Coaching (and some Club Development) Events in September

There's a lot coming up of interest; I've emailed this out to all coaches, but not convinced it's got through, and others might be interested.  Sorry, can't seem to add attachments, can email you if interested.

Monday 1st September: AthleFIT Workshop (6-9pm) in Bristol

Contact: Run! City Activator – Anna West on 07718 394516 or  Please register your interest by Monday 25th August

Wednesday 3rd September: Diary Support Workshop for Coach in Running Fitness and Athletics Coach

For coaches working towards diary completion of either your Athletics Coach or Coach in Running Fitness qualification.  Please note there is a CIRF/AC assessment weekend at Yate on 26th October for which diary submission should be made by end of September. This is a great opportunity for coaches wanting to tie up any loose ends of the diary and get direct support and guidance through a regional tutor prior to submission.

Takes place at University of West of England. Contact Charlotte Fisher or 07718 394751

Saturday 6th September: Avon Athletics Network -  ‘Preparing for a Successful Winter’

Of interest to endurance coaches planning a whole winter’s training and racing (see attachment).  Please contact Keith Brackstone

** Thursday 11th September: Avon Athletics Network – ‘Drills and Exercises for Distance Runners (and their impact on injury reduction and running efficiency)’

Presented by Keith Brackstone and Neil Miller (see attachment).  Please contact Keith Brackstone

Thursday 18th September: Wiltshire Athletics Network – ‘Gait Analysis and Mechanics of Running Injuries’ (Melksham)

Presented by Neil Miller and Claire Callaghan – a rerun of the Avon talk.  Contact Dominique Oughton

* Monday 22nd September: Club and Run Leaders Forum (7-9pm at the Bristol Lawn Tennis & Squash Club, Redland Green, Bristol, BS6 7HF)

The purpose of the evening is to up-date you on the various programmes that England Athletics offers (see attachment), but specifically with regards to the Run! City project which aims to get more people running than ever before. We hope the evening will be informative and useful and that you will go away with an insight into how we are working towards getting more people running, the role of clubs and Run England in that and how individuals or groups and clubs can get more involved and what support and provision we can offer.  Contact Charlotte Fisher or 07718 394751

Saturday 27th September: Club Development – RECRUIT, RETAIN & DEVELOP – Supporting Coaches Workshop

Filton, South Gloucestershire (9.30am – 12) – please register interest by Friday 19th September at the latest. or 07718 394751.  To maximise benefits of this workshop it is recommended that 2 or more representatives from the club attend. This could be Club Secretary, Chairperson, Treasurer, Head Coach, Membership Secretary, Coaching Coordinator, etc

Monday 29th September: Sight Loss Awareness & Guide Running Workshop, Bristol (6.30-8.45pm)

Contact: Run! City Activator – Anna West on 07718 394516 or  Please register your interest by Monday 22nd September

A BIG thank you

A BIG THANK YOU to everyone who ran, baked and helped out at our annual fundraiser tonight.  Some very talented bakers out there!  We raised an amazing £450 for Macmillan cancer support.

Gwent League Dates 2014/2015

The dates for the Gwent League season 2014/2015 are

Sunday 12th October - Bridgend
Weekend 8/9 November 2014
Weekend 6/7 December 2014
Weekend 7/8 February 2015
Weekend 28 February/1 March 2015

Dates and locations will be confirmed once they are known but please keep these weekends free.  We have had fantastic support for our teams at the Gwent Leagues in previous seasons and want the same again this year.

Symptoms of Dehydration – You Could Pinch Yourself

At this time of year, we're all aware about the possibility of dehydration.  But as runners and active people we're often sweating, and can be vulnerable to dehydration at any time.  So what are the symptoms?

- Dark colour urine.  Come on, you knew that one, but how often have you come back from a cold wet Gwent League in November, been confronted with the symptoms, and thought 'aha, I haven't drunk anything since breakfast'!?   Ditto not needing to pee for hours on end.

- Headache or light-headedness, sometimes flu-like.  If you don't feel right in your head, and your pee is brown, you know what to do.

- Feeling weak, lacking stamina, or generally tired.  This is a good one for parents and coaches to look out for, although unfortunately often only spotted after a race or run.

- The pinch test.  Pinch and hold the skin on the back of your hand, and hold it for a few seconds.  When you let it go, how quickly does it spring back to shape?  Obviously, oldies like me have slacker skin, but if your skin stays folded for a few seconds you're probably dehydrated.  Try it now, when hopefully you're well hydrated, so you need to know what is normal for you.

Don't worry if you don't have any magic isotonic drink with you, just drink what you can get hold of.  It may not be optimal, but it's miles better than not drinking and feeling worse.  But that's not an excuse to open a can of lager when there's water in the tap!

'If symptoms persist, consult your doctor'.  Sometimes, electrolytes can become unbalanced, especially in periods of hot weather.

Isotonic Drinks, Goldilocks’ Porridge and Tooth Rot

You can pay a lot of money for isotonic drink, but why drink it, and can you get the same effect much more cheaply?

After a run on a hot day, you obviously need to get fluid back on board.  Water is great, we've got by on water for millions of years, and haven't suddenly evolved an inability to absorb water.  However, when you need to get lots of fluid on board, after lots of sweating, whether it's playing on the beach, a long bike ride or long hot training run, we can improve on water.

There are two issues: 'absorption' and 'retention'.  Plain water is absorbed reasonably well, but, as you've probably experienced, if you drink a lot of cold water quickly, you just end up with 'soggy belly' - water sloshing around in your stomach waiting to be absorbed.

Once water has been absorbed (best done by drinking room temperature water little and often), it dilutes the blood.  However, it's not actually the blood which needs the water, but all the cells around your body.  Unfortunately, diluting the blood means that the kidneys decide to get rid of the excess fluid before the cells around the body get their turn.

So water is reasonably well absorbed, but not retained very well.

'Isotonic' drinks contain carbohydrate (usually sugar) as well as salt, and get around this in two ways.  Firstly, they improve on the absorption: Small amounts of carbohydrate actually help fluid get absorbed by the stomach and intestines.  This was known in ancient times in the east, where rice water was a traditional cure for diarrhoea.  However, it wasn't until quite recently that we in the west discovered that dehydration resulting from diseases such as Cholera (and, topically, Ebola) are best treated with rehydration fluids containing sugar as well as salt.

So having sugar (or more complex carbohydrate), as well as a little salt, in your drink helps absorption.  And the salt also helps retention: Once the fluid is absorbed, the salt ensures that the kidneys don't think of the blood as 'dilute', and the extra fluid is retained to be pumped around your body, ready for all those thirsty cells.

How much sugar and salt?  Well the quantity of sugar is key.  Like Goldilocks' porridge, there is a 'just right' quantity of sugar for enhanced absorption: 5 to 8 grams of sugar in 100ml of fluid.  Too much, and the body thinks of the drink as 'food', and holds it in the stomach for digestion.  Too little, and there is no enhanced absorption.

Ordinary fruit juice and Coca Cola are too strong to be absorbed quickly, but if you dilute them half and half with water, they come down to the magic level.  Mmmm, warm flat diluted coke, just the thing for the thirsty marathon runner!

Isotonic drinks do have a bit of a reputation for rotting your teeth.  Traditionally, they used 'fructose', the sugar in fruit, a favourite of the bacteria in tooth plaque.  However, these are less common now.  Ok, so the replacement glucose and sucrose is not great, just like sweets are not great for your teeth.

So an easy recipe for cheap isotonic drink:  Dilute 1 part 'High Juice' with 6 parts water, and add a little salt at a rate of 1/2 teaspoon per litre of drink.  This is based on Tesco's Blackcurrant High Juice (AVOID the 'No Added Sugar' version, you DO need the sugar).  Other versions of 'High Juice' may contain more sugar, and need to be diluted more; the Tesco's version has 36.7g/100ml.

The after training drinks in the club house, made up using our calibrated jugs, give you a drink at just this strength (unless your name is Jullian), but we don't go as far as adding the salt.  Something for the future?

More sophiticated versions use a variety of salts to match what you sweat out (including potassium, magnesium and zinc), but unless you're really in for the long haul this simple recipe should be good enough.

Some Thoughts on Heel-Strike (from the Core Analyst Newsletter)

I'm sure you know that 'heel-strike' is a bad thing; not only does it waste energy, but the shock of landing can contribute to a multitude of injuries, from the foot to the lower back.  So why do some runners land so heavily on their heels?

I've been doing some data mining, correlating different aspects of gait in the many runners we've analysed.  You'll probably not be surprised to know that running low and over-striding come out as the #1 'causes' of heel-strike: tired runners, upping their mileage for the marathon, or simply new to running and not having sufficient endurance to hold their style, are particularly prone to a low carriage and loping gait.

#2 in our list is the 'foot left behind' gait.  This is where the runner fails to bring his leg forwards smartly after take-off, and is associated with a low knee-drive and weak hip flexors.  This is something that sprinters are acutely aware of, because landing badly drastically affects their speed (see Tony Hadley's talk on The Need For Speed on UCoach, links below).

The amount of heel-strike also depends on how fast you are running, and when we video runners in bare feet, they usually manage a much better foot plant - a good reason to try some bare foot running!  However, those who run low and leave their feet behind invariably end up heel-striking, even in bare feet!

Coaching News Extracts

The UK Athletics 'UCoach' website provides some interesting coaching material.  Here are some items which have been added recently:

Lord Coe on his Athletics Career

In this video Lord Sebastian Coe discusses his life as an athlete and the influences that coaches had on his career <this clip is notable for Lord Sebastian Coe uttering the f*** word!>

Mhairi Keil: Thin to Win (Parts 1 and 2)

Mhairi Keil discusses how eating disorders can develop and how the coach can recognise them.

Come Into Coaching

A new campaign to increase the number of coaches in the UK, its social media hash-tag is #ComeIntoCoaching.

Tony Handley on The Need for Speed (Parts 1, 2 and 3)

Essential for knowing how to run  fast.  The science of sprinting has been revolutionised in the last 20 years, and these videos explain the changes.

Neil Cronin: Training Tendons (Parts 1-4)

Possibly more than you ever needed to know about tendons.

There's lots more on the UCoach website.

Charity Run and Cake Sale – Monday 18th August

The second annual Club Charity Run will take place on Monday 18th August!

This year will see every group - adults and juniors - run together over a new
course on the same night. We would encourage you to wear your Westbury vests;
last year it was an incredible sight to see so much blue and white running
through Blaise. The run is the chance for everyone to enjoy the last run
through Blaise in an even more sociable way than usual whilst raising funds for
a deserving cause.

The run will start at 7.10 p.m. prompt, so please do everything you can to
arrive by 7 p.m.

And, to make things even better, and even more “Westbury”, there will be a cake
sale after the run! We need as many people as possible to bring a cake (or
cakes) along  to add to the sale; none of us are Mary Berry or Paul
Hollywood so don’t worry about appearance - so long as it tastes good! If you
could let Lizzy or Tamsin know if you are ready to don an apron (before you put
on your Westbury vest), please email them at

Last year we had over 140 runners out - can we beat that this year?!

Members of the month for July and August

Your members of the month for July and August are as follows.

Senior  July - Geraint Torrington
As he does so much for the club and has so much enthusiasm and for all his organisation that goes well above his job role as club secretary.

Junior July - Greg Hayward
For completing 3 Little Stoke parkruns in June including a new Pb of 20.37. He always tries hard in training and has shown strong improvement in his fitness by moving up to run with the faster group on a Monday.

Senior August - Carol Fee
For the incredible work that she did in ensuring that the Westbury Wipeout was so well marshaled.

Junior August - Bryn Ruck
Was 59th out of 111 in the Râs yr Wyddfa 2014 Snowdon Race beating many runners with a fell running background.