Rants and Raves #15

How the weeks are flying by! I know it’s such a cliché but everything is just moving so quickly. And with another week I have another set of rants and raves…

Rave: I entered a competition with Brooks a while ago and forgot about it. If I remember correctly you had to talk about why running makes you happy and upload a photo of yourself “running happy”. I didn’t win but they did send me a consolation prize.

Brooks Run Happy TShirt

A very nice Brooks t-shirt. It’s made from wicking material but it’s not a ‘proper’ technical t-shirt if that makes sense but it’s still good for short runs, gym visits or just general wear. It’s lovely and soft and fits nicely.

Rant: My gym has been renovated which has just been *so* much fun trying to find an area to work out in that wasn’t a building site. Though I can understand their issue as it’s open 24/7 so it must be hard to do any sorts of improvements without closing the gym.

But anyway, they’ve created a new door system to get in and out. Before it was like a caged turnstile. Now it’s like something out of Star Trek.

IMG_1755 You type in your code, one part of it opens, you step in, it closes before opening the next part. There is about two very long seconds where you fear you’ll never be let out. What a way to spend the rest of your life…locked in a glass cage with only your own sweat smell to comfort you.

Rave: Speaking of the new gym renovations, it has meant that we’ve had loads of new equipment and weights. Including a proper stepper machine! I was quite excited as previously we’d only had that annoying step machine that when you put your foot on each step it sinks down. I tried it once and it was awful. I just didn’t get on with it as I couldn’t work out if I was meant to do shallow little steps or big deep steps. The real step machine however is far better.

Stepper machine

It’s actually like climbing stairs and you can get a good rhythm. Great for the glutes and legs! And for towering over the gym and people watching 😉

But I honestly have no idea what this new machine is…


On closer inspection it looked like a rowing machine, but upright…very strange.

Rant: Hot running! Though it is nice to be warm when you’re doing your warm-up…oh those days not so long ago I was standing in the car park in my tiny shorts absolutely freezing doing my leg swings while people were coming out to their cars wrapped up in coats and scarves looking at me like I was mental. But it does make for harder running.


Sweaty, uncomfortable and harder efforts for the same speeds…it’s tough! And even more so when you come back to the office and find…

IMG_1757 NO cups for the water machine. I did consider putting my head under the water release bit and drinking that way but I thought perhaps this wasn’t proper office etiquette, even if it was past normal working hours 😉 Luckily they had another one in another corridor that I had to hunt for in my heat-induced delirium.

Rave: Pretty purple Nike capris! I’m clearly a bit obsessed with capris right now. I don’t tend to wear them running as it’s too hot but I love wearing them to the gym.

Nike Capris

These are really comfortable and nice fitting. Normally I’m not one for crazy patterns but I just love the colour! I can’t remember where I got them from, otherwise I’d post the link as well.

Rant: Dropping your hair dryer on yourself while blow drying your hair is painful. And further proof of the accident prone idiot I am.


And also gives the impression that you’ve been mauled by a small animal. Very painful burns from the grating in the hair dryer!

Rave: Alfie just makes me smile every single day. This is him not wanting to get up one morning.


I reckon he thinks he’s invisible if he can’t see me 😉

Rave: I’m very excited about being sent these 33Shake products. I haven’t tried them yet as I’m waiting for a good time to test them out on (I have the perfect event in a week or so to give them a good testing – but more on that soon). I was sent three All-in-One Shake blend which are ideal after hard sessions as they contain great ingredients like hemp seeds and flaxseeds, natural antioxidants (which I’ve found I really need after hard sessions!), protein, and anti-inflammatories like turmeric and green coffee (oooh er!). They’re 100% natural, meaning no additives, no preservatives, and nothing manmade.


I was also sent Chia Energy Gels which will provide energy during a hard workout. And again contain all natural with a blend of carbs, proteins, Omega-3s and antioxidants.

So I’m fairly excited about testing these bad boys out!

What are your rants and raves this week?

What do you look for in sports nutrition, whether that’s before, during or after?

Where do you buy your workout gear from?

DNAFit Results and Review

Ooook so this has been a bit delayed…my DNAFit results and review.

**Full Disclosure: I bought DNAFit myself and have not been asked to write a review.**

I first heard about DNAFit in RunnersWorld magazine (possibly an online article, possibly in the magazine, I can’t remember). At first I was like “this is weird” and then “is this legitimate…and safe?” but because it was in RunnersWorld I was instantly intrigued and reassured of it’s legitimacy (I know, I’m a sucker for good marketing!).

I could send off my DNA to be tested and be told a whole host of things about my genes regarding fitness.


I chose the DNAFit Lite.


As someone who has been plagued by injuries in the past, I was curious to know really how weak my body was. Was I predisposed to getting injuries just because that was who I was or was it really all in my head? We all know our own bodies fairly well so I was pretty sure what to expect from the results…but just to have the confirmation, or more in depth information was tantalisingly tempting. As it was my birthday my parents agreed to contribute to the cost and I made up the rest (happy birthday me!).

I didn’t need a VO2 Max potential as I’d already suffered gone through that VO2 test last year and though more information would have been nice on my genotypes and the athlete comparison, I wasn’t willing to pay £30 more for it.

DNAFit (1)

Inside are very helpful and straight forward instructions about how to collect your DNA. It uses a mouth swab which you then send back in a pre-paid secure envelope. It advised swabbing first thing in the morning so I did just that, while feeling like a criminal 😉

DNAFit (2)

It didn’t hurt and was very simple and easy. They emailed me to let me know when they’d received it and then the waiting game began. I was really excited to hear my results, desperately hoping I was actually made of steel and my injuries were all in my head.

Less than 10 days later I received an email telling me my results were in. Wheee!

I won’t lie, when I first looked at my results it was literally a quick scan to see the main points. I was also a little disappointed to find how much of it I really understood and how much I really got from it. Science lessons were a while ago now! Saying that though, after I read it a few more times and asked the company a few questions, my understanding increased and I felt like I got a lot of information.

Power Endurance Profile


I was highly surprised by this result. I really thought it would come back and say I was most suited to endurance activities. I love long distances and find them easier than shorter, sharper activities. It’s nice to know that my body seems attuned to both. I suppose this could make sense as when I put my mind to it I can do well (relatively speaking) at shorter distances, it’s just psychologically more work and less enjoyment.

As well as that overall summary it also goes into detail about different variants of genes. This is where my understanding started to waver. But after sending a query to the DNAFit people they quickly came back and explained it to me:

“The effect is shown by the presence of ‘-‘, ‘*’, ‘**’, “+”, and “++”. When there is just a dash, that means that the version of that gene is not associated with an effect in this particular part of the report. Then the presence of one asterisk’*’ means it has an effect, and two asterisks means that gene variant has a particularly strong effect on the marker in question…and two plus signs = very strong, one plus = strong.” (From DNATFit advisor)


Basically you’re given a list of the variants they examine and then marks them as to how much effect they have on your body. There are different strengths of associations and some variants might not have any effect at all, while some are really strong.

image The darker shade of green is the version of that gene that I hold

I also found that I have a better VO2max response to training and lower levels of inflammation after hard training sessions, leading to quicker recovery times.

Recovery Speed


Again I was nicely surprised by this result. I assumed I’d get a slower recovery speed, but medium is good so I’m quite happy with that! I like how it suggested things for me to do to improve on my recovery. Since doing the Simply Supplement review in May I regularly take omega-3 tablets so I feel quite smug about this 😉

From my gene variants it seems I potentially have more free radicals post-exercise because I lack the part of the gene associated with their removal (I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about…). And I apparently experience “higher levels of inflammation after strenuous exercise”.

One of the benefits of getting these results back around the time of my marathon was that it could inform me of the best way to come back to running sensibly. During the week after the marathon when all I wanted to do was run I remembered these results and held myself back. I was sensible with what I ate, I wore compression socks and I was gentle with myself. It was almost like I could validate my rest (and convince myself not to run) because I knew my body needed it.

Injury Risk

This was the one I was most interested about. Injuries plague most runners, but I feel like I’ve had more than my fair share in comparison to others.


No surprises there whatsoever. I did feel somewhat depressed by this result though. But it does make sense that genes have an effect on these things. I’m sure we all know those people who can run stupidly high mileage every week, never stretch, never foam roll and never get injured. I’m sure those are the low injury risk people.

I also apparently have an increased risk of tendinopathy and osteoarthritis and a moderately raised risk of tendon and ligament injuries in sport. And a susceptibility of increased inflammation after a hard workout.


After understanding the results more, I feel quite happy with my results. It’s very complex obviously, with what genes affect me, the strength of that effect and then the variants within that gene. It does take a bit of careful reading and re-reading!

But what DNAFit also stress is that your genes aren’t everything. They’re the foundations to your house, but how you build to that house and furnish it is up to you. Last year I was stupid with my training. I didn’t do enough strength training for my body and when I got injured I didn’t take the time off to properly recover and then to gradually come back. It was more of a case of “I feel OK now, what race is next?” and jumping back into my training plan that I abandoned just before the injury.

One of the pointers DNAFit advisers me from my results it that I need to “undertake prehabilitative exercises relevant to the sport and consider nutritional support for connective tissue”. Since before Christmas I’ve been doing just this and it’s clearly working. They stress that my injury risk is based only on my genes, but that I can make changes in my environment to reduce this injury risk. Like our biology lessons taught us, genes aren’t everything – it’s a combination of genes and environment. I’m sadly not one of those people who can just run. I’ve got to strengthen and protect my body, and then take the time to rest and recover properly.

Is it worth it? Though DNAFit confirmed many things I already knew about myself, it was nice to get an insight into the details and know a bit more about myself. Would I recommend it? It is expensive and if you’re already well-tuned to your body, I’d say you probably don’t need it. But if you’re like me and want to know a bit more about yourself and help work out what you really need to do for good training (for example, I can’t run six days a week regularly – my body needs more recovery) then go for it. Ideal birthday or Christmas present!

Would this interest you?

Have you ever done a VO2 test or a DNA test like this?

How much recovery do you think your body needs?

Injury Recovery

Happy Friday, folks. How’s your week being going? Mine has been fairly standard. For some reason I have been so tired. I think it might be the weather. We only finally got a bit of rain yesterday, so it’s been quite oppressive and humid recently.

Anyway, I wanted to do a post on how I recovered from my injury (because I think I’m pretty much fully recovered now). I know I’ve been harping on about my injury and ‘woe is me’ and it does seem to have dragged excessively long (sorry!) so I thought I’d do a ‘lessons learnt’ and tips post.

Quick background if you’re not aware: mid-June I started to get a slight pain in my right leg, near my hip up along my IT Band.

IT Band


Then after a few too many races, I went out for a run and BANG serious pain all down my IT band to my knee. Game over, no running.

I’m pretty certain I know what I did to cause it. Overuse and not listening to my body. Every weekend I ran a race and was pushing myself quite hard. I was addicted to races (still am…but I think I’m a bit more sensible now!).

Anyway, after confirming with the physio it was hip bursitis which was caused by a very tight IT band, I stopped running. It sucked.

So, then came a long and arduous time of trying to figure out how the hell I can get my leg better.

Number one: stop running. Stop doing the same damn thing that caused the issue in the first place. I even hate typing this it sucks so much. But honestly, it is better to stop completely and heal then try and push through and extend the injury longer. Unfortunately for me I did have to go on the UK Challenge team building event with work which involved a whole lot of running which I couldn’t avoid. This didn’t help. I probably would have recovered a whole lot quicker if I hadn’t have gone. Hey ho.

Post-Challenge, I ran less miles and at less intensity. There was no pain just discomfort thankfully. But still not better completely.

Number two: ice.


Andy Murray does it and so should you if you’re starting to feel an injury on it’s way. Muscles get inflamed and ice helps reduce that inflammation and calm things down. I was pretty much having an ice bath after every single run. It seriously helped.


Alfie liked to get involved. He wondered what all the screaming was about

Number three: not only did I ice but I also took Ibuprofen when my leg was really tender. I also used the Ibuprofen gel on my leg before bed and in the morning.

Number four: stretch and strengthen. After extensive research thanks to good old Google I found that I probably needed to work on my strength. All I did was run, run, run. Yep I love it that way, but my body obviously doesn’t.

I knew I needed to loosen my IT band and work on my hip strength.


The foam roller and I have become best buddies. I seriously foam roll after every run now, and if my leg still feels tight I’ll do it in the evening as well.

This is a great one to do but hurts like hell:

IT Band Foam Rolling


As for hip strengthening, it’s all about the clam. The least most attractive exercise know to man. Ben laughs at me when I do it.

Clam Exercise


And side leg lifts:

skinny jeans_final


I do them every other day (10 on each leg three times). And now I’ve progressed to using a resistance band with them. I’ve found this has really helped.

And this stretch for my IT band has been a big help too:

IT Band Stretch


Number five: balance. Along with stretching and strengthening I’ve incorporated cross-training into my week. I’ve joined a gym so I can go to classes like Pump for strengthening and Spin for cross-training. Spin is great as it’ll still work my cardiovascular system but without the constant pressure on my joints and legs in every step.

Above all: listen to your body. Only you can know what’s going on and if you’re pushing to hard and too often. If it hurts, it means something significant.

Remember, there are always other races and other days to bust out that workout.

Hope this helped anyone who needed it!

Have you been injured?/ Are injured?

How did you recover?

Seriously painful

Howdy, howdy guys. Happy Friday. And I forgot to say in my last post, happy 4th July to those celebrating it. Do you know, it’s slightly depressing not celebrating a holiday that 80% of the blog world seem to be enjoying. Just an observation.

It’s been quite a busy week here. On Wednesday night Ben and I went to a great running event called Mile of Miles with our running club (did I mention Ben had joined the running club?? Well, he has…). It was at our local track and it was basically teams of 10 people running a relay.


So each team member would run just one mile. It was a beautiful evening and there were quite a lot of teams and running clubs involved.

I was fairly nervous and not particularly looking forward to it if I’m honest. I don’t tend to enjoy 5ks (3.1miles) so one mile was going to be worse. OK it goes quickly but it’s still painful. In my head I just kept thinking at most it was going to be 8 minutes worth of pain.

I was a little worried about only just being recovered from my previous leg issues. And I was on the fast team! Though the team were lovely and reassured me I didn’t need to go full out and to put my well-being first.

I warmed up and got ready to be tagged in. I was number six and so far our team were flying. Miles ranging from 6.30 minutes to 5.48minutes!!

Then I was off! I could feel my heart beating stupidly fast to begin with as I was so nervous but then I got into it and it honestly felt good. I couldn’t even really look at my Garmin because you literally don’t have time. It’s four laps around the track and I thought this would drag but it zoomed by. And the best part was passing the supporters on each lap.


My running club and team cheered me on loudly and it honestly put fuel to my run.

My mile came in at 6.12 minutes!

The fastest mile I’ve ever done! I was so pleased. And Ben, who was on a different team, got a time of 6.25minutes. My team ran our 10 miles in 1hour 1minute. I mean seriously, that’s pretty impressive!

And how do you celebrate a good race?


Check out my Inspector Gadget coat

By cake. Obviously.

The next day though I knew I hadn’t done my leg any favours. *Sighs* So I took it easy at running club the next evening and then enjoyed endured an ice bath afterwards.

It was painful I’m not going to lie. But it did feel pretty damn good. Perverse, I know.

Afterwards I decided to put my new compression socks on. It was so hard. I just couldn’t seem to get them over my ankle, and then when I struggled away I got the worst case of cramp in my calf that I have ever had. I literally screamed the house down.

Ben ran upstairs wondering what the hell was going on and went to touch me and I screamed at him “Don’t touch me!! Don’t come near me!!” as I feared it would only make things worse. Then Ben started laughing (don’t worry I’m currently filing for a divorce) and said “this will be like childbirth”. I then started laughing, then immediately started yelling at him to stop as all my muscles tightened when I laughed.

God. It went on for hours a good few minutes. And I didn’t even get a baby out of it.

In the end, Ben had to put the socks on for me. It was like that scene from Disney’s Cinderella when the guy is trying to cram the glass slipper on one of the ugly sister’s feet.

Then I slept in the damn things because, seriously, I wanted my money’s pain’s worth out them.

Runners, do you prefer roads, track or trail running? I was pleasantly surprised at how good track running felt. Nice and springy and the laps went quickly. I doubt I could run 10 miles on it. Or even three. Too boring.

Do you get cramp a lot? Thankfully I don’t. And after the other day, I never want it again,

How do you recover after a hard run? I’m all about icing and compressing now.