Thursday, 24 March 2011


So as usual I become lazy when things aren't going according to plan and don't bother to write a blog..... So I thought I better update, as I can't just rely on others to keep Runners Blogs going.

The last 8 weeks have been pretty bad running wise. Although I have managed to do some running it has all been whilst battling injuries and so has been pretty rubbish with no sessions or tempo's, barely a run over an hour, and 2 DNF's in races I shouldn't have even been on the start line for. I dropped out of BUCS, with an issue with my shin. I shouldn't have been on the start line but just really wanted to run for Lufbra in a BUCS competition, especially as it was my first and last BUCS XC. I was also in the A team, which was pretty good, but in the end it was all to no avail as I dropped out and just felt like I had let everyone down.

This really got to me for a good few days, but I managed to get patched up by Mark Buckingham and flew to Ireland to run the Armagh 5k. This is a fantastic event and I spent a great few days over there. I got round and ran a PB of 15.07, not what I wanted by any means but considering the circumstances I have to take it.....

Post Armagh I have struggled with back, hip and IT band issues and so haven't done any proper training. I tried to do the Inter-Counties anyway and again dropped out. It was at this point I realised this couldn't continue, and so I took a week off and got massage on my IT band every day. As you can imagine it was heavily bruised. I have to thank Stephen Bennett for helping to sort me out. I also saw Cat Riley who put my SI joint back in place (again) and loosed off my hip area. Since this I have managed to run every day and see and improvement day on day. Long may this continue. I even jogged round a leg of the Northern 12 stage for Blackburn on Sunday, maintaining our position and bringing home the bacon in 9th place! This was solid enough (about what we expected) and we all had a great day out!

Hopefully training can continue to follow the upwards trend it is currently on, and I can be back in full training in 10 days time when I head off to Portugal.

Finally I just thought I would touch upon my awful day..... I had a hydrodensitometry weighing done today, which is where you are weighed under water. An endurance athlete should come out at about 6-8% body fat but I came out as 16%, so naturally I was devastated!!!!! Seems there's a lot of work to do on that front! Part of me thinks I should adopt the Adam Goucher approach and just not eat lunch..... There’s some food for thought (pun intended).

Pete x

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Pre-BUCS Haircut

So I have been very busy since my last update. It took us all a few days to come to terms with the loss of our mate Richard Belton’s death, however a walk around Brock a couple of days after he passed away really helped. On the Saturday we went over to Coventry on the bus to run the 3rd Birmingham League fixture of the season. Mariani and I had been to town the day before to get a big length of black ribbon, which we cut up, so everyone could pin a cross on their vest. A few words were said before the race, and I am pretty sure I can speak for the whole team, in saying our performances were dedicated to him. The team did pretty well, the best we have done so far in the league this season, with our first 5 men in the top 35. I improved again finishing 17th (I was 34th in the last fixture).  I was very pleased with this, even though Shane beat me by a second!! Results here.

For the 2 weeks after the race, I was extremely busy with exams. I won’t dwell on these as they are very boring, but have to be done. Two went well, one was pretty shocking! Training continued to tick along nicely though, and as soon as my last exam was done on Friday, I got out the door to do my final tempo before BUCS. I kind of follow the American system with my training, and so do a tempo on a Friday with Kev Seawood. Even though I was really tired due to a lack of sleep from the exam, I ran my best tempo yet, feeling really relaxed and running the 5 miles in 26.30. I then grabbed a quick shower and Kev dropped me at the station to catch my train home. I spent 5 days at home, as I figured I don’t know when the next chance will be to go home and spend time with my family. I also wanted an appointment with Duncan Mason (my physio) to check everything is in working order before he goes to Kenya with UKA.

Whilst at home I went up to watch my brother run the Northern Championships. He came 33rd in the U20 race, and still has two years left in the age group. I love watching my brother run and it pleases me that he defies the common misconception that 8 guys can’t run cross country! The senior race was exhibition stuff, with Steve Vernon and Tom Lancashire making the field look like joggers! I was glad I gave it a miss though, as the mud was horrendous. My brother videoed the race, and so I’m going to send it to the guys at athleticos so they can edit it and pop it on their site.

Now on to my pre-BUCS haircut. I know this applies to some athletes, but I’m not sure how many, but I like to get my haircut before a race. I’m not sure whether this is so I am lighter, or whether it’s just a vanity thing, most likely the later. So with BUCS (British University & College Sport) Cross Country Championships coming up this weekend I got my hair cut yesterday before coming back to Loughborough. My hairdresser at home is pretty fit and I would definitely smash it! She did a great job and carved me out an old school mullet! I promised the lads I would rock out a mullet for BUCS, and I have delivered.  Let’s just hope the race goes well now... Training has been good, but being my BUCS debut and running for the Loughborough A team, who knows what could happen?!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Richard Belton

Well, where do I begin? I don’t fully know what to say, but feel writing my thoughts down will help me to understand and accept what has happened. I was going to write about my performance at the Lancs XC Champs last weekend, or about my training, but these kind of things all seem pretty trivial now.

13 months ago, our good friend Pistol Pete Holmes was taken from us in such tragic circumstances. Such a wonderful man, who anyone would be proud to say they were friends with. He was living his dream and had so much to offer the world. This really stopped me, along with so many others in Loughborough and beyond, in our tracks. So just over a year on, and it happens again. Another great young man, taken from us far too young. Richard Belton or just Belton to those who knew him had so much to look forward to. He had just taken up a new role within British Triathlon, leaving British Volleyball to take on this new role. However it was during a volleyball game yesterday evening with his friends that this tragic incident happened.

My memories of Rich were of running with him, especially this year on a Tuesday night ‘tempo’ where he had to stop with stomach cramps but urged me to keep going. I also remember going out riding with him and Vardy and them showing me new cycling routes. My other prominent memory of Belton or Seal as we nicknamed him was at the Loughborough Christmas Ball in my first year, which was undoubtedly my favourite. Spending time with him and his closer friends at the pre-ball jam in his house is something I will never forget.

I am running for Loughborough tomorrow in the Birmingham League, where I shall be wearing a black ribbon on my African Violet vest, with my run being dedicated to him. My thoughts are with his family and close friends.

RIP Belton xx

Friday, 7 January 2011

"Consistency is the key"

So here we are in 2011. It always seems to amaze everyone how fast a year goes by, 365 days, 52 weeks or 12 months. Where does it all go? How much of it do we waste?

Well I did this whole evaluation phase at the beginning of September, as I'm sure a lot of athletes do. I had just got back from a 'lads' holiday in Bulgaria, and was as far from an athlete as you could possibly be (the only way you could tell I was an athlete was the fact I read 'Running with the Buffaloes' whilst I was there). I had come back 1.5 stone overweight, still injured and with a horrendous lifestyle. I also decided that the last year of my life had been quite wasteful, and so I decided it was time for a change. I don't know how much the book I was reading affected my change in attitude, but I'm sure it was a big part of it. I felt all of a sudden as if I had a fresh focus and desire to try and fulfil my potential. 

Now when I say I changed things, I don't just mean I changed the odd thing here and then, I mean whole-scale changes to the way I live my life. The root of the problems was being injured, so I sought out the best physio I could find in order to try and put an end to my 3 year injury nightmare. This man was to be Duncan Mason. A few friends had mentioned him to me in the past, and so I decided it was time to take their advice, get down to Manchester and get myself sorted. Next my sleeping patterns had to change. Going to bed at 5am and not getting up until 1pm is not the lifestyle of someone who wants to get the most out of their athletics. This inevitably meant night’s out had to be severely cut back and in came 11pm bedtimes. Next to change was my diet. Carrying an extra stone and a half, or in real terms 9 bags of sugar is far from ideal!! I can only imagine the stress that was putting on my body, trying to run carrying all that weight and this can’t have helped my injuries. Finally my training needed a drastic upheaval, or more accurately, my approach to it had to change. Coming back from an injury and trying to get yourself fit for a big race 4 weeks later is just not conducive to getting the best out of yourself or establishing any kind of consistency in your training. I feel I am quite clued up on how to train, just through speaking to knowledgeable people and reading Lydiard et al's methods, so why wasn't I putting all this into practice? After all, "consistency is the key".

Within two weeks I felt like I was back on the rails to some degree. I had seen Duncan twice, and he had found the root of my injuries and set about fixing them. Exercises and treatment were the answer and I was soon back doing some easy running. My lifestyle was soon back to what it used to be before I went to Uni, with normal sleeping patterns and a good healthy balance of home cooked food courtesy of mum. And finally I spoke to my good friend Tom Cornthwaite, and we agreed it would be best that he oversaw all of my training again, just like when I had my successes on the Mountains. 

So here we are just over 3 months later and I feel like a different person. Touch wood, I have had no major injury problems during this time, but continue to see Duncan (who has worked wonders with me and I would highly recommend him) in order to keep on top of any niggles and potential injuries. He recommends all his patients do this, such as Andi Jones, Dave and Andy Norman and Michelle Ross-Cope to name but a few. My lifestyle is still pretty good, and I am also working harder at University, which is obviously important, this being my final year. My diet is much better too. I made a pact with Nathan Bibby one night back in October that we would give up chocolate, cake, biscuits, sweets and crisps until Christmas. Although I used ice-cream (Ben & Jerry’s half baked to be precise) as a loop-hole, we both stuck at it, and this has massively helped with my bid to get back towards my best racing weight. I have realised it is much harder to lose weight than to put it on, so I won’t be ‘bingeing’ again in a hurry. So at 10.5 stone I have lost about a stone, and so only have a few pounds to go to be at my optimum weight!

On the training front, with Tom’s help, things are moving in the right direction, and I have even raced 3 times (would have been 4 without all this snow!). But that is another story in itself and shall have to wait for another day (hopefully a bit sooner than the 7 months since my last blog!)

Thanks for reading and I hope you like the new Runners Blogs site,


Monday, 31 May 2010

Another Week Under the Belt

So, as the blog title suggests I am still in one piece (*touches wood*). Since Portugal training has been virtually non-existent and this is very frustrating as I believe I was in pretty decent shape. The lastest in my long list of injuries started on the day of the Inter-Counties. I did a tempo early that morning with James Fairbourn and it went pretty well. At this point I was still on the comeback from tearing my calf. I had no immediate reaction until I stepped out of the car at the Inter-Counties and my Achilles just felt really tight and sore. However like the idiot I am, I still ran around all afternoon cheering people on and just hoping it was just a bit tight. Well it wasn’t and so I didn’t run for a while, but then was back bit part running when we left for Portugal. This trend continued in Portugal where I would run for 2-3days and then take a day or two off to try and let it settle again. This is obviously not clever, but I was out there to train and so this is what I set out to do. I thought I had turned the corner and managed a solid session with Pete Street, Nathan Bibby and Kris Bibby consisting of 1k, 800, 600, 4x400m.

However 2 days later the problem was back and worse than ever. The pain wasn’t directly on my Achilles and most the time didn’t really affect my Achilles. The pain was more to the base of my heel, just on the outside of my left Achilles. So anyway I didn’t run for about 4 weeks and then finally Cat Riley got to the bottom of the problem the first time I saw her. It turned out the Sub-Talor Joint in my foot was completely locked up, and so when my foot landed the force was not being distributed evenly therefore causing me problems. A couple of sessions loosening off my calf, soleus and peronial tendon, and mobilizing the joint in my foot got me back running. Since then I have come back very sensibly, running every other day for 10 days or so and then increasing the number and length of my runs. Saturday saw my first proper track session, done at home with Tom Cornthwaite. The weather was horrible but I was glad to be just back running on the track! I did 6x300m off 100m jog and I haven’t felt lactic like it for 3 years!! It really was a shock to the system! In the evening I watched the Grand Prix at Sportscity and it was great to see a lot of good friends running well. I can’t really mention everyone but want to mention Alex Hains’ run! He has missed 2 years of running since coming back from America, and in his first season back went out and ran  13.57!! Great job Hainsy!

The past week hasn’t been much fun apart from the return to proper running, as I have been revising hard. I went home Wednesday to Saturday to see my family and managed to get myself a job for the summer, which is very handy! Last night I went out for a couple of casual drinks with all the Loughborough boys, which was a welcome break from revision. However I am back on it today, and so will have to end today’s blog here. Until next time.....

Monday, 24 May 2010

Back by popular demand/return from injury!

Many people were (rightly) saddened by the abrupt end to my blogging when I was out in Portugal. I can only apologise for this, and have no excuse other than sheer laziness.  I shall start by summing up the whole trip in a word; amazing! I can honestly say I had the time of my life for the 3 and a half weeks I was out there and would jump at the chance to go back. I met some really cool people out there and pretty much just had a ball. The training was also going fairly well until the last week when I didn’t run a step. This trend unfortunately continued for the best part of 3 weeks after my return, but I will go into that at a later date....

Highlights of the trip:

  • Death Day has to be up there... copious amounts of chocolate after being without it for a month was pretty dreamy!
  • BIG Saturday night out! If I say 7 very close mates all arrived home to the same house at completely different times, each with their own story to tell of the nights proceedings, then that should sum up how good a night it was! (and that’s not to mention some of us running at 6.30am pre-sleep!)
  • Gayhouse. Our house was given this label for some unknown reason, but unfortunately we failed to live up to our reputation!
  • Karaoke sessions in Rui’s Bar never went unloved.

  • Horrible tanning sessions.
  • And Mariani getting himself a girlfriend!!!

Since returning home, I have been pretty snowed under with 3 pieces of coursework to start and finish, and now my first exam tomorrow! Any excuse to get out of revision! I shall try and be more regular with my updates from now on, and will try and write later in the week detailing my latest in a long line of comebacks!

Until then xx


Thursday, 8 April 2010

Day 6 - Death Day

Finally the arrival of Easter Sunday, and the end of lent. Pete Street and I had already agreed to go for Chocolate Fudge Cake after our run and I couldn’t wait. I saw Leslie and Tom this morning before my run, and they loosened off my IT band and Peronial, and then I set off with the lads. My IT-Band hurt for the whole hour I ran, but it was a welcome relief from pain in my Achilles area. I stretched and iced as soon as I got back before getting changed and going to Bar O Cafe for our fudge cake! Boy it was good and I even had a bar of Milka afterwards. Pete and I decided that we weren’t craving that badly as it has been so long, and so are pretty much going to go back on the same diet, although not quite as strict. I absolutely love chocolate, but I get addicted and eat way too much, so if I’m trying to keep my weight down its probably best I don’t have any at all! The rest of the afternoon was spent tanning it up and socialising around the pool. At around 6, Kate Hindle, Lucy Dowsett, Becky Gough and I did a bit of core and stretching on the grass by the pool. I really had to man up, as girls are always so much better at core!

I got back to the villa at 5.30, and had to get ready in 30mins (which is quick for me) as me and my brother were meeting my parents for a meal. They came out here yesterday, and are staying in a gorgeous hotel right on the beach. It was a good half an hour walk down to the hotel, but it was really nice to see them! We got the extra surprise of a HUGE Easter egg in the hotel foyer that you could help yourself to! After a catch up and a drink in their room, we wandered into the Marina to find somewhere to eat. My parents had been given a recommendation and so we tried it out. The restaurant  was called the Abroa, and the fish steaks I had were very good. We then went for an ice cream, no prizes for guessing I went for chocolate! Chris and I then walked home, and I ate the mini-eggs and crème egg my mum had brought out for me! Today really was a death day!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Day 5 - BBQ

Today saw the second session of our trip. With the Gandyman now out here in Portugal it would definitely be a session where people would try to impress, with BUCS looming on the horizon, and George only being here for a week. Those of us doing the 5k session started at 10, with a 2k rep at 5k pace, just like on Tuesday. 10 minutes later the main session started, which was 700, 200, 600, 200, 500, 200, 400 all off 90sec recovery, with the reps getting faster throughout the session. Unfortunately for me, my heel wasn’t feeling too great, and so I had to stop after the 2k. I was pretty down about this, but George said not to worry about it and just get ready for Tuesday (the next session). I stayed around and stretched whilst the rest of the guys did the session, Emery in particular running very well. The track was rammed this morning, with around 7+ groups training on it, as it closes at 12 on a Saturday. At 10 a few of John Nuttall’s group and some of the Liverpool lads were doing a huge volume session, whilst we also saw Phil Nicholls doing what looked like 400’s and Ben Moreau doing some longer reps. At 11 Liz McColgan’s group were doing 800’s and a small but high quality group from Blackburn (my brother, Alison Leonard, Karl Billington and Anthony Hauserman) were doing 300’s.
As soon as I got back, I went to see Leslie and Tom for a bit of ‘emergency treatment’ to see if they could sort my heel out. There weren’t massaging today as it is their rest day, so I was very lucky that they agreed to take a quick look at me. Between them they loosened off my IT-Band and Peronial Tendon, and this really seemed to help the pain in my heel straight away. I cannot say how thankful I was and I really do owe them one! After the treatment I got lunch whilst watching the United-Chelsea game. This was always going to be horribly tense as Mariani is a Chelsea fan, and Fairbourn a big United fan (oh and Griff pretends he’s a big United fan!). We all know the result, but it didn’t quite kill the atmosphere in the villa as much as I anticipated for...

Earlier on in the week we were invited to the 9 person L’boro villa down by the track for a BBQ. We couldn’t pass up on this offer, and so rocked up at 6pm with all our food. Everyone who has come away with L’boro was there, and despite the wait for food (obviously going to happen when catering for over 30 people) it was good. I smashed 2 burgers and a couple of sausages along with a bit of the pasta that Besty and the girls had laid on! This was most definitely the most full I have been since coming out here! Our house left quite early however, as we wanted to go down to the Marina. We watched the David Haye fight in Figo’s bar, with a large Liverpool AC contingency, before heading on to Rui’s Karaoke bar again. The DJ tonight was awful, which ruined it, as he had the wrong backing tracks playing and all sorts. The company was great but it really was a shambles which got worse when a John Smiths shandy set me back 5 euro’s 50! Never again!

Day 4 – “a successful track season would now just be an added bonus!”

After a relatively late night last night, most of our house chose to lie in. Fairbourn was out early for an easy run, but personally I didn’t get up until 10am. With no running today, I was in no rush to really do anything. After breakfast we went to the bar for a coffee but not being a coffee drinker I soon hit the pool for an hour to catch some more rays. We had lunch just after 1pm, and then headed down to the beach. The beach is about a 15 minute walk away, and a massive group had already set off down there when we left. Emery, Griff, Mariani and I walked down to the beach with Nathan Bibby and a group of girls from Birmingham. I knew half of them before the trip, and met a few of the others by the pool yesterday, but the lads didn’t know any of them, so it was good to just get to meet some new people and socialise. When we arrived at the beach, we messed about with a Nerf and football for a bit and I had a cheeky dip in the sea. Things then got a bit more serious with a mass rounder’s game. It must have been about 15-a-side, with groups from Preston/Blackburn, Loughborough and Birmingham all involved! This was a great laugh and of course, I was on the winning team! As Pete Street and I discussed afterwards, a successful track season would now just be an added bonus!

Mariani and his little friend!

Mariani and I left the beach at 4.40, just before the rest, as we had to get to the supermarket as we were on cooking duty tonight. We were worried it closed at 5 being Good Friday, but it didn’t actually close till 8, which was annoying as we could have squeezed in a little more tanning time! Anyway we purchased just over 1kg of diced beef, some veg, soy sauce and rice. As you can probably guess we decided to make a Stir-Fry. The others arrived back just after us, and I then went to the pool (or as Shane just corrected me, tanning salon) with Fairbourn in order to stretch to try and improve and yesterday’s diagnosed horrendous flexibility. Once that was done, Mariani and I started to prepare the evening meal. The meal turned out ok and there was enough to go round, which was our biggest worry, having never cooked for 7 people before. The rest of the evening was very uneventful, as I think we all just wanted to get to bed in anticipation of tomorrow morning’s session.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Day 3 – “key tanning day!”

As I said in my blog yesterday, today would see the earliest start on the trip so far, as we all decided to run together at 8am. This was a relative luxury though, as I run before 7 sometimes when in Loughborough. I therefore woke up at 7.35 in order to allow time to foam roll and stretch before the run given the state of my Achilles yesterday. This really didn’t help that much though. Emery didn’t get up as stated, sticking to his guns that he never runs on a Thursday morning! Despite the beautiful run around the Golf Course, my Achilles just didn’t feel right, and so I just did 30mins with Mariani, whilst Seb, Fairbourn, Shane and Dave Howe continued and got an hour in.

The weather was gorgeous today and so this became my key tanning day! I hit the pool at around 10am with Griff, whilst the rest went for a coffee. They then joined us an hour or two later. Most the girls in our group were sunbathing too, and even Dolly (Alistair Donaldson) joined us mid-morning! Dolly is George’s new assistant coach, and being the 1st of April, he got well and truly fooled! At present Dolly is living in the UKA endurance house in Loughborough whilst he finds his own place. Becky Lyne is still there, as she is going to Fount Romeu next week, and she called Alistair telling him his car had been broken in too! Becky is usually quite sensible, and so Dolly bought this for a few hours!!! He was literally crapping himself!

Anyway at we all went back to the villa to have lunch at around 1pm, and get a break from the sun. However I was back out there at 2, in order to make the most of this key tanning day before my massage at 4.35. Heather see’s Leslie, when she comes to Loughborough every fortnight, and she always says how good she is. Her assistant Tom has come out to Portugal with her this year and he was massaging me. I said to a couple of the guys before I went that I wanted a lot of pain to try and sort my legs out! Well I got just that. Tom tried to loosen everything off, in order to relieve the strain on my Achilles. We established that I am tight absolutely everywhere up my left side, probably the reason my Achilles is so sore. Having never had my IT Bands or Glutes massaged before I knew this would be bad, as I knew they were tight. Let’s just say it really was not pleasant!! Tom then stretched me off, and I really did feel so much better straight away. I have booked another session on Wednesday to pretty much just do the same thing.

 Today was Shane’s Birthday and so we all decided to head down to the Marina for a meal. We all got ready and set off down there at just after 7. The place we ate did a carvery, however I went for a Steak and Guinness pie. After the meal we watched the Liverpool game in “Rui’s Sports Bar”, and after the game we got involved in some Karaoke. There was no way I was going to have a go, but Shane and Seb did an interesting Roxanne cover, whilst George/Gandy/G-man/GG got involved with a bit of Elvis! Sensible Emery and I headed back at just before midnight leaving just Shane and Seb to carry on singing, as the others had already gone back. Hopefully tomorrow’s weather will be as good as today, so I can once again optimize my tanning time on rest day.

N.B – I have been trying my best to take lots of pictures but I forgot to bring my usb cable. I am hoping to get hold of one on Saturday so that I can add my pictures to the blog....