Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between

Positivity breeds positivity…

Crumbs, I’ve not blogged in  ages…Marathon training taking over, fundraising, work, life, you know how it is! So this might be a long update….sorry in advance.

I’ve decided to take a positive view on life, it’s kind of part of my ‘Chill Out’ new years resolution, but also just the plain fact that we’re only here once, so make the most of it. Seize the opportunities, make them if needs be, and do more of the things that make you happy.

And so LOADS of very exciting things have happened to me recently.

1) I won some amazing Sauncony Guide 7 trainers courtesy of The Running Bug on twitter. They are amazing and beautiful and I love them probably a bit too much….we all know about my kit obsession!

2) I won a Team Sick Man tee on UK Run Chat! Amazing tee in a fab design that is now a staple part of my rundrobe. I’m ordering more….cue new obsession.

3) I hosted #UKRunChat along with another fellow runner. If you’ve not logged on to twitter 8-9 Sunday or Wednesday then you MUST join in. It’s an amazingly well organised community of runners just asking questions and catching up on news. You learn loads, get your questions answered and make virtual running friends in the process….I’m hooked! Hosting was mental! So many people take part and there are questions all over the place. I mean it really runs itself but you just have to try and generate some talking points, and then you get LOADS of responses! I had my phone and iPad logged on and still couldn’t keep up. My phone crashed numerous times from all the notifications. Mad fun!

4) I’ve signed up to do my Leadership in Running Fitness (LiRF) course in March. I can’t wait! I’ve got such a passion for running now that I want to share it with others, help others (if I can) and pass things on in the most constructive way possible. I want to be running my own group soon and aim to do my Coaching (CiRF) soon afterwards. I’m very excited!

5) I attended a marathon training workshop, courtesy of Alzheimer Society & Running With Us. I’m going to do a full blog piece on everything I learnt soon, but suffice to say I am brimming with new found enthusiasm, excitement, energy and ideas.

6) From this I have a new marathon plan which has me highly motivated and ready to achieve.

7) I’ve volunteered to marshal at some running events. It came up in #UKRunChat that I’ve never done this, so I’ve signed up now and I’m excited to help and finally see these things from the other side.

8) My cousin & I have organised a fundraising events for Alzheimer’s Society, including a fab quiz, games, raffle (local businesses have been very generous) dance and band. It’s going to be great and raise loads.

9) My other half has finally discovered the joy of running! This has elated me more than anything else. He’s still relatively new to it but bloody keen and is clocking up the miles already.

All in all a flippin’ positive update. I’m feeling good, blessed and relatively injury free right now.

Hope you’re getting on just as well. Let me know how it’s going for you.



Sockin’ ‘eck!

After some amazing comments, online & in person, I’ve finally got round to reviewing my new Run Mummy Run compressions socks.

I’d seen the RMR compression sock and sleeve collection online and instantly knew I wanted to give them a go. Despite trying to be a bit different and having a few ‘out there’ items in my running wardrobe, it all ends up looking a bit black and muted….not these socks!

They come in a variety and colours and styles, bright, not so bright, and just plain eye watering! I went for the Nirvana style, as pictured, for many reasons. Firstly, they were the brightest I could see, they fall into the ‘eye watering’ category, secondly because I love the colours, and finally because they match the kit I’m wearing for the London Marathon, the blue & green of Alzheimer’s Society.

So, we’ve got over the fact that they look incredible, how do they perform? I took them out for their virgin voyage on a 6 miler on Thursday. I normally wear X Socks or Skins calf sleeves on undulating runs if my calves are feeling tired, so this was a good comparison. Putting them on, I could feel the support straight away. My calves were tucked in nicely and felt held together. Sometimes I can find these socks and sleeves a bit too tight, but these are comfy with a good level of support. And so off for the run…

My poor legs were feeling a little tired from the mile interval sprints at club on Tuesday (renamed by me now as Hell sprints) and now we were off for a hilly one. Without taking you through the entire run, I’m pleased to say it was a success. I was worried the final hill was going to finish of my legs, but I managed to power past some of the fasties and make it back to base with no pain at all.

The Run Mummy Run compression socks held up perfectly throughout the run and delivered the support I needed. When I returned home I kept them on for a little bit which I stretched out and make a little post run snack, and I think this helps with the recovery as well.

When I woke up the next day I had none of the usual straight legged shuffle to the bathroom, I could actually move normally…this may seem like a small stuff to you, but it’s a huge victory for me. Often when I push myself on these runs I really pay for it the next day, but not today!
more socks

I will most definitely be ordering some more, to jazz up my run-drobe and keep my calves happy!


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Awakening the Hibernating Heinie!!

Firstly, I found this Americanism ‘Hibernating Heinie’ for the lazy arse syndrome I’ve been experiencing, and it made me chuckle so I’ve nicked it!

Secondly, massive thanks for the amazing response to my blog and in particular my Lazy Glutes posts. It seems loads of you are having the same issue. I’ve had some great feedback and some questions about how I’ve fired up the ol’ butt muscles so I thought I’d put this post together to consolidate the things I’ve been doing to engage my glutes, in the hope that this might be helpful to some.

Apparently Lazy Arse is really really common. As a species we’re not very good at using the glutes to push us forward, leaving the hard work to the calves to pull us along. This leads to all manner of injuries, as previously documented by me.

This is by no means a complete list of how to fix your arse, and I’m not PT or anything similar qualified, it’s just what seems to be working for me…see what you think!

  • Squats and lunges – we all know that they get the glutes stretched and you can feel those muscles when you do them, so I find it a good place to start.
  • Kickbacks – on all fours and extend each leg back in turn, so you can feel your glutes squeezing. I do this about 10 times on each side at a slowish pace, maybe taking 15 secs for each rep.
  • Walking across the floor using my bum – this was shown to me by my other half’s stepmum, a Pilates instructor, who also used to suffer from lazy glutes, and it’s a lot harder than it sounds! Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out in front of you and ‘walk’ forwards using solely your bum, lifting each cheek to move (rather than just shuffling!). Then do the same backwards so you’re back where you started. If you’re anything like me you might end up not quite where you started as one glute might be a bit more dominant than the other, so you kind of veer off one way or the other!! If this happens to you then please let me know as it always happens to me!
    Bum Walk
  • Hip Raises – lie on the floor with your arms by your side, knees up and bent, and, with your feet rooted to the ground, raise your hips and clench your glutes.
    Hip Raise

I do these before I go out for a run. I would think more often can only be better if you have time.

Practice registering the feeling of your glutes engaging as you’re walking…you look a bit daft but you get used to the feeling of it, cos it doesn’t always feel that natural. Then you can build it into your runs a bit at a time. I’ll be honest, it does take some thinking about. And since my brain is often otherwise occupied when running (what to have for dinner, which way I’m going, oops, mind the dog walker!) I started off trying to do it for a few strides, then building it up on each run until I could do it without thinking about it. I can really feel the push from the glutes rather than the pull from the calves when I’m doing it right.

All this has, so far, led to me upping my pace and (fingers crossed, touch wood, rub the lucky rabbit foot) warding off the dreaded calf injury.

So, those are my moves! I really hope that this helps others. Spread the word if you know anyone struggling with lazy glutes, injuries that might be from this, or hitting a brick wall when it comes to pace. And let me know how you get on.

Enjoy awakening your heinie!



The Ups & Downs (literally & metaphorically)!

As is the case for many, this week marked the start of my London Marathon training plan. Daunted by the amount of miles (and fundraising) I need to cram in, I had a little meltdown on January 1st…which not only started the year off in a not so ideal way, but also meant I’d already failed my CHILL OUT resolution!! Oh well, onward and upward.

So after my injury and freak out, I had a word with myself and got out and did a few miles, then got back to club running on the 2nd (how I’ve missed club running, so much more than I realised) back to ParkRun (ditto for ParkRun) and then for my first long run (not missed those quite so much!).

My shorter runs and club run have been good. Pace is pretty consistent and I’ve been working on my cadence after devouring The Art of Running Faster (Goater, J. & Melvin, D.). ParkRun was a mudfest but I put in so much effort. I came away a bit deflated with 25:15, a minute more than my PB (24:09) but really I was lucky just to be upright at the end of it, so again, I needed to look at the bigger picture a bit, getting a PB on a sludgy boggy course was probably not the best goal I set myself that day.
Because I knew I had club 10k today (Sunday) my marathon training long run was to be after ParkRun…not my brightest move. I was under fuelled, under rested and consequently under performing. I got in 11 miles, a couple less than I wanted, had to stop 4 times and was shaking by the time I got home. I ‘gifted’ myself the last 1/2 mile back as a walk! It wasn’t even a really bad time, but I wasn’t happy. This time last year I never thought I could run a marathon, then I did it. And now I was pretty sure I could do it and even aim for a decent time, but this run made me think even a half was a bit of an ask!

So I woke today looking forward to the club 10k handicap run, but wasn’t expecting great things. 14 miles the day before and a couple of disappointments…I was just going to enjoy this. A bright, crisp morning, I was wrapped up warm. Our usual route was flooded so an alternative 10k had been created for us. I set off at a good pace and managed to keep it up for the first 3k, then the hills set in…but I found myself ploughing up them with pace hardly dropping. The course was mildly undulating with a steady hill towards the end, but my pace seemed consistent. I tried not to look at my Garmin too much but towards the end I thought ‘I’m definitely on for a PB here…maybe 52 mins’. Then up the last hill and down the final road my legs were burning and my lungs screaming and I did my normal sprint finish (the only explanation for this is chemical as I don’t know where it comes from) and stopped my Garmin at 49:08!! Not wanting to celebrate too soon and pretty sure of a technology malfunction, I kept quiet. “Better than I thought” was my answer to the How did you do’s from my fellow club members as I cheered them in. Nervously awaiting results when I got home, I received a message informing me I’d run 10k in 49:07!! Over 5 mins off my previous PB and SUB-50 PEOPLE!!!

I don’t think I’ll stop smiling (or being amazed!) for a long while!

Oh, and that’s one of my new year goals achieved within 5 days….new goal setting in progress!!

And in other news…

I’ve seen a lot of talk about people keeping a running diary, so I decided to do the same. Just a little notebook that I fill in after ever run with all the normal (time, distance, pace, HR etc) but also a paragraph on how I felt during the run and after the run. Also documenting my fuel (food, gels etc) and my stretching, rolling and warming up. It seems to be going well (5 days in) and I hope to learn what does and doesn’t work for me from it.


Also my warming up, stretching and Tiger Tailing is going really well. I really think it’s helping. Definitely a resolution I’m sticking to.

Hope you’ve had a good weekend and if you’re training for events then let me know how it’s going. I’m feeling the ups and down of this right now!