Whether you commute on foot, like a stroll in the park or are a serious hiker, I’ve got a few tips for you to push your walk harder…
- Walk like you’re on a cross-trainer by swinging your arms. This will make your walk more energetic and boost your heart rate by around 5 beats per minute, which will get you into the fat burning zone.
- Don’t stick to the paths; go through the grass or sand. The drag factor will mean that your body is working harder.
- Try to walk tall; keep your head up and back as straight as possible when walking so you have perfect posture.
- Take the stairs one at a time, so you burn more calories. Research has found that ascending five flights of stairs one at a time will burn 302 calories on average, while taking them in twos burns just 260 calories.
- If you walk the same roads to work every day cross the road! This will give you a fresh perspective on the same sights.
- There are bound to be roads within minutes of your home that you’ve never set foot on. Make it your mission to walk a different never-ventured-down path once a week.
- Meditate on the go. The repetitive side of walking makes it a brilliant time for meditating.
- Get lost. Take the wrong road, discover new paths and do it all as fast as you can. A fast but long walk will boost your cardio and have added fat-loss benefits, without taking any extra time.
Hands up if you just want to hibernate in the winter? Me too! The last thing I want to do is lace up my trainers and head outside. But it’s important not to let the cold weather get in the way of training program, especially if you’re planning a marathon next spring.
It’s important to dress sensibly and enjoy every run as normal. Ideally opt for layers so you can peel them off as you begin to warm up. For instance place a lightweight vest under a fleece and add a waterproof jacket over the top. You can always remove the fleece when you start to feel warmer.
Gloves and a hat are a must as it gets colder to stop you losing heat from your head and hands. And make sure you have a few bright bits in the mix, like a neon jacket, so you make sure you’re visible to others as it gets darker.
If the weather is particularly bad and the pavement is icy, it’s best not to run outside at all. It is not worth the risk of injury. If you can head to the gym or do another activity, personal I rate the Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred as it keeps you fit and can be done indoors in just 20 minutes.
I’m often bad at taking my own advice here but if you’re not feeling well then don’t run. Running on a severe cold or fever can lead to a virus affecting your heart, which can be dangerous. Be cautious when trying to soldier on with a hard run if you are not feeling 100% it could result in you feeling unwell for a longer period of time.
But most important remember to keep enjoying it. If you have to go for fewer runs and use this period as a chance to learn a new sport, just don’t give up all together.
Edwinstowe Christmas 10k Trail Race
This undulating rural trail run in Mansfield near Nottingham is the perfect 10K race to kick off the silly season.
Full Monty Cute 10
This chilly winter run in Stoke Sub Hamdon near Yeovil is a steep hilly course with 10 monster hills. It’s muddy and hilly and mad but the views are rumoured to be fantastic and you’ll certainly burn off all that Christmas dinner.
Greenwich Park 10K
Open to runners of all abilities, this traffic-free run through one of London’s Royal Parks is chip timed, with great goodies at the finish line, so get in the festive spirit early and enter today.
Regents Park Grand Prix 10K Winter Series
The perfect setting for a fast, flat and traffic-free Sunday morning 10K in the festive season, this flat race covers an accurately measured route within the park and is suitable for runners of all abilities.
Believe & Achieve RNLI 10K Santa Run
Join hundreds of Santa’s on 14th December and help raise money for the RNLI in the process. Anyone can take part, including dogs and all adults receive a free santa suit to kickstart the festive season.
Capital Runners Richmond Park Christmas 10K
The perfect setting for a pacy, traffic-free Sunday morning 10K, this undulating course covers the tracks, trails and footpaths within the park and is suitable for runners of all abilities.
Have you heard of Lija? I hadn’t either until late last year and now I am head-over-heels (or should that be trainers?) about the Canadian sportswear brand.
Lija is a Canandian brand that was created by Linda Hipp as a fusion of performance apparel and modern, innovative style. The brand draws inspiration from current fashion trends and integrates the performance and functionality that women need to perform at their best. Combining technical features with feminine silhouettes, luxury fabrics, intricate design details and beautiful colour palettes, results in original and unique pieces.
Hipp explains: “It’s always been my goal to create fashionable athletic clothing that allows creative, independent women to look feminine and express their unique style while feeling comfortable and confident.”
For LIJA’s SS14 Collections the company has focused on Studio, Run and Tennis; three beautiful colour stories filled with inspirational silhouettes that will help women to push the limits in style without having to compromise on functionality. I personally love the run collection with its bright aqua tones and mesh netting that runs down the legs to let in any gentle breezes (I’m sure it has a technical purpose too). I recommend that you check out the collection for AW14 to give your training a fashionable edge!
Most of us know how awful it feels to have a hangover. But should you grab your trainers and head out for a run when you’re suffering from too much alcohol?!
The problem with mixing alcohol with running is that they are both dehydrating. It is crucial that you are well hydrated when you run. Alcohol is a diuretic meaning that it works on your kidneys to make you pee out more fluid than you are taking in. For every unit of alcohol you drink, you’ll lose 100ml of extra urine – two large glasses of wine containing four units is nearly half a litre of additional urine. The headache and dry mouth that you suffer with after drinking is a result of this dehydration.
Alcohol can also interfere with your blood sugar. Your liver breaks down the alcohol taking about an hour to deal with one unit. While it does this it is unable to effectively produce glucose so your blood sugar tends to be lower while alcohol is in your system. Your liver may still be working its way through your alcohol intake the day after you’ve drank. Lower blood glucose can make you less coordinated, reduce your concentration and slow reaction times which can make you more likely to get injured if you run. Your liver is also slower at clearing lactic acid, which can reduce your strength and increase your tiredness.
You cannot sweat out alcohol, contrary to popular opinion; this work has to be done by your liver. Fresh air and gentle exercise can help to clear your head and burn off excess alcohol calories, but you need to take it easy and be sensible. You will need to rehydrate as much as possible and eat before you run. Take a drink with you and don’t aim to do your hardest hill runs on a hangover day.
It doesn’t matter what you drink, it’s the amount of alcohol in your system that matters the most. If you can keep track of you units you’ll be able to work out how many excess units you’ll lose in excess urine. If you can, alternate between alcohol and water by ordering a pint of water with every drink. And make sure you have a large glass of water before you go to bed.
Running on a hangover risks dehydration, higher injury risks and reduces performance so make sensible choices. It’s the hangover or the hill runs!
Running is a simple sport, but there are a few ways to do it that are better than other ways…Good running technique is important as it will reduce your risk of injury and make it more enjoyable.
Make sure you keep your head straight and avoid looking down at your feet. Looking down will create tension in your neck and shoulders. This will help to prevent you from hunching your shoulders, which should be back and down. Keep them relaxed and avoid tensing them as this restricts breathing, allowing less oxygen to get to the muscles.
It can be difficult to relax your hands but this is an important task; keep your arms at 90 degrees. Try to swing your arms forward and back, not across your body. The arm movement helps to propel you forward, so swinging them sideways is a waste of energy.
This sounds silly, but if you can lean forward while running. Experts advise that leaning forward a bit while running can reduce heel strike and help you land on the middle of your foot. Trust me this makes all of the difference to your feet! To increase the chances of happy feet, try to keep your hips stable to prevent lower back pain.
Always land with a slight bend in the knee to absorb the impact of running on hard surfaces; your knees should be lifting forwards rather than upwards. Landing on the middle of your foot is the safest way to land for most recreational runners. Avoid striking the ground with your heel or your forefoot first. Your foot should land below your hips – not out in front of you. And don’t hit the ground heavily, instead aim for short light steps. Good running is light and quiet. Whatever your weight, your feet should not slap loudly as they hit the ground. Light steps are more efficient and cause less stress to the body.
Oh and don’t forget to breathe deeply and rhythmically through your nose or mouth. Avoid shallow and quick breaths and take one breath for every two strides.
I promise to…
Commit to my gym sessions
Focus on the activities that I enjoy
Always wear flattering gym kit
Keeping going even if I can’t be bothered
Mix things up and try new classes
Always take a water bottle to the gym!
Invite my mates along for healthier workouts
Sign up for a fitness challenge through the Nike+ app and stick to it
Change my trainers as soon as they wear out
Focus on my own goals instead of worrying about those people around me
How many times have you heard that already?!
It is January so it’s time to get back on it and start the training again… I’m still planning my big run this year as I haven’t been able to secure a marathon place. There are plenty of other runs to sign up to though. Check out the list below to see which one suits you:
- 15th February: Race Your Pace Half Marathon
- 16th February: The Bog Rush
- 22nd February: The Trailman Duathlon
- 23rd February: Hampton Court Half
- 2nd March: Reading Half Marathon
- 28th June: Midnight Mountain Marathon
- 7th September: Wild Boar Middle Distance Triathalon
- 7th September: Henley Half Marathon River Trail Run
- 28th September: Spartan Sprint 5K
Are you taking part in any events this year?