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My workout: Wings Chan, 24 – ‘For skateboarders, towns become massive playgrounds’

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

It can be dangerous – I’ve fractured an elbow, my ankle and both wrists (twice). I used to skate with my cast on

As a teenager I used to hang out at the skate park after school. It’s where most of my friends were. I’d just sit there while they all skated, chatting to them when they were resting. I thought it looked really cool. Back then it was rare to see girl skaters, so even though I gave it a go and my friends were supportive, I didn’t really get into it. That changed when I started uni and moved to Brighton. The majority of skaters were still guys, and when I’d go to a skate park people would stare; but I reached a point where I just stopped caring and got on with it.

As a skater, you see the world differently. During driving lessons I’ll be trying to concentrate on the road, but then I’ll see some stairs or a rail and get distracted, thinking how great it would be to skate there. Towns become massive playgrounds. I’ll skate around Brighton with my mates and we’ll have so much fun discovering new spots.

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Zen and the art of family maintenance – lessons from the bestselling Buddhist monk

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

Haemin Sunim says a happy relationship and contented children are within reach for us all – if we could just slow down and pay attention to each other

Some people, if you ask them a question, answer quickly. Others take a moment to think first. Haemin Sunim looks up, slightly to the right, and allows 14 seconds to pass before he answers one of my questions. I counted, when I listened to the recording. And here’s something: waiting for his reply, I didn’t feel even remotely uncomfortable. Because taking time is Sunim’s thing. He’s a Buddhist monk who has become internationally famous for it.

His book Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down was published in South Korea in 2012, quickly rose to No 1 on the bestseller list and stayed there for nearly a year, selling more than 3m copies. Written in response to requests for advice on social media (he has 1.25 million followers on Twitter), it directly addresses problems facing people around the world. Some of this is based on his personal experience. Much is based on what he has learned from people who ask for his help.

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Tina Muir’s guide to battling running demons

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

If you’ve always thought that only the amateurs feel the pre-race fear, you’d be wrong. Elite runner Tina Muir offers tips to overcome the nerves

Do you remember cross country day at school? It was exhausting, embarrassing, and easily shattered your confidence as you faced your own insecurities head on. And this comes from someone who was actually good at it.

Fast forward to today. The mental demons telling me to stop are just as loud. Not only is running tough on the body, it is also tough on the mind. Most other sports involve short bursts of activity where you can focus on completing a task or helping your team. Not running.

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How was your weekend running?

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

Watching, cheering, pacing or racing – was did your weekend have in store for you? Come and share your triumphs and woes below the line as always

It’s hardly a novel observation that while mass participation running is seeing massive growth, crowds and audiences for athletics events is falling. Anyone who watched the indoor Grand Prix from Birmingham on Saturday will know what a shame that is, when a star like Laura Muir is rising. Mo Farah may have won his (hardly hotly contested) race, but Muir was truly stellar, breaking the UK and European records for 1,000m and only just missing out on the world record.

If that feels like an impressive, yet distant feat to you – well, it’s already had an impact in my house. Running junior parkrun on Sunday, the look on my five year old’s face in the finishing straight was – I swear – almost identical to Muir’s. At bedtime, she requested a story featuring Muir. Oh, and both she and her big sister got PBs. It’s amazing what a bit of inspiration – oh, ok, and a promise of some chocolate buttons – can do.

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Running away: revelling in the birthplace of the marathon

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

Finishing the Athens 10K at the Panathenaic stadium, ahead of runners making their way from the town of Marathon, is an elating experience

I like a run that finishes in a stadium. It can bring a sense of grandeur, of occasion, to any race. The crowds banked up high. For a fleeting moment you can pretend you’re Mo Farah or Jessica Ennis-Hill.

As stadium finishes go, few can match the experience of entering the almost 2,000-year-old Panathenaic stadium in Athens. Made of marble and with a seating capacity of 50,000, this epic structure was the setting for the opening ceremony of the first modern Olympics in 1896. It was the finish of the 2004 Olympic marathons. Long ago, it hosted naked wrestlers and gladiators.

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How was your weekend running?

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

Everyone needs to find their own niche in the big world of running. And then be left to enjoy it. So come and share your own weekend woes and triumphs below the line as always

I’ve had several conversations recently about tribalism in running – particularly in London. With the massive growth in the sport in recent years, it’s only natural that different types of runner, as well as different types of race, club, and communities, have formed. Then there’s the different styles of running, which themselves take on a slightly messianic quality: the ‘barefoot is best’ vs maximalist, the ‘warm up is pointless’ vs committed pre-run stretchers.

The thing is, they are all right. For them. My motto when it comes to shoe recommendations is ‘there is no good or bad trainer, there’s just the one that’s right for you’ – and likewise in running itself, I think everyone should find their own way – and then leave it at that. There is no inherent virtue in wearing barefoot shoes vs more cushioned ones. There is nothing ‘better’ about running with music or podcasts vs silence. It’s just what you enjoy. One runner’s birdsong and sheep baaing might be another’s roar of the North Circular – putting music on to block that out doesn’t make them any less of a runner.

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Nicky Spinks: ‘I like the silence of running in the outdoors’

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

Earlier this year, the 49-year-old made fell running history by becoming the fastest person to run a Double Bob Graham Round. What’s the secret of her success?

The 49-year-old breast cancer-survivor marked 10 years post-diagnosis by running the Double Bob Graham Round132 miles and around 54,000ft of ascent – in a record-breaking time of 45 hours and 30 minutes.

Where is your favourite place to run? It’s got to be the Peak District, where I live, even though it’s not hilly or very remote. Actually, it’s very accessible – 20 minutes in a car and I’m there with my dogs and I don’t see a soul. There’s a place called Rocking Stones, which is a set of stones that look down the valley towards Ladybower Reservoir and, on a nice day, you can see for miles

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Picture of the day: EnduranceLife ultra in South Devon

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

On Saturday, author and Guardian running-blog contributor Adharanand Finn took part in his first ultra marathon, the EnduranceLife CTS South Devon. It comprised 34 miles of hilly, muddy trails along one of the most beautiful stretches of the English coastline. Here he is, 15 miles into the race, which was won by Tom Payn in 4hrs 44 mins. Photograph by Marietta d’Erlanger

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Over the ice … how to run across a Siberian lake

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

Lake Baikal is 600km long and freezes solid in winter. So, what else would you choose to do but run its entire length?

Ray Zahab has run thousands of miles over deserts: the Gobi, Sahara, Atacama, Antarctica and plenty more. Alongside Kevin Vallely, he has also run across the biggest lake in the world, Lake Baikal in Siberia.
Now, I know you’re thinking: “Hold on, can he run on water? What’s going on there?” Well, in the winter months, Lake Baikal completely freezes, solid enough for people to ski, bike, drive and run across. So, in 2010, Zahab and Vallely decided to run the 600km (373 mile)-length of the lake; it took a little over 13 days.

Zahab is a lover of geography. When he discovered ultrarunning back in 2003, winning the Yukon Arctic Ultra in rather chilly conditions, he found a passion that was to shape his life. Now, one of his main aims is to share that passion with other people. He founded the charity Impossible2Possible (I2P), taking young people from a whole range of backgrounds on life-changing expeditions.

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Test all pregnant women for smoking, say NHS chiefs

Mar 2nd, 2017 by

The plan, which is supported by the Royal College of Midwives, is part of a wider drive to discourage cigarettes at hospitals

England’s public health chief is urging hospitals to give every pregnant woman a carbon monoxide test to see if they smoke, as part of an NHS-wide drive to persuade patients to kick the habit.

Duncan Selbie wants midwives and nurses to routinely screen mothers-to-be when their pregnancy is first “booked”, monitor them at all their antenatal appointments and support those who want to quit.

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