Archive for : November, 2015

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Winter readiness

No matter which sport you are training for it is always easy to let your guard down in the winter. It is important to maintain a steady state of fitness throughout the winter season so that come Spring time you will not find it too much of a struggle to bring your fitness levels up to race pace. Whether you are a rookie or a pro, it is worth understanding the importance of winter training and how best to prepare.

There are a number of important considerations for winter training, these are broken down into the following categories:

Weather – Always check the weather forecast to ensure you dress suitably for the conditions. If it is icy, consider waiting until it thaws or ensure footwear is right for the conditions under foot.

Ensure your footwear has decent grip for the conditions

Ensure your footwear has decent grip for the conditions

Route -It’s very important to plan your route and/or training session. The sun is generally low in the sky in the winter so consider running routes where you will not be running face into the sun in dangerous areas such as next to busy roads. If you live in an area where outside training is impossible, consider looking around for an OCR or Cross Fit style gym. Parks are also great for winter training. Go on routes where you know there will be street lighting.

Time – Set a side more time for your winter training sessions. You will need to consider extra time for warming up and cooling down.

Visibility – The short winter days mean we often end up training before or after work in the dark. It is essential to remain visible at all times.

Clothing
Upper Body
The key to winter running especially for your upper body is layering. Firstly, you will need to keep your hands warm with a good pair of gloves. You can lose a great deal of you body heat through your extremities so it is important to cover those hands. Next, you want a fitted or compression base layer. This layer is the closest to your body and should have contact with your skin, this layer should only consist of wicking fabrics such as wool or synthetic materials and not cotton.
A 2nd layer is needed for colder runs and is made of an insulation fabric such as fleece. This layer has the perfect balance of trapping air to keep you warm while
releasing enough vapour to avoid overheating and chills. As a final layer, you will want to protect yourself against the wind, rain and snow but at the same time allow both heat and moisture to escape to prevent both overheating and chilling.

Lower Body:
Your legs generate a lot more heat than the rest of the body while running and therefore you will not need as many layers on your lower body. Shorts are generally fine, however if the temperature is cold, you may wish to consider a pair of running leggings or tights. Your feet also have the tendency to keep warm and there shoes with breathable waterproof membranes to help protect your feet from the natural elements. Choose shoes with an aggressive sole for the best grip, for added traction there are shoes with metal studs, remember however that these type of shoes are not permitted for most OCR events in the UK but do offer superior grip when running snow and ice. Do not use cotton socks when running because they will not wick away the moisture, leaving your feet wet and prone to blisters. Instead use socks with wicking fabrics such as wool and synthetic fibre.

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Accessories:
Dryrobes: One accessory that has become a ‘must have’ in the OCR world and we
see a lot of at events are the Dryrobes. These jackets are roomy, fleece lined
and exceptionally warm. With all the space inside them, they allow the user to get
changed under them in warm conditions.

dry robe

Kitbrix:
These are a water proof, modular type bag, enabling you to zip together to
use on race day in whatever configuration suits you. Essential for any athlete,
family or sports team, KitBrix is the most functional and most effective of all the
sports organisers. Big easy pull zippers, military inspired design, well thought out
shape for open access and a hardwearing tarpaulin as well as a moulded base
which makes this durable bag set outstanding.

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Hydration/Nutrition:
While training through the winter you may not sweat or feel as thirsty as you
typically would in the summer, but it is important to be aware of this and
remember to keep drinking and eating before, during and after your training
sessions.

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We at Brocket Gear want to help you to enjoy Adventure Running and Obstacle Course Running as we do. If you have any questions or queries about what gear you should be using particularly as wecome into the winter, do not hesitate to ask us. www.brocketgear.co.uk | info@brocketgear.co.uk

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UK OCR World Championship – 2015

Brocket Gear Race Team’s Ross Brackley and Jason Brunnock took on the UK OCR champs recently and here we have Ross describing the day….

Potentially the biggest race in the UK this year was about to unfold and right on schedule, the rain came as we stood tentatively on the start line. This race would be defined by two things, the planning behind the course and the number of competitive racers who showed up on the day. Thankfully, the best guys on UK shores at the time were littering the event village and I knew some of OCR’s most passionate organisers were behind this one. Game on.  Focusing mostly on the OCRWC a month earlier, I hadn’t thought too much about preparation for this but some time off hard training left my legs feeling pretty good, so I had everything to run for.
The starting pace was typically fast and with numerous quick guys on course we snaked fairly tightly for the first kilometre or so…we were racing. Heading into Wild Forest Gym a small group broke  away, at this point Conor effortlessly leapt from a cruising pace alongside me, straight to the front group. Awesome! Tristan had set the starting pace and together with James Appleton and Conor, pulled out quite a gap as we headed into another running section.
Arriving at the slippery monkey bars a little behind, I made sure I just safely got across, knowing we had a lot still to come and risky gibbon like behaviour was unnecessary at this point. Next came the leg sapping ditches, complimented by the endless cargo crawl, such a pleasure. It’s often these simple obstacles, which almost everyone can complete, where an efficient technique will put you in good stead for the rest of the race. However, stuck at this point in a battle for fourth, and with Tristan, Conor and James all pulling away, chances of a podium finish weren’t looking good.

Capture
We were on our feet again now, with a chance to open up a run and it was evident I had plenty left in my legs compared to my opponent battling for fourth, so I quickly put a gap between us. Now I was in danger of being subject to a lonely OCR slog, which many races often become. Luckily, as I reached the apex of the hill I could see the gap they had opened wasn’t unachievable to respond to. This was almost disappointing…it meant I was going to have to try, rather than settle for fourth…but that’s what you want from the UK Champs, right?
We entered the stream with a log in hand, as you do, it was at this point Tristan was close enough to make contact. We exited the stream together, entering some good running sections, where I managed to stumble my way into a small lead, we were back in business. Some technical obstacles followed, the rig being one of them and after what I’m calling ‘knotted rope bounce ball thing’, which is trickier than it looks, most the grip intensive obstacles were over, until the final few kilometres. I safely got through these again, still employing the ‘safety sloth’ technique, not wanting to lose any time from a big mistake.
James and Conor were gone now, I watched James disappear after the first water heavy section, and the battle for me now was going to be with the elements. Water obstacles were deep, swimming not wading, once your chest is in you’re going to lose heat fast and I was feeling this. I know I can suffer through the cold but it can have an effect on your ability to manage the more technical obstacles and needless to say, my hands were numb.
Scott was flying around with the GoPro and lifted me through many of the running sections, forcing a quick pace to get me warm and competitive again, thanks dude! Arriving at ‘Cliff Hanger’ I was lucky to find my grip was solid, which gave me confidence heading into the Ninja Rings, where many peoples’ races slipped away from them. A quick look over my shoulder following this and I knew 3rd was probably mine.

UK champs (Ross and Jason)

However, dropping off the penultimate obstacle and looking to the Weaver, I caught a glimpse of a runner coming through. I knew I had get across fairly swiftly and that a mistake now would cost me a podium finish. I went for the ‘safety gibbon’, the perfect hybrid, crossing the line in 3rd. Nice.
It’s been mentioned all week but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be said again. This race was challenging but in my opinion achievable, with enough variation to allow most the different strengths of an obstacle racer to show through. Mark and James smashed it and although weather kicked our butts, which we couldn’t control, measures were taken to help keep the obstacle safe when slippery. Great work guys and well done to Jason on his 6th place as well!

 

UK OCR results

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Bog & Bryn

The Bog & Bryn race is part of the Welsh Fell Runners Association calendar and a +13 mile loop in the valleys of Cwmbran Wales. Stuck for an event at the weekend I thought I’d give it a go as it promised to be a tough hilly course with plenty of mud thrown in.

I was not disappointed and set off on one of the hottest November days on record into the beautiful Welsh countryside – a little apprehensive as it seemed the majority of my fellow runners were in club vests which told me there were some seriously keen runners taking part!

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We set off at s quick pace and within a few minutes we started our first ascent up a vey steep muddy hill. It was hands on knees stuff and as I was not fully warmed up yet I certainly felt it in my heart and lungs! From the website I knew roughly to expect and the fact that this first hill was a small one didn’t bode well. We were then into a stage of fields which were pretty tough under foot owing to the herd of cows occupying them but my trusty Inov8 X-talons held up pretty well and stopped me from falling on my arse or turning on my ankles.

Once warmed up I really started to enjoy the race and managed to stay with a fairly quick pack of runners, the weather was beautiful and the Welsh country side equally lovely – a great way to spend a Sunday.

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After about 9/10 miles (felt longer) we hit the biggest hill which seemed to drag on and on and at that moment I was conscious of my baby inspired lack of training and sleep! But no better way to brush the cobwebs off than with a tough race. I reached the final ascent and it was a fast decent back into the town. My legs had been begging me for this following the long ascent but I think the Zero point compression socks  helped ease the pain on my calves going up and my 2XU compression shorts helped my quads on the fast descent. Once into the town is was a fast dash down the canal and back to the start where I was very pleased to be finally finished and in 24th overall.

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I’d recommend the race and at £14 it was great value; with a good bit of food and a very nice mug to keep at the end. This type of event is fantastic training as it really works the cardiovascular system whilst working and strengthening feet and legs.

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