Callum Hawkins

What is it like to prepare for a World Championship Marathon?

With the IAAF Athletics World Championship taking place in August, we asked Great Britain middle-distance runner, Olympian and HIGH5 athlete, Callum Hawkins  about his recent training in preparation for the World Championships Marathon on Sunday 6th August.

March saw me finish off my winter racing season with a hard fought 2nd place in the New York Half Marathon. I was slightly disappointed to be beaten by only 4 seconds and just being on the wrong side of the hour mark. However, I’ve got to be happy with running so close to my personal best on a tough course and pushing Olympic silver-medallist Feyisa Lilesa.  Racing through the streets of Manhattan was a great experience, it’s a fantastic race to be part of and the race organisers treat you like one of the family. It’s most definitely on my list of races to do again.

After New York, I took 10 days off as it had been a long winter season, after which I headed to Boulder, Colorado for a 5 week altitude training camp where I was staying with marathon legend and ex world record holder Steve Jones.

Training at altitude is harder, so recovery becomes hugely important especially as I was starting back from a rest period and ramping up the miles quite quickly. So packing lots of HIGH5 products was a necessity.

However, I quickly got into the swing of things and got some quality miles and sessions in with Steve’s group.  The weather in Boulder was great until my Dad (Coach) turned up and the weather went from slightly overcast to a few inches of snow.

Thankfully, my Dad and Steve did manage to keep the track clear for us during the session but they were definitely struggling for fitness at the end. Maybe I should have given them some Protein Recovery?

The training camp has set me up for my marathon specific training-block as I gear up for the world championships in London.  This is the hardest training block I do but it also has one of my favourite training sessions which is 11 x 1 km with 1 km float recovery or 1 km in and outs as we like to call them.  We reverse the session and start with a recovery pace effort first so, we finish on a fast one.  Paces for the fast kilometres are about 8 seconds faster than marathon race pace (3 minutes) and the recovery kilometres are around 3-8 seconds slower than race pace (3:10-3:15 minutes).

During the session, I also practice my race hydration and use EnergySource every 5 km, simulating what will happen during a marathon. I also keep an EnergyGel on hand in case I need a bit more fuel.

With warm up and cool down the session is around 20 miles and takes about 1 hour 45 minutes to complete.  It’s one of the hardest sessions I do so, recovery and refuelling afterwards is vital.

My immediate refuelling after the session is Protein Recovery mixed with milk and a ProteinBar. Those particular products are really good after a hard session as sometimes I can find it hard to eat a big meal so soon after training. I follow that up later in the day with my favourite, Spaghetti Bolognese using my Grandpa Drew’s secret recipe. It has a great balance of protein and carbohydrates which are essential for refuelling after a big session, especially when it is over 20 miles.

There’s one week to go until the World Championships on 6th August in London and I can’t wait to go up against the world’s best marathons runners again at a home championships.

Follow Callum Hawkin on Twitter: https://twitter.com/callhawk

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Tips for multi day cycling events

The physical demands of any multi-day cycling event are extreme, let alone one that takes 9 days and 969 miles to complete. The Deloitte Ride Across Britain is an iconic must-do event for anyone serious about cycling. There’s just something spectacular about saying you made it to the other end of 9 gruelling days of back-to-back physical exertion across some of Britain’s toughest hilly terrain, breath-taking scenery and some of the best and most famous cycling routes in the country. But it won’t be easy.

Here are some tips for conquering the RAB:

1.) Do your prep work

Have you trained long and hard enough to handle the demands of the race? It may sound obvious, but making sure your fitness level is up to par is pretty important. If you feel utterly exhausted after 5 hours in the saddle and thousands of calories down, it is going to be a struggle to get up and going every morning. Make sure you know the demands of the event you’re getting into. The Journey doesn’t start at Lands’ end, but the moment you sign up.

 

2.) Commit to your nutrition plan and stick to it

Finding out what works for you and what doesn’t is extremely important. Different sports drinks contain varying amounts of carbs and electrolytes, and some can contain protein. If you haven’t trained with these products, it’s not wise to consume them during the event, as you risk causing stomach issues.

HIGH5 Nutrition is a great choice for those with a sensitive stomach, as it uses mostly natural flavours and colours, and has many products within the range that are gluten- and sugar-free as well. HIGH5 undergoes rigorous testing in both the lab and with athletes in the real world, which means it won’t let you down when it matters most. It’s also Vegetarian Society approved.

 

3.) Eat with the next day in mind

The most critical aspect of stage race nutrition is getting in enough nutrients to maximise your body’s ability to repair and recover from one stage to the next. The RAB is particularly tough since it involves extensive climbing, which requires considerable energy expenditure. Avoiding fatigue means proper pre, during and post-race nutrition.

 

If you’re used to training for single-day events, not getting in enough nutrition can be a common mistake. If you empty your carbohydrate reserves in one day’s riding, it’s almost impossible to fully re-fuel by the next day and you will start with a part-empty tank. You must make a major effort to focus on fuelling your carbohydrate reserves during and after each day’s riding. This is critical to consistent performance in multi-day events.

Check out HIGH5’s Advanced Nutrition Guide for Multi-Day Events

 

4.) Hydration is key

“The best advice to start with would be to ensure that you hydrate as often as possible. Often, you’ve already passed the point of no return in terms of being dehydrated if you wait to drink only when you are thirsty,”

Dehydration will severely affect energy levels. Your muscle cells are almost three-quarters water, so if you’re short on fluids, you’ll feel the strain. Drinking little and often will give you the best chance of hitting your targets.

But what should you be drinking and how much? During endurance exercise, you need to focus on both hydration and energy to keep you going for longer. Carbohydrate-electrolyte solutions enhance the absorption of water to optimise endurance performance. HIGH5 EnergySource is a scientifically formulated carbohydrate and electrolyte sports drink designed for use during exercise to both replace key electrolytes and supply energy to your muscles. HIGH5 Nutrition will be available throughout the course of RAB, so it may be worthwhile getting your body used to it now. They’re also the official on-course nutrition partner for a large number of the European IRONMAN events, should you be considering the next big challenge.

 

Even with a good hydration strategy, you often finish exercise mildly (or more severely in hot conditions) dehydrated, so it’s important to continue drinking after exercise. You should aim to replace 150% of your fluid lost through exercise within 3 hours of finishing. This means that if you finish exercising with a one litre fluid deficit, you should drink 1.5 litres. A drink that contains carbohydrates and protein, like HIGH5 Protein Recovery, can help to rapidly restore muscle carbohydrate stores and also help with the dreaded onset of soreness.

 

Thirst is the initial sign of dehydration. Symptoms of intermediate dehydration include: dry mouth and lips, reduced sweat output, muscle cramps and light-headedness.

 

5.) Don’t faff around

When the riding is done for the day, don’t just stand around in your sweaty kit. The sooner you can get cooled down, clean, fuelled, hydrated and off your feet, the better. Anything else is just delaying valuable recovery time.

A dirty, sweated-in chamois is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria – E. coli, salmonella and C. difficile, to name a few. The pros’ shortcut is to hop in the shower, kit and helmet on. The padding of your helmet accumulates bacteria and sweat just as quickly as your kit, so don’t leave it out. When you’re done, you can just remove your gear and hang it out to dry for the next day.

A post-ride rubdown can also work wonders. Nothing too vigorous or hard, just a light massage to help increase circulation and assist the muscles in clearing lactic acid. RAB will have massage facilities available for riders in need of that extra recovery boost.

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The importance of the ‘long run’ & how to progress

The coaching team from RunningWithUs take a look at the long run and how you can use it to your best advantage for your marathon training.

NYC_LOTR-3118 2 (1)The ‘long run’ can be the most daunting part of your running training plan. The length of a long run is relative to the person running it and the distance that they are training for, but generally speaking a long run is between one and three hours, running at a low intensity. The long run takes an increasing role through February if you’re training for a spring race. A great goal is to get in a consistent weekly long run of 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours at a relaxed and conversational effort by the middle to end of February.

Increasing the miles
Patience is key, even for the more experienced runners. Adding 10-15 minutes each week onto your long run is a sensible progression. Don’t be surprised if niggles and fatigue set in as you start jumping up by 30-40 minutes at a time.

What pace should I run my long runs?
In early February, aim to keep your long runs at a fully conversational, relaxed pace that’s 45-60 seconds a mile slower than your planned marathon pace. This will build your body’s ability to burn stored fats and ensure you are fresh enough to hit your quality sessions mid-week.NYC_LOTR-0949

Pre-marathon race prep
Using a half marathon race as a marathon paced long run can be a great way of building confidence around
your goal marathon pace. As extra preparation, try adding 20-30 minutes easy before and after the half marathon.

How to fuel your long runs
When your long run starts to extend beyond the 1 hour 30 minute mark, we recommend your really start to practice with different options for pre-run breakfasts and also fuelling during the run itself. Your long run is the best opportunity to practise your race day nutrition strategy. Gels are the most efficient and effective way of getting carbohydrates quickly into the system whilst running. To start with, take small sips of gel and look to take one every 30-60 minutes or so during the course of your long run.

IMG_3102What gels should I choose?
There are lots of brands out there offering similar sports nutrition. HIGH5 have always been our ‘go to’ brand for fuelling and recovery. It’s clean energy with no added nasties, like artificial sweeteners.
Take one EnergyGel Plus or IsoGel Plus sachet every 20-30 minutes. Wait until 30 minutes from the start of your race before taking your first sachet. The most convenient way of carrying gels is to use a Gel Belt but make sure you test it out in training. There are always a few runners that lose their gels within the first miles of a race because the gels are the wrong size for their belt.

To ensure you are fuelling and refuelling yourself clever, check out HIGH5 Marathon Nutrition Guide.

Be safe, work hard and enjoy your run!

RunningWithUs

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What do you eat and drink if you swim for 26 hours?

On August 30th at 0727 Scott Dawson jumped into the Solent just off Seaview, touched the red can and set off on an epic swim attempting to circumnavigate the Isle of Wight non-stop. On August the 31st at 0923, he reached the same red can, touched it and became the 5th person ever to swim solo around the Island. A time of 25 hours, 56 mins and 46 seconds was recorded with a distance of 104.7 kilometres.

05HIGH5 kept Scott fuelled and hydrated for his training and the attempt. We caught up with Scott post swim, and asked how important HIGH5 had been, and what he had used before, during and post swim.

How much training did you do in the lead up this monumental effort?
I have been training for about 18 months, and using HIGH5 since the beginning of 2016. My weekly average was about 18 hours a week, juggling training, a full time job and a family. With this in mind, recovery from training is really important, and I found the Protein Recovery vital to my recovery strategy (Banana Vanilla flavour of course!).

What was involved in the training?
I would run on average 50-60 km per week and swim about 6 hours a week as well as going to the gym for strength and conditioning. Whilst running I use a combination of the EnergySource and Isotonic especially if it was hot. If it was endurance work, then I would use the Energy Source 4:1, as this gave me the extra protein my body craved.

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What did you eat/drink in the lead up to the swim?
I did the usual carb loading prior to the main swim, and cut out fibre about 4/5 days before. I was aiming to be in a wetsuit for around 24 hours, and this was going to reduce the chances of any accidents! I ate the banana flavoured EnergyBars, and drank ZERO, to make sure my electrolyte levels were as good as they could be.

So, swimming for over 24 hours means you have to eat and drink in the water. How was that?02
The team said I looked a bit like an otter when I ate! I would take something in every 30 mins and fluid-wise, I alternated between EnergySource and Isotonic. We marked the bottles at 250ml intervals, and I made sure this was the minimum I was taking on. This way, I and the team knew what hydration I was taking on, and we could monitor it really well. As I wasn’t allowed to touch anything or anybody, the kayakers would just throw the sport bottles to me, and I would throw them back. Occasionally I would use the EnergyGels in the HIGH5 gel bottles. Food wise, I would eat the Energy Bars, homemade beetroot brownies, bananas, mini Babybel and jelly sweets. These were delivered on the end of a paddle! My wife Polly also made chicken noodle soup for the ‘mealtimes’. This was the only ‘warm’ food I took on, and it was difficult 18 hours in to the swim as my mouth had swollen up, because of the salt water.

What happened post swim?
When I climbed into the medical boat at the end of the swim,I drank 800ml of the Protein Recovery. This really settled me, before my wetsuit was peeled off me. As soon as my wetsuit was taken off, my blood pressure dropped like a stone, and I passed out. The medical team knew this was going to happen, and I am so glad we had professional people on the team.

Scott is still raising money for Meningitis Now, and The Marine Conservation Society. To donate online go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ScottSwimIW
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 Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for your chance to win a Zone3 wetsuit and a HIGH5 nutrition bundle!

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How to get through a hilly Sportive

Are the hills on that sportive you’ve got coming up filling you with dread? Like many of us, there is a fair chance you would like to be a bit stronger when it comes to climbing. Hills are a challenge that every cyclist faces, so we have spoken to Fraser Martin of #HIGH5fuelled Team Raleigh GAC to get his top tips on riding a hilly Sportive

1. Training
Going out and riding your bike will obviously help to improve your fitness, however with a hilly sportive coming up it’s beneficial to introduce some more specific climbs. You need to find the right pace for you when riding uphill, especially on longer climbs. We’ve all been in the situation where we thought the hill was shorter than it was and really suffered at the end. So get out and practise, have the patience to ride within yourself and make sure you can go all the way to the top at your best pace.

2. Losing weight
A lower bodyweight often means that you can go quicker uphill. A lot of people talk about the “power to weight ratio” and this is an important factor when fighting against the gradient. By losing as little as 2kg, you can feel much better when climbing but try not to lose any power when going through a weight-loss period. This is easier said than done and takes a lot of self-control, but it will be of great benefit to you.

raleigh 02
If the riders around you aren’t grimacing then look at the state I was in at the Beaumont Trophy…

3. Eating
Although a lower body weight is key for climbing, eating correctly is just as important. A sportive is a tough event so it is crucial that you are correctly fuelled. Having an EnergyGel 10 to 15 minutes before the bottom of the next hill will give you the energy to make it to the top. But a sportive is not just one climb . It’s going to be beneficial to fuel correctly throughout the whole ride. Take a look at this Sportive nutrition guide for a handy step-by-step guide.  Being inadequately fuelled can result in the dreaded “bonk” which is never, ever fun!

4. Break the hill down
If you are riding up a long climb then it’s good to break it down into shorter sections. It’s a good idea to focus on a landmark or turn up ahead but before you get there, find the next thing ahead to focus on. This way you break the climb into more manageable sections.

5. Enjoy the view
Your legs are going to hurt while climbing so it’s a good idea to try and take your mind off it. You’re not the only one suffering! Check out the grimaces on the riders around you. It can be very entertaining watching others suffer and hopefully take your mind off the pain! At least momentarily! Don’t forget to also take in the scenery. You can get the most spectacular sights from the top off a mountain.

 

Don’t forget to enter our latest competition for the chance to win a day at the Tour of Britain with Team Dimension Data.

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New high caffeine gel

HIGH5, the award winning sports nutrition brand, are delighted to launch IsoGel X’treme. This 100mg caffeine energy gel is made with real fruit juice, including Pineapple, Mango and Passionfruit juices.

Wendy Lee, HIGH5 General Manager, said: “We started working on this gel in 2015 after the Head of Performance Support and Medical at Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Dr. Carol Austin, asked if it was possible for HIGH5 to make a gel with a higher caffeine content. The riders were looking for something that would give them a boost towards the end of races. Our current ranges of EnergyGel Plus and IsoGel Plus contain 30mg of caffeine per sachet.”

“We wanted to stick to our principles by using real fruit juice and no artificial sweeteners. However, it isn’t that straightforward. Caffeine typically tastes very bitter and artificial sweeteners are often used to disguise that taste. We’re really happy with the new product! Many of our pro athletes, including the riders from Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, have already been using it successfully since the beginning of this year.”

Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka

The performance effects of caffeine are well known and scientifically proven. When taking part in tough sporting events, caffeine contributes to an increase in endurance performance and capacity. This means you can go further than before! It also helps to increase your concentration and reaction time, not just during sport but in every day use.

“We greatly appreciate the research and development investment HIGH5 has made to deliver a 100mg caffeine gel that meets our professional performance needs” says Carol Austin, “The IsoGel X’treme is a unique new fruit juice formulation. Rider feedback to date has affirmed the gel’s palatability and effectiveness.”

HIGH5 IsoGel is a fresh tasting gel that has a consistency more like a sports drink. Unlike many other gels, you don’t need to drink extra water when you need a fast convenient energy boost

To mark the product launch, you can win £300 worth of HIGH5 products, including IsoGel X’treme. For more details and to enter visit visit https://highfive.co.uk/isogel-xtreme-launch.

HIGH5 IsoGel X’treme is available from all good sports shops and online.

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