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Running legend Ron Hill has finally finished an unbroken streak that stretches over half a century
Even the greatest streak must, eventually, end. And Ron Hill has announced that, after 52 years and 39 days, he’s finally going to have a day off.
For those not steeped in the history of distance running, Hill, 78, is probably less a running legend than a brand name for some well-priced kit (though he sold the brand named after him in the early 90s, and now runs Hilly clothing). Yet he is undeniably one of the British all-time greats. In his heyday, he set world records at multiple distances (10 miles, 15 miles, 25km) and was the second man to break 2hrs 10min in the marathon (the first being Australian Derek Clayton). He ran in three Olympic games – Tokyo in 1964, Mexico City in 1968 and Munich in 1972. He won the European Championship marathon in 1969. In 1970, he won the Boston marathon – the first British runner to do so – and in July of the same year, won the Commonwealth Games title in Edinburgh.Continue Reading »
Whether you are new to running or want to improve your pace, here’s how to get going
Running is a fantastic way to get fit. You don’t need much kit, you can do it anywhere (within reason) and it’s available to you all the time – you don’t need to wait for the gym to be open or a class to start; just go. You might think of it as a leg exercise, but it actually works most of the body. Running fast is also one of the quickest ways to burn calories; it’s an activity with a high “met rate” (calorie burn per kg of weight, per hour). Rowing is another good one; cycling is slightly lower.
People worry about injury and bad knees and so on, but it’s a myth that running is bad for you. With good trainers, and good technique, you should be OK. That said, an unprepared body lacking mobility is more likely to get injured, so make sure you stretch and do supporting exercises. If you’re very overweight, start small, with fast walking. And if you have health issues, take advice from a doctor.Continue Reading »
It’s probably only when I’m running that I properly observe the world
• Why do you run? Tell us in the comments below
J Alfred Prufrock measured out his life with coffee spoons. I measure mine with footsteps. There is no digital gizmo involved, just my head. Sixteen hundred steps from the office will take me along Regent’s Canal as far as the Constitution pub. Whatever happens, I know I can count there and back as a run of sorts. 4,000 steps takes me to the wild dogs and pelicans at London zoo. 6,000 and I’m at the end of the towpath. 12,000 steps is a good run. Six miles. No inner monologue, no conversation with my running partner. Just counting.
It allows me to nurse my obsessive compulsions (I say hello to every coot along the way, touch the railings 10 times, run 100 steps on the spot at certain points) and to forget them. (Despite all the ridiculous ritual, my mind clears.)Continue Reading »
There’s something for everyone at the cold water swimming championships at the lido in Tooting, south London: medals for the fastest, an award for the best hat and a mass jump-in in aid of Crisis, the homelessness charity
A day of cold blue therapy. Where volunteer marshals lined up more than 700 competitors for 114 races at intervals timed to the second. “Get in the water, get your shoulders under,” they said briskly and everyone did, briskly.Continue Reading »
It’s never quite the things you expect to derail a training schedule that do so anyway. Anyone else been poorly? As always, share your triumphant PBs and injury woes below the line
Of all the things I half expect to derail a marathon training schedule – niggles or injuries, work/life balances issues, stitches, head not in the right place, etc, coming down with a nasty bug never seems to occur to me. Unfortunately that’s what happened to me last week, so while my weekend running has been fine, I did absolutely none last week. I haven’t taken that many days ‘off’ – if you can call lying listlessly and feverishly in bed watching box sets on the laptop ‘off’ – in years.
A few days on, I’ve regained the ability to run, but totally lost my voice. Not a problem for marathon training, though somewhat limiting my ability to parent (try telling a stubborn five year old to do something she doesn’t want to, without being able to do the “I really mean it now” voice …). I missed two hard mid-week runs, had to limit the length of my long run yesterday to 14 (should have been 19) but all in all, it’s probably not that bad a thing. At least my legs had a rest.Continue Reading »
The number of Americans taking the supplement has doubled in five years – but it is controversial and not available over the counter in the UK. So does it work?
Jet lag can be more than just an inconvenience for long-distance travellers. Arriving in a far-off destination where the time no longer matches your internal body clock can trigger insomnia, lethargy and reduced alertness. Which is hardly ideal if you are delivering an important presentation or trying to seal a big deal.
There is little surprise, then, that growing numbers of people are popping pills to counter the effects of jet lag. A government survey published last year found that 3.1 million Americans – 1.3% of the population – take melatonin supplements for jet lag and other sleep problems. Its use more than doubled in the US between 2007 and 2012.Continue Reading »
For many people the start of the year is a chance to recover from Christmas excess. But what are the benefits of an alcohol-free month?Continue Reading »
The 2015 Marathon des Sables ladies champion Elisabet Barnes training in Lanzarote on a multi-day training camp. In February, Barnes will head to Costa Rica to take part in the 2017 Coastal Challenge, a multi-stage race that weaves in and out of the Talamancas along Costa Rica’s stunning coastlineContinue Reading »
Those of us on the marathon training cycle are starting to ramp up the distance on the long runs. Do you treat it as a battle or a practice? As always, come and share your weekend triumphs and woes below the line
I was thinking yesterday about language. Or rather terminology. If you hang out too much on social media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that no one ever just ‘does’ a long run. They smash it. They wallop it. They annihilate it. They downright get violent with it. But you know what they – we – are all actually doing? We’re being good boys and girls, and doing our homework: we’re practising.
It’s not exactly a social media friendly buzzword, recalling as it does tortuous attempts to master piano basics or your times tables. But really, that is basically what you are doing. Long runs – at least when you are half or full marathon training – are as much about practising fighting the voices in the head as they are increasing the endurance in the legs and lungs. You know you can run faster, so you practice running longer. You practice the bits when your head says give up, before you point out to it that actually your legs feel ok. You practice your mantras to block out those voices (for some reason, yesterday, my usual Steve Way-inspired ‘Don’t be shit’ was replaced by Dory’s ‘Just keep swimming’)Continue Reading »
The Montane Spine Race is a 268 mile non-stop challenge encompassing the entire Pennine Way. The 2017 race concluded for the frontrunners yesterday with victory for Tom Hollins from Britain. The cut off for runners is 168hrs – Hollins won in 99 hours and change – and was asleep minutes later. Carol Morgan was the first woman, annihilating the course record by a jaw-dropping 43 hours to finish in 109 hrs. Others are still out on the course – the cut off falls on Sunday at 8.35am.Continue Reading »