The 22 Day Challenge – Stretching

Stretch head up

For a number of years I used to get a sore back when I stood up for too long. This usually used to come on when I was out “shopping” and did not want to be. Maybe this was psychosomatic, but that is when I used to notice it most and when it used to hurt the most. I also got it when I ran and when I did squats at BMF.

I committed to take some action over my back pain. I went to see an Osteopath. I explain my symptoms and my physical activity (running and cycling) and he proclaimed that there was no problem with my back. It was my hamstrings! Hamstrings (the big muscle running down the back of your leg) are attached to the muscles in your back, and my tight hamstrings were pulling on the muscles creating the discomfort. Although I stretched pre and post exercise, my homework was to stretch every day and come back next week and report back. For my second session, I explained that my achilles were now tight. He said, you have stretched your hamstrings and now the tightness had moved to your Achilles. I now had to stretch these and I also had to stretch my quadriceps, as it was the opposing muscle to my hamstrings.

I committed to stretch every day to try and help my back. Continue reading “The 22 Day Challenge – Stretching”

The Best Sport Films – A Personal List

Do you like sport films? It’s all very well, being proactive, achieving your goals, getting out there and smashing things but everybody needs a break from time to time to sit down and relax. If you have had a hard training week, sometimes the best thing for your recovery is to put your feet up and stick a film on!

I have been a movie fan since I was young. I can remember going to the cinema to see E.T and Back to the Future. It was not all future classics though; I also went to see Caravan of Courage!

My love of sport and film combined, so through the years many of my favourite films are sport films.

I would like to share with you some of my favourites that I recommend for you see –

Friday Night Lights (2004)Friday Night Lights

This is the story of the 1988 Permian Panthers, a Texas High School American Football team. The film is an adaptation of the book by Buzz Bussinger (a harder and more political read than the film). The film follows 4 different characters, all with their own problems through the team’s season and their dream of a Texas State Championship. The movie shows the harsh realities and pressures of being a football star in a small Texas town where football is life and death and the whole town turns out to see the “Friday Night Lights”. The film shows how dreams can be shattered and how football can be a dream ticket to get out of town. The characters are all well drawn and the football scenes are well shot and fairly brutal. The soundtrack by the Texas band Explosion in the Sky is amazing and worth listening to even if you have not seen the film. The film also got spun out in the highly regarded TV series, which is also worth a watch. Continue reading “The Best Sport Films – A Personal List”

The benefits of drinking more water

Glass of water

In my post “Why am I not better” I spoke about the number of small things that you can do to improve your health and performance. You could call this the Compound effect (a number of little changes that can add up to a greater, positive impact in the future) or what British Cycling call marginal gains.  (I am not quite at the marginal gains level yet, but you get the point).I stated that I was going to undertake a 22 day challenge to drink more water and see if there is any benefits.

Why 22 days? There is popular belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This come from a book Psycho Cybernetics written by a German cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz in 1960 where he observed that the adjustment period for his patients was a minimum of 21 days. Over time this has become more popular and has become the stock answer for how long it takes to form a habit.

So for now I am going to go with 21 days and add 1 day as way of an upgrade!

Why did I make drinking more water my first self-improvement?

First of all, I am highly aware that I do not drink enough water. The colour of your urine is the best indicator of hydration. Let just say, mine is not where it should be. Continue reading “The benefits of drinking more water”

My First Triathlon – Intotri (Sunday 15th May 2016)

As a runner there is now a multitude of other events that you can try to mix up your racing and events participation. There are obstacle course races, duathalons, aquathons, relay races and bike sportives. There is of course, triathlon as well. The fastest growing participation sport in the UK/world!

I have been increasingly interested in triathlons for a while now. The success of the Brownlee brothers at the London 2012 Olympics, the BBC coverage on the World Triathlon Series, Rich Roll’s book Finding Ultra and World Triathlon staging their races in lovely locations has all helped stimulate this interest.

I have put off doing a triathlon for a couple of reasons. One, because I have not swum properly for about 20 years (where it does not involve a running bomb or a water slide!) Two, it’s also really expensive and you need loads of kit.

Intotri have solved the second bit of my issue. They run free monthly timed triathlons over the super sprint distance (400m swim, 10km cycle, 2.5km run). You also don’t need fancy kit. Continue reading “My First Triathlon – Intotri (Sunday 15th May 2016)”

The benefits of cycling to work

IMG_2908

Have you ever thought about cycling to work and what the benefits may be? You may have a concern about the air pollution in major cities that is putting you off giving it a go. This always comes to mind when I am sat behind a bus bellowing out black smoke whilst on my bike.

A recent study by the University of Cambridge shows that the health benefits of cycling and walking outweigh the harmful effects of air pollution in all but the most polluted cities. So that is good news and one less thing to worry about.

Reduction of air pollution was one of the main manifesto points in the recent London Mayoral elections, with all the main mayoral candidates claiming they are committed to tackling the issue. The Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health say that outdoor air pollution is contributing to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK. I could not quite believe this when I read it.

The main point for Londoners of the University of Cambridge study is that –

“Our model indicates that in London health benefits of active travel always outweigh the risk from pollution,” said Dr Marko Tainio from the Cambridge MRC epidemiology unit, who led the study. Continue reading “The benefits of cycling to work”

Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon – 13/3/16

Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon

One of my aims this year has been to take part in more races and then the review and document them. I did this race a month or so ago but it has taken a while to get my blog up and running (I have to work on that procrastination).

I got my place through Alzheimer’s Research UK via a post on the parkrun weekly email. The place was free and the minimum sponsorship target was only £100. I filled in the application form and low and behold I got an email back the same day saying I was in.

I have not run a half marathon for 5 or 6 years but I was excited about the challenge and though I only had 6 weeks to prepare I thought I could get some miles in my legs to get through it and hopefully post a good time. Continue reading “Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon – 13/3/16”

A little more about me!

For my first blog post I could tell you about the training I did at the weekend or review the run I recently volunteered at. However, when I am reading blogs, what I really want to know is: a little bit about the person who is writing. Is this person like me? What’s their story? Can I identify with them? Are they super fit and talking about 2 hrs 45 min marathons or just surviving them? What value will I get from this blog?

I have written a little bio in the “About” page but I thought I would flesh it out a little to produce my first blog post. Continue reading “A little more about me!”