Updated running goals and race plans for 2017

At the beginning of the year I set myself some challenging but achievable running goals for 2017. I felt so confident I shared my goals and signed up to Trail Running’s #RUN1000MILES challenge.

Unfortunately, I picked up a running injury towards the middle of January and found myself sitting on the injury bench.

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The injury was so persistent most of the first six months of 2017 were a complete write-off. I stopped running, started stretching, sulked, put on a lot of weight and sulked some more.

My house was spotless.

I forgot about the majority of my running goals.

Now that we are almost half way through the year and *touch wood* my foot injury is under control, I decided to update some of my running goals and race plans.

Run 700 miles Run 400 miles – I’ve just checked my training log on Fetch and discovered I’ve run the not so impressive total of 29 miles in 2017. 29 miles!!! If my maths is correct, I’ve set myself the target of running another 371 miles in six months.  I’d like to think I’ll be able to run approximately 60 miles a month.

Complete 10 parkruns and 10 races Complete 5 parkruns and 5 races – After writing ‘DNS’ next to several races this year, my race calendar is starting to look slightly more respectable. I’ll summarise my race plans later on in this post.

A sub 8 minute mile – I’d like to think that this goal is still achievable.

A sub 25 minute 5k A sub 26 minute 5k – I set my current 5k PB of 26:49 last February. If my foot continues to behave, I’d like to think that at some stage this year I’ll manage to run a sub 26 minute 5k.

A sub 55 minute 10k A sub 60 minute 10k – My original goal was to run a sub 55 minute 10k during the Vitality London 10,000. Now I’d be over the moon with a sub 60 minute 10k!

A sub 2:20 half marathon – The original aim was to run a sub 2:20 half marathon during the Cambridge Half in March. Although Cambridge was a DNS, I’ve decided to keep this goal the same.

Listen to my niggles – At one stage my foot was so painful I had little option but to listen to my niggles. As an injury-prone runner I now realise that listening to my niggles is not enough. I also need to improve my diet and make a lot more effort to follow my strength and conditioning ‘personal action plan’.

Join a new running club – Although I resigned from my last running club at the end of March, my lack of running fitness has made me slightly reluctant to join a new running club. I suspect that I’ll continue as an ‘unattached’ runner for the rest of 2017.

Be slightly more sociable – I still tend to run on my own and I’m still a running recluse. To be honest I enjoy running on my own so much, I can’t see this changing. Although I am a bit of a loner, I have really enjoyed volunteering at a range of local events.

Don’t buy any unessential running gear – My foot injury has definitely helped me curb my obsession with buying unessential running gear. Hopefully I will actually achieve this running goal 🙂

My race plans

As I’m the type of person who needs a target race, I’ve entered the Great Birmingham Run in October.

gbr-large2x

If my dodgy foot doesn’t cope with the half marathon training plan I’ve put together, I’ve entered the Lichfield 10k as a sort of Plan B race.

LichfieldLogo

If my foot doesn’t cope with training for a 10k – the way it is feeling right now this is a definite possibility – I’ll have to look at dropping down to even shorter distances.PrintFingers crossed my foot lets me achieve at least a couple of my running goals.

Do you have any target races planned for the second half of 2017?

Did you sign up to Trail Running Magazine’s 1000 mile challenge? If you did and you didn’t receive a Ruff headband let me know and I’ll post you mine.

Book Review: Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success by Renee McGregor

I hope that everyone had a great weekend. The weather was amazing. Although I don’t want my blog to become a series of product reviews, I decided that as my Running Science book review was quite well received, I would review some of the books I’ve found particularly useful.

I decided to start with a quick(ish) review of Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success written by Renee McGregor. Renee is a registered dietician and is one of the UK’s top sports nutritionists, advising athletes from amateur to Olympic levels. As a result, Renee ensures that all the advice she shares is evidence based i.e. there has been reliable research around the subject, to make claims both accurate and credible.

Front cover

Back cover

Fast Fuel: Food for Running is for runners of all levels who want to:

  • Achieve their performance goals whether that’s improving their weekly parkrun time, bettering their personal best in the marathon, or venturing into ultra-marathons.
  • Stick to a training plan while also trying to earn a living and juggle other commitments.
  • Improve their knowledge of nutrition because it debunks some of the most common myths.
  • Increase their confidence by knowing that they are eating the correct foods to fuel their body and to maximise their training, without over-reaching and potentially risking illness or injury.

The book is divided into two main sections. The first is broken down into three chapters; (1) Fuelling basics, (2) Training – the road to victory and (3) Fine-tuning your body, and provides a practical, easy-to-follow, step-by-step, scientific introduction to sports nutrition. The second contains an extensive selection of simple but mouth-watering recipes and is broken down into recipes for; healthy breakfasts, light meals, main meals, snacks and portables, and finally, desserts.

Once again, rather than attempting to review the entire book, I decided to highlight the sections I found particularly interesting in the first three chapters. I’ve included photographs with this review to illustrate how easy to follow and well laid out the book is.

Chapter 1: Fuelling Basics

“Chapter 1 is a practical guide to what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. We also look at how your body metabolizes food into fuel, and how it can adapt to provide fuel for different levels of training intensity”

I found that in order to take in all the information, I had to read through Chapter 1 a couple of times. Although I found the sections on carbohydrates, protein and fat really informative, the section of supplements was particularly enlightening.

Supplements

The book provides a selection of ‘real food’ alternatives to sports drinks, energy gels, protein shakes and sports bars. After my next run I’ll definitely attempt to create my own, much cheaper sports drink. Chapter 1 also looks at special dietary considerations, recovery nutrition, metabolism and racing weight.

Chapter 2: Training – The Road to Victory

“Chapter 2 shows the different fuelling requirements for different distances and training intensities and how making the right nutritional choices will benefit you. This section also includes sample menus plans, using the recipes from this book to demonstrate practically how to choose appropriate food”

As a runner in urgent need of a refresher in what actually comprises a sensible training plan, I found the ‘Planning your training week’ section really useful.

Planning training

Looking back, I suspect that last year I was inadvertently completing all of my training sessions at a moderate to high level of intensity. I got my pre- and post-run fuelling totally wrong and was eating far too much carbohydrate. After ‘digesting’ the contents of Chapter 2, I’m now impressed that I (a) didn’t put on more weight and (b) didn’t get injured while I was training for the Great Birmingham Run.

Chapter 3: Fine-Tuning your Body

“Chapter 3 highlights the importance of maintaining the well-oiled machine we call our body; it looks at issues relating the injury, illness and over-reaching and demonstrates how the right nutrition can combat these potential problems”

When I bought Fast Fuel, I headed straight to the sections on injury prevention and nutrition for sore, tired or injured bodies.

Injury prevention

The author points out that although being injured is very frustrating – this is an understatement – it is also a good time to reflect and to work out how you can reduce your risk of the same injury occurring again. Reading the book has made me realise just how much I need to improve my diet. I now suspect that my poor diet contributed to my foot injury. The third chapter also includes a thought-provoking section; ‘Have you lost your running mojo?’

As I believe that at some stage, nearly every runner experiences a loss of running mojo, I’ll dedicate a blog post to the subject.

Food, glorious food – Examples of light and main meals

Although my nut allergy unfortunately meant that I had to discount several recipes in Fast Fuel, I was still left with a decent number of light and main meals to choose from. While I obviously can’t share the exact recipes, I decided to list the meals I’ll be attempting to create over the next few weeks. If you’re really unlucky, I might share my thoughts in a future post.

  • Half and Half Chilli con Carne I’m a fan of ‘normal’ Chilli con Carne so thought this recipe looked intriguing. The recipe halves the amount of beef and replaces it with lentils.
  • Punjabi-Style Aloo Sabsi I picked this recipe simply because I want to try some completely new (to me!) food.
  • Roasted Vegetable and Mozzarella Bruschetta I tend to opt for bruschetta as a starter when I eat out, so I thought I’d see if I could make my own. With a preparation time of only five minutes, nothing can possibly go wrong…
  • Sausage Casserole I love sausages. I also enjoy making casseroles so, when the weather cools down, a sausage casserole sounds like a win-win.
  • Tangy Chicken Stir-Fry I’ve got a culinary confession; I’ve never made a stir-fry from scratch. Fingers crossed I manage to cook the chicken to perfection and don’t burn the vegetables.

If I disappear from twitter for a prolonged period of time, then it is highly likely one of these recipes didn’t quite go to plan.

The Verdict

I found Fast Fuel easy-to-read and I thought that the book was laid out in a logical way, with each chapter building on the previous chapter. If you are a runner who is interested in finding out more about how nutrition can aid your running performance, then this is quite possibly the perfect book for you. If you are a runner with a more advanced understanding of sports nutrition, then I suspect that Fast Fuel may be slightly too basic for you.

Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success is published by Nourish Books and has a RRP of £9.99 and is available from all major bookstores.

**Full disclosure: I bought Fast Fuel: Food for Running Success myself. I was not asked to review the book, but decided to share my honest thoughts on a book I found useful as a runner**

Arch support in running shoes: separating the truth from the gimmicks

I receive a lot of press releases and emails. Some are not relevant to my blog and get deleted, others are both relevant and informative. Last week I received an email about a couple of subjects I’ve thought about quite a lot recently – arch support in running shoes and customised insoles.

The RunRepeat team recently published the results from a meta analysis of more than 150 studies about arch support and its impact on injury risk, balance, and running economy for runners.

They dispelled quite a few myths and found that:

  • Arch support and features like motion control or stability doesn’t make a huge difference to injury risk, balance, or performance.
  • The more arch support you want the higher the shoe price
  • Choosing shoes based on wet test or your arch type might be a bad idea

Although the research article took more than 185 hours to write and is therefore slightly too long to share here, the authors produced this useful infographic that presents the key findings.

Arch-support-Truth-vs-hype-2-768x3053[Source]

As a runner who can’t actually run without customised insoles, I found both the article and the infographic very informative. Both left me with quite a lot to think about.

The authors concluded their article as follows:

“Arch support cannot make a huge difference to injury risk, balance, or performance for runners. There is no point spending extra money on arch support in shoes or shoe inserts, just because a salesman thinks your arch is a little too high or low. However, custom orthotics or specific shoes can help with pain management and dealing with certain foot related problems when used after consulting with a physician or certified coach.”

I’m a member of quite a few online running groups, and I agree that many runners appear to be getting pushed into buying expensive shoe inserts they probably don’t need. A certain sports retailer with stores across the UK actually encourages their staff to sell shoe inserts whenever they sell a pair of trainers. If I was an inexperienced runner, I would probably incorrectly assume that I was talking to an ‘expert’ and would fall for the sales pitch.

If sharing this article prevents just one runner from buying shoe inserts they don’t need I’ll be happy 🙂

Did you find the research article interesting? As someone with dodgy feet and arches I thought the article was pretty informative.

Had you realised that the more arch support you want in a pair of trainers the higher the shoe price? I definitely hadn’t realised I’m being penalised for having dodgy feet!

Rants and raves #15

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this latest random selection of rants and raves while watching the England versus Australia cricket match at Edgbaston. England aren’t playing very well at the moment. I can guarantee that because they are playing cricket in Edgbaston, it will rain in Four Oaks later (Update: It did eventually rain and England won). As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

Happy Monday! It will soon be Friday again… I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I’m looking forward to reading loads of race reports

Rave: Running

I’m pleased to report that I’m (just about) still running. My heel is still a little bit troublesome, but thanks to the combination of being sensible and not running too much, and stretching on a regular basis, I’m hopeful that I’ve got my injuries under control. My 16 week half marathon training plan starts on June 26th, and although I’m not 100 per cent confident my heel will cope with a half marathon, I’ve reached the stage I need some structure with my running. The first four weeks of the training plan are relatively easy, with runs lasting between 10 and 30 minutes, so *fingers crossed* I’ll at least make it to this stage of the plan. If I don’t, then it’s back to the drawing board.

Rant: The weather

Last time I raved about the weather. This time I’m going to have a short rant about our so-called ‘summer’. I’m sure I’m not the only person who has had enough of the cycle of sun-rain-sun-rain. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve set out on a walk or run in bright sunshine and have ended up getting drenched.RainFor once I was happy to be travelling on a train!

The weather has played havoc with the cricket – yes I know I now sound really middle-aged, and has left my house smelling of damp running gear and soggy trainers. Why are trainers so such a pain in the arse to dry? Don’t get me started on the midges and over evil biting insets that thrive in damp, warm conditions…

Rave: Avon Skin So Soft

I must apologise in advance for what is probably the most random rave ever; Avon Skin So Soft. If, like me, you seem to attract every single midge and random biting insect for miles, then invest in a couple of bottles of Avon Skin So Soft. It really does work.

Rant: Overly protective swans

Last week, as I was early for the train, I decided to take the scenic route to the local train station. My relaxing stroll (in the rain!) was great until I came face to face with Mr and Mrs Swan and their latest clutch of cygnets.SwansCute cygnets, evil parents!

As I power-walked ran through the swan danger zone, I was reminded of just how protective swans are of their young. The hissing was pretty impressive. I wouldn’t have minded, but the adult swans both know me because I’ve been feeding them fresh bread on a weekly basis since January. I guess that everything and everyone is seen as a potential predator. I just hope that this year the cygnets manage to avoid being taken by foxes.

Rave: Nike tights

I’ve decided to continue with my slightly fickle tradition of raving on about a random pair of running tights. Anyway, my latest discovery are these Nike Pro training capris.Nike tightsWorth breaking my running gear buying ban?

If my heel allows me to complete three runs for the next two weeks, I’ll probably break my ban on buying new running gear and treat myself. I’ve shifted so much of my unwanted running gear on eBay recently; I think I deserve a treat.

Rant: Mysterious announcements at train stations

Although I feel reasonable safe when I’m at London Euston, for some reason I feel anything but safe when I’m at Birmingham New Street train station. Probably because I rarely see any police and because the platforms are underground, are dark and cover a huge area. Last week, I was waiting for my train back to Four Oaks when this random announcement started playing on repeat:

 “Attention please, Staff Call 100” 

It’s amazing what you can find on YouTube!

I couldn’t see any station staff or police to talk to, and no one else was moving, so I decided to remain on the platform. The slightly scary announcement stopped playing after five minutes, so I guess it was some sort of false alarm.

Rave: Relive

I’ve now got a bonus rave for you lucky people.Relive

I’ve just registered on Relive and can’t wait to create and share some 3D videos of my more interesting training runs.

Once again if you’ve reached the end of my latest selection of moans and groans, then thank-you!

Have you ever been chased by animals or birds? I can now add angry swans to my list of horses, geese, cows, sheep and pigs.

Do you like to have running goals or are you more a ‘go with the flow’ type of runner? I like to set myself goals, and writing this has reminded me that thanks to my heel injury, I need to update my running goals.

My healthy kitchen ready meal review

Although I’ve been trying to be slightly more adventurous in the kitchen recently, I still seem to end up preparing and cooking the same meals.

It’s probably a good job I live alone as I don’t think many people would tolerate eating pasta several times a week. As you can imagine I was pretty pleased when I received an email inviting me to review a selection of healthy ready meals produced by a brand I hadn’t come across before called my healthy kitchen (myhk).

MYHK Collage

Last week a friendly gentleman in a refrigerated van appeared at my front door carrying a box containing food. Happy days! When I looked inside the box I saw that I’d been sent three myhk ready meals to try; Chicken Paella, Prawn Katsu and Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto. At this stage I’ll admit that I had no idea what one of the meals – Prawn Katsu – would taste like.

What is my healthy kitchen (myhk)?

My healthy kitchen (myhk) was launched earlier this year with the aim of providing speedy, wholesome meals that don’t compromise on taste or goodness.

In an ideal world, we’d all have a fresh, home-cooked dinner every single night. But who has the time?

When it comes to quick, healthier options, you might feel like it’s a choice between bland, low-calorie ready meals and boring salads. But at my healthy kitchen, we don’t think you should have to compromise on taste or goodness when you need a speedy meal. [Source]

At the moment, there are six myhk ready meals available, each inspired by global flavours: Moroccan Prawn; Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Risotto; Oriental Chicken; Chicken Paella; Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto; and Prawn Katsu.

Each meal aims to be as wholesome and tasty as something you’d cook from scratch, contains less than 500 calories and is made with healthy ingredients with no artificial flavours, preservatives or colours. In addition, each meal offers at least one nutritional benefit, whether it’s low in fat, saturated fat, or salt, is a source of protein or fibre, or contains one (or more!) of your five a day.

What can my healthy kitchen (myhk) ready meals be used for?

If you are in a rush and are looking for something fast, filling, and full of flavour to eat!!

The review process

As I have a nut allergy, I checked that none of the ready meals I’d been sent contained nuts. Fortunately none of the ready meals prepared by myhk contain nuts, so I was safe, phew!

Once I’d established I could actually eat the ready meals, the preparation and review process was quick and easy. Detailed, specific cooking instructions were provided with each ready meal, and as with most ready meals, all I had to do was remove the cardboard packaging, pierce the film lid, and cook the meal in the microwave for approximately three and a half to four minutes.

When I was satisfied that each ready meal was ready to eat, I got down to what I hoped would be the best part of the review process, actually eating the food!

The Verdict

I’ll start with a confession. Although I took a couple of photos of each ready meal before I put it in the microwave, once the food hit my plate I didn’t want to waste time trying to take arty food photos! It’s a good job I’m not a food blogger.

I’ve decided to give my thoughts on each of the three ready meals I was sent separately. I’ve also included information on the ingredients and nutrition information for each meal.

Chicken Paella

myhk says: Our take on the Valencian classic is simple but tasty, cooked with tender roasted chicken breast, beautifully smoky chorizo, sweet Piquillo peppers, peas, Arborio rice and sundried tomato purée.

Chicken PaellaAlthough the Chicken Paella smelt amazing when I removed it from the microwave, it tasted quite bland, and in my opinion was the least enjoyable of the myhk ready meals I was sent to review. While the roasted chicken breast was tender, I didn’t think the smoky chorizo was very tasty. I didn’t find the Chicken Paella very filling and less than an hour after my meal I felt hungry again.

Prawn Katsu

myhk says: Made with aromatic star anise, fennel, fenugreek, and coriander seeds, our irresistibly tasty katsu sauce has a spicy kick. It works perfectly with the flavours of the juicy king prawns, picked carrot, and jasmine rice.

Prawn KatsuI’ll keep my review simple; I absolutely loved the Prawn Katsu! As an added bonus I found the Prawn Katsu really filling, and didn’t find myself searching for more food an hour later.

Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto

myhk says: We make this vegetarian risotto with Arborio rice and quinoa crushed pea and fresh mint pesto, pickled red cabbage, rocket, and a creamy onion sauce.

Pea Mint Rocket RisottoAs I’m not a huge fan of picked red cabbage, I was a little concerned I’d find the Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto slightly too adventurous for my unsophisticated taste buds. Happily, I was proven wrong, and I absolutely loved the Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto.

All in all, I really enjoyed the three myhk ready meals I reviewed. Although I found the Chicken Paella a little bland, I would definitely purchase the Prawn Katsu and the Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto ready meals if I saw them on sale in my local supermarket. Now that I’ve discovered I enjoy spicy food, I might be slightly more adventurous in the kitchen…

With a RRP of £3.95, my healthy kitchen meals are available on Amazon Fresh and Ocado, and in Waitrose stores nationwide. 

**Full disclosure: I was sent a selection of three myhk ready meals for free in return for an honest review. I did not receive any payment for this review and as always all opinions and dodgy photographs are my own**

Book Review: Running Science by John Brewer

I hope that everyone had a good weekend, I’ve got something slightly different today; a book review.

The last book review I produced was for a lengthy academic book on the science of environmental flows. To be honest, the experience of having to read and review a 424 page book in three days put me off the process of reviewing books.

However, when I was sent the press release for a new book – Running Science – I knew that I would enjoy reviewing the book as it covers two of my favourite subjects.

Running Science

I’ll start with a huge spoiler.  Running Science is by far and away one of the best running books I’ve read. I found the book so engaging I couldn’t put it down and read it from cover-to-cover in one sitting. Pretty unusual for me as I am normally very easily distracted.

Running Science contains contributions by several different researchers and sports scientists and is edited by John Brewer, Professor of Applied Sports Science at St Mary’s University in London (follow John on twitter @sportprofbrewer). The book looks at the scientific facts behind the world’s best performances and includes insights that offer you the analysis to help you raise your game.

At its most basic level, running is deceptively simple. All you need to start is a decent pair of running shoes and some comfortable clothes. However, after a while most runners will want to learn more about the many factors – for example the weather – that affect running performance. Science plays an important role in most, if not all, of these factors.

photo

John Brewer and his team of expert contributors read through hundreds of scientific studies on running – a detailed reference list is provided – and broke their findings down into eight chapters; (1) The runner’s body, (2) Perfect motion, (3) Fuel and fluid, (4) Running psychology, (5) Training and racing, (6) Equipment, (7) Running well and (8) The big questions. Each chapter explores a different aspect of the sport through a series of questions for example:

Do ice baths aid recovery after long or intense runs? Are there physical limits to human marathon running achievement? The answer to each question is presented in a straightforward, accessible manner with accompanying infographics.

Rather than attempting to review the entire book, I decided to highlight four of the articles I found particularly interesting. Although the quality of my photographs is poor – sorry! – I decided to include them to show how each article is well laid out, includes infographics and is very easy to follow. If you want to read the text you’ll have to purchase the book.

How much does body weight affect running performance?

The combination of an unhealthy diet, drinking too much alcohol and being unable to run has left me feeling out of shape. I’m definitely carrying too much weight at the moment.

Weight performance

This article looks at the results of a study that explored the effect of excess weight on running performance. Although carrying excess weight slowed down the six runners who were tested, the added weight also reduced their maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max) relative to their body weight.

Can running shoes help with running form?

Like most runners, once I found a brand and type of running shoe that suited my running style, I’ve tended to stick with it. I do sometimes worry that always wearing motion control shoes when I run is weakening my feet. I also wonder what would happen if I attempted to run in minimalist running shoes.

Running shoes

Although this article isn’t particularly technical, it does provide a useful guide to the different types of running shoe. It also highlights the five elements a runner needs to consider when selecting running shoes. I hadn’t even considered two of these elements.

Can compression clothing improve performance and prevent injury?

I regularly wear compression socks when I run longer distances, and find that they help to reduce muscle fatigue. However, I’m aware that a lot of runners think that compression clothing is a waste of time and a gimmick.

Compression clothing

Although, from this article, it appears that the jury is still out on the efficacy of compression clothing, if as a runner you think compression helps then it’s worth considering including compression wear in your running gear.

Is it advisable to continue to train when injured?

I’m not the only runner who has chosen to ignore the occasional niggle. If I’d been given a pound every time a runner asked if they could run through the pain, I’d be a multi-millionaire.

Training when injured

When I read this article, I loved the Pain – it’s all in the mind infographic; apparently ultramarathoners really are masters at coping with extreme physiological stress. The article concludes that although it is possible to run through an injury, it depends on you and your unique brain.

If in doubt, get it checked out!

The Verdict

I would highly recommend Running Science to runners of all standards. I can guarantee that even experienced runners, who think they know everything there is to know about running, will find this book useful. I’ve made room in my already overflowing bookcase for this book as I am certain I will be referring back to it on a regular basis.

Running Science is published by Ivy Press and has a RRP of £20 and is available from all major bookstores.

**Full disclosure: I was sent an advance copy of Running Science for free in return for an honest review. I did not receive any payment for this review and as always all opinions and photographs are my own**

Rants and raves #14

**Disclaimer: I’m sharing my latest random selection of rants and raves after drinking slightly too much Malibu. I’ve been told that I’m far too honest when I’ve had a couple of drinks. As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

Happy Tuesday! I hope that everyone had a great Bank Holiday weekend. I can’t believe it’s almost June, whatever happened to May?

Rave: Running

As I’ve spent months complaining about my inability to run, I thought I should probably start my latest selection of rants and raves with a rave. My right heel is feeling so much better *touch wood* I can run again. Although I’m still completing the majority of my runs without my Garmin, I’m now able to run three times a week.

Following on from my last rants and raves post I had to fork out £35 to enter the Great Birmingham Run In order to get my £55 Birmingham International Marathon entry fee refunded. I’m quietly confident I’ll be able to complete the half marathon in October. If I’m injured again then at least I’ve ‘only’ wasted £35 on race entry fees and not £55…

Hopefully the local trains will be running slightly earlier on the morning of the race this year.

Rant: Trains

While on the subject of trains, anyone who follows me on twitter will be aware that I tweet about my train related woes on a regular basis. My personal train travel ‘highlights’ so far this year have included being stuck just outside Birmingham International station for two hours without any information, delays and cancellations due to unexploded bombs and overhead line damage, witnessing fights and drug dealing, phone calls lasting two hours and my least favourite; people vomiting all over the place.Train DelayJust a slightly delayed journey back to Birmingham.

At least Virgin trains have really, really effective air conditioning. It’s just a shame their trains make me feel really travel sick because they smell like a sewage treatment works on wheels.

Rave: The weather

As I’m writing this it’s a typical wet and gloomy Bank Holiday Monday morning. I’m hoping that summer 2017 hasn’t already been and gone, but how awesome was the summery weather we had last week? I’ve just checked out the weather forecast for Four Oaks and it looks like we will get to enjoy a combination of light rain and heavy thundery showers.

Bank Holiday weatherTypical Bank Holiday Monday weather!

Fortunately, the weather for the remainder of the week looks slightly more positive.

Rant: My inability to drink in moderation

On Thursday I travelled down to London to meet up with someone I hadn’t seen for ages for “a quick drink” and a bite to eat. Four hours, several pints, half a bottle of red wine an Italian meal (I can’t remember what I ate…) and a shot of Limoncello(?) later I was feeling slightly inebriated. For some reason I decided to take several photos of the local architecture, so much for drunken selfies.

Drunken photosI have zero interest in architecture so have no idea why I took these photos.

My “I’m never drinking again” vow on Friday morning clearly didn’t last very long as I spent Sunday evening working my way through the bottle of Malibu my brother bought me for my birthday. Cheers Paul!

Rave: My bargain MPG leggings

Whenever I’m in Sutton Coldfield, I always end up calling into TK Maxx to check out the Activewear. Although I tend to leave empty-handed, I got my friend to treat me to a pair of these  Mondetta tights for my birthday.

Mondetta tightsUnfortunately it was too wet to get a photo of me posing in my new running tights. 

They are easily the most comfortable pair of running tights I’ve worn.

Rant: My diet

After keeping a detailed food diary for a few weeks, it’s clear that I urgently need to improve my diet. I rarely eat enough portions of fruit and vegetables and I eat far too much junk food. I treated myself to a couple of Renee McGregor’s books last year; it’s about time I actually read them!

Rave: Nuun mixology

I was going to have a rant about the BBQ my new neighbours had on Saturday – smelling the BBQ food was torture – but I decided to include a short bonus rave. My mobile has been playing up so much recently; I’ve transferred all of the photos from my phone onto my computer. In among all the random photos I found this article on Nuun mixology.Nuun Mixology

Apologies for the rubbish quality of the article, I found more information here and here.

Once again, if you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, then thank-you.

Did you have an enjoyable Bank Holiday weekend? Hopefully the weather was better than it was here in Sutton Coldfield.

Do you ever run without your GPS? Hopefully I’m not the only ‘naked’ runner out there!