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5 Ways to get a Runner’s Body

FIVE WAYS TO GET A RUNNER’S BODY – read on as it’s probably not going to be what you think.

  1. Be born. If you have read Bryony Gordon’s You Got This‘ book, you will realise what an amazing miracle this actually is.
  2. Have a body: Luckily we have one of those given to us when we are born!
  3. Put your trainers on.
  4. Go for a run. Doesn’t matter how fast or far you go.
  5. Tah-Dah you have a RUNNER’S BODY!
Variety of runner's bodies on show at the Runderwear day with Secret London Runs.

Now, you didn’t think getting a runner’s body was going to be that simple, did you?!

One of the things I have noticed so many times when at races; the running community comes in all different shapes and sizes, but they all complete the same race, pick up the same medal, get the same runners high and same feeling of accomplishment at the end of the run!

Vitality Big Half start line, displaying all shapes and sizes of runner's bodies.
Vitality Big Half 2019 – read about my race here

If you run, no matter how fast, you already have a runners body, so embrace it. Be proud of it for what it allows you to do, and don’t compare it to anyone else’s body.

‘Comparison is the thief joy’

Theodore Roosevelt

RunMND supporting London Marathon

Tips and training to support at a Marathon

After cheering and supporting at both the London Marathon and Milton Keynes Marathon recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that you should have a training plan for cheering too.

I was shattered on the day, and the day after both events. I even made the joke that I think I would have preferred to have run the marathon – Yes I know, I know – I have forgotten how tough marathons really are. (Chicago may be a bit of a shock!)

So what would a training block look like:

  • You would have to spend time reading maps and getting to know the route. I DIDN’T do this at Milton Keynes, and spent many hours cycling around lost! I didn’t even attempt to move around in London, I have done this in the past, and it is SO busy, and you end up walking a long way.
  • You will need to practice controlling your bladder. Milton Keynes I could at least stop, although I stupidly forgot to take a lock for my bike, so still had to wait until I got back to the car! London I was lucky that MNDA choose their cheer squad to be outside a pub, so I used the toilets prior to the race, but then I couldn’t take my eyes off the race; I feared losing my roadside spot, and missing the people I had come to cheer on. (Yep, I did exactly that, even thought I didn’t take a toilet break for SEVEN hours!)
  • Practising your clapping would have be on the plan. You need to harden up the skin, as 6+ hours can hurt! I thought I’d be smart and buy a cowbell after last years London Marathon. Obviously, my hands won’t hurt! Errmmm, my finger rubbed instead where I held the cowbell, my arms were aching from moving the cowbell and I’m still not sure if the ringing in my ears has cleared.
    Training could help you develop your photography skills! I’ve learnt the hard way in previous years, so extra battery charge was packed for both races. I also bought myself a Go Pro ready for London. Exciting I thought, well that was until I tried using it without really reading any instructions, plus trying to take a photo on my phone too, and ring the cowbell! It was a little more stressful than exciting! I know you are thinking, why would you use a Go Pro and a phone camera? Well, I wanted to post on my Instagram Stories, and knew how to do that from my phone! I am pleased to say that somehow by Milton Keynes, I managed to take a photo on my phone and video using my Go Pro at the same time. The cowbell just had to be silent, girl can only do SO much, and this photograph of Chris was worth the silence!
Cheering requires you to take photos too.
How is that even possible???

Actually, I have just remembered, I didn’t have it totally sorted, I remember calling sarah back to get this photograph!!

Cheering requires you to take photos too.
Sorry for making you come back Brems!
Cheering requires you to take photos too.
Pretty impressive 28 min PB from Katie at Milton Keynes!!
  • Packing – I was so glad that I had experience from previous years, as this year I made sure I had snacks! I didn’t quite need a fuelling strategy of gels, but cheering is tough works, so remember to fuel and hydrate too. As I said above, once you find your spot, you don’t really want to move, so then you have to choose, your spot or your rumbling tummy!
  • I think next year, I may have to take a Megaphone! I know that I am loud, but London is NOISEY, and on many occasions I screamed at people and they didn’t hear. The next day, my throat hurt ALOT, so if anyone knows where to get cheap Megaphones, please let me know.
  • Selective attention training is needed. Trying to pick out people on the busy London streets is crazy. Milton Keynes was easier, but make sure you know the kit colour of the person you are supporting, alternatively shout for everyone, and hope you don’t miss anyone! Whilst writing this, I have just thought about setting an alarm on your phone to buzz every 30 minutes for a stretch (yes, it’s getting serious now! haha) as my neck and shoulder ached lots. London from leaning out to try and spot people, MK from my cycling!
Cycle selfie whilst trying to navigate Milton Keynes Marathon to support and cheer.
One handed cycling!! Go Me!

I am sure I have missed lots from this, so if you have any other ideas, please post below, so that I can keep checking back on this before I go to cheer at any other races.

If you see me at Parkrun with a map, snacks, megaphone and stretches, please tell me I’ve taken this cheering and supporting too seriously! hehe

If you want to see which races are am booked in for in the coming months, take a look here.

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Runderwear and Running Awards products.

In my last post (here), I did say that I was going to write in more detail about the products that I was gifted at the Runderwear Run, and The Running Awards.

The run that I participated was led by Secret London Runs, which prior to this event I hadn’t heard of. The first contact I had with them was when I posted the night previous to the event, tagging them in on Instagram and Twitter, saying how I was nervous. Reassuringly, they promptly got back to me, saying that I will be fine and that they are looking forward to running with me. I thought this was lovely, as it did put me at ease.

When I turned up to Millennium Pier, there were many runners there, and quite quickly we were spoken to by Vanessa. She was bubbly, happy and engaging, putting me at ease immediately. I opted to go with the slower group which Vanessa was leading. Vanessa was 6 months pregnant, so I hoped that meant I could keep up. She was very quick to tell us that we would go at the pace of the slowest in our group, so no one was to be left behind.

I really must learn to pose when cameras are around! Photo Credit Runderwear

We set off and within minutes we were discovering sections of London that I never knew existed – admittedly history isn’t my strong point. It was obvious that London history was a passion of Vanessa’s, and she delivered it, in an informative and fun way. Secret London Runs have not asked me to write any reviews or promote their company, but I can’t help raving about it. I have already spoke to my club about a group of us signing up, and then went to my RunMND group and told them about it. Abby from Running Abby has recommended the Christmas tour, so I am definitely going to try and organise a private tour then. The tour prices vary around the £20 per person mark. The private tours depend on numbers and distance. See photo

Private running tour costs with Secret London Runs

As the run and running awards were sponsored by Runderwear, we were gifted personalised kit to wear. As I said in my previous post, I have been a fan of Runderwear for a while now, but have only ever purchased their pants. This time I was gifted a t-shirt, pants and a crop top to wear. When I received the kit and tried it on, I was concerned about the crop top. Although it was very soft and comfortable, I didn’t feel it provided the support that I needed. So on the run, I wore my shock absorber under the crop top. I was wearing an XL, and did wonder if a L may have provided more support. The pants are seem free and so comfortable to wear. I must admit, even though I am a big fan, I did opt to buy similar running underwear from Decathlon as it was cheaper, but being back in Runderwear made me realise the other briefs are cheaper as the quality and the softness is just not as good as Runderwear.

#TeamRunderwear

The founders of Runderwear spoke at the Blogger Forum, and I was interested to hear, that they are about to launch more bras, with many sizes available, and I will definitely try them, as I am hoping that they are a little more supportive for the larger busts. I also noticed a tweet recently, that they are looking for brand ambassadors, so I am thinking of applying. I don’t exactly have the figure to promote underwear, but runners come in all sizes, so what have a lose by applying!

When we arrived at The Running Awards in the evening, we were gifted a good bag, and were given a free pair of Enertor insole.

Keep a check out on my MNDAD@70 raffles as some of these may just end up as prizes!

Again, this was a company I was unaware of prior to this event. They spoke about the product, but they really had me excited when they demonstrated how shock absorbent the insoles were. They dropped a glass bauble from about 7 foot onto the insole and it bounced. They then removed that insole, and dropped it from the same height and it smashed on the floor. A similar experiment can be seen here with an egg.

I have put the insoles in to my trainers and have run twice in them. Although they feel springy, I was silly and picked up a pair of size 5 insoles, forgetting that my trainers are a 6.5, so I can just feel that they are too small around my toes. I am hoping that I can change them for a larger size, so that I can give a more accurate review of the insoles.

Again, for transparency I paid £15 for my ticket to The Running Award, but the run and the products were gifted to me. So thank you to Team Runderwear, Secret London Runs, Enertor, Tikiboo, Mud & Blood, Veloforte, Go Bites, and Hala bar.

The fun filled day of running has really fuelled my love for running, and it was great to meet so many like minded people. Be prepared for a new lease of life in my blog, as my head seems to be exploding with lots of ideas! In my crazy running phase, I have also signed up to Manchester Marathon and put my name in the ballot for London Marathon!! Please make sure you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, for my daily musings about running. Also ensure that you have entered your email to the front page, so that you never miss a post.

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Stanwick 10K Race Recap

Race Information:

  • Date: 22nd April 2019 (Always on Easter Monday)
  • Start Time: 10:30am
  • Entry: No ballot, but usually sells out as limited to 400 participants.
  • Cost: £13 with EA membership, otherwise £15.
  • Race Website: www.stanwickraces.co.uk
  • Race Mementos: Medal, but no goody bag.
  • Course: Road race, most roads are not closed, but they are quiet country lanes. There is a stretch on the A6, but this is coned off and it is dual carriageway, so most passing cars move to the outer lane. KM markers were on the course and there were water stations, providing water in cups.
  • Elevation: It is an undulating course.

  • Other information: You have to collect your bib on the morning of the race, registration opens from 8am. There is an area for bag drop. Chip is on your bib, and the results are text to you immediately after the race. I think they have allocated parking, although I have never used it as I parked in the pub car park which is 200m from the start/finish line. The minimum age for entry is 15, but they have a junior race too.

My Race:

This race is part of my run clubs club championships. I completed it last year, as I tried to enter all club championships so that I had more chances to win the club London Marathon place (It didn’t work! hehe) Last year the weather had been really wet and the course had to be modified as part of it was flooded, so it wasn’t a full 10k.

The weather this year, couldn’t have been more different. A mini heatwave had made an appearance over the Easter Break, and it was forecast to be around 22 degrees on race day.

We parked up in the pub car park around 9:15am, and headed to the village hall to pick up our numbers. Names of participants were pinned up on a wall, so you had to find your number and then go to the allocated line to collect it. The Village hall was busy with runners, but it only took about 5 minutes to collect our numbers. They provided pens for us to complete the emergency details and there were safety pins provided too.

There were toilets in the village hall, and more toilets in another building across the road. The second building provided a bag drop too, but as my car was so close, i didn’t use it.

Team Balancise 2019 – Photo credits to @andybrayford

I completed a 10 minute warm up, and I felt ok, although I have a recurring lower back pain, so I really didn’t know how this race would pan out. We had our annual club photo, and then it was almost time to start.

When other club mates talked about being nervous or doubting there ability, I did my usual and joined in. I even remember saying that I wasn’t sure I could go under an hour – why do I doubt myself so much? I started at right at the back of the race, which meant that I weaved a bit at the start and found it very frustrating when a group of walkers blocked the entire road. I don’t mind walkers at all, but i do feel they need to be a little more aware of their surroundings. I suppose it’s no different to runners that run in groups.

Team Balancise action shot
Why do I always do stupid things when a camera is around? YMCA anybody???

As soon as you get to the top of the first incline, I found that there was more space and the views were amazing. I felt really strong and very positive; a little bit too positive for one of the my club mates! Hehe

After some flat, you have have a downhill stretch followed by a sharp up hill, and then it feels like you are continually running up hill for the next 10 minutes. It’s not a steep incline, but you feel it. This incline is on the A6, so the track is pretty much single file. You can over take people, but you just have to be a little bit more aware of your surroundings for this section.

I was surprised how strong I felt during this section, as I was dreading this part, as I remembered last year really struggling here. On reflection I think I was trying to keep up with another runner last year, but this year I was running my own pace.

By 4km, I was running on my own, but I could see other club runners ahead and I was enjoying the run. Again, I started to doubt myself, worrying that i was going too fast and would blow up at the end. I saw another runner that know from another club, and I worried about passing her, what if I went past and then blew up and she passed me at the end? I decided to chance it, and she said well done as I passed and said how well I was running, but instead of saying thanks, I replied, ” I’ll probably die in a bit!” Why? What can’t I just believe that I can run.

The part of the course that was cut off due to flooding last year, was accessible this year, and it’s it wasn’t a nice addition. There were quite a few twists and turns, and as I saw the turn into the street named Hillside street, I knew what it meant. More inclines! By this section, I had caught up with another club mate. We ran a little section together, and I decided to walk through the water station at 7KM, so that I could make sure I took on water. I had read a post from The Runner Beans about adjusting your race plan to fit with the weather as you can’t control the weather but you can control your response to it.. This made me realise that walking that water station wasn’t a bad thing, it was adjusting to the heat. I had tried to run through the previous water station, and drink from the cup, and nearly drowned myself! Does anyone actually prefer water in cups at races?

I took on the water and set off again, it was the final big hill and I saw more club mates and passed them. It felt nice to still be feeling strong and passing people. A left turn heading back into Stanwick Village is downhill, and I knew that at the end of that road would be where lots of my friends, and hopefully my husband and my daughter. Even though it was downhill, it seemed to go on forever. A lady overtook me, but then slowed immediately in front of me!

I didn’t want to speed up too soon, but I also knew that I didn’t want this lady to beat me, so I picked up the pace and pulled away from her. I saw all of the supporters and goofed around as I knew there would be videos and then I knew I only had one more hill to tackle. We had run the hill numerous times in a club session recently, so I just attacked it. At the top, I passed another club mate, I assumed that he would pick up the pace, so I didn’t look back I just kept working. It was pretty much downhill for the last 400m, but I didn’t feel I had another gear, until with 150m, I felt a guy come up level with me, and I thought, no way! I sprinted to the finish line and crossed it in 57:07, and headed straight for water.

Stanwick 10K 2019 – Medal

It is no where near my PB, but I was really happy with this race, as I enjoyed it, and felt strong for most of the run.

Positives:

  • Local race, with lots of great support.
  • Cheap entry fee
  • Nice relaxed/stress free vibe about the race. Friendly and encouraging marshals.

Less Positive:

  • Congested start if you start at the back.
  • Water in plastic cups

Thank you to Andy Brayford, Tina Brayford, Ros Taylor and my husband for the photographs.

Also, I have tried a different layout to my race recaps. What do you think? What other information would you want in the stats part? I was thinking that open date for entries for future reports, but to be honest I am not sure about this one. Let me know your thoughts.

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The Bath Half – Race Recap

So last year, my run club decided to all sign up to the same half marathon. Not wanting to miss out, I booked up and then realised that was going to be three half marathon in 4 weeks. I can do that, no worries I thought! Then at last week Vitality Big Half, I really didn’t enjoy it, my foot hurt, the weather was horrible (Read about it here) and it really doubted my ability to run another one so soon.

I have been put on medication recently and it has been making me very tired, and I really didn’t want to start another race, and just not enjoy it! Luckily, as it was a club event, the hotel room was booked and I was lucky enough to catch a ride with others, so I decided to just go with it.

Date: Sunday 17th March 2019

Time: 11:00am

Weather: A sunny and a little windy at time, but not anything like last week!

Course: I knew nothing about this race, but was told it was flat and two loops. I found out, it’s not totally flat, and it is a busy race.  When you look at the course map, it looks potentially like you run either side of the river, and you do, but apart from going over the bridge to turn back, you hardly see it.

Bath Half Route

There were a few sections that were very congested, and a pathway that you had to concentrate on as there was a curb in the middle, and there were a lot of cones on the course, which I saw a few people take a tumble over. The cones were to keep runners on first lap to left, second lap to right, I’m not totally sure that happened.

My race: I started in the green pen with two club mates, and we had all agreed to run our own races, but ran the first few miles together. Luckily it was quite congested at the start, so there was no way you could start too fast. There was a gentle decline at the start, and it was amazing to see the street ahead full of runners.

Pre-race smiles

Both my club mates are faster than me, and I just concentrated on trying to stick with them. I fell behind a few times and then caught up, repeat a number of times . The course was very congested and I got stuck behind people quite a lot.

I was still with them as we headed out for our second lap, but I could feel myself working harder than I thought I should be for that stage of the race. Around 8 miles, my foot started to hurt again, the exact same place as last week and at exactly the same part of the race. All in the mind I kept telling myself. Around 10 miles, the gap between myself and my team mates was increasing, I was all ready to admit defeat and walk, just as Dem came back to check I was ok. I said I wanted to walk, but he told me NO way. He wanted me to work and catch them up, but I knew I didn’t have it in me, so told him to go ahead.

From then onwards, it was a constant battle with myself to not walk! I was sure it was my mind that was failing not my legs! I took on water just after 10 miles and walked whilst drinking, but that was it. I knew club supporters were somewhere up ahead, so that kept me running, as I didn’t want them to see me walking!! hehe

As the start and finish are at the same point, the gentle decline at the start, is not appreciated too much at the end, as it turns into a gentle incline. As I turned the last corner, I didn’t know if I had a faster finish in me or not, but when I looked at the clock, I thought is was going to be very close too a sub 2:10 and that’s exactly what I had hoped for, so I pushed as hard as I could.

I crossed the line and stopped my watch on 2:09:00, official time was clocked at 2:08:58, so my last half marathon of my 3 in 4 weeks was my fastest – can’t complain about that really. This is still a long way off my PB, but I knew I was nowhere near that shape! Maybe it is time to try to get back into that shape!

Lesson learned: Marathon training for Chicago is not too long away, and if I want to improve, I have some hard work ahead of me!

Pros:

  • The crowds and support around the course was amazing. There are section where there isn’t any supporters, but in the centre of town the crowd is deep and very noisy.
  • A weekend of running with my club mates. I had SO much fun, and giggled for most of the weekend.
  • Booking our hotel a long time in advanced meant that we got a really reasonable rate, we had a lovely view and it was a perfect location. 

Cons:

  • It is a very congested course, so if you are wanting a PB, you have to make sure you start in the correct position, so that you don’t get stuck behind people.
  • It was sold as a flat course, but this isn’t true. There aren’t any big hills, but there are a few undulating sections.
  • Personally, I think the medal was a little disappointing, but as they gave you a nice finishers t-shirt, I’ll let them off!
T-shirt and Medal.

If you want a little insight into the weekend, I have added a highlight of my instastories on my instagram page, click here

What is your favourite half marathon?

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The Vitality Big Half – Race recap

Let me start this recap with my comedy moments from the weekend! Firstly, when I got out of the tube station at Tower Bridge, the heavens opened. I put my hood up and was sending a video to my friends asking them why they didn’t want to come to London. You may have already guessed, but my head was down I wasn’t looking where I was going, and I walked into a lamppost!! There were so many people around and I felt so stupid!

So that started the day and this to finish! Last year, Jordan – Project Marathon Girl had a great finishing photo, and she had shared it on Saturday on Instagram.

I messaged her, saying it was a great photo and that I was going to try to recreate it when I finished. So, as I approach the finish line, I put my arms out wide, but forget to check if anyone is next to me, and hit the poor lady next to me! What an absolute tool! She was lovely about it, and we ended up hugging at the finish line, but I dreaded the finish line photos coming out. I also received a message via Facebook saying someone had just seen me cross the finish line on the TV. My heart sank, I could just see that moment on replay! Luckily it was just my head on the TV!

Date: Sunday 10th March 2019

Time: 9:00am

Weather: A bit of everything, sun, rain, hail stones, but mostly WIND!

Course: Tower Bridge, Canary Wharf and The Cutty Sark are all the highlights, between those sections the course is not that spectacular.

My race: Last year I had a bit of a nightmare at this race, so much so that when I tried to look for my race recap, I didn’t even write one! I started too fast, and ended up run/walking from 5k! This year, I was determined to not repeat that.

I was SO cold at the start of the race, I could not stop myself shivering. I was relieved when we started as I just wanted to warm up. I tried to settle into my running, but was surprised at how many people seemed to be over taking me. When my watched buzzed the first mile, I decided not to look at the pace and put my sleeve over my watch. I decided to just run on feel.

The start feels like it is mainly down hill, and the tunnel goes on forever! Canary Wharf was busy with support and sections were really windy. We were mostly protected by the buildings, but at one section a gust of wind came from between the buildings and pushed me sideways!

Running across Tower Bridge is always special, but it was SO windy, so quite hard work. Shortly after this, I felt myself questioning why I was doing this. I was running on my own (even though there were so many people around me) and I just wanted it to be over. As silly as this sounds, I felt bored! I kept plodding on, but at the 10 mile marker, I stopped to walk and give myself a talking too. I carried on, but now my foot started hurting. I had a feeling as though the outside of my left foot was bruised. It was bearable, but I ended up run/walking for the last 3 miles. It also started to rain as I approached the end, and I remember just laughing to myself, I just wanted it to be over!

 

I was so relieved to see the finish line, and when I looked at my watch and it said 2:13, I was disappointed. This disappointment was doubled when I received my text telling me my official time, as it had last years time above, and I was slower this year! WTAF!

Brighton two weeks ago had given me confidence, and I thought I would be able to go a little faster this time, so I think that’s why I was a little disappointed. On reflection, I think I had talked myself out of this race before it even started. I have a lot going on outside of running at the moment, and may be that is taking more out of me than I realise. Also, when I did 3 half marathons in 4 weeks last year, that was off the back of a solid training block from New York. This year I have trained, but not as hard, so I may just have to cut myself some slack. I have Bath half this weekend with lots of my club mates, so hopefully I will get to run with someone and just enjoy the moment.

Lesson learned: Finish lines, not finish times!

Pros:

  • London Marathon Events are always very well organised.
  • The support around London is amazing.
  • Very nice finishers t-shirt.
  • The race photographs were by sportograf, and I have to give them a big shout out, as it cost £19.99 for all photos, which I think is very reasonable.

Cons:

  • I HATE running in the wind.
  • I wasn’t so keen on my 5am alarm!
  • I just don’t seem to be able to pace myself well at this race! Oh well, suppose that means i’ll be back again next year – 3rd time lucky!

What weather conditions do you hate running in the most?