Sunday, 24 November 2013

A weeks rest

So I ran the Friday before last into work, then Saturday I couldn't make my Parkrun,Sunday I couldn't fit a run in, a Monday meeting at work meant no lunchtime run and I didn't want to run in the evening as I knew I would be running 10 hilly miles on Tuesday night. Well the Tuesday night trail run got called off due to one running friend being injured which means the other friend can't get a lift which means I'm not running around 10 miles of woodland on my own in the pitch dark! #scardycat 

Wednesday and Thursday were out due to work commitments which takes me a full week from running last. 

I finally ran to work again on Friday.

So the moral of the story is once in a while it's good to throw in a rest week, especially this time of year when the weather isn't particularly inviting to run in and the days are short of daylight. You won't lose any fitness and your body will appreciate a chance to rest up.

I felt fresh on my run, it's 13 miles after not running for a week. It's done my ankle the world of good, because all though it's pretty much healed, it does sometimes feel a little stiff which maybe down to scar tissue left from the injury? I don't know but it's a minor thing that doesn't affect my running and it's been feeling great after the mini break.

After all I did throw myself back into 7 weeks of marathon training after 5 months of no running so I think my ankle appreciates the welcome break.

I'm back to the routine next week though, which should get me back to 30 miles overall.

Canal path...Friday morning in the dark
I do question my sanity sometimes though.

The Friday run to work means waking at 5:15am have something light to eat, get ready and then head out the door at 6:15am. This Friday I noticed how much darker it stayed from the previous week, and it was freezing cold. 13 miles along the dark, cold canal path at stupid o'clock in the morning, before a day at work. But I love it and it's just something I do, it's routine. It has a purpose, in that it gets me to work. Even alone in the dark doesn't bother me along the canal path.

Once running becomes a habit, it's like any other habit, it becomes hard to break. Which in health terms is a good thing!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

6am Running

With no races planned at the moment, my running is feeling really relaxed and just where I want it at the moment. My Parkrun on a Saturday morning gives me my speed fix, a chance to see some sub 8 minute miles. Tuesday and running with friends with headtorches and on the hilly trails is something different. 13 miles into work on a Friday morning I love as it's a run with a purpose, it gets me to work! Throw in maybe a 4 or 6 miler and I've clocked up 30 miles with a good mix of running.

I like to make my run to work the most relaxing run of the week and take it at a nice easy pace. I do this mainly so I'm not tired out for the day ahead but also just to enjoy running how it should be. The route along the canal is quiet and traffic free a real chance to zone out.

So this week I decided to listen to some music, something I never usually do. Again it's something different to keep the running varied.

I leave home at 6:15am by the time I hit the canal the sun is just rising on the horizon, trees line the path and the ducks and herons are also starting the day. Hopefully I've painted the picture here, so the music to go with this needs to be as relaxing as the scenery and the running.

I've put together a playlist on Spotify called '6am Running'. It's laid back music, with a folk twist which I think is perfect for some laid back running.

So far the playlist is this:

Give it ago! Let me know what you think. Let me know any songs I should add, or if you are on Spotify go right ahead and add to the list! I've made the playlist collaborative which means anyone can add to it (I think). It can be diverse as you want as long as it fits the genre, I don't think Eninem quite fits this list! It would be great for people all around the world to add to it or suggest songs to add. I'm looking forward to your responses.

Happy listening and running.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Mule bar

The good people at Mule bar sent over their energy range of products for me to review.

Over the last year, I've been trying to use 'real' food for fuelling on the run rather than the sickly sports drinks and gels that had become the staple runners source of energy when exercising. Sports drink I won't touch, 1) Because of what they contain, ie. bad sweeteners, too much sugar etc etc and 2) I find it disgusting how these companies know full well they are being consumed by children as a regular soft drink sold in fridges up and down the country in supermarkets and newsagents. Totally irresponsible in an age of obesity!

Sorry...rage over, back to the review.

You get the picture, I'm not going to review rubbish nutrition on this blog, so it was nice to receive some products that are promoted as natural, organic and fairtrade.

Mule bar are made in the UK and the energy range consists of: energy bars, protein recovery bars and energy gels.

The dominant ingredient in all the products is rice syrup, I'm no nutritionist but from what I've been reading on the Internet this appears to be one of the favoured natural sweeteners, if you've got to sweeten something.

The energy bars come in a range of seven flavours. I'll use the Mango Tango bar as an example of ingredients; Rice syrup 30%, Mango 28%, Oats 10%, Cashew nuts 9%, Rice crisp 9%, Whey protein 6%, Water 3%, Soy flour 3%, Amaranth (a healthy grain) 2% and Sunflower oil 1%.

Sugar and Glucose Fructose does turn up in small amounts in the choc/orange bars, but generally the above is a good example of the ingredients used across the bars.

I've used all the bars, they taste good ( with exception to the Summer pudding bar, sorry Mulebar, I didn't enjoy that one) and they work, I've used one bar before a range of runs from short fast 5k's to a long slow 13 miles and in both cases the one bar has proved adequate. Although for more intense longer runs I would take additional bars with me.

The refuel bars contain similar ingredients to the energy bars but have 20% Whey protein for muscle recovery, the chocolate and chocolate banana bar (25% banana) both tasted great.

I can't comment on the gels, because I don't use any form of gels anymore, I used to use them all the time but just didn't get on with them as I began to experiment using other forms of fuel on the run.

The gels vary in flavours, the sweetener being organic agave nectar and the electrolyte Himalayan crystal salt. The agave nectar gets mixed reviews as an alternative sweetener to sugar on the Internet, but again I'm not a nutritionist so cannot comment.

So overall, all good, I will definitely use these products again, and seem to tick all the boxes from what I'm looking for fuelling my running.