cardiovascular fitness

Early Morning Cardio Blast Classes

Cardio blast.jpg

When:

6.15-7.00am - Monday mornings
6.15-7.00am - Wednesday mornings

What Is It?

A high energy, fast paced BootCamp designed to burn fat, boost cardio fitness and build muscle strength. Both fun and effective, we'll interlace HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) with innovative circuits and calorie burning workouts.

Who Is It For?

Everyone! We warmly welcome all abilities and offer options for every level. All we ask is that you give us everything you've got for the 45 minutes you're with us!

Where Is It?

Hill Place House, 55a High Street, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5BA

There is free parking at that time in the morning, and a place to get changed too.

How To Book?

To pay for a drop-in class head over to our BootCamp page. To book a slot using your HA fitness pass or as a Boot Camper, drop us a line. Make sure you do book in advance as we are limiting numbers (it's a bit different from being in the park!).

Come along and give us a try - you won't regret it!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Set Your Alarm For Early!

good things - sweat.gif

Put down your Sunday night glass of wine. Get your kit ready and go to bed early. Because we'd love to see you in the park or studio at 6.15am tomorrow morning! You'll feel amazingly smug after your workout, and you'll glow all day. It will be worth the early start. We promise!

This week you can choose from the following early morning sessions. They all start at 6.15am and finish at either 7.00am or 7.15am.

Monday:


Wednesday:

Thursday:

You're welcome to use your class passes at any of these sessions. Or you can drop-in to the park for £10 a class or the studio for £12 (you need to pre-book for the later).

See you in the morning!

Heather and the HA fitness team

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Last call for Monday at 6.15am!

Our first Cardio Blast class at 6.15am with Antonio in the studio starts tomorrow! We've got a few of spaces left, so do let us know if you'll be joining us. We're looking forward to seeing both old and new clients there.

Don't forget that for September only, you can now use your class passes and Wimbledon Park BootCamp sessions in the studio. Otherwise it's just £12 per drop-in session. Please either book via paypal or drop us a line to reserve your place.

When:

  • 6.15-7.00am Monday mornings
  • 6.15-7.00am Wednesday mornings

What Is It?

A high energy, fast paced BootCamp designed to burn fat, boost cardio fitness and build muscle strength. Both fun and effective, we'll interlace HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) with innovative circuits and calorie burning workouts.

Who Is It For?

Everyone! We warmly welcome all abilities and offer options for every level. All we ask is that you give us everything you've got for the 45 minutes you're with us!

Where Is It?

Hill Place House, 55a High Street, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5BA

There is free parking at that time in the morning, and a place to get changed too.

How To Book?

To pay for a drop-in class head over to our BootCamp page. To book a slot using your HA fitness pass or as a BootCamper, drop us a line. Make sure you do book in advance as we are limiting numbers (it's a bit different from being in the park!).

We look forward to training with you in the Studio!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Update On Studio Prices - We Want You There!

Wimbledon Studio.jpg

Following feedback from all of you, we've made it easier for you to try out our new studio.

For our Cardio Blast classes in September only, there are now 3 ways you can join us:

  1. You can use your HA fitness class pass (email us to book your session)
  2. Any Wimbledon Park Boot Campers can use their sessions at the studio (email us to book your session)
  3. You can now drop-in for just £12 (do book first though)

When:

  • 6.15-7.00am - Monday mornings
  • 6.15-7.00am - Wednesday mornings

It's really important that you book in advance. We have limited space, so we'd advise not leaving it until the last minute. Either book via paypal or drop us a line to let us know.

What Is It?

A high energy, fast paced BootCamp designed to burn fat, boost cardio fitness and build muscle strength. Both fun and effective, we'll interlace HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) with innovative circuits and calorie burning workouts.

Who Is It For?

Everyone! We warmly welcome all abilities and offer options for every level. All we ask is that you give us everything you've got for the 45 minutes you're with us!

Where Is It?

Hill Place House, 55a High Street, Wimbledon, London, SW19 5BA

How To Book?

To pay for a drop-in class head over to our BootCamp page. To book a slot using your HA fitness pass or as a BootCamper, drop us a line. Make sure you do book in advance as we are limiting numbers (it's a bit different from being in the park!).

Happy Training!
 

 

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

New Wimbledon Village BootCamp!

Cardio Blast - 5 Week BootCamp!

Jump start your day with 45 minutes of cardio fitness at our new studio in Wimbledon Village!

A high energy, fast paced BootCamp designed to:

  • burn fat
  • boost cardio fitness
  • build muscle strength.

Both fun and effective, we'll interlace HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) with in novative circuits and calorie burning workouts.

Who Is It For?

Everyone! We warmly welcome all abilities and offer options for every level. All we ask is that you give us everything you've got for the 45 minutes you're with us!

When Is It?

  • 18 September - 18 October 2017 (5 week course)
     
  • 6.15-7.00am Monday mornings
  • 6.15-7.00am Wednesday mornings

Where Is It?

Cost and How To Book: 

  • £60 for 5 classes or £100 for 10 classes (18 Sept - 20 Oct only).
  • You can book by heading over to our BootCamp page, or drop us a line for more info.

Happy Training!
 

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Kettlebells Boot Camp In South Park Gardens - Tomorrow Night!

We've got a few places left on our last Kettlebells Boot Camp tomorrow night.

This session will challenge your cardio system, muscular strength & endurance. Your core will be fired up and your glutes will be switched on big time. In other words, you'll burn calories and sculpt your whole body, all in one go!

When Is It?

  • Wednesday 26th July, 7.15pm - 8.15pm

Where Is It?

How Much Is It?

  • Just £10 (advance bookings only)

How Do I Book?

  • This Boot Camp is suitable for all levels. But if you have any back issues, or have had a baby in the last 6 months, this Boot Camp won't be right for you at the moment, sorry. If you're not sure, just drop us a line.
     
  • Head over to our BootCamp page to book.
Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Early Morning Wimbledon Park Boot Camp!

Schools out for summer! If you're wondering how to fit in a workout while the kids are off, why not do it before they get up?

Our early morning outdoor BootCamp in Wimbledon Park is a great way to burn calories, and strengthen and tone-up your body. You can do it all before work and before the rest of the family gets up.

We have clients of all ages, sizes and fitness levels join us in the park. You'll feel welcomed and benefit from a strong sense of camaraderie.

The classes are fun, energising and motivating. No class is ever the same!

When is it?

  • The classes are at 6.15am -7.00/7.15am during the week, and 9.00-10.00am on Saturdays. The dates are:

Week 1: Mon 24 July, Wed 26 July, Sat 29 July
Week 2: Mon 31 July, Wed 2 July, Sat 5 Aug
Week 3: Mon 7 Aug, Wed 9 Aug, Sat 11 Aug
Week 4: Mon 14 Aug, Wed 16 Aug, Sat 19 Aug
Week 5: Mon 21 Aug, Wed 23 Aug, Sat 26 Aug

How does it work?

  • You sign-up to doing 5 weeks of training with us over the above time period. You can choose to do either 1, 2 or 3 sessions a week. If you've got a holiday booked in August, work out how many sessions you can do, and sign-up for the relevant number of sessions below.
     
  • It's simple, flexible and keeps you committed to your goals!

Where is it?

How much Is It?

  • You can choose how much or how little you do.  The cost for the 4 weeks is either:

£87 if you book 3 sessions a week (total of 15 classes)
£75 for any 2 sessions a week (total of 10 classes)
£41 for any 1 session a week (total of 5 classes)
£10 for 1 drop-in session (1 class)

How do I book?

  • Click here to book and we'll send you a welcome email with details of how to get started.
     
  • Bookings close at midnight on Saturday (do it now while you're still thinking about it).

So whether you are a beginner, a keen fitness enthusiast or just tired of the same old routine, come try our BootCamp in Wimbledon Park!

Coming soon...

Back to School HIIT Boot Camp (week beginning 25th September) during the final week of the September Wimbledon Park Boot Camp block. More to follow!

Happy training!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

5-day bootcamp next week anyone?

As we all seem to be waking up really early at the moment, it seemed a good idea to put on an early morning 5-day HIIT BeachBody Bootcamp next week in South Park Gardens!

The goal?

To make the most of those extra hours awake, and to do some last minute work on that beach body!

Tempted to join us?

Just give us everything you've got for 45 minutes, everyday, for 5 days. Our fast-paced workouts will blast away that extra winter weight. The back-to-back sessions will both challenge and motivate you.

Who should come?

We welcome both men and ladies of all abilities to join us. It'll be a fantastic and fun way to boost to your summer fitness whatever your current level.

How does it work?

HIIT BeachBody BootCamp will run every morning from 6.15 - 7.00am in South Park Gardens from 26th June to 30th June. If you miss a class, you're welcome to make it up at our Saturday session either at 7.45am or 9.00am.

How do you sign-up?

It's just £45 for the 5 days. Book your place now!

Bookings will close for this BootCamp end of play tomorrow (Friday). This gives us the weekend to plan an amazing week for you!

 

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

More Kettlebells In South Park Gardens!

You ask and we deliver!
 

As our 7.15-8.15pm Kettlebells BootCamp is now fully booked, we've added a new course onto our timetable!

It's also on Wednesday evenings, but at a later time of 8.15pm-9.15pm. We're expecting it to be popular, so if you'd like to come along, make sure you don't hang around in booking your place.

  • What: This 6-week course will challenge your cardio system, muscular strength & endurance. Your core will be fired up and your glutes will be switched on big time. In other words, you'll burn calories and sculpt your whole body, just in time for the summer!

  • When: Wednesday evenings, 8.15pm - 9.15pm, from 7 June - 12 July 2017

  • Where: South Park Gardens, Wimbledon SW19 8QT

  • Who: This BootCamp is suitable for all levels. But if you have any back issues, or have had a baby in the last 6 months, this BootCamp won't be right for you at the moment, sorry. If you're not sure, please get in touch.

  • How much: £54 for the 6 sessions. If you miss a session, you're welcome to make it up at one of our regular Fit In The Park classes.

Book now: To book, simply click here, or drop us a line to find out more.

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Have you plans for the long weekend?

If not, here's a little help for planning your next 3 days...

Saturday in Wimbledon will be a "mostly dry day with sunny spells developing, and just the odd light shower possible" (Met Office).

So join us tomorrow for Fit In The Park in the sunshine!

Sunday's outlook is "bright and breezy, but with a chance of rain later." So head out for a walk/jog/run in the morning and maybe plan a healthy casserole for the evening (best leave the BBQ in the shed).

It's then going to be "rather cloudy on Monday with some rain, clearing later with winds easing."

We're not running any classes on Monday, so maybe enjoy an easy morning and a bike ride for the afternoon (pack your waterproofs just in case).

We're then back up and running again for a "mostly dry Tuesday with sunny spells".

Check out our full Fit In The Park and Buggyfit timetable here, and then buy your class passes online here.
 
P.S. This weather report was from the Met Office website...so don't blame me if it rains all weekend!

 

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

South Park Gardens - Fit in The Park - Summer's coming, we're outside tonight!

Fit In The Park will be back in the park tonight! It's a fantastic way to start the week. We get a lovely mix of both men & women of all fitness levels coming along.

For those of you who don't know it, South Park Gardens is just a 5 min walk from Wimbledon station. If you're driving, there's free parking in Effra, Faraday & Clarence Roads after 6.30pm (some of the other roads are metered at this time). 

So get those trainers on & join us at 7.30pm tonight for some outdoor fitness fun. You can use your HA fitness class passes or drop-in. All details are on our website.

If you can't make it tonight, check out our timetable to find another class that suits you. Don't forget, we've also got lots of exciting courses and BootCamps coming up. Check our web page for more information.

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Bonus HIIT Sessions:

To boost the number of workouts you can fit into 1 week, we're adding 4 extra HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions to the South Park Gardens timetable in October & November:

Saturday 18 October: 7.45 - 8.30am
Saturday 25 October: 7.45 - 8.30am
Saturday 1 November: 7.45 - 8.30am
Saturday 8 November: 7.45 - 8.30am

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is about getting your heart rate racing, your body sweating & your muscles burning. Fast-paced exercises will torch calories & boost your metabolism. Short, timed recovery periods will enable you to keep the intensity high whilst still maintaining form.

You can use your class passes at these sessions or do pay-as-you-go. If you'd like to do the double & come to the 9.00am session as well, we'll happily give you extra training for the 30 minutes in between the 2 sessions!

We meet near the Trinity Road entrance to the park. Wimbledon, SW London SW19 8QY

 

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Monday night's class goes outdoors again!

Starting from tomorrow (14th April 2014), our Monday night class will be back outside in South Park Gardens, Wimbledon.

Meet near the Trinity Road entrance at 7.15pm. There is free parking at that time on the roads nearby.

Our lovely trainer, Jane Burdett, will have a fun & challenging workout planned (even our indoor girls & guys will love it!)

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

How to Stay Cool & Motivated This Summer

When the sun comes out and temperatures rise, most people find that exercise becomes harder and the heat makes it tough to stay motivated. But that’s not to say you should hang up your trainers and eat ice cream during the summer months, it just takes a little more careful planning.
 
Take It Easy
 
I don’t say this very often, but when it’s really hot, it’s important not to push yourself too hard, and don’t be afraid to quit early or take breaks if you’re starting to overheat.
 
It's really important to get into the mindset that, when it's hot and humid, you’re just not going to perform at your best. This is because your body, especially your heart, has to work much harder just to keep you cool. Listen to your body, and avoid pushing on through if you start to feel dizzy, get a headache or notice that your performance has decreased significantly. Other signs to look out for are muscle cramps, a high heart rate, nausea, confusion, and a significant rise in skin temperature.
 
Take The Heat
 
The good news is that most people can acclimatise to exercising in the heat fairly easily. Start by exercising for less time and at a lower intensity and then gradually build up to longer, harder workouts.
 
Your body will start to adapt by sweating earlier, sweating more, developing an increase in blood volume, a lower body core temperature, and an overall improved ability to tolerate the heat.
 
It can take about 14 days to get acclimatised to exercising in the heat, and you’ll find that you can achieve a lot more, as your body starts to adapt.
 
Cool Times & Places
 
If trying to combat the heat isn't for you, then avoiding it is your best strategy. To keep cool, exercise in shady areas, such as in the woods, or open places where you’ll feel a breeze, like on the coast.

Try to train closer to sunrise or sunset, when the temperatures are cooler. I love running first thing in the morning, before most people are up, when the air is fresh and crisp, and the dew is still on the ground. It gives you a great feel-good factor for the rest of the day!


Drink, Drink & More Drink!
 
Sweating is a very effective way to get rid of excess heat, but it causes the loss of water and electrolytes (salts) from the body. Dehydration, even as little as 1%, can affect your performance.
 
Prevention is the key to avoiding dehydration, and you should drink well before you exercise, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Don’t start exercising already dehydrated, with the idea that you’ll catch up during your workout, it just won’t happen.
 
It's important to pay attention to your hydration levels at all times, and not just when you're about to workout. Get into the habit of drinking water throughout the day, to increase your overall hydration levels. When you’re in the office, never pass a water cooler without taking a drink. At home, never go into the kitchen, without doing the same thing. Always carry a bottle of water around with you, and take regular mouthfuls.
 
During your exercise session, sip water frequently, and see drinking as an essential part of the workout, rather than an inconvenience. You’ll increase your performance, delay fatigue, and avoid risking injury and your health.
 
Immediately after your workout, start to re-hydrate your body to speed up recovery, keep your energy levels up, and prepare for your next session.
 
Less Is Best When It Comes To Clothing
 
The most important features of your summer wardrobe should be sunscreen and a hat.
 
On top of that, clothing should be light-weight, and light-coloured. Synthetic fabrics are much better than cotton, which can rub and cause chaffing once wet. It’s also worth investing in some technical clothing such as CoolMax, DryMax or Dri Fit, which wick-away sweat from your body. A performance t-shirt is probably the most important thing to invest in, although you can go the whole hog and buy everything technical, including your underwear!
 
Finally, don’t overdress in an attempt to lose weight. “Sweatsuits” will just make you lose a lot of water, and you’ll no doubt cook.
 
Lean, Fit & Fast!
 
People who have good cardiovascular fitness are usually able to handle the heat better than those who are less fit.
 
Also, body fat is an insulator, so if you loose a little excess weight, you might find that you can handle the heat better. If you’re tired or unwell, you’ll also notice the heat more.
 
Finally, faster runners will probably find that they get a greater cooling airflow, keeping them fresher than slower runners!
 
To sum up, training in hot weather shouldn’t be taken lightly. The more attention you pay to keeping cool, the better workout you’ll have.


Heather

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Getting High on Exercise!

We all know that regular exercise is great for toning-up your body, warding-off disease and generally improving your overall health.

But exercise is also a great mood enhancer. It can put a smile on your face when you’re feeling down and boost your energy levels when you’re feeling weary.

But why does this happen? Here are some of the most popular theories which try to explain that exercise high.

The Endorphin Effect

If you go back to our hunter/gatherer days, prolonged physical activity was necessary for our survival. If we didn’t go out chasing animals and rummaging for food, we’d basically starve. It’d therefore make sense if our bodies had a way of reducing pain during the hunt, and somehow make this physical activity more enjoyable.

This is where endorphins come in. They’re chemically similar to morphine, and naturally relieve pain within the body.

Although they’re not fully understood, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that endorphin levels in the blood rise during exercise (and also during sex… but I’ll let you draw your own conclusions there!). These endorphins appear to not only increase our tolerance of pain, but also give us a sense of pleasure and relaxation.

Getting Satisfaction

Exercise can also give you a great sense of achievement, and this could be part of the high that you experience.

Whether you’ve managed to run to the top of a hill without stopping, or survived your first tough exercise class, you can really feel triumphant and get a buzz from a good workout.

Stress-busting Fitness Fantasies

Exercise can also provide a great distraction from life’s troubles. Whether you’re out on a run or in the gym, there’s absolutely nothing you can do about finishing that report, achieving those sales targets or paying the bills.

It’s also amazing how the answers to your problems can somehow pop into your head during a tough training session. As a result, you’ll often come home feeling not only healthier, but a much happier person too.

For daydreamers like me, exercise can also be a time to allow your mind to wander. You can enter into your own private make-believe world, where you can be whoever you want to be and achieve anything you want to achieve (anyone for the 2012 Olympics?!).

Conclusion – Chase that High!

Regular training can definitely perk you up, relieve stress, and give you a heightened sense of well-being.

Whilst the jury is still out as to exactly what causes this high, it does exist and is definitely a habit that’s worth pursuing.

All it takes is a bit of hard work on your part, and you’ll be rewarded with an energy-boosting, exercise-induced, feel-good factor. Best of all, its free, legal and available on-tap!

Surely it’s not something you should be missing out on?

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

How Long do Running Shoes Last? And is It Time to Replace Yours?

Over time, running shoes lose shock absorption and stability, which can result in painful injuries like shin splints, stress fractures, runner's knee, IT band syndrome, plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis, to name but a few!

This makes your running shoes one of the most important pieces of kit that you own, so don’t take them for granted! Shoes are unquestionably cheaper and easier to replace than new joints!

Unfortunately there are no hard and fast rules as to when you should retire your old favourites, and spend a bit of cash on a new pair. However, here are a few tips to help you know when it’s finally time to make that trade-in.

The Number of Miles You’ve Pounded Together

The general rule of thumb is to replace your running shoes after every 300-500 miles. However, this figure will depend on your body weight, running style and the type of surface you run on.

Heavier runners will inevitably give their shoes a harder time and wear them out quicker than their lighter counterparts (a good reason to loose a few pounds!). Similarly, runners who strike the ground hard when they run will cause greater damage and deterioration to their shoes.

Soft surfaces like tracks and grass are best for preserving the life-span of your shoes. Conversely, if you run mostly on concrete pavements, you’ll inevitably need to invest in a new pair sooner.

Also, don’t be fooled by those pristine looking treadmill trainers tucked into your gym bag. Although they may still look spanking new and clean (as they’ve never seen the light of day or an ounce of mud!), they will still have endured compression damage and deterioration to parts of the shoe you can’t see. They may also have had to put up with living in a damp and smelly gym bag, and not given the chance to fully dry out after each workout. These poor conditions will inevitably contribute to premature deterioration!

Do They Still Satisfy All of Your Needs?

Looks can be deceiving, and it's difficult to tell when to replace your running shoes just by their appearance. Don’t let a tidy exterior and good tread fool you, these cosmetic looks can be misleading. 

The bit you should be concerned about is the midsole (the spongy layer between the upper part of the shoe and the sole). This portion of the shoe is largely invisible, but has the most function.

Take no chances with your midsoles, as damage will cause loss of stability and cushioning to the shoe, which will almost inevitably lead to increased injury risk. Here are some tips on how to give your midsole a quick MOT:

1) The Twist Test: A worn out midsole will allow the shoe to twist more easily than a new shoe.

2) The Crease Test: Look for creases, cracks or wrinkles in the midsole, especially under the heel or ball of the foot.  These are all signs of deterioration.

3) The Lean Test: Place your shoes on a table and looking at them from behind. If they lean to one-side, the midsole cushioning is probably worn.

4) The Colour Test: Check for discoloration of the midsole. If it’s turning yellow, brown, or grey, the running career of your shoes is near to an end.

Are They Giving You a Hard Time?

Aches, pains, tightness, shin splints, unusual muscle fatigue, sudden blisters and a lack of bounce in your step are all telltale signs that your shoes are past their sell-by-date.

Ideally, however, you owe it to your hard-working feet and legs to replace your shoes well before you start to notice these things!

Would a Newer Version Give You More Pleasure?

Try out a new version of your old shoe. If the cushioning, spring and structure in your old pair feels dead in comparison, you should exchange them for nice new shiny ones immediately. Remember, this isn’t a time for sentimental value, even if you did run your first marathon or a personal best together!

Tips on Knowing When to Finally Give Them the Elbow

1) Record your first date together: Write the date underneath the tongue flap of your shoe, so that you know when you first took them out.

2) Track your mileage: From your very first run together, to the bitter end, log every run so that you’ve got an accurate record of how far each pair of shoes have taken you.

3) Have another pair in reserve: Invest in a second pair about halfway through the life of your first. Use your newer pair as a point of reference to identify when you should ditch the older ones. You could also take them out on alternate runs, giving each pair time to dry out and decompress (they’ll appreciate the rest and it’ll also increase their lifespan!).

Your Running Shoes Are Made for One Thing, and One Thing Only!

Only wear your running shoes when you’re out running. Take them off when you're done, and have another pair of trainers for walking around town, cycling, weight training etc.

Finally, running shoes don't last forever, so make sure you get your money’s worth and take them out regularly. They will still age and deteriorate over time, even if they are abandoned in the bottom of your wardrobe, feeling unloved.

Remember that nothing beats that virgin run in a new pair of shoes!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Fancy a Challenge? How about running 7 marathons in 7 continents in just over 5 days!

I love hearing stories about people who push the physical limits of the human body, and take on extraordinary challenges and adventures. Top of my Herculean list at the moment is Richard Donovan, who has just completed a Global Marathon Challenge by running 7 marathons in 7 continents in just over 5 days (and that includes travel!).

Donovan’s recent run around the world began in Antarctica where he battled strong winds, blinding snow and sub-zero temperatures. He then flew to sunny Cape Town, followed by Dubai, London (in the snow!), Toronto, Santiago, and finally Sydney where temperatures rose to 33o!

He completed this gruelling challenge in a total of 130 hours and 8 minutes. During this time, he ran 295km (183 miles), spent over 62 hours ‘resting’ on planes, and flew 43,000km!

To put this into perspective, running a marathon (26.2 miles) is a pretty tough challenge in itself. However with enough groundwork, plus a beefy mental attitude, I believe it’s well within most people’s reach.

Running back-to-back marathons, however, takes things to a whole new impressive level. This type of endurance event is reserved for the hard core, those who are fit enough and sufficiently foolish to attempt it.

But Donovan’s challenge was no measly trot around a few city parks. Not only did he run a huge distance over a short period of time, he also had to contend with sleep deprivation, jet lag, and extreme temperature and weather changes ranging from deep snow to intense heat!

Compare this to your own training over the last few weeks. If you’ve wimped out of going for a run around the block because you thought you might get a bit damp or cold (especially during the recent snow and rain), then let this story put you to shame! These are just mild inconveniences in comparison!

For further inspiration, and to read more about Donovan’s challenge, and GOAL, the charity he ran for, visit his website at www.worldmarathonchallenge.com.

Happy training!

Heather
www.hafitness.com

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

How Can You Make Running More Fun?

Every runner needs some help to stay motivated from time to time. Here are a few ideas to help keep you on your toes and off the sofa!

1) Run Free

Ditch your schedule, route plan and stopwatch. Head out the door and, once you’re warmed up, literally run like a child. Don’t worry about form, how fast you’re running, where you’re going or how far. Just go for it. Let everything go. Feel the wind in your hair. Enjoy the exhilarating thrill of running fast. It feels good. Feels like you’re flying. Nothing can hold you back…

2) Head for the Hills

Hill training is great for creating “buns of steel”! Not only that but your whole body will get a good workout, including your arms and chest. It’s also enormously beneficial for building strength, endurance and speed.

Try not to approach a hill with a feeling of doom, though. Hills are only hard if you make them hard. Instead, see it as an opportunity to vary your pace and leg stride. Change down a gear and lessen your speed as the gradient increases.  Use your arms to help power you up to the summit.

When you get to the top, allow yourself to revel in that sense of elation. Hurrah you’ve made it! Let the endorphins flow!

Then, liberate your legs and arms as you enjoy some effortless speed on the way back down. This requires a different style and attitude. Relax your whole body, chill out and enjoy the ride!

3) Push the Boundaries

Be progressive. Challenge yourself on your regular run, be it 2 miles or 10. You can do it faster, can’t you?

Time it. Record it. Beat it!!!!!

4) Run to the Beat

Would you go on a long car journey without a radio or music?

Depending on the type of run, music can give you that extra boost when you hit a slump, take your mind off the pain or just put an extra spring in your step.

Invest some time into creating the right playlist for the type of run you’re doing. If you’re going for speedwork, try having a fast beat song, followed by a slower song. Run hard to the fast beat, and then recover listening to something more chilled out.

Make sure you stay safe. Never have headphones on after dark or in unpopulated areas, and be aware of your surroundings.

5) Cool Running Gadgets & Gismos

Although spending your hard-earned cash on the latest running gadget won’t necessarily transform you from a red-faced, wheezing jogger into a finely honed, lean-machine athlete, it can be a good way to help inspire and motivate you.  

Heart rate monitors are great for understanding how hard you’re running, help you track your progress, keep you running at the right intensity and stop you from under or over training.

GPS watches, such as the Garmin, can tell you how fast and how far you’re running including your elevation. They work in a similar way to the Sat Nav in your car. You can even impress your friends and family with how far you’ve run by downloading your routes onto Google Maps!

Similarly, you can use footpods, like those made by Polar, Nike and Suunto. These ingenious gadgets work by monitoring the movement of your foot and transmitting this data back to your watch. You’ll get all the information you need on your running distance, speed, cadence and much more!

Finally…

So now you know that hills don’t have to be horrendous, running like a child and testing yourself can be fun, and music can make your runs rock!  What's more, you no longer need to waste time measuring your routes using a bit of string and a map.  There are plenty of swanky toys on the market that’ll do a much better job, and offer far more entertainment! 

All you need to do now is get out running, and enjoy it!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Don’t Hibernate this Winter, Train Outside!

The weather at this time of year is often used as an excuse not to exercise outside; it’s too cold, too wet, too windy, and/or too dark. All excuses I’ve heard and, I have to admit, occasionally used myself. But all it takes is some planning and a bit of extra kit, and you’ll get a huge sense of satisfaction and generally feel great and smug for doing it.

Copious benefits to the mind, body and soul!

If you spend most of your time in an office, and go to work in a car, train or tube, then surely the last thing you’d want to do at the end of the day is to head off to another artificial people container for a workout?

Isn’t it time your body saw the light?

If you head outside, you’ll feel more energised and be more inclined to be active. There’s nothing like a battling against the elements to really focus the mind on what’s important, and help relieve you of the stresses of the day.

Unlike in the gym, you can take in different scenery everyday, providing diverse views and stimulus for your workouts. You’ll get to appreciate the change of seasons, see the colours and shapes of the landscape transforming, and get to meet some interesting people along the way!

Challenge yourself

Training outside can work your body in ways that a gym workout will never achieve. It asks more of your body as a whole. Different surfaces offer different challenges. Grass, gravel, mud, stones and tree roots all intensify the workout, increasing the demand on your core, and the muscles and ligaments that stabilize your body. Your balance, co-ordination and proprioceptive skills will rapidly improve, as you encourage your body to do more complex movements over difficult terrain.

The weather also adds an interesting challenge, and the wind can be both your friend and foe. If you push hard into the wind at the beginning of your run, it will give you a helping hand on the way back!

No more smelly changing rooms!

Outside training also means that you’re likely to come straight back home afterwards. You don’t have to worry about packing a gym bag, remembering change for the locker, forgetting to bring clean underwear, getting verrucas, and sharing grim changing rooms.

You can come back to the comfort of your own bathroom, use as many towels as you like, and not having a stranger’s bum in your face when you’re putting your socks on!

And if that hasn’t convinced you…

Think of all the germs that circulate in the air conditioning at a gym. You’ll be taking in big gulps of them during a tough workout! But when you’re outside, you can fill your lungs with lots of healthy, natural fresh air and get a rosy glow to your cheeks too!

And exercising outside is free!

I’m a Londoner, I live nowhere near the countryside!

Londoners should actually find it easier to access ‘The Great Outdoors’, than anyone else in England. In a recent study published by the Audit Commission*, 92 per cent of footpaths and rights of way in London that are in or lead to open spaces and countryside are considered ‘easy to use’, giving you good access to some amazing green spaces. The overall average for England was 76.3 percent, so no excuses!

*The Best Value Performance Indicator 2006-2007, Audit Commission Local Government Compendium

But what about the cold and rain?

Read my article on There’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing! to find out how to protect yourself from the elements. And just think how nice that lovely warm shower will be when you get back, you’ll appreciate it so much more after a challenging run outside!

Safety comes before fashion at night

Make sure you wear bright coloured clothing or reflective gear if you go out in the dark and on a gloomy days. Florescent hats and gloves are a popular option, and are stocked by most running shops.

Share the pleasure & the pain

When it's dark, make your personal safety a priority and don't go out alone. Workout with a friend or trainer, or join an outside exercise class or running club. Stick to well lit, populated areas and be aware of what's happening around you. 

It's also more fun to train with other people, and you're more likely to push yourself further and less likely to wimp out when the weather is really bad!

Warm up first

Finally, you need to look after your body a bit more when you train outside. You're at greater risk of pulling muscle when running in the cold, so warm up slowly. Some people prefer to warm up inside first before they head out.

Posted by Heather Waghorn.