Saturday, 27 December 2014

Runstreak....The conclusion

I stopped the runstreak at 50 days...I know, I know, I said 100 days, but it has served it's purpose!

I've not blogged for a while but rather than bore you with regular updates of I ran 4 miles today blah blah blah and repeat blah blah blah, I've got my head down and concentrated on the running.

So, the main reason for taking on this runstreak was a mad last ditch effort of mine to solve my long term achilles problem....Incredibly it worked!

The method to my madness was that if I kept doing something, my body would adapt, running was what it had to do each day and it would heal itself to take on this new and daily workload.

In the first couple of weeks my legs were feeling heavy each day, but about half way through the streak the body adapted like I thought it would and they got stronger....the body is clever like that :-)

Over the 50 days I ran an average of 3.5 miles a day, It would have been closer to 4 miles, but a throat virus towards the end meant some days of running the minimum of 1 mile and a few 2 mile days in there too.

As well as solving my achilles injury getting an illness was the other reason for stopping. The days I ran the 1 and 2 miles would have been rest days. There was very little to be achieved by running a single mile especially in the cold only to keep the runstreak going while feeling ill. Normally resting and recovering in the warm would have been the best remedy.

In the past after a tough workout, say a 4 mile fast tempo run, the next day I would have a rest day but I've learnt that you can still run the next day but you need to just take it easy and run a recovery run, easy pace. I learnt how to vary my runs a lot better, and I used my heartrate as a big tool also, two things I hadn't done in the past. Looking back over the years most of my running was done at mid to high intensity.

That leads me on to a book I started reading towards the end of the runstreak; 80/20 running by Matt Fitzgerald. The book deals with running intensity and benefiting by doing 80% of your running at low intensity and only 20% at mid to high intensity. This logic fit well with running everyday and something that the elite runners use with running upto 120 miles weekly but it works for all levels and racing distances from 5K to marathon.

To sum up, I've learnt more in the last 50 days about my own running than I have in the last 10 years of running, its been that beneficial! 

Going forward, Im going to run a lot more consistently than I have ie. I will probably run 6 days a week but vary the intensity to allow me to do so. It maybe that some weeks I run everyday but without the pressure of a runstreak it doesnt matter if I decide to have a day off each week.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Runstreak update

So I'm at day 28 of the runstreak, I nearly gave it up yesterday a) It was a busy day b) I was feeling a little jaded all day from the 1 or 2.....OK...4 or 5 beers from the night out before.

I got out, I had to get out, It was playing on my mind that I might regret it, so for the first time I done the minimum requirement of one mile. It was hardly worth getting changed for and 8 minutes later I was back indoors. But at least I've learnt that twice around my estate is a mile!

The only trouble I'm finding is my legs permanently feel heavy and every run is coming out at 8:30 average pace except the parkrun's which I seem to get carried away with running against others and the times are quicker.

There's no rest days on a runstreak so I throw in a couple of slow 2 mile runs everyweek which act as a bit of a rest.

Its frustrating not being able to find any real pace or distance with the legs being heavy but this is not about either, this project is just about reaching my goal of 100 continuous days of running and I must keep reminding myself that the biggest benefit is that my Achilles injury that plagued me for the last year is being kept at bay and that I am blessed to be able to run everyday while many people around me cant.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Throwing away the rule book! #runstreak

So I've pretty much tried everything the last 18 months....Resting, stretching, icing, Physio, you name it I've tried it, in an attempt to get over my achilles problems.

As I said in a previous post, I was looking at people who were running every day and at the amount of days running they were accumulating and staying injury free and a seed was planted that eventually grew into me starting my own runstreak despite still suffering with my achilles.

When it comes to diet, everyone contradicts one and other. The raw foodies think they are right, the vegetarians, the Paleo's, the low carb dieters all think they are right....well one things for sure....they can't all be right!!! But when it comes to exercise everyone can agree that we should be doing something regardless of whatever shape or size we are.

It may seem like the norm to be sat on our back sides for most the day and most of us do due to our modern working lives but there is no way that this is how it was meant to be. Whether you want to harp back to the caveman days or even a lot less further back to before we had cars, one thing rings true we had to move our bodies to get around everyday.

My runstreak at the moment consists of mainly 3 or 4 mile daily runs, that's roughly half an hour of exercise each day...I work an eight hour day at a computer, so when you put it in that context even half an hour a day doesn't seem enough does it? Who needs a rest day when exercise is only taking up that amount of time each day. Sure I hope to increase the distance on some of these days but only to probably to an hour.

As well as trying out my theory that running everyday will solve my injuries, another theory I've had is that I'm going to get more benefit stretching immediately after my run when my muscles are warmed up. I stretch like a madman, pushing my calfs and hamstrings to their limits but limits that are easier to reach due to my warmed up muscles.

I'm no physio, I've gone against what a physio would tell me, I started running everyday even though my Achilles were still painful, I stretch till it hurts, all against the rule book but the most incredible thing has cured, im running pain free, well at least I am to date and I'm now on day 19 of my runstreak. I got to day 4 and that evening was still in pain, I was going to give up the next day, but I woke up the next morning expecting to get out of bed to the usual pain but nothing, and I've not looked back since!

The other nice surprise is that I've trimmed down a bit and I've not changed my eating habits, in fact I've been eating more treats than normal. I've been craving sweet things, I try to get my hit naturally by eating fruit but I've been topping up with biscuits and chocolate and still shedding the pounds!

It's early days but I'm enjoying the smaller runs and have no thoughts of stopping at the moment, in fact the goal is set to reach 100 days. There I've said I've got to stick with it!

Parkrun tour #2 Frimley lodge

The course

Next up on the Parkrun tour is my second most local run, about 4 miles from home.

Frimley Lodge is a lovely, 24 hectare park in the Surrey village of Frimley. The park boasts playing fields, a pitch and putt golf course, play areas,cafe and even a miniature railway. It also backs onto the Basingstoke canal making it a popular local area.


The Frimley Parkrun was celebrating it's 250th run this weekend and regularly attracts around 300 runners. There is ample parking close to the start and overflow parking if required.

The course starts on the back playing field close to the main facilities. A quick start can be made as the run heads around the perimeter of the field but then comes the first bottleneck and getting onto the canal path.

It's then a 3/4 of a mile stretch along the canal which is narrow, wet and muddy. Unless you've got away at the front then its difficult to pass or run fast along this stretch.

Start line

It's a pleasant stretch of canal path though, with woodland on both sides. At the end of this section its back into the park and through some woodland trails before running back on the grass round the perimeter of a field, heading back to the main facilities on a gravel path and then repeating for a second lap to complete the 3.1 mile course.

Due to the section of the canal being so narrow and dependent on the time of year (this weekend being wet and muddy) it's probably not a PB course. Having said that if you can get away at the front of the pack the course is flat and a PB could easily be achieved for the faster runners but for us middle of the pack runners its a course to enjoy rather than race.

A great setting for a Parkrun, well organised with encouraging marshalls enroute.

Runners 380
Atmosphere 9 out of 10
Scenery 8.5 out of 10
PB potential 7 out of 10

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Parkrun tour #1 Rushmoor

The Course
I'm kicking off my Parkrun tour with my local run just a couple of miles away which means I can be in bed at 8:30am and still make the 9:00am start!

The Rushmoor Parkrun takes place between the Hampshire towns of Aldershot and Farnborough in the heart of the military town.

Parking is plentiful in the Garrison sports complex a short walk across Queens Avenue which runs along side the start and back straight of the course.

The course predominantly runs round the outside of the vast open playing fields sandwiched between the aforementioned Queens Avenue and Farnborough road (dual carriageway) but does take in about 0.3 miles of the Basingstoke canal.

Although not the most glamorous of courses, its definitely one for a PB.

From the start, there is plenty of width and even if you're not at the front you can get going at your chosen pace as there are no bottle necks.

The gravel track at the start
The course heads out across the field on a gravel path but you can choose to run on the grass if preferred.

It's then along side the dual carriageway on the tarmac path for half a mile before turning onto the Basingstoke canal. Although the canal path is narrow by the time you reach it (1 mile) the field of runners (144 today) has spread out.

Depending on the recent weather depends on the state you find the canal in. With plenty of downpours of late, today the path was extremely muddy and wet. This is where you could lose time chasing your PB but with the right footwear (I suggest trail trainers) you can  still keep your pace.

On exiting the canal it's then onto the gravel path along side Queens avenue before repeating the loop to complete the 3.1 miles.

The home straight
Organisation is satisfactory and marshalled with a few friendly folk. Not the most scenic of courses but a fast flat course with huge potential for a PB.

Runners: 145
Atmosphere: 6 out of 10
Scenery: 6 out of 10
PB potential: 9 out of 10

Monday, 3 November 2014

Is a runstreak the answer?

The longest runstreak in America is currently still going at 45 years....45 years!!!...That's 16,425 continuous days of logging runs!!!

Lots of runstreaks are logged on social media and it's got me thinking; Is this the solution to injury free running? 

These people are never injured! Is that because of the frequency of their runnning and their bodies adapt and get used to moving these same muscles and limbs everyday? Do their bodies not have time to stiffen up?

I'm still ticking over with my running, a few days a week, four miles at a time, but maybe it's time to put my body to the test,'s runstreak time!

What have I got to lose, my Achilles have been playing up for nearly a year now, maybe if I run everyday my body will just give up rebelling against my running and let me be?

I'm not talking big miles here, for the time being the max daily amount would be 4 miles. I'm not sure what the official rules are for runstreaking, I'm guessing there must be a minimum distance to count as an official run and I'm guessing that minimum distance would be a mile? I mean surely you can't run to your car from a shop in the rain and count that as a run!!!

So I've kicked off this week with a 4 mile run, (winter is definitely upon us, it poured down and the rain was like ice) tomorrow I'm going to do the same distance but throw some hills in, maybe the next day just a mile?

I know that rest is important but running such short distances, surely won't fatigue the body too much? I mean I sit down for most of the day at a desk, running daily for half an hour is not exactly taxing me and might just be the answer to pain free running!

Sunday, 19 October 2014

A change is gonna come

*dusts off the keyboard*

Apologies for the absense from the blog. On the running front, not a lot had changed and I didn't want to write for the sake of writing but now I can update. A few things have changed.

Not big changes, but I am back into some sort of 'running' routine. I'm now getting myself out and running a few miles, taking two days off and then going again. It's not much but it's running again.

Whilst running I'm feeling no ill effects from the achilles injury but can still feel some minor niggles after. That's why I want to keep things to a minimum and just appreciate I can get out there and do something that slightly resembles me being a runner again.

I'm trying hard to get some stretching in, especially with my calfs. Out of all the exercises I've accumulated for my injury, I seem to be getting the best response from foam rolling....Ouchy but beneficial :-)

My swimming routine has tailed off at the moment, something I want to get back on track, but I have been out cycling a few times. 

Now cycling is my least favourite exercise, but I've used it for a purpose and that purpose is getting to and from work. I've only done it a handful of times but it's been beneficial. I hadn't been on my bike for a few years and I threw myself in at the deep end and cycled the 13 miles to work and back at the end of the day. When you haven't cycled for a long time, 26 miles in a day is a looonnnnggg way. The last few miles on the way back I could bearly turn the peddles and was totally exhausted!

I did notice the way that the cycling worked my quads and hamstrings which was something the Physio said would be a benefit to my overall running mechanics.

Talking of running mechanics, I'm still playing around with my trainers and whether to run with the orthotics that I have in my shoe or not. The orthotics are only ones off the shelf but they have been a big benefit in the past with the same injury, but I'm not sure if I'm getting the same effect this time round with them.

The last 18 months have been hell for running, ever since I fractured my ankle jumping off that stupid wall trying to get to the start line off a race! Add to this my achilles problems and I do wonder if I'll ever get back to the volume of running and races that I was doing before. I guess it's just patience and appreciating I can at least do something.

That wall!!!

"It's been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come". Sam Cooke

Monday, 15 September 2014

How much longer?

Another week and no running and the saying "You don't know what you've got till its gone" rings so true. All those times when I've been out in the dark and the cold, in the rain, in the snow, cursing, wondering why I run; well I'd happily run in all those elements put together now, just to be out there running.

In my last post I wrote about a trial run and how well it went. It was only 2 miles but the next morning I did feel a slight discomfort in my Achilles so I knew straight away I was not ready yet for a return to running.

I had a good swim session last week, I swam a mile..1600m, I was well chuffed, I swam breaststroke the whole way which is my strongest and preferred stroke. Its the furthest I've ever swam in my life I reckon.

Another bonus was I got out on my bike. Now for those who know me or follow my ramblings, you will know I'm not a huge fan of cycling. I cycled 13 miles to work, a route I would normally run but haven't for a long time, so it was nice to be back albeit on two wheels. I got a lift back home but this week I'll probably attempt to cycle there and back a couple of times.

Cycling will at least strengthen my quads, something my physio told me would help my running mechanics.

What I'm really struggling with is my stretching exercises and particularly my eccentric calf stretches which would help hugely with my comeback to running. I'm not struggling to perform them, what I am struggling to do is actually get around to do them!

Just 10 minutes a few times a why cant I motivate myself to do them????

I can motivate myself to get up at 6am to swim a mile, to cycle 13 miles but 10 minutes of way! 

Does anyone else struggle with stretching? Maybe it's the boredom factor? I don't know but I really need to get myself back on track.

It's difficult keeping a running blog up when you're, but hopefully it may help with people going through the frustration of injury. If you are, I feel your pain and good luck with your recovery.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Maybe...just maybe

So my last official 'proper' run was 13th July, and all the runs previous to that going back to the new year were not really enjoyable due to my Achilles problems......Well today I ventured out.....I only went for 2 miles, nice and flat, nice and slow and things went well. I felt no pain on or after the run, tomorrow morning will be a good test because that has been the worse time for the pain. But I'm happy that this was the first pain free run this year!

I thought it was a good time to get some good habits back in my running and in particular my form. I always run with my shoulders high so I concentrated on relaxing them. It feels like starting out all over again. It was an incredibly slow run but I was just happy to be out again.

I was planning not to try to run again for another week but I missed my swim this morning (of which I've been doing twice a week) so I decided to bring the test run a week forward. I felt confident to try today as the last week I've had no pain walking or waking in the morning.

I put this big improvement down to using my running orthotics in my everyday shoes again, and just plain and simple REST! No icing, no stretching, no anti inflammatory tablets, just rest, and maybe, just maybe it could have paid off.

So for the immediate future, I will keep up the swimming twice a week and maybe run two 3 mile runs next week. I'm not bothered about building up distance as my new goal is the sub 20 minute 5K. 

It will take time but like having a marathon PB starting with a '3' it would be nice to have a 5K PB starting with a '1'.

Have I comeback too early? Only time will tell.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Swimming OK in the UK

Swimming is the new running!......Well that's what I try to tell myself as rehab continues.

The last time I ran was 20th July, four and a half weeks ago, which actually feels like four and a half YEARS ago!!! I tell a lie, I actually went for 2 miles last Sunday (but don't tell my Physio!). I went for a very slow plod just to see what reaction I would get from the Achilles. It wasn't great but I definitely felt improvement which is good (accentuate the positives!).

So in an attempt to stop going stir crazy and to get some endorphins flowing, I've hit the pool. I enjoy swimming, I find it quite therapeutic and have now been twice a week for the last few weeks. I will probably up this to 3 times a week because I honestly think I'll be away from running for a looonnnnggg time.

I've been a bit slack on my rehab exercises at the moment (but don't tell my Physio!) which is crazy, I can go out and run for a couple of hours, get up at 6 and swim for half an hour but somehow can't get in a routine of doing some simple stretching for 10 minutes!!!

I will get there though as I know how important these exercises are to make me a better and stronger runner when I get back. Heck, I shouldn't be so hard on myself at least I'm cross training.

I'm not quite sure what the blog posts are going to consist of in the near future while I'm away from running so maybe I'll have to temporary change the name of the blog....Running Swimming OK in the UK.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Go to your Physio!

I've now had two trips to Finefettle, and what I've learnt has been invaluable to my running. I made the point in a previous post that you can scan the internet till your blue in the face gaining all sorts of advice on a particular injury that you're suffering with. The trouble is it is not specific to you. Let me give you an example from my experience.

Information overload!
As you know if you read the blog regularly I'm suffering with my Achilles. Now I have obtained from the Internet many exercises, stretches to help me overcome the problem. But what I've since found out by coming to the good people of Finefettle right leg was shorter than my left where my pelvis was twisted (now been sorted) and my left leg is stronger with more calf muscle tone than the right. So basically I've been running 'Wonky' for a while now!

There is no way on earth I could have known these things from reading up on the Internet without being physically seen by a professional. So although I'm treating my Achilles there is other stuff going on which I would have never known about.

On my first visit to Finefettle I saw Helen an Osteopath and on my most recent visit I saw Alexandra who is a Physio who I will now continue to do my rehab with. So I've had great advice from two different .....

I've now got to do some strength training in my legs, calfs, glutes, core, you name it I'm doing it. I'm not sure when I'll be able to run again, but when I do hopefully I'll have much better form and be a better runner from the strength work I'm doing away from running.

I've started swimming this week in an attempt to keep my fitness levels. I enjoy swimming, and was going regularly last year but the pool closed for refurbishment and I lost the momentum. It's definitely something I want to keep up even when I'm back running. If only I enjoyed cycling as much as swimming and running then I would be in good stead to have a go at a Triathlon.

My lovely Olympic sized 50m local pool
When I started out running and got my first pair of trainers, like most runners I got checked out by the experts and brought a pair suited to me. I overpronate and have low arches and ever since I've always run in a stability trainer. But from my visit to the Physio this week I've learnt that my arches are now high and I should get my trainers checked out again as maybe I need a more neutral trainer. It may not be the answer but it could be contributing to my Achilles problems. Once again some advice I wouldn't have known unless a visit to the proffesionals.

So I'll keep going with my new found advice and hopefully towards recovery. This week has been the first that I've really missed running, I've been ok upto now and even enjoying a bit of a break. Hopefully the swimming will see me through till I can run again.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Nike Lunarglide 6

The Lunarglide range was one of the first new revolutionary lightweight trainers and has been a favourite of mine for a long time. I started out with the +2, then onto the +3 and +4, skipped the version 5 and am now happy to be back reviewing it's 6th reincarnation.

It makes you wonder how a stability shoe can be so light but Nike have done it again, in fact they've made the new version 30% lighter than it's predecessor! Now weighing in at just 272 grams.

One of the Lunarglide's strong points is how well it holds the foot particularly in the heel. 

The heel clip has been updated to give extra support which works well. The trainer generally feels quite snug but comfortable. 

The flywire technology integrates with the seamless breathable upper to give a glove like snug fit but not restrictive and extremely comfortable and airy.

Stability trainers in the past always relied on a medial post on the inner side of the outsole to stop the foot rolling. This in some shoes was quite noticeable and in some uncomfortable, the Lunarglide's support comes from opposing wedges of foam of different densities which gives the stability without the fore mentioned problems.

The outsole design has been much improved and is one of the best new features. The design map under foot is made up of individual contour maps that flex independently making the shoe very responsive and give a more natural movement to the foot.

Overall this is a big update and a worthwhile one.

I would highly recommend this shoe to the overpronating runner, it can be used for long distances or for more faster shorter distances as the trainer is so light.

Cushioning - 10 out of 10, Very supportive trainer
Comfort - 9 out of 10, Extreme comfort below foot
Flexibility - 10 out of 10, Amazing for a stability trainer
Responsiveness - 9.5 out of 10, Very good due to the new outsole design

Overall 38.5 out of 40

The Nike Lunarglide +6 can be purchased from JD sports at £95

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Here we go again!

So once again I find myself on the long winding road to recovery. 18 months ago a fractured ankle, and now Achilles problems. Its been a frustrating couple of years. It's not as though its my livelihood, I'm no athlete, all I want to do is run for enjoyment!

I decided I needed to get professional help, you can read plenty on the internet and although it can sometimes be helpful, its not specific to oneself and you could be causing yourself more problems.

For my sporting injuries I put my faith into Finefettle, a multi healthcare company based in Bookham, Surrey. Its here I see Helen, an Osteopath who has has a wealth of experience and and knowledge in her field. I'm never disappointed from my visits to Finefettle and the support I receive from Helen via email.

After a quick analysis Helen got straight to work and straight away observing that my pelvis mechanics were out causing my right leg to be sitting shorter against my left probably caused from my fracture to my ankle some time ago. So for 18 months I've been running 'wonky'. Straight away one problem solved that I would have never have known about and peace of mind when I do finally get back to running again. Correcting the pelvis alignment involved what I can only describe as taking part in Judo at the commonwealth games' as I was pulled all over the place....I submit!!!

Then it was down to some work on my calf's and Achilles themselves including some dry needling techniques. We literally threw everything at this stubborn injury!

I'm back again in a weeks time for some more rehab with the practice physio but in between times its a case of contrasting bathing  (hot and cold) and back to the eccentric stretches and most importantly rest and making sure I wear my supportive running trainers as much as I can rather than flat shoes. Fortunately I can wear my trainers to work which will be a help.

Other than that it's back to missing out on another summer of running and driving past the many runners in my car feeling very envious indeed!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Mission abort and #projectsub20

After 9 weeks I was slowly getting back into marathon shape and my fitness was feeling Achilles were feeling far from good, and I've finally realised that training for my marathon in September is going to be aborted.

I'm disappointed but in a way it's been good for me because it's forced me into going to get the injury properly sorted by the professionals. I've suffered with my Achilles in the past and had some Physio at the time along with rest and some off the shelf orthotics and it all went away for a few years.

But now the pain is back with a vengeance and I've let it go way too far pretending it will not get any worse but obviously now it has, and not only has it got worse in one tendon but the other is now just as bad....Stupid me!!!

This time round it all started from wearing my Solomon trail trainers at the beginning of the year. In no way am I blaming the trainers in design just the fact they are a totally different shoe to what I'm used to and with not as much support as I'm used to.

Greek hero Achilles
I could feel the problem beginning and should and could of nipped it in the bud there and then but having spent so long out last year with my busted ankle, there was no way I was going to stop running again....Stupid me!!!

I'm sure my running biomechanics are totally wrong also, there's always some ache or pain after running for a period of time. So I'm off to Finefettle next week in an attempt to be fixed once and for all!

3 is the magic number
So I've decided, when I return to running, I'm no longer going to train for marathons. The big miles don't suit me and I've completed 3 marathons (3 is my lucky number...3rd child, born on the 3rd month, 3 letters in my name) with a PB of 3:58 so I've achieved the goal of a sub 4 hour marathon.

Running marathons take a lot of time and dedication especially at weekends when I'd rather be having quality time with the family. I could get up early enough and run for 3 hours, be back by 10am and then have the rest of the day to do whatever, but I'd be so tired that I wouldn't want to do much more than have a big nap!

My new running goal is going to be attempting to achieve a sub 20 minute 5K time, currently my PB stands at 22:04 so I need to try and knock over 2 minutes off my time which over 3 miles is not an easy feat. 

To do this I need my running form to be correct, introduce a lot more speedwork and I reckon I need to  lose some extra timber along the way!

Parkruns will become race day and I plan to run 5 days a week, mostly at lunchtimes at work freeing up weekends to relax more.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

TomTom Runner Cardio sport watch

I've had GPS sports watches in the past with heart rate monitors where you wear a strap around your upper body. All good but sometimes temperamental in keeping satellite signals under trees and buildings and often losing heart rate readings while on the run. 

Well what if you could have watch that doesn't lose signals under trees and can measure your heartrate without a chest strap....Enter the TomTom Runner Cardio sports watch!

The watch measures heart rate with a Mio optical sensor, which monitors changes in blood flow by shining a light at the rear of watch through the skin on your wrist. It's amazing and you are oblivious to this taking place. I'm aware of the Mio sensor technology as I have reviewed the Mio Alpha heart rate monitor in the past. Billed as the worlds first strapless heart rate monitor the Mio Alpha was a great watch but did not have any GPS built in or software to be able to download data.

But now combined with TomTom's GPS expertise, this is now a serious piece of kit.

The strap is the same design as the Mio Alpha, which I'm glad, as this was a good feature. It's soft and secure with no fear of coming loose on the run.

The watch was easy to set up out the box and comes with a USB cable for uploading to a computer and for keeping the watch software upto date through the TomTom MySports website. 

Once the watch is set up, you're ready to go. Navigating around the watch is simple. Moving left with the Joystick opens the status screen, Down opens the settings menu, Right opens the activities menu. The only touch screen capabilities work the back-light for the screen.

The joystick looks quite obtrusive but it actually does not get in the way, and is easy to operate whilst running.

To start a run is simple, a click to the right highlights the run option, another click to the right and the watch will begin to search for satellites using the latest GPS and GLONASS technology. Initially this may take a few minutes, and if you run from a new location it will be the same, but once it has located the satellites and if you run in the same area again the fix is almost instant. The watch will vibrate and display the word 'GO'. Pushing the button once more to the right begins the run. To pause a run, press and hold the button to the left, from here you can either continue your run by pressing right or finish the run by pressing and holding to the left again. It's all very simple.

Whilst running the large screen displays information of the current run: distance, duration, pace, average pace, lap time, lap distance, lap pace, calories, heart rate and heart rate zone. By pressing the joystick down you can scroll through each of these items....Now for my one criticism of the watch, once you've scrolled through to the end, to get back to the beginning you have to go back up through each item again. It would be nice if whilst continuing to press down you went back to the first item after the last. Other than that the information is clear and very accurate. I've run with the watch under heavy tree coverage and the satellite signal never weakened making for accurate results. 

The furthest I've run with the watch is around 2 hours and battery life was hardly touched. The watch is recharged via the USB cable through the computer. When not being used the watch does not turn off but displays the current time when not in use.
One of five intensity zones can be selected to match your training goals and the watch will send alerts letting you know whether to speed up or slow down.

The five zones are: 
Sprint: mostly used as part of interval training.
Speed: high tempo training to improve your speed and fitness.
Endure: moderate to high tempo training to improve your lung and heart capacity.
Fat Burn: moderate tempo training, great for weight loss.
Easy: easy tempo training, mostly used for warm-up and cool down
The watch is very durable and has a scratch and impact resistant screen and is weather and water resistant.

Uploading your runs can be done connecting the watch to a computer via the USB cable or by Bluetooth onto any Apple device with the TomTom My Sports APP downloaded. The APP should be available for Android devices in September 2014. As well as the My Sports Website the data can be synced on popular running sites and community platforms, including MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, TrainingPeaks and Strava.

Syncing with my IPAD is the easiest and my favourite way of uploading, wireless and through the APP.

Once uploaded, Your run can be reviewed on the MySports website. I must admit I'm not a great fan of the layout of the site but all the information you would expect and want from your run is there. I would like to see a calender layout of my runs rather than a list that you get when entering the site. Also viewing the laps of the run is not clear.

This is a minor criticism of the software rather than the watch. I cant fault the watch and highly recommend, it's strengths being its accuracy and ease of use. 

The TomTom Runner Cardio sport watch is priced £219.99 and UK retail stockists include Sweatshop, Runners Need, Up & Running and John Lewis  also available from

Monday, 14 July 2014

The British 10K London run 2014

Having run the iconic London marathon two years ago, it was nice to return to the capital to run again and take part in the British 10K London run.

I was invited to the event by Gung Ho, on behalf of New Balance. I've been lucky enough to review New Balance's latest trainers and their 1260 model has become a firm favourite of mine.

It was an early start as I made my way up to London and to the Cavalry and Guards Club in Mayfair for some pre-race hospitality adjacent to the start line. I could get used to this sort of hospitality pre-race in such grand settings.

Inside the Cavalry and Guards Club
Pre-race Breakfast
After breakfast and chatting with fellow blogger Steve from Blog7t and a couple of journalists from the Express newspaper covering the event, it was then great to be sharing the balcony looking over the thousands of runner, with the Military Wives Choir who sang some old wartime songs and then listening to the retired former head of the British Army reading wartime poems.

Great view from the balcony and the waves of runners
With the Military Wives Choir
The Military Wives Choir performing
With the 100 year centenary of the First World War it all felt terribly British and I felt quite proud of my Country. With the National Anthem being sung by the Choir before the start of the race I was feeling quite pumped up and ready to run despite my nagging Achilles injury.

World War 1 procession
Another bonus I had was the chance to start in the front group, a privilege I've never had in such a big race. Me an elite athlete for the day...who would have thought!

With so many runners taking part, I was expecting a slow start and a struggle to settle into any kind of pace early on. 

However with being at the front of the pack and amongst the lead runners, I started way too fast and by the first mile was running at sub 7 min/mile pace which is unfamiliar territory for me. 

Surprisingly, I managed to keep the pace fast for the first few miles, at 5K I was not far off my PB for that distance. My running the couple of weeks previous had become somewhat subdued due to my Achilles problems, so I was more than happy to be flying along. My new New Balance 1260's were performing great on the wet tarmac streets of London.

The crowd support was good despite being a short race and a damp Sunday morning. The crowd was particularly good along the embankment and approaching Big Ben near the end of the race. It bought back great memories of the marathon but this time without the pain of being at mile 24!
In fact the best way to describe the race would be a mini London Marathon. The course takes in some of the route of the marathon and some iconic London sites like Trafalgar square,The Ritz, St. James's Palace, St. Paul's Cathedral, the London Eye, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Downing Street, All that within a 6 mile run! 

A great way to see the Capital, traffic free and I would highly recommend, especially for runners who don't want to take on the marathon but want the big London race experience.

The iconic route
I managed to complete the race in a respectable 48:26 before heading off to the New Balance Village in Waterloo place to collect my belongings. I picked up a nice New Balance goody bag and my medal and then took advantage of a free massage from

This was great to get some long overdue attention on my Achilles and my tight calves which are causing the problem. I say 'great' but at the time it was far from that as the Physio pummelled into my knotted muscles!

Race Stats
A great morning and a massive thank you to Gung Ho and New Balance for their wonderful hospitality.

The walk back and past one of the races landmarks
Some nice race bling