Thus Spoke Zarathustra through Phedippidations

the spiral of life.
the spiral of life.

My first run out-doors since missing the Cardiff Half. RhinovirusĀ  it was called, a posh name for coughing, spluttering and having a headache for two weeks also known as the common cold (and manflu). Deciding a few days before the race to DNS I wanted, for some reason, to reinforce my disappointment so went into Cardiff, shopping, straight after the race, to watch everyone walking about in their tech shirts with medals around their necks. Grrrrr.

Getting back into running slowly I did my five ten-minute runs on the treadmill in the gym (with a different leg then arm exercise between each one) but still needed inspiration from somewhere.

Inspiration came in the form of a notification on my iPhone that a podcast I subscribe to had downloaded an episode. Past Runwelshman press items have referred to Phedippidations, and how on 5th July 2015 episode 329 of this podcast had come out but nothing since. I had enjoyed Steve Runner’s podcasts so much I had left his podcast app on my phone “just in case”. I was rewarded with episode 330 on 16th October 2015 and it provided the inspiration I needed to get outside for a run but not in the way you would think.

Episode 330 was very personal and showed Steve as a different person after a bit of a life change. It may have been a farewell podcast, it may be another three month wait, we shall see (your podcast app is still open on my phone Mr. Walker). 330 was mainly about a book Steve had read a number times called “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche and how it had shaped his life. The show was punctuated with the usual tasteful music and was excellently presented and produced as usual. I am not going to go too heavily into the content of the podcast but would suggest you download this and past episodes.

Talk of Thus Spoke Zarathustra sparked my interest enough for me to download a copy onto my Kindle and to start reading. Among the first pages, in fact in the introduction, was a reference that hit home “Like Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Henry David Thoreau before him, Nietzsche did his best thinking while walking in the open air, so that place was of the utmost importance to him as a philosopher.” This brought home to me how I was missing my me-time, my running while letting my mind run free, my break from concentration and the reason I have never run with music.

So today it was important to run a slow but hilly 7.35 training run and to contemplate Steve’s podcast, his state of mind and my entry into his suggested book. Love the way this book came to me as Nietzsche himself said “Then the life that is saved in the book is immortal since it survives its author’s death with a strange autonomy: It seeks out readers for itself, ignites new life, delights, terrifies, engenders new works, becomes the soul of plans and actions.”

Another book I have read recently, or half read (more on that later) was called “Runner’s World Running On Air” which was previewed on another podcast I listen to (either Marathon Training Academy or The Conscious Runner Podcast) which interested me so I downloaded it onto my Kindle but only read half, if that. I mention it because part of Steve Runners podcast is recorded while he is running and it stood out to me that he breathes in two strides then out for two strides (again more on that later).

The basis for the book is that your body is at its weakest, while running, when you start to exhale. So, if you breath in for three strides and out for two strides then you will start to exhale on a different foot each time thus balancing your body and avoiding injury. If going faster then you can change this to two in and one out. Guess how many pages of the book it takes to get that message over – not many. Interested to find out what the rest of the book had to offer I was horrified to find I had spent money on a beginners running guide – beginner runners go out too fast, it’s ok to walk when you first start etc. No I wouldn’t recommend this book unless you are a complete beginner somewhere between walking and running.

So on my first run outside I tried out the 3/2 breathing pattern and hated it with a vengeance. It messed with my running, it messed with my breathing, I hated it. The only redeeming feature was that it made me think about my breathing pattern, which is two in and two out (see above) and, at the crest of a hill I could slow down my panting and heart rate by employing a 3/2 rate.

What about this for a thought to mull over. Next Easter on March 26th is the World Half Marathon Championships in Cardiff. It is on the Saturday and I am already entered. On the following day Easter Sunday is the Pendine Sands Half Marathon (and ultra run but forget that) held on the beach where Donald Campbell used to race Bluebird on land speed record attempts. What about running Cardiff, jumping in the car, bed and breakfast somewhere down west and then running the Pendine Half as a back to back over two days.

Not only would this be a challenge to work towards but it might even get me into The Half Fanatics running club. What is going through my mind at the moment, and would have to be run out of my mind, is a note from Angie on the MTA podcast that running back to back marathons is mentally harder than a fifty miler (so assume back to back halves harder than running a marathon) because, she said, in a fifty miler you are running with a goal of finishing the run, with back to back marathons you are running with a goal of finishing the first marathon knowing you have to get up and do it all again tomorrow.

I wonder.


Half Marathon Fueling

13.1 training run this morning between HR zone 3 and 4 and not the usual HR zone 2. The reason – coming up on Sunday 8th March is the Llanelli Waterside Half Marathon which will be run by me at HR zone 4 ending somewhere in zone 5 no doubt. I will blog this at a later date.

Fueling experiments are still going on. If, like me, you are fat adapted, you will not be interested in sugar gel fueling, taking away your fat burning capabilities and shooting your blood-sugar levels up and then dropping them lower than they were to start (necessitating yet another sugar gel etc. etc.)

Having found Generation Ucan on US podcasts, I was upset that Americans had the advantage of being able to use a very slow release super starch, allowing them to fuel their run on both fat and sugar, without spiking their blood-sugar. A huge thank you then to Trevor of Trevor & Angie at for e mailing me the fact that I could get this product in the UK from Kate Litchfield at I am sure we are all different but Ucan is working for me. I repeat, by the way, from an earlier wordpress blog, that I am not sponsored by Ucan.

For the record this morning, up at 5.30am and drinking my coffee with Anchor butter in, with added MCT oil, before even thinking about putting my running gear on. This time (see earlier blog where this coffee went into the blender with the Ucan) I drank the coffee, mixed up some Ucan at one scoop in 400 ml, and got dressed. The lake I was running around (nice and flat) is a half hours drive away so I drank the Ucan on the way there.

The perceived wisdom is to drink Ucan a half hour before exercising. Again, we are all different and, for me, drinking from a half hour before up to the point of starting to exercise, seemed to work today. This was obviously not a controlled experiment but an attempt to see for myself how my body appears to work. My theory is that at the start of my run I was burning fat until the slow release super starch kicked in, at which point I burnt both fat and sugar until the 13.1 mark. The final assessment was that at 13.1 miles I had absolutely no leg ache whatsoever and certainly no feeling of lack of energy in the legs.

To put this into perspective;

a) This was not a race at HR zone 4, ten of the 13.1 miles were carried out at HR zone 3.

b) I am training for a May ultra of 42 miles and need to train on tired legs. The day before this run I cross trained at the gym doing a 15 minute run on a treadmill followed by a leg machine, then an upper body machine, then repeat all of this five times.

c) Not sure if this is coincidence, the Ucan, the bullet proof coffees, none of the above – my sense of smell is hugely enhanced while running, and I mean hugely. I am almost stopping on passing the smell of a herb and looking all around to try and identify it. A bloke passed me wearing a heavy smelling aftershave and it almost made me choke. I would be interested to hear if anyone else has a similar experience.