3 Minute Guide to Surviving Winter Running


One of the most beautiful times to head out for a run is on one of those cold still wintery mornings, when the sun is just out and the vast sky is a pale washed-out blue.  The grass is covered in a light, white dusting of frost that crunches wonderfully as you run, the leaves on the trees twinkling as you gently pass by.  Clearly my reality couldn’t be further from this romantic notion!  It tends to include wheezing, slipping in an undignified fashion (always while someone is watching), being too cold, or too hot and just generally making some bad outfit choices (bobble hats included). The year I trained for the London Marathon was chilly, windy and snowy and taught me a little about how to survive running when it’s cold outside.  Here’s my 3 minute guide to surviving winter running.

Warm up before you go out

If you’re already warm before you leave the house, you’re going to have a much better chance of staying that way for the rest of the run.  Jogging up and down the stairs, wrestle with the kids, lunges, star jumps, extreme hoovering.  Anything that gets your blood pumping and your heart rate up is a winner!

Run in the warmest part of the day

I’m using the word ‘warm’ loosely here as there’s a good chance it might not get above 1 degree all day.  Aim to run when it’s mid-day if possible.  This can be tricky when you’re working, though you can always try popping out at lunch time.  Another benefit of heading out at this time is that it’s light, so you can see better and be seen!  Which leads us to…

The dark days are (NOT) over …

When there’s only 8 hours of daylight you often have to head out for runs in the dark.  This is not a time for camouflage.  Wear bright reflective colours so that you can be easily seen by cars and pedestrians alike.  Those late night dog walkers have some great ninja moves when they’re surprised by stealth runners.  Where possible, run on the pavement, however if you have to run on the roads, reflective gear and even a head torch will help keep you visible and safe on those dark nights.

Don’t go it alone

You’re more likely to run if you’re committed to meeting an equally brave/foolish friend who’s intent on keeping up their running regime.  Or, join a running club so you’re heading out with others at night on a pre-planned route.  Groups of runners are always easier to spot and there’ll be lots of great embarrassing Christmas party stories being shared around to distract you from the cold.

Clothing:

There is some contrary advice on clothing, including how much you should wear.  I think go for layers where possible, but only those that can be easily removed and wrapped around your waist or shoved into a pocket.   Also aim to wear the right amount of clothes for when you are 10 minutes into your run, you might be a little cold at first, however you’ll not then have to faff around removing/carrying stuff when you get too hot!

  • Hats

Yes, I have worn a bobble hat when running before and yes, it was a mistake.  One it was definitely too warm and two, the bobbling was very annoying.  That said, a lightweight running hat will keep you perfectly cosy when running, preventing all your hard earned body heat from leaving through your head.  Another added benefit is that you can easily pop it in your pocket if you get too warm.

  • Wicking is wicked

Bra, vest, socks, anything that you can buy that wicks away sweat is brilliant.  Otherwise the sweat basically cools as dampness and makes you cold.

  • Keep those feet dry

Get yourself a pair of water resistent trainers or at least wear those that have very little mesh.  The key to not having cold feet, is definitely having dry ones and it can be hard to think of anything else if you’re squelching through the streets.  Only dogs like soggy shoes….  Good grips are also vital for those icy days, with trail shoes being an excellent option to help keep you upright.

  • Gloves

Gloves or liners are a must for keeping your hands warms. Leave the ski-mitts at home and opt for a light-weight, easy to store option.

  • Buff

A buff (just like those fabulous ones at Run Reigate 2017) are great for keeping your neck cosy whilst you’re out, especially if it’s blowing a bit of a gale!  If it’s bitterly cold you can always sport a full on balaclava to keep your head, mouth, ears and lungs warm.  Perhaps good to pick a bright colour so you’re not chased by the police.

Protecting your lungs

As someone with asthma, the chilly weather can sometimes set me off, the cold air leaving me with an attractive wheeze.  It can be harder to breathe when it’s cold as it causes airways to constrict. Build up your resilience with shorter, slower and flatter runs.  I will also often pull a buff over my mouth to protect my lungs from the really cold air.  Another option if it’s really too cold is to move your running indoors to a treadmill.  I know this is a less attractive option, but if it helps keeps you on track with your weekly miles, it’s absolutely worth doing.  Plus you don’t need to buy a balaclava.

It’s never too cold for shades

Sunglasses, suntan lotion and lip balm.  I promise I’m not mocking you.  That winter sun can be bright, especially when it’s a 45 degree angle blinding you for half your training route.  Add in some snow and your eyes definitely need some protection, as does your skin and lips.  It’s important to think about our lip health right before Christmas.

And finally – warming down

Rather than doing the all important post run stretching in the street when you get home, head straight to a hot shower and do them there.  That way you’ll not have a chance to get cold and it saves you an extra 10 minutes!

Hopefully these tips will help see you through the winter running season in one shape.  Just think how much more you’ll enjoy the warm mince pie you get as a reward when you get home!

 

5 Common Running Injuries and How to Treat Them


stretching-814227_640

As you clock up the miles in preparation for any running race, it’s inevitable that the constant pounding of the pavement will take it’s toll on your body.  We all know the importance of warming up before you head out and having a good stretch when you finish, however these good practices aren’t always enough to prevent injuries from rearing their ugly heads.  Some aches and pains are just part and parcel of being a runner, whilst others can be more serious and it’s therefore important to know when to take a break and seek help.

Here’s our list of the 5 most common running injuries and some suggestions on how to treat them, however we would like to highlight that we’re not medical professionals and it’s always worth going to see a specialist, such as Parkview Clinic in Reigate, if you have any persistent pain or discomfort.

Runner’s Knee

Research shows that 40% of reported running injuries are related to the knee which makes sense when you think it’s one of the joints which takes the most strain.

Symptoms – constant pain below the kneecap.

Problem – the cartilage under the kneecap has become irritated and the tissue around the knee is unable to repair itself post run.  

Cause – this can occur due to a variety of reasons including overpronation, weak quads, glutes and hips or even ‘biomechanical’ flaws that have formed over a number of years including pelvic alignment.

Treatment – don’t run through the pain as it will only result in a long term injury.  Take a week off and regularly ice the knee which might help you get back on track.  Stretch and strengthen exercises, especially your quadriceps muscles.  If it’s sore all the time, even when you’re not running then you definitely need to take a break and see a physio.  They will also be able to pinpoint the cause of pain (biomechanical, muscle weakness, pronation etc.) and help treat the root of the problem.

Return to training – once your injury is on the mend, heat rather than ice can help repair to repair the damage.  Ease gently back into your running slowly and work on strengthening up those weaker muscles.  Mix up your workouts with some cross training on a bike or in the pool.

Achilles Tendonitis

Symptoms – painful calves when running or walking, swelling and pain close to the heel which when acute, can be severe and crippling.

Problem – Anything with ‘itis’ means inflammation, with Achilles Tendonitis being an inflammation of the achilles tendon which joins the two calf muscles to the heel bone.

Cause – the root of this can come from increasing your distances/speed too quickly or having tight calf muscles.  Flip flops, high heels (obviously not when running) and unsupportive shoes can aggravate the issue too.  

Treatment –  any severe pain above the heel or swelling, you should stop immediately.  If it’s a small strain then a few days of rest, regular icing and stretching might relieve the symptoms, anything more serious, go and see a physio.  Inserts into your shoes may help provide more support and some runners find that compression socks help.

Return to training – add to your training calf raises, single leg squats and box jumps to help strengthen your lower legs.  Take it easy when you start running again with shorter distances, slower speeds and lots of stretching.

Plantar Fascitis

Feel that this should have a catchier name!

Symptoms – ranges from a dull ache to extreme pain under your heel.

Problem – a small tear or inflammation in the tendons that run along the bottom of your foot.  

Cause – runners who are prone to this can have high or low arches, pronation issues, tight hip flexors, a history of back pain or may just have increased their mileage too quickly.

Treatment – this is one that you shouldn’t keep running through as it will only prolong the injury.  Rolling your foot a few times a day over a frozen bottle or tennis ball can help stretch the tendons.  If it’s painful all the time, go and see a physio or sports injury specialist.  Recovery can be slow, anything from 3-6 months.  Worst case scenario you’ll have to take a full break from running and head to the pool instead.  Avoid flip flops for the foreseeable future…

Return to training – ensure you have lots of stretching and strengthening of the muscles around your foot and calves incorporated into your training.  Work on your core strength and make sure your trainers are a good fit, perhaps even with a custom orthotic.  

Shin Splints

The term actually encapsulates numerous shin issues and is again very common amongst new runners.

Symptoms – painful and tender shins when running, sometimes disappears a few miles in for less severe cases, growing to searing pain in the more severe cases.  Pain can appear on either the front side of the leg below the knee or the inside.  If it’s very painful to touch a specific spot on your shin, you should see a doctor in case it’s a fracture.

Problem – the muscles in your shin have become inflamed

Cause – usually this comes down to a case of too much, too soon!  New runners in particular are at risk as their lower legs muscles struggle to adjust to the increase of use, mileage and addition of hills or speed training.  Other causes include the wrong trainers, running on hard surfaces and tight muscles.

Treatment – depending on the severity you may need to avoid running for a couple of weeks and see a physio.  For less serious cases, rest, elevate your legs as much as possible, ice (bag of frozen peas) the fronts of your legs, compression bandages and use a foam roller.  

Return to training – build up very slowly and adopt the 10% rule – add no more than 10% distance each week.  Try running on softer surfaces such as trails to ease the pressure on your lower legs and make sure your trainers aren’t worn out.  As always, keep stretching!

ITBS

The iliotibial (IT) band is a tendon that runs from your knee to your hip.

Symptoms – usually manifests itself as a stabbing pain on the outside of your knee when you run, in particular when you’re running downhill.

Problem – your IT band has become inflamed.

Cause – there can be various culprits at play with this injury, including overpronation, hill running, week hip abductors and glutes.  The band becomes more and more inflamed until running becomes extremely painful.  

Treatment – if you notice the pain in your knee but it’s not extreme, take some rest days and/or reduce your miles.  Use a foam roller on the affected spot, massage the quads and hamstring muscles, along with regular icing.  If it’s very painful then it’s worth going to see a physio who can help loosen the area up and provide you with a plan to help prevent this from happening again.  

Return to training –  keep using the foam rollers, before and after running.  Work on strengthening your hip abductors, quads, hamstrings and glutes.  Keep the hilly mileage down until you are fighting fit..

With most of these injuries there is often a common theme – increasing mileage too quickly, not enough stretching, worn out shoes or lack of strength training incorporated into your weekly plans.  I have been guilty of many of these and it resulted in both ITB syndrome and shin splints when training for my first marathon.  Fortunately I had a good physio who I saw regularly and helped both alleviate the symptoms and provide advice on how to avoid future recurrences.  

If you’re training for a race it can be incredibly frustrating to have to take time out with an injury, however it’s absolutely worth doing it to prevent a niggling pain from becoming a debilitating one.  If you need to stop running for a few days, you can still head to the pool or incorporate some elliptical training to maintain your fitness levels whilst you recover.

Run Reigate’s partner, Parkview Clinic offer services in physiotherapy, osteopathy and sports injury and are well worth a visit if you are having any aches and pains.  They are currently offering 10% off for all new consultations.

Parkview Clinic, 22 Dovers Green Rd, Reigate, Surrey, RH2 8BS – 01737 247 555  www.parkviewclinic.co.uk

 

 

Seven Top Tips to Transform your Training


Tim Armitage - team stork marathon photo

Reigate local Tim Armitage shares his top tips on how he fitted the required training for the London Marathon into his busy life.

Earlier this year I ran the London Marathon on behalf of local charity Stripey Stork, finishing in 3hrs 29mins. Being a dad of three young boys and with a busy job in London, I had to be both super organised and motivated to fit the training in and not let it impact too much on the rest of the family.

These are the top seven tips that worked for me:

  1. Find a training plan: the Runner’s World website has some good ones for both beginners and more experienced runners. Don’t worry about sticking to it religiously but use it as a rough guide, especially when it comes to the length of each week’s longer run. Listen to your body – if you feel like you need an extra rest day when your plan says you should be training, then take it.
  2. Fit the mid-week runs into your schedule: it wasn’t feasible for me to run before work as I start quite early, so I often ran at lunchtimes. I would also often get off the train a couple of stops early and run the rest of the way home, from Coulsdon South to Reigate. Those were my hardest runs as I was tired after working all day, but it was an effective use of time to build the run into my commute.
  3. Do the longer weekend runs early in the morning: you can practice your pre-race routine (Weetabix, a banana and a coffee about 1.5hrs before running works for me), and it gets it out of the way before family life takes over.
  4. Mix up your training: intervals and/or hill training are really effective. Did you know there’s a running track in Merstham? I didn’t until I started training for the marathon, but it’s a great place to train. You’re actually capable of running a lot faster than you think you can, and intervals are the best way to test how fast your legs can move. Plus, adding variety to your training stops it getting too repetitive.
  5. Think about why you’re running: I found it very motivating (and distracting!) to think about ways to fundraise while I was out running. I think that counts as multi-tasking, right?! If you work for a company, do they have a fund matching scheme? Any events you could organise in the run up to the race to help drum up support?
  6. Train at home: it’s not always feasible to go out for a run or get to the gym, especially if you’ve got little ones at home. But there’s plenty you can do at home. There are lots of free apps that can help you with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) which can be done in the comfort of your own home without any equipment. I use one called 7 Minutes, which strings together 7 minute sets of 30 second exercises with 10 second rest periods in between. A couple sets of that on days when you’re not able to train outside will make a big difference over time!
  7. Don’t take the training too seriously: you’re doing an awesome thing by raising money for a great charity, and after the dust settles on the event itself you’ll feel more proud of the money you have raised than the time you got!

Thank you Tim! 
Stripey Stork are one of the Run Reigate charity partners this year. You can find out more about the amazing work they do in our local community here and about running for them at this year’s Run Reigate. Alternatively email events@stripeystork.org.uk for more details.

Breathe Unity Partners with Run Reigate


Breathe Unity

The award-winning Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon and 10K has appointed Sports PR company Breathe Unity to manage all PR and media enquiries for this popular event at Surrey’s Priory Park.

Starting in May 2017, Breathe Unity will focus on raising awareness of the race in the running community and increasing the pace of sell out for the 2017 event, which takes place on Sunday 17th September 2017.

Now entering its fourth year, the Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon and 10K is a firm fixture in the running calendar, boasting fantastic community support and a beautiful route through rural Surrey on closed roads.

The event begins its campaign with Breathe Unity as it celebrates winning Gold for the UK’s Best Half Marathon (less than 5,000 runners) at The Running Awards 2017, the only independent awards ceremony celebrating the best of running and its culture. This follows its Silver award in the same category in 2015.

Since the half marathon was set up in 2014 by local running enthusiasts, the event has grown to include a 10K and a cumulative kids’ race, extending its appeal to runners of all ages and abilities. This ties in perfectly with Run Reigate’s commitment to promote health and wellbeing in the borough, and with Breathe Unity’s effort to inspire a healthy lifestyle through their work in PR.

Offering a high quality runner experience with a large event village, huge bag drop, race pacing, chip timing, live music, gourmet food village and children’s activity village, the Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon and 10K is a highly professional event with a fun and friendly atmosphere.

Race Director Dave Kelly commented, “We are delighted to announce that we have appointed Breathe Unity to look after the press, media and more for the Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon and 10K. Their exceptional industry knowledge and experience will take our PR strategy to the next level and increase awareness of the event among the wider running community. As we enter our fourth year it is the right time to bring in Breathe Unity, who have enormous experience in mass participation events, to help us take the race forward.”

Rebecca Richardson, MD of Breathe Unity, added,We are thrilled that Breathe Unity has been chosen to manage the PR for the Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon and 10K. With these two races plus a fantastic kids’ race on the same day, all in a beautiful and accessible location, the event has huge potential and we are excited to help it grow and reach out to an even wider audience. We look forward to working closely with the organisers to deliver all their PR requirements and more.”

Breathe Unity is a Sports PR company based in Manchester, with a portfolio of other high profile and award-winning sporting events and clients.

The date for the 2017 Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon & 10K is Sunday 17th September 2017. Entries are open now, with individual entry £33 / £35 for the Half Marathon and £30 / £32 for the 10K. The Canon Kids Race is open to young runners aged 4-15 years and costs £12.

Go to www.runreigate.com for further details and to sign up.

You can also like the Facebook page www.facebook.com/runreigate and follow @runreigate on Twitter.

About Intersport

Intersport is a retailer of performance sports equipment and apparel with more than 200 associated retailers in the UK. It is a trusted source of expert advice to sports consumers across the nation. Intersport’s mission of ‘Sport to the People’ recognises its customers’ passion for sport and the essential role that the community plays within sport and physical activity.

For more information, visit www.intersport.co.uk.

For further information about the Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon & 10K and to register please go to www.runreigate.com .

For all media queries about the Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon & 10K, if you need any high res images/logos or have got any interview requests please contact Breathe Unity on 0161 932 1409 or email info@breatheunity.com.

Issued on behalf of Intersport Run Reigate Half Marathon & 10K by:

Breathe Unity PR, 10th Floor, 3 Hardman Street, Spinningfields, Manchester M3 3HF

For further information please call +44 (0) 161 932 1409 or email info@breatheunity.com

 

Taking the first steps on your half marathon training plan

Taking the first steps on your half marathon training plan


Need to kick-start your training for Run Reigate? Hannah Brookes shares her motivation tips for tackling the miles.

Run Reigate isn’t far away and getting closer by the day. I should be racking up the half marathon training miles on runs by now but my running efforts have been somewhat lackadaisical of late. I love the challenge of a long run and usually find building up my distance week by week to be more satisfying than the race itself. However, I just can’t seem to get in the zone.

In case I’m not alone, here are a few things that have previously helped me get my butt into gear when training for races.

Establish a routine as quickly as you can

To be honest, this is probably what’s been holding me back thus far. As a creature of habit, I find a routine is the best way to keep on track when training. It’s oddly easier to lace up my trainers when I tell myself there’s no choice. Sunday is Long Run Day – no ifs, no buts.

Everyone is different so it’s important to establish a routine that works for you. Personally, I can’t run in the evenings. Once I’m home, I’m done for the day. However, I have no qualms about getting up at 6am and heading out for an early morning jog.

The last time I trained for a big event, I found this routine worked well for me:

  • Monday – rest day
  • Tuesday – run in the morning before work
  • Wednesday – run home from work (the only acceptable evening run)
  • Thursday – rest day
  • Friday – run in the morning before work
  • Saturday – rest day
  • Sunday – long run

I should probably point out this isn’t an optimal training plan for a person planning to achieve a super-speedy time (some interval training and cross training is required for that). However, I found this was a routine I could stick to and allowed enough flex to fit in non-running activities during the week.

Remember why you’re running in the first place

It’s amazing how motivating a little mental focus can be. When I first got into running, my goal was to run far enough to get a silver foil cape at the end. Forget the medal! I also liked to imagine the feeling of accomplishment when crossing the finish line –  for someone who isn’t a natural runner (I always came last in cross country at school), that’s more motivating than getting a new personal best.

So why are you running Run Reigate? Whatever the answer, think about that every time you’re tempted to skip a training run. Stick a post-it on your trainers, rename the alarm on your phone or get your best friend to remind you every time you speak to them.

Bonus tip: good views on your training runs can also be very motivating

Bonus tip: good views on your training runs can also be very motivating

Set smaller goals along the way

A half marathon can be a very daunting distance, especially if it’s your first time running a race of that length. If you’re feeling a bit put off, try setting yourself smaller goals along the way. Over the summer, there are loads of 5k and 10k races that you can incorporate into your training plan – Runner’s World has a handy list so you can search for events taking place near you.

If you’ve never taken part in an organised race before, I’d definitely recommend signing up to at least one before Run Reigate. Race day is completely different from a training run, with more people to dodge but crowds of people to cheer you on. A 5k or 10k race will help you overcome any nerves and give you the boost you need to carry on with your training.

Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas to get you motivated. What else would you recommend to a runner struggling with their training? Tweet your suggestions via @RunReigate.

Thanks for reading!

Hannah Brookes

#HalfMarathonGoals

Mrs Hatton

St Catherine’s Hospice – Runner’s Blog


Jenny Hatton is just one of 21 runners taking part in Run Reigate in aid of St Catherine’s Hospice. Here she shares why she’s taking on the challenge this September:

“My mum, Mary, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in December 2014. She’d beaten bowel cancer several years previously and sailed through her treatment, she even drove herself to and from her radiotherapy appointments in Guildford. When Mum was diagnosed and told that the cancer was incurable, she took the decision not to have treatment. She’d been offered palliative chemotherapy on a Wednesday but that was the day she met up with her friends for lunch every week and she viewed that as a much better form of ‘treatment’. Mum chose quality of life over quantity, a decision I fully respected and supported and although she fought bravely and stoically, she passed away in November 2015.

The team at St Catherine’s supported us during Mum’s final months. Mum didn’t want to go into the hospice for respite care “in case I don’t come out” but after several very tough days at home she went into the hospice for 10 days and then didn’t want to leave. She stayed there for three weeks. The staff were so caring and kind, nothing was too much trouble; they laughed with us and cried with us, supported us and just held our hands at a very difficult time. They were there at any time of day or night, which was so reassuring.

Mrs Hatton

When Mum went into St Catherine’s, she had completely lost her appetite and had eaten very little for days but I remember her being given a bowl of chocolate sponge and sauce on arrival and she ate the lot. She visibly relaxed and you could sense her relief at being there. St Catherine’s is an incredible place, the drinks trolley goes round at 5pm, a neighbouring cat comes in and takes up residence on patients’ beds and anything that can be done is done to make everyone feel at ease – Mum was a big horse racing fan and they arranged for a copy of the Racing Post to be delivered to her every day. 

We had arranged a party for Mum six weeks before she passed away. A gathering of more than 60 of her friends, neighbours and colleagues, many travelling from far and wide to be there. Mum had been in St Catherine’s for 10 days prior to the party and without their support the party would not have taken place. One of the nurses at St Catherine’s helped Mum get ready for the party and she was well enough to attend and enjoy the day. It was wonderful and I have many photos and happy memories as does everyone who was there.

I took part in the first Run Reigate Half Marathon in 2014 which went past Mum’s front door. She came out to watch and although the route has been changed, it feels right that I should take part in the race on 18 September in her memory. St Catherine’s works with people and they were there for me and Mum when it mattered. I do not know what we would have done without them.”

To find out more about how you can support St Catherine’s please visit www.stch.org.uk or to support Jenny with her fundraising please visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JennyHatton

 

Parview

Parkview – Runner’s Knee


Check out the new blog from Parkview, Run Reigate’s on the day physiotherapists, all about Runner’s Knee, a problem that some runners may suffer from.  

If you do need some new trainers, Simply Sports in Reigate have professional fitters and on Thursday 8th September (10.00-15.30), Brooks will be there with their Experience Run Signature equipment to analyse your gait.

Runner’s Knee

Runner’s knee is probably the most common injury suffered by recreational runners. It is also known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome as the pain comes on due to issues around the knee-cap (Patella).

Unfortunately, those most likely to suffer are young women due to a wider pelvis that in turn creates a greater angle at the knee during running, however, it is still very common in male runners too.

Runner’s knee will usually present as a dull ache around or behind the knee-cap, sometimes with swelling or cracking noises. Running through the pain will not help and only make it worse, as will hills, uneven ground or steps.

There are number of identified causes of this syndrome, the most common include:

  • Deformities to the Patella
  • Worn Cartilage surfaces
  • Flat feet creating incorrect angles of the knee
  • Weak medial Quadriceps allowing mal-tracking of the Patella
  • Simple overuse or poor shock absorbency

Getting rid of Runner’s Knee whilst maintaining a training program can be tricky, but not impossible. If you feel this coming on it is important to do the right things straight away. Cutting back your mileage will allow less load on the knee and speed up healing. Using ice regularly to get rid of any inflammation is vital. However, you must address the cause. This might mean a visit to a Physiotherapist and a specialist running shop to get your biomechanics assessed.

A sports orientated Physio can give you the advice and treatment you need to calm down the pain and begin the rehab process. Treatment can include Kinesio Taping for Patella tracking and swelling, Ultrasound, Acupuncture, Massage and rehab exercises to correct the problem. Orthotics and corrective running shoes may also be advised as part of the solution.

Remember, early intervention leads to the best outcomes, so if you think you might be suffering then please give one of the team at Parkview Clinic Reigate a call to see what can be done to get you back on track as fast as possible.

www.parkviewclinic.co.uk

01737 247555

Runners_panting

Every breath you take, every muscle that aches…or maybe not


Catherine Jaschinski from Illuminate Consulting, is a Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher.  Her blog for Run Reigate examines the benefits of diaphragm breathing for runners.

 

Sorry if the headline of this article is a bad play on the Police song ‘Every breath you take’ but hopefully my verbal karaoke has got your attention.

About the only time we pay any attention to our breathing is when we are out of breath.  In running it’s usually on the home stretch of a long run and if we are unlucky it’s going up a hill as well. Does anyone remember that from last year’s Run Reigate Half-Marathon?

Our breathing is such a critical part of anything we do and yet we take it for granted.  In running it can play a number of important roles, one of them being a ‘barometer’ for how we are feeling during a run.  Sometimes when we run, our breathing is heavy, sluggish and a real struggle to draw into the body, other times it’s is light, smooth and up-lifting.  Paying attention to the nature of our breathing can guide us to how our body is handling this run and with this information we can decide how to ‘pace’ our run, i.e. whether to push through the tough patches or whether in this particular instance it may be better to ease up a bit.  Your breath can be a great tool to help inform this type of decision especially if you are the kind of person who tends to push your body to breaking point and get injuries.

Another great way you can use your breath is to improve your endurance and recovery.  Yes, that’s right.  Not only is the breath helping you to get up and down those hills, but also if you actively breathe using your diaphragm rather than your chest, you can improve your endurance and will be less likely to become fatigued.  Now wouldn’t that be nice – not to have such aches and pains after a long run.

The evidence for this comes from research from the Centre for Sports Medicine and Human Performance at Brunei University.  They measured fatigue levels of marathoner’s respiratory muscles and leg muscles and found a direct link between them – runners whose breathing was the most strained showed the most leg weakness.  They concluded that the harder the respiratory muscles had to work, the more the legs would struggle in a race.  So the key to preventing lung and leg fatigue is breathing more fully which is exactly what happens when you breathe using the diaphragm.

This is all very interesting but how on earth do I actively use my diaphragm to breathe when I don’t know where it is!  Your diaphragm is a big muscle that sits underneath your rib cage and is responsible for 80% of the effort involved in breathing.  If your tuck your fingers under your ribcage and gently push upward you will feel it there.

The easiest way to learn how to diaphragm or ‘belly breathe’ is to do the following….

  1. Lie on your back with your feet on the floor and knees bent
  2. As you breathe in allow / encourage your stomach to gently inflate and rise upwards (this movement gets your diaphragm working)
  3. As you exhale allow your stomach to deflate and lower downwards
  4. Practice this for 5-10 minutes and then you can try it standing for a few minutes

Once you’ve started to train the diaphragm breathing in a stationary position (lying or standing) you can try to use it while walking and then eventually bring it into your running.

This type of breathing is also very good to relax the body and mind so can be used outside of running to manage stress, build resilience and balance in other aspects of your life.

Just as we would train our hamstrings and quads to improve our leg strength we can improve our respiratory muscles for better breathing and ultimately better endurance.  

So when you next head out for a run, take a moment to notice your breath, use your diaphragm (at the start of the run at least) and thank it for helping you to enjoy those longer runs a little bit more.

Catherine Jaschinski

Yoga and Mindfulness Teacher

Illuminate Consulting Ltd

Mobile: 07801 045 905

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The next Yoga for Runners workshop will be on Wednesday 5th October 7.30 – 9.30pm in Reigate. Call Cath on mobile number 07801 045 905 or email illumin8te@btinternet.com if interested.

Running to great beats!

Running – The Beat Goes On…


You’re running laps round Priory Park lake as part of your interval training.   The last couple of sprints have worn you out and your legs have no more to give.  But wait, the intro to Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ starts on your phone and you’re off, running like you’ve never run before (apart from the last time it came on) and you’ve cut 2 seconds off your PB – job done!

Training whilst listening to headphones is a contentious issue in the running community, polarising people in parks, tracks and towpaths up and down the country.  Apparently there are two types of runners, those who are “associators” who like to have inward focus when running and “dissociators” who need to focus outwards and be distracted by what how they might be feeling.  Let’s have a look at both sides of the debate:

FOR – The Budmeisters

Runners, especially those who are new to long distance, find music to be an excellent distraction when they are a few miles in and feeling weary.  

Studies have shown that external stimuli can block out fatigue, increase your concentration and leave you feeling positive.  

It can be particularly useful in fartlek/interval training, with pumping songs helping you to keep the short sprint sessions going.  

For those training for longer races on their own, it can also be nice company when you’re out for 2 hours on a Sunday morning, pounding the Surrey streets.

AGAINST – El Silencios

Many purists believe that you are better able to listen to your breathing and be attuned to your body and rhythm, when not distracted by music.  

One of the joys of running can also be that chance to clear your thoughts and empty your mind of the day’s issues, returning home in a much more peaceful state of mind.  

At times music can result in you running too fast – think Michael Jackson’s ‘Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough’ (or pass out) versus too slow such as Adele’s ‘Make You Feel My Love’ (running and crying don’t mix).  

You can also enjoy the beautiful nature that we have in Reigate, birds singing, squirrels leaping, leaves crunching and passers by shouting out warnings of dog poo ahead.   

IN-BETWEENERS

There are some runners who straddle these stereotypes choosing to have just one ear phone in, so they can listen to music and the outside world.  I personally am not able to multi-task in such a way and those people will only receive half of the wonder that is Kylie and Jason’s ‘Especially for You’.

Each to their own I say!  As long as you’re safe, watch out for small children and zombies …

BMF Marathon team

The Run Reigate Guide to Surviving the London Marathon!


You’ve trained for months, you’ve planned your route, worn in your new trainers, picked out your most comfortable kit and finally the big race day is here.  Many of our wonderful Run Reigate runners will join with 36,000 others next Sunday, to take part in one of the world’s biggest and most famous distance races, the London Marathon.   Our local British Military Fitness crew have entered a massive team, running to raise money for The Children’s Trust, one of our own charities and we wish them all the best of luck.

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For any first time marathon runner, it can be daunting, and we’re not talking covering the 26.2 miles.  It’s more than just physical endurance: the marathon is a logistical, biological and psychological obstacle course. For those of you getting ready to race, the Run Reigate team have come up with a few alternative tips to help you on your way…

Get greased up

Lather yourself in vaseline before you start (including your feet), even in places that are unlikely to chafe – trust us it really helps! Turn yourself into a big slippery sea-lion.  Added benefits include sliding your way to the front of your pen.  If you suffer from hayfever, rub a big dollop on your nose as prevents the pollen from getting in.  

Go before you go

There are loads of portaloos.  Hundreds in fact, but they will still have a long queue in the hour before the race.  It is OK to stand in line, get to the front, do your business, then return to the end of the queue and repeat … 3 times.  You’ll be thankful for this cleanse when you see everyone veering off to the side as soon as they’ve crossed the start line to wee in public.  

On your marks, get ready … hang around a bit!

And you’re off … or not as the case will probably be.  Unless you are an elite runner, the start can be a bit of an anti-climax as you often have to wait 5-10 minutes to get across the start line and the pace can be a little slow.  Distract yourself by loudly humming “Eye of the Tiger”.

Resist the Rhino

There will be an urge to sprint past everyone in fancy dress.  Their attire can be deceptive.  The guy dressed as a giant penguin is actually an Olympic Triathlete and he’ll mess with your head by speeding up as you attempt to overtake him.  It may be a blow to your confidence to find a foam fire hydrant ahead of you at mile 18, but it makes for a good anecdote later.  Much later.

People power-ups

The closest many of us will ever come to feeling like we’re in the Olympics, is crossing Tower Bridge.  The volume builds as you run down Tooley Street, with an explosion of noise as you turn on to the bridge, people clapping, banging tubes and shouting your name.  If you have an unusual name, they might shout something else, but don’t heckle them.  It’s OK to wave at people and high five the kids.  Spectators – bring hand sanitiser.

Mind your step

Everyone who has run a marathon will tell you to watch out for the drinks bottles on the ground.  But seriously, do, and it starts early.  One of our team slipped on a discarded bottle at mile 16 of the New York Marathon, horribly tearing her hamstring.  Being the tough nut she is, she walked the remainder in agony, doggedly determined to earn that bloomin’ medal!  The gel packets are just as bad and slimey.  They sometimes stick to your trainer, forcing you to remove it whilst hopping ungainly, racers behind accidentally grabbing you in a hug as they crash into you.  

Where’s Wally?

It’s definitely worthwhile knowing where your supporters are going to be so that you can pick them out, quite literally, in a crowd.  Banners, signs, fancy hats, unusual cheers or just really really loud voices are useful.  Especially in the final stretch, when you’ve forgotten your own name.

Salty beards

Some marathon runners sport an attractive salt beard when they finish the race, which always looks good in the photos and can be a surprise to their partners.  Shows you’ve really worked hard!  Replace the electrolytes through gels and energy drinks during the race, and fish and chips afterwards.

You’ve made it!

Once you’ve crossed the line it really is straightforward.  Be gently pushed by the race marshals  towards your photo and bag and start crying with joy.  Have cosy clothes to put on even if it’s not cold, as you will be soon.  Have snacks in your bag too, not just with your family or friends as they might have eaten them.  Really, there should be a big conveyor belt at the end just like the airport, where you are collected by someone, preferably with a wheelchair and a bottle of prosecco in the arm rest cup holder.

Think Dalek

Avoid steps, at all costs.  If you must use them in the days pending the race, try sliding down like a toddler, as long as you have something or someone to pull you up at the end.  Ice baths are also recommended, but may result in weird noises coming from your mouth without your control.

Enjoy it!  

You’ve earned it.  Yes, it will be one of the hardest things you’ve ever done, but also one of the best.  The atmosphere and crowds are amazing and there is such a variety of people running that you’ll be continually inspired.   You might even be on the TV, so remember to smile, practise your crowd wave and of course, wear your Run Reigate finishers t-shirt for all to see.