“I love fitness and what it can do for people” What drives our cover star Lara, p10
SMASH YOUR PARKRUN PB BY XMAS
FIND THE RIGHT SHOE TO TAME THE TRAILS
FASTEST SHAPE-UP MOVES
RUNNING KIT MUST-HAVES
RDS A W A 2016 THE BEST GEAR MONEY CAN BUY!
PLUS! JOIN THE BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE 2017
G ING RUNNING?
GET GOING AND TRAIN WITH YOUR HEART RATE ON YOUR WRIST, WITH THE ALL NEW TOMTOM RUNNER 3 GPS FITNESS WATCH.
SEE YOUR HEART RATE ON YOUR WRIST Say goodbye to chest straps. The built-in cardio sensor tracks your heart rate straight from your wrist. No more sweaty bands and chafing.
WORKOUT WITH MUSIC, NOT WITH YOUR PHONE Play 500 songs directly from your watch with the built-in music player. Your favourite playlists straight from your wrist, wireless and phoneless.
ALWAYS FIND YOUR WAY BACK TO THE START Explore new areas and find your way back by seeing your trail on your watch. Preload trails to your watch to run new routes with confidence.
available at: & your local running specialist
D E C E M B E R
2 0 1 6
I S S U E # 8 3
FRONT SECTION FORWARDS
“AS FAR BACK AS I CAN REMEMBER, I’VE ALWAYS LOVED SPORT” 34 BUILD A BETTER BODY
Stay well for the rest of your life through running
72 FIND THE RIGHT SHOE TO TAME THE TRAILS WR tests the best off-road trainers
64 5 FASTEST SHAPE-UP MOVES
Your festive buildup workout
28 SMASH YOUR PARKRUN PB BY XMAS
There’s still time to snatch seconds
47 67 RUNNING KIT MUSTHAVES
The Women’s Running Awards results are in!
88 JOIN THE BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE 2017
Get your entry in now for next year’s WR marathon team
ON THE COVER Photo: Eddie Macdonald Model: Lara Milward (pictured above with her daughter Kiera) Hair & make-up: Bea Burton Kit: Top, M&S; Tights, adidas Team GB
10 “I LOVE SPORT AND FITNESS AND WHAT IT CAN DO FOR PEOPLE” Meet our cover star Lara Milward, who loves to help other women to stay fit
17 IN THE BAG
Work it from your workout to your workplace in this gear
18 RUNNING TECH
Gadget addicts – get your fix here!
12 HEALTH NEWS
The latest running-related health news and facts for you
14 FOOD IN THE NEWS
Bitesize nutrition facts, plus expert answers to your questions
15 15-MINUTE MOVES
19 KEEP RUNNING, MUMMY!
Claire Chamberlain remembers soft play isn’t child’s play
20 MY PB
How Elaine Henderson took four minutes off her 10K time
21 TOKEN BLOKE
Damian Hall’s other half has run a half – not half bad...
Boost your strength and stamina fast
16 INJURY CLINIC
How to keep your ankles out of trouble
22 “BY RUNNING MORE, I FOUND MY MENTAL HEALTH GOT BETTER” How Nicola Gee is running to give back to the Samaritans
D E C E M B E R
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TRAIL ZONE 78 TRAIL ESSENTIALS Everything you need to take to the trails this month
80 PROJECT TRAIL With just a couple of weeks to go before their race, how are our trail trainees?
91 THE RACING MONTH
86 PLAN YOUR PERFECT YEAR
Find your next event right here
Find the right formula to plan your races in properly
96 PURBECK MARATHON
Lizzy Dening runs a fairytale race
Kim Ingleby heads for the hills of Dorset
94 BAXTERS LOCH NESS MARATHON
97 EALING HALF-MARATHON
Karon Davis takes on a monster event
Laura Fountain goes west
FEATURES 38 TURN YOUR PASSION INTO A PROFESSION
88 JOIN THE BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE! Racing a marathon next spring? In need of a little support? Tell us your story and you could join the team
Love our mag?
Lisa Jackson meets three women who loved running so much, they changed careers as a result
68 PICTURE PERFECT Twelve women share their favourite race photos – and the stories behind them
06 EDITOR’S NOTE “Health problems can seem years away until they turn up on your doorstep”
07 MEET THE TEAM From trainers to testers, meet the people behind this issue of Women’s Running
26 HAVE YOUR SAY
42 JOINT VENTURE Heard the one about how running ruins your knees? Christina Macdonald finds out the truth…
SUBSCRIBE TODAY AND GET FREE HIGH5 NUTRITION PACK! – page 32 –
Your thoughts and stories about running
27 YOUR RUNS A snapshot of where Women’s Running readers have been exploring this month
98 THE CHALLENGE Every month the Women’s Running team sets you a different challenge – find out what it is here…
© BAXTERS LOCH NESS MARATHON 2016 / TIM WINTERBURN / EDDIE MACDONALD / TZRUNS/STUART MARCH PHOTOGRAPHY
92 DISNEYLAND HALF-MARATHON
D E C E M B E R
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO THIS MONTH “I haven’t done much running – I’ve been in Japan, a trip that involved walking up to 20K a day sightseeing. It was amazing watching runners training near Osaka Castle.” – Lisa
“I enjoyed speaking at a Run Mummy Run event. Nell McAndrew put us through our paces and gave us lots of tips.” – Juliet
“Post-gym hunger! Apparently I looked very appealing after the gym.” - Cristina
“Putting off going outside in the gorgeous New Balance trail shoes I was sent to test – just seemed wrong to get them muddy!” – Liz
“Highlight of the month was running with Ben Smith from the 401 Challenge, the week before his last marathon, and following his amazing success! - Tina
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I S S U E # 8 3
IN IT FOR THE LONG RUN Sometimes I go out running to clear my head, or just because I’m feeling sluggish – or, heaven forbid, because I’m training for a race. There are reasons to run that, some would argue, are more important – yet because the effects aren’t immediately obvious, we don’t think of them. For example, we know that consistent exercise can protect our hearts, help prevent diabetes, improve bone health… but those problems can seem years away until the day they turn up on your doorstep. I can’t run much at the moment because of injury so, the other day, I decided to do a session on the turbo trainer instead. To stave off the boredom – it’s not quite as fun as a lovely fresh-air run – I watched TV while I was at it, and found the recent programme on diabetes from BBC’s Panorama on iPlayer. It turned out to be the perfect pressure to keep me turning those pedals. The programme was a stark reminder of how seriously our quality of life can be impacted by long-term health problems. However, it also highlighted that there are things we can do to help avoid problems like this. It’s a theme Christina Macdonald has picked up on in her feature on page 34. If you’re struggling to find an immediate reason to train today, give it a read.
MUSIC & MOVEMENT
What we’re running and recovering to this month
Follow me on Twitter @LizzieWRMag
Lisa Jackson “The song that’s inspired me is Bastille’s Things We Lost In The Fire. The drumming helps me stick to a faster pace.” Tina Chantrey
“Listening to Leikeli47 Girl Gang - how can you not let go and feel the rhythm with
Cristina Lopez “Sia, The Greatest. After my holiday, I needed some motivation to get running. The lyrics make me feel like the greatest!”
Editor’s choice We’ve got a packed issue for you this month – if you’re short on time, don’t miss these essential features!
Push your parkrun
Take a shortcut
Sneak in one more PB this year with this guide
Use our quick workout to get (or stay) strong ahead of Christmas
Editor Elizabeth Hufton email@example.com Assistant Editor Jenny Bozon firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8996 5056 Art Director/Designer/Production Xavier Robleda email@example.com Social Media Editor Melody Smith firstname.lastname@example.org Commercial Editor Angelina Manzano email@example.com Contributing Editors Tina Chantrey; firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Jackson Editor-at-Large Christina Macdonald Fitness Editor Anne-Marie Lategan Editorial Director David Castle email@example.com Commercial Director Allan Pattison firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8996 5058 Advertising Manager Cristina Lopez email@example.com / 020 8996 5167 Advertising Sales Executive Olivia Neocleous Olivia.firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8996 5090
THE WOMEN’S RUNNING TEAM HAS A WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE TO HELP YOU GET THE MOST FROM YOUR RUNNING LIZ HUFTON Lizzie has been running since her student days in Liverpool in 1999, and has been writing about health and fitness for 13 years. She’s run nine marathons and has dabbled in triathlon, too.
TINA CHANTREY Tina is happiest running off-road and up a hill. She’s worked as a health journalist for over 20 years. She is a running coach, a mum of three girls, and writes about her running at shewhodaresruns.com.
JULIET MCGRATTAN Juliet is a GP and keen runner. She’s been running for six years and has taken part in many races, including the Beauty and the Beast, the Cross Bay Half Marathon and the London Marathon.
JENNIFER BOZON Jenny is a runner, a foodie and a country girl at heart. She enjoys nothing more than getting muddy in her trainers, and loves that running allows her to appreciate the great outdoors while living in a hectic city.
LISA JACKSON Lisa is a clinical hypnotherapist (quiet-medicine.co.uk) and author of Your Pace or Mine?, Running Made Easy and Adore Yourself Slim. This spring, she joined the 100 Marathon Club.
CHRISTINA MACDONALD Chris is an experienced health and fitness journalist, a Level 3 personal trainer and running group leader. She is author of Run Yourself Fit. Follow her @writefitchris.
ANNE-MARIE LATEGAN Anne-Marie has a BSc (Hons) in Human Movement Science & Rehabilitation. She has completed eight ultramarathons and trains clients at Ignite in London (ignitept.co.uk).
The former deputy editor of Women’s Running has returned as a columnist. She’s mum to Jacob, 3, and Seren, 1, and blogs at keeprunningmummy.wordpress.com.
Our columnist and token bloke Damian is a dad of two, a fitness and outdoors writer with 15 years experience and a mad-keen ultra-runner. This summer, he achieved a top-20 UTMB finish.
Senior Marketing Executive Paul Clayton email@example.com Managing Director Nick Troop firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributors Claire Chamberlain, Karon Davis, Lizzy Dening, Laura Fountain, Damian Hall, Kim Ingleby, Dr Juliet McGrattan, David Standen
Published by Wild Bunch Media Ltd 1st Floor, Gable House , 18-24 Turnham Green Terrace London W4 1QP
WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE RUNNERS FACE IN SELECTING NEW KIT TO BUY? I think runners feel thrown by all the different ranges, brands and styles on offer and, as a result, find it hard to find the right kit that’s right for them and their running type. Hopefully our awards pages will help!
Licensing and Syndication Allan Pattison / 020 8996 5058 Printed by William Gibbons Distribution by Marketforce (UK), 2nd Floor, 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 5HU / 020 3148 3300 To advertise call 020 8996 5058 To subscribe call 0844 245 6918 No part of this magazine may be copied, reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without prior written consent of the publisher. © Wild Bunch Media Ltd 2015. Women’s Running is a UK publication, published by Wild Bunch Media Ltd, and is not associated with any other women’s running magazines. The UK standard annual subscription rate is £29.97 for one year. The Europe standard annual subscription rate is £50 for one year. The Rest of World standard annual subscription rate is £80 for one year. ISSN 2042-0242
AWARD-WINNING MAGAZINE CONSUMER MEDIA BRAND OF THE YEAR (PPA Independent publisher awards 2015) CONSUMER MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR (PPA Independent Publisher Awards) CONSUMER MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR (PPA Customer Direct Awards)
Our advertising sales executive Olivia Neocleous has been busy putting together our Awards this month, her head buried in tester sheets and her desk swamped in protein bars! She is running-kit crazy and is up for almost any running-related challenge! WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT PUTTING TOGETHER THE WR AWARDS THIS YEAR? We had new categories this year, such as protein, healthy drinks and superfood, so it was really good to see so many new brands coming to light, focused on maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO JOIN WOMEN’S RUNNING? I love running and wanted to become more involved in the industry and learn even more about it. WHAT’S BEEN YOUR MOST FUN RUNNING EXPERIENCE THIS YEAR? The Bear Grylls Survival Race in October. It was so much fun and incorporated all the elements of the Bear Grylls Survival challenges, such as arctic and jungle environments – I even had to eat dried mealworms! I completed it with friends, so there was a lot of teamwork going round the course, we all stuck together and helped each other round.
HEALTH | FOOD | CLINIC | WORKOUT | TECH | INSPIRATION 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
MEET THE COVER STAR
Lara Milward has always loved sport and has now made a business out of helping others love it, too
The latest fitness and health news for you
FOOD IN THE NEWS
Nutrition know-how at your fingertips
Power up your performance with this speedy set
Protect your ankles from getting aggravated
Work your workout look all the way to the office
The latest fitness gadgets, reviewed for you
KEEP RUNNING, MUMMY!
Claire's made a rookie error - saying yes to soft play
How Elaine Henderson took four minutes off her 10K
Damian's got competition for his Sunday run slot
Nicola Gee turned to Samaritans for help in her darkest hour and is using running to give something back
â€œI'VE ALWAYS NEEDED TO BE DOING SOMETHING!" Cover star Lara Milward loves to feel fit and strong and, through her work, she helps others share that feeling PHOT O : E D D IE M ACD O N A L D
⁄ COVER STORY
“I LOVE WHAT SPORT AND FITNESS DOES FOR PEOPLE – SEEING THEIR JOY WHEN THEY ACHIEVE THAT 5K”
s far back as I can remember, I’ve always loved sport,” says Lara Milward, 46. “I’ve always needed to be doing something. It’s my glass of wine or my cigarette or whatever – my piece of dark chocolate.” The joy Lara feels in being outside and in motion is obvious the moment you meet her, and when she arrived at our photoshoot with her 12-year-old daughter Kiera in tow, it was clear that this energy and vibrancy has been passed on. Lara’s sporting background has been varied, taking in competitive swimming, ballet and team sports, but it wasn’t until she’d become a mother – with two young children at nursery – that she saw an opportunity to help other people share her love of being active. She’d had a varied career working with a political agency and then in sports marketing –
almost by accident falling into sport-related work – but, like many mothers, she felt a change of career was needed so that she could be around more for her kids. “I knew I wanted to be with my children,” she says, “and I wanted to be needed and useful.” She considered training as a counsellor, but the draw of being active was too strong. “I just couldn’t get away from the fact that I love sport and fitness and what it does for people; seeing people healthy and seeing their joy when they achieve that 5K or that 1K and they didn’t think they could.” The idea for her business, Blitz Fitness (blitzfitness.co.uk), began when some of the other mothers from her children’s nursery wanted to train to run a 5K. “We just started from the nursery school gates, going up the river to the bridge and back.” Lara trained as a fitness instructor. By chance, she met another mum in the playground who was an ex-sprinter and, although they didn’t know each other, they decided to run a few group sessions together. “Word of mouth went bonkers and people would join in. Our sporting background helped, I think, with the team spirit.” Although Blitz offers much more than running, it’s important to Lara that her
Like mother, like daughter!
clients can train outside rather than being stuck in the gym. “Personally I think you get much more of a kick out of it,” she says. “I think it’s healthier. It helps you enjoy your environment and make you more aware of it. I find it very invigorating and freeing. We’ve had people in tears who didn’t realise they could run on snow – they were in floods of tears with joy. What a gift once people know they can get out there!” As the business has grown since its foundation in 2009, now covering 250 clients, so Lara’s own sport has sometimes taken more of a back seat. “You have to be willing to give up personal goals,” she says, “I’ve always tried to have them, and as I’ve got older it’s got harder – I’m now 46, I get much more fatigued, so if I’m on my feet five or six days a week with clients and then I’m trying to do my training, I find it really hard to get performance because there’s so little recovery.” Working in an active job all week hasn’t quite been enough to keep Lara still in her free time though – in fact, she has just taken part in her second Virgin Strive Challenge (bigchange. strivechallenge.com), on a team that travelled from the Matterhorn to Mount Etna under their own steam, using hiking, cycling, swimming and running. She’d become involved in the first Strive Challenge in 2014 after meeting Richard Reed, the co-founder of Innocent drinks, at dinner through university friends. Richard had heard about Lara and thought she’d be perfect for Strive, telling her how the Branson family were organising it and looking for people to join the core team. “The idea was to run to Dover, row the channel, cycle to Verviers, hike to Zermatt and then climb the Matterhorn. You’d have a core team doing the lot and be fundraising along the way,” says Lara. “At first I was like, ‘You’re joking, how can I leave my children and my business, and be away for a month?’ Then I couldn’t sleep, thinking, ‘Could I really do this? It sounds so exciting…’ I just had to say yes. I knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime. It was in August, so my husband could have time off to help, so I thought ‘Right, I’m going to be free of being mum for the first time in 14 years and go for it.’” It was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but this summer Lara found herself back in training for round two – an even bigger challenge. “When the Bransons say, ‘We want you, please come with us’, it’s very hard to say no!” laughs Lara. She admits she also just found it hard to resist pushing outside of her comfort zone – especially as the second Strive would involve so much road cycling, her personal sport nemesis. “Running is my comfort zone, swimming is my comfort zone. Road cycling is something I’d never done before the 2014 challenge, and this time it was 150km a day for 15 days. I’m quite fearful on the downhill, you’re in very thin Lycra and the road’s a very hard surface, and there is a lot that can go wrong. So in
essence that’s my ‘strive’. As a team, we’re supposed to be getting out of our comfort zone, facing our fears and promoting a growth mindset.” For someone who clearly loves to mix up her training, running must have a strong pull to keep her coming back. What does Lara get out of it? “The camaraderie and the community and the friendship. It is lovely that you can put your trainers on, go up to Richmond Park and chat all the way round if you want. No one’s being worker or mother or anything else, it’s very levelling. I find that when you’re putting yourself physically through a challenge, often people are more real, so I’ve made some great friendships and really enjoyed that time.” It's clear that Lara takes her business very personally, and she says her clients' success is what makes her proud. "The joy in people's faces when you see that they’ve achieved something, and they thought they couldn’t, is just brilliant." And despite the fact that her business means her life is now in sport 24/7, Lara says that – if anything – her job has made her passion for fitness even stronger. "There have been weeks when I’ve felt absolutely rotten, I’ve lost my confidence, I’ve been very self-critical, but this has become my community. Someone will pop in and say, 'Hey, do you fancy coming for a run?' You’ll do a couple of miles with them, start chatting and come out of whatever that cloud is that you’re under."
MY RUNNING LOVES How Lara loves to mix things up
THE POST-RUN SNACK
At the moment, crossfit – sprinting on the Wattbike and throwing things around.
You can run round the island of Tresco, with bits of hills and beaches; it's just spectacular.
We use a parachute with a running client to give her some resistance – it's brilliant fun.
I'm bonkers on those Bounce coconut and macadamia nut balls and a nice coffee.
⁄ HEALTH NEWS
Research has suggested that a Mediterranean diet could be a more effective way to reduce cholesterol than taking statins. Heart experts have said that the diet should be prescribed to patients before they are given drugs to help reduce the risk of an early death. In the first major study into the effect of a Mediterranean diet on heart patients, it was found that it reduced the likelihood of an early death by 37%. The research followed 1,200 Italian people suffering from heart disease over a seven-year period, and each person documented their diet during this time. Eating large amounts of vegetables had the biggest effect on people’s survival, with the consumption of oily fish having the second most significant impact. Previous research found that taking statins had less of an impact on mortality rates (18%). However, the figures are not directly comparable. For many heart patients, using both methods together is most beneficial. The diet is also recognised as a good way to help avoid other conditions, including cancer and diabetes. The findings were shared at a global heart disease conference in Rome.
BOOZE MOVES Regular exercise could
offset the dangers of drinking too much alcohol. The study, conducted by University College London and the University of Sydney, found that people in their forties, who did regular exercise between consuming either too much alcohol or an amount within the recommended guidelines, were less likely Now that’s to die early from a cause how you kick a habit! linked to drinking. 12
The demand on GPs to do consultations in 10-minute slots could be putting patients at risk, according to the British Medical Association (BMA), which says doctors are not always able to give patients the time and attention they need.
The number of shades of grey that the human eye can distinguish between Source: ispahealth.com/ health-tips
Experts have expressed cautious optimism about a drug that could prevent dementia. Following a trial to test the safety of a drug called Aducanumab, experts found it could destroy amyloid plaques from the brain that cause dementia. Experts were amazed to find people who took the highest amounts of the drug saw almost all amyloid plaques clear.
WELCOME TO THE 6AM CLUB WITH ON
The symptoms of a heart attack may be more difficult to identify in women. The University of Leeds has found that wrong diagnoses are given to nearly a third of patients in England and Wales, and they’re more common among women. Examination of data from 600,000 heart attack cases found that a woman’s initial diagnosis was 50% more likely to be different from their final diagnosis than a man’s was. The British Heart Foundation is encouraging people to make sure they know how to identify when a heart attack is happening: visit bhf.org.uk.
WORDS: CHRISTINA MACDONALD. IMAGES: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
MY SISTER IS ONLY 38 AND A HEALTHY WEIGHT, BUT HAS BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO TO AVOID IT? OUR MUM ALSO HAS IT AND I FEEL LIKE IT’S INEVITABLE FOR ME.
Stand up for yourself: try moving more at work
You’re at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes due to your family history but it’s not necessarily inevitable. Work hard to maintain a healthy weight with a sensible diet. It’s vital to exercise regularly too; 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity should be your minimum target every week. It’s also important to avoid sitting for too long. This can be hard if you have a desk-based job, but getting up every 20 minutes and moving around for a couple of minutes will kick-start your metabolism and help avoid type 2 diabetes. Head to a colleague’s desk to talk, rather than email, and consider a standing desk. If we’re a healthy weight, we can be lulled into a false sense of security and moving more often in our everyday lives is crucial.
SEND YOUR QUESTIONS FOR GP AND RUNNER DR JULIET MCGRATTAN TO: EDITORIAL@WILDBUNCHMEDIA.CO.UK
6AM CLUB MOTIVATION RUNNER KEVIN QUINN EXPLAINS HOW HE KEEPS HIMSELF MOTIVATED FOR 6AM CLUB RUNS AS WINTER ROLLS IN The On 6am Club is about normal people with busy lives achieving some amazing things through early-morning runs. Each person has their own reason for running at the crack of dawn – busy family life, high pressured jobs – but the 6am Club is their common ground. Some of these runners will be sharing their stories and top tips with you over the coming months, starting with Kevin… Like many of you around the country, we get up with the sparrows and hit the roads and parks to train before we get on with our day – for me that means sneaking out of the house before the chaos of the family routine gets underway. The time change at this time of year signals the approach of winter, a particularly hard time for early morning runners. I’ve previously struggled with motivation and there’s no worse time in the year than when it’s dark and cold outside. I motivate myself by making a date with my friends to meet for a run – if I don’t turn up I know I’m letting them down as well as myself. Having a great pair of shoes also really helps – I run in On Cloudsurfers. They are cushioned, yet highly responsive shoes that I can wear for training and racing. The Cloud technology means I spend longer in the air, making me run faster so I can get back home to rejoin the family mayhem!
SHARE YOUR 6AM RUN PHOTOS WITH US @ON_RUNNING #ON6AMCLUB VISIT ON-RUNNING.COM FOR SHOES THAT WILL PUT SOME FUN INTO YOUR EARLY MORNING RUN.
⁄ FOOD IN THE NEWS
IS IT TRUE THAT EATING OILY FISH OR TAKING FISH OIL AFTER A STRENUOUS RUN CAN BOOST RECOVERY? Top five fish for omega-3 fatty acids
“There’s a multitude of benefits from eating a diet high in oily fish or omega-3 oils,” says James Collier, registered nutritionist and co-founder of Huel. com, who has 25 years of nutrition experience. “[These include] improved cardiovascular health and joint mobility, reduced risk of arthritis, reduced inflammation and a possible link to improved mental focus. However, these effects are from long-term continual use and there is no particular benefit from using fish oil after strenuous exercise. Try eating oily fish a few times each week or using a fish oil supplement every day. Vegetarians can obtain their omega-3s from ground flaxseeds (linseeds) or by using flaxseed oil.”
ZEST IS BEST Love your lemons? A team of university researchers in Brazil have found that antioxidants in citrus fruits can help to prevent or delay the onset of obesity-related chronic illness, such as heart and liver disease, and diabetes. The flavanones in the zesty fruits can dampen the cell-damaging process called oxidative stress and help to fight inflammation.
CUT THE CANS! The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has found that replacing one sugar-laden drink with water each day can aid weight loss and improve overall health. The study, recently published in Nutrients, shows this simple swap not only reduces daily calorie intake but also the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
WORDS: CHRISTINA MACDONALD. IMAGE: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
Brazzein: the cherry on the icing on the cake
‘Clean eating’ has never been more popular and, with an increasing number of healthconscious folk looking for waistfriendly alternatives to sugar, food manufacturers are keen to produce lower-calorie options. Keep your eyes peeled for Brazzein, a plantbased protein found in a particular type of West African fruit. According to researchers, it’s an incredible 2,000 times sweeter than sugar and contains fewer calories. A report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry says that, although Brazzein has been on manufacturers’ radars for some time, producing the supersweet protein naturally in large amounts has proven to be difficult. However, the scientists involved have now found a way to produce larger amounts of the sweetener by growing strains of it in yeast. It looks like cake could be back on the menu!
SEND YOUR QUESTIONS FOR GP AND RUNNER DR JULIET MCGRATTAN TO: EDITORIAL@WILDBUNCHMEDIA.CO.UK
15-MIN MOVES /
GET A PERSONAL BEST! RAMP UP YOUR WINTER TRAINING TO NAIL A SPRING PERSONAL BEST WITH THESE TOP MOVES TO BOOST STRENGTH AND STAMINA W OR DS: CHRISTINA M AC DONA LD ILLUSTRATIONS : B E N FOXA LL
Preparation Warm up for at least five minutes before you do these exercises, either by jogging, brisk walking or using the stationary bike, cross-trainer or rower. Make sure you feel warm before you start.
About the session Perform each of these exercises for 45 seconds, and then rest for approximately 30 seconds before moving on to the next exercise. Perform the circuit twice, one or two times per week.
LUNGES WITH A HOP
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart - Sit into a squat - Swing your arms to jump out of the squat as high as you can, land, check your balance and move into another squat - Do 20 repetitions
- Stand with one foot behind you resting on a step or bench - Bend your front knee to move your body down into a lunge position - From here hop on your front leg 15 times maintaining a deep bend at the knee so you’re using your quads and hamstrings to hop and not just your calf muscles - Swap your leading leg and complete 15 reps
SINGLE ARM ROWS WITH RESISTANCE BAND
- Mark out a distance of between 20 and 50 steps (you can vary the distance each time you do this workout) - Sprint between your markers, allowing yourself a maximum of 20 seconds recovery between each sprint - For short shuttles, do 10 to 20 reps. For longer shuttles, do it five to 10 times. - When sprinting, practise looking ahead, driving your elbows back and picking your knees up with each step
- Tie a resistance band to a secure object, such as a door handle or bench - Stand with your left foot in front of your right at a distance where you can hold the band in your right hand and feel a little resistance with your arm almost straight - Relax your shoulders, tighten your abs and pull your right elbow back as far as you can - Straighten your arm - Do 15 reps - Once you’re comfortable with the range of motion, which should only take one or two reps, you can increase the speed of movement so you’re driving your elbow back quickly and straightening your arm slowly - Complete 15 reps with the other arm
Build explosive power in your glutes
Work on form as well as top-end speed
Focus on strengthening each leg with this move
Boost your arm drive and upper back strength
⁄ INJURY CLINIC
Weak ankles can lead to increased risk of injury, yet many runners overlook the need to strengthen them
ANKLES AND RUNNING When we run, the foot makes contact with the ground. Our feet and ankles contribute to absorbing ground reaction forces, providing a stable yet mobile platform to help us push off and drive forward. “The ankle and foot are composed of many joints and muscle groups, that have to work in cohesion to give us this stability, mobility and the ability to generate power,” says Mailer. “The muscle groups help to control ankle motion, preventing us from rolling over our ankle (known as ‘inversion’) or rolling inward too much (known as ‘pronation’).” “If your ankles are unstable, you have poor balance or the muscle groups are weak that support your ankle, then there is a higher chance of rolling over your ankle, causing an ankle sprain or other overuse injuries such as Achilles Tendonitis or plantar fasciitis,” says Mailer. ANKLE SPRAINS If you’ve had an ankle sprain in the past then there is a higher chance of this reoccurring. “This can be due to excessive motion at the ankle joints and our muscles not having the ability to correct quickly enough to unstable surfaces,” says Mailer. “Trail running is highly unpredictable and, with so many variables with the surface, there is undoubtedly a higher chance
of slipping or rolling over your ankle. The better the balance and strength you have, the more you can reduce your chance of injury.” RECOVERY FROM INJURY If you twist your ankle running, recovery depends on the nature and extent of the injury. Apply ice and elevate the ankle, trying to offload it as much as possible while the swelling goes down. “It may take two weeks or 12 weeks until you can return to running,” says Mailer. “See a physiotherapist quickly for advice. If you have regained full movement and have no swelling or pain, can walk normally and are able to hop, then you should be able to safely try a jog.”
TRY THESE STRETCHES
• Stand close to a wall. Lift your toes up at the wall so they are pointing towards the ceiling with your feet flat on the ground. • Stretch both calf muscles. Stand on a step and let one heel drop towards the floor, keeping the knee extended to stretch the gastrocnemius (calf) muscle. For the soleus (the muscle underneath the gastrocnemius), keep your heel flat on the floor and then bend the knee forward. • Sit down with your legs straight out in front of you. Point your toes away from your body then towards each other, stretching the outside of the ankle. For the inside, flex your feet in the direction of your head and turn them outwards.
TRY THESE STRENGTH & BALANCE MOVES
Most effects from a general anaesthetic (GA) will have gone within several hours of an operation but a few, including poor concentration and slower reflexes, can last up to 48 hours. This is why you’re advised not to drive or sign legal documents within that time. It’s likely that your GA for tooth removal will be brief and won’t affect you too much at all. It will probably be the procedure itself that limits your exercise and not the GA. Wisdom tooth removal can make you feel sore and tired; you’re advised to avoid strenuous exercise for a few days. I would suggest you rest completely for 24 hours and then see how you feel. A few days of walking will maintain your fitness and you can return to running when you’re ready. I hope it goes well.
• Stand on one leg for 30 seconds. Progress by moving the other leg up and down in a running action. • Raise up onto your toes then walk forward, backwards and sideways for five to 10 steps. • Sit with your legs straight out, point one foot and tie a resistance band around it, then pull the foot inwards with resistance. • Crunch your toes into a towel, pulling the towel towards you.
Words: Christina Macdonald / Juliet McGrattan. Image: © istockphoto.com
Most of us know the importance of good leg and core strength, but we pay little attention to ankle strength and stability. “Ankle sprains are the most common lower-limb injury in physical activity,” says physiotherapist Stuart Mailer from Kensington Physio & Sports Medicine (kenphysio.com).
I’M HAVING A WISDOM TOOTH OUT UNDER GENERAL ANAESTHETIC. I’VE BEEN TOLD I SHOULD AVOID ‘STRENUOUS ACTIVITY’ FOR A COUPLE OF DAYS – IS THAT RIGHT? SURELY I’LL BE OK THE NEXT DAY?
IN THE BAG /
TIRED OF ARRIVING AT THE OFFICE LOOKING RUFFLED POST RUN? STAY STYLISH IN THIS AUTUMN KIT C OM PILE D BY TINA C HA NTREY
9 4 2
4/Boudavida Swagger Tee £55, boudavida.com
1/Ronhill Victory Hoodie £55, ronhill.com
Need an extra layer? We think the easy, relaxed fit of this hoodie will make it a favourite to keep you cosy after your lunchtime run (as well as on those lazy post-race afternoons on the sofa !). 2/SKINS DNAmic Speed Crop Top £40.00, skins.net
Walk back into work with confidence you’ve got the best support any runner could need underneath your clothes. Will you notice you’re still wearing a sports bra? With the smooth, elastic straps, probably not... 3/Ted Baker Fit to a T Tenida Blue Bloom leggings £89, tedbaker.com
Make a fashion statement in these beautiful leggings. Featuring an invisible pocket to hold your keys and phone, they’re perfect for a run commute and you’ll look super stylish when you arrive at the office.
Ooze confidence in this casual-fit top, perfect for leggings. Whether you’re working out or working hard, the soft-touch fabric couldn’t be more comfortable. 5/Merino Runderwear briefs £25, S-XL, runderwear.co.uk
You’ll feel a million pounds in these sophisticated run pants! Whether you’re going for a PB or have a long day at the office, you won’t know you’re wearing them. 6/Vitabiotics ultra Vitamin D £5.10, ultravits.com
Vitamin D will help keep you well through winter, supporting healthy hormone metabolism, heart health, blood pressure regulation and immune health. 7/Buff Aura Chic Cru Knitted Polar hat and neckwarmer £48 each, buffwear.co.uk
Stay snug in these luxurious knitted accessories with thick polar-fleece interiors. The chunky knit is bang on trend and will mix and match with any outfit!
8/Falke Primaloft jacket £149, net-a-porter.com
Sporty but smart, this jacket is super versatile. Not only will it protect you from the cold and wet on your run commute, but you can throw it on, zip up the high collar and still look chic as you head to your desk. 9/Zakti Neoprene Studio Smoothie Shoulder Bag
This is so much more than a kit bag, with enough urban character to make your arrival at work simply stylish. And, if you are rushing off to a gym class, you’ve got mat carry straps, plus enough pockets to stash your post-workout toiletries. 10/ZaaZee Alexandra Racer-back Vest £35, zaazee.co.uk
Put on this pretty textured print top, and you’ll be gliding through your run - and through the office! And, with the striking racer-back, you’re going to look fantastic layering up at post-work drinks.
STYR Labs Starter Kit Starts from around £52, styr.com
More and more fitness companies are building ‘ecosystems’: ranges of products – physical and digital – that work together to help you understand more about your health. Enter STYR Labs, which is offering a suite of products – an activity tracker, smart scales and an app – and tying in customised vitamins and proteins. The company offers two packages – the Multivitamin Starter Kit (which comes with an activity tracker and single-serving sachets of vitamins) and the Protein Starter Kit, complete with smart scales and protein powders. All the supplement recommendations are based on data harvested by the devices and the answers you give to in-app questionnaires. It’s an interesting concept – pairing technology with nutrition – and one that no one else seems to be doing right now. However, aside from having a great app, none of the other STYR devices are best in class. The activity tracker is very basic and the scales don’t come near the Withings Body Cardio. To make this a truly great ecosystem, STYR Labs needs to back up its good ideas with some truly innovative technology.
Hydra Smart Bottle
As affordable activity trackers go, the iHealth Wave isn’t bad. But it’s not great either. As the name suggests, its main focus is swimming. It tracks stroke type and numbers. Out of the pool, it counts steps and monitors sleep. The problem is, other devices do what the Wave can do, except they do it a lot better. If you’re looking for an affordable device for swimming and general activity tracking, it’s worth a look. Probably not a long-term option though.
This is the Swiss army knife of water bottles. It has a Bluetooth speaker, speakerphone, FM radio, flashlight, safety flasher and sleep app. You can also fill it with water and drink from it. If you’re heading away for a long weekend of trail running, this is a great addition.
For those of you who want to complement your running with some HIIT workouts, Keelo is a pretty good option. The app offers workouts (usually no more than 20 minutes long) to suit your fitness levels, all of which have videos to help you get your form right. There’s a good selection of free workouts – lots of them body weight only. It also works across numerous devices, including the Apple Watch.
Free (with in-app purchases), keelo.com
WORDS: DAVID STANDEN
KEEP RUNNING, MUMMY! /
SOFT PLAY? PASS THE SICK BUCKET…
After the joy she felt on completing her trail 10K, our resident mummy runner Claire Chamberlain has had to take an enforced break s a runner, autumn has always been one of my favourite seasons: refreshingly crisp, cool air; the crackle of golden leaves underfoot; shiny conkers; wisps of bonfire smoke; an abundance of great races; and the promise of a steamy shower and hot mug of tea on your return from training. Unfortunately, as a mother, autumn also brings with it a whole host of new and largely unappealing changes: hacking, chesty coughs; the smell of Vicks Vaporub; the puff of inhalers; and the dreaded sound of your child puking in their bed, just as you’re drifting off to sleep. Aah yes… the good old back-to-pre-school bugs have arrived. We have been hit hard over the past few weeks. In part, I blame myself: we were invited to soft play with friends. And we went. What am I? Some kind of AMATEUR? I usually avoid these places like the plague (mainly because I’m 97 per cent certain soft play centres are the only places in the UK where it’s actually still possible to catch the plague). We are usually far more likely to be
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found tramping through our local woods, collecting acorns, balancing along logs and kicking up leaves. But when you get an invitation from your son’s best friend and you see the look in his eyes, you have to go along with it. Perhaps you are not familiar with soft play centres? Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine an aeroplane hangar: vast and expansive, lit by the glare of strip lights. Now imagine this space filled with brightly coloured foam blocks, ball pits, padded climbing frames, swaying walkways and neon slides. Now imagine it filled with a hoard of loud, screaming, excitable, hyped-up children, running and jumping and rebounding off the foam walls in a manner that makes you conclude their parents must have fed them crack for breakfast. Now watch your children join in. Except of course, when one of your children is just 18 months old, you can’t really let her wander into the fray unaccompanied. And so you dutifully assist her, by climbing, sliding and jumping yourself, occasionally passing another dazed parent and looking them in the eye while telepathically asking: “Oh, what fresh hell is this?” And I haven’t even got to the germs. Oh God, the germs. I don’t think we’ve ever returned from an outing to soft play without picking up some hideous bug. It’s unavoidable, what with the number of under-fives who are all sneezing and licking the balls in the ball pit. The whole place is like a horrendous primordial soup, made up of snot and saliva and Robinson’s Fruit Shoot – the perfect breeding ground for everything from norovirus to The Black Death. It is my personal opinion that there should be a giant vat of antibacterial solution into which every child is fully submersed, both on entering and leaving soft play (unfortunately, our local soft play centres have never taken up my suggestion). And so it was that, 24 hours after our visit to soft play, my son started vomiting. And then 48 hours after that, so did I (that’ll teach me for finishing off his pesto pasta for tea, USING HIS ACTUAL FORK. I am a tit). As I’m sure you have by now gathered, after my joy at returning to the racing scene last month, not much running has happened over the past few weeks, as I have been spending my time wiping little noses and washing out sick bowls. That’s the thing with running once you’re a mum: you can be as dedicated as you like, but kids get sick (meaning that, more often than not, you get sick, too). And then there’s nothing you can do but cuddle them close, rub their backs, wipe their tears, kiss their clammy little cheeks, whisper in their ear that it’s OK, Mummy’s here, and wait for your healthy, happy, bouncy child to reappear. It’s OK that running has to wait sometimes. Because, however inconvenient it might seem, being so needed by your child is something of a privilege. And I’m so lucky I’ve never had to deal with anything more serious than coughs, colds, sickness and chest infections. I’m so very, very lucky I get to tell myself, in the middle of it all, that it will pass soon. Of course, with a second trail 10K coming up in just two weeks’ time, I’m hoping it will all pass sooner rather than later, and that I will actually get some training in ahead of race day. I’ll let you know how I get on…
⁄ MY PB
The runner Elaine Henderson Day job NHS administrator The result Running a 10K in 53mins 45secs – taking 4mins 13secs off her race time the previous year
QUICK Q&A 1 Best thing about running? The people it has brought into my life. 2 First race? Race for Life in 2013.
It’s been a year of PBs for 44-year-old Elaine Henderson from Newcastle upon Tyne, who started running back in 2013. From half-marathons to 10Ks, she’s been shaving minutes off all of her race times, and even completed her very first marathon and 36-mile ultra! But her 10K PB at the North Tyneside 10K in March is one of her standout achievements this year. She managed to nab a time more than four minutes quicker than her finish time for the same race the previous year. And her training diary shows why. In 2015, long runs, speed sessions, strength work and a healthy diet had no place in Elaine’s training schedule but, when she decided to get serious about her running in 2016, her new approach certainly paid off. LONG-DISTANCE STAMINA I had entered the Liverpool Marathon for 2016 so, in January, my training started for that, which included a long
3 Go-to prerun meal? Either pasta or pizza, and a bagel with jam and peanut butter on the morning of the run. 4 Best thing about racing? The excitement at the start and the feeling you get once you cross that line!
run every Saturday. Training for a marathon helped me so much. Apart from running the Great North Run three years previously, I hadn’t run any further than a 10K since. Before our training started, I was advised to do as many six-mile runs as possible to give me a good base for training. My first training run was planned for 10 miles but I surprisingly felt OK and managed 11 miles! By the time the North Tyneside 10K came around, I was running further than I had ever run before, so my stamina was so much better. GETTING FASTER For 2015, the only running I really did was two steady runs a week. For 2016, I incorporated interval sessions. I think the key to my 10K PB was the interval training. I went to the gym every Thursday and did intervals on the treadmill for 20mins. I only ever did three runs per week. HITTING THE GYM I also incorporated some PT sessions for leg strengthening, along with a high-intensity class at the gym. My sessions with the PT were so hard but I think, above all, it helped me to stay injury free. I never, and still haven’t, had any injuries, and my legs during training were not as sore the following day as they have been previously. I felt a lot stronger and more confident with my running this year. EATING CLEAN I used to eat the most unhealthy foods until around October 2015, when I did a six-week course on nutrition, and my diet changed for the better. On the course, a small group met every Tuesday and, each week, we were given a talk on different things, and our weight and body measurements were taken. When we first had our measurements taken, I was very shocked at how high my BMI was. The lady who took the course asked us all to keep a food diary and she was so shocked at what I handed in. I used to eat a four-finger Kit Kat each day! She gave me advice on what I could change to help myself and I took it all on board. She sent me some recipes and I started making my own granola bars, peanut butter cookies and raw chocolate brownies, which I still do now. I used to buy pre-packed meat for lunch, and have since changed to buying fresh meat. After the six weeks, I had lost 8% of my body fat and also gained muscle mass, which I won a small prize for. PHOTOS: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / INTERVIEW: JENNIFER BOZON
"I FELT A LOT STRONGER AND MORE CONFIDENT WITH MY RUNNING THIS YEAR"
ELAINE'S STEPS TO SUCCESS Get out running with people faster than you
Incorporate interval or hill sessions into your training each week
Eat healthier (but have your weekend treats!)
SHARE YOUR PB STORY! SEND DETAILS AND PHOTOS TO JENNIFER.BOZON@WILDBUNCHMEDIA.CO.UK
TOKEN BLOKE /
© AMY RICHARDSON
Our annoyingly cheerful ultrarunner Damian Hall is slightly less cheerful this month because he’s no longer the only runner in the household o matter how well you know someone they can still surprise you. Recently my wife announced she’d planned to run a half-marathon. My other half isn’t remotely sporty. She had asthma at school and this was before that entitled you to performance-enhancing drugs. In fact, the advice at the time was to avoid sport most of the time and, especially on cold days, spend school break times indoors. As a result, she loves books more than most people. But sport less than most people. Though I’m extremely modest about my running – in fact I’m probably the most modest runner you know – naturally I assumed some of the enjoyment I get from the activity had finally rubbed off on her. After several years of my, ahem, quasi-heroic achievements, she’d finally felt inspired to try it herself. Not a bit of it. She was affected by the news and wanted to raise money for children in war zones. Good for her. I started drafting up a training plan for her right away. Wait, how long till the half-marathon? Five weeks?! Oh. Teehee. She planned to go from no running whatsoever to 13.1 miles, in 35 days. It’s totally possible, of course, but I suspected there might be some discomfort – and the odd wobble – along the way. With an evil grin, I strapped a
JOURNALIST AND MIDLIFE-CRISIS ULTRA RUNNER DAMIAN HALL IS HAPPIEST WHEN RUNNING LONG DISTANCES IN LUMPY PLACES. HIS FIRST RUNNING BOOK, A YEAR ON THE RUN (AURUM), IS OUT NOW. YOU’LL FIND MORE OF THIS SORT OF HOGWASH AT @DAMO_HALL
Suunto to her wrist and sent her straight for a run. As expected, she didn’t enjoy her first run. Or the next one. Or that one after that really. She came home cursing and almost unrecognisable. She complained that her legs hurt – and I was thrilled when my five-year-old daughter told her that was just her muscles getting stronger. But her runs become easier as she got fitter, as expected. But what I hadn’t expected was that the household rules suddenly changed. It used to be that the person going for their long run on a Sunday (i.e. me) got as much of it as feasible done before the kids got up, so as not to unfairly labour the other parent. I’ve got in the habit of setting alarms for 6am, 5am, even 4am. However, the new rules stated that 7am or even 8am was a perfectly fair and acceptable time for the runner to leave the house. I was pleased with this new rule. But it seems there’s a sub-class whereby it only applies to runs below two hours (my wife’s long runs) and definitely not runs of four-plus hours (mine). I’ve been searching the web for “running rules solicitor”, but have found nothing fruitful yet. My wife ran a 10K trail race at the excellent, inaugural South West Outdoor Festival, as a dress rehearsal. She didn’t really want to, but I signed her up. Just like she regularly fails to do (except at UTMB – see previous month’s column), I promised to meet her at the finish with the kids. But they got too distracted trying to drown each other in a river and we missed her finish. She was pleased not to have come last. But her face still stubbornly refused to express a new love of running. Sadly I was working away when the Bournemouth HalfMarathon came around and I couldn’t support her there. But I was proud that she got round in 2hrs 39mins without walking (except very briefly on a steep hill) or shouting rude things about me (instead they were just muttered, repeatedly). She enjoyed some bits more than she thought she would, especially interactions with the crowd (perhaps us seasoned runners forget how wonderfully generous and helpful they can be), and some other bits less, specifically the bit around the 9- to 12-mile mark. She’s justly proud of herself, but also pleased the training is over. She feels healthier now because of running, but isn’t yet a full convert. I’m sort of sad she hasn’t got the bug. But also, in a very selfish way, a bit relieved. Because I’m the runner in our household. And, selfishly (have you spotted this column’s ongoing theme yet?), I prefer being the only runner. You see, during her training we got chatting to friends at a local children’s party. As usual I had one ear and eye on the children, one ear on the adult conversation, and one eye on the cake. When someone said, “How’s training going?” I had already said, “Yeah, good thanks, though my calves are a bit sore today…” When I realised they weren’t talking to me, they were talking to my wife. She had gatecrashed my identity. I don’t have anything to talk about other than running. Once that’s gone, I’ve got nothing. So when it comes to my other half running a half, but then being only half-converted, my glass is both half empty and half full.
Seeing the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin was an emotional high point for Nicola
"BY RUNNING MORE, I FOUND THAT MY MENTAL HEALTH GOT BETTER" Running helped Nicola Gee beat depression – now she is running 24 races for the charity that showed her a lifeline WORDS : JE NNIFE R B OZON
t was three o’clock in the morning when Nicola Gee made the life-changing decision to pick up the phone to Samaritans. Aged 21, Nicola was in her final year of university. Her boyfriend, Ben, was lying beside her and she knew she had his support – and that of her friends – whenever she needed. But, somehow, she had never felt so lonely. Her depression had become suffocating. She needed to talk to someone.
Samaritans’ 24-hour service saved Nicola that night, during some of her darkest hours. Now, three years later, it's the inspiration behind her latest challenge – running 24 races in 18 months to raise money for the charity. VITAL SUPPORT During a difficult period at university, following a family breakdown, Samaritans became an invaluable support to Nicola.
“About two weeks before I went to university, my dad left my mum and it was quite a shock to me and my family,” she explains. “He left behind me, my two sisters and my mum. I sort of adopted the role of the rock of the family but, because I was going to university, I was riddled with guilt that I needed to stay and support them, but also guilt because, when I arrived at university, I felt free… free from all of the unhappiness.” Despite throwing herself into university
life as a form of escapism – attending parties, social events and clubs – by her third year, this was no longer an option. “The pressures of university studying started to pile up. As the months went on, my feelings of guilt were met with exhaustion, isolation. I started feeling incredibly anxious and had panic attacks, and I became gradually withdrawn from everyone around me.” When Nicola’s boyfriend and close friends picked up on her behaviour, they advised she visit a GP. “I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety,” she says. “I got medication but I felt as though I couldn’t talk to anyone because I had to be the strong person. I couldn’t talk to my family in case my mum started blaming herself. At university you want to be the cool person… I didn’t want to be this person who came and cried to everyone. “[My GP] recommended counselling and I booked an appointment with the university counsellor. I found it really helpful to be able to talk to someone. I booked further counselling appointments but they were three to four weeks apart. I found waiting weeks on end for a counselling appointment pointless – often, by the time the appointment came round, I didn't feel like talking.” But, in the middle of the night, when Nicola needed to talk, the volunteers at Samaritans were there. “I remember wishing I could speak to my boyfriend, who was right beside me, but I didn't want to be a burden,” she says. “I just sent [Samaritans] a text to say, ‘I feel really lost.’ Just those four words. I was expecting a response, maybe 24 hours later, but I had a response within five minutes, followed by ongoing conversation. And I found that, if I text and had a response straight away and it took me a few hours to reply, depending on how I was feeling, it didn’t really matter because Samaritans were always there. That’s the special thing about Samaritans. You can just get in touch when you want.” ACQUAINTED WITH RUNNING While the emotional support given by the charity was invaluable to Nicola, it was the charity’s suggestion that she take up running that became the cornerstone of her recovery. “Samaritans asked me, ‘What do you enjoy doing? What time do you have to yourself?’ and, at that point, it was just about going outdoors. I mentioned
running and Samaritans encouraged me to carry on with those activities.” In her final year, she took the advice of the charity on board and, after graduation, decided to continue running. As the weeks went by, Nicola found herself taking back control of her mental – and physical – health. “By running more, I found that my mental health got better,” she says. “When I talked to Samaritans it helped me realise that I was in control of helping myself; I didn’t have to always rely on medication. I paired [running] with giving up smoking, leaving university and moving in with my boyfriend, who is very active – he does 24-hour cycling races." Running became a central part of Nicola’s life and, with it, so did a healthy diet and lifestyle. She signed up to her first 5K race the year of her graduation, followed by a 10K the following year and a half-marathon two years later. “Samaritans helped me realise how integral running was for my lifestyle,” she says. “With my depression, I wasn’t really looking after myself. I just wasn’t really caring about my body and I put quite a lot of weight on. I’ve lost about two stone since leaving university. I have the odd chocolate bar but I’m definitely a lot healthier now I’m a runner.”
SAMARITANS 24 Indebted to the Samaritans for the support the charity gave her and, ultimately, helping her to find the outlet that has turned her mental and physical health around, Nicola was determined to give something back to the charity. Undecided between running the Berlin, Paris and London marathons for Samaritans, Nicola opted to do all three, packaged between a further 21 races. “I just thought, ‘You know what? I know three marathons is a lot, but I want to give that bit more to Samaritans because of how much it helped me.’ Then it just clicked. Because they’re open 24 hours a day, why not do 24 races?” Running has Nicola has now run 11 helped Nicola out of 24 races, including to get her her very first marathon in health back on track Berlin last month, and has raised nearly £1,400 for Samaritans. While Nicola has found the experience challenging so far, facing various hurdles along the way, it is one that she has found hugely rewarding – and emotional. “I nearly burst into tears when I saw Berlin’s Brandenburg gate,” she says. “I looked down at my Samaritans wristband, which has the Samaritans contact details on, and felt the biggest sense of pride. I had used the Samaritans number at my lowest state but here I was finishing a marathon so that they can be there for others going through the toughest times of their lives.” Through the challenge, Nicola hopes to raise as much awareness of the charity’s support services as possible. “I know a lot of people who have had mental health problems themselves, and it’s good for those people to know about Samaritans,” she says. “I don’t think the charity realised how much some text conversations really helped me, and I don’t think I would have found my love for running if it wasn’t for Samaritans.”
FIND OUT MORE DONATE TO NICOLA’S FUNDRAISING EFFORT AT JUSTGIVING.COM/FUNDRAISING/SAMARITANS-24. YOU CAN CALL, TEXT AND EMAIL SAMARITANS 24 HOURS A DAY, 365 DAYS A YEAR. RING 116 123 IF YOU NEED SOMEONE TO TALK TO IN CONFIDENCE, AND VISIT SAMARITANS.ORG FOR MORE INFORMATION.
WOMEN’S RUNNING 10K RACE SERIES 2017
SEE YOU IN THE SPRING! W E ’ V E H A D A F A N TA S T I C S U M M E R O F E V E N T S AT T H I S Y E A R ’ S W R 1 0 K R A C E S E R I E S – J O I N U S N E X T Y E A R !
We’ve just rounded off this year’s Women’s Running 10K Race Series with a brilliant event in Temple Newsam in Leeds. The race represented all that was great about this year’s series: a gorgeous venue, friendly marshals, and
most importantly a vibrant, varied and welcoming field of female runners! This year has been our biggest and best yet. Kicking off in Cardiff ’s Bute Park at the end of May in scorching sun, we’ve visited 11 venues around the UK and have been
wowed by your energy and enthusiasm at each and every one! Missed out this year? Don’t worry, we’ll be back in spring to kick off an even bigger series of 12 events. Look out for special early-bird discounts at wr10k.co.uk.
WOMENâ€™S RUNNING 10K RACE SERIES 2017
FIND YOUR LOCAL RACE!
STRATHCLYDE COUNTRY PARK 27 AUGUST
MANCHESTER WYTHENSHAWE PARK 10 SEPTEMBER
LIVERPOOL SEFTON PARK 16 JULY
TEMPLE NEWSAM 1 OCTOBER
MILTON KEYNES SOUTH WILLEN LAKE 2 JULY
VICTORIA EMBANKMENT 9 JULY
CANNON HILL PARK 17 SEPTEMBER
FINSBURY PARK 8 OCTOBER
MAIDSTONE MOTE PARK 24 SEPTEMBER
CARDIFF BUTE PARK 21 MAY
RIVERSIDE VALLEY PARK 18 JUNE
ALL DATES AND VENUES SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION. PLEASE CHECK WR10K.CO.UK FOR UPDATES.
SOUTHAMPTON COMMON 4 JUNE
⁄ HAVE YOUR SAY
STAR LETTER CLOSE TO HOME Two of your articles in last month’s issue really affected me. They were, “I like to think she’s running with me” and “His life wouldn’t be in vain, it had to mean something”. In 2014, our little boy was born with a number of disabilities, meaning he required a lot of care. I took up running about four months after he was born as a way to get a bit of ‘me time’. Out running, I could switch off from the emotional toll of looking after a poorly baby 24/7. I joined a running club and found the friendship and support at the club invaluable. Sadly, we lost our little boy suddenly last year when he was only 14 months old. As well as brilliant support from family and friends, running helped get me through those dark days. I had already decided to run the Great North Run that year to give something back to three charities that had supported us. Now this meant so much more. I ran with a picture of him on my back, so that I could have him with me and show everyone who I was running for. It was a tough race, both emotionally and physically, but I did it and I hope I did him proud. I still run now and have since completed a marathon. I still can’t believe that I now class myself as a runner. I am so pleased that I have found the running community as their friendship and support has been amazing.
WHAT YOU’RE SAYING ON FACEBOOK ABOUT WR10K LEEDS
THE LAST RACE OF THE WR10K RACE SERIES THIS YEAR!
LI SA SC OR ER , BY EMA I L
We’re so sorry to hear about your loss, but delighted to hear you have found running so helpful during such a difficult time – and the running community so supportive.
I love looking at all the great kit in your magazine. However, I’m sure I’m not the only woman who can’t find a decent pair of running shoes to fit her feet? Every since I was young I’ve had broad feet. As I grew older and struggled to find suitable shoes, bunions began to form on my feet, making it even more difficult to find shoes that fit. In the past, I’ve resorted to men’s trainers that fit width-ways but were always too long and ugly. Maybe you’d think about doing an article on wider-fitting trainers, as I’m sure I’m not the only woman struggling.
We had a similar letter last month! We’re so disappointed to hear about this gap in the market and are determined to find a solution!
AN UNLIKELY FIT
Thank you for the article “Schoolgirl Errors” in your October issue. It made me feel a bit better for having committed Schoolgirl Error #11: Forgetting Your Sports Bra. I rocked up at an evening 5K race thinking it was in my bag, only to discover
This month’s Star Letter wins a Saucony Omni Sportop, £45, from saucony.co.uk. Featuring stretch thermal fabric and convertible mitt-cuffs, it’s perfect for keeping you cosy on those chilly autumn runs!
ANEST MULLER, BY EMAIL
You’ve brightened our afternoon at WR HQ! We bet you NEVER forget your bra again!
SARAH RUSHWORTH, BY EMAIL
that it had been accidentally left behind. With the help of a race organiser, I strapped the girls in place with two ribcrunching tight hoops of brown parcel tape over my everyday bra. It somehow held up through the race! Lesson learnt: to wear my sports bra when travelling to a race, and add a roll of duct tape to the spare safety pins, blister plasters etc in my race kit!
I subscribe to your magazine and I’ve learned so much, having taken up running a year ago. I started doing the NHS Couch to 5K. I then did parkrun, tried a few group runs and am building up to my first 10K. At the start I was a size 20/22 and I’m now a size 18; the problem is the difficulty getting proper running clothes. I don’t want a slogan t-shirt to state I’m a ‘fat girl running’ (it’s obvious!). I want technical, well-fitting running clothes. Many size XL in running brands are size 14 or 16, but it’s incredibly difficult to get larger sizes. Can you point me in the direction of kit for larger women?
Well done everyone today. I’m so proud of myself for tackling those hills lol but I’m even more proud of my daughter Sophie Jesney for completing this, her first ever 10K Jane Ali-Ogley
Fab run, great route and great atmosphere! Can’t wait for next year’s. Whoop whoop whoop! Rachel Feather
Absolutely loved the race today - thank you. Great course, well marshalled, plenty of water and support, a sneaky uphill drag before the finish, every surface apart from sand and a fantastic goody bag at the end :-) It’s so fab to hear your name called as you’re finishing too… THANK YOU! X Julie M Smith
Was a fabulous day today and an amazing end to the Women’s Running Series xxx Heather Charles
ELIZABETH, BY EMAIL
Running in non-technical gear is a nightmare – we understand your frustration. We find ASICS kit quite generous. Also, check out the sportswear ranges by M&S and SimplyBe.
WRITE TO US
Send your views to: editorial@wildbunchmedia. co.uk or Women’s Running, 1st Floor, Gable House, 18-24 Turnham Green Terrace, London W4 1QP Letters may be edited
YOUR RUNS /
SHARE #YOURRUNS WITH US! TWEET TO @WOMENSRUNNINGUK, TAG ON INSTAGRAM @WOMENSRUNNINGUK OR EMAIL WOMENSRUNNING@WILDBUNCHMEDIA.CO.UK Sarah @pigletfield
@Womensrunninguk, check out me & my best friend, Lucy, at the Run Disney Paris Half Marathon last week!
Jenni Anderson @jennilanderson
Brilliant event with @Womensrunninguk @HavenHouseCH My little sis, Becca’s, 1st 10km – very proud of her, didn’t have to do a ‘Brownlee’
Shewhodaresruns @ shewhodaresruns
My crazy #tribe! 6mins tempo, 10mins hills, 6mins tempo today. Our work is done & the sun shone. Happy #weekend! @UKRunChat @ Womensrunninguk
@Womensrunninguk Finishing our first half-marathon, Great North Run ’16, with my partner @boofinboots #yourruns We raised £1,800 for charity
After the Bourn 10K on 25 September. I completed it in 61mins and 37secs, which is my second fastest time for 10K despite the hills. Not bad for a 62-year old with COPD and asthma!
Elaine Henderson Miles with michelle @shellmoby
@Womensrunninguk here I am at the top of Mam Tor last month halfway into a hilly fell run #yourruns #ukrunchat
I completed my first ultramarathon on 27 August 2016. The South Coast Challenge, 100K! I ran it to raise money for the National Osteoporosis Society.
Just thought I would send a picture of myself and two friends from Saturday, we just completed our first ultramarathon in the Lakes. We covered approx. 38 miles in 10hrs 45mins; was a lot harder than we expected but we got there, just…
Viktoria BlantzPT @ ViktoriaBlantz Rebecca B @tinyelf14
Great morning running the #WR10K at @TempleNewsam thanks to @ Womensrunninguk on Sunday! Definitely be back next year!! #running
@Womensrunninguk here’s my motherin-law finishing Race for Life Regent’s Park at the age of 72! X #yourruns
WE’RE GOING TO GIVE YOU THE TOOLS TO GET T H AT M O ST COVETED OF WEEKEND GOALS BY CHRISTMAS – IT’S THE PARKRUN PB! words: tina chantrey
or thousands of us, our Saturday morning parkrun is a sacred ritual; we happily sacrifice our lie-in to be up early and ready to run this friendly and free 5K. Why? “Parkrun is a run, not a race,” says running coach Tom Craggs (runningwithus.com). “The welcoming, open and supportive community of parkrun starts from this premise. At parkrun it’s very much you against the clock – whether you are at the front, or the back.” Parkrunners are a very friendly group of people and they love the perfect mix of speed, strength and endurance the distance demands. By 10am you’re finished, buzzing and have set yourself up brilliantly for the rest of your weekend. And hopefully you’re enjoying a hot cup of tea in a local café with your parkrun friends. “Parkruns are easy; there are no fees or hotels to book and there’s no pressure on the start line,” says coach Richard Coates from Full Potential (fullpotential.co.uk).“Chipping away at your parkrun time may give you the confidence to take on a bigger challenge next year, such as a local 10K, half or marathon.” You’ve got enough time before Christmas to make your training count and get that parkrun PB. Here are our top seven tips to help you…
“My best times come from when I warm up properly beforehand and run my own race.” Michelle Edmundson
“Stop always going for the PB! I was running every week for a PB and it was becoming a chore. Then I walked with a friend and it was a totally different experience! Now I alternate between charity runs, PB runs and volunteering and it’s much more fun.” Emma Noyce
Flat courses with a big field make for good PB conditions
LIFE 1. TRAIN TO YOUR HEART RATE (HR) Most people train too fast – go slower to go faster, suggests Edinburgh-based personal trainer and author of the Healthy Living Yearbook, Tracy Griffen. “Consider using a heart-rate monitor (HRM) for your weekday runs. Long slow distance training involves having your heart rate at a lower level, but for longer,” she says. Ideally you should try 30 minutes or more with your heart rate at 65-75 per cent of your maximum.“This is the aerobic zone where you utilise oxygen effectively,” says Griffen. “From a good aerobic base, you can build your speed and find running easier. It takes time (ideally three runs per week) but you will see the dividends within a couple of weeks... and may even shed some body fat.” 2. FLATTER MEANS FASTER An off-road, undulating muddy parkrun course will only slow you down. “If you are looking for a quicker time, courses that are flatter with firm conditions underfoot and limited tight turns are the way to go,” says Craggs. “You might also consider parkruns with a bigger attendance; having other runners around you will spur you on to that precious PB.”
Family fun: run with your little ones on your non-PB weeks!
3. CHOOSE YOUR PB WEEKS While in the early stages of running you may find yourself on a rapid progression curve, able to better your parkrun time every single weekend, eventually this will start to plateau. “Use parkrun as a monthly, rather than weekly, time trial with a three-week gap between PB runs,” suggests Craggs. “In between, consider pacing a slower runner or practise a negative split, where you might run the first 2K to 3K slower than you would normally, before picking up the final 2K.” “You need three weeks in between each PB attempt for your training effects to occur,” says Coates. “Trying for a PB every week will leave you disappointed, as you won’t have had time to benefit from your training in between.”
Running a fast 5K takes courage: give it your all!
“Get to the front so you don’t lose precious seconds working your way through lots of people. And pick your local course. Some are harder than others. I’ve known women who will check the wind speed on different courses on the Saturday morning.” Paula Williams
“Go out like a flash and hang on as long as you can!” Fiona Terris
4. BE BRAVE – BUT SENSIBLE Pacing is key for anyone looking for a PB, even more so in a short 5K. Go out hideously fast and you’ll be plodding through treacle for the last mile. Needless to say, the first 400-500m, or a whole 10 per cent of your race, is crucial! “If you charge off too fast, you’ll spike your heart rate too soon, putting you up over your lactate threshold too quickly, flooding your muscles with lactic acid. This makes the second half really tough,” explains Coates. Even though it’s hard, practise going off strong, but steadily, in the first 500 metres. “Most newer runners lack confidence in just how fast they can run for the distance,” says Craggs. “I advise running to effort, not getting fixed on your watch. Aim to run at an effort where you can only speak three or four words, maximum.” There’s no denying it, a 5K PB takes guts. 5. DEVELOP YOUR RUNNING GEARS Steady running three times a week won’t progress you towards your end goal. “Try to include two quality sessions per week, one threshold, one mixed,” says Coates. This will help you work on your lactate threshold (how much lactic acid your muscles can
tolerate). “A threshold session could be 4x3mins at 80-85 per cent effort, with 90 second recoveries. A mixed session could be 2x800m at 10K pace, followed by 6x200m at 5K pace, followed by 2x800m at 10K pace.” These types of sessions sharpen your speed and make you accustomed to running in a higher gear. Any speed-work will do – even running faster between alternate lampposts, or doing 6x30secs will make you quicker, whatever your starting speed.
As well as running, you can widen your experience by volunteering, too
6. BUILD YOUR LEG STRENGTH If you’re serious about running, you’ll need to fall in love with both squats and lunges! “They will also help prevent running injuries that slow you down,” advises Tracy. “Try walking up stairs two at a time and invest in a wobble board to strengthen your ankles.” “Listen to Ellie Goulding’s running mix on Spotify – got my first sub-25! Oh, and no wind!” Sarah Wheeler
TOM CRAGGS’ PERFECT SESSIONS FOR A PARKRUN PB The threshold These efforts are at controlled discomfort – you can speak four words or so, while remaining in control. A 40-minute run with 4x6 minutes of this effort with a 75-second recovery in between is a great way to start. Build up over time to 3x10 minutes or even a solid block of 20-30 minutes at this effort.
7. FIND A PACEMAKER It’s a great idea to make sure you time your PB runs with those occasions where your parkrun is paced, such as anniversaries. Doing a paced session, and sticking with your pacer, may help drag you through that last kilometre. Alternatively, ask someone a bit faster than you to pace you in advance.
“Practise 1K intervals at target pace and sprint finishes in training to get used to doing this on tired legs.” Joanna Barlow
© PARKRUN / GEORGIA KEES / BRUCE LI / JOHN KEES / PAUL HAMMOND / LYNN BROWN / MIKE JOHNSON
The fartlek This ‘speed play’ gets your legs moving faster and mixes up your effort. Try a session of 3 sets of 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute. Run the 3 minutes a fraction slower than 5K pace, the 2 minutes around 5K pace and the 1 -minute effort hard. Jog for 45-60 seconds between efforts and 2-3 minutes between the sets.
The hills Hills build strength and get your heart rate up. Try this: start with 6 minutes at four-word-answer effort (or threshold effort) on a flat loop. Then complete 8-10x40 seconds hard hill efforts with a slow jog back between each effort. When complete, add another block of 6 minutes at four-wordanswer effort on the flat.
Running with someone faster than you will help you pick up the pace
“Make sure you have your porridge. I ride my bike to the start line and eat half a banana out of my pannier bag, as I do some dynamic stretching, and I’m ready to go!” Tracy Griffen
The simulation You can’t get any more 5K specific than five sets of 1K at your planned PB pace. This session is tough and will need to be built up to with some of the other sessions suggested. Jog slowly for 2-3 minutes between sets.
The strength A good routine of core strength or even a Pilates class can be highly effective in giving you the chassis to translate your new, powerful engine into a 5K PB!
“Do a proper warm-up! Or run fast and hang on for grim death as you chase your 10-year-old round while trying not to be sick!” Pip Henderson Barr
PARKRUN THIS SATURDAY!
Never taken part in parkrun before? Go to parkrun.org.uk and sign up for free, printing off your unique bar code. Take this with you when you run (in a small plastic wallet), as it will be scanned after you have finished to track your time. You’ll get an age-graded score (how your time relates to other parkrunners your age), as well as an age-category placing, which will help keep your motivated. You can motivate others in your non-PB weeks, too, by volunteering, which is also a great way to get to know your fellow parkrunners!
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RUNNING FOR LIFE
RUNNING FOR LIFE
I F YO U R U N R E G U LA R LY YO U ’ L L L I V E LO N G E R , S AY E X P E RT S . B E I N G UNFIT OR O V E RW E I G H T DOESN’T NEED TO STO P YO U E I T H E R . or several decades, it’s been widely accepted that women F live longer than men. Recently, however, the life expectancy gap between men and women in the UK has been closing. Figures recently released by the EU’s Eurostat agency reveal that the gap between male and female lifespans is now smaller than almost anywhere else in Europe (women are expected to live until 83, while men are expected to live to 79.4 years on average). In Germany, women are expected to live five years longer than men and, in France, six years longer. This may be because fewer men are smoking and doing highly physical jobs. While men are becoming healthier, women are trying to ‘do it all’, juggling their careers with raising families, which often leaves little time for their health. There’s also been a rise in female alcohol consumption. A survey by the World Health Organization’s Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) found that 55% of women in the UK drink too much.
A LONGER LIFE The really good news for both genders is that regular running can help you live for longer, even if you’re only jogging or covering short distances. Slow is good Heart expert Dr Peter Schnoh, who led a study of 2,000 male and female joggers, looked at death rates of more than 1,100 males and more than 760 females over a 35-year timeframe. The data showed that jogging increased the lifespan of men by 6.2 years and women by 5.6 years. Compared with non-runners, the risk of death for both
sexes was reduced by 44%. Short is good Even shorter runs could benefit longevity. A study released in 2014 by Iowa State University and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology looked at data from more than 55,000 adults aged between 18 and 100 years. They were monitored for 15 years and activity habits were analysed. The study team found that those who ran every week were 30 per cent less likely to die from all causes and 45 per cent less likely to die from cardiovascular causes, compared with those who didn’t run. It also showed that runners were likely to live for three years longer than non-runners. Even those running for five to 10 minutes a week at a slow speed reduced their mortality risk. Another review published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed that running around six miles per week (in total) was enough to extend lifespan by three to six years compared to non-runners.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF RUNNING Reduced risk of heart disease A study from Stanford University looked at runners’ heart health over 20 years and found that older runners were at less risk of heart disease than their peers. Reduced risk of diseases Cancer Research UK says that regular exercise like running can reduce bowel cancer risk by increasing the rate at which food moves through the bowels, reducing the amount of time the lining of the bowel is in contact with harmful chemicals released through consumption of red meat, or alcohol. Running can also reduce risk of stroke by 20 to 40%, type 2 diabetes by 30% and breast cancer risk in women by 30%, as well as reducing dementia risk by 30%. Sedentary can be fatal The World Health Organization says that a sedentary lifestyle is one of 10 leading causes of death and disability in the UK. So the message is clear – want to live longer? Start exercising. READY TO START? If you’re new to running, you’re unfit or you’ve got health issues, you may be concerned. But don’t be despondent. In most cases, exercise should be safe and will offer huge benefits. It’s best to get the all-clear from your GP first and build up distance and volume gradually. Start with short runs – five to 10 minutes will be fine – and you can walk/run too (see beginner’s training plan,
page 37). “If you are unfit, start by including small bursts of exercise in your day, such as walking at a moderate to fast pace to the next bus stop or taking the stairs at work,” says Dr Tatiana Lapa, a GP and Medical Director of The Studio (studioclinic.co.uk). “If you push yourself a little further every time, your fitness will improve quickly.” No doubt you’ll still have concerns about starting to run. We asked the experts some of the most common questions. Can I run if I have high cholesterol or high blood pressure?
“It is safe for middle-aged women with high cholesterol or high blood pressure to take up running,” says Dr Courtney Kipps, Sports & Exercise Specialist at HCA UK at The Institute of Sports Exercise and Health (iseh. co.uk). “In fact, it would be advantageous to do so, as exercise helps to combat both high cholesterol and high blood pressure.” Can running bring on a heart attack if I have high cholesterol or high blood pressure?
“Have a regular check-up with your doctor at least once a year, especially if you are about to start on a new exercise programme,” says Lapa. “Having dangerously high blood pressure levels puts you at risk of having serious health problems such as heart attack or stroke.” Dangerously high means a systolic reading (when the heart contracts) of 180 or higher or a diastolic (when the heart relaxes) of 110 or higher, so having high blood pressure under this range shouldn’t stop you from exercising and it should benefit your
TIPS FOR NEW RUNNERS Don’t overdo frequency. Two to three runs a week at first is fine. Do low-impact exercise such as cycling, stretching or Pilates on other days. Make sure you warm up properly before you start running. A five-minute brisk walk will be fine. You should feel warm before you start. Don’t run every day. Give your body a chance to adapt to the demands being placed on it. Bones, joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles need time to adapt. Stretch at the end of every run, focusing on the legs, glutes and back – holding each stretch for at least 30 seconds. Take up yoga once a week to improve your flexibility. Never increase running volume by more than 10% each week and don’t run on consecutive days.
RUNNING FOR LIFE
health. Provided you’ve had the all-clear from your GP, you should be fine. “The risk of heart attack is low, even for people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol,” says Kipps. “The heart is a muscle and exercise encourages improved blood flow to muscles through new vessel formation and the reduction of resistance to blood flow in arteries.” If I’m healthy but have family links to heart disease, will I be OK to run?
“Women with a family history of heart disease need to clarify the exact type of heart disease,” says Lapa. “A family history of structural heart problems such as hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (a condition where part of the heart is enlarged) is very rare but very important to be aware of. This condition requires regular
follow-ups by a specialist cardiologist. A family history of heart problems such as angina or heart attacks can increase your risk of having such problems at a younger age. This makes it doubly important to do all you can to improve your health by not smoking, having a healthy diet and weight and exercising to maintain good fitness.” “Running is a positive step,” says Kipps. “Exercise will reduce risk, not increase it.” Can I run if I’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?
“Exercise such as running is very important in the management of type 2 diabetes,” says Lapa. “Running helps diabetics to reduce weight, reduce insulin resistance and improve heart health. Type 2 diabetes is often a progressive condition, with the majority of people needing to use insulin within 10 years of diagnosis. Exercise and weight loss can slow this progression down and, in some cases, can even help type 2 diabetics revert back to normal health.” Caution is needed though, as some treatments for diabetes can cause blood sugar levels to drop, resulting in hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose). “Exercise can also cause blood sugar levels to drop,” says Lapa. “Diabetics using insulin should be aware of signs of hypoglycaemia, check their sugar levels prior to starting exercise and at 30-minute intervals during exercise.” If your blood sugar level is below 7mmol/L, The Association of British Clinical Diabetologists recommends consuming 30g of carbohydrate before exercise. Is it safe to run with asthma?
“It is safe for well controlled asthmatics to exercise,” says Lapa. “Asthmatics should have a regular check-up with their doctor every year. If [your] asthma is made worse by exercise, then see your GP or asthma nurse. Some asthma symptoms may be triggered by pollen allergies, so it may be useful to use antihistamines or nasal spray. Have your reliever inhaler on hand in case of worsening symptoms.” Can I run if I’m overweight?
“Yes, it’s a great thing to do if you’re overweight and you’ll soon see the benefits as it will help you lose weight,” says Kipps.
WE’RE RUNNING FOR LIFE! GET INSPIRED BY THESE WOMEN “I started running two-and-a-half years ago to lose weight, two years after having a baby. I was worried about my size and health. I tried Couch to 5K and I couldn’t even manage the first walk/jog section. My friend started to run with me. She was amazing and really pulled me through. Five months later, we signed up for the 5K Parkinson’s Spooky Sprint. Three weeks later my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I got fundraising, and ran it. I signed up to do the 10K the following year. Last weekend, I completed my first ever half-marathon. I have lost 56lbs. I am amazed and so proud of what I have achieved.” Claire Pearson, 35, Nottingham
“I really struggled with my weight after having my children. My weight crept up and up each year and I weighed almost 17 stone. Just over a year ago, I went out power walking with my neighbour. I had no interest whatsoever but after a few weeks of her continually hassling me, I gave in. We walked up a really steep hill and I had to stop three times. I started walking up that hill six days a week. After a few months, I started feeling a bit fitter and began jogging, then I eventually started running. I have now lost six stone and regularly run 10K. I feel 10 years younger.” Nancy Campbell, 38, Scotland
“I began running in 2012 after entering the Great North Run. At the age of 11, I was diagnosed with FH, a genetic form of high cholesterol, and started on medication to treat it, though the importance of exercise was also hammered home. When starting running, I found my breathing was an issue – I had had asthma as a child, but it went away, which is not unusual during puberty. Aged 19 and running it was a problem and, after seeing my GP, I began using two inhalers and my breathing has improved.” Georgia Wilding, 23, Newcastle
“I have been running for 11 months – I started out overweight and with high blood pressure by doing Couch to 5K. I have completed various 5K and 10K races this year and have just started doing parkrun. My fitness has improved ten-fold – I don’t think I have been this fit since I was 16. Now I just want to get home from work and put my kit on and run!” Sarah Larkin, 46, Stockport
RUNNING FOR LIFE
Run 1min / walk 2mins X5 = 15mins
Run 1min / walk 1min x 5 = 10mins
Rest / stretch
Rest or gentle swim or cycle for 15mins
Run / walk 15mins with as few walk breaks as possible
Rest or yoga class
Run 1min / walk 2mins x 6 = 18 mins
Run 2mins / walk 1min x 6 = 18mins
Rest / stretch
Rest or swim or cycle for 20mins
Run / walk 20mins with as few walk breaks as possible
Rest or yoga class
Run 2mins / walk 2mins x 6 = 24mins
Run 3mins / walk 1min x 4 =16mins
Rest / stretch
Run / walk 25mins with as few walk breaks as possible
Rest or yoga class
Run 3mins / walk 2mins x 4 = 20mins
Run 3mins / walk 2mins x 4 = 20mins
Rest / stretch
Rest or swim or cycle for 25mins
Run/walk 30mins with as few walk breaks as possible
Rest or yoga class
Run 5mins / walk 2mins x 3 = 21mins
Run 4mins / walk 1min x 5 = 25mins
Rest / stretch
Rest or swim or cycle for 25mins
Run/walk 35mins with as few walk breaks as possible
Rest or yoga class
Run 6mins / walk 1 min x 4 = 28mins
Run 5mins / walk 1min x 4 = 24mins
Rest / stretch
Rest or swim or cycle for 30mins
Run/walk 40mins with as few walk breaks as possible
Rest or yoga class
Run 7mins / walk 1min x 3 = 24mins
Run 8mins / walk 1min x 3 = 27mins
Rest / stretch
Rest or swim or cycle for 35mins
Run/walk 45mins with as few walk breaks as possible
Rest or yoga class
Run 8mins / walk 1min x 4 = 36mins
Rest / stretch
Rest or swim or cycle for 30mins
5K run day – good luck!
“Build up slowly, don’t go too far or too fast too soon, as you’ll risk injury.” Will running with arthritis make it worse or cause knee problems in later life?
“The evidence shows that the risk of osteoarthritis is no more in runners than sedentary individuals – provided they have no previous injuries,” says Kipps. “The key is to build up slowly and not over-exert too soon. It also helps to do some strengthening exercises for the back, hips and core to optimise control and develop technique for
Rest or swim or cycle for 22mins
“RUNNING HELPS DIABETICS TO REDUCE WEIGHT, REDUCE INSULIN RESISTANCE AND IMPROVE HEART HEALTH” reducing the chance of developing other injuries. Seek professional advice. Don’t be discouraged from taking up running – gradually increase the intensity.” Incidentally, some loading of the joints is good for us and can help prevent
osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, as the body adapts to the stress it is put through. Being overweight can increase the risk of osteoarthritis and running will help you lose weight, so it should be beneficial if you start sensibly and don’t overdo volume.
L I S A J A C K S O N M E E T S F O U R W O M E N W H O F E L L I N L O V E W I T H R U N N I N G â€“ A N D L A N D E D J O B S A S A R E S U LT
© SHEILA ROSE / FIONA SHEPPARD / MILTON KEYNES MARATHON
Volunteering led to Sarah’s MKM role
“I VOLUNTEERED AT EVENTS AND ENDED UP ORGANISING THEM!” “Volunteering at parkrun and races helped land me my two dream jobs: Event Crew Director at the Milton Keynes Marathon and running the children’s version of Rocksolid mud runs and obstacle races,” says Sarah Loftus, 38, from Milton Keynes. “I was a stay-at-home mum with a toddler by the time I started running. At first, I was a lone runner, and it wasn’t something I enjoyed, but then I found parkrun and my new friends there convinced me to join a running club.
I first volunteered at parkrun in 2013 and, over the next couple of years, I gained experience through race directing parkrun and junior parkrun and being water-giverouter and general dogsbody at innumerable events. In 2015 I was offered my current role at the MKM, which involves supervising over 600 volunteers. The Rocksolid Race came about the same way: I volunteered in 2014 and by 2015 I was running the STARS event I’d been helping at! “My previous roles also stood me in good stead in my new jobs: as a development designer I was running projects and sticking to deadlines and, as a mother to two young children, I learned to be extremely organised. The biggest highlight is knowing that, when the event is over and you’re surrounded by happy runners all thrilled with what they’ve achieved, you played a small part in making that happen.
“There are two encounters from this year’s MKM I’ll always remember. I walked Ben Smith (the charity runner who’s running 401 marathons in 401 days) from the finish to where his kit was stored and it took us almost an hour as he chatted and took selfies with absolutely everyone who approached him. It was lovely to see someone so genuinely pleased to meet his fans. The second was when I walked Steve Way (who became an elite athlete after being a 100kg smoker) from the finish to meet his wife. When security stopped us at a barrier Steve said, ‘I’m with her!’ in an attempt to get through too. Steve Way! With me! Made me smile all day!” ENTER THE ROCKSOLID RACE AND MILTON KEYNES MARATHON AT ROCKSOLIDRACE.COM AND MKMARATHON.COM.
RUNNING JOBS Kelly loves leading chi running groups
“CHI RUNNING HELPED ME OVERCOME INJURY AND NOW I TEACH IT” “A string of injuries inspired me to become a Chi Running instructor,” says Kelly Knight, 33, from Swadlincote in Derbyshire. “Most recently, I had shin splints that lasted for 10 months. I kept getting injured because I never listened to my body and failed to take a logical approach to recovery. I began running over six years ago when a
classic drunken New Year’s resolution saw me signing up for a 16-mile race. Having completed that, I did the London Marathon and then joined South Derbyshire Road Runners and raced competitively. “I attended a Chi Running workshop after reading Danny Dreyer’s Chi Running: A Revolutionary Approach to Effortless, InjuryFree Running. I’d been investigating running techniques to help with injuries and get faster but always found conflicting advice. Chi running is based on the principles of t’ai chi and helps runners of all ages move more mindfully, efficiently and effectively, thereby improving performance and reducing their risk of injury. But the benefits aren’t just physical. When running is easier, it’s also more fun! Chi running always comes back to alignment and relaxation, which I knew were two hugely important adjustments to my form that I needed to make. Having practised chi running for the past 18 months, I certified as an instructor and passed Run
Vicky and her gang
“RUNNING WAS MY THERAPY AND NOW I SHARE IT WITH OTHERS” “I set up RIOT Squad, a course that helps women to run 5K in five weeks, because I felt local running clubs didn’t offer enough support to beginners – unless you were already good at running, you didn’t really fit in,” says Vicky Tzanetis, 37, from Sandhurst, a mum of two and full-time account
manager for a global software firm. “I teach 10 classes a week and in just five months I’ve helped over 200 women to fall in love with running – whether they’re battling poor mental health (RIOT stands for Running Is Our Therapy), stress or self-doubt. When I founded RIOT Squad I had a sports science
England’s Leadership in Running Fitness course. “I still work as a marketing officer but deliver chi running workshops and one-toone sessions in my spare time. When I began chi running, I tried to change my body and movement habits too quickly, but learned that patience, along with positivity and gradual progression, are key (that’s also true for life in general). I’ve only recently certified as an instructor so I have lots of ideas but I will see where this path leads.” TO BOOK A CHI RUNNING COURSE ANYWHERE IN THE UK, VISIT CHIRUNNING.UK. LIKE KELLY’S FACEBOOK PAGE FOR REGULAR UPDATES AND INFORMATION ON CHI RUNNING: FACEBOOK.COM/RUNRELAXMIND.
degree, an advanced degree in psychology and a diploma in life coaching, and was an England Athletics Running Coach. I’d also done over 100 marathons so I felt I had something unique to offer wannabe runners. “I know it’s a cliché but running saved me from my demons. I suffer with anxiety and chronic depression and last year was diagnosed with ME. That’s why I’m also an England Athletics Mental Health Ambassador – I’ve been there, bought the t-shirt and come out fighting. No matter how rubbish I feel, a 40-minute run turns my world around. I love the sense of achievement or, as I tell my squad, the smug pants you deserve to wear afterwards! “I’m still doing my day job, and it’s hard to juggle everything, but the gold medal is so much shinier when you’ve worked your butt off to get it. The best bits are things such as witnessing one of my first group cry in disbelief when she nailed her challenge of running 5K (oh yes, I had a cry too), hearing that two clients had reversed their type 2 diabetes and seeing others lose loads of weight. I believe anyone can run and I say to any sceptical potential clients, ‘Give me your best excuse – I guarantee I’ve tried that one before myself!’”
TO JOIN RIOT SQUAD, VISIT RIOTSQUADCLUB.COM
© MARK LEWIS PHOTOGRAPHY SURREY
“MY FACEBOOK PAGE BECAME A FULL-TIME JOB” “Having turned my passion for running into a permanent job, for once in my life, I love Mondays,” says Leanne Davies, 38, from Surrey, the founder of Run Mummy Run. “I started RMR because, as a mum of two, I could rarely attend sessions at my club and needed an alternative way to connect with my running friends. I did a little WordPress training, but most of what I’ve learned has been selftaught. After a year, I gave up my day job in marketing, which was a scary decision! We’re heading towards 30,000 members now – they’re incredible women and there’s definitely a special RMR bond we all share. “My former career in the airline industry gave me a lot of experience in customer service, revenue management, sales and marketing, and my love for art and design has lent itself well to social media and RMR. Juggling my family and job has been the biggest challenge: being an online running community, RMR never stops. In the early days, with a baby and toddler, it was exhausting doing everything myself. I still work every evening and weekends but now have a fabulous team so I’m able to finish work at about 9pm. “Starting our partnership with Race for Life in January has been the biggest highlight so far: this year RMR has raised £30,000 for Cancer Research UK. My father has cancer and recently I lost a friend to the disease, so the charity is very close to my heart. Another high point was winning Gold at The Running Awards in the Online category for two consecutive years. “I want every one of our women to be supported and lead a happy, healthy life through running. At the forefront of our ethos is being kind to others – I love the ‘pay it forward’ idea. If I can make this my job for years to come, I’ll be one happy lady!”
FA N C Y F O L L O W I N G Y O U R PA S S I O N FOR A LIVING? TA K E A F E W T I P S FROM THESE LADIES
is to be honest, “Never lose your integrity - the most important thing money. Love what truthful and fair. Second, be driven by passion not any monthly pay you do and the rewards will be more fulfilling than packet,” says Leanne Davies.
“Nothing lands on your doorstep – if you want something you’ve got to go out and wor k hard. Believe that everything happens for a reason and never ever give up,” says Vicky Tzanetis.
“Network – don’t be afraid to get in touch with new people and ask questions,” says Kelly Knight.
“Be genuine and be passionate – this is the sort of job you can’t do unless you’re as invested in it as your runners are. Race day usually necessitates some eye-wateringly early mornings and very long days,” says Sarah Loftus.
TO JOIN RUN MUMMY RUN, VISIT RUNMUMMYRUN.CO.UK
M A N Y P E O P L E A R E H A STY TO C O N C LU D E T H AT R U N N I N G I S BA D F O R T H E J O I N TS . IS IT A MYTH OR IS THERE AN ELEMENT OF TRUTH IN THIS WORRYING CLAIM? CHRISTINA MACDONALD FINDS OUT confirm a link either way.” ou’ve probably heard it before. BORN TO RUN Moss adds: “A review of running and “Running is bad for your joints.” The experts are not surprised. “Our bodies Y risk to joint health (published on the website “It will wreck your knees.” are designed to run,” says Professor John PubMed.gov in the US) found no evidence “You’ll need a knee replacement Brewer, Head of School of Sport, Health that moderate levels of running in itself was in 20 years.” Comments like these usually and Applied Science (SHAS) at St Mary’s detrimental. In fact, we can reduce the risk come from non-runners. Running is a natural University (stmarys.ac.uk). “In the past, we of osteoarthritis by maintaining a healthy action for humans, yet many people who had to run to catch food or avoid being the weight, building muscle, flexibility and don’t do it seem convinced that this highly food of a predator, so running is a natural balance, which can all be achieved through beneficial exercise choice – that burns many form of human locomotion.” activities such as running.” calories, improves heart health and reduces Samantha Moss is lead physiotherapist disease risk – is ultimately bad for you. So for Nuffield Health (nuffieldhealth.com), are they right – could your favourite sport be and has been monitoring various studies. BETTER BONE HEALTH harmful to your joint health? “There is currently no good evidence that Far from jeopardising our mobility in later We have good news for you. A 20-year running alone causes osteoarthritis,” she life, some loading of the joints is actually study, conducted by Professor James Fries says. “There is some evidence that extreme good for us. “Running can improve our of Stanford University in California, found levels of running [is harmful]; that those who joint and bone health, especially if we that runners from the study (now in their run marathons and ultra-marathons have a manage the volume and frequency of our 70s) who run consistently could expect to higher incidence of osteoarthritis, but there runs,” says physiotherapist Stuart Mailer have less arthritis than the non-runners have been no good research trials into this to from Kensington Physio & Sports Medicine when they get older. It also (kenphysio.com). “When we run, showed the runners to have a there is a high stress and load lower risk of osteoarthritis and hip going through our joints and replacements. bone tissue that can improve ULTRA RUNNERS MIMI ANDERSON AND MARTIN KELLY A 2014 study conducted by bone density, helping to prevent REVEAL HOW THEY RECOVER AFTER A LONG RACE LIKE A Dr Grace Hsiao-Wei Lo, assistant osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. MARATHON OR ULTRA professor of medicine at Baylor The bone remodels itself College of Medicine, Texas, found frequently and adapts to the stress that running at any stage of life it is put through.” doesn’t increase a person’s risk TRY A TRY A MAXIMISE LOOK AT GET THE of osteoarthritis of the knee. In SO WHY DOES IT HURT? NATURAL SPORTS RECOVERY THE BIGGER RIGHT fact, it may even help to ward off If you’re reading this while TIME PICTURE. SHOES PILL. MASSAGE. the condition. The findings of the suffering joint pain, you might “I use Hoka Take an antiAnderson BETWEEN “Sleep, hydration One One inflammatory has a RUNS study, presented at the American wonder what we’re talking about, massage “Have at and nutrition shoes as supplement. College of Rheumatology Annual but there are risk factors that “I take Nordic two days least a can really they have Meeting in Boston, looked at more do put some runners at risk of one-day gap reduce the a lot of Oil Omega after races. than 2,600 participants, giving problems. If your technique is cushioning, 3 capsules “Emu Oil between downtime and get you taking the every day is good for runs unless them knee x-rays, assessments and poor, you have weak muscles or which are massaging they are very physically pressure surveys. Researchers concluded imbalances, the wrong running fantastic,” yourself at gentle and ready to go off my that runners had a lower shoes or you overdo your training home,” she not too long,” again,” says joints,” says says prevalence of knee pain than nonvolume, you may suffer. “Problems says. says Kelly. Kelly. Anderson. Anderson. runners, regardless of their age. can arise when an individual has a
PROTECT YOUR JOINTS
IF YOUR RUNNING TECHNIQUE IS POOR, YOU HAVE WEAK MUSCLES OR IMBALANCES, THE WRONG SHOES OR YOU OVERDO YOUR RUNNING VOLUME, YOU MAY SUFFER
biomechanical issue that puts extra stress on a particular joint or when they do too much and refuse to listen to signals (like pain) telling them to rest or ease off,” says Brewer. Unfortunately, carrying extra weight can exacerbate the problem. “Simple physics says that the greater the force through the joint surface, the greater the wear and tear, which is the essence of osteoarthritis,” says physiotherapist Mark Buckingham from Witty Pask & Buckingham (wpbphysio.co.uk). “The joint surface does not increase in size with an increase in weight, so therefore there is greater force on the same surface area. Hyaline cartilage is remarkable stuff but it can tolerate only so much and once it has gone, it’s gone – much like your teeth!” “When each foot hits the ground with every stride, a force equivalent to three times the runner’s body weight is transmitted through the lower limbs,” says Brewer. “When a runner is overweight, this is going to greatly increase the forces transmitted into and through the knee joint, increasing wear and tear and the risk of problems.” Experts advise trying to lose weight if you are significantly overweight as it can increase injury risk in general. “Being overweight or having previous injuries are some of the risk factors for developing osteoarthritis in the knees, hips and lower back,” says Moss. “Studies since the 1980s have demonstrated this repeatedly. However, being active and losing weight removes load through the joints and so reduces risk.” If you are excessively overweight, you may choose to lose some weight first by sticking to low-impact exercise, such as cycling, swimming or using the cross-trainer. However, don’t be put off entirely. “Being slightly overweight and running 15-20 miles a week is likely to create fewer problems than being 10 kilos overweight and running 70 miles a week,” says Brewer. He also points out that if you take up running for the first time and you are overweight, you’re not likely to be doing long distances for a while, which offers some protection from injury risk. “When someone who is significantly overweight runs, they are unlikely to have a high level of fitness that can sustain running for long, or at a high speed,” says Brewer. “Therefore the potential for joint damage is greatly reduced, and consequently people who are significantly overweight should be encouraged to run at a tolerable speed as a means of burning calories and aiding weight loss.”
FAMILY AFFAIR Often the warnings about running ruining your knees come from older relatives, who assume that a family history of arthritis means you’re guaranteed to have problems. Is that really the case? If a first-degree relative had a knee replacement early on, then you may be more predisposed to joint issues in future. “A family history of osteoarthritis is an indicator that you are more likely to suffer yourself,” says Buckingham. “There seems to be a variance in the quality of cartilage between us. Some have very resilient stuff, which seems to put up with anything. Others have poor cartilage, which wears more easily regardless of how much you stress it.” Moderation is key, but don’t be deterred. “Simply put, if you have decent cartilage and no family history, then you can get away with a lot more,” says Buckingham. “If you have osteoarthritis in the genes then you are likely to suffer and sadly, if you run and stress the cartilage, you are much more likely to suffer early on.” However, working on leg strength, ensuring your shoes are the right ones for you and having regular rest days in between running sessions will all help. “I would never say avoid it completely,” says Brewer. “If you have a family history of osteoarthritis then running in moderation is still possible, but seeking medical advice first from an expert is an important first step. Start slowly, increase gradually and, if there is a family history, it makes total sense to be cautious.” Running may be part of your weekly training schedule but you could combine it with low-impact exercise to give your joints a break. “That includes cycling or swimming, both of which place less stress on the joints,” says Brewer. If you want to do a longer race like a marathon and you have a family history of knee problems, don’t be put off. Train well, work with a physiotherapist to strengthen the muscles around the knees and rest up in between runs. “As long as you are sensible, I think it’s highly unlikely that you will increase your risk of arthritis or knee operations,” says Brewer. “Most people will be fit as a result of their regular exercise and will have maintained a low body fat percentage, and these are important enhancers of quality of life as we get older. Many hundreds of thousands of people run marathons and ultras each year, and they are not all queuing up for knee replacements afterwards.”
RUN FOR BETTER JOINT HEALTH
WE TALK TO THREE WOMEN WHO FOUND THAT RUNNING BENEFITED THEIR JOINTS, RATHER THAN MAKING THEM WORSE “RUNNING HAS EASED MY ARTHRITIS”
36-year-old Lee’Anne Dove is an NHS Project Manager from Bournemouth who was diagnosed two years ago with rheumatoid arthritis.
“I was worried I would end up immobile and crippled with pain. I read about the possibility of running with rheumatoid arthritis but the advice was very conflicting. I spoke to my consultant who thought it would be a great idea but he said lots of people think if you have it you shouldn’t run. Well-meaning friends kept telling me to be careful and maybe I should go for a nice swim instead! But running helps to keep my joints mobile, I’m less stiff than I used to be and my level of daily pain has reduced. I need fewer painkillers now.’
“I HAVE LESS KNEE PAIN NOW I RUN”
Lisa Thornton, 36, from South Shields has hypermobility syndrome, where the joints are too flexible.
“After having my second child I started having serious issues with my knees. They were very stiff and painful and I had to crawl up stairs. I was diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome in 2010. I was convinced that exercise would be impossible. My mum has bad arthritis so she was worried. I saw a physio who recommended regular exercise to ease pain and stiffness. I signed up for a couple of charity runs. My joints struggle a bit with long distances but anything up to about six miles suits me. I now have less pain, less stiffness, stronger legs and joints, more energy and I don’t have to crawl up the stairs anymore.”
“RUNNING HAS STRENGTHENED MY KNEE”
29-year-old Fran Fox from Weymouth suffered with left knee pain for years due to ligament damage.
“I joined a gym to lose weight and discovered I really enjoyed running on the treadmill. I often wore a knee support several times a month, and was prepared to run with the support on. The reality of it is I think I have strengthened my knee. The last time I wore the support was two weeks before I started running, so I’ve been pain-free since April. It’s given me a whole new lease of life. I have lost nearly three stone in weight and my mental health is really good.”
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S D R A W 2016 A THE RESULTS ARE IN! FIND OUT WHICH PRODUCTS YOU NEED TO ADD TO YOUR CHRISTMAS LIST WITH OUR RUN-DOWN OF THE BEST RUNNING GEAR OF THE YEAR
Buying running kit should be a pleasure but it can be tricky. With so many products to invest in – from the essentials, like running shoes and a sports bra, to the nice-to-haves like good earphones and massage products – you could go dizzy trawling the shelves to find what you’re after. Here at Women’s Running, we do our best to test a range of products every issue to make sure you’re aware of the best kit on the market, but we know even this leaves a lot to choose from. So, each summer, we recruit a team of testers to work their way
through every type of runningrelated product you can think of and give their verdicts. How do we judge? Our testing process is long but straightforward. We invite manufacturers to submit their products in a range of categories. If we don’t receive enough entries in a given category, we don’t include it; and if products don’t meet high enough standards in the opinions of our testers, we don’t place them in the awards. Over a period of two months, our testers are encouraged to use their products as much as
possible, and they complete a questionnaire for every category, with reference to the entry forms so that they know what the manufacturer was trying to achieve and how much each item costs. Nutrition products are rated using a slightly different questionnaire. At the end of the testing period, the questionnaires are returned, compiled and given to the Women’s Running team anonymously to keep the results independent. The awards are then given to those products with the highest average score.
TRAIL SHOES 2016 AWARDS
£125, on-running.com “Excellent trainer, comfortable on my ankles and heels, exceptionally lightweight, which is great for longdistance runs. Material is great quality, the light mesh allows for feet to not overheat and prevents them from becoming too wet in rain as it dries very quickly. By far the best trainer I have worn.”
The North Face Ultra Endurance Trail Shoe £110, thenorthface.com “The North Face’s claims were backed up when testing. The Ultra Endurance Trail Shoe is a great allround trail-running shoe which gave me confidence when running on all terrain. It was especially good over roots and sharp flints through woodlands local to me. The Vibram Megagrip sole looks and feels bulletproof while being flexible and feeling light. Nice colourway too – not too girly which I like, with attractive blue and peach contrast. Quality throughout, and looks it too!”
Decathlon Kiprace Trail 3
£54.99, decathlon.co.uk “Love them! Very lightweight compared to other trail trainers. Grip is great on all trail surfaces, very durable, easy to wash and come out brand new and without any changes to the fabric. Great colours for female runners and I would happily recommend to others.”
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Available from independent and multiple outdoor and sports stores or online at www.ledlenser-store.co.uk
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BEST UPDATE & NEUTRAL SHOES 2016 AWARDS
Skechers GoRun 4 2016
£94, skechers.com “My kind of shoe. Love the vibrant yellow/pink knitted mesh upper. Will get you noticed, and [it’s] breathable too. Very lightweight and the toebox fits my wide feet well. The GoRun 4 feels very supportive for a light shoe. Skechers claim that this shoe is fast. I produced a PB over my favourite fivemile training run so I can confirm this is true. Overall, a great package at a competitive price.
Saucony Ride 9
£115, saucony.com “Good shoe, comfortable, practical, light and easy to wear.”
Saucony Ride 9
£115, saucony.com “I love these Ride 9s. They fit my foot really well. I was initially worried about the very thick padding around the heel, but once on me feet the shoes just hugged my feet perfectly. It was also really nice to have some cushioning back. They still felt responsive and only slightly heavier than my Saucony Kinvaras. Only been able to test them in the dry and they’ve given me plenty of traction on a tarmac surface.”
Puma Ignite Dual
£70, puma.com “These felt great from the start and I immediately started using them for club sessions and races, despite having just bought a new pair of trainers. Very happy with the fit and the feel. These are more expensive than my usual trainers but are better value than many out there.”
Skechers GoRun Ride 5
Salomon Speedcross 4
£100, salomon.com “Very tough shoe, great material yet lightweight, very well cushioned. The ‘lock in’ laces are exceptionally practical for trail running. Very strong toe region of the shoe which is normally forgotten about in other designs.”
£84, skechers.com “A very sound all-round running shoe. Perfect if you like to feel support in a neutral shoe. Striking 3D knitted upper design with a sole that gives confidence over road or park trail terrain. My wide feet were accommodated perfectly with the wide toebox and overall fit was very good. The 4mm heel drop helps you to naturally midfoot strike. My running style needs this gentle help and it works well. A great package at a really affordable price point.”
NEWCOMER & SUPPORT SHOES 2016 AWARDS
Karrimor Excel Lite Ld71
£109, karrimor.com “High cushioning around the ankle provides great support, which trainers lately seem to forget about. Mesh on the upper part of the trainer allows for feet to easily breathe.”
Karrimor D30 Excel 2 Ld81
£119.99, karrimor.com “The Karrimor D30 Is a practical shoe with a classic design. The shoe offers a snug and supportive fit, which means that each step feels protected. The shoe really is designed to hug your foot from toe to heel. There is an obvious feeling of flexibility, which enables a responsive, yet comfortable ride. The materials are breathable, but durable – meaning that this shoe should keep up with you, all year round.”
Skechers GoRun Forza
HOKA ONE ONE Clayton
£94, website missing “Good cushioning. Comfy upper and toebox. Overall, comfy and supportive.”
£120, hokaoneone.eu “These trainers have become my ‘go to’ running shoes. I love them and have even convinced my mum to buy a pair! They are bulky looking shoes, but they are super light. I could feel the rocker in the shoe and felt I was potentially running a bit more on my toes and also picking my feet up a bit more than usual. I can’t see myself ditching these shoes any time soon.”
HOKA ONE ONE Infinite
Skechers GoRun Forza
£94, skechers.com “Good cushioning. Initially looked and felt quite chunky, but wasn’t noticeable when running and just felt very supportive.”
£99.99, hokaoneone.eu “These feel supportive from the moment that you place them on your feet. The ride from heel to toe is smooth and fluid. The sole is large and stable, but does give the sensation of running in platform shoes. The design and materials are durable and offer a plush comfort.”
2016 AWARDS SOCKS, CAPRI PANTS-SHORTS-SKORT & SPORTS BRA
Crewroom The Lunges Crop
£55, crewroom.co.uk “Lovely soft fabric, lightweight, nice wide waistband with nice reflective detailing. Fit really well and very comfortable, no movement or rubbing when running, good breathability. A little bit pricey for leggings but comfort and quality are great. Love these leggings!”
Fit Brands Balega Womens Enduro No Show
£12, balega.com “A great pair of running socks. They were very comfortable, washed well and kept my feet feeling good even on long runs in the heat. I like the height of them, providing enough cushioning around the back of the ankle. I’ve had them for a month, and they still feel new, so I’m hopeful that they will last as long as promised.”
Sportjock Sports Bra
£28, sportsbra.co.uk “Loved this! So comfortable, great support, soft to wear, no seams or catches to scratch, washes really well. Great price point and lovely colour [mine was aqua]. I will definitely be buying this again – the small fitted perfectly for a 30D and a friend tested the medium (she is 34C) and said exactly the same as me – we are converts!”
Karrimor Xlite M Cap Ld73
Hilly TwinSkin Socklet
£12, hillysocks.com “These are – hands down – the comfiest running socks I own! They’re extremely comfortable and cushioned and gave me an extra layer of protection when running in my minimal racing flats.”
£29.99, karrimor.com “These are very good quality leggings. They are comfortable and are light which means they are good for running and do not ride up like some other brands. They are very breathable and therefore avoid any rubbing between material and skin.”
Puma PWRshape Sports Bra
£20, puma.com “Great-looking, eye-catching bra which I love! The adjustable hooks at the back are great for getting the perfect fit and provided really good support, while wicking away any moisture, which is always a great addition, while in the gym!”
Puma Graphic ¾ Length Tight
Darn Tough Vertex Running Sock
£14.90, darntough.com “I wouldn’t normally pay this much for a pair of socks, but these ones are lovely. They are super comfy, soft and super cushioned. I’ve now ditched all my other socks and am just wearing these ones.”
£35, puma.co.uk “Great fit, very flattering. Stylish while also being very practical. I would wear these a lot in the winter due to the reflective pattern. Very comfortable to run in. Good value for money. I would pay a lot more for leggings with this combination of comfort, visibility and style.”
Freya Active Underwired Crop Sports Bra
£40, freyalingerie.com “Excellent support, good quality. The shape it gave me was a little odd but wasn’t a major concern.”
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2016 AWARDS TECHNICAL TOP, UNDERWEAR & WATERPROOF JACKET
£38, zaazee.co.uk “It was a treat to wear this top as I am used to running in race t-shirts. At first I thought it felt like a swimming costume, but actually it felt great on – it was very comfortable to wear. It also washed well, even though I accidentally put it in at 40 degrees instead of 30.”
SueMe Beech Shorties
£16, sueme.com “I liked the boxer-short-type cut of these briefs, which gave them a good fit. The material was very comfortable and they didn’t rub or chafe. They washed really well, and I also liked the thoughtful addition of getting beech tree seeds in the pack!”
Runderwear Briefs/Low Rise Hipster
£16, runderwear.co.uk “They were very comfortable to run in, barely noticed that I was wearing them which is a good feature! The material feels very high quality and the shape is good.”
Karrimor XLite M Tee Ld73
Runderwear Crop Top
£110, ronhill.com “Hood fits excellently – none of my head got wet, also the light weight of the material allowed you to run with it down and for it not to bounce up and down on your neck. Deep left pocket allowing [room] for all phones and music devices. One hundred per cent waterproof every time I wore it and very warm.”
Berghaus Hyper Jacket
£38, salomon.com “Very lightweight! Breathable – whatever sweat did develop on the shirt dried within minutes. Very well fitted to the body, making movement in the top much easier. Material is also exceptionally soft with no rubbing.”
£24.99, karrimor.com “I loved the fit and the colour. It is a nice length for bum coverage and loose fitting. I tried it out on a sweaty track session and it was nice and comfy. Definitely would wear it again and look at Karrimor next time, especially as they are good value for money. I’ve since worn this several times, it washes well and I love it!”
Ronhill Women’s Vizion Rainfall Jacket
£25, runderwear.co.uk “I really liked this sports bra/crop top and intend to buy it again. It is very supportive and comfortable to wear, with no seams that rubbed. It washes well. I liked the racer back and the colour. The price is good considering the quality and is comparable to other sports bras on the market.”
£120, berghaus.com “Super light, practical waterproof running jacket, stuffs into a sack the size of a tennis ball, which has a handy belt loop, making it easy to carry on a race belt/vest or backpack. It kept the rain and wind out perfectly well. The build quality is good and shows no sign of wear after a few outings.”
Kalenji Women’s Windproof Trail Running Jacket
£21.99, decathlon.co.uk “My favourite element of this jacket is how convenient it is. Its compact design allows you to fold it into a pocket. It shields you from the wind without having you overheat.”
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2016 AWARDS BEST INNOVATION, FITNESS TRACKER/SMART WATCH & GPS WATCH
Sole Softec Reponse Footbeds
£38, yoursole.com “As a custom orthotic wearer, I would definitely have tried these first before forking out a fortune! A great idea, they mould to your feet as you wear them and for a fantastic price too. Feel very comfortable to wear and will continue to do so!”
Garmin Vivo Active HR
£209.99, garmin.com “This watch was easy to set up. It was light on my wrist, even with the heart-rate monitor, and the strap was comfortable. I loved how the steps goals were smart, keeping it challenging, and congratulating me when I achieved them. A great device for encouraging anyone to be healthier.”
Garmin Vivo Active HR
£209.99, garmin.com “As a Garmin user (very old Forerunner 301!) this was a joy to use! It was lightweight, has an easy-to-see screen, built-in heart-rate monitor, and I loved that it vibrates when you hit a mile, no more annoying beeping like the old one! I downloaded the app as well and the stats it records are fantastic for run geeks like me!”
£159.99, fitbit.com “Very easy to set up, with step-by-step instructions to sync with a phone/iPad. The watch uses a combination of buttons and a touchscreen and you have to take the watch face out to charge it. It’s lightweight and comfortable to wear. I like the way you can scroll down the screen and view your heart rate, number of steps walked, flights of stairs climbed and so on.”
TomTom Runner2 Music + Cardio
£159.99, fitbit.com “A good all-round product. You need a couple of weeks to get used to the features. Easy to link up to your phone to read results.”
£189.99, tomtom.com “It is a definite plus that, as well as being able to record my running, it also records cycling and swimming and I can listen to music too. I want one!”
Suunto Spartan Ultra Black HR
£7, y-fumble.com “This is easy to put on, holds the product in place (make sure you get the right size) and can be thrown in the washing machine.”
£49.95, moov.cc “The Moov has two bands, one for your ankle and one for your wrist, and the activities and monitoring can be used for cycling, running and even sleeping. The price is very reasonable, I felt, and I would recommend this to others. During running, I didn’t really notice I was wearing the ankle band which was a positive.”
£549.99, suunto.com “This is an awesome piece of kit, very high quality and with hundreds of functions and insights, both on the watch face and on the mobile and online Movescount apps. For really dedicated athletes, it offers brilliant analysis and helps you plan training and recovery (based on everyday activity as well as your training). The display is bright and clear and the buttons are simple.”
INJURY PREVENTION, HEADPHONES/EARPHONES, RUNNING ACCESSORY & RUNNING BUGGY/PRAM 2016 AWARDS
Running Buddy Pouch
BetterYou Magnesium Oil Recovery Spray
£80, sony.co.uk “I like the snug fit and lack of wires which makes the unit comfortable to run with. Sound quality is good and there’s a feature to allow you to hear ambient noise, which is a great idea.”
£19.99 , therunningbuddy.com “I love it! Very lightweight – did not dig in or rub against skin. Strong magnet preventing anything from dropping out when running. Big enough to fit all the essentials for when you go out running without it hindering your run.”
£12.20, betteryou.com “I thought this product worked very well. I could feel the results the next day once I had used the spray, my legs felt much better.”
Aftershokz Trekz Titanium
£109.95, aftershokz.co.uk “This was my first time using wireless headphones and I was so impressed. I’m a bit of a technophobe and hate reading instructions. So the fact these synced with my phone the first time I tried was amazing – it literally took seconds to get them working. The sound was excellent, really clear and I loved not having wires wound all round my clothing during a run. These are a game-changing piece of kit for me.”
£13.50, rocktape.com “Like the feel, ease of use and durability when showering.”
£65, blizeyewear.com “Adjustable nose bridge and arms allow for a perfect fit with plenty of space around the face for air circulation. Lightweight and really comfortable when running, virtually no movement and didn’t steam up. Nice feature to be able to customise with choice of jawbone (this was a bit tricky to remove at first). Great sunglasses, best I’ve run in.”
Sennheiser PMX 686 Sports
Weleda Arnica Massage Oil
£13.95, weleda.co.uk “This has a strong, warming smell and felt really nice on tired legs after my long run.”
Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport
£319.95, outnabout.com “Great off-road and on-road. Larger wheels seems to make it easier to push and also not as bouncy when going from one surface to another. Brake position on the bar makes it easy to use and prevents changes to running posture of parent. Front wheel allows for good movement in all sorts of directions.”
£79.99, sennheiser.com “These worked really well for running, staying in place the whole time and having great sound quality. The sound quality was significantly better than other headphones I’ve used for running, even in windy conditions. Once they were in position, I didn’t need to adjust them at all, even on a longer run, and they felt comfortable the whole time.”
£9.50, pinrace.com “Love these, so simple and it’s about time we moved on from safety pins that wreck your clothing. Easy to use and felt secure.”
Bugaboo Runner £583, bugaboo.com “Lightweight frame and seat. Easy to put together with the white indicators. Mudguards do their job. Brake very reactive and good suspension. Like the idea of the reversible seat.”
2016 AWARDS HEALTH DRINK, HEALTHY SNACK & MID-RACE NUTRITION
Aqua Coco Active
£1.99, aquacoco.co “This was my favourite out of all the coconut waters. It wasn’t too sweet and [was] packed full with subtle nutty undertones; clean, fresh and refreshing tasting.”
Eat Natural Protein Packed
£0.89, eatnatural.co.uk “I love a good snack bar, but finding one that’s not packed with sugar – and a load of additives and ingredients I don’t recognise – can be a challenge. I could actually enjoy this bar knowing all the products were natural, with the added bonus of 10g of protein!”
£2.99, clifbar.co.uk “I love these. They’re easy to carry when running and pop into your mouth when needed. You can just let them melt under your tongue if you don’t want to chew them. They don’t taste synthetic like some products. Ideal middle ground if you don’t want to carry food but don’t like the gloopiness of gels.”
Savse Super Blue
£2.39, savse.com “Great flavour, texture and packed full of quality goodness, at a price that’s competitive with the rest of the market.”
£1.60, clifbar.com “Delicious and would happily eat them all day long (i.e., I had to hide them to avoid eating them all at once). A great snack to eat straight after a run.”
£0.99, highfive.co.uk “As far as gels go, this one is very good value and has the advantage that it can be easily consumed without water. The taste is pleasantly sweet and the consistency is smooth and easy to drink while running. I did notice the energy boost, after I consumed them during my longer training sessions.”
TIANA Fairtrade Organics 100% Raw Coconut Water with real passion fruit
£2.99, tiana-coconut.com “I was a big fan of this drink – healthy, tasty and all natural! The passion fruit made it taste more like a ‘mocktail’ than a health drink – I loved it!”
KIND Madagascan Vanilla Almond
£1.29, kindsnacks.com “A delicious and healthy snack. I was impressed with the high proportion of nuts in the product, which are not only loaded with health benefits, but taste great too.”
£7.99, decathlon.co.uk “I was pleasantly surprised by this product. I expected it to taste too sweet and synthetic as many do, but it was light and fresh and palatable. I used it on a very hot training session at the track. I felt it did the job very well, kept me hydrated and able to keep up my effort levels throughout the session.”
Linwoods_FullPage_210x265_Men’s/Women’s RunningSuperFood Awards production.indd 1
APPROVED 12 Oct 14/10/2016 13:03
2016 AWARDS PRE-RACE NUTRITION, PROTEIN-BASED NUTRITION, SUPERFOOD & POST-RACE NUTRITION
Eat Natural Protein Packed
£0.89, eatnatural.co.uk “Really tasty bar that I enjoyed eating as a postworkout snack. A good amount of protein for a genuinely all-natural bar – you can really see what’s in it.”
HIGH5 ZERO X’Treme
£1.75, highfive.co.uk “I was really impressed with this electrolyte drink. It mixed easily and was really convenient to use, just adding it to a glass of tap water without having to use a special shaker bottle. I found it particularly useful before an early morning run when I’d be aiming to get out of the door as soon as possible and wouldn’t have time for a cup of tea to wake me up.”
Linwoods Milled Flaxseed, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Walnuts and CoEnzyme Q10
£5.99, linwoodshealthfoods.com/uk “I loved this product. I’m a big fan of overnight oats and love adding seeds on top for an extra health boost. This was an easy and cost-efficient way to enjoy a variety of seeds and berries in one go!”
Eat Natural Super Granola
Vita Coco Coconut Oil
£6.99, vitacoco.com “It’s very easy to add to a homemade smoothie, adds a pleasant flavour and is good for thickening, also ace in a curry.”
£1.60 , clifbar.co.uk “I love the taste and texture of these. They do give sustained energy. I appreciate the natural taste (despite loads of added vitamins it doesn’t taste artificial at all), and it holds together well in a jacket pocket on the move.”
HIGH5 Protein Recovery
£3.69, eatnatural.co.uk “I’d go as far to say that this was the nicest granola I’ve ever had – and I’m a bit of a granola connoisseur. So often granola is packed with sugar, making it not only super unhealthy but tasting too sweet! With all-natural ingredients, this had a delicious and naturally sweet nutty taste and a lovely crunch.”
Clif Builder’s Bar
£2.59, clifbar.co.uk “Just wow! These bars are awesome. I tried the chocolate and the chocolate and peanut butter bars and, since I love chocolate, it was a good match. They’re crunchy too – with a kind of biscuit base. They’re also huge.”
£1.75, highfive.co.uk “I’d never had a fruit-flavoured protein shake before but I was pleasantly surprised! It mixed well, had a nice flavour and was much more refreshing than other protein shakes I’ve had.”
Proto-Col Green Magic
£21.95, proto-col.com “Really practical and convenient, great tasting especially with a smoothie, as it wasn’t overpowering. A great way to get some of your greens in on the go.”
HIGH5 Protein Snack
£1.59, highfive.co.uk “Not a huge fan of protein snacks, but this was pleasantly nice, because it was all natural proteins from seeds, berries and nuts. It didn’t taste or feel artificial.”
LQ Liquid Health
£5.99, lqliquidhealth.com “Taste was interesting. It was very convenient to take and the packaging looks great.”
AR E Y BRAND OF THE
the woMen’s Running
Awards 2016 Tell us the brand that’s made the most difference to your running – and win an Up & Running voucher
The best of the best, the cream of the crop, the top dogs, the numero unos – whatever way you want to say it, the top products are all unveiled in this issue of Women's Running. Whether it’s the best neutral shoe, the ultimate running jacket or the sports nutrition product that provides the perfect pick-me-up, our intrepid band of testers has been working hard to put the very best running products through their paces. You've already seen the results – and we hope you agree with some (or all) of them! And now it's your turn: we need our loyal readers to help us decide the running Brand of the Year! For 2016, we’ve created this new reader-only category to crown the brand that has made the most difference to your running. Whether it’s the shoe that’s sped you to an unexpected personal best, the top that kept you dry all winter or the watch that’s clocked thousands of running miles, we want to hear from you. Simply visit womensrunninguk.co.uk/boty16 to register your vote and to be in with a chance of winning one of five Up & Running vouchers, worth £50 each! The Brand of the Year will be unveiled in our January issue. So cast your vote now!
and you could win that...
vote now! WR83_063.indd 63
15- MINUTE CHRISTMAS WORKOUT We admit, it’s not Christmas yet! But over the next few weeks our lives will become busier with parties, school plays, shopping trips and frantic end-of-year work, so our fitness editor Anne-Marie Lategan has put together this quick fix to keep your strength up to speed
SETS & REPS
Perform each exercise for one minute with no rest. After the five-minute set, rest for two minutes and repeat all five exercises again.
Muscles used: Legs and bottom (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes) Why do it? This is a great exercise to tone your legs and raise your heart rate to burn off party calories. Technique: • Stand with your feet hip-width apart • Step forwards with your right leg • Bend both knees to perform a lunge • Step back to the starting position • Repeat with your left leg • Keep alternating between right and left Watch points: Keep your upper body upright; don’t lean forwards.
KNEELING CROSSOVER GLUTE LIFT
Muscles used: Bottom (glutes) Why do it? Tone your bottom! It will boost your running (and your party dress confidence). Technique: • Kneel on all fours on the floor • Lift your left leg up until it’s level with your hips • Keep your left knee bent at a right angle • Lower your left leg, crossing over your right leg • Return to the top position • Change sides in your second set Watch points: Keep your back still and parallel with the floor.
Muscles used: Chest, arms, upper back (pectorals, triceps, trapezius) Why do it? This upper-body move helps your running posture (and party-outfit arms). Technique: • Kneel on the floor • Place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders • Keep your tummy muscles tight • Bend your elbows and lower your chest to the floor • Push back up to the starting position Watch points: Keep your torso solid and straight – if your technique stalls, stop.
Muscles used: Side muscles (obliques) Why do it? Tighten up your waistline (before you expand it at Christmas) Technique: • Lie on your back on the floor • Place your hands on your temples and lift your legs off the floor with your knees bent at right angles • Crunch your head and shoulders off the floor, moving your right elbow towards your left knee • Simultaneously extend your right leg • Return back to the centre position and repeat on the other side • Keep alternating between right and left Watch points: Don’t do the movement too fast as it will just build up momentum, giving the muscles less time to train.
WEIGHTED SIDE CRUNCHES
Muscles used: Side muscles (obliques) Why do it? Training your side muscles will shape your waist as well as helping to stabilise your pelvis. Technique: • Lie on your side on the floor with your knees slightly bent • Roll your upper body backwards • Hold a weight with both hands on your chest • Crunch your head and shoulders off the floor • Ensure that your ribcage moves towards your hip-bone • Complete one set on the right before changing over to the left Watch points: If you feel pain in your neck, place the hand of your bottom arm behind your head for support but don’t pull on your head.
WORDS : Anne-Marie Lategan PHOTOS: Neil Godwin/Future Studios MODEL: Kim Ingleby CLOTHING: Crop top: Crane Sportswear (ALDI); Capris: Tesco; Shoes: Nike Free 5.0
Stay in touch Don’t wait another month to get your Women’s Running fix! Visit our website at womensrunninguk.co.uk for loads more tips to keep you fit, healthy and motivated
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©HORST VON BOHLEN
PHOTOGRAPHS MAKE FANTASTIC RACE MEMENTOES. HERE 12 RUNNERS SHARE THEIR FAVOURITES WITH LISA JACKSON AND TELL HER WHY THEY’RE SO SPECIAL...
“This special picture was taken at a 261 Fearless ‘Train the Trainer’ course held in Manchester on a very wet and windy May weekend. Living in sunny Malta, I rarely run in such conditions! My smile clearly reminds me how running, even if it involves stomping in a lot of mud, can bring total strangers together to achieve common goals and form lasting friendships.”
© ADAM BIRD
Josie Cassar, 40
“Six months of hard winter training, many tears, and sobs of ‘I can’t do this!’ are represented by this photo from my first marathon. It took me 6hrs 10mins to finish and, even though I’ve run two further marathons and bettered my time in both, this picture (and the feeling of pride attached to it) is still my favourite as I never for one minute believed I could run that far.” Emma Bird, 40, Bristol
“In this photo, I’m helping a runner called Sue get the time she was aiming for during our weekly 5K time trial. As soon as I reached her, she gritted her teeth and lifted her knees higher to speed up. I loved hearing her say a little ‘YES!’ at the end when she realised she had a good time in the bag.” Dawn Annett, 48, Dartford, co-founder of the So Let’s Go Running community running project
© BRIAN PAGE
“This photo was taken at my first – and last! – 50K, the Great Cranberry Island 50K in Maine. There is only one road on the island and you run back and forth along it all day! It sounds crazy (and it is) but it’s one of the most fun races I’ve ever done. The really insane part was I actually had a stress fracture in my left leg but didn’t know it until I got my scan results back two days later!” Danielle Cemprola, 30, Greenville, South Carolina
“This is the first running photo ever taken of me. It captures the moment I realised I was actually a ‘runner’, rather than someone who just runs.”
Anna Hatton, 43, north London
© EDDIE VEGA
“I love this picture, which was taken at the finish line of the PlusNet Yorkshire Marathon in 2013, as I’m smiling, not grimacing! The course was downhill to the finish and I’d done what, for me, is a really great time (4hrs 17mins). I felt as if I was flying. I look like my dad, who ran a 3hrs 15mins marathon back in the day – it’s down to him that I started running at all. Now I’ve clocked up 175 marathons and hope to get to 200 by the end of this year.”
Donna Sinacola, 48
© BRIAN PAGE
“My running club’s founder, Brian, took this photo during the first hill of the 40th Dartford Half Marathon. It reminds me that running helps me feel free – and how much I like poking my tongue out at friends!”
“This image captures me accomplishing my goal of completing my first marathon before I turned 50. I had panic attacks as the day approached, because whenever I tackle a new distance my breathing becomes erratic, my face turns red and I burst into floods of tears, thereby alarming the marshals who always think I’m in need of medical assistance. To prevent this, I ran 26.7 miles four weeks before and cried my eyes out with my family so I got all that over with. That’s why this is an arms-outstretched photo showing me running up to the finish line, happy, smiling and whooping with joy!” Somei Back, 52, originally from Hong Kong, now living in Colchester
©TZRUNS/STUART MARCH PHOTOGRAPHY
Emma Shrubb, 37, New Ash Green, Kent
“I lost my beloved 14-year-old daughter Chloe to cancer in 2007, and running was great therapy in coping with her loss. This photo shows me exhausted but exhilarated at the finish line of my first marathon in 2012. Running the London Marathon was a major event in my life and it inspired me to go on to run three marathons and 30 half-marathons.”
©DEE RAND PHOTOGRAPHY
Lesley Bigmore, 58, Bridgend
“My favourite race photo was taken at my 18th marathon, the Kent Road Runner, in May 2014. I was thrilled that I managed to do what, after 91 marathons, is still my PB: 4hrs 48mins.”
“My twin sister, Julia Wellings, and I both run marathons and have done over 100 between us. The most special marathon we’ve run so far was the Somme Centenary in Dover on 1 July this year, which marked the 100th anniversary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme. It sent chills down my spine as we ran along looking out over the Channel towards France, trying to comprehend what the servicemen went through that very day 100 years ago.” Theresa Massey, 43, Welling
©TZRUNS/STUART MARCH PHOTOGRAPHY
Maryanne Aitken, 54, from Broadstairs
“This photo sums up running to me: completing a serious distance while having fun and not taking myself too seriously. It was taken at the 2015 Bacchus Marathon and I dressed as a cavewoman. I ran it with a friend and we loved chatting, laughing and drinking wine all the way round while squeaking our clubs at passers-by!” Mary Wilson, 40, Reading
Look good *Run better! Women’s Running Buff £10 (+P&P)
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ESTE R T D!
WR T ED!
ED! W EST
FREE RUNNING DANCE THROUGH THE WINTER MUD WITH OUR PICK OF THE BEST TRAIL SHOES compiled by tina Chantrey
TESTED: TRAIL SHOES
BUY THE RIGHT TRAIL SHOE
MEET THE WR TEST TEAM
Make sure you get the right shoes for your purpose and surface. Look for:
Our kit tests are 100% independent. The test team is made up of Women’s Running staff and contributors, who come in all shapes, sizes and speeds – but who all love running! They are:
Tread: The most important aspect of your off-road shoe is the outsole and your best choice depends on your chosen running surface. Deep, rugged lugs are well suited for muddy running, while sticky rubber compounds can help you go from road to trail, or to cope with slippery rocks and tree roots. Midsole: Trails are naturally soft and the landing position of your foot will vary with the terrain, so you don’t need the shoe to offer as much deep cushioning or stability structure in the midsole. Even if you’re a fan of cushioning, when you’re running on wilder trails you might prefer a less padded midsole, as having a good feel for the ground beneath you is preferable on a trail. As a rule, the more technical your trail, the less shoe you want under your feet. Rock plate: You can’t see this, but the shoe’s description should tell you whether it includes a rock plate. This is a harder section of material under the outsole that protects your feet from sharp rocks and twigs on the trail. Upper: Basically, you have two options here: go for an open-meshed upper that will drain and dry quickly if you get wet; or go for a ‘winterised’ upper that has some waterproofing. Some trail shoes even have a gaiter component to stop gravel and twigs working their way into your shoe.
Jennifer Bozon, assistant editor; trains three to four times per week Jackie Brydon, accounts manager; races ultras and tricky Cornish coastal events Claire Chamberlain, columnist; has just run a hilly trail 10K Elizabeth Hufton, editor; runs twice per week Lisa Jackson, contributing editor and member of the 100 Marathon Club Olivia Neocleous, advertising sales executive; runs four times per week Cristina Slattery Lopez, advertising manager; runs two to three times per week
NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM GOBI TRAIL Tested by: Liz newbalance.co.uk
First impressions? New Balance
could not have designed a more perfect-looking trainer for me. I love the colour and the tread. £75 Try-on feel is plush and soft. How good was the fit? These are a true size six – I often find running shoes are too long these days. The width is really generous, great for me as I have wide feet. They are nice and snug with a soft, no-seam upper – they’re a pleasure to wear. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? They feel really good quality with no
ragged seams and are very different to a lot of trail shoes I’ve seen, so clearly they’re not a carbon copy or off-the-peg design. However, they are not the most rugged offroad shoes I’ve had – they are designed for both road and trail so I guess they’re meant for light trail use. Any useful and/or unique features? I was initially surprised to see reflective thread woven into the laces, as I thought these were for off-road running – however, I think they’re designed for on and off-road use so this is a nice feature. How did they feel when you’re running? These are really soft, bouncy and responsive trainers, with a low sole (much lower to the
ground than it looks) and one-piece foam unit that gives a great ground feel. However, they are quite slippy on hard surfaces in the wet. This is a bit of a drawback as few people live right on the trail and these are designed to be versatile – I didn’t feel that confident running down the street when it was raining. On gentle trails like towpaths, park trails and forest tracks, the grip is much improved, but the outsole is not really gnarly enough for full-on mountain tracks. How do you feel about the look of the shoes?
Absolutely love the look. They’re smart enough to wear around town in my opinion (as long as it’s not raining – see above). What’s the best thing about them? The look. What’s the worst thing about them? The loss of grip on roads in wet weather. How would you rate them out of 10 for value? 9 Would you buy them? I’d buy them based on the look alone! I usually run on a towpath and they are great for that use. So yes. Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 7
TESTED: TRAIL SHOES
MONTRAIL ROGUE FKT Tested by: Claire
SAUCONY XODUS ISO Tested by: Cristina
SALOMON WINGS FLYTE 2 Tested by: Jennifer
First impressions? I loved the coral and blue –
so pretty. Plus the treads on the soles looked impressive enough to be able to tackle some tough trails! How good was the fit? The fit was quite snug, but very comfortable. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? These were very lightweight, which
was great, plus I loved the fact the laces were fairly short, so no excess of loops flapping around when I ran! Any useful and/or unique features? The mesh
upper made the shoe
First impressions? When I first put on the
shoes I was struck by the feel. They have a ‘slipper’ similarity, very comfortable. How good was the fit? I am a size 4 in running shoes, but Saucony shoes always come up small. I tested a size 4.5, but they still seemed a bit tight so size 5 would be perfect. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? The ISOFIT top sole was the main
feature that caught my attention. It provides additional closer-to-the-foot cushioning, similar to a sock-like feel. Any useful and/or unique features? They have the RUNDRY feature, which removes sweat and keeps your foot dry while you run. How did they feel when you’re running?
They were perfect, very lightweight and comfortable. How do you feel about the look of the shoes?
I love the colours.
very breathable, plus there appears to be another mesh layer underneath with much finer holes, to ensure grit and dirt can’t seep through. How did they feel when you’re running?
These were brilliant to run in! They were comfortable right from the start and there was no chafing or rubbing at all through my run. They coped admirably with the trails – I ran down a few scree slopes and along a rutted bridleway, and I didn’t slip at all. The treads on the soles and the fact they feel very stable really enhanced my confidence off-road. There was a disappointing lack of mud the week I tested these, so I didn’t have the chance to test them in really wintry offroad conditions, but my gut instinct is they would hold up well. How do you feel about the look of the shoes? I loved the coral colour. But while they’re very pretty, I can’t wait to get them dirty as the weather worsens and the mud increases! What’s the best thing about them? These are absolutely fit for purpose: a secure fit, great grip and lightweight. What’s the worst thing about them? I honestly couldn’t fault these trail shoes… I love them. How would you rate them out of 10 for value? 10 Would you buy this? Without a doubt! Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 10 – if I could give them a higher mark, I would!
What’s the best thing about them? After running
in these shoes for one month, the comfort has stayed for every run. They have become my favourite trail running shoe. How would you rate them out of 10 for value? 9 Would you buy this? Yes, definitely! Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 9.5
First impressions? As a trail novice, used to
minimal road shoes, I was quite nervous about trying these hefty-looking shoes!
How good was the fit?
Perfect. I loved how they snug they felt.
What did you think of the attention to detail?
Salomon has updated its Agile Chassis System, incorporated in the sole, for an extra stable ride. I’ve not tried its predecessor, but I definitely felt the stability of these shoes on lumpy trails, particularly on the descent. Any useful and/or unique features? Two features stood out to me: the grip, featuring deep lugs, designed for extra control when going downhill, and the quick-lace system, which made them super secure. How did they feel when you’re running?
Although the lightest weight option in the Wings line, I did find them a little heavy underfoot. The cushioning felt great though. What’s the best thing about them? The stability and cushioning. What’s the worst thing about them? The bulkiness but you do need it for protection. How would you rate them out of 10 for value? 8 Would you buy this? Yes, definitely! Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 8 £85
TESTED: TRAIL SHOES
ASICS GEL FUJI TRABUCO 5 Tested by: Lisa
MERRELL ALL OUT CRUSH SHIELD Tested by: Olivia
First impressions? I’ve always dreamed of
owning ASICS trainers as they’re very highly regarded, but for various reasons shoe retailers have always told me they weren’t suitable for me, so I was thrilled to test these. How good was the fit? The fit is amazing. I have to wear trainers a size bigger than my normal shoes so often end up looking like Minnie Mouse with oversized feet. These fitted snugly £105 and gave my feet a streamlined look but
still had plenty of room for my toes. Any useful or unique features? These shoes
contain a high-density but light 1.5mm Rock Protection Plate to protect your feet from sharp rocks, and the mesh they’re made of means they’re breathable and dry quickly.
How did they feel when you’re running?
I normally go for super-cushioned shoes so was a little sceptical at first that I’d like these, but once I ran in them I found them adequately cushioned and liked the way they provided stability too – I have very wonky ankles that give way suddenly when I least expect it and these shoes seemed designed to prevent that, especially on uneven ground. How do you feel about the look? ‘Eek, they’re not pink enough,’ were my first thoughts, but then I remembered that these dark blue shoes would match my new 100 Marathon Club T-shirt perfectly so I was won over. What’s the best thing about them? I love the streamlined look and the fact they provide cushioning and stability at the same time. They’re also light and super comfortable, and grip the trail like tractor tyres. How would you rate them out of 10 for value?
These shoes aren’t cheap at over £100, but they look very durable and I know they have ASICS’ amazing research behind them. Would you buy them? Yes, I would. Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 9 as I would’ve liked a touch more cushioning, but I’m not sure that’s feasible in a trail shoe!
First impressions? I love the design! They
have a jazzy look about them with all the different shades of purple and zigzag lines across the sides of the toe box. How good was the fit? The fit was perfect for me (it’s very rare to find a shoe that fits me well). The foot was secured in place with a small but comfortable amount of wiggle room and space for my toes to spread when I left the ground on each stride. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? The quality of the shoe is hard to
describe, they sort of have a plastic toy feel to them. I think this is because they are very light and the heel guard is very stiff at the back, also the whole shoe looks like it has been superglued together. Any useful and/or unique features? There are reflective details for increased visibility in low light, perfect for night runs. How did they feel when you’re running? Very light and comfortable. The TrailProtect pad
offers under-foot protection, great for when you are running on uneven terrain. How do you feel about the look of the shoes?
Overall, I like the look of them when they’re on; they are not too overbearing and have an arty look to them which makes them unique. What’s the best thing about them? They’re very light but still durable. They’re also water repellent, so perfect for the trails in winter. What’s the worst thing about them? The grip tunnels on the sole are not pavement friendly. I felt a little unsteady on my feet running on the road in them but, then again, they are not built for that! How would you rate them out of 10 for value? 7 Would you buy them? Yes. Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 8
HOKA ONE ONE MAFATE SPEED 2 Tested by: Jackie hokaoneone.com
First impressions? I love the contrasting grey
and acid colour with the bright lime green laces and matching sole. How good was the fit? The fit is very good. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? The quality is superb. They are
extremely light for a trail shoe and offer great support and cushioning over uneven terrain. I wore them on a 16-mile multiterrain run and found them to be great on the muddy trails as well as offering excellent cushioning on the tarmac. Any useful and/or unique features? The grip is fantastic. The 5mm Vibram Mega-Grip tread never let me down, and at no point on my run did I slip or slide.
I love the look, especially the great colours. They are also extremely easy to clean. What’s the best thing about them? By far, it has to be the grip; I cannot fault it. What’s the worst thing about them? I can’t think of anything bad. I love them! How would you rate them out of 10 for value? 9 – they are quite expensive but they are superb shoes. Would you buy them? Yes. Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 10 £130
How did they feel when you’re running?
They are extremely comfortable to wear and worked brilliantly on all surfaces, muddy trails, loose stony slopes and slippery roads.
How do you feel about the look of the shoes?
BORED OF THE SAME OLD RACES? Find something different with Racebook, the new fullyinteractive online race listing from Wild Bunch Media, publishers of Men’s Running and Women’s Running. Racebook features the best events with images, video content, location maps and as much detail as anyone interested in running a race will ever need to know – from 5K to ultramarathons.
THE UK’S ONLY MONTHLY TRAIL RUNNING MAGAZINE
Wrap up warm for your off-road runs
It's almost time for the team's big race
H OI C E
OMNI Superfood for women
omnisuperfood.com, from £20
This blend is tailored specifically for women, with highly absorbable vitamins, minerals, proteins and red maca. Take it to fix diet deficiencies, top up your nutrition and promote a healthy lifestyle; you’ll be powering through those chilly runs!
new leaves THE TREES ARE ON THE TURN SO GET OUTSIDE AND E N J OY T H E C O LO U R S I N T H I S G O R G E O U S K I T compiled by tina Chantrey
Columbia OutDry Ex Gold down jacket blacks.co.uk, £220
This is a powerhouse of a jacket! It features goodsized internal pockets to stash plenty of essentials, with two on each side, plus two external ones. The OutDry waterproof membrane will keep you dry, while the 700 fill power goosedown keeps you warm. For added protection you get an adjustable hem and hood, plus elasticated cuffs.
Garmin Forerunner 35 garmin.com, £169.99
Manuka Life demi stripe tee Bellum Active endurance QSKIN run top bellumactive.co.uk, £55
Tackle your trails with confidence in this highperformance, sweat-wicking, antibacterial, quick-drying long-sleeve top. You get a hidden back pocket for essentials, and thumb holes, giving you extra protection for your hands.
Not sure what to wear? Layer up with this flattering grey marl tee, with black mesh stripes engineered for breathability. Not only will it move with you, its embossed streamline seams won’t chafe or irritate. A silver heat-sealed reflective logo on the back makes sure you’re extra safe in the dark. This top is incredibly cosy.
The latest from Garmin, the Forerunner 35 has built-in Elevate wrist-based heart rate technology. It doubles as an all-day activity tracker. There are multiple sport profiles and battery life is up to 13 hours in training mode. Just put it on and go!
Ultimate Performance arm sleeve ultimate-performance.co.uk, £13
Transition to the colder weather with these arm sleeves; you can simply push them down once you’ve warmed up. The Nilit Heat yarn captures your body heat naturally, so you won’t overheat. You get a wicking, breathable, customised fit that puts no restriction on your movements, plus a handy stitched-in sweat band.
Ronhill Space-Dye LS Tee ronhill.com, £40
Get edgy with this very lightweight knitted fabric. It really feels beautiful against the skin, and Vapourlite technology makes it quick drying. It has a stretchy, relaxed fit as well as the bonus of reflective strips on both back and front.
Skins DNAmic compression tights skins.net, £70
Wear these during your high-intensity workouts, and post-run, to support your muscles and reduce recovery time. Mesh at the rear of the leg enhances ventilation, panels wrap around your leg to support your muscle groups and the soft, stretchy waistband won’t irritate. You’ve got five striking designs to choose from – it’s time to meet your match!
Philips ActionFit wireless freedom headphones philips.co.uk, £69.99
Bridgedale Active compression socks bridgedale.com, £28
Protect and support your running in these compression socks. We love the targeted cushioning, especially under the balls of your feet and around the Achilles band. Coolmax fibres wick moisture and help regulate temperature, and graduated compression improves your blood circulation.
Choose between earhooks, fins or earbud styles to get your fit right while you’re on the move. With ambient sound awareness, you’ll stay tuned into your surroundings and be safe. You also get a magnetic cable clip, Bluetooth technology and a Kevlar-coated cable for durability – and we can vouch for the high-performance sound.
GREAT LENGTHS With a few weeks to go, our Project Trail team is almost ready… photos: Eddie Macdonald
We last caught up with Stephanie Dutton, Abbey Payne and Clare Steel – our Project Trail team members – as they were about to take part in the Cranham Mummy Beast, a warm-up for their target race, the Bath Hilly Half. Coach Anne-Marie Lategan has helped them to analyse their races at the Mummy Beast and take the lessons learnt into their last few weeks of training ahead of the Hilly Half on 13 November. With some seriously long trail runs under their belts, our ladies are now gearing up for the final push towards their goal…
From Coaley, near Tetbury • Age 55 Job Head teacher at Alderman Knight Special School, Tewkesbury, Gloucs
After the Mummy Beast, it seemed like energy levels could be an issue for you. How are you addressing this? On shorter, flatter runs of up to five miles, my energy levels are now much better and I can complete them without the need to drink or ‘refuel’! I am thinking about my pre-run food more carefully and actually when I eat. This is having a huge impact on my ability to keep going and not to get stitch! I have always found eating and drinking while running just doesn’t work for me, so pre-run food and drink is extremely important. On longer runs of seven miles or more, I have started taking caffeine tablets. These seem to be really helping and I have found on my most recent long run of 12 miles that I was still running and feeling OK at the end, even when the last mile was all uphill! Are you managing to fit in your midweek runs? For the first two weeks back at school, I managed the Wednesday run OK, stopping off halfway home. I had a blip when work commitments and energy levels were such that I could only manage a couple of miles at a gentle jog! However, in week 13, I decided I had to stop making excuses and do a proper run. I
arranged to meet my brother and we did a great five-mile run. I was able to run at a consistent pace, not too far off my parkrun pace, and I was able to have a bit of a conversation with him at the same time! This is definitely progress! You have been doing different long runs and races on the weekends. Tell us about some of your favourites over the last month… I really enjoy doing longer runs at the weekend. At the moment, my favourite distance is about seven miles and I am lucky that in Gloucestershire there are plenty of trail runs of this length to choose from. On 1 October I did an Original Maverick run that started at Symonds Yat in the Forest of Dean. Although my brother had hoped to run with me, he couldn’t on the day, so I went by myself. Although I was apprehensive [about going on my own] I actually talked to more people! For me it was a first as well as I ran up the hills! My other favourite run of the month was my first 12-mile run – this is the longest distance I have done and I decided to do it on a hilly trail round Woodchester Park. I was so pleased with myself when my watch ticked over the 12 miles and I was still running.
You said you hoped Project Trail would give some structure to your training – is it working? I have so enjoyed being part of Project Trail for the motivation and confidence it has given me to keep pushing myself. The structure provided by the training plan and the expectations on me have ensured I get out and run even when energy levels are low and my Inbox and ‘to do list’ just keep expanding! I always find that when I come back I am re-energised and, actually, I am more productive. How do you feel the whole thing has affected your view of yourself as a runner? Completing the seven-mile Old Maverick (which was a pretty hilly run) without walking was a huge boost for me. I had felt disappointed with myself at the Beast as I had walked quite a lot and wasn’t managing the rehydration and eating side of running. I now know that actually I don’t need to drink much and a quick swig at a water station is all I need. Similarly, eating while running is something I can’t manage and don’t seem to need for the distance and pace I do. I absolutely love trail running and get such a sense of pleasure running in the early morning with my dog through the woods. It really is the very best ‘me time’ I could want. What are you enjoying about the Hilly Half preparation at the moment? Gradually increasing the distance I can run has been one of the big benefits of training for the Hilly Half. Before this challenge, I said I wouldn’t be able to run more than seven or eight miles and I wouldn’t want to. However, hitting the 12mile mark was amazing and, although I am not sure that the half-marathon length will become a preferred distance, I will be extremely chuffed with myself when I achieve it! … and what are you still struggling with? The realisation that the race is nearly upon us! When we met on that lovely day in July, the race seemed such a long way away. The weeks have flown by and the concern of whether I have done enough is beginning to prey on my mind! Finally, how are you feeling about the big race in four weeks’ time? I am really excited about the race, although apprehensive of course as well, as I know despite the preparation that it certainly will not be easy! It is a two-loop course and although at first I had hoped it would be just one 13.2-mile loop, I am now glad it is two loops, as once I start the second loop I will know what is coming and how many more hills to the finish!
From milton keynes • Age 62 Job Swimming teacher, specialising in fear of water
How is everything going at the moment? On the whole I would say really well. My stamina and endurance has improved, which is a nice feeling. But there are some niggles going on, which are bothering me. The muscles along my shins are sore – oddly enough, not during a run, but afterwards. Anne-Marie suggested massaging, which I do most days, and it does help. But the problem isn’t going away. You gave a great account of the Mummy Beast in your blog. What were the biggest things you learned from it? Several things. The Mummy Beast was tough in places and there were times that my stamina and endurance were definitely being tested. I wouldn’t say I was unprepared physically but, having done it, I would train differently. Also [I learned] that if I accidentally go off course, to stop for a moment or two, breathe, relax, be patient and head back to the sign, where hopefully I’d see other runners… And to enjoy the day, it’s supposed to be fun!
swimming, which helped with my flexibility, then I introduced spinning, which improved my stamina and endurance. As my confidence grew, I eventually stepped into the gym, which has helped me to get stronger. Getting physically stronger and fitter has helped me stay mentally positive. When I look back to 2015, I can’t believe I started running without working on any of the above, so it was not surprising that at some point my body would break down. My training has been a real learning curve, and still is! What are you loving most about the longer trail runs now? I love the tranquillity and getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The autumnal colours are spectacular at the moment, and whenever I come across a view, I stop to
breathe and take in the beauty. Life is good! … and what are you still struggling with? I’ve not yet reached my milestone of 12 miles. I’ve got to 10, which was OK, but my shins were quite sore after the run. I’m reluctant to push it, as I want to be good for the Bath Hilly Half. What role is your club playing in your training at the moment? The Redway Runners have lots of different runs, which I can choose from. I run with them twice a week, which involves interval training and a paced run. On Sundays I get together with other RRs for off-trail running. How are you feeling about your last few weeks’ training before the Hilly Half? I’m a little concerned about my shins; although they’re not getting any worse, they’re also not getting any better. Fitness/stamina wise, I feel ready, I think! I did see a YouTube video on the Bath Hilly Half, which in a word looks horrible! My choice is going to be to enjoy the experience, horrible or not! Twitter: @stephaniedutton Instagram: run_granma_run
You’ve had to think about your nutrition a bit – how has that come on since the race? Do you know what you’ll be eating and drinking in the Bath Hilly Half now? I would say that my nutrition is pretty good. What I need to do is to make sure that I eat what I normally have the night before a race, have a hearty breakfast, and a HIGH5 protein drink just 30 minutes before the race. During the race, I’ll nibble on the HIGH5 energy bars, which will keep me going. You obviously love to be active in different ways, so tell us how you build in recovery time at the moment? I presently exercise five or six days a week, with one day recovery. Anne-Marie has been chasing me up for some time now to take more time off, and I am trying to find a balance. So, I’m now taking two days off, but on those days I go for a leisurely swim, sauna and a jacuzzi. You reflected in your blog that your strength work was paying off – how do you feel your fitness and your body has changed? When I was injured last March, and had to take three months off from running, I decided that I needed to get stronger. I started with yoga and
Twitter: @xabbeyx90 Instagram: abbeyp90
What are you loving most about the longer trail runs now? Exploring the countryside and the world around me. On a long trail run, you get to see so many places you wouldn’t see normally because it would take you a long time to walk to them. …and what are you still struggling with? I’m still struggling with hills. My legs aren’t strong enough yet but I’m getting there with regular strength exercises. I’m going to do the aqua gym classes with my auntie while I’m in Ibiza [on holiday in October] and I’m also going to try running in the pool because it will be better for my knee at the moment. How are you treating your knee pain at the moment? I use an ice pack about twice a day for 15-20 minutes and I’ve had about two weeks off running. I need to focus on resting my knee and building my strength up. Instead of running, I’ve been using the cross-trainer and bike we have at home in our spare room to keep up my cardio.
From Preston • Age 25 Job Senior operative at Boots Dispensing Support Pharmacy
We heard in your blog that the Mummy Beast was exactly that – a beast! What were your biggest lessons from the race? I think the biggest lesson for me was that I like to run with other people and the support from other runners and the volunteers keep me going. I really didn’t like the first half of the Mummy Beast because I was running (more like walking) on my own with nobody else in sight. I had a panic attack and felt really anxious because I didn’t know the way out of the woods. I only calmed down when I found some other runners at the halfway checkpoint. Another lesson I learnt was that it’s OK to walk up hills! I put so much pressure on myself to run the whole way round and I think that’s what made me panic. With a few weeks to look back on it, how do you feel about that race? I feel fine about it now. I learnt a lot from it
and I’m glad I did it because there were some wonderful views. I know if I put my mind to something, I can do it and I proved that at the halfway point where I got a sudden burst of energy and sprinted from there towards the finish! You’re now well into your training and recently did your longest run, a whopping 12 miles. How did it go? I really enjoyed my 12-mile run! I didn’t run out of energy either. I had overnight oats a couple of hours before, a HIGH5 gel half an hour before and took Jelly Babies to eat every half an hour. I also saw parts of my hometown that I’d never seen before and we actually have some pretty decent countryside to run in! Something happened to my knee when we hit mile 10. It was like something clicked and I felt a sharp pain. I managed to jog the last two miles slowly but I’ve no idea what I did!
We’re about four weeks away from the race now. How does your training look? It was looking OK until I injured my knee! I’m having to play it by ear and update Anne-Marie regularly so we can change things if we need to. I don’t know how the next few weeks will pan out but I know there will be lots of strength training and rest in there! When we last spoke, your whole family was getting into the running with you – how are they doing? They’re doing amazing! Dad came and did parkrun with me and my mum the other week and he did really well. He kept up with me for the first two laps and then I went off ahead. He wasn’t far behind me, though. My mum also got herself a new PB, 33:20! A good seven minutes knocked off from her first parkrun. I’ve said she’s not allowed to train with me any more, she goes too fast! I’m so proud of them both. Finally, how are you feeling about the race at the moment? I’m actually feeling OK about it. I believe everything happens for a reason and while injuring my knee means I can’t run at the moment, it means I’m forced to focus on building my strength up which, in the long run, will do me some good. I’m nervous about the prospect of running on my own again but I’m just going to enjoy the views and enjoy being in the moment if that happens.
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— When all you want to be is better —
PLAN YOUR YEAR Six questions to ask yourself about 2017
© XAVIER ROBLEDA
JOIN THE WR BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE! Read this for your chance to join our 2017 dream team!
PLAN YOUR PERFECT H o p i n g f o r a y e a r o f p l e n t y i n 2 0 1 7 ? Ta k e a r e a l i s t i c a p p r o a c h t o y o u r r a c e
ope. Such a beautiful, treacherous emotion. Beautiful when it’s fulfilled and all the things you dreamed about, planned and worked towards come to fruition; treacherous because there can’t be many worse feelings than the frustration of thwarted hope. Maybe we’re getting a bit deep for a running article, but then we runners do invest a lot of emotion into our races. Whether we’re trying to redeem a bad year or build on a good one, the hope we invest in next year’s races raises the stakes for the months ahead. Achieving your dream results and experiencing that fantastic high takes a lot, from the perfect race day back through months of well executed training sessions, and it all starts right here at the planning stage. When you’re
Planning a house move? Make sure your race schedule works around it
pinning up next year’s beautifully blank race planner and deciding what to fit in and when, ask yourself these six questions to improve your chances of success. 1. WHICH RACE MATTERS MORE TO YOU THAN ANYTHING? It is not a great idea to pin all your hopes on just one race next year, just in case you’re struck down with a virus or twist your ankle the day before. But neither is it a good plan to have an ‘A’ race on the schedule every weekend. So choose just one race from your list for 2017 that will be your primary focus. This is especially important if your focus is on longer events, but even if you’re choosing to hone your 10K speed, it’s a good idea to pick one race that you will protect from the temptation of too many warm-up events, and that will be
cushioned with a week or two of clear diary dates. 2. HOW MANY ‘TOP PRIORITIES’ CAN YOU HAVE? We’ve heard runners say things like, “Next year I’m going to break four hours for the marathon but I’m also going to run an ultra – and I want to make a good job of it!” Time to get real: you can only have one top priority. One thing that comes first. If you think you have two – then you don’t really have one at all! Both aims will suffer. So decide on your number one goal, whether it’s improving time, increasing distance, or trying a different race experience next year. Get your timing and training right and you might be able to achieve other things too, but be prepared to sacrifice secondary goals in favour of your number one aim. 3. WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING IN YOUR LIFE? So, this is the year you’re going to smash that four-hour marathon mark then. Which is especially exciting because it’s also the year you move in to your dream home, and finally start that evening course… Sound familiar? It’s OK to want to cram as much as you can into life. We find it’s particularly common among runners, in fact, who are naturally energetic and easily become addicted to the feeling of achievement that comes from progressing a project. However, when you’re planning your racing year, you need to first look at the immovable events womensrunninguk.co.uk
planning, says Elizabeth Hufton
work with, a couple of unmissable sessions each week – with the flexibility to drop or change others if you need to – and regular progress checks scheduled in to your training so that you know if and when something needs to be adjusted.
Some people keep their plans flexible so they can run with friends on a whim
going on elsewhere in your life in 2017. Weddings, house moves, job changes, even big holidays need to be factored in. You can either choose a new race goal a few months before or after your other big events, or perhaps choose something less time-consuming but equally satisfying, like slashing a full minute off your 5K PB. 4. HOW LONG CAN YOU KEEP UP THE MOTIVATION? Say you’ve taken our advice and chosen one big race to aim towards next year. What if that race is in October? That’s a long time to maintain focus on your dream goal. You might feel fired up now as you fill in the race entry form and highlight the race on your calendar, but you’ll find it easier to keep going if you have intermediate goals to aim for. Working with a coach is the most effective way to plan in these ‘B’ races but, womensrunninguk.co.uk
with a bit of research, you can do it yourself. If you don’t want to enter lots of races then just use progress markers in training – it’s often helpful to have a few go-to test routes near your home, that you can use to run regular time trials on, to keep check on your performance. 5. HOW MUCH DETAIL DO YOU LIKE TO KNOW IN ADVANCE? Some people like to be flexible in their running, occasionally training with friends or chopping around sessions to fit their changing routine. Other people like to know the details of every speed interval for the next three months. The best way to work is somewhere in the middle. Break your year down into blocks of four weeks leading up to your key races, and try not to get bogged down in the detail of your sessions beyond that. Just make sure you have a structure to
6. WHERE IS YOUR RUNNING AT RIGHT NOW? Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself before you start planning your domination of the local cross-country league or your first glorious marathon finish: are you fit right now? If you are not running at all due to injury or illness, it is tempting to promise yourself a brilliant race next year, but you need to be realistic. Any races on your calendar should be written in pencil; save your permanent marker for the physio appointments and regular rehab you’ll be doing to get yourself fixed. If you’re not injured, but have never run before or had a long time off, choose ‘A’ races in the second half of the year so you have plenty of time to turn those hopes into reality.
If you’re injured, plan in physio visits
YOUR MARATHON ADVENTURE STARTS HERE!
Got a guaranteed place and a huge goal for a spring marathon? Looking for free training advice and top-to-toe kit to help you have the best possible ex p e r i e n c e ? T h e n j o i n Wo m e n’s R u n n i n g ’s B i g M a r a t h o n C h a l l e n g e t e a m f o r 2 0 1 7 . We’re looking for four ladies with big marathon dreams who need some help along the way. Their progress will be charted in the magazine and on the website, as well as on the Women’s Running Twitter and Facebook pages. Last year’s Big Marathon Challenge team came on in leaps and bounds from the start of their training in December 2015. For new runner Elle Tyler, it was a chance to receive expert help as she aimed to lose weight and train for her first ever marathon – which she completed in London in April. Alison Bell was fundraising to help Ellenor, the hospice that looked after both of her parents in their final months – as well as helping Alison through her grief. Alison raised thousands of pounds and ran a PB of 4hrs 18mins in London, going on to smash that by four minutes in Edinburgh the following month. Our marathon veteran Jacqui Fry was aiming to run her 50th marathon in Paris and, on her way there, she ran seven 26.2-milers during the course of the Big Marathon Challenge. Samantha Commons had ‘accidentally’ bagged spots in both London and Brighton – a week
apart – so her challenge was to complete both. She did so in style, managing to run an incredible PB of 4hrs 16mins in London despite injury problems. If you’d like to follow in the footsteps of these four inspirational women, read through our entry criteria below and drop us a line! To enter, you must have… • A guaranteed place in a spring marathon • A big marathon dream: it could be a fast target time, a huge fundraising aim or a major weight-loss goal, for example • A clean bill of health and currently be injury-free • A positive and friendly attitude • A good understanding of and fondness for social media
• Be willing to tweet and blog about your training • Be available to take part in a photo shoot in London on Monday 12 December, 2016. In return, you will receive: • Step-by-step coaching and training plans from leading experts • Free top-to-toe running kit to keep you warm and comfortable during the winter training months • All the pre, during and post-run nutrition you can shake a stick at • Ongoing support from the WR team on every step of your marathon journey! Whether it’s your first or your 50th marathon, if you meet the above criteria, you can enter!
Email email@example.com and tell us about your big marathon goal, which marathon you are running, your running background, your age and why you would like to be part of the Big Marathon Challenge. Closing date: Friday 25 November, 2016.
© EDDIE MACDONALD
IN 2 017 !
Elle went from beginner to marathon finisher last year. “I’ve loved every minute of the competition, the magazine, the training,” she said. “I’ve done it, and I’m so proud of myself.”
Sam ran two marathons a week apart – with a PB to boot. “This showed me that with the right support, the training plan provided and the right gear, you can push yourself further.”
“Before this, I’d got to a point where I was just slogging around,” said Alison. “I’ve learned that I can achieve a good time – not always what I want but that I can still be proud of.”
Jacqui achieved her 50th marathon finish with BMC. She said: “I’ve taken two minutes off my time trials since the beginning of the year and I feel a lot more positive about my running.”
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TURN OVER FOR OUR REGULAR RACE REPORTS SECTION
DISNEYLAND PARIS HALFMARATHON
Lizzy Dening runs a fairytale race, p92
BAXTERS LOCH NESS MARATHON
WORDS: ANGELINA MANZANO. PHOTO: TIM WINTERBURN
Karon Davis races in serene scenery, p94
Kim Ingleby's coasting in Dorset, p96
RACE HIGHLIGHTS: DECEMBER 5K
Inflatable 5K · Ipswich · 2 December Now this sounds a bit crazy, but also great fun. Dig out that Santa suit and prepare to take on 10 giant inflatable obstacles. You won’t be fast – but it will be funny. UKRUNNINGEVENTS.CO.UK/INFLATABLE-5K-SANTA-RUN-IPSWICH
London Santa Dash · Clapham Common · 4 December Don’t miss this fantastic festive run. Each runner will be sent a Santa suit before the race and snow machines will set the mood on race day. Live music, brass bands, carol singers, mulled drinks and mince pies await you across the finish line. And it’s all for Great Ormond Street Hospital. GOSH.ORG/EVENTS-AND-APPEALS/CHALLENGE-EVENTS/RUN/10K/ LONDON-SANTA-DASH-2016
Milton Keynes Winter Half-Marathon · Buckinghamshire · 11 December Run all around the city of Milton Keynes – literally! The traffic-free route circles the city, and takes in the scenery of the Grand Union Canal. Interested? There’s no entry on the day, so make sure you book in advance. BLUEBOXEVENTS.CO.UK/MK-WINTER-HALF-MARATHON
Canal Christmas Cracker · Leeds · 4 December For a fast, flat and scenic route, try this winter race along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. 10K and half-marathon distances are also on offer and you can celebrate after the race with a pie at the Leeds Postal Sports Association Club. RACEBEST.COM/RACES/CANAL-CHRISTMAS-CRACKER
Christmas Pudding 5 Mile Dash · Nr Battle, East Sussex · 17 December Festive fancy dress is encouraged for this five-mile romp round Ashburnham Place. It’s a rare opportunity to admire the grounds designed and constructed by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown and, as you cross the finish line, you’ll find mulled wine and other festive goodies awaiting you.
Laura Fountain returns to her old stomping ground, p97
CAN’T RACE THIS MONTH? NO TIME TO TRAIN? GET A TASTE OF THE ATMOSPHERE AT… Chase the Pud Santa Dash, Bath – 5 December 2016 Organised by the University of Bath Students’ Union, this 2K fun run is set in the beautiful uni grounds on Claverton Down. Take in the glorious scenery before you head down to the city centre for a wander round the Christmas Market. bathstudent.com/vteam/get-involved/ santa_dash/ Barcelona 'San Silvestre' 10K, Spain – 31 December 2016 For an unforgettable new year, celebrate in the cultural hub of Barcelona where you can welcome in 2017 as you cheer on the 8,000 runners taking on this twilight race. santsilvestre.com/ing
Book GET YOUR ENTRIES IN FOR THESE POPULAR RACES
Run Barbados Marathon Weekend (10K), Barbados – 2-4 December Join WR's Tina Chantrey for your sunniest 'winter' 10K! runbarbados.org or for package details
Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon – 18 December It’s sold out… But entries reopen on 1 November for a limited time. Quick!
Scottish Half-Marathon and 10K, East Lothian – 24 September, 2017 Calling newbies and PB chasers! Entries are now open for this flat, scenic event.
DISNEYLAND PARIS HALF
DISNEYLAND PARIS HALF
THE HAPPIEST RACE ON EARTH WO U L D - B E P R I N C E S S L I Z Z Y D E N I N G TA C K L E S H E R F I R ST H A L F - M A R AT H O N I N T H E FA I RYTA L E S E T T I N G O F D I S N E Y LA N D PA R I S
© RUN DISNEY, LIZZY DENING
he first ambition I had was to be a dog. Specifically, the male T hero from Lady & The Tramp. I know, I’m sure a therapist would have a field day with that one, but it just goes to show that Disney and ambition (however mad) have always been intrinsically linked in my mind. Therefore, after conquering 10Ks aplenty and looking for a new challenge, it made perfect sense to me to sign up for the first ever Disneyland Paris Half-Marathon to tackle 13.1 miles. I was lucky to be staying on site the night before the race, which saw us rising before the sun for a 7am start. This was presumably to make the most of the site being closed to the public, as the first three miles all happened within an eerily empty park. I’d placed myself in the third of four corrals and, if I had one bone to pick with the event as a whole, it’s how long I ended up waiting to run, as my corral didn’t get going until past 8am. Not only was I pretty chilly by then, but my feet felt tired – not the ideal start.
However, it’s hard to be glum when you start running through the Walt Disney Studio Park and into the Disneyland Park itself. While it was of course magical speeding past Sleeping Beauty’s castle, and rides from It’s A Small World to the flying Dumbos, I actually loved all the backstage areas even more. It was fun noticing details usually only available to staff – such as the parking lot where Dalmatian-print cars and a life-sized RC from Toy Story are safely stashed. There were also plenty of characters you could stop for a photo with, but I decided the best plan was to keep going and get warm. Sorry, Jafar – maybe next time. Not surprisingly, as Disney has hosted its fair share of popular races at its American sites, this was the most supremely slick race I’ve ever been to. The water stops were frequent and well-stocked whatever your pace. As an added bonus, there were various flavours of Powerade as well as Special K bars and sliced apple, and also plenty of bins so you didn’t have to lob your cup at
An early start gave participants the run of the park
the verge (which always makes me feel guilty even when I know they’ll be picked up afterwards). Best of all were the huge number of cheery marshals and theme park staff who’d turned out to offer high fives and encourage us to “Allez! Allez!” as we went past. And allez we did. Once out of the parks, there was a slightly unremarkable jaunt around the pancake-flat French countryside, weaving in and out of Chessy and Magny-le-Hongre, where a few startled residents watched us. My favourite element of the race was the range of participants of all ages and sizes – this was the perfect race for a nervous newbie, as there were many walkers and people clearly trying the Jeff Galloway run/ walk method. There were also some fabulous costumes, with everyone from Belle to Buzz covered, which were an excellent distraction. The rest of us mostly chose to wear the Run Disney technical t-shirts we’d been given with our race numbers. Finally it was back into the Disney Village, around more backstage areas and through to the finish, where the most impressive medal I’ve ever seen awaited, along with a goodie bag stuffed with snacks. Truly a fairytale ending.
DISNEYLAND PARIS HALF DETAILS OF NEXT YEAR’S EVENT ARE YET TO BE RELEASED. KEEP AN EYE ON RUN.DISNEYLANDPARIS.COM
Where’s Aladdin’s magic carpet when you need it?
Even Mickey Mouse turned up in his sports kit…
BAXTERS LOCH NESS MARATHON
NESS IS MORE K A R O N D A V I S F I N D S A F R I E N D LY W E L C O M E A N D A G O R G E O U S C O U R S E AT T H E BAXT E R S LO C H N E S S M A R AT H O N
unday 25 September at 6:30am saw me trying to force down S porridge in a hotel dining room, eavesdropping on a lady who had done about a hundred marathons. Luckily there were also some others who, like me, were shall we say slightly less experienced! The bus trip to the starting point took about an hour and it was such a great atmosphere when we arrived at the top of
the windswept hill. I joined a queue for 10 minutes before I realised it was not for the loos but for coffee (it was then an inner struggle between my need for caffeine and the effect that would have on my bladder: the loo queue won) and felt such a buzz to be in this throng of like-minded people. Binbag wrapped tightly round me, I chatted to gazelle-like super-runners, as well as enthusiastic plodders like me. What I love so much about road races is the lack of
ego and the support runners have for each other; the stories of why people run are both inspirational and moving. Slowly at first, and then faster, the waves started to roll; a slow walk became a bit faster, then a trot, and then we were off. I was so obsessed with not hitting the wall that I had gels stuffed everywhere and I drank so much water I did have to, er, go off-piste a few timesâ€Ś I just hope I wasnâ€™t captured by the race photographers.
BAXTERS LOCH NESS MARATHON
These five runners have completed all 15 editions of the Loch Ness Marathon
Karon works her glutes – and her smiling muscles! Everyone felt like a superhero for the day
© TIM WINTERBURN
Jennifer Wetton wins the women’s marathon
The route is stunning with wonderful views of the hills on both sides and is largely downhill at the outset. A word of advice: don’t rocket off feeling like an elite runner, run your own race and pace, despite the temptation! After about six miles, we reached the village of Foyers and, as we left the village, we ran along the road beside the loch. We were treated to panoramic views interspersed with bushes on our left and woodland on our right and many of us
stopped to take photos. At the halfway mark, I was on track for a possible sub-five-hour finish, so I was quite happy with that! There’s a nasty hill around mile 18. I found this bit challenging mentally but checking my GPS watch spurred me on as I ate up the miles (well, chewed them really slowly!). I also took the opportunity to silently thank my PT, Courtney McNally, who made me do all those squats and lunges – you’re right! It IS all about the glutes! From about the 20-mile mark there’s a pretty downhill straight final stretch. The race conditions were perfect: no wind, cloud cover but not cold, the amazing scenery and that wonderful sound of thousands of trainers all hitting the ground. I felt such a surge of adrenaline feeling part of this event. I chatted to lots of people along the way and I particularly enjoyed the high quality banter with Marion, Kirsty and David who were running for Marie Curie. The route marshals were so lovely and encouraging and I applaud them all for giving up their
time to make events like this one so wonderful. The marshal who gave me my medal after 5hrs 14mins was really smiley and excited for me, despite having been standing there for hours! The feed stations were well equipped and well run and, at the last stretch, when we were running through the streets, I felt like an Olympian! Crowds cheering, runners who’d finished shouting me on… and a medal! My partner was at the finish and I then hobbled back to the hotel with him and was gratified to see I wasn’t the only runner rehydrating with beer. I can highly recommend the Baxters Loch Ness Marathon. I had a wonderful day out. If you’re hesitant to take the marathon plunge, then don’t be – sign up, follow your plan and work those glutes!
YOU CAN DO IT! SIGN UP FOR NEXT YEAR’S BAXTERS LOCH NESS MARATHON (OR 10K, ON THE SAME DAY) ON 24 SEPTEMBER 2017: LOCHNESSMARATHON.COM.
COASTING ALONG KIM INGLEBY HEADS TO THE RUGGED DORSET COASTLINE F O R A S M A L L B U T S P E CTA C U LA R R A C E
Swanage Bay and the surrounding Jurassic Coast provide stunning views
Corfe Castle (far left) and Kim’s shepherd’s hut (below left) helped create a serene atmosphere
eading down to register for the Purbeck Marathon, I was a H little apprehensive about what lay ahead of me. With a time limit of seven hours, and more than 3,000ft of climbing on the mostly off-road route, I wasn’t sure if I could reach the finish line. Yet here we were, arriving on Saturday evening to a beautiful sunset over the bay. I felt a spark of excitement and nerves whilst I registered – maybe I could do this! The organisers were quick, efficient and really friendly, even after a long day managing their first ever Nordic Walking Marathon. Once I had collected my number, we headed out to Corfe Castle where I had found a little shepherd’s hut for the night. It was the perfect place for a pre-race night, so quiet and peaceful, with a wood fire and night lights all around. Fuelled up, kit laid out and mental preparation written down, I had a really good night’s sleep. Up bright and early, with my Five Tibetan Rites moves done (I always do these to mobilise and focus the mind), we headed to the start (which is also the finish) in Swanage. The village mayor rang the bell to start the race and around 300 people of all ages and experiences set off! There was a huge variety of runners taking part and everyone was welcomed. The start was tough, with the path rising up immediately. Yet the reward was the most amazing view, overlooking the sea as the sun came up – simply breathtaking. We then headed towards Dancing Ledge (for a quick cha cha!), Durlston Country Park and the Jurassic Coast Path before meandering through a few tiny villages. Climbing from here became really tough, and the weather was hot, so the majority of us adopted a walk/run strategy at this point, along the ridge of the Purbeck Hills towards Corfe Castle. As we arrived in the village square, welcome support and cheering boosted our morale and will to finish. This was needed as the route then returns to the ridge for a final tough 10km, where a marshal handed me a water bottle and wished me luck! Then the final steep descent
appeared, before I smelled the sea air and Swanage came into sight for the final 2km to the finish – making this amazing marathon a cheeky 27 miles. I was so happy to complete the event in around 5hrs 30mins – yeah! The winning lady took around 3hrs 45mins, showing how tough this course was. I highly recommend this race. Yet do come prepared: train with a rucksack and take plenty of water, electrolytes and energy bars or gels. The marshals are great, but the aid stations are quite randomly placed due to the terrain, so I gave several people supplies along the way. Make sure your training includes hills and undulating
terrain, then pack clothes for all the seasons. Be patient climbing the stiles and quiet passing through the cows. If you do all this you will be rewarded with one of the most memorable, enjoyable trail marathons I have done (there is also a 16-mile option), a pot of local Purbeck ice-cream, local cider and the sea air to boost your soul. If you’re looking for a tough, wild, beautiful adventure, sign up for 2017 and get ready for a wonderful weekend.
RACE HERE NEXT YEAR! NEXT YEAR’S RACE TAKES PLACE ON 17 SEPTEMBER. VISIT THEPURBECKMARATHON.CO.UK FOR MORE INFORMATION.
GO WEST! LA U R A F O U N TA I N R E T U R N S TO FA M I L I A R G R O U N D F O R A C A P I TA L R A C E s the Piccadilly Line moved west through London, each A stop brought more runners into the carriage. Even without our numbers pinned to our chests, we’re pretty easy to spot on a Sunday morning among those heading home from the night before. At South Ealing station, we spilled out onto the platform for a short walk to Lammas Park where the fifth annual Ealing Half-Marathon would start. I lived just down the road from here 11 years ago, and was excited to be back with my partner, Phil, for a run around the old neighbourhood. We left our bags at the baggage tent, used one of the many loos and then lined up in the 2:10 start pen. We’d been a bit cautious with our timing pen selection, neither of us wanting to chase down a personal best that day, so we stood calmly
© DAN TSANTILIS
Revealing Ealing: the community came out in force; (below) Laura with her wellearned medal
among a crowd of anxious runners, many of whom were doing their first half. It was a perfect autumn morning: the sun was out and the air was crisp. After a brief countdown we were off, through the park and onto the quiet streets. Ealing didn’t have a half-marathon when I lived here. “I doubt you’d have noticed if there was one – you were usually still in bed at this time,” Phil reminded me. It’s true, running wasn’t on my radar back then. But in the past nine years since I first laced up my trainers, running has had a bit of a boom. So much so that, on any given weekend, you can find a 10K in any number of London’s parks, and then there’s parkrun too. But I can still count the number of good halfmarathons without multiple laps and on closed roads in the capital on one hand. We headed along Ealing Broadway, its
usual traffic of buses, cars and lorries held back for a few hours so that runners could have free reign. I like it when a race shuts down part of the city and gives us runners the stage we deserve. As we turned off the main road onto the residential streets of west London, a band played outside a church and my stride quickened to match the music. Despite the number of runners, and the fact that I’d placed myself too far back in the pack, the race didn’t feel crowded and I was able to move freely through the runners. The route wound its way round Ealing in one big loop, and we passed through streets that were unfamiliar to me, but everywhere locals stood outside their homes offering cheers and sometimes snacks to tired runners. I don’t remember Ealing having hills from my time living here, but it seemed as though the race planners had manage to find all the gradients in the borough and squeeze them into the 13.1-mile distance. None of them lasted too long but they certainly began to test our tired legs. Around the course, the organisers had put up signs welcoming runners from all the nations taking part: Malta, Cyprus, Canada, the list went on, and I played a solo game of trying to guess what country might be next. Towards the end of our tour of Ealing, the route retraced our steps for the last mile – back past the church band who’d shown as much stamina as the runners, back along the Broadway and back past my old flat. We were nearly home. As we headed back towards the park, we could hear the finish line announcer and the crowd cheering in the finishers ahead of us. All that was left was a rather cruel lap of the park, seeing and hearing the finish line but not quite reaching it until you’ve all but given up hope. We collected our medal and bags and looked at the clock. We’d finished in 2hrs 58secs, just in time for opening time at my old local where we headed for a beer.
RACE HERE NEXT YEAR! NEXT YEAR’S RACE TAKES PLACE ON 24 SEPTEMBER AND ENTRIES HAVE JUST OPENED. FIND OUT MORE AT EALINGHALFMARATHON.COM.
The Challenge 8
RUN FURTHER! Every month the Women’s Running team challenges you to complete a different running task and show us the evidence. This month, we asked you to show us your longest run!
sue hickey @hickey57 #WRChallenge my furthest run was 33mins at parkrun on Saturday. Longest since my foot op in March…
EP @Suguta #WRChallenge @Womensrunninguk First half, longest ever distance with the brilliant motivator Jimmy
traceylamont @traceylamont Berlin Marathon completed on a very very hot day
Joanne Fenna @jofenna Action shot from Oxford Half-Marathon #OH – yes, the Honey Monster beat us. Our first half now in the bag
Carol Sayles @CASayles @Womensrunninguk #WRChallenge first half-marathon = furthest distance ever run!
Jane Brookes@mrsjbrookes Day off means #runday no route planned turned into a steady 7+ miles, longest run for a long time #WRchallenge
The Challenge – Run when you don’t want to! Now the weather has got chillier and the nights are drawing in, the idea of going for an early morning or post-work run seems far less appealing. But, sadly, it’s going to stay like this for a while and we can’t let the changing seasons stop us. This month, we challenge you to go out for a run when you really don’t want to – whether that’s at the end of a hectic day, when it’s dark and wet, or in the morning when you just want to stay snuggled in bed. Send us evidence that you got out there and did it in a picture or tweet. You’ll need to upload it to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #WRChallenge, by 4 November. We’ll choose the best pics and tweets and put them in print.
SEND YOUR #WRCHALLENGECOMPLETED EVIDENCE TO: @WOMENSRUNNINGUK
TAG US @WOMENSRUNNINGUK
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