Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tupper #11

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Swimming OK in the UK

Swimming is the new running!......Well that's what I try to tell myself as rehab continues.

The last time I ran was 20th July, four and a half weeks ago, which actually feels like four and a half YEARS ago!!! I tell a lie, I actually went for 2 miles last Sunday (but don't tell my Physio!). I went for a very slow plod just to see what reaction I would get from the Achilles. It wasn't great but I definitely felt improvement which is good (accentuate the positives!).

So in an attempt to stop going stir crazy and to get some endorphins flowing, I've hit the pool. I enjoy swimming, I find it quite therapeutic and have now been twice a week for the last few weeks. I will probably up this to 3 times a week because I honestly think I'll be away from running for a looonnnnggg time.

I've been a bit slack on my rehab exercises at the moment (but don't tell my Physio!) which is crazy, I can go out and run for a couple of hours, get up at 6 and swim for half an hour but somehow can't get in a routine of doing some simple stretching for 10 minutes!!!

I will get there though as I know how important these exercises are to make me a better and stronger runner when I get back. Heck, I shouldn't be so hard on myself at least I'm cross training.

I'm not quite sure what the blog posts are going to consist of in the near future while I'm away from running so maybe I'll have to temporary change the name of the blog....Running Swimming OK in the UK.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Go to your Physio!

I've now had two trips to Finefettle, and what I've learnt has been invaluable to my running. I made the point in a previous post that you can scan the internet till your blue in the face gaining all sorts of advice on a particular injury that you're suffering with. The trouble is it is not specific to you. Let me give you an example from my experience.

Information overload!
As you know if you read the blog regularly I'm suffering with my Achilles. Now I have obtained from the Internet many exercises, stretches to help me overcome the problem. But what I've since found out by coming to the good people of Finefettle is....my right leg was shorter than my left where my pelvis was twisted (now been sorted) and my left leg is stronger with more calf muscle tone than the right. So basically I've been running 'Wonky' for a while now!

There is no way on earth I could have known these things from reading up on the Internet without being physically seen by a professional. So although I'm treating my Achilles there is other stuff going on which I would have never known about.

On my first visit to Finefettle I saw Helen an Osteopath and on my most recent visit I saw Alexandra who is a Physio who I will now continue to do my rehab with. So I've had great advice from two different .....

I've now got to do some strength training in my legs, calfs, glutes, core, you name it I'm doing it. I'm not sure when I'll be able to run again, but when I do hopefully I'll have much better form and be a better runner from the strength work I'm doing away from running.

I've started swimming this week in an attempt to keep my fitness levels. I enjoy swimming, and was going regularly last year but the pool closed for refurbishment and I lost the momentum. It's definitely something I want to keep up even when I'm back running. If only I enjoyed cycling as much as swimming and running then I would be in good stead to have a go at a Triathlon.

My lovely Olympic sized 50m local pool
When I started out running and got my first pair of trainers, like most runners I got checked out by the experts and brought a pair suited to me. I overpronate and have low arches and ever since I've always run in a stability trainer. But from my visit to the Physio this week I've learnt that my arches are now high and I should get my trainers checked out again as maybe I need a more neutral trainer. It may not be the answer but it could be contributing to my Achilles problems. Once again some advice I wouldn't have known unless a visit to the proffesionals.

So I'll keep going with my new found advice and hopefully towards recovery. This week has been the first that I've really missed running, I've been ok upto now and even enjoying a bit of a break. Hopefully the swimming will see me through till I can run again.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Nike Lunarglide 6

The Lunarglide range was one of the first new revolutionary lightweight trainers and has been a favourite of mine for a long time. I started out with the +2, then onto the +3 and +4, skipped the version 5 and am now happy to be back reviewing it's 6th reincarnation.

It makes you wonder how a stability shoe can be so light but Nike have done it again, in fact they've made the new version 30% lighter than it's predecessor! Now weighing in at just 272 grams.

One of the Lunarglide's strong points is how well it holds the foot particularly in the heel. 

The heel clip has been updated to give extra support which works well. The trainer generally feels quite snug but comfortable. 

The flywire technology integrates with the seamless breathable upper to give a glove like snug fit but not restrictive and extremely comfortable and airy.

Stability trainers in the past always relied on a medial post on the inner side of the outsole to stop the foot rolling. This in some shoes was quite noticeable and in some uncomfortable, the Lunarglide's support comes from opposing wedges of foam of different densities which gives the stability without the fore mentioned problems.

The outsole design has been much improved and is one of the best new features. The design map under foot is made up of individual contour maps that flex independently making the shoe very responsive and give a more natural movement to the foot.

Overall this is a big update and a worthwhile one.

I would highly recommend this shoe to the overpronating runner, it can be used for long distances or for more faster shorter distances as the trainer is so light.

Cushioning - 10 out of 10, Very supportive trainer
Comfort - 9 out of 10, Extreme comfort below foot
Flexibility - 10 out of 10, Amazing for a stability trainer
Responsiveness - 9.5 out of 10, Very good due to the new outsole design

Overall 38.5 out of 40

The Nike Lunarglide +6 can be purchased from JD sports at £95

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Here we go again!

So once again I find myself on the long winding road to recovery. 18 months ago a fractured ankle, and now Achilles problems. Its been a frustrating couple of years. It's not as though its my livelihood, I'm no athlete, all I want to do is run for enjoyment!

I decided I needed to get professional help, you can read plenty on the internet and although it can sometimes be helpful, its not specific to oneself and you could be causing yourself more problems.

For my sporting injuries I put my faith into Finefettle, a multi healthcare company based in Bookham, Surrey. Its here I see Helen, an Osteopath who has has a wealth of experience and and knowledge in her field. I'm never disappointed from my visits to Finefettle and the support I receive from Helen via email.

After a quick analysis Helen got straight to work and straight away observing that my pelvis mechanics were out causing my right leg to be sitting shorter against my left probably caused from my fracture to my ankle some time ago. So for 18 months I've been running 'wonky'. Straight away one problem solved that I would have never have known about and peace of mind when I do finally get back to running again. Correcting the pelvis alignment involved what I can only describe as taking part in Judo at the commonwealth games' as I was pulled all over the place....I submit!!!

Then it was down to some work on my calf's and Achilles themselves including some dry needling techniques. We literally threw everything at this stubborn injury!

I'm back again in a weeks time for some more rehab with the practice physio but in between times its a case of contrasting bathing  (hot and cold) and back to the eccentric stretches and most importantly rest and making sure I wear my supportive running trainers as much as I can rather than flat shoes. Fortunately I can wear my trainers to work which will be a help.

Other than that it's back to missing out on another summer of running and driving past the many runners in my car feeling very envious indeed!

Friday, 25 July 2014

Mission abort and #projectsub20

After 9 weeks I was slowly getting back into marathon shape and my fitness was feeling good...BUT...my Achilles were feeling far from good, and I've finally realised that training for my marathon in September is going to be aborted.

I'm disappointed but in a way it's been good for me because it's forced me into going to get the injury properly sorted by the professionals. I've suffered with my Achilles in the past and had some Physio at the time along with rest and some off the shelf orthotics and it all went away for a few years.

But now the pain is back with a vengeance and I've let it go way too far pretending it will not get any worse but obviously now it has, and not only has it got worse in one tendon but the other is now just as bad....Stupid me!!!

This time round it all started from wearing my Solomon trail trainers at the beginning of the year. In no way am I blaming the trainers in design just the fact they are a totally different shoe to what I'm used to and with not as much support as I'm used to.

Greek hero Achilles
I could feel the problem beginning and should and could of nipped it in the bud there and then but having spent so long out last year with my busted ankle, there was no way I was going to stop running again....Stupid me!!!

I'm sure my running biomechanics are totally wrong also, there's always some ache or pain after running for a period of time. So I'm off to Finefettle next week in an attempt to be fixed once and for all!

3 is the magic number
So I've decided, when I return to running, I'm no longer going to train for marathons. The big miles don't suit me and I've completed 3 marathons (3 is my lucky number...3rd child, born on the 3rd month, 3 letters in my name) with a PB of 3:58 so I've achieved the goal of a sub 4 hour marathon.

Running marathons take a lot of time and dedication especially at weekends when I'd rather be having quality time with the family. I could get up early enough and run for 3 hours, be back by 10am and then have the rest of the day to do whatever, but I'd be so tired that I wouldn't want to do much more than have a big nap!

My new running goal is going to be attempting to achieve a sub 20 minute 5K time, currently my PB stands at 22:04 so I need to try and knock over 2 minutes off my time which over 3 miles is not an easy feat. 

To do this I need my running form to be correct, introduce a lot more speedwork and I reckon I need to  lose some extra timber along the way!

Parkruns will become race day and I plan to run 5 days a week, mostly at lunchtimes at work freeing up weekends to relax more.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

TomTom Runner Cardio sport watch

I've had GPS sports watches in the past with heart rate monitors where you wear a strap around your upper body. All good but sometimes temperamental in keeping satellite signals under trees and buildings and often losing heart rate readings while on the run. 

Well what if you could have watch that doesn't lose signals under trees and can measure your heartrate without a chest strap....Enter the TomTom Runner Cardio sports watch!

The watch measures heart rate with a Mio optical sensor, which monitors changes in blood flow by shining a light at the rear of watch through the skin on your wrist. It's amazing and you are oblivious to this taking place. I'm aware of the Mio sensor technology as I have reviewed the Mio Alpha heart rate monitor in the past. Billed as the worlds first strapless heart rate monitor the Mio Alpha was a great watch but did not have any GPS built in or software to be able to download data.

But now combined with TomTom's GPS expertise, this is now a serious piece of kit.

The strap is the same design as the Mio Alpha, which I'm glad, as this was a good feature. It's soft and secure with no fear of coming loose on the run.

The watch was easy to set up out the box and comes with a USB cable for uploading to a computer and for keeping the watch software upto date through the TomTom MySports website. 

Once the watch is set up, you're ready to go. Navigating around the watch is simple. Moving left with the Joystick opens the status screen, Down opens the settings menu, Right opens the activities menu. The only touch screen capabilities work the back-light for the screen.

The joystick looks quite obtrusive but it actually does not get in the way, and is easy to operate whilst running.

To start a run is simple, a click to the right highlights the run option, another click to the right and the watch will begin to search for satellites using the latest GPS and GLONASS technology. Initially this may take a few minutes, and if you run from a new location it will be the same, but once it has located the satellites and if you run in the same area again the fix is almost instant. The watch will vibrate and display the word 'GO'. Pushing the button once more to the right begins the run. To pause a run, press and hold the button to the left, from here you can either continue your run by pressing right or finish the run by pressing and holding to the left again. It's all very simple.

Whilst running the large screen displays information of the current run: distance, duration, pace, average pace, lap time, lap distance, lap pace, calories, heart rate and heart rate zone. By pressing the joystick down you can scroll through each of these items....Now for my one criticism of the watch, once you've scrolled through to the end, to get back to the beginning you have to go back up through each item again. It would be nice if whilst continuing to press down you went back to the first item after the last. Other than that the information is clear and very accurate. I've run with the watch under heavy tree coverage and the satellite signal never weakened making for accurate results. 

The furthest I've run with the watch is around 2 hours and battery life was hardly touched. The watch is recharged via the USB cable through the computer. When not being used the watch does not turn off but displays the current time when not in use.
One of five intensity zones can be selected to match your training goals and the watch will send alerts letting you know whether to speed up or slow down.

The five zones are: 
Sprint: mostly used as part of interval training.
Speed: high tempo training to improve your speed and fitness.
Endure: moderate to high tempo training to improve your lung and heart capacity.
Fat Burn: moderate tempo training, great for weight loss.
Easy: easy tempo training, mostly used for warm-up and cool down
The watch is very durable and has a scratch and impact resistant screen and is weather and water resistant.

Uploading your runs can be done connecting the watch to a computer via the USB cable or by Bluetooth onto any Apple device with the TomTom My Sports APP downloaded. The APP should be available for Android devices in September 2014. As well as the My Sports Website the data can be synced on popular running sites and community platforms, including MapMyFitness, RunKeeper, TrainingPeaks and Strava.

Syncing with my IPAD is the easiest and my favourite way of uploading, wireless and through the APP.

Once uploaded, Your run can be reviewed on the MySports website. I must admit I'm not a great fan of the layout of the site but all the information you would expect and want from your run is there. I would like to see a calender layout of my runs rather than a list that you get when entering the site. Also viewing the laps of the run is not clear.

This is a minor criticism of the software rather than the watch. I cant fault the watch and highly recommend, it's strengths being its accuracy and ease of use. 

The TomTom Runner Cardio sport watch is priced £219.99 and UK retail stockists include Sweatshop, Runners Need, Up & Running and John Lewis  also available from www.tomtom.com/sports