6 Top Tips for Runners in 2018

It's 2018. Over the past couple of weeks we've all taken down absurd amounts of food and booze and for most of us our only exercise was taken in the form of walking to and from the fridge. Should we feel guilty? Absolutely not. Sure we might come away a few kgs heavier than we were in mid December, but you, Mo Farah, Laura Muir and co deserve a break and need this time to spend with loved ones.

Make 2018 Your Year of Running

According to Strava's 2017 report, London is a hotbed for running - we are the most likely city dwellers to run-commute in the world, and run-commuting has grown by 43% this year. The number of people in 2017 who raced in 5ks, 10ks, half marathons and beyond is staggering, and the growth in popularity of our sport shows no sign of slowing down next year.

With this in mind, we're going to take a guess that many of your 2018 new years resolutions will involve running - whether that's completing your first marathon, starting to run for the first time, beating your PB in the half marathon or raising an amount of money for charity. To help you out, we've put together 6 top tips to help you stay fit and give yourself the best change of ticking off those resolutions!

1. GO EASY

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It’s time to understand what you’re getting out of your runs. Doing the same distance at the same pace is going to lead to one thing – a plateau. As a beginner, doing the same session over and over again will improve your fitness quickly, but the more running you do, the more you’ll want to adapt training intensities and force your body to continue to adapt to different training stimuli.

TOP TIP:

Running at easy intensities (conversational pace) provides many of the same physiological benefits as running at a moderate intensity but without the same level of injury risk. Save your moderate intensity running for sessions close to an upcoming race and use them strategically to practice running at your goal pace. 

 

2. FOCUS ON YUR FORM

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Your running ability is largely determined by two main things – your ability to take up and utilise O2 (your VO2 max) and your running economy. Both are heritable but both can also be trained! Running economy is a topic of much discussion and improving yours by seeing a professional for gait analysis is a sure-fire way to a PB.

TOP TIP:

One quick fix that will improve your economy is keeping your head up and looking 50 to 60 yards in front of you instead of down at the ground. A good way of teaching yourself how to run with good economy is to use cues to remind you to reset your running form as you go. For example, every mile take a second to check your form and pick your head up!

 

3. FIND A RUNNING BUDDY

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According to Strava, training with a buddy leads to 22% more activities. If you’re serious about consistently training this year, why not find someone or a group fo people to train with in your local area?

TOP TIP:

Set up a lunch run at work with colleagues and/or join our new group Wake Up & Run, where you can find other people to run with!

 

4. INVEST IN YOUR KIT

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Making running as easy and comfortable as it can be is a worthwhile investment! It’s so easy to bail on a run if you don’t have the right kit or don’t feel prepared – invest time and money in setting yourself up for success.

TOP TIP:

This is a bit of a weird one, but if there’s one piece of kit that is guaranteed to make your training logistically simpler, it’s a flipbelt (there are other brands available!). The Flipbelt goes round your waist and holds your phone, keys and any other valuables and will sae you trying to cram them all into the pockets of your shorts, skirt or tights.

5. WHEN YOU’RE RESTING YOU’RE STILL TRAINING

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Legendary coach Jack Daniels coined this turn of phrase and it’s so true. Your body adapts during the periods of rest between sessions; without adequate time to recover, your body won’t be able to adapt and will just gradually break down! As we start January, the temptation is to think ‘more is better’ and go out and run every day – in fact, it pays to take your rest as seriously as your training. Cutting down on excessive alcohol intake, eating well and giving your legs a rest are all key for recovering quickly between runs.

TOP TIP:

Plan your workouts strategically so that you give yourself as much time as possible to recover between sessions. For example, try and break up hard sessions with easier recovery runs, and, especially if you’re a new runner, try and avoid training in the evening and waking up the next day to train again – if you have to do it (and your training to improve performance), eating well around those sessions to promote recovery will be vital.

 

6. MONITOR YOUR MOTIVATION

If you’re not enjoying your running, make a change! Whether it’s running in new places, running with new people, adjusting your goals or taking a break from running for a bit, keep it varied, keep it interesting and keep your motivation in tact.

TOP TIP:

Use a training log (eg a tool like TrainingPeaks) to track how you’re feeling every morning and how every run goes. You can even colour code runs (Red = ‘awful, had to stop, felt bad’, Amber = ‘fine’, Green = ‘felt amazing, could have gone for longer’) – a string of Reds could be an indication that you need to address your training.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

George Rendall

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Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for a coach to guide you through 2018, I'd love to support you. As a Personal Trainer, Run Leader and experience of coaching/racing at all distances, gait analysis, training plans in TrainingPeaks and personal training sessions are all in the toolbox to help you towards your running goals this year!

Invest in a coach in 2018

Spotlight on...Mint RC LDN Founders Matt Foulds & Alex Tovey

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We first met Alex back in February of this year at one of our run club events, and it didn't take long before he was steering the ship of the Monday night 5Ks. Alex is blessed with a real knack for getting people taking their first steps as a runner, and through the Monday 5k has helped a huge amount of people progress and make running a part of their weekly schedule. Several years ago Alex lived and worked in St Petersburg, Russia where he became part of the Mint Running Club. A plan was hatched to bring Mint RC to London and from April this year the Monday session from Mile 27 has become a Mint RC event.

A Monday regular, and experienced runner Matthew Foulds became a leader of the group over the summer and together they have created a welcoming club that hosts several sessions a week across London. This month, we sat down with Alex and Matt to get to know them & the Mint Running Club London community. Enjoy!

"We mix up routes, try to keep things interesting, but it boils down to a sharing culture where everyone actively cares about those they run with."

M27: Thanks for taking the time to have a chat guys! We'd love to hear a bit more about you and your running.

MATT: I run to take in some of the most amazing locations I can get myself into whether it is in Dartmoor, the Cairngorms for pure ruggedness or NYC for the NYC marathon experience. I run to clear my mind and I look to get something different out of each run. Probably the easiest way to describe myself as a runner is as an explorer!

ALEX: I am very much a city runner. In 2013 I moved to Russia, didn’t know anyone or the city I was living in. I joined a crew (Mint Running SPB) and quickly learned about the city, made great friends and started to improve my spoken Russian. For me, as a runner, the sport gives me a real and close relationships to the people and city around me.

M27: What do you enjoy most about leading the Mint Run Club crew?

ALEX: My favourite aspect to leading the crew is the strong two-way supportive relationships we’ve built. Seeing runners grow in distance, speed and desire is hugely rewarding, particularly when you know you have contributed. And by the same token, their energy and commitment drives my running forward.

MATT: I enjoy the social aspect of the crew. Everyone is very supportive of each other's achievements. Monday's tend to be 3-4 mile gossip sessions.

"For me, as a runner, the sport gives me a real and close relationships to the people and city around me."

M27: What sort of people come to the Mint RC session?

 

MATT: I feel the group dynamic has changed over the last few months. They were what I would call sociable joggers at the beginning, but now they are much quicker. They're still a supportive and sociable bunch they have always been but as runners some of them have really progressed and it is a joy to see.

ALEX: As Matt said, the dynamic of Mint has changed over the last year. Our runners are all sociable and supportive of those around them, but the appetite and drive has led to our runners wanting to move faster, run longer and engage with more people and the wider running community. I know Matt and I drive leadership, but we have many leaders in the group now.  That said, we always accommodate newer runners who are looking to up their run game.

M27: Why do people come back every week?

 

MATT: As I have mentioned before Mint runners are very supportive and sociable and I think that is why people return week-in-week-out. 

ALEX: I think the supportive, sharing culture at Mint, driven by all members, not just the leadership, keeps people coming back. We mix up routes, try to keep things interesting, but it boils down to a sharing culture where everyone actively cares about those they run with.

If you'd like to attend a Mint Running Club session, head over to their Mint Running Club LDN Facebook group for all the details and discussion!

 

Interview with Rhian Ravenscroft, Co Founder of Triathlon Clothing Brand Threo

Back in July, we were lucky enough to have Rhian Ravenscroft, Co Founder of women's triathlon clothing brand Threo, to Mile 27 to discuss Women Embracing Competition in Endurance Sport. We caught up with Rhian this week to ask a few follow up questions about how to get into triathlon, how you can embrace competition yourself, and what inspired her to launch her own clothing brand!

If you're a triathlete or are keen to give it a go, adding a few Threo items to your wardrobe seems a pretty good option - here's the Threo website where you can order online. PLUS we have a couple of exclusive discount codes:

For £10 off any kit orders use code MILE2710

For £20 off kit orders over £100 use code MILE2720

"I am terrible at turning down a challenge so I went ahead with it. I bought a bike, cycled to work a few times, came second and was hooked!"

Rhian speaking at Mile 27 last month!

Rhian speaking at Mile 27 last month!

M27: How did you first get into triathlon?

RR: After suffering from plantar fasciitis and not being able to run for a while I had been feeling a little lost. I started a new job and a keen triathlete colleague said oh I hear you're a fast runner, I've entered you in a triathlon. I am terrible at turning down a challenge so I went ahead with it. I bought a bike, cycled to work a few times, came second and was hooked! 

M27: Have you always been a natural competitor or is that something you’ve had to learn?

RR: I started racing aged 9 so it's a bit chicken and egg for me, I can't remember which came first, being competitive or loving the competition of racing. I do think some of it is inherent in me, if you spoke to my sisters they would probably tell you I was always competitive - I do remember always wanting to beat them at everything, but I also feel that many happy years involved in sport and racing has made me see the positives from a competitive side and made me embrace it even more. You can learn to be competitive in the same way you can learn a language, it's a skill which takes practise.

M27: Why do you think it’s important for people to embrace competition?

RR: Being involved in competition needn't be a frightening thing - it's an opportunity to try to be your best at something, and whatever the outcome, striving hard for something is a really rewarding feeling. We can't always win everything, however a lot of the benefits of being competitive aren't found in the winning, but in the efforts you make along the way. Sport teaches you any number of things, but the most important of all is the sense of confidence it gives you from succeeding in a challenge you have set yourself, which can be carried forward into all areas of your life.

M27: I imagine you’re friends with a lot of your fellow competitors. How do you handle that sort of relationship?

RR: A sense of humour always helps, and having confidence in your own abilities. Knowing that someone else's success doesn't detract from your own is essential as they will beat you some days. 

Your competitiveness doesn't need to be directed at your team mates or fellow racers. If you are taking each task you approach and applying yourself competitively you are pushing yourself to complete it the best way you can. By doing so, and by doing so with kindness and good grace to your fellow competitors you can apply a singular outlook to a team environment. This will help you all raise your game and your standards, which benefits all of you involved. 

Rhian taking on some trails...

Rhian taking on some trails...

"The women in our community are our constant inspiration and we love seeing them out there racing and training - it encourages us to keep going and keep making even more items to support them. "

M27:  Do you have any advice for aspiring triathletes on how to get into the sport?

RR: 1. Just sign up to a race. Getting started is the hardest bit, sign up and think about it afterwards. This is how I have done some of my most challenging races, but those have been the races at which I have had the most fun or gained the most from, so it has always been worth it!

2. You don't need to spend loads of money to get started. You don't need a fancy expensive bike, you just need a bike. Borrow one, hire one, buy a cheap secondhand one and just enjoy it. You can also hire a wetsuit for the race. 

M27: Finally, we’re big fans of your clothing brand Threo, can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the company?

 

RR: Laura and I are both triathletes and we love endurance sports. We felt there wasn’t a high quality kit brand out there making aspirational yet technical sportswear for women who take their challenges seriously but don’t want to compromise on style. We decided we had the years of experience in sport and we could make our dream kit. we also wanted to create a community for like-minded women across social media and at events, we felt there were lots of women like us out there but we weren't being recognised nor finding a way to connect with and inspire each other. The women in our community are our constant inspiration and we love seeing them out there racing and training - it encourages us to keep going and keep making even more items to support them. 

 

Interview with Sophie Kirk, Team GB Age-Group Triathlete

This week on the blog we sat down with GB triathlete Sophie Kirk to discuss her career in triathlon so far as well as some tips for anyone looking to take up the sport!

Sophie's career so far: At 25, Sophie is in her second year of triathlon. In 2016 she won the London Triathlon, and  was selected for the GB Duathlon and Triathlon age group teams where she won a Silver medal in the World Duathlon Championships (10k run, 40k bike, 5k run) and came 5th at the World Standard Championships (1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) in Mexico!

M27: Thanks for taking the time out of the training schedule to chat to us! What are your future aspirations in triathlon?

This year I'm taking on my first half ironman race (1.9k swim, 90k bike, 21k run) as well as competing at the World and European Championships for standard distance again.

I hope to make it to the World 70.3 Ironman Championships in the future with an ultimate goal of making it into the professional field!

M27: What do you love about the sport of triathlon and are you excited to have seen it grow over the past 10 years?

SK: 3 reasons, the people, the places and the variety. In a previous life I was GB orienteer. I hated training and would find any excuse not to train. Now I live for the training plan and love triathlon so much! My coaches from back then are so surprised. The triathlon world is full of super friendly people all throwing themselves into 3 crazy sports because 1 just didn't seem hard enough. It creates a great supportive network mainly because we are all totally mad.

I've also been lucky enough to travel to some awesome places in the 2 short years I've been doing triathlon. From Mexico to Thailand and everywhere in between. I have seen some beautiful and hot(!) places and made so many new friends from across the world.

And thirdly every race is different. Triathlon is unpredictable even those who you think are fit can have a bad day, and on the flip side people can surprise you with outstanding races. You can even surprise yourself. Ultimately you never quite know how your run legs are going to be after the bike!

M27: Which aspect of your training, lifestyle, kit, physical and mental preparation gives you the edge?

SK: Getting a coach was the best decision I have ever made. Its so helpful having someone to talk through training with and seek advice from on the tough days. Also without boring those 'normal' people who don't do triathlon! Imogen, my coach is a constant inspiration not only with her approach to setting my schedule but also as an athlete herself. Its hard to not go out and focus on training when she is smashing it in the pro field!

It would be rude not to mention nutrition at this point. More recently I have been working with Matt to nail down nutrition on and off the field. I'm hoping to see some real gains over the next few months and years!

M27: What is one of the biggest mistakes you have learnt from and come back stronger from during your training or racing?

SK: Early in this years season I developed a habit of face planting in transitions. Either by trying to get on or off my bike too quickly! Always a good idea to practice these before race day!!

Also running through injuries. It's so tempting to keep training despite a small niggle. This is probably one of the worst mistakes I have made which meant I couldn't run for the first 4 months of 2016! Lesson learnt!

M27: What is your goal with the sport and where do you want to take your career?

SK: My goal this year is to get sub 5 hours for my first half irnoman in Vichy, France.

The future goal is to get through to the World Half Ironman Championships in 2018/9.

My Ultimate goal could be to break into the professional field, but lets just see how the race goes this year!?

M27: Who are your inspirations?

My coach Imogen Simmonds (check her out, she's a little bit awesome!), The Brownlees (obviously) and Chrissie Wellington is a legend within triathlon. Check out her book!

From a different angle, my family are also my inspiration. My mum has always said there is no such word as can't and she is living proof. Running every week at the age of 69. Also the 'squad' who come out and train with me every week. Tackling some brutal interval sets oout on the bike at 6am every week!

M27: What would you say to anyone who is a competent runner, cyclist and swimmer who is on the fence in terms of trying a triathlon?

SK: Just give it a go! You don't need a fancy bike or a snazzy wetsuit. I did my first triathlon on a basic road bike and qualified for the World Duathlon champs! If you really want to do well and you have done the training you'll get the result you have dreamed of. You don't really need that extra speedy pair of trainers. Get a group of friends together and enter a super sprint triathlon, its short and will give you the perfect taste of triathlon.

M27: Who do you seek advice from and where which areas do you think triathletes should educate themselves in?

SK: Balance is a key thing with triathlon. Knowing which parts are weaker and focusing on those more will help you in the long run. The two main people I seek advice from are my coach and Matt at the moment! Instagram is also a great place to source advice about triathlon, I have met and started training with people I got in contact with through instagram.

M27: Is it all about the expensive kit / what do you use to train and compete in on race day?

SK: Absolutely not, the big things that you might think you need are a bike and wetsuit. But there are indoor swim triathlons and you can hire bikes for a season before you decide if you love triathlon or not! Also ask around, the triathlon world is full of people with spares of everything.

My current race kit, which I have built up over time, consists of:

Swim: Huub wetsuit, speedo goggles, trisuit (various brands), bodyglide

Bike: Racebelt, Specialized Aero helmet, Cervelo P3 bike, Fizick Triathlon shoes, Oakley sunglasses, Tribe bars, Active Root energy drink, X-Lab hydration system

Run: Mizuno Wave Rider trainers, elastic laces, Stance socks, High5 energy gels

To keep updated on Sophie's progress, follow here on Instagram and at her blog

 

From FatRun LDN to Mile27...

 

We’ve got some news for ya.

In January this year, as many of you know, we took over The Old Dairy Café near Regents Park as a base for our FATRUN LDN Run Club. Since then we’ve been working out how to make the most of the space and whether or not we can sustain a run club alongside getting the café off the ground…as well as learning how to make flat whites/tiptoe around tricky questions from coffee connoissurs/some basic plumbing.

 

3 months in, and we’re v excited to announce that we are rebranding FATRUN LDN & The Old Dairy and bringing them both under one banner – Mile27.

 
 

Mile27 Run Club kicks of THIS WEDNESDAY and is pretty much a continuation of FATRUN LDN. The Wednesday sessions will take the same format as before – a 6.30 start from the clubhouse à 8km of jogging through Fitzrovia led by Matt, George & Tim à smoothies and a catch up back at HQ. With summer on its way [and an alcohol licence in the works], we can’t wait to get back in the swing of things under the new name. New merchandise will be coming too including T Shirts and Water Bottles... See you on Weds!

 

·      Facebook events will be posted on Facebook every week so keep an eye out for info on the Mile27 Facebook page

 
 

We’ve got a new smoothie/juice menu coming next week, a shop section stocking Mile27 kit plus our favourite running brands including Ciele, Stance and Like the Wind, a bar coming in May serving Espresso Martinis, CRATE Brewery ales and Prosecco, all along with three enthusiastic baristas to serve you. Need we say more? You probably want an address, which is 35 Conway St, London W1T 6BW…and some opening hours, which are 7.30-17.00 Mon to Fri with Weekend opening coming soon…

 

·      Again, more info and latest updates can be found on our Mile27 Facebook page and Mile 27 Instagram.

 

·      EVENTS: Headed up by Matt, we’re organising a series of events at the Clubhouse including talks from interesting people, drinks evenings, supper clubs and more…

 

Thank You!

Think that’s about it for now, except for us to say a big thank you to everyone in the Run Club community who has put up with our constant questioning and backtracking - all of your ideas and feedback are massively appreciated and we’re looking forward to getting the runs in with you all over the summer months.

If you’ve got any ideas for events or a product you think we should sell let us know – in the meantime see you down at the Clubhouse soon!

 

Tim, George & Matt