. Injuries such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, runner’s knee and certain hip and lower back issues can be exacerbated by pronation.
    So, in short, you probably do pronate. The question is, how much do you pronate?
  3. With point two fresh in our minds, please get the terminology right. I have been asked the following on numerous occasions, “Am I a pronate?” You are not a pronate in as much as you also could not be classified as a run. You might just be a runner who happens to be a pronator.running shoes
  4. Running shops are to blame for some of the confusion caused by shoes. Most shops split the shoes into two groups, Neutral and Antipronators. My issue is as follows, some shoes are really neutral and some do a lot of correction. A Nike Free is very different to a Saucony Ride. Both would end up in the neutral section and yet, some runners who don’t over pronate in a Ride, would pronate heavily in a Nike Free. There is a world of difference between a Brooks Ravenna and an Asics GT 3000. The Ravenna offers some support, whereas the GT 3000 offers lots of support. Too much support in an antipronator, and you could pick up all sorts of injuries, too little support in a neutral shoe, and you could also pick up injuries. The shoe needs to be matched to the runner.
    running shoes
  5. Don’t worry about color. If the shoe works, ignore its color. Besides, you don’t, or shouldn’t be, looking down at your shoes when you run. You don’t go to your GP and request only orange colored antibiotics.
  6. Realize that running shoes change. I have heard this all too often – “I have been running injury free in the same pair of shoes for the last 10 years, and now, suddenly, I have an injury. It’s a fact: Every running shoe company tries to improve on their last running shoe. This typically happens on a yearly basis. Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they don’t. Don’t get locked into a specific shoe. Things change, you might need to as well. The biggest change that I have seen over the last few years is the leaving of Simon Bartold from Asics. His design principles could be detected in every Asics running shoe that he worked on. He left, some shoes changed, some generally stayed the same. Shift happens.
  7. Know what mileage you have on your shoes. You can program your gps watch to keep track of mileage or, if like me you like to write each workout down, then keep a running total of your km run. A running shoe should typically last for about 900 to 1000 km. I have had people who have come in after owning a shoe for a year and a half. I have asked them about the distance run in the shoe and they have estimated that they have not run more than 800 km in the shoe. The maths looks something like this – 800km divided by 18 months implies that they have run 44 km per month. That’s 11 km per week.  Faced with that, suddenly people tell you that they typically have done two 8km runs per week, with a 5 km and a 12 over the weekend. That’s 33 km per week – or, 2376km over one and a half years!  You are really trying to get injured at that point.

See you on the road soon,

Mike Roscoe

Mike Roscoe.

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Training – Plans and Principles.

I think we are agreed on this: Exercise is vital. Johnathan Shaw writes the following in the Harvard Magazine –training plans and programs

We are obviously involved in helping swimmers, cyclists, and runners, and so I have a better understanding of endurance sports versus things like cross fit etc.
Endurance sport people are fortunate, especially in South Africa, as there is no shortage of races or events that you can attend.

Some important points.

  • Move daily. Your physical and mental health is dependent on that.
  • If you are really disciplined, you might not need the benefit of training partners or races.
  • Less disciplined people might benefit from being in a training group and/or having the added pressure of an upcoming event. I am currently helping people trying to get ready for their first 10k event, right through to half and full Ironmen events, Comrades etc.

I really like what Seneca wrote in his Moral Letters, “Life without design is erratic. As soon as one is in place, principles become necessary”. Let’s relate this to training.

training plans and principles

My year tends to split itself up into a few seasons. They typically look something like this –

  • A time when I don’t have any immediate race coming up. I typically train between 6 to 7 times per week during this time. Let’s call this, ‘light training’.
  • A time when I add a few races in, just for the fun of it. I adapt my training towards these events. Let’s call this, ‘medium training’.
  • A big event or two, such events have included Comrades, Transbaviaans, Midmar 8 Mile etc. During these periods, I will up the training and really focus on the one event. There are a couple of things that I do before deciding on a big event. 1. I check with my family first that all is okay with them. Big events require families to make certain time sacrifices and might have financial consequences if you need to travel. I look at what I am expecting as far as life stresses leading up to the event. (I don’t think you could do a Comrades while restructuring a business, as an example). Let’s call this ‘hardcore training’.

Going back to Seneca and his, “Life without a design is erratic…” statement, I believe that you need a plan. Let’s go through some practicalities here:

  • Know which season you are in: No immediate races coming up, some fun races coming up, or, a big event coming up. Which season are you in?
  • Have you got a plan for all 3 typical seasons? Are you stretching, are you looking after your core, adding some quality work in and some longer distance work in? Failure to do so will mean that you are really going to have to ramp up mileage too quickly and risk injury.
    How will you build things up for your big event? I have seen runners, in particular, enter every race on the calendar to get ready for an event, and so injure themselves.

Once you have a plan, Seneca adds, “Principles become important”.  Each task has a series of principles attached to it. Opening a business, building a house, farming – every human endeavor has a set of principles attached.

It’s the same with endurance training. Know which season you are in:
Light – Medium – Hardcore.
Hardcore training requires you to intimately understand the race/event you are aiming toward. Is it long, short, hilly, flat, done in the cold vs heat? Then, shape the training around that, long training times, hills, flat sprints.

Once you have the plan, put the principles in place. It will make the process so much easier to handle.


Mike Roscoe.
Mike Roscoe

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Taper Nutrition for Ironman – by Nicola Drabble.

Iron Man is just around the corner.  Although I’m not doing it, I will be down in PE supporting my fiancé Jonathan.  I feel like we have been eating, sleeping and breathing Iron Man since September and I have no idea what we are going to talk about afterward!  We were chatting about his tapering nutrition over the weekend and I thought I would share a few tips with you all.

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Brooks Ravenna 8 shoe review.

A look at the Brooks Ravenna 8 running shoe. I have been running in this shoe for a few weeks and detail some of my thoughts here.


Mike Roscoe.

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The Center of Movement – Thoracolumbar Fascia.

You have a sheath of fascia in the small of your back. It’s called the thoracolumbar fascia and it is the center of movement.

thoracolumbar fascia

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A Look at Headaches and Muscular Tension.

The two most common types of headaches are tension headaches and migraines, with tension headaches being the most common. It’s safe to say that most of us have experienced a tension headache, while about 10% of people get migraines. We often associate tension headaches as being milder than migraines, but this is not necessarily the case.
headache and muscular tension

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A look at your Soleus Muscle.

I think of the soleus as the unsung hero of the calf complex. If a bodybuilder shows off his/her calves, they will try to get into a position where the gastrocnemius muscles are shown off. The gastrocs are the bulgy muscles higher up on the lower leg. The poor soleus muscle somehow gets ignored, and yet it plays a vital role.

The only way for the muscle to get recognition is for it to start hurting. The muscle extends from the top of the tibia to the Achilles tendon. It is visible on the lower leg and is then hidden by the gastroc muscle,  (much like Kanye and the Kardashians).
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Running and Longevity.

There have been several studies on running and longevity. The studies all point to the fact that physical exercise generally lengthens people lives.

One of the leading lights in this field is Dr. Peter Schnohr, who has published several studies on the topic. Here is Schnohr’s summary from a recent study, “The results of our research allow us to definitively answer the question of whether jogging is good for your health…… We can say with certainty that regular jogging increases longevity. The good news is that you don’t actually need to do that much to reap the benefits.Continue reading

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Here is a list of prices involved for our various services.

Runner’s Leg Assessment – R 650 – with a R 100 discount on shoes if purchased.
Pronation Check – R 200 – with a R 100 discount on shoes if purchased.
Mountain/Road Bike Setup – R 690.
T/T Bike Setup – R 1000.
Myofascial Release –  R 500/hour – R 300/half hour. (That includes tape, dry needles e.t.c)
Swim Squad – R 375 per month.

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