What Will You Do Tomorrow Morning?

Running Bootcamp
Wimbledon Common, 7.15am – 8.30am, £10.00
Book now

Blast Class
South Park Gardens, 7.45am - 8.30am
Drop-in £8.00 or buy a class pass

Fit In The Park
Wimbledon Park, 9.00am - 10.00am
Drop-in £8.00 or buy a class pass

Fit In The Park
South Park Gardens, 9.00am - 10.00am
Drop-in £8.00 or buy a class pass

Head over to our locations page to find out where we meet.

Have a great weekend!


P.S. If you can't make tomorrow, check out our full timetable for next week's classes.


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Saturday Blast Class - Legs & Glutes

Calling all runners, cyclists, skiers & anyone who wants to fire up their legs & glutes!

Our 7.45am Blast Class in South Park Gardens this week will be focusing on creating power & strength in the legs & bum.

Sophie will be combining plyometric drills with speed & strength training in this challenging 45 minute session. Having successfully completed an Ironman, Sophie knows what she's talking about when it comes to strong legs & glutes!

What: 45 min Blast Class - Legs & Glutes
When: 7.45 to 8.30am this Saturday
Where: South Park Gardens
Cost: Use your class pass or drop in for £8.00

Buy your pass online at today!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Fit to Run Bootcamps

Running drills & strength training to improve your efficiency & speed. These Bootcamps are designed to help turn you into a better runner & also help prevent injury. Suitable for runners of all abilities. Whether you're working up to a 5K, or training for a marathon PB.

Dates & Times:

Wed 6 May: 7.15pm to 8.30pm - South Park Gardens
Wed 13 May: 7.15pm to 8.30pm - Wimbledon Park
Wed 20 May: 7.15pm to 8.30pm - South Park Gardens

Cost: £10 per session, or £27 for all 3 sessions.

Tempted to join in? Book now or get in touch to find out more.

Please also forward this onto any runners/wannabe runners that you know.

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Early Morning & Evening Challenge!

Due to popular demand, we've decided to extend our Early Mornings Aren't That Scary Challenge until Christmas. It also now includes our 2 evening classes!

Simply join us at any 3 of the following sessions in 1 week to earn your free class pass:

South Park Gardens: 6.15am on Tues & Thur.
Holy Trinity School: 7.30pm on Mon
Running Club: 7.15pm Wed
Wimbledon Park: 6.15am on Mon, Wed & Fri

The free pass will be given out at the end of each week & can be used at any of our Early Morning sessions only. It will expire on 24 December 2014.

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Well Done Claire & Dave Grima!

A huge congratulations to our incredibly fast trainer Claire & her husband Dave, who raced in the Amsterdam Marathon a couple of weeks ago.

Claire shot around the course in 2:49:18, & Dave slightly faster at 2:48:45. We're a bit miffed that this is the first time Claire has been beaten by her husband at this distance. But we're confident she'll leave him for dust next time!

Get in touch if you'd like some personal training sessions with Claire. Whether you want to beat your marathon PB, or run a 10k for the first time, Claire's your girl!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

It's Marathon Time Again

We wish all of our clients, friends & especially our HA fitness trainer, Claire Grima, a fantastic race on Sunday. We'll be cheering you on all the way & look forward to hearing your post-race stories next week.

Huge congratulations to our client, Mandy Brown, for running the Boston Marathon on Monday. It's really saddening that what should have been a day of triumph & festivities turned into something so horrific. Let's not allow it to change the way we enjoy & participate in big sporting events in the future.

Feeling inspired?

Running a marathon is an experience that's difficult to put into words. It's a mixture of passion, pleasure & pain. However there's something really inspiring about watching those runners pushing themselves to the limit to cross that finish line. Maybe it could be you next year?

If you're thinking about putting your name down for a race, doing a run for charity or simply want to improve your fitness levels, get in touch. We can motivate, advise & help you to achieve your goals, & have a bit of fun too!

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.


Posted by Heather Waghorn.

Pleasure or Pain: What Drives You?

Understanding your motivation for getting fit is the first stage in bridging the gap between sitting on a sofa thinking about exercise, and actually going out and doing it.

Identifying the triggers that drive you, and using them as a springboard to getting and staying fit and healthy, is the key to success.  The more you focus on these, the more likely you’ll be able to fire up your enthusiasm for a healthy lifestyle.

So what encourages you more, the carrot egging you on or the stick beating you up?

Running Away From Pain

The stick is something that you want to move away from, you may like to think of it as a form of pain. It could be a health issue you want to stay clear of such as obesity and heart disease, or physiological problems like stress or depression.

The catalyst could be your doctor dropping some strong hints, or a friend or family member suffering from these complaints.

The motivation comes from your fear of the stick and wanting to take action to avoid it at all lengths. If you keep reminding yourself of this potential beating, it can be a really powerful self- motivator.

Try taking measurements or photos of how your body is changing as you get leaner and fitter. Look back at these and remind yourself that you don’t want to go there again!

Pursuing Pleasure

The pursuit of pleasure can also be a very powerful self-motivational tool. This is the carrot, or aspiration. It’s about wanting satisfaction by achieving something significant. For example, running a marathon, racing a PB, losing 2 stone etc.

Setting realistic goals and bite-sized targets is key. It doesn’t have to be a marathon or reaching a specific weight. It could be completing 3 workouts a week, or managing to run up a particular hill.

Visualisation can be a very powerful motivational tool. Picture yourself finishing a race or buying clothes in a smaller size. Imagine how good you’ll feel, and how proud you’ll be of your achievement.

Treat yourself when you achieve a step towards your goal. There’s no law against self-bribery!

Moving Beyond The Carrot & Stick

So what happens when you achieve your goals and the stick becomes a distant memory?

You may find that your motivation starts to diminish, so it’s important to plan ahead to avoid drifting backwards and having to start the whole cycle again.

Set new goals, challenges and targets and keep adding in variety by trying out different things. You may have moved from being in fear of the stick to wanting to pursue the pleasurable goals. Keep it interesting and inspiring and try to maintain the momentum. Look at what you’ve achieved and where you want to go next.

Don’t Stop Me Now!

Believe it or not, at some point you may actually find that you enjoy exercising. This is your ultimate goal, when fitness becomes a way of life and you’ll need less and less to rely on the stick or the carrot to keep you going. You train because that’s what you do and who you are.

Remember, regular exercisers don’t waste time sitting on the sofa weighing up the pros and cons of doing a workout, they just get on with it!

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

Happy training!


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!


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.

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather, Just Inappropriate Clothing!

Although you don’t need to buy specialised clothing to train outside, a few extra bits of kit can make battling against the elements all the more pleasant. Here are a few things that I’d recommend, especially for those winter months:

For your extremities

Your hands are the usually the first to feel the chill, and a pair of old gloves (you don’t really need to buy a specialist pair) will help prevent numb pinkies.  I find that my hands warm up pretty quickly, unless it’s really cold, so I prefer to wear tops with long sleeves that I can pull down over my hands until I start to warm up, then I don’t have to carry gloves around with me.

On your head

You loose most of your body heat through your head, so a hat can make a huge difference. Again, unless it’s really cold, I prefer to wear a hoodie, so that when I warm up, I can just pull the hood down and don’t have to worry about carrying a hat around.

Core warmth

A rain and wind-proof outer layer is really important for those wild and wet days. The best ones are breathable, so that you don’t get too sweaty on the inside. I prefer the really lightweight versions, which you don’t actually notice you’re wearing.  These are a lot more expensive compared to a basic pac-a-mac, but are well worth the investment if you’re serious about training outside.

Underneath this, a layering system is the best option. Try to avoid cotton next to your skin as this just soaks up moisture and will leave you feeling cold and damp. Your base layer should be a thin layer of synthetic material such as polypropylene, which wicks sweat away from your body. If it’s really cold, thermal tops (like those made by Helly Hansen) work really well. You can then wear another layer on top of this for added warmth, either a t-shirt or fleece, depending on the weather and intensity of your workout.

Look after those legs

It’s important to keep your legs warm, especially when you set off, as cold muscles can pull.  Running tights or tracksuit bottoms are a good idea (wear both on a really cold day!). Try a few different styles on to see what feels more comfortable, and suits your body shape!

Best foot forward

If you plan on doing lots of off-road running, it’s worth investing in some off-road or trail shoes. These have a much better grip in the mud, are usually waterproof (to a certain level!) and offer much more protection against rocks and rough ground.

Keep your lips kissable

Avoid weather-beaten sore and cracked lips by slapping on some lip balm before you head out.

Experiment to find out what suits you

A lot of this is down to personal choice, and you’ll soon learn what works you, as you get more experienced. The most important thing is to avoid overdressing. You’ll just overheat and sweat a lot, which will in turn, make you cold!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.

What’s the Point of Sports Drinks & Gels?: Part 1

Fueling the Grueling Marathon Miles

You see plenty of weary runners guzzling sports drinks, like Lucazade Sport, on events such as the London Marathon without really knowing what it’s doing to their body and how much they should be knocking back at each mile.

But to understand why and when you should consume sports drinks & gels, it’s first helpful to know a bit about the way your body uses fuel for exercise, and why you get tired on a long run.

Muscle Power

When you start exercising, your main supply of fuel is the glycogen that's stored in your muscles and liver. But this is in limited supply. The harder you work, the faster it’ll run out.

As you tick off the miles during a marathon, your body starts to burn proportionally less glycogen and instead turns to blood sugar and body fat for energy.

Fuel for Thought

However, your brain relies on blood sugar to function properly, and it simply can’t let this supply run out. So as levels drop, your body increasingly switches over to fat as a preferred fuel source.

Unfortunately fat, in comparison to blood sugar and glycogen, takes much longer to be converted into energy. The more your body relies on fat as an energy source, the slower and harder things become.

On top of that, converting fat into fuel requires considerably more oxygen, so you’ll also become increasingly out of breath too!

From relative comfort into pure torture!

After about 2-3 hours, you may develop temporary hypoglycemia. At this point, your body has a depletion of muscle and liver glycogen stores together with low blood sugar levels.

Runners call it “hitting the wall” whilst cyclists refer to it as “bonking”. Symptoms include light-headedness, heavy legs, severe tiredness, and you generally feel like you’re giving a 16 stone man a piggyback!

Read "What’s the Point of Sports Drinks & Gels?: Part 2" to find out how you can make things easier!

Posted by Heather Waghorn.