How was your weekend running?

There were some big hitters in this weekend’s races, such as the Chicago and Chester Marathon. But what caught our eye was an event that helps put on the agenda the question of how much waste is produced by running events… 

So, Mo Farah won the Chicago Marathon this weekend in a time of 2 hours, 5 minutes and 11 seconds, his first marathon win. Meanwhile, on European shores, the Chester Marathon took place. This is an event where age group recreational athletes are invited by English Athletics to compete for their country. If you think there is no way you could ever represent your country, it is worth taking a look at the qualifying criteria and applying if you are interested because it IS possible.  For more details, click here.

(By the same token, if you have your heart set on running the London marathon, or any of the other Majors, it is worth looking at the qualifying times you’d need to get for your age. You have to be in it, to win it as the saying goes and our virtual marathon training can help you get there).

Elsewhere in the UK, our core GRTW team were also taking part in events. Tara Shanahan, our Brighton and Hove Co-ordinator took fourth woman at the Bright10, a ten mile flat road race in Brighton in a time of one hour, 2 minutes and 37 seconds while co-founder, Dawn Buoys took on the Downlink 38 mile ultra. Elsewhere, we had lots of runners at the Oxford Half marathon – well done!

But it was an event run by one of our community, the Penicuik House Trail 10km, a new race that takes place in the grounds of Penicuik Estate in Midlothian, Scotland that caught our attention. Obviously, a beautiful part of the world to run in Autumn but it was the medals that caught our eye, made of wood that had from the Estate while the the first lady and man home received hand carved bowls from trees from the estate.

At at time when so much is being written about the waste in the fashion industry, perhaps it’s also time to turn our attention to running races. How many plastic bags are given out at a race finish, often containing lots of useless items including at least three printed leaflets. Then there are the t-shirst? How many of us really wear them again?

So, we applaud any event that introduces a way to prevent the waste of materials and plastic.  And if you’re interested in this subject, do check out the community interest company, Re-Run. Set up by ultra runner Dan Lawson and his wife, Charlotte, they are prolonging the life of running kit by re-purposing old race medals or event t-shirts to make new items which they are selling and using the profits to go back into supporting running projects.

How was your weekend running?

August Bank Holidays, it appears, are very quiet on the race front although there was the South Coast Challenge, an ultra marathon of 100km from Eastbourne to Arundel over one or two days, as well as the some oddball village races involving a 5k race from one pub to the next…

Just when we thought the gorgeous holiday running photographs had petered out, up they pop again as everyone makes a last minute escape to warmer and drier climes than the weather that confronted most of us in the UK this weekend. Luckily for those taking part in the South Coast Challenge, a supported 100km ultra that can be done over one or two days, Saturday was beautiful.

We had one of our runners who undertook this event, a courageous attempt considering she’s only done two marathons before this, one of which was this year. An insane amount of climbing, this is a tough event with the knowledge that you have to run through the night if you’re doing the one day event. Did any of you take part? We are not quite sure about the part of the route where runners had to come all the way off the South Downs Way and down to the seafront in Brighton on a busy Bank Holiday, only to have to ascend again right the way back up to the South Downs Way. Did you run it? We’d love to hear what you thought.

Meanwhile, on Bank Holiday today, myself and the amazing GRTW Brighton head coach, Tara Shanahan (you’ll understand why I say this in minute) undertook the rather brilliantly named, King’s Head Canter. A 5km race over undulating village roads, it starts outside the Six Bells in the village of Chiddingly and ends at the King’s Head pub in East Hoathly, where you can exchange your race number for a pint at the pub.

This village race was started 21 years ago and attracts all kinds of runners, from young juniors to those in their seventies who run-walk it right the way through to club athletes. And we must congratulate Tara, who was running for her athletics club who took the 1st lady position in a time of 18 minutes and 24 seconds. And before you think, ‘Yeah, well she’s probably been running all her life and was always good at running.’

Not so. Tara is testament to the fact that you can start at any age, and keep improving no matter what your age. Which mean at 48, Tara is beating many runners half her age. (Psst! She’s also a very good coach and mentor).

Where did you run this weekend? We’d  love to hear about any funny Bank Holiday Monday runs similar to the King’s Head Canter. Comment below. 

How was your weekend running?

While many of you all seem to be making a final escape to European shores with some beautiful holiday running pictures being posted, back in the UK there have been some equally stunning races taking place from the Sussex Hardway 13  (yes, it was hard!) to the intriguing sounding Two Tunnels Half Marathon… (18-19th August)

Why would you run up tank tracks ascending 419 ft with a gradient of 13% on a August summer Saturday? This is the very start of the appropriately named The Hardway Half, a just over half  marathon (13.7 miles)  event from Sussex Trail Events. It’s an evil start to a stunningly beautiful route that follows the South Down’s Way at a time of the year when the fields are full of golden wheat and you can see as far out to the Seven Sisters.

A group of GRTW runners took part, mainly as training for the upcoming Get Together Maverick Snowdonia. As my glutes felt like they were on fire on the return leg of this out and back race, all I kept thinking  is that the Snowdonia event will be a great deal more difficult, climbing to over 3,000 ft in the first five miles (agh!).  But then, that’s the beauty of doing an event as a training run; it pinpoints EXACTLY what you need to focus on in your next block of training and helps focus the mind.

The GRTW ultra coach, Sarah Sawyer placed second lady in this weekend’s event and her secret for getting super strong on the hills? Lots of hiking up hills with 8kg of dried chickpeas in her backpack (her A game is the Grand Raid des Pyrenees, a 123km races with 7000 metres of ascent which takes place over the August bank holiday – good luck Sarah!)

And one more thing to add about The Hardway Half…I thought it was called this because it was a hard trail half marathon. However, it could equally have been called this because actually, the second half of this race is MUCH harder than the first. Bear that in mind if you do it next year!

Elsewhere, we loved the sound of the Two Tunnels Half Marathon by Relish Running Races in the beautiful West Country around Bath. Taking in the gorgeous countryside of the Limply Stoke Valley, the route is on mixed terrain footpaths and trails, taking in the beautiful city of Bath before going to the riverside and traveling through the Combe Down Tunnel, which at 1672 metres long, making this event the one with the longest underground section of any race. Through Monkton Combe village and along the Somerset Coal Canal before merging with the Kennet and Avon Canal, this sounds like a truly stunning route.

They also have half marathons in May and July, so it may be worth checking out their events for 2019.

 

But over to YOU! Where did you train or what event did you take part in? Anyone run Parkrun abroad this weekend?

Based in Brighton? Don’t miss our Adventure Runs every Thursday this summer. Details of all Brighton events can be found here

 

 

How was your weekend running?

Date: 20-22nd July

We’ve never had a summer quite so hot, although one way to steer clear of the heat this weekend was to take part in the Lunar-tic Marathon River Marathon which ran through the night. But we thought it was the perfect conditions for our inaugural GRTW Run Wild trail and yoga retreat. How did you fare this weekend in training or racing?

 


 

Over the weekend, we spoke to lots of runners at our GRTW Trail and Yoga retreat and opinion is evenly split – some people love warm summer running, others much prefer the cooler conditions of autumn or winter.  Whatever the case, a little nifty trick for you – put your running vest in the freeze for 15 minutes before you go out…it will keep you cooler for a little while.

On our trail weekend, we kept our runs to the early morning or late afternoon with a route through Houghton woods for one of the steamiest runs of the weekend on the Sunday. And even on those hotter, hillier runs the reward was stunning views and a delicious breeze on the way back to base. And of course, nothing feels quite as good as yoga after a run, particularly outdoors in the shade.

Elsewhere this weekend, was the Lunar-tic Marathon, a 3 lap night trail along the River Adur, the perfect antidote to the day’s heat and perfect conditions.

We’d love to hear where you trained or raced over the weekend, particularly further afield in Scotland, Wales or further north. Let us know.

 

How was your weekend running?

Summer is a time of trail races and those with a bit of a twist…

I didn’t race this weekend as I was busy checking out  more routes for the Girls Run the World Trail and Yoga Retreat this coming weekend (July 20-22), and it sure was a hot one! Which is why I headed off for an open water swim in the beautiful Weirwood Reservoir rather than run again.

But elsewhere, there was lots going on in the trail running stakes, not least the spectacular Gran Trail Courmayer, with distances of 30, 50 and 105km to choose from…the winning woman of 30km took 3 hours 50 mins, 47 seconds while the 102 kms took 18 hours, 51 minutes and 12 seconds. That says it all about the elevation, eh? Still, it’s a race that’s on my bucket list.

Closer to UK shores, literally, was the Beat the Tide 10km in Worthing on the South Coast. This is a great concept, where you run an out and back along the beach, trying to beat the return of the tide to avoid getting wet feet.  One GRTW runner who took part, Tanya Taylor said this about the race: ‘It’s always fun when you do a race that’s a little bit different to the norm- and running with a few hundred people across the sand definitely felt more fun than not. Well organised, relaxed & beautiful scenery- win, win.’ One thing to remember though, wet sand…it’s a little tougher to run on but definitely not as tough as soft sand! And of course, this weekend saw the 100km Race to the Stones, along The Ridgeway. Did you run it?

And for those The other big race of the weekend was The British 10km in London, which goes right through the heart of London. Did you run it?

 

 

 

 

How was your weekend running?

Mountain running and park runs , I’m a little late with this weekend post from 7th-8th July but my excuse? Holding running in the lovely Italian Dolomites and Lake Garda…


 

If you ever fancy a DIY running holiday,  I can’t recommend Lake Garda and the Dolomites enough. I was there last week, firstly in the Dolomites to take part in an arduous but absolutely amazing cycle sportive, Maratona Dles Dolomites. I then stayed on and just ran the trails that I could find. Hilly, hard but absolutely stunning with nothing but the babble of mountain springs and the gentle ring of cowbells through the clear air.

The amazing thing about this area, Alta Badia is that during the summer, they even put on regular weekly runs for five euros, that you can just join and they’ll guide you through amazing mountain trails. I didn’t have time but I definitely plan to return. Details here

Running is big in every country now but, until I went to Italy I had no idea just how huge the trail running scene is, not to mention fantastic ultra trails. Just a weeks before,  was the Laveredo Ultra Trail Race  which The Guardian’s Adharanand Finn wrote about last week (read it here).

A few days later, I travelled from the Dolomites to Lake Garda, where I kept coming across placards on the mountains and billboards advertising incredible races. On one hike, I saw signs for the Lake Garda Mountain Race. Sounds amazing, I thought. The clue was in the name though, this is a race that starts on the lake level at the beautiful Malsecine and climbs from 68 metres to 2128 metres. Bearing in mind I had DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) for 48 hours from walking down, you can imagine how crazy fit you’d have to be.

Still some way to go

But this area holds a special place in my running heart, as it is Lake Garda that was my very first marathon – it was hot, it poured with rain, the race refreshment included biscuits (which I tried – doh!) and there was Prosecco on the  finishing line. (You can read the article I wrote about the race here). It was also the location of one of our busiest race trips with over 32 Girls Run the World runners joining us for the 10km and 15 mile race.

But back here in the UK,  it was a super hot weekend with lots of our runners reporting suffocatingly hot park runs from Scotland to Southampton. Did you run?

And if you are off on holiday soon, what do you do about running? Do you still run, how do you explore?

We’d love to hear from any of you who race, where you ran, what you thought, would you recommend it? Comment below or in our Facebook group.

 

 

 

How was your weekend running?

some of the stunning views on this weekend’s running

From fun runs to the Decathlon 5km series and Race to the Kings, this weekend summed up the beauty of summer running…

 

During the winter, many of the athletic clubs take part in cross country races, fast, fierce and tough races, short in distance, usually extremely muddy, and fierce in hills and weather conditions. They do it to pitch themselves against other clubs for points. Come the summer, many of these clubs hold summer ‘fun runs’, those same types of short distance races – 3 – 5 miles – on off road conditions but in beautiful sunny, warm weather. Plus, they have beer tents at the end. A win-win in our book the Downland’s Dash 5 miler!  Do check out your local club wherever you live and see if they are holding any summer races as the adult races are often preceded by one mile races for the youngsters. Great fun.

Here in Brighton was also the first Decathlon 5km, a slightly under distance free event put on at Preston Park. It is one of many free running events that the French based sports superstore is putting on in an ambitious UK expansion plan. The verdict from one GRTW runner was: ‘OK but same route as park run and only 2.9 miles rather than 3.1. The emphasis is on it being a fun run, with music and a warm up but it’s not timed. ‘

So, it sounds inclusive and perhaps less intimidating that a park run as it’s not timed but perhaps not going to help you progress your running if you’re already a runner. And as for the free goody bag? Apparently, you have to go into the store to pick it up. A clever marketing ploy but then again, we do quite like Decathlon stuff, it’s well made and at a good price point.

Elsewhere this weekend, the big event was Race to the King, a UK based two day ultra with day one covering 23.4 and day 2, 30.2 miles. It’s a great introduction to ultra running, a long a beautiful stretch of the South Downs and during a stunning part of the year. What’s even better is that you can choose to do just one day, rather than the full two so you don’t have the pressure of going straight into a full 50 miler race. This is a way to hone your technique, get experience at what it feels like to be amongst runners who are well versed in ultras and take on some tips for future races.

But well done to GRTW runner, Florence Theberge , who is being trained by our ultra marathon coach, Sarah Sawyer who placed first on day one. She’s looking good for her ultra marathon goals.

So, did you run Race to the King? What did you learn? And if you didn’t run there where did you run?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How was your weekend running?

So, I’m a bit behind with our #medalmonday post – while most of you were running fantastic races like the Two Castles Run (from Warkwick to Kenilworth) and the St Alban’s Half Marathon, I was taking time out from the purity of just running to participate in the 113 Cotswold Half Ironman

 

 

Graeme always has terrible weather at his events,’ confided one of the marshals the day before the 113 Cotswold Half Ironman, as I eyed up the lake I was due to swim 1.9km in the following morning. The next morning, I stood there again, having awoken at 4.30am to rack my bike in transition by the cut-off at 5.40am and to be ready to swim. Except we didn’t. The fog was so thick, you couldn’t see 100 metres on to the lake, let alone the buoys to swim to. And so we waited, all 1000 participants, for 90 minutes until it was safe to get out on the water.

This was my second half ironman distance triathlon this year, which comprises a 1.9km swim, 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon.

If you’re a runner who feels like they need a bit of a change, or you’re injured and need your ‘fix’ without running, or you value the importance of an all over body discipline, then triathlons are a great accessory to add to your running arsenal.

Running is my first love but I decided to take six months out of just ‘pure’ running to help my body grow stronger in different areas, try something new and give myself some ‘mental’ space from chasing marathon PBs. And triathlons have certainly given me that – as well as providing me with new mental strategies that I will now take forward to my final half of the year, focusing on my next ‘A’ race, the Girls Run the World Get Together at the Maverick Snowdonia off road race.

When you’ve got a swim, a bike and THEN a run to do, it’s easier to keep focused and not get overwhelmed by expectation, which can tend to happen with running after you’ve spent 16 weeks training for just one event. Triathlon teaches you to break everything down into manageable segments. On the bike, instead of thinking, ‘Jesus, this is so hard, I’ve got 20 miles to go,’ I focus on eating every 20 minutes, keeping my legs moving and thinking of the strategy for my run.

And on the swim, I just enjoy the vibe and think about what I’m going to do when I get out of the water as I transition on to the bike. (To be fair, I haven’t mastered this and generally tend to faff about!).

And like many triathlons of a longer distance, the runs are almost always broken into laps. As a runner, I used to HATE laps, thinking it was so boring. But when you’re focusing hard, laps have a curiously comforting element to them. This weekend, I focused on one lap at a time, putting the thought of the pain and discomfort of the entire distance away in a box.

Although a great thing about triathlons if you’re runner is that you’ll find that you often get overtaken on the bike, and then you’ll reel them all back in on the run. So,  rather than succumbing to the heat and discomfort on the run, I decided to count every person that I passed and those who passed me. I counted 346, which means that I passed over a third of the field on the run, with only two passing me.

How can I apply this to running, when it really isn’t so easy to pass people? If you tend to go off too quickly in a running race, being secure enough in your running to let others go in front, keeping your pace in check and then reeling people in is a great race strategy. I’ll be trying it.

As for the Cotswolds 113, I’d recommend it if you’re after a longer distance triathlon, friendly, and flat for great PB potential – plus some GREAT pubs to celebrate in!

Thanks to all those who kept me entertained virtually on Sunday morning by sharing where you were running, from the Chew Valley 10km to the Stanwick Lakes Half Marathon to the Parkrun mile to the Hull 10km. We’d love to hear how your running went the past weekend. Let me know!

Psst, if you like the vest design, they’re our limited edition ones, if you want to get your hands on them, give us a shout. They’re £15 plus P&P.

 

How was your weekend running?

What running or events did you take part in this weekend? 

 

Down here in Sussex, the first weekend of June is always the renowned South Downs Way Relay, a lung-busting, leg sapping relay race involving six men, women or mixed teams all racing their way from Eastbourne to Winchester over 100 miles. It’s an invitation only event and a hotly contested race every year. I was very fortunate to be part of the winning Arena ladies team last year, who amazingly have gone on to win it again this year. And what’s most notable about that is that ALL of the women in the team are over 40, showing that age does not necessarily mean slowing down.

Instead of racing hell for leather across the Downs though, I spent the weekend experiencing all the very best that makes up Parkrun. Because Parkrun is for EVERYONE, for the very fast and competitive, to the very new and just starting out, to the older athlete who wants to keep moving and the mums who want to get moving again.

I ran it with my sister, who has only just started getting into running at Maidstone Parkrun (beautiful course, very narrow though!) and the following day, ran junior park run with my five year old niece, for whom it was only her second ever park run. It’s a reminder just how rewarding running can be, helping EVERY runner, new and old feel a sense of achievement.

And I tell you something else, kids can be great training partners and you can be great partners to them too. While kids tend to go off like rockets and then often splutter to a halt, mums can do the opposite. So, here’s what you should do to help both of you improve for park run. Do some fast, short interval training sessions with your kids where they make YOU run faster over a short distance of 50 metres, with walk recoveries. And then YOU become their coach and force them to go slower over a longer distance to learn to pace themselves. Win, win.

We’d love to hear from anyone out there who knows of any long distance relay races. Plus any park run or race successes you had this weekend. 

 

Oh, and ps. it was great to meet Lucy Jayne Barratt, at Maidstone Parkrun who took part in Runuary this year. Hope some more of you met up with fellow GRTW runners.

How was your weekend running?

The weekend just passed had us thinking a lot about motivation and will power to push through when training or racing gets tough…

Perhaps this was partly due to my taking on Grafman, a Half Ironman event, which comprises a 1.8km open water swim, followed by a 56 mile bike ride and rounded off by a half marathon at the end. But it was also because it was a weekend of running events that require a lot of mental reserve, such as the Night of the 10km PBs and the North Downs Way 50.

Fittingly enough, the Girls Run the World ultra distance coach, Sarah Sawyer, took home first place this year at the North Downs Way 50 (for coaching advice and mentoring with Sarah, email info@girlsruntheworld.co.uk) and another reason my focus was on mental strategies due to a podcast that I did with her last Friday. After all, who better to ask about mental strategies than a woman who came first in the Crawley 24 Hour Track Race a few months ago, running 127.8 miles in 24 hours around a 400 metre track?

You can listen to the podcast later this week, but what was most interesting about our chat is that Sarah didn’t say ANY of the usual things when it comes to mental strategies. Instead of counting, music or mantras, her main approach is grounded in the fact that she loves running and whenever anything gets tough, she reminds herself of how lucky she is to be running. That and switching up her events so that her ‘journey’ to that final event destination goal stays interesting and enjoyable seem to be her main strategies for staying strong.  At the beginning of this year, she focused on the 24 hour track race, then she switched from flat running to the hills to take on the North Downs 50, which leads her on to the Global Limits 200km Stage Race.

So, when I was running my final six miles of my Half Ironman this weekend, with the sun belting down, I reminded myself that ultimately, I choose to do this, as we all do. At any time, any one of us can say, ‘That’s it, I don’t want to do this any more,’ and stop.

We take part and participate because we enjoy the challenge, the camaraderie and the sense of achievement. And if we remember this, that when we train and it feels tough on a tempo run, or a long run when we’re just not feeling it, try to shift your thinking to accept that that discomfort is simply part of your end goal, making you stronger, and helping you to get to the fantastic end feeling of achievement. If it wasn’t challenging, none of us would feel quite so good at the end of it. Besides, it makes the celebratory beer feel even more amazing.

We’d love to hear about your weekend racing and any strategies you use when the going gets tough. Comment below.