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.
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
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.
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.
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.
You’ve probably spent the last two weeks thinking, ‘I can’t wait for this marathon to be over,’ and the last few days basking in the sense of achievement at finishing it. But now, is the marathon comedown beginning to creep in….
It happens every year, you finish the marathon and feel fantastic and then suddenly, a few days, a week or even two weeks later, you start feeling withdrawal symptoms before hitting a huge comedown. All that training that you’d begun to hate suddenly doesn’t seem that bad, and the lack of training and that huge, big target that you had on the horizon is suddenly no longer there, leaving a big void.
Perhaps not, perhaps you’re one of the few well organised, experienced runners that have already set yourself a new goal in running, fitness, life or work before the end of your marathon training and knew what your next step would be. Well done you.
If not, what’s the best way to get over the marathon blues?
Find your next running focus … but make sure it’s one that gives you enough time to rest, recover and then build your training again. One of the worst mistakes you can do is get bitten by the marathon bug and sign up for another one in a few weeks. You need to give your body – and mind- the time to recover. Nowadays, so many people are doing charity 10 marathons in 10 day kind of events, that it’s easy to forget that running 26.2 miles is a BIG DEAL, and it’s not easy to juggle the training and be kind to your body if you attempt to do multiples. Be sensible, assess how much time you have, set yourself a periodised plan where your body has the time to rest and build back up again. (if you would like to join us in training – virtually – or in person, we are going to be creating plans and training for both the Maverick Snowdonia 17km or 22km in September and the Bewl 15 miles, July 1st as our BIG community wide get togethers).
Set yourself a fitness goal – training for a marathon may have revealed areas of weakness in your training that you could focus on. Maybe you want to set yourself a month-long core challenge? Perhaps you would like a four week programme of yoga to help your body recover? It’s easy to stick to what you know and do another running event, but ask yourself, what do you REALLY want to do? Don’t just run because that’s what you always do. If the thought of going out running doesn’t fill you with joy, try something else for a month, conditioning, setting a swimming challenge, it could be anything. (our new virtual hub will be holding opt-in month long core and flexibility challenges that you can choose to participate in which can run alongside some fun running rather than racing if you fancy still having a goal to keep you on track without the pressure of a race).
Spend time with your friends and family – has your entire social life, other than running based events and training fallen off the cliff? Now you don’t have to train long miles at the weekend, not go out on Friday because you’ve got the long run, and spend the rest of the week recovering, you have time for all those other things. Go to galleries, go out for dinner, go hiking instead of running. After spending so long feeling like you were forcing yourself to get out there and train, you will probably find yourself finding it almost impossible to NOT go out and run. But having balance in your life is important, so set aside some time for other things so that you don’t end up burnt out.
If you want to join our Virtual Members Training Hub, we launch in May. It’s a paid per month membership, and we’ll have an exclusive 24 hour special offer window. To pre-register click here. (If you’ve already done so, there is no need to do so again).
Work off that Easter chocolate frenzy this weekend with a beautiful off-road eight mile route from Rottingdean
This is a challenging but stunning route with as many lovely, recovery downhills as uphills to build your strength and endurance on hills (particularly beneficial for those of you joining us for the Girls Run the World get together at Angmering BlueBell Trail Races or the upcoming Snowdonia Maverick Race in September.
The hardship will be rewarded with stunning views, gambolling baby lambs and a route that overlooks Breaky Bottom vineyard (who produce some delicious sparkling wine!) before heading down through Saltdean and along the cliff for a stunning sea side finish.
Will it be 8 miles, or will you add some more at the end to really fire up your face finish for the Bluebell 10 mile trail race? Remember that dastardly hill? Whether you’re taking part in the event or just joining us for the runs, this is a beautiful run that takes in Downs, sea and even a glimpse of Breaky Bottom vineyards!
Location: bottom of Bazehill Road, Rottingdean here/ Parking free.
Footwear: Road shoes will be OK but trail shoes are preferable!
The run is open to all as long as you are regularly running this kind of distance. This is our LAST run before the BlueBell Trail Race. Summer Season starts Sunday 29th April when we drop distance again.
So, how did you run off the chocolate eggs this Easter?
From special Good Friday runs like the Easter Victoria Park 10km in London to the numerous Bank Holiday Monday events, there were lots of opportunities to enjoy some shorter distances runs this weekend. Frustrating though for all the marathon runners out there… you get FOUR days to fit a long run in and you’re on your taper!
This was my last weekend taking it easy before my training kicks into a more intense phase for Half Ironman triathlon training and a strength phase for some autumn mountain races, including the Girls Run the World Get Together event in Snowdonia, September 29th (read our newsletter in your inbox for details – or sign up for the newsletter via our front page).
My usual weekly running regime involves five or six runs per week, including a long run, tempo,interval or hill and some easy runs. But I’ve had to take a step back while I rehabbed a tight calf – and at the beginning of the year, a kickboxing injury (don’t ask…I forgot that I was 46 for a minute not 18!).
Injury or niggles can drive you mad but they can also be an opportunity, the chance to try something different and learn a new skill. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post about what to do when you’re injured but need/want to stay in running shape, what you replace it with should be something that creates the same or as similar a physiological effect as running has on your body…and gives you that same mental buzz!
And this weekend, that was road bike track race training for me. In pairs, we set off with a time handicap between teams, the goal to catch the people in front and avoid capture from those behind. Has anyone ever tried it? It’s brilliant, all the fun and challenge of interval running but without that stress on the part of your body that you’re rehabbing.
The other thing about not running and returning to it, is that it reminds you once again of just how fantastic running is, how it makes you feel to just get out and run. And through a daffodil strewn wood on Easter Sunday, empty but a lone mountain biker, that’s just what I did.
A weekend of snow and sub-zero temperatures saw road races cancelled all over the UK. But that didn’t stop this off-road marathon and relay half marathon from taking place on the trails above Lewes ending at Harvey’s Brewery…
One by one, the races due to take part over the weekend fell victim to the snow, ice and windchill and I was expecting – and truth be told, hoping – the same would happen for this off-road trail race that has only been going for the last four years. But it wasn’t cancelled and I’m so glad because this trail race, despite it’s hills and the brutal weather is now firmly on my repeat race list for next year and is definitely a destination race worth travelling for.
The route of the full marathon takes in five high points around the historic county town of Lewes – Black Cap, Kingston Ridge, Firle Beacon and Mount Caburn which command stunning views over the Weald and south to the English Channel, and passes sites association with the Bloomsbury set, including Charleston Farmhouse and Monk’s House in Rodmell.
An excited, if apprehensive crowd of runners greeted me as I went to Race HQ in a local school hall on the outskirts of Lewes; most runners were wrapped up as if about to head out on an Arctic expedition but with good reason, as reports were of 25 mph winds with a wind chill factor of minus 25 and with at least two thirds of the 350 runners taking on the full marathon over tough, hilly terrain, safety was of importance. What’s great about this laid-back friendly event which was set up in memory of local runner, Chris Moyle (a percentage of the race profits go to the nearby Matlet’s Hospice) is that it attracts a mixture of runners from serious club athletes set on racing to recreational runners as well as runners who take part with their dog.
After a quick race brief, a cheer for the marshals we all filed out of the school to a cold, snow covered part of the Downs and fifteen minutes after the marathon runners were set off, the rest of us were off, tracing the footprints in the snow of the runners how had been before. Fearing the windchill, I was triple layered and of course, absolutely baking as I ran up the hill to meet the South Downs Way where the first of the stunning views across the snow covered Downs greeted me. From here, it headed west along the top before dropping down hill where I soon began to pass some of the marathon runners.
Friends had told me about their horrifying training runs on the route a few weeks back when it was thick of gloopy mud and so the cold weather was actually in our favour because it had frozen most of the ground making it easier to run on. A punishing climb back up to the next ridge was rewarded with another swift downhill through the Castle Hill area on the South Downs, past a field full of baby lambs sheltering from the cold near their mothers and into one of the harshest hills on this first half of the route, Swanborough Hill, a long, snaking hill of a chalk path that winds up to the top of the ridge overlooking Lewes. No chance to catch your breath because at the top the route turned into the full force of the wind which at times threatened to push me backwards and freeze my cheeks. Ten minutes further on, an amazing group of marshals were braving the top of the ridge to man a water station, where it was so cold and windy, i threw half of it on me instead of drinking it.
With my Buff pulled up to eye level, I pushed on (after taking a quick picture which nearly saw me lose my fingers to frostbite) eager to run faster just to get off the ridge. A fast downhill via a tarmac laid road which is known as the Yellow Brick road and a turn left, taking us through a valley and out of the wind before the finish line of the first half of this relay finished at the YHA in Southease , which was packed with supporters and a brilliant place for spectators to watch and for runners to finish with a warm cafe, toilets and even a shower.
Thankfully, my relay partner, Jan, had been dropped off by a partner so while other runners had to wait for a rail replacement bus back to Lewes (thanks Southern Rail!), I was able to pop straight into a warm car and head back to the finish line at Harvey’s Brewery. And what a fantastic finish, over the cobbled stones of Lewes High Street before turning right through the arches straight into Harvey’s Brewery, where you are greeted with a free Moyleman’s glass with a token for a free beer and free food, in this case an individual, handmade hot pizza which was absolutely delicious.
This race may be small, but their organisation in terms of communication in advance of the weather, not to mention the number of marshals they had out on course, was amazing. Every part of the route is brilliantly signposted and every turn staffed by smiling volunteers, despite the freezing conditions.
I’ve finished races all over the world but I think Harvey’s Brewery with a beer and pizza even beats Lake Garda’s prosecco finish. It just needs to be a bit warmer.
This is a tough, brutal course (word from my relay partner, Jan is that she loved it but she had five miles of wind!) but it is absolutely brilliant and not to be missed. It was part of our Girls Run the World Get Together Races for 2018 and will be again for 2019, so what are you waiting for? Join us down South for this one in 2019.
plenty of toilets for the numbers – no queues (hurrah!)
best finish line
incredible pizza (like, seriously impressive!)
The windchill but actually, the weather just made this one of those ‘I’ll never forget that race when…’ kind of times…
Enjoy beautiful running locations, off-road and one, with our qualified running coaches during our Autumn-Winter series this year. Whatever your goal, to build your fitness, find new people to run with, get faster, run longer or train for an event, we’ll help you reach your goal.
Supportive, fantastic women to run with
Fancy taking part in an event? Always someone up for taking part too
Running with others ensure you get out there even when it’s raining
All runs end with stretching – and yoga if weather permits
Community keeps you running consistently and makes the long miles much easier to achieve
There will be 17 runs in the series (click the link below to download locations and mileage per week) which will focus on building endurance and running fitness.
The Autumn Series will focus on building strength and stamina for the Mince Pie 10 mile trail race, December 10th as well as building your base fitness for half marathons.
The Winter Series, starting 26th November (from this date there will be two distances on offer per run) will get you ready for the Brighton Half Marathon. Of course, there are lots of fantastic off-road and road races along the way that our training will get you prepared for – the Eastbourne Half Marathon, Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon, Downland Devil, Moleyman and many more.
No one gets left behind, and the faster runners don’t stand still. This is our ninth season of helping women to build endurance so we know how to keep you motivated, moving and getting stronger on each run.
Our season pass works out at just £4 per run, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds – running with us for your training, as well as taking part in races and events with the women you meet on our runs.
There are various payment options:
Autumn-Winter Series runs September 10th – February 18th – £68 (£4 per run)
Autumn Series runs September 10th – December 10th – £45 (£5 per run)
Winter Series runs November 26th – February 18th – £50 (£5)
OR drop in single sessions, £10
We will not have sessions on some dates and hope that you will instead join us for a GRTW meet up at these events. These include:
Fancy doing a team relay? Here’s our review of the recent Endure 24 relay race, along with a look at some of the other unusual relay races on offer around the UK, including a running cake-athon!
Tents, tick. Rugs to lie on, tick. Sugary sweets, tick. Coffee, tick. Drugs*, tick. This may seem like the list of someone about to go to a music festival. But running relay races are now taking the place of festivals for some former ravers turned runners, plus a whole new generation of runners who are as interested in the experience of running and community as they are pace or placing.
Endure24 is even coined the Glastonbury of Runners and involves running as many (almost) five mile loops through the countryside in Wasing Park, just outside of Reading as possible. The first lap of the day at noon on Saturday started in hot, windy conditions making the leafy, woody run a welcome respite. But make no mistake, the route is not an easy one with a hill greeting you as soon as you go through the first gantry. What goes up, must come down so you are rewarded with some downhills before more uphills and a wiggle through wooded, single track.
This event attracts all kinds of runners, from expert ultra distance runners to solo runners who walk the laps, and from big teams of ten, comprised of running clubs out for a social with some running included, to professional sponsored teams aiming to beat the course record. One thing that unites everyone is a love of running and the desire to support each other.
The atmosphere created by everyone at the event is fantastic, from the marshals who line the route, to the runners and walkers themselves who cheer the fast runners and lend a helping hand to anyone who looks like they need their spirits – or their legs – bolstered.
Finding the motivation to run the same lap, over and over again though is difficult, unless you’re competing for number of laps or to experience the special kind of transcendental meditative state that some runners report. Which is why the best part of this event is really when darkness falls. It not only becomes more magical – helped by women dressed up as fairies in the woods and music from the VDub bar making it seem like you’ve stumbled upon a rave , but because it makes the route appear different.
If you want to enjoy a running event with a team – not to mention warm, clean showers, then Endure24 is a great one to try. There’s none of the transport issues involved that you experience with relays that have a linear route, and there is water and race nutrition available. Shame the beer tent doesn’t stay until Sunday though, just at the moment when you can drink, it’s gone!
(*And by the way, we’re talking Ibruprofen).
What our runners said:
High point: ‘The camaraderie and running around at 5am when the birds were all waking up and the light was just changing, it was magical.’
Low point: ‘Losing a member of our team to illness, which meant having to run more laps!’
High Point: ‘Crossing the finish line with my team mates on the last lap.’
Low Point: ‘Going on a tired and lonely hunt for the showers at 2.30am after a very wet and dark lap.’
High point: ‘Running as fast as I could over the painted tree roots at midnight, lit up by fairy lights and the glow from my head torch.’
Low point: ‘My first lap, hot, hilly and hard – and worrying about pace, letting my team down, and how many more laps I’d have to do!’
High points: ‘Camping with like-minded women, the readily available and reasonably priced massages, and great showers.’
Low points : ‘Only unhealthy food available (Ed: we agree!), only one water point on the route and the loop got a bit tedious – why not open up a second lap later in the day?’
Five of the most unique relay races
Run as many of the 4.37 mile laps as possible in eight hours and be rewarded at the end of each lap with some homemade cake! Organisers estimate that each lap burns 500 calories. And it comes with a fantastic race medal!
Another 24 hour individual or team relay race held in the beautiful Bathurst Estate, just outside the town of Cirencester in the heart of the Cotswolds. An off-road 9km mixed course The race is run over an off-road 9km mixed course including forest trails and open tarmac paths. And what attracts our attention – healthy food stalls. Here’s hoping as Endure24 definitely was a let down on this score.
This event comes fresh from the US where it is so popular, many runners travel around the US to take part in as many of the relays that are put on around the country. You can understand why as this event offers the opportunity of ‘travel’ and to explore as you run. This one overs approximately 170 miles and will see runners start at Maidstone and finish in Brighton (it’s been put on by the organisers of the Brighton marathon). An event like this requires a very organised team captain – plus the finances to cover the cost of hiring two vans if entering a team of ten, on top of the £1000 entry fee. It sounds great fun though.
Explore 220 miles of the Green Belt around London on this 22-stage running relay race which starts in Hampton Court, 8.30am on Saturday and ends in Ham at 6pm on Sunday. It’s been running since 1995, put on by local running club, The Stragglers. So don’t expect bangs, whistles and overflowing goodie bags. This is about the purity of running and exploring. 11 runners per team, one stage per day for every runner. Unlike some other relay races though, this is open to all levels with prizes for both the fastest team to finish and the slower. With a barbecue at the end, this sounds like a challenging, but friendly way to spend a May weekend. Just make sure you recce your leg first.
Now in it’s 25th year, this event is operated as 10 back to back races, starting each stage with a mass start at the expected arrival time of the 1st runner from the previous stage, as opposed to other relays where the next runner on your team starts only when their other team mate has completed their leg.
Running from Chipping Campden in the early morning, through to the arrival at Bath Abbey in the early evening, you follow the way-marked route of the Cotswold Way over 90% off-road, taking in hills, woodlands, fields and tracks, all offering spectacular views of the countryside around…if you have time to look up! Each leg varies in length and ascent with no marshals, making the route finding just as much part of the race as the running itself.
If you’re going to run a relay race, then it’s important to do it in spectacular surroundings we think. That’s why this Welsh version appeals, offering two day, 20 stage event covering 211 miles, mostly on road, but with hills and mountains to overcome as you travel from Caernarfon to Cardiff, with an overnight stay in Newtown. And it’s in June, so hopefully, not the weather typically associated with Wales! There are six mountain stages, with three team mountain stage prizes so this is a race that suits – or requires some hill training. Get your entry in early, only 66 teams accepted and it is always over subscribed.