If your weather’s anything like the weather here at the mo, it’s not very inviting to go out and run in. I’m okay if it starts to rain while I’m out – in fact, I can breathe easier when it’s raining – but when it’s damp and grey and drizzly, it’s hard to motivate myself to get out there in the first place.
I lost my iPod Nano. I am bereft. I’m pretty sure I left it in the cab after my birthday night out, as I remember not being able to find my wallet in my bag as my bag was stuffed full of presents and cards (I should probably point out this was more down to how small my bag was, not my popularity being so huge I should have taken a bin liner or two out with me with which to carry all my gifts) and I asked the driver to drive into the driveway while I rummaged around for the fare (that isn’t supposed to sound as dodgy as it does. I paid with cash, honest). So, I reckon it fell out then and, when I next got a cab two days later on Christmas Eve, I asked that cab driver how many different companies use the rank at the station and told him I thought I’d lost my iPod in a cab a couple of days previously and I thought it was a female driver, and he gave me a number to ring and said there are only three female drivers in Ashford, so it should be easy to locate. I said I won’t ring now, it’s Christmas Eve, they’ll be busy but he assured me it’d be fine. I went inside and rang the cab office and got the most unfriendly and unhelpful woman on the phone ever and she just said blah blah blah and so I remained un-iPodless and too scared to ring back another day in the hope someone nicer picked up.
I’ve got to admit, I’m much more of a summer cyclist, choosing to leave my bike in the garage during the winter, unless I *really* need it. This is partly because, once my hands and feet get cold, they take approximately two and a bit weeks to defrost and partly because of hazards like icy roads in the morning and poor visibility in the evening.
Before I emigrated to the countryside, I – like many others – was office-bound, spending many hours sitting down staring at a screen. Ironically though, I was at my lightest then because I was an expert at getting exercise into my day without really trying. Here are my tips for getting some exercise into your working day:
I’ve been renting out my house in London for seven years now and while the extra money has been welcome, it’s been a pain at times (the renting out bit, not the money). Here’s what I’ve learnt so far and what you should think about if you’re thinking about renting out your home.
Unless you’re Zola Budd (if you’re under 40, ask your parents who she is), you’re going to need to wear something on your feet (and I don’t mean Heelys or rollerskates like the ones you can buy at Skate Hut). When I started running, I bought a cheap pair of trainers from ShoeZone for £10 and although I don’t recommend you do that, there are some common myths about running shoes. Here are 3 of them.
I used to smoke my breakfast. But, when I say ‘smoke’, I’m not talking mackerel, I’m talking cigarettes. Yes, my breakfast for my entire adult life until I was thirty-six years old was as many cups of tea and cigarettes I could fit in before leaving the house.
I’d like to say that now I no longer smoke, I’m up at dawn making myself a big healthy breakfast to set me up for the day. I’d be lying though because I rarely have breakfast and if I do, it’s just a smoothie (or Nutriblasts as I call them now I’ve got a Nutribullet – you can see my review of it here on my food blog) and nothing more substantial than that.
Although a smoothie is undeniably healthier than a cigarette for breakfast, it’s still not ideal but I can’t face eating first thing in the morning, despite the benefits it would bring, as shown in the below infographic.
I come from a family of champions. I won a trophy made out of tinfoil when I was about 5 for being a chess champion. My younger brother won a scholarship to go to a public school, and my eldest brother came home most weeks with trophies he’d won by playing golf.
I won my trophy by being a sneaky, devious 5-year-old and getting a book from the local mobile library that showed me how to checkmate my opponent in three moves. My younger brother won his scholarship by being a cleverclogs and my eldest brother won his trophies by learning how to play golf properly.
And on that note, I leave you with this infographic that shows you how you can improve your golf swing. If you feel inclined to improve your golf swing, that is. Personally, I’m in the ‘golf is a good walk spoiled‘ camp*.
(*I’m not really – I just like to quote stuff)
After being hideously slow during the Folkestone Half a few weeks ago, I knew I wouldn’t make the cut-off for Dymchurch Marathon tomorrow so, to do my bit, instead I wrote a poem for those who are.
A Poem for the Dymchurch Marathoners
A marathon is a lot of miles
and I hope you’ve done your training,
because a marathon still goes ahead
even if it’s raining.
It’s not due to rain tomorrow,
although you should expect a gale,
and it’s probably best to cross your fingers
you don’t get caught in hail.
I’m sure you’ll think I don’t give a fuck
when I’m not there to say good luck,
it’s just that I’m extremely sad
I won’t be getting a goody bag.
The medal is so very cool,
you’ll all have deffo earnt it,
by running in the wind and cold
knackered, feeling shit.
I hope you like my little poem,
it only took a minute.
So go and run the race tomorrow,
and I’ll stay in the warm, innit.
If you followed my guide to training for your first 5k, you undoubtedly would have a) won it; and then b) got home and immediately started looking for your first 10k. So, here’s my guide to training for your first 10k.
Get a training plan
You may think, ‘I can run 5k, I don’t need a training plan, I just need to run a bit further’. Which, yes, is true to an extent but a proper training plan will get you running further and faster better than if you just tag a couple of extra miles onto your long runs now and again.
Personally, I’m old-school and like something I can print off so I can cross out the days I’ve done with a pen; my favourite plans being those from Hal Higdon but, if you’re not quite that old school, you can also generate an iCal file to import Hal Higdon plans into your calendar.
If importing a plan into your calendar is still too old-school for you, there are loads of apps you can use, such as the 10k Run Ready app from Kiqplan. This app contains everything you need to train for your first 10k, including advice on snacking, meal planning and how to get more sleep.
Stick to the training plan
Let’s face it – 10k (6.2 miles) is a long way to walk, let alone run, so do stick to your training plan if you don’t want to hurt too much on race day. And, while we’re on the subject of hurting on race day, when you’re running the actual race, try not to fall over a football, like I did during my first ever 10k.
Think about nutrition
The better your diet leading up to the race, the better the race you’ll have, so you might want to have a look at using sports supplements such as protein shakes and creatine (which is especially good for those of you who, like me, are vegetarian). If you’re not into supplements, just make sure you eat a healthy balanced diet with plenty of protein to help your muscles recover after training. No need to be too strict though – you can still have your takeaway at the weekend; everything in moderation and all that.
On race day
Don’t worry about any special breakfasts or anything – just have what you normally have, whether that’s a massive bowl of porridge or just a cigarette and a cup of coffee. It’s only 6 and a bit miles and if Mahatma Ghandi can go three weeks without food, you can go without for an hour or so. But, although there should be a water stop during the race, you might want to take some water with you, as a 10k can make you thirsty, especially if it’s a hot day.
There are always massive queues for the toilet at races, so get there early enough for a wee, unless you’re a bloke, then you can just do it in the bushes (don’t tell anyone I said that). And if you’re a Billy-no-mates with no one to look after your bag, get there early enough to put your bag in the baggage drop too.
So, there you go then. There’s my guide for training for your first 10k. Good luck!