Posted by: Richard Bray | August 8, 2010

Training and Nutrition Update

After weeks of balancing injuries with my heavy training schedule, I reached out for help. I got a referral to the Bowskil clinic where I saw a holistic health specialist Steve Bessant. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the initial 2 hour session where he asked me questions about my lifestyle, training, work, diet, sleep and pretty much everything else about my life but I must say I am impressed with the diagnosis. He performed tests to assess my strength, muscle length and overall health in light of the big race. The first test he got me to do was to stand on a set of scales – one scale under each foot. I had to remain balanced whilst he reviewed my weight. After a few moments Steve asked me “Do you feel balanced?” and I promptly replied “of course”. He then informed me I was 10kg heavier on my left side! Being 78kg in total weight, 10kg is a lot. After a few more tests he tells me my atlas (top part of the spine) is out of alignment which is causing my pelvis to be out of alignment and putting the balance of weight to my left side! Just one of the many things I have to get fixed.

Next up was my diet. I think I eat pretty healthily with lots of fresh fruit, vegetables and lean meat or fish. The occasional sugar item is hard to resist but overall I would say that I had a pretty balanced diet. Not so in the eyes of Steve. For the amount of stress I put on my body with work and training, it was time to get a lot more strict. I have now cut out all Gluten, Wheat, Dairy, Sugar and of course Alcohol. It’s what some call “The Neanderthal Diet”. Simply put – if you can hunt it or gather it, you can eat it. Neanderthals certainly didn’t eat spaghetti bolognese or strawberry tarts! So it’s back to simple foods. Meat and 3 vege with no sauces and no accompaniments. Why you may ask… the body was not built for man made and altered food. Therefore when gluten and other man altered foods enter the blood stream, your body’s immune system runs around after it trying to clean up the after affects. That takes the focus of your immune system away from doing what it should do – healing muscles and fixing injuries. Surprisingly, two weeks after starting the diet, I am full of energy and all my injuries have healed up.

Also prescribed by Steve – a complete but focused stretching program. An exercise and strength program. A sleep program including brainwave music to aid deeper sleep. Last but not least, supplements. Here’s what I now have to take each day:

AdrenoMax- to help support your adrenals 3 capsules per day with food.
B-complex – replace B vitamins that get used under stress
Metagest – to help with digestion
Inflavonoid intensive care – control inflammation and improve recovery from sessions.
Ultra probioplex capsules- replace good bacteria in intestines to help immunity
Ultra Muscleze – magnesium base product to reduce tension in muscles.

So the countdown is on..8 weeks to go and the body is finally getting in shape for the big race. I completed 30km with 10kgs on the back yesterday and another 30km today. That brings up the 100km for the week. Onwards and upwards from here.

Posted by: Richard Bray | July 14, 2010

News Article – Sahara Run Stretches Limits

East and Bays Courier in Auckland, New Zealand have released an article about me and my race. Great for EnKI to get such a good mention.

Posted by: Richard Bray | July 11, 2010

Kriotherapy – Time to Freeze

My injuries are really getting to me at the moment. They are preventing me from getting the KM’s done and I’m getting anxious with less than 3 months to go. So yesterday I took crazy approach to fixing my issues – Kriotherapy! Essentially involves getting into a chamber that has a temperature of -130 degrees celsius! Yip you read correctly – that’s 130 degrees below zero!

The extreme cold in the chamber triggers cold temperature receptors in the skin to send a ‘red alert’ signal to the brain, giving a ‘fight or flight’ response. Blood is then pumped round the body at an increased rate, and there is an increase in hormone production,the immune system is boosted, oxygen and nutrients are pumped around the body and your body releases adrenalin and endorphins!

Why – It helps to cure my running injuries by jump starting the immune system and pumping fresh blood to the problem areas resulting in analgesia (immediate pain relief) !!

Time in the chamber – 3 mins!!

My Kriotherapy outfit… noice eh!

Coming out of the chamber…

When you come out of the chamber you jump onto Vibration Gym plates for a stretching session. The aim is to work the muscles when they have increased blood flow to the problem zones enabling your body to naturally heal the pain points.

Fingers crossed it works…. I need to get back on the road!

Posted by: Richard Bray | June 12, 2010

More Injuries!

I increased my training in an attempt to break the through the fitness barriers. I need to raise my game to get my fitness to the next level. The increase includes at least one half marathon during the week (usually starting at 5:30am on a Wed morning) and then on Thurs I have found a hill in Richmond Park I have dubbed the “Hill of Justice”. I also do a long ride / run combo on a sat morning (60km bike, 20km run) and several other strength and cardio sessions during the week including a sweat vest run to raise the core temperature in an attempt to simulate a heat based run.

The hill of justice is my favourite! It’s approx 150mtrs long and it has a very steep gradient that increases as you reach the top half of the hill. I have set up a cross fit workout that includes hill sprints and strength work. Do one hill sprint and when you reach the top (and your lungs are burning) drop down and do 10 pressups then jog down the hill to do 10 burpee pressups. I have 30 mins to complete as many of those as possible. 10 is the goal!As it’s out at Richmond Park, I include a ride to and around the park making the total workout 2 hrs long. 5:30am starts to fit it in!

The increase in training has meant more strain on my body. Taking the most stress was my calf muscles which has strained my Achilies Tendon on my left leg. I’m out from running for a couple of weeks which means my training has become more strength oriented. Strangely, it does not satisfy me in the same way… looking forward to my first run back.

Love my taping… here’s what my Physio has done this time.

Posted by: Richard Bray | May 23, 2010

Time Magazine Top 10 Endurance Competitions

Times magazine has released a list of the top endurance races in the world. Racing the Planet’s Desert runs have secured 2nd place on the list beating 24 hr Le Mans car race, Marathon Des Sables and the Tour De France. Racing the planet was only edged out by the Dakar Rally.

Here’s a list of the top 10:,29569,1869820,00.html

Further proof this is one of the toughest races on the planet.

Posted by: Richard Bray | April 15, 2010

Paris Marathon 2010

The big day finally came – Paris Marathon 2010. 4 months of race training and several months cross training getting my reconstructed knee ready for the event.  I was determined to run a good time and with 6 friends all coming over to race the event too, I was determined to come out on top. However, my determination ran deeper than that. Some people fear snakes or spiders. Some people fear planes. I fear being beaten by novelty runners! My pride can not stand a man in a banana suit beating me across the finish line. Of course, in Paris, there were several novelty runners taunting me before the start! A lot was on this race and my performance.

The race organisation was great and Paris turned on the weather for us too. A balmy 15 degress was a nice change to the cold running I was used to in London.  With 40,000 race entrants, the streets around the start line were packed. It was a strange feeling to be walking around the Arc de Triomphe and not have to worry about crazy French drivers trying to take you out. Even more strange was seeing a vacant Champs Elysee  – the first part of the course. Not for long though – the race kicked off and the torrent of runners flowed down the cobbled street.

My race started well and I felt strong for the first half of the race. I was averaging 4:12 per km and hoping this was not too fast and that I could hold it till at least the 30km mark. But by the 25km mark I had started to slow and my pace dropped by 10sec per km. After 30km, I was down another 10sec and I was sucking back Gu to try and give my body the glycogen it needed. By 35km my body was done and I hit the wall. Hard! It’s a strange feeling that creeps up quickly on you. I had nothing left in the tank but I was still determined to beat my goal of 3 hrs 15mins. I was on track to do around 3hrs 5 mins but there was no way I could keep up that pace. I dropped back to 5min km and just hung on for the ride.

I finished on my watch at 3:09:45. Not bad for my first road marathon. Breaking my target time of 3hrs 15mins! The breakdown of stats and course map from my watch are below.

A couple of days after I checked my time on the official website and I was down for 3hrs 11min. I’m gutted to have missed the 3hrs 10min mark on the official time but I’m still happy that I beat my 3hrs 15min goal.

The winner completed the course in a staggering 2hrs 5mins. Sickening how fast those boys can go. Breaking it down further… I think my fastest 100mtr time was around 12.5 – 13sec which was done back in high school. The winner of the marathon was running 100mtrs in around 18sec and holding that pace for 42.2km. See how sickening that pace is! Breaking my time down, it’s around 25 sec per 100mtrs held for the marathon. I guess that’s why they can beat me by over an hour!

The best thing about the whole race – it signals the end of my 6 week dry spell. A beer in the sun is well deserved!

Oh and no novelty runners beat me!! Mission accomplished. Bring on the Sahara – no novelty runners there!

Posted by: Richard Bray | March 30, 2010

Lucozade Half Marathon – More Photos

Great article written in The Times about a Scottish Doctor who won the female section of the Racing the Planet Atacama Desert Run. An amazing feat considering she lost her luggage and had to scramble to get gear leant to her or bought before the race commenced.

A quote from the article..   “It’s about beating yourself and knowing you can do it. Ninety-five percent is willpower.”

Nothing but heat and dust, pain and glory for 250km – Times Online.

Posted by: Richard Bray | March 28, 2010

Lucozade Race Your Pace Half Marathon

5 weeks after completing the Brighton Beacon Half Marathon, it was time to step up to the start line again and attempt to beat the 90 min mark. Off the booze since the beginning of March and after a hard few weeks of running training with Bikram Yoga mixed in, it was time to test my speed and endurance.

The Lucozade Half was put on at the Eton College Rowing venue and consisted of 4 laps of the lake. Nice and flat and very boring. With 2 of my friends pulling out, it was left to me  to drive down in the mild temperature and complete the training run just two weeks out from the Paris Marathon. Luckily my supportive girlfriend was on hand to feed and take care of me as well as take a few happy snaps.

1000 entrants split into two groups. Performers and Improvers. I joined the Performers group (roughly 1/3 of the total field) where pacers held yellow flags with their estimated mile pace. I joined the 6.5min per mile group and thought I would hang on as long as possible. We started fast… very fast. We were averaging 6min miles for the first 3miles and I ended up completing the first 10km in 39mins. My fastest 10km since high school! I steadied my pace, actually my pace steadied me and by the 3rd lap I was hurting from my fast start. I kept pushing and held on to complete the course in a total time of 1:27:23. Not bad for a weekend warrior with a reconstructed knee. About 1 min off my Personal Best. The missus counted out my place at 45 which I was pretty happy at.

Next stop – Paris Marathon. 2 weeks to go. Time to taper

Posted by: Richard Bray | March 7, 2010

Endurance training run – 5 Weeks till Paris

5 Weeks till the Paris Marathon and I’m trying hard to keep my head in the game. I battled the demons last week and struggled to get my time down under 5mins per KM. This week I pounded the pavement on my own to try and fight the demons by myself.  Just me,  my new garmin watch, my music and a plan to complete 35km faster than I had done the previous week. The roads around London can be a tough place when you are challenging the watch and your mind. Cars, traffic lights, slow walking pedestrians – it makes it more like an obstacle course in the smog! At least there won’t be day dreaming shoppers to weave in and out of in the desert!

I completed the run in a solid time of just over 2:41 hrs.  That’s an average of 4:46min per km. Better than last week but not fast enough. To achieve my desired marathon time I need to be averaging a time in the 4:30’s!  A few more weeks training and the excitement of racing in Paris will hopefully pull this time down. Off the booze now till after the marathon – a scary prospect but the detox is necessary.  Here’s the route and stats from my run yesterday.

Wimbledon running route

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