Saturday 29 September 2012

The Truth About Sports Products

Just a quick post about an episode of the BBC's  Panaorma programme the ‘The Truth About Sports Products’. The episode was aired on British TV a few months back, but I have just noticed that it has appeared on You Tube.

The first part of the programme gives a good account of the lack of evidence for the effectiveness of branded sports drinks and supplements. It certainly got me thinking about simplifying my nutrition for running. 

The second part of the programme talks about the lack of evidence regarding the injury prevention boasts of conventional running shoes (pronation control etc), it even has an appearance by the natural running guru Daniel Lieberman

You can find out more about the content of the programme here.

Wednesday 26 September 2012

World's Biggest Half Marathon Great North Run

It's just over a week since this year's Great North Run. This is the sixth time I have run the race and as usual it was an amazing day. For those of you who know little about the race the Great North Run is the world's best attended half marathon, with over 50,000 runners. The race is run in the north east of England - from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields as you can see from the route overview below.

BUPA Great North Run Route

Tuesday 18 September 2012

A Budget Minimalist Running Shoe for Less Than £10

I just picked up a new pair of running shoe from Decathlon while on holiday in Italy recently that seems to tick all the boxes for a good minimalist running shoe (without actually using them for running at the moment!). The shoe is branded as ‘Newfeel’ according to the label on the side of the shoes.

They are zero drop from heel to toe, and have no arch support whatsoever. The sole is made from plastic and is only about five millimetres in depth, so they don’t offer much cushioning. The shoes do not come with an insole so I decided to fit a thin general flat  insole that I bought from a supermarket for about £4 for 6 pairs.

Being the sort of person who spends quite a bit of money on running shoes I am intrigued as to how these will perform in comparison to my branded minimalist shoes. I will give them a month or so and report back on the blog how they worked out.

Monday 17 September 2012

Tread Lightly Book Review

Tread Lightly is a book by Peter Larson and Bill Katovsky. Pete is well known in running blog circles as being the writer of  This and other blogs have been a great help to me in learning how to adopt a more natural running technique over the past year.


Tread Lightly provides a good introduction to current research on natural  running - that is running in a manner that is more akin to running barefoot. It provides a balanced view of the science and anecdotal evidence (where research is lacking) surrounding running injury risk reduction and is likely to be of use to the recreational runner and the more serious runner. I would highly recommend that you read this book. 


The book is very balanced. The authors provide a very honest opinion of the relative merits and disadvantages of natural running issues. This is often backed up by summaries of research, where available or anecdotal evidence where it is not. Coming from a science background I liked this aspect of the book as it not based on opinion but is backed up largely by hard facts.

Sunday 16 September 2012

Top Ten Tips For Running Beginners

I was just thinking the other day about when I started running and how it took me a while to get to grips with some of the basics. Although running is in some ways a relatively simple sport there are a number of things to consider that will make your running experience that little bit easier.

So from what I have leaned over my running career, my top ten tips (in no particular order) for running success are:

Saturday 15 September 2012

Upcoming Salomon Kielder Marathon

I will also be repeating my Kielder Marathon experience when the race is run again on the 7th October.

Salomon Kielder Marathon Elevation Profile
The marathon is unique in that it follows the Lakeside Tail around Kielder Water with one lap of the water equalling the marathon distance. It is a beautiful spot in rural Northumberland in the North of England most of the time you are running through pine trees

The marathon is not easy, it is the most hilly marathon I have run. As you can see from the elevation profile I recorded on my Garmin GPS watch below, there are  no real killer hills just lots of small one - lots of ups and down that slowly sap your strength. 

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Running Without Socks

I always ran with socks, right up until about March 2012. I have to admit I have tried being sockless in the past, but not for running, usually on holiday somewhere warm. But my feet would end up sweaty and rub on my shoes causing blisters. 

There I was working away from home in London and I noticed someone on the train who had just been to the gym not wearing socks with running shoes. I don’t know why but It made something click in my mind. I had always worn socks and not thought much about not wearing them when running. So I decided to give running sockless a try.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Running Shoe Wear

Since January 2012  I have made some significant changes to the way I run.

It is generally perceived that a more natural running technique involves a ‘mid-foot’ strike (where pretty much all of the foot hits the ground at the same time) rather than a heel strike (where the heel hits the ground first followed by the forefoot). Being keen to make some quick changes to my running technique this was one of the first things I did to adopt a more natural running style.

Sunday 9 September 2012

My Running Shoe Pile

I have a confession to make I am a shoeaholic, this is my pile of running shoes. I have counted 10 pairs. I got to admit I don't wear quite a number of them since I converted to running in minimalist shoes. Imagine the smell!

Sunday 2 September 2012

5 Reasons Why I Like the Great North Run

The Great North Run (GNR)  is nearly upon again and I can’t wait. Living only about fifteen miles from the start line this is a race I do every year and such this will be my sixth GNR.

You tend to get  some serious runners who get a bit snooty about the GNR as it is a mass participation run with around 50,000 participants every year - apparently the world’s largest half marathon, but who cares it is a great race.

There are a number of things that I love about the race and I decided to put them into a top five, so here goes:


with the music pumping and fifty thousand runners at the start line it makes for a tremendous atmosphere, when I look back at the start line I cannot see where the runners end - it still make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up!


The finish is spectacular, thousands of people line the last mile of the race, there is even a small grandstand,  the spectators make a lot of noise and it really forces you to run the last mile much faster then you would normally. Amazing!

Half a mile from the finish GNR 2011

3. The kindness of the local residents 

The race route goes through built up parts of Gateshead and South Shields and the local residents provide drinks (the oddest I saw one year was home brewed beer!), sweets and hose piped water, they also give exceptional support.


The runners are from all types of backgrounds from elites (Mo Farah will run the race this year) to fun runners. The costumes that people wear amaze me sometimes I think there is a bloke doing completing the run this year with a fridge strapped to his back!

5. Charity

The race raises many millions of pounds for charity which is the icing on the cake!

So good luck to all who are participating in this year GNR, I can’t wait!

What do you like about the Great North Run?