The Beast – How We Dragged Ourselves Around 12.5 Miles of the Purbeck Coastline!

So as some of you might know we decided to take part in this years Purbeck Beast…..and it did exactly what the name implies. We had heard lots of stories about the hills, steps and treacherous terrain, but we thought to ourselves “How bad can it be?”…………

So a couple of Sundays ago on the 1st of September we made our way to Corfe and parked up in a field. It was pretty nice weather for running, still cool and no sight of wind or rain, but the ominous feeling set it when we saw who we would be racing against. Everyone else was is team colours for their running clubs, and then there was us….stood in Barefoot shoes and old cotton t-shirts…..we definitely didn’t look the part. This was made even more obvious as runners studied the map intently, making comparisons from the year before and the slight changes to the course. We on the other hand looked at the map, looked at each other, looked back at the map, shrugged and headed to the start line……true professionals!

runWe took the 5 minute walk to the start line, and it was packed, 425 runners bouncing on the stop, talking strategy and comparing anti-chaffing creams. Quick briefing from the marshals then BANG, the race began, months of training now had to pay off! The first priority was to get away from the congested pack at the start, so we shot hell for leather down the outside avoiding the ditches. After a very short and quick section of downhill on road, we then turned off and began the first uphill. This helped spread the pack out, and took us back around to the first bunch of spectators……this would be that last time they saw us looking fresh and happy.

The course then undulated for the next few miles, then we hit the first long uphill. A rocky broken path that continued up for about 15 minutes, it then flatten off and on to grass, then back to another 10 minutes of climbing……Brilliant! We then had a pretty technical and very rocky long section of downhill, this was the one downside of the barefoot shoes. Our feet took a battering for the next couple of miles until it leveled. The general pattern of climbing followed by descent continued until we hit the coast. There were some short steep climbs on the coast followed by some long windy flats, this was a relief on the legs, and the views were incredible.Footpath_ascending_Houns-tout_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1633014 (1) After hammering along the coastal paths for a few miles we reached Chapman’s Pool, a few hundred steps down, followed by a few hundred steps up…..This was brutal! Negotiating the steps down was treacherous enough and pretty draining, the way up was hideous. All ready very tired legs walking up a few hundred very steep steps, and to make life worse, at the top of the steps there was still a couple of steep climbs…..We will never moan about a flight of stairs ever again!

We then started heading away from the coast, the paths seemed to flatten out a bit more and the climbs became less sharp. We began a gentle climb into Kingston, sadly this gentle climb seemed to last for about 30 minutes, and really finished off the legs. We then made it into Kingston, and awaiting us with some encouragement was Bex, Michelle and Charlie. We pulled our shorts up to look like “proper runners” and shot past until we were out of sight…then we got back to breathing out of our arses again! We then had our last drinks station, necked a gel and saw Corfe Castle on the horizon, a huge relief! The last couple of miles stayed fairly flat, couple of steepish climbs and loads of stiles to climb over. We started recognizing things from the start of the race so knew it wasn’t too far. We turned a blind corner, around an old wall and there it was…the finish line!

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We crossed the finish line in an official time 1:50:41, putting us 108th out of 425 runners. We had beaten our target of going in under 2 hours and surviving! The Garmin at the end read 12.47 miles with 2017 feet of climbing in total. We then made out way to the nearest pub for some well deserved lunch…..the journey was slightly interrupted by a spot of cramp in the car which required some road side massage, but we don’t really wanna talk about that! The rest of the day was a blur, and naps were both had on the sofa in front of the tele. The legs remained trashed for the next couple of days, but as they recovered we slowly began to forget about the pain of all those hills and started talking about what we would do differently next year…………………….

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So that’s next year sorted then!

Kind Regards,

Luke and Si

The 30 Day Body Challenge!…..4 Days In!!!

So why this plan?

photo 1This plan comes down to one thing….regulating insulin! Will try and not go ridiculously in depth and over the top with this. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. It causes glucose to be taken up by cells in the liver, muscles and fat tissues, where it is converted to glycogen to be stored. Insulin also lowers the use of fat as an energy source. These are both vital functions for the body, but things go wrong when these insulin levels rise too high or low. Almost everything we eat will cause a increase in glucose and insulin, but things like sugar, simple carbohydrates, fruits and caffeine cause insulin levels to rise higher than normal. This then causes a spike in insulin, which means you are less likely to use stored fat and more likely to store fat cells. On the other hand letting your blood glucose drop to low, will cause you to become tired and lethargic, and increase the production of stress hormones that will also affect how the body burns fat. Everything on this plan is designed to keep blood glucose and insulin at a stable level. It will also elevate those ups and down in energy throughout the day making you feel better!

Day 1

Lunch 24-06-2013It’s here and my cupboards look like they would happily feed the Animals of Farthing Wood. I bypassed the coffee and porridge, and went straight for the Brazil nuts and ice cold water! This was then followed by my shower……..of which the last minute was cold (I can’t exaggerate enough how long a minute feels when the water’s that cold). To my surprise I actually felt pretty good afterwards, well and truly invigorated! Breakfast, 3 eggs whites and 1 whole egg scrambled with smoked salmon (this has now become my breakfast of choice. Late morning……the serious urge for caffeine begins. Normally by now the coffee machine would be on, and I would have the sweet ringing in my ears of caffeine’s fake energy. Instead I was drinking hot lemon water! The 90 second workout helped with the urges……ish!  As the morning turned to lunch time I found myself for the first time in a while looking forward to lunch! Not because I was hungry, but because my healthy lunch wasn’t one of the typical options (pasta, sandwich, soup). Today’s lunch was Chicken breast with whole cloves of garlic, spinach and sesame seeds, and a side of mixed beans in balsamic vinegar…..Not to blow my own trumpet, but it was pretty good! By later afternoon I found myself getting pretty hungry, and I knew why! I had made the portion of beans for my lunch too small. Beans are going to be the biggest form of carbs in your meals, so making sure you have enough to keep you going to dinner is a big deal. I quashed the cravings with more water and a small handful of nuts and seeds. Had training planned today, decided to time it right before dinner. It means you have a nice sized meal right when your body needs the nutrients the most, and it alleviates the need for supplementing things into your diet after training. Training was resistance based, mainly leg stuff today…heavy squats, lunges, glute activation, core and elements of posture correction. Dinner was a chicken and chickpea salad, with lettuce and celery.Finished up work for the night and to my surprise I was still hunger free….result! I did my 90 second workout, pulled the ice pack out of the freezer and popped it on the back of my neck for 30 minutes. I also caught the start of “the man with the 10 stone testicles”, and while I sat there with a freezing cold neck I thought “It definitely could be worse!”.  So that’s day one over, apart from the odd wanting for caffeine it’s been ok! Though I’m feeling like most of the issues based on habit. Eating and drinking because I’m bored or frustrated with something have become second nature, Think a big key is going to be breaking routines

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So why all the cold stuff?

I know the cold showers, ice packs on the neck and drinking ice cold water seem mental……and yeah they are a bit! But there is some logic to this madness. Swimmers, mountain climbers, arctic explorers all have 2 things in common…..massive calorie consumption and cold exposure! All these people consume massive amounts of calories daily, but not all of these calories are used just for movement and activities. A big portion is used for the maintenance of core temperature. Research has shown that cold exposure can increase the production of a hormone called Adiponectin. This hormone increases the oxidation of fatty acids and the uptake of glucose into the muscle. Cold exposure also stimulates brown adipose tissue to burn fat and glucose to produce heat. Now I’m not implying that we all need to start going for cold walks in our pants, but the odd cold shower, ice pack on the neck and drinking ice cold water can have some great effects on fat loss.

Day 2.

lunch 25-06-2013Today is always going to be a pain as I spend all day at work (7:30am-9:00pm). So have to resort to Tupperware boxes, to stop the urge of using any number of Charminster’s eateries. So had prepared 2 boxes of food in advance.  One of prawn and bean salad, the other of tuna steaks, spinach salad and lentils. The morning started the same as the day before! I’m going to try and keep the morning routine…..Wake, ice water, almonds, cold shower, eggs and salmon, 90 second workout! Hopefully that will be set to autopilot in a few days! About 11 o’clock and a headache from behind the eyes hits like a steam train! I’ve been denying this would happen, but this was inevitable……This is the withdrawal from sugar and caffeine! This is because of an increased susceptibility to a neurotransmitter called Adenosine. Adenosine widens the blood vessels in the head, but is normally suppressed by caffeine. When you cut out caffeine in one go, the effects are exaggerated and BANG!…..massive headache! Lots of water and a power nap definitely helped to take the edge off. Training in the afternoon and pushed for time so had to stick for intervals on the spin bike. 5 sets of 5×30 second sprints, with 30 second rest between sprints and 4 minutes rest between sets. This training is normally brutal, and today was definitely no exception!

photo12The change of eating hasn’t seemed to have affected the training, I felt a bit sluggish before, but once I started all was fine (as fine as you can be when your heart rate’s peaking at 190bpm). Finally made it back from work, Tupperware boxes empty, and knackered! Though that annoying stomach gurgling began, late night hunger had kicked in! Now normally in these situations I’d be stirring up a big bowl of milky porridge. Tonight I went for a small bowl of prawns and smoked salmon…..this did the trick! I am amazed at how much my appetite has decreased in just a couple of days! Chewing food and getting rid of the stodgy stuff has got the stomach back to normal! Ice pack on the neck and some New Girl on the tele, then off to bed! Day two survived!

 

Day 3

5Routine as normal this morning, slowly becoming a habit, so can just roll out of bed and get on with it. Had a break early this morning so swapped the 90 second workout for 30 minutes of resistance training. H.I.T. weight training, I highly recommend it! Lunch rolled around a few hours later, mashed Mexican beans stuffed and roasted in peppers, with fajita chicken….seriously hit the spot! Again switched the 90 seconds work out for 15 minutes of posture rebalancing and glute activation work (can find more info in the Power of the Buns blog).Slightly annoying timing for dinner tonight, decided to eat earlier. Its better being full rather than getting hungry later at work…..bad decisions happen if you let yourself get hungry! Chicken, bean, spinach and cashew nut stir fry for dinner, really quick, easy and filling! Made it through the late night at work with no hunger pains….though still could murder a coffee though, but that’s getting better! Home, ice pack on neck, water and an early night…..3 days in and still ok!

Day 4

1Morning off today! Little lie in, but same drill as normal! I knew I was going for a run in the afternoon, so was going to have to time lunch. Lunch today was seared Cajun tuna steaks and peas……lots of peas! Run at 3pm, so lunch at 1pm. This gives enough time for the stomach to empty, but also still to have the slight rise in blood glucose to help with training. I’m not going to lie, training was horrible! 3.5km around the off-road Meyrick lap! If you’ve never done the Meyrick park lap I would recommend it. Hilly, varied terrain and very fast once you get the feel for it. My legs felt like lead from the first minute, but this was to be expected! Every training session has been powered by high energy, fast acting foods and drinks. This diet is designed to make the body more efficient with the stored energy it has, but this does take time (from what I’ve experienced in the past, about a week). Finished the run, and only fractionally slower than normal, but definitely felt harder. Treated myself afterwards to a hand full of nuts, seeds and some berries as a recovery snack. Dinner tonight was a Tupperware box with tuna steak salad. Really looked forward to it after today’s run as I was feeling a little flat. 2Finished work and quickly did some stretching and posture exercises before heading home. Normal evening finish with an ice pack on the neck, and cold water before bed. Definitely starting to see and feel some changes. Reduction in bloating, water retention and weight, all of which are definitely noticeable around the stomach. Also a massive reduction in appetite! Not getting those hankerings for snacks throughout the day. All seems to be heading in the right direction! And not far from the cheat day!!!!!

How To Run Faster and Longer.

It’s getting to that time of year when everyone’s brushing the dust of the trainers, and taking to the beach or parks for a run. Running is a brilliant way of improving fitness, aiding weight loss and a great excuse to get off the sofa and out of the house, but everyone always wants to know one thing  “how do I run for longer without stopping?”.

 

Why you stop running?

This comes down to what is know as “the point of muscular fatigue”. This is when you are no longer able to maintain steady and constant muscle contractions, and once this kicks in, the legs start burning, heart rate increase, breathing rate quickens and you eventually stop! When this happens depends on factors like fitness level, speed, incline, energy levels, distance and hydration. Improving  this isn’t just as simple as running until you feel sick! There are techniques to help you run faster for longer!!!

 

Make the most of your arms!

Running isn’t just about your legs, generating power through your arms is key to going for longer. Bend the elbows at 90 degrees and really focus on driving forwards and backwards with your hands. Moving the hands will help generate power with the upper body and core, and give you more power in the legs!

 

Sprint interval training.

These sessions won’t be as long as your normal running session, but will be packed with more intensity! Short hard runs mixed with periods of very slow jogging for rest. For new runners this can be done with 200 meters of sprinting with 45 seconds of slow running for recovery, and then repeat until the end of your set distance. As you get better and feel more confident, begin to increase the sprint distance in 100 meter increments, or keep the intervals the same and increase the overall distance depending on your goals!

 

In the gym!

Building muscle strength in the gym can help when running. Extra leg strength and power means your stride becomes longer! This doesn’t mean you have to stick 200kg on the squat bar and have legs like a bodybuilder. Things as simple as box jumps, lunges and light squats for a few sets of 20 reps, a couple of times a week can add as much as 21% more endurance when running!

 

Getting your longer runs right.

Its good to have a longer run once a week, this will normally be 75-85% of your competitive distance. So if your training for a 10km run, training at 8km will be perfect. For marathon runners your long run would be 17 miles. These runs go hand in hand with intensity though. Going to easy too easy won’t give you the goals you’re after, and going too fast you will burn out before the end. Going at 80% of your fastest pace will get the best results, and still leave you something in the tank for a sprint finish to overtake your friends. 😉

 

Food and Drink.

An hours run on a warm day, you can lose over a liter of sweat! Being dehydrated will affect performance and cause fatigue to kick in sooner! So make sure you have plenty to drink before, after and even during! Your body uses energy from food to keep your muscles going, so remember to eat before and after your run.  It can be tempting to go running on an empty stomach when trying to lose weight, but if you run out of energy you’l have to stop sooner, and if you stop sooner you wont be burning as much fat as if you were still running! Eating properly after training will help recovery, and the sooner and better you recover,the quicker you’l be out running again! Read more on sports nutriton.

 

Don’t forget to take care of yourself! Stretching after training reduces the risk of injury and keeps your body supple. Flexible legs means a longer stride and that means going further! Make sure you listen to your body, its not hard for those little aches and pains to get worse. When you do have them, take a break and take it easy. These are normally a sign of going too hard too soon, so remember to ease into your training and slowly progress over time. If your injured, you can’t run! Fact! Read more…on recovery from exercise.

 

So just remember no matter what level your at with the right training and recovery you can improve! So whether training for a 5km fun run or the next London marathon, you’re all runners!!!

 

Barefoot Running

Here we will look at barefoot running that has increased in popularity so much. Simply what is barefoot running and why do it?

What is barefoot running?

It is in the title. A number of people are literally ditching the trainers and running as nature intended. For some this is too extreme, and many footwear brands are now producing barefoot running shoes with very little support to give the same feel but protecting the feet.

Why try barefoot activities?

There are many reasons why people decide to give barefoot running a try. We may be inspired by research showing improved performance or reduced injury. It may be simply liking the sound of this activity, doing something that feels right, or as a new challenge, something fun to pursue.

 

Research showing reduced chance of injuries

Running barefoot forces a different technique to running with conventional trainers. In fact there is research to show the more expensive the running trainers, the more the chances of injury increase. Reduced chances of injuries may be just one of many reasons.

It feels good!

Remember as a child, running free, barefoot on sand or grass. It was a great feeling. Many of us like to return to this place and barefoot activities can take us there. Without trainers, running becomes simple and more natural.

Barefoot running for a change of scene

For some who maybe never really clicked with running this can be a chance to make it different or more fun. For those of us who have run for years, the idea sounds great and offers a new challenge.