Thursday, 26 April 2012

Don't run on empty!

Nutrition is a big part of running and exercise (a bit I clearly need to get better at - I have had 2 bags of crisps today). If you don't give your body the right fuel to perform, you will find yourself hitting the wall much earlier than needs be and you will start to feel pretty crap. This is easily avoidable by eating the right foods and staying hydrated. I just wanted to outline some of my thoughts and suggestions for the best running foods I eat. This is not to say they are the only good foods, just the ones I enjoy.

1. Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is great for runners and athletes. It is a fantastic, cheap, tasty source of protein and calories. If you whap some peanut butter on a slice of wholemeal toast you have a great slow release post workout snack to keep you going.I know some people will say "NOOOOO peanut butter makes you fat" but this is only true if you exceed your calorie intake per day. As part of a balanced diet it is great.

Warning - contains nuts.

2. Wholegrain Pasta and Bread

Runners obviously need to have a lot of Carbs in their diet to fuel the physical exertion. Whole grain foods are (by definition) less processed. Whenever food is processed you are loosing some of the goodness in the nutrients. With wholegrain products such as bread, pasta, cereal, you are getting more nutrients (so they are good carbs) and you are getting more fibre, so you will feel fuller for longer. I know that when you are trying to carb load bread or pasta is an obvious choice, so just as long as you stay away from the white stuff, you will be grand!

3. Bananas

I bloody love bananas. They taste great. They smell great. They are cheap. They are yellow. They are also really good for runners. They make a great pre-workout snack because of the SIMPLE carbs. This means that they can be broken down quickly and released into the bloodstream to give you an almost instant hit.

Also, when you run you sweat, and when you sweat your body looses potassium. Bananas contain the vital potassium to help you reload, which is important as it helps regulate muscle contraction and will mean you don't become crippled with cramp (which really 'cramps' your style when out running).

4. Tuna

Runners need a lot of protein too (between 60-90 grams a day) to help rebuild muscle after gruelling sessions. Tuna is a great source of lean protein, so it makes the perfect post-run dinner. Tuna is also full of the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Some great tuna recipes can be found here.

5. Low fat yogurt

Low fat yoghurt is great. It is a great source of lean protein and carbs. The calcium content is perfect for runners to, because all of that pounding the pavement means that you will become susceptible to stress fractures. It is handy then to have strong bones to lower the risk.

Personally I eat Low fat yoghurt with bananas for breakfast when I am going out for a morning run. Also really nice too add to smoothies to make them a bit more creamy. More ideas can be found here.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

1000 Kilometer Challenge

I am a man who enjoys a challenge. I am also a man who enjoys running. So last night I was struck with an idea of creating a self-imposed running challenge (how exciting?).

It is on Wednesday 25th April 2012, I say with complete clarity of thought and without poor judgement, that over the course of the next year I am going to run a total of 1000km. Yes, you read that correctly, I will run 500km, and I will run 500km more, just to be the man who ran 1000km in the name of an incredibly self-indulgent year-long challenge.

This challenge will satisfy a few of my needs and wants. Primarily, it will be a great way to make me run more frequently and for longer. It will serve as an incredibly progressive, interesting and engaging weekly blog post (please read with intended sarcasm). It will also allow me to indulge in some great running stats, which I love.

An example of such exciting stats is below:
  1. To run 1000km in 365 days, I will need to run an average of 19.23km per week. That is 2.73km per day. 0.11km per hour (Have I taken it too far?)
  2. Over the course of the year I will burn an average of 55,000 calories (low estimate), the equivalent of 327 bags of Flame Grilled Steak McCoy crisps.
  3. Running 1000km will take me approximately 83 hours or 3.45 days. Maybe I should get it all over and done with in a weekend? Take the Monday off work?

This will be a big challenge for me. I understand that there are people who run 1000km in a few months, but I have a busy year. I am getting married, starting a PGDE in Edinburgh to become a teacher and I am becoming an Uncle, so fitting in regular runs will be tough, but I am excited. I will definitely have to partake in some Early Morning Runs.

I will be updating you on my quest as I work towards the end goal of 1000km, and every time I blog about my runs I will include my 'running total'.

I hope I don't look like this when I reach my target

Why not start a 1000km challenge of your own? Maybe you have done something similar before, let me know any tips you have please. Any good name suggestions for my challenge?

Monday, 23 April 2012

Early Morning Running

One of the biggest challenges I find with picking up the running miles throughout the week, is trying to find the time. I need to leave for work at 8am and don't get home till 7pm so trying to fit in running as well as everything else (family, food, films, friends etc - alliteration was a happy accident there) is a big challenge.

One way in which I plan to get round this is setting the alarm clock an hour early and going for Early Morning Runs. I am going to outline 5 of my top tips for running early in the morning, please feel free to let me know if there is anything else I should be thinking about, or any tips my fellow early morning runners have that make the process a bit easier.

1. Forward Planning

Think about what you will need to do to save yourself time in the morning. What can you get ready the night before that will mean you can stay in bed another 2-3 minutes.  I like to lay out my kit so that I don't have to spend any time looking for running socks in the dark (it's bad enough finding them when it is light). Also, check the weather report for the next day so you know what you should be wearing (don't use the weather as an excuse though - nobody likes a skiver!)

The time this will save you will really help, also the process of laying out your kit will me that you are less likely to think "ah fuck it" (which is a danger) and go back to sleep. The plan is you will go to bed thinking about your run, and you will wake up motivated and raring to go!

2. Have breakfast

Having breakfast is a vital part of the day anyway, but especially if you are getting up early to do a run. You want to have something that is going to fuel your early morning escapade, but also something that wont take too long to make....but also something that is not going to sit too heavy as you cant afford to sit around till it digests...

This morning I made myself a slice of wholemeal toast with peanut butter and sliced banana. Nice source of slow release Carbs with the wholemeal bread, protein in the peanut butter and the banana is great energy just before a run. I wash this down with some water and I am ready to go.

Another plan, is to have some energy bars ready that you can quickly eat, then have a decent breakfast when you get back to give your body the vital nutrients.

3.Know your route

 You only have a certain amount of time for your run, so don't use the EMR (early morning run) to try outthe new weird and wonderful off-road route that you have been planning. Stick to what you know. You should know how long the route will take and when you will be back. You also don't want to be knackered for the rest of the day, so remember you have a full day in front of you, don't absolutely kill yourself.

4. Find a running buddy

 I find that if you have made the commitment to meet up with something to go for a run, then you are more likely to get up and go. There is no greater motivation for me than feeling obliged, I hate letting people down. This is also good for having someone to chat to and it feels like you are sharing the burden, and that you are not the only person in the world crazy enough to be up and running.

 If you have no willing friends, or just no friends, don't fret, just comfort yourself in the knowledge that you are doing the right thing for your body, and you will probably live longer than those unwilling, lazy, unmotivated, pathetic excuses for human beings...(I'm joking of course, as much as there is a certain amount of well earned smugness that comes from running early in the morning, don't tell people that you are therefore better than them, even though you are, it won't end well).

5. Hydrate

It is incredibly important to be drinking water throughout the day, especially if you live an active lifestyle. You should make sure that you have a drink of water before heading out and also when you come back. Make sure that you pay particular attention to drinking water throughout the day of your early morning run too, no use putting all that effort in then crashing at 2pm because you are dehydrated.

Your turn: What is your early morning run routine? What do you have for breakfast? How else can I squeeze runs in to my busy week?

Sunday, 22 April 2012

6K with hills

I have a standard 5k run set out that I frequently do when I am wanting to have a quick blast. It's not very nice to be honest and I should really find another route, however it serves it's purpose.

Anyway, on said run, at around the 2nd K I always pass a path the leads up in to the woods, so today I decided to take the path (adventurous I know) I was feeling adventurous and wanted to do some hill running, and I was not disappointed with what the mystery path had in store.

It started with a very steep accent through the woods and didn't really stop going up for about 1.5 K. it was the first time in a while that I had done any hill training, so needless to say I was a spluttering, panting, red faced mess when I got to the top of the hill. However this lovely view over the west of Edinburgh proved to be well worth it.

View over Edinburgh
The whole run was only 6k altogether, but I think it will my replace my depressing road run. The only views I get from that are smokers at the bus stop and traffic jams, nothing that will be missed.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Edinburgh Half Marathon - Team Relay

Yesterday, I signed up to run the Edinburgh Half Marathon team relay and I am 'relay' excited.

My colleague at work asked if it was something I fancied doing, and within a few hours we had a team together and we had signed up. The last day for signing up at the £100 per team rate was yesterday so we were just in the nick of time, if you want to sign up now, it is £120 or you can run for a charity where the entry fee is waved as you raise a certain amount depending on the charity.

The race is split in to 4 legs of varying distances, I presume to account for the inevitable differences in abilities within teams.

Leg 1: The Royal Leg - 8.6 miles
Leg 2: The Cock & Pan Leg - 5.5 miles
Leg 3: The Gosford Leg - 7.6 miles
Leg 4: The Glory Leg - 4.5 miles

As the most experienced runner in the group, I put myself forward to do the first (and longest) leg of the race. I anticipate this will take me around an hour to run, although maybe slightly longer. My hopes are high though, as the course was voted as "THE FASTEST MARATHON IN THE UK" by Runners World Magazine readers.


 Also, as you can see from the graph, the first 8 miles look like a piece of cake, its virtually all downhill, I will be flying!!

We also had to buy a team ticket for the bus, which was a very reasonable £24. This will drop everyone off at their starting points, and will give you a lift back to the city centre once you complete the race.

I will be posting about my training for this race, and any updates from now on, so stay tuned for that!

Interval Training

As I said in my original post, speed is my ultimate goal. Fitness, loosing weight and generally being more healthy are all great by-products of running a lot, however my ultimate aim is to get faster (10k in under 40 minutes is my dream).

One thing I have been doing a lot recently is interval training. This is a really great way to increase speed in longer distances. In the past I have found that this has increase my overall race time significantly and I would recommend at least 2 interval training sessions a week.

I use the built in Interval training function on my Garmin Forerunner 305. I sprint for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds - repeating this 10 times. The watch is great for this excercise but not essential. All you need to do is pick a point in the distance roughly 30 seconds and sprint to it giving it everything. Then stop and run back. Another method people use is to walk back to the original start point, then start again but I feel this let's my heart rate drop too much.

I would definitely recommend intervals, if you are trying to loose weight or get faster at running. I am going to be doing a lot of this type of training in my quest to get under 40mins on my 10k.

Garmin Forerunner 305 - A runners best friend

Last year, for my birthday, I got the Garmin Forerunner 305. I am a complete gadget fiend and love anything that is powered by electricity and beeps. So it was not a long, drawn-out decision to buy myself a GPS watch when I started running more regularly.

Ever since buying this watch, my running experience has transformed. I now know enough stats about every run I complete to satisfy my inner stats geek. Life has never been the same.


When I was researching the watch, I heard that one of the drawbacks was the size. This was not enough to put me off (evidently) and I am glad. The watch is actually very comfortable to wear. It is a bit big, but I like that, it allows me to see all the important information when running, and I think if it was any smaller, it was loose some of its functionality.


There is a nice review here which shows you some of the functions in action. I will just go over the functions I use and like best. The beauty of this watch is the fact you can personalise the screen you see when running to suit you, so whatever functions you like best can be on display.

The watch does everything you would expect (Monitors heart rate, speed, distance, pace, and calories burned) but the virtual partner is the function I use most, it really is amazing.

I run home from work fairly often, and the virtual partner keeps me going. It is really easy to set up, you just save a run the first time you run it (e.g a run home from work), then the next time you run set up the virtual partner and it tells you how you are doing against your best run on the course.

The watch tells you how far ahead (or behind) you are from your best time. I love this function and it really helps me get faster (I am very competitive - especially against myself).

The other function I use regularly is the Interval training option. As I keep mentioning, my goal is to become a faster runner, and Interval training is great for this. You can set up the watch to help you with your intervals, by entering either distance or time you would like to run, and time you would like to rest. Once you hit start your watch bleeps and tells you when to start and stop running. This is great, and really helps motivating you through the gruelling Interval sessions.


If like me, you enjoy several sports, the watch comes in very handy. Unfortunately it is not waterproof enough to allow you to swim with the watch on, so triathlons are out of the picture (at least while wearing the watch).

I do however enjoy mountain biking and there is a great attachment for you bike that allows the Garmin to be mounted on your handlebars.

Heart Rate Monitor

The watch comes packed with a Heart Rate monitor ban that you wear around your chest. Again this is very comfortable and I got used to wearing it very quickly. I still need to figure out exactly what I am meant to be doing with the monitor and what my heart rate sold be (any tips on this would be greatly appreciated).


The only major draw back for me with the watch is the time that it takes to find satellites. This can take up to a few minutes depending on where you are. However if you plan it right you can turn the watch on 5 mins before your run land out it on the window ledge, this works a treat for me every time.

All in all I love the Garmin Forerunner 305, it has revolutnised the way I run and my training would be incomplete without it. If you are not planning on swimming with the watch then I would definitely buy this watch over the more expensive models, it does everything I need to very efficiently.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Hello Running World

My name is Jude Moir, I have been running for a few years now but have made the decision to really start seriously trying to get faster! That has always been one of my primary goals when running. I enjoy competing against others and that is a big driving force.
The reason I have started writing this blog is to catalogue all the hints and tips I discover about how to become a faster runner. One of the things I will be struggling with is IT band syndrome. I have weak knees and will be trying various ways to overcome the fact that my knees are made of glass!

I also now want to set myself the challenge of running a 10k race in under 40mins. To date, my personal best is 43mins and 39secs which was ran last year at the Fourth Road Bridge 10k.

Running is going to be a big part of my life over the next little while and I hope you can keep me company through the process.
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