What’s Hot On The Forum: Archive

For the week ending 2 March 2009

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Post-Run Pleasures

  • Some research suggests certain kinds of exercise led to cravings for certain foods. After a long winter run, I absolutely must have hot tea and toasted teacakes with real butter and perhaps marmalade. Anyone else? Adrian Lowery
  • I always want a hot cup of tea. My ultimate post-run snack is banana and honey on toast with a nice cup of tea. nom
  • Garlic spaghetti and lots of water. Then, after I've rehydrated, a G'n'T. Parklife
  • There's only one thing I crave after a run - a pasty. I pass two pasty shops on my runs, one of which is in the railway station, through which I usually pass on my way home from a race. It exerts a gravitational field that I cannot fight. Muttley

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Strike A Pose

  • I’ve read that most long distance runners use a flat foot strike, but since heard that it’s better to go heel to toe. I usually like to land with my entire foot on the ground.Is there a definitive answer? Sheryl Smith 2
  • Methods like Chi and Pose running recommend forefoot running. Personally, I tend to have either a flat foot or forefoot strike, but any attempt to change the way you run should be done gradually. JulieFrazz
  • Forced forefoot running can feel wrong as you may be pushing yourself up onto your toes. If you read up on different techniques you should be able to understand the principles behind them and why they work. M.ister W
  • Isn't this one of the things about running that no-one knows for sure? I have to favour the way that feels like it is causing me the least harm, and that for me, at the moment, is heel striking. Shufflepuck Cafe

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Too Many Tees

  • Can anyone suggest what to do with excess race T-shirts? Most of them haven’t even been worn and it seems a shame to throw them out. Mad cow running
  • You could donate technical gear to a charity shop. I've also given stuff to friends or family who are new to running but are a bit reluctant to buy expensive technical clothing. Go-KL
  • Give them to your local school or playgroup as messy play shirts. Or make a rag rug! beebs
  • I use them as throw-away tops for my next race. That way, I stay warm at the start but don’t mind disposing of them. I always make sure that I throw them into an area where rubbish is already being collected, so I don’t make extra work for the volunteers at races. Water Vole

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Lingering Lovehandles

  • I started running last year, and I've managed to lose just over a stone. However, I still have a flabby belly and love handles which don’t seem to be going down. I always thought you lose fat all over at the same time? Noob
  • We're all genetically predisposed to carry fat in different areas. You (like me) seem to carry more on your waist. It will eventually come off if you keep up a calorie deficit but you'll also need patience. barongreenback
  • Think about how long did it took you to build the belly in the first place. Most things in life that take a long time to build up are going to take a while and a bit of effort to disappear. Jimo
  • The only thing that's helping me get rid of mine is cutting right down on the booze… *sobs* Johnny Blaze

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For the week ending 23 February 2009

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Fun On The Fells

  • Having read Richard Askwith's Feet in the Clouds, I feel inspired to have a crack at fell-running. I don't have a clue where to start though – any help much appreciated! Adrian Lowery
  • Please make sure you carry enough kit, and be prepared to get yourself out of trouble if you find it. Why not consider some of the adventure racing or navigation courses out there? Or at least get yourself some fell running guidebooks to start off with. ed_m (a.k.a. ultra bunny)
  • You already hike so you know what the hills can throw at you. Running on the fells is always going to be a compromise - especially on your own. It's always worth having 'worst case scenario' kit with you. eL Bee!
  • Road shoes will do, but you will feel clumsy. At this time of year there’s probably a fair bit of snow and ice up top - not fun if you are new to it. I would suggest you take full body covering and an emergency blanket - and let people know where you are going. Nick L

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Recipe For Recovery

  • What's your recovery secret after a long run? I still seem to ache two days later. I was advised not to stretch after long runs, so I normally just elevate my legs then sit in bath with my sports drink. Slimline Chips
  • I have a cold bath (up to my waist) for the time it takes me to drink a cup of tea. I keep my top half warm with a jumper or something, and then have a hot shower. Then a recovery drink and food within half hour or so. Rio!
  • A brisk walk later in the day really helps - I do this out of necessity because the dog always needs a walk in the afternoon but I'm convinced that's what helps to stave off aches and pains.JulieFrazz
  • Some things that appear to help are: cold water immersion for 15 minutes, gentle exercise other than running, vitamin C, cherry juice and avery gentle massage of sore areas. I read something about vibration therapy helping too, so if you've got access to a PowerPlate ... Siance

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Tap Water Troubles

  • I was out running today and it was really sunny, so I drank more than usual. I popped into a cafe but when I asked for some tap water, I was told they weren't allowed to give me any as they couldn't prove the water was safe to drink! Has anyone else had this problem? Sarah Bennett 8
  • Carry a pound coin with you - then you can stop wherever and buy some. It’s always wise to carry a pound or two anyway. M.eldy
  • Map a run past pubs or big supermarkets so you can use their loos and drink from the taps. I'm not proud, obviously... Nam
  • We run past a café, and if we leave something in the charity box they fill our water bottles for us. mitten

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Losing Fitness

  • I’ve been injured and had a week off. I'm training for FLM and am concerned about going back to square one. How quickly do you lose fitness? Slimline Chips
  • It shouldn't be a problem - you might even feel a bit better for it. I had two weeks off before a marathon last year (although I still swam and did weights) - it didn't make a jot of difference. Good luck! JuanaH
  • A couple of weeks shouldn’t matter too much. I recently had a break from mid-November until the start of January and it has taken me over a month to get back to my November fitness levels. I wonder if time off is proportional to time taken to regain form? Shufflepuck Cafe
  • Two weeks = negligible effect. Three or more and it starts to be noticeable. I read somewhere that a rule of thumb is two weeks' training per week lost (after three weeks lost). To sum up: don't worry! candy ollier

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For the week ending 16 February 2009

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Half-Marathon Munchies

  • I’m training for my first half-marathon. What should I be munching during my runs - and when - to keep my energy levels up? Micro Dot
  • Try lots of different things. Carbo gels don't work for everyone – some people find them sickly. Jelly Babies are a cheaper option too. And make sure you try them out before race day! Cinders
  • Munch whatever suits you best - there's no optimum solution. Just make sure you've got a good dentist! Muttley
  • Try to find a compromise between flavour and carb content. Gels have the most carbs, but sweets have more flavour. Paul Farquharson

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When Rest Is Best

  • I've been wondering how many rest days to have as since I've started to do longer runs, I've been getting more tired. Are rest days for wimps, or are they essential for effective training? Start the debate! Bunches77
  • I always have the day before my weekly long run off. I look forward to my rest days - I've earned the right to have one day off a week! I also rest when my body has "words" with me. Listen to your body Bunches - it knows what you're capable of. Liverbird
  • I usually have one complete rest day per week, and one day of cross training or easy running too. It recharges me mentally and physically. Everyone is different though - I used to train everyday but that was years ago, with a much younger body! Life's Too Short
  • Easy - Friday night is for drinking, so Saturday is my day off! Siance

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Sweaty Commutes

  • I want to run to work, but my workplace doesn’t have a shower. I was thinking of using a big washing-up bowl or one of those camping shower-in-a-bag things. Does anyone have any better ideas? Chrissie Kelly
  • I use tea tree wipes from the chemist, plus a decent deodorant. I’m a sweaty lady, and no-one at my work has said anything (yet!) Vixx76
  • How about not washing, and spending all day covered in mud and cow muck with that nice sweaty smell for good measure? They’ll soon think about getting a shower installed. NickL
  • I usually have a strip wash in the sink - I keep a flannel, soap, towel and anti-perspirant in my locker and some fresh work clothes at work. Although washing in the sink isn’t ideal, I reckon it’s worth it to get a run in! martin cherokee ring

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Vanishing Vets

  • Why aren't there more 70 and 80 year olds racing? A lot of us are quite obsessive about our sport, and every runner I speak to wants to carry on for as long as possible. With modern equipment surely there’s no reason not to keep running until you drop?! get carter
  • Maybe the running boom didn’t take off early enough? Were there as many races and running clubs 30 or 40 years ago? I reckon there will be more "oldies" in 20 years’ time. I certainly can’t imagine giving up unless I was forced to by serious illness or injury. Night Nurse
  • I know a couple of runners over 70. One of them I know was even running ultras until a couple of years ago! I can't see that I'll ever stop unless I'm forced to. I started running when I was 23 and I'm 50 now. Aviator
  • When I first joined a running club I used to run with a couple of real OAPs. They could leave me standing back then and probably still could now, 10 years on... Muttley

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For the week ending 09 February 2009

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First Steps

  • I'm a newbie, and keen to find out what made you all start running, and how long you’ve been running? Phil W 102
  • Race for Life 2007. My first "run" was on March 6 and I nearly collapsed…I signed up for my work team and the rest is history - it’s my second half-marathon on Sunday, and I’ve got a whole new world, vocabulary and wardrobe! Foxy Lady
  • My wedding day was in October 2008 so I started running with my now wife, who’s always run. I lost nearly two stone and looked much better in my suit on the day. I’m still running and have never looked back! Johnny Vee
  • I had a rubbish shift job in a factory, and a lot of spare time on my hands. My first ever run lasted about 200-300 yards before I had to stop and walk. Last year I ran 145 miles. Not bad improvement?! Nick L

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Smoothly Does It

  • Runners seem to be split into two groups: gliders, elegantly skimming the pavements; and pounders, bulldozing everything standing between A and B. What are you? The Hoose-Goer
  • For the first couple of miles, I'm a pounder. Then I settle into a glide for a bit, but soon it’s back to pounding again. I saw a bloke recently who looked like he was auditioning for Riverdance - his arms were pinned down by his sides and his knees were really high - seemed to work though, he was whipping along! CazSoul
  • A problem with the gliding method - one minute I'll be coasting along thinking how graceful and athletic I look, the next I'll be spreadeagled on the pavement after tripping over the tiniest of bumps. Not so graceful! Juliefrazz
  • Usually I bound around like a hippo with vertigo. But every now and then I get in the zone and become a glider. Running is effortless, my arms move gracefully back and forth and I remember why I love running. It is a wonderful thing when it happens! Puffin1

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Ice Ice Baby

  • My training this week has been completely messed up by icy roads. Is anyone else in the same situation, or have any solutions? (not a gym!) Leigh Blinman
  • I've been running off-road. If you go to a park, there should be enough grip on the grass to run. It all seems to be melting away now - fingers crossed the temperature stays up a little and the roads will clear soon. MD6
  • Go off-road – wet feet soon dry off! M.eldy
  • Confidence might well play a part - if you're tentative and unsure you're more likely to fall down. The more 'normal' you run the safer you’ll be. LS21

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Good people, bad days

  • I ran with a few others this morning - lovely weather, lovely route, lovely people. But after a measly 5K I had to bail out, completely exhausted! I know my body was probably just too tired, but I feel very battered and bruised and sorry for myself. Karen Ball 6
  • Remember when you first started running - I bet the "measly 5k" you did today would have seemed like a marathon then. Listen to your body and your mind - there was a reason you couldn’t do any more today. Rest, and use this as a learning experience, and you will come back stronger. martin cherokee ring
  • You'll have good days and bad days, it happens to us all. I bailed out of a 10K on Tuesday feeling rotten, then ran 13K today without a problem! It is hard to be nice to yourself sometimes when things aren't going well. The trick is get some rest - and don't panic! Bunches77
  • The group might have been running too fast for you - try plodding along for a while without a care in the world. Your body will find its natural pace for your longer runs. Yifter. S

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For the week ending 02 February 2009

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Short Shorts

  • Being an optimist, I reckon we only have about a month left of genuinely cold weather. Who’s made it through the whole winter running in shorts? Jimo
  • I’m definitely a shorts wearer, I haven’t worn tracksters since the early 90s. The only down side is when the gritting lorries go by and spray stones at me - ouch! SyM.es
  • I put it down to years spent playing football and rugby. I wouldn't have been seen dead wearing anything other than shorts, and I probably stood around a lot more than I do when I’m running... Dustin
  • If you need a hat and gloves, you need leggings! Do none of you pay attention to the weather forecasts?! gingerfurball

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Fantastic Form

  • I've finished three marathons by brute force, inefficiently huffing and puffing. But for Paris in April, I want to apply a little less force and a little more form. So for the stylish runners out there – how can I fix my form? BrandyB
  • Running economy comes with practice. Whatever your natural potential, long slow miles will build your economy. Stump
  • You could look into Chi running. It won’t make you Martin Lel overnight, but it should give you an insight into the efficient running style you're looking for. M.ister W
  • When I'm feeling tired during a run I think about leaning forward more, picking my heels up and keeping my elbows behind me. It always seems to help. Ferdy

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Cold Comforts

  • My training keeps getting interrupted by colds. As soon as I feel I'm getting somewhere, I come down with yet another cold. How can I keep colds at bay? Howlsy
  • Take vitamins, especially Vitamin C. Eat fruit, especially kiwis. You might also need more sleep. I have been through this - just hang on in there. Good luck! Welsh Alex
  • I had a run of colds over Christmas, and since then I’ve been extra careful to wash my hands properly in anti-bacterial soap and hot water. I didn't run during my colds but believe a good rule is that if it’s above the neck, you can run. If the cold goes to your chest, stay at home. sophers
  • The common cold is caused by a virus, not bacteria so anti-bacterial stuff will not stop colds. The best defence is to wash your hands regularly, avoid touching your face and mouth, and avoid people who have a cold (so no going to work for six months...!) sciencegeek

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Long-run Loopiness
  • Last Sunday, about ten miles into my long run, I began thinking that I must be a better runner than Haile Gebrselassie. He only runs at marathon pace for two hours and I run at marathon pace for four hours. Anyone else find their logic goes completely to pot on long runs? Short'n'round
  • I lose the ability to do simple maths after about six miles. Calculating how far I have left to go is impossible - I just cannot do it. There’s a lot to be said for iPods, they definitely stop you thinking too much. But we won’t go there... Shimmy shimmy
  • "This hurts, this hurts; I want to stop, I want to stop... oh look, there’s another runner, pretend you’re enjoying yourself... 'Morning!' ... This hurts, this hurts, I want to stop!" Mr Guy
  • I try to memorise the people I pass and car number plates in case they later turn out to have been involved in a crime and I am a witness. This has never yet happened. Puffin1

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For the week ending 20 January 2009

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Runner's High

  • I've just got back on the road and got this amazing rush at about 50 mins into my last run. It was incredible – I felt like I could run and run! This could become quite addictive... what a feeling! ninja jane
  • For me, any run - no matter how long or how hard - is well worth the effort if I manage to get that runner's high, even for 10 seconds!TurboElli
  • Those endorphins have a lot to answer for! Bizarrely I've experienced it running outside, but never in the gym. I think it's a combination of playing motivational tunes and being alone in the environment. Siance
  • I'm always really smiley after a run too. I've been trekking round the supermarket wondering why little old ladies are smiling at me - not realising I've got a manic grin on my face for no obvious reason! chickin

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Finish-line Tales

  • What happened when you finally crossed the finish line of your first (or subsequent) marathon? All tales welcome here, funny or tragic! Fizziofinn
  • A very good friend paced me round my only marathon. I asked him to get me round in about four hours, and he did it perfectly – 3:58. I expressed my gratitude to him by yelling, "If you don't shut up, I'm going to find an effing knife and I'm going to effing stab you!" Given that I'm a practising Buddhist, it wasn't my finest moment! Gizzard Puke
  • I threw up violently during the last 100m of my first marathon. Then, in the last 100m of my second marathon Ihad to be ordered to cross the line, after deciding that I'd had enough and wanted to stop. Maybe that time brings out the worst in people. MadameO
  • I ran my first marathon in 1978 - my coach wanted me to "know what marathon running was all about". I was stuffed at Mile 8, vomited everywhere and said "never again". Never mind, I'm still running them. NZChristine

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The Shelf-life of Sports Bras

  • How long do people reckon the lifespan of a running bra is? Can you tell when they are "running out"? Any thoughts on the subject, ladies? FoxyLady
  • I've had the same ones for years. I would guess it's time for a new one when the elastic bits are feeling less supportive? If yours are all the same brand, you could compare them for wear and tear. Siance
  • I never used to give it a thought. Then I saw my boobs in a mirror at the gym whilst plodding, and bought new ones immediately! They do have a shelf life - I would do the 'bouncing up and down test'’ in the mirror to work out when they're ready for the bin. Liverbird
  • I do the bouncing up and down test and the 'Can I get my fingers under the strap at the back?' test. I also alternate between two so seem to get more mileage out of them than you would think. Maddy

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Counting Calories
  • Since I've started marathon training I'm constantly hungry, and I need to know how much I should be eating. I don't want to lose weight but I don't want to gain it either. I end up feeling guilty every day because I think I've eaten too much, so I push myself to do a bit extra the next day's running. b7
  • You're eating a lot of 'diet' foods. The normal alternatives aren't evil – if you want a biscuit, just have one. You're burning an awful lot of calories, there's no need to deny yourself. And just make sure you keep eating the healthy wholegrain stuff too.barongreenback
  • Fat and protein have a high satiety factor and will take away your hunger. As a runner you need more protein anyway for repair. Ditch the diet foods and enjoy food made with real ingredients - everything you eat should ideally be giving you some nutrition, otherwise you will remain hungry. Non-runner
  • Protein powder is very handy - those who know me will know I have drums of it in my kitchen - but your list seemed to contain almost no vegetables. Why don’t you add some green leafy stuff? MikeFrog

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For the week ending 13 January 2009

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Sleep stories

  • I started running to lose baby weight - and got hooked. All I have ever known is running on little or no sleep - and I'm a bit worried after reading how important sleep is. Do you get enough? Do you make it a priority to sleep enough for your training or are you just lucky, and if not - is it just not important to you? Redwine
  • I’ve had really bad jet lag, and my solution is to get up way too early for a couple of days. It will be difficult at first and you'll feel rubbish all day but when the night draws in you’ll nod right off. It is hard but the key is to get up when your alarm goes off, regardless of what your body’s screaming at you! Tom Tom T. Barrow
  • I’ve been running for more than 10 years and also have insommnia. In that time I’ve done 10 marathons, and run PBs on a couple of hours’ sleep. I think it’s something you just cope with if you have to - I try to run early in the morning because I’m usually exhausted by the evening. caterpillar girl
  • I work as a long-haul cabin crew member so I’m no stranger to jetlag. I find that running actually helps me sleep - in fact, that’s the main reason I started running. Set that alarm and ban the snooze button. That aside though listen to your body, if you need to sleep, sleep! Detox

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Beanie Babes

  • Blokes on the treadmill with beanie hats on - what's that about?! Don't their heads get smelly? Aquamarina
  • I run in one outside to keep my ears warm - it's freezing at the moment! But as we all know, whether they’re wearing a woolly hat or not, treadmills and gyms are for prancing nonces. Get outside and run! jason-X
  • I wear a beanie on the treadmill! The reason why is simple - I have a lovely smooth cranium and I'm a sweaty lad so it’s there to stop nasty sweat dripping into my eyes, down my nose and generally getting on my nerves. Muttley
  • The beanie people tend to spend more time on the weights in my gym. As long as they don't wear them in the pool I don't really care! Lwi

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Baby blues

  • I had my first baby in March, and two months later started training for a half-marathon. I’ve done halfs before, but this one took me three hours. I really found it hard, even though my training had been fine. I haven’t run since, because I felt so ashamed of myself. Should I just give up? If not, how on earth do I get back out there? Muppet
  • Don’t feel ashamed or disappointed. You were running, which is far more than can be said for 80% of the population. I can only suggest what I would do, which would be to ignore my watch, throw away the schedules and just go out, enjoy it and remember why you started running it the first place. Hope you find your mojo again soon. marcusuno
  • Your whole life has changed – I doubt you get as much rest. Just keep running and enjoy what you’re doing. Accept that for now your priorities have changed and use the running for some 'me time'!Grendel3
  • Be proud – you’ve just set a post-baby PB. People tend to ‘reset’ their PBs as time goes by, so why not do it post-baby? Ease back gently into running, then when you feel ready, enter another half and smash your post-baby PB. In time, you'll be beating your pre-baby PB too! Cougie

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Incredible Injuries
  • Recently I got out of the car, bent over to get my daughter's coat off the back seat and heard a loud crack. It left me with a very painful right knee, and nearly three weeks later there’s no chance of getting out running! Anyone else found any ridiculous ways to pick up an injury? eghamR
  • I managed to sustain a relatively impressive injury in my sleep. I went to bed (alone) a relatively healthy, if slightly drunk, person. And woke up hobbling. I’d torn my cartilage…oxymoron
  • I've accidentally set fire to myself. Twice. Farnie
  • I tore my knee cartilage kneeling on the floor doing a jigsaw... Heckenhocker

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For the week ending 5 January 2009

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New Year Resolutions

  • What are your New Year resolutions? Mine are: to take the dogs out every day, get back into running, not let people walk all over me and to have fun! MaryMoo
  • To read 50 books, completely alter my personality, stay injury-free, run a sub-3:30 marathon, eat more fresh fruit, and go public with my roller-blades. the yule abides
  • Do more races. I also need to getback into my routine wheneverit's disrupted due to illness/injury/holiday instead of losing motivation and not restarting... Green Duck
  • Be happy, be healthy and have fun! PloddingOn

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Race Magic

  • Recently in training I did a flat-ish 10K in 42:34. It was hard, but I hadn’t gone all out. I have a flat-ish 10K race tomorrow and my mates think I should target sub-40:00, but I’m worried I'll bomb. Just how good is "race magic"? number42
  • I rarely achieve my race pace in tempo runs on my own. There's just something about running with others - I suppose that's the "race magic". Two and a half minutes is quite an amount to shave off a 10K time but have a go! If it doesn't work, there are worse things in life than bombing in a 10K! Good Luck! Muttley
  • Don’t let people get away from you. If I see a gap opening up I'll always try to close it because I run faster in a "pack". I'm a big fan of negative splits, but 10K is short enough to hang on for a mile if you really do overdo it at the start. Go for it! Mr. Puffy
  • If you don't try you'll never know! marshallini

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Excuses, Excuses

  • Anyone heard any daft ones? My friend said she didn’t know how anyone could run as it makes your face sag?! My worst excuse for not turning up to a half-marathon was dropping a drinks coaster on my toe. It did happen but I think I could have run... chickin
  • The dog ate my Garmin. Johnny Blaze
  • A friend said he couldn’t race because his wife had broken her foot – I explained that it wasn't a three-legged race, which annoyed him a bit. I can't stand excuses if you don't want to do it, just say so! Slimline chips
  • I particularly like it when non-runners say they'd love to run but "I've got this knee". This is usually followed by a wince and rubbing of said knee, just in case anyone's not sure which bit of the anatomy they're talking about! Hashette
  • The absolute worst I've heard (about exercise in general) was "Well, there's no point - he's not going to leave me now, is he?" Put those fluffy slippers away and do it for yourself! Liverbird

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Chapped Chops
  • After running in the cold, my face feels dry and pinched. So, should I trowel on the man moisturiser or are there specific outdoors products around? Dodge
  • Get a ski mask - designed to keep the chops warm on freezing days. You will freak the locals out when you run panting up behind them looking like a madman – but at least your face'll be warm! fat face
  • Try baby-bum cream – anything that works on nappy rash should be able to handle your skin! Lots of people swear by Vaseline - it’s cheap and comes in dinky tins you can take out running. CJBA
  • Real men don't use moisturiser and other girlie lotions and potions. Be like me - just revel in the weatherbeaten, craggy "man of the world" look.Muttley

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For the week ending 14 December 2008

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Festive Cheer

  • After the wave of apathy I was met with by my household the other day after going to the trouble of getting a real tree instead of using a fake one. Is your christmas tree real or fake? jason X
  • Fake, 5 foot, and absolutely covered in tinsel! We have no taste! jinglefurballs
  • 7ft, fake, lots of decorations collected since we've been married, and some made by the children. Does anyone else with children have to write down who put the angel/star on the top so there's no arguments next year about whose turn it is? kwilter...waddling less
  • The idea of a real tree is lovely but in reality they are messy, wonky and far too big around the base. We had a 5ft one last year and it was as much as we could do to fit it in the room! Screamapillar

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Beating Boredom

  • I read somewhere that Paula Radcliffe counts when running to take away the boredom. I have now perfected that everytime I count to 250, I've run 1K. Anyone else do anything similar or have any tips? eghamR
  • If I don't have music I count. I find myself doing it automatically, and sometimes don't realised I've even been counting until I reach 100. I've done all sorts to stop getting bored - counting rabbits, trying to keep a tally of different coloured cars, trying to memorise all the people I pass in case I see someone on Crimewatch…crazydiamond
  • I don't ever remember getting bored on a run and I've got no idea what I think about. I'm a member of the "running is a form of meditation" school of thought. Nadolig llawen gan Pizza Man
  • I like to admire the scenery and people-watch when I'm running along the canal. I still can’t fathom out why there were so many twitchers about the other day on the canal when it was quite foggy...Caz-mas Soul

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Slipping Standards

  • I know the whole subject of declining standards in UK (men's) athletics is well worn, but one statistic strikes me as being quite remarkable. In 2008, eight British men broke 2:20 in the marathon. However, the number of British men who did that in 1983 was 102! What has changed? David Jones 39
  • The first reason is that there were a lot more people running. The second is that people were prepared to run as many miles as were necessary to reach the upper echelons. Frequently that meant doing things like running to work, running home then going training. Finally, the competition within clubs to win things was much greater. Johnny J
  • They're all on the Internet, chatting on here instead of plodding? My perception is that there are many more people out running these days, but maybe that's because I was too busy with my roller boots in 1983 to notice! Deck the halls with boughs of LB!
  • Fewer kids are getting out and doing stuff. There’s are greater number of distractions, which I think means that there are less opportunities to catch kids at a young age and get them involved in athletics. NickL
  • Here in the west we encourage mediocrity in the 21st century, excellence is no longer considered necessary in most circles. Why are East Africans so good? Because it’s an escape from poverty, and the affluent west no longer has the drive and desire to be that good. Dubai Dave

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Cumbersome Costumes
  • I've promised to run a marathon with a friend next year (September) and I wanted to give myself a bigger challenge. My idea is to run it dressed as a Norman knight: chainmail armour, padded gambeson, sword and shield (maybe helmet). The three big problems I can see are: weight, heat and hydration. If anyone can offer advice, I would really appreciate it. Bert Brown Bear
  • Make it as lightweight as possible and try it out before the day to see if it chafes. I've run as Supergirl, Mother Christmas and a sunflower. I don't recommend anything on your head if possible either - it gets too much in the way! Santa Cinders
  • Try a few short runs in the costume before hand and I'd recommend running at least once a week with a weighted backpack etc (but build up slowly to race weight) in your normal training to get used to the weight. Richard 123
  • You could get your granny to knit you some chain-mail - it'll weigh less (and use nylon yarn, not wool). Wilkie Bells Wilkie Bells
  • My idea for making a marathon harder was running with a pod of bricks. For every £50 i raised for charity, I'd stick another brick in... Warrington Road Warrior

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For the week ending 7 December 2008

Hot to trot...

Running on Christmas Day

  • Who’s going to run on Christmas Day? And when will you go - before or after the slap-up turkey dinner? I can't decide a) if I'll manage it and b) whether I’ll look like a poser! Ho Ho Ho! Rach L.
  • I've got a running date with Speedy Goth on Christmas morning. Last year there was no-one about at 8am - just us two wearing Santa hats! I got home, woke up my hubby, opened the pressies and then the usual - visiting relatives and scoffing copious amounts of scran. vicki: graceless whippet
  • It's a present to myself. I get up and go out with hubby and dog for a few miles before the madness of the day kicks in. Love it.Little M.iss Happy
  • I do five miles. Keep to the schedule – there’s no better way to develop that feeling of martyrdom... Lungs

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Timing the carbs right

  • Recently I've been running out of power on my runs. Last night I barely managed my run and had zero energy for my weights routine. I have a big bowl of muesli before I go, but my legs get heavy after about 15 minutes and I get stitches. Something’s got to change! Lickers
  • It depends how far I'm planning to go. For three to five miles just a banana's fine. For a long run, I have porridge first, let it settle, and then take Jelly Babies out with me. Just try a few things and see what works for you! Christmas pud with custard
  • What you eat all week is just as important as the food just before you train. You need a healthy diet with the right amount of carbs, protein and all the other good stuff! Don’t overload just before you run. M.ister W
  • If you're only running four miles, then the food you eat just before you run won’t have much bearing on your performance. You’ve already got enough glycogen stored in your legs to get you four times that far! Richard Bullivant

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Grumpy Old Men

  • I must be getting old - I just can’t stand these fads and gadgets! GPS watches - how on earth can you even walk with that monstrosity weighing you down? I don’t need an elastic band wrapped round my chest to tell me I’m knackered. And turn off your iPod and say hello! Marky T
  • What a rant! No-one's stopping you from getting out there and running wherever and however you like - not that that's ever stopped a forum rant before! Slugsta Claus
  • Good show, sir! I've just had a chip and dripping buttie for breakfast, slipped on my baggies and a string vest, and tied up my Dunlop Green Flashes. 'Tis a bit nippy so I think I'll also wear my bobble hat and slap some whale fat on me legs and chest to keep warm. Muttley
  • If it takes shiny new kit and gadgets to encourage people to go running then so be it. Running is for everyone, not just those who can run a marathon in under three hours, have less body fat than a prawn or those who feel superior because they 'were doing it before it was popular'. Laura Fleming 2

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Prices per mile
  • If I stopped to work out how much I've spent on running in the past year I'd probably jack it in and hide inside with a box of doughnuts - I'm sure it's cheaper. Where does your money go?! bikermouse
  • Two pairs of shoes a year, plus shorts, tights, technical top, socks... Plus race entries, which seem to go up all the time! Throw in petrol and call it £500 for a year's sport - on 1,000 miles a year that’s a grand total of 50p per mile. Mr. Puffy
  • What about the sports doctor, private MRI scans, sports massage, physio?! (and even after all that, my bum still hurts...) runner-bean
  • I'm still wearing leggings I bought 10 years ago – I don’t see the point in looking swish when all anyone sees is my bright red face! I started running over 20 years ago, and most modern ‘essentials’ hadn’t even been invented then. Sunluvva

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For the week ending 1 December 2008

Hot to trot...

Reasons to run

  • What makes you run? I love being fit and healthy, but mostly I’m scared of becoming morbidly obese... max jones 3
  • So I can eat cake. And biscuits. kwilter... waddling less
  • I love getting out in the fresh air, and that awesome feeling of achievement when I finish my runs. Merry Meglet
  • I started running because I hated having to play netball instead of football at school! But now it’s because I love food and drink. Running keeps my weight stable and makes me feel better about myself. Life's Too Short

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Mileage Matters

  • I’ve noticed that if I put in higher mileage for a while, my race times always improve significantly. If I have a low mileage month, my performances are rubbish. This seems to go against the grain, but surely there’s nothing like high mileage for improving times? Orion Runner Bean
  • Here’s some good advice from Italian cycling pro Fausto Coppi: he said if you want to improve on the bike then "Ride a bike, ride a bike, ride a bike!" The same applies to running! Paul Gammo
  • Fausto Coppi was around 50 years ago – and we've learned a bit since then. We now know that a combination of endurance training (long slow runs) and speed/strength training is likely to be more successful. The Kenyans, for example, do lots of steady miles but also speed training. Johnny J
  • Every mile probably does improve your overall level of running fitness but it also exponentially increases your chance of injury. MarkF

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Jeers or jokes?

  • I’m recovering from injury and went out for a run-walk tonight. A teenage girl decided it would be funny to trot alongside me like a horse. Her pals were howling with laughter, and it made me so angry. Then during a (sensible!) walk break another runner passed me and yelled, "You won't get anywhere like that. You need to start running again!" Where’s the support we need from other runners? Ruth22
  • Don't let them get you down - they aren’t worth a second of your time. I usually use jokes to defuse things. Why not try "Come on then guys, keep up" or "Looking good, are you going to do the next 10 miles with me?" M.ister W
  • Kids who give runners lip are basically harmless - they're just trying to impress their mates. But if you approach them looking fearful or uptight, you're going to get a reaction in kind. Just relax. Muttley
  • Once I got instant karma - shuffling past some kids, one of them started running backwards facing me, yelling at me to hurry up. Before I could think of a comeback, he started to run forwards again and went slap bang into a lamp post. He didn't say much after that! Nam

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Blister Bother
  • I keep getting blisters on the inside of my big toe and a sore hot spot underneath my big toe. I’ve tried all the usual tricks – moisturiser, surgical spirit, new socks, new trainers - everything except wedging something between the blasted toes! runnersbeen
  • I just wrap the offending toes up in fabric plasters. It does the trick for me. EMD
  • The best bit of advice I was ever given was at my first ultra race: "Sudocreme. Plaster your feet in it." I have done this on every long run since and have never had another blister. TriTart
  • Have you been to see a podiatrist? They may be able to help. Find one that’s used to runners though! Farnie

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For the week ending 24 November 2008

Hot to trot...

Canine Companions

  • I took my dog for a run last night and she loved it! Having company was lovely, and I felt a lot safer running in the dark (despite her being about as hard as jelly!) She's seven – is that too old to start running? She’s so enthusiastic but I don't want to exhaust her! YorksLass
  • My little one did 16 miles quite comfortably when I was training for FLM, but I built up his training along with mine. Your dog should be capable of that too, but be aware of how she’s feeling and don't push too hard. Rio!!
  • It depends on the breed - you need to wait until the bones have stopped developing. You could check with your vet, but not all of them know - a better source would be a local agility class or even your breeder. RebekahJane
  • My dog tells me when I'm pushing the pace by finding "really interesting" stuff to sniff. She loves it though, and sulks if I go out without her! Stig-OT-Dump

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Shipshape Shoes

  • I've had a pair of trainers for some time now and some of my runs have been pretty muddy so as you can imagine, they’re getting a bit manky. This might seem obvious, but what is the correct way to clean them? T1Cybernetic
  • I have a hosepipe outside my back door - I use that to get rid of all the mud. I do waterproof all my shoes though as it stops the stitching rotting. Or you could try a good old fashioned toothbrush. Buney
  • Outdoor tap - give them a drenching then leave them to dry. My trainers are really skanky, I'm afraid - it's the sign of a good runner. JohnnyBlaze
  • Just don't put them in the washing machine! I did this with two pairs last week and broke the washing machine in the process... Muddy Trainers

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Missing Mojo

  • I apologise if this sounds a bit whiny but I just cannot believe that it’s been whole weeks since I last ran. Now I'm scared of starting out again in case I fail miserably. Anyone else feeling like this? Ladyfe
  • Maybe you need something to aim for - find a race. Or plan your 2009 schedule (January is only six weeks away), and treat yourself to some snazzy new gear for Christmas. Buney
  • Join a club – there’s nothing like the sarky comments I get when I miss a week to keep me motivated! Richard R
  • That sounds so familiar! I spent nearly two years injur