Saturday, 22 December 2012

How to Build a Tyre Pull

If like me you live in a flat area of the country, you might find it difficult to train for running in the hills. Whilst I get out to hiller terrain as often as I can, it is useful to have a method for building up climbing muscles on a day to day basis. One possibility that was suggested to me was to use a tyre pull; running while pulling a tyre along the ground behind you to increase the resistance as you run. I thought it might be useful to anybody else looking to do this if I put up step by step instructions for how I put mine together. I hope these are useful to somebody! I used Marshall Ulrich's blog post as a starting point, but simplified things a little. But check out his post for a good run down of other reasons why running with a tyre is a great way to build up your training (despite looking a bit strange to passers by). 

What you will need:

  1. 1x Tyre: You should be able to get one from a local garage for free. They have to pay to get rid of them so shouldn't mind you taking one away. I got two; a big one and a smaller one. That way I can switch between the two depending on how much resistance I want.
  2. 1x Weightlifting Belt: I got a cheap one from Sports Direct for less than a tenner. Make sure you get a strong one with some padding, and make sure it is quite wide to provide adequate lumbar support.
  3. Thin Bungee Cord (about 4 ft): Available from any hardware stores. This should be quite stiff, but provides some give for when the tyre catches on things as you run.
  4. Nylon Rope (about 8 ft): Available from any hardware store. I just got the widest that I could find.
  5. 1x Carabiner: Available from any hardware store.  

A) Any old tyre will do. The bigger and heavier it is, the more resistance it will give you. B) Everything is connected together with a carabiner, with a length of rope going to the tyre and a length of flexible bungee rope going to the weight belt. C) A wide weight lifting belt is best to provide adequate lumbar support.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

2012: A Retrospective (or "The Horribly Self-Indulgent End of Year Post")

The 2012 apocalypse will be just like the 2009 John Cusack movie - a result of bad writing, a massive mistake, and entirely unbelievable
As we all know, tomorrow is going to be the end of the world as we know it. After all, why wouldn't an ancient civilisation with no access to the advanced astronomical instrumentation that our own civilisation has developed be able to accurately predict the very day that the apocalypse will hit? Sigh. If you're worried about the end of the world at all, please bear two things in mind:
  1. It's not the end of the world. It's the end of 13th B'ak'tun, a measurement of 144,000 days used by the Mayans in their calendar system. As Tim Minchin points out, worrying about the end of the world based on this is like turning over December on your fluffy kitten calendar, seeing there's nothing else after it, then FREAKING THE HELL OUT. 
  2. Even if it is, what good will stocking up on candles do?
Okay, rant over. Anyway, now seems the perfect time to look back over the last year and take stock of how things have gone. 

It's odd to think that this has really been my first year of proper running. I ran my first ultra (the Northampton Shires and Spires Ultra) in the summer of last year, and ran a couple more throughout the second half of the year (including my first 100 miler at the South Downs Way Race a month later), but this year I really threw myself into things with a rather packed calendar. There have been some ups and there have been some downs, but overall it's been a good and (most importantly) fun year.