British 10k – Running for Charity

IMG_4669This Sunday my colleagues and I will be racing the British 10k in support of Macmillan Cancer Support. A group of us at work have been training since May in preparation for the event.

In previous years, we’d often sign up for 5k charity runs. This year we decided to double our distance! For many in the group, this will be the longest distance they’ve ever run.

I felt slightly responsible for convincing my colleagues to race a 10k so I started a run club at work to get everyone trained up for the race! We train every Monday and it has been amazing seeing individuals improve. I used to coach novice and corporate rowers in University and I forgot how good it feels to pass on knowledge and help others work towards their fitness goals.

We train in a park near work where we are surrounded by green – a good reminder of why we’re doing all this hard work: Macmillan.

With work, training, the blog and MBA Run Club my time often feels stretched… I created the run club as my contribution to the 10k challenge.

If you’d like to support all our efforts and donate towards Macmillan Cancer Support, you can do so at our Just Giving page. All donations gratefully received.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Wetsuit Shopping

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Now that the swim session my coach runs every Tuesday has moved to an outdoor lido, I have no other choice but to purchase a wetsuit for training and racing in. I knew I’d have to buy one eventually but I kept putting it off because it was all a bit overwhelming…

I borrowed a wetsuit in meantime and quickly came to realise that a well fit wetsuit in the swim lag of a triathlon is like the bike you need for cycling – it’s a necessity of the sport, not a ‘nice to have’.

In an effort to feel prepared for my upcoming race, I started searching online; checking out deals on Wiggle, Chain Reaction and Planet X.

I found it really difficult shopping for a wetsuit… I didn’t know how it should fit, what the difference of a £100.00 wetsuit vs a £400.00 wetsuit was, and I wasn’t familiar with all the swim jargon.

Here is what I learned about choosing a wetsuit that is right for you… from one beginner to another!

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Everyone should own a foam roller… and use it

One of my goals this year is to stretch more…

But stretching alone isn’t always enough to release muscles tightness. This is why my goal has evolved into foam rolling 2-3 times a week as well.

Stretch

After this weekend’s race – foam rolling was/ is my total saviour. I raced the London ITU Sprint Triathlon in Hyde Park and it really took a toll on my body. My energy levels feel low and I’ve been really stiff and uncomfortable this week. My muscles have finally started to loosen up now which I will attribute to 1) drinking lots of water and eating lots of nutrient filled foods 2) taking a couple rest days directly after the race 3) swimming on Tuesday which got my muscles moving again (could also be called an impromptu ice bath because it was so cold!) and 4) stretching and foam rolling.

You don’t have to feel stiff and uncomfortable to foam roll however. Rolling out your muscles is a great activity which benefits all lifestyles…

Here’s some info about what it is, what it does and why you should give it a try!

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Dealing with pre-race Jitters

Berlin Half Marathon - Dan and I at start line

You’d think that after 7 years of competitive racing, the pre-race jitters would begin to disappear, eh? Well, sorry to tell you that this is so NOT the case… What I have learned though, is how to turn those jitters into excitement and drive… rather than negative thoughts like doubt and fear (which jitters can easily turn into if you’re not careful!).

Here’s how…

When I start to feel the pre-race jitters… In order to turn them into excitement and drive, I’ve learned to simply not entertain any negative thoughts.  They’ll come through my mind constantly but I just watch them leave again without being effected, considering or debating them. 

Here are a few of the thoughts that went through my mind before the Berlin Half Marathon

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Turn your intentions into actions with the fitbug orb

Have you challenged yourself to live a healthier more active lifestyle? If so, you certainly have the right intentions — but what are you missing?

Good intentions often need a ‘subtle nudge’ to develop into actions. And actions take effort! Having a platform which provides a summary of your progress is motivating and it reassures you that all this effort is actually worth your while.

The Fitbug Orb measures the amount of movement you make throughout the day. It is small, sleek and easy to incorporate into your daily routine.

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Recovery Tips

Stretch and RecoveryWe often forget that recovery is one of the most important ingredients to progress. Without it, we run our body down and impair our next performance.

There is a lot more to recovery than just stretching… and recovering properly makes you stronger and fitter in the long run — What is your recovery routine?

My body has come to rely on the following recovery tips…

  1. Never skip your cool-down. If you’re running short on time, skip the last lag of your main session and start your cool down early. If you’re absolutely spent, walking for 10-15 minutes can make a big difference — just remember to keep warm (layer up) if you’re cooling down outside in the winter months.
  2. Have a snack within 30 minutes of finishing your main session. Try to eat something high in protein and easy to digest.
  3. Re-hydrate. Find a water bottle you love or a glass you adore and keep it full. Sip on it throughout the day.
  4. Put your legs up. Spend 5-10 minutes with your legs up on the wall to enhance circulation and gently stretch your legs out.
  5. Invest in a foam roller. In addition to stretching – release muscle tension by rolling out tight areas and trigger points. Essentially an alternative for deep tissue messages… and (after the initial investment) it’s free!

I follow these to a tee after intense running sessions such as intervals or hills and after any race. For better or worse, I’m not so diligent after low-impact sports like cycling and swimming as my body doesn’t take as long to recover from these sessions.

If you’re crazy enough, ice baths go a long way. Dan does this after a big ride and finds that it helps a lot…. I haven’t been able to bring myself to do it… I absolutely hate being cold!

Grateful and Excited

After suffering from shin splints last year, a few things were put into perspective… Going out for a quick 30-minute run was no longer an option. Instead, I’d have to pack up and walk to the gym to find some low-impact cardio. It became a chore being so restricted.

The shin splits lasted six months… I wasn’t able to run from March – November 2014. They’ve since settled down and I have been able to enjoy some beautiful runs around London again. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated going for a run as much as I do now.

Tomorrow, I’ll be racing my first 10k in ages!! I’m not going to bring my Garmin and instead I’ll just run by feel. If I leave with a sub 50-minute finish time and no shin pain, I’ll be a very happy camper!

To avoid any injuries tomorrow I plan to:

  • Do a long easy warm-up
  • Roll out my calves tonight and after the race
  • Take Monday off to recover

Enjoy your training. Enjoy the freedom of it. And take care of your body!

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