TE IMA IST T L R U HL YOU H WIS INS
“Running was a win-win: weight loss, energy, endorphins…” Cover star Vicki changed her body – and her life! p10
FAST YOUR 4-WEEK PLAN TO GET SET FOR 2017
Tried and tested!
RUNNING KIT TO BEAT THE COLD
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MOVES EVERY NEW RUNNER NEEDS
yes, you can!
Silence your demons and reach your running goals
PLUS! THE FAST GIRL'S GUIDE TO RECOVERY
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J A N U A R Y
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FRONT SECTION FORWARDS
47 YOUR ULTIMATE TECH WISHLIST
The gadgets that will boost your run
32 SHAPE UP FAST!
Your 4-week plan to get set for 2017
72 RUNNING KIT TO BEAT THE COLD
WR tests the best winter kit
38 START YOUR DIY RUNNING HEALTH CHECK NOW
Take our test here
60 8 MOVES EVERY NEW RUNNER NEEDS Start strength training today!
42 YES YOU CAN!
Achieve your running dreams
86 THE FAST GIRL'S GUIDE TO RECOVERY The expert guide to staying strong
"RUNNING WAS A WIN-WIN: WEIGHT LOSS, ENERGY, ENDORPHINS…" ON THE COVER Photo: Iain MacIntosh Model: Vicki Agnew Hair & make-up: Leeann Wright Kit: Top: ASICS; crop top: H&M; tights: dhb; shoes: Saucony (with thanks to wiggle.co.uk)
10 “I MIGHT SOUND HARD, BUT I JUST CAN'T TAKE EXCUSES”
Meet our cover star Vicki, who changed her body – and her life – through running
17 IN THE BAG
Rock your run commute with this hard-working kit
18 RUNNING TECH
Gadget addicts – get your fix here!
12 HEALTH NEWS
20 KEEP RUNNING, MUMMY!
The latest running-related health news and facts for you
Claire Chamberlain's cross-training hits new heights
14 FOOD IN THE NEWS
22 TOKEN BLOKE
Bitesize nutrition facts, plus expert answers to your questions
15 15-MINUTE MOVES
Will Damian's GB vest give him the performance of a lifetime?
23 MY PB
How Sally Ann Polkey got her Good For Age marathon time
Build long-run power with this circuit
16 INJURY CLINIC
How to run strong all through winter
24 “I DON'T LIVE WITH CANCER – IT LIVES WITH ME” When Nellie Archer was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she refused to let it dominate her life
J A N U A R Y
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78 TRAIL ESSENTIALS Everything you need to take to the trails this month
80 PROJECT TRAIL We catch up with our trail trainees one last time before the Bath Hilly Half
PERSONAL BEST 86 THE FAST GIRL'S GUIDE TO RECOVERY
93 THE RACING MONTH Find your next event right here
Christina Macdonald asks the experts the best way to rest
94 CANCER RESEARCH UK TOUGH 10 Jenny Bozon takes on this off-road test
90 BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE
Lizzy Dening goes – or rather, stays – East
FEATURES 64 "TO FEEL GOOD, I DO GOOD!" Lisa Jackson meets the women using their running to help others
Love our mag?
28 HAVE YOUR SAY
SUBSCRIBE TODAY AND GET FREE ASHMEI RUNNING SOCKS! – page 30 –
“When we do something we never believed we could, the feeling of achievement is incredible”
From trainers to testers, meet the people behind this issue of Women’s Running
Looking for some fresh food inspiration? Try these three colourful, nutritious recipes
06 EDITOR’S NOTE
07 MEET THE TEAM
68 POWER BOWLS
Your thoughts and stories about running
29 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…
© ISTOCKPHOTO.COM / IAIN MACINTOSH / EDDIE MACDONALD / PERKINS GREAT EASTERN RUN / WILL HEAP
Hear some of our past team members' top tips on starting to train now for your spring race
96 PERKINS GREAT EASTERN RUN
J A N U A R Y
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO THIS MONTH “I cackled my way round the Beachy Head Marathon in the company of the Unstoppable Dawn Paul, an NSPCC fundraiser dressed as a Wicked Witch. It was hilly but a hoot! – Lisa
“I was SO excited to qualify for Team GB at the duathlon European Champs in Spain next year - better get out on my bike more!” – Tina
“I’ve been in Boston with Kathrine Switzer and the 261Fearless team training women to start their own running clubs. Cool huh?!” – Juliet
“I went on half-term holiday with the family and sprained my ankle on a short walk within 24 hours of arrival. Trail training plans on hold…” – Liz
“My boyfriend and I have started a weekly run date, ‘toasty training Tuesday’, where we meet up, train together and make toasties for dinner after. Delicious!” – Jenny
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ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES The drive to attempt the impossible is deeply embedded in the human psyche. What you consider to be impossible depends on your life experience. For the rare few, it could be a monumental feat like charting a new course across a continent. For many of us – living busy, mundane lives – something as simple as running for 10 minutes feels just as hard. When we do something we never believed possible, the feeling of achievement is incredible. It takes real courage to overcome years of self-doubt, and sadly that means many women only discover the unbridled joy of finding out they can run relatively late in life. This issue, we’ll show you how to silence your inner critic (page 42). Plus, you can read stories from five women who truly believed they could never run – but proved themselves wrong – on page 44. And don’t skip the story of Vicki Agnew, starting on page 8. Some of you might recognise Vicki from Project 26.2 in 2015. We caught up with her as she was about to begin an exciting new chapter in her life, which all began the day she found the courage to attempt the impossible and take her first steps towards lifelong health and fitness through running. I defy you not to be inspired!
MUSIC & MOVEMENT
What we’re running and recovering to this month
Follow me on Twitter @LizzieWRMag
Tina Chantrey “Joanne by Lady Gaga, or anything from her latest album!”
Lisa Jackson “Running Commentary with Paul Tonkinson and Rob Deering - they kept singing Billy Joel in Dylan voices, that made me grin!” Elizabeth Hufton “I’m just rehabbing, so need to stay calm. Alex Turner’s Submarine soundtrack EP from a few years back is really helping!”
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!
Say no to negatives
Ask yourself the tough questions to turn your running around
We all talk ourselves down at some point. Here’s how to stop it!
Editor Elizabeth Hufton firstname.lastname@example.org Assistant Editor Jenny Bozon email@example.com / 020 8996 5056 Art Director/Designer/Production Xavier Robleda firstname.lastname@example.org Social Media Editor Melody Smith email@example.com Commercial Editor Angelina Manzano firstname.lastname@example.org Contributing Editors Tina Chantrey; email@example.com Lisa Jackson Editor-at-Large Christina Macdonald Fitness Editor Anne-Marie Lategan
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.
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).
Editorial Director David Castle firstname.lastname@example.org Commercial Director Allan Pattison email@example.com / 020 8996 5058 Advertising Manager Cristina Lopez firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8996 5167 Advertising Sales Executive Olivia Neocleous Olivia.email@example.com / 020 8996 5090
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org Managing Director Nick Troop email@example.com
Contributors Claire Chamberlain, Lizzy Dening, Damian Hall, Dr Juliet McGrattan
Published by Wild Bunch Media Ltd 1st Floor, Gable House , 18-24 Turnham Green Terrace London W4 1QP
Living in Cornwall, we have the most amazing coastline which can be challenging terrain to run on, but the views are stunning. I must admit I do not like running on tarmac especially, so it’s coast path or muddy trails for me every time.
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
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Our accounts manager Jackie helps to test kit every month and, although she’s behind the scenes, she certainly puts in the miles! TELL US HOW YOU STARTED RUNNING… I started running in 2012. I used to play netball, but lots of our regular team members were having babies and we were constantly struggling to put a team together. Some of us got together and started an unofficial running club. WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT RUNNING WHERE YOU LIVE?
WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR RUNNING YEAR? The highlight of my running year was completing SBU35 – St Begas Ultra (it’s actually nearer 38 miles!) with my very good friends Jane, Trish and Becky. We had the most amazing weekend in the Lake District, the scenery was stunning and we laughed from the moment we left to when we arrived back home again in Cornwall. WHAT ARE YOUR RACING AIMS NEXT YEAR? I am planning to complete my first race abroad. My friend will be celebrating her 50th birthday in February and we are planning a trip away to celebrate which will include a race. I would also like to complete the Round the Island race which follows the coast path round the Isle of Wight.
HEALTH | FOOD | CLINIC | WORKOUT | TECH | INSPIRATION 10 12 14 15 16 17 18 20 22 23 24
"RUNNING WAS A WIN-WIN"
We catch up with Project 26.2's Vicki Agnew, who lost 42lb to run a marathon â€“ and is now training to be a PT
The latest fitness and health news for you
FOOD IN THE NEWS
Nutrition know-how at your fingertips
Get stronger for long runs with this quick circuit
Keep out of cold-weather trouble
Rock your run commute with this sexy kit
The latest fitness gadgets, reviewed for you
KEEP RUNNING, MUMMY!
Claire's cross-training is reaching new heights
Will Damian's GB vest give him a star performance?
How Sally Ann Polkey ran a Good For Age marathon time
When Nellie Archer was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she didn't want it to stand in her way
“RUNNING WAS A WIN-WIN: WEIGHT LOSS, ENERGY AND ENDORPHINS" We first met Vicki Agnew two years ago, when she'd lost three stone through running. Now, it's given her a new career PH OT O : IA IN M ACIN T O SH
ASICS Elite baselayer, £45, asics.com
dhb Women's Printed Tight, £32, wiggle.co.uk
Saucony Ride 9 Reflex, £115, wiggle.co.uk
ust a couple of weeks from now, we’ll be contacting the winners of our Big Marathon Challenge competition to tell them they’ve made the team, and will be training for their spring marathons with the support of Women’s Running. Talking about this brings back happy memories for Vicki Agnew, 39, from East Kilbride. About this time two years ago, she received the email to be told she was part of our Project 26.2 team. “I loved it,” she says of the experience. “I still talk to Vicky (Burr) and Laura (Cook) from the team, and I still talk to our coach Anne-Marie on Facebook.” Back then, Vicki’s story struck a chord with the Women’s Running team – and many of our readers. When she joined Project 26.2, she’d lost 42lb after gaining weight during pregnancy and after the birth of her son, Rory, in 2013. Those of you unfamiliar with Vicki’s story might still recognise it – especially if you’ve struggled with your weight after having a baby. “I didn’t realise I was putting
on weight until I saw a picture of myself on holiday in Portugal when Rory was five months old,” she says. “I thought, ‘That’s ridiculous.’ I wasn’t massive, but when I look at the picture of me in the pool, the first thing I look at is the size of my legs and hips, but also that I’m all covered up – that was the first time I’d gone in the pool covered up.” Vicki knew she had to do something, so when she got back she started a Couch to 5K programme – which wasn’t easy, since her husband Rob was working away for five weeks at a time. Vicki shrugs off the idea that this might have stopped her, though. “I just had to get on with it. People might think I’m a bit hard, but I just don’t take excuses. It’s to do with your motivation and how much you want it.” She bought a treadmill from a friend for £80 and started training while Rory was asleep, gradually building up her fitness and changing the way she ate. She’d run a bit before having Rory, but had stopped because of injury, but this time something clicked – and it wasn’t just about seeing physical changes. “Since I was 17 I’ve suffered from depression, so I knew it was helping as a pick-me-up. It was a win-win: weight loss, energy and helping with endorphins.” When Vicki joined the Project 26.2 team at the end of 2014, she was ready to train for her first marathon, and a few months late she smashed her goal, finishing the Edinburgh Marathon in 2015 in 3:43:40. However, what at first looked like the happy ending to a running weight-loss story turned out to be the beginning of a new chapter in Vicky’s life – and it was not to be plain sailing. “I did something to my knee at mile 16 of Edinburgh and ran the rest of it, which was excruciating,” says Vicki. “I’d already signed up for Loch Ness [in September 2015], so I took that injury into Loch Ness and that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. It was horrible. It was just painful from about mile three.” It may have seemed like a disaster – having only just been bitten by the marathon bug – but it actually began a process that has transformed Vicki’s life again. “Because I went on to do more marathons after Project 26.2, it highlighted that I wasn’t looking after my strength work – my glutes and hamstrings – which is why I was picking up injuries.” To sort out her problems, Vicki joined the gym in autumn 2015. She had a place to run the London Marathon, and didn’t want a repeat of her Loch Ness experience. One of the trainers at her gym suggested she come for a consultation and, although she wasn’t looking for a PT, Vicki decided to go along. “He’s not a runner, but when I arrived at the consultation, he had three pages of A4 in his own handwriting about marathon injuries and rehabilitation. I thought it was amazing that he’d gone to that effort to find out how to train me to the best of his ability.” Vicki began working with him, with the aim not only of sorting out her running strength, but also looking great for a holiday to Marbella with friends. She achieved both – turning up to the holiday with a body to be proud of. She told her friends she was thinking about becoming a PT, and they told her to go for it. “It was really the compliments from the girls, and Rob was really supportive, and seeing what I’d been able to do myself with my PT Barry’s encouragement,” she says.
"I JUST HAD TO GET ON WITH IT. IT'S ABOUT YOUR MOTIVATION AND HOW MUCH YOU WANT IT" So, for now, Vicki’s marathon plans are on the back burner (“I tell people I’m semi-marathon-retired!” she says). Instead, her goals for 2017 are focused on her new role as a PT, and inspiring other women to follow in her footsteps and get in the shape of their lives. “I’d love to work with mums,” she says, “and help them, because your motivation and your self-esteem is sometimes rock bottom when you’ve put on extra weight, you’re feeling flabby, you’re feeling like you’re never going to get your body back. And actually you could get a better body back than you had before – that’s what happened to me. I had a six-pack in Marbella, which I’ve never had in my entire life! I’m 40 next year, I’ve had a huge baby [Rory was 11lb 2oz], my skin’s not as tight as it was, gravity has taken its toll. So it’s not an excuse for people to say, ‘Well, you’re 21…’” Through her PT training, she's also increased her interest in and knowledge of good nutrition, and started an Instagram account – @clean_eating_running_mama – to keep a record of her ideas and help to inspire others. "I suppose I've just realised what a massive part of health and fitness nutrition is. You can't have a McDonald's and then go and beast it in the gym and think you've cancelled it out. I don't want to say I'm angelic, but I can't remember the last time I had a takeaway." Vicki loves to think of things she'd like to make, using food websites, and then adapt the recipes to make them healthier. "I see it as a challenge to make a better recipe from something that's maybe not quite as good." And as well as helping future PT clients to get and stay fit, Vicki has her eye on two clients closer to home. “At the moment, my main priorities are Rob and Rory, and I focus on them and try to get them healthier. I told Rob one day he was going to be my guinea pig and his face was a picture – I wish I’d had a camera!” she laughs. In fact, Vicki is at pains to point out that Rob’s support has been invaluable during her journey to fitness. “Rob is a massive supporter of what I do. I wouldn’t be able to do it if he didn’t come to races with me, or let me go to the gym in the evenings. I don’t think he knows how much he’s helped me to get to where I am.” And, in turn, Vicki has discovered she loves helping others to get fit. “I've been able to pace at two WR10Ks, and I've helped people achieve PBs, which has been amazing. I just feel like I'm ordinary, but you don't realise how much you can help people by doing things like that.” So, if this year's Big Marathon Challenge team are reading this – remember, this could be you in a couple of years' time!
MY RUNNING LOVES Vicki's running and fitness favourites
There's a beautiful loop from home with a ford – I take my shoes off and wade across.
I love my TomTom – WR introduced me to them and Rob bought me a newer one.
I do quite heavy weights. I've got a love-hate relationship with assisted pull-ups!
Porridge or overnight oats before a run – and anything that's in the fridge afterwards!
⁄ HEALTH NEWS
HOT SPOTS FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES
Prescriptions for medication to treat type 2 diabetes have shot up in the last four years, research shows. The number rose by almost 35% between 2011 and 2015 and experts say that, according to current trends, five million people will have the disease by 2020. Twenty-six million prescriptions were written for diabetes in 2011 and this went up to 35 million in 2015. In addition, prescriptions for more advanced forms of the condition doubled during the five-year period, indicating that exercise and diet changes are no longer sufficient to treat them. A map detailing where prescriptions are being provided showed that Newham in London had the highest number of prescriptions for type 2 diabetes treatment during the period, with East Lindsey and South Holland, Lincolnshire, Tower Hamlets, London and Tendring, Essex coming next on the list. Experts said that in the areas with greatest prevalence there is a large population of black and minority ethnic people and that those from ethnic minorities are around two to four times more likely to develop the disease.
50 The percentage of people diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales who survive their disease for 10 years or more (2010-11). Source: Cancer Research UK
SHIFT WORK AND BREAST CANCER
POOR GYM ETIQUETTE
One in five Brits don’t behave courteously in the gym, according to a survey. The poll, conducted by musclefood com, revealed that, among the 1,500 people surveyed, only 18% would help somebody struggling to use a piece of equipment, and most would just carry on with their gym session and ignore them. 12
A new study has found there to be no link between working night shifts and an increased risk of developing breast cancer – a suggestion originally posed by the World Health Organization committee. Research by cancer experts into data from 1.4m women found that this working pattern has little or no effect on their chances of developing the disease.
The struggle is real – but gym goers won’t help
WELCOME TO THE 6AM CLUB WITH ON
More young women are experiencing mental health issues and experts say ‘selfie culture’ is to blame. A major NHS study found over a quarter of women between 16 and 24 years old have symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. Experts said that young women are feeling under pressure about their body image – and their lives in general – in this ‘selfie generation’ thanks to a social media culture that encourages competition and showcases a false reality.
WORDS: CHRISTINA MACDONALD. IMAGES: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
MILLION The number of touch receptors in our skin—there are 3,000 in each fingertip. source: ispahealth. com/health-tips
FIVE-SECOND RULE DOESN'T APPLY
A report in the American Society of Microbiology has disproved the ‘five-second’ rule. Research showed food dropped on the ground can be immediately contaminated by bacteria. While foods left on surfaces for shorter periods picked up less bacteria than those left for longer, none escaped it altogether.
Start the clock…
6AM CLUB MOTIVATION RUNNER STEPH MCCALL TELLS US HOW THE 6AM CLUB HELPS HER TO FIT TRAINING AROUND HER DEMANDING JOB The On 6am Club is about normal people with busy lives achieving some amazing things through earlymorning runs. Each person has their own reason for running at the crack of dawn – high-pressured jobs, busy family life – but the 6am Club is their common ground. The club runners have been sharing their stories with us, and this month we speak to Steph to find out what motivates her… Hello from the On 6am Club. I’m Steph, currently the only female member of the 6am Club. As with Kevin, featured last month, I get up early to meet the other 6am club runners and hit the roads and parks to train before we get on with our day. For me, it’s about fitting my training in around my demanding job. It’s hard work but the buzz you get after completing a run when most of your friends are yet to surface from bed is amazing. This combined with my very high personal running goals – all of which would just be a dream if it wasn’t for the support from the guys in the 6am Club, along with my other training partners. I started running with others in the mornings as sometimes it’s a struggle to get up to run alone in the dark – and I always love a chat. Now, running with the 6am Club guys means I’m continuously in a good mood before the sun is even out. They are a huge motivation and the other athletes have made me believe that progress has no finish line. Running with men also means I’m pushed hard in training and has resulted in my first selection for England for Cross Country. I hope to see this progress to faster national rankings on the road and track, too. Add in a great pair of shoes on my feet and I have everything I need! I run in On Clouds. The Cloud is a very fast and light shoe and is very flexible, great for training and for races.
SHARE YOUR 6AM RUN PHOTOS WITH US @ON_RUNNING #6AMCLUBUK VISIT ON-RUNNING.COM FOR SHOES THAT WILL PUT SOME FUN INTO YOUR EARLY MORNING RUN.
⁄ FOOD IN THE NEWS
An apple a day...
A new study from the University of Pittsburgh School of Education Department of Health and Physical Activity has concluded that activity trackers may hinder weight loss. The 24-month trial placed participants on a lowcalorie diet, coupled with prescribed exercise. Half the group also received regular group counselling sessions on nutrition throughout the trial and half the group were given less frequent counselling and an activity tracker to wear. The study participants who weren’t wearing activity trackers lost almost twice the amount of weight than those who were, which indicates that knowledge of nutrition and healthy eating habits could be more effective than simply monitoring exercise levels. The study, which can be found in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, concluded that, although Step counting might not be activity monitors provide an enough to tip the scales easy way to track your daily movements and calorie intake, simply wearing one will not enhance a person’s adherence to following a healthy lifestyle.
HOW MANY EXTRA CALORIES PER WEEK SHOULD THE AVERAGE FEMALE CONSUME WHEN MARATHON TRAINING? Dr Carrie Ruxton from the Meat Advisory Panel (meatandhealth.redmeatinfo. com), herself a keen runner, says: “Marathon training involves one or two long runs a week (usually between oneand-a-half to two hours) which boosts energy requirements by around 200300 calories a day. As it’s important to take in protein after training to promote muscle recovery, the extra calories consumed should be eaten as highprotein foods, such as lean red meat, fish, nuts, milk or low-fat Greek yoghurt. Red meat is a particularly good choice as it’s rich in iron, zinc and B vitamins, which support energy release and immune function, and reduce tiredness and fatigue.” SEND YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT RUNNING, NUTRITION AND HEALTH TO: EDITORIAL@WILDBUNCHMEDIA.CO.UK
STRESS MUST BE ADDRESSED The benefits of eating good fats can be impaired by stress. New research, published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry, highlights how stress alters the body’s inflammation levels. Women were randomly assigned breakfasts made with either saturated or monounsaturated fat. Those who ate breakfasts made with monounsaturated fat, but were stressed the day before, fared the same in blood tests for increased inflammation as though who ate the high saturated fat breakfast.
FOODS SOLUTIONS FOR GARLIC BREATH
Garlic lovers rejoice! New research from the Ohio State University has found that eating an apple after consuming something garlicky may deodorise your breath by up to 50%. The study, published in the Journal of Food Science, found that chomping on enzymerich lettuce could also aid in banishing garlicinduced halitosis.
COOL DIGESTION According to new research, recently published in the journal Scientific Reports, adding cinnamon to your diet can cool your body down from the inside out by up to two degrees, while also improving the integrity of your gut wall and contributing to improved digestion. Try sprinkling it over porridge, yoghurt or buttered toast!
WORDS: CHRISTINA MACDONALD. IMAGE: ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
NUTRITION KNOWLEDGE IS KEY
15-MIN MOVES /
GET STRONG TO RUN LONG STRONGER LEGS WILL MEAN LESS RISK OF INJURIES AND A GREATER ABILITY TO RUN FOR LONGER W OR DS: CHRISTINA M AC DONA LD ILLUSTRATIONS : B E N FOXA LL
Preparation: Include one set of each of these exercises after two of your weekly runs. About the session: Perform these moves as a circuit and repeat each exercise two to three times with 30 seconds rest in between each exercise.
LUNGE WALK INTO LUNGE WALK WITH LEG LIFT
- Stand upright and take a step forwards into a lunge position with your left leg leading. - As you stand out of the lunge, step forwards into a second lunge with your right leg leading. - Continue lunge walking for 20 steps then rest. - Now repeat the process, this time including a high knee lift as you move each leg through the top of each step. - The slower you move, the easier it will be to keep your balance.
- Stand upright and step forwards into a lunge position. - Bend both knees to adopt a deep lunge and then quickly spring up into a jump, landing with your feet in the same position. - Repeat 15 times and then swap your leading leg. - Throughout the sequence on both legs, aim to maintain a rhythm of one jump per second.
DEEP SQUATS WITH PULSE
SQUATS WITH CALF RAISE AND TOE LIFT
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and move into a squat position. - Your knees should now be at a 90-degree angle. - Without moving your knees forwards over your toes, lower your bottom further towards the floor and then return to the 90-degree squat position. - Repeat the deep squat part of the exercise 10 times and then straighten the legs fully to return to standing. - Repeat the full sequence 10 times.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart. - Bend your knees to sit into a squat and then return to standing. - As you stand, rise up onto your toes, then lower your heels and lift your toes as high as you can off the ground. - Lower your toes and then move into the next squat. - Repeat 20 times.
Boost strength in your quads and glutes
Feel the burn from your glutes to your calves with this advanced move
Improve strength and balance, while increasing explosive power
An essential move for strengthening up your lower limbs
⁄ INJURY CLINIC
AVOID WINTER INJURIES
Stay injury-free this winter with our top tips on warming up and running safely during colder temperatures During the winter months, you may be at more risk of injury if you don’t warm up properly or if you don’t take care when running on slippery surfaces like wet leaves or icy pavements. “If you plan to run outside in winter it’s advisable to warm up for longer, as the time it takes for your body and muscle temperature to increase will be different to when running in warmer weather,” says physiotherapist Stuart Mailer from Kensington Physio & Sports Medicine (kenphysio.com). “When we warm up, we improve the ability of our muscles to contract,” adds Mailer. “This aids our running speed and technique and also reduces the load and stress on the joints. To run efficiently, we need our muscles to be able to contract well, and for our tissues to slide over each other and our joints to be able to absorb force well. So an extra five minutes spent warming up can help obtain this.” SLIPPERY SURFACES Winter running can cause more muscle and tendon injuries if we’re not careful. “Many injuries occur due to slipping and through lack of traction, which can cause muscle or tendon problems,” says Mailer. “For example, when running on snow or slippery surfaces, the push-off is slightly altered due to the foot slightly slipping at the toe off during the propulsive phase. This can load up the Achilles tendon or overload the calves, potentially causing Achilles tendinitis (overuse of the Achilles tendon) or other injuries .” JOINT PAIN If you’ve already had a joint problem in the past then you may find colder temperatures can affect your joints. “If you’ve had a joint pathology or injury previously then you may feel more stiff in a colder climate,” says Mailer. “Spend more time doing dynamic mobility work to help mobilise your joints before you run. Examples include exercises such as glute flicks or high knee walks.”
FALLING OVER If you fall over when you’re running outside, stop running and follow the PRICE principle straight away. This stands for Protect, Rest, Ice, Compress and Elevate. Apply ice on the affected area to help reduce swelling and elevate the injured limb. Ice the area for seven to 10 minutes, three to five times per day, for the first 72 hours. Apply a compression bandage (an elasticated bandage) on the affected area to minimise the amount of swelling, ideally within 24 to 72 hours from the injury occurring. Compression increases pressure and narrows blood vessels, which prevents excessive bleeding. Make sure the bandage isn’t too tight – a compression bandage is easy to apply and the material provides appropriate pressure without too much restriction. “If you find that you can’t take weight through your limbs then contact a health professional for further advice,” says Mailer.
IN THE BAG /
SMASH YOUR RUN COMMUTE!
TIRED OF TRAFFIC? ENERGISE YOUR WORKING DAY WITH A RUN COMMUTE C OM PILE D BY TINA C HA NTREY
3 2 5
We want you to stay cosy when you’re ticking off the miles - and this hoody is super snug! With the bonus of a stand-up collar and drawstring hood you can defy whatever the winter commute throws at you. 2/Saucony Kinvara 7
5/Kora Shola crew and esker hat kora.net, £95 and £30
A neutral, but cushioned, ride in a shoe that stands out in the dark. With such a sleek and flexible design, with added support from an EVERUN heel insert, you can rely on these shoes for comfort, whatever your commute distance .
Your baselayer will make or break your run commute; whatever your terrain, this finely woven top, made from luxuriously soft pure yak wool, will keep you warm, not damp. Pull on the esker hat and regulate your head temperature, too. Made from wool sourced from the Himalayas, you’ll wear these with complete confidence of superior protection from the cold.
3/DHB flashlight reflective neck tube
6/Hübner’s Iron Vital M+ chewables
As the temperatures drop, add extra protection around your neck as well as increased visibility. This neck tube, made from soft-brushed jersey fabric, will seal in warmth and block irritating draughts.
You’ll need to keep up your energy high on your winter runs, especially during your time of the month, and these Iron chews, in a subtle berry flavour are also kind to your stomach. Keep your engine on full throttle and fight tiredness without irritating your stomach.
iamrunbox.com, from £99.95
Forget stuffy tubes, get yourself this modish, lightweight backpack and your commute will never be the same again! With a laptop compartment plus all the storage you need (and it’s weatherproof) you’ll arrive at work fit and, with crease-free clothes, ready for anything!
healthy2u.co.uk, £12.95 for 30
aloe24-7.co.uk, £8.99 for 500ml
Made from the South Africa Aloe Ferox plant, this juice is packed full of nutrients to boost your immune and digestive systems. So look after your body from the inside out and keep one of these in your backpack to glug back after every run.
8/Icebreaker Sierra glove real tree icebreaker.com, £35
Perfect for navigating or keeping in touch on the run, with these breathable gloves feature a touchscreen index finger and thumb. With lush brushed fabric, there’ll be no signs of your fingers seizing up, either. 9/Mountain Warehouse inertia reflective jacket mountainwarehouse.com, £59.99
You’d struggle to find a better jacket for a winter run commute than this one. The whole jacket lights up when light falls on it, turning you into a human-sized cat’s eye… but that’s not its only USP. It’s also shower proof and has a cosy microfleece-lined collar. 10/2XU hyoptik compression tights 2xu.com/uk, £75
Get powerful compression for your muscles on your run commute, and get noticed with the HYOPTIK reflective logos. Your muscles will warm up faster and recover quicker after, helping ward off winter injury.
Suunto Spartan Ultra All Black Titanium (HR) £599, suunto.com
Suunto already make the best GPS sportswatches. But after tech titans such as Apple started producing deadfancy smartwatches, Suunto went and made the first, er, sportssmartwatch, the Spartan Ultra. So it must be good, right? Well… It’s certainly lighter, smaller, sleeker and more comfortable on the wrist. The colour touchscreen is attractive and mostly fun to play with (sport mode screens aren’t customisable – though this will change), but it lags and isn’t iPhone-level sensitivity (though you can simply use the buttons). A natty, colour breadcrumb map helps to get you out of topographical befuddlement and there are some neat additions to Movescount. But there are app-syncing and accuracy issues, with the recording of ascent, for example, over-optimistic compared to the brilliant Suunto Ambit3 Peak. A claimed 26 hours of GPS recording is borderline acceptable for a watch with the word Ultra in the name – most runners don’t get round UTMB that fast. Overall it may look and feel more futuristic and trendy than the brilliant Peak, but it lacks features, accuracy and costs a bomb. Knowing Suunto, this will be a great watch at some point (wrist heart-rate monitoring is expected before Christmas), but it seems rushed to market.
JBL Reflect Mini BT wireless headphones £79.99, uk.jbl.com
For weekend breaks in big grown-up hills, this amazing little water filter could save you from carrying loads of H20 or catching a vomiting bug. It’s chemical- and battery-free, wand-size, light (at 160g, lighter than carrying almost any amount of water), while the two-stage filtration system claims to remove 99.99 per cent of bacteria. You just put the straw to lip and water, wait 15 seconds, sip, blow back, then sup away. Plus each purchase provides a year’s safe drinking water for an African child. It’s win-win.
Concepted by an air-ambulance pilot apparently saddened by seeing so many people ill from unhealthy lifestyles, 5F is a free iOS app that helps you “find fit friends” nearby. There are four skills levels, over 100 activities and you’re able to block and flag users if you feel uncomfortable. Indeed the hint that it’s actually a quasi-dating app continue in the marketing spiel: “It’s hard to get good matches on Tinder, connect through sports instead.” Be it for meeting partners for training or team-pushups, it has potential.
WORDS DAMIAN HALL:
These wireless headphones make a lot of boasts. They’re sweatproof, lighter than most (they claim to be the “lightest and smallest”), have reflective cables to aid visibility and a built-in mic to enable phone calls mid-Mariah Carey! But it’s the basics these excel at. As well as excellent all-round sound quality, they’re very comfortable in the ears and stay there effortlessly, even when scampering along at a decent clip. The control buttons could be bigger or easier to detect, but that’s the only gripe.
⁄ KEEP RUNNING, MUMMY!
CLIMBING THE WALLS
Claire Chamberlain realises that, even if she can’t jet off into the sunset these days, adventure is still out there…
was having a cosy afternoon curled up on the sofa with my son the other day, watching the Pixar film Up (which sounds idyllic, and it was – until I discovered the toddler was quietly drawing on a dining-room chair with a red pen). The thing I love most about this film is its positive, uplifting, vibrant message, which reverberates through the entire 96 minutes: adventure is out there! This is a message I attempt to instil in my children each and every day. Because adventure is fun. Adventure is exciting; it is creative and expansive and, what’s more, I believe it is so very necessary in life. We could all do with a little adventure now and then. Pre-children, adventures off the beaten track were pretty easy to come by for me. In the 12 years that we had together BC (Before Children), my husband and I have – in no particular order – backpacked around the world, upped sticks and moved down to Sydney, lived in various campervans for weeks on end, been paragliding, surfing, bungee jumping and caving (during which I actually thought I might die). We have been single-track mountain biking along a ridge halfway up a mountainside and rafted Grade 5 white water. And when it comes to running, well… in among numerous races, the most memorable have been my two marathons; a blustery seafront half; and that time I ran 13.1 miles in Marrakech, a route lined with cheering locals, orange groves and very impatient moped drivers. Post-children, life is a tad different. Living on the edge now entails going for a day trip with the minimum possible number of nappies we might need for the duration, then simply “seeing what we find when we’re out.” Of course, a huge part of the joy of parenting is watching your children carve out their own adventures: climbing the ladder to the top of the big slide; balancing along a fallen tree; sailing down a hill on a scooter. And I adore watching them explore, learn and grow. That’s natural. But there’s also a part of me that’s been craving my own adventures once more; my own ‘wow’, adrenaline-fuelled, endorphin-rush thrills. This is where trail running has stepped in, in all its leaflittered and unpredictable glory. I confess: I have become addicted to trail running. Where once a quick half-hour run would suffice: no more. Now it’s all about trying to get out in daylight, so I can head off-road to discover new routes, dare some steeper downhills and even create my own obstacle course. It just feels that little bit more daring. Naturally, once you get your taste for adventure back,
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CLAIRE IS A WRITER, RUNNER, BLOGGER, ADVENTURE LOVER AND MUMMY. READ MORE AT WWW. KEEPRUNNINGMUMMY. COM, LIKE HER AT FACEBOOK.COM/ KEEPRUNNINGMUMMY OR FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER @ KEEPRUNNINGMUM
you become hungry for more. And so it was that, last weekend, while my parents took the kids, my husband and I rocked up to a climbing centre. Because when you get the chance to go on a date once more, why go out for a slap-up three-course meal when you can go bouldering instead? Bouldering is climbing without ropes. The climbing walls are shorter, and it is more about technique and problem solving than gaining height. As cross-training goes, it is by no means running-specific, but it was so much FUN! And it definitely got the adrenaline going. We came away with a couple of bruises, and aching arms and sides, but boy, was I in love with it! Having children is teaching me to look for adventure in the little things, on a more local level. For now anyway, adventure is not about far-flung travels, or setting off towards the horizon with nothing but a backpack. For now, it is about watching the little ones explore and thrive. It is about discovering new fitness pursuits. And, of course, it is about the trails.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY WOMEN’S RUNNING
CHANGE LIVES… BECOME A CHARITY RUNNER ou may have already registered for your next running challenge Y – or maybe you’re thinking about it? Signing up for an event can give you something to aim for, whether that’s getting fitter or achieving a new PB, but choosing to run for charity can give you extra focus and determination. Crossing the finish line is a fantastic feeling, and when you’ve helped to support a good cause in the process it can boost that feel-good factor even further.
CHARITIES NEED YOU No matter how large or small, your donation can make the world of difference. The majority of charities rely on donations
and organised fundraising events are an opportunity to amass vital funds. So you will often find charities have guaranteed places at many races, such as the Royal Parks Half Marathon, which any runner can sign up for as long as they pledge to raise a minimum amount of sponsorship. What goes around comes around, so when you give your support to a charity, they’ll support you in return to make sure you’re race-day ready. Even if you’ve already committed to your next running challenge, it’s not too late to start raising cash. Choose your charity, create a Just Giving page and start your fundraising journey today. You’ll have fun and, more importantly, you’ll change a life for the better.
NOT SURE? We asked two charities what they would say to convince you to run for them at the Royal Parks Half Marathon on 8 October 2017…
“Being part of Team Panda is a true addiction: ‘Once a panda, always a panda’, as our runners say! From the moment you sign up, we are with you every step of the way. As a Team Panda member, you’ll receive a fundraising pack filled with great ideas to reach your target, as well as a running vest and a panda headband – complete with ears (of course). And if you sign up for the Royal Parks Half Marathon before February, you’ll be invited to our annual preparation training day at WWF HQ. WWF’s latest Living Planet Report shows the devastating impact humans are having on the world’s wildlife. Unless we act now, wildlife populations will decline by 67% by 2020. We can turn this around. Join Team Panda and support WWF’s vital conservation work. Make a difference and help protect our beautiful planet. Do it for your planet!”
“Training for a big run can feel like an uphill struggle. But at St John Ambulance, we know how to keep you going. Think of us as your very own locker room support team. Always in the wings, cheering you on. We know how to patch you up when you need it and use all our expert knowledge to give you vital training tips, advice, and peace of mind. We’ll be there on race day, not just for you, but for all the runners. Run the Royal Parks Half Marathon for St John Ambulance and you can be a lifesaver too. With your sponsorship, you will help people across the country to learn first aid. Every penny you raise helps us to put our first aid trainers in schools, equip our volunteers, run our ambulances, and deliver expert care where it’s needed most. Together we can be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.”
Run for WWF... Visit wwf.org.uk/royalparks
Run for St John Ambulance... Call 020 7324 4168 or visit sja.org.uk/royalparks
WORLDS APART Damian Hall’s debut in a GB vest didn’t go entirely to plan
hey were speaking Portuguese, so I couldn’t be 100 per cent sure they were laughing at me. But as I had just done my finest impression of a drunken 90-year-old descending a steep slope (while, er, descending a steep slope), there was a good chance I was the group’s prime source of mirth. They carried on tittering as I wobbled pathetically past. Finally one of them gave into the abject sight, announced she was a “therapist” and offered help. The type of therapy she specialised in was lost in translation. But as she didn’t start asking searching questions about my childhood, I assumed she was a physiotherapist. She did a weird but welcome stretching thing on my inner quad, which enabled me to shuffle on. Thank you Portuguese therapist! Not that it made much difference in the end. Women’s Running’s ace editor is probably a bit disappointed in me. When I first started writing this column the unspoken idea was that I’d entertain readers with tales of marvellous mishaps and slapstick stuff-ups. You know, the vomiting, topographical befuddlement and sitting in a puddle of urine crying my eyes out type thing, expected when running distances longer than is probably good for you. But instead, this column has been a lucky charm and I’ve had my best year of ultra running. Which must have been pretty boring to read about actually. But I’ve finally made amends. Luckily my tale of running woe wasn’t a big race. Only the IAU Trail World Championships and my debut in a GB vest. Ahem. It seemed totally surreal to be selected to represent my country. I only ever thought that might happen for an international stupidest haircut competition – something I’ve long aspired to, with everything from a mullet to a Madchester undercut.
JOURNALIST AND MIDLIFE-CRISIS ULTRA RUNNER DAMIAN HALL IS A HAPPIEST WHEN RUNNING LONG DISTANCES IN LUMPY PLACES. HIS NEW BOOK, A YEAR ON THE RUN (AURUM), IS OUT NOW AND HE’S ALSO AN AMBASSADOR FOR ALLTERRAIN BRAND INOV-8. YOU’LL FIND MORE OF THIS SORT OF HOGWASH AT @DAMO_HALL
In late October, both the male and female teams, plus (volunteer) support staff, travelled to Braga, Portugal. At Gatwick in my gleaming white GB tracksuit, strangers asked what we were up to and wished us luck. It was a great feeling. Our four-star hotel was positioned on a hillside with big views over hilly Braga. We enjoyed “peasant soup” (Portuguese peasants are a tasty lot), spaghetti for pudding and were generally made to feel very welcome. I felt lucky that British Athletics value ultra trail running. We had some very fancy clobber, three volunteers helping us and our travel costs covered. Some runners had arrived alone, paying their own way. At the opening ceremony I felt selfconscious waving our flag so soon after Brexit. But no one booed. They actually laughed when teammate Andy Symonds threw a banana skin in front of the French team. Peneda-Gerês National Park’s 85.5K course had 5,000m of ascent. Not disturbing stats to me as UTMB is double that. But with the sheer depth of talent, I knew a top 10 or top 20 finish was unlikely. I hoped for something in the 20s-40s, to help GB team to the podium. Some 260 headtorches of athletes from 38 countries jostled on the start line. At 5am we were set free into the darkness. The front runners were super-fast, charging up the first climb with teeth-gnashing ferocity. I hung back a little. My plan was a stronger second half. As sunlight arrived, so too did beautiful mountain scenery and the increasing warmth. It was thirsty work, but I began making my way through the field. All was going smoothly. But at 55K: disaster. Cramps. I froze. Moving meant painful and alarming spasms. I tried to stretch. But how do you stretch out your vastus medialis (inner quad)? Lucky my new therapist friend came to the rescue. But it was only a short-term fix. Cramp would return intermittently, mostly whenever I tried to go any faster than a pathetic shuffle pace. It was so frustrating knowing you could go much faster. But, also, that you couldn’t. Three of the GB men didn’t finish the race, but dropping out was never a consideration for me. However our team placing of 11th only deepened my gloom. I was greatly cheered however by the heroics of the women’s team. Jo Meek, Beth Pascall and Jo Zakrzewski all placed in the top 30, to secure bronze for GB. Naturally I sulked for a few days. But looking back on my year, I’ve attempted five races and challenges, and four have gone well. I suppose that’s a pretty good ratio. Well, good for me. Perhaps less good for the WR editor and those who enjoy chuckling at my miserable mishaps.
⁄ TOKEN BLOKE
MY PB /
"I WAS MUCH MORE IN CONTROL" The runner Sally Ann Polkey Day job Retired The result Running a marathon in a GFA time of 4hrs 9mins – knocking 20 minutes off her previous best four half-marathons and one 10K. Until I ran these races, I hadn’t actually realised how well the training plan was helping me to run faster and also better, in relation to posture and breathing. ON THE MOVE I also found that, on the rest day, I became restless so would either take long walks or cycle. Both my husband and I cycle and walk each day. Because I live on a boat and travel around, I cannot join a gym but working a boat provides good exercise!
QUICK Q&A First race? 2015 Leeds Half Marathon Where do you train? I enjoy my runs along canals, through vineyards and the French countryside.
INTERVIEW: JENNIFER BOZON
Go-to prerun meal? Salmon and pasta. Favourite training session? I enjoy the running session at marathon pace most.
When Sally Ann Polkey approached her 60th birthday, she decided it was about time she ticked off the item on her bucket list that had been sitting there for years – running a marathon before she turned 60. Nine months later, she did just that, despite having had almost no running experience and, now, less than two years on, has managed to shave 20 minutes off her marathon time. After running her first marathon at the York Marathon last year in 4hrs 29mins and the Paris Marathon this April in the same time, Sally Ann was determined to better herself. “I am very competitive and was disappointed that my time for the Paris Marathon hadn’t improved in the six months since my first marathon,” she says. “I also wanted to meet the criteria for ‘Good for Age’ so I could apply for the London Marathon. Aiming for the sub-four-hour mark, Sally threw herself into a targeted training plan and, despite finishing just outside four hours, she now sits comfortably within London’s Good for Age criteria and will be making an application for 2018. STICKING TO THE PLAN I downloaded the Women’s Running sub-four-hour training plan in April following the Paris Marathon, which required me to run five times a week, [whereas] previously I ran three or four times a week. It was a 16-week plan which I adapted over the six months until my October marathon. The thing I loved about it was the variety; it included easy runs, interval training, hills and tempo, plus the everincreasing long runs. In between the races [York Marathon 2015 and York Marathon 2016] I have run one marathon,
TRIED AND TESTED NUTRITION I am a vegetarian and eat a very healthy diet of fruit, muesli and yoghurt for breakfast, salad or homemade soup for lunch and then a veggie or fish evening meal. My only vices are chocolate and wine; apart from reducing my alcohol intake, I did FUN FACT not change my diet. 21 MONTHS AGO, SALLY “DIDN’T SEE THE POINT IN RUNNING”. NOW SHE RUNS MARATHONS! HER MOTTO? “IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START SOMETHING NEW.”
CONTROLLED PACING I have a sports watch which helps me to monitor my pace and timings. At the York Marathon this year, I ensured that I ran the first 10K in under 55 minutes and the half-marathon stage in under two hours – I actually ran it in 1hr 54mins so felt I was on time for a sub-four-hour finish. Unfortunately I slowed down from mile 19, which impacted my overall time – I have to work on those last seven miles! While I enjoyed my first marathon, I was so much better prepared for the second race and ran a better race. Mile 18 to 26 is always the hardest part but I was much more in control in the last race, less tired and stronger.
SALLY’S STEPS FOR SPEEDING UP Vary the training to include interval, tempo and hill running
Following a training plan is essential but don’t worry if you miss some days
Run races, such as 10Ks and halfmarathons, and monitor timings
SHARE YOUR PB STORY! SEND DETAILS AND PHOTOS TO JENNIFER.BOZON@WILDBUNCHMEDIA.CO.UK
"I DON'T LIVE WITH IT, IT LIVES WITH ME"
When Nellie Archer was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, she refused to let it dominate her life – or stop her from doing the things she loves most W O R D S: J EN N IF ER B OZON
ellie Archer, 50, from Bodmin, Cornwall, sometimes chooses to take various bits of memorabilia – or the odd bit of costume – along with her to her three weekly chemotherapy treatments. She’s usually got family members or close friends with her and they’ll always take a ‘selfie’ to put on Facebook. Next week [at the time of writing], her friend, Jenny, from her running club, will be coming along with her and they’re planning on bringing along their race medals from the notoriously tough 11-mile event at the Roseland August Trail (RAT) race, which they completed this summer, to honour Team GB and Paralympic GB on their amazing results from Rio 2016. “The reason I do that is to try to inspire people to think, ‘Cancer doesn’t have to be the be-all and end-all to everything in my life,’” explains Nellie. Since being diagnosed with metastatic (secondary) breast cancer in September 2013, Nellie has learned to adopt this particular outlook on life with cancer. She would not live with cancer, cancer would live with her; it would not upturn her bubbly and energetic demeanour and it would most certainly not stop her from running when she was able to. “Not everything revolves around cancer and it took me a long time to realise that,” says Nellie. “We know it’s life limiting but, at the end of the day, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to lead a relevantly normal life.” For Nellie, running two to three times a week with her friends at Bodmin Women’s Running Club is one of her favourite pastimes and one that became of particular importance to her when she came face to face with Secondary Breast Cancer three years ago.
UNEXPECTED DIAGNOSIS “After some programmed surgery, I wasn’t recovering as well as expected and my health began to deteriorate. My GP thought I could be suffering from sepsis and prescribed antibiotics but my health rapidly deteriorated to the extent where I was an emergency admission to the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske in Truro. It was there that tests showed very high calcium levels in my blood which probably explained why I was drinking so much milk – up to five pints a day. “Like most people would, I had a look on Google – I wish I hadn’t – and it just kept mentioning ‘high calcium levels = cancer’. I was like, ‘That can’t be me, I haven’t got cancer, I’ve not got any symptoms’ but it
was. I went for a scan which showed I had a 2.9 cm lump in my breast, I had two lymph nodes also affected and there were shadows on my bones and liver and lesions on my spine. I had 18 straight weeks of chemotherapy with all the horrible side effects associated with that. I now have a three-weekly cycle of antibody drugs which are a lot kinder and I’ll be on this regime for the rest of my life.” After nearly a year and a half of arduous treatment, Nellie received a second devastating blow – the news that her cancer had spread further. “I was doing really well and then, in January 2015, it had actually spread to my brain so I had to have an all-over-head radiotherapy, so I lost all my hair for the second time. I had about 50 clusters at the back of my brain and the radiotherapy got rid of most of them but there were some small clusters remaining. “I was referred to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, where they have a specialist unit for treating breast cancer in the brain and a fantastic team to look after me. I had high-intensity targeted beam radiotherapy. That worked, in terms of the bits it targeted, it did get rid of – or shrink – them but, unfortunately, more have replaced those now and the disease in my brain is still progressive. There is only a limited amount of this high-intensity treatment that I can have.” RUNNING AFTER TREATMENT One of the side effects of Nellie’s treatment is chronic fatigue, so she was keen to use her running to maintain her fitness and help build her stamina. However, aggressive regimes of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and antibody treatment, at times, made this near impossible. “When I was on my treatment, I was out walking the dogs and trying to keep myself fit but I couldn’t actually run at that stage. I was heaving and all sorts, it was horrendous.” “[However] when I’d finished my all-over-head radiotherapy, in April 2015 we ran the Plymouth Half Marathon. I got some of my friends together, there were about 20 of us, we call ourselves ‘Nellie’s Army’, and we raised nearly £7,000 for CoppaFeel!. It’s a cancer charity that raises awareness for young people to educate and give advice on Breast Cancer. The charity’s Boobettes go into schools and educate young people on
how to check themselves and what feels normal to them, so they can be aware of any abnormalities. Early detection is key and, unfortunately, I didn’t have that.” Passionate about fundraising for CoppaFeel! and keeping up her fitness, Nellie has stayed committed to her running, training for and competing in various fundraising events with Nellie’s Army for the charity. Last August, the team took on the Roseland August Trail (RAT) race – a hilly 11-mile coastal event – which saw Nellie taking home an award for her admirable strength in her battle against cancer. “The Merlot Rat, they’ve called it [the award]. It’s a beautiful trophy, it’s in honour of David Rowe who inspired the trophy because of his own courage and determination during his own illness and it’s about strength over adversity. I was so honoured, it was lovely.” “We had the Bodmin Carnival [in August] and we’ve got a Nellie’s Army banner. We’ve got a chant we do for CoppaFeel! and we were singing that all through the streets of Bodmin. So Nellie’s Army is becoming a little bit of a crusade now.”
TAKING CONTROL For Nellie, staying committed to her passion in the face of cancer has helped her regain a sense of control living with such a vile disease. "I always felt quite guilty of blaming everything on it but, actually, it doesn’t need to be like that. [For example] sometimes I wake up feeling a bit down and my friend, Angie, said to me, ‘Everyone wakes up bit down, it’s not just because you have cancer’. “[Running gives you] endorphins for a start, so… just makes you feel better. Obviously when the cancer spreads to your brain, it plays mind games with you, so I’m always as positive as I can be. I’ve always said I don’t live with it, it lives with me. “ Next April, Nellie will be running the 2017 London Marathon for CoppaFeel! after securing a place through Bodmin’s Women’s Running Club. “I’m chuffed to bits,” says Nellie. "When I’m giving people updates I always hashtag ‘UpYoursCancer’, which they love. My message is to say that you actually can live with stage four breast cancer. If you are able to, don’t be afraid to run – it makes you feel great!” Husband Colin has been a great support
Nellie smiles through arduous treatment
Nellie with the Merlot Rat trophy
Nellie and Colin on their wedding day
WOMEN’S RUNNING RACE SERIES 2017
GET READY TO RACE! T H E W O M E N ’ S R U N N I N G R A C E S E R I E S I S B A C K I N 2 0 1 7 – G R A B Y O U R E A R LY - B I R D E N T R Y R AT E N O W !
Ready to kick-start your 2017 running? Then get your entry in for our fun, friendly Women’s Running Race Series today – and grab yourself a brilliant discounted rate on entry of just £20 for the 10K distance. All of our 12 events for 2017 will feature
a gorgeous venue, friendly marshals, and most importantly a vibrant, varied and welcoming field of female runners! With venues all over the UK, from Maidstone up to Glasgow, you’re sure to find a race near you, and for 2017 – in
addition to our 10K and 5K races – we’re also adding a one-mile event. Visit womensrunninguk.co.uk/race-series today to enter the 10K for just £20, the 5K for £15 or grab some mates and enter a team of six for £18 each (until 31 December).
WOMENâ€™S RUNNING 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
DETAILS SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION. PLEASE CHECK WOMENSRUNNINGUK. CO.UK/RACE-SERIES
SOUTHAMPTON COMMON 4 JUNE
⁄ HAVE YOUR SAY
STAR LETTER AGE IS JUST A NUMBER One of the best moments for me in last Sunday’s fabulous Loch Ness Marathon was when chatting to a fellow runner around mile 16 and he acknowledged that it was my first marathon. He asked me, “Oh, are you the 60-year-old running her first marathon?” I replied, “No. I’m the 64-year-old running her first marathon!” Just to prove it’s never too late to start (I started running when I was about 55). And, inspired by my efforts, my 67-year-old husband went and bought his first pair of running shoes for about 40 years while I was busy with the marathon, and has been out with me twice already (taking it gently!). Thanks for the inspiration and tips Women’s Running! But please can we have more articles and advice for older runners? Most of your featured runners seem to be well under 50!
WHAT YOU’RE SAYING ON FACEBOOK PARKRUN
B RO N WE N CURRI E , I SL E O F IS LAY
If this isn’t proof that ‘it’s never to late to start’, we don’t know what is. You’ve totally inspired us and we hope your letter will inspire others, too. We’ll definitely take your feedback on board; the more advice we can provide that is accessible to everyone, the better!
I am a small Asian girl of 4ft 10.5ins, so very small, and I love running and have run six half-marathons. However, I occasionally get people making fun of me when I am out running. I have experienced cars hooting and drivers shouting, “Run Forrest Run” and kids running beside me laughing. I feel maybe I should not run. I don’t understand and other runners don’t get this. Why me? It’s not unusual to go out for a run like others, so why people laugh at me when I am out running I don’t know.
We’re so sorry to hear this but can assure you, you’re not alone. You’d be surprised to hear just how many female runners have had experiences of being heckled while out running. We hope this doesn’t discourage you from running. We encourage you to rise above the bullies; try challenging their negativity with a subtle smile. In confidence coach Jo Emerson’s words: “Nothing puts out the fire of attack quicker than a genuine, carefree smile.”
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!
Gorgeous autumn colours on Lancaster parkrun today and a new PB for me! #loveparkrun Stella Birchall
Stunning morning at Tamar Trails! A new PB for me too! Julia Mansell
ANONYMOUS, BY FACEBOOK
Love parkrun so exhilarating, this time of year is great and the cooler conditions are so much better for getting speed – 7:34 min mile PB this week Staying off the DREADMILL as much as possible.
A few months ago I read an article on your website that’s made a huge difference to me (‘Is your running affected by your period?’). As someone who suffers from really bad period pain, I hate running during that time of the month and will always bail out of parkrun, and have even dropped out of a race because it coincided with my period. My GP is understanding, but didn’t give me much useful advice. However your article has helped me to understand my body a little better and also gave a few good tips on how to cope with PMS. I won’t lie, I still hate running with Aunt Flo, but she certainly won’t keep me from parkrun again.
The best thing to do on a Saturday morning. Suzie Hamer
The best way to start off the weekend… Mba-lee Mkoko
We had a spooky Northampton parkrun today – then a bake sale for a defibrillator – parkrun rules! Claire Michelle Rahn
We’re glad you’ve found ways to manage your PMS symptoms. You should never be forced to stop running, it’s just about rearranging your training agenda a little.
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 Katie Tyler
On 2 October I completed my first half in Bournemouth and loved it! Three years ago I’d never been running and to know I have just managed 13 miles makes me so proud. My boyfriend was a huge support, accompanying me on my first run and cheerleading me throughout my journey Denise Day
socks_up_to @Womensrunninguk halfway up Snowdon on the Snowdonia Trail Marathon. Probably the toughest race I’ve done to date! #YourRuns
@RunnersKnees @Womensrunninguk #yourruns @_jen_mo lol
Last weekend I completed my first halfmarathon at Cardiff (after joining Bootyes Ladies Running Club in Bridgwater 13 months ago) and, if the exhilaration of the run wasn’t enough, I ran into ‘Dr Ethan Hardy’ from Casualty at mile seven. He’d already finished!!
Lady Lola Deedes
Lucja Leonard (runningdutchie)
Seriously fallen head over heels for #Knoydart. Simply amazing what #Scotland has to offer. I’m out on a #microadventure & loving it #running#adventure#hiking#solotravel #thisgirlcan#neverstopexploring #yourruns
Me at the beginning of the Wimpole Hall ten mile race on 9 October, which I completed in 105 minutes and 11 seconds (gun time)
@Womensrunninguk Early run watching the sun come up along Reykjavik Harbour while on holiday – beautiful #yourruns
emmastartsrunning Sophia Murray @ MalibuSophie
@Womensrunninguk #yourruns #thunderrun #bestrunningclub #crosscountry
Not the time I wanted, but I crossed the finish line and that’s good enough for now. Plenty of time to fix this injury before my next attempt #greatwestrun #greatwestrun2016 #ashfordsgwr #halfmarathon #finisher #13.1miles #womenrunner #runningwomen #exeter #devon #run #runner #running #instarun #instarunning #runnersofinstagram #runningcommunity #daughter
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PREPARE FOR 2017
GET READY FOR YOUR BEST RUNNING YEAR EVER! Words:Elizabeth Hufton
PREPARE FOR 2017
We’ve caught you – guiltily eyeing up your kit and deciding that run can wait till tomorrow. After all, it’s nearly Christmas, right? Who starts a new fitness plan now? If you want to have a great running year in 2017, it’s worth making your preparations now. Use our simple nutrition, habitforming and training plans over the next few pages to lay the groundwork. Then, next issue, we’ll help you step it up to make 2017 your best running year yet!
e know life’s busy at the moment and it can be easy to brush aside your fitness promising yourself a new start in January. You don’t have to go into W plans, hibernation now, though. Just by committing to a few hours a week of training, healthy food shopping and simple headspace will give you a great base for next year’s big push towards fitness. Don’t worry, we’re not going to ask too much of you for now. Just follow our simple schedule and you won’t have to put any effort into the planning.
FOOL-PROOF FOOD RULES Relax, you don’t need to start calorie counting. Just use these basic guidelines to make sure you’re getting good nutrition into your body before the holiday shutdown.
KEEP A FOOD RECORD It’s well documented that keeping a food diary is one of the most effective tools for weight loss and maintenance, and it’s
Make a food diary to help keep temptation at bay
really the only way to know that you’re eating a balanced diet. But who has time to write down everything they eat right now? So here’s a compromise: take a snap of everything you eat on your phone, before you eat it. We’re not going to ask you to start beautifully arranging your beans on toast so that it looks good on Instagram (although if that’s your thing, go for it!). This is purely a visual journal for you to look back on at the end of each day. It also gives you a few seconds to pause before you grab another Quality Street…
PLAN AND SHOP Don’t let your cupboards run bare down the week. Set aside an hour each weekend to plan your meals for the following week, then make a precise shopping list and buy only what’s on it. Bonus: if you only buy the healthy food you’ve planned for, getting around the supermarket will take half the time. Hosting a big family get-together over the break? Resist the urge to stockpile treats. Remember, you’ll still be able to buy mince pies and mixed nuts the week before. DON’T BE SCARED OF READY MEALS In an ideal world, where children quietly got themselves ready for school on time and bosses never asked for “just one more quick thing” at 5:58pm, we would all cook delicious healthy meals from scratch, three times a day. Well, we don’t live in that world, and sometimes we have to choose our battles. If finding time or mental energy to cook every night is a fight too far for you in December, then add a few healthy ready meals to your shopping list and cut yourself some slack. Most supermarkets have good, well-balanced and low-calorie ranges so you’ll still get all the essential nutrients. Check the ‘traffic lights’ system to make sure you’re not eating too much sugar or salt and you’re good to go.
PREPARE FOR 2017
EAT PROTEIN AT EVERY MEAL While you’re making that meal plan, try to factor in a bit of protein at every meal. You don’t need to start weighing and measuring (yet – we’re saving that for the New Year) but just look over your plans and make sure you have some fish, chicken, eggs, soya or lean meat at every meal. To bump up your breakfast, try adding Greek yoghurt and nuts or seeds to porridge to increase the protein content. This will help you recover from training and help you stay full for longer between meals – so you’re less likely to reach for the inevitable festive office treats. DRINK WATER BEFORE EVERY MEAL You probably know that staying hydrated will help you run well. Drinking often is a hard habit to get into, though, which sometimes means you end up downing a litre of water before and after every session. Instead, just make water part of your mealtime ritual: drinking a glass of water before you eat means you’ll fill up quicker and won’t go back for unnecessary seconds, and you’ll always be well hydrated. SAVE BOOZE FOR PARTIES If you like the odd drink, it’s probably not realistic to say you’ll give up before Christmas. However, there is no doubt that cutting down on booze will help you to lose weight (if you’re trying to) and will keep you sharper for training. So let’s compromise for the next month: save booze for parties, special meals and New Year’s Eve, and alternate between alcoholic drinks and water when you do drink. Keep your other days booze free and you’ll be able to break that habit of the post-work de-stressing G&T. Save that tempting glass of vino for your work Christmas do!
A pre-dinner glass of water will stop you overloading your plate
EAT SITTING DOWN Eating little and often can be a good way to keep your energy levels up when you’re rushing around between work, runs, school plays and parties, but it’s easy to let this turn into constant, mindless snacking. So make a pledge to yourself that, for the next four weeks, you’ll only eat sitting down. Unless you’re very determined (or have a lot of chairs lying around), you’ll easily cut out picking from the fridge after your run, grabbing handfuls of nuts or sweets at your sister’s house at Christmas, or swiping an extra mince pie from the office buffet. EAT A RAINBOW Eating well is not just about volume. Getting in a good range of nutrients is crucial to staying strong and healthy, especially when you’re building up your exercise. Again, you don’t have time for precision at the moment,
so keep it simple: aim to eat different coloured fruit and vegetables every day. Think dark greens (spinach, kale, sprouts), deep purples and reds (beetroot, red cabbage, blueberries), yellows and oranges (carrots, peppers, citrus fruits).
PREPARE FOR 2017
10-MINUTE MIND FIXES
Over the next four weeks, get your mind in the right place with these quick reviews to help you get ready for a push in the New Year.
WEEK ONE: SNAP AND REVIEW Take a photo on your phone every time you run. It doesn’t have to be of yourself but of something that made you glad you went out (or hit the treadmill) to run. It could be of the bright kit you’re wearing, a beautiful sunrise, some colourful leaves on the ground. At the end of the week, sit down with a cuppa and find 10 minutes to go through your snaps, thinking about how each session made you feel. Getting into the habit of reflecting on your training will be really helpful when you start ramping it up in January. You can keep this one going after week one if you find it helpful – or why not go further and start keeping a written diary, too?
make this worthwhile: even if you began running yesterday, that’s a great achievement to write about. If you did race, or ran regularly, you can probably pick out two or three occasions when things went really well. Think in as much detail as you can about what you did in the weeks and days before that might have helped, as well as any little things on the day that made you feel good. Call on these feelings when you’re feeling demoralised and use the practical learnings to help you run better consistently.
don’t have to make it a time or distance goal but, if it’s not quantifiable, make sure you know what success would look like to you. For example, if your goal is to ‘feel fitter’, you might decide you’ll aim to be able to run up the stairs without getting out of breath. Having a strong internal motivation to do your training is going to be one of the most important determinants of your success. Lay down next year’s goals now
WEEK FOUR: WRITE DOWN THREE RUNNING OR HEALTH GOALS They can be as broad or as specific as you like. Write down why these goals are important to you. Sometimes, when you’re questioning this, you’ll come to realise that the things you thought you were aiming for aren’t such a big deal. For example, you might have entered a 2017 marathon six months ago thinking you wanted a subfive-hour time. If you realise that’s just an arbitrary number you were aiming for, there’s no shame in ditching it for a new goal. You
WEEK TWO: DO A BODY SCAN This handy mental tool is a favourite with pro athletes and will help highlight any niggles. It can be done when you’re resting, but also when you’re on a run – in the middle of a race it can be a great way to quell panic if you’re feeling bad or to distract yourself from pain. To begin with, learn to do it when you’re resting at home. Sit or lie down in a calm space. Close your eyes and slow your breathing. Starting at your toes and working your way up your body, focus on each part of your body, thinking about how it feels, how relaxed or tense it is, any aches or pains, any asymmetries. At first it can be hard to tune out racing thoughts but, with practice, you’ll get better at it. Sometimes it can help to lightly tense then relax the muscles in each area as you focus on it, to bring your mind back into it. WEEK THREE: LOOK BACK ON YOUR YEAR Grab a pen and paper and write down your running achievements this year. Scribble quick notes about why you think these things went well. You don’t have to have raced to
Capture that runner’s high with a post-run selfie!
PREPARE FOR 2017
a space where you’ll have room to make your moves.
HABIT-FORMING SHORTCUTS Use these quick tricks to help make sure your running and supporting workouts are non-negotiable appointments in your day
LAY YOUR KIT OUT The simplest, but most effective, tip we’ve ever been given for making sure you always run when you plan to: lay your kit out ready. If you’re running first thing, lay it out the night before, with the items you’ll put on first on top. If you’re running after work or when your partner gets home, lay it out as part of your morning routine. Not only does this make it super-quick to get out and run, but it also gives you a little guilt trip to see all your kit there if you’re considering skiving. If you’re doing a home workout (we advise them on our training plans, below) and need any equipment, get that ready too and clear
GIVE ADVANCE WARNING Tell somebody that you’re going for a run, every time you go. No-one wants to admit they didn’t go through with it – and partners, colleagues and family will get used to the idea that you won’t be around for half an hour each day. You can also help things along by cutting out your training plan (we’ve got three below for you to use if you’re stuck) and sticking it somewhere
STICK TO A SET TIME Some degree of flexibility is useful if you have a busy life, but when you want to make fitness your priority, it’s helpful to work out at the same time every day – whether you’re running, stretching or doing strength work. First thing in the morning works well for many people (unless you start work super early or have small children jumping on your head from 5am) – run early and nothing else will get in the way of your workout. Running at the same time is a really good way to make it a habit, rather than a chore – you’ll be out and running before you’ve even had time to come up with an excuse. HAVE A STRUCTURED PLAN If you already have a training schedule that works for you, then keep it up! But if you’re stuck for ideas or ‘between training plans’, try one of the options below and opposite just to keep you ticking over until January.
Beginner’s strength plan (page 60)
Walk 10mins. Then jog 1min, walk 1min x 5
Stretch for 20 – 30 minutes
Walk for 10 mins. Then, alternate 1min walking and 1min running for 20 mins
Walk 20mins – keep your pace brisk
Beginner’s strength plan (page 60)
Walk 10mins. Then jog 1min, walk 1min x 4. Walk for 5mins, then repeat the walk/run set.
Stretch for 20 – 30 minutes
Walk for 10 mins. Then, alternate 1min walking and 1min running for 26 mins
Walk 10mins. Run for as long as you can – aim for 5mins. Walk to cool down for 10mins.
Beginner’s strength plan (page 60)
Walk 10mins. Jog for 1min 30secs, walk for 30secs; do this five times.
Stretch for 20 – 30 minutes
Walk for 10 mins. Then, alternate 1min walking and 1min running for 30 mins
Walk 10mins. Run for as long as you can – aim for 5mins. Walk to cool down for 10mins.
Beginner’s strength plan (page 60)
Walk 10mins. Run for 2mins, walk for 1min. Do this three times. Walk for 5mins to cool down.
Stretch for 20 – 30 minutes
Walk for 10 mins. Then, alternate 1min walking and 1min running for 20 mins
FOR COMPLETE BEGINNERS No need to wait for New Year’s Day to set your running plans in action. Get going now with the aim of simply getting into the habit of working out regularly. You can move the days around as you see fit – this is just a suggested schedule as week days are often easier to build new routines into.
WARM UP FOR FIVE MINUTES, INDOORS This not only gets your body ready to run but tells your brain that you’re getting into training mode. It’s particularly valuable in bad weather, when getting warm and pumping blood around to your working muscles will make it that much easier to go out in the cold and get running. You’ll find a great simple dynamic stretching routine at womensrunninguk.co.uk/training/trythis-dynamic-warm-up-today/. With a few simple leg swings, you’ll be ready to run and psyched up to do your best.
prominent, like the fridge door. Not only does this announce your intention to train to the rest of the household, but it’s a little nudge for yourself on those days when it feels hard to face.
PREPARE FOR 2017
Run 30mins with 3 x 2-4mins fast: run as you feel, using the landscape to push yourself (eg running harder up hills). End with 5-10mins easy jog
Do a strength workout – try: womensrunninguk. co.uk/training/ 15-minutestrength-workout/
Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 2 x 4mins at threshold (around 8/10 effort) with 2mins easy in between. Jog 10mins
30 – 45mins cross-training or stretching
Long run: 30 – 40mins at 6/10 effort
Run 30mins: use an out-and-back route to run out for 15mins at 7/10 effort and then try to beat your time on the way back
Strength training (see above)
Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 3 x 3mins at threshold (8/10) with 1min easy in between. Jog 10mins
30 – 45mins cross-training or stretching
Long run: 3545mins at 6/10 effort
Run 10mins at 5-6/10 effort, then do 10mins at 20secs fast, 40secs recovery. Jog to cool down for 10mins
Strength training (see above)
Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 10mins at threshold (8/10), taking a break in the middle if you need to for 1min. Jog for 10mins
30 – 45mins cross-training or stretching
Long run: 3545mins at 6/10 effort with a few easy sprints thrown in
Run 30mins ‘fartlek’ – use the landscape to run faster and slower sections, on and off road
Strength training (see above)
Run 10mins at 5-6/10 effort, then do 10mins at 20secs fast, 40secs recovery. Jog to cool down for 10mins.
30-45mins stretching or yoga
Long run: 4550mins at 6/10 effort – or do a parkrun
Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Then run 5x3mins at 7-8/10 with 1min recovery; or 5x 600m with 200m recovery. Jog to cool down for 10mins
Strength work: try this womensrunninguk. co.uk/training/ exercises-toprepare-for-amarathon
Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 10mins at threshold (8/10). Jog for 10mins
30-45mins crosstraining, stretching or yoga
Long run: 35-45mins easy (5-6/10 effort)
Run for 10mins to a hill (or ramp or steps). Do 10mins continuous hills, maintaining effort as you run down. Jog to cool down for 10mins
Strength work: see above
Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 2x6mins at threshold (8/10 effort) with 2mins recovery jog in between. Jog for 10mins
30-45mins crosstraining, stretching or yoga
Long run: 4050mins easy (5-6/10 effort)
Run for 30-40mins. Alternate 5mins at 5-6/10 effort, then 5mins at 20secs, 40secs easy recovery.
Strength work: see above
Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 2 x 7mins at threshold (8/10), with 2mins recovery jog in between. Jog for 10mins
30-45mins crosstraining, stretching or yoga
Long run: 5560mins easy (5-6/10 effort)
Run for 10mins to a hill (or ramp or steps). Do 10mins continuous hills, maintaining effort as you run down. Jog to cool down for 10mins
Strength work: see above
Run 10mins easy (5-6/10 effort). Run 20mins at threshold or just below (7-8/10 effort). Jog for 10mins
30-45mins stretching or yoga
Long run: 60mins easy (5-6/10 effort)
THE MAINTENANCE PLAN
Use this schedule if you’re unsure what your running goal is next year or if you’re aiming to race a 10K in spring. This schedule will keep your fitness ticking over, keep you motivated and build some useful strength to take into your harder workouts after Christmas. To complete this plan, you must be able to run continuously for 20 minutes and should already be working out at least three times per week.
THE LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER’S PLAN
Starting a half or marathon training plan in January? Don’t get carried away by ramping up the mileage too soon – just use this plan to keep building your fitness gradually. This plan asks you to work out five times per week but, if you’re fit and injury free, add another easy run at the weekend, or a long bike ride (1hr 30mins to 2hrs) to build your base fitness without impact.
Your Running Check-up G I V E Y O U R S E L F A Q U I C K H E A LT H A N D F I T N E S S C H E C K WITH OUR LIFESTYLE AUDIT words: christina macdonald
New year, new you! Or new injury? We don’t want to put a downer on your 2017 goals, but the end of the year is a good time to reflect on how your running went in 2016. Did you manage to nail those personal bests, or run that 10K or half-marathon without any niggles? Or did you find yourself in that vicious circle of upping your mileage and then getting injured or feeling exhausted on race day? It’s not just how you train that affects your ability to get the most from your running. How you eat, sleep, drink and rest in between each run will all have a significant effect on your running performance. So let’s look at your current lifestyle and see if it gels with your running.
Your check-up PART 1
We run for lots of reasons – usually for weight loss and ‘me time’, with health reasons often being further down the list. Yet it’s important to look at how we’re treating our bodies, especially if we want to run without injury. It’s time to ask yourself the awkward questions…
HOW DO YOU TYPICALLY FEEL AFTER YOU’VE BEEN FOR A RUN? Energised, elated and excited about the next one A bit tired but pleased that you got your workout done Exhausted and ready to collapse into your bed
HOW WELL DO YOU TYPICALLY SLEEP MOST OF THE TIME? Pretty well most nights – no problem dropping off Not bad – though it depends on what happened during the day Pretty poorly – I struggle to doze off and feel exhausted the next day
careful with portion sizes Twice a week – I tend to follow the 80/20 rule when it comes to diet I eat whatever I want – life is too short to worry
HOW MUCH WATER DO YOU DRINK IN A TYPICAL DAY? At least eight to 10 glasses Several glasses I rarely drink water
WHEN YOU GO OUT FOR A MEAL, HOW LIKELY ARE YOU TO CHOOSE VEGETABLES OR SALAD AS A SIDE DISH OVER OTHER CHOICES LIKE CURLY FRIES OR ONION RINGS? Every time – it’s a good chance to increase my intake of veggies and salad Now and then, though I may go for the occasional bowl of chips Never – I’d rather enjoy myself when I eat out and that means eating whatever I want
HOW MUCH COFFEE DO YOU DRINK IN A TYPICAL DAY? One to two cups – usually in the morning Three to five cups – throughout the day while I’m working As much as I want – I need it for energy
HOW MUCH RECOVERY TIME DO YOU HAVE AFTER A LONG HARD RUN? Usually one to two days depending how I’m feeling A day at the most None – I like to run most days
Cup of plenty: how often do you overindulge?
BE HONEST! DO YOU NORMALLY DRINK ALCOHOL THE NIGHT BEFORE A RACE OR A LONG TRAINING RUN? Never – I don’t drink Maybe, but I’d only have one small glass at the most Frequently – I like a few drinks and it helps me calm down and curbs my prerace nerves
HOW OFTEN DO YOU FEEL STRESSED IN A TYPICAL WEEK? I don’t get stressed Once or twice during the week if lots of different things are going on Most days – I have so much stress in my life that often I don’t know which way to turn
HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK DO YOU TREAT YOURSELF TO A TAKEAWAY OR A FEW CHEAT FOODS? Once a week at the most – and I’m
YOUR TRAINING PLAN SAYS YOU’RE DUE TO GO OUT AND DO A HARD SESSION BUT YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE GETTING FLU AND A TEMPERATURE. WHAT DO YOU DO? Stay home and rest – I don’t want to make myself worse Go out for a light jog instead and stop if I feel tired Go out and push myself – how else will I get fitter?
WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING BEST DESCRIBES YOUR WARM-UP ROUTINE BEFORE A RUN? Five to 10 minutes of dynamic stretching and brisk walking, graduating into a light jog and then into my run when I’m warm A couple of minutes of jogging up and down before breaking into a run Bolting up the street the minute I leave the house
WHAT’S YOUR POST-RACE NUTRITION STRATEGY AFTER A LONG RACE? I eat some protein and carbs within an hour of my run It varies but I genuinely try to eat something healthy such as fruit or nuts I head for the nearest McDonalds and down a few glasses of something fizzy later on to celebrate
Kill or cure: do you run when you’re poorly?
HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK DO YOU CROSS-TRAIN, E.G. LIFT WEIGHTS, DO A SPIN CLASS OR SOME OTHER FORM OF EXERCISE TO SUPPORT YOUR RUNNING?
walk/run if I’ve done some training Try to run the entire race but at a gentle jogging pace Go for my PB anyway – I always want to get my best time
Usually two or three times a week Usually once a week Never – it’s boring, so I only run
WHICH OF THE BELOW BEST DESCRIBES YOUR VIEW OF LOW-CARB DIETS? YOU’VE GOT A RACE COMING UP AND DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES YOU’VE NOT BEEN ABLE TO TRAIN PROPERLY. WHAT’S YOUR RACE-DAY STRATEGY? Either pull out if I’ve not trained at all or
I don’t follow a low-carb diet as I need energy for my running I occasionally cut back on carbs a bit when I’ve got a rest day I only follow a low-carb diet – carbs will make me fat
So how did you get on?
If you scored mostly C’s
If you scored mostly b’s
If you scored mostly a’s
You’re living life on your own terms and are not taking your health seriously. You need to look at your diet, sleep and your attitude to running, as you’re asking your body to cope with high training demands without giving it any respect. You might be getting away with it now but, sooner or later, your body will have had enough, and injury will strike. Have a read of the expert tips (right) to improve your lifestyle and help boost your running.
You’re doing your best to lead a healthy lifestyle, but there’s always room for improvement. Some days you don’t always get things spot on, and that’s OK – most of us don’t. But you could certainly pay a bit more attention to your diet and make some small lifestyle tweaks to improve your energy levels and your ability to recover from your running. Have a read of some of the suggestions from our experts opposite.
You treat your body with respect. This might be because you’ve had injuries or health issues in the past and you fully understand the importance of fuelling your body appropriately and getting enough rest. Whatever the reason, you value your health and you’re not asking too much of your body. Keep up the great work and have a read of our tips (right) in case there’s anything you might be missing that could help even more.
AVOID TOO MUCH ALCOHOL DURING A BUSY TRAINING WEEK OR BEFORE A RACE “Alcohol the night before a race may mean your sleep is poor quality and leave you tired the next day,” says Dr Sally Norton, an NHS weight loss consultant and surgeon from vavistalife.com. “It may also mean you’re dehydrated, which saps energy and motivation.” Avoid trying to set any personal bests if you train the day after a few drinks and drink plenty of water beforehand. TAKE SLEEP SERIOUSLY AND DON’T LET SLEEP DEBT ACCUMULATE “The recommended amount of sleep is eight hours per night but if you live a healthy lifestyle you will be able to exercise sufficiently with less,” says personal trainer James Golden from Target Fitness Retreats (targetfitnessretreats.com). Constantly losing sleep will significantly affect your running, as your body repairs while you sleep. “If you’ve had one bad night’s sleep you’ll probably be fine the next day when exercising,” says Melinda Nicci, a sports psychologist and founder of Baby2Body (baby2body.com). “Real issues present themselves when you experience chronic sleep loss. After a period of disrupted sleep, your blood pressure rises,
cortisol levels rise and you’re at an increased risk of heart-related problems.” “Poor sleep causes a decrease in glycogen production and increases the chance of central fatigue, so it makes exercise and recovering from exercise a lot harder,” says sports scientist James Rutherford, an ambassador for Bio-Synergy (bio-synergy.uk).
THINK OF FOOD AS FUEL, NOT THE ENEMY Many of us take up running to lose weight, so it’s understandable that we may be tempted to skip meals or count calories. But severely limiting calories is not good for us in the long term. “What we eat mediates our energy levels and how our bodies feel,” says Nicci. “Eat protein-rich foods and loads of fruit and vegetables that give you lasting energy.” DON’T TOTALLY BAN CARBOHYDRATES All carbs are not equal. Choose the right ones and they will boost your energy levels. “Consumption of carbs after hard training helps to replenish the muscle glycogen used during exercise,” says Rutherford. “Too many women neglect carbs and fear they will cause fat gain. Use them wisely and they
won’t! Carbs are your body’s number one fuel source for intense exercise. Consume them around training, which is when you need them, and avoid them in all other meals throughout the day when you don’t.” Good choices include brown rice, wholemeal pasta or sweet potatoes and veggies.
TAKE POST-RACE RECOVERY SERIOUSLY, ESPECIALLY AFTER LONG RUNS “Movement the day after a long run like a marathon can really help,” says running coach George Anderson, author of the book Beginner’s Luck Guide For Non-Runners (runningbygeorge.com). “Try to move around as much as you can. Focus on getting quality nutrition back into your body. Eat healthy fats and plenty of protein. Drink plenty of water over the next few days because you won’t hydrate within an hour of finishing a marathon.” DON’T PILE ON THE PRESSURE Got a stressful life? Running can be a good distraction and can give you a positive focus. At the same time, putting yourself under pressure to perform well is unwise. Vow to enjoy it, not push yourself too hard. “Running is a powerful tool for reclaiming control,” says Anderson. “But when you start training for an event and putting pressure on yourself for a time goal, you’re increasing stress, especially in the lead-up to the race. The brain doesn’t recognise the difference between what’s ultimately an insignificant goal of whether you’re going to hit sub-two hours for a half-marathon or real-life stress.” DON’T RUN TOO MUCH “My philosophy for running is three runs a week maximum,” says Anderson. “Most people are more likely to get injured when they start training more than that.” DON’T BE ONE DIMENSIONAL If you’re the type of runner who only runs, mix things up to reduce injury risk. Other forms of CV training such as swimming, cycling, rowing or doing a spin class will help maintain your cardiovascular fitness while giving your joints a break from the high-impact nature of running. “Try yoga or Pilates after a long session,” says Anderson. “I also like to swim or use the gym.”
DON’T LET YOUR MINDSET HOLD YOU BACK! D O Y O U E V E R F I N D Y O U R S E L F T H I N K I N G Y O U C A N ’ T P O S S I B LY RUN ANY FURTHER? OR FASTER? THEN IT’S TIME TO STOP T H E S E L F - S A B OTA G E ! R E M O V I N G T H O S E M E N TA L BA R R I E R S , SAYS C LA I R E C H A M B E R LA I N , C O U L D B E YO U R K EY TO A C H I E V I N G G R E AT E R R U N N I N G F E ATS ithout even realising it, many of us will have set out on our W running journey with rigid beliefs in the backs of our minds: beliefs such as, “I’m so slow”; “I’ll never get faster”; or “I could never run a marathon.” We believe these so completely that they become more than just thoughts – they become facts. However, the mind is a powerful tool, so by believing these negative statements, we really are limiting ourselves. What if, instead, we believed we could run further, faster, stronger? What would we go on to achieve? “A limiting mindset can prevent you from achieving your optimal performance,” says Dr Rhonda Cohen, a registered sports and exercise psychologist, and head of the London Sport Institute at Middlesex
University. “Beliefs can be unrealistic and based on previous experiences. For example, ‘I can’t run a marathon as I was always useless at PE’, or ‘I’ll never lose weight as everyone in my family is overweight’. Distracting thoughts can then lead to emotional constraints, such as high anxiety, worry or fear. A limiting mindset can range from being uncomfortable to being a complete barrier to you ever achieving your goal.” Bernadette Dancy PhD, a senior lecturer in health and physical activity at St Mary’s University, London, agrees that the right mindset is hugely important for running – or indeed any physical activity. “As humans, we are predetermined to want to demonstrate our competence when performing any skill or task,” she says. “After all, who wants to look bad or incompetent? So if you think you’re not going to be able to do something, you’re less likely to a) start or b) stick to it. Why would anyone start running if they thought they were going to be bad at it, or thought it was going to injure them? I have a lot of women say to me, ‘Oh, I can’t run.’ When I ask them why, they often reply, ‘I’m too big’; ‘My boobs will hurt’; or, ‘I’m not fit enough – everyone will look at me.’ They have already decided the outcome before they start – that they won’t be competent and therefore won’t attempt it.” Dancy also realises that mindset has a huge impact on more experienced runners. “I have known runners who have said, ‘I can’t run a faster minute-mile pace’ or ‘I need to stop’. If they listen to this inner self-talk while running, it will become their reality, negatively affecting their performance.” So, just how do you turn that negative mindset into a positive one?
Dancy believes that one of the most effective ways to achieve a stronger mindset for running is to identify how you can demonstrate competence – and, for beginners, often the trick to this is to simply start really slowly. “In my experience, people start running far too quickly and set themselves up for failure,” she says. “They believe they need to run fast. But after a few minutes, they have to stop and then they interpret this as not being competent – that they can’t run. But they did run, so they can run! Running is running – it doesn’t matter how long for. When working with a client, I get them to change their expectations of how fast they need to run to be a ‘runner’, and how long they need to run for. Then I encourage slow progress – so slow that they don’t even notice it’s getting harder. But then one day, they look back at what they’ve achieve and think, ‘Wow, I’m running!’” Dancy is quick to point out that, in order to not set yourself up for a fall, your new-found positive mindset needs to be achievable – there’s no point repeating to yourself that you’re going to run at eightminute-mile pace on your next training run if this simply is not realistic. “A positive mindset means having a gentle inner voice that’s both positive and realistic,” she says. So, if your goal is to be able to run at eight-minute-mile pace, but you’re currently at 10-minute-mile pace, you can absolutely tell yourself you will get there – but that your achievement will come from devising (and sticking with) a comprehensive training plan, in order for your pace to increase gradually over a specified time period. Here are Dancy’s five top tips on how to create a positive mindset…
TRY ‘THOUGHT STOPPING’ Use this technique to replace any negative thoughts that come into your head as you run – because running won’t always go to plan or feel easy, however much we’d like it to! Most of us will experience a point in every run when we think, “This is horrible – I want to stop.” As soon as you catch yourself thinking this, try replacing the negative thought with a more positively phrased one. For example, “OK, this feels a
bit hard, but hard means I’m pushing myself, which means I’m progressing, and I will feel awesome when I get home knowing I stuck it out.”
CHALLENGE YOUR BELIEFS Think you can’t run further or faster? Where’s your evidence for this? There is unlikely to be any. The body is designed to adapt to training. So, if you place it under appropriate demands and train energy systems in the right way, then you will and can run further or faster. Why not consult a running coach or personal trainer? If they find evidence to support your mindset that you’re already running as fast or far as you can, then you’re a rare breed! Most coaches will be able to adapt your training to allow for progression. Your body will follow your mind’s lead – you just need to allow it to be pushed. KEEP A TRAINING DIARY By writing down times, distance and heart rates, you will be able to look back and see progress. No matter how small this progress is, it will improve your confidence and perceived competence. BE PATIENT AND REALISTIC It can take at least six weeks to get the physiological adaptations needed that will allow you to run faster, and this might be translated as just a second or two off a route PB or a training pace. But progress is progress. Train sensibly, and set realistic yet challenging goals. GET A RUNNING BUDDY OR COACH Running with a friend or enlisting the help of a coach means you will have someone on hand to encourage you and keep you accountable. If you run with a friend, you will be less likely to miss a training session, meaning you will start seeing positive changes, and develop a more positive, confident mindset on the back of this. And a coach will create a training plan especially for you that you can trust, helping to give you the self-belief that you can push yourself that bit harder. So, stop that self-sabotage and banish your negative frame of mind. Put this advice into practice… and who knows what you might achieve with your running in 2017?
Turn over to be inspired by five women who beat their inner critics to start running…
“I NEVER THOUGHT I COULD RUN…” SOUND FAMILIAR? TINA CHANTREY MEETS FIVE WO M E N W H O B E AT T H I S STAT E M E N T O F S E L F - D O U BT AND USED RUNNING TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES
CLAIRE LOMAS TOOK UP RUNNING AFTER BEING PARALYSED FROM THE WAIST DOWN “I was a top event rider but a fall left me paralysed from the waist down. Before the accident, horses took up my life. Then my life changed completely. It was hard to come to terms with this. But in hospital, I realised there were people much worse [off] than me. I still had strong arms. I needed a new challenge and wanted to keep fit, so in 2012 I walked the London Marathon route in a robotic suit. It took me 17 days. “Walking in the suit is mentally tough. I can’t feel the ground. Every bump that catches my feet jars on my arms. The suit has a tilt sensor near my pelvis. I have to get the tilt of my pelvis right for every step, in order for the suit to move. It’s very technical and exhausting, as well as mentally frustrating. Just keeping my balance is hard, and when I first started using the suit, I fell over. Now I always have someone walking behind me, usually my husband Dan.
“This year I wanted to do the Great North Run. Then, during training, I found out I was pregnant. The race took me five days, walking three miles a day. I’ve never struggled so much. Every step was a huge effort. I was always on edge, mentally and physically. On day three, I had to go to A&E to have my sores dressed. “I’ve never struggled so much, but I still achieved my challenge. It doesn’t matter what speed you do, it’s that you keep going that really matters. I’m a speaker and love talking to children in schools about trying new things. It doesn’t matter that you may not be good at something; you can still do it and feel a sense of achievement. You’ve got to try. “We all have bad days in training, but I always feel better when I’m done. After my accident my confidence was low, but training and racing helps increase my self-esteem.
The mental and physical benefits of sports always make the hard work feel worthwhile.” Sign up to Claire’s second Road2Recovery halfmarathon, to raise money for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation, at claireschallenge.co.uk
Mags with her daughter Rachel, who ran the Yorkshire Marathon with her
MAGS COOK STARTED RUNNING AFTER LOSING HER HUSBAND, LEN, 10 YEARS AGO “One year ago, I thought about doing a marathon. I’m 65 in January – I didn’t want to get to 70 and wish I’d tried one. Once I had decided to do it, I went for it! Everyone at my club, Roundhay Runners, was encouraging, as was my daughter, Rachel. My club-mates would run parts of my long runs with me. I wanted to run for a cause, so I raised money for a local hospice. “I was worried it might not be good for my body but, through training, I learned to stop thinking I couldn’t do it. I’ve just run the Yorkshire Marathon and Rachel ran with me. I totally trusted her pacing. I couldn’t have done it without her. I never once thought I wouldn’t finish the race, but I hit the wall! Once we finished, my body felt broken, but I was so proud. It was something I never thought I’d achieve. Many older people say they couldn’t do a marathon but I say, ‘If you wanted to, you could.’ I was so nervous about joining my club but they have been so encouraging and inclusive. Running has stretched my horizons – now I’d like to learn to swim so I can do a triathlon.”
A YEAR AGO SUSAN BONNAR COULDN’T RUN FOR THE BUS “I never thought I could run... ever! Last year, I decided to try and started by running and walking between lampposts. I ran when it was dark so nobody would see me. When I went out at the weekend, my children thought I had lost the plot! Eventually running [between] two lampposts became five, then 10, and before I knew it I was running for 20 minutes. I had lost four stone through dieting but needed to lose one more; running helped me. Suddenly, at five-anda-half stone lighter, I could aspire to run further and faster than I ever had. “A 5K goal was smashed and replaced by a 10K goal. My next target is a half-marathon. I now run in shorts and a vest top, at any time of the day, and have even joined a club! My eldest teenager watched me change as I got fitter and started running with me. We now cycle every week to do parkrun together. I have charted my ‘journey’ on Instagram and it has inspired other ladies who thought that they couldn’t to give running a try. They are all doing incredibly well and it feels very empowering to have been part of their journey too.”
AFTER A LIFETIME OF NOT BEING SPORTY, JANE BOZON TRIED RUNNING TWO YEARS AGO “I was 53 and had never aspired to taking part in sport before. I felt that I’d never been good at anything I’d tried. My parents used to joke that I was all the gear and no idea, which was true as I’m a very competitive person and always bought the designer sports gear! “I first ran with a friend from my gym; it was a mistake as she was so much faster! I was gasping for breath. A man who was walking even asked me if I was OK. That was it for me. I’d never run again. “Then I ran a few times with my daughter, Jenny. We took it easy and I felt much more confident. I started to run on my own, which I loved, as there was no pressure. I started to enjoy the freedom of running. “I keep a record of my times on the calendar. It might sound sad, but that’s my competitive streak! I really enjoyed the 5K at the WR10K Race Series at Wythenshawe Park this year. Even though I find running hard, I managed to overtake a few people. Running has really boosted my confidence.”
Jane (left) has gone from non-runner to proud Women’s Running 5K finisher!
LINDSAY PRATT TOOK UP RUNNING TO KEEP FIT WHEN SHE RETIRED “When I was younger I didn’t think running was for me. Then, last April, I gave it a go, as I wanted to get out and meet people. Unfortunately, last September, I was diagnosed with colon cancer and, even though I tried to keep running through my treatment, I found it hard. “My first target was the Great South Run. Due to the cancer, I had to cancel last year’s race, but I was determined to do it, to show I can. In March I stopped my chemotherapy. My energy levels were severely depleted but by June I made my local parkrun in Lee-on-Solent. I did the London 10,000 as my first race, so I went in at the top end! The goody bag was incredible! I’ve also just done the Southsea Pirates Pieces of 8 race where I tagged on to a few groups and had a great time. “I was always positive throughout my cancer treatment and found running was an excellent coping strategy. My running friends came out on walks with me when I was too ill to run. People call me the motivator – I’ve got lots of friends who say they can’t run, but I tell them I will go out for a walk/jog with them to help them get started. From thinking I couldn’t run, I’ve enjoyed a huge progression. If you’ve got the right people behind you I believe you can do anything. It doesn’t matter how slow you are. “Running can be a great coping mechanism, even if you are just jogging round the block to keep positive. If you can do it with friends it’s even more rewarding.”
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ULTIMATE TECH GUIDE WHETHER YOU’RE MAKING A LAST-MINUTE CHRISTMAS LIST OR PLANNING A NEW YEAR PUSH FOR YOUR RUNNING GOALS, YOU’LL FIND GADGETS HERE TO HELP YOU MAKE THE MOST OF EVERY RUN, FROM ANALYSING YOUR NUMBERS TO JUST PROVIDING THE TUNES TO KEEP YOU MOTIVATED. WELCOME TO OUR FIRST ULTIMATE TECH GUIDE!
RUNNING AND SPORT WATCHES
FITNESS AND RUNNING APPS
ULTIMATE TECH GUIDE
THE BEST… WATCHES
If money is no object keep track of your progress with these top-of-the-range watches
£299, polar.com For years, Polar has led the way in producing heart-rate monitors for runners and, more recently, adding built-in GPS and all-day activity tracking to its range has kept the brand up to speed with the market. The M600 builds on the M400, a slimline GPS and heart-rate monitor that syncs to Polar Flow software for in-depth analysis. The big news with this update is the integration of Google’s Android Wear to make the watch a work and lifestyle companion, with voice-activated message response (for Android users), search, and control of some functions. The initial set-up is a bit long-winded, particularly if you’re an iOS user, but once the watch and phone are paired it’s easy to use. Two simple buttons and a bright (if small) touchscreen make it easy to navigate when you’re moving, and the screen lights up with a flick of the wrist so it’s always visible. As a sports watch it’s great, with Polar’s own 6-LED wrist-based heart-rate measurement giving accurate HR stats, and the GPS has improved from the M400 we tested, locking on straight away to start tracking your speed and distance. Through Google Play, you can access thousands of apps and sync to your music, so that you can listen to it without your phone. It feels a bit like a complex and valuable sports watch with a lifestyle bolt-on, and for Apple die-hards, the Android Wear aspect takes some getting used to. However, for people who are serious about their running and want to stay connected at the same time, it’s a good option.
TOMTOM RUNNER3 MUSIC + CARDIO
£359.99, garmin.com Best described as a cross between the Garmin 920XT and the 630, with the heart-rate functionality of the 235, the beauty of this watch is its ability to track training across a range of sports while delivering fitness tracking 24/7 thanks to the wrist-mounted heart-rate monitor. Smart notifications and advanced running dynamics such as stride length, ground contact time and balance all feature.
£219.99, tomtom.com The TomTom Runner range has been a favourite with the WR team since launch, and version 2 of this neat, user-friendly GPS watch was a winner again in our 2016 Awards. This update still features wrist-based heart-rate monitoring, 3GB of music storage and multiple sports tracking with a simple one-button operation. TomTom has also added its new route exploration feature, so you can explore new routes without fear of getting lost.
£159.99, Fitbit.com A WR Awards winner, the Blaze is a smarter offering from the market leaders in wearable tech. It’s more smart watch than sport watch – there’s no built-in GPS, for example (it uses your phone’s GPS when connected) – but our testers liked the intuitive navigation, the display, the social aspect of the app, and the connectivity with other devices. It measures heart rate, steps and sleep, and automatically senses activities like cycling and running.
From £99.95, Pebble.com The Pebble 2 is a great option for runners looking for all-round functionality at a lower cost – and with huge flexibility. The watch monitors activity, steps and sleep and connects to thousands of apps. It even has a microphone to allow you to dictate message responses. The HR version includes wrist-based heart-rate measurements, linking to the Pebble Health app (and others). Connected to your phone, it gives you call and text notifications and allows you to control your music on the go.
£165, misfit.com If you want a smart watch that really looks stylish, the Misfit Phase should be on your wishlist. It tracks steps, distance and sleep and syncs with your smartphone to give call and message notifications. Use it as a remote to play music or take a mid-run selfie. It’s swim proof and, in a fun touch, the watch hands move to show your progress in activity mode. You need to use the Misfit app on your phone to view activity details, though.
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ULTIMATE TECH GUIDE
THE BEST… WATCHES
If money is no object keep track of your progress with these top-of-the-range watches
GARMIN VIVOACTIVE HR
£209.99, garmin.com The vívoactive HR is Garmin’s attempt to bring together all its specialities. It’s a smartwatch and your ultimate sport companion: use it for running, cycling, swimming, cardio, rowing, SUP and many more activities. The watch is easy to navigate – there are two multi-use buttons, as well as a touchscreen – making it easy for runners to scroll through options. It uses Garmin’s Elevate wrist-based heart-rate monitoring. We found this pretty accurate compared to the more traditional chest-strap system – and it’s much more comfortable, especially when you factor in squashing a chest strap under your sports bra. In terms of reviewing your activities and data throughout the day, the Garmin vivoactive HR offers the best of both worlds. You can view progress on your wrist on the colourful display, which is great if you find it irritating pairing your fitness monitor to a phone to see how you’re getting on. For more in-depth analysis, the Bluetooth connectivity allows automatic syncing with the Garmin Connect app. It’s here you can really dig into all your activity data, as well as sync with third-party apps like Apple Health. You can also get notifications from your phone, including call and text alerts. As an all-day activity monitor, some women might find the unit a bit big and solid for their wrists. However, its size compares favourably with other serious running GPS watches and heart-rate monitors.
APPLE WATCH – SERIES 2
WITHINGS ACTIVITÉ STEEL
withings.com , £139.95 The Steel looks beautifully simple – black strap, stainless steel body, and a two-dial display that shows you the time and how far you are along with your daily fitness goal. No buttons, no notifications, no distractions. Dig a little deeper, though, and you unearth all manner of functionality. The Steel automatically detects your activity and syncs the data to the Health Mate app. It has good sleep tracking, complete with silent alarm. What makes it even better is its compatibility – not only with the wider Withings ecosystem (including scales and blood pressure monitor) but with popular apps like MyFitnessPal.
RUNTASTIC MOMENT ELITE
From £269, apple.com/uk The original smart watch, the Apple Watch might be expensive and less sport-specific than some on the market but, for die-hard brand fans, it’s the only choice. It has everything you’d expect in a very sleek package: built-in GPS, wrist-based heartrate measurement, activity tracking for a range of sports, and compatibility with popular workout apps. The Series 2 watches also work with Apple’s new wireless Airpod earphones so you can listen to music from the watch rather than your phone. With dozens of customisation options, you can bling it up, too!
GARMIN FORERUNNER 235
garmin.com, £269.99 The 235 is quick to lock on to a GPS signal and, while running, you can see your pace, distance, time, cadence, calories and more. A built-in heart monitor means you can see your average and max heart-rate and the colour LCD screen clearly visualises heart-rate zone training. After a training session, the 235 will also give you an idea of how much recovery time you need. You can sync it to your phone for notifications and it’s comfortable to wear all day. It may not be as comprehensive as some of Garmin’s high-end units, but it’s still an exceptional sports watch that sits up there with the best.
runtastic.com, £149 The Moment Elite is a solid, nicely designed watch that doubles up as a fitness tracker. It does the basics well, but one feature that many will love is its long battery life – six-months, thanks to a lithium battery. Sync it with the companion app and you get the detail that’s lacking on the Elite’s analogue display. Daily active minutes, distance covered and steps are all there. It monitors sleep too, although it’s a bit big to do so successfully. If you want a running watch that gives you the right data and looks like a real timepiece, this is the one to go for.
ULTIMATE TECH GUIDE
THE BEST… FITNESS TRACKERS
Small, smart and simple, these trackers will help you take a holistic approach to your running goals
FITBIT CHARGE 2
£129.99, fitbit.com/uk/store ‘Fitbit’ has become the new eponym for fitness trackers. Sitting as brand leader ahead of the likes of Apple and Garmin for the last two years, it’s the go-to choice for health-conscious consumers and, when you spend some time with the Fitbit Charge 2, you know why. Launched this year as the first upgrade to the Charge HR, it’s got all of its predecessor’s no-fail features, including reliable heart-rate sensors, an ability to automatically recognise exercise activities, monitor sleep and, of course, track your steps, but you can now also select your activity of choice if you wish – and pull GPS data from your phone as you carry that activity out. All of this – and more – is revealed in the user-friendly (and free) mobile app, where you can add additional data such as your food and water intake. You can also input your goals and the tracker will congratulate you when you’ve achieved them and nudge you when you haven’t. The latest tracker can now also assign you with a heart-health score, based on your heart rate and data. With a tap-sensitive display and one-button navigation, it couldn’t be easier to use. Be warned, though, it’s highly addictive!
£49.95, withings.com There are simple activity trackers, and then there’s the Withings Go. The Go is a simple disc that you can fix into a strap, or clip – or keep loose in your pocket. It automatically tracks walking, running, swimming and sleeping. There are no buttons, just an E Ink screen that shows either the time or how you’re progressing towards your goal. Further data can be logged and recorded via its companion app.
£129.99, tomtom.com For an in-depth look into how in shape you really are, the TomTom Touch doesn’t just monitor your heart rate and 24/7 activity but gives you a reading of your body and muscle fat percentage. You simply hold down the tracker’s main navigation button and it takes a reading by sending an electric pulse through the body. Body fat goals are set via the TomTom MySports app, where you can check on your progress.
£79.99, misfit.com There’s a lot to like about the Misfit Ray. It tracks activity well and is small enough to be a good sleep tracker. You can count your steps, tag different activities (like yoga and cycling) and it’s water resistant to 50m. There’s no screen, but it notifies you if you’ve got texts or calls coming through on your phone. You can view your daily data on the Misfit app and see how much more of each activity you need to do to meet your goals. It doesn’t require any charging either – bonus!
£59.00, welcome.moov.cc/ moovnow/ The MoovNow has been designed with runners in mind. In addition to activity-tracking, it also offers bespoke coaching. Download the Moov Inc. app and you can select a training plan, based on your ability and personal goals – such as improving pace and distance – and a voice coach will guide you through your workouts, telling you what you’re doing well and how you could improve. It also monitors your running form and efficiency, giving you pointers on your posture and cadence.
Dame Kelly Holmes, MBE. Garmin Running Ambassador.
stylish and easy-to-use GPS running watch with wrist-based heart rate1
ULTIMATE TECH GUIDE
THE BEST… HEADPHONES
Power up your run with these clear and crisp stay-put headphones
£79, sony.com Anyone born before the 80s will probably remember trying to run with a Sony Walkman. Lugging the bulky cassette player around on a run was more like resistance training than anything akin to a pleasurable listening experience. Worse yet, portable headphones were terrible back then – they were at least two-thirds sponge. Music and running weren’t compatible. Fast-forward a few decades and things have changed. Sony has evolved its Walkman range from cassettes, to CDS, via MiniDiscs and MP3s. Except now the digital files don’t sit in a separate player – in the case of the NW-WS413s, 4GB of music can be stored in a set of wire-free headphones. The NW-WS413s are bigger than your average set of headphones, but are comfortable to wear and stay in place when you up the intensity of your workouts. And, for those of you who lean towards the tri side of training, these headphones are a real boon. They’re completely waterproof, so you can wear them in the pool – and they allow you to hear ambient sounds, making them safer to cycle with. The sound quality is brilliant, even in the water. The controls on the headphones are easy to navigate and adding music is simply a case of dragging and dropping files. For people who want to train – no matter what sport – to music, these headphones are an easy way to access the tunes you need to get motivated.
BEATS BY DRE POWERBEATS 3 WIRELESS
£169.95, beatsbydre.com Beats by Dre has taken over the headphone world with its slick designs and crisp sounds. And the latest addition to the Powerbeats line is no different. Sound quality is excellent, they’re a snug fit and they don’t pop out while running. They’ve also got a sturdy design and are easy to set-up.
MONSTER ISPORT FREEDOM
JBL REFLECT MINI BT
£199.95, monsterproducts.eu If on-ear headphones aren’t your cup of tea, these might change your mind. They’re very light, and the headband’s rubber interior sits snug against your head. Controls on the earcup are easy to use, allowing for Bluetooth syncing, volume control and track selection. They can also be rinsed under the tap after a sweaty run.
£75, uk.jbl.com Runners’ main requirements when looking for earbuds are that: a) they stay in our ears, b) they don’t tangle us in several feet of wire and c) they sound good. These tick all those boxes. They come with a range of different size ear-tips that fit comfortably. The cord is also reflective, adding extra visibility at night.
SNUGS ACTIVE CUSTOM-FIT EARPHONES
£199, snugsearphones.co.uk Before you can buy these, an audiologist measures the inside of your ear (either visit a store or pay for them to come to you) so the ear tips can be custom made – to your design preference – and delivered quickly. All that comes at a hefty price, but the result is silicone moulds that fit perfectly.
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ULTIMATE TECH GUIDE
THE BEST… APPS
Try these ingenious products for low-cost, high-motivation training aids
Free, myfitnesspal.com By far one of the most popular calorie-counting apps on the market, MyFitnessPal is your go-to choice if you’re looking to adopt healthier eating habits. Its USP is simple; log your meals and count your calories each day and you can lose weight – safely and sensibly. You simply select the meals, snacks and drinks you’ve consumed throughout the day from a database of over five million foods and the app totals up your daily count. Based on manually inputted data, including weight, height, activity levels and goal weight, the app gives you a daily target calorie count. It also calculates calories burned from your daily activity and connects to a wide-range of activity trackers and health and fitness apps, such as Fitbit and Runkeeper, syncing your activity data and adjusting your calorie count accordingly. Your results are presented in a simple graph, which captures your progress and trends in your eating habits. You can also see a breakdown of the macronutrients you’re consuming, and it warns you if your foods are particularly high in any one macronutrient, such as fat. It will make you think twice before reaching for an extra biscuit…
Free, nike.com Nike’s upgrade retains some of its old app’s best features which, unlike many, all remain free. These include personalised coaching, whereby the app can create a bespoke training plan based on your goals and current experience, and a leader board system, where you can compare your progress with friends.
Free, runkeeper.com Use this to record pace, distance and calories burned; you can add details later, such as average heart rate and the shoes you ran in. With a paid-for upgrade, you get more detailed insights and can set training and weight-loss goals, and the app will provide you with a workout plan and instructions to help you achieve them.
Free (with in-app purchases), keelo.com Keelo offers short HIIT workouts to suit your fitness levels, with videos to follow to help you get everything right. Most workouts are bodyweight only so you can carry them out at home. You can schedule in workouts to help you stay motivated. It works across numerous devices, including the Apple Watch.
Free, strava.com The social athlete’s app. Once you’ve logged your activity, you can upload to the Strava social feed, where you can see details of your friends’ workouts. See how you perform against other athletes on certain segments. Join local clubs or create a club for your team: you’ll get a club leaderboard and can interact with other club members.
ONE YOU COUCH TO 5K
Free, nhs.uk/oneyou/apps This app helps you through those crucial first running steps with a nine-week plan, whereby you gradually increase your distance. At first you alternate between 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking, building up to running for 30 minutes non-stop. You can choose your favourite celebrity voice to guide you through sessions, too.
ULTIMATE TECH GUIDE
THE BEST… HEADTORCHES
Light your way with the new generation of ultra-bright headlamps
£145, petzl.com When only the best will do, it’s time to go for the Petzl NAO, the high priest of headtorches. This thing belts out 575 lumens, so you’ll essentially be a mobile lighthouse. The reactive lighting adjusts the light output automatically and it comes with a rechargeable lithium battery, although it can also be powered with AAA batteries. If you’re a technical Luddite, you may find the setting up process slightly too involved, while the premium price-point will be a deal-breaker for many. However, if you’re looking for the best-in-show, this is the torch to go for.
SILVA TRAIL RUNNER II
PETZL REAKTIK +
£85, petzl.com/gb An ‘intelligent headlamp’, the Reakitk + connects to a mobile app (MyPetzl Light) that allows you to check battery life and alter the lighting to the activity: trail running, trekking, mountaineering and backpacking. The real star of the show, though, is the 300 lumens of max power, which has an incredible reach of 110m. The rechargeable battery lasts a good few hours, too (depending on the brightness) and the head strap stays firmly in place.
BLACK DIAMOND IOTA
£40, silva.se This is a lightweight headtorch that packs a pretty decent level of illumination by combining a strong spotlight and a wide floodlight. It’s extremely simple to use – with just one button to press – and offers an impressive 30 hours of burn time on the brightest setting (90 on the lowest).
LED LENSER SE07R
£74.95, ledlenser.com/uk If you’re looking for an easy-tooperate headtorch that won’t break the bank, this fits the bill. It has three modes: a bright light, a dim light and a flashing light. There’s also an automatic dimming function so if you occasionally look down at a map, you won’t need to manually reduce the intensity of the light. The fit is snug, allowing you to move at full pace without fear of it falling off, while its impressive battery life puts it way ahead of its pricier peers.
£35, blackdiamondequipment. com Low in price and light in weight, the Iota is the ideal companion on short, less technical trail runs. Boasting a bounce-free fit, 150 lumens of light and a rechargeable battery, it also has three different settings: full beam, dimming and strobe. For early morning and late evening runs around parks and trails, the Iota impresses.
SETS & REPS
Perform two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions
START STRENGTH TRAINING TODAY!
NEW TO RUNNING? DON’T SKIMP ON STRENGTH TRAINING – TRY THESE BASIC MOVES THAT EVERY RUNNER SHOULD KNOW CRAB WALKS
Muscles used Bottom, outer thighs (glutes, abductors) Why do it? The muscles in your bottom and outer thighs help to keep your hips stable. They also improve your balance and running stride. Technique: • Stand with both feet on a resistance band • Cross the resistance band in front of your legs and hold the edges securely in your hands • Keep your back upright • Take 10 steps to the right followed by 10 steps to the left Watch points: Try different resistance band levels to find the ideal resistance for your strength.
Muscles used Front thigh, bottom (quadriceps, glutes) Why do it? Strong legs and glutes will help you to run faster and prevent injuries. Technique: • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart • Keep your back straight and keep your tummy muscles tight • Bend your knees to perform a squat • Straighten your legs Watch points: Don’t let the knees go further forwards than the toes.
Muscles used Back thighs (hamstrings) Why do it? By increasing your explosive power, you can significantly improve your running speed. It will also help you to use less energy when you run. Technique: • Stand with your feet hip-width apart • Kick your heels up towards your bottom • Alternate as fast as possible between left and right • Aim to get your heels to touch your bottom Watch points: If your heels can’t reach your bottom, try stretching your front thighs (quadriceps).
SEATED ABC CALF RAISES
Muscles used Calf muscles (gastrocnemius, soleus) Why do it? Weak calf muscles can lead to a variety of injuries not only in your calves but also in your knees, hips and lower back. Technique: • Sit on a chair with your toes pointing forward • Lift your heels off the floor • Slowly lower your heels back to the floor • Complete one set • Turn your toes in and complete set two • Turn your toes out and complete set three Watch points: To increase the intensity, place a weight on each leg while doing your calf raises.
Muscles used Abdominal muscles, core, shoulders (rectus abdominis, transversus abdominis, deltoids) Why do it? This is a good exercise to teach you how to use your stomach muscles while moving your legs. Technique: • Kneel on all fours on the floor • Lift your knees off the floor and push your hips up • Bring your right knee towards your right elbow until it touches • Return your leg and repeat on the other side Watch points: Remember to breathe! Don’t do this exercise if you have high blood pressure.
Muscles used Front thighs, back thighs, bottom (quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes) Why do it? This will improve your fitness levels. Technique: • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart • Keep your back straight and your tummy muscles held in tight • Bend your knees to perform a squat • Now jump up, swinging your arms above your head • Upon landing, bend your knees and go straight into the next squat Watch points: Keep your knees soft when you land.
Muscles used Back muscles (erector spinae) Why do it? To maintain good posture while you run, you need to have a strong back. This is important to help absorb the impact of each landing as you run. Technique: • Lie on your tummy on the floor • Place your hands next to your shoulders on the floor • Bend your knees, open your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart and keep your feet together • Lift your head, arms and upper legs off the floor • Slowly return to the floor Watch points: Ensure that you lift most of your upper thighs off the floor.
WORDS: Anne-Marie Lategan PHOTOS: Neil Godwin/Future Studios MODEL: Kim Ingleby CLOTHING: Top and 3/4 tights: Sweaty Betty. Shoes: ASICS
WEIGHTED ARM DRIVE
Muscles used Shoulders, upper arms, forearms (deltoids, biceps, triceps, forearm flexors and extensors) Why do it? A good arm drive will improve your running technique and speed. Technique: • Stand with one leg in front of the other holding a weight in each hand • Keep a 90-degree angle in your elbows • Swing one elbow backwards until the weight reaches the side of your body • Swing the other arm forwards until the weight is level with your shoulder • Alternate as quickly as possible Watch points: Ensure that you keep the same angle in your elbows throughout the movement.
TO FEEL GOOD
GOOD T H E Y SAY R U N N I N G M A K E S T H E M F E E L A M A Z I N G B U T I T ’ S N OT J U ST B E CAU S E O F THE RUNNER’S HIGH. LISA JACKSON MEETS THREE REMARKABLE WOMEN WHO’VE REAPED ENORMOUS PERSONAL BENEFITS BY USING RUNNING TO HELP OTHERS
© MICHAELA LETANG
“IT’S SO REWARDING COMBINING RUNNING WITH DOING GOOD DEEDS” “Shovelling compost and cuddling baby rabbits at Stepney City Farm have been just some of the highlights of my GoodGym runs,” says Anna Myat, 46, from Stepney Green in east London. “After the former, a good deed we did at a local school, some of us went to the pub and were asked to kindly sit in the garden outside! “I started going to GoodGym one winter in 2013. I hate the cold and wasn’t keen on running on dark and chilly evenings but it’s helped me to keep running all year round, so much so that I completed my first marathon last year. I read about GoodGym in the newspaper and just loved the idea of using my runs to assist in community projects and help isolated, elderly people. You sign up to the GoodGym website and create a profile that shows how many runs and good deeds you’ve completed – so far I’ve done 169. We usually run straight to the task after meeting up, spend about 30 minutes doing the task and then do a longer run or some sort of training session in a local park on the way back, which adds up to about 3K to 6K in total. GoodGym caters for all abilities and speeds. There’s always a leader at the front who knows where we’re going and a tailrunner to make sure no one gets left behind. The types of tasks have varied from repainting a community centre to cleaning leaves from the bottom of the model boating lake in Victoria Park to weeding, pruning and shifting mulch. I like gardening and when I joined GoodGym I was a stay-at-home mum to four children, so it was a chance to both do a useful task I enjoyed and run and interact with other adults. “Something else I love about GoodGym is visiting my Coach – these are older people we can be paired with and I’ve been going to see mine for two years. The idea is that you run to see them once a week, have a chat or perhaps take them a newspaper. They provide us runners with the motivation to get out and run. “GoodGym has given me loads of confidence: when you’re a full-time mum you sometimes wonder whether you can contribute usefully to the outside world but my volunteering has really helped me to the
extent that I recently returned to work. I want my children to grow up thinking it’s just a part of normal life to keep active and to contribute to your local community.”
TO JOIN A GOODGYM NEAR YOU, VISIT GOODGYM.ORG.
“I CREATED A CHARITY RACE TO HELP OTHERS LEARN TO LOVE RUNNING LIKE I DO” “I vividly recall driving at 5:30am to the very first Point Douglas Run on 13 October 2012, seeing the moon in the sky and feeling overcome with emotion and immense gratitude that a dream we’d had was coming to life,” says Bridget Robinson, 48, from Winnipeg in Canada, the race’s co-director. “I feel very privileged to be healthy enough to run and am always deeply touched by supporters and volunteers at running events, so I knew it was very important to give something back. What I wasn’t prepared for is how it made me feel and what a positive effect it’s had on my life. It makes me very happy to see others having fun and being active and it gives me a wonderful sense of purpose. “I started running casually in 1986 and with more dedication in 2005 and, since then, have done two 56-mile ultras, 13 official marathons (and one directed by my mum!), and numerous other races. My co-race director Kim and I set up the race to raise funds for
The emphasis is as much on fun as running here!
the North Point Douglas Women’s Centre which creates opportunities for women to develop their potential – it’s where we began our Street Feet Run Well learn-to-run/walk programme. We also raise funds for a youth drop-in centre and Graffiti Art Programming, a youth art centre that uses art as a tool for community, social and individual growth. Teenagers from the latter create motivational posters for our race: my favourite sign so far said, ‘Last is just the slowest winner’! “Point Douglas is an inner-city neighbourhood and our race is often the first introduction to this beautiful community for many Winnipeg runners. The route passes very close to the clapboard house where William Stephenson, the spy who inspired Ian Fleming’s James Bond, was born. Our main goal is for our race to be a positive community event so we also encourage locals to get involved – a young friend called Chipalo brings along about 12 of his friends to
This ‘gum on my shoe’ outfit impressed spectators!
Point Douglas local Chipalo brings friends as volunteer helpers
be marshals every year and pensioners hand out the oranges and water at the oldest still-standing house in Winnipeg. “We also focus on the fun aspect of fitness so, in addition to the 5K and 10K run, we have a free walk so that families with young children and people who don’t run can easily participate. Our mile markers are labelled as smiles (for example ‘3 Smiles’), and the course is marked with orange smiley faces chalked onto the pavement. Instead of a prize for the fastest runner we have one for the best dressed that we judge in a rather unusual way – applause! Our first year’s winner came as bubblegum stuck under a shoe by sticking a miniature running shoe to her pink beanie hat. “Participation is more important to us than the amount of money raised so we provide free race entry for people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to enter. I’ve always known running makes me feel good, but using it to do good feels even more amazing.” TO DONATE TO THE NORTH POINT DOUGLAS WOMEN’S CENTRE, VISIT NORTHPOINTDOUGLASWOMENSCENTRE. ORG/DONATIONS
“I RUN AS SUPERGIRL TO RAISE FUNDS FOR A FISHING VILLAGE IN UGANDA” Pam runs to help the children in Kiyindi
“Holding a newborn baby who was just a few hours old in a medical centre that our charity helps fund is something I’ll never forget,” says Pam Storey, 68, from Copthorne in West Sussex. “I don’t have children of my own so this was a very moving experience. I started running in 1982 and so far have done 132 marathons as well as 57 ultras. From the very first one, back in 1986, I used running to raise money for charity – initially I fundraised for Mencap, a charity that helps people with learning disabilities, as my nephew is severely autistic, but for the past 16 years I’ve been raising money for Advance International Ministries. This is a Christian charity run by two good friends of mine that’s funding a mission project in Kiyindi, a small fishing village on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda that’s home to about 20,000 people. My charity is desperate for money to fund our work in Kiyindi where we have built a medical centre, a church and a house for the pastor. We are presently completing building work on a school for over 400 children.
“I have been out to Uganda seven times with the mission team to see the difference our money is making first hand. We preach and teach the gospel in our own church and various surrounding villages which are sometimes a few hours’ drive away. We also visit islands on Lake Victoria for the same reason and sometimes hold an outdoor crusade. It is incredibly gratifying providing homes and education for many children and adults and seeing people given hope by becoming Christians. I always take along marathon t-shirts donated by friends and it’s wonderful to see how much their new owners enjoy wearing them. I’m currently trying to find people who’d like to sponsor children so that they can attend school – getting an education is something we take for granted in the UK but in Uganda there are many people who struggle to afford to educate their children. So far I’ve run 15 marathons (including 13 London Marathons) dressed as Supergirl so that I can collect funds as I run. It’s not the easiest way to fundraise but it sure is a lot of fun!”
TO SPONSOR PAM, VISIT JUSTGIVING.COM/ PAMELASTOREY.
These bountiful bowlfuls will put bounce into your running
SPICY HARISSA CHICKEN & RICE BOWL
Chicken is full of protein, which your body needs for growth and repair Ingredients (serves 1) • 1 chicken breast or thigh, cut into chunks • 2 tbsp harissa marinade (see below) • 50g brown basmati rice • 1 pinch of salt • 1 tbsp olive oil • ½ red pepper, sliced • ½ courgette, sliced • 20g kale, destalked and chopped • 1-2 tbsp salsa verde (see right) • 1 tbsp flaked almonds, lightly toasted • salt and pepper to taste Method • Preheat the oven to 200ºC or 180ºC fan. • Place the chicken in a bowl with the harissa and leave to marinate while you prepare the rice and chop the veg. • Rinse the rice and place in a pan on the hob. Cover with water and bring to the boil with a pinch of salt. Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until the rice is soft. • Spread the chicken chunks on a baking tray and place in the oven. • Heat the olive oil in a griddle pan over a mediumhigh heat. Add the pepper, courgette and kale to the pan and cook until the veg are softening – around five minutes. • Drain the rice and place in a serving bowl with the spicy chicken chunks and griddled veg. Serve with a heap of salsa verde and sprinkle with toasted almond flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Nutrition Energy: 733kcal. Total fat: 35.8g. Sat fat: 5.2g. Protein: 50.5g. Carbs: 58g. Sugar: 12.8g. Sodium: 429mg. Fibre: 6.9g
HARISSA MARINADE Ingredients (makes approx 80g) • 1 red pepper, roasted and peeled • 1 tsp cumin seeds • 1 tsp caraway seeds • 1 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp lemon juice • 2 cloves garlic, crushed • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar • ¼ tsp salt • ¼ tsp chilli flakes (to taste)
Method • Heat the oven to 220ºC or 200ºC fan. Put the red pepper on a small baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes, until soft and the skin is blistering. Remove and leave to cool before peeling. Discard the skin and put the flesh and seeds in the small bowl of a food processor. • Add the rest of the ingredients and whizz until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week.
Ingredients (makes approx 250g) • 30g coriander • 125g cashew nuts • 4 tbsp lime juice • 1 garlic clove, crushed • 75ml water • ¼ tsp salt • 1 tbsp olive oil Method • Place the ingredients (except the oil) in a blender. Whizz until combined. • With the motor running, drizzle oil in until smooth. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for one week.
ROASTED NUTS & PULSES BOWL
Vitamin-packed root veg help keep your eyes healthy and lower cholesterol Ingredients (serves 1) • 100g beetroot • 100g carrot • 100g celeriac • 100g sweet potato • 2 tbsp olive oil • ½ tsp ground cumin • salt and pepper to taste • 85g chickpeas, ready to eat • 1 garlic clove, crushed • 1 pinch of cayenne pepper • 30g puy lentils (or green lentils) • 25g quinoa, rinsed • 20g kale leaves, chopped • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard • 2 tsp raw runny honey • 10g rocket • 1 tbsp walnut pieces • 1 tsp pumpkin seeds Method • Heat your oven to 200ºC or 180ºC fan. • Leaving the skins on, wash and chop the root veg into equal-sized chunks. Place each of the four root veg in its own quarter of a large roasting tray and drizzle ½ tbsp of the olive oil over the whole lot. Sprinkle with cumin and season with salt and pepper. • Roast the chickpeas in a roasting tray with the garlic and ½ tsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Place both trays in the oven. Cook the chickpeas for 15 minutes and the veg for 25 minutes. • Rinse the lentils and put in a pan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook for five minutes. Steam the kale over the lentils and quinoa for five minutes, until it wilts. Drain the lentils and quinoa. • Whisk up 1 tbsp olive oil, the mustard and honey for the dressing. • Layer up lentils and quinoa, veg, rocket, kale and chickpeas in a bowl. Sprinkle with walnuts and pumpkin seeds, then drizzle with dressing.
Taken from Power Bowls by Kate Turner, (DK, £6.99; dk.com). Photos by Will Heap
Nutrition Energy: 896kcal. Total fat: 56.2g. Sat fat: 7.4g. Protein: 18g. Carbs: 85.9g. Sugar: 50.3g. Sodium: 508mg. Fibre: 22.3g
MILLET BUDDHA BOWL WITH BEETROOT HOUMOUS
This bowl is piled with nutrient-dense raw veg and rounded like Buddha’s belly! Ingredients (serves 1) • 50g millet • 1 sweetcorn on the cob • 1 tbsp olive oil • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar • 1 small handful baby spinach • 1 handful of pea shoots (or baby salad leaves) • 50g cannellini beans, ready to eat • 2 chestnut mushrooms, sliced • 1 small carrot, julienned or grated • ½ small mango, peeled and diced • 3 tbsp beetroot houmous (see below) • 1 tbsp sunflower seeds • 2 lime wedges to serve • salt and pepper to taste
BEETROOT HOUMOUS Ingredients (makes approx 350g) • 100g beetroot, roughly chopped • ½ tbsp olive oil • 200g chickpeas, ready to eat • 2 tbsp lemon juice • 1 clove garlic, crushed • 1 tbsp tahini • ½ tsp salt • 2 tbsp olive oil • 1-3 tbsp filtered water (optional) • salt and pepper to taste
Method • Place the beetroot on a roasting tray and drizzle with ½ tbsp of olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes until soft. Put all the ingredients, except the oil and water, in a blender and whizz. • With the motor running, drizzle in the oil, then the water until the desired consistency is reached. • Season to taste with more lemon, salt and pepper. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for two or three days.
Method • Soak the millet overnight in double the volume of water. Drain and rinse well. • Place the millet in a saucepan on the hob. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until soft but not mushy. Drain and place in a mixing bowl. • Using a sharp knife, slice the corn kernels off the cob and combine with the cooked millet. • To make the dressing, combine the olive oil and vinegar in a small dish or glass jar and shake well. • Put a bed of millet and sweetcorn in a bowl and arrange the greens, beans, vegetables and mango around it with a generous dollop of beetroot houmous in the middle. • Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with sunflower seeds and garnish with lime wedges. • Season with salt and pepper. Nutrition Energy: 600kcal. Total fat: 29.1g. Sat fat: 3.7g. Protein: 13g. Carbs: 71.8g. Sugar: 18.8g. Sodium: 303mg. Fibre: 9.2g.
ESTE R T D!
WR T ED!
ED! W EST
COLD COMFORT PROTECT YOURSELF FROM THE HARSHEST OF W E AT H E R I N O U R F AV O U R I T E W I N T E R B U N D L E S compiled by tina Chantrey
TESTED: WINTER KIT
MEET THE WR TEST TEAM 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: 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 Lisa Jackson, contributing editor; our resident multiple marathoner Tina Chantrey, contributing editor; trains for around three hours per week Elizabeth Hufton, editor; runs twice per week Olivia Neocleous, advertising sales executive; runs four times per week Cristina Slattery Lopez, advertising manager; training for her first 10K
BUY THE RIGHT WINTER KIT Look out for these extra features on your cold-weather kit Windproofing Not just for jackets, you’ll find windproof panels on the thighs of some deep-winter tights. If you’re a stickler for running in any weather, you’ll welcome it
Breathability The crucial thing to consider when choosing kit for UK winters is that, although it gets cold here, it’s rarely below zero for long periods of time. That means you’ll need kit that can wick sweat away once you’re running and warmed up. Look for systems of baselayers, midlayers and jackets that work to keep you comfortable together. Vents on winter jackets that can be unzipped to help you cool down are a good idea, too. Brushed fabric Super warm tights and jackets come with brushed fabric on the inside – it helps keep you warm and gives you a good psychological boost.
subtle in daylight but bright in headlamps.
ASICS LITE SHOW WINTER JACKET, LITE SHOW WINTER TIGHT, ELITE BASELAYER Tested by: Liz
How did they feel when you’re running? The
tights have a brushed inside which makes them feel really cosy, but they’re not too warm (I tested them in relatively mild autumn weather as well as nearly-frozen mornings). The baselayer is warm and wicks well. The jacket is water resistant and not restrictive; it’s fairly breathable, although in combination with the top it’s probably overkill apart from in really sub-zero conditions.
asics.com First impressions? Not sure about
the colours personally but it’s very, very warm kit. How good was the fit? Fit is bang £45 on for me. The tights feel quite secure; the baselayer is fitted but ‘relaxed’ while the jacket is a bit looser. How is the quality/attention to detail?
The quality is really good, particularly on the tights and baselayer. The feel of the fabric is soft and closeknitted. The tights have a thick, deep waistband and a good-sized pocket, which is padded on the inside so its contents don’t irritate. The jacket feels more standard but includes good windproof material and thumbholes.
What’s the best thing about these products? The warmth. What’s the worst thing about them? The
bulk of the jacket – but that’s just what you get with deep-winter kit.
Any useful and/or unique features?
Although not unique, everything you need is here. The jacket and tights have loads of reflectives on them which are
How would you rate it out of 10 for value?
PUMA NIGHTCAT STORM JACKET, PWRWARM LONG SLEEVE, NIGHTCAT TIGHTS Tested by: Claire puma.com First impressions? I liked the look of
the baselayer and jacket – but it was the tights that blew me away. Wow! I loved the look of them. How good was the fit? The fit of all the kit was spot on – although the sleeves of the jacket seemed a touch long. What did you think of the quality/ attention to detail? The quality
Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 8 Would you buy them? Yes.
– perfect to help me feel safe running on dark evenings. How did they feel when you’re running? Everything was
super comfortable. I have been testing this kit on cold evening runs, and I have felt snug but not too warm – perfect. Plus the jacket has vents, which allow sweat to escape, so you don’t overheat.
How do you feel about the look of the outfit? I love the tights – they
definitely have the wow factor, and are reflective, too. Plus the bright top and jacket look great. The jacket has a nipped-in waist, so it looks quite stylish.
seemed great – there were no uncomfortable seams or awkward zips or fastenings. Plus I loved the flattering wide waistband on the tights.
What’s the best thing about this kit?
The fab look of the tights, and the feel and wicking ability of the jacket. Solid winter staples with a funky edge! Mark out of 10 for value? 9 Mark out of 10 for performance? 9 Would you buy them? Definitely.
Any useful and/or unique features?
I really liked the fact there was a large, zipped pocket at the back of the running jacket – I could actually bring my smart phone with me on my run, while keeping it hidden away £45
TESTED: WINTER KIT
climate, it has breathable fabric at the back which helps move the moisture away from your body. It kept me nice and warm throughout my run. The running tights have a reflective pattern to keep you safe whilst running at night.
ON RUNNING WEATHER JACKET, CLIMA-SHIRT, RUNNING PANTS Tested by: Cristina on-running.com First impressions? I loved the
How did they feel when you’re running?
All three items felt great.
design of all three items.
How good was the fit? I loved the fit of the
jacket and the shirt, but the running tights were a little too big around the waist for me due to the extra-wide waistband and stretchable material. What did you think of the quality/ attention to detail? They’re really good
Any useful and/or unique features? The Weather
jacket is very lightweight; it can fold up into the breast pocket and functions under all weather conditions (wet, windy and dry). It has an engineered hood, which can fit your head perfectly with a drawstring to make sure it doesn’t fall off. The shirt adapts to the
SALOMON BONATTI JACKET, SALOMON ELEVATE WARM TIGHT, SALOMON ELEVATE SEAMLESS LS TEE Tested by: Olivia salomon.com First impressions? Is the kit purple
and green or yellow and blue? Like the colour-changing dress that stole the internet, this kit has the same problem. I am stumped! How good was the fit? The top wasn’t too tight and the jacket was slim fitting and elasticated for movement. The leggings were too long for my legs, and I am a standard size 8. What did you think of the quality/attention to detail? The
garments feel very high quality. The top and leggings seem like they will withstand
What’s the best thing about these products? I love how each item
has something unique and helps with performance while running. All three items have breathability and protection functions for all winter weather types. What’s the worst thing about them? The running tights have a small pocket at the back, but it was very small. This is the only thing I would fault; I didn’t have anywhere to put my iPhone whilst running. How would you rate them out of 10 for value? 8 Overall mark out of 10 for performance? 8.5 Would you buy them? I would buy the Clima-
shirt and the Weather jacket, but not the running tights.
long-distance running. Any useful and/or unique features? I like the thumbholes in the top, they will help to keep my hands warm in the winter. The leggings have a back pocket for storing your phone. How did they feel when you’re running? I feel very warm while wearing them, perfect for cold, windy, winter runs. How do you feel about the look of the outfit? The leggings and the
running jacket are the same colour. I think that wearing them both together is a bit too much of the same colour so I am happy to wear them both in different outfits.
What’s the best thing about these products? I love the compression
in the top and its thick material. It flattens out any lumps and bumps and gives great support in the chest. What’s the worst thing about them?
The colours don’t really go together, whether they’re purple and green or blue and yellow! Mark out of 10 for value? 6 Mark out of 10 for performance? 8 Would you buy them? If the price was reduced, yes!
HELLY HANSEN SPEED JACKET, FLEX ½ ZIP LONGSLEEVE, ACTIVE FLOW PANT Tested by: Jackie hellyhansen.com First impressions? I love the
look of the overall bundle.
How good was the fit? All of
it fitted me perfectly.
What did you think of the quality/attention to detail?
The quality of all of the items is superb; the jacket £140 has a fleece lining for extra warmth on those cold winter mornings. The long-sleeved top is made from a soft fabric with a “heathered” look which enhances the appearance. The leggings are made from a super soft fabric; it’s so comfortable. Any useful and/or unique features? The soft wicking fabric of the leggings pulls moisture away from my body which makes them ideal as an all-season base layer. The jacket has breathable openings on the back which means it regulates your body temperature. The neck is lined with a soft fabric which is comfortable against the skin. The long-sleeved top has a half-zip to help control temperature and thumbholes to £50 help keep your hands warm. How did they feel when you’re running? The leggings are really
comfortable with great temperature control. The jacket is better for colder weather and would be a real bonus on cold, frosty mornings. The top is very comfortable. £35 What’s the best thing about these products? Quality and
comfort are first class.
What’s the worst thing about them? There are no
Mark out of 10 for value? 9 Mark out of 10 for performance?
Would you buy these? Yes.
TESTED: WINTER KIT
features? The jacket is super light
HOWIES HOODLESS SHELIUM JACKET, HOODED LONGSLEEVE BASELAYER, RIFT RUN LEGGINGS Tested by: Jenny
and packs into its pocket easily. You’ve also got a reflective zip pocket on the tights. How does it feel when you’re running? The jacket was
First impressions? The kit more
closely resembled loungewear than running kit! The baselayer and leggings have a luxuriously soft feel. How good was the fit? Perfect. I would have liked the baselayer to have been a bit larger, so I could wear it as a ‘chill out’ hoody! What did you think of the quality? The tights are
made with circular knit technique to minimise £39 seams. You can feel the benefit of this – the fabric feels amazing. Made from 100% Merino wool, the baselayer is probably the comfiest top I’ve run in!
Any useful and/or unique
DHB REFLECTIVE JACKET, REFLECTIVE RUN TIGHT, LONG SLEEVE RUN TOP Tested by: Tina £60
wiggle.co.uk First impressions? Pleasantly
surprised! From the website I had wrongly assumed the jacket was black but it’s a beautiful shade of grape! First feel was great, too. How good was the fit? The cut is tight, perfect for keeping wind out. The £30 tights are stretchy so fitted well. What did you think of the quality? The reflective detail is more than you’d expect for the price. The top is standard but the tights and jacket feel well made. Any useful and/or unique features? £18
The wide coverage of
comfortable but thin. The baselayer and leggings felt amazing – cosy but breathable. What’s the best thing about this product? For the baselayer and
leggings, the best feature is most definitely the comfort and, for the jacket, just how convenient it is. What’s the worst thing about it?
I have no complaints about the baselayer or leggings, but did feel the jacket was quite poor quality in comparison. The zip kept getting stuck and the design could be better; an extra pocket and added reflective detailing would make it more practical. Mark out of 10 for value? 6.5 Mark out of 10 for performance? Jacket: 5. Baselayer and leggings: 9. Would you buy this? I’d definitely buy the leggings and baselayer to run in and wear as PJs around the house.
reflectivity make these stand out! The pocket on the back of the tights is bigger than many. I liked the jacket’s adjustable hem, as it gave an even better fit for petite runners, and large vents across the back ensure you don’t overheat. It also packs away into its pocket. Oh and the jacket is water resistant. How did they feel when you’re running? The top and tights
are easy to run in as they’re so stretchy. The fact you completely light up with every headlamp that passes is amazing! I felt very safe. How do you feel about the look of the outfit? I’m really happy to run in this
whole outfit together, or as separates. I’ll definitely be wearing the jacket for all of my night runs. Even though you really light up, in the day-time it’s subtle. What’s the best thing about this product?
You feel safe in the dark, without having to wear thick, sweaty fabric. What’s the worst thing about it? Nothing. Mark out of 10 for value? 10 Mark out of 10 for performance? 10 Would you buy this? Yes, it’s amazing value!
RON HILL ASPIRATION SIROCCO JACKET, INFINITY MERINO HALF ZIP, BLIZZARD TIGHTS Tested by: Lisa Jackson ronhill.com First impressions? It was love
at first sight for the tights! I also loved the top – a gorgeous shade of purple and the fabric felt cosy. How good was the fit? The tights fitted me perfectly. The top was also a perfect £50 fit but sadly refused to stay down over my hips. The jacket is stretchy so was able to accommodate my curvy hips, but the sleeves seemed too long. What did you think of the details?
The jacket had large but discreet reflective strips. It was inspiring to see the hashtag #RunEveryDay inside the lower seam.
Any useful and/or unique features?
The jacket’s thumb loops were a nice touch, as were the two mid-height hand-warmer pockets which provide ample storage for my phone and key. The top also sported thumb loops. The tights were made from a heavy fabric called Roubaix with a brushed inner surface for warmth. How did they feel when you’re running? Great except for the jacket – I didn’t feel it kept out the wind enough and didn’t like the overlong sleeves and non-elasticated cuffs. How do you feel about the look of the outfit? I adored the top but thought the jacket was a strange colour. What’s the best thing about this kit? I didn’t need to use the
drawcord on the tights to help them stay up. The top was made from a Merino/ polyester blend that kept me warm and dry.
What’s the worst thing about it? I wish the top would stay
put on my hips. I didn’t like jacket’s fit or colour.
Marks out of 10 for value?
Top: 7; jacket: 5; tights: 8.
Marks out of 10 for performance? Top: 9; jacket:
6; tights: 10.
Would you buy these? Top: maybe, as it’s quite
expensive. Jacket: no. Tights: definitely.
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TRAIL ESSENTIALS The kit you need to run off-road this winter
PROJECT TRAIL Training time is up for our team!
Odlo Evolution 70 years edition baselayer shirt odlo.com, £60
It’s a highly technical top with a body-hugging fit that will support you as you power through those colder runs on the trails. Seamless knitted body-mapped zones offer complete moisture management, so you stay dry, and the silver-based antibacterial fabric treatment eliminates body odour. We can vouch for the fact that you can wear it more than once between washes and it’s a good job, too, because you’re not going to want to take it off!
Zakti double time tee
This two-layer design is perfect for layering or the gym. The slim-fit vest and cute outer tee is very flattering, and we love the way the back opens – so you keep cool and are comfortable until the end of your workout. Plus, the ISOCOOL sweat-wicking fabric is going to ensure you stay dry. It’s the ideal splash of colour for a cold winter day!
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Icebreaker MerinoLOFT Helix Fraser Peaks jacket icebreaker.com, £190
The perfect lightweight jacket when there’s a bite in the air. With MerinoLOFT insulation, it provides maximum warmth – without added bulk. The recycled polyester face fabric sheds light rain and the jersey stretch panels regulate body temperature. The hood is a snug fit, too, and the cosy thumbholes ensure your hands stay protected.
Kinetica BCAA Hydro Fuel kineticasports.com, £34.99
Providing over 7,000mg of BCAAs (essential amino acids), BCAA Hydro Fuel has been specially created to help you maximise training intensity and enhance athletic performance. It also contains hydrolysed whey protein isolate, derived from hormone-free cow’s milk. It provides all nine essential amino acids the body cannot manufacture and is fat and sugar free.
Odlo Ebe tights odlo.com, £55
What more could you want! Stay bang on trend AND get double for your money with these reversible tights. We know you’ll never want to stop running in these; fast-drying fabric and a soft, deep waistband will keep you comfortable and dry, and you’re guaranteed to stay cosy – and confident – post run, if you dash to the shops or for coffee.
North Ridge Hybrid Down Jacket gooutdoors.co.uk £90
Forget shivering as you try to warm up after your winter races, even when it’s raining, when you wrap up in this stunning hydrophobic down coat. It’s not too baggy, so your heat doesn’t escape, and there’s extra goose down in the core. The stretch cuffs and adjustable hem offer another layer of protection – this coat will be your best friend all winter.
ZAAZEE Zena leggings
Enjoy your winter running, in all of its monochromatic splendour, in the ZAAZEE Zena textured tights. They’re super stretchy for a justright fit and the soft cotton-like feel will feel comfy however harsh the weather. They’re breathable and bold as can be!
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compiled by tina Chantrey
G E A R 2XU Striped compression socks 2xu.com, £35
You can feel the benefit of the added padding in the toe cage straight away, as well as the support for your Achilles and foot arch. 2XU give us highly technical compression socks to increase blood flow and support your muscles, as well as zoned breathability panels. They’re easy to get on and off, too.
LQ Liquid Health Joint Care boots.com, £24.99
Falke tight fit warm baselayer net-a-porter.com, £39
Its tight fit keeps you warm and dry and the double-layered insulation panels around the kidneys will also help support your torso. You get ventilation zones to wick away sweat, too. The combination of exceptional quality fabric and a spot-on ergonomic fit make this baselayer a must-have now the weather has turned colder.
Tackle winter aches and pains with this daily drink that promotes healthy joints, cartilage and bones. Containing marine collagen, glucosamine, chrondroitin and hyaluronic acid, it will help keep your joints more mobile and less stiff during the colder months.
THE FINAL PUSH
Our tough trio is almost at the start line. Can they do it? photos: Eddie Macdonald
They’ve trained hard for months, learning to power up hills and cope with the varied demands of off-road running. Now it’s crunch time for our three Project Trail trainees – their big race, the Bath Hilly Half, will have taken place by the time you read this and you can find out how they got on next issue. We caught up with them just before the event to see how they were feeling…
From Coaley, near Tetbury • Age 55 Job Head teacher at Alderman Knight Special School, Tewkesbury, Gloucs
You’ve been suffering from inflamed tendons in the foot. How has this affected your training? It is now only three days from race day and I haven’t run for 11 days since hurting my foot doing a trail race. Within a couple of hours of the run, I realised I had done something to my right foot as I had significant pain on walking and, by Sunday, I was down to a hobble! In fact I have been hobbling for 10 days and only now is it starting to feel better. Luckily my training plan had my runs tapering in readiness for the big day but I certainly hadn’t planned on not doing any training for the last two weeks! Injury aside, how did you find that race in general? Did it instil confidence in your fitness? The run was great. It was a nine-mile trail run and I thoroughly enjoyed it –particularly as I ran up all the hills (not fast but at least I was doing the running action which was important for me!). This race gave me huge confidence and I felt I could have done a few more miles at a push so, in terms of feeling prepared for the half-marathon, I felt I was really on track!
How have you been managing the injury since? I have been going to see a sports therapist who has been helping loosen up my calf muscles as these have been causing problems with my Achilles. It seems that the pain in my foot was partially caused by me running up all the hills in the nine-mile trail race. So one of the things I was really chuffed about had actually been very damaging! The problem appears to be inflammation of the ‘inferior extensor retinaculum’ muscle (never heard of it!) that goes across the front of the foot and apparently my running style doesn’t help! I overpronate so buy road running shoes to compensate but my trail shoes don’t do this so I am wondering if I might need insoles. I have also been icing, resting, elevating and using a range of different gels. I have also found that actually wearing my high heels at school helps! Prior to getting injured, how have you found motivation levels for those mid-week postwork runs now the evenings have got darker? I have to admit that my last mid-week run
was about a month ago and before the clocks changed. This hasn’t been so much due to lack of motivation but a combination of workload and the injury. I am disappointed as my training plan including this mid-week run was going so well! However I do hope to pick them up again after the half-marathon as I miss the midweek ‘head-space’ these runs give me! All things considered, how are you feeling about the Bath Hilly Half on Sunday? At the moment I am very anxious and concerned that my foot will still not be better. However, I am determined to do everything I can to complete the race. I am now at that stage where I am afraid to try to run in case I can’t, so I have decided just to take it very easy and not to do anything other than gentle walking until the day itself. I keep telling myself that once I get going I’ll be fine and I am hoping the adrenaline will kick in and I’ll forget about any pain! I have watched the video of the race and it certainly looks tough but I know that I have done the preparation and, so as long as the muscles hold up, I should be able to do it. The atmosphere on Sunday will be fantastic – it is Remembrance Sunday so we will be starting with a two-minute silence which will be poignant and will focus our minds. However it will also be a really joyful occasion – a reunion for the Project Trail team and time to face the challenge we were set four months ago. I am also looking forward to sharing the experience with my family: my brother, Phil, and my son, James, are also running it. Do you have anything nice planned for after the race? After the race we are all hoping to gather for a celebratory drink! I’ve also got a big bag of Epsom salts ready for a long bath and then plan a sleep on the sofa in front of the fire! I’ll also be off to see Maddy for a sports massage in the week! THE COACH’S VIEW
With winter upon us and bugs making their rounds at school, Clare had to fight off a few bugs. Clare’s weakest point is her lack of flexibility and, over the last few weeks, the increase in distance was causing some pain in her lower legs and feet. She has been very good at icing and resting. She has also started to get sport massages to help with the tightness in her calves. She has started to taper so didn’t need to do too many miles, which will help her to be ready for the Bath Hilly Half.
From milton keynes • Age 62 Job Swimming teacher, specialising in fear of water
How have your last few weeks of training gone? Pretty well. I was a little disappointed that I didn’t reach 12 miles, mainly because of my shin splints. But, I managed 10 and accepted that was as far as I wanted to push it. I’ve kept up with the gym work, yoga and swimming. How have you managed your shin splints? I stepped back from running three times a week to twice a week, and replaced that third run with a spin class and water running, both of which have improved my stamina. How did your shins hold up at the Stowe Cross Country Race at the end of October? My shins felt OK, even when I was running downhill, which gave me confidence to continue and push it a little. The race in general was pretty tough – it was intense, with very little flat running.
How are you feeling about the impending race? I have mixed feelings. The email I received from the organisers was a little scary. It reads, “This is a tough course: you must be fit to run it.” Although I feel I’ve worked really hard with my training in the last few months, I’m questioning whether I’ve done enough. So, that’s playing on my mind a bit. I’m also a little concerned what to wear. I normally wear shorts and a t-shirt, but if it’s raining I may get too cold. I guess its all trial and error! Do you have anything nice planned to celebrate
after the Bath Hilly Half? My daughter-in-law, Carly, is running the 10K, so it’s going to be a family affair as the family will be there to cheer us on. Our celebrations will be at my son’s home, eating home-cooking, drinking Prosecco and sharing the day with family. I won’t be resting on my laurels for too long as I have the Zero to Hero Winter Half Marathon three weeks later. THE COACH’S VIEW
Steph has battled with injuries in the past but has managed to find the right balance. It’s great to see runners develop to a point where they understand how their bodies work and how much they can push and when they have to back off and take some extra rest. With no injuries and a good nutritional plan, Stephanie is ready for the half-marathon. Twitter: @stephaniedutton Instagram: run_granma_run
Since the Mummy Beast back in September, you’ve been working on your leg strength to boost your stamina running up hill. Have you begun to see the benefits of this? My HIIT classes in the gym have improved not only my leg strength, but also my stamina. So, when I’m running up hills, I can feel the difference, which gives me confidence to push on, even when I feel like stopping. Last month you ran the 10K NSPCC event in Milton Keynes with your club and managed to knock 15 minutes off your time. What has had the biggest impact on your speed? The off-road and running up and down hills although, having said that, I couldn’t have gone trail running without all the other disciplines: gym-work, swimming, spinning and yoga, which have all played their part. Anne-Marie has advised you take a few extra rest days. Have you managed to do so in the last few days/weeks before the race? Yes, I did take Anne-Marie’s advice and rested from high-intensity days, but continued with yoga and swimming, with a full day off in the week. The week prior to the race, I plan to take two complete days of rest, with a 30-minute run to see how the legs feel and will practise my yoga and stretching in the pool.
Twitter: @xabbeyx90 Instagram: abbeyp90
the challenge and had it in my head to just have fun and now I can’t do it. I’m gutted! Do you feel you’ve learned anything through your experience of injury? I’ve learned I need to listen my body more. I used to think if a training plan said to do something on a certain day then, in order to keep up your fitness, you had to do that activity, regardless of whether you’re sore or tired. Unfortunately you just end up exhausted and running becomes a chore. I’ve enjoyed talking to Stephanie throughout the process as she is an example of someone who listens to her body and takes time off when she needs to. I’d really like to take up swimming as well as I think it will help me become a stronger runner. While having a break from running, you threw yourself into strength training. How have you found this? I found it really hard. I don’t have time to go to a gym so I just use weights at home. I find it so boring! I can do the exercises and I know I need to do them, I just can’t motivate myself. I’ll be glad when I’ve recovered and I can go out running again as that will keep me motivated.
From Preston • Age 25 Job Senior operative at Boots Dispensing Support Pharmacy
Sadly, you’ve had to pull out of the Bath Hilly Half due to a knee injury, which came about on your final long run. Have you had a diagnosis? At first I was worried I had damaged a tendon, which could have meant a couple of months off running. I had a few days off training and then tried a run/walk but, each time I tried running again, my knee would collapse. It felt really weak. I went to my local parkrun at the weekend and only managed a mile and a half before my knee collapsed and I couldn’t finish. I went to see a physio and she diagnosed me with having ITBS. She doesn’t think I’ve done any permanent damage, which is good news. Making the decision to pull out must have been tough; how did you come to the final decision? Anne-Marie doesn’t want me to do any permanent damage and advised not to do the
full half-marathon but said the decision was ultimately up to me. My physiotherapist also advised to have two full weeks off running. As much as I was looking forward to it and have done months of training, I need to look after my body. I don’t want to cause permanent damage that will stop me racing in the future. After months of training, this must have been a huge blow. How are you feeling about it all? Really disappointed. I have enjoyed the majority of my training and it has been a great experience learning about what makes up a good training plan. There’s just a part of me that feels like I did it all for nothing. When the Bath Hilly Half was first mentioned I was not looking forward to it at all. It looked really hard, especially for a beginner. Towards the middle of my training, I started to get really excited about
Have you thought about setting your sights on a different race once you’re recovered? I know it involves a ballot to get in but my mum and I want to do the Royal Parks Half next year. We’ve signed up to a few 10K races around the country so we have plenty to keep us going! I also really like chasing my 5K PB at parkrun. What are you looking forward to most about getting out running again? I’ll be in a different area, as me and my partner have just bought a house, so I’m looking forward to finding new running routes and going to new parkruns. I think my mum is looking forward to having me back out running. She said she misses her running buddy! Will you be going along to the Bath Hilly Half to support the other ladies? Absolutely. I want to be there to see them start and finish the race. THE COACH’S VIEW
Abbey was training hard until she injured her knee. Her programme was changed to crosstraining while she rested and iced her knee. I advised her to tape her knee with Kinesio Tape and to book a appointment with the doctor and physio to get to the bottom of the problem.
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— When all you want to be is better —
BEST OF THE REST The fast girl's guide to running recovery
BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE
Top tips from some of our previous team members
BEST · OF THE · REST
Following a strict training plan to g e t f i t t e r ? Yo u n e e d t o b e s e r i o u s about your recovery strategy too. Christina Macdonald explains why
f you take your running seriously, you might be following a strict training plan to help you achieve new personal bests. You might be consumed with every detail of how to structure that threshold run or hill session. It’s easy to get embroiled in the minutiae of your training plan, but how much thought are you giving to your recovery strategy after a hard session? If you want to keep improving and reduce injury risk, it’s hugely important to plan your recovery and treat it with as much respect as your training plan. “Recovery is as important as hard training,” says physiotherapist Mark Buckingham from Witty Pask & Buckingham (wpbphysio.co.uk). “During the recovery process, your body is able to make the adaptations and gains driven by the hard sessions. If you skimp on the recovery you will not get the best from your training.” Professor John Brewer, Head of the School of Sport, Health and Applied Science at St Mary’s University (stmarys.ac.uk) agrees. He likens not allowing adequate recovery time in between hard sessions to scratching a cut that hasn’t had time to heal. “If you don’t allow the skin to fully heal before you scratch it again, the damage is going to get worse,” he says. “Similarly, if you haven’t allowed the muscles to fully repair and then you go and exercise at a high intensity, the damage is going to be slightly worse by the time the exercise is finished.”
DO SOME DAMAGE LIMITATION So what’s going on in the body during a demanding training session? During a hard run, areas of micro trauma develop in the muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. “These traumas need to be repaired and require water and proteins to do so,” says Buckingham. “The better your hydration and fuel replenishment, the better this process will be. Further training stimulates the body to increase muscle mass, increase neural pathways, increase energy systems, increase blood supplies and increase bone and tendon density and strength. These all need fuel and rest to allow that fuel to be used to effect these changes rather than fuel other activity.” Not surprisingly, not allowing the body time to repair can increase injury risk. “If you don’t allow adequate recovery time, the micro trauma does not repair or repairs poorly, meaning your next run is on slightly damaged tissue,” adds Buckingham. “This
increases the damage further and the cumulative effects can turn a bit of DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) into a more substantial tear, or a stressed bone can turn into a stress fracture or a loaded tendon into a tendinopathy (pain and tenderness when touched or during movement). That lack of repair means you have not gained as much from the hard session as you might have done [and it will have] compounded the injury stress.” LET THE HEALING BEGIN When the body is recovering from training, several things are occurring. “The first thing the body does is gradually remove lactic acid,” says Brewer. “There may be damage to the proteins within the muscle fibres, so the second thing in the longer term is that the muscle fibres will repair and there will be more protein laid down within the muscle. That will probably end up increasing the strength of the muscle because protein will be laid down and the muscle will grow and develop in size and strength. The lactic acid is either re-metabolised or is exhaled when you breathe out.” Your recovery strategy should be different for a short, intense speed session to your recovery from a long steady run. “For endurance runners, one of the biggest challenges is you run out of energy,” says Brewer. “If you’re doing a short interval session, you won’t run out of muscle glycogen, which is the carbohydrate you use, but you will if you run a marathon. So the main part of the recovery process (for a long run) is the replacement of glycogen. Carbohydrate has been used up. The other part of recovery is rehydration – you will probably be dehydrated.” Which brings us onto nutrition. Protein is important to enable torn muscle fibres to repair. “With the tearing of fibres comes an increase in blood flow to the muscles, which in turn facilitates transportation of protein and amino acids to the damaged fibres,” says Ted Munson, Performance Nutritionist for Science In Sport (scienceinsport.com). “Consuming protein high in essential amino acids (lean meats, poultry, eggs and seafood) immediately after exercise is crucial, so the amino acids can be speedily transported to your damaged muscles.” Recovery from a hard session should not just be focused on protein. “The body needs to replenish protein, carbs, electrolytes, vitamins (especially vitamin C) and minerals
to help recover and support its immune system,” adds Munson. After a hard session, it is believed that your body has a 30-minute window of heightened metabolic function. During this time, nutrients can be transported more rapidly to your muscles, so a 20g protein bar would be a good choice straight after training. “One to two hours after hard exercise, eat a carb-heavy meal, like pasta or rice, then take around 30-60g of carbohydrate for the next four hours,” says Munson. “For the next 12-24 hours, take on around 20-25g of protein every four hours.” Your nutrition recovery strategy doesn’t need to be quite as extensive if you’ve done a shorter session. “Recovery strategies should definitely vary depending on the type of session,” says Munson. “After a 60-minute jog, you won’t need to take on carbohydrate to replace energy stores. However, if you’ve completed a marathon or a long interval session, then it’s necessary to replenish lost
carbs and protein in the 30-minute window.” “Refuelling and rehydration is more important after the longer endurance sessions,” says Brewer. “After the short sessions, it’s really just a case of doing a warm-down to help facilitate the process of lactic acid removal. Listen to your body and give the muscle fibres a chance to repair before you go out and do the next highintensity session.” You may be wondering if taking supplements will aid recovery. “Omega 3 fish oils are great to promote healthy joints and reduce inflammation after exercise,” says Munson. “But if you eat oily fish a few times a week supplements often aren’t necessary. Beetroot juice has increased in popularity in the last few years, with some research suggesting it can boost performance. This is because it is high in nitrates, which are proven to regulate blood flow, increase glucose uptake and increase skeletal muscle contraction.”
METHOD OR MADNESS?
"IF YOU DON'T ALLOW ADEQUATE RECOVERY TIME, THE MICRO TRAUMA DOES NOT REPAIR OR REPAIRS POORLY OR PARTIALLY” PHYSIOTHERAPIST MARK BUCKINGHAM
If you feel you can walk or run without any pain or stiffness, that’s a good indicator that your body has recovered. “You’re looking at 24-48 hours in most cases for a full recovery,” says Brewer. KEEP ON MOVING A key part of your recovery strategy from a hard session or a long run could be active recovery. This simply means doing some light aerobic activity rather than sitting still. Light jogging, gentle cycling or swimming are all ideal choices. “The light use of our systems without stressing or draining them is felt to flush blood and lymph systems through and help tissues recover,” says Buckingham. “If you normally run and then you cycle, you’re bringing into play different muscle groups,” says Brewer. “So the muscles that were being actively exercised during running have time to recover. Active recovery is still continuing to sustain the cardiovascular
system and is preventing any decline in that system through lack of use but, as you’re using different muscles, tendons and ligaments, you’re giving that area exercised more time to recover.” When you want to get faster, it’s tempting to overdo the hard training sessions, but don’t do too many intense sessions in one week unless you’re a very experienced athlete. “Mo Farah will probably do two hard sessions a day and can cope with that,” says Brewer. “But it depends on who you are. For a novice starting out, the definition of a hard session is going to be very different and the number you can tolerate (in a week) is going to be far fewer. You’re looking at around three or four for most people. We’ve got elite athletes here at St Mary’s and they’ll do hard sessions on almost a daily basis because that is what they are capable of doing. For the rest of us, the body hasn’t adapted to tolerate that, and you’re more likely to cause an injury.”
There are lots of common tricks to speed up recovery. Find out what our experts think of them
1. THE FOAM ROLLER “A common issue with using a foam roller is that athletes roll over bruises, mistaking them for muscle knots,” says Munson, “though it can be good when done properly. Further research is necessary to fully understand the benefits for recovery.” 2. ICE BATHS “The jury is still out on ice baths,” says Brewer. “Ice is known to restrict blood flow and to lessen the amount of bleeding and pressure within the muscle immediately after exercise. I’m still not convinced as to how deep they go down into the muscle. A lot of athletes who suffer from muscle soreness post exercise will find at least a degree of temporary relief from a warm bath.” 3. COMPRESSION WEAR “There is more science behind this as compression has been shown to reduce swelling and bleed of tissue fluids as well as, if not better than, ice,” says Buckingham. 4. STRETCHING “Stretching into pain or forced positions has the capacity to cause further damage,” says Buckingham. “Easy stretching to take the tissues to their normal lengths has been shown to help restore normal range better than doing nothing. But be careful.”
VOICES OF EXPERIENCE
As you read this, we’re about to choose the women who’ll train with us for the 2017 Big M a r a t h o n C h a l l e n g e , s o w e a s ke d s o m e o f o u r p r e v i o u s r u n n e r s f o r t h e i r a d v i c e
In the last issue of Women’s Running, we launched our annual search for a team of four women willing to share their experiences of marathon training, in exchange for a bit of kit, nutrition products, coaching expertise – and the support of the team here and all our lovely readers! As you read this, we’re going through the hundreds of entries we’ve received and choosing our final team, who will be informed that they’ve won in early December. You’ll be able to meet them next month. In the mean time, there’s plenty that prospective Big Marathon Challengers can be thinking about to make their races next year a success. This is a difficult time of year for anybody training for a spring marathon. You’re slightly in limbo as you wait for your training plan to kick
in ‘properly’ in January or February. So we’ve turned to the experts: we went back to some of the brilliant women who’ve trained on our Big Marathon Challenge and Project 26.2 teams over the last two years to ask them what this year’s spring marathon hopefuls should be doing right now, whether they make it onto our team or are simply training for a marathon next year on their own. One theme came up when we asked for advice for those who do make the Big Marathon Challenge team: have fun! “Most importantly, enjoy the experience,” says Samantha Commons from last year’s team. “I learned so much, not only about running, but myself and the things you think (and people say) you can’t do, like run two marathons in seven days! I learned it is possible if you commit to your goals
and have positive people saying you can achieve them.” Vicki Agnew, who was part of the Project 26.2 team the previous year, echoes these sentiments. “Enjoy the experience because it’s incredible, I loved it,” she says. “It’s opened a lot of doors for me.” Vicki is now training to become a personal trainer – catch up with her on page 10. For some of our runners, being in the spotlight provided extra motivation. “Having so many people behind you and ‘checking up’ with what you are doing will motivate you to do those cold early morning runs, strength exercises and long long runs!” says Alison Bell, from last year’s team. So if you don’t make the BMC team this time, think about setting up a blog or tweeting about your progress – use #bigmarathonchallenge to join the journey.
© EDDIE MACDONALD
(BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE, 2015-16)
(PROJECT 26.2, 2014-15)
(PROJECT 26.2, 2014-15)
(PROJECT 26.2, 2014-15)
(PROJECT 26.2, 2014-15)
(BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE, 2015-16)
Sam ran Brighton and London marathons – two marathons in as many weeks. She ended up with a brilliant PB!
Vicky completed her first marathon, Brighton, as part of Project 26.2 – despite suffering a lastminute injury.
Andrea, who works as a detective inspector, joined Project 26.2 to lay to rest her previous marathon experience of hitting the wall.
Photographer Laura ran her first marathon with WR in 2015, aiming for a 5:30 time – and smashed that by 15 minutes!
Running her first marathon – after transforming her body shape – was the start of an amazing journey for mum and trainee PT Vicki.
If you’ve made the team… My advice is to keep track of training by doing blogs and interviews, and being really honest with the coaches about how training is going and what is working or not.
If you’ve made the team… My main piece of advice would be about trust... trust the amazing team of professionals you have supporting you, trust your training plan, and trust your body. Trust that however far away it seems right now, as you train and grow stronger, physically and mentally, you’ll realise at some point that you really can and WILL do it.
Alison joined our team to train for the London and Edinburgh Marathons to raise money for Ellenor, the hospice which cared for both her parents.
If you’ve made the team… I would always advise following a training plan. This will ensure you build up your training in a way so as to avoid injury and ensure you get the appropriate mileage completed. If you do need to miss a session, don’t panic. By following a plan you will have good miles in your legs and everyone has times when things happen to mean sessions can’t be completed.
If you’ve made the team… My main piece of advice for successful BMC applicants would be to listen to the experts around you and to take on board what you learn. When I started the process in 2015, I had never even run a half-marathon but, by implementing all of the wonderful advice I was given, I not only completed my Milton Keynes Marathon but really enjoyed the experience, too.
If you’ve made the team… Use the expertise that’s available. Everybody that’s at the magazine is passionate about running so ask lots of questions. [Fitness editor] Anne-Marie is amazing. Try and hit the goals that you set, if not smash them. I was less confident – I think I said a four or four-and-a-halfhour marathon and I ended up doing a sub-3:45.
For anyone running a spring marathon… Find a good training plan and adapt it to your personal circumstances. Try to build in some strength work. Look at your nutrition and drink lots of water! It’s often the start of a great personal journey – I have completed an ultra and have become an England Athletics running coach since I appeared in Project 26.2. Running is fab!
For anyone running a spring marathon… Firstly, sort your diet out. Getting plenty of protein into my diet completely changed my energy levels and recovery time and it’s a habit that’s stuck with me. Secondly, it is hard to get out when the daylight hours are short and the weather is cold so try and establish a routine that gets you in the habit of heading out of that door automatically.
For anyone running a spring marathon… You’re going to be building up on your long runs, so you’re going to be outside for longer and in worse weather, so I would say eat good food, not necessarily just in the form of vitamins. Get lots of sleep; sleep and good food are so underestimated. And don’t skip your long runs just because it’s raining outside, just get out and do it.
For anyone running a spring marathon… And for anyone tackling or thinking about a spring marathon, do your stretches and strength work now; make it as big a part of your training routine as your running. My biggest regret is that I did not do this enough – it is now part of my training; if I had done this a year ago, I may not have had the injuries I did. That said, the only way to progress is to make mistakes, learn lessons and move on, so again I’ve got two marathons planned for 2017 (MK and Stour Valley) although more than a week apart this time!
For anyone running a spring marathon… Begin building up a good strength base, either in a gym or at home with stretchy bands and dumbbells (or 2L bottles of water!), and practise yoga or Pilates. Building a strong base and getting into the habit of stretching will help you stay injury free. The value of these is often underestimated. Marathon training is not just about increasing mileage.
If you’ve made the team… I would advise you to take advantage of the support network from the other applicants, the coach and the WR team. For anyone running a spring marathon… December usually involves many Christmas parties, drinks, socialising and that is all just as important as any training plan. If you know you won’t be able to run much in the weeks before Christmas, don’t beat yourself up. Set yourself some smaller goals between now and the New Year: perhaps a few 5Ks or a 10K. It is important to have some shortterm wins so you feel motivated to up your distance in January. This year, my plan is to do some parkrun tourism to mix things up and get my legs moving ready for the next stage of training.
the woMen’s Running
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TURN OVER FOR OUR REGULAR RACE REPORTS SECTION
CANCER RESEARCH UK TOUGH 10
Unusual daughter-mother bonding in Delamere Forest, p94
PERKINS GREAT EASTERN RUN
RACE HIGHLIGHTS: JANUARY 5K
The 4th Leicester City 5K Winter Series Race Three · 4 January 2017 Work off all of that festive excess with this fast two-lap circuit of Leicester’s Victoria Park which was once home to the city’s race course. So channel some of that historic energy and aim for a new PB.
Knicker Knacker · Box Hill, Surrey · 1 January 2017 What a great name for a ladies race! This is one tough 10K. Sign your man up for the Knacker Cracker (hee hee) and the little ones can take on the Nipper Knacker. Now, can you say all three race names, three times, fast? TRIONIUM.COM/KNACKERCRACKER/
Central Lancashire Half Marathon · Preston · 8 January 2017 Clear your mind and unwind with this fast and flat(ish) course which winds through quiet rural roads and hamlets. FYLDECOASTRUNNERS.COM/CENTRAL-LANCASHIRE-NEW-YEARSHALF-MARATHON.HTML
The Winter Holly Challenge · Telford · 28 January 2017 Blast those post-Christmas blues away with this marathon around the beautiful lanes of Lightmoor in Telford. Collect your finishers medal then, weather permitting, celebrate with your fellow runners over a post-race pint and food.
Gut Buster · Berkshire · 31 December 2016 Okay, okay... So it’s not happening in January, but New Year’s Eve is close enough. Purge yourself from all that Babycham and Quality Street with this multi-terrain, calorie-burning 10K or 10-miler in beautiful Berkshire. Ooh, refreshing! You can thank us later.
Lizzy Dening looks for home comforts in her local half, p96
CAN’T RACE THIS MONTH? NO TIME TO TRAIN? GET A TASTE OF THE ATMOSPHERE AT… New Year’s Sprint 2017 · East Lothian · 1 Jan There’s nothing quite like Hogmanay in Edinburgh. Get yourself to this glorious city for a real hootenanny, but go easy on the whisky. Otherwise you might miss the 148th New Year Sprint where, nine miles east of Edinburgh, you can watch pro and amateur athletes battle it out for cash prizes. sportingworld.co.uk/newyearsprint/index.html Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend · Florida 4-8 Jan Get some winter sun and watch runners take on the most magical course on earth. There are even spectators packages available with benefits like VIP treatment in the Race Retreat (let’s hope that includes a foot rub from Prince Charming). rundisney.com/disneyworld-marathon
Book GET YOUR ENTRIES IN FOR THESE POPULAR RACES
Cancer Research UK London Winter Run, London – 5 Feb
Vitality Bath Half Marathon, Bath – 12 March
This race claims to be the capital’s biggest and best winter run… And it is pretty cool! Snow machines set the mood and you can expect a few (polar) bear hugs along the route.
There are limited places left for the Bath Half so get your entry in! You’ll feel more powerful than a gladiator as you take on this traffic-free course round the ancient World Heritage city of Bath.
CANCER RESEARCH UK TOUGH 10
A DIFFERENT KIND OF 10 JENNY BOZON WAS INTRODUCED TO A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF RUNNING THIS MONTH WHEN SHE TO O K TO T H E M U D DY T R A I LS O F D E LA M E R E F O R E ST TO TA K E PA RT I N T H E C A N C E R R E S E A R C H U K TOUGH 10 WITH HER MUM y running has always been quite a selfish hobby. Like many M people, I run for ‘me time’, to challenge myself physically and mentally and to boost my self-esteem. And, while I wouldn’t usually admit it, I run races more to beat my PBs than to have fun. Hence, I’d never be one to choose a trail race – always a road option, preferably one that’s fast and flat. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not lined up with the blokes in the front pen, tearing down every man, woman and child to be first at the gun, but I secretly like to think of myself as a little ‘hardcore’. But all of this changed earlier this month
when I took part in the Cancer Research UK Tough 10 with my mum, Jane. She’s always supported my running and, after each of my races, consistently exclaims: “I don’t know how you do it!” This is typical of her, really. She took up running two years ago and still won’t call herself a “proper runner” – even when she took part in her first ever race at the Women’s Running 5K event at Wythenshawe Park this summer, she refused to believe she’d run a “proper race”, given she hadn’t taken part in the “main” 10K. It was at that point I decided she needed to put a stop to the self-doubt once and for all and learn that she is a proper runner.
To be enough to convince her that this was a “proper” race, I decided to choose a race that was: a) the furthest distance she had run before and b) one that had “tough” in the name. Both were enough to scare her out of her skin and she’s thrown herself into training. She’s grappled injuries, crosstrained to her heart’s content, and managed to steal a quid off just about everyone she knows for sponsorship. And when she texted to me to tell me that she’d not slept all week worrying that she wouldn’t be able to make it round the course and how awful she feared the experience might be, I decided that I, myself, would have to adopt a new approach
CANCER RESEARCH UK TOUGH 10
to racing to ensure neither of her fears became a reality. This race, for once, wasn’t going to be about me, and it wasn’t going to be about times. It was about getting round and having fun. When we rocked up at the race on a chilly Saturday morning at 11am, the event immediately felt different to any race I’d done before. Not only am I more accustomed to a crack-of-dawn start, but I’m usually lining up at the start solo. The time I was not only with my mum, but my best friend, Ella, and her mum, Gill, who were both also taking part in their first ever 10K. The event village was full of energy – it’s Cancer Research UK’s first year hosting the Tough 10 Series, but it immediately had the same friendly buzz as its Race For Life events. Hundreds of passionate runners lined the start, male and female, in their fundraising vests, and you felt the same Race For Life undercurrent that the race meant more to most of those runners than showing up for a PB. I noticed that most runners, like us, were in packs and everyone was either chatting, drinking coffee or having a little boogie (to keep warm mostly). It was nothing like the solemn start of those straight-laced club races I mentioned previously, where most runners are too focused on getting in
the zone than having a chat. The first few kilometres went by in what felt like seconds – we were all so busy catching up to think about distance. And everyone else seemed to be the same, the course was abuzz with noisy chatter and I realised that this was the first time I had ever noticed a race being noisy. Among the chatter, I could hear the crisp sounds of leaves crunching underfoot and the hysterical laughter as runners tried to stay on two feet amid the mud. At that point I realised I’d never run a race without headphones before. What a buffoon. No wonder I’d thought they lacked atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all the sweet sounds of birds singing as we overlooked the picturesque Cheshire Plain (although there was a lot of that). Around the 4K mark, we began to hit some seriously hard hills, at which point, I had an earful – or three – from mum. Her moaning became a mutter and her jog slowed to a walk. She became panicked by her laboured breathing and I had to do everything in my power to convince her of her capabilities. A dozen or so motivational running mantras (and a handful of Haribo) seemed to do the trick and I was overwhelmed with pride when she made it to the top. Her spirits were quickly lifted as we began the muddy descent – mostly by laughter (at my expense) as I tumbled and tripped over tree roots and face-planted in mud. And when mum made her Mo-Farahesque sprint to the finish, her elation couldn’t have been more infectious. Seeing her – and supporting her – in achieving something she never believed she was capable of was more gratifying than any PB. Which goes for road racing, too. I can’t believe I’ve so ignorantly dismissed trail running all this time. It’s not about time or speed, it’s just
about having great bloody muddy fun! As for Mum, while she had a great time, she’s not convinced she’s “run a 10K” yet, on the premise that she walked up some of the hills. Hopefully one day I’ll convince her that she, like anyone who runs, is a “proper” runner, especially the brilliantly bonkers lot that do it off road!
WE RACED IT! “It thought it was brilliant! Really hard work – those hills were a killer – but I just love running through the woods. It was fantastic. So much better than a flat 10K. We did the Manchester 10K in May but this just surpassed it. Melissa, 42, Warrington
“It was weirdly enjoyable! Running in the mud is actually really good. It just takes your mind off it, navigating down all the hills!” Heather, 25, Runcorn
PERKINS GREAT EASTERN RUN
EASTERN PROMISE L I Z Z Y D E N I N G TA C K L E S A H A L F - M A R AT H O N O N H O M E T U R F AT T H E P E R K I N S G R E AT E A ST E R N R U N
here’s a strange alchemy to running a good race. It’s a T combination of the right amount of training, rest, tapering, decent trainers… but even with all of that, it seems that sometimes running is just unfairly difficult. Sadly, this was the case for me at the Perkins Great Eastern Run. I’d signed up months ago, after conquering 10K comfortably. Seeing as this half-marathon is in my adopted hometown of Peterborough (a happily flat city) it made sense. After all, I’d have lots of support and could easily crawl back home afterwards. I also decided to support a local charity – the Peterborough Rape Crisis Care Group (peterboroughrapecrisis.co.uk) – which does amazing work with survivors in the area. I was able to raise £600 – a thought which got me through some difficult miles. And boy, were there plenty of those. Full disclosure: I’d foolishly run my first ever half-marathon just a fortnight before, and was so tired afterwards that I’d only run
one creaky 2.5-miler since, so any struggle I went through was my own fault, rather than the course itself. In fact, having arrived in torrential rain, the clouds cleared and made for cool yet sunny race conditions across, yes, a pancake-flat course. So really no excuses for not PBing. We started at the river embankment, sandwiched between the Key Theatre and a funfair, and it was easy to find our starting pens. Less easy, however, was finding a Portaloo. When you’ve got around 5,000 nervous runners, you really need more than a handful of toilets. So, slightly cross-legged, we set off. The first mile was a delight. I ran with two friends from my running club (the Sweatshop Club in Peterborough) and we whooped with delight running down one of the city’s busiest roads, now gloriously traffic-free. We sploshed down the wet tarmac, passing the Rape Crisis Centre, which reminded me of just why I was taking part. We then looped around into town –
covering some of my running club’s usual route – and past big cheering crowds. I high fived the first of many adorable children, and he let out a most gratifying: “Yesss!” Heading down Broadway (not as glamorous as it sounds) and away from town, I was able to slow down a bit and get a good look at my fellow runners. There were two bananas, a pair of clowns handing out lollies to spectators and a man in a pink wig flashing knickers that said ‘Great Eastern Bum’. I’ve honestly never felt fonder of the good people of Peterborough. Sadly, around the 5K mark, I realised I’d made a classic mistake – in following my friends, I’d gone out much too fast. I slammed on the brakes, and watched them disappear into the distance – is there any feeling more sobering? At this point, those little voices in my head familiar to most distance runners began to start up. You know the ones. (“You can’t do this. There are still 10 miles to go and your back is starting to ache. Everyone else
PERKINS GREAT EASTERN RUN
is finding this easy.”) At the water station I (finally) used the loo, which was, to be blunt, totally backed up already, and gave myself a talking to. And some sweets. These both helped, but not as much as the spectators. I found the route rather dull – out in a loop through many identical neighbourhoods, all on road and mostly past houses, a bit of a shame that it doesn’t even touch the city’s gorgeous country park Ferry Meadows – but it was touching to see how many local people had made a day of it,
sitting outside their home to clap and cheer us on. My favourites included a family who performed a Mexican wave, a group who’d placed speakers outside to blare cheery music and an adorable little boy who told me sincerely: “You’re doing really well. When you reach the water station, you’re almost halfway.” Oh, you sweet thing, if only you knew how painful that sounded to my aching back and tattered spirits. At this point, I did what any despairing runner does – I made some new friends.
Cheering crowds lined the route
I was pace-matching a lovely pair of ladies, Sue and Lisa, who were kind enough to welcome me into their fold. They were so positive that it rubbed off on me, and eventually I realised: I’m actually going to get through this. We shared out the rest of the sweets, and with delight I realised we were on Dogsthorpe Road (an experience I’m not sure anyone has ever had on Dogsthorpe Road) and heading back into the centre. At this point I spotted a group of my friends, bundled up warm and waiting for me outside their house – I swear I sprouted wings. “I hate this!” I laughed manically, “I’ll see you in the pub!” And with a high five to our group’s newest addition (baby Alex, almost five months old) I was off again. Crossing the finish line with my new friends, I felt like I’d been through the emotional mill, and have never been so happy to see my fiancé waiting for me. It almost made up for the fact that the organisers had run out of flapjacks. Almost. We were given brilliant goodie bags, technical t-shirts and a medal, as well as a hero’s welcome. The support is one reason to run in your hometown, the other is that you’re minutes away from your house, a hot shower and a Domino’s order. The flat course offered PB times
GO EAST! Morale-boosting high fives were easy to come by
THE NEXT PERKINS GREAT EASTERN RUN WILL BE ON 8 OCTOBER, 2017. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT PERKINSGREATEASTERNRUN.CO.UK.
The Challenge 9
RUN WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO! 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 the runs you didn’t really want to do… but you did them anyway!
margotbarbara_fitness Oh, I didn’t want to run today. It was cold – the first frost of this year appeared overnight and I found it really hard work. BUT I did it!
gillbla When the nights are drawing in and you want to hide under the duvet you need the track clan. @ar_ collective #tracktuesday sessions got your back.
lara_foodie_and_fitness I was tired, warm and cosy in my bed and it was chilly & pitch black outside but I managed to still run and I feel great for it. #thinkpositive
_jbfit Head torch season is back. First dark run of the season done! #healthy #bbg #bbggirls #bbgcommunity #wrchallenge
sammym36 First proper dark morning run of autumn, forgot how it makes you increase your pace #darkrun #thisgirlcan #countryside #WRChallenge
gillbla It was misty and serene out there this morning. I cursed the alarm, but it’s always worth it. #fullpotential #beatyesterday
teamkcsurrey #WRChallenge #running #frost #healthymind #positivity #goodvibes #innerpeace #november #milllane #surrey #teamkc #thatview #feelgood
vivibogdanov My first subzero race. Leaving my hubby and the bed on a dark cold morning was so difficult today!#freezingmorning #morningtonchasers10k
Helen Brown I have a 5 month old who woke in the middle of the night and then ignored the whole extra hour in bed rule on Sunday but I somehow managed a pb!
Natty Webbsta Finally received my LED lights and arm bands tonight so felt safer pounding the dark pavements and trying a new route. #wrchallenge
The Challenge – Cook up a post-run winter warmer! Sometimes, the idea of returning home to a warming hearty meal on a cold evening is enough to nudge you out of the door. And, this month, we want some foodie inspiration. We challenge you to cook up a healthy and hearty post-run autumn meal. Send us pictures of your creations in a picture or tweet. You’ll need to upload it to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using #WRChallenge, by 9 December. We’ll choose the best pics and tweets and put them in print.
SEND YOUR #WRCHALLENGECOMPLETED EVIDENCE TO: @WOMENSRUNNINGUK
TAG US @WOMENSRUNNINGUK
EXPERIENCE YOU CAN FEEL ASICS GEL-NIMBUS 19 Updated with FlyteFoam technology, the Gel-Nimbus 19 is a high-mileage shoe that delivers exceptionally soft and responsive cushioning.
THE DETAILS STYLE - NEutral TERRAIN - ROAD HEEL DROP - 10mm
BLUE - QR: 146306 - £145 PINK - QR: 146307 - £145
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ONE TASTY RIDE Hello S W E E T C U S H I O N. Introducing The Clifton 3. Maximal cushion. Minimal weight. So you can fly.
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