My First Marathon: Stockholm Marathon 1989

I did my first marathon in 1989. I did run at school and stopped like a lot of people, then in my mid 20’s I started running again. I had been living in London for about 3 years and had always kept fit by cycling around London, oblivious to the traffic. I would be petrified to cycle around London now. After a few months of running I decided to do a half marathon. I looked in the Runners World magazine and decided to enter the Watford Half-Marathon. I sent off for the application form, filled it in and sent it back with a cheque and stamped SAE so I could receive the results. Remember this was the ‘back in day’ where online entry didn’t exist (not for me anyway). I did the half-marathon without any problems. Then of course the obvious next thing is to do was a marathon.

I entered the Stockholm Marathon via the same method as before. I must of only done about half a dozen runs until I did my longest which I think could of been as much as 15 miles!! The next day I had a sore knee which lasted about 6-7 weeks, more or less right up until the marathon. As the event came closer, I thought, I can’t chicken out now, I’ve told everyone I’m doing it, accommodation is booked and my cousin had decided to do it as well. For some reason I decided to work in London even the night before. I flew out on the first flight out of Heathrow to Stockholm. I arrive, took a taxi to the park, where my cousin was waiting for me. He had flew from Monte Carlo for the marathon. I think the marathon started at 1pm in the afternoon. I would never do something so daft nowadays, what if the plane was late?

Anyway, the Stockholm Marathon started. It was amazing Bands, Massages, Drinks, Food all as you ran and a fantastic crowd. I can remember crossing lots of bridges and it seemed to be drizzling with rain for a lot of it. By 18 miles I was knackered and my knee was sore, so there was some walking.

Finally, I got to the Stadium at the end before the 5 hour cut off point. My cousin greeted me with “I thought you were never going to get here, I’ve been waiting for ages.”We walked back to where we were staying. Our accommodation was a boat on the river. I was so, so, so tired. My cousin had to push me out to get something for dinner. We had a McDonalds. The next day we flew home. I was shattered and I thought “never again”. I was not fit and it’s not the way to run a marathon. Did I do another marathon?

Book Recommendation: Running Science (Editor, John Brewer)

If I was going to buy someone a running book this Christmas, I would buy this. An increasing number of people are buying E-books rather than hardback books, myself included. However, this is one of the few books I will have on my shelf at home. I enjoy reading it and find it so informative. It explains the Science of Running in a way that anyone can understand. It has large pages, large pictures and large print. It’s also not full of stuff that is not relevant or too academic. My attention span is very short so this is perfect for me. The content is excellent. The format is brilliant. Each page begin with a question and then it is explained. E.g.,

What affects recovery rate after exercise? Can I become a better runner by changing my style? Will supplements improve my running? Will a cup of coffee help me run better? Are Sports Drinks good for me? Can I run through pain? What should I think about when I’m running? How can I keep my mind positive? How much should I increase my Training? What is HIIT and should I be doing it? Is more mileage in training always better? How quickly do I lose fitness if I stop running? Can a heart rate monitor improve performance? Will core strength and stability training keep me injury free? Can sports massage help with injuries or performance? Is running bad for my knees? Will a foam roller make me a better runner?

Authors: John Brewer, Iain Fletcher, Laura Charalambous, Bob Murray, Daniel Craighead, Andy Lane, Charles Pedlar, James Earle, Paul Larkins, Anna Barnsley,

Book Available from Amazon Amazon link for Running Science Book

Book Review: Get Fit, Not Fat, Author: Greg Whyte

This book has been out for a few years. I’ve had mine for a few years. I’ve just noticed the price on Amazon is £7.99, a bargain, it certainly was not that cheap when I got mine. The book explains why we should should exercise but the best thing I find about this book is the large coloured pages with large photo’s of exercises. Probably, about half the content of the book is photo’s of different exercises, i.e., strength exercises, flexibility exercises and balance exercises. It’s ideal for me because I can’t remember what exercises to do and how to do them properly. I pick about 5 exercises for a 15 minutes session. I normally do the exercises ar the gym but it would be perfect for someone who doesn’t belong to a gym. I have thought about buying another to give to my elderly mum and dad and my lazy sister (she hates exercise but 15 minutes is doable) as it has each exercise in three levels, easy, medium and hard.

The book is available on Amazon Link to Get Fit Not Fat

Why join an Internet Running Club and/or Online Running Community

Until a few years ago I didn’t know what a internet running club or an online running community was. Why would people even want to join an internet running club or blogging club? The advantages of belonging to one are:

  • They are normally Cheaper than normal running clubs, yet
  • you are affiliated to England Athletics so you still do get discounts on races.
  • You have a chance to win a Club ballot place to run in the London Marathon.
  • You still get support from club members, even though you don’t attend races.
  • You will never get left behind on a club run again!
  • No Club politics problems.

There other appealing aspects, they may differ from each club.

There are quite a few Internet clubs but I’ve only mentioned two; UKnetrunner and UKrunChat as these are the only ones I’m familiar with. My Internet club I belong to is UKnetrunner. It has all the advantages listed about. Once a year, we meet up at a race event and have a big meal afterwards (paid for by the club). This is followed by the Prize Giving (lots of Trophies) and AGM. There are mementos for all sorts of things, e.g., a UKnetrunner mug for all those who ran “5 different parkruns, over an 8 week period”.

UKnetrunner website

“We cater for runners whose lifestyles make it difficult to attend a local running club, but still want the support of clubmates. With UKnetunner your clubmates are available all day, every day, via facebook, twitter and the members’ chat forum.

Our running club offers various ways for members to get involved, but with the flexibility of participating when it suits you – there’s no pressure to attend certain races. You can add all your results to your member profile and these will be used to rank you in the UKnetrunner Grand Prix according to your progress over the previous year. There’s even a prize for the winner at the end of the year.

There are also a variety of handicap races held at events across the country each year. The handicap system allows you to compete fairly against members of all abilities with the triumphant runner receiving a trophy. If you’re still not sure, get in touch and ask any questions you may have before you JOIN.”

I also follow UKrunChat is an Online Running Community that cost nothing to join. It has thousands of followers. It is also your choice to join it as a club athlete so you are a member of England Athletics and you will get discounts on races.

UKrunChat website

“Our community has grown and we have lots of #UKRunChat people meeting up at events each and every week. With this in mind, we decided it was time to take the next step. We are now an official affiliated club with England Athletics. You can read some of the benefits here as to why being affiliated is great for both a club and individuals.  We would also like to affiliate with Scottish and Welsh Athletics.

We already have a virtual place for you to chat, give advice, support one another and celebrate with each other and now you’ll be able to do all of this in person whilst running together as part of the UKRunChat Running Club!

Lots of us for different reasons don’t have time to join a club or you have other commitments which stop you from joining. If you join the UKRunChat running club then you will have your team mates accessible at all times through our usual social channels and can arrange to meet up at events that you want to do offering complete flexibility. This means you are at home and out running when it suits you, your family and your schedule and there is no pressure to attend any races or training sessions that you don’t want to.

You can see where fellow UKRunChat members are running on our race calendar (coming soon) and we will be arranging to run at specific events across the UK so we can all meet up as one club. You can see events on our new events listing.

If you want anymore information then please email info@ukrunchat.co.uk Club Subscription: Free of Charge | England Athletics Affiliation fee: £13 (Optional).”

Running and physical activity participation in female youths.

I write this from a parent’s perspective, outlining my daughter’s experience of  her physical activity and running as she grew in England. It was very different from my own experience as I was growing up in N.Z., where sport seemed to surround me at home and at school. I don’t know if this due to a cultural difference or it was just what it was like in the 1970’s & 1980’s. My feeling are that things have changed as, at the moment N.Z., like England have high levels of childhood obesity which has been partially attributed to a lack of physical activity.

My daughters Sports day at Primary School was the only opportunity I had of seeing my daughter in a school setting. I expected to see, egg and spoon races, sack races, three legged races, dressing up races, relay’s, and maybe mother and daughter running races. Instead I saw her do a variety of activities with no aim to the activities and no one came first or last.

When my daughter was small I used to ask her what she did in P.E, and the lessons sounded great, a really good variety and the teachers were lovely, I also asked “does your teacher put trainers and trousers on when she teaches P.E?” Her response was “No, Miss puts on her furry coat and stays in her high heels and tell us what to do”. I couldn’t help but laugh, but I do think P.E., teacher’s need to be a role model by taking a little bit of an active part. One thing that surprised me was how little swimming she did. She did 12 swimming lessons in the total time at Primary School. If we hadn’t taken her swimming in her spare time she would have never learned to swim.

At Secondary School, my daughter did a variety of Sports, even Lacrosse. She was quite good at running despite doing no training for it, other than parkrun.

My daughter really enjoyed parkrun. She learned to love running from parkrun. There was no pressure to run as fast as you could, unless you felt like it. She knew she would never come last and she was so pleased when she got her white 10 parkrun top. She also liked the cake at the end.

At school, when there were competitions with other schools in running, she did well. One day she bought home a letter and it said she had been picked to run for her County in the Cross Country Championships and if she wanted to go, ring up this person on his number. The same thing happened again when she ran for her County at the Athletic Championship. On the day of the event we had to drive over an hour to the venue then find the man who gave her a vest. Only one other boy was there from her school and she felt quite lonely and stressed. The School took no part in it at all. No teacher came at all. If we weren’t supportive parents she would never of gone. In my Secondary School a teacher/s would always come and all the pupils would come together however far it was to go. No pupil needed parent support. At my school every teacher had to be responsible for one club, whether that be the Christian Club, Netball, Mini Trampoline etc. It was not just the job of the P.E., teacher.to be responsible for a Sports Club. If the French teacher liked Tennis, she would choose to run that club. It was an opportunity for everyone to be active and take part in something, teacher and pupil alike.

My daughter seemed to get a bit put off running after running for her County where others were better than her. It was too competitive for her. She gave up running at about 16 years old like so many girls. Thankfully, when she was 19 years old she started jogging to keep trim and feel better. When she started to run again her sessions were “walk-run-walk”, and not worrying about speed. Now she runs about 4-5 days a week and enjoys it. I attribute her enjoyment of running to parkrun experiences, not her school experiences of running. I feel if anything School put her off running.

Photo below is my daughter Zara.

Free Event in Birmingham 17th January 2017

For anyone already running marathons or planning to do so, then there is a fantastic night coming up with two tremendous national coaches, Bud Baldaro and Nick Anderson. The coaches will be hosting a marathon preparation evening at Birmingham University on Wednesday 17th January and I thoroughly recommend your attendance should you be free and are keen to learn!

To book your place please follow the link and fill in your details to book as a guest; I fully expect this event to fill up by the evening so I would get it on your calendar earlier rather than later.

https://www.ulearnathletics.com/cpdEvent/85915

Interesting Person of the Week: Mike Edwards

We all meet so many interesting people through our running and other activities and sometimes don’t share their stories, so in this section there will be stories and an an “Interesting Person of the Week”. Mike Edwards is the first, with many more to come.

Mike is now in the 70-74 age group. Mike has been a good club runner for over 30 years. He has a fast P.B., for a marathon of 3.01 which also must be frustrating as it’s so close to sub 3 hours. It did make me laugh as I read this because he is another runner with dodgy knee’s who took up cycling. It seems that most cyclists are ex runners with running injuries. Anyway here’s his story,

“I gave up running for a while about twelve years ago because of a dodgy knee and after an arthroscopy got into mountain biking which strengthened my leg muscles supporting the knee thus enabled me to start running again. I actually suffered a heart attack in 2011 whilst mountain biking, but had a procedure called angioplasty(stents fitted) at Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital. The consultant who carried out the angioplasty, Nick Palmer cleared me to return to whatever I was doing previously. I got fit again at Lion Quays Leisure Club under the guidance of Michelle Bowen who was cardio rehab trained which involved gym work and swimming. In 2012 I went to watch my eldest son complete a Sprint Triathlon in Nantwich, became inspired and the following year took part myself.

I found triathlon very satisfying doing the three disciplines, although I am not the best of swimmers(self taught front crawl or freestyle as they now call it). I have completed about a dozen Sprints since then, the last on the 24th September 2017 at Ludlow. I swim at Chirk Leisure Centre two or three times a week and also ride road, cycle-cross and mountain bike and have recently introduced a gym programme to strengthen my upper body and core which has improved my running, although I am a great deal slower than I used to be. What I find is that entering a Triathlon gives me incentive to train and I am already entered for Chirk Sprint Tri next April.

Over the last eighteen months or so I have been going to the Park Run at Erddig Hall, Wrexham(NT) and am enjoying running one week and volunteering the alternate week. I also run on a Thursday morning with my long time running buddy, Les Leech and have been to Park Runs at Delamere, Congeleton and Braunstone Leicester as a PR tourist.

I completed my second Braunstone, Leicester Park Run on Saturday and recorded a PB of 29:41 and was third in my age group 70-74. I run, cycle(road, cyclo-cross and mountain bike) and swim. Entered Chirk Sprint Triathlon 2018 last night to motivate myself to train across the winter.”

My husband and I are the worst parents: Running the ING Amsterdam Marathon with young children.

Nine years ago my husband and I ran the ING Amsterdam Marathon when our children were young. Here’s that story………………..

For 12 years while my children were young I didn’t run. I didn’t do that much exercise except walking the kids to school and a little bit at the gym. So when my oldest was 12 years old I said to my husband “I’d like to run another marathon”. I’d run two marathons in my mid twenties and had obviously forgotten how hard it was and that you do need to train, although the longest run for those was only 13 miles.

Anyway, I worked up to jogging to an hour on the treadmill and my husband ran with me outside. We built it up to an 11 mile run and then entered The Leek Half Marathon. I had no idea it was hilly, my god those hills. We must be the worst parents in the world because we just left the kids at the playground at the start with their Gameboys and off we went. They were 11 & 13 years old but I worried about them the whole time.

I think we did a few more 11-16 miles runs and then it was time for ING Amsterdam Marathon. We walked to exhaustion on the Saturday, not a good idea. Again, we were the worst parents ever. We left our kids in the Amsterdam Stadium with their Gameboys, sweets, biscuits, etc. They were there for over 3 hours before my husband came in. I worried about them the whole time again. We both finished in a bit of a state, my husband toe was sliced open from fairly new shoes and I obviously hadn’t done enough training. Still we got to the airport and flew out and got the kids to bed at 2am, 4 hours sleep before school. Poor kids.