Category Archives: Sports nutrition

How not to run a marathon

After an anxious and frustratingly long month of not training for a marathon the big day loomed straight ahead of me. In one week, the virtual 124th Boston Marathon and the Milton Keynes Marathon would take place but I still couldn’t run. However, I wasn’t the least bit disappointed…I was angry! A word of warning before we go any further…I realise that what I am about to share with you is a first world problem of the highest order but I am a runner. If you are also one then you will recognise that when it comes to running and injuries we can be more than a tad irrational and self-centred.  

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Virtually lost fuelling an ultra

I am sure I am not alone in letting my mind wander to the point of distraction while running and it is no different in the time of coronavirus. However, as I weave around other runners and walkers while trying not to trip on any rebellious dogs that defy social distancing rules, my thoughts tend to revolve around one topic. Where am I going?

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The truth about running

As I was running in torrential rain whilst trying not to be blown off my feet during the latest storm, my mind wandered to the newspaper article I had read that morning. It was another feature set out to debunk several myths about running and encourage more people to take it up. Although I didn’t disagree with the essence of the article I realised that this was the second time that I had read something on the very same topic in only a matter of days. Whilst I pondered to what extent there was any mythology about running that was stopping people from lacing up their trainers, I was momentarily distracted and misjudged the depth of a very swampy puddle. I felt the surge of icy water engulf my feet as my shoes sank to the puddle’s depths and it occurred to me that neither article had mentioned this.

No one ever comes clean and tells you the truth about running. Maybe it was about time to let the uninitiated know what they will be signing up for. As a veteran runner, I feel dutybound to share this so what follows are the harsh realities and the inconvenient truth about running.

PB & J refuel bars
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Ignorance is not bliss

As I sit with my feet up, nursing a very blackened toe I have taken a moment to reflect on the past weekend. Last Sunday, I joined over 2000 other runners and took part in the annual Milton Keynes Winter Half Marathon. I have run this event several times before and have had very mixed experiences of it mostly due to the dodgy weather at this time of the year. But like many others, I haven’t been put off by it either. The Winter Half is increasingly sold out every year and for the first time, the start was organised into waves of evenly paced runners. Not that this stopped a bit of ambitious manoeuvring to the front of the start by runners from later waves. But the slight kettling at least meant that the beginning of the race felt less like being chased by a herd of gazelles who thundered by while you tried not to get trampled on or slam into the occasional bollard.

The other difference in this year’s Winter Half was that the course had slightly changed. Now this is not unusual because the changing winter weather can mean that some years, the route must be altered at the last minute due to flooding. However, as I have run the course so many times before I never pay much attention to any tiny little tweaks to the route. Especially because the course always overlaps and repeats many of the running routes I normally train on. So as far as I was concerned, as long as the Winter Half course was pretty much the ‘same old, same old’ and not any farther than the 21 long kms, I was fine with it. Or so I thought…

Pumpkin spice coconut bars
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In search of a record-breaking breakfast

What a weekend it has been for sporting triumphs as two incredible Kenyan runners smashed some historic records for the marathon. First up, Eliud Kipchoge, who holds the official marathon world record of 2:01:39, set in 2018 has broken new ground by becoming the first athlete to run a marathon in under 2 hours. It may seem slightly harsh that his time of 1:59:40 in Vienna cannot be recognised officially as a new world record when the world was there to witness every single step. But the race of 1 runner clearly wasn’t an open competition and Kipchoge was helped by an extensive support team. It was mesmerising watching Kipchoge’s 42 pacers rotate into position throughout the race as seamlessly as the backup dancers at the beginning of Strictly Come Dancing. It hardly matters that Kipchoge’s time is not official because he made marathon history and in his own words, he showed the world that there are no limits when you believe in yourself and trust in what you are doing.

Classic cornbread
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