Mic - Member of the Month April 2008

Member of the Month April 2008


Fetch says: Hello mic :-) How's it going? Well done on behalf of all Fetchies who voted you our Member of the Month for April 2008 for a variety of reasons, including your extremely earnest coaching help, and your general supportiveness to all on the site. As usual, we are sponsored by SimplyRun.co.uk - you've got to love them. We're sticking to the "one question per Fetchie" system this month, so join me as we probe the inner reaches of mic...:

mad4purple asks: Where would be your ideal place to run?

Mic says: Hi M4P! ... oh so many places, Oregon Prefontain country, or the Peaks that Seb Coe trained over??.. but I guess it would have to be and I would really love to run in New Zealand and *try* the 22 miles Waiatura Hills that so many of Arther Lydiard had his world class athletes run over and make them so familier with , Im guessing I would'nt make more than 12 miles of them but to be running on such famous terrain would be totally amazing - its a shame I couldnt meet the great man himself.

GordonG asks: Mic, what's your background i.e. how did you gain your (vast) technical knowledge?

Mic says: Hey Gordon :-), Im a bit of book-worm to be honest, and it goes back to my school days really, for many reasons I used reading as a means of escape from *reality* and it has progressed thru the years , BUT I dont hold all the info in my head I am very sorry to say , I know where the data is and I dig it out to make sure I am as factually correct as possible when posting info, my technical background is electronics in the RAF and then 15 years of IT as engineer and PM.. which lends itself nicely to working as a coach, structure, methodology and facts', and *trying* to stay current with the latest training theory - as any good coach on here and outside will tell you its great fun :-) and training theory keeps moving fwd all the time so you have to be on your toes to stuff that might make that bit of differance for your athletes'

SarahL asks: Do you think bruzi is the best pantherz accesory dog?

Mic says: Hi Sarah :-) if I ever get the nerve to wear the full Panther ensemble then for sure Bruzii is the best accessory dawg ;-) - BUT im fairly sure I wont ever get past the socks thang'... Its just not for me, although some of the lads can *pull it off* and you lass's also look red-hot in them :-)

Barky asks: Why move into coaching???

Mic says: Hiya Barky, it really goes back to when I started training when I joined the RAF back last century,in the late 70's, I was given some really really poor *coaching* from a RAF PTI who seemed determined to *break me* - I also experianced some truly awfull coaching at a fairly senior level at Basketball and Athletics in the early 80's that made my mind up to get as much knowledge as possible and *coach* myslef , this lead onto a chance meeting with a great guy in Carlisle and we had a brilliant 3 years together, learning and practicing training theory as it become more mainstream - this was waay back with James Fixx and the original Long Slow Distance theory was first out - working with Rob helped me really get my head around coaching and what I think a good coach should possess by way of knowledge, delivery to an athlete and the ability to assess and really plan - hence my addiction to Periodisation Theory :-)

Qwerty asks: What's your favourite distance and why?

Mic says: Hello Qwerty.. In the old days it would be on the track and the 1500m's , because the sense of speed *seemed* immense, even though I never got close to breaking 4mins for the distance and I also had the privilage of racing against the likes of Steve Jones, [a massive hero of mine] Julian Goater and Dr Roger Hackney who were pretty much the RAF Running A Team, at Command and RAF level it didnt get any better than that, and of course for them it would be a easy session to turn their legs over and qualify BUT for the likes of me it was awsum - off track and on tthe road it would be 10,000m, im a bit of a wuss and the less the time of pain the better m8 :-)

Last of the Time Lords asks: What's your favourite session?

Mic says: Hi buddy ! :-) This is nice co's I can answer this twice and get away with it... Now that Im auld and grey and can hide behind my *age* I would say its my 90min tempo effort of 8mins easy warm-up, then 25mins flat out [for me] , then 6-8 mins jog recovery, crying like a wee' girl, followed with 22mins as hard as possible again, followed with 15 - 20 mins very easy recovery running, home and water, food .. lots of food and a lie down and yam-yams' sleepage for an hour or so :-)

BS asks: What is your most enjoyable training/race session?

Mic says: Hi BS :-) well done on your last Marathon race m8, and really good luck with the next one :-) In the old days it would be 3 x 8 x 200m reps aim = 28 secs per rep with 100m float recoverys in 25 secs and 400m jog recs between sets - top session and you know where you were with these :-)

Tiggia asks: Mic, you have got tons of knowledge, but what's the best piece of running advice you've ever been given?

Mic says: Hiya Tiggia ! BELIEVE - WE MUST believe more in what we can accomplish as athletes [and I guess as human beings also..] You know I love the story of Lydiard and the question asked of him at a coaching conferance I think it was, it went something like *how is it you keep finding so many champions ??* - he paused and responded - *its easy , they are all around us* - I truly and honestly believe that we on Fetch and in the general population really only scrape the surface of our real potential, our capacitys for improvement is immense, of course those blessed with the *genes* of champions do get a headstart somewhat ... BUT if you look at the amazing exploits of Jane Tomlinson outside for example it must tell us that we can achieve pretty much anything we really want to, the body is really forged in the mind of the athlete, its your body.. why shouldnt it be a champions ?? - yours is no mean achievement Tiggia btw :-) much respect :-)

micknphil asks: mic - congratulations to you i do not know you to my knowledge - BUT, in my view of running, ( over 36 years sporadic years of it - last 6 of them pushing Phillip,) i don't really ask for advice, as i feel i just am not in need of any - BUT, it's my view that people put FAR too much emphasis to physical fitness, and no-where near enough if none at all to the physcological mental stamina issues, and i find this is where people in running NOT just on FETCH, but in general come unstuck , they find life a lot harder Plus, if they stuck to their fluid and nutrician practice at all times, like a gospel as it where, as do i , then they would find life and running easier, as opposed to having it all to do to prepare for any race i don't get anywhere near the training in that some runners get - but i do all this and push Phillip, do you agree, am i wrong - i'd like your opinion PLEASE - is there something i'm missing ?

Mic says: Hi MicknPhil, speaking of respect :-) hooge respect to your family and yourself for the hardship you have sustained and battled thru - I promised when I first read your question I would give you best possible answer , so this may go on a bit , please bear with me if you can :-) -As I often attempt to explain on here and with my athletes , physical training encompasses many diverse elements, the simplest breakdown I can articulate would be the Physical, the Psychological, the Technical and the Tactical, these four key [IMHO] elements can then be broken down further - BUT nutrition and hydration are essential to successfull training and racing - Psychology is by far the least understood element generaly speaking, and if you speak to most athletes it is very rarely mentioned as being important - If you want to compete and train and become the very best you can possibly be then an athlete must IMHO reveiw the 4 elements, truly understand the part they play and above all integrate them and the sub-sets within into their training and planning - Exploiting them correctly will see most athletes performing at the top of their game on most occassions. Phil from what I have read and seen its very true to say that your not doing anything wrong and as you know yourself the best lessons are the ones hardest learned, you have a wealth of knowledge that I bet would be fantastic reading if you ever got the opportunity and time to sit down and put pen to paper, your comments on the talk threads are invaluable to newbies and old hands alike , and I can just bet that there are many athletes on here [including me]who when the going gets tough thru a session or a race think of you and Phil and the trials you folks go thru on an hourly basis, it is indeed humbling.

Homer asks: Which comes first....speed or distance?

Mic says: Hey Homer :-) - Being realistic with our Planning and Understanding the specifics of what we are attempting to do , then map this to your goals.. Depending on your chronological and training age you wont go far wrong by training for distance BUT with caution :-) - once we are adapated to load / distance we can then start looking at introducing speed into sessions

Hills of Death (HOD) asks: Describe the 'perfect' race if it exists

Mic says: Howdy HOD , So many to choose from but I guess you cant go far wrong with a guy who breaks the World Marathon Record at his first attempt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Jones_(athlete) on the track... Moorcrofts majestic 13.00.41 5000m world record was about as perfect as it could be as well...

BigChiefRunningBore asks: If you could spend the day with Boris Johnson where would you go?

Mic says: How Chief :-) -- great question, I do believe it would be on one of the Houses of Parliment Chambers to see what acctually goes on and have him explain life as a politician and all its trappings, then it would down to Chelsea or Arsenel for a footie match and finish off painting the town red... all his treat of course ;-)

Woodley asks: Chocolate sauce or whipped cream??

Mic says: Woodly thats a toughie... Whipped cream I think, I have had some fun in the distant past with it ;-)

F1 Fan asks: With limited training time (3 sessions a week) what is the best way to train for a first HM in Sept?

Mic says: Train to complete it F1 my auld friend, dont set your expectation to high and use one of the excellant on-line coach thangs to help you establish a good training program, also keep it in perspective , if you cant do a prescibed session or sessions then dont stress, move training around to suit your life/work/balance buddy. easy easy easy does it.

hepburn asks: Is 'Nope.Hepburn.' your favouritest thread ever?! If not, what is?

Mic says: It must be.. At the moment anyhow .. Guess the next poster , then Nope Hepburn, as you can tell Im a simple man with simple pleasures :-) you cutie you xx

Hendo asks: Why is it I can never think of a witty or sensible question for MOTM?

Mic says: Ahh dear Hendo, Hendo, Hendo *sorrowfull shake of the head* .. You know I never belived what the rest of the Fetchies were saying about you BUT once more you have proven them right.. YOU ARE a DULL LION :-) - Poor Bennifer she must despire eh?

cabletow asks: Mic Form or function when it comes to coaching - in otherwords - how much emohasis do you place on technique to overcome injury rather than just strengthening

Mic says: Howdy CT , Everything I teach at a workshop I do is grounded in technique and correct form, most athletes are single limbed creatures who have the use of the one arm.. Their dominant arm, the other arm, legs, torso are normally appendages that have been sadly neglected ... even *runners* who believe that they have *proper control* over there legs often have very poor coordination and technique - I focus keenly on Symmetery of movement and form/technique , which is one reason I favour drills/skills - I am a huge believer in Kinisthetics and bio-motor feedback, we dont use our ears enough when we run for a start and the simplest tip I can give anyone is.. can you hear your feet when your running??... if you can there is a very high chance your not placing your feet down BUT letting gravity do the work, if this is the case then your not in control of your feet ... the more you try to *place your feet* the more you will find they fold naturally under your center of gravity and you move to the natural forefoot plant that shoes get in the way of.. one lesson I do with local athletes is to go to the beach and run near the waters edge with shoes on... and then take them off.. and then get the athlete to look at the two differant foot patterns.. the look on the athletes face is always shocked amazament :-)

IanM asks: What are your thoughts on injuries? Do you think that lots of time is spent on treating symptoms rather than the cause? For example, giving someone a special shoe or insert rather than addressing the core stability issues which must at least have some role in making things worse if not actually being teh route cause?

Mic says: Hiya Ian :-) - as you will know and as I have indicated previously I am convinced that a fully integrated training program including - CORE/Pillar Stability, Upper Body Athletic Development, Multilateral exercise, flexibility/mobility as well as the normal running training, allied with focused planned training is essential for any runner who wants to transition mentally and physically into an athlete, this is why I use the term athlete on here, and when talking with you guys and gals - some injurys are over-use for sure and this comes back to properly constructed and understood training menus - others have roots in muscle/tendon/ligaments imbalances thru the body - others still in wrong foot-wear :-( - education will be the key I think to resolving some of the common problems we see on here and else where m8.

John 66 asks: What's your greatest running/coaching achievement?

Mic says: Great question John :-) Coaching = thats a tough one co's I have two that are work in Progress at the moment and we wont see the fruits of this for another year or so, going way back it was helping Rob Lyndsey achieve his desire to break 1:50:00 and gain his Scottish vest. Personnaly it would be "finding out" that I could race against Steve Jones IF I qualified with a 4:20 1500m , I did and I managed a 4:15 and *only* finished 120m behind the great man :-) when I was 20' - and gent that he was , he shook every athletes hand at the end of the race too - awsum !

Girlie asks: My question is: The house is burning down, all family and pets are out safely, what 3 things would you save from the inferno?

Mic says: Hiya Girlie ! - ALL my running Books, my DVDS and CDs and all my Vinyl :-)

santababy asks: After my last nightmare 6 months, i wish someone had given me a bit of insight to thier wisdom a couple yrs ago, if you were advising a brand new runner, what would be the most important piece of advice you'd give them?

Mic says: Hi Sexy! So I would ask them to look at their age first and foremost, how long have they been training?? Now realistically what do you think you can achive in 6 months, 12months and two years??... I would then spend as long as it took for them to realise this is one long hard tough old road :-)

Lumsdoni asks: What with HRM's, Garmins, Isotonic drinks, Energy gels etc has running become too complicated? Are we all too obsessed with times and distances instead of just enjoying the sport?

Mic says: Yo Lums, great question m8 :-) - its about balance i think??. We tend to focus on what *seems* to be the greatest aid at the current time, I guess its human nature though ??.. Sometimes we do need to strip away the *noise* and just go and enjoy training for what it is supposed to be ... FUN :-)

Spally asks: What first got you into running?

Mic says: Hello Spally! - Partly co's I was a very awkward teenager in a mans world [the RAF] and I wanted to prove to the RAF and my folks I could be good at something , and partly because I was too shy to speak to girls, so I used it as tool to get rid of my frustrations ... as I get better I gained more confidance in all spheres of life :-) - still couldnt pull the birds but at least I gave it a go :-) xx

Big Al Widepants asks: Are you sharing your prize with the 3 sisters?

Mic says: Hiya Al :-) - for sure they get they will get to share the award with me... But no so much Tower Hill the last of the 3 , she is just mean... :-) - I call them hills but there inclines that go on a bit to be fair ;-)

jude asks: As a Darlington-er - why haven't you got a broad north-east accent?

Mic says: Ahh the beautiful Jude :-) - I only moved here in 1995, and I have lead a nomadic life up until then , so I have a mixture of accents Im told.. OB says I have a sexy voice, but I think she was under very strong meds at the time :-) (((HUGS-OB)))

No.8™ asks: Nature or Nurture?

Mic says: The famous No8 :-) Great question buddy , depending on the athletes *mind-set* you can take someone who isnt blessed by nature and turn them into a top athlete IF they have the mental fortitude and courage , some naturally talented athletes sadly throw away there gift or dont recognise it for what it is :-(

Dave A asks: What has given you more satisfaction. Setting impressive PB's as a runner and maintaining high standards during your prime, or passing on your knowledge and seeing the improvements and achievments that your afleets make?

Mic says: Davey-laad! - always but always the results my athletes achieve, seeing the improvements over a relatively short period of time and the positive impact it has the athlete really makes me smile :-) -

jolguk asks: Are you still organising the one-day workshop?

Mic says: Yes indeed J :-)

Jen J asks: What's the most mportant thing that you have discovered about yourself through running?

Mic says: The Lovely Jen xx It would have to be the Belief in myslef and abilities I never really thought I had [waay back in the past I hasten to add] - which has helped me immensly this 4 years.

Diogenes asks: mic, what would you say to someone who seems incapable of following a simple training plan?

Mic says: Dio , old boy , I would say to them...no stress, no drama, you will be a-ok as and when you do get the time, dont chase it though, let it come to you m8 as it surly will. :-)

Miss PiggyWiggy asks: What is the hardest obstacle you have overcome whilst being a runner?

Mic says: Hi Mizz Piggy ! Xx It would be the Glandular Fever that floored me for 5 months and took me nearly a year to recover from and the running accident I had where I ran into a stationary car and ended up on its roof , that took 6 months out and seemed to last longer than the Glandular Fever m8

icklechick asks: How many pairs of trainers do you regularly run in?

Mic says: The cutie that is Icklechick ;-) let me see, I have 4 pairs of waveriders I alternate, 2 pairs of Precisions and two pairs of Idatons , plus the Flyrocs I use occassionaly up in the Cleveland Hills m8 :-)

Fenland Runner asks: Favorite Hill/Mountain (if you have one?)

Mic says: In the UK I have to shoot with Blencathra buddy, overseas... I would plumb for The Eiger If I ever got the nerve to try and climb a proper mountain it would be the Eiger m8

frangale asks: Will you get the sack for spending 100 at another running outlet ;)

Mic says: Hiya Frangale, hows the Hydration going ;-) - how about we dont tell U&R about this eh lass?? :-)

Ellem asks: What would be your ideal training location abroad?

Mic says: Hi E :-) It would be New Zealand for sure

Slow Newbie asks: Why do you run?

Mic says: Hi Newbie ! - many reasons, the feeling I get on a great run or race is priceless, to get rid of the daily grind, to challange myself , to stave off Father Time :-)

Snapstinget asks: What makes a good coach?

Mic says: Yo Snaps! Adapting to their athletes, being able to deliver complex theory in [I hope] a straight forward manner, being able to spot weakness within a athlete and correct that weakness and maximise any strengths that exist already - Listen and learn also from their athlete.

Pammie asks: Who or what was your inspiration that made you come into running (particularly the coaching side)?

Mic says: Running heros would be Prefontain, Lasse Viren, Brendan Foster as I started running and inspired me as a school kid Pammie :-) - Coaching kinda evolved from hearing and seeing so much bad coaching during the late 70's early 80's it became a natural progression

connelld asks: Is most of your knowledge text book or the majority experience?

Mic says: Hello Connelld, it truly is a mixture of reallity and theory, the theory is normally from at least 3 reputable sources, Prof's Costill, Bompa , Martin are my all time fav's but other less known authors do influance my training and coaching, mapping the theory to practice is the iceing on the cake though :-)

Vicksta asks: Bovril or Marmite?

Mic says: Hi Vicksta! - Marmite everytime :-)

Jock Itch asks: Im currently training for the "Try to get as many people as you can in a mini" Do you have any tips on how to stay cooped up against the dash board for 20minutes ?

Mic says: Jock you crazy maan! - you must all be totally bollock naked, and luubed up I say with KY Jelly , all over, and being close friends wont do any harm m8

barking asks: Is it mad to do a marathon on less than a years running?

Mic says: Barking :-) - I would say your trainig should be to complete the marathon , NOT Compete , maybe next year try and compete if you feel you want to :-)

northernslowcoach asks: off road or on road?

Mic says: Hiya NSC, my fav runs are the Cleveland Hills when I can get out to them for wildness and isolation , but for speed I love hard intervals on the flat or tempo sessions over my 3 sisters :-)

Hoaxster asks: What's your favourite meal and if you could eat it with three other people, who would they be?

Mic says: Hey Hoaxster! Im thinking Chicken Jalfreizi possibly :-) With Arthur Lydiard, Steven Hawkins and Steve Cram

phal asks: Mint imperials or mint humbugs???

Mic says: Humbags Phal my lovely :-)

luverlylegs (Mrs Jigs) asks: Morning or evening run?

Mic says: Mrs Jigs, good luck with the wedding! - Evening everytime :-)

Nightjar asks: What's your favourite long distance race? Leaving you to decide what qualifies as long distance.

Mic says: Howdy Nightjar , It would be a 1/2 marathon, Cumbria if I was fit enough to race it properly :-)

Evil Rich the Dog Dazer asks: A serious question, not meant to be offensive in any way, so please don't take it as such...but "what makes you think you can coach people?" I only ask because I KNOW the things that work for me but I have no confidence at all in them working for others necessarily.....so I'm always intrigued as to why coaches think their methods will work.

Mic says: No offense at all ERtDD :-) - history , I have had success at a number of levels, both in athletics and basketball , you have to adapt what works to the specific athlete or team your coaching - for sure you will meet those athletes that wont adapt or listen to *your way* and thats cool m8, its not for everyone, I didnt always see eye-2-eye with some of my old coaches , but for 90% of the time I *know* I can help folks become better athletes.

Le Greg asks: Well done mic. Ni-CD, Ni-MH or Li-Ion?

Mic says: Li-Ion are the way forward Mon amiee'

John Bach asks: What's your view re pacing for long runs when training for a marathon - how close to "marathon pace" should they be and do you advocate injecting an increase to, say, marathon pace during the run ?

Mic says: *looks like a land-mine question* :-) - Hiya John, this is just my opinion m8 so in the grand scheme of things in the Universe it probably dont amount to a hill of beans, but I think that far too much emphasis is placed on LSR/LSD when doing the inevitable long run , we pretty much race how we train dont we??. .. its not the slowest person over the line who wins ?? - I honestly believe that a lot of 1st time marathoners would do better if they approached the marathon from a 6 month lead up rather than the *normal* 16 week program that we see so often. Depending on the athletes ability, traininig and chronological age they will normally start on a diet of 90mins running as there long run, building up over the weeks to 2 hours, and at their peak normally no more than 3:15 , but it wont be slower than there marathon race pace and may have extended periods of faster running - the rest of the week will see cruised intervals @ 80% of V02MAX and tempo sessions of up to 90mins, with aerobic compensation / recovery twice a week say up to a max of 1 hour, and 1 more exteneded run of 1:45 IF its required, allied with dedictaed athletic development [gym/core/piller], this is all within a periodised model , working thru a preparation cycle , a development cycle a *shock* cyle and finally a 21 or 19 day regeneration cycle leading up and into the marathon its self, it seems to work very well, its not the only way of course but it is one way.

Max71 asks: Passive aggression is it ever a good idea or should people just say what they feel?

Mic says: Say what you feel, mean what you say and say what you mean Maxi-baby xx :-)

Mic says: I just wanted to say a huge thanks to everyone has repeatadly nominated over the last 5 months, that means a lot to me *bangs chest with fist over heart* and for everyone who voted for me as well , you all rock and I hope that I can help you put at somepoint too ! :-)

Fetch says: No worries mic, you just have. Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions - there must be a big queue of people in your shop now! On behalf of everyone who voted for you, and everyone you've provided coaching advice to, thank you!

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