Self Love

‘But what are you doing for YOU Kerry?’ This was the burning question my PT asked me not so long ago..  The answer was probably absolutely nothing.  I was caught in a working 40 hours per week, socialising, marathon training, leading at club, organising a 5K for charity and strength training at the gym.  I work in HR and I’ve got to be brutally honest, I was a bit ‘peopled out’.

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Sometimes you burn out before its too late and I had lost a bit of my spark.  I was just mentally and physically exhausted. I can’t remember the last time I sat on my sofa and just did nothing and relaxed.

It’s essential at times to remember that we all have choices and it’s OK to be selfish sometimes.  I try to lead running groups at club at least once a month.  This month, I’ve just not been able to manage it. Do I feel guilty – absolutely.   It’s so easy to feel the tug of war on expectations, challenges, commitments, technology, family, friends and work. But do you need it all to just STOP for a moment?

Dr Seuss summed it up beautifully: “How did it get so late so soon?” he wrote ” It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”

This Friday night, I have a date, with myself. I’m going to watch a good film, have a bubble bath, light some candles and incense, turn off all social media and just RELAX.  When was the last time you did that?

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I’ve thought about how I can slow my pace down whilst juggling all these balls in the air and from next week, I’m going to attempt the following;

  1. Breathe – There are a variety of breathing techniques that can help you slow down and enjoy your life. Just by breathing in your nose, hold and breathing out of your mouth
  2. Marley cuddles – There’s a reason why my dog is my best friend. Marley brings me so much joy to my life as well as unconditional love and companionship.

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3.  Just ‘be there’ – being in the present. Having gratitude, listening, being  appreciative    – this can be achieved by yoga, and meditation.

4. Less is more – Spring clean anyone?

5.  Drive Slower – I constantly race from A to B and need to slow down and become less  frustrated with other drivers. We are all guilty of it.

6.  Saying ‘No’ – sometimes having more time for you means saying no from time to time.

What do you do to relax? How do you know when you just need a ‘time out?’

May your miles be long , your weekend relaxing and your injuries few.

Kezza x

 

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Things Runners shouldn’t talk about (but do)

It’s been a great couple of months for me running wise.  I’ve felt fit, strong and above all, confident.  I have been working hard with my PT with strengthening my body and so far, so good.

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I have been struggling with the early morning sessions (yes I am prone to an 11 hour sleep) on a Sunday for training runs so decided to put the training back until 10am and this is working much better for me.

I’m still incorporating Body Balance into my training which is working well for stretching and doing so by using the Les Mills Interactive monthly plan. 

That’s enough small talk, let’s get down to business! There are a few things that most runners don’t like to talk about (I do, because I am gross and brutally honest). I run as a Fareham Crusader, so I get to chat to other runners A LOT!  Running isn’t glamorous (only if you spot the photographer in time).

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‘Quick, look happy, there’s a photographer!’

Things you’re not supposed to talk about as a runner…

Snot Rockets

I’m so sorry Jane (my marathon training partner), I am awful at this.  You don’t know what this is?  Yeah right!!! So you can only do this when you are running outside.  If you try it in a gym on the treadmill, you may get thrown out.  It’s pretty much when you are bunged up and you clear one nostril at a time, you get my drift.  Don’t be that guy (yes you, runner at Fareham Parkrun) who did this whilst running and I was running behind you.  It’s very antisocial. There are actually videos online to perfecting the perfect snot rocket.  Fill your boots.

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Instructions for the perfect ‘snot rocket’

Runners Trots

My running friends all know how delicate my stomach is.  I have been known to have ducked into pubs, public loos and even bushes on particularly awkward runs.  When you’ve gotta go, you’ve gotta go.  Funny for me, but not so funny for others who have suffered or perhaps for new runners; this may come as a bit of a shock.  I also know some runners who have really weak bladders and have had to go mid race as they’ve not got to a loo in time… a taboo topic..but it’s more common than you think.

Paula

Even elite runners get caught short..

Bra Rub / Chaffing

I wasn’t blessed with vol-au-vents for boobs and so I get serious bra rub, regardless of what bra/s I wear (Vaseline is my friend).  I’m actually scarred from the number of chaffing wounds I have.  I’m still on the search for the perfect running bra. The longer the run, the more this force begins to stalk its victims. For some, it presents as a slight discomfort, for others, it can be really quite uncomfortable and can really affect your run..

OCD

Oh you’ve only ran 4.89?!  You had better run up and down your road at least 6 times, just enough for the neighbours to think you have finally lost the plot.

Dry Skin

My face has been like sandpaper this winter. I have been using emu oil and vaseline to lather my face from the elements which have been harsh. Runners are prone to skin problems due to the damaging elements like cold, sunlight, and infection. As I am a sufferer of skin cancer, i have to wear a really high factor in the summer.

Asthma in the cold / warm months

I have had my asthma under control for the last year probably because I didn’t end up with pneumonia again for the third time.  You can find out more about running with asthma here

Buff

Black toe nails / No toe nails

Us runners take pride in showing off our manky feet.  Yep, we’re damn proud of how calloused, rough, and mangled our feet are. It just goes to show how much time we put into training. Our feet wouldn’t be this ugly without all the miles we put in. You see, it’s our badge of honour! I draw the line at putting pictures up on social media of a missing toe nail. Too much information people! 🙂

 

Relationships

Goodbye all night raves and barhopping – unfortunately these do not work well with your training plan.  Any runners is aware that they are lucky for any support that they get.  Its really important to thank those supportive, awesome people who are watching your race, waiting for you at the finish line, or for me, looking after Marley Moo (my dog).  My parents are just around the corner and are really supportive and so I am very grateful for that.

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Marley Moo – ‘She’s off running again’

Blisters

Sometimes, they form because of too much sweat. Sometimes, it’s because there’s something in our shoes that’s causing unwanted friction. It may be because of new shoes.  Chances are, if you’re a runner, you have had a blister of some sort.  Us runners like to brag about our blisters, hell, sometimes it turns into a competition – who has the largest and most disgusting blister.  No doubt, there will be that runner who has taken a picture of their blister.  Us runners can be dirty buggers..

Of course, there are lots of positives about running which we DO talk about! A lot! These really do outweigh the above, though I’m yet to find a man who will give me a foot rub..

May your miles be long and your injuries few

Kezza xx

London Marathon 2019

Once again, I am training for the London Marathon.  I was lucky enough to obtain a charity place through Rowan’s Hospice which I am so grateful for.  So far, training is going well, and I have the pleasure of training with my good friend Jane Pollard- this is her first marathon.  This is my second.  This time around, I am not stressing about my training, I am following the plan but realise that I can tweak it at different times.  I have a life and a demanding full-time job. Sometimes not fulfilling a training run, happens.

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Me and my lovely friend Jane on a training run.. 

The great thing about running with Jane, is that she is not precious about PB’s on training runs and it’s all very chilled and chatty. This year, I have decided to use Martin Yelling’s London Marathon 16-week plan, but with a few tweaks.  I felt that the intermediate plan was too advanced for me and yet the beginners was just that little bit too ‘beginner’ for me.  So, I have decided to use the beginners plan but with some tweaks.  It’s all working well.

I did Hellrunner last November and it was SO HILLY – to the point where my back was so painful -I have had an uncomfortable feeling in my thigh ever since.  After waiting for it to disappear for 3 months, it didn’t, so I decided to see a Sports Therapist yesterday.  For those local to Fareham, I saw Lawrence Knott at knott kinetics .  He was absolutely brilliant.  Really thorough and I would highly recommend him.  Turns out I have a pinched nerve in my back which has kind of got stuck in my thigh.  Hopefully a few sessions should sort this out!  So far, my Achilles have been playing ball.

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Reaching the end of Hell… 

For my fundraising efforts for the Rowan’s, I have decided (with the help of Rural Running ), to organise a 5k race.  So far, I have over 100 participants signed up which I am over the moon about. Jeff Clark (Race Director of Rural Running) has been a real help with my fundraising and has kindly allowed me to use the platform of his website and expertise to attract race entries.  The race takes place on the 24th Feb 2019 in Wickham and there is still time to enter here.  If you would kindly like to donate to my Rowan’s fundraising, my Just giving page can be found here.

Other than running, I have been building up my strength and weights in the gym with Holly Selman, my PT.  Check out her page here, she is an absolute machine. More times than often, Holly will demonstrate what she wants me to do with some reps, only for me to have a go, and not be able to lift the actual weight that she has been holding! Holly has really helped me keep a positive mindset and to ensure that I am not doubting myself – which I often do.  Holly also keeps me in check and lets me know if i’m doing too much as in terms of socialising, working out, running and working (she forces me to take a rest day and not feel guilty about it).  She is also my life coach! 🙂

This year at club, we also have two new Captains who have also been amazing and a real asset to the Fareham Crusaders.  Neil and Bex have been good for my soul and have given me and many more, a zest of love for running with their fun approach to working hard but still getting the results.  This works well for me.  There is enough serious pressure and competition at work, and for me, running is a hobby and I want to enjoy it.

 

I hope to provide many more updates on training and will provide the ‘ups’ and of course ‘the downs’.  Let’s buckle up and get ready for the ride..

May your runs be long, and your injuries few..

Kezza x

Running with Skin Cancer

This is a bit of a brave post and I have debating for all of the summer months about posting it. In 2012, I was diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) and Actinic Keratosis (pre-cancerous skin cancer). Whilst basal cell carcinoma is one of the easiest skin cancers to treat, I had let is fester under my eye for too long and it had grown deeper.  If left it any longer, I was in danger of it spreading and it affecting my eye sight, and I required Mohs surgery.  I’ve never really blogged about it before.  I guess I’ve treated it a bit like a dirty secret.

So far, I have had 5 treatments on my face, and one on my arm – most of the treatments have been for Actinic Keratosis (pre-cancerous cells that turn into Squamous cell carcinoma’s). For these treatments, I have had to apply an anti-cancer drug to the area before sleep. The cream burns out and kills the cells which gave me terrible burns to my skin including open wounds.  At the end of the treatment, my skin was burnt and red raw. Yes, I have good make up for running (don’t judge me! 😊) so it’s difficult to spot unless its pointed out. I am also lucky to have had a fantastic consultant and have to regularly go back for checkups.

Unfortunately, the cream hasn’t worked on many occasions and I have had to have Photodynamic therapy which consists of initial treatment of cream to kill the cancer cells, this is then followed by a special light treatment which reacts with the cream to kill the cancer cells. This treatment was excruciatingly painful (think about the shuddery feeling of putting your foot in a boiling hot bath  – but leaving it there for 15 minutes).

Skin cancer is real, but it is preventable. Roughly 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultra violet radiations from the sun.  I lived in Australia for a year and didn’t think skin cancer would happen to me, and would regularly sit in the sun without any sun factor.  Shamefully, as a teenager, I used to lather myself up with baby oil and just bake until I was burnt to a crisp. I naively thought I would eventually end up with a golden tan like my friends.  Half of my family are pale, Scottish and freckly so this wasn’t ever going to happen!

Cancer is scary and unpleasant, it’s also really emotionally draining. This hasn’t been an easy post to share but If this post has just reached one person in using sunblock and using sun preventative measures, I have saved one person some sun damage.

My relationship with the sun is complicated. I love soaking up its warmth and energy, but obviously have to be really careful.  The sun does like to leave its mark – age spots, tan lines, painful burns – to name but a few. There are, of course, reasons to be wary, especially if you’re logging lots of summer miles. But you might be surprised to learn that running in the sun also does your body good..

There’s something about the sunshine that makes us happy. Our mood is better, we feel more positive – making the sunshine vital to our mental and physical health, but we should also know when enough is enough. Here are a few tips to staying safe in the sun…

  1. Certain medication can make you sensitive to the sun. Most topical and oral medications, including those for acne, high blood pressure and birth control can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
  2. Wear a hat or join the #visorclub to prevent sun damage. You won’t catch me without my visor in the summer, I feel naked without it. Also UV – blocking sunglasses are a must – polarised lenses help beat the glare.
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Follow me to the Visor Club

 

  1. Use Sun protection. Bit of an obvious one but a lot of runners won’t wear sunblock due to the stickiness and how much they can make you sweat, so its worth investing in a sports sunscreen which is lighter in texture and less occlusive. I use Neutrogena Ultra sheer, dry touch lotion, factor 55 and it goes on really lightly and isn’t sticky at all.  Gents- Don’t forget to do the rim of your ears and the top of your scalp if you have thinning hair.  If you are able to purchase a travel size, you can keep this in your hydration pack or waist band.
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I can’t run without this

 

  1. Run when the sun is less intense. Generally, the sun us at its strongest between 10am and 4pm, if you train during those hours, find somewhere shady to run.
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You can always find a shady trail run

 

  1. Do your checks regularly. If you spend a lot of time outside, its important that you check for irregular moles or spots which are there for a long time, suddenly appear or become itchy. It’s always worth getting a second opinion by a Doctor if you are unsure.

Taking these small steps is a no brainer. Not only can they extend your running, they can extend your life.

May your miles be long and your injuries few

Kezza x

 

 

 

 

 

Running with Asthma

Since running, I have really noticed how bad my asthma is in the cold. In fact, it’s been so bad that I took the time to research whether other runners were feeling the same. Turns out, they were, and I soon discovered that there was a common theme occurring. I was not alone.

I didn’t get diagnosed with asthma until I was in my early twenties and it has never posed me any issues. That was until I started running. This January I’ve come down with Pneumonia for the second time in two years. Unfortunately, I believe this has been caused by running in the bitter cold. The freezing cold air is absolutely no good for my lungs and this is a hard pill to swallow. Will I run on the ‘dreadmill’ for colder runs? I just can’t see it. I love the outdoors too much. I can’t think of anything worse than running and not seeing new things and not actually going anywhere!

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Running Free!

Will asthma stop me doing the things I love – absolutely not. Asthma UK have actually said ‘Exercise, including cardio vascular exercise like running has amazing benefits for everyone’s health. this includes improving how the lungs actually work. In fact, Jo Pavey is an advocate for running with asthma and says ‘Being fit has improved my asthma so much. When I was at University and not doing much running, I would really struggle for breath going uphill. That just doesn’t happen when I am looking after my fitness’

As well as Jo Pavey, Paula Radcliffe was also diagnosed with exercise induced asthma as the age of fourteen, so it is not impossible to excel at sports because you have asthma. Worth remembering!

For me, I am going to have to ease back into running gently. Unfortunately, cold weather does trigger asthma symptoms because cold air can irritate the airways. I have tried running with a buff – this has helped to warm the air to my lungs beforehand. Asthma UK have initiated the ‘#Scarfie’ and they are encouraging asthma sufferers to wear a scarf over their mouth -www.asthma.org.uk/scarfie

Luckily, I have never been in a position where I have had an asthma attack, but symptoms to be mindful of are;

  1. A) Wheezing and coughing
  2. B) Gasping for air
  3. C) Tightness in the chest
  4. D) Having trouble speaking short sentences

There are many things you can do to look after yourself if you have asthma.

  1. A) Take your inhalers. . You can take their inhalers before they leave for their runs to ease the symptoms of asthma
  2. B) In the summer, Pollen can trigger asthma so run early in the morning before the pollen count is high
  3. C) Warm up your lungs! Running for a few short minutes before your run will help. A few quick spurts will warm up your lungs for your main run.
  4. D) Use a scarf over your mouth to warm up your lungs
  5. E) Carry your inhaler – you know this makes sense!
  6. F) Consider carrying around an ‘ICE’ tag (in case of emergencies tag).
  7. G) Tell people about your asthma and what they should do if you were to have an attack.
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#scarfie

The key is if you are looking after your symptoms well, you can enjoy any kind of exercise including running. Unfortunately living in the UK means that if you have asthma, you must be extra cautious, especially in the winter months.

If you need further advice on asthma, its worth visiting the asthma UK official website (www.asthma.org.uk).

May your miles be long and your injuries few

Kezza x

 

All I want for Christmas….

Christmas is rapidly approaching and it’s time to start thinking about presents! Have a runner in your life?  Here are some great ideas for you. Here are a few of my fav things and some suggestions! If you are a runner reading this, perhaps leave this webpage open on the gift you would like!

PANTS!

Runderwear are an absolute must for any runner. They don’t chafe, are breathable and super comfortable. I have them in every colour! https://www.runderwear.co.uk/runderwear

 


SOCKS!

The only time it is acceptable to buy socks for Christmas! 😊   I really like Thorlo socks – these are amazing for long distance but there are cheaper socks out there. Karrimor are also very good value for money (these can be bought at Sports Direct).

https://www.karrimor.com/

https://www.thorlo.com/Karrimor socks


RACE ENTRY

There are so many races out there! Just pick your distance and choose your area. From Santa this year, I am hoping for an entry to the Lochness Marathon in Scotland. Need to choose a race? Here’s a link!

https://www.runbritain.com/races

Me


RUNNING BELT

I REALLY love the Flipbelt! It’s so comfortable and doesn’t ‘bounce’ like other waist bands. It’s unbelievable how much you can fit in this baby! They come in all shapes and sizes too!

https://flipbelt.co.uk/

flipbelt


TRAINERS

Of course! Nothing lights up a runner’s life than some new rides. Handy hint coming* – runners are really particular about the branding and make of their trainers so worth checking the brand that they are wearing before making any purchase. I absolutely LOVE Brooks, they do so many different pairs of trainers for different running styles. My favourite are Brooks GTS – they are so generous with the padding and support and are great for long runs.

http://www.brooksrunning.com/en_gb

Brooks


SHORTS

You can’t go wrong with a good pair of shorts. My favourite are my Gore running shorts as they don’t budge and ride up. I am finding it really difficult to find another pair.

GORE shorts


SPORTS MASSAGE

You can’t go wrong with a good sports massage. Why not purchase a voucher for your runner? Perfect for ironing out those niggles and knots. I’m in Fareham and use the lovely Sharon at the Rural Retreat – she’s only little but her fingers pack a punch!

http://www.ruralretreatmassage.com

Shazzer

 


ENERGY GELS

Perfect for any runner who is marathon training or long distance training. You might want to again check which ones to buy as they don’t always suit every runner.   Personally for me, I have gastro issues with most gels but am fine with High 5 energy gels. You can’t go wrong with these!

http://www.highfive.co.uk

 

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AFTERSHOKZ

These are a really smart idea – they work by functioning on the vibration through the cheekbone to the inner ear and so therefore you can hear everything that is going on around you.     These are a brilliant idea for the health and safety element. These come in wireless and with wires and in different colours too. Top of my list for xmas!https://aftershokz.co.uk/

Aftershokz



 

Here are some other ideas from some fellow runners;

 

paul pickford

‘A GPS handheld device with maps/route planner, A race entry (tougher and longer the better) A new pair of short shorts’ – Paul Pickford, Ultrarunner and Captain for the Fareham Crusaders (Follow him on Twitter – @Pickfordpj)

 

rebecca

‘On my list I have a parkrun wristband (@parkrunUK), a RUNR hoodie (www.runr.co.uk) and some egloves (https://www.eglove.co.uk/)’ -Rebecca Wroblewski, Runner (Follow her on Twitter on @bigmugoftea).  Follow Rebecca’s blog on www.bigmugoftea.com

Nick White‘I Have been converting some slightly pricy waterproof jackets. Particularly liking the Ronhill Nightfall (http://www.ronhill.com/mens-infinity-nightfall-jacket). Because it’s called the Nightfall and at heart I just want to be Batman… too much info right? (I’ll get my coat).”  Nick White – Runner. Follow him on Twitter – @Nickswhiteter

 

 

Kirsten

‘I’d like a parachute resistance thing, trail shoes and a top to toe massage – oh and a bigger medal hanger (in case you are reading hubby and need some ideas” – Kirsten Thatcher – Runner for the Fareham Crusaders

 

I hope you get everything you want for Christmas. Be good – Santa is watching!

May your miles be long and your injuries few

Kezza x

 

Disclaimer – I was not paid by any manufacturer, distributor, or retailer to promote any of their products. All products and gear mentioned by me were purchased with my own money for my own personal use while running. My advice to you is to do the same – get suggestions (like those in this article), but see what works best for you!

Runners Playlist 2017

You’ve got to love a running playlist. I think we all have those songs that will give us an instant boost when our legs are fatigued and ready to quit! It may be the lyrics that keep us motivated and in the zone although it could be the beat – or both!  – one thing is for sure, these songs give me the extra little ‘umpf’ that I need. I love a good ‘bursting out’ into song mid run…

Title Artist
Bullit Watermat
Sunchyme Dario G
Summit Skrillex (fest Ellie Goulding)
Summer Rain Slinkee Minx
Waiting for a Sign Antoine Villoutreix
Better off Alone Alice Deejay
Pretty Green Eyes Ultrabeat
2 Times Ann Lee
Everytime we Touch Cascada
All the Small Things Blink 182
Feels Calvin Harris
Party Chris Brown
Jubel Kingande
Hello Martin Solvieg
Nobody to Love Sigma
Who knows Protoje
Gold Dust DJ Fresh
Cool Le Youth
What about us The Saturdays
Cheerleader Omi
On My Mind The Disciples
Symphony Clean Bandit
More than Friends James Hype
Havana Camila Cabello

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I do get bored after a while and switch these up every so often. What’s on your current playlist?

May your runs be long and your injuries few…

Kezza x

Running & Iron

Up until recently I have been really struggling with my running. I really noticed it this year when I was training for a marathon; I would literally be so exhausted, and having 12 hours sleep most evenings. When running, I felt like I had absolutely nothing left in the tank and was always short of breath.  I was also training more, but wasn’t ever improving – I just couldn’t understand it. Girls I ran with at the club were suddenly overtaking me at Parkrun’s and I would be scratching my head wondering why this was happening.

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One fateful day, the lovely Nick Anderson from the Company ‘Running with us’ paid a visit to my club. Nick spoke a little bit about iron and a light bulb went off in my head.  I bravely approached Nick at the end of his presentation and presented him with my dilemma – I think it went something like this ‘Seriously Nick, am I too old for this shit?’  Nick laughed and explained that as I had only been running for 3 years, I hadn’t even hit my peak with my running- regardless that I was a ‘senior’ runner.  Nick pretty much said that he thought I was iron deficient and said I should call the GP for a blood test.  He also said I was sleeping and eating like a teenager, but moving on….  I got home and researched how on earth iron would help me improve and was startled to learn that the red blood cells are transporting oxygen to your working muscles when you run – basically if you have low iron levels, you generate fewer red blood cells and your hemoglobin levels decline – hence less oxygen to your muscles – hampering performance, or in layman’s terms – leaving you bloody knackered. Trying to improve with low iron would be like trying to flog a dead horse.

Iron deficiency in female runners is very common. In a 2000 study, 26 per cent of 126 female endurance athletes were iron deficient. (Source – Women’s Running Magazine, 2017). Shocking stuff!

I also learnt that runners are losing iron all the time and it needs to be replaced. This is through;

Through your Feet! Yep, crazy huh? When your foot strikes the floor red blood cells are damaged which reduce your hemolysis levels.

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Sweating – I’m not a lady who ‘glows’ and ‘glistens’. Apparently, the amount of iron loss isn’t huge, although if it’s hot and humid, the iron losses can add up

Through the Intestines – a problem for most athletes.

Female ‘time of the month’ – For obvious reasons

Nutrition – If you aren’t stocking up on your iron enriched foods, this is going to have a massive effect on your iron levels. I am not a massive red meat eater- I just hate the smell and the taste. Foods high in iron are green leafy veg, dried fruit, whole grain cereals / bread, egg yolk, lean red meat, lentils and chickpeas.

iron-rich-foods_1

My GP provided me with a blood test to check my ferritin levels (iron stores) and they were at 17mcg/L. An athlete’s ferritin levels should be much higher than this – obviously these levels are different for males and females.  An ideal score should be above 50mcg/L.  The Doctor did confirm that my score was really low and was surprised that I was able to train and run a marathon with such a low ferritin score. The Doctor prescribed some high dose iron tablets (Ferrous Sulphate 200mg) which had a really interesting effect on my stomach.  My doctor then placed me on Ferrous Fumarate which are gentler on the gut.  I am still having issues with the tablets and have had to adjust the time I take them to ensure no awkward moments. I have been taking my tablets with a glass of orange juice and a Vit C tablet to aid the absorption.

Since taking the tablets, I must say, my running has really improved and I’m feeling amazing.  I am also not having a nap at my desk at 3pm. I have been obtaining more PB’s and have even gone up a group at run club! I am also craving less sugar as I am not as tired.

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It’s important to say that I am not a medical expect in any way shape or form, but I think it is important that people know how a lack of iron can influence your sports performance.

May your miles be long and your injuries few.

Kezza x

Finding Mojo….

So, I’m back. I’ve not blogged since April. Mainly due to losing what they call the ‘running mojo’, I think I lost it somewhere around mile 18 of the London Marathon. It happens to the best of us – one minute I was setting goals, reaching new milestones in my training and then after the marathon I avoided any kind of running. Instead preferring to spend my time lifting weights and attending gym classes. I just felt like marathon training became a real ‘chore’ and more like ‘work’. I also discovered that my pace had slowed right down and it really demotivated me.

mojo 2

Having spoken to running friends, I realised that losing your running mojo is a real thing. Especially after such intense training for a marathon. I realised that I needed to set some new strategies for getting out the door…

Using the run as a ‘keep fit’ – This advice one came from one of my running friends. It was good advice. Just forget about your speed, distance and just look at it as a ‘getting fit’ run.

Cut your runs down – so you’ve been marathon training, you can relax in the knowledge that you no longer need to spend 18 miles and umpteen hours of your Sunday morning out there running.

Sign up for races– Run for fun, or go for a new PB – or even treat the race as a training run… there is also bling at the end! Everyone is a winner!

Run with friends-Running with friends can take the pressure off pace (depending on what friend you run with of course!) and ensures that the miles just fly by. I do love a good ole natter but also can enjoy a couple of miles ‘just listening’. Many of my long miles with friends have been to stop in the shop for an ice cream or a drink and to take pictures.

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Try a different run– why not try a different route altogether? Even if it means driving to a new location…

X Country – I LOVE a bit of mud. Bring it on! I find X country so exciting as you never know what’s going to be around the corner and there are always some fantastic routes and views to be had.

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Don’t stress about it-It doesn’t matter if you’re not running as long as you’re moving. Take the time to try out some classes or new exercises until you get your fitness and running mojo back!

Try something different to running that you’ve always wanted to try! I am really enjoying my stand up paddling at the moment.  Why not try paddling or kayaking? We have had a beautiful summer so far so why not try something different and give your legs a well-earned break!

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Lose the Garmin – If you’re someone who has been running for a long time, then you know for sure what your pace is. Even if you tell yourself you won’t look at your Garmin, don’t believe it – you will. So, just leave it at home! Run free, at whatever pace feels good and liberating.

Join a run club – you will meet some totally awesome and inspirational people. Enough said..

Buy some new trainers – it’s the answer to everything. Plus, won’t it be great to just go test those baby’s out!

Change up your track list – my track list varies so much – I have gangster rap right through to slow ballads. It depends on what kind of day I have had as to what I choose to listen to.

Stretch!

Lastly, Run because you Can!   Remember that running is a privilege. It’s something YOU get to do for yourself. After all, not everyone has the ability to run. Some are sick, or physically not able to, and some just have no time. Be grateful instead that you have legs that are mobile, lungs that are strong, and a body that is healthy – all of these things mean that you “get” to run today.

Have you ever lost your mojo and have you any new strategies to getting your love for running back, I would love to hear them!

May your runs be long and your injuries few…

Kezza x

 

 

Keeping it Real…

The Definition of a Real Runner….

I’ve heard this phrase mentioned whilst doing what I love (running) and it has got me thinking. The term ‘Real Runner’.  It confused me somewhat – what is a REAL runner?

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Is there such thing as a fake runner? Is the term real runner reserved for those who take running seriously? For those that are quicker? Surely each runner puts in as much effort as the next person. Isn’t it all relative? My 9-minute mile could be the equivalent to your 11-minute mile effort. Either way we are both exerting heart strengthening, lung boosting, endorphin generating effort.  Sounds like a runner to me.

Being a real runner shouldn’t be defined by comparing yourself to others. Being a real runner is about the passion you have about running, about the way you embrace each step with every mile. In my opinion, a real runner is how much grit and determination someone has. My definition of a real runner is;

  1. Courageous – You may not be the fastest or fittest but you are still running. That’s brave.
  2. Grit – Running isn’t easy, but with time, it does become enjoyable. A ‘real runner’ knows that hard work gets results.
  3. Commitment – Running takes commitment. Making goals and trying to reach them is a great way to become healthier.
  4. Mental Toughness – Many people will find excuses not to exercise but a real runner runs in the cold and the rain and even the hail and snow! A real runner realises that showing up is half the battle.
  5. Competition. A real runner competes against themselves. We cheer for each other and do the best that we can.
  6. Performance – A real runner will always have a crappy run but will go out the next day and try again.

Running is an attitude, it’s a mentality – propelling you out of the door in the rain and wind. It’s an urge. It’s social – only other runners know what you are going through and feel the pain in your heart and the ache in your legs. If you have found yourself nodding your head whilst reading this blog, you are a real runner. It doesn’t matter if you are running 10 minute miles or 15 minute miles. Those feelings, that way of thinking – that is running.

I am not being defensive, I just felt the need to write this post to protect my beloved sport of running, to be an ambassador of what is beautiful about supporting each other, looping, hobbling, racing, plodding and sprinting.

We asked the runners from  Fareham Crusaders ‘what’s a ‘real runner’?……..

 

Next time you head out the door tell yourself -and others – you are a REAL runner! I am…

May your runs be long and your injuries afew…

Kezza x

 

A big thanks to the Runners at the Fareham Crusaders for keeping it real and to James Musselwhite from Closer Photography for editing the video