Good parkrun blogs.

Good parkrun reviewers. I’ve taken this list of really good blogs off ‘The parkrun journey’ Facebook site.

Robert Skedgell the moderator wrote:

“There are quite a few excellent blogs by parkrun tourists. As there are so many that it’s hard to keep track of them, I’ll keep a list in this post. Where the author is a member of this group, I’ll tag them next to the entry.”

I’ll try to update this site as well.

parkruns by Steve Stockwell

http://www.blog7t.com/

Get Down, Shep! by Ali Sheppard

https://getdownshep.com/

Monday running by Gail Seal

https://mondayrunning.com/

Paul-Jeffrey.com by Paul Jeffrey

http://paul-jeffrey.com/

parkrun reviews by Chis Jeanes

https://crajeanes.wixsite.com/parkrun/home

Running to stand still by Toria Richards

https://mrsbridgewater.blogspot.com/

Running Scared by Lucy Marris.

https://runningscaredsite.wordpress.com/

The buggy runners diary by Jessica Sanderson

https://www.facebook.com/thebuggyrunnersdiary/

allscottishparkruns (allba) by Scott MacMichael

https://allscottishparkruns.wordpress.com/

Parkrun Poet by Tim Gardiner https://twitter.com/parkrunpoetry

@parkrunpoetry

Using Sport Psychology Self-Help Interventions

Athletes crave interventions that improve performance. Finding an intervention that works could involve working with a professional sports scientist or following a self-help package. Recent years has seen a rapid growth in the popularity in self-help interventions. Andy Lane offers guidance on how to use self-help interventions to improve performance. (Photo above: Andy Lane finishing Virgin Money London Marathon).

The nature of sport is that individuals strive to find methods to improve performance. Commercial activity to meet this demand has led to increased availability of products such as sports drinks, supplements, equipment modification and numerous self-help books.

In this article, Andy Lane focuses upon the use of self-help materials designed to give an athlete a psychological edge. However, it’s worth noting that physiological, biomechanical, technical and nutritional factors tend to work in tandem with psychological ones. Thus, anyone considering using a self-help intervention should remember that changing one aspect of performance could influence another. For example, in my experience with endurance athletes, interventions that bring about improvements in physiological indices that athletes see as important (lactic threshold, Vo2) are coupled with improvements in psychological ones. (below a runner taking a VO2 max test).

What is a self-help intervention?

An intervention occurs in a number of different ways. In other contexts, e.g., if you are feeling ill you could book an appointment at your GP.  Alternatively, if you have had the illness before, and believe you have correctly identified it, you could take an over-the-counter medication. The following stages lead to improved performance in sport:

1. Identify the problem

2. Implement the intervention and establish the criteria for judging effectiveness

3. Assessment its effectiveness

In sport psychology, the problem can be difficult to identify; an athlete might want to perform better but knowing which parts to work on is complex also assessing the effectiveness can be difficult, especially as psychological data tend to be subjective, an issue exacerbated by the fact that following a self-help intervention, you are both the client and consultant.

Self-help interventions and sport psychology: do they work?

There is an extensive literature that describes how to use self-help sport psychology interventions (1). I have contributed to this literature including authoring 17 Peak Performance articles (see www.pponline.com), each one offering self-help advice.

How do I know if this is good advice? How do I know if the interventions I propose work?

The intervention should be supported by theory and tested scientifically.

The evidence supporting the use of self-help psychological interventions is strong and not restricted to sport (2).

In clinical psychology, patients that followed an online self-help intervention for the treatment of anxiety and depression recovered as effectively (3). 

In health psychology, self-help interventions have helped people manage cravings when following diets (4).

In sport psychology, self-help interventions successfully led to runners not only experiencing more pleasant emotions but also performing better (5).

So how do I develop an effective self-help package?

The question an individual following a self-help intervention should ask her or himself is; “how do I identify where gains can be made”? With self-help interventions, the individual is also a consultant, and therefore, it is important to establish monitoring systems to enable identification of factors that appear to influence performance.  

Your training diary as a way of assessing whether an intervention is needed?

A training diary can be a very effective way of identifying which variables to target for intervention work. However, at least three factors influence the relative success of using a training diary to help guide interventions. First, the diary needs to capture important variables that influence performance and be open to the possibility that you are not assessing the right information. An individual following a self-help intervention needs to be open to new ideas and continue reading widely. The individual is both the client and the consultant, and we expect consultants to be professionals who keep up with the latest research.

With the data sitting in front of you, the key question is “how do I make sense of it so that I know how my performance can be improved”? When deciding what data to record, you should also consider what you will do with it. If you record time spent training then presumably you will use this information to gauge whether it was useful in helping you achieve your goal? If you believe that running long periods of time, or completing certain distances, will help you achieve your marathon goal, then seeing that you are running for longer is likely to improve your confidence. However, if confidence is also influenced by the relative intensity of each run, and you realise that you are running for longer but at a lower intensity your confidence to be able to run at the high intensity on race day may not necessarily be increased. In the example above, the athlete should reflect on whether distance covered is truly a marker of progress with a suggestion that speed needs to be considered and recorded. The key point here is to have a strategy on how you will analyse data and how this will relate to the relative achievement of your goals.

 A third factor to consider is that the act of keeping a training diary could be an intervention itself, particularly for helping manage unwanted emotions. Keeping a diary where you detail intense emotional experiences has been found to be an effective self-help strategy. Expressive writing is proposed to help process information better, and help restructure information from these experiences in a way that if such a situation arises next time, then they are better coped to deal with it (7).

Putting into practice

Training diaries for endurance athletes are aided by the use of modern technology. You can get satellite navigation technology on your mobile phone with numerous free apps available to help record and collate training. In this regard technology has provided a huge advantage in that it takes away potential biases deriving from inaccurate measurement. Further, all you need to do is put on the device, and press start and stop to record training. You do not need to write down what was done which brings in issues to do with the accuracy of recall especially if you do not record what was done shortly after the session.

In addition to this type of data, It’s suggested to record daily mood. Mood is a useful way of recording how well you are coping with training demands. Mood can be used to help balance your training so that you are recovered sufficiently so to maintain quality.

As indicated previously, expressive writing has been found to be an effective intervention strategy. By exploring the likely cause of unwanted emotions, you also begin to develop a blueprint that helps you recognisesituations which bring these and therefore provide opportunities through which to choose a different path to act in the future. For example, if speaking to competitors on the start line gets you particularly nervous, or their banter evokes anger which in turn affects your race strategy, then recognising this to be the case might help change your decision on where to warm-up. You could warm-up alone or rather than warming up near your competitors, and if situational factors prevent this, then listening to music via headphone can serve to block out their conversations. 

References

1. Inside sport psychology, Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2010

2. Clinical Psychological Review 2006; 13, 169-186

3. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 2011; 79: 123-128

4. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 2008; 34: 381-393

5. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine 2011; 10: 400-407. www.jssm.org/vol10/n2/22/v10n2-22pdf.pdf

6. Psychological Science 1997; 8: 162-166

Sport Psychology Consultant: Dr Andy Lane

Website @winninglane.com

Consultancy either by Skype £50 per 30 minutes or in person at CHHP (Harley Street, London, call for costs).

The use of a Psychologist in managing eating behaviours and weight loss: A case study

Coming up to Christmas and New Year with so much food around I though this might be helpful if you want to manage your own eating behaviour. Some people have a good relationship with food, some people only eat when they are hungry and eat a healthy diet, butI I would guess they are in the minority.
So often when people try to lose weight they put most of it back on because they don’t tackle the psychological aspect of eating. Emotional eating is a particular problem. There are so many reasons why we eat and it’s not just that we are hungry, usually they go back to childhood e..g., nice food like sweets and cakes are given to us to make us feel better or loved by our family and friends and so when we a sad, or angry maybe we binge on cakes and chocolate. There are also reasons why people turn to restricting their diet when very depressed.
  • A psychologist can use a short questionnaire (e.g.The Exercisers Eating Scale, TEES) to examine ‘eating behaviour’ (i.e., what we eat), ‘weight management techniques’, ‘dietary responses to emotions’, ‘emotional responses to diet’, & ‘body image’ has been developed (see Lane, 2007). The Psychologist then monitors progress with reassessment being done at regular intervals. Intervention are designed to change diet habits and improve self-regulatory behaviour around food. This client was a 39-year old male who previously competed at national level in his sport, but more recently exercised for health and fitness related reasons. (We screened the athlete for possible indicators of eating disorders first).
  • It is normal for many people, including exercisers to engage in dieting behaviours, but only a few are preoccupied by food or show bulimic tendencies. Our client reported similar scores to the average other than he engaged more in dieting behaviours. and experienced unpleasant emotions after eating, and tended to eat when experiencing unpleasant emotions such as depression and anxiety. He also had a poor body image believing himself to be overweight. Our intervention focused on the diet-emotion link.
  • First we asked him to keep a diary of when he was eating, what he was eating, and what emotions were being experienced. It is important for the individual to be aware of the factors associated with binge eating, particularly if they wish to curtail these behaviours. The process of recording a diary is important as it not only provides the consultant with valuable information, but also helps raise self-awareness of factors that lead to binge eating for the client. E.g., he recalled coming home from work after a bad day, went to gym then binged on a huge amount of food. The reason he binged was because he was unhappy over the incident at work. Now he had named the feelings and expressed where they came from strategies could be identified to help him.
  • We then asked the client to challenge, or question the belief that exercise allows an individual to eat as much as they like. Secondly, we sought to explore the strategies the client was using to regulate pleasant and unpleasant emotions. In this case, his exercise was a strategy to enhance emotions, as was eating unhealthy food. By using a food diary, it was possible to see the type of self-talk that the client was engaging in when deciding what to eat and how much to eat. Information in the diary helped develop self-talk scripts to help the client facing similar situations in the future. It is important for clients to realise that they are active in the decision-making process on whether to binge eat, and self-talk should be targeted at enhancing self-confidence and enabling the use of a different strategy.
  • We asked our client to think back to situations in which he made a decision to eat chocolate, and to explore what he said to himself. He then replayed the scenario and sought to remove the link between eating chocolate and improved mood choosing aa different strategy. e are a number of different strategies that could be used. For example, one method would be to tell someone (partner, friend, mother etc) what your day was like, and develop social support networks. It also helps if you can collate a list of things that work for you and which will help you deal with these emotions and prevent you from binge eating. For example, plan something to keep yourself busy; read a book, go on the computer, go for a walk, go to the movies, phone a friend and organise to meet etc. If you know you have a problem with your diet in the evening then plan to use these strategies at this time. However, it is important to recognise that the strategies people used to control their emotions are highly individualised – there’s no single strategy that can be universally applied. The second key aspect of the use of a diary is to recognise the process through which an individual can be confident enough to take control of decisions around food changes during the intervention.
  • It is important that success is positively reinforced and individuals should seek to reward themselves when they have made a good decision around food. However, this reward should not be linked with food. It is important for the consultant to closely monitor the food diary in the initial stages of the intervention, and encourage the individual to congratulate themselves on their achievements.
  • Over time confidence increases in their ability to make correct decisions around food, they also think less about weight management issues and engaging in dieting behaviours. Furthermore, once food is no longer seen as a primary strategy for emotional regulation, individuals tend to eat a far healthier diet. This trend is evidenced in our case study as depicted.
If you want further help from a Psychologist to help you.
You can contact helenlane@winninglane.com or andylane@winninglane.com
See our website; winninglane.com
Consultancy Sessions are £50 per hour on Skype.

Marathon Talk Run Camp 2018: 23rd-25th February.

On Friday 23rd of February 2018 we arrived at Sandy Balls, Godshill, Foringbridge in The New Forest, Hampshire for the Marathon Run Camp 2018.

We met our fellow camp mate as we were put in lodges with 4 other runners.

After meeting the other runners and drinking at the bar we had a welcome from Martin Yelling and Tom Williams who explained what would be happening in the week-end.Saturday Morning we were all off at 8am to do the Moors Valley parkrun. We woke up to a lovely Sunny but chilly morning ready to run the very beautiful Moors Valley parkrun. A record number of 525 runners took part including over 100 from Marathon Talk Run Camp and from 76 clubs. GB Athletes Liz Yelling and Jo Pavey also took part with everyone. (Photo above: GB Athlete Liz Yelling, Moors Valley parkrun race director/volunteer/race reporter Julie Pegoraro, Melanie Campbell and Olympic Gold Medalist Jo Pavey). The photo below is the Marathon Talk Camp runners.After parkrun as always it was time for coffee, cakes and chatting in the forest cafe and finally returning to Sandy Balls.

A buffet lunch was served followed by a fantastic and interesting Talk by Dr Tim Cruise Drew about his medical support for Eddie Izzard on his Multiple Marathon Challenge in South Africa.In the afternoon we had an optional practical run session in the forest, were we chose a speed group of our choice and did 3 reps of 1km,After dinner in the evening there was a live Q & A session with Jo Pavey, 5 time Olympian and Olympic Gold Medalist. Followed by a group quiz from quiz master Tony Audenshaw.After a brilliant evening Tom Williams and Martin Yelling explained Sunday’s Eliminator Run. It was a team competition where each person had to run the 10 mile course to finish as close to 12 noon as possible where they either wore no watch or there watches were taken off. Points were put on for time finished before noon and double points put on for finishing after noon. The team with the least points won. Everyone predicted their own time and decided to start according to their predicted time.After the Eliminater we all went back to Sandy Balls for another dinner before driving home.

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

Race Review Draycote Water 10km Race Series: Race 1; October, Race 2 November 2017 (This will be updated every month as results come in).

This is a great event. It is a series that runs every second Sunday of each month from October to March. It is located in Draycote Water, Warwickshire., which has a large lake and the course goes around the lake. If you live in the Midlands I recommend this series, as it’s a pretty course and it’s a longer distance from most other race series. If you are doing a spring marathon then, free parkruns, this series, 1-2 Half-Marathons and a 20 mile Race will set you up perfectly.

It was a windy but a dry day, so fairy good weather for running. Parking was really easy, and picking up numbers was easy too. We left our clothes in the car which was fine, although they had a bag drop too.

Although they advertise this course as easy, flat, I found it had some hills. It was pretty and traffic-free and encompasses a short run and back along the Farborough Dam followed by a lap of the reservoir, starting and finishing close to the country park.

All result time below are chip time. (Click links for more)

Results: Race 1 Sunday 8th of October 2017:Draycote Water 10km Series: Race 1

Men’s:

1. Paul Andrews 35.02

2. Ryan Smith 35.28

3. Lewis Cherry 37.49

Women’s:

1. Louise Andrews 44.31

2. Rachel Smith 46.12

3. Lisa Robertson 47.13

Results: Race 2 Sunday 12th November 2017: Draycote Water 10km Series Race 2.

November

Men’s

1. Paul Andrews 34.30

2. Ben Plummer 34.50

3. Paul Edwards 37.21

Women’s

1. Jess Orion 44.30

2. Louise Andrews 44.48

3. Chloe Kington 45.00

51,307 Started, But How Many Finished? The 2017 NYC Marathon by the Numbers

By Paul Snyder (Runners World).

The race through the five boroughs remains the world’s largest 26.2-mile race.

Runners begin the 2017 New York City Marathon by making their way over the Verrazano Bridge. Photo by, EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ

The 2017 New York City Marathon officially greeted 50,766 runners to the finish line on Sunday in Central Park, and although an impressive 98.9 percent of participants made it 26.2 miles, the total fell short of last year’s record-setting 51,388 finishers.

See more: Runner’s World Link for NYC Marathon.

For complete coverage of this year’s race or to find out how to run the streets of New York in 2018, check out our NYC Marathon hub.

Olympic champion Jemima Sumgong handed four-year doping ban.

By Athletics Weekly (photo by Mark Shearman).

News of the Kenyan’s failed test was reported earlier this year and on Tuesday (November 7) the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya announced her sanction.

Sumgong’s ban runs from April 3, 2017 – the date of her provisional suspension – following the failed out-of-competition drugs test which had been taken on February 28.

That prevented the 32-year-old, who won the Virgin Money London Marathon last year as well as claiming Olympic marathon gold in Rio, from defending her London Marathon title.

According to the decision document published by the Anti-Doping Agency of Kenya, Sumgong said her failed test was a result of treatment received at the Kenyatta National Hospital in Kenya on February 22 for an ectopic pregnancy. However, the decision document continued to state that the hospital denied that the athlete had been treated at that facility on or prior to that date, but confirmed a subsequent consultative visit.

A letter from the hospital “asserts quite emphatically that the medical sheets provided by the athlete were not authentic”, the decision document read in part.

It added that Sumgong said she did not disclose the treatment on her doping control form or tell anyone, including her husband who is also her coach, because of the “taboo” associated with her condition.

In April the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) released a statement which read in part: “The athlete tested positive for EPO following a no-notice test conducted by the IAAF in Kenya. This was part of an enhanced IAAF out-of-competition testing programme dedicated to elite marathon runners which is supported by the Abbott World Marathon Majors group.”

Read more at: Jemima Sumgong doping ban. (Athletics Weekly).