Licence to shop – the importance of shoe rotation

ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE training for a half marathon or marathon, running more miles per week, and running a combination of different types of workouts (easy long runs, speedwork, track sessions, maybe even trails), you should own and run 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 – 5 months of relatively high mileage training (i.e. a typical half marathon or marathon training cycle), you will usually 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 away 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 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

HERE WE ARE again – it’s the last day before a half marathon, my second one in six months. Though by no means an experienced racer (not an experienced half marathoner in any case), I’m feeling quietly smug about knowing what to expect by now and therefore going into this better prepared. I’ve even had the luxury of a day free of any other commitments, so I’m reasonably confident that I haven’t forgotten any important bits of information off my various race prep and packing lists. (Oh, I do love a list.)

If you’re preparing for your first big race, the number of things to remember on the eve of the event may seem overwhelming. But fear not, I’m happy to share my love of lists along with my personal experience and professional knowledge to provide you with this to-do list for the day before a big race, to reduce your stress levels and help you with your race preparations.

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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

Why the frustration of injury may revitalise your running

I HAVEN’T WRITTEN much recently. Admittedly there was the run-up to Christmas, then Christmas, then the post-Christmas whatever-it-was… Ok, I’m making excuses. I haven’t written much, because for about a month, I was able to only run very little. And as much as I think of this as a half-running, half-massage blog, it’s running that inspires me to write. So no running = no writing. But I’m back! And as much as I hated not being able to run, I’m now finding that a break can be incredibly good for motivation. 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

The first race – am I ready?

THE BIG RACE is in two days’ time. Not that it’s a particularly big or significant one, for many others, but for me it’s my very first one and therefore deserving of the use of CAPITAL LETTERS.

Physically, preparing to race is fairly straightforward when it’s really just your first 10k and you don’t want to get too scientific about it all. I’m trying to stay well-hydrated, do enough but not too much exercise (tennis on Tuesday, a little run today, lots of stretching tomorrow) and plan on eating porridge for breakfast and pasta for dinner for the last couple of days. Psychologically, it’s much harder. Continue reading