Weekly News – Thursday 28th December

Thursday 28th December 

Westbury Harriers – Weekly News

Editors Piece

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are now looking forward to celebrating the New Year. Perhaps you’re also keen to get back out running and burn off a few calories, it is the season of excess after all. Or is it……?

My Christmas has involved very little eating and I’ve managed to stay sober over the last few days. Is it because I’m an elite performing athlete and my body is a temple? Or perhaps I’m just frustrated with all the gluttony and lack of restraint that take place this time of year and have decided to fast over the festive period?  Well it’s neither, I managed to pick-up a stomach bug and simply lost my appetite. Fortunately I’m on the mend now. In fact I’m looking forward to drinking a Christmas beer tonight that I was supposed to drink on the big day!

I’m sorry I missed you all today for the club Christmas social run. Fortunately Mike Mewse, our new Club President was there and he provided the following report for me.

Great to see a good turn out this morning for the Christmas Social Run. Good weather but boggy conditions underfoot as the groups set off around Blaise. There was some tough running before groups returned for post-run refreshments. Really nice to see everyone and such a nice atmosphere – and brilliant to see club legends Marilyn Palmer and Pat Gallagher supporting the event.
Many thanks to Tamsin Chick for organising the event, to our hard working “tea lady” Catherine Andrews and also to all our run leaders. 

Tuesday Running Session at Yate Track and Thursday Intervals

The first track session of 2024 is only a few days away on Tuesday 2nd January at 7pm. Session will be published on facebook nearer the time and booking is via Runtogether.

The senior interval sessions will recommence from Thursday 4th January at 7pm. Check facebook nearer the time for location and session.  Book via Runtogether, link below. http://tinyurl.com/vjfrk44e

Bev’s 100th Park Run

Congratulations to Bev Watkins for her 100th Park Run a few Saturday’s ago at Clevedon. Bev is quite a new member of Westbury Harriers and joined after a Blaise Park Run coffee morning. She runs all over the country! Sorry we couldn’t run with you. Congratulations!

Christmas Social Run

Dan Davies tells me he managed second place in the RWC Celtic HM last weekend (720m vert), 1:52, one of 4 runners under 2hrs, also I’m very old so 1st V50! Dan pictured below.

Tuesday Winter Trails

Do look out for the club’s new night-time off-road trails session on a Tuesday evening. The first official session will be posted on Runtogether in due time but the date will be Tuesday 2nd January 2024.

Initially it will be once or twice a month. Trail shoes and a head torch or running light will be compulsory. 

Weston Prom and Christmas Meal 

It’s become a festive tradition the December Weston Prom is combined with the club Christmas meal. 

The weather conditions for the 5 mile Prom run were hardly ideal with strong winds either pushing us along or blowing us backwards on the shorter 3-lap course. 

Chris ‘Cup Cake’ Palmer led the Westbury men celebrating not only a great finishing time and position but birthday too! Tamsin Chick took first place out of the women in the club.

We also had some first place age category wins with Sarah Andrews and Sandy Masters both taking home prizes in their respective age categories.  Sandy pictured on the left, Sarah on the right.

Changes to Monday Evening Sessions for Seniors/Masters

We return to Monday training sessions after the Christmas break on Monday 8th January 2024 with some changes to the structure.

All adult groups are going to start at the same time, and this will be at 6:30pm.

We want to get back to the seniors meeting and mixing together as we did pre covid. We hope that the groups all going at the same time will allow us to provide a better range of pace based training groups, encourage runners to move up or down between the groups more easily and create more of a club atmosphere.

We appreciate that this will not suit everyone and apologise to those who enjoy their current routine but consider that it is the best way forward for the club as a whole.

We intend to see how it works out for a 3 month period. This will be reviewed at the end of March 2024 and your feedback would be appreciated.

Groups will set off promptly at 6:30pm so please arrive in good time and be ready to go at 6:30pm. Runners should book on to a group using RunTogether in the usual way. Subject to discussion with your Group leader there  will be some capacity to switch groups if you arrive and realise you really are in the wrong one for how you are feeling that evening.

Monday Tempo Runs

What is a tempo (also known as a threshold) run? 

Tempo runs are training runs that are designed to support people to run faster for longer.

How does this work?

Tempo runs increases your anaerobic threshold, so your body adapts to performing at a higher intensity comfortably.

What are the benefits of a tempo run?

Improves lactate clearance, improves cardiovascular fitness and improves your speed when you race.

Why do we use this training technique on our Monday night training sessions?

Most people come to a running club to improve their running. It is difficult to maintain a higher speed and duration by yourself. By running in a group you can be supported to run at a higher intensity and this will increase your overall speed and endurance.

The club has other training sessions to concentrate on other elements needed to improve speed and endurance. For example, shorter intervals and hills. It is easier for you to use the structured group training sessions for your ‘harder’ training and do your easy/recovery runs yourself or within the social runs on offer.

Is your tempo pace your race pace?

No. It is slower than your race pace. Threshold pace is usually worked out around what you could sustain for an hour, so quicker than half marathon pace but slower than 10k pace. Describing effort related to how much you can talk whilst running. The ‘talk test’ is a good way to understand your running effort.

Talk Test – “If you are just trying to have an easy day or a recovery day, conversational pace is a good indicator you are keeping it light. If you can chat with someone next to you and are able to get a short answer out, that is your short answer pace, which is about 70% of your max effort and close to your half marathon pace. If you can only say 1-2 words and get a little cranky if someone is trying to talk to you, that is close to your 5K pace, and no talking but only sprinting is close to a mile or shorter event pace.”

Am I running in the right group on a Monday?

If you can chat comfortably through your whole Monday run, then you should try the next group up. If you do not wish to run at what is a tempo pace for you (for example if you have done a long run the day before, have raced, returning from illness/injury or are just tired) that is fine, as long as you are keeping to the designed pace of the group you are running with. If you want to take it steadier you are also welcome to drop down a group for that week. Always remember the groups are fluid, you book onto the group that is right for you that week.

New Years Half Marathon 

There really is only one way for someone with a running obsession to end the year! Yes, you’ve guessed it, with a run!

For several years now a group of us have been running a half Marathon on New Years Eve before the evening parties start!

We meet at the Baptist Church, Reedley Road, Westbury at 5pm. The route is designed to allow runners to do just the first or second half if they want to. We head off around North Bristol for about an hour, coming back close enough to the start point for anyone to head home or join us, before a loop of Clifton and the docks. We aim to run at a chatty pace, inevitably with a photo stop, and to be running for about 2 hours.

If you would like to join us for all or part of the run please comment against the facebook post dated 23rd December.

Saturday Social Run, by Chris Beck

To celebrate Christmas nine of us made it out to the Mendips for a Saturday morning away trip wearing festive attire. It was a beautiful route, taking in Velvet Bottom and Beacon Batch, of nearly 15 miles that seemed to fly by with much laughter and chatting along the way. Followed by the obligatory coffee/hot chocolate and cake of course!

Saturday mornings are a regular event… running at a relaxed pace, with plenty of stops and photos! Maybe give it a go in the New Year – just turn up at the water tower on the Downs at 9am on Saturday mornings.

We have a group on messenger you can join if you’re interested – just let someone who is already a member know and we’ll add you!

Blaise Parkrun, by Mark Andrews

Great to see everyone who ran at Blaise this morning, lovely to see those who came to the Clubhouse for Coffee, Mince Pies and biscuits afterwards.

Thanks to the team who helped open up, make the drinks, and tidy up afterwards.

Izzy I have your Christmas hat and someone left a pair of black gloves, if they are yours let me know! 

Alert from Fliss

Fliss tells me that while on a training session she had her jacket stolen from the side of the road, where the group had started their interval session. She has suggested using a bike cable lock in future and removing valuables from pockets. 

Club Championship Races – Chepstow Night Race – Friday 11th January 

The next club championship race in the series is the Wye Valley and Piercefield Park Night Race on Friday 11th January 2024. This is an off-road trail race held at night so head torches or running lights and trail shoes are essential. 

An off-piste course with plenty of single-track, footpaths and mud. Hosted at the lovely racecourse facilities with ample car parking and the usual cakes and hot drinks after in the plush bar area. All fully marked as usual with over 400 reflective markers. As standard – Inclusive hot drinks and cake at the finish and of course a finishers medal.

Do check Google maps before you head off as it’s possible you may need to take the M4 Prince of Wales bridge as the M48 has planned maintenance in the new year and the journey will take a little longer. 

Strava Segment of the Week

Well done to Vicky Tester who became the local legend on Strava segment Stoke Lodge Mile with an easy post-Christmas 45 minute session. 

Diary Dates

Thursday 4th January 2024 Senior and Junior Training Resumes

Sunday 7th January 2024 South West Cross Country Championships -at RNAS Merryfield, near Taunton,

Monday 8th January Academy Training Resumes

Friday 11th January Wye Valley and Piercefield Park Night Race, (Club Championship) Fabian 4. https://tinyurl.com/yc8es6xh

Sunday 14th January Riverbank Rollick Trail, Thornbury AC. https://tinyurl.com/48ksbcan

Sunday 28th January Chepstow Race Course 10K (Club Championship). https://tinyurl.com/yc6se84z

Sunday 4th February The Doynton Hard Half Marathon, trail race.

Saturday 10th February 2024 Gwent Cross Country League Margam Park

Sunday 18th February Dursley Dozen Trail Race (Club Championship). https://tinyurl.com/2p8sn7eu

Sunday 25th February 2024 Bath Two Tunnels Railway Race

Saturday 2nd March  – 5th Gwent League Post Y Pwl (Club Championship)

Sunday 3rd March Newport Half Marathon fullonsport

Saturday 16th March 2024 – Masters Open Cross Country Championships. Corwen, Wales. (Men/Women masters V35, V45, V55, V65 plus)

Saturday 27th April Butcombe Trail Ultra Marathon 50 or 56 mile options

Club Centenary Events

Thursday 8th February 2024 club supper -White Lion in Westbury-on-Trym

Saturday 23rd March 2024 Awards evening, venue TBC

Thursday 25th April 2024, AGM after training at Coombe Dingle

Saturday 18th May 2024, formal centenary celebration, venue TBC

Saturday 22nd June 2024, all club event. Activities for juniors and seniors followed by a BBQ/Hog Roast/some sort of food. Likely to be at Blaise Castle.

Final Editorial 

This is my final newsletter as your editor. I’ve been publishing the Weekly News for approximately four years and I’m afraid I’m now running out of ideas and enthusiasm, after having done it for so long. You’re probably all fed-up with by poor spelling and bad punctuation too!

Westbury Harriers will be looking for someone new who can take on this role and it’s a post you can really make your own. Obviously there are the key dates and events to report but if there’s a subject you think will be of interest to the members then please include it. And you’ll never be short of content as both the committee and club members regularly contribute.

If you are interested in the post feel free to speak to me or anyone in the committee.

Ian Gawinowski was the Westbury Harriers Communications Officer and can be contacted via communication@westburyharriers.co.uk