Tag Archive for Virgin Active

Screwing up the run at the gym

This morning I decided to run at the gym so I could get a weight session in afterward. To measure runs on treadmills accurately and prove I’ve done the run, I’ve bought a Garmin Foot Pod that links to my GPS enabled watch.

Normally when I run outdoors, the GPS links to a satellite and that tracks my run. Obviously if I’m on a treadmill, it can’t do this as it looks to the GPS as though I’m running static and it shows me going nowhere.

The Foot Pod acts as a pedometer, counting the number of strides I take and has been calibrated with me running outdoors so its’ pretty accurate when it comes to measuring how far I’ve ran as it takes into account my stride length.

The thing is, for the Foot Pod to work, I need to turn the GPS off otherwise the two methods of measuring the run send conflicting information to the watch and hence the record goes all out of whack – which is what happened today.

I’m pretty sure I turned the GPS off before I started running and the watch showed that it had detected the Foot Pod, so set off on the treadmill, turned my headphones to the Andrew Marr show that was on one of the TVs and settled into a rhythm watching first Ed Milliband announce how we would lead the Labour party if he gets the job and then David Cameron say how he’s going to lead the country now he’s got the job.

After half an hour I looked at the treadmill, saw I’d done 5.5km (3.4 miles) and stopped…. only to look at the watch and see that it had only recorded one mile as the GPS was still turned on and it was overriding the Foot Pod.

Clearly, I’d done more than three miles but was almost ready to go outside and run another two to prove I’d really done three for the day. Thankfully, when I downloaded the details to Garmin Connect (that hosts all my runs) I noticed there is a ‘cadence’ value that shows how many times my left leg (the one with the Food Pod) hit the floor during the course of the run.

This showed I’d averaged 84 steps a minute with my left, ie 168 steps a minute with both. I reckon each of my running strides is around 3.5ft long, ie I was covering 588ft a minute! As I ran for 30 minutes, I covered 17,640ft, which is almost 3.4miles… and verifies was the treadmill was saying! Phew! I’ll add just three miles to my totals to be safe rather than sorry.

Click here for a link to Garmin Connect for details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3
Target: 717
Miles to date: 953.07

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

Feeling a little sore

Hm, so yesterday’s gym session has left me a little sore… most of all in my chest from bench presses and in my upper thighs from squatting. Each arm stroke when running today saw a little tightness around the chest – in that weird pleasure-pain way, where it hurts but feels good.

Great day for an early run though: bright, sunny, not too hot, not too many people around. Exactly what it would have been great to have the bank holiday like instead of pissing it down… sometimes nothing changes

Click here for a link to Garmin Connect for a route map and full details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3
Target: 681
Miles to date: 897.64

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

Back to the gym

I’ve not been to the gym in ages and felt that I was losing a bit of upper body strength and so I went to my local Virgin Active today doing three miles on the treadmill, followed by a decent weights session.

On the treadmill, I found myself next to a young lad who looked like a lithe proper runner, he’d only been on a couple of minutes longer than me and so I decided to follow his speed, increasing whenever he did. He obviously realised this and it soon became a bit of a game where he kept going progressively faster. I was in buckets of sweat when my three miles were up and gave him a rue smile as I got off the treadmill and he continued.

As for the weights, well I’d forgotten how much I like a spot of resistance training, I really need to get back into the habit of doing a couple or three sessions a week.

Virgin Active gym by mcinner at Garmin Connect – Details.

Miles today: 3
Target: 678
Miles to date: 894.64

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

The penultimate Brighton Marathon run

So the penultimate run before Sunday’s Brighton Marathon went well this morning. I didn’t really push it and also didn’t look at the Garmin again as I was running to check my speed and still did under 9mins 30secs a mile.

I also went to my last sports massage before the face. Lillian at the Virgin Active where I’m a member said my legs seem to be in good shape and she gave me a big thumbs up saying my calves are probably the most supple of all the runners she is treating – and this at the height of marathon season, which I was pretty chuffed about.

She also gave me a little present for post the race – a bottle of body soak Radox to relax the muscles.

Diet wise, Im at the heart of carb loading now. I’ve eaten enough brown rice and spaghetti this week to feed half of China and all of Italy – I’ve got a spag bol on the cooker as I type! The idea is to have a decent amount in your body so you don’t run out of fuel in the race itself…

Got to admit, I’m also feeling pretty nervous about it all so I’m trying a few breathing and visualisation techniques. Just closing my eyes, lots of deep breaths til Im relaxed and then seeing the finish in my mind’s eye…

Click here for a link to Garmin Connect for a Google Map and full details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3
Target: 627
Miles to date: 818.09

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

Things will only never get better

After this morning’s run I had my weekly sports massage at Virgin Active with Lillian and told her about my visit to the physio.

While she agreed with what the physio had said, Lillian was quite forthright in her general assesment of my condition. “James, the only way you will totally get rid of shin splints is to rest – there’s no other way out of it,” she said before going on to do a massage that went a long way to relieving some of the pain.

I later went into London and popped into a shop called Runners Need – as I said earlier this week, I was keen to have my gait looked at again. While new trainers ahead of the Brighton Marathon would never be worn in and would lead to blisters, I thought it was worth taking a look at.

I started this quest running in Asics GT 2140 stabilising shoes that worked pretty well for a good 500 miles but when I tried to get a new pair, they were no more and had been replaced with the upgraded GT2150s.

When I entered the shop, I told the shop assistant this and he said a few other people had had trouble with the change. He said the new shoe was not as stable as its predecessor and that they were now recommended only for people with mild to moderate overpronation (foot rolling inwards as you run).

We checked them out on the treadmill using a video camera to record my stride and you could see they are correcting my gait but maybe not enough, I’m still pronating quite a bit.

He also asked me if I had any other problems… I said blisters on the arches and he confirmed this is another complaint people had with the 2150s.

He suggested I try on a pair of Brookes Adrenalins instead and when we checked them on the video again, they looked like they did a better job than the Asics so I bought a pair.

It’s highly doubtful I will run Brighton in them but I was going to change the 2150s after next Sunday’s marathon anyway… I’ll probably just try and break the Brookes in a little early.

Click here to see a link to Garmin Connect and see a map and full details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3
Target: 606
Miles to date: 796.09

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

And a little bit of good news…

A big thank you to everyone who has emailed over the last couple of days with encouraging messages over the shin splints issue and especially to Maxine Sheppard of  Virgin’s travel inspirations site V:travelled (check them out) who’s put me onto the Bowen Technique – I’ll sign up for a session or two and see if it helps.

I had another sports massage session with Lillian last night and she said, aside from the shin splints, my legs are doing fine. In fact she said IT band, calves, quads and hamstrings were in amazing condition all things considered, so it’s just a case of getting the shins to calm down a bit and I should be okay.

This morning’s run saw loads of drizzle… it’s the kind of weather I like running in, for some reason it makes you feel as though you are doing more than just running and allows you to grit your teeth and plough on, shin splints or not!

Click here for a Google Map and full details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3
Target: 576
Miles to date: 753.07

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

Now with added shin splints

So I feared the worst when I went to see Lillian, the sports masseuse at Virgin Active in Streatham yesterday and she confirmed it within seconds of touching my legs. ‘You’re starting to get shin splints.’

It’s the two words most runners dread and, having suffered before, I knew the telltale signs were there all week: a slight burning soreness  on the inside of my calves and aching shins, to the point where I’ve done most of the week’s runs at snail pace and, at times, even hobbled.

She went to work on them for 45 minutes, pummeling and rubbing away, stretching my legs one way and then the other… but I still went home slightly dejected. It’s a feeling that was compounded this morning when I woke up and could still feel the pain… Anyone who has read about Lillian before will know that she’s performed magic when I thought my streak might come to an end, but even her expert help had not done its job.

As I hobbled down London Road and back this morning, I made a decision on the Brighton Marathon. I have three weeks and four long runs to go according to my programme, but I am going to forsake tomorrow’s long run that was to be a 22 miler. I will then just do gentle three milers all week and monitor the progress. I’m hoping the ‘rest’ from the long run may help things calm down a little.

Miles today: 3
Target: 567
Miles to date: 744.07

Click here for a Google Map and full details of the day’s run

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

Overwhelmed by peoples' genorosity

Please donate to my chosen charities by clicking here

I won’t harp on about this every post otherwise the blog will become more about fundraising than about the challenge… but I’m overwhelmed that, with Gift Aid, I’ve already raised more than £700. Thanks so much to all that have donated and to all those that haven’t… get your fingers out 😉

Last night, I finally gave in and after three days of not taking any Ibuprofen, I slipped a couple before bedtime. This morning, the legs felt looser than in days, still a little bit of grief but not even a quarter as bad as yesterday. Was it the Ibuprofen that did it or time? I’m not sure but it made today’s run on the treadmill at Virgin Active much easier.

I’ve also taken my running quests a little further and signed up for this year’s Athens marathon on October 31 (six weeks after this challenge ends). This year is the 2,500th anniversary of Greek messenger Pheidippides running from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to declare victory over the Persians. He promptly said ‘Nikee’ (which means victory and is where the Nike brand comes from), keeled over and died… Lets hope I don’t have a similar fate.

Click here for details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3.13
Target: 561
Miles to date: 738.07


Reaching the 700mile mark

Another day, another landmark and just before making it home this morning, I clocked up my 700th mile since I started this challenge towards the end of September last year.

Once again, the second day after the long run was the most painful… the legs frightfully stiff and me limping around Streatham on one of my least strenuous routes.

Luckily, I had half an hour booked in with Lillian the sports massage therapist at the Virgin Active in Streatham who gave my legs another good going over. She warned I’d be stiffer this evening – and I am – but I’m hoping that will have gone by the morning.

Click here for a Google Map and full details of the day’s run

Miles today: 3
Target: 534
Miles to date: 700.56

Want to dedicate a run to someone or have one dedicated to you? Click here

Back to the gym and more massage

Not much to report today really…

At around 10 this morning I went to my local gym, the Virgin Active in Streatham and had a sports massage with Lillian before a rather boring treadmill run followed by a weights sessions.

The legs are feeling less tight than at any time over the last two weeks… a good sign I hope.

Click here for details of the run

Miles today: 3.14
Target: 522
Miles to date: 672.36

Want to dedicate a run to someone or have one dedicated to you? Click here