• Sophie, Chamonix and Trail Running

    Posted in running on January 21, 2015

    Trail Running is in. It’s gaining popularity left right and centre and shows no sign of slowing down. We caught up with Sophie Radcliffe, trail running enthusiast and adventurer-extrordanaire to find out why she loves trail running in her home town, Chamonix.

    sophie radclifee

    ‘After an intense summer completing the Alpine Coast to Coast expedition, which involved cycling the Alps and climbing their highest mountains, I was looking for something that would enable me to stretch my legs and keep my fitness up, but something that would fuel my soul and energy without demanding too much from me. I found this in trail running.

    IMG_9403

    I love how running in the mountains makes me feel; strong, and free. It opens up my mind and relieves the pressures I have when I’m at my desk. It challenges every part of me to push harder, to run faster and ignore the desire to stop and catch my breath. Some days I feel as though a weight is pushing me back down when I’m trying to go up. Some days I feel like I can run up these mountains almost effortlessly. The effort is hard but the rewards are plenty.

    IMG_9136

    The views, the colours and the beautiful mountains take my breath away as I run and look at what is going on around me. I normally run at sunrise or sunset to amplify the beauty of my surroundings. 6 months ago I lived in London and ran on the streets there, this world is so different and I feel so lucky to live here and call this place home. Running has never come easy to me and I’ve always found it a struggle until now. It doesn’t feel like training, it feels like my favourite thing to do.

    IMG_9200

    Come and run here and you’ll see what I mean. It gives me energy, it feeds my life and it makes me smile. Getting ridiculously fit is great too!’

    As 2014 drew to a close the upmysport team convened in Chamonix to chat about their year, discuss plans for 2015 and meet with some friends by a warm fire. Seeing as Sophie had got us all jazzed about trail running, Michael and George decided embark on a little adventure themselves.

    chamonix running

    You can run or hike your way through Chamonix and the surrounding areas on well-kept trails which comb the hillsides between Servoz and Vallorcine. The majority of the trails close as the snow sweeps in, but they were lucky enough to get a few days of excellent trail-running in during our trip.

    chamonix view 1

    The first excursion took them through the city centre and out onto the trails where they crossed the bridge and followed the river up into the mountains.

    They climbed for another half an hour or so, climbing around rocks and navigating over the many streams that dot the hillside. The hard work paid off and the guys were presented with a beautiful view of Chamonix as they turned the corner.

    We can see what all the fuss is about.

    IMG_9559

    If you want to follow Sophie as she takes on more exciting challenges, make sure to catch her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and check out her awesome blog.

    And if you fancy having a crack at trail running, the season has just finished in the mountains but you can get yourself ready to take on those hills with any of the brilliant running instructors we have in our community.

     

     

     

  • Runners: Should You Really Be Foam Rolling Your ITB?

    Posted in running on April 11, 2013

    Expert running instructor James Dunne offers a re-think on how we approach managing IT bands

    There are certain things that as a community of runners, we all often do, despite recent research providing a growing body of evidence that in fact we might be better to have a slight re-think. Static stretching before exercise is the classic example quoted when talking about modern research going against long standing practices.

    In this post though, I’d like to focus on another common practice – Foam Rolling the Iliotibial Band (ITB).

    For some time, a popular method of treating and managing the pain of ITB Syndrome has been to engage in the often painful practice of foam rolling. The supposed rationale being that this will “stretch the ITB” and break down “adhesions” within the implicated soft tissues. The belief being that this will release, lengthen, and reduce tension in the ITB.

    Firstly, let’s talk about the anatomy of the ITB and structures involved in the pain associated with ITB Syndrome.

    ITB Anatomy

    ITB Anatomy

    The ITB is a long, thick band of non-contractile tissue, and is essentially a thickening in the lateral line fascial system. Tests have shown that the ITB has an incredibly high tensile strength (not dissimilar to that of steel cable), so stretching it is pretty much out of the question! However, one of the upper attachments of the ITB is a muscle called Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL).This relatively small muscle of the lateral Hip plays a huge role in determining the tension of the ITB – if it gets tight, the ITB gets tight as a direct result.

    Just above the points where the ITB attaches close to the outside of the knee, it passes over the Lateral Femoral Condyle, the bony prominence on the outside of the knee (lateral epicondyle on the diagram). Previously, it was thought to be the repeated friction of an overly taught ITB crossing this bony prominence that caused the inflammatory pathology and localized pain of ITB Syndrome.

    Recent research however suggests that this pathology and pain may actually be due to repeated compression of either the small bursa or fat pad, that sits protectively between the ITB and Lateral Femoral Condyle. This compression coming directly from increased tension of the ITB itself.

    So, with these facts in mind, given that the pathology and pain may well be more linked to compression rather than friction, what good could come from the compressive action of foam rolling the ITB local to the painful or tight area?

    Foam Roller

    Instead, a more appropriate use of the foam roller, or self-massage device would be to focus on trigger pointing TFL and muscles around the hip, to help remove tension from these muscles which create tension in the ITB directly.

    For advocates of foam rolling the ITB directly: Yes, it is possible that short-term relief from ITB related knee could theoretically be experienced in some individuals, as a neurological response to the “different kind of pain” inflicted by the roller. However, is it not better to address the causes of the problem in the first place?

    Of course, in a long term treatment plan, further investigation is required to identify the reasons for increased tone in TFL and other muscles affecting the ITB.

    Take Home Message: You can’t stretch the ITB. A better option is to achieve relief from ITB tightness and ITB Syndrome through addressing tightness in musculature around the hips. Stretch your hips to help your knees!

    You can book a running analysis and technique coaching session with James here.

  • London Marathon Nutrition – (just) before – during – and after!

    Posted in nutrition on

    Sunday 21st April, just another Sunday in the capital right? No! It’s the London Marathon and many of you reading this will no doubt be participating and those who are watching are very likely to be inspired for next year. The physical training and commitment to participate in any marathon is immense – those of  you making it to the start line, we salute you!

    As some of the upmysport team know firsthand, one of the big pre- marathon anxieties is how to fuel up before the race, and also how to manage nutrition and hydration along the 26 mile route and to help with recovery afterwards.

    Naomi Mead, Nutritional Therapist & Co-Founder of Food First talks us through her top tips.

    Marathon Runners we salute you!

    The big day is approaching. You have endured the COLD, dark, wet, winter evenings pounding the streets, with everyone telling you that you’re completely mad. There have been times where you have most certainly agreed with them. But now you’re less than 2 weeks away, and despite what looms ahead, you know that you’re going to feel pretty damn smug afterwards.

    It’s the final push, and you want to get your body into tip top condition; ensuring you’re one of those (mildly irritating) people jumping up and down on the start line…sweatbands and all!  And a big part to play in this is your nutrition leading up to race day. Your food and drink intake can strongly influence your performance, and now, just days before your big day, it must be optimal.

    So to help you bound over the finish line, we have put together our top tips on how to fuel in the lead up to, and during, the race…

    1)       Change is not always gooddo not try and introduce new foods into your diet in the days leading up to marathon day. You don’t want any risk of discovering something that doesn’t agree with you- the last thing you want on race day is a dodgy stomach!  You know your body best, so stick to foods that you’ve eaten before and can easily digest.

    2)      We wary of your fibre intake in the days leading up to the race, by avoiding gas-forming foods such as cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower cabbage), beans and pulses.

    Urine chart

    3)      Hydration – In the days leading up to the marathon you want to stay hydrated — but don’t drink obsessively. The colour of your urine is really the best indicator of whether you’re getting this right. If it’s totally clear, you’re drinking too much. If it dark in colour, you’re definitely not drinking enough. Pale yellow is ideal!

    4)      The right carbs- try to increase your intake to around 8-10g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight per day for the week leading up to the marathon to help maximize your glycogen stores. Don’t be tempted to choose sugary, refined foods but instead opt for natural wholefoods that are medium-low on the glycaemic index. Brown rice, fruit such as berries, apples, pears and stone fruits, green leafy vegetables, wholegrain bread and sweet potato are all great options.

    5)      The Last Supper- keep this simple and resist the urge to overeat. This meal should combine a good source of protein, ideally chicken or fish (avoid red meat which is difficult to digest), with some complex carbs and plenty of steamed veggies. Steer clear of creamy sauces, spices or garlic. Plain is best!  Avoid caffeine post 3pm the day before the race to give yourself the best chance of a good night’s sleep.

    Bagel with peanut butter

    6)      Marathon day breakfast- make sure you finish your breakfast at least 90 minutes before the start of the race. This should consist of something easily digestible (so nothing high in fat) combining carbohydrate and protein. Most importantly it should be something that you’ve tried and tested in training! Ideas include: a bagel with peanut butter, bowl of porridge with berries, banana with an energy bar.

    Porridge with berries

    7)      Sports Gelscan be really beneficial for refueling during the race, but don’t wash down with sports drinks; chase with water instead. Putting too much sugar into your system at once can cause stomach cramps or diarrhea.

    8)      The importance of refueling– you have a window of around 45 minutes post-run when your body is primed to replenish its glycogen stores, and to soak up protein for muscle repair. The guidelines are:  1g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight plus 10-20 g of protein. It is also crucial that you replace the fluids you have lost through sweat. Keep monitoring your urine to ensure that you are adequately hydrated in the hours following the race. Resist the temptation to switch straight over to the beers!

    And finally GOOD LUCK! We will all be cheering you on very firmly from the sidelines!

     

     

  • Mudder Nation: are you prepared for the Fire, Electrocution, Rope Swings & Ice Baths?

    Posted in running on March 8, 2013

    Sometimes running just isn’t enough. Off road and adventure races are increasingly popular. Personal trainer Geoff Clement talks us through what it takes to make it through a Tough Mudder race.

    You’ve probably heard about, know someone who has done it, or perhaps even read a few column inches in the papers about it. Tough Mudder has been designed to test your physical fitness, strength, stamina and mental grit.

    Tough Mudder – it’s tough and muddy…

    For those out there that are actually willing to commit thoughts to action and are prepared to throw themselves at what is regarded as “the ultimate” off-road/adventure race come mud bath that is Tough Mudder, you better equip yourself with the facts first!

    1. 10-12 Mile Assault course developed by the best in the business – British Special Forces.

    2. Multi terrain course: Fields, Concrete, Tarmac, Woodland, Rivers, and Bogs, not including 20-25 custom made obstacles.

    3. Rope Swings, Cargo Nets, Fire, Electrocution, Ice Baths, River Crossings, Monkey Bars, 12ft Walls… you name it, this course will most probably have it. Did I mention electrocution? 10,000 Volts to be precise! Shocking!

    If you are training to complete a Tough Mudder event and think you are going to complete it with relative ease because you can ace a half marathon with a degree of ease, then think again! Cardiovascular conditioning is a significant element, but not your only concern. This course will challenge your body to climb or crawl over, under, around or through various obstacles whilst at the same time coping with some tricky terrain and the mental doubt of “can I complete this” ringing in your ears.

    As having completed the very first UK Tough Mudder event I know only full well the preparations required to complete it. For a start you need a plan of action. As the quote says, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”.

    Forget L.S.D (Long slow duration) cardio, it’s all about the use of sprints, hill sprints, and bi weekly long runs for overall conditioning.  It is important to then focus on increasing functional strength and agility using push-ups, pull-ups, dips and squats – essentially compound exercises utilising multiple muscle groups at once.

    Ideally you want to picture the event in your mind, the obstacles involved and they types of terrain you’re going to encounter. Use the videos out there as part of your plan for how you are going to train and hopefully conquer this extreme event.

    “Ideally you want to picture the event in your mind, the obstacles involved and they types of terrain you’re going to encounter”

    When training for this event you will need to think outside the box a little. Fundamentally, endurance, grip strength, power to bodyweight and flexibility/agility is what’s required. The way the courses are set up, they are designed with a stop start pattern. High intensity exercises, followed by well spaced runs through varying terrain often grinding to a complete halt in preparation to make that pass on the balance beam!

    When formulating your plan of action don’t forget to try and stick to a hybrid type workout whereby you tag explosive weight training such as kettle bell swings/presses with short and sharp sprints, possibly even with a weighted back pack for extra authenticity! As I previously mentioned the stop start nature of this event demands that you are well versed in using high-energy demands followed by short rest periods. Adapting to this scenario will only stand you in good stead for Race Day.

    Remember having a decent level of fitness to start with is great. As a minimum I would suggest being able to do a straight 5/6 mile run non-stop in a fairly decent time. However it will be those event specific skills that you will need to hone that will enable you to hang, climb, lift and balance your way across those tricky obstacles that will make you a contender to finish and not just another statistic or casualty that didn’t complete it! Good luck!

    The Finish!

     

    If you would like some focused training for a Tough Mudder or similar race, get in touch with Geoff here.

  • A barefoot running experience

    Posted in running on January 17, 2013

    Alice Gartland, journalist, friend of upmysport and one time running enthusiast, tells us how she re-connected with the sport through a barefoot running training session with Rollo Mahon.

    I used to love running. I did cross country at school and even the London marathon once upon a time. Unfortunately I spent most of my twenties in suits and heels which destroyed my feet and also means that my leg muscles pull in all the wrong directions. After straining my foot in a half marathon, I was told I shouldn’t run any more. I was gutted.

    However, in the last year I have started to get back into things with the hope that with the right trainers, stretches and expert advice I could start enjoying running again. I certainly didn’t think that I would be able to run barefoot on a treadmill and feel lighter and run with more technique than I think I ever had, but that’s exactly what I did the other day with the help of barefoot running coach Rollo Mahon.

    Plantar fascia stretch

    What is barefoot running?

    It’s running without trainers!

    Quite a daunting prospect when you are as injury prone as me.

    Barefoot is not a standard approach and is the subject of some debate. However, regardless of whether you are a believer or not, for me, this introductory session has provided a gateway to understanding strong and more efficient running technique and helped me rediscover my love of running. I’m pretty happy about that!

    Running – Before

    Rollo got me running on the treadmill to analyse my technique.

    What’s quite obvious from this clip is that my running is very uneven. I put almost all my impact on my left foot and not my right. The right side is where I have sustained all my injuries – I have been convinced my right leg might snap in half where my fracture was for some years now and in the summer pulled my plantar fascia  – so I guess no surprise that I have developed a running ‘style’ that puts more impact on the left side.  It also explains how noisy my running had become on the treadmill, with a loud thud of my left foot whilst my right barely touches the ground!

    Whilst I was not running heel to toe (a common mistake to make, the barefoot approach suggests the best thing is for your foot to impact first on the ball of the foot at the front), I’m a bit more in the middle, so there was certainly room for adjustment there too.

    Stretches, exercises and enthusiasm!

    After the running analysis, Rollo took me through a variety of stretches and exercises all designed to better align my body for running and to strengthen my feet (in particular help with my over pronation, prevent further straining of my plantar fascia, strengthen my legs and improve my posture). Please contact Rollo for more details on these stretches.

    1) Barefoot deep squat with bar on shoulders.

    2) Thoracic spine extension

    3) Internal rotation hip mobiliser

    4) Hip mobilisation

    Running – Take Two!

    After going through those exercises, it was back to the treadmill first with, and then without, trainers.  We went through a couple of exercises including running to a metronome to help improve cadence and also to help create a lighter movement. Here are the results…

    As you can see my posture was instantly better (shoulders back, head up and so on), my body more aligned and running much more towards the ball of my foot. You can hear the difference – I am a lot lighter on the treadmill!

    To be honest it was all a bit of a revelation. Feeling for the first time in years that whilst running my body was well aligned, that I was light footed and had somehow let go of the burden of fear of further injury was fantastic. I instantly felt stronger and more efficient. It felt a bit like skiing or swimming– when everything is all lined up and working strong and efficiently – it feels almost effortless – but of course it’s not!

    After just 1.5 hours with Rollo, there was a massive improvement. He has changed the way I look at running – it had become something that I feared and no longer enjoyed. Now as long as I put the work in, running is finally an option for me again – Thank you!

    You can book a personal training session like this with Rollo here.

     

  • 10 Marathons in 10 Countries in 10 days – the film!

    Posted in running on January 14, 2013

    Remember the 10-10-10 team running 10 marathons in 10 countries in 10 days? Here’s a very moving and inspiring short documentary about their journey, by Glen Kirby. Time to get running…

    Visit the team’s website.

    Donate to the campaign.

    And if you’re brave enough, follow their route…

    Day 1 –  Lake Como, Italy

    Day 2 – Lucerne, Switzerland

    Day 3 – Balzers, Liechtenstein

    Day 4 – Innsbruck, Austria

    Day 5 – Stuttgart, Germany

    Day 6 – Luxembourg, Luxembourg

    Day 7 – Eindhoven, Netherlands

    Day 8 – Brussels, Belgium

    Day 9 – Amiens, France

    Day 10 – London, UK

     

     

     

     

     

  • Running clubs in London – Get fit, get social and improve your technique!

    Posted in running on November 30, 2012

    We all know that running on your own and switching off is great, but if you are looking for some extra motivation or to improve your speed and stamina, or prepare for a race, getting involved in a running club can provide the technical guidance and enthusiasm boost that you need.  It can also be a great way to meet new people.
     
     
    We spoke to three running clubs in London to find out more.

    Club 1: London City Runners

    London City Runners is a free running club based in central London. They meet once a week to run along the River Thames near London Bridge and “cater for all abilities,” says its Founder, Tim. “We’re very chilled out and pride ourselves on not being too keen. If you like running or want to get into running and live or work relatively centrally, then London City Runners is ideal. It’s pretty informal, people turn up in their kit, meet at a local bar and then we head off.”

    Running – it makes you happy!

    As the club has developed, in addition to their group runs they’ve added hill training and speed sessions. Perhaps most importantly, it’s very sociable. “We regularly meet up for curries and Sunday lunches. We have 1,000 members and 20 couples have met through the club.”

    So, there are a variety of benefits!

    Club 2: Herne Hill Harriers

    In South London the historic Herne Hill Harriers welcomes everyone interested in athletics of all ages and standards. “Whether you want to train, enter competitions or just get fitter you are welcome to attend our training sessions at the Tooting Bec Track,” says Steve the Club Secretary. It gives you the opportunity “to train with like-minded people” and they cover all types of running from road to cross country, track and field and so on. They also compete in all the major national, regional and local competitions and are in the top 8 men’s clubs and top 16 women’s clubs in the country.

    Herne Hill Harriers in action

    Winston, a member of Herne Hill Harriers, talks to us about his motivations for running here.

    Club 3: Serpentine Running Club

    If you are looking for something more central, the Serpentine Running Club is a great place to start. They have training sessions across London and “having people to train with, race with and also socialise with afterwards builds team spirit and is very motivating,” says Amy. They also offer the option to do bike or swim sessions, “So you have the opportunity to try those if you’re new to them, or want to add in some cross training. It also provides an alternative if you are injured and not able to run.”

    Serpentine’s members compete in road races all year round and also take part as a club in cross country in the winter and track and field in summer. Many members also compete in triathlon and duathlon, including the London League. They welcome members of all abilities from complete beginners to several members who have competed internationally for England or other nations – We know they’re good as people in their club T-shirts have run past us in a few triathlons and marathons!

    Getting social at London City Runners

    So, if you want to meet new people who share your passion for running (even if it’s early days), time to drop these guys a line!

     

  • How to run 10 marathons in 10 countries in 10 days

    Posted in running on November 19, 2012

    Wesley Ranger, from London, and his friends Joe Hingston and Nicola Papalini have just run 10 marathons, in 10 countries, over 10 days. 

    Starting in Lake Como, Italy, together they ran to Switzerland, through Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium and France, before returning to London for the final.  The team are raising funds  for the hospital baby units which cared for Wesley’s identical twins Jude and Elizabeth, after his wife Kerri gave birth prematurely at 28 weeks. Sadly Elizabeth died at 26 weeks during the pregnancy due to the twins suffering from twin to twin transfusion syndrome.

    We spoke to Wesley to find out more about the preparation, commitment and determination involved in completing such an immense running challenge.

    Nicola, Joe and Wesley – The 10-10-10 Team!

    For most people one marathon is challenge enough. How and why did you come up with the idea of 10 marathons, in 10 countries, in 10 days?                                                                                                        

    I was having dinner with some friends and we were discussing how I could raise money for the two baby units (The Early Birth Association and Love Your Hospital) that cared for Jude and Elizabeth and the possibilities to achieve this. It started at 3 marathons in 3 days, then morphed into 5 marathons in 5 days and by the end of the evening (and more wine) I had talked myself into running 10 marathons in 10 consecutive days. It wasn’t until I was at a friend’s wedding some months later that Joe & Nicola became involved, this is when it evolved into 10 marathons in 10 days in 10 countries (this was after more wine, there is a worrying pattern here!) I am just a normal bloke, running away from the inevitability of getting fat, this whole idea developed slowly and then once it had gathered momentum there was no turning back and no backing out! 

    Wesley, Nicola and Joe after marathon number 6 of their European adventure.

    Had you done much running before?

    Previous to 10-10-10 I had run 8 marathons, lots of half marathons and long runs in the South Downs but only really ‘played’ at running in that I spent most of my teenage years avoiding physical exertion. 

    How do you prepare for such a test of endurance? What training and preparation did you have to do?

    I ran! I met up with a local ultra runner to get advice on how to train but he simply advised me to keep running, try to break the runs up with hill running which I did. I think the most important thing for me was variety. I am lucky enough to live close to the South Downs which meant I have a ready supply of varied (and stunning) running landscapes. I spent most of this year running consistently and then stepped up my training at the beginning of the summer, I peaked at around 80 miles in one week. It was really tough going but I had to keep in mind that I would be running 26.2 miles per day for 10 days. 

    Training on the South Downs

    The greatest challenge for me was preparing psychologically. I knew that once the runs had started, that this was going to be the deciding factor of whether I completed the 10 marathons. I tried to keep in my mind why I was putting myself through the daily slog of training (which was to raise money for the charities, but also to connect to Elizabeth).

    How was it?

    Running 10 marathons in 10 days has to be one of the hardest things that I have had to do, both physically and emotionally. From a physical perspective I escaped fairly unscathed from the experience; I had the normal aches and pains, painful IT bands, back pain throbbing feet etc but the hardest thing I encountered was being away from my family. I found this aspect of the experience very hard to contend with and struggled being away from my children for such a long time. 

    You start to doubt why you have sacrificed your time with your family, not only the 12 days that we were away but the countless mornings and weekends that you lost in the preceding months before the trip. However what kept us going was the heartfelt messages of support we received along the way and the mind boggling generosity that people displayed with the donations that we received.  

    Wesley, Joe and Nicola – The 10-10-10 Team – Five Marathons Complete and still smiling!

    I also had a strong feeling that my daughter Elizabeth was with me somehow and that doing what I was doing was in some way honouring her and connecting with her in a way that I would never be able to otherwise. It was also amazing that so many people were saying her name, talking about her and what she went through.

    What have you learned from the experience?

    Follow your dreams. If you have an idea, explore it. Within reason, anything can be achieved and overcome.

    The 10-10-10 Team

    Visit the team’s website.

    Donate to the campaign.

    And if you’re brave enough, follow their route…

    Day 1 –  Lake Como, Italy

    Day 2 – Lucerne, Switzerland

    Day 3 – Balzers, Liechtenstein

    Day 4 – Innsbruck, Austria

    Day 5 – Stuttgart, Germany

    Day 6 – Luxembourg, Luxembourg

    Day 7 – Eindhoven, Netherlands

    Day 8 – Brussels, Belgium

    Day 9 – Amiens, France

    Day 10 – London, UK

     

  • Running. A good reason to get off the sofa tomorrow morning.

    Posted in running on October 19, 2012

    It’s Saturday morning and you have a decision to make. Will you: a) sit on the sofa and watch Saturday Kitchen whilst trying not to look at your BlackBerry; or b) grab your trainers and a very good sports bra (if applicable) and get outside for a run? To aid you in your decision, we spoke to three runners to find out what they love about the endorphine enducing delights of one of the most accessible sports around.

    Option a)

    Jessie is a nurse who lives in London has been running off and on for 9 years. She enjoys 5km races and is aiming to do a 10km soon.

    Winston is a Digital Promo Manager who lives in London. He was a casual runner, but joined London’s oldest AC club, Herne Hill Harriers in 2010. Since then he has been increasing his training at the Tooting and Battersea tracks with the help of the coaches and team members. Last year he won the XC Club Champs, Dewar Shield (which he will be defending in December!) and this year did his first Marathon (London), in 2.59.

    Geraldine is a lawyer who lives in Hong Kong. She was “not a sporty person” growing up and although she started running in her 20s, after a couple of years gave it up. Two years ago, out of the blue, she “felt the overwhelming urge” to put on her trainers and go for a run. She did 5k and was hooked. This year she has run two half-marathons and next year is running the London Marathon for charity.

    Option b) demonstrated by Winston

    So, why do you love running?

    Winston: The competition of a race, the high of a finish, and the rhythm, it’s fundamental to the spirit.

    Jessie: I feel a sense of freedom – you don’t need lots of equipment and can do it anywhere. I also enjoy running with friends – and it is healthier & cheaper than going to the pub with them. I like having events to keep up my motivation – and to raise money for charity.

    Geraldine: Running is a form of meditation for me. When I run, I alternate between focussing on my body – becoming more familiar with it at a micro-level and getting to know every muscle and movement – and focussing on my mind – emptying it and thinking nothing. My attunement to my surroundings heightens as a result, so that when I switch to looking around me, I have a sense of being more connected to my environment. I have finished long runs where I am exhausted physically but mentally buzzing and alive. It is an irreplaceable feeling.

    And why did you start running?

    Winston: To improve my fitness levels, and to swap the all night crew, for the get fit crew!

    Jessie: To get fit and try to lose weight without having to pay gym fees and also to raise money for charity. I started with the Race for Life 5km run along with some friends, and then the Nike Run London events.

    Geraldine: Vanity! I didn’t want to get to middle-age and find I was slowing down, putting on weight, feeling unattractive and turning old prematurely. I took up running to stay young and it genuinely works for that!