Running and Racing

Whilst I love to run for fun, I also absolutely love racing, especially when it’s with my City Athletics crew. There’s something so fun about having a road trip to a random location, racing your heart out, and then going to the pub afterwards. So without further ado, here are my race plans for the tail-end of the year.

 

The Big, Scary, Audacious Goal…
 

 

…is the Budapest Marathon on 8th October. I’m not going to lie, I’m in it mainly for the holiday, but i also desperately need to avenge the horrific race day I had the first time I tried my hand at the marathon distance in April. After much umming and ahhing, I decided to just go ahead with it… I mean, I’d booked the flights months ago, so there’s that too!

 

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A Trip to Scandinavia
 

 

Courtesy of the Reykjavik Half Marathon, on 20th August. I had a lot of annual leave left over by the time it got to June, and so I panicked, and tagged along with what started off as a small runners’ jaunt, and has since gotten a lot bigger. I have no idea what to expect of Reykjavik, but I’m very excited for the hot springs which, I can imagine, are absolute heaven after a long race. As a side note, I’ve never actually raced a half marathon before, and I have a weird mental block about the distance. So this should be interesting!

 

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Where the ‘El 
 

 

is Elmore? I have absolutely no idea, but as per usual, I signed up to the race pretty much as soon as it got posted on the City Runners Facebook group. It’s a 7-miler and forms part of the Surrey Road League, so it must be in Surrey somewhere. And as usual, I’ll probably have the night-before-the-race panic when I realise quite how early I have to get up to make it to the start line on time. Oh well, there’s always coffee.

 

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‘Ello Elmbridge
 

 

Again, another leg of the Surrey Road League…so Surrey I guess? This is a 10k, which I think still remains my favourite distance to race. It’s also a great indicator of fitness and helps me to keep track on where I’m at, and if I’m making any progress. That being said, there’s a risk I’ll pile the pressure on- so that’s something to be wary of. But still, a day out with the runner crew!

 

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What’s your running schedule looking like? Anyone been to Iceland or Budapest? Send me your tips! 

 

Lots of love

 

Pippa

 

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Mindfulness: On rest days

I’m coming to really appreciate the importance of rest days. During my last training cycle, I had so many days when I was overtrained, undernourished and most importantly, absolutely knackered. It caused me some real problems both professionally and personally- a unique combination of grouchiness and inefficiency that only prolonged endurance training can bring.

In an attempt to not fuck up my life in general and, more specifically, in my Autumn training cycle, I’m taking a ton more rest days and paying closer attention to what my body needs. This image sums it up nicely- oh, we love you Mindy.

 

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Mondays are my rest day. I get home from work, I put on my PJs, and I watch hours of TV whilst playing Candy Crush or Whatsapping my friends. It’s the exact opposite of what most people would call ‘healthy’, but it nourishes my soul and gives me time to recuperate for the week ahead. Hopefully, it will stand me in good stead for the training season ahead!

What’s your rest day routine? And any new TV shows I should try out?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

 

My First: City Cycling Experience

About a month ago I bought my gorgeous new bike, and in doing so became a London Cyclist. This is never a title I wanted if I’m being completely honest; cycling in London always seemed far too dangerous, stressful and frankly life-endangering for me.

But nonetheless, once I’d bought the bike, I thought why not. It seemed a bit silly to be spending somewhere in the range of £150 per month on public transport when I could just hop on my bike instead. And so the bike-commuting began.

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It is freezing though

As a caveat; I don’t have a typical 9 to 5, meaning my bike commuting has been limited to running club sessions and social events. Nonetheless it has been exhilirating and terrifying in equal measure. Some of the highlights:

  • I tried to cycle to the Olympic Village to go swimming, and Google Maps tried to send me down a freakin’ horrific high-speed tunnel. I said nope nope nope, turned around and went home.
  • I tried cycling (just the once) with something over my handlebars. I knew it was a bad idea, even when I started. But then my knee got caught on the aforementioned item and I almost went flying. Thank God it wasn’t rush hour!
  • I hit the Elephant and Castle roundabout in rush hour. Not only is it absolute chaos at the best of times, but there are currently a shit ton of roadworks going on. I am so lucky to have made it out alive!
  • I cycle home from Tuesday runs which is always such an epic struggle. Pace run + cycling = DOMS. All the DOMS.

 

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What I wish I’d known:

  • You can never have enough high-viz gear. Be safe, be seen gets taken to a whole other level when you’re on a bike.
  • Cars, buses and taxis will almost never give you right of way. Never assume they’re letting you through!
  • Cycling counts as exercise, which means you’re going to be a bit more knackered than usual. I keep forgetting this, and wondering why I wake up with quads that feel like jelly the next morning.
  • Buy cycle shorts! Stating the obvious here, but ouch otherwise.
  • You need quads to cycle… I’m still working on that one!

What are your top tips for a city cyclist? What did I miss?

Lots of love,

Pippa

My First: Bike

Ok, if we’re being completely honest here, this isn’t my first bike per se. I’ve owned bikes since I was a small child, right up until I moved to Cambridge, when having a bike was a sheer necessity. Nonetheless, this is my first proper bike. It’s the first one I’ve parted with more than £50 for. And more importantly, it’s going to be my first triathlon bike.

(Sidenote: How on earth did I turn into the kind of person who does triathlons?!)

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I’d been umming and ahing about buying a bike for ages. I knew I needed one if I ever wanted to do a triathlon, but to be honest they cost a lot of dollar and cycling in London is an altogether petrifying experience. But finally, I got myself round to it.

My best bet really was to go with a refurbished second-hand bike, as then I could pick up a bargain whilst still knowing it was good quality. So I headed to a place called Nip Nip Cycles, which was relatively close to me and had good reviews on Google.

I cannot speak highly enough of the experience I had at Nip Nip Cycles. I didn’t know this until I arrived, but they used to just be a bike refurb place before they started working with St. Mungo’s, a charity for the homeless and those with difficult backgrounds. They run an apprenticeship programme, in which individuals can learn skills to help them find purpose and eventually get a job. The guys were friendly and knowledgeable, and steered me towards a bike that would suit me. They changed the tyres for free, adjusted the seat, handlebars and brake cables, and gave me front and rear lights. One of the apprentices had even done a triathlon in the past year, so was able to make sure I got the bike best suited for that purpose, as well as city cycling.

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Important question: what should I name her? My last bike was called Alfie- he got stolen sadly.

In the end I payed £180 for a completely refurbished bike, including all the extras they threw in. What made me even happier than the price was knowing that all that money would go directly back to the project, so Nip Nip could continue doing their good work. (Also, they fully acknowledged the innuendo of Nip Nip, and even sold Tshirts that said ‘Are you staring at my nip nips?!’ Needless to say I wanted one, but having just dropped £180 on a bike, I decided against it.)

My bike and I have had a few adventures already, and I’m looking forward to many more!

Does anyone else cycle in a big city? Top tips for survival please! And let me know what you think I should name her 😉

Lots of love

Pippa