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Team True Spirit are back again!

Team True Spirit are the Help for Heroes long distance challenge team and is made up of 19961554_1676060579102092_2766951157671718974_n.jpgwounded, injured and sick (WIS) serving soldiers and veterans.

Originally formed at Headley Court, to give the injured guys returning from Afghanistan something to train for and for the seriously injured guys (traumatic blast injuries, amputees, bullet and shrapnel wounds etc.) showing that their life was not over but was just going to be different and they could still be involved in training, challenges and sport.

Last year the team took part in the Lakeland 50 and the Lakeland family accepted them with open arms. The teams are made up of both males and females and there are a huge range of injuries, from ABI (acquired brain injuries), blast injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) to visual impairments and hearing problems.

Last year, several of the team completed the 50 mile challenge within the qualification time and will be on the start line for the 100 mile event in 2017. Having just completed the Bolton Ironman event (last weekend), they are ready for whatever challenges the Lakeland 50 & 100 will throw at them.

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Lakeland 50/100 The Goal Setting Process – Final Installment ‘Get The Pacing Right’

The team at Lakeland 50 & 100 are pleased to have Dr Ian Boardley as a guest blogger. Ian10-peaks-1_0508 is a sports psychology lecturer at the University of Birmingham and a 5 time Lakeland 100 finisher. He will be writing a monthly blog post to help you prepare for the 2017 event. You can follow him on Twitter HERE

In the first five blogs in this series, we have introduced goal setting and why athletes use it, discussed different types of goals, which goals to set, key characteristics of effective goals, key aspects of the goal-setting process, potential barriers to goal achievement and how to overcome them, how to monitor and evaluate progress towards your goals, when it may be appropriate to revise your goals, and how we can use training data to monitor and evaluate goal progress and inform and your race-day goals. Hopefully by applying these techniques to your training and preparation races you are feeling well prepared for the upcoming event and now have a clear time goal in mind for race day. Also, you should now have a clear set of process goals that you plan to implement in your race. In addition to these process goals many athletes also like to have target splits for each stage of the race both to work towards and to help monitor their progress along the way.

However, given the changes in terrain throughout the course, just dividing your overall race target time by the race distance and multiplying this value by the distance for each stage is likely to be largely unhelpful in determining realistic time targets for each stage. So how should one go about determining realistic achievable time goals to guide efficient pacing? A useful analogy here – taken from an article I read in UltraRunning Magazine last year – is spreading peanut butter on a piece of bread. You don’t want to spread it so you have a big glob of peanut butter for the first bite and then little left on the rest of the slice. Equally, you don’t want to leave any on the knife! So how can we plan our pacing strategy to get that nice even spread across the entire slice?!

In terms of pacing strategies, clearly there are marked differences between road marathons and trail ultra-marathons. The most obvious of these is the difficulty involved in quantifying intensity. For a flat road marathon with few tight turns and little wind then minutes per mile is an effective – and measureable – indicator of intensity. This brings up an often missed point when pacing strategies are discussed; that it is intensity – and not pace itself – we should be looking to monitor and control if we want to optimise our performances as this is what actually impacts the physiological systems in a runner’s body. Whilst pace can be a useful indictor of intensity for road marathons, it is pretty much meaningless as an indicator of intensity for ultra-marathons held on hilly and technical terrain.

So what information can we use to assess – and plan – our pacing strategies for races such as the LL50/100? One option is to look at historical data for your target race, and look at how more – and less – successful runners have paced their races. When doing this the first issue to overcome is finding a way to compare runners who differ vastly in their levels of performance. On the road we can do this by looking at how pace varies as a function of a runner’s overall pace for the race. For instance, if a three-hour marathon runner is close to 6:52/mile or a four-hour marathon is close to 9:10/mile throughout a marathon we would say both of these runners have paced their races pretty well. An equivalent approach for ultra-marathons is to calculate the ratio between a runners’ average pace for each stage and that for the entire race. This gives you a value that varies around 1.0 depending on whether the pace for an individual stage is slower (i.e., ratio >1.0) or faster (i.e., ratio <1.0) than the overall pace for the race for any given individual. Estimating a line of best fit for these ratios across the race demonstrates whether relative pace was increasing or decreasing across the race; if this line has a negative slope (i.e., is sloping down) then the runner has run the equivalent of a negative split and vice versa for a positive slope (i.e., sloping up).

Having calculated these ratios for runners who completed the 2015 LL100, I have conducted two analyses using these ratios to try to determine what appears to have been the best pacing strategy for the event. The first of these analyses compares the pace ratios for the first and last ten finishers of the 2015 race (see Figure 1). One thing this analysis shows is that the top ten finishers ran a much more even pace across the race than the bottom ten finishers, evidenced by their much flatter line of best fit in Figure 1 for the top ten runners compared to that for the bottom 10 runners. Interestingly, the winner of the race ran an even more even-paced race (i.e., his line of best fit is flatter than that for the top ten overall) in comparison to the top ten as a whole, suggesting the potential benefits of further evening out relative pace across the race beyond that seen for the top ten. This suggestion was supported further by a separate analysis (not shown in Figure 1) in which I calculated the ratios and line of best fit for Terry Conway when he ran the course record. This analysis showed an even flatter line of best fit for Terry Conway in comparison to the 2015 winner. Also shown in Figure 1 are my pace ratios for the 2015 race. Collectively these analyses support the potential benefits of evening out your efforts across the race (i.e., spreading the PB evenly), in comparison to going out hard and trying to hold on (i.e., big glob of PB in your first bite).

Figure 1 – Comparison of Pace Ratios between Top and Bottom Ten Finishers

So this is all well and good you may say, it is not particularly ground-breaking to show faster runners ran a more even paced run than slower runners. However, an alternative analysis of the ratio data demonstrates that the potential benefits of an evening out of pace are not constrained to the elite (see Figure 2). In this second analysis I took the ten runners with the highest pace ratio for the opening stage (i.e., those who set out most conservatively) and compared them with the ten runners with the lowest pace ratio for this stage (i.e., those who set out most aggressively). This figure shows a clear difference in pace degradation for runners with the ten lowest initial pace ratios compared to those with the ten highest. An outcome of potentially greater importance though is the finding that it was not only faster runners who demonstrated the most evenly paced races, as the runners with ten highest initial ratios came from runners who finished between 6th and 107th. Thus, there was a large spread in finishing position for runners with conservative opening intensities – and resultant even pacing – meaning you don’t have to be elite to pace evenly. You may therefore be thinking is a conservative opening intensity effective then? In response to this it is important to consider pacing strategy is just one factor in determining performance (along with fitness, navigation, nutrition, etc.) and also to consider what is shown in Figure 1 alongside what is shown in Figure 2. In combination these two analyses show the fastest finishers run a fairly even intensity, but also that the ability to do this is not restricted to the fastest runners. Further, if one compares the positions of the ten runners with the highest opening pace ratios (i.e., 6th to 107th) with those for the runners with the ten runners with the lowest initial pace ratios (i.e., 67th to 209th [i.e., last]) one can see that although high and low initial pace ratios are both associated with a wide spread of finish positions, the high ratios are spread largely across the top half of the field, whereas those with the lowest initial ratios are spread mainly across the bottom half of the field. This adds further support to the argument that on average a more even pacing strategy appears to be advantageous in comparison to setting out aggressively and slowing later.

Figure 2 – Comparison of Highest and Lowest 10 Pace Ratios for Stage 1

So assuming having read the above and looked at the two figures you agree that a fairly even pacing strategy is the likely to be optimal, how would you go about calculating target splits for each stage for your overall target time? To do this, all you have to do is: 1) identify your overall target time based on your training data, race history and recent race performances, 2) decide which profile you want to apply (i.e., average top 10, 2015 winner, Terry Conway), and 3) multiply your race target time by the pace ration for each leg of the profile you have selected. Doing this will give you target splits for each stage of the race. For instance, the average ratio for the first stage for the top ten was .82, which for someone targeting a 30-hour finish (i.e., overall average pace 17:09 minutes/mile) would equate to an average pace for stage one of 14:03 minutes/mile (i.e., 17:09 x .82). This would give a time of 1:38:24 as a target for stage one. Using this method, you can apply this process for you own target time using the information in Table 1.

Stage Top Ten Average My Data
  Overall Time Stage Split Leg Pace Ratio Leg/Overall Pace Ratio Leg/Overall Pace
CP1 Seathwaite 01:11:00 1:11:00 00:10:09 0.76 0.93
CP2 Eskdale 02:28:56 1:17:55 00:11:08 0.83 0.96
CP3 Wasdale Head 03:30:12 1:01:16 00:11:21 0.85 0.98
CP4 Buttermere 05:16:12 1:46:00 00:15:22 1.15 1.26
CP5 Braithwaite 06:52:05 1:35:53 00:14:45 1.11 1.14
CP6 Blencathra Centre 08:37:51 1:45:46 00:12:27 0.93 0.97
CP7 Dockray 10:15:11 1:37:20 00:12:38 0.95 0.91
CP8 Dalemain 12:13:40 1:58:29 00:11:44 0.88 0.87
CP9 Howtown 13:46:34 1:32:55 00:13:05 0.98 1.00
CP10 Mardale Head 16:07:41 2:21:07 00:15:01 1.13 1.10
CP11 Kentmere 17:45:16 1:37:35 00:15:01 1.13 1.07
CP12 Ambleside 19:33:58 1:48:42 00:14:53 1.12 1.00
CP13 Langdale 20:45:47 1:11:48 00:12:49 0.96 0.85
CP14 Tilberthwaite 22:24:17 1:38:30 00:15:09 1.14 1.02
CP15 Coniston 23:15:17 0:51:00 00:14:34 1.09 0.92

To do this using the average pace ratios for the 2015 top 10, all you have to do is follow the three-stage process described above using the values in the fourth column. However, based on the data presented in Figure 2, my own experiences, and the fact most people (even those finishing in the top ten!) tend to set off too fast I would actually advocate a more conservative approach. Also, it is worth bearing in mind that the analyses presented here only include the finishers of the race. It is possible – indeed quite likely – that the support shown for an even pacing strategy would have been even more marked had the ratios been included for those runners who failed to complete the course! A very conservative approach (i.e., the equivalent of a negative split), would be to adopt the ratios from my data in the fifth column. Alternatively, if this is a little extreme for you, you may wish to design your own set of pace ratios to work towards based on those presented in this blog. However, if you do this a good check at the end is to make sure your average pace ratio equates to 1.0 – otherwise there are errors in your calculations! If you are running the Lakeland 50 rather than the 100, the data from legs 9-15 should help inform possible strategies for your race.

To conclude, hopefully the above information and figures have helped you reflect upon and identify what may be an effective pacing strategy for your race. Whatever process, performance, and outcome goals you set for your race, I hope you have a great race and manage to achieve them. When it comes to your pacing strategy though, try to spread the peanut butter evenly so you can enjoy your final bite as much as your first!

See you in Coniston!
Ian Boardley

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None Shall Sleep…

Completing 100 miles within the 40 hours time limit requires runners to travel through at least one full night, often 2 . Hallucinations are common amongst competitors and in 2012 one runner was convinced that he had passed opera singer Paul Potts (Britain’s Got Talent winner), who was humming Nessun Dorma at the time. The relevance of this story is that Nessun Dorma translates as ‘none shall sleep’ which seemed appropriate given the circumstances of the runners. Roll forwards 12 hours and during the Sunday presentation party, a Twitter conversation with Paul Potts, reveals that it was in fact him on the course and not a hallucination at all…. much to the amusement of those tired souls who attended the presentation.

Such was the relevance and popularity of this story, in 2013 we adopted Nessun Dorma as the official Lakeland 100 anthem, to be played at the start line. What was intended as a humorous act became an emotional moment. Runners and families were silent as the anthem played and there were a few tears shed for the epic challenge they were about to embark upon.

Following that moment in 2013, our anthem was set and it’s now part of the event history. Each year we invite an operatic tenor to sing Nessun Dorma and this year Chris Lafferty will be performing live at the start line.

Whether you’re supporting a 100 runner, or taking part in the 50 mile event, don’t miss the start of the 100 mile event from Coniston John Ruskin School at 6:00pm, Friday 28th July. The children and family 1 mile event follows at 6:30pm, so make sure you book the Friday afternoon off work and travel up early as it’s not something you’ll want to miss.

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Lakeland 100 – 500 Club

2015 was the first year we created the elusive 500 Club to recognize the brilliant achievements of those that have successfully completed five Lakeland 100 events. Inducted into the club so far are:

  • Matt Neale
  • Gary Warmington
  • Kevin Perry
  • Nathan Walsh
  • Ian Boardley
  • Nigel Harrison
  • Jody Young
  • Philip Musson
  • Jon Pitchford
  • Simon Webb
  • Nick Ham

This year we have nine athletes ready to run their way into the club, so without adding any additional pressure on their shoulders the nine runners are:

  • Tony Maxwell
  • Lawrence Eccles
  • Charles Brent
  • Jason Sherwood
  • Carl Hobbins
  • Raj Madhas
  • Steve Harvey
  • Martin Thomerson
  • Brandon Webb

Good luck to the magnificent 9 and we look forward to inducting you into the 500 club in the not so distant future.

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Camping at Coniston

Camping at Coniston School is available free of charge. There are portable toilets and showers on site for all competitors, there is also water access. This year there is construction work taking place at the School so we will be using a large marquee on the field as well as having catering vans and coffee vendors onsite. We estimate that 80% of competitors will use the free camping service, but we have rules which we must enforce to ensure that everyone can use the service:

1. The camping pitch is one car and one tent. The tent should be no bigger than a normal car and that is the space you will have allocated.

2. Your partners / family are allowed to stay with you, but they must arrive in the same car and fit into the same tent.

We enforced these rules last year and they worked with great effect. Up until 2015, we had many issues with people pitching huge gazebos and tents which take up a large amount of space. As a result, some competitors were not able to camp as there was no space left. It is particularly relevant this year as we have a large marquee for registration, which will further reduce camping space.

For this reason, we’re asking you to adhere to the rules for 2017. Please consider that if you bring a large tent, you are taking a fellow competitors camping space away from them.

Guidelines are as follows:

1. Pitch for one car and one tent (similar size to average car).

2. Family members welcome in that car / tent.

3. Small campervans and motorhomes (no bigger than transit size) allowed, please don’t then add another tent or gazebo.

4. Small caravans allowed (no electricity hitch), please don’t then add another tent or gazebo.

5. If you arrive with a large tent or gazebo to pitch, you will be asked to take it down. Please don’t argue with marshals who are volunteering their time over the weekend.

6. If you do have a large tent and you require more space, Coniston Hall campsite is in the next field from the school. You can contact them and see details/prices here:

7. Dogs are allowed on the school field, but must be kept on a lead at all times. They are not allowed in the school at any time.

8. No open fires on the school field.

Please adhere to these rules and consider others. There is only so much that we can provide, the rest relies on you being fair and accommodating your fellow competitors.

Remember, the FREE camping is for COMPETITORS. Your family are welcome to stay at no further cost but the tent must be within the guidelines above. We only have a limited amount of space and resources, so please help us to make it work.

We appreciate your help with this matter.

Lakeland 50 & 100 Team

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Who’s looking after you… a guide to checkpoints, 1-14

Checkpoint 1, Seathwaite Village Hall, Seathwaite Superheroes

GLL Ulverston is a friendly, community focused indoor and outdoor leisure facility offering a 25m swimming pool, modern gym facilities, Cumbria’s largest tennis centre and much more. This year they will be teaming up with Ulverston Triathlon Club to greet you at the first checkpoint on your 100 mile journey. Their theme for the checkpoint is superheroes, team manager Caroline does a very good Wonder Woman!


Checkpoint 2, Corn Mill, Boot, Eskdale, Mexico

For the 100 runners you’ll be facing darkness soon after this checkpoint so this is the perfect place for Petzl and CP manager Martin Bergerud and their theme is all things Mexican!! This year Martin and his team will be feeding, hydrating, supporting and pushing you onwards to Wasdale. Martin is an all round mountain man, runner, cyclist and great guy so you are in safe hands. Part of Martin’s role is to ensure that petzl produce the best products for ultra runners.


Checkpoint 3, barn close to Wasdale Inn, Wasdale (CIRCA 1984)

It’s the ‘Stroller Disco’… if you ran last year, I don’t think we need say more.

Based in the North East is an immense army known as The Sunderland Strollers. They are regulars at ultra running events throughout the UK, competing or supporting. Many of the members have already taken part in the Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 and they have an elite team ready and waiting for you at Wasdale checkpoint. With Blacksail Pass and Scarth Gap looming, you’ll need ‘lifting’ at the Wasdale CP, the Strollers are the team for the task. Imagine a barn in bleakest Wasdale with glitter balls, 80’s disco music and excessively flared trousers. Throw in a few affro hairstyles and you get the picture.


Checkpoint 4, Buttermere Village Hall, Buttermere, California

Bev & Kim (don’t need to say any more for the regulars) will be staffing this point and the theme is ‘American Diner’. Coffee and doughnuts? Drive in movies? Last year their milkshakes went down an absolute storm!

Checkpoint 5, HMS Braithwaite, The High Seas

Tony and Giselle are at CP5 and that’s probably as much as we need to say for those who’ve done the event before. They’ve been there every year, feeding, supporting and pushing people onwards and they are the first ‘real food’ stop (mains and pudding!!). Tony and Giselle have been long distance runners and walkers for many years and have racked up more LDWA events that they’ll serve hot meals in July. If anyone complains, you will be made to walk the plank as the pirate team running HMS Braithwaite will not take any abuse from slackers.

Checkpoint 6, Blencathra Centre

A full name is not required, he is the man simply known as ‘little Dave’. He’s done it beforehand, both 50 and 100 so he’s the man equipped to keep you going. Little Dave is quite famous now, but many have suggested that this fame is attributed largely to the chocolate cake supplied by his mum. The chocolate cake has special properties and has been the difference between dropping out and finishing for many competitors.

Checkpoint 7, Dockray, Matterdale

Checkpoint 7 is found at the end of the old coach road, in a deserted car park, usually in the early hours of the morning and that’s why you’ll be pleased to see them. The Newburgh Nomads are a running club from Lancashire who have experienced your pain, the guys and girls who staff this CP are Old Skool. This CP is renowned for cowbells and grumpy men who resemble something from last of the summer wine.


Checkpoint 8, Dalemain House, Pooley Bridge

The ‘half way stop’ for the 100 course which is in fact not half way at all and it is the start of the 50 mile event. Dalemain is manned by The Endurance Store and this year’s theme is MASH. Those of a certain age will remember this classic TV programme and the tent at Dalemain very much resembles a medical tent with bodies sprawling on the grass, taking intravenous cola.

The coaches drop off at this point for the 50 runners to start and friends family get a great spot to view as runners initially complete a 4 miles loop before starting their journey to Coniston. Friends and family may choose to join you for the first 4 miles rather than watching, after that you’re on your own.. apart from 1000 other people.


Checkpoint 9/1, Bobbin Mill, Howtown, Mid West

The first CP for the 50 runners and you’ll have barely broken sweat. After a great trail along Ullswater you drop to Howtown for the first stop and then start the first real climb up Fusedale valley. The checkpoint is managed by Chia Charge. As you can imagine, with barely an hour of running gone by, this checkpoint can be a little ‘manic’ with runners grabbing food and drink, recording their time and then dashing back up the hill in the direction of Mardale. Don’t annoy the CP staff, a few of them are gunslingers so show respect when you roll into (Howdy)town…


Checkpoint 10/2, Mardale Head Car Park, Mardale

Delamere Spartans are a collective of trail runners who shun tarmac in favour of adventure and good times in the great outdoors. The brotherhood of Sparta is a bond that cannot be broken. In Sparta you will find friendly bravado and good old fashioned ‘encouragement’ for all. They live wild in Delamere Forest, their spiritual home and out on the killing fields of Cheshire. The Spartans are driven on through wind, rain, sleet and snow. Even darkness turns to light in their presence. They are committed to finding personal limits and once discovered, they smash through them like a truck on a colossal mirror.

Treacherous Persians cower (NB: not many Persians at Mardale) as the Spartans find glory through their victories. Witness their banner at races, from the friendly Lakes of the North to the burning pit of hell known as the South (their words not ours, for our Southern friends reading this). They are the Delamere Spartans, what’s your occupation?


Checkpoint 11/3, Kentmere Institute, Kentmere

This year we have a new team at Kentmere. Montane have handed the reigns over to Team Mountain Fuel. They will be serving pasta and pancakes, a trusted combination.


Checkpoint 12/4, Parish Hall, Ambleside Circus

Checkpoint 12 is Ambleside Parish Hall and the stop is managed by Ringmaster Nicola Merrett of Mountain Run & Nics Nordic Walking.

Reaching Ambleside is a great landmark so you’ll be glad to reach the parish hall and you’ll welcome the relief. Some of you will reach Ambleside before last orders, no stopping in the pub please, it’s not in the spirit of the event…


Checkpoint 13/5, Chapel Stile, Langdale

A great place to start and an amazing place to visit. Chapel Stile is staffed by ‘the Howards’. The checkpoint is an oasis of calm, runners sitting outside on sofas and armchairs, warming themselves next to wood burning chimneys whilst mellow music playing in the background.

The checkpoint is staffed mainly this year by Ross Howard. The family own Grove Cottages of Ambleside, if you are looking for a wonderful place to stay for a week of recce and training, this family know a bit about the course and you couldn’t possibly meet a nicer bunch of people. Once again the Howards will be staffing CP13, Chapel Stile, it’ll be hard, but try not to stay too long.. ;)


Checkpoint 14/6, Tilberthwaite, Coniston, Stairway to Heaven

The final checkpoint will once again be managed by Janet & Lisa. Their CP is named and themed ‘The Stairway to Heaven’. From here, the only way is up…

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Family and friends supporting on the course

This blog post outlines how your supporters can see and support you on the course and keep up to date with your progress throughout the race.

1. There is a large screen at Coniston which will be displaying all runners live progress as they pass through checkpoints. Your spectators will be able to access this screen and monitor your progress during specific hours. They will not be able to access it from 11pm Friday through to 6am Saturday.

2. Spectators can sign up for SI Updates, you can do this within your SI entry by adding mobile numbers that you’d like texts to be sent to as you pass through each checkpoint. This is the same as the info displayed on the big screen, supporters will receive a text to inform them of the CP and the time you went through. There is a cost for this to cover texting charges etc, but this is the best way for your supporters to keep up to date with your progress throughout the event.

Where can they watch me on the course?

1. Supporters cannot run on the course with you, this is deemed outside assistance. This is only allowed for the initial 4 miles loop of Dalemain Estate for the 50 event (supporters joining you for the first 4 miles is encouraged).

2. Supporters MUST NOT enter the checkpoint buildings, CP staff will ask them to leave as they generally ‘get in the way’ of other competitors and CP staff.

3. There are specific points on the course where they can watch you. We have agreed with local councils, National Trust and National Park to avoid key areas. If your supporters go to these areas to watch you, it may result in a disqualification. The specific areas where supporters can watch as as follows:

100 Course:

  • Coniston (start and finish – please do not support in village centre after midnight as this can upset local residents)
  • CP3 Wasdale (specifically from Wasdale Inn)
  • Keswick – back of Fitz park before climbing Latrigg and on A66 approaching this point

50 & 100 Course

  • CP8 Dalemain Estate (parking available and friends / family of 50 competitors may join you for the initial 4 miles loop)
  • Pooley Bridge – main village (100 & 50 competitors)
  • CP12/4 Ambleside – main village (100 & 50 competitors) *can spectators please avoid entering the Parish Hall checkpoint. Ambleside is a key location for spectators.
  • Skelwith Bridge Hotel
  • Elterwater village – BE QUIET IF IT’S LATE

It Is extremely difficult for us to police the above regulations so we are asking YOU as a competitor to take responsibility, help us to ensure the race runs as smooth as possible and also to ensure that the event continues to take place every year forwards from now. We welcome you to the Lakeland 50 & 100 family, please help us to maintain great relations with local people for many years to come.

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