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?

Advertisements

Hunkemoller sports backpack review

Last month, I was given the opportunity to review a sports backpack manufactured by a brand I hadn’t come across before; Hunkemoller. The sports backpack is part of Hunkemoller’s limited edition Caro E collection and as I needed a new bag for the gym, I checked out the collection, loved what I saw and accepted the opportunity.

A couple of weeks later a gorgeous pink sports backpack arrived in the post.

DSCF2920

DSCF2921

Now that the backpack has accompanied me on a couple of trips to the gym, my local tennis club and a half marathon, I feel that I’m in a position to produce a hopefully useful review.

An introduction to the Hunkemoller Caro E collection

Caro Einhoff is a German blogger with a huge passion for fashion and beauty. In collaboration with Hunkemoller, Caro recently designed her own sports collection featuring a pink colour scheme. Combined with black, this sports collection aims to have a feminine but powerful look and feel. The collection includes a variety of sports bras, leggings, tops and other accessories.

The review process

When I first unpacked the backpack, I must admit that the first thing I noticed was the quirky and slightly unusual design of the backpack. It is definitely far more eye-catching than my current sports bag.

After spending a few minutes trying to work out how the clip lock fastening worked, I was ready to fill the backpack with my gym gear. As I like to take a lot of ‘stuff’ with me when I go to the gym, I decided to see how much I could fit into the backpack. Thanks to the clever design of the backpack, I managed to squeeze in everything I needed and more. The zip and clip lock fastening which allows for expansion when required, means that the backpack is far, far roomier than it first appears.

DSCF2915

On Sunday, I decided to let my Hunkemoller sport backpack experience the organised chaos of a baggage bus at a major running event. Although my existing sports bag has more interior storage compartments and pockets, the Hunkemoller backpack is so distinctive; I was able to spot it as soon as I stepped on the baggage bus. As a runner who was feeling a little delirious after completing a half marathon, this was definitely a positive.

The Verdict

All in all, I was really impressed with the Hunkemoller sport backpack. The backpack has quilted fabric and looks quirky and stylish, almost too stylish for a 38 year old runner. The inside of the backpack is fully lined and contains a small zipped interior pocket which is just about large enough to keep some change, keys etc secure.

DSCF2925

DSCF2928

The only aspect of the backpack I’m not so keen on – this is more down to my own personal taste – is the colour; pale pink, a colour I don’t think is very practical. Unfortunately, after a couple of train journeys, a trip to the gym and a few hours inside a baggage bus, the backpack already looks a little grubby in places.

I’m quite clumsy, and can guarantee that the backpack will end up ‘wearing’ my sports drink at some stage. Luckily the backpack can be washed on a standard 40 degree washing machine cycle. This is a massive positive as it means I can continue to use the sports backpack without worrying about it getting dirty. I just hope that it survives the washing machine!

So thanks again to Hunkemoller for the opportunity to review the sports backpack. The backpack is part of the limited edition Caro E collection, is available from Hunkemoller and has a RRP of £32.00.

**Full disclosure: I was sent a Hunkemoller sports backpack for free in return for a review. I did not receive any payment for this review. As always all opinions and photographs are my own**

Rants and raves #20

**Disclaimer: I’m writing my latest selection of rants and raves after spending the majority of last week unable to use my computer. Not ideal when I need to use my computer to search and apply for jobs. Now that my vision has more or less returned to normal, I’m catching up on all of my favourite blogs. As always all moans and groans and rants and raves represent my own views. Other (far superior) and less opinionated running blogs are available**

Rave: Women’s Running Magazine

I used to subscribe to Women’s Running Magazine but cancelled my subscription when the contents became really repetitive. Recently, my train to London was delayed (again) so I found myself killing time in WH Smith. While most of the running magazines didn’t make me want to part with my cash, for some reason Women’s Running magazine caught my eye. I parted with my £4 and got on my train.Womens Running MagazineI’m not going to attempt to review the entire magazine, but its contents – I didn’t realise it was a special trail issue – kept me occupied as far as Watford Junction. Not bad for someone with the attention span of a fly. I loved the interviews with Susie Chan, Cat Simpson, Tish Joyce and Mimi Anderson and found the 10k hints and tips quite useful. I wasn’t quite so keen on all the adverts but assume that the magazine wouldn’t survive without them. And as for the expensive kit recommendations. I don’t think I could ever justify spending £75 on a t-shirt.

Rant: Spiders and snails

While I’m not generally scared of spiders, a few have tested me recently. Last Sunday, I was about to fall asleep when I felt something walk across my face. I switched my bedroom light on and discovered that it was a massive spider. I exterminated the spider using my PhD thesis. I felt guilty afterwards, but there was no way I was going to get any sleep with a spider strolling around my bedroom.

I’ve got nothing against snails, but why do they take such pleasure in getting under my feet? If I was a snail I don’t think I’d loiter in the middle of the pavement. I’ve lost count of the number of snails I’ve accidentally murdered this year.

Rave: Find a Race website

I was recently contacted by the founder of a new event listing site – Find a Race – which covers the whole range of races from local 5K runs to multi-sport, multi-day epics.Find a RaceI had a quick look around the site, liked how easy the site was to navigate so decided to include it as a rave.

Rant: Expensive race photos

Last year, one of the major positives of the Lichfield 10K was the provision of free digital downloads of the official race photos. Unfortunately, this year the official race photographer is charging £12.60 for a single digital download. No chance!Race PhotoThis race photo is probably blurry, it’s difficult to tell from the tiny preview photo.

I get that cameras etc are very expensive and it takes time to sort and organise race photos, but surely it would make more sense to reduce your prices a little so you actually sell a few photos? I quite like the concept of bibsnapper and would love to see more people uploading and selling race photos.

Rant: Migraines

The majority of last week was a write-off. I felt fine on Monday, got through my interview on Tuesday and then woke up with a migraine on Wednesday. At one stage I felt so peaky I couldn’t even get out of bed. The blurred vision and flashing lights were particularly disconcerting.

migraine-meme[Source]

As I don’t want a repeat of last week, I’m now avoiding spending hours staring at my computer screen and am making a more effort to wear my specs when I’m watching the TV.

Rave: Sutton Runner

I think it’s about time I mentioned my local specialist running shop; Sutton Runner on my blog. I spent an enjoyable 45 minutes in Sutton Runner with my friend last week. The member of staff who was looking after my friend was incredibly patient, and was more than happy to answer the random questions my friend insisted on asking. I’m looking forward to returning to the store when my friend calls in to collect the trainers he selected last week.

Rant: eBay

Although I love eBay and enjoy selling my unwanted junk, I’ve had a few issues recently.  I’ve had people who have taken over a week to pay. When I buy bits and pieces on eBay I pay straight away and don’t understand why other people don’t. I hate having to chase people for money and find sending “do you still want item x” messages quite stressful. Having to make multiple trips to the local Post Office is also a bit of a pain.

eBay[Source]

Last week, after I’d received and responded to the sixth message asking questions about a rare book I was selling, I actually asked someone to stop contacting me. I’ve now blocked the person in question and relisted the book. Seriously though, read the description! Also, don’t offer a seller £5 for a book that is virtually impossible to find and can sell for as much as £50.

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

What is the most amount of money you’d be willing to pay for a race photo?

Have you ever had any bad experiences selling on eBay?

Great Birmingham Run training week 13

I hope that everyone had an awesome weekend. I can’t wait to read everyone’s race recaps so please get writing. The highlight of my weekend was somehow managing to run for 100 minutes yesterday.Collage 32I should have completed four training runs during week 13 of my half marathon training. Unfortunately, a persistent migraine meant I only managed a 20 minute run on Monday and a longer run yesterday. I keep telling myself that the longer runs are the most important runs and that the extra rest has helped my knee. I’m still feeling a little stressed and completely undertrained.

So what went wrong last week?

Monday – 20 mins very easy

After a stressful morning spent packaging eBay sales, preparing and double-checking all the paperwork I needed for my interview, ironing, checking train times and generally getting myself completely worked up, I travelled down to London to meet up with my mentor Geoff. Collage 33After discussing my imminent interview, we had a couple of pints in his local pub and vowed to sample the Monday Madness menu next time I’m in London. Feeling suitably refreshed and also incredibly hungry, we then walked the short distance to a local family owned Italian restaurant, Casa Becci. As I’m not very adventurous, I opted for my usual prawn cocktail followed by steak with peppercorn sauce.

Tuesday – Rest

I’ve no idea why, but I found the majority of Tuesday incredibly stressful. I had an interview near Wallingford in the afternoon and discovered that I’d allocated myself far, far too much travel time. Getting to an interview 45 minutes early wasn’t ideal but I guess it’s better than being late. The interview itself went reasonably well, however, I don’t think I’ll get the job as there were a couple of slightly awkward silences and I went into what I call waffle mode. I have a feeling I completely messed up a couple of questions in the technical assessment which is slightly embarrassing. At least I managed to avoid the Aston Villa supporters on the train home.

Wednesday – Rest

I should have completed a ‘brisk’ 60 minute run but I didn’t. When my alarm woke me at 5:30am – I’d given myself an extra 30 minutes in bed – I had a bad headache. It took me five minutes to work out that I’d got a migraine and that running for an hour wouldn’t shift it. The rest of the day was a complete write-off. Each time I tried to sit up I felt dizzy and I couldn’t see properly. Although I felt a bit better by the afternoon, working on my computer was virtually impossible as I couldn’t focus on the screen. I gave up at 9pm and went to bed.

Thursday – Rest

Yet another rest day… My vision was still more than a little dodgy so I stayed away from my computer as much as I could. I also dug out my glasses and actually wore them. Following a reasonably productive morning of interview related admin, my friend picked me up and drove us the short distance to one of my favourite shops; Sutton Runner in Boldmere. Spending time inside a specialist running shop when you are on a buying ban is challenging but I managed. Just. Some of the new Nike running shorts were rather sexy looking and quite hard to resist. My friend tried on several styles and sizes of trainers and ordered a pair to be delivered to the store. It looks like I’ll be repeating the ‘ordeal’ next week.

Friday – Rest

Unfortunately, I still felt quite dizzy when I got up and my eyesight was far from perfect. As I live and run on my own, I was sensible and decided to skip my early morning 45 minute run. I promised myself that I’d run later in the day if I felt better. I didn’t feel better and ended up heading to bed at 9pm. At least my dodgy knee and feet felt completely niggle-free. Every cloud and all that…

Saturday – Rest

When I woke up I discovered that my headache had finally gone. A great start to the weekend. Quite frankly, my Saturday was so dull I don’t think it’s worth sharing the details here. At least I got a lot of sleep before my long run the following morning.

Sunday – Easy 100 min jog

Once again, I found myself debating the pros and cons of running first thing on a Sunday morning. I decided that after missing two training runs the pros definitely outweighed the cons. I’d also hate myself if I didn’t run. I got dressed, went to the loo, drank a couple of glasses of water, did some stretches, went to the loo again and headed outside into the dark. My Garmin took so long to decide to function as a GPS I thought it had finally broken.

As I had no idea if or how my head would react to me pounding the pavements of Four Oaks, I set out at a very steady pace. At times I felt I was power walking rather than running, however, when I tried to increase my pace, my legs said no. After thirty minutes I got what felt like mild pins and needles in my right foot, my new socks must have been slightly too tight or something. Although my attempt at running was pretty pathetic, I ran continuously for 100 minutes and didn’t let any of my nemesis hills beat me. The training sessions I’d missed earlier in the week hadn’t impacted my fitness levels too much, and I felt pretty good at the end of the run.Collage 34So that’s the thirteenth week of my Great Birmingham Run training not exactly completed. Although my dodgy head prevented me from heading out on two training runs, I managed to complete the most important longer run. There are now only three weeks to go so hopefully I’ll avoid migraines, knee niggles and Freshers’ Flu.

Next week’s schedule contains four training runs, is described as the ‘peak week’ and looks very challenging. I’ve got to run for 50 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday and for 10 minutes on Saturday. If I’m still in one piece and haven’t developed another migraine, I’m aiming to run for 120 minutes on Sunday. I managed to run for two hours last year, hopefully I can do it again this year.

Training totals

  • Runs: 40
  • Time 19 hours 0 mins
  • Distance: 104.64 miles

 Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 32:49
  • 10 km: 66:52

 Niggleometer

  • Right heel: 2/10
  • Right knee: 3/10
  • Left foot: 3/10

Great Birmingham Run training week 12

Once again, I hope that everyone had a great weekend. I think the highlight of my weekend was somehow managing to run for 85 minutes yesterday.Collage 29I should have completed four runs during week 12 of my half marathon training; a 20 minute recovery run on Monday, a 55 minute steady paced run on Wednesday, another 20 minute jog on Saturday and an 85 minute long run on Sunday. Unfortunately, a very niggly right knee meant that I only completed two out of four training runs. At least I managed to run for 85 minutes yesterday.

So what went wrong?

Monday – Rest

I was meant to start the week with a 20 minute recovery run. My right knee felt quite niggly after the Lichfield 10k so I decided to rest. Walking the short distance to post my latest batch of eBay sales was so painful, it was clear I’d definitely made the right decision. At least the walk helped to ease some of the stiffness in my legs.

Tuesday – Rest

The highlight of my rest day on Tuesday was completing a 35-page long job application form. I don’t think I’ve ever answered so many random questions. As a (sort of) reward for resting and not running – a few years ago I would have definitely attempted to run with an injury – I opened my Running Heroes prize…Collage 30As the internet doesn’t need to see a photo of my rather flabby stomach, I won’t be sharing a photo of me modelling the Ted Baker sports bra and cropped leggings I won. Seriously though. £79 for a pair of cropped leggings!? At least I’ve now got a couple of Christmas presents sorted.

Wednesday – Rest

I should have completed a 55 minute steady run but I didn’t. When my alarm woke me at 05:00 I noticed two things; my right knee still wasn’t feeling great and it was so windy outside there were wheelie bin related hazards everywhere. As I didn’t want to damage my right knee further or get taken out by an out of control wheelie bin, I turned my alarm off and went back to sleep for a couple of hours. The rest of Wednesday was productive but incredibly dull. I won’t bore you all to tears with the details.

Thursday – Rest

Another rest day! I thought about completing a 55 minute run but decided not to as my right knee was unfortunately still feeling sore. After spending the morning working out how I’m going to get to my interview next week – I can’t wait to start driving again – I walked the short distance to the local hair salon. This probably won’t come as a huge surprise, but I’m not a huge fan of having my hair cut. I’m a wet my hair, shampoo, rinse and go type of person. I rarely use conditioner and don’t own a hairdryer. I left the salon with a cold head and hair that is slightly too short to tie back. My hair grows so quickly, I’m not concerned about it flapping around and irritating me during next month’s half marathon, yet.

Friday – Rest

Unfortunately, even after four rest days my right knee still felt quite sore. For the first time, I started to doubt that I’d make it to the start line of the Great Birmingham Run next month. I spent the majority of the morning sitting at my computer with an ice pack balanced on my right knee. In the afternoon I dug out my foam roller and spent ages working through some of the foam rolling exercises and knee strengthening exercises on Kinetic Revolution. Although my right knee felt a million times better, I was reminded that I am about as flexible as a stiff board.

On Friday night I did something I haven’t been brave enough to do for ages. I squeezed myself into a smart dress, put on some makeup and met up with some friends at the train station. We then headed into Birmingham for a bite to eat in Adam’s – if you are ever unfortunate enough to find yourself in Birmingham then this is the best restaurant, followed by a few drinks in Grand Central. It was a positive end to a difficult week.

Saturday – 20 mins very easy jog

Although I know I completed my 20 minute very easy jog, I’m not 100 per cent sure how far I ran as my Garmin ‘died’ during the run. I completed my usual two mile loop, so suspect that I ran for more than 20 minutes. At least my right knee was reasonably niggle free. When I got home I quickly realised that I hadn’t charged my Garmin since the Lichfield 10k last Sunday so left it charging ready for my longer run. The rest of my Saturday was pretty mundane. I spent four hours preparing for my interview on Tuesday and then decided it was time for a couple of Jasyoga 5-minute reset videos. I tried to watch some of the T20 cricket, but had to abandon the TV when the vision in my left eye started to go strange. As I only usually have issues with my vision when I’m tired, I decided to head straight to bed. At least I got loads of sleep before my longer run.

Sunday – 85 mins easy pace

When my alarm woke me at 05:30 I spent about 10 minutes debating the pros and cons of running first thing on a Sunday morning. I decided that the pros outweighed the cons and decided to drag myself out of bed. I got dressed, went to the loo, made myself drink a glass of water, did some stretches, headed out the door into the cold – it was really cold – and waited for my Garmin to locate some satellites. Although it felt like my Garmin took forever to decided to function as a GPS, I was soon running and playing dodge the abandoned wheelie bins and bags of rubbish.

What followed was the most enjoyable 85 minutes of running I’ve experienced in a long time. My right knee behaved itself. My right heel was pain free and for once I’d planned my route to perfection. I managed to run up every hill I encountered and I conquered one of my nemesis hills. For once, I reached the end of my run and felt that I could have carried on running. The training sessions I’d missed earlier in the week had clearly not impacted my fitness levels. I got home, knocked back a couple of glasses of orange nuun, had a shower and then went back to bed for a couple of hours.Collage 31So that’s week 12 of my Great Birmingham Run training not exactly completed. Although my right knee prevented me from heading out on a couple of training runs, I’m over the moon I’ve navigated my way through 75 per cent of my selected training plan. There are four weeks to go and two of those weeks are taper weeks. I’ve got everything crossed my right knee doesn’t implode suddenly when I’m out running.

Next week’s schedule (hopefully!) contains four training runs and looks pretty challenging. Later on today, I’ve got to somehow complete a 20 minute recovery run. I’ve then got to run for 60 minutes on Wednesday and for 45 minutes on Friday. And if my right knee is still functioning, I’ll be pounding the pavements of Four Oaks for 100 minutes on Sunday morning. Although I know I’m capable of running for 100 minutes, I’m not sure how my fragile knee will react.

Training totals

  • Runs: 38
  • Time 17 hours 0 mins
  • Distance: 94.29 miles

Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 32:49
  • 10 km: 66:52

Niggleometer

  • Right heel: 4/10
  • Right knee: 6/10
  • Left foot: 3/10

Great Birmingham Run training week 10

I hope that everyone had an awesome weekend. I can’t believe the summer holidays have finished, the year is flying by. Yesterday’s 75 minute run reminded me that I need to trust the training plan. It also left me feeling exhausted for most of the day. I’ve no idea how I managed to run for 20 minutes earlier this morning.Collage 24Following a much needed rest day on Bank Holiday Monday, week 10 of my half marathon training plan saw me complete a 35 minute run on Tuesday, a 45 minute run on Thursday and a 20 minute ‘recovery jog’ on Friday. The tenth week ended with a more challenging 75 minute run/walk yesterday. Although the training plan gave me the option of incorporating walking breaks into my longer run, when I headed out on my run, I was determined to run continuously for 75 minutes. So how did my fragile feet cope during the tenth week of half marathon training?

Monday – Rest

Monday was a rest day and also a sunny Bank Holiday. I decided to make the most of the sunshine and headed to Sutton Park for a long walk. Midway through my walk I stumbled across an ice cream van. Luckily I’d got enough money to treat myself to an extra large ‘99’ ice cream. When I returned from the park I reintroduced my calf muscles to my extra torturous foam roller. It wasn’t the most enjoyable experience as I’m not very good at inflicting pain on myself.

Tuesday – 35 mins easy

What happened to the light mornings? When my alarm woke me at 05:30 it was pitch black outside. I got changed into some of my more hideous but bright running gear, went to the loo, drank a couple of glasses of water, completed a selection of PF exercises and stretches and headed out into the darkness. It took me about 10 minutes to warm up and once my legs had woken up, the rest of the run felt relatively easy.Collage 25I spent the morning catching up on my emails and then headed down to London for a meeting with a careers advisor. As I was paranoid about signal failures and train delays, I arrived in London two hours before my meeting. I did what all sensible people do and headed to the Euston Tap for a quick pint. Half way through my pint I discovered that my meeting had been cancelled. After wasting a bit of time people watching, I headed to Marylebone where I’d arranged to meet my friend. We had a couple of drinks and then walked the short distance to Carluccio’s. I decided to try something new so I ordered prawn marinara to start followed by spinach and ricotta ravioli and chocolate and rum fudge cake. The fudge cake was sickly but amazing. If you ever find yourself in Carluccio’s treat yourself!

Wednesday – Rest

It’s probably a good job I didn’t have to run on Wednesday as I found the train journey back up to Birmingham rather challenging. The rest of the day was incredibly restful. I felt so fragile I couldn’t even face my foam roller.

Thursday – 45 mins brisk pace

Once again I found myself starting my run in the dark. After frightening another dog walker, I think it might be time for me to buy a head torch. Although I was meant to run at a ‘brisk pace’ I decided to run at a sensible pace for the first 20 minutes, before speeding up for the final 25 minutes. Well that was the theory, the reality was slightly different. I’ve turned into such a pavement plodder, I was unable to increase my pace and felt rather frustrated when I finished running.

Friday – 20 mins recovery jog

I decided to treat myself to a lie in, so after spending the morning job hunting and analysing river flow data, I convinced my friend to give me a lift to Four Oaks Estate.Collage 26The run was meant to be a ‘recovery jog’ but I felt so good, I set out at quite a fast (for me) pace. Rather predictably, when I encountered a steepish hill I almost slowed to a walk. After getting used to running first thing in the morning, I felt far too warm throughout the second half of my failed attempt at a ‘recovery jog’. It took a couple of hours for my face to return to its normal colour after my run.

Saturday – Rest

I definitely needed a rest day, as my fragile foot felt quite niggly after my failed recovery jog. As an added bonus, my right knee felt so sore I was not very confident I’d be able to run the following day. I spent the morning reading through an unpublished academic manuscript and the afternoon listing yet more unwanted junk on eBay. I spent the evening blogging, watching TV with an ice pack balanced on my knee, eating and stressing about my knee. Hopefully everyone else had a more enjoyable Saturday night.

Sunday – 75 mins jog/walk

When my alarm woke me at 05:00 – I’d somehow managed to set the time wrong – I decided I needed more sleep so reset my alarm for 05:30. I should have got up as I proceeded to lie in bed listening to the wind outside. At least it wasn’t raining. I got dressed, went to the loo, made myself drink a glass of orange nuun, did some PF stretches, headed out the door and started to run. My right knee was completely pain free, the human body is strange at times.

Last week the first 35 minutes of my longer run felt easy. This week, I felt like I spent the first 45 minutes of my run running directly into the wind. The wind was relentless and at one stage I felt like I was barely making any forward progress. Once I finally escaped the wind I started to enjoy my run and attempted to increase my pace. Unfortunately, I’d somehow managed to completely mess-up my route planning again as I reached the bottom of my road after I’d been running for 65 minutes. Not ideal. I completed the 75 minutes, got very cold walking home, had a hot shower and then went back to bed for a nap.

So that’s week ten of my half marathon training completed. There are now only another six weeks of training to go. I can almost smell the aroma of Deep Heat on the start line. Although, my complete inability to pace myself, meant that I made some of the training runs slightly more challenging than they should have been, I managed to avoid the walk of shame.

Next week’s training schedule comprises of four runs and once again looks quite challenging. I’ve already dragged my tired legs around my favourite 20 minute loop; fortunately tomorrow (Tuesday) is a rest day. Wednesday’s run looks a little confusing as is described as ’40 minutes fast with warm-up and cool-down’ – I think I’m going to aim to run at a slightly faster, uncomfortable pace for 40 minutes. Thursday and Friday are both rest days and on Saturday I’ve got to complete a 20 minute jog. I was originally meant to complete an 85 minute easy paced run on Sunday. Like last year, I will be completing a 10k time trial at the Lichfield 10k. I’d rather run a time trial with other people, so swapping the training sessions around makes sense. Although I know I’m not in sub-60 minute 10k shape, I’m aiming to run with the 60 minute pacer for as long as I can.

Training totals

  • Runs: 33
  • Time: 13 hours 55 mins
  • Distance: 77.18 miles

Races/time trials

  • 5 km: 32:49
  • 10 km: TBC during week 11 or 12

Niggleometer

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

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!