Gel Glorify and Luminus – Pound The Road, Not Your Feet

A few weeks ago I was sent two pairs of trainers and some items of running gear from the guys at The Running Bug in connection with ASICS and Intersport (where the trainers are exclusively stocked).

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I’m fully aware that this is a dream come true scenario for any runner to be given items of clothing and trainers so I was obviously very happy to try them out. However, I do always feel slightly cautious with trying new trainers because: hello I’m injury prone.

That said, by their description the trainers sounded right up my alley. They’re part of the new gel collection which stresses the concept of “pound the road, not your feet”, especially with long distances. OK, I’m on board so far. So what were the trainers and what were they like?

Gel-Glorify

(Check out Intersport’s website for where to find them) ASICS Gel GlorifyThe Glorify trainer is similar to the ASICS Nimbus model. They have gel cushioning in the front and back as well as a “FluidRide” midsole so keep things nice and bouncy (good “bounce back”). They’re aimed at longer distance running (10k onwards) and were designed to give you a comfy spring in your run. They also have a “Full Length Guidance Line” which is aimed to keep your foot stable during the gait cycle even when you’re fatigued.

IMG_3036ASICS Glorify trainers, socks, shorts and T-shirt

My thoughts? I found them very comfortable and bouncy. I’ve said this previously, but they reminded me a bit of Adidas Boosts but not quite as light. That’s not to say they feel like a heavy shoe, they don’t. But Boosts are more short distance racing shoes, whereas these are in it for the long haul. And for me, this is important in my marathon training. They’re a neutral shoe so ideal for those who don’t have serious pronation problems. Unfortunately I do but I slipped in my insoles into them and they still feel great (I do the same with my Boost neutral trainers). I found them really good for tempo runs when I needed a quick leg turnover but still have a good level of comfort.

Gel-Luminus

(Check out Intersport’s website for where to find them)

ASICS Gel Luminus

The Luminus is similar to the ASICS Kayano model. Again they have a lightweight cushioning and are more of a structured shoe to help stabilise the heel and midfoot. They also have a good amount of room in the forefoot.

ASICS Luminus

My thoughts? These were my favourite out of the two. They’re a structured cushioned shoe and are ideal for my over-pronation. I’ll never feel entirely comfortable in racing flats of minimalist shoes. I’m a runner who needs support and feels more confident when I have it. These didn’t feel like big heavy support shoes, they felt light-weight and my runs felt nice and smooth. What I really liked was that there was a good amount of room in the front compartment: no black toenails for me!

Additional note: I also really like that both trainers have normal length laces. Mizuno drive me mad with their stupidly long laces – why!?

ASICS Apparel

Along with the trainers, I was sent an ASICs technical T-shirt, shorts and socks.

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The T-shirt and shorts are really good quality. The T-shirt is lovely and lightweight and nicely fitted.  It also has reflective strips.

The shorts are fantastic. So much so I wore them for my Cheddar Gorge marathon. They’re so comfy, no chafing, have a handy zip back pocket and were lovely and breezy for the run.

The socks are soft and haven’t given me blisters, but I do prefer the shorter “trainer socks”. But that’s merely an aesthetics point!

I like ASICS as you know where you stand with them. They products are good functional and quality goods. The trainers are available exclusively at InterSport so check out their website to find where you can purchase them from.

Do you like ASICS?

What brand of trainer are you currently using?

Do you prefer cushioning and support or more minimalistic trainers?

**Full Disclosure: I was sent these products for free in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own honest ones.**

Rants and Raves #18

Is it too early to think about Christmas? Yes, yes it is. I do love autumn but I’d still like one last summer hurrah before the coldness does finally set in…we’ll see I guess.

Rave: I am now the proud owner of a standing desk at work now. I’m so pleased as I really pushed for this. To be fair, my company were very accommodating but it did require me to do the leg work (no pun intended) to champion it and find a decent one that didn’t cost the world. Posture Stand

It’s good timing as my original Amazon box was starting to sag…This bad boy is fantastic though as it even has someone to perch your mouse (before I had to put my mouse on my laptop and swerve the keyboard). It was only around £50 as well, and fully adjustable! (It’s THIS one if you’re interested – no affiliation).

Rant: Dark mornings. How easy it was to get up at 5.30am when the sun was already shining outside…now it’s like the dead of night. At least it’s light when I come out of the gym I suppose.

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Dark but beautiful I suppose.

Rave: Getting back into playing the Xbox again. I’m a geek at heart and have played console games and PC games since I could hold a controller. My dad’s to blame as he’d always buy the latest consoles and get me to play with him.

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Sometimes it’s nice to chill out and shoot a few zombies, crash a few cars and ‘level up’. I can’t believe how much of a geek I used to be back in the day; I played so many games growing up (The Sims, Tomb Raider, Halo, online gaming…). These days I can get bored quite easily, but once in a while it’s nice to waste some time when the weather’s rubbish.

Rant: I seem to have a soap opera life with the cats on my street. The ginger one below has been using this little spot on my front garden (hardly a garden, more a patch of untamed grass…) to chill.

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So much so there is now an indentation in the grass where it’s been curled up for hours at end. I’m at peace with it chilling there though as Alfie doesn’t notice it. Bless, Alfie, he’s not the sharpest or most observant dog…

Speaking of cats, there’s one that looks so grumpy it’s almost unreal. I’ve been trying to take a photo of it for ages…I even stroked it and played with it (it seemed really friendly surprisingly) but I could only manage this one:

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Someone really annoyed this cat at some point in its life. It’s holding a powerful grudge.

Rave: I’ve got a collection of old designer handbags that I’m aiming to get sell (not really high end brands, but DKNY, Guess and Radley). I put one of the Radley handbags on eBay to sell and didn’t really care how much I’d get and in the end got £28. I charged £5ish for P&P and went to he post office to sell it.

I haven’t sold anything before on eBay nor have I ever sent a handbag in the post. It was all very stressful and complicated and would have cost more than £5. The lady behind the till was aghast though and said she’d give me£50 there and then to buy it from me. I was stunned. I had a little think and decided to hell with it. I said I’d be happy to sell it to her for £40 (£50 felt too much). She gave me cash! Amazing. I did feel terrible having to go back to the eBay buyer and say it was no longer available and they were fully refunded. Sometimes though you just have to go for it!

Rant: This is a depressing and slightly morbid rant, sorry. I don’t talk too much about this on the blog as it’s highly personal and doesn’t just involve me, but I still find being separated from Ben tough. I’m learning how to redefine myself and live my life now as a unit, which is hard. It still affects me every day. I had a moment the other day when I thought (now this really is morbid I’m sorry) what if I have an accident or I’m attacked one evening? Who will know I’m missing? My parents will eventually, but not right away. I don’t speak to them every day. Yes I work with my dad but some days/weeks he’s not in the office and somewhere else in the country (or world) on business. I obviously have friends but it’s not the same is it as a significant other? I mentioned this to my mum and she said she had thought about that too (her spinster daughter all on her own…) and suggested we “check in” with each other each night. Either a text or a phone call just before I go to bed to say “hey, I’m alive”. Jesus, this is how much I’ve regressed 😉 Though we failed the first evening as I forgot and then she text too late as I was already asleep. Whoops.

And just because we’re on that delightful topping of being newly single… I saw a work colleague the other day that I hadn’t seen for like three years. She asked how married life was as the last time she spoke to me was just before the wedding. Ah there’s a great conversation “yeah…not so good actually.” Or even better still, someone who had no idea you’d gotten married in the first place asks what’s new in your life. I mean seriously, what do you say!? You have to laugh at these things really…!

Rave: To end on something lighter… This is Alfie’s meditation face.

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I’m pretty sure if I could read his thoughts he was visualising how he was going to overcome the many cats that hound him around my road 😉 “I am strong, I won’t let them bother me”…either that or “I hope when I open my eyes she’s put her camera away”.

On the subject of Alfie, I find it both adorable and annoying that he leaves little bits of food all over the house. I’m pretty sure this is because he thinks someone might steal the food in his food bowl (he’s a grazer rather than an outright meal eater) so he distributes little bits everywhere…just in case.

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Resourceful I must admit.

If you have pets, do they do things that are cute but annoying?

What time do you get up in the morning usually?

Do you use eBay a lot? Have you ever sold old things?

Feeling a bit drained and flat

There is nothing like a long weekend to really kick start out back into life. Though I know not everyone got to enjoy a day off yesterday!

It was a fairly quiet weekend I must say – but sometimes you just need a bit of ‘downtime’ to try and recharge your batteries and, in my case, get into gear with sorting and organising the house. I still don’t have a date for when I’m moving, which is annoying. Especially because it’s already September now and my weekends coming up are getting booked up with seeing university friends, races and a holiday at the end of September. Whoops.

Anyway, rolling back to Saturday I went to parkrun as normal. Because I spectacularly positive splitted last week I wanted to have a strong negative split this time. I find it really hard in a 5k to pace myself. It’s funny because in a marathon I’ve found I can stick to my set paces almost perfectly and have a really controlled race, but when it comes to any shorter races it all goes to pot.

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It was quite a chilly start to the day as we set up all the flags for the course, but at 8.30am the sun came out and it suddenly heated up. I wore my new skort (only £12 from Forever 21 – and very comfy and flattering, it has proper shorts underneath as well) and my Paris marathon T-shirt but by the time we got ready to start I decided to forgo the top and just run in my sports bra (I noticed a few others had done the same so I didn’t feel quite so naked). This was perfect.

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I started the first lap slightly more conservatively than I would usually but still found it tough going. I managed to hang on to one of the guys from the running club, Berni, who does a lot of our coaching and leading runs. He was great as his pace was so consistent and we chatted a bit which kept my mind off the effort. On the final lap he told me to push on and I suddenly felt I had more energy knowing I only had one more lap to go.

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Check those splits out! A nice negative royal flush. OK only three miles worth but I’ll take it! I came second female with 21:14. Happy days.

I also tried my very first blondie afterwards which honestly rocked my world. I think I’ve never gone for them as they’re white chocolate and I’m not a huge white chocolate fan but when a small child offers you a blondie, you take the blondie. And I’m so glad I did!

Later on I needed to pop to the shops quickly to top up on apples and came back with…well, more than apples.

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I spotted some tasty looking pork belly and lamb koftas which I just couldn’t say no to, and then spotted the Ben and Jerry’s BLONDIE brownie core. And some frozen berries which I always love having with Greek yogurt at work.

That evening I was round my parent’s house for dinner with family friends. We had smoked salmon to start and steak Diane and roasted sweet potato wedges for main. If you’ve never had steak Diane it is AMAZING. My dad doesn’t even follow a recipe anymore he’s made it so often. The sauce is a cream based sauce with brandy, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce with fried onions and mushrooms. It was delicious.

For pudding there was a choice of Carte D’or ice cream or my Ben and Jerry’s. I went for the B&Js and it was just as good as it sounded.

The next morning was my long run and I was meeting running club guys to join them on a 10 miler. I ran to the meeting point and back to make it up to 14 miles. I’m still trying to be gradual in my build-up for Bournemouth as I’ve only just run Cheddar Gorge. Next week I’m hoping to run 16-17 miles and then 18 the week after and then taper.

It was really humid and from the start I found the run quite draining. I don’t know if it was the heavy meal the night before, tired legs in general or the humidity but it just felt tough. It was nice running with the others though as chatting to them took my mind of my fatigue. I need to be careful to not overdo things as I know recently I’ve done so much. After Bournemouth (providing I get there – I never take these things as a given!!) I’m planning on taking a break from the longer distances. In fact I might take a couple of weeks entirely off of running to just chill and then focus on some 10 milers and a half marathon race instead.

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The route we took was fairly undulating as well in the middle section so this was tough going. Thankfully I’d taken water with me as it was really warm!

IMG_3588 The photo on the left is before I headed out – I look very fresh and unsweaty!

For the rest of the day I felt drained and tired. I’d made sure to have something before I went running (which I never normally do) to help keep my nutrition topped up for the day as I struggle with long run days to refuel. It was one of those Chia Pods which had an ‘interesting’ texture but tasted nice.

I ate lots through the day and think I refuelled like a pro. For dinner I had the pork belly and roasted sweet potato and it was delicious.

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High in calories, fat and protein it went down nicely! I know there’s some dispute about animal protein and fat being the best thing for you, but it definitely filled a hole and left me satisfied. I’ve been tracking my calories and macros using MyFitnessPal to keep me on track of my goal which has been really helpful. I won’t use it forever or get too fixated on it but I need something to give me an idea of what I’m eating as I don’t track calories or macros normally. It also links to my Garmin account so gives me a good idea of how much food I need to refuel after a run. I’ll do a post about it later on what I’ve been eating and how I’ve been tracking things if people are interested!

As I had Monday off (as it was a Bank holiday in the UK, apart from Scotland) I had a luxurious lie-in (I woke up at 7.30am naturally and lazed about until just before 8am, how indulgent) and then headed to the gym at the far more reasonable time of 9am (not my usual 5.30am!).

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I’m still following the New Rules of Lifting for Women and I’ve probably got about two-three weeks left (I tend to do three sessions, sometimes two a week) of Stage 1. I’m so pleased with the progress I’ve made. My deadlift and squat weight has gone up significantly and I feel really strong. I still supplement the listed workouts though with my own stuff though as I want to cover running-specific strength training as well (click the link for a great list of moves).

Then the rest of the day was spent doing the fairly depressing task of sorting through some stuff in the loft and house bits and pieces. Nothing like sifting through wedding cards and old photos to really end your long weekend on a high!

How was your weekend? Did you have the Monday off?

What do you eat before a long run or workout?

Do you track calories and/or macros?

Putting it into practice

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying to up the calories and fuel myself better for running (and life). This is important obviously not only to my overall health but also because I’m still marathon training and want to continue to run healthily.

** Just to add: if putting on weight fails to do anything, then I’m heading to the doctor again and making my case fully heard, and to check there isn’t anything else wrong. I also know stopping running might be the easiest way to get things going again but I really hope it doesn’t come to that :-( **

The thoughts from my previous post haven’t just happened, I’ve been thinking about it for a while and have already been upping my nutrition. This was really important after my latest marathon as refuelling and recovering effectively would hopefully mean I could jump ease back into marathon training for Bournemouth (October 4th) without major tiredness, issues or injuries. So far so good, finger’s crossed.

Straight after a marathon is a really tricky time because, like most people I’ve spoken to, I really don’t fancy anything to eat. You’ve just run for a ridiculously long time and your body is in a bit of shock and probably feeling a bit dodgy. But this is a critical time to refuel and maximise your recovery, and if you leave it too long you can end up doing your body no favours.

To combat not fancying food I bought a recovery shake from Tesco to drink straight afterwards. Drinking something is far easier than eating something. It’s also easier to put in your bag and carry with you.

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I’d planned to take just regular chocolate milk but I liked the sound of this one with it’s added nutrients (vitamins, calcium, magnesium, etc.) and high protein (40g). Plus it was on offer in Tesco. It’s fairly low in carbs (10g) which was a bit annoying but I knew I’d get that sorted soon so I wasn’t concerned (looking at their website I probably should have chosen the Recovery version but this one wasn’t on offer…). And it tasted nice.

I’d drunk a bit more water immediately after finishing and actually wasn’t thirsty at all when my dad and me were back in the car. And I needed to pee about an hour later. Usually after a marathon it takes a fair few hours to need the loo (sorry, here I go again with my bathroom habits!). I think this is a great sign that I hydrated well, despite it being a very warm day.

We knew that we’d have trouble finding a place to eat driving back home because it would be late afternoon on a Sunday and most places would be closed. The day before when we were planning I suggested to my dad something I have never suggested before to him. How about a KFC? They’re always open!

I’m not a big fast food eater. I don’t like McDonalds or Burger Kings (why have a teeny plastic burger when you can have a delicious proper burger from a pub?) and fast food in general isn’t really my scene. However, you all know my love for a cheeky Nando’s and chicken in general and the thought of a dirty KFC after a hard run just sounded dreamy to me.

We did have to make a detour off our route home but we found one eventually. My dad was pleased to be allowed to legitimately have a KFC without me moaning at him. To be fair he hadn’t had lunch and had walked a fair distance, plus it seemed only fair considering how much of a help he was to me in supporting me.

IMG_3340 Not my finest look I must admit

I haven’t actually had a KFC since I was about 12 so I stood gawping at the menu for a bit having no idea what to choose. Eventually I went for a Mighty Bucket for One. Normally I might have been a bit dissuaded by the 1,200 calories listed next to this meal (which probably doesn’t include the fries) but hell I’d just run for 4.5 hours and needed it! I will just add, there are far better and more nutritionally sound ways to refuel after a marathon or workout – but for convenience, high calories and sheer god damn tastiness this was the ticket.

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It took me a while though to actually eat the damn thing though. My stomach was cramping and I felt sick. After taking a breather I dove straight in though. I couldn’t eat it all (pretty much all the chicken disappeared but the chips were just too much for my delicate stomach – I prioritised with what I love of course!).

After arriving home and having the best shower of my life (I think I always say this after a race), I was a bit hungry again but the thought of cooking something was beyond me as I was so tired. Instead I went for the easy and tasty option of a lemon and blueberry slice of cake (thank you, Freezer Stock).

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I also had some fruit and called it a night. Not a sound day of nutrition I grant you, but easy calories into the system nonetheless. The days after the marathon I made sure to keep my calories up (and of better quality). My favourite current meal is a monster salad of tinned salmon with avocado, butternut squash roasted in lots of coconut oil (heaven), and lots of veg. That might not sound that good but I made sure to have a lot of avocado in there and use a big blob of coconut oil.

And on the Tuesday after the marathon, a Nando’s before seeing Inside Out at the cinema after work worked wonders.IMG_3361I think I did pretty well last week on refuelling and I’ve continued this going forward. Some days I do feel stuffed though and that I’ve eaten loads, but at the same time I know it’s doing my body good. My mindset is that this is part of running well. It’s like my strength training. Most of the time I find it quite hard to feel the same enjoyment as I get from running when I go to the gym, but at the same time I know it’s important to do so I can run. The same goes with increasing my weight. I might not enjoy my clothes feeling tighter going forward, but I’d hate to not be able to run a whole lot more.

Going forward I’ll be posting about how things are going, what I’m eating and the changes I’m making alongside my usual mumbo jumbo!

How do you recover after a marathon/hard workout?

What do you eat immediately after you work out/race?

What’s your favourite fast food if you had to pick one?

Who I am today (part 2)

OK so part 1 was a tough post for me. Having a blog is tricky as there are some things that you don’t feel comfortable talking to the whole world about, but at the same time it’s sometimes important to discuss certain issues however uncomfortable and embarrassing, rather than create a taboo. Part 2 is equally tough but in a different way.

During university I became healthy again both in my body and with my relationship with food. Being relaxed around food makes social occasions and enjoying life in general so much easier, as you can imagine. My relationship with food hasn’t changed. I haven’t regressed to worrying about calories, weight or loss of control. Food is still my friend. Since writing my blog this has been the case. Rest assure that when I show photos of cake, meals and snacks that I’m eating those things and enjoying them.

However I have a keen interest in keeping fit and being healthy. I obviously don’t eat cake every night with abandon. I genuinely enjoy healthy food like salads, vegetables and regularly make ‘sensible’ choices on a daily basis. I choose a handful of nuts as a snack (pistachios being my favourite) rather than a bag of crisps. This is mainly because I know the nuts will be more satisfying and nutritionally sound. When I go to a restaurant and choose a salad from the menu it isn’t because it looks like it’s the lowest calorie option available, it’s because I love salads. And, if you’ve read my blog for a long time, you know I’m likely to order chips on the side or have a Caesar salad which is hardly low calories with that creamy thick dressing!Zippers mealA few years ago I fell in love with running, which wasn’t an issue until I started running a lot more (probably two years ago). I ate well and my weight didn’t change. I’m probably slightly more heavy than I was when I left university at my healthy weight.

But after a while my period stopped again. At this point I was still with Ben. I checked I wasn’t pregnant and was hugely confused. My weight hadn’t dropped – I’m healthy! What’s going on? I went to the doctor (a different one) and explained my issue. They said that as my weight seemed fine (my BMI is in the healthy range) I should go on the pill and it would regulate things back to normal. No problemo.

Long story short, it sort of did, sort of didn’t. I’m ashamed to admit I just ignored the situation. We didn’t want children anytime soon and I knew I was eating properly. I started taking a calcium/vitamin D/magnesium supplement every day just in case and just carried on my merry little way assuming things would eventually become OK.

Ben and me separated and I stopped taking the pill and, well, nothing has changed. It’s funny (well, no it’s not obviously) but when a couple of my favourite bloggers openly discussed their previous problems with this area I didn’t apply it to myself at all. My head was firmly in the sand.

As a runner, injuries are the bane of my training. I’ve somehow mastered to get over half a year with no injuries and I’m over the moon. But in the back of my mind I know I’m walking a tightrope as by not having the proper hormones going on I’m in big danger of stress fractures as my bones might be too weak. Every time someone even mentions stress fractures, or I read about them in magazines or on blogs, I feel sick. It scares the hell out of me.

Taking my head out of the sand, I know this IS NOT NORMAL. I’m pretty sure it’s because I run too much for the weight I’m at. My body was fine at this weight for living life but adding in 30 miles of running a week (and my gym visits) has clearly stressed it out. It’s too busy keeping me running than worrying about ‘pesky’ hormones.

But I can’t give up running. Not yet. It’s a lifeline for me right now. Instead, I’m going to try and put on more weight. More calories = more weight which means (hopefully) kicking my body into gear with more hormones = healthy bones. I won’t lie, it sucks. I like the way I look and no girl really wants to be told she needs to put on weight. But I love running more and knowing how good running feels without being injured only heightens my resolve.

It’s going to be tough. I already eat a lot through the day – it’s not like I miss out meals or go to bed hungry. I’m a three meals plus regular snacks kinda girl! It’s frustrating because I do feel like I eat enough and I don’t count calories or actively maintain a certain weight. That said, I do know where my problem areas are though. I struggle with eating enough on long run days, often only having two meals as I just don’t fancy more and I don’t really eat more on days I exercise compared to days I don’t. Perhaps I think I’m eating lots but in reality for the exercise I do, I’m not. But I have strategies to master this! I know I can add more calories into my diet without necessarily stuffing myself silly every day. My plan:

(I will just add that I know I could eat cake every day – and God knows I really want to – but I need to do this in a fairly healthy way that will also be beneficial to sustaining good running).

  • Switch almond milk to semi-skimmed milk (more protein, more fat)
  • Switch my daily low-fat Greek yogurt to full-fat
  • Eat more nuts
  • Eat more avocados
  • Eat more oily fish
  • Use more coconut oil
  • Face plant a cake every night

I’ve heard that increasing your fat intake helps regulate hormones which is why there’s a lot more fat there and when I looked at what I normally eat I saw, apart from meat (which I don’t eat all the time), I don’t really eat that much fat at all.

I’m not going to go crazy and I want to do this fairly slowly (otherwise I’ll probably freak out – what girl wouldn’t?). I’ll aim for 5-7 pounds at first and see where that gets me. When I told my mum she said (amongst many other helpful and supportive things), “yep, you definitely need more meat on you”. Point taken, mums know best.

So there we go. However embarrassing these two post have been, I wanted to be honest and wanted to make myself accountable. Though I’m in a great place with food, I’m not perfect and I’m certainly not immune to feeling fat and thinking I look fat at times. This is obviously only going to increase. But it’s got to be done if I want to run healthy and for years to come.

I’m by no means an expert in this area nor do I know lots about food and nutrition so this is very much my own deductions and judgements. Any advice is always welcome.

Do you struggle to refuel properly after long runs?

Have you had any experience in this area?