running blog


World first in running!



Running Wellies!

Who else would love a pair of these? Hope they catch on! Perfect for getting in your runs at festivals or simply coping with the great British summer weather!

Full story from Bupa below…



Jo Whiley will wear the world’s first “running wellies” at Glastonbury to keep training on track.

Glastonbury presenter Jo Whiley will be at the forefront of festival fashion when she sports the world’s first ever pair of “running wellies” later this week. The prototype footwear has been created by Bupa specifically for Jo, to help keep her training for the Bupa Great North Run on track during her busy summer of festival commitments, whatever the weather.

Bupa’s team of experts have created a number of the limited edition “running wellies” for festival goers this summer. The footwear has been designed in the style of the traditional wellington boot and include several key requirements of a trainer including laces, a supportive sole and increased ankle and heel support. Music fan Jo, will also be able to keep in touch with the latest festival sounds with the built in iPod holder.

Despite her busy summer schedule, the presenter has committed to running her first ever half marathon on 15th September, in a bid to get fit. It is hoped that the “running wellies” will enable Jo to continue her training for the Bupa Great North Run despite the unpredictable weather and iconic mud covered fields. The run is part of Bupa’s My First Run campaign, which aims to inspire 2,000 people to take up running by offering free Bupa Great Run 5km places to first time runners.

Jo Whiley said: “I’ll be spending a lot of time working at festivals throughout the summer and always tend to be up to my knees in mud. I’m determined to keep my training going for the Bupa Great North Run and the right footwear is crucial, so the running wellies seem like the only way I’ll be able to get the miles in throughout the festival season.”



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Running buddy for Jo Whiley for the Great North Run.

As part of Bupa’s My First Run campaign, to inspire people to take up running, Bupa are offering one member of the public the chance to train with Jo Whiley for her first half marathon and line up with her at the Great North Run.

See press release below for details and/or the Bupa facebook page…




Bupa offer the chance to be Jo Whiley’s training partner for world’s largest half marathon

Jo Whiley is looking to recruit a running partner as she prepares to tackle the Bupa Great North Run. One lucky member of the public will win then chance to be her training buddy and help keep her motivated as she faces her biggest ever physical challenge. The famous broadcaster will be joining 56,000 runners for the world’s largest half marathon on Sunday 15th September.

The duo will become training partners and receive expert guidance from Bupa’s team of sports medicine experts along the way. Jo will be paired up with one lucky winner via a competition on the Bupa Facebook page. The winner of the competition will attend two training sessions with Jo, receive regular contact from a Bupa sports medicine expert and will join her at the start line of the iconic 13.1 mile course.

The presenter has committed to running her first ever half marathon, in a bid to get fit and help her face her busy schedule. This forms part of Bupa’s My First Run campaign, which aims to inspire 2,000 people to take up running by offering free Bupa Great Run 5km places to first time runners.

Like Jo, you may be used to years of early starts but are still tempted by the snooze button instead of exercise.  Alternatively, after a long day’s work if you are lured to the sofa rather than the treadmill then running experts advise that a training partner will help you get those trainers on and get running. Running with someone else makes it easier to get started and stay motivated.

Jo Whiley said: “Like a lot of people, my life is really busy with my many presenting commitments and running around after four kids. So, I find it difficult to motivate myself to get active and having someone to train with will help me stay focused. I appreciate the benefits of being fit and healthy and after some great advice from Bupa, all I need now is someone to help get me to the start line!”

To enter the competition visit the Bupa Running Facebook page (facebook.com/buparunning) and submit your reasons why you should be Jo’s running buddy before Sunday 16th June.

Jo Whiley (5)



Bupa London 10K

On Monday I ran the Bupa London 10,000m for the 6th time. I’m very pleased with myself, even though it wasn’t a PB, because I ran with my head and it was one of my better races.

I think I’ve finally grown up (running wise) and learned from my countless mistakes. Like following an 11-year-old round a parkrun. (Flat out sprint which gradually slows to a plod and leaves your lungs on the first corner!)

Last week’s 10K race was a good practice run where I ran a too fast first mile and then struggled by half way. So older and wiser, on Monday I was determined to run a more measured race. I wanted to enjoy it and not struggle with ‘mind over-matter’ during the last miles after trying too hard at the start.

My friend, and usual Bupa 10K running buddy, had been unwell the previous week so planned an easy run/walk strategy and left me to go off on my own. She has paced me and encouraged me in the past (and is responsible for my PB in this race in 2010) so I was given strict instructions not to go off too fast (she knows me well). And I did, (do what I was told). I knew from last weeks race and from my fitness and training (what training?) exactly what I was capable of and told friends at the start that I would probably finish (all being well!) in about 53 mins (same as last week).

So I set off. It was busy and I maintained a steady pace aiming for around 8.30 min miles. It become a little slower than that and I worried about starting too slow but I was moving with the crowd and determined not to over tire myself by dodging in and out of the pack to try to run a slightly faster pace. We all slowed slightly around 3km to cheer on Mo, Scott and the front-runners passing in the other direction and then went though the congested water station where, although I didn’t stop, had to take care because of discarded bottles all over the road.

After half way I started to make myself pick off runners ahead to hold pace. My new Garmin 210 gives a lot less information than my old 450cx model and I am finding this is a good thing! I was less distracted by it, looking at it only occasionally to see average pace and check that was falling but otherwise I am getting better at running by feel. For the rest of the race I just concentrated on holding pace. I was comfortable and happy to see my average pace slowly drop back to 8.30 and then below. The fact that I didn’t have a flat-out sprint left in me for the end suggests I paced it about right and hadn’t taken it too comfortably. I felt strong the whole race and enjoyed it.

My prediction was spot on! With a very good negative split to boot. I’ve finally got smart and learned how to run a good race. Now if I can just add in some smarter training and put in the miles….



As always the race was impeccably organised and well staffed with volunteers/marshalls . Other race organisers should see how this race works and take note! The baggage drop always impresses me with no queues on the walk through system with 11,000 runners. It is a busy race, but if you’re in the right start pen (and hopefully so are most other people) you don’t get held up too much. Plus you really can’t beat running through the streets of London on a sunny Bank Holiday Monday.

This is what makes it my favourite race. See you all next year!


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Free places for first time runners at Bupa Great Run events

If you are (or know someone who is) a new runner thinking of entering your first race then this is the opportunity you may have been waiting for. Bupa, sponsors of my favourite 10K, the London 10,000m, is offering free places to new runners at their 5K Great Run events…. See their press release below or find Details here.

Thousands of first time runners are being offered free race places by Bupa as part of its quest to inspire more people in the UK to be physically active. There are 2,000 free race places being offered across the Bupa Great Run 5km events. This includes the Bupa Great Edinburgh 5km (Sunday 14th July), the Bupa Great North 5km (Saturday 14th September) and the Bupa Great South 5km (Saturday 26th October).

The race places are being targeted specifically at first time runners of all abilities who have never previously taken part in a Bupa Great Run series event, to help prompt them to get and stay active. Regular runners are also being encouraged to sign-up friends and family members who have previously spoken about their desire to start running to inspire them to get started. Healthcare company Bupa, have supported nearly 2 million runners since 1993 when their Great Run series sponsorship began.

Paula Franklin, Bupa Medical Director said: “Running can have a very positive effect on both your physical and emotional health. We really want to encourage as many people as possible to try running, as lots of people experience great joy and reward from it. A 5km event can be a great place to start and has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. There is no pressure to run and those who prefer can walk some or the entire race. Either way we believe that taking part will give you a general feeling of wellbeing. We hope that by providing free places for first time runners we will encourage more people to be active going forwards.”

Individuals can apply for a free race place by visiting www.bupa.co.uk/myfirstrun and submitting their personal details, with 2,000 winners being selected at random by Bupa.


Happy Running

After my fantastic run on the Thames path last weekend, I’ve had another good week of running and marathon training.  Again, I’ve been to BMF 3 times but I also added a run on Thursday where I was happy enough to include 3 speedy mile laps in the middle of my run. My fastest was 7.42 which I will log for magic mile team GB, although I might try to have another go as I’m sure all out I can beat that!

Today I was back on the Thames path for another long run.  I ran downstream this time and on the south bank of the river where the path follows it closely.  My legs weren’t as fresh as last week after speedwork on Thursday and a harder BMF class yesterday but was happy to be only a bit slower paced than last week over my 17 miles.  Kingston to Putney then back to Hammersmith and home.  Very different scenery this week, at some times easy to forget you are running so close to London.

towards Richmond

Talking about happy running, Bupa Running are celebrating the world’s happiest run – the Bupa Great North Run, tomorrow.  (I’m going to have to run it now sooner or later!) They’ve set up a tumblr page where runners can share their pictures of their training and of race day and would love runners to have a look and send in their pictures via Facebook and Twitter using the #BupaGNR and #happiestrun hashtags.

As an added charity incentive Bupa will be donating £1 to their charity partner, Diabetes UK, on behalf of the first 2000 people to share their experiences on Twitter and Facebook with the #happiestrun hashtag.

Bupa Running are also highlighting some of the great charity work that people are doing, using distance races to raise money for so many great causes. For example comedian Patrick Monahan is running the GNR to raise money for Zoe’s Place, a baby hospice in Middlesbrough. Patrick has made a  video  of how he plans to make the race as much fun as possible! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EieJZaEjeDQ&list=PL58D9450B2C34283E&index=1&feature=plpp_video

Good luck to everyone running the GNR tomorrow and to everyone else training and running in upcoming events.  Don’t forget to share your experiences with Bupa running #BupaGNR #happiestrun and spread the word if you are running for a good cause.  I won’t be joining you tomorrow but do have the Ealing Half and Royal Parks Half in 2 and 3 weeks time.

Happy Running!


Bupa London 10K

It was hot, blooming hot!

On Sunday I met up in Green Park with my good friend Kirsten (returning to racing after injury) and with Alma and Louise.  We met in the pleasant surroundings of Green Park and while we pinned on numbers and attached timing chips I realised how hot it really was.  It might have been a much better idea to stay there sitting on the grass for a chat and a picnic!

As usual for this race it was really well organised, plenty of loos and very organised baggage drop so it only took a few minutes to get ready before heading to the start.  The course had been changed this year to reflect the Olympic Marathon course starting on the Mall.  A very slick start and all waves were moved forward very promptly to get the start cleared for the elite runners to finish at the same point!  It was a busy race and there was a bit of weaving to keep up pace and having to wait to pass people and some elbow bashing at narrower points but there was a good atmosphere and lots of noisy spectators cheering us along.  As my 5th running of this race it was a nice change to run it in reverse!

Kirsten who has suffered with an injuries recently told me to go ahead at the start as she had promised her Physio to walk if her legs were tight.  However she caught up with me not long after 1Km and we ran the rest of the race together.  As I predicted, injury or no injury, Kirsten has one pace (quite quick which she can carry on for miles and miles!) and it was me who was the weak-link suggesting in a few places where the heat was really getting to me that we ease off a bit! Having a good steady pace maker helped me maintain a reasonable pace and I’m sure that left to my own devices I would have been far slower. I really struggled in the heat and almost stopped to walk just before the 9k point but managed to force myself on having got so far.  So I was happy to scrape in under 55 mins at 54.53.  My slowest 10K for a long while but by far the hottest, the reported temperature was 28 degrees!

The highlight was just before 3km when the front group of the mens race passed us on the other side of the road on their return leg and we all shouted encouragement to Mo Farrah to continue his winning streak  My olympic athletics experience! Who needs tickets?  We also saw the stands in place at Horse Guards Parade for the volleyball and crossed the finish line where the olympic marathon will in front of a crowd of spectators.

A great day,  finished with lunch out for Kirsten’s birthday with her partner and my family.  I have signed up for a sixth Bupa London 10K in 2013 when I hope to break my ‘getting slower and slower’ streak!


Saved by the Llama

Viceathon (one mile run for each glass of wine in April) came to an end and I finished like most participants with debt (10 miles) carried over into May. However it was still a success!  I ran 67 miles in April, a period when I was feeling very unmotivated, distracted, busy and weary which is at least double what I might have run.  It also made me think about how much I drink when I had to own up to every glass of wine.  A useful exercise.

Now we come to the Llama.  Somehow or other during Viceathon and many conversations on Facebook it came about that salvation (and the erasing of all debts) could happen if we could report that we’d seen a Llama whilst out on a run!  So I was very glad to discover this fine Llama while running on the Isle of Wight at the weekend!

It’s just as well because I had begun to notice, and worry about, a recurrence of my hip/glute niggles towards the end of the month on a long run.  I have probably run a few too many ‘junk’ miles just for the sake of it (a glass of wine or two) and have neglected my exercises, stretches and sessions with my foam roller!

So my approach for the rest of my training for the Bupa London 10K in a couple of weeks is to train smarter.  Rather than bashing out the miles I’m now combining BMF classes (where there are plenty of opportunities for short sprints) with shorter more focussed runs with race pace intervals.  I will still do a longish run each week.  I’m using the 10K training plans from Bupa Running as a guide, using the structure of the intermediate one, running 4 days a week so I take 3 important rest days but am using the long run distances from the advanced plan because I am already running that sort of mileage.

I’ve found the regular injury Q &As on the Bupa Running Facebook page very interesting and a useful reminder of my need to stretch and do my exercises as well as getting some useful tips and alternative stretches from replies to questions.  Advice I have received is the importance of getting a Podiatrist gait assessment for my pronation issues, and not just self-treating with insoles from the internet. I’ve run 600 miles in the ‘temporary’ insoles I got last summer from the physio…oops! And all my niggles are coming back.

So please feel free to kick me if I don’t report that I’ve got that sorted out before Juneathon starts because otherwise running every day will mean there’s a high chance I will end up injured again and then spend the summer feeling sorry for myself and blogging about nothing but my woes and running injuries…Zzzz.

You have been warned!


My Favourite Race

It’s one month before the Bupa London 10,000, my favourite race. And this year however light I am on training (as usual) I am not panicked. No this year I am happy because more importantly my running buddy Kirsten will be back to run it with me. Thanks Bupa Running for the extra place.

It’s all Kirsten’s fault I got into running in the first place! We have been friends for many years and shared flats at university in the 80s. Back then Kirsten was a runner and I was a boozer (not too much has changed then) although I did sport for my college’s netball team, although we were difficult to lose against and could give the lads a good contest in the union bar after matches (can’t leave all the fun to the boys).

Fast forward a ‘few’ years and a couple of kids, several degrees and careers later, Kirsten and I are still good friends and living in London. I finally found a love of exercise with British Military Fitness and when I mentioned that I was enjoying running Kirsten, who was still running and had recently run the Great North Run, suggested we run a race for life together which later progressed to more 5K’s and to on to my first 10K

So began our history with the Bupa 10,000m. We ran the Bupa Great Capital run in Hyde Park in July 2007 (blooming hot if I remember) which was the precursor of the current Bupa 10,000 and have run it in its current form as the London 10,000m from Green Park in 2008, 2009, and 2010. We remember the first run in the pouring rain all too well! Each year we have run the race together and Kirsten being a faster, fitter runner than me has patiently run with me and paced me round to a new PB each time culminating in my current 10K PB in 2010 of 50.38mins!

Last year Kirsten couldn’t make it (was off climbing peaks in Norway) and although I had great company from twitter and blogging buddies, I missed her, having a less enjoyable time trying too hard on my own to meet or beat my pb without my pacer!

This year I’m simply looking forward to running the race. It won’t be about chasing PB’s. Kirsten has had a tough year, having recently lost her father and suffering various injuries so it might have to be me having to slow down and hold back for a change (although I doubt it) but I will be very happy to, because running this race together for our enjoyment, shared history and friendship is more important that a new PB.


Bupa Fitness Assessment

Last week I went for a Bupa Fitness Assessment courtesy of Bupa Running.

Mo Farah (a little more photogenic than me) undertaking the Fitness assessment.

Photo from Bupa Running

I was met at reception by a Health Advisor and taken to a treatment room (large doctors consulting room with a treadmill in the middle).   We started with the pre fitness tests, measuring height (I’ve exaggerated mine by 2cm for years),  weight (ah em.. but not too different from what I will acknowledge at home), waist (breath in!) and then from electrodes attached to my wrist and right toe (fortunately my least mangy and not black or missing toenail one) for body fat analysis.  Then lung function test (a couple of attempts blowing hard into a mouth piece) and blood pressure.

Next I was wired up with 10 electrode pads (I know how many because I was counting them when trying to find them all to remove!) for the ECG.  Don’t worry Ladies you don’t have to strip to the waist and run that way like the gorgeous Mo for the test!  A discreet undress under a towel, sensors and wires placed and re-dress. Like the blood pressure test I lay on the bed while they took heart and pulse readings at rest.   The health advisor then went out to review my heart trace data with the doctor and I sat on the edge of the bed legs dangling like a nervous teenager for them to return!

Fortunately they both returned so I assumed my ECG showed that everything was functioning as it should be!  Onto the treadmill attached to many wires plus a blood pressure cuff and a mouth piece and nose clip.  It took a while to get used to breathing from my mouth only and cope with being attached to many tubes and wires.  The V02 test used is actually an estimated VO2 max  extrapolated from analysis of exercise at an estimated 85% of maximum heart rate.  My heart rate, blood pressure and gasses (what breathed out) were analysed while I walked/jogged on the treadmill for periods of 2 mins at increasing speed, starting out at 4km/hr up to max 8km/hour.

So, what did I think?

As expected from Bupa, it was well done in a professional way with every care.  The Doctor checked my resting ECG before the treadmill test and was present while it was carried out.   The need for safety is no doubt the reason for using the sub VO2 test and not risking someone who might be unaccustomed to exercise, over exerting themselves at maximum heart rate.

I was a little disappointed that the VO2 max test was not a full test.  The test is based on estimates of max heart rate (220 minus age which is 175 for me) and testing to 85% of this took my heart rate to 148 only during the test.  I didn’t have to work very hard during the test and know from wearing my heart rate monitor for BMF classes my heart rate is probably higher, regularly reaching 190 and sometimes over 200 and wondered if this would affect the result.  I’d also really like to know what my max is!

That said the estimated VO2 max score for me, according to various tables I looked up the internet show my level of fitness range from above average to excellent and my feedback in my report is that I have a ‘high level of fitness for my age’ so it probably is a useful test despite my worries!  I do wish I could have done this when I started out 6 years ago as it would be nice to see the improvements I’ve made in black and white as stats!

It was great to discover that my body fat % is lower than I thought so the past 6 years have been gradually doing some good and I can use the ‘athlete’ mode on my scales which give the same result!  I am still working on losing a few pounds (less weight to carry round a race) and as expected, the results show me to be at the upper end of normal for weight and waist-height ratio so I need to continue to work on the belly fat despite having a good body fat %.  What was also very useful to find out from all the gas analysis and body composition was a calculation of my basic metabolic rate calories which is higher than I currently work from.

I received a full report with all the data and results (cardiovasular, and respiratory performance, metabolism, lifestyle (from pre-assessmsnt questionaire) etc.. with traffic light indications on action required. Yay all green! Got to keep it up!  The report is personalised and includes references to our general conversation during the assessment, encouraging me to keep up my running and BMF classes for overall health and fitness, wishing me luck for my 10K goals and makes suggestions for interval training and training programmes for races.

A useful and interesting assessment.  It didn’t tell me anything, as a regular exerciser, that I didn’t expect (I should be fit with all that running) but it did highlight a few things.  It would be good to have an assessment like this before and after a long period of exercise to get feedback on results and I think would be a very useful review for someone thinking about starting running or training for a race or concerned about their health and needing motivation to get exercising.