A weekend in Wallingford and a spot of parkrun tourism

Good morning. As always, I hope that everyone had an awesome weekend. My weekend was a little different. Most of you know that I like to travel back home on a Friday. When I discovered that Oxford station would be closed due to engineering works, I decided to spend the weekend in Wallingford.

After arranging to meet up with a couple of colleagues on Saturday, I escaped from the office, walked back to my shared house, had a nap and researched my weekend running options.

My preferred option was to get up early enough to make it to Didcot for a spot of parkrun tourism. Unfortunately, thanks to the incredibly unreliable bus service between Wallingford and Didcot, this wasn’t guaranteed.  A Sunday morning run with the Run Wallingford group was another ‘safer’ option.

So what happened? Did I pop my parkrun tourism cherry? Did I join up with Run Wallingford for a longer Sunday run?

On Saturday, one of my house mates woke everyone up at 06:30. I’ve no idea what he was doing in the kitchen, but he was incredibly noisy. I wasn’t too fussed as I’d got 8 hours’ sleep. I’d set my alarm for 07:00 so could live with the loss of 30 minutes sleep.

I’m pleased to report that the 07:50 bus towards Oxford got me to Didcot in plenty of time for parkrun. We had to swap buses in Brightwell-cum-Sotwell – what an awesome name – but still reached Didcot at 08:30. I successfully navigated my way to the rather low key start area, took a terrible parkrun selfie, and got chatting to some local runners. I also met a few people who were collecting their ‘D’ as part of the parkrun alphabet challenge.

Didcot parkrun start

Didcot parkrun selfie

I was a good parkrun tourist and attended the pre-run briefing where we were informed we had to complete three laps around a small park and then a longer straight section to the finish. We were also asked to get into a group for a sensible group photo.

Didcot parkrun group 1

[Photo: Lewis Cousins]

We were then asked to strike a pose for a second group photo…

Didcot pakrun group 2

[Photo: Lewis Cousins]

It seems it was a case of different parkrun, same old Emma. I set out at a slightly ambitious pace and started to struggle with stitch during the first lap of the park. I slowed down and started to feel a bit better during the second lap of the park, and by the final lap, I finally started to enjoy myself. Three laps of the park complete, I left the park and headed into the unknown.

Didcot parkrun lap 2

[Photo: Lewis Cousins]

I thought we’d run a short distance along the perimeter of the housing estate and then finish. After what felt like several minutes heading in the wrong direction and away from the start, I started to feel a little concerned. Although by this stage it was incredibly warm, I could see goosebumps on my arms and felt cold. I knew I needed to stop running ASAP and to get myself in some shade. Let’s just say I was incredibly relieved when we finally turned right and started to head back towards where I assumed the finish was.

We were directed onto some energy sapping grass and I finally spotted the finish area. I’d like to say I put on an impressive sprint finish but I simply staggered across the line, collected a token, had my barcode and token scanned, and then found some shade. Most people didn’t appear to be hanging around – I’d timed my tourism with the one week the local football club wasn’t available for post-run drinks – so I found someone who knew where they were going, and walked with them back to Didcot station.

I made it back to Wallingford at 11:00, got back to my shared house, had a quick shower and then headed back to bed for a powernap as I didn’t feel quite right. Fortunately, a lengthy powernap seemed to do the trick, and I felt much better when I woke up.

I spent a couple of hours chilling out in my room and then walked into Wallingford to meet up with a work colleague. After a quick discussion, we decided to walk the shortish distance to the Waterfront Cafe located on the banks of the River Thames in Benson. The walk to Benson introduced me to what would be an amazing run through Wallingford Castle Gardens towards Benson Lock. I’m a little frustrated I was so busy talking I forgot to take any photos as the area around Benson Lock was stunning.

We reached the Waterfront Cafe and found a table outside close to the Thames. We ordered a couple of pints of draught beer and then spent ages checking out the menu. After debating the pros and cons of various options, I decided to order the rather grand sounding Waterfront Caesar salad and my colleague ordered the prawn and smoked salmon salad.

The Caesar salad looked amazing when it arrived but contained a little too much lettuce for my liking. It was very much a case of I wish that I’d ordered something else! We finished our salads, ordered a couple more pints of beer and waited for another work colleague to arrive.

Saturday evening

I think it’s safe to say we were both a little tipsy by this stage, so we were relieved when our colleague arrived and we could check out the dessert menu. The menu was a little limited so I decided to play it safe and ordered the luxury ice cream – the choice was either vanilla or vanilla ice cream – with strawberry sauce, and a fourth pint of beer. Our colleague unfortunately couldn’t stay for long so we chatted some more, drank some more, paid the bill and then walked back into Wallingford.

I’m not sure who suggested we stopped off at the Boathouse pub for pint number five but I didn’t say no. By the time I got back to my shared house it was almost midnight. I knew there was little chance of me feeling well enough or getting up in time to join up with Run Wallingford for a training run.

I think I’d describe Sunday as quiet and steady. When I woke up at 08:00 I felt far better than I probably deserved to. The hot weather had made an unwelcome reappearance so I decided not to join up with the Run Wallingford group. After a quick food shop in Wallingford, I spent most of the day inside reading and catching up on some blogmin. A slight waste of a Sunday but I needed some time to myself and to chill out.

So all things considered, I had a great second weekend in Wallingford.

Did you have a good weekend?

Do you think the heat wave is ever going to end?

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Rants and raves #29

**Disclaimer: I’m writing this post while watching the football. Apologies for the inevitable spelling mistakes and typos. As always, all moans and groans and rants and raves represent my own views. Other, less negative and far superior running and fitness blogs are available**

Rave: The Weather

After enduring a pretty disappointing first few months of the year, I’m making the most of the warmer weather. Walking to and from the office is no longer a chore, and I’m loving the sunshine and the blue skies.

Wallingford summer

I’m more fortune than most of my colleagues because although my office doesn’t have air conditioning, I have a window seat. This means that when I’m lucky, I get to sit in a breeze and don’t start to feel too warm until the afternoon. Thanks to my complete lack of ‘real-life’ commitments, I’m able to run when I want which really helps.

However, as a hydrologist, the lack of recent rainfall is getting a little concerning. If it doesn’t rain soon, work will be a nightmare so watch out for this rave cunningly turning into a rant.

Rave: Recognition as a blogger

I don’t like to blow my own trumpet but have been asked a couple of times to share this information so here goes. My blog was selected by Feedspot as one of the Top 10 UK Women Running Blogs on the web.

Blog awardHere’s the link to the Top 10. Although there are lots of amazing blogs on there, the site is a little confusing as unless I’m being really dense, there only appear to be seven blogs in the list.

So thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and to comment on my running-related ramblings.

Rant: Flying and biting insets and nettles

I know I complained about this 12 months ago, but there is a downside to the warmer weather; flying insects, insects that bite and stinging nettles.Nasty things

[Source]

I’ve lost count of the number of insects I’ve swallowed. I’ve also discovered that tiny black bugs in Wallingford *really* like fluorescent yellow running tops. Not ideal last week when I realised that all of the running tops I had in Wallingford were fluorescent yellow.

Rave: Running

Another repeat rave but *touch wood* and *fingers and toes crossed* my fragile body is behaving itself at the moment. After a couple of disappointing races, I took a couple of weeks off from running and embraced the drinking scene in Wallingford.

The drinking didn’t suit me so I charged up my Garmin and pulled on my trainers. Although my run on Thursday evening felt quite challenging, my five mile run on Sunday morning felt effortless. Training for Royal Parks Half Marathon starts in three weeks time and I can’t wait

As an added incentive to run regularly, I signed up as a member of #TeamSouth – there wasn’t a #TeamMidlands or #TeamCentral option – for the Run Around the World Challenge  in July.

Run Around the World

Mind is an amazing charity and the medal looks awesome. If you haven’t already signed up, check out the website!

Rant: Fundraising

Apologies in advance for what I have a feeling is another repeat rant. A couple of weeks ago I spent the day with Geoff in the Royal Marsden Hospital in Chelsea. Witnessing firsthand the amazing work the hospital does and meeting some seriously unwell people left me feeling incredibly fortunate. I also came away feeling even more determined to reach my £1000 fundraising target.

I shared my experience in a post on Farcebook and my fundraising total increased by the grand total of zero English pounds. I emailed the link to my fundraising page to a family member in the hope they’d add a donation and they completely ignored me. This family member was cured by the Royal Marsden so they have a personal connection to the charity.

I guess I’ve got quite a few more months to encourage irritate my friends and family on social media. As I don’t want to irritate everyone, I’ve set up a dedicated page on Farcebook.

Rant: My sun repelling legs

My arms are nicely tanned but my legs seem to be determined to repel the sun. They now look so white I’ve been considering investing in some fake tan. I’m just a little concerned I’ll repeat the great fake tanning disaster of 1999.

Rave: Marathon Talk/Runr t-shirts

I’ll end with a bonus rave; the link to a Marathon Talk/Runr t-shirt  I treated myself to last week.Marathon Talk runr tee

So much for my ‘ban’ on buying unessential running gear. By the way, I’m not on commission and haven’t been asked to share the link to this t-shirt, I just thought I’d share it on here as a ‘rave’.

Once again, if you’ve managed to reach the end of my latest random selection of rants and raves, a massive thank-you. I’ve saved my major rant about Skimlinks and WordPress for another post. Anyway, I hope my rants and my raves were reasonable.

Have you been enjoying the heat wave or have you had enough of the hot weather? I love summer but wish my room in Wallingford wasn’t like a sauna.

Do you have any tops for cooling down after running when it’s hot? I seem to look like a beetroot for several hours after each run.

A belated birthday, a parkrun and too much food

I hope that everyone had an amazing Bank Holiday weekend. How amazing was the weather? Returning to Wallingford later is going to be even more of a chore than normal.

I’ll start by rewinding a week. Last Tuesday I reached the grand old age of 39. I celebrated(?) my birthday in an incredibly quiet office. There was no cake and no after work drinks, I don’t think many people realised it was my birthday. The highlight of the day was my right knee surviving a five mile run after work.

I wasn’t too fussed as I knew my birthday celebrations would take place during the weekend.

I made my usual quick escape from the office at 15:00 on Friday, and arrived back in Four Oaks three hours later. After demolishing far too much Chinese food, I spent my Friday evening tackling the washing mountain, catching up on Chicago Fire and just chilling out. Boring but I needed some time to relax.

On Saturday, I woke up ridiculously early and couldn’t get back to sleep. I decided to risk running a little faster (for me) at Walsall parkrun.

I arrived at the Arboretum, jogged to the start area and made sure I lined up a little nearer the front than I usually would. I crossed the start line and spent a couple of minutes struggling to get into any sort of rhythm.

Not the most flattering parkrun photo, I can’t tell if I’m smiling or grimacing. Walsall 1

[Photo: Laurie-Anne Kennedy]

I wanted the finish in sub-28 minutes, but given the heat and my lack of running faster than 10 min/miles recently, I was happy to finish in 28:18. I’m aware that I’ve said it before but next time 😉

I jogged back to the top end of the Arboretum where my friend was waiting – apparently I looked just like a beetroot – posed for the traditional post-parkrun photo, and was given a lift home. Post Walsall

I had a couple of hours to start my ironing, to have a shower, to lose my red face and to get ready for my first belated birthday meal.

I met my friend at Bistrot Pierre in Mere Green, selected a table inside the restaurant (it was far too hot to sit outside) and spent a few minutes working out what to eat. After a lot of debate, I opted for the Cassolette de moules to start with followed by Steak-Frites and Crème brûlée to finish.

Although I managed to eat all three courses, I felt incredibly peaky when I’d finished the Crème brûlée. I never usually struggle to eat, so will blame it on the warmer than average weather.

Food food food

The rest of Saturday afternoon was quiet and may have involved a power nap; I guess it’s all good practice for when I turn 40 next year. I caught up on some blog related admin, listed some unwanted running gear on FleaBay and finished my ironing. Fun, fun, fun! Adulting tasks over, I had my third shower of the day, got changed and walked to the local pub to meet some school friends.

I had such a boozy night my early Sunday morning run didn’t take place.

After a very steady start to Sunday, mum collected me and drove me back home. The original plan had been to head to one of the local Chinese restaurants for an ‘all you can eat’ buffet. Due to the appearance of ‘summer 2018’, the buffet meal was postponed.  After a bit of sneaky sunbathing – top tip, remember to remove your socks first – we ate in the garden.

Summer 2018

I failed as a blogger and forgot to take photos of the food and birthday cake mum had made for me. The cake was amazing and possibly fuelled by Pimm’s and lemonade; I piled far too much on my plate.

Yesterday, I spent the morning and early afternoon working on the paper I am meant to be presenting at a conference later on this year. After discovering that my current assignment is not going to be extended, I also spent a couple of hours exploring some possible career options.

Definitely not the most exciting Bank Holiday Monday!

Did you have a good Bank Holiday weekend?

Christmas gifts for runners

Last year, my rather unsubtle Christmas gifts for runners (named Emma) post was reasonably successful. While my family quite sensibly ignored the more expensive items in my guide, on Christmas Day I found myself unwrapping parcels containing a Lululemon running skirt, Shock Absorber sports bra and some running socks.

It’s now December and Christmas is rapidly approaching. Although I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told my family I can’t afford Christmas this year, I keep getting asked “what would you like for Christmas Emma?”. As a result, I’ve decided to produce an updated Christmas gifts for runners guide.

Once again, I’ve included photos and links to each item to hopefully save my family time when they are shopping online.

Christmas 2017

Donation to my fundraising page My close friend Geoff was recently diagnosed with a rare form of thyroid cancer. After a discussion with my him, I decided to use my place in the Cambridge Half to raise money for the Butterfly Thyroid Cancer Trust, the first registered charity in the UK dedicated solely to the support of people affected by thyroid cancer. At the moment my fundraising isn’t going very well. I’m hoping that my family and friends will start to feel more generous as Christmas approaches.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17 trainers I’m aware that these were included in my gift guide last year. However, I genuinely believe that a runner can never have too many pairs of trainers. Although these trainers are expensive, they are cheaper than the physio sessions I needed last time I attempted to run in a different brand and model of trainers.

HydrateM8 water bottle I need to drink less Diet Coke and more still water. I’m hoping that a motivational HydrateM8 water bottle will help me to ditch the fizzy drinks and to embrace the clear stuff.

Entry into the Vitality London 10,000 I’ve included this rather random gift suggestion again because an entry into one of my favourite races would make an amazing Christmas present. I’m pretty certain that most runners would love to receive a race entry as a Christmas gift.

Garmin Forerunner 235 Unfortunately, my second-hand Garmin Forerunner 220 has been a little temperamental for quite some time and will probably need replacing within the next six months. A runner can always dream!

Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones I’ve done my research, i.e. I’ve read a couple of blogs and online reviews, and the Aftershokz Trekz Titanium wireless headphones sound pretty awesome. When I (hopefully) move to Wallingford next month, I’ll be doing most of my training on a ‘dreadmill’ and will, therefore, need to upgrade my rubbish freebie phone headphones. If you do decide to treat me to a pair, blue is my favourite colour.

Shock Absorber Ultimate Run sports bra If anyone in my family knows what happened to the Ultimate Run sports bra I unwrapped on Christmas Day last year please let me know! My boobs have now had enough of the worn-out sports bras I bought from H&M over four years ago.

Bespoke eatnaturally nutrition plan While I’ve really enjoyed attempting to follow and recreate several of the recipes on the Fitnaturally website, I know that I’d benefit from a bespoke nutrition plan. You keep telling me that I’m getting a little “podgy” so here’s your chance to help me sort my diet out.

Jasyoga Hit Reset book I’ve been subscribing to Jasyoga for quite some time now and would love a copy of Erin Taylor’s Hit Reset book. If you don’t manage to track down a copy of the Hit Reset book don’t worry, Erin has written a second book called Work IN which is available for pre-order now.

The Running School biomechanical running analysis And finally, if you are searching for the perfect gift for an injury-prone runner, I’ve got a great suggestion; a biomechanical running analysis. I’ve included a link to The Running School; however, loads of places seem to offer a similar running analysis.

Have you asked for any running related gifts for Christmas this year?

I’m feeling like a runner again and Vieve protein water review

I hope that everyone has had a great week. I can’t believe that it’s nearly the weekend again.

After recently completing 65 and 75 minute training runs, I’m finally feeling like a runner again. It’s been a while. I’ve almost reached week 12 of my half marathon training plan and I’m starting to believe I’ll make it to the start line of the Great Birmingham Run next month.

I’m feeling so confident, I’ve started to look at potential races in November and December. Although I suspect that some of my revised running goals may well be unachievable due to my lack of pace, I’m still determined to run a sub-30 minute 5k and a sub-60 minute 10k this year.

Learner runner[Source]

Once I’ve successfully completed the Great Birmingham Run – you see, I can be positive – I’m going to focus on running slightly shorter distances. I’m also going to incorporate some speed work into my weekly training. Hopefully my dodgy feet will cope with the fartlek sessions I’ve got planned.

Vieve protein water review

I recently received a press release about a brand new protein water drink; Vieve. As I was intrigued and love testing and reviewing new products, I asked if I could have some samples to review.

Vieve 1My samples of Vieve arrived a couple of weeks ago and I immediately put them in the fridge. The recent warm weather meant that they didn’t last very long.

What is Vieve?

Founded by entrepreneur Rafael Rozenson, Vieve is a new protein water brand which launched in the UK this year. As I’m a hydrologist and not a nutritionist, I’m not going to pretend that I’m aware of the benefits of protein to active women and men.

A recent report by Mintel suggested that I’m not alone and although in the UK we are becoming increasingly health conscious, we still lack awareness of the health benefits of protein, with 25 per cent of us unsure of how much protein we really need in our diet.

With no sugar, no fat, no artificial colours or flavours and 20g of protein in every bottle, Vieve is marketed as a refreshing way for active women and men to get the protein required for recovery, muscle growth and maintenance of healthy bones.

Vieve is the first sports nutrition product to achieve Sugarwise certification and is available in three flavours:

  • Coconut and Honey
  • Strawberry and Rhubarb
  • Citrus, Apple and Mint

I was sent one 500ml bottle of each flavour to try. Here are my thoughts on each of the three flavours.

Coconut and Honey flavour

Although, after a slightly rocky start, I’ve grown to like the taste of coconut water, I’ll be completely honest and admit that as I don’t like the taste of honey, I wasn’t looking forward to drinking the bottle of Coconut and Honey flavour Vieve.

I decided to drink my bottle of Coconut and Honey flavour Vieve after I’d completed a 20 minute recovery run in humid conditions. Unfortunately, I only managed to drink a quarter of the bottle as I didn’t like the combination of coconut and honey and started to feel slightly nauseous. I suspect that this may have been a result of the humid conditions rather than the drink.

Strawberry and Rhubarb flavour

I was intrigued and a little apprehensive when I saw the bottle of Strawberry and Rhubarb flavour Vieve. While I love strawberries and quite like the taste of rhubarb, I wasn’t completely convinced that the two would work well together.

Vieve 2I saved my bottle of Strawberry and Rhubarb flavour Vieve as a reward for completing a longer run. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to drink 500ml of Strawberry and Rhubarb flavour protein water at 6am on a Sunday morning, but it was very easy to drink and tasted so amazing I was disappointed when I reached the end of the bottle.

Citrus, Apple and Mint flavour

Once again, I was intrigued and a little sceptical when I saw the bottle of Citrus, Apple and Mint flavour Vieve. What would the combination of citrus, apple and mint taste like? Would the taste of mint overwhelm the citrus and apple? Would I manage to drink it?

I drank my third and final bottle of Vieve after a hot and challenging 20 minute run. I found the Citrus, Apple and Mint flavour Vieve natural tasting and very easy to drink. The drink left me feeling hydrated and refreshed. As an added bonus, I managed to avoid my usual post running in humid conditions headache.

Would I recommend Vieve protein water?

Yes! I would definitely recommend the Strawberry and Rhubarb and the Citrus, Apple and Mint flavour Vieve. Although I personally didn’t like the Coconut and Honey flavour Vieve, my friend Kate did. I found Vieve slightly easier to drink at 6am than my usual post-run drink; strawberry or chocolate flavour milkshake. I found Vieve quite filling, very refreshing and incredibly convenient. If I spotted Strawberry and Rhubarb Vieve in my local supermarket I’d definitely stock up.

Vieve protein water drinks are available from Vieve and costs £14.99 for a pack of six bottles.

**Full disclosure: I was sent some samples of Vieve for free in return for a review. I did not receive any payment for this review. As always all opinions and dodgy photographs are my own**

Great Birmingham Run training week 9

I hope that everyone is enjoying the Bank Holiday weekend. For once, the weather has been pretty much perfect. Although I found the eighth week of my half marathon training relatively easy, I was incredibly apprehensive about three of the training runs in week nine.  Collage 21Week nine of my beginners half marathon training plan – the slightly scaring sounding “second building phase” – saw me complete a 10 minute recovery run on Monday, 35 minute runs on both Wednesday and Friday and a longer 65 minute run on Sunday. Week nine also saw me rediscover my love of a glass of cold Diet Coke after a run. So much for my self-imposed Diet Coke ban. I guess I can always try to give up again after the half marathon.

Monday – 10 mins easy jog

When I first spotted that Monday wasn’t a rest day, I was a little concerned my fragile feet would cope with running on three consecutive days. Fortunately, my heel felt reasonably niggle-free when I dragged myself out of bed, so I decided to run. It was cold, it was wet and it was windy. My pace probably wasn’t ‘easy’ as I set out far too quickly.  The 10 minute run up and down my road was over before I’d warmed and woken up. Week 9 had got off to a reasonably positive start.

Tuesday – Rest

When I got up on Tuesday, I felt that I really needed a rest day. Luckily my training plan had allocated me a day away from the pavements of Four Oaks. I spent the morning and early afternoon working through a 36 page long application form, it was seriously tedious. As a ‘reward’ I gave myself the night off from cooking for one and treated myself to a curry from the local takeaway. You may wonder why I’m telling you what I ate, all will be revealed.

Wednesday – 35 mins steady

When my alarm woke me at 05:30 I noticed three things. It was very dark outside, I was extremely thirsty and my guts felt somewhat unsettled. I wasn’t overly concerned about the dark or my thirst; I was concerned about my guts. I got changed into some running gear, went to the loo, drank a glass of water, went to the loo again, completed my PF exercises and stretches, went to the loo for a third time and then headed outside.

My run was very nearly quite literally, shit. I set out far too quickly (for me), felt nauseous virtually the whole time and spent the final ten minutes trying not to have an unfortunate accident. Running is actually quite hard when you *really* need the loo. Looking back, I’ve got no idea how I made it home but I won’t be eating chicken korma – yes my guts are pathetic – the evening before I run. The rest of the day was uneventful!

Thursday – Rest

Another rest day. Although I love being able to run again, I also love my rest days. I know I’ve said if before, but my fragile body needs what my old coach used to call ‘rest and recuperation’ days. I was reasonably productive and spent seven hours analysing flow data for an academic paper I doubt I’ll ever finish. By about 17:00 I needed a break from my computer and some fresh air so I popped out for a quick walk. Most sensible people who live in Four Oaks would head straight to Sutton Park. I decided walk the route I use for my longer early morning mid-week runs.Collage 22As you can see from the photos, it’s not the most exciting place to run. I’m actually getting quite bored of running up and down the same three roads, and have lost count of the number of times I’ve run past Streetly Tennis Club. I’ve searched for alternative routes but have yet to find anywhere as flat, heckler free *touches wood* and quiet. I guess I’ll be running a few more loops in the lead up to the half marathon.

When I got home I cooked myself a bland and hopefully ‘safe’ pasta and watched the Diamond League athletics.

Friday – 35 mins steady

After my rubbish run on Wednesday, I made sure that I set out at a far more sensible and sustainable pace. Conditions were perfect and I only had to step into the road to avoid a pedestrian once. I didn’t even see the elderly gentleman walking his noisy dog. I hope last week’s incident hasn’t made him alter his early morning routine. The rest of Friday was productive. I submitted a couple of job applications, washed three loads of washing and made a start on decluttering my ‘normal’ clothes.

Saturday – Rest

I’m not sure what went wrong, but I didn’t wake up until after 09:00. I guess I’m getting old and all the early mornings and lack of sleep finally caught up with me. I spent the morning writing eBay descriptions and then met my friend Anna for lunch. I forgot to take photos of my food, but I’m sure you can visualise my Chicken Caesar salad and chocolate pudding. And I wonder why I’m not losing much weight. The remainder of the day was uneventful and mundane – for example planning potential running routes – I won’t bore you with the details. I made sure I ate a sensible meal, pasta again, laid out my running kit, set my alarm and went to bed at 22:00.

Sunday – 65 mins steady

The extra sleep resulted in me waking well before my alarm, not ideal. I lay in bed thinking about my run for a few minutes and then got up. I got dressed, had a successful loo visit, drank a couple of glasses of water, worked my way through my PF exercises and stretches, headed out the door and started to run.

The first 35 minutes of my run felt so easy, I had to keep forcing myself to slow down. It was surprisingly busy out for a Sunday morning and I spotted a few people doing the ‘walk of shame’. Although the second half of the run was slightly more challenging, I managed to run up the hill that had beaten me a year ago. The final three minutes tested my mental strength. Have you ever had to run past the front door of your house when you are tired and just want to walk? It’s difficult! I completed the 65 minutes, walked for a few minutes, got home, forced myself to a pint of orange nuun, took some dodgy selfies, had a shower and then headed back to bed for a nap.Collage 23So that’s week nine and the second building phase of my half marathon training more or less completed. Will I ever learn to slow down and to pace myself? I very much doubt it. This time last year, I discussed carrying water with me on training runs lasting over an hour. I mentioned the Ultimate Direction hydration pack I’d won in a competition. Fast forward 12 months and I’m still too lazy to carry water with me on my longer runs. I think the hydration pack I won last year is gathering dust in the loft somewhere.

My week 10 – double figures at last – training schedule contains four training runs and looks even more challenging. I’ve somehow got to complete a 35 minute run on Tuesday, a slightly faster (yeah right) 45 minute run on Thursday, a 20 minute recovery run on Friday and what is described as a 75 minute ‘jog/walk’ on Sunday. As I like to plan ahead and to avoid hills, I’ve already planned out a reasonably flat, seven mile route.

Training totals

  • Runs: 29
  • Time: 11 hours 0 mins
  • Distance: 61.20 miles

Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 32:49
  • 10 km: TBC during week 12

Niggleometer

  • Right heel: 4/10
  • Right knee: 4/10
  • Left foot: 5/10

Nutri Advanced Magnesium Glycinate tablets review

Back in June, I discovered that Nutri Advanced were on the lookout for people to review their Magnesium Glycinate tablets. I applied, was accepted and a couple of days later I received a large tub of Magnesium Glycinate tablets and some really informative supporting documents. Once I’d read through these documents, I was ready to start the three week trial.

nutri 1

Now that I’ve completed the three week trial, I feel that I’m in a position to produce a hopefully useful review.

What is Magnesium Glycinate?

Nutri Advanced has been providing healthy effective vitamins, health and nutritional supplements to a wide range of consumers since 1981. Nutri Advanced uses rigorous scientific research to make sure that their supplements use bio-available, active and preferred forms of vitamins and minerals to ensure maximum absorption.

Magnesium is an important mineral – it is essential for hundreds of reactions within the body. Magnesium is also known as “nature’s tranquiliser”, it has a calming effect on nerves and muscles and is also necessary for energy production.

  • Magnesium is essential for the production of energy within every cell in the body – it may increase energy levels and help reduce tiredness and fatigue.
  • Magnesium contributes to the electrolyte balance within the body.
  • Magnesium is essential for the normal functioning of the nervous system and psychological function – low magnesium levels may be associated with confusion or irritability.
  • Magnesium contributes to normal muscle function.
  • Magnesium contributes to the synthesis of protein.
  • The maintenance of normal bones and teeth need magnesium – it helps keep calcium within bones and teeth.

Nutri Advanced magnesium tablets use Magnesium Glycinate. This is a superior form of magnesium that is well absorbed meaning that it gets to work quickly and doesn’t have a laxative effect. Magnesium Glycinate is generally well tolerated, so the tablets are suitable for people with a sensitive digestive system.

Nutri Advanced[Source]

As a runner, I was curious to see if the Magnesium Glycinate tablets would help to increase my energy levels and reduce my tiredness. Although I must admit I was slightly sceptical when I started taking the tablets, I was also interested to see if the Magnesium Glycinate tablets would help to reduce the post-run aches and pains, random calf cramps and delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) I’d been experiencing.

The review process

In theory, the review process was extremely straightforward. All I had to do was take two tablets two times a day with my meals and then report back on my experiences.

Nutri 2

It took me a couple of days to get into the habit of taking the Magnesium Glycinate tablets. While I’d describe myself as a world expert at eating food, it turns out that I’m not very good at swallowing tablets. I overcame this minor hurdle by closing my eyes so that I couldn’t see the tablet, and making sure that I swallowed the tablet with a lot of water. Other people have recommended snapping the tablets in half to make them easier to swallow.

The Verdict

After completing the three week trial of Magnesium Glycinate tablets, I can confirm that these tablets are gentle on the digestive system. Fortunately, my somewhat temperamental digestive system tolerated the tablets and I avoided any ‘toilet sprints’. I was experiencing quite painful calf cramps and DOMS at the start of my half marathon training, the DOMS and cramps almost completely disappeared when I was taking the tablets. I accept that this may be purely down to the fact my legs have now adapted to my regular training runs. It will be really interesting to see if the cramps and DOMS make an unwelcome reappearance now that I’ve stopped taking the tablets.

Although the Magnesium Glycinate tablets didn’t always completely eliminate my tiredness and fatigue, I did start to notice an increase in my energy levels towards the end of the trial. Although it’s only been two weeks since I stopped taking the tablets, I’ve already noticed my energy levels decreasing and levels of irritability increasing. This may be a result of me running more frequently and not getting enough sleep; it will be interesting to see if I continue to feel tired and quite irritable virtually all of the time.

What I do know is that after seeing the benefits of increasing my daily magnesium intake, I’m now actively trying to consume more magnesium rich foods.

Magnesium Glycinate tablets are available from Nutri Advanced and other online retailers and have a RRP of £17.95.

**Full disclosure: I was sent a tub of Nutri Advanced Magnesium Glycinate tablets for free in return for a review. I did not receive any payment for this review. As always all opinions are my own**