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POSTED BY admin Wednesday 12th February 17:07

RACE SOLD OUT – What’s the solution?

Have you ever really wanted to enter a running race, only to find out that demand for places hugely outstripped supply leading to an undignified scramble to get your credit card details into the computer on the day online entry opens before the site crashes?

sold out

Are you one of the thousands who enters the ballot for the London Marathon each year, only to be disappointed a few months later when yet another rejection letter arrives?

Or perhaps as a regular runner, you get frustrated by those who enter the event you want to do, and then feel angry when those same people fail to train for it or even not turn up at all?

As big races become more popular, entries are often sold within hours of going online some six months before race day.  You often need to know your fitness, work and social plans half a year ahead in order to fit the race into your calendar.  Is it any wonder that so many people enter races, effectively gambling c.£50 on something they may or may not choose to do later in the year.  And then pull out either through unforeseen injury, or simply because their plans have changed, or even because they can no longer be bothered.  As Tony (he of “Tony’s Trials” from Marathon Talk) succintly points out this week, the fact that many races don’t allow free number swaps, then many will just enter and can afford to simply forfeit the fee if it transpires that they can’t do the event come race day for whatever reason.

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POSTED BY admin Wednesday 20th November 17:07

Want to run fast – better get Cross

Where there’s mud, there’s medals… and probably PBs!


glorious mud

glorious mud

It is that time again: dark by 5pm, cold, often raining. The leaves are falling from the trees and the Christmas ‘season’ is in full swing on the High Street. It is also the season for cross-country and we think that those of you looking for your next Xempo top, might want to consider getting stuck into this type of racing in preparation for the spring.

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POSTED BY admin Tuesday 24th September 16:31

Xempo top tips for pacing

In advance of our Xempo pacers taking to the streets of London for the Ealing half marathon and Royal Parks Foundation half marathon in the next couple of weeks, we thought we’d share with you some top tips we have gathered from our years of racing.  We hope they are of use as you chase those all important PB’s.

  1. Ensure you know your target pace before you set off [link to RW calculator] – and write this down on your wrist or download a pace band [link to RW pace bands]. Experienced runners can sometimes race ‘by feel’, but for less experienced runners, having a target pace means giving yourself the best chance of hitting your goal time.
  2. Be realistic about the pace you want to run – if your personal best time for a 10km race is 50 minutes, then a 1 hour 30 minute half marathon is probably too fast for you at this stage. Be sensible and slowly work your way up to faster times.
  3. Running an even pace is a great strategy. It is unlikely however to mean running at an even effort level. If you stick to the same pace throughout the race, it will undoubtedly feel tougher at the end than is did at the start.
  4. Allow your pace to pick up a little if there is a downhill or the wind is behind you, but not too much.
  5. By running with a group, you will benefit physically – the group will help to shield you from any headwind, which can add extra effort to your running.
  6. Running in a group can also have a psychological benefit, allowing you to simply clear your mind and cruise along at the group’s pace, without having to worry or think too much.
  7. If the pace you have picked is too slow, be prepared to adjust. If you feel as though you could go faster, pick a target ahead of you – another runner or group of runners – and wind up the pace to bridge the gap across to them. However, you should not really do this until you have passed the half way mark in your race at the very least, as you should feel strong in the early stages of the race, but running too fast too early could cause problems later on.
  8. If you think that you have gone off too fast and you are running with a group, allow yourself to drift to the back of the group and stay there, benefitting from the physical and psychological benefits of that position. Relax for a while and see if you can cover a mile or two at the same pace. If not, don’t panic. Slow down, but not dramatically, so that you are running at a more comfortable pace, without losing too much time.
  9. If you are in a pacing group led by an official pacer, be especially aware of other people around you. A big group can create chaos on a race course if the members of that group are not all aware of each other and the other runners with them.
  10. When you run with a group led by a pacer, it is not necessary to be shoulder-to-shoulder with the pacer – just make sure you keep the pacer in sight in front of you. The group will arrive at the finish line within seconds of one another and if everyone tries to run next to the pacer, the finish could be messy.
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POSTED BY admin Monday 23rd September 15:32

Xempo Performance Day Takeaway Tips #2

Improve glute strength for better running

Two weeks ago at the Xempo Performance Day [link:] our Hype-A-Runner competition winners were treated to advice from our panel of experts about many of the ways in which they can improve their running and get to the next Xempo level. In this, the second of a series of posts about what the runners heard at the Performance Day, we hear about the importance of posture and the role that the gluteus maximus plays in that.

Nick Anderson coaching session

Nick Anderson coaching session

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POSTED BY admin Tuesday 17th September 13:55

Xempo Performance Day Takeaway Tips #1

Is your training specific?

At the recent Xempo Performance Day [link:] the winners of the Hype-A-Runner competition heard from our panel of experts about a whole range of ways that they can take their running to the next level. Over the next couple of weeks we will post a few tips from the day. The first is about making your training specific.


Nick Anderson (

Nick Anderson (

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POSTED BY admin Wednesday 11th September 13:59

Xempo Performance Day – Lee Valley Athletics Centre

Our Hype a Runner competition has been running for the last few months and Saturday saw the winners of the competition gather together for the grand prize: a spot at the Xempo Performance Day.



Held at Lee Valley Athletics Centre, there really could have been no better backdrop for a day dedicated to runners learning more about taking their running to the next level. As the elite of British athletics trained on the sun-soaked track outside, the Xempo Performance Day winners gathered, all excited for the day ahead.

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POSTED BY admin Tuesday 26th March 12:49

Out of Africa

It’s no secret to anyone with even the flimsiest knowledge of distance running that the top end of the sport is dominated by African athletes.  Perhaps with a dominance unique amongst all sports.

But is this virtual monopoly of almost every major race good for the health of sport?

On the surface, distance running appears never to have been in better health.  Ironically, participation in road running is at an all time high.  Big 40,000+ races like the Chicago and Berlin marathons sell out in hours.  The London marathon could fill its ballot places ten times over.  Even local races now fill up six months in advance.  A million people will line the streets of London in April as they always do in New York and elsewhere.

But ask yourselves what is it that raises the interest?  Mostly for the participants it is for their own running ambitions or charity fundraising.  For the spectators it is the colour and the carnival, and to support friends and family who are taking part.  Few have even the slightest interest in who wins.  In other words, these races are popular as mass participations events, not as sporting contests.  The TV people are far more interested in the human interest, charity and celebrity angle when there is only an African interest at the sharp end.  They reflect the public perception of the anonymous African presence and swiftly divert their attention elsewhere.

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POSTED BY admin Thursday 14th February 15:08

A mid-pack runner and his cash are soon parted

There are few things that running share in common with the game of golf.  But one of them is the mind-boggling array of gadgets, gizmos, aids and equipment developments that are designed and sold with the promise of helping you improve your performance.  Of course, the thing that sells best of all in golf is length.  Anything, with even the flimsiest scientific data to back it up, that suggests that the golfer might hit the ball a bit further than before, and they’ll be reaching for their wallet quicker than Tiger Woods in a Las Vegas casino.

And so it is with running. As Adidas launches its latest shoe, expensively promoted with the promise that it has a new type of cushioning with more “bounce” which in turn gives you more energy, which in turn makes you run further.  Or faster.  Or whatever.

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POSTED BY admin Friday 16th November 13:54

Death Race v The Running Man

Unless you’re lucky enough to live in the mountains or you happen to live in glorious isolation out in the sticks, there’s a fairly high chance that when you go out running, you have to take your chances with the rest of the motoring and pedestrian traffic.  And with the seemingly contradictory combination of rising fuel prices and gridlocked streets, never has it made more sense to get out on the bike.

But both modes of self-propelled transport bring more hazards than a ballooning holiday with Felix Baumgartner.  Sometimes, it’s like Jason Statham in Death Race taking on Arnie in the Running Man.  Who knows who is going to come out alive at the end?

Perhaps it’s time to update the highway code to reflect the realities of modern life on Britain’s roads.  Here’s a sneak preview of some of the questions that the ministry of transports might like to consider for next year’s theory test.

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POSTED BY admin Tuesday 23rd October 10:48

World Champion. 50k. The hard Way.

Xempo runner Steve Way, has just returned from Italy where he was representing England in the IAU World 50k Trophy.  It turned out rather well for him.  We are extremely proud of his achievement which is not only richly deserved, but incredibly hard earned.  Check out Steve’s training in the run up to the race on his website !!

Below we have reproduced Steve’s race report in his own words.  Enjoy.

IAU World 50k Trophy Final 2012

The first thing I noticed after we had arrived at the hotel on Friday and went for a jog along the course route was the heat and the wind.
It was about midday so the exact time things were going to be getting tough on race day (race start at 10am!) and it seemed a bit of a daunting prospect. I wasn’t that disappointed though as this event was always going to be more about racing than a personal time trial and if I had to forget about the time goals then so be it. Everyone was going to have to deal with the conditions and to be honest if it turned into a endurance battle then it may improve my chances of positioning well considering a number of the guys on paper had better raw speed than me.
Looking at the entry list before hand the competitors who on paper had the raw speed advantage over me were Collen Makaza (ZIM) who was the 2010 50K World Trophy in 2:48 (2:15 marathon PB/63 Half) , my good friend Paul (2:16 Full / 65 Half) and the USA 50k Champ Joe Gray (63 Half). The defending champion from Kenya had not made the start line as he had visa issues apparently.

Anyway, better get on with the race report! Paul and I went for our usual 12min jog 4 hrs before the race and then we all made our way down to the course start at around 9am. The course was a simple out and back route along the prom with the total distance for each “loop” being 6.25km, no opportunity for Paul to get lost on this one ;-)
The start and finish line was around 3-400m up from the westerly turn-around point and here we all were ready to go!

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