Get back into cycling – On yer bike!

Me, Geoff and Nesh on Bikes

A few weekends ago I headed out for my first “proper” road cycling ride with two friends of mine. One of them has been riding for a couple of years and the other for about a year. It is a fairly irregular trip out on a Saturday or Sunday morning for around 2-3 hours.

I’ve been cycling to work on and off for 6 years and have been saying I will upgrade my hybrid to a road bike one day. That day finally came a few weeks ago when I got a nice deal on a Cannondale CAAD8 road bike.

Cycling has boomed over the last few years. Continue reading “Get back into cycling – On yer bike!”

British Military Fitness (BMF) – What’s it like?

Bushy Park BMF

I regularly mention my British Military Fitness (BMF) sessions in my posts. I’ve been going to BMF for over 5 years now and keep going back for more.

As I have admitted in the About me post, I used to be 12kgs heavier, and 4 inches larger in the waist.  I ran intermittently, but this wasn’t doing anything to control my weight and get me fit. My flatmate and my best friend used to go regularly to the gym together, but I never really got on with the gym. I always found myself watching the clock, or doing just enough exercise to feel like I’d justified the visit. Continue reading “British Military Fitness (BMF) – What’s it like?”

The Streets of London – VLM 2017 Results

2008 London Marathon

The 2017 London Marathon ballot results were out last week.

I won’t build the tension. I didn’t get a place (the sixth time in a row). Actually, I don’t know anyone who got a place (in real life or online life). Maybe the people who are in, keep it quiet as there are so many peeved off people grumping about the ballot system.

The email arrived (I am yet to find my magazine) and I was not too crushed; I knew the chances of a place were slim. (1 in 16 I believe).

2017 VLM Email
My “You’re not in” email

I have also had the privilege of running the London Marathon twice (one back in 2008 via the NSPCC and then 2010 via the ballot), so I can’t be too down about it.  Continue reading “The Streets of London – VLM 2017 Results”

Ealing Half Marathon 2016 – Race Review

Ealing Half Start 2016

I ran the Ealing Half Marathon last Sunday (25/09/16). I have been building up to the race for 12 weeks. You can see my training plan here.

I had heard good things about the Ealing Half Marathon. It is the winner of the best half marathon at the Running Awards for the last 3 years.

So with all this training and preparation, I should have spent Saturday night on the sofa with my feet in the air casting my critical eye over the beautiful voices showcased on The X Factor.

Stuff that, I am off to a birthday party! A pretty chilled birthday party that very conveniently happen to be in Ealing and I had also been offered a bed for the night. So no faffing with trains in the morning! Continue reading “Ealing Half Marathon 2016 – Race Review”

How to enjoy running – Run with a smile!

Running can be hard. It can hurt. It can be raining. Motivation can wane and you feel like opening a massive bag of chocolate chip cookies and binge watching Netflix. (Aside – What did Netflix do to anyone? It’s getting a hard time at the moment for all the western world’s motivation and procrastination issues)

It can also be great. It can be “effortless”. The sun can be shining. You just can’t wait to go and do that run. If you are falling into the first group, here are a few ideas on how to get back enjoying your running. Continue reading “How to enjoy running – Run with a smile!”

Running preparation and recovery

In my post How to run faster, I started and finished the post with preparation and recovery. Injury and fatigue are the downfall of many a training plan and many runners seem to be injured, are returning from injury or are carrying an injury.

Below are some ways to help keep you on the road or trail.

Water

Glass of water

I have previously posted about the benefits of drinking water  and seem to bang on about it a lot. It has a huge impact on your performance. Make sure you are well hydrated. Drink water throughout the day to maintain your fluids. If you are dehydrated before a run, it is likely going to be difficult and suck! Continue reading “Running preparation and recovery”

Stretching Exercises – Feel the Stretch

Book about StretchingA few weeks ago I wrote a post about my 22 day challenge to work on my stretching.

As I mentioned in the post, a lot of my requirement is to stretch my hamstrings to ease my muscular back pain. Running, BMF and cycling all work in the opposite way of trying to shorten my hamstrings

There are many benefits to static stretching post work out. It improves circulation, reduces soreness and improves blood flow. All of which aids recovery and improves later performance. It can also help avoid injury that can be the death nail to a lot of training plans and PB hopes. It can also help calm the mind and provide a mental break by taking 10-15 minutes out of your day to focus. Continue reading “Stretching Exercises – Feel the Stretch”

Basketball, Sport and the Olympics

Hoop Dreams
Photo Credit – Nicholas Speer

My favourite sport as a teenager was basketball and it’s a sport I still follow. I check the NBA scores, watch the highlights on the internet and listen to basketball podcasts.

When I was a teenager I was crazy about basketball. I used to dribble my ball to school. Go to early shooting sessions before school. We used to play pick-up games on the bent hoops on the school playground (until the caretaker came and threw us off). Due to the lack of places to play, you pretty much had to play whenever and wherever you could. We signed up for any team or tournament going. We would watch grainy VHS recordings of the NBA All-Star game two months after it happened. We craved any chance to see NBA games and the exploits of Michael Jordan in those pre-internet days.

Basketball Team School
My school basketball team!

If you paid any attention to the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments at the Rio Olympics. You will be aware that neither the men’s or women’s GB teams qualified. They only played in the London games as we were hosts. Continue reading “Basketball, Sport and the Olympics”

How to run faster – Pick up the pace

cropped-IMG_2766.jpgI am now in Week 8 of my Ealing Half Marathon training plan  and I only have 3 weeks to go. I have been building up the miles and tried to be consistent in following my plan. At times, motivation has been difficult, but I am starting to feel and see some gains and feel faster. As the long runs build up, I am not having trouble adding the extra miles and the speed and hill runs are adding strength for maintaining my speed on tempo runs.

Below are some of the points I have noticed over the past weeks and how I have come to feel faster. Continue reading “How to run faster – Pick up the pace”

Compression Socks – Do they work?

If you even have just a passing interest in running or athletics, you will have seen the odd runner in long compression socks.

I recently watching the Men’s 5000m Heats at the Rio Olympics in the kitchen at work during a tea break and one guy was wearing long socks in temperatures of 30 degrees. Someone else made a comment – Why was he wearing long socks in that heat?

I have a pair of these long socks but have not worn them very often because of comments like this. I am not sure if they are gimmicky or what people will think of me. I am very much down with my standard black kit.

I bought the socks, because like many people I am looking for an advantage and also wanted to know what they were all about and whether they did or improved anything. I planned to do a bit of experimentation. Continue reading “Compression Socks – Do they work?”