How was your weekend running?

Sleep, or more widely, how to maximise your recovery has been on my mind this weekend. This is partly because I was chatting with Jonathan Robinson, exercise physiologist at the University of Bath at the recent Elevate conference, and because it appears to have then cropped up in numerous conversations with clients over the weekend.

Time and again, as runners – and particularly if we ‘re also mums and runners, we tend to focus on running only as our training, and perhaps if we’re really good, a bit of foam rolling and yoga. But this is NOT what we mean by recovery, and if we got this right, we’d optimise our performance, prevent injury and avoid mental burn out.

All the research points to how recovery is the cornerstone of your training, not an add on. Ignore it, and you effectively undermine all those hard training sessions that you’re doing.

So, what do we mean by recovery strategies? 

What might come to your mind are compression socks, ice baths, recovery footwear and the like, but according to scientifically proven studies, your foundations for recovery are simple -sleep, body management and nutrition.

Grantham and Jarvis 2005, Recovery Pyramid

 

Sleep

When we sleep, our bodies get to work, helping our muscles to repair and adapt to grow stronger. According to research in the British Journal of of Sports Medicine  cognition, metabolism and tissue repair are critical physiological processes that contribute to training capacity, recovery and performance and are all positively affected with the right amount of sleep.

What you can do? 

Start tracking your sleep to see how many hours, on average you’re getting. I have a Garmin 920XT watch which tracks not only my sleep, but the quality of my sleep. It’s a helpful reminder to show when I’m not. If you are consistently getting injured, or not seeing improvement despite lots of training, take a look at your sleep patterns.

Body Management

Simply put, this means how you are managing your body. Are you only running or are you adding strength training, yoga and foam rolling?

Recovery methods, such as at home yoga, stretching even for 20 minutes per day can help promote blood flow to the muscles and improve range of movement, which in turns helps you to run with better economy, which means less stress on the body.  Moreover, focused, good quality strength training not only helps prevent injuries. Research shows that the fitter and stronger you are, the less time you’ll need to spend on recovery strategies.

What you can do?

Try a Yin Yoga class, try to remember the poses that are the most challenging for you and do those ones on your own at home. Strength wise, we have lots of free exercises on our YouTube channel that you can follow to build stability. Our more dedicated month long gym or at home strength workouts will launch in a few weeks for our dedicated Virtual Training Hub members. Pre-register here.

Nutrition 

Follow the three Rs, rehydrate, refuel, rebuild. Running is BIG business, and nutrition has kept pace with this resulting in the proliferation of products from protein shakes to beet and sour cherry shots. Some of these can be useful if you have a very heavy training load or are short on time.

What you can do?

You can get all the nutrition you need from the food you eat or drink, whether it’s a chocolate milk/almond milk shake after a run, foods rich in polyphenols, such as beetroots (grated in a salad or juiced with ginger and apple) to help with inflammation, fish, meat or pulses for a protein kick and green leafy vegetables and fruit for a vitamin kick to boost your immune system. It can be useful to keep a food diary for three days, noting what you eat and when you eat, plus when you run. That should be enough, without any expert advice for you to evaluate whether you are eating right for running.

We’d love to hear how you manage your recovery strategies, and if you have any tips that are useful for super busy women.

 

GRTW Recipes for Foodie Runners: Cumin Toasted Chickpea Salad

Thinking that carb loading means filling your plate with pasta, rice or potatoes is an old fashioned way of looking at nutrition. Keep it fresh, zingy and tasty so you fuel without flabbing out…

 

Ingredients

100g chickpeas
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 small cucumbers (280g)
2 large tomatoes (300g)
1 small red onion, peeled
240g radishes
1 red pepper, seeds and pith removed
20g coriander leaves and stems, roughly chopped
15g flat-leaf parsley, picked and roughly chopped
120ml olive oil
Grated zest of 2 lemons, plus 50ml lemon juice
30ml vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp sugar
Salt and black pepper
1 tsp ground cardamom
1½ tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp cayenne pepper

seeds of one pomegranate

Greek yoghurt (optional)

Method

Dice the cucumber, tomato, onion, radish and pepper and mix with the coriander and parsley. In a jar or sealable container, put 75ml of olive oil with the lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic and sugar, shake and season to taste. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss lightly.

Mix together the cardamom, allspice, chilli, cumin and a quarter-teaspoon of salt, and spread on a plate. Toss the chickpeas in the spice mixture to coat. Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and over medium heat lightly fry the chickpeas for two to three minutes, gently shaking the pan so they cook evenly and don’t stick. Keep warm.

Divide the salad between four plates, arranging it in a large circle with a slight indent in the middle, and spoon the warm chickpeas in the centre. Drizzle some Greek yoghurt on top and some seeds of pomegranate.

Serve either with Lebanese flatbread of with sliced chicken or salmon for extra protein.

This is a recipe adapted from Ottolenghi.

Explore the South Downs Trail Run, Sunday 13 May

Whether you’re a visitor to the area and fancy a trail run or you’re a local looking to explore or build your miles, join us this Sunday for a beautiful off-road run starting at Hove Park

This route starts at the park but immediately takes an off-road route until we arrive at Waterhall Mill.  Built in 1885 by James Holloway, it worked until 1924 and was used in World War II as a lookout post. It was finally converted into a house in 1963.

Here, we’ll leave those runners who would prefer to do four miles to return via the way they came on their own steam. Those who would like to do 8 miles can continue with us up on the South Downs Way, before joining the Sussex Border Path and returning to Hove Park.

If the weather is nice, a 10 minute al fresco yoga session to finish the Sunday run leaving you feeling strong and supple.

Book via our booking page, £10 or £45 for the entire 8 remaining runs. 

Location and details can be found here

GRTW Recipes for Foodie Runners: Lemon Almond Raspberry Loaf

Make no mistake, this is calorific but if you’ve done a big run, what’s wrong with that? On the plus side, it’s largely made from ground almonds which packs a BIG punch in helping your muscles recover after exercise

Ingredients

Serves 8.

200g soft butter
200g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
40g plain flour
140g ground almonds
grated zest and juice of a lemon

Line the loaf tin with greaseproof paper or baking parchment. Then cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Then gently beat in the eggs one at a time, adding flour as you go to prevent curdling. Now, on a slow speed if using a food processor, fold in the ground almonds and zest.

Spoon into the lined cake tin, smooth the top and bake for 45-50 minutes at 180 C/gas mark 4. Test it with a skewer – the point should leave the cake without any mixture stuck to it. Don’t overcook though! Finally pierce with a skewer and squeeze over the juice from half the lemon. Leave the cake to cool in its tin before removing and serving with fresh raspberries.

 

 

Beautiful Brighton Bank Holiday Trail Run

Finally, the weather is going to be gorgeous enough for a truly beautiful, vest top kind of run on the South Downs…

 

This Sunday, we’re going to be heading up to a beautiful part of the Downs that takes you through the beautiful village of Ovingdean, past the 11th century St Wulfran’s church before heading with Rottingdean to the east before dropping back down to the seafront. Here, those who prefer a shorter route can return along the Undercliff path for a five mile run. Others can choose to go with our coach and complete the full 7 miles, enjoying the views of the sea.

Open to all levels of runners as long as you can run the distance of five or seven miles. Book online for £10 or join the full season for £45. This is a beaut of a run in this weather.

Details of locations and meeting here.  Join our Brighton and Hove only Facebook group if you’re local.

Your coach is Helena. Meeting at Brigthon Asda Marina car park, far side by the ramp to go up to the road level.

How was your weekend running?

Running can get you fit, help you meet new people and explore the world. But as #milesformatt has shown, it also has the power to do a whole lot of good and drive positive change and action…

Matt, right, with his father Martin and brother, Josh

Looking at our Strava club, this weekend was not about races or parkruns (although there were a fair few of those around too) but about running 3.7 miles in memory of the 2017 Masterchef finalist, Matt Campbell who collapsed 3.7 miles before the end of the finish line at last weekend’s London Marathon.

What most people already knew about the 29- year old from the TV show, was that he was a likeable and extremely talented chef and that he’d sadly lost his father, suddenly and unexpectedly in 2016. But then The Brathy Trust, a charity who work to help inspire disadvantaged children and whom Matt had been helping raise money for, released a press release.

It revealed that Matt was not only a fantastic chef and runner (he’d run the Manchester marathon two weeks before in under three hours) but a pretty amazing human being full stop, setting up the Martin Campbell Memorial Fund in memory of his father, which had raised £14,000 to help young people with mental health problems.  He’d been planning to run his third marathon, the Windermere Marathon next month to raise even more money.

So far, £250,000 has been raised in his memory but runners across the UK and beyond running the last 3.7 miles of his marathon. It doesn’t change the fact that a young man has lost his life, tragically leaving behind a family who will miss him terribly. But if anything positive can be drawn from this, it is the power of a running community coming together virtually.

 

 

 

South Downs Trail Run, Sunday 29th April

If you’ve been hibernating or pounding out the miles for marathon training, NOW is the time to get out and enjoy the beauty of the trails in early summer…

This week is the start of our Summer Trail Series in Brighton, £45 for the entire series which runs to the end of June or you can drop in per session to suit.

We have two distances, a shorter one for those who simply want to build their endurance and start running on trails but for fun, and a longer distance that will build week by week for those who are joining us in training for the Bewl 15, July 1st.

This week’s run meets at Ditchling Beacon for a beautiful run along the top of the ridge before heading down for a loop past a local farm and back to the return. The total distance on the start of this season is six miles but it is also open as a four mile route, with runners being able to turn and return on their own should they wish.

Get fit, meet new runners, explore new trails. It is the BEST time to be on the Downs.

For details of the full season, click here. To book visit our booking page and choose the full series or book per run. 

Plus don’t miss our once a month Running Adventures, starting in May. Details coming soon. If you’re not in our Brighton and Hove Facebook group, don’t forget to join. 

GRTW Recipes for Foodie Runners: Grilled peaches with mint, honey and roasted hazelnuts

The season is on the turn and with it comes lots of delicious fruit which can make for some great, quick healthy desserts…

Ingredients

Peach or nectarine, halved

Small handful of hazelnuts

Fresh mint

Honey

Squeeze of fresh orange and lime

Method

Add a teaspoon of honey to a saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Warm through to help dilute the honey (some of the water should burn off) then add the orange juice and lime. Taste and adjust if it’s not sweet enough. Reserve the liquid.

Put the nuts on a roasting tray or a clean pan and toast for a few minutes until nice browned. Keep to one side.

Brush the peach halves with the honey liquor and then place flat side down on a hot clean griddle pan. It should only take a few minutes to chargrill. Serve immediately with the rest of the honey juice, hazelnuts and some chopped mint. Goes really well with Greek Yoghurt.

 

 

Review: Tribe Sports Performance Running

It is very rare for us here at Girls Run the World HQ to rave about any specific sports label. But the new range from TribeSport has got us hooked, combining both function and style in spades…

 

Remember those Parkrun t-shirts that you’d get for running your 50th or 100th park run? Well, they were provided by TribeSports not that you’d believe  this looking at their latest sports range as they’ve repositioned themselves in the stylish performance market. And their range really does tick both boxes.

First up is their Engineered Short Sleeve, £50 which has the softest feeling material and is designed with hi-breathe mesh zones at the chest and back. It is extremely flattering (long) and fitted without being restrictive so that it works for yoga without falling down and exposing an unflattering tyre while moving upside down. But more importantly, it is INCREDIBLE when running in the heat. We tried it on a hilly training session in 25 degree heat and it didn’t become soaked in sweat or start sticking and after the session, it was quick drying so it didn’t leave us shivering within seconds minutes of finishing. Seriously, one of my favourite pieces of running kit. EVER. At £50, it’s a mid-price range product but well worth it. Now I just have to get my hands on one of their Layered Race Vests, £60.

Running Tight, £75

Sculpting with a high waist band which makes them super flattering, these are a great Spring or Autumn tight. While it comes with a zipped pocket at the back, this is only big enough for keys or a bank card.

Our picks are definitely the tops in this range – they’re not cheap but if you run A LOT, and most Girls Run the World runners do, then they are well worth the investment.

 

 

And for cooler weather, there is also the Long Sleeve, £55 which is very flattering with hi-mesh breathe panels back and front, plus well thought out thumb hooks to keep the top fitted to the arms. Depends how you feel about logos but this is emblazoned with Tribe Sports right across the chest which we’re not mad keen on but overall, top marks for function and style (shame the same can’t be said for hair styling in the shot below!)

 

For more information, visit Tribe Sports.