Archive | May 2021

In profile: Gavin Bland (part 1)

To win a British Championship you have got to be dedicated. If I didn’t give the time to it there was always a runner who was better. When I was super fit I was as good as anybody. I had to do a proper winter’s training if I wanted to do well. I don’t miss training when I am not doing it, that is my problem. When I was injured, I didn’t miss racing. When I was fit, I would rather race than do three weeks training. I’d race myself to fitness.

That is the intro paragraph to the latest in a series of in-depth profiles of runners I have written, of Gavin Bland, surely one of the finest fell runners of the last few decades. Part 1 of the profile can be read in full, and downloaded, at the following link [PDF file]. Part 2 will be published shortly, in the next issue of The Fellrunner.

Pysiological testing of athletes

I have written a short article with some thoughts on testing of athletes, particularly with regard to older athletes and issues around that aspect. It was prompted by a desire to get a leading Veteran athlete into a lab and have them tested – both as a measure of their base physiology and also to hopefully use the data to help their current training.

The full article, entitled ‘Some thoughts on physiological testing of athletes’, is available to read – as a PDF file/download.

Postscript (from Yannick Bianchini, in response to the article): In physiology, there are 3 factors useful in predicting performance. One’s VMA/VO2max is one. Then endurance (time capable of sustaining an effort), and finally running economy. In that last factor, you can include mental ability, like you said in the article. Adding to that mental ability, the fact of being capable of turning negative into positive, and keeping a very low RPE (rated of perceived exertion) is nowadays beginning to be almost the most important aspect in endurance sports. The best example is Eliud Kipchoge, who did not have the best physiological results when they were testing and choosing runners for the Nike project. But he had the most potential mentally, that’s why he was chosen. [Thanks for the comment, Yannick]

NB: Thanks to Jim Johnston for sending me an interesting article entitled ‘Maximal Aerobic Capacity Testing of Older Adults: A Critical Review’, which gives some interesting background to the topic. It is quite an academic piece so I have not included it here, but can send it on to anyone who is interested – just ping me.