Friday, 4 June 2010

Bigger quads

Quads are the big leg muscles that help you run up hills. I have noticed that most of the better fell runners than me have bigger quads than I do.

It seems there are many schools of thought on how to get bigger quads. One of my training books tells me I should do plyometric exercises, or 'bounding'. The main drawback of this (apart from the injury risk) is that you look like an idiot when you're doing them. So on Wednesday night I went for a run on one of my normal routes and tried to find quiet bits where no-one would see me.

Basically, you have to bound and far and as high as you can after landing each stride. I usually describe it as running like Penelope Pitstop used to do when running from the Hooded Claw. Unfortunately, I can't find any images of this, so for those who didn't watch the same cartoons as me, here's Jonathan Edwards showing how it should be done. I don't think I'm quite there yet.

I have also noticed that people who cycle a lot tend to have big quads. So on Thursday night, I went to Manchester Velodrome for a 2-hour taster track session organised by a mate (who also has big quads).
This is one of those banked tracks so you can go quickly round the corners. The angle is 42 degrees at its steepest, but it seems a bit steeper when you're on it the first time, and you don't really want to cycle round the top.

We did individual pursuit, team riding and a timed lap and it was great fun. I'm not sure how this will relate to me improving at fell running. The test will be at Wincle Trout race on Saturday.

I've taken a picture of my quads and I think they might be improving. What do you think?

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Shutlingsloe - trophy envy

Mrs Noel has been coveting my first local trophy for Shutlingsloe fell race for the last few years. This was made worse last year when she was second local, so would have been the first female winner of the trophy if I hadn't turned up.

This year I was keen to beat last year's time (of course) and retain the much coveted (mainly by Mrs Noel) Frank Hooley Memorial Trophy. Despite managing to fall twice during the race, I finished 4th in 18 minutes and 11 seconds.

Mrs Noel was 33rd overall and again was second local. She also did very well and finished as the first lady, so now has a trophy of her own. However, it was handed to her in two pieces, with a screw in the cup part where it had been badly bodged together (I'm making no comments about women and DIY here).

Despite this trophy being in two parts, Mrs Noel has wasted no time in telling me that her trophy is bigger than mine. My trophy envy will be increased after we've had it mended.

This is an artist's impression of how Mrs Noel would have looked if she were a bloke.