Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Nutrition basics for runners

As a runner it is important that you keep your body fueled with the right nutrients and vitamins. Runner's burn a high number of calories in their training and therefore need to take in more carbohydrates and proteins than non-runners to be able perform well.


Carbohydrates are the best source for endurance runners as it help the body to store, preserve and replace muscle glycogen (the body's of energy source). A low level of glycogen will result in fatigues or low levels of energy on race day. Once all energy sources have been depleted, the runner is of risk to 'hit the wall'.
Therefore, before you tackle the all important race day, ensure you increase the overall carbohydrates intake 2-3 days before race day and reduce fat and protein.


Protein helps to build and repair damaged muscles and other tissues. During long distance runs, the body uses low amounts of protein for energy, therefore it is not necessary to increase the intake before a race. Ensure to stock up on your protein level after long runs though, with either protein shakes or simply a nutritious recovery meal e.g. eggs and toast. Don't forget to replenish your hydration level too! If you are reducing your calorie intake in order to lose weight, don't do it in your recovery meal!


During long endurance runs, your body will access the fat stores to fuel your body for exercise. Athletes who are training for endurance help their body's ability to burn fat as fuel. Ensure to keep your intake to no more than 30% and choose healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocados.


It is not more than a myth that everyone should drink at least two liters a day. Our daily drinking requirements depends much more on gender, body weight, weather conditions and the amount of exercise we do on a daily basis. Also, the body can get its water supply from food and your metabolism. General rule for runners is though: The further and faster you run, the more you sweat; so replenish when needed! Many runners rely on the power of sports drinks. Sports drinks often have high sugar contents and provide fuel as well as fluids. However, it is only recommended for long runs to avoid a counterproductive effect on your calorie intake.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Hello Balanced Training - or 9 runs and 33km later

Last week, MyASICS app informed me that I've completed the 'Pre-Conditioning' phase of my half-marathon training and I have now entered the phase of 'Balanced Training'.

Within the 'Balanced Training' phase I will run approx. 156km over 18 runs. The suggested training runs are a mix of build-up and pace runs to prepare for speed and endurance.
My Balanced Training phase
Within the Pre-Conditioning phase I didn't stick too much to my suggested training schedule, as you can see from the screenshot below. I managed to run at least twice a week and ran a 10K run on 27th March - overall I managed to log 9 runs with about 33 km distance.
My completed Pre-Conditioning phase
When I compare the distance of all my runs with the average pace time, it is clear that while I'm now running longer distances my average pace improved to below 7mins (!) That is quite an achievement as it seemed to me I was stuck in the 7mins plus pace zone.
Distance vs. Pace
My next training run is arranged for tomorrow as well as a nice job for Friday and a long run on Sunday. The training plan suggests I should run a 10K run on Wednesday, which I find very hard to do in between work and studies. My next 10K race is booked for 9th March. If the training is a success, I should really improve my overall running pace and run 10K without any major strains.
Have any of you had experiences with training plans? I'd be happy to hear other success stories as encouragement.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

BHF Regent's Park 10K on 9th March

Robert and I have just signed up to run the Regent's Park 10K on 9th March. This time we have set up a justgiving fund raising page to raise as much money as possible for the British Heart Foundation. Please support us in our aim and donate a few spare pennies or pound towards a good cause! Here is the link to our fundraising page.
Alternatively, if you're feeling you want to join us in the run, sign up too and enter team name 'The Road Runners'. The more, the merrier!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Top tips for beginners

Running with friends keeps you motivated

So you've decided to become a runner? Whatever motivated you - and I hope my blog has something to do with it - you should be proud of yourself. The first step is the hardest: To make the decision to become more active. The second one is even tougher: Sticking with it. It is like getting rid of a bad habit, you'll have to fully commit to it and the first runs will be hard work. Eventually, you'll get rewarded by becoming fitter, becoming more confident and may even losing some weight in the process. Without much further ado, let me give you some top tips to get you on your (running) feet:

First of all, do you have any pre-existing injuries? 
Running can be tough on your body so do make sure you are in good condition before you start your training. See you GP and have yourself checked out first.

Invest in good shoes

I'm not saying to go out and spend £100s in sports gear, but you should invest some money in good running shoes. Running can be tough on your joints, running shoes will act as shock absorbers and protect your joints on any terrain. Also, many running shops offer gait analysis for free! The staff will be able to give you advice on your personal running style and offer the perfect fit for your feet. Now as you've invested all the money, you'll also want to make good use of your brand-new shoes.

What should I wear?

For an outdoor run you should ideally wear some light and lose clothes, e.g. an old t-shirt or hoody with a pair of comfy trunks will do. Of course, you can also buy some running clothes, but it won’t improve your performance overall. Sports tops are made out of a very light & breathable fabric that absorbs your sweat to keep you dry. On a cold day I would recommend a hat or headband and gloves.

Warm-up & Stretching

Start each run with a gentle warm-up e.g. climbing the stairs for 5mins and finish with a cool down session. Before and after each run you should gently stretch your leg muscles to give yourself extra flexibility. This will help your muscles and joints to get used to the running and prevent injuries in the long term. Click here to find some great stretching exercises for you post-run workout.


It is recommended to start with a run-walk-run combination depending on your overall conditioning, eg 2mins running- 5mins walking- 2mins running. If you have been inactive for a while, it will help you to build your fitness level gently. Running is an incremental sport; you should start slowly with short distances and increase running with every run.

Find your breathing rhythm

If you're out of breath or in pain, stop running and walk for a few minutes. Every runner has its own breathing rhythm; you’ll find your own rhythm with time. Breathing correctly is important for your body to transport enough oxygen to your muscles.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Brooks PureProject 2.0: The ultimate shoe test

Brooks PureDrift running shoes
This week I've signed up for the Brooks PureProject 2.0 shoe test and I'm one of the few lucky ones to test a pair of Brooks shoes for a week for free. The Brooks PureProject range includes four different shoe types in its collection: PureDrift, PureConnect 2, PureFlow 2, PureCadence 2 and PureGrit 2.

I've chosen the Brooks PureDrift shoe in a stylish black & pink design. As a minimalist shoe, its main features are flexibility and ultra-lightness.
Immediately, when I pick up the shoe box in the shop I notice how light the shoes are. (I couldn't help but to check if the shoes were actually inside the box.) The top material of the shoe is made of very thin, breathable material. The sole is very flexible, split up into individual elements while still providing tight grip. In comparison, my usual ASICS shoes seem very heavy and bulky, which raises my concern if the shoes will be able to provide my joints with enough support (especially my knees).

On Saturday morning I'm giving my test shoes a proper workout. Once I put them on, the shoes snuggle up to my feet nicely, but still offer my toes enough room and flexibility. I feel very bouncy on the heels, but comfortable at the same time. It's a nice, but chilly day and I can feel the cold air coming through my shoes. The thin material might offer flexibility, but it doesn't really offer protection from a cold British winter's day.
My feet feel light and the shoes easily adapt to any surface, may it be hard pavement or soft sand on the beach. It feels like running barefoot, it doesn't seem like I'm wearing running shoes at all. After 5km of running the lactic acid creeps into my muscles, but my feet are still in top shape. Also, my knees are in still in perfectly good condition. All in all - surprisingly top marks for Brooks PureDrift!

Now let's put it through its final test... ;)