Archive | August, 2011

My fastest run home! RESULT!

16 Aug

That’s right, I managed to cut my personal best for running home from work (5-6km) to 23 minutes. I’m really happy with this as it’s got me to the -25mins that I wanted to get to.

I also didn’t get any problems with my shins which is also great!

Ni, the Supplementer


The not quite naked foot

15 Aug

So the running continues, this time for a 10k run with a difference – I went barefoot. well almost, I tried out my friend’s barefoot running shoes (pictured above).

After a few minutes of fumbling around putting these ‘foot gloves’ on and realising that I had no ideas where my toes were, I was ready to start pounding the pavements.

Ideally you should walk around in barefoot running shoes for a few days to wear them in, but I only had limited access to them, so I went straight into running and no real harm came to me. That being said, I would not suggest anyone do this – make sure you learn how to run barefoot first.

We live in shoes most of the day, they provide us with support, which allows us to develop bad habits. Losing the support of a good shoe can expose these bad habits and cause injury…

…Anyway, back to the run. Having done the 10k,  I can definitely see the appeal of these shoes. For me they helped in understanding my gait and in feeling out how my feet were contacting the ground.

The sensation of feeling the different running paths under my feet was also a revelation and helped me see just how bad my heel striking was. In the long run (no pun intended) I think running with these shoes will help reduce my heel striking – so I may just go out and get my own! Also I can imagine they would be great to take back home for beach running!

I’ll definitely be getting my mits on a pair of minimalist shoes and learning how to use them properly.

There’s a great article on the Runners World website by author of Running for Mortals and Marathon Running for Mortals, Coach Jenny Hadfield, which gives advice on learning how to run with minimalist shoes.

Live long and prosper,

Ni The Supplementer

200 Followers!! Thank you Twitter!

10 Aug


Thanks to all my @HealthSupp followers , there are now 200 of you!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tweets so far and stick around for some more!

Health be with you,

Ni, The Supplementer


Running pains: Shin Splints

7 Aug

After spending two weeks hitting the pavements in a bid to get back into running, I’ve developed pains in my shins. These pains start as soon as I begin a run and dull down until I stop running. Having done a little research it would appear I’m suffering from shin splints or, more accurately, tendinitis.

According to the NHS the condition is commonly associated with long distance running and sports that put pressure on the bones through continued pounding on hard surfaces, or rapid stop-starting and changes of direction. Running down hill and over pronated running style can also be a cause of shin splints.

There are a few theories as to the cause of the pain, with the most common ones being that the calf muscles don’t keep up and put extra strain on the shins’ tendons, that the membrane between the bones in the leg becomes damaged, or that tiny fractures appear in the bone of the shin (tibia).

Whatever theory you subscribe to, the overriding advice is the same. Most importantly, DON’T run through the pain and ice the area after running. Rest the lower legs for two weeks, you can still do other exercises, but avoid sports such as swimming and tennis. If you haven’t already, try getting your gait analysed and buying some supportive trainers. See New Trainers… What to Look For re: more information on buying trainers.

You can also exercise your lower legs by strapping small weights onto your foot and flexing your ankles. Always remember to stretch before and after any exercise and to seek medical advice if you experience long term pain.

Hope that helps,

Ni, The Supplementer


Supplementer Challenge 1: Results

6 Aug

So it’s two weeks since I declared that I was going to run the 5-6km home from work every day (well except the weekends). The idea of the challenge was to supplement my lifestyle with a little exercise to get me back into running, having not kept to a regular running schedule for many months now. The second and most important role of this challenge was to help me get some sleep, having gone through a spell of bad sleep and more often plain old fashioned insomnia.

I’ve found out a few things about working exercise into your day from this challenge such as…

Life gets in the way

Life and more likely work, gets in the way. When you stay in he office until 9pm you can’t really run home and expect to achieve a good night’s sleep. Which brings me onto my next point

Be flexible

If you have to attend to social affairs after work, or at any time you have earmarked for exercise, improvise. I was caught out when I had to attend a friends leaving meal after work, so I popped into my gym on the way to the meal and knocked out a quick 20 minute run and 10 minute work out on the mats – some exercise is better than none. Even if you make time to walk to the event your attending you’ll be doing something.

It’s not as simple as lacing up your trainers and hitting the streets

Sadly it would appear that my legs were completely out of shape at the beggining of the challenge, which lead to shin splints as my calf muscles strained to keep up. I’ll be blogging shortly on how to combat this, but it’s definitely something to bear in mind if you try and pick up running after a long break.

So that’s the main things. Having finished the challenge I’m defintely getting back to the fitness I used to have and think that I look a lot more in shape than I did before. I’m also sleeping a lot better and am more enthused about fitness in general. I think I’ll keep this up, so expect more running blogs in future.

Now onto the next challenge…

Live long and prosper,

Ni, The Supplementer

Music to work out to: Janelle Monae

4 Aug

Janelle Monae: Up tempo music for a good run

I’m not a big fan of working out with other people. Call me antisocial if you will, but working out with someone else usually turns into talking with someone else. So without someone urging me on to push that extra weight, or run those last few kilometres, I turn to music to get into ‘the zone’.

At the moment that largely means I’m listening to ‘funkstress’, Janelle Monae, who describes her latest album, Archandroid, as a mix of scores from films such as Goldfinger, epic albums including Stevie’s Music of my Mind, David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, and jamming experimental hip hop stuff like Stankonia.

The result of all this and her first EP, Metropolis, is a set of up-tempo tracks that have a great energy and are engaging enough to immerse yourself in, without losing focus. They’re great for running along to as the beat is nice and steady without being too quick.

Of special note are:

Many Moons – This song is brilliant for getting into a run, but gives you a bit of a tail off to catch your breath.Although the album version doesn’t tail off for as long.

Cold War – perfect for putting it up a notch, play it loud and make sure no one is in your way, or use it for pushing out that final set of those high repetition, low weight reps.

I hope you enjoy Janelle’s music as much as I do. Not all of it is suitable for working out to, but I hope you find these songs useful in your fitness endeavours. Check out her other songs Violent Stars Happy Hunting and Faster.

Health be with you,

Ni, The Supplementer

The challenge: week two

1 Aug

Time to lace up my trainers and hit the streets!

So, last week I began my first challenge to run home from work every day. Not the hardest task in the world, but I am just starting out in getting my health back.

Well at the end of week one I had run home four times and completed a 10k run, which, although not as fast as when I was in my best shape, were still not that bad.

I’ve now finished my first day of week two and have shaved nearly four minutes off my time. I’m now down to 26 minutes for the 5-6k run.

I really want to get down to under 25 minutes so will have to really put in the effort over the next week.

Wish me luck,

Ni The Supplementer