15 tips for running and racing on a budget

As I’ve got a reputation for being careful with my money a tight-arse, I’ve decided to share some of my tips for running and racing on a limited budget. Hopefully some will be useful.

1. Buy old models of trainers. When I first started running, I would buy the latest model of my favourite trainers as soon as they were released. It took me far too long to realise that wearing the latest model of trainers wasn’t going to make me a faster runner. Old models of trainers are usually almost the same shoe at a much cheaper price. I now always search for old models of my favourite trainers online, and stock up when they go on sale.

2. Look after your trainers. I need to replace my trainers every 400 miles or so. To make my trainers last longer I avoid wearing them for anything other than running. I used to play tennis in my favourite trainers, now I know this was adding to their wear and tear, just walking in trainers can wear out the cushioning. Finally, if you need to wash your trainers then use mild soap and cold water, never put them in the washing machine.

3. Only buy what you actually need. I used to be really gullible when it came to buying running gear and accessories, and would purchase virtually every ‘must have’ running gizmo I saw advertised in Runner’s World. I realised that my spending was slightly out of control when I owned 24 pairs of trainers. It really was a case of ‘all the kit, still shit’. Guess what? You don’t need 24 pairs of trainers and the latest blingy GPS watch. I’ve spent thousands on running gear and I’m still shit at running!

all-the-kit

4. Shop around for running gear. While I’m a huge fan of my local independent running store, my limited budget has forced me to search for cheaper alternatives. One advantage of the current running boom is the ever-increasing availability of running gear both on the high street and online. Over the last four years I’ve purchased most of my running gear from SportPursuit, eBay and TK Maxx. Although I love a good bargain and refuse to spend a fortune on running gear, I also refuse to buy low quality running gear. People don’t need to see my arse cheeks when I’m running.

5. Look after your running gear. Once you’ve purchased technical running gear, make it last longer by looking after it. Apparently air drying running clothes instead of sticking them in the dryer will make them last longer. Also, make sure you read the care label on your running gear. It took me far too long to realise that technical running gear and fabric conditioner aren’t a winning combination!

6. Become a brand ambassador/product tester. The recent Asics FrontRunner campaign was open to runners of all ages and abilities. I’m pleased to see more and more brands giving ordinary runners the chance to become a brand ambassador. Occasionally brands will advertise for new product testers. Why not apply? You have nothing to lose. My friend in the USA gets to test out trainers and clothes for a major brand. I’m only a little bit jealous!

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7. Plan races ahead and race selectively. As I don’t have an unlimited race entry budget, I sit down at the beginning of the year and prioritise my races. My ‘A’ races are the races I want to do the most, ‘B’ races are backup races, and ‘C’ races are races that would be awesome to do but are far too expensive. I set myself an annual budget and make sure that I stick to it. I then look out for ‘early bird’ race entry discounts and sign up for any ‘A’ races I can afford and definitely want to run. I’ve stopped letting race FOMO get the better of me and won’t be entering the Tokyo and New York Marathon ballots until I’ve saved up enough money.

8. Race locally. While it’s fun to travel to new cities and countries to race, the cost of train tickets, flights, hotels and meals soon start to add up. I once spent a ridiculous amount of money on train tickets, a central London hotel and food in order to run a not very well organised 10k. I now save time, stress and money by entering races that are closer to home. Thanks to parkrun I’ll never have to pay to enter a 5k race again. Thanks to local running clubs and groups I can enter well organised 10k and half marathon races for the price of a train ticket to London.

9. Volunteer at races. Race organisers are sometimes desperate for volunteers. Some race organisers will offer incentives such as free race entry into the race the following year. Volunteering is also a great way of getting free running gear as some races will give volunteers the same goodie bags as the race participants. You’ll also get to feel pretty awesome.

10. Search for race discounts. Some races have started to offer quite substantial entry discounts on sites like Groupon and Running Heroes and in other online promotions. If I’m registering for a larger event online I’ll always do a quick search for online discount codes. I’ve been lucky a couple of times.

running-heroes

11. Share race day costs. I used to drive to races on my own until some running club friends asked me for a lift to a race. They gave me some fuel money and by car sharing we helped the environment. Another great way of saving money is by sharing a hotel room. I’m not suggesting that you share your twin room with a complete stranger but with your running friends. Consider alternatives to hotels, If a friend lives near the location of your next race, ask if you can stay the night before the race. Don’t, however, make the same mistake I once made and spend all night drinking wine and reminiscing about school. I didn’t actually make it to the race.

12. Look out for free training groups. Although running clubs can be quite expensive, don’t assume that you have to pay for training sessions with a qualified coach. Many running stores now offer free coached runs and workouts. Examples in Birmingham include the supervised runs organised by Up & Running and Good Gym. In addition, many races have started to offer free or very cheap training runs to registered runners. It’s always worth checking.

up-running

13. Stay injury free. I’m not very good at staying injury free, and dread to think how much money I’ve spent on physio sessions. The recovery from running injuries can be both emotionally and financially draining. The majority of my injuries have been self-inflicted and caused by me either ignoring niggles or trying to increase my mileage too quickly. Although it’s probably almost impossible to totally avoid injuries, always listen to your body, warm-up and cool-down, avoid doing all of your training on hard surfaces, and invest in a cheap foam roller.

14. Gifts. I was quite cheeky and published a ‘Christmas gifts for runners’ blog just before Christmas. My unsubtle approach worked and I unwrapped some trainers and a gorgeous running skirt on Christmas Day. Let your family and partner know that you’ll always appreciate running related Christmas and birthday presents. If you don’t want to end up having to return unwanted running gear, ask for something simple like entry into one a race or gift vouchers.

15. Start a running blog. Finally, start a successful running blog. Although there are now far too many running influencers bloggers, your running related thoughts might catch the attention of race directors and brands. If that happens then congratulations and think of all the money you’ll save on entry fees and running gear.

I hope that you’ve found a least one of my tips useful.

Do you have any tips for running and racing on a budget?

Do you have an annual race entry budget?

50 Things That Make Me Happy

I usually write about my experiences as a back-of-the-pack runner so you are probably wondering why on earth I decided to write this blog. I promise that once I’ve written this blog normal service will resume.

I’m not the most positive person on the planet (understatement of the century) and have developed a rather negative attitude. Certain aspects of my life are a bit of a disaster area at the moment and my mental health isn’t great.  As a result, I decided to spend some time focusing on the positive things in my life.

Here’s my list of things that make me happy. While most are predictable, there are a few slightly unusual items in my list.

  1. Sunshine
  2. Tea
  3. Running
  4. Afternoon naps
  5. Walking in Sutton Park

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  1. A lie in
  2. Love
  3. Hugs
  4. My family
  5. My friends
  6. Receiving an unexpected letter
  7. Sending in a completed job application
  8. Mastering a challenging piece of music on my violin
  9. Reading
  10. Writing
  11. A long, hot bath
  12. A night out with people I love
  13. Kind comments left on my blog
  14. Crabbie’s alcoholic ginger beer served with ice
  15. Holding hands
  16. Travelling and holidays

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  1. Uninterrupted sleep
  2. My research getting published in academic journals
  3. Blogging, occasionally!
  4. Looking at old family photographs
  5. Red wine
  6. Listening to music
  7. The changing seasons
  8. Visiting the family farm

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  1. Finding trousers and jeans that fit
  2. Helping my elderly neighbours
  3. Presenting my research

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  1. Crossing off tasks on my ‘things to do’ list
  2. Eating chocolate
  3. Cuddling with my cat
  4. The seaside and beach
  5. Scented candles
  6. Steak, chips and pepper corn sauce
  7. Completing a challenging piece of work
  8. Writing lists
  9. Cooking
  10. Saying ‘no’
  11. A shower after a run
  12. Volunteering
  13. An empty washing basket
  14. Running through fresh snow
  15. Getting my hair done
  16. Rivers

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  1. Overcoming challenges
  2. Decluttering my junk

I actually found listing 50 things that make me happy far, far easier than I thought I would and I could have listed 100 things that make me happy. This is definitely a positive sign!

What makes you happy?

Rants and raves #10

**Disclaimer: this post was written while the author was experiencing heel pain and race envy. As always, all rants, raves and opinions represent my own views. Other (far superior) less opinionated and negative running blogs are available**

It’s been a few weeks since I wrote my last Rants and raves post. Now that it’s nearly the end of February, I feel the need to have a good old rant. However, before I start my Moaning Myrtle impression – yes I’m a huge fan of Harry Potter – I’ll start with rave.

Rave: Marathon Talk podcast

I have a bit of a confession to make…. Although I’ve been an active member of a range of online running communities since about 2005, I only discovered the Marathon Talk weekly podcasts last month. In my defence I’ve never listened to music or podcasts when I’m out running.marathon-talk

The two main presenters Martin Yelling and Tom Williams both talk a huge amount of sense about running. I’ve started to listen to the weekly podcasts while I’m doing tasks that don’t require me to concentrate. Listening while filling in a job application form wasn’t my most sensible move. There are currently 372 episodes so I’ve got some serious catching up to do. If I was able to run at the moment, I’d probably break the habit of a lifetime and listen to Marathon Talk during my long runs.

Rant: My right heel

Guess what? I’ve got another injury. Training for the Cambridge Half was going really well until a month ago when I got out of bed and found that I could hardly walk. My right heel felt really sore, and the pain was almost unbearable (yes I am a wimp!). After suffering in silence complaining about my heel for a couple of weeks, a trip to the sports physio confirmed that I’ve probably got the injury all runners dread, Plantar fasciitis. I’m blaming the heavy safety boots I had to wear for 11 weeks.

I’ve been avoiding walking barefoot as much as possible, making sure I only wear supportive shoes, icing my heel, stretching several times a day, wearing a sexy night splint (it’s a good job I’m single) taking supplements and sulking. I spent a bit of time researching Plantar fasciitis, and overloading my brain with information.

While being injured and unable to run sucks, I feel extremely lucky that I’m not living in constant pain and that my heel only really hurts first thing in the morning.

Rave: parkrun tracking

I recently joined the ‘parkrun analogue trackers’ group on Facebook, made a donation to my local parkrun, downloaded a copy of the blank analogue tracker created by Hannah and started colouring.  While I’ve only managed to complete 15 runs, all at my home parkrun, the slightly more dedicated members of the parkrun community have created some impressive looking designs. If you enjoy colouring and are a regular parkrunner and parkrun volunteer then this group is probably for you.

Rant: the Royal Parks Half Marathon ballot

The Royal Parks Half Marathon has been on my ‘races bucket list’ for several years. While the race is somewhat over-priced, the course looks amazing, and I’d love the opportunity to run through four of London’s eight Royal Parks. I’d been unsuccessful in the ballot for the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and really felt that it would be a case of sixth time lucky.

2017

The successful/congratulations you’ve got a ballot place emails were sent out before the ‘sorry’ emails. Once again I received a ‘sorry’ email and was then bombarded on twitter by charities offering me places. I’m sorry but there is no way I could raise the amount of money charities are asking for. I’ve now accepted that I’ll probably never get the opportunity to complete the Royal Parks Half Marathon and have moved on. Hopefully I’ll manage to get a place in a new event: the London Landmarks Half Marathon.

Rave: Fitness Blender

While I can’t run at the moment I can still swim (I’ll discuss Swimathon in a future blog) and work up a sweat by attempting to complete online workout videos. I read about Fitness Blender on another blog, took a look at the website, and was seriously impressed with what I found.

fitness-blender

Fitness Blender – for some reason I keep accidentally typing Fitness Bender – offers hundreds of free workout videos with new workouts released each week. Workouts range from 10 minutes to over an hour long (not a chance!) and from beginner to elite. As I can’t afford gym membership at the moment, I’m a huge fan of their bodyweight-only low impact workouts that can be done at home.

Rant: my fear of failure

A slightly random subject to end on, but I want to talk about my complete lack of self-esteem and fear of failure. When I was trying to find my GCSE certificates I found my school report from when I was 14. Although I’ve always been a boffin and that particular school report was full of A-grades, my form tutor wrote:

“Emma has shown a rather negative attitude over the last few months – she seems to lack self-confidence and a belief in herself. She has ability – it would be a great pity not to achieve her potential. Show us what you can do next year, Emma”.

Those comments are still relevant today. I’ve got a PhD and more than enough relevant work experience, but for some reason I’m too scared to apply for my dream job as a hydrology technical specialist. I know that I need to ‘woman up’ and to hit submit on the online application, but something is stopping me. I guess I should stop procrastinating and send in my application.

If you’ve reached the end of my latest random selection of rants, raves and moans then I’m impressed.

Apologies for the really, really random blog, hopefully my next post will be more positive.

15 reasons I am a rubbish blogger

A recent glut of review posts made me feel I was the only running blogger not asked to review a pair of trainers for Millet Sports. After spending a few minutes feeling sorry for myself, I realised that although I’ve been blogging intermittently since March 2013, I’m still a rubbish blogger.

I am a rubbish blogger because…

1. I don’t have a blogging schedule or planner. Seriously, what on earth is a blogging planner? Is it just a standard diary with ‘Blogging Planner’ embossed on the front cover in gold letters? I’ve already got a standard diary and a running log. Do I even need a blogging planner?

2. I’m an inconsistent blogger. Some months I’ll write 2-3 blogs a week, other months I’ll hit a blogging slump and my blog will gather virtual dust. Apparently readers like regular updates; personally I prefer quality over quantity.

3. Apparently my blog statistics etc aren’t great. Serious bloggers are obsessed with their blog and social media statistics. My blog averages about 100 page views a day. I couldn’t give a toss if someone unfollows me on Instagram. My Facebook page is followed by the not so grand total of 18 people. After almost 12 months this is quite frankly, rubbish!

4. My website design and layout is crap. I look at other people’s blogs and think that they look really professional. I look at my own blog and think it looks crap. Perhaps one of my New Year’s blogging resolutions should have been to update the layout of my blog?

the-phd-runnerNot the most professional looking blog in the world…

5. My blog name is out of date. I completed my PhD ages ago so I should really update the name of my blog from ‘The PhD Runner’ to something slightly more relevant. I’ve been umming and ahhing about updating the name of my blog for ages. I’ve even made a list of potential new names e.g. ‘The Brummie Runner’, ‘The Running Academic’, ‘Run Brummie Run’ and ‘The Balanced Brummie’ but that’s as far as I’ve got. To be honest I find the whole idea of renaming and re-branding my blog slightly overwhelming.

6. I live in Birmingham. I receive invites to fitness classes and events in London on an almost daily basis. Great! I’m yet to receive an invite to a class or event in Birmingham. Perhaps there is a perception that people outside of London don’t work out or run? Guess what PRs; there is life outside of the M25!

7. I’ve no idea what SEO, PA and DA are. Although I know what the acronyms are short for, I’ve got no idea what they actually mean. My Domain Authority (DA) is 21 and my Page Authority (PA) is 34. What?

8. I’m rubbish at commenting on other blogs. While I’ll spend ages reading other running blogs, I’m rubbish at commenting and providing feedback. Sorry! I’m determined to comment more on your posts in 2017. However, if you use Disqus, as a WordPress user I’m unable to comment on your blogs. I’ve no idea why.

9. My photos are terrible. Some of the running and fitness bloggers I follow have progressed from selfies to professional looking running action photos. I’m still stuck with the not so awesome combination of terrible selfies, ‘action’ photos taken by my very reluctant friend, and not very flattering race photos. I guess the camera doesn’t lie. At the age of 37 with grey hair and a muffin top, my photogenic days are behind me.

kenyan-hillsAnother slightly out of focus ‘action’ photo…

10. I’m not actually very good at writing. I’ve realised that although I’ve got a PhD, I’m definitely more of a numbers than a words type of person. I’m pretty certain that my old English teacher would award most of my blog posts with a C- grade. Can someone explain the current obsession with ‘gonna’ or ‘wanna’??

11. I don’t read through my posts before hitting publish. My method of publishing a blog post is as follows… Type waffle in Word, copy and paste waffle from Word into a new post, justify waffle, add some photos, write captions for my photos and then hit publish. I never, ever check my blog posts for typos. After accidentally typing brothels instead of boreholes in a report I wrote a few years ago, perhaps I should start?

12. I’m far too outspoken and honest. If I don’t like the way a brand promotes a product on social media, I’m not afraid to speak my mind. A couple of summers ago, several running brands worked with the same smallish group of London-based bloggers. One week these bloggers were promoting one brand of trainers, the following week the same bloggers were promoting a different brand. Confusing. Where did their loyalties lie? Do only 15 runners run in London? No! Why not give other running and fitness bloggers the opportunity to promote your products? I’ve learnt that when it comes to blogging, honesty isn’t always the best policy.

13. I like to test out my products thoroughly before reviewing them. On the rare occasions I’ve been sent products to review, I’ve spent weeks and in some cases months testing out each product. I’ve no idea how anybody can recommend a pair of trainers, running clothes or accessories after only one run? Some PRs don’t like being made to wait months for a product review. Sorry!

14. I hate oversharing my content on social media. To be a successful blogger you have to be willing to share your blog posts multiple times on several social media channels. I’ll generally share my posts once on twitter, Instagram and on Facebook (when I remember) and that’s it. I’m afraid that if I promote the same blog post multiple times I’ll piss people off. Perhaps I need to be brave and to promote my waffle on social media more?

15. I’m socially awkward. And finally and perhaps most importantly, I’m socially awkward. Like really socially awkward. The mere thought of attending a blogging event makes me feel slightly nauseous. Last year this resulted in me turning down invites to the Running Awards and to a couple of other events.

I really must try harder in 2017!

Have I missed anything? What do you think I could do to improve my blog? Please be honest, I won’t be offended.

What do you think makes a ‘good’ blogger? Personally, I prefer good content over professional photos.

My running goals for 2017

Firstly, I’d like to wish you all a Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a great Christmas and New Year. Here’s to an awesome and hopefully injury-free 2017.

As – like loads of other runners – I’ve already reviewed 2016 in far too much detail  – I think it’s time for me to look ahead to the New Year and to set some goals for 2017.

Although I managed to achieve most of my 2016 running goals, I still eat far too much crap food and tend to ignore the strength and conditioning ‘personal action plan’ I was given 12 months ago. Therefore, if I had to award myself an overall grade for 2016 it would be a ‘B-‘.

I’ve decided to set myself some challenging but hopefully achievable running goals for 2017. Although I love writing out resolutions and goals, I wasn’t originally going to share them. However, as previously putting my running goals into writing appeared to motivate me to get off my arse, I decided to publish this post.

training-journalsPerhaps one of my goals should have been to take better photos…

Enough waffling, here are my running goals for the year ahead…

Run 700 miles – When I first drafted out my running goals I wanted to run 1000 miles this year. However, last year I only ran 700 kilometres or approximately 435 miles. As a result I’ve been sensible and have adjusted my annual mileage target, so that this year I’d like to run 700 miles, still quite an increase on my 2016 mileage. I’ve worked out that I will need to run approximately 58 miles a month or 2 miles a day.

Complete 10 parkruns and 10 races – I set myself the same goal last year and failed miserably. Last week I worked out that due to several ‘DNS’ and a ‘DNF’ I only managed to complete three parkruns and a handful of local races. As I currently have to rely on unreliable friends and public transport to travel to races, I suspect that I’ll find this goal more challenging than it probably should be.

A sub 8 minute mile – my current mile PB of 9:09 is from 2012 when I hobbled around an indoor athletics track with tight bends with a leg injury. I’d like to lower this time at some point this year, hopefully at the Westminster Mile in May.

A Sub 25 minute 5k – I set my current 5k PB of 26:49 last February. If I fail to run a sub 25 minute 5k at some point during 2017 I will retire from running. That is a promise.

parkrun-pbI want to receive a few more ‘Congratulations on setting a new Personal Best’ emails this year

A Sub 55 minute 10k – After it took me several attempts to run a sub 60 minute 10k last year, I suspect that I will find this particular goal the most challenging. I’ve already entered the hopefully flat and fast London 10,000, and will do my best to set out at a sensible pace at the end of May.

A Sub 2:20 half marathon – now that I’ve finally rediscovered my running mojo, training for the Cambridge Half in March is going well. The mistakes I made during the Great Birmingham Run taught me how not to pace a half marathon. I’d love to achieve this particular running goal in March.

Listen to my niggles – I’ve reached the conclusion that I’m quite an injury-prone runner… Some runners hardly even seem to pick up injuries; I’m definitely not one of those runners. As I don’t want to spend another extended period sulking on the injury bench, I’m going to listen to my niggles this year.

Join a new running club – This is quite a tricky one as there is nothing wrong with my current running club, I’m just far too slow to attend the training sessions at the moment. I also have no idea where I’ll be living and working in six months time. Although I’ve researched alternative local running clubs, I’ll probably become an ‘unattached’ runner for the first time in a decade at the end of March.

Be slightly more sociable – At the moment I tend to run on my own and I’ve turned into a bit of a running recluse. This year I’m determined to overcome my anxiety and to attend more social runs. I’m also planning on pushing myself out of my comfort zone by volunteering at a range of local events.

Don’t buy any unessential running gear – I set myself the same goal 12 months ago and failed spectacularly! Last month I sorted through all of my running gear, worked out exactly what bits and pieces of essential running gear I needed to replace and then bought what I needed in the sales. While I’m still on the hunt for a couple of sports bras, I don’t need to buy anything else.  

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Have you set yourself any running goals for 2017? While some of these goals are quite challenging, I hope that they are all achievable…

Are you a member of a running club? If you are, how often do you attend club training sessions? There are now so many different social running groups, I’m starting to question if I actually need to join another running club.

Christmas gifts for runners

As usual, I’ve left the vast majority of my Christmas shopping until the last minute. Although I’ve bought some amazing presents for my niece and nephew – sometimes I wish that I was six again – I’ve no idea what to get the rest of my family. My temporary Christmas job means that, once again, I’ll be praying that all of my internet purchases arrive before December 25th!

While I think that certain members of my family are virtually impossible to buy for – Paul I’m looking at you – I like to think that I’m really easy to buy gifts for. However, following yet another “what would you like for Christmas?” conversation, I’ve realised that my technique of dropping not so subtle hints during the last couple of months has failed this year.

As a result I’ve decided to be slightly less subtle. My family read and subscribe to this blog *waves* so hopefully they’ll read this post. I’ve even included pictures and links to each item to save my family time 😉

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1. Injinji Spectrum trail socks I know that socks aren’t exactly the most exciting Christmas present, but as my feet have turned into sock shredders, I now never seem to have enough pairs of running socks. Injinji socks are quite expensive and are probably too good for this plodder, but I think it’s time for me to invest in some hopefully more durable running socks. The colourful and quirky designs are just an added bonus.

2. Leadership in Running Fitness course I was booked onto a Leadership in Running Fitness course at the start of the year, but unfortunately my funding from Run Birmingham didn’t materialise. Although I’m an affiliated athlete, the one-day course is still quite expensive, so any contributions towards the cost would be awesome.

3. Entry into the Vitality London 10,000 I’ve included this slightly random gift because the London 10,000 is one of my favourite races. I’m pretty sure that most runners would love to receive entry into one of their favourite races as a Christmas gift.

4. Lululemon Circuit Breaker skirt (Tall) I know that I complained about the quality of the Lululemon running t-shirt I bought, but their running skirts are really comfortable. I’ve included the link to the Circuit Breaker skirt which currently costs £52. If you do treat me to a Lululemon running skirt, please, please make sure that you select the ‘Tall’ option. I don’t want to be exposing my wobbly arse to people when I’m out running.

5. Brooks Adrenaline GTS 17 trainers As a runner, I’ve decided that it’s actually impossible to own too many pairs of trainers. I’m currently pounding the pavements of Four Oaks in a pair of Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16s but would love to test out the Adrenaline GTS 17s.

6. Shock Absorber Run sports bra I’ve got a huge confession to make… I’ve been wearing the same four sports bras for over three years. It’s probably time to treat my boobs to some decent support.

7. Oiselle Rundies I originally blogged about these awesome running themed knickers back in 2014. Hopefully someone I know will be visiting Canada in 2017…

8. Fitbit Surge The final item on my Christmas gift guide is the Fitbit Surge. A runner can always dream…

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

November review

My least favourite month – November – lasted for what felt like months. As I said last month, I’m not a huge fan of the dark evenings, and I’m looking forward to getting the shortest day out of the way in December. Moving on… As you know, I’ve been producing monthly summaries of my training since the beginning of 2016. I’ve also shared some of my experiences as a running blogger currently based in Four Oaks, Birmingham.

What worked well? What – if any – were my running related achievements? What would I do differently given the opportunity? I then like to look ahead to the new month.

Sh*t literally happens 

After finally moving on from my Great Birmingham Run disappointment, I was really looking forward to getting back into some sort of running routine, and starting my training for the Cambridge Half in March. I went for an enjoyable run on Sunday 6th November and felt great – my running mojo had made a welcome return. Unfortunately, less than 12 hours later I started to feel unwell. Thanks to norovirus I was unable to run for almost two weeks.

So although November was a bit of a disappointment from a running perspective, I managed to complete the first couple of weeks of my Cambridge Half training plan.

november

According to my Strava statistics I completed six training runs during November, covering a distance of approximately 18 kilometres. At least I was very well rested and niggle-free at the start of my latest training cycle 😉

Running costs

November was a cheap month! Yesterday, I treated myself to a fleece (£26) and a running top (£10) in the Long Tall Sally sale. I also sold some of my unwanted running gear on eBay, including the reflective H&M running jacket that had been gathering dust for two years.

Blogging experiences

Once again, my blogging mojo was slightly intermittent. I was really looking forward to running and then reviewing my local MoRunning race in Sutton Park. Unfortunately, I was too unwell to make it to the start line. Even attempting to run was completely out of the question. I might rename this blog ‘The DNS Runner’.

I’ve now hopefully got my blogging arse into gear, and have made a list of blog posts and reviews I need to publish during December.

Looking forward to December

Now that I’ve *fingers crossed* had my share of winter bugs, I’m looking forward to cracking on with my Cambridge Half marathon training.

photoPerfect running conditions. Unfortunately, just walking up this hill left me feeling exhausted! 

I’m also looking forward to spending December working in retail and to spending time with my family and friends during Christmas. I just need to avoid spending all of the extra money I’m earning on Christmas presents for me!

How many races have you DNS this year? As I’d rather DNS than DNF, I’ve not made it to the start of four races.

Do you have any running or fitness related items on your Christmas wish list? I’d love either a Fitbit Charge 2 or Surge for Christmas.