Stay Hydrated
Running in the Heat

Running in the Heat

It’s not everyday we are privileged with the GORGEOUS weather we have had over the weekend but that doesn’t mean your running has to suffer. Here’s our top tips on how to deal with running in the heat:

  1. Stay hydrated
    Hydration is crucial for performing at your best in the hot conditions. It’s so difficult to know how much fluid is lost through sweat on your run, but that makes it even more important to pre-hydrate AND post-hydrate.
  2. Check the breeze
    When possible try and start your run by going with the wind, and running back with a headwind – apparently running into the wind has a cooling effect! Especially important for the second half of your run.
  3. Avoid midday heat
    Try and avoid the midday heatwave by running earlier in the day or later in the afternoon. Not only will it be cooler in the morning but it’s also a great way to start the day and give you that extra energy boost!
  4. Dress appropriately
    Don’t wear too much clothing, keep it lightweight that possibly has vents or mesh. Don’t forget to protect yourself properly from the sun too, make sure you’re wearing an SPF of 30 or higher.
  5. Be patient
    It takes a long time for our bodies to acclimatise to hot weather, so adjust your routes and pace and gradually increase the length and intensity of your training. Be patient with your body!
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Avoiding Overtraining

Avoiding Overtraining

Last week we asked our runners for any tips they had for new runners, or people who had increased their running during this period of lockdown. We got loads of great pieces of advice back, but one key issue that popped up more than any other was the importance of avoiding overtraining. 

Overtraining occurs when someone takes on more exercise than their body can recover from, which can lead to decreased performance and increased likelihood of injury. So to help out, we’ve put together some of the key warning signs of overtraining, and methods to overcome it!

Warning Signs of Overtraining

1) Decreased Performance

A key sign is lack of improvement despite consistent training. Overtraining can lead to a decrease in agility & endurance, negatively affecting running performance. 

2) Injuries

Another telltale sign is chronic or nagging injuries. Overused muscles can cause pain and slow recovery times. If your legs are noticeably sore at the beginning of or during runs, it’s probable that you’re overtraining.  

3) Fatigue

Heavy legs are to be expected now and again, but overtraining can lead to a feeling of persistent fatigue that can be hard to shake off. Excessive running doesn’t allow the body to fully recover, which can lead to fatigue & a higher perceived effort/heart rate than usual.

How to Avoid Overtraining

1) Adapt your Schedule

For some, especially new runners, it can be tempting to go out looking for PBs each time you put your trainers on, but a varied running schedule with different paces and intensities can be key to avoiding overtraining and building up your fitness gradually. 

2) The 90% Rule

It can also be really beneficial to lower the intensity of your running. There can be a temptation to empty the tank and really go for it at the end of a good run, but keeping things controlled is actually better for you long term. The 90% rule suggests that you should use 90% of your maximum effort, and leave a little bit in the tank so that you’re not crawling home from the run. 

3) Rest Properly

Accepting the importance of rest days can be difficult, but they are vitally important to your body’s recovery. Giving your body the chance to fully recover is key to improvement, and helps reduce the chance of injury.

4) Focus on Nutrition

This one may seem simple but a varied, healthy diet can go a long way to aiding the body’s recovery process. You need to keep your body fueled, so try to ensure a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.

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Healthy Snack Options

Healthy Snack Options

It’s a strange time, and being asked to vastly reduce our time outside has meant that many of us are spending far more time at home than we’re used to. For some, being at home all day makes little difference to the daily routine, but for others, it can lead to an increased urge to snack. So to help out, we’ve put together a list of guilt-free, healthy snacks that can actually boost your energy and improve your running performance!

1) Bananas

This is an obvious one. Bananas are quick and easy to eat whilst simultaneously being a great source of potassium, boosting muscle function. They’re full of good carbs and are beneficial to the body before, during or after a run.

2) Popcorn

Corn kernels are whole grain, making them nutritionally similar to whole wheat bread or brown rice. So as long as you’re not covering your popcorn in butter, sugar or salt, it’s a low calorie and highly filling snack!

3) Carrots & Hummus

Carrots are another snack that are low in calories but filling. They’re a good source of potassium and fibre to the body, which helps slow down the digestive system and give the body a steadier supply of nutrients. Why not make your carrots a bit more interesting and pair with hummus? Hummus provides runners with iron and protein, which is essential for the body. 

4) Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is absolutely packed with protein, which helps runners by boosting muscle rebuilding and repair. It’s also a good source of calcium, which can help reduce the chances of bone injury.

5) Dates

Dates are a common snack for runners. They’re naturally very sweet and like the other snacks on the list, provide a lot of carbohydrates and protein with relatively low calories. Dates pair well with nuts, which are another good source of protein.

6) Hard-Boiled Eggs

Eggs are incredibly nutritional, and provide high amounts of protein, riboflavin and biotin. They’re very easy to make in bulk and serve as a highly nutritious meal on the go. 

Photo by Rachael Gorjestani on Unsplash

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Taking Care of your Mental Health and Wellbeing

Taking Care of your Mental Health and Wellbeing

In times like this, being asked to stay at home and avoid other people can be daunting and it might feel quite difficult to manage your mental health and wellbeing.  

It is going to feel like a difficult time and will feel harder than usual to look after yourself, but we have put together a few ideas that may help:

1.    Create a Regular Routine – Write out a schedule or plan to follow which you can easily access and see every day. Try to follow your usual routine as much as possible. Get up early, continue with your normal morning routine and go to sleep at your usual time.

2.     Plan for Working at Home – If you can, set up a workspace with everything you need and take regular breaks in a different area of your home for a change of scene.

3.     Keep Busy – Try and find ways to spend your time. Have that clear out that you’ve been putting off for months or a spring clean to organise your belongings. You could also use this time to contact loved ones who you’ve been meaning to catch up.

4.     Keep Active – Try to include exercise into your daily routine. Many of us don’t have equipment at home but why not get creative and find things you could use as alternatives? There are also lots of resources online with exercise workouts you can follow.

5.     Coping with Anxiety and Claustrophobia – Try and find safe zones in your homes and work on breathing exercises. Open your windows, sit in your garden, try and get some fresh air. Regularly change the rooms you’re spending time in. 

If you’re looking for more advice on how to take care of your mental health and wellbeing during this time there are a number of charities that are offering advice at this time:

SAMH – https://www.samh.org.uk/about-mental-health/self-help-and-wellbeing/coronavirus-and-your-mental-wellbeing

MIND – https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/#collapse816a3

Young Minds – https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/youngminds-publishes-advice-for-young-people-and-parents-on-mental-health-impact-of-coronavirus/

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Why Fresh Air is so Important

Why Fresh Air is so Important

With the world’s current climate, social distancing and self-isolation are more important than ever. So, unfortunately all of us will be spending a lot more time inside our homes. BUT we also know how important it is to keep our mind and body healthy by getting some crisp, fresh air.  

Getting outside (responsibly) for a walk, a run or just having a break from the indoors can be so beneficial for your mental and psychical health.

Here are our top 3 reasons why you should get out and get some fresh air:

1) More Energy and a Sharper Mind

Being able to go for a walk or a run is a great way to break up the day. Once you’ve been out, you’ll find your energy levels are up and your concentration levels will have improved. It’s said that more oxygen leads to greater brain functioning!

2) A Change of Scene

Staring at a computer or television screen all day isn’t as fun as it sounds! Getting out and having a change of scenery can help increase your motivation and productivity levels.

3) Fresh Air makes you Happier

Research has found links between increasing oxygen levels and the increase in serotonin (the happy hormone)! Positive emotions have been associated with being outside and getting fresh air.

Even if you’re struggling to go for a wander round your local area, make sure you’re keeping windows open, relaxing in your garden and even just having breaks to keep your mind and body healthy!

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Running With The Cold

Running With the Cold

We’re right in the middle of cold and flu season & for many of us this has had an adverse affect on our running. It can be frustrating to sideline your training plans and rest when all you want to do is get outside and go! 

We’ve put together a few tips on how to most effectively handle a cold whilst in a training routine. 

1) The Neck Check

The neck check is a common rule among runners. It states that if the symptoms of the cold are above the neck (i.e blocked nose, headache, sneezing) you’re okay to head out and run. Any symptoms that are presenting themselves below the neck (sore chest, body aches, muscle pain) most likely require rest to recover.

2) Dress Smart

Your body is trying to fight an infection, and the last thing it needs is to be exposed to cold, winter weather. Not only is your body more vulnerable to the weather during a cold, but you are also most likely going to be running slower than usual and will notice the temperature more. Make sure you’re wrapped up warm, wearing more layers than you would usually, and wear waterproof clothes if it is raining.

3) Lower the Pace

A good idea when running with a cold is to keep the pace down. Keeping your body ticking over with a run during the illness is fine, but now is not the time to be seeking PBs. If you find yourself running at a pace where you are unable to comfortably talk, you need to slow down.

4) Cut the Distance

In a similar vein, you should make sure to pick manageable, lower-intensity routes. A long, intense route will place the body under undue stress and will most likely delay the recovery process. Keep the run short, and stick close to home if possible so that you are able to return quickly if feeling unwell. 

5) Ditch the GPS

Apps with GPS, like Strava, are great tools and can be effective motivation to go out and run. However, when running with a cold, consider leaving the GPS behind. Recording your run may subconsciously encourage you to push yourself harder than your body needs and setback your recovery. Record your sessions privately if you want, but avoid temptation to post online.

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Smoothie Recipes

Smoothie Recipes for Runners

There’s nothing worse than running on an empty stomach. Not having the energy to fuel the performance you’re capable of can be frustrating and ultimately demoralising for runners. Smoothies are a really effective and healthy way to increase your energy levels and can boost recovery post-run.

Here are our top 5 recipes.

1) Banana Smoothie

– 1 cup of milk (whatever kind is your preference)
– 1 large banana
– 1 tablespoon of peanut/almond butter
– ¼ teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)

This is a really easy and quick one, simply pop all the ingredients into your blender and then blitz until you get a consistency you’re happy with. Bananas are perfect for an active lifestyle, they’re quick and easy to eat, and they provide energy through their healthy carbohydrates and potassium. This helps control muscle contractions during activity and also aids recovery by restoring electrolyte balance post-activity.

2) Green Smoothie

– 1 cup of almond milk
– 1 apple
– 2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves
– 1 tablespoon of peanut/almond butter
– 1 scoop protein powder (optional)

If you can see past the colour it turns your smoothie, spinach is a great ingredient. It’s low in calories, but high in fiber, iron, zinc, folate, calcium, and vitamins A, C, and K. The nitric oxide reduces the amount of oxygen muscles require during activity, making running easier and reducing the chance of injury. Just 2 small handfuls in your smoothie will provide a huge amount of nutrional benefit! Blitz all the ingredients together and pop in a scoop of protein if desired.

3) Blueberry Smoothie

– 1 cup of milk
– 1 cup blueberries
– 1 cup blackberries
– 1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt 
– 1 large banana
– 1 scoop protein powder (optional)

Blueberries are incredibly good for you. They are very low in calories but high in nutrients. They’re packed with antioxidants, which protect your body from unstable molecules that can damage your cells and contribute to aging and diseases. Adding the yoghurt into this recipe is not only delicious but is a good source of protein and calcium. Again just pop in to the blender and blitz until its smooth.

4) Tropical Smoothie

– 1 cup of milk
– ¼ cup of Greek yoghurt
– 1 large banana
– 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
– 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
– 1 teaspoon dessicated coconut (optional)
– 1 teaspoon honey (optional)

Pineapples are packed with immune-boosting nutrients and enhance heart health by dissolving artery plaque. They’re great to eat post activity as they reduce the time it takes to recover from exercise due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Mango is full of fiber and antioxidants making this smoothie packed with nutrition and perfect for a runner pre or post run. Put the ingredients in the blender and blend till its done. Add the coconut and/or honey if you like your smoothies a little bit sweeter.

5) Avocado Smoothie

– 1 cup of almond milk
– 1 ripe avocado
– 1 cup greek yoghurt
– 1 kiwi

Avocado is full of healthy fats. This helps to fill you up, meaning a single avocado can reduce the desire to overeat or snack later in the day. Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat, making them a great source of energy for longer exercise sessions. A whole avocado contains around 230 calories – providing 3g of protein and 9g of fibre, which ensures high energy levels and stabilised blood sugar.

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Winter running tips
Winter running tips

Top 5 Tips for Winter Running

There’s no denying there’s been a definite shift in temperature recently, autumn is here and winter is definitely on it’s way. Here are our top 5 tips for training during this nippy time of year:

1. Make a Plan
Make plans to meet someone for a run, then there’s no backing out if you’re not quite in the mood for it. Making plans will help you to get motivated and stay on track throughout the winter.

2. Dress for the conditions
The general rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 20 degrees warmer. You want to be warm but not overheating when you run. 10 to 20 degrees: 2 tops, 2 bottoms. 0 to 10 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms. Two tops (fleece for the cold-prone) and a jacket. Minus 10 to 0 degrees: 3 tops, 2 bottoms, extra pair of gloves, 1 scarf wrapped around mouth or a balaclava.

3. Gone with the wind
Wind is brutal when running! Start your run into the wind and finish with it at your back, so the breeze doesn’t blast you after you’ve broken a sweat. To avoid a long, biting slog, you can break this into segments, running into the wind for about 10 minutes, turning around to run with the wind at your back for five minutes, and repeating.

4. Old habits die hard
Traditionally a morning runner? Why not try a lunchtime run instead when the temperatures are a bit warmer? Alternatively, try running twice a day, in the morning and in the evening – it’s better than doing one long run where you might get very cold toward the end.

5. Winter sun
If all else fails, book a flight and head somewhere warm for your Vitamin D fix!

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Emma Richman
Half Marathon Challenge in Mum’s Memory
CHARITY RUNNER Emma Richman is gearing up to take part in the Bournemouth Half Marathon to raise funds for Target Ovarian Cancer in memory of her mum, Linda, who tragically passed away from the disease aged 64.

Emma decided to run the half marathon to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, and to raise funds to help aid future research.

“There’s 14 of us running and we’ll all be wearing charity vests to show our support. I’m not a natural runner so this is a real challenge to me but with the support of my friends, I know I can cross the finish line where my dad will be waiting.” said Emma.

Emma is also keen to highlight the common symptoms which are associated with this particular type of cancer, urging women to visit their GP if they notice any changes. Having a bloated tummy, feeling full and the need to go to the toilet more than usual are all symptoms associated ovarian cancer, especially if you have any of these symptoms more than 12 times a month.

“Nothing can prepare you for the sudden death of a parent but I knew when my mum, Linda, passed away I had to do something about getting this information out to women. My mum had every single sign & symptom but as a family we were unaware of them at the time.” said Emma.

The Run Bournemouth takes place on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th October and with eight races on offer over the two days, there’s something for all ages and abilities. If you’d like to donate to Emma and her team, you can do so here www.justgiving.com/emma-richman3.

If you are inspired to run for charity or a cause close to you heart you can sign up online at www.bournemouthmarathon.com/charity.

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Will Brookes – Zero to 10k in 7 months

Hi, I’m Will. This year I’ll be running the Bournemouth 10k – my first ever race of any kind. Seriously – at school I ducked out of cross country running, athletics and any other sport that involved running more than the 22 yards of a cricket pitch. One year my School Report from my PE teacher said “Will has not recorded any scores in athletics this year. A great disappointment for me, but I assume not for him.” Since then it’s fair to say not much has changed.

So why take the plunge now? There are 2 main reasons. Firstly, I’m massively privileged to work for Save the Children and every single day I hear about the extraordinary challenges faced by the children we support. From East Africa to East Anglia, there are children all around the world showing incredible resilience to overcome challenges tougher than I could possibly imagine. I speak to colleagues who work in unbelievably difficult conditions to save the lives of our fellow human beings every single day. And I work with volunteers who give up their free time to fundraise, speak and campaign to make a difference in children’s lives. It’s impossible not to be inspired by these people, and I know that every penny that I raise by running in October will go towards making positive changes in the lives of children around the world and right here in the UK. That’s the kind of motivation I need when I’m out jogging in sleet (yes, this happened – on my 2nd training run no less!).

Secondly, and much more selfishly – I need to be healthier. I recently got engaged, and I want to look my best in our wedding photos! But also, if we’re lucky enough to start a family of our own one day I want to be the dad who can run around playing games in the garden. The dad who goes on bike rides and gives piggy-back rides and all that kind of thing. I guess it comes with being the ripe old age of 32, but it’s become my time to look outward about my place in the world and how I want to be for the next 50 years.

So I’ve been using these 2 things to motivate me and push me as I train. It’s at this point that I have a word of advice for anyone starting out with their training like me:

Don’t, under any circumstances, make your reasons for running push you too hard!

After 3 weeks of running every other day, I’d moved from being able to run a couple of hundred metres at once to running over a kilometre with no real difficulties. A solid enough improvement, given that I still have 6 months ‘til the race itself. However, this has come with a pretty high price:

I pushed too hard. I injured my Medial Cruciate Ligament on my left knee – an injury common in runners who ramp up their training too quickly. Basically, I was an idiot who thought he could “man up” through the pain or take an ibuprofen when I’m done, rather than listening to what his body was telling him. The doctor told me I needed to sort myself out urgently, or it could turn into a chronic, life-long problem.

What a wake up call. If I get this wrong, then I won’t be the dad I want to be. Yikes. That simply can’t happen.

So I immediately took 3 weeks off to allow my knee to recover. Today I had my first run since the middle of March, and I took it way easier than before. I’ve also invested in some good running shoes (go and get your gait measured in a running shop, seriously!) and a proper, quality knee support. I’m really happy to report that I’ve come back from training today completely pain-free. For now, my running is down to 2 days a week and I’m doing exercises to build up the muscles around my knees. If I get the groundwork done now, I’ll be set for life and I’ll beast the 10k (which may well mean I’m back in 2018 for the half-marathon and in 2020 for the full thing!).

I’m sure everyone has their own motivations for running, and if you’re even only considering getting out there then I can’t recommend it highly enough. I am addicted to the adrenaline rush I get by running further than before. I feel better about myself, I’m feeling fitter and losing weight. I can’t wait to cross the finish line, exhausted and sweaty but buzzing. Just make sure that you take it steady when you start out!

To follow my progress and support my fundraising visit justgiving.com/cvmwillbrookes. Thank you.

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