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!

 

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.

Beginner’s Guide To Running


Marathon, Jogging, People, Men, Outline, Running

It’s that time of year again when the streets and parks are filled with brightly coloured runners.  They come in all shapes, sizes and speeds and are all on their own personal journey … quite literally.  Have you always been tempted to join their ranks but find yourself daunted by the prospect?  Why not check out our beginner’s guide to running, filled with handy top tips on how to get started and have fun doing it!

Just do it…

Now I know this is a catchy slogan, however, simply put, if you would like to join the millions of people who pound the streets and countryside every week, you just need to go out and do it. It is so easy to put off a run for another week, you’re too busy, too tired, catching up on Game of Thrones before the new season commences… When you are starting out, all you need is 15 minutes.  A wee bit of stretching, a mile of walking/jogging and you’re off!  

Kit…

One of the benefits of running is that it’s a really cheap way to exercise.  No costly gyms fees or expensive mechanical fitness machines for your home that you end up drying your laundry on.  That said, it’s probably worth buying some new trainers.  There’s a good chance the ones you have had for 10 years to walk the dog with, are not going to be quite as supportive as you need and rule number 1 of running is to look after your body.  Plus, buying new trainers is fun!  They don’t need to be a top of the range, “injected with multi-coloured oxygen particles” pair that will require a second mortgage.  Loads of great sports shops will find help you find the right style for your gait and you’ll still have change for a cuppa.

Warm-up…

Always warm-up and cool down, even when you’re just starting.  Stretching is not just for athletes and I promise, from experience, there is nothing fun about walking like John Wayne because you didn’t take a couple of minutes to stretch.  Also, don’t just lunge quickly in and out of these for 2 seconds each as though you’re in an 80’s dance video.  Hold each stretch for 20 secs for maximum relief.  Sighing is permitted.

Plan…

In the beginning you don’t know how long to try and run for and everything feels tough.  You don’t want to over-do-it, however also you want to push yourself.  Best plan is to have a plan.  There are loads of websites where you can download running plans for complete beginners that provide you with weekly breakdowns of how often and how far you should run.  These enable you to build up your running carefully and ideally injury free.

Apps…

Running apps are also a fantastic source of support.  Ranging from interactive couch to 5k programmes which provide motivating coaches, to running communities who support you on your journey.  You can track your mileage, plan routes so you don’t get lost (I have personal experience of this one adding additional unexpected mileage!) and you can even enjoy the thrill of being chased by zombies.

Goals…

Set yourself bitesize achievable goals so you feel like you’re making progress during the first few weeks.  It’s unlikely you’re going to be beating Usain Bolt any time soon over a 100m dash, however on the plus side – every time you run a longer distance you’ll be achieving a PB.  It’s all about the small wins!

Tunes…

It’s worthwhile having some banging playlists to keep you motivated.  Whether it be a few of your favourite tunes, or a running playlist that’s to your taste, it’s amazing how it distracts the mind as you run through the streets.  Always check a playlist out first before you run, one thing that’s going to kill your running mojo is having to stop and change music because suddenly you’re listening to Jedward.

Running Clubs/Groups/Mates… (delete as appropriate)

Runners benefit from company, especially in the beginning.  The joy of a running club is that there will usually be a wide variety of abilities there and often specific programmes tailored for beginners.  Not only will they take out all the hard work of planning and finding a route, it’s also a brilliant way to make new ‘running’ friends as you motivate each other on your journey.  Once you’re ready, why not incorporate Park Run into your programme, even if you’re walking part of it to begin with. It’s a fantastic community and you can measure your progress weekly.  If you don’t have any groups or clubs near you, or you’re just not ready for that step, why not find a mate who’s starting out too and you can jog/chat/laugh together twice a week.

Fuel/hydration…

As with any exercise, you need to think about what you’re putting into your body pre and post run.  Don’t eat right before you head out (cue stitch), but also make sure you’re not so hungry you could eat your own arm.  When you get back, eat something containing a little protein within 30 mins of getting home.  Drink up too – with lots of water to replenish your body after all that sweating!  You’ll note I say water here, rather than tea, coffee or a pint…

Have fun….

Seriously.  I promise you it will get easier and you will start to have fun.  The first few times you go out it’s genuinely hard to see how you’ll ever be able to run past the postbox at the end of the street, but you will.  It becomes incredibly satisfying to watch both your distances grow and your speed increase.  Keep mixing it up too.  Try different routes and terrains, times of day, running group and mates, so that you don’t get bored. 

So – what are you waiting for?  Why not lace up those trainers (if you have velcro trainers you really do need to go shopping) and head out for a run today.  If you’re feeling really brave, you could even sign up for the Run Reigate 10K and enjoy all the fun of a big event with medals, t-shirts, food stalls, bands and hundreds of people cheering you home in your first race.

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

Illuminate Colour on Clear copy

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.

Sweethaven Computers

5 Ways Wearable Tech Can Enhance Your Workout


Run Reigate is delighted that Sweethaven have joined us as a new partner this year.  Check out their blog on wearable tech – including your chance to win a FREE Pulsense wristband.

Sweethaven Computers (1)

Technology is fast becoming an integral part of people’s fitness plans. Wearable fitness tech is constantly advancing to improve the quality of our training and results, enabling us to better create and meet both short-term and long-term fitness goals.

With so many features now available via wearable tech, which are the most useful for enhancing your workout? The technology team at Sweethaven has a few top tips…

Track Your Heart Rate

Of course your heart rate is going to go up during exercise! What many people don’t know is that heart rate can also be used to monitor dehydration; the symptoms of which are often overlooked by athletes during exercise. The wireless sensor tracking of heart rate can therefore be used to help you track when you need to be taking that extra sip of water.

Sleep Tracking

Tough workouts require solid sleep for muscle recovery! Use your wearable tech to track the number of hours and quality of sleep you’re getting to help make sure you’re giving your body the best opportunity for regeneration.

Target Tracker

All athletes know that progress is about goals. Use your wearable tech to set your targets and then track your progress towards achievement for positive reinforcement. Determine your daily goal and then see what your average result against it is. You can adjust your daily targets accordingly, just be sure that your goal positively impacts your fitness level – and that, over time, you see progress.

For the more competitive ones amongst us, buddy up with a training partner with similar goals to track who reaches their goal the quickest!

Calorie Counting

Because what’s more motivational than visibly eating away at the calories gained from that last pack of biscuits!

Discover all the Apps

With a whole world of apps now available, there will be a host of apps capable of accompanying and complimenting your wearable tech tracking. Apps for monitoring food intake, for example, can be a particularly beneficial when used alongside your fitness tracking to ensure you’re fuelling your body correctly. There are also apps out there that allow you to connect with online communities of fellow fitness enthusiasts for even more support and encouragement.

Sweethaven is proud to be supporting the Run Reigate half marathon this September. To celebrate this important calendar date, we’ll be giving away one FREE Pulsense wristband to one lucky runner. To be in with a chance of winning, enter your details via our website: http://www.sweethaven.co.uk/run-reigate

Sweethaven Computers

Jennie Platt Blog

On the home straight (through Reigate)…


It’s late July and it seems summer has finally joined us (cue random torrential downpour while the sun is still shining). I’m actually a bit gutted…I much prefer running in the colder winter weather, so it’s going to be hard work for the next couple of months to keep active. I know from my day job (at Women in Sport) that this actually bucks the trend as research shows that there is a drop off of female runners in the autumn and winter months – I always try to be different.

So as I said we are now 7 months into the year, this year isn’t an ordinary one for me, this year I get married. It’s a very exciting and busy time…wedmin is my life. When I got engaged (September 2015) and once the date had been set (December 2016) I decided to add to the chaos and set myself a challenge. Upon awkwardly purchasing my first bridal magazine, I realised that in addition to endless advice on overpriced cakes, photo booths and colour schemes, most offered a plan of how to get fit and healthy for your wedding. Some of the plans looked complex and crazy and really did reflect an uphill run at Greenwich Park! So I thought that rather than panicking 3 months out that my dress might not fit, I would commit to some sort of activity across the year – a slow and steady way to tone up and most importantly feel good for the big day. So…I invented the Wedding 10k Series…it has a nice ring to it don’t you think? In essence I committed myself, oh yes and my future husband, to run one 10k a month for 12 months in the lead up to our wedding. So a total of 12 10ks, 120k total.

I do love a challenge. I have completed so many over the past 10 years – Yorkshire 3 peaks, Run to the Beat Half Marathon, Thames Bridges Bike ride to name a few, but these have all been one off events, this would be different.

Oh and before I explain our journey so far it’s imperative to mention that I wouldn’t class myself as a ‘runner’. I’m a Netballer by trade, team sport enthusiast. Yes, I have dabbled in running, probably more that I care to admit, but I am not particularly fast or elegant (in fact definitely not the latter). My mind-set has shifted slightly, but I’m pretty sure when December rolls around I will still refer to myself as a Netballer.

So why 10k? 5k is easy right? Well, not quite, but for me it’s not too unpleasant, it’s kind of over just as you get into it and it’s less of an event. So 10k seemed a bit more of a challenge, not anything like a half (never doing one of those again by the way) but just the right mix of pushing yourself and getting knackered! Interestingly, for two very competitive people, it’s not been about the times for us – we have improved our PBs massively, but we are pleased to just get round some of the courses.

So in December last year I officially entered the world of running – trawling websites to sign up to local runs. We have always had two events booked in advance and found it relatively easy to find runs nearby. The Wedding 10k Series started in Windsor, around Dorney Lake. It wasn’t quite how I pictured our first event to go – picture the scene, two weary runners set off having just returned from a 3-week trip in Asia, it was a struggle and 8k was not our friend, but we managed it and were pretty chuffed at the end. Since then we have done Richmond, Maidstone, Battersea Park, Windsor Trails, Greenwich Park and Clapham Common. We are officially half way – for August we are running at the Olympic Park and September we are taking part in Run Reigate!

Jennie - Winter

September was a tricky one, but when we stumbled across Run Reigate we booked it straight away. We live in South West London and have probably exhausted all of the key ones in our area so are pleased to be going a bit further afield. The website was great and although slightly more expensive than other runs we have done, I like the vibe and it seems worth it. The process to book was probably one of the easiest we have gone – as let me tell you some are hard work as you have to book separately for each individual.

I already like the feel of Run Reigate – I have been following them on Twitter and saw last week that they have made some improvements from their inaugural event last year, I like that approach. All of the feedback from last year seems really positive too and this morning it was announced that Olympic legend Dame Kelly Holmes is starting the race. I have to say I am impressed…fingers crossed she will present us with our 9th medal (hint, hint)!

As I mentioned before I work for Women in Sport, we are the UK’s leading charity aiming to transform sport for the benefit of every woman and girl. Wo do lots of research and lobbying for more women and girls to be involved in sport, whether it be playing, working or watching. As a result, it means I look at running events differently – I look from a personal perspective as an active woman, but I also look with a deep understanding of women’s perceptions and values that drive their decisions to start and continue running. Run Reigate has done well on both fronts, the communications denote a friendly run with a community atmosphere, while still offering a good challenge. The website is also great too, showing ‘real women’ and not just sporting runners in lycra taking part!

We have been roping in friends to run with us throughout the journey and hope to have a few with us as Reigate. So if you are taking part in Run Reigate, look out for us and give us a cheer, we will definitely need the encouragement!  

@jennielplatt

Run Reigate would like to wish Jennie and her husband-to-be, good luck in their Wedding 10K series and all the best for the big day!

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 …

SiS Runner

Run Reigate – The SiS Guide to Training


As well as producing some of the Run Reigate team’s favourite gels and recovery drinks, Science in Sport (SiS) also provide a wealth of training and nutrition advice which we’re really happy to share with you.  There are a variety of factors which can make the difference between you making it to the start line of your first half-marathon or 10K, or not!  First up is the most important element in any race preparation – training.  

RUN

There are three golden rules you should adhere to, to ensure you give yourself the best chance of starting, finishing and achieving your running dream:

R – Rest and recovery

These are two of the most underrated aspects of training.  DO NOT forget to rest and recover after hard-training.

U – Understand your limits

When it comes to endurance running, there are many things which are beyond your control.  Your “genetic potential” being one of them.

N – Never run on an injury

As tempting as it might be to try and ignore a muscle or tendon niggle, you are likely to make it far worse by running on it.

Training Intensity

Knowing how hard to push yourself is one of the hardest things to do when training for a race.  Your weekly training regime is a tricky balance between slow/steady sessions to build endurance and higher intensity sessions to increase your resistance to fatigue and increase your threshold.  

The question is how hard should you push?

Too Easy

Although slow and steady sessions are an important part of training, if performed too frequently, low intensity sessions can lead to a training plateau.

Too Hard

If you push yourself too hard, either by running too fast, too often or too far, then you are at risk of overloading your body and over stressing it – resulting in injury.

So, how do you gauge what intensity you should train at?

A heart rate monitor is an excellent way to ensure you are training at the right intensity.  If you don’t own one or need a guide, then check out the table below to get familiar with your “rate of perceived exertion”.

Rate of Perceived Exertion

R.P.E SCALE HOW YOU FEEL % HR MAX
1 Chilling, sitting down, feet up watching a movie 30-40%
2 A walk to the shops to get more popcorn 45-55%
3 A light jog 60-70%
4 A sociable pace, quicker than a job but able to chat 70-75%
5 Comfortable.  Got a good sweat on and you feel great 75-80%
6 Comfortable-ish.  You feel like it’s a good paced run 80-85%
7 Talking getting difficult.  Possible – but not very easy 85-90%
8 Only short answers to important questions possible 90-95%
9 Talking all but impossible 95% +
10 Talking is impossible.  You can only keep this intensity up for 10-15 seconds N/A

Approximate method to work out HRmax – true HRmax vary significantly from runner to runner.

Steady Paced Run (R.P.E. 3-5 or 70-80% HRmax)

A steady pace is just that – a pace which you can maintain for a long time  Steady paced runs will form a large part of your training.  This is the pace you should stick to for all your long weekend runs, as well as a good chunk of your mid-week runs too.  It helps build endurance and encourages the nervous and muscular systems to tolerate long distance running.

As you get fitter, you’ll find that not only will your “steady pace” get faster, but you’ll also be able to maintain that pace for longer without fatigue.

Tempo Paced Run (RPE 5-7 or 80-85% HRmax)

A tempo run is a pace which is a notch or two quicker than a steady pace.  At this intensity, talking is just about possible but you should only be able to manage “short-ish” sentences before need to take a breath.  

Beginners may initially find that a one or two mile tempo run is tough but a conditioned runner may be able to maintain tempo pace for a good eight miles and beyond.  Tempo session are excellent at increasing your tolerance to fatigue and should feature at least once a week in your training schedule.

Fartlek (RPE 6-8 or 85-90+% HRmax)

Fartlek is brilliant training but often underused by marathon runners.  It is based on a steady paced run but interspersed with periods of faster running at random times of your choice.  Vary the distance/time of the fast paced sections of these sessions to mix up the training stimulus and keep you interested.  Suggested times for fast sections can vary from 30 secs at RPE 8-9 to 5 mins at RPE 6-8.

Intervals (RPE 7-9 or 85+% HRmax)

Intervals are very similar to fartlek training. The key difference between them is that they are far more structured.  Interval sessions are excellent at increasing your threshold, thereby teaching the body to tolerate running at faster speeds.

E.g.

Distance/Time No. of intervals Rest between RPE % Max HR
1 mile 3-5 5-3 mins 6-8 80-90
5 minutes 4-8 1 min 6-7 80-90
800 meters 6-8 3-2 mins 7-8 85-95

As fitness improves – increase intervals, reduce rest time.  RPE will increase towards end of session.

By incorporating all of these training runs into your weekly regime you should be fully prepared for the Run Reigate Half-Marathon or 10K on Sunday 18th September.  To view the full SiS guide, please see http://www.scienceinsport.com/marathon-training-guide.

Good luck with your training!

 

Running Apps

Are You ‘App’y Now?


In the old days people used to pop their trainers on, limber up and head out for a run they’d mapped out.  Many people, like me, will have accidentally run a few extra miles or have included some accidental fartlek training whilst being lost in a dodgy estate with a group of youths watching on in amusement.  Now we have technology.  Clever apps and watches that can track your route through GPS, telling you how fast, far and high you’ve climbed at each mile and offer you coaching advice whilst you do it. We’ve compiled a list of some running apps on the market and what they can do for you: including building post-apocalyptic communities.

 

New Runner

For those of you who are new to running, there are some great apps that take you from zero to hero.  5K Runner and Couch to 10K, respectively provide 8 and 14 week plans, blending running with walking to help you build up to your first race.  They have integrated Facebook and Twitter communities so you can meet fellow beginners, share your experiences and motivate each other in the first few tough weeks.

In Your Stride is designed to help you prepare for a race.  It creates a training plan based on your current fitness, event distance and target time.  It also adapts as you progress through the plan depending on whether you are exceeding or not meeting your targets.

 

Experienced Runner

If you are looking for state of the art, there are some great options on the market many of which have features such as GPS, speed and elevation tracking, heart rate monitors, time pacing, friend racing, disco options…  

On Nike+ & Nike Coach it’s easy to see your pace variation throughout and it is compatible with various running watches, meaning you don’t need to take a phone out with you, just synchronise when you get home.  

Map My Run and Runtastic are very similar apps as they both owned by Under Armour.  Runtastic is Google Play’s editor’s choice and features a real voice coach whilst running, personal workout diary, custom made dashboard and training plans.

 

Community Focused

Strava, originally for cyclists, is now a favourite of runners too, winning the best app at the 2016 Running Awards.  It’s well known for its community feel, as you can join existing challenges and compare your stats with your friends.  It also has personalised coaching, live performance feedback and detailed analysis post run.

RunKeeper has 45 million users worldwide and all the features you would expect.  It’s intuitive, requiring you to input your goals, whether it be to build fitness/stamina, lose weight or increase your speed.  Renowned running coaches then provide advice on how to achieve these goals.  Links with big brands means potential to win kit too – who doesn’t want a free pair of trainers?  

 

Bored Runner

Zombies, Run!  Am I the only person who had never heard of this app.  Running missions whilst fleeing groaning zombies.  You are always the hero, the faster you run the quieter they become: slow down and you’ll hear them breathing down your neck.  As you run you collect virtual supplies which can then be used at home to build your own post apocalyptic community.  The audio drama feeds in between your own playlist.  That’s a whole new kind of fartlek training.  Imagine the variations you could have: whinging kids, your in-laws, that terrible one-night stand…

If you don’t believe us, check it out here.   You have been warned…

Spotify has introduced a running feature where it reacts to you, matching the speed of your pace to a beat tempo.  Rock My Run also matches your movement to the music it selects for you and has some great playlists to keep you motivated on those longer runs.

So which one are you going to chose to help your Run Reigate half-marathon/10K training?    If you see any of the team sprinting through Reigate High Street screaming that there are zombies chasing them, don’t panic … yet!