Nike AlphaFly. It’s not the carbon plate. New Research 2020.

A study has been released (Feb 2020, pre-publication) that looks into the physics and physiology
of carbon fiber plates in running shoes;  “Adding carbon fiber to shoe soles does not improve
running economy: a muscle-level explanation.”  (Full study HERE).

The goal of any running shoe manufacture is to help an athlete reduce the energetic cost of
running at a given speed. I.e improve running economy. Traditionally, shoe manufactures did
this by making shoes ultra-light. However, over the last few years, we’ve seen the introduction of
monster truck shoes with stacks of cushioning and carbon fiber plates.

Despite numerous world records being broken since the introduction of the Nike VaporFly in 2017
we’re yet to see conclusive evidence if the carbon fibre plate adds a performance boost, as opposed
to the cushioning that surrounds it.

As at March 2020, there have been two studies showing an
improvement in running economy with carbon plates (0.8% and 1.1%), and now four showing no

Introduction to the Run-Walk Marathon Method

The run-walk method is nothing new to running, and a lot of its notoriety can be credited to legendary running coach Jeff Galloway. However, I struggled to find scientific reasoning behind the run-walk method as well as any data on runners going under 3 hours using this method. Personally, I have successfully used the run-walk method to run a 2:45 marathon and 8hr 38min 100km.
What is Run-Walk? The method works as the name suggests, you run for a period then walk for a short period to recover and delay the onset of fatigue. The theory suggests that you’ll be able to run faster at the end of the race and thus have faster overall finishing time compared to if you had tried to run the whole time and were forced slow down at the end due to fatigue.
The Science of Run-Walk The Brain Running requires the brain to send neurological impulses to the muscles that are needed to propel you forward in a running motion. Both these neurological signals and the muscles they activate can become fatigued…

Dr Will's Tarawera Ultra Kit

I'm trying to stay as lightweight as possible for the 2020 Tarawera Ultra. The easiest way to cut down on excess weight is by minimising the amount of unnecessary water you carry.
For the Tarawera Ultra, I'll use three different pieces of kit to ensure I'm staying lightweight, but also have enough water as the day goes on.

My gear list on Amazon.

How to Avoid Blowing Up with Correct Pacing

Pacing in endurance sport is one of the most essential aspects of performance. Regardless of your ability, if you start the race beyond your level of fitness you will slow down at the end. The severity of how much you slow down (blow up) will depend on the race duration and how far beyond your ability you went at the start. Heat and Glycogen: Two Factors Slowing You Down In some cases, the amount you slow down may be so drastic you are forced to stop. Blowing up can occur for two reasons. Heat:. You can only handle small variations in core temperature (97 °F (36.1 °C) to 99 °F (37.2 °C)). If you accumulate heat at a rate faster than your body can cool itself, you'll be forced to slow down to avoid heat illness.
Sugar: As humans, we can only store a few 100 grams of glycogen (sugar) in our muscles and liver. We use glycogen aerobically and anaerobically as a high octane fuel for situations where fat can’t be used to produce energy fast enough. Starting too fast can use up your hig…

Why you shouldn't look at Strava's new fitness score

"It pretty much makes no sense at all"
Strava released fitness tracking for mobile devices to "summit" members in September 2019. Initially, this sounded like a great feature, however, they've decided to ignore fatigue..!?! Strava has had fitness and freshness tracking on the desktop version forever, and it's a great feature because it maps both fitness and fatigue. Yet, for some reason, Strava has decided to offer a far less relevant version on the mobile devices. My recommendation is to stay away from Strava app fitness.

If you're interested in tracking your training I recommend using TrainingPeaks. Checkout my tracking fitness video here;

Listen to the training with heart rate podcast

Analysing My 8hr 38min 100km Run

I had an amazing run at the Trail Trilogy 100km ultramarathon. Overall, I am incredibly happy with my effort and I am glad I implemented my 19-1 run-walk strategy, which I believe saved me on multiple occasions. HOWEVER, I felt like everything went to plan except for two sections. Looking back through my data, those two sections do stick out at me and I’d like to show them to you.

Here is the raw output from TrainingPeaks, the software I use to analyse training files. To the untrained eye, it may look like a bit of a mess, but with a little background information, you can unlock a world of information. I’ll show you.

Everyone slows down in an ultra
First, if you clear out some of the excess data and only show heart rate and running power, you can see that I slowed down over the duration of the race.
The rate at which I slowed down fits nicely into the results published in a 2004 study titled “Changes in Running Speeds in a 100 km Ultramarathon Race” (read here).
The researchers showed…