Is the Great North Run ACTUALLY great?

I was a spectator at the Great North Run 9 years ago, and at the time (whilst off my face on £2 netto wine with all the other young whippersnappers) I remember thinking, “why would ANYONE want to participate in this?”

Nonetheless, the GNR has been on my bucket list ever since I started running, and I was SO excited to get a place in this year’s ballot. However, as strongly hinted in the title of this post, following on from Sunday I have mixed feelings about the GNR.

The 3 main issues I experienced were as follows:

  1. Starting Pens

I arrived at my allocated start pen with plenty of time – however, the pen was full and therefore blocked off. I was directed to the next pen down, which was also full, and the next, which was also full… I’m still a little perplexed about this. It meant that initially I could not run with my pacer of choice, as he was approximately 86 pens in front of me (a slight exaggeration as always.) Somehow I did manage to catch up with him, but let me tell you this was not an easy task!

  1. The Course

Prior to partaking in the GNR, I read multiple reviews describing the course as ‘really varied.’ Sorry (not sorry) to be rude, but I’m presuming that these bloggers have been paid to say that…

96% of the course is really uninspiring – there, I said it. Essentially, it was one straight road, up until the sea front at the very end of the race. I understand that the course is set out this way in order to accommodate the sheer volume of runners, and in general this works very well. However, I can’t pretend that I’m not disappointed by how dull the course was.

  1. Post-race mayhem

I was completely aware that the GNR was going to be incredibly crowded; with 57,000 runners and 172782342* spectators, that goes without saying! However, I did not expect to queue for 3 hours (this is actually not an exaggeration) to travel from the event village back to the car.

The fact that the race had a very late start (10:40am) added to the general mayhem; by the time we got back to the car it was too late to drive back to London so we had to stop off overnight.

That being said, the atmosphere really was FANTASTIC; there is something very special about being part of the world’s biggest half marathon. The locals were great, the pacers were great, the event village was great, the red arrows were great etc.

Would I do the GNR again? Yes, absolutely. Do I think the GNR is great? Based on my 2018 GNR experience, no I do not – HOWEVER, I think it has the potential to be great.

What are your views on the Great North Run? Please do let me know!

*Obviously I made this number up. Just a little FYI

The ultimate Malawi Challenge: Sport with a Purpose

I am ever so excited to announce that in October (i.e. next month!) I will be travelling to Malawi to join Dame Kelly Holmes and a team of 20 on the 2018 Orbis Challenge. The purpose of this expedition is to assist with launching a new campaign, Sport with a Purpose, to raise awareness of the importance of nutrition and sport in Malawi.

As the challenge takes place in four weeks, and my place on the trip was confirmed four days ago, I really don’t have long to prepare for what will most DEFINITELY be the most intense physical challenge of my life!! There are 3 key elements to the challenge, which are:

  • RUN: Every year, there is a 25km run up Mulanje Mountain known as The Porters Race. This trail has a 1660m elevation gain (I REPEAT 1660M) and the incredibly hot climate will make the run even more challenging. I’ve never run in this heat before – in fact, I’ve never experienced this heat before and therefore any tips would be much appreciated!
  • CYCLE: We will be completing a 55km cycle across Zomba Plateau, which has an elevation gain of 1800m (I REPEAT 1800M.)
  • KAYAK: There will be a 20km kayak on Lake Malawi (the ninth largest lake in the world!) commencing at Cape Maclear, heading out to Mumbo Island, and then returning to the mainland.

We will be visiting several community initiatives in Malawi to support this years Sport with a Purpose cause. Our main focus will be raising awareness about health and wellbeing in Malawi.

One of these initiatives is Street Chef; a small, local initiative designed to get healthy local grown food onto the streets of Malawi. Street Chef have created environmentally friendly stoves that use minimal firewood, and come with recipes and training for the business street chefs on how to make delicious, locally sourced food.

This is such a fantastic initiative, and I feel SO privileged to be taking part! However, I would really REALLY appreciate your support; ideally I need to raise at least £2,000, but I am aware that at this late stage it may not be an achievable target. If you can help, anything at all, I would be ever so grateful: The Orbis Challenge

Do you have experience of running in the scorching heat? If so, I would love to hear your words of wisdom – please do get in touch!

Thoughts on training plans & the Great North Run

It may seem unusual to post about a race the week before race day, but I wanted to touch on something that is of great importance to me.

I am ever so excited to be racing the Great North Run on 9th September and have been looking forward to this race for many months! However, unlike other races, this is the first time that I have not followed a rigid training plan, and I would like to explain why.

Looking back on my training for Brighton Marathon, I took it very seriously; I stopped drinking, my nutrition was absolutely on point, and I declined invitations to a variety of social events that I really wanted to attend.

I don’t regret doing this, and I will certainly be following a structured plan when training for my first ultra and London Marathon. I am more than happy to dedicate 16 weeks per year to this lifestyle, as I thrive off fully committing to a set goal. However, for me, this just isn’t a sustainable way of living long term.

I want to emphasise that I think a fantastic personality trait is having the motivation to commit to goals (both fitness and non-fitness related) that require time and dedication. I know that some may view this kind of behaviour as ‘obsessive’*, and this is a comment that has been made to me on many occasions by Hortencia and others. However, Hortencia is a narrow-minded moron, therefore quite frankly their opinion is irrelevant to me.

My ‘training’ for the Great North Run has been fairly flexible and highly enjoyable. With a summer full of birthdays, weddings, and various other celebrations, my weekends have consisted of a healthy mixture of running, wine and lots of cake. I have not turned down a single (important) social event, because no race or long run is more important than spending time with my friends and loved ones.

Moving forward, if (realistically, when) my training starts to genuinely interfere with my general lifestyle, I will be treating this as a warning sign. I must admit that I do feel hypocritical writing this, as honestly, I find it SO difficult to take a step back when I have set my mind to something.

As always, it would be so interesting to hear your thoughts on this (unless you’re one of the Hortencia’s) – please do get in touch!

*I am not referring to exercise addiction here. That is, of course, a completely different kettle of fish, and there is sometimes a fine line between being a dedicated runner vs. addiction.

£3,000 down the drain on a PT course

Around 2 years ago, I embarked on a personal training course with a company who shall remain unnamed. * The course cost me over £3000 and I have just paid my final installment (although I dropped out of the course over a year ago), hence the inspiration behind this post.

My intention was not to become a PT; my main goal was to gain a lot more knowledge around strength training in order to improve my running, and also to come away with a better understanding of physiology.

Being the eager beaver that I am, I conducted VERY thorough research prior to committing to anything. The course that I selected seemed to incorporate a decent mixture of both online learning and practical workshops, and I truly believed that it would provide me with the skills and knowledge required. HOW WRONG I WAS. These are the 3 main problems I encountered:

  1. It was BORING and generic

As I have previously mentioned, I would describe myself as self-motivated. However, the online content of this course was presented in the dullest way possible. I felt like I had travelled back in time…the graphics and copy were probably extracted directly from a 1970’s Biology textbook.

I also encountered numerous technical difficulties; video demonstrations not playing, being unable to click through to the next section of a chapter etc.

I genuinely fail to understand how such a fascinating topic can be so boring. I would rather eat my dog’s toenails that sit through that e-learning.

  1. Hidden costs

Human contact was rather limited, which I struggled with as I enjoy working with and learning from others. Whilst I was presented with opportunities to attend a variety of webinars and events, the majority of these came at an additional cost (sometimes a substantial cost!) which I felt was such a shame.

I began to realise that I was wasting both my money and my time, which leads me on to my final point…

  1. CHEATING

Despite the uninspiring online content, I put a great deal of effort into studying for my Level 2 exams, in the hope that the course would improve. I needn’t have bothered, as the examiner revealed many of the answers during the exam. This is not an exaggeration, and I have been advised that this ‘cheating’ takes place within many PT courses.

I wouldn’t say that my PT course was a complete waste of money, as I successfully completed my Level 2 Gym Instructor course, and I did gain some value from this. I also wouldn’t go as far as to say that I was conned, as I was fully aware of the structure of the course, although I do feel that I was misled.

It may have just been the case that this course was not for me. However, one thing that I cannot fathom is the cheating element. Of course, this in unjust, but the main issue is that it could potentially be unsafe; how can one determine who is a ‘qualified’ PT when so many people simply cheat their way through the exams?!**

Have you had a similar experience? Would you class this as cheating, or am I coming across like a bitter 86 year old woman? Please do let me know your thoughts on this!

*I am more than happy to reveal the name of the company privately.

**This also backs my previous post about some of the dodgy PT’s I have experienced.

M A G I C A L running: the power of nostalgia

Yesterday I returned from a weekend in St. Andrews, which is my favourite place in the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD. I completed my master’s degree at the University of St Andrews 4 years ago, and it genuinely was one of the best years of my life.

My initial love for running began to develop in St. Andrews, although I did not realise this at the time. Back in 2013, I lived a 2-minute walk from the beach, and every day, between work and writing my dissertation, I would disappear for a couple of hours to power walk/ jog through the coastal trails.

I didn’t realise that essentially what I was doing was trail running (I didn’t actually know what trail running was at this stage.) Bizarrely, I didn’t even class what I was doing as a form of exercise – I thought I was just exploring a beautiful place, mixing walking with a bit of running here and there. I used these 2 hours as my one time to escape between a particularly busy period – working full time whilst writing a master’s thesis was quite a challenge! Looking back, it was a fantastic form of exercise and on the rare occasion that I am lucky enough to visit St Andrews, I take full advantage of the coastal trails and golden sands.*

Nostalgia is bittersweet; the desire to escape into the ‘perfect’ or idealised world of a previous time can come with dangerous connotations. In a course that I am currently taking, nostalgia is very much discouraged, which I understand to an extent. However, ruminating and positive reminiscing are, in my opinion, at very different ends of the spectrum.**

I find that nostalgia really aids my running. ‘Magical’ running in St. Andrews is an extreme example of this, but there are also less scenic routes that spark nostalgia… the aerodrome where I would take my dog when I first started running and was too self-conscious to run alone. The long, bleak stretch of road in the Scottish Borders where I trained for my first marathon. If I am lacking in motivation, going back to old running routes can have a really positive impact.

Do you have a ‘magical’ running location/route? Perhaps a place that sparks a feeling of nostalgia, or is meaningful to you?

*Last weekend, my Sunday morning run wasn’t 100% magical as I encountered a naked man swimming in a large rock pool. It was very cold and pouring with rain, so the nudity did shock me a little.

**I have read many great books and studies surrounding time perspective – please feel free to get in touch if you are interested in this and I can share these with you!

Should I join a Running Club?

In line with my 1-year & 3 weeks anniversary of ‘officially’ joining South London Harriers, I thought this would be an apt post!

I attempted to join a running club in Scotland a couple of years ago but was informed that said running club was for MEN ONLY NO LADIES ALLOWED. Being the stubborn character that I am, I turned up and ran with them anyway, and can report that it did not go down well.

Upon relocating to London, I attempted to join a running club for the second time. On this occasion, I was not rejected due to my gender (#blessed). However, I was asked to provide a list of my PB’s for various distances, which made me feel a little uncomfortable.

Both experiences led me to conjure up mental images of smug, conceited runners, and I concluded that perhaps joining a running club was not the right move for me.

Nonetheless I persevered, and this is where this sad tale ends. South London Harriers were supportive and welcoming, and encouraged me to come along for a few Sunday long runs – a couple of months later, I joined the club.

From my personal experience, here are a few (of many) reasons to join a running club:

  1. Accountability

Positive peer pressure works very well for me! Although I’m intrinsically motivated, this sometimes wavers during the winter months (I really, really LOATHE cold weather. And by cold weather, I mean anything under 20 degrees.)

Making a commitment to join others for a training session is a great way to hold yourself accountable, and it makes those frosty winter early morning runs a lot more enjoyable.

  1. Community

Primarily, I wanted to join a running club purely to improve my running. This has evolved into something a lot more meaningful, although the self-improvement aspect has been fantastic, and it’s been beneficial to pick up tips from runners with decades of experience.

I’ve met some wonderful people through running (although there have been a couple of morons, such is life), who I might not have crossed paths with otherwise.

  1. Mental Health

I have previously written a post dedicated to Running & Mental Health, and I would like to highlight this again. Being surrounded by enthusiastic people has had just as much (if not more) of a positive impact on my mental health than running itself.

Although my initial contact with running clubs did not go to plan, I really hope this doesn’t put anyone off. From my experience, runners with an elitist attitude are in the minority*, and I was simply very unlucky.

Joining a club has enriched my experience of being a runner, and I would encourage anyone considering it to give it a go!

*Of course, there are some clubs that tend to be a bit elitist, and perhaps this is the sort of running club you are looking for! However, it’s just not for me.

Plogging & Plastic Free July

I will open this post by admitting that I am unsure whether I ‘passed’ or ‘failed’ plastic free July.  This was not through lack of effort or commitment; I am a strong minded individual, and very rarely give up on a goal I have set myself.

For those of you who may not be aware, plastic free July encourages people to eliminate the use of single-use plastic. I was inspired to take on plastic free July by Hortencia; I witnessed him (or her) throwing a Shnookle* in the bin, and I genuinely ran after him (OR HER) to question his behavior. His response was “oh I don’t really care and global warming doesn’t exist anyway” – an attitude which completely blows my mind.

I found plastic free July fairly simple when I only had myself to consider as I was taught from a young age to be environmentally conscious; my Dad has always drilled this into me. I’m also very lucky in the sense that it’s relatively easy to live plastic free in London, which I’m sure is not the case for many other cities!

However, cooking/eating/working with others has been a lot more challenging in terms of eliminating single use plastic. For example, a friend recently cooked for me using vegetables wrapped in plastic packaging, and there was no way that I was going to say, “oh sorry I’m not eating this meal you just spent over an hour preparing for me.” Perhaps I could have challenged her, and perhaps I SHOULD have challenged her, but in this situation I feel that would have been both rude and ungrateful.

Whilst this may mean I technically ‘failed’ plastic free July, participating in this movement has taught me two valuable lessons:

  1. I genuinely had no idea that most tea bags contain plastic**. I’m a massive tea drinker and therefore am rather embarrassed about this one, as it shows a lot of naivety on my part, but of course this new-found knowledge can only be a positive moving forward!
  2. So many running events are an environmental disaster. Of course, I was completely aware of this, but taking part in plastic free July forced me to confront it. Most of the races that I partake in are small, local events, therefore are inherently more environmentally friendly. Nonetheless, there are definitely a few things I can implement to become an eco-friendlier (is that a word?) runner. These include MORE PLOGGING, actually recycling my running shoes rather than clinging onto them until they smell like the actual fiery pits of hell, etc.

I would love to hear your feedback on plastic free July! Did you take part, and if so, how did you find it? I am also looking for recommendations for organised plogging events in and around London – please do let me know!

*A Shnookle does not exist. I made this up to protect Hortencia’s identity. I can confirm that this Shnookle was a re-usable item which absolutely did NOT need to be thrown away.

**Yorkshire Tea pledged to introduce a fully biodegradable tea bag by summer 2018 – does anyone know whether this has been implemented yet?

30 Before 30

As requested by all my fans #blessed, here is my official 30 Before 30 list.

I started pulling together this list together around 3 years ago, back when completing a 5K seemed absurd let alone completing a marathon!

Some of these ‘goals’ are cliché, some are slightly ridiculous (no. 10 – please don’t judge. I still don’t think I have completed this, as I did have a fair amount of assistance.)

Apologies for the one that is marked as CONFIDENTIAL, I am not trying to be mysterious/really irritating! And no, it’s not vulgar/inappropriate/gross.

  1. Complete a Half Marathon – DONE
  2. Complete a Full Marathon – DONE
  3. Complete an Ultra Marathon
  4. Join a running club – DONE
  5. Complete one of the Three Peaks Challenges – DONE
  6. Get 1st lady at ParkRun – DONE
  7. Complete a Tough Mudder
  8. Complete a Triathalon
  9. Learn how to play pool and beat all the men
  10. Change a lightbulb – DONE
  11. Volunteer at a homeless shelter at least twice per year – DONE
  12. Learn how to apologise to people – DONE
  13. Level 2 Gym Qualification & Level 3 PT Course – KIND OF DONE
  14. Hold a tarantula at London Zoo
  15. Own one of the following dogs: Chow Chow, Great Pyrenees, Daschund, Old English Sheepdog (only if I have suitable accommodation and am in a secure enough financial position to do so. If you can’t afford to care for your pet, you shouldn’t get one.)
  16. Host a massive dinner party. The mother of all dinner parties. How am I 27 and still unable to roast a chicken or poach an egg?! Basically, learn how to cook PROPERLY
  17. See Fleetwood Mac live (ASAP – they’re getting on a bit)
  18. Visit Dublin and drink ALL the wine
  19. VISIT ICELAND (and see the Northern Lights whilst sober)
  20. Trek the Inca Trail
  21. Visit the Yukon
  22. Visit Vienna – DONE
  23. Visit Dubai – DONE
  24. Spend Christmas in a snowy log cabin drinking mulled wine and other pretentious pastimes – DONE
  25. CONFIDENTIAL
  26. Start a blog – DONE
  27. Eat at one of the world’s best restaurants
  28. Produce my own podcast/vlog
  29. Buy house/flat
  30. Pursue my passion. BE BOLD BE BRAVE

Despite the multiple clichés, I am very content with this list. Am I missing anything essential?! Let me know your thoughts!

Also, if anyone has been to Iceland, any recommendations would be much appreciated!

Running & Personal Goals (Mid-Year Check-In)

As we are halfway through 2018 (which is mildly horrifying, and I don’t understand how this has happened), I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to discuss my running, fitness and personal goals for the remainder of the year.

Running & Fitness Goals

  1. Great North Run

The GNR has been on my to do list for a while, and this year I was lucky enough to secure a place through the ballot. Out of all runners I know who entered the GNR, somehow, I was the only one who was accepted, so please do let me know if you’re racing! We can go for post-race wines.

  1. Race outside of the UK

I am yet to participate in a race outside of the UK and have chosen the Frankfurt Marathon relay in September as my first race abroad. I will be running this in a team of four, and am EXTRA EXCITED as I am the fourth leg which means that I get to finish on the red carpet.

  1. Commit to my first Ultra-Marathon

This may seem like a bit of an odd goal, as I simply want to commit to signing up to an Ultra as opposed to completing one this year. My aim is to run my first Ultra in early 2019, although I’m concerned that this may interfere with marathon training – any ultra-marathoners, please can I have some advice on this?!

  1. Be braver on the bike

One of my goals this year was to start cycling as a form of cross-training, in addition to weight training. Unfortunately, I still LOATHE steep descents (and gentle descents. And all the other descents.) By the end of 2018, I would like to be at a stage where I am not riding down hills squealing like a deranged warthog.

  1. Improve upper body strength

I don’t really need to explain this one but can confirm that I am well on the way to achieving this goal with the help of my PT!

Personal Goals

  1. Be kinder to myself

SORRY this is such a cringe/predictable goal, but I think self-compassion is so important – and it is something I’m terrible at. This is probably the most challenging of all my goals, and one I shall elaborate on in a later post.

  1. S L E E P

I wake up at between 4:30am – 6:00am, as I prefer to do most of my training before work. On average, I get around 6 hours sleep per night, and therefore by 4pm often feel like the FIERY PITS OF HELL (slight exaggeration, but I do get grouchy and headachy.)  I also frequently fall asleep on the train home, and occasionally end up in rather inconvenient locations such as Brighton and Southampton. Therefore, prioritising sleep is of upmost importance!

  1. Make a hefty dent in my 30 before 30 list

I created a ’30 before 30’ list* around 3 years ago and have completed approximately half of the list. Time is of the essence and other such clichés; therefore, I feel I need to get cracking!

*This is essentially a 30 before 30 bucket list. I am more than happy to share this in my next post, so if anyone is interested please do let me know!

Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge

A couple of days ago I completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge* alongside a group of wonderful ladies, and as per my previous post on Richmond 10K, DO NOT PANIC – this is not a dull step-by-step account of the event. In fact, the inspiration behind this post was a fellow runner informing me that as someone who runs regularly, the Three Peaks would be “incredibly easy and barely a challenge.” I can confirm that this was not the case (I never thought it would be the case because I’m not an absolute moron) and would like to point out that arrogance is never an attractive trait.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge covers almost the same distance as a marathon. However, I would like to highlight below why hiking this distance is not necessarily ‘easier’ than running a marathon**:

  1. Although hiking and running have many similarities, the difference in speed and gradient between the two activities alters the way in which the muscles are used. Tackling the Three Peaks has resulted in some unexpected hip abductor pain, which I have never experienced with running!
  1. I was carrying a backpack, which of course had an impact on my back muscles. I also packed the backpack with copious unnecessary items, such as a wooly hat and thermal trousers (it was one of the hottest days of the year, yet I was convinced there would be snow at the top of each peak.)
  1. I found this a lot more difficult than marathon/long run nutrition! In order to keep my backpack as light as possible, I packed multiple energy/protein bars and (unlike the others in my team) did not include any ‘real food.’ Unsurprisingly, by the time I had consumed my 9th energy bar, I felt pretty vile. It was verging on dangerous, and nobody wants to do a Paula Radcliffe.
  1. I was incredibly lucky as I completed the Three Peaks with a team of ladies who were familiar with the route. This may have resulted in me being slightly lazy, as I didn’t even need to consider things such as navigation and travel arrangements – if I were in charge of navigation, we would have all been doomed.

All in all, the Yorkshire Three Peak Challenge was a fantastic experience, and I am now SO keen to take on the National Three Peaks Challenge. Have you taken part in any of the Three Peaks challenges? Do you have any tips on the National Three Peaks Challenge – when is the best time of year to complete this etc.?

*The Yorkshire Three Peaks is a hiking challenge, taking on the following peaks: Pen-y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough.

**I understand that some of these points may still be relevant for ultra marathons/trail marathons etc. However, I am comparing hiking the Three Peaks to my own marathon experiences thus far.

Richmond 10K – this is NOT a race review

This was not what I was planning to post today, but after feeling ever so inspired after yesterday’s Richmond 10K race, I thought it would be a shame not to blog about it!

The reason behind specifying that this is NOT a race review/recap, and apologies for being blunt, is because approximately 86% of the race reviews I have read (in a blogging context) have been rather…dull. Of course, this is not always the case – I have read some highly informative and engaging race reviews!

However, the majority of the race reviews I have come across have been along the lines of “I woke up at 5:32am. I was very tired. I ate a small bowl of porridge with peanut butter and pumpkin seeds. I set off at 6:18am. It took me 37 minutes to get the start line. Conditions were wet” etc etc. I may be exaggerating slightly (NEVER), but my point is, I don’t think a minute-by-minute account of the race will be of interest to anyone other than myself, therefore I wanted to list 3 things I loved about this race instead:

  1. It cost £14. It’s no secret that race prices are increasing (fairly dramatically in my opinion) – for example the London Winter Run costs £40, which in my opinion is absurd for a 10K. Granted, the Ranelagh Harriers’ Richmond 10K is small, local, and very low key and therefore is incomparable to a race like the London Winter Run. Nonetheless, I stand by my point – charging £40 for a race is off-putting and raises questions around elitism – therefore to pay £14 was a breath of fresh air!
  2. There were no morons. That is all.
  3. This is the most important point for me; this race really highlighted how incredibly supportive the running community can be. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to surround yourself with people who share the same goals as you (apologies for the cliché but it’s true!) And of course a massive maaaaaassive MASSIVE thank you to my fellow club mate Toby for pacing me to my 10K PB!

This was a short but sweet post, purely to emphasise the positive impact of running or racing with friends/likeminded others. Not all races are like this, and of course not all races go to plan – but this one was pretty special!

Is there a particular race that stands out to you, and if so, why is this? Also, am I being a massive scrooge when it comes to race prices?!

Running Nutrition – My Biggest Mistakes!

Nutrition for Runners, and nutrition in general, is something that interests me greatly, particularly as I previously lived off a diet of cheese & wine & mojitos & Greggs sausage rolls (I now eat what I hope is a more nutrient-dense diet!)

There were a few nutritional blunders I made when I initially started running (and some of these are mistakes that I still make now) – the main culprits being as follows:

  1. Not Eating Enough!

Looking back, I was not eating nearly enough not only as a runner, but also as a human being. At the time, I thought I was eating ‘well’ (whatever that means?!) but in reality, my diet was highly restrictive, and I absolutely was NOT eating enough!

Although ultimately this was my choice, I think some of the nutritional guidelines for runners are a little dangerous/misleading. I remember reading a nutrition guide published in Runner’s World, which had a strong focus on effective substitutes – i.e. swapping in a “good” food to replace a so-called “bad” food. I can’t remember the exact foods they shamed, but I would put money on one of the examples being swapping in wholegrain bread to replace white bread (absolute classic).

There have been numerous discussions around assigning moral value to the foods that we eat, so I won’t bore you with rambling on about this topic (AHEM SLIMMING WORLD NAMING CERTAIN FOODS AS ‘SYNS.’ I still can’t get over how ridiculous and potentially damaging this is.) However, I will say that this did have an impact on me when I first began my running ‘journey’ (cringe), and not eating enough was a huge faux pas!

  1. Cutting out Major Food Groups

Following on from my previous point, for some bizarre reason I felt the need to eliminate entire food groups from my diet. I’m not one to buy into faddy diets, so to be honest I’m still unsure as to why I did this. I think I panicked…who knows.

This was not good for my body or metabolism. It was stupid. It was moronic.

  1. Mistimed Fibre Consumption

I have a fibre rich diet – lots of oats, whole grain pasta, fruit and beans. I always thought this was a positive thing – which essentially it is! This was until I took part in a 20-mile race and experienced terrible cramping and other undesirable symptoms and threw up on someone’s shoes (SURPRISE.)

This incident was almost definitely down to the timing of my fibre intake – obviously the time for excessive fibre is not pre-race!

  1. Not Drinking Enough Water

I know I have touched on this in a previous post, and I know that this one sounds obvious. However, this is something that I still underestimate, particularly when I am doing an easy run and don’t feel the T H I R S T.

  1. (Incorrect Energy Gel Usage)

This must be one of the most ridiculous (running related) things I have ever done, and I have put this point in brackets to emphasise that this was a one-off incident.

In my first ever race, I was handed an Energy Gel at one of the drinks stations. For some unknown reason, I thought that the Energy Gel was a muscle soothing concoction, therefore smothered the gel all over my aching legs.

The remainder of the race was rather unpleasant – I was highly aromatic, plus leaves and branches kept attaching themselves to my legs.

Whilst I’m sure that No. 5 is only relevant to me, it would be interesting to hear if anyone else has made any similar (or not so similar!) nutritional errors. What has been your biggest running nutrition mistake? Is there anything that you consistently struggle with nutrition wise?