Month: January 2014

Junk Miles

Can there really be a benefit to running without a specific fitness goal? After a gruelling session of hill repeats and a well-deserved sleep. Is there any evidence to support going for a gentle run to tick the mileage over?

I have read many blogs / articles which suggest that there is no positive contribution to running fitness and performance by completing such an exercise. That a run of this calibre ‘doesn’t count’ because there is no challenge in this…

What’s wrong with clocking up the miles and going for a long Sunday morning run? It’s always nice and quiet and I find it quite relaxing to escape on these runs.

I don’t particularly view any miles as ‘junk miles’. Every time I go out for a run, I feel proud of myself. It leaves me with a sense of wellbeing and pushes me on to achieving my running goals.

In my opinion, (as someone completely unqualified to give advice), speed workouts are very important to running faster times. They are my absolute must in training. As long as I can complete these workouts with 100% effort – there is no junk…

In addition, I would hasten to add that ultimately, I run to keep healthy (and to enjoy food without guilt). I would never criticise someone whose primary goal is running to keep healthy.
I suppose, what I’m trying to say is:

1 : Enjoy your running. We all do it for different reasons
2 : If you want to get faster, fit in your speed sessions
3 : Make sure you can take something from a run, on either a personal or physical level (Otherwise you could fall out of love with running)

Let me know your thoughts :

Junk Miles : What are they to you?
What’s your favourite run session?Mine are probably hill repeats (Crazy right?)

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6 Questions…

Ok, I was a little bored but found these on FueledbyLOLZ

Where were you born?
Easy… Coventry

What is the most unique place you’ve been?
Amsterdam… A strange place

What is your favorite type of workout? (running, yoga, p90x..)
Running : Hill Repeats. I always feel proud once I have finished them

What is your favorite food?
Toughest question ever… Pizza / Chinese / Sausages / Steak… I could go on…

What are your plans this weekend?
4th anniversary of Coventry Parkrun so I will be attending dressed in my Iron Man Onesie!

Do you have any February Plans or Goals?
I have drafted a schedule of my training runs (which I hope I can stick to). These lead me up to a half marathon on 23/03. I also intend on trying out some local spinning classes.

Feel free to copy the questions and post a link to your blog in my comments so I can check them out!

– – – –
Where were you born?

What is the most unique place you’ve been?

What is your favorite type of workout? (running, yoga, p90x..)

What is your favorite food?

What are your plans this weekend?

Do you have any February Plans or Goals?
– – – –

January

Just to say this month I have ran 103 miles!!!

I’m pretty sure this is a record for me.

February is the month to concentrate on speed.

I’ll post my training plan at some point tomorrow.

Look at how cute Chloe looks! The hat is amazing!

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Oreo Cheesecake

Lisa (my better half) made this today and I need to tell everyone how amazing it is!

This combines 2 of my favourite things. Oreos and Cake.

You do not need to bake this so its incredibly easy to make and fun to let your kids help make…

The following recipe is taken from Snackworks.com.

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Ingredients

36 pkg. OREO Cookies, divided
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 pkg. (8 oz. each) brick cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tub (8 oz.) Whipped cream

Instructions

CHOP  15 cookies coarsely. Finely crush remaining cookies; mix with butter. Press onto bottom of 13×9-inch pan. Refrigerate while preparing filling.

BEAT  cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Gently stir in whipped cream and chopped cookies; spread onto crust.

REFRIGERATE  4 hours or until firm.

Enjoy!!!

Run / Life Balance

Throughout November and December last year I was experiencing a lot of pain in my hamstring so eventually decided to have a prolonged rest over the Xmas period.

Coming into the new year equipped with a new pair of trainers (Adidas Boston 4), I decided to clock up as many miles as I could in January. I need to get a reasonable level of fitness back before I embark on more quality training in February.

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Fortunately, I’m able to work from home occasionally which allows me time for a cheeky lunchtime dash but most of the time a run will occur in the evenings. Now, a year ago I was able to escape the house whenever I wanted. I could go on longer runs if needed and had more freedom over where I ran. But since 11th Jan 2013, I had to change where / when I ran.

After Chloe was born it became more difficult to find the time to run and over the last few weeks this has become increasingly so. Trying to regain my fitness whilst trying to wrestle a tiger into pyjamas (Ok, a 1 year old – not a tiger but sometimes I swear its close…) can take its toll.

Its not all doom and gloom as I may have led you to believe! Yesterday we went to st nicks park in Warwick and after visiting The Bread Co for some soup and sandwiches we visited the park.

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Some unusual lighting on the soup?! Egg mayo and cress sandwiches with a roasted red pepper soup. Incredible.

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Look at her little face!

How do other parents / runners strike a balance?

What’s the best sandwich filling?

My team are currently ranked #104 in jantastic. Check it out @ http://www.jantastic.me

Supplements

Since I first began to take a more serious interest in my health, I’ve heard people whispering in corners, obviously plotting and scheming to take over the world, discussing how to mug old ladies and worst of all… talking about supplements!

That’s right. Supplements. To some people a dirty word linked to the world of performance enhancing drugs and cheating. In other circles they are used to supplement diets. In my world, they are used to recover and provide health benefits which *may* help with my running.

I use may because despite using some products for several years, its difficult to attribute all the success to the supplement.

To clarify, I think the most effective way to lose weight, build muscle, get stronger / faster / fitter is hard work. As a runner, this means putting in the miles coupled with decent speed work. The supplements (for example whey protein) help me to take on what is required to help my body recover. This way I can run more often (because runners are crazy and want to run more… Right?).

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Supplements + Running = Cheesy picture.

So what supplements do I take?

To be honest. I dont take many on a regular basis but I will discuss the benefits of what I do.

Please comment with your thoughts. Many people have differing beliefs on this subject and I welcome everyone’s opinion.

Protein

For general use, whey protein is a great way of providing your body with healthy nutrition. It is low in fat, carbohydrates, lactose and cholesterol and helps to keep you fuller for longer, reducing cravings for sugary foods! I have a scoop of protein mixed with water each morning. It helps me start the day and (although this may be all in my head!) it genuinely does help to reduce my cravings.

After long and/or intensive runs I also have a scoop of protein. I definitely notice a reduced recovery period when I do this and this is the main reason for my use of this supplement.

Creatine

The research on creatine has been extensive – studies have shown that creatine supplementation in increases lean body mass, strength, power and repeated sprint ability.

I notice that after a few weeks of use,my legs do feel more powerful. I find myself striding up hills which previously filled me with dread. I did initially have concerns that this may increase the size of my muscles (which was definitely not my intention) but by keeping my mileage up I have not noticed any increase in muscle mass.

I am aware that this is a supplement which is normally associated with gym monkeys who are equipped with arms disproportionate to the rest of their body. But my experiences have not left me with the upper body of Stallone… Yet.

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Dont mess with John Rambo.

Beta Alanine

Using Beta Alanine will help increase the production of Carnosine. This is vital to athletes as Carnosine can increase the ability of your muscles to work harder and perform for longer. It may also prevent lactic acid build up during intense exercise, thus reducing fatigue.

I have only recently started taking this and it can give you quite an uncomfortable tingling sensation all over your body (I mean ALL OVER your body!). I recently read an interview with Mo Farah who listed this as a key supplement alongside protein (If I can find the link to the article I will update the blog).

What are your thoughts on supplements?

If any, what do you take?

Change of subject…

I’m looking for some healthy meals which are suitable for freezing.

Any freezer friendly meal suggestions would be very welcome!!

Parkrun

Last night I tweeted / blogged about “the rain” (to be pronounced in an ominous voice…).

A few people got back to me telling me to brave it commenting that once your out running its not a problem. So today I took that advice and immediately retreated back inside. Only joking. I went to my local 5k Parkrun in the rain and after running a 23:18 I returned home looking like the monster from the Black Lagoon. Muddy is an understatement.

So in response to those comments last night. I agree. Its not that bad when your out in the rain. Dress appropriately and it shouldn’t be a problem.

The downside… I now have to clean my trainers (volunteers welcome).

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To reward myself for my triumph over Mother Nature. I enjoyed a Starbucks with a Jam and Coconut Sponge. Wow. Just wow.

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Tomorrow I’m hoping to run over 10k for the first time in 3 months. Wish me luck (or sunshine)…

The Rain

Sometimes I find it difficult to go for a run. Maybe I’ve had a long day at work and want my bed. Perhaps its another one of those occasions where I want to indulge in a bucket of KFC (not a pretty sight…). But there is one thing I cannot stand. It demotivates every part of me. Rain. The wet stuff falling from the sky. Rain.

So tonight I failed to complete. In fact, I failed to start a 10k. I feel bad. Not that bad. But still a little guilty.

Any tips on motivation, leaving the house or waterproofing myself?

Help…

Day One

To begin the year, I decided to see where my running / fitness was currently at. In September I had ran a 5k in sub 21mins. Since then I had been struggling to maintain momentum and my only running involved attending my local weekly Parkrun.

So after a New Years Eve party at which copious amounts of alcohol was consumed, I decided to zip up the man suit and go for a run in the morning.

Outside it was wet, windy and cold, leaving me with feeling this was a bad idea and a cup of coffee with some chocolate from Xmas would be a better idea. Still, I pushed on and whilst I tailed off in the final km I ran a mildly respectable 24:30.

At this point I felt very proud of myself despite the obvious shortage of breath and drowned kitten look I was sporting…

Despite this achievement, I went out with some friends for a curry in the evening. A new years day curry has become a strange tradition of ours and it was honoured in style (a picture of my planner tikka starter can be found below).

So Day One was a cross of an extremely motivated morning coupled with an extremely satisfying dinner.

Not the worst start to a year…

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A New Year

I have been running for over a year but struggle to couple that with a healthy lifestyle.

There is one problem. One delicious, tasty and amazing problem. Food.

Food to me is a hobby. Just like running. This brings be nicely back to the point of my blog… More run, less eat.

I am aiming to post at least weekly but I may surprise myself if it proves easy to blog off my phone.Enjoy!