Hell up North did just what it said on the tin and did not disappoint. It was dirty fun with lots of like minded people. Battered, bruised and muddy but I had the best time I have ever had in a race. I am slightly battered and bruised, and still have mud under my nails, but yesterdays Hell Runner (Hell up North) was an amazing experience. Climbing hills on your hands and knees, running through knee deep mud...and the best bits, wading through liquid mud up to your arm pits. OK that bit was a bit smelly, but great fun all the same. What other experiences allow you to run around in the forest getting really really dirty? I felt like I was 6 again! Trail running at its best!
Cross country running is hard work but great fun and a fantastic workout. It uses all the big muscles in your body and stabilises your core. I used to hate cross country at school and frequently would be caught hiding somewhere on the school field trying to look like I had been running. How things have changed! The cross country races are now the ones I look forward to the most. They are hard work, muddy and cold, but the sense of camaraderie between runners and teams is fantastic. Everyone supports each other and there is plenty of friendly rivalry between teams. Because all runners are in club vests these races feel like a real team event rather than everybody running for themselves. What other workout can leave you shattered, smiling and head to toe in mud?
Well, winter is on it's way and the nights are drawing in. I actually love this time of year and enjoy running in the cold and dark. Whether it is wet, windy, cold, frosty or just dull outside many of us pull on our trainers and set off up the road for our daily fix. At times it is hard to get your warm cosy self out of the door but every time we return we are glad we did it (unless we fall on the ice and get injured). The most important issue to think about when heading off into the dark is safety. High visibility kit is a must for all runners, in fact for anyone out at night who may be on the road. I have had countless near misses with cyclists dressed head to toe in black, with no lights on their bikes, and that is just when I am running. Cyclists or runners dressed in dark clothes would have no chance to be seen by a driver. Wearing brightly coloured clothing or reflective kit when you are on those early morning or evening runs really is essential. It allows motorists to see you clearly and allows you to run with the peace of mind that you know you are as safe as you can be.
Well are you in or are you out? The time has come where thousands of runners find out if they have got a place in the Virgin London Marathon. For most people the response is the same. "Oh No I'm not in". And more often "OH NO I AM IN". Whatever your emotion - pleased, terrified, relieved, excited you have got a lot of work to do to get to the finish line. Training is not to be taken lightly and needs to start months before the race. Many runners do not know where to start, how far and how often to run, what to wear, what to eat and drink. This causes people to give up on their training and get despondent, or injured. On the other side of the coin they over train and arrive on the start line exhausted and in no fit state to run a marathon. My marathon advice takes you through training plans, food, drink and clothing and relates to any marathon, I am just using The VLM as an example. I have ran 5 marathons over the past 3 years, some good, some (very) bad, but all hard work.
Race day can be daunting for even the most experienced runners. Whether you are preparing for your first race or your fiftieth the same race day logistics apply. After training hard you do not want to be let down by a minor incident on the start or finish line. Preparation is the key. Make sure your hard work and training doesn't go to waste by reading my race day advice. Beginning with before the race, getting to the start line, during the race and after the finish, these points will help you have an enjoyable race day.
The top - training your upper body As a runner I know it is all too easy to train hard with your legs but neglect your upper body. What is the point in having strong legs, a toned tummy and little sparrow arms which couldn't lift a pencil? Besides the fact that toned arms, chest, shoulders and [...]
Running is great for toning your legs and bottom, there is no doubt about it. But sometimes it's a good idea to cross training and to mix up your training to get an overall workout, keep your core strong and prevent any muscle getting over-worked or left out altogether. Strength training can enhance your running performance immensely. I swear by circuit training, which I do twice a week. It is a great full body workout, toning all the major muscle groups while giving your legs a change from the pounding of regular running. Salt Ayre Sports Centre offer different levels of circuit training to cater for everyone. One class - Lower body blitz is one of my favourites as it works the thighs, glutes and hamstrings really hard, strong legs is what you need to tackle the hilly runs.
Not only does a toned tummy look good, it helps you run better too! A strong core can be almost as important as strong legs when it comes to running. As well as decreasing the risk of injury it helps your legs to work more powerfully and effectively. World record holder Paula Radcliffe advises on the importance of a strong core. "It's so important, The stronger the core, the more likely you are to hold you form and less likely to get injured". Without a strong core problems can occur in the knees, hamstrings and lower back because there will be too much unwanted movement which puts extra pressure on your joints. Strong muscles help to absorb more impact when running.
As a keen runner I understand the benefits of regular massage. I am a qualified massage therapist and am offering relaxation and deep tissue massage in a treatment room on Bridge Road, Greaves, Lancaster. Your legs will feel refreshed and rejuvinated, perfect for your next run. As a trained nurse I understand how the body works and which muscles are prone to tightness and stress. I go into more detail about the effects of massage on different body systems in the 'Massage, the benefits' section.
Half marathons are a very popular choice of distance for many runners. They feel pretty special, running 13.1 miles is more than many people can do, but they don't take the same comittment as full marathons. There are many events around the country, one of my favourites being The Shell Four villages half marathon in Helsby. It is a very picturesque route around the local villages (hence the name). It gets booked up very early and takes place in January, well worth a trip out to burn off your Christmas indulgences. This post gives some advice on how to train for a half marathon in such a way that you can get the best out of yourself without injury.