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Month: February 2018

Race Day: National Cross Country

Posted on February 24th, 2018 by

It’s a gorgeous day for smashing out a fantastic performance in the National Cross Country championships.

In case you didn’t notice, our schedules got you doing a long run on Tuesday, so you’re all set up for a guilt free rest day tomorrow. That means you can really push it. Also on Thursday we did a light sprint session, so you should be going to the start line with fresh legs and a taste for speed. It’s almost like we planned it.

Today is definitely a race, so let’s talk race tactics. There are two kinds of running tactics, PB pacing tactics and beating your enemy tactics. Times mean nothing today, so let’s focus on the latter. Here are some fun tips:

  • When you overtake do so with a burst of speed so it is hard for them to follow.
  • If someone is just behind you, put on a burst of speed as you go round a corner. The sudden inexplicable gap will break their morale.
  • Overtake wide. Buy the time you’re in their field of vision you’re already ahead.
  • Control your breathing. You can fake not being tired as you pass and that will break their heart.
  • Pre-empt their attack. If you think you can guess their plans don’t wait to counter attack, attack first.
  • Attack on the flat or a downhill. It’s hard to make substantial gains on an uphill and it is demoralizing if you lose all your gains instantly on the downhill. When a downhill levels off is a time many runners drop their guard, so that might be a good time to attack.

As usual, warm up well and don’t set off too fast. The race is crowded so you probably do need to push it a little at the start to not get stuck, but you shouldn’t kill yourself. When the going gets tough, focus on your form, relax and then deploy the ultimate psychological weapon: smile.


Life after London

Posted on February 15th, 2018 by

Our current training schedules all end after the London Marathon. What will happen for the rest of the year?

I thought I’d let you know the key events we will base our training around once marathon/half-marathon season ends.

What do you need to do now to prepare?

  • Go to our calendar and ask it to email all the events to your calendar. Sure you might not do them all, but its good to pencil them in.
  • Enter Cabbage Patch 10.
  • Be poised to enter St Neots.


In the summer we focus on shorter distances, from 5k to 10k. I hope we’ll also organise some middle distance and perhaps even sprint training too.

Our main club racing focus in the summer is 10k and 5 mile races for Summer League. This is a super friendly race series for absolutely all abilities and includes kids races, relays a picnic and (new this year) a bake-off. You simply enter on the day.

A second summer strand is track amd field with Southern athletics. If you have an inner sprinter or middle-distance runner you want to unleash, this should be your summer focus. Entry is free, but you will need to sign up in advance so the officials know who is running. You’ll be able to sign up using our calendar nearer the time.

If you fancy triathlon, the Crystal Palace Triathlon is our club championships. Contact triathlon@chaser.me.uk for info on how to enter.


Our club training will switch to a half marathon focus in the autumn.

The big races are the St Neots Half Marathon in November and our club championship the Cabbage Patch 10 mile. Both races sell out.

St Neots can sell out within hours so sign up as soon as entries open. If you’ve never entered before you could try liking them on Facebook and asking to be put on their mailing list. We will mention it in our Facebook group, but you don’t want to miss it.

You can already sign up for Cabbage Patch, so do.

The other autumn races we know we’ll be doing are the Essex Way Relay and the usual cross country races. Essex Way is a relay through some lovely countryside with legs for all abilities. Its brilliant. Its free to enter, but we will need to decide on teams in advance so will take names nearer the time.

Finally, if you plan to run an autumn marathon, Dublin and Abingdon are good choices that attract a lot of Chasers. Abingdon sells out fast, so be poised ready to enter.

Even More?

Hopefully we’ll also organise a trip to the countryside for some trail running, probably in May. We may also book the track for the day so we can all finish the summer with PBs (and I can show Lauren Longhurst how to win at the wheelbarrow race).

Watch this space.


February Training

Posted on February 5th, 2018 by

For those following our online marathon and half marathon schedules, we’re now one month into training. I hope you can look back on the last month and see the progress you have already made. (Yes! If you did the Kenyan Hills last Tuesday, you really can run up twice the number of Primrose Hills you could at the beginning of the month).

February marks the beginning of a divergence between the marathon and half marathon schedules.

For marathoners this month is all about the Sunday long run. For half marathoners, you should let the marathoners go off on their own. You want to keep fresh with a shorter Sunday session so you can really nail the Thursdays.

Whichever distance you are targeting, we’ve got three races coming up to keep you focused.

  • This Saturday there is a Met League cross country fixture in Trent Park. You’ve done the Kenyan Hills, now test out your hill running skills for real. This race is definitely one of the best Met League races and possibly the best. I have to say this partly because it is organized by Chaser Rob Scott (also of Barnet and District AC, the host club) and also partly because it is true. Just turn up with your spikes and your Chasers vest on the day. Spikes are essential this late in the cross country season. Expect mud.
  • On Sat 24 Feb we have the National Cross Country Championship taking place on Parliament Hill. This is THE cross country race of the season (see the photo of the women’s race below to get a hint of the scale). If you haven’t signed up already, you’re too late I’m afraid. Just remember to sign up next year (it will be the southern champs next year not the nationals, but the southerns are even better).
  • On Sun 4 March we have the Mornington Chasers 10K club championship taking place at Regent’s Park. You should already be able to claim free entry from the marshalling you did earlier in the series, right? If you want to race it and haven’t marshaled, there are still spaces available via the usual online entry.

Marathon runners can’t afford to take both the National Cross Country Championship and the 10K club championship seriously. The fact is your weekend focus needs to be long runs and you shouldn’t take two weeks in a row off long running. Our schedules recommend that marathon runners race the National Cross Country properly and then chill out the next day. The next week the schedule suggests you build the 10K race into a long run rather than racing it full on. However, if you haven’t got a place in the national cross country championship, I’d recommend swapping the two weekends around doing a long run the first weekend and then racing the 10K properly.

Half marathoners can do both, but personally I’d suggesting holding back a little in the cross country to try and keep something in the tank for the 10K.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your first month of training. Have a fabulous February.