Licence to Shop – The Importance of Shoe Rotation

ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE training for a half marathon or marathon, starting to run more miles per week, and running a combination of different types of workouts (easy long runs, speedwork, track sessions, maybe even dirt trails), you should consider running in more than just one 6-20pair of shoes. Think of it as having the right shoe for each workout – not to mention that shoe rotation is a key ingredient in preventing overuse injuries. Many runners beat the same pair of shoes into the ground every workout. In 4 to 6 months of relatively high mileage training (i.e. a typical half marathon or marathon training cycle), you are likely to cover enough miles to wear out a single pair of shoes – which means that if it’s your only pair, the cushioning is pretty dead by race day, and at the last minute you’ll realize that your options are either to run the race in practically new shoes, or in ones that will need to be thrown out after the race. Needless to say, neither scenario is ideal!

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The Perfect Running Playlist

A good way to maintain a quick, efficient cadence is to run to music that has just the right tempo to match that magical 170-190 strides per minute. With enough practice it will come naturally, but until it becomes second nature, a well-planned playlist is a big help!

Here are some of my favourites:

Ward Thomas:  Push For The Stride  (172 bpm)
Sia:  Chandelier  (173 bpm)
The Vamps & Demi Lovato: Somebody To You  (174 bpm)
Foo Fighters:  Monkey Wrench  (174 bpm)
Nicki Minaj:  Girls Fall Like Dominoes  (174 bpm)
Rachel Platten:  Fight Song  (175 bpm)
Katy Perry:  Roar  (178 bpm)
Ed Sheeran & Rudimental:  Bloodstream  (178 bpm)
Evanescence:  Taking Over Me  (180 bpm)
30 Seconds To Mars:  The Kill  (182 bpm)
Tinie Tempah:  Written In The Stars  (184 bpm)
Clement Marfo & The Frontline:  Champion  (186 bpm)
Ellie Gouding:  Love Me Like You Do  (188 bpm)

The Anxious Runner’s Guide to Race Prep

IF YOU’RE PREPARING for your first big race, the number of things to remember on the eve of the event may seem overwhelming. We were all there once – and if many races later you still get nervous or anxious that’s OK too! But fear not, I’m happy to share my love of lists (oh, I do love a list) and personal experiences along with a few professional tips and shortcuts to provide you with this guide for the day before a big race. I hope it will help to reduce your stress levels and make your race preparations feel less daunting and even something to look forward to. Try not to panic and just remember why you’re running in the first place; you chose to do this!

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Why running is 83.6% psychological

I’M STARTING TO believe – believe in being able to complete my first half marathon in a time at least closely resembling the initially totally crazy-sounding target times from our coach. I think my first reaction to my predicted time was nervous laughter, then horror. Training has been going well; our long slow runs have been feeling relatively easy and enjoyable, and the speed sessions tough but entirely doable. But I have been really struggling to see how those two things would translate into being fast over a long distance, and so I have doubted myself on and off for weeks now. Continue reading

Running and the pursuit of perfection

RACING WAS a great experience. I felt anxious about getting there on time, nervous just before the start, unsure about where I should position myself at the start line (as it turned out, I ended up a bit too far back), and annoyed I didn’t get my GPS signal sorted in time, but as soon as we were off it was enjoyable and fun. Yes, fun. The route was hilly (“gently undulating” is a big, fat lie) and it got a little too hot for anyone’s liking, but I enjoyed every minute. Sure, some of the hills felt tough and I put everything I had left into a sprint finish, but it was an overwhelmingly positive experience. I did run very cautiously for the first half, but picked up the pace and started overtaking runner after runner, finishing in a fairly respectable time too. But it was after the race when my competitive spirit really kicked in. By the following day I was kicking myself for not running the first half of the race a little bit faster, wondering how much quicker my time could have been. And the day after that, I signed up for another 10k in just a few weeks’ time to test my fitness and a better race strategy on a flatter course, hopefully on a cooler day. Next time, I want to be faster. Continue reading

Accidental Runner

I’M A RUNNER. I’m still relatively new to running, but boy, have I been bitten by the bug. I’m a runner. Saying that makes me feel a little bit proud of myself.

I haven’t always been a runner. In fact, for the vast majority of my life I have wanted nothing to do with running. My sister has run for years, but while I have admired her guts, commitment and toned legs, I have written off all things running as total lunacy. Craziness. Sure, I’ve run a fair bit, but it has been mainly on the basketball court or other sports field, i.e. while having actual fun. I have done massage at running events – the state of those poor people at the end of a marathon…! – and I have had a lot of clients who run. But I never really got it.

But now, I have joined a running club and am preparing for my first race. I’m an actual, bona fide runner.

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The ‘Other’ New Year

SEPTEMBER IS a bit like the New Year, except with less pressure and fewer expectations. But it always brings a new season and a new school year, quite possibly a new pair of boots and for me anyway, a feeling of new beginnings.

With a new year of sorts in mind, I decided to do ‘healthy September’. Nothing too crazy, just no sugar (of the obvious kind) or alcohol, less bread and more fish-and-veg-and-brown rice type meals for a month. I wasn’t even going to stop drinking coffee. Of course I failed promptly on the 1st of September (accidental burger)… and on the 2nd (ice cream – it was a hot day)… and 3rd (a friend stopped by with a delicious cake – what’s a girl to do?!). I vowed to start again the following Monday, but didn’t do any better. That night, I felt ecstatically happy tucking into a chocolate chip cookie – after deciding to give up trying to give up – and didn’t even feel particularly guilty. (If there’s one thing running gives you, it’s sugar cravings.)

Later that week, after the first session with my new running club, I had an epiphany. I was already doing a lot to improve my health and fitness, but I came to realize I should put my spare time to good use and get back into writing. More specifically, it was the high that I got from a hard run that made me want to write about how it felt and what running was doing for me – without risking a spoiler here, what it’s doing for me is something pretty amazing. So, here we are. This blog is my ‘healthy September’ (though hopefully not just for September).

I have no idea where this will take me, but I hope you’ll join me on my journey. Expect posts about running; my work as a sports and clinical massage therapist; tips and thoughts about health and wellbeing; and other topics that probably don’t have very much to do with any of the above.