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?”

Rosliston parkrun – 3rd September 2016

Rosliston Parkrun

Sadly my brother and his family are moving back to Dubai. In a trip home to say “bon voyage” I managed to slip in a bit of parkrun tourism at the Rosliston Forestry Centre.

It has been a while since I have run a parkrun “fresh”. I normally do it after a BMF session, so I was excited to see where I was with my training.

This was the 25th event at Rosliston and around 150 runners turned out. The race director provided me with a very thorough brief on the course, which was useful as it  turned out to be a tricky one! Continue reading “Rosliston parkrun – 3rd September 2016”

Habits – Helping out my brother

Facebook PostAt few weeks ago, I posted out on Facebook that I am writing this blog. I had kept it to myself and close friends. I was nervous about putting my writing out there, but the whole point is to get it out there, get some readers and help people. My brother, Andy read it and got in touch setting me a challenge of how I can to help him with simple fitness and eating habits with the aim of losing one stone. He is not in particularly great shape and like many, he works long hours, has a lengthy commute and has 2 children. So finding time is his main problem. Continue reading “Habits – Helping out my brother”

Revive your Passion – Do what you love!

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the Evening Standard Magazine. It was written by Jimi Famurewa, a 32 year old lapsed teen skateboarder who took skateboarding up again at the age of 30. It is a great article about re-finding your passion.

There is a quote from the article that has stuck with me over the past couple of weeks.

…. ‘the thing most people say to me when they see me skating is that they wish they had stuck with whatever it is they used to love when they were younger,’

I will admit that I read this late on a Friday evening on the way home from some beers with friends. I have great ideas, or ideas that seem like great ideas when I have had a few beers. Most of the time, I wake up the next day and they don’t seem like great ideas anymore or they seem a little stupid. I forget about them and never do anything about them.

Maybe that is what Jimi felt or thought for a while. Continue reading “Revive your Passion – Do what you love!”

Long Run – Half Marathon Training

Cannon Hill Common Lake

I went for my first long run on Sunday. I have not been on a long run for a while as I have not seriously trained for an event or had a training plan for some time.

The long run was supposed to be my fourth run of the week, but it was actually my first. It was 32 degrees on Tuesday so I gave BMF Running club a miss, which I think was sensible. Thursday I was out with a friend for dinner, so missed my tempo/hill/sprints session. Saturday’s 8am BMF session was very tough and by 9am the temperatures were already soaring, so I did not do parkrun afterwards. I did cycle to work 5 days in a row, but cycling does now make you a good runner! Unless you are Chris Froome! Continue reading “Long Run – Half Marathon Training”

Half Marathon Training Plan

London Marathon 2012

Inspired by Lazy Girl Running I have decide to put a Training Plan together for an Autumn Half Marathon.

I have a place for the Great North Run, (which has been on my list of things to do for a long time), but am going to have to pull out or hopefully defer to next year as I have a wedding of a good friend to attend the same weekend, that unfortunately doesn’t happen to be in Newcastle.

I still want to do a half marathon this Autumn so have selected the award winning Ealing Half Marathon at the end of September.

I have not had an “official” training plan since I ran the London marathon many years ago. I have just been muddling through with the odd run here and there and staying in fair good shape.

I ran the Adidas Half Marathon in March and achieved a PB by a whopping 12 or so minutes. As I mentioned in my post about the race, the PB and excitement to be racing masked the fact that I did not have the longer distance base fitness and I was really cheating myself that I was ready because I had run a few quick 10kms.

The new plan pretty much breaks down to – Continue reading “Half Marathon Training Plan”

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”