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Monday, 1 May 2017

London Marathon 2017

Had an awesome weekend and marathon in London 😀

A few months ago (27th January '17) I got an email from The Running Bug team, that I had been selected to be a Reebok #FloatrideLondon ambassador with a free place at the "otherwise-sold-out-and-very-hard-to-get-a-place-in"-London Marathon. I'm very pleased and humbled for getting this opportunity!

The last many years I have entered the ballot for the London Marathon but without luck and had sort of given up the idea of participating. And I tried to fool my brain and convincing myself that it's (the marathon) probably just over-rated anyway hence not worth the effort of trying to get a place at. However, I guess deep down in my heart I knew this wasn't true. Truth is I would love to run it!

So I was very very pleased finally standing at the start line with some 40,000 other equally-minded, eager to get going. 😋 Everybody buzzin' and off we went...

A great relief to get going. Crowds of people cheering along from the first few metres and from here only very few places were without huge hordes of enthusiastic and cheerful high-5'ing spectators 😎 What an amazing atmosphere!! Simply AWESOME!!

Of course I brought my camera and took some photos along the route. Who wouldn't! And I also captured some video footage (about 45 minutes in total 😱) which I've compiled into a 5 minute video. 



My training for it (the marathon) has not been optimal. I've mostly been a #WeekendWarrior due to my job allowing only little time during work-days for running, so pretty much all my training has been in the weekends. However, I felt ready for it and managed to get myself a PB in 3:48:55. I really enjoyed it and had an awesome weekend in London! I will definitely recommend anyone to run it.
Ballot sign-up for 2018 is this week!! (1st May '17 and till 5th May '17: LINK).

My Reebok kit and Reebok Floatride running shoes did a great job and my feet or legs was not sore afterwards. My Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR GPS watch also did a good job.

I'm very pleased and thankful that I got the opportunity to participate in the London Marathon 2017, which would not have been possible if it wasn't for Reebok UK Team #FloatrideLondon, SweatshopOnline and The Running Bug. Thank you very much!

I have been out running once since the marathon - a nice and easy 10km run @ 5:20 min/km avg. pace (somewhat a week after) and my legs, feet and body feel great. 😉

I'm not sure what my next target will be, but I'd love to do some more ultras. I was a bit jealous when I passed some runners as they finished TP100 this weekend when cycling along the river in Oxford... 😊

Oh - and remember to give blood if you can! Donated today - my 25th donation in Oxford 😎 #GiveBlood

Until next time - Keep on running and see ya out there!

#VLM2017, #LondonMarathon, Team #FloatrideLondon, SweatshopOnline, The Running Bug, Suunto #Spartan Sport Wrist HR, #GiveBlood

Best M.


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Next stop: London Marathon

London Marathon this coming Sunday - Yeah 😀

With less than a week to go, I'm feeling ready for it - Still slightly surreal that I've got the chance to run it though, but I'm looking very much forward to it indeed! Thankful and excited!

A couple of weeks ago I was at a Reebok/Sweatshop training session as a part of the preparation for London Marathon with some great talks by various people including my coach Shaun Dixon (from Let's get Running), a nutritionist and former Marathon World Record holder Steve Jones who won Chicago, London Marathon and New York in the mid-80's and who is also a Reebok Ambassador

All in all a great day with a bit of exercise at the end round the streets of London. Most of the information given is very much in thread with what I have been trying practising over the past years. Here's a few points:
  • Training:
     - Listen to your body!
     - Don't do to much too soon.
     - Don't play catch-up with your training plan if you miss a session - Let it go!
     - Session over 3-ish hours if probably not doing you any good.
     - Rest after a race.
     - Stretch those legs once in a while.
  • Carbs:
     - Don't be carb-phobic! You need carbs to fuel your run.
     - Start carb-loading for a race a maximum of 48h prior to the race. 
  • Proteins:
     - I eat varied and relatively healthy, so I probably already get enough protein, hence no need to top-up with (expensive) protein shakes that does not taste that well after all.
     - Milk/Cocoa flavoured milk is (still) great as a post-run-drink for re-hydration and has a good mixture of proteins and electrolytes that helps the recovering process. Top that up with a banana for some fast carbs. The body can only process so and so much protein at a time, so no need to over-do it.
Almost ready for London Marathon. My new Reebok running kit has been washed and dried. The new Reebok Floatride running shoes has arrived and have been tested. Accommodation has been sorted. My camera is being charged "as we speak" and the memory card emptied to make room for my photo coverage of the streets of London. The new Suunto Spartan Sport WHR multi sport GPS watch has arrived and I thought London Marathon would be a great place to test it and compare it to my old GPS watch. 

And for those who have too much time on their hands can follow me via this link:





See ya at #LondonMarathon ðŸ˜ƒ

Best M.

Team #FloatrideLondon, ReebokUK, SweatshopOnline, The Running Bug
Suunto Spartan Sport WHR
 

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR

A new watch - the Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR - has arrived just in time for a bit of testing before taking it to London Marathon 😀 

The new watch says April 2017! A little more than 3 weeks till London Marathon and I have just received a new gadget + some other cool stuff from Suunto Team for testing. Thank you very much Sarina for this opportunity to be among the very first to get to use this cool watch with optical wrist-based heart-rate monitoring based on technology from industry leader Valencell. It looks very promising and I'll be spending some time testing it and comparing it to the Suunto Spartan Ultra among others.

As mentioned there's just about 3 weeks till London Marathon, and despite getting less runs done than intended due to my daily commuting during the week, I feel ready. I've had some good long runs in the past couple of weekends with amazing weather with lots of sunshine and plenty of time to enjoy the slowly increasing levels of green in the visual spectrum - Simply love spring time!😁

I've had a cold most of this past week, which, in companionship with late hours at work, lead to no running during work days this week. However, as my cold is bettering - yet not gone - I'll be heading out both today and tomorrow. I cannot not-run with this new gadget sitting perfectly on my wrist measuring my HR in the high fifties writing this. 

I've decided to skip my long run this weekend and hope my cold will approve and leave me alone - at least till after London. I've managed to get 31km in as my longest run in my training so far. And as I have been aiming for about 32km as my longest (as then there's only 10km left to the full marathon 😋) so I feel I'm pretty much there distance-wise. Speed-wise I'm not really sure where I stand. I have had some really good patches over the past couple of week(end)s, which could get me near the time I discussed with Coach Shaun Dixon (from Let's Get Running) before I got a new job requiring a bit of commute leaving less time to run. So I have to see on the day (23 April) how things are and go with my instinct pace-wise. I know I can run the distance - I've got not doubt about that - but I just don't know how fast. But I'm gonna bring my camera and my new Suunto Spartan Sport Wrist HR watch and my Reebok Floatride running shoes and simply enjoy whatever London has to offer me on the day 😎. 

Accommodation for London Marathon has been book relatively central to the event and I'm looking very much forward to the event and to experience the atmosphere along the course round London. It can only be a great day! Hopefully I'll get a chance to meet some of my fellow members of Team #FloatrideLondon, but I guess chances are slim with some 40,000 other runners! 😮

I'm heading out there now to run while the sun is still shining...
See ya all out there and have a great 1 April 😄

Best M.

#SuuntoSpartan Sport Wrist HR, Team #FloatrideLondon, #VLM2017 #LondonMarathon #SweatshopOnline #ReebokUK

PS: Views are my own! The watch has kindly been provided by Suunto Team.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Restructuring my training plan

Great news - I've got a new job! YAY! 😊 Very happy about that after some months without... However, due to necessary commuting I'll have to rethink and restructure my training plan for 2017.


New gear from Reebok!
As I mentioned in my last post, I've been selected to be a part of the Reebok Floatride Team for this year’s London Marathon and becoming an ambassador for Reebok. I'm very honoured to have been selected for this and I'm looking very much forward to it indeed. It also included some new kit to be used for the marathon and a great Reebok marathon-training-day in London last weekend. A great day indeed! 😁 

However, as my new job requires daily commuting, which then leaves less time for me to run, I've been forced to rethink or restructure my usual weekly training schedule. 

That being said, I'm not complaining! I'm very pleased with what I've got! I have a job to get to every day - many haven't; I've been selected to be a Reebok Ambassador and to participate in an otherwise completely "sold out" and "hard-to-get-to" London Marathon 2017; I just might have some new gadget coming my way for testing which should be the best on the market for HR monitoring on the wrist 😄; I have a house to shelter me; Great family and friends, and I've got the very best partner in life! I couldn't be happier and after all: It is only running, and as running still doesn't pay my bills yet, I'll manage with less, although I'll have to postpone dreams of doing some looong runs for the time being (100 miles and 24h run) and stop my weekly club-runs. However, I'm going to do the best I can with whatever time I've got. Hopefully #LessIsMore 😀 

As a part of my daily commute, I'm gonna ride my bike for some of the distance - both because it helps me being less dependent on co-workers having to pick me up at the train station, but also because it gives me a bit of daily exercise (25km a day). 😉 
Reebok Floatride! LINK

I have to get up quite early in the mornings for my daily commute. After chatting to my coach, Shaun Dixon from Let's Get Running, I hoped to get to run two times of 1 hour during workdays plus weekends. However, it's now been several weeks and I've failed to do this. I've only been out for 5km one or two times a week during the last couple of weeks. However, it's better than nothing. 😃


So, in retrospect of the past couple of weeks, I'm changing my training plans to aim for simply having a jolly time at London Marathon, bringing my camera and setting out to capture my (float)ride through the course in my new gear among thousands of spectators. ðŸ˜‰ 

Oh - And spring seems to be approaching fast by the way 😋


Team #FloatrideLondon #ReebokUK #LondonMarathon #VLM2017


See you all out there!! 
Best M.
 

Friday, 3 February 2017

On-the-juice: Beetroot

The beetroot has been subject to many investigations and claims as a performance enhancing vegetable. I've been digging a bit and found the following:

The beetroot: (copied from this source)
  • Vitamins: Beet juice is an excellent source of vitamin C and folic acid. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3 in small amounts. It also contains vitamin A (beta-carotene).
  • Minerals: Beet juice is rich in magnesium, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, and potassium. It also contains small amounts of zinc, copper, iron, selenium, and manganese.
  • Amino acids: Small amounts of amino acids are also found in raw beet juice.
  • Calories: A 5 cm piece of beetroot contains about 35 calories.
  • Antioxidants: The flavonoids and carotenoids in beet juice help slow down LDL cholesterol’s oxidation.
  • Anti-carcinogenic color: Beet has a deep red color that comes from the betacyanin in it, which is a powerful anti-carcinogenic agent.
  • Silica: Beet is rich in silica. This silica makes perfect use of the calcium in the body and is also needed for healthy hair, skin, nails and bones.
The beetroot clearly contains many good things our body needs as listed above (as do most other vegetables). On the performance-enhancing perspective, this recent scientific paper by Domínguez et al. (published Jan. 2017) conclude the following:

  • "Acute supplementation with beetroot juice may have an ergogenic effect on reducing VO2 at less than or equal to VO2max intensity, while improving the relationship between watts required and VO2 level, mechanisms that make it possible to enable increase time-to-exhaustion at less than or equal to VO2max intensity."
     
  • "In addition to improving efficiency and performance in various time trials or increasing time-to-exhaustion at sub-maximal intensities, chronic supplementation with beetroot juice may improve cardio-respiratory performance at the anaerobic threshold and VO2max intensities."
     
  • "Apparently, the effects of supplementation with beetroot juice might not have a positive interaction with caffeine supplementation, mitigating the effects of beetroot juice intake on cardiorespiratory performance, however, more work is needed to confirm the results of these investigations because the number of studies analyzing the effects of the combination of beetroot juice with other supplements, such as caffeine, is limited."
     
  • "Intake of beetroot juice should be initiated within 90 min before athletic effort, since the peak value of NO3− occurs within 2–3 h after ingestion. At least 6–8 mmol of NO3− intake is required, which can be increased in athletes with a high level of training."

So what to make of this? Beetroot does have some great qualities, and is a great of source of various good stuff for our bodies regardless if we are athletes or not. Also, according to the summary of the study by Domínguez et al.it also has some performance improving characteristics as claimed by many over the past years.

However, this is still no miracle-potion giving you wings or solving all your problems as a runner (or athlete) - You still need to put in some effort if you want to get a fast time! 

A quick question: So, say we drink e.g. beetroot juice/shot to become faster, then what do we do when we want to beat that time from while we were "on-the-juice"? Do we drink some more? Drink twice the amount? Or triple it? 

Instead one could be focusing on a genuine healthy diet, the amount and way of training, plus getting some proper rest/sleep, as partly suggested in this article where they state: "We tend to look at easy fixes, and there are a lot of other things that will be more beneficial for amateur athletes than just beet juice". 

Aiming for a healthy nutritious diet (beetroot could add to this) and getting your rest/sleep, is probably a better way to supercharge your run, unless you are a professional runner living off your running and need that extra speed to win a race (and already have ticked off the obvious boxes: a very healthy and controlled nutritious diet; getting all the sleep you need; and getting the right kind of training at the right time).

I'm not a professional athlete but I do have beetroot as a part of my everyday breakfast. I don't consume it because I want a performance boost as described above, and as I often run before I consume it, hence it doesn't have much effect - plus I'm not sure the quantities I consume are large enough to actually have an effect. Instead I drink it as part of a smoothie because it taste good in that way. I started consuming it regularly, because it is healthy in many ways and it is a source of iron as I'm 99% vegetarian (Source). 😃

Morten's beetroot smoothie: makes approx 3 glasses
(This probably does not have the beetroot quantities required for the boosting describe above)
  • 100g of beetroot
  • 1 banana (great if frozen in bits)
  • 1 apple
  • 0.5 cm slice of lemon - organic, without stones
  • 5-10g fresh ginger (to taste - or can be left out)
  • 3-5g fresh turmeric (to taste - or can be left out)
    WARNING! This will colour your whole kitchen orange if you are not careful!!
  • 100g of mixed frozen berries (to taste)
    These give a great taste so that you cannot taste the "funny" taste of beetroot
  • 2 teaspoons of linseed  
  • Add water till it almost covers the rest
  • Blend all till smooth
Try it 😋

Enough said about beetroot - See ya all out there ;-)

#Beetroot 

Best M. 

Monday, 30 January 2017

Donating blood and running

A few people have asked me, how donating blood affects my running, so I thought I'd share a few facts on the topic.

I've been donating blood for many years in both Denmark and in the UK. I've also been involved in an interval-study over a couple of years to find out more about, how often one can donate safely. You can read more about the study and how my body reacted here.

I like donating blood and as long as I'm not a professional runner, I'm more than happy to share a pint of blood once in a while to those in need! 

I have found a few links describing how long time a body normally would take to recover from donating a pint of blood. A website from NHS [National Health Service, UK] state that "most people's haemoglobin levels are back to normal after 6 to 12 weeks". So if you have a race coming up, and you are aiming for a PB, then you should probably wait until after the race to donate, as it affects the transport of oxygen in your body, which affects your performance. 

American Red Cross states:
"How long will it take to replenish the pint of blood I donate? The plasma from your donation is replaced within about 24 hours. Red cells need about four to six weeks for complete replacement..."

Another site from RunnersWorld.com state that it takes about 60 days for a full recovery from donating blood (only about a day or two if you donate platelets):

"About one-third of that volume is red blood cells and the rest is mostly water. The water is replaced within the day as long as you get plenty of fluids, but the red blood cell mass replacement can take about two months. If you are well trained, you will not notice the drop in hemoglobin level at rest, or even with light to moderate exercise. When you push toward your training or race threshold, the lower red cell mass will become apparent."
And it also states:

"recommend giving yourself a couple of days off after donating to regain your fluid volume before resuming your training. Wait at least a month before running a serious race, meaning a marathon or fast-paced shorter race. Two months would be safest, especially if you plan to run at an altitude that is higher than where you usually live and train."
So all in all, don't expect to be able to perform your right after donating and give your body time to recover. Every body reacts and recovers differently from donating. Listen to your body - what does is say?

Based on my previous experience of being low in iron levels and the fact that I'm 99% vegetarian, I have started taking iron supplements to ensure that my levels doesn't drop too much and that I have a source of iron to recover after donating.

Some sources of Iron-rich foods include (Source: NHS):
  • dark-green leafy vegetables, such as watercress and curly kale
  • iron-fortified cereals or bread
  • brown rice 
  • pulses and beans
  • nuts and seeds
  • white and red meat
  • fish
  • tofu
  • eggs
  • dried fruit, such as dried apricots, prunes and raisins
Some foods/drinks make it harder for you body to absorb iron (Source: NHS):

  • tea and coffee
  • calcium – found in dairy products, such as milk 
  • antacids and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) – medications used to relieve indigestion
  • wholegrain cereals – although wholegrains are a good source of iron themselves, they contain phytic acid, which can stop your body absorbing iron from other foods and pills
I'm not saying you should avoid coffee/tea or milk/dairy products completely, but maybe not drink them right before, or as a part of your meal, or right after. Maybe wait an hour or two...

I hope this gave you a bit of insight to how your body reacts to donating blood. I can definitely tell that running after donating is harder, and my heart rate definitely increases as the heart will have to work harder to transport the same amount of oxygen round the body as before donating. Hence I try to keep the first couple of sessions at low intensity to give my body a break and a change to recover, and then pick up speed and/or intensity as it gets back to towards normal levels. 

Until next time - see ya all out there :-)

#GiveBlood 

Best M.


Friday, 27 January 2017

Reebok Ambassador + London Marathon 2017

It seems like I'll be running London Marathon 2017 after all 😀

Friday afternoon (27/1 2017) I got an email saying "You're in!". 
A week prior to receiving this great email, I had filled in an application to become a Reebok Ambassador. This also includes a place at London Marathon in April 2017. How awesome is that! 😎



Now, receiving an email like that is a kind of weird - you don't really believe it at first. However, I replied saying my thanks to the person sending me the message, and got a reply back that more information will follow next week. I'm very pleased and honoured that I've been selected with 3 other runners for this. From the email, it is also mentioned that I get a coach - cool! 😁

So far so good - so unless somebody made a (huge) mistake of sending me that email, I'll be running at London Marathon this year on 23rd April! I'd better get on those trainers and get moving...!

So from a "running" perspective, 2017 doesn't seem so bad after all. However, there are many other things that could be a lot better: The Trump Incident; the several refugee-crises around the world; The Trump Incident; Oh - and Trump has become President of the United States of America! 😱

Right - I guess this means that my focus for 2017 have changed a bit  - a least until after London. I'll be focusing my training on that the next 3 months, so maybe interval-training is back on the weekly running menu? I'll get back to that, when I know a bit more on what is going to happen... 

So until then - See ya all out there 😊

#Reebok #LondonMarathon

Best M.


Tuesday, 17 January 2017

New Year's resolutions

At this time of year many already have or are in the making of their New Year's resolutions.

First things first - I hope you all have a had a lovely Christmas and a great New Years eve, and that you have had a great start on 2017. As mentioned at the start of this post, many - or at least some - make New Year's resolutions. It can be about anything: be better your job, do more sports, make more friends, travel more often, etc. 

Many people make resolutions about wanting to loose weight, do more exercise, or be more fit in the new year, and use the switching between the old and the new year to bind themselves to that challenge or commitment. 

I think it's a great way to commit yourself to do changes in your life and possibly team up with friends or family to stick to the plan. I guess many are waiting for some kind of break or event to commit to do changes in their lives. There's probably a logical reason for this hidden within the human brain, why we tend to wait till Monday, or after the vacation, or after Christmas or New Years to commit ourselves to start doing it.

Personally, I usually don't make New Year's resolutions myself. Instead I try to make the changes and commitments along the way. I find this easier and I don't have to wait until New Year to get started. However, I may wait until Monday though... 😉

I've had a great year of running in 2016 and I'm very pleased with what I've done (See previous post here).

These are my goals for 2017:

  • Attend more club runs:
    Last year I started joining some Thursday-runs with Headington Road Runners, based not far from where I live. I've had some thoughts on joining the club from some time, and I went there 10th of November last year for the first time. It was great fun and I got to run in places I've never been in Oxford with some kind and friendly people 😄
    This year I want to join the club as a member and be attending more of these club-runs to spice up my training a bit.
  • Run more kilometers than in 2016:
    I've had some progressive years regarding my yearly-mileage of running, and I simply want to beat last years mileage-PB of 3722km 
  • 100 mile race:
    I want to do a 100 mile race at some point. I haven't found the right one just yet, but I've got some in my mind, which I could do. I'll get back to that when I've decided. Hopefully I'll get to do a few other races as well.
     
  • 24h race:
    I also want to try a 24 hour race. Again I have some that I would like to do, and I'll get back to it, when I've decided.
     
  • Improve core strength:
    I want to improve my core strength this year, so I have already started doing some exercises during the week to hopefully improve my overall fitness and strength but also my overall endurance in both running and kayaking.
Whether you do use New Years as an excuse to make changes in your life or you just make the changes when needed, I hope you get to do the changes you want. Just remember to have fun while doing it 😊

Here's to great new year!! 😎
See you all out there!!

Best M. 


Saturday, 31 December 2016

A great year of running - 2016

The year has come to an end and it's time to reflect :-)

It has been a crazy year for me regarding running! I've come much further than I've ever dreamt of, and I'm very pleased with my achievements. The craziness started last year (2015) when I finally decided to sign up for my first ultra run in January '16 - A 35 mile course with somewhat +1300m of elevation gain. What an awesome day and great scenic course along the white cliffs of Dover in perfect weather! Loved it!! 😊

Then in somewhat early January, I entered a ballot to become an #EpsonRunner for Epson to test one of their newly launched GPS watches. And guess what - I got chosen alongside with 99 others. Yay! I was very pleased with that. I had to test and review the watch and make 5 videos on different topics through out February and March, and then I was allowed to keep the watch afterwards. 😀
Then also during January I got approached by a guy from Endomondo if I'd like to be part of an ambassador-team of 7 people for the #YouVsTheYear initiative for Under Armour UK - A challenge to run 1000km in 2016. I've really enjoyed being a part of this great initiative. It's been great fun indeed! 😉
Remember to sign up for the 2017-version!


On 16th July I set out to run 100km in a single day - Race To The Stones. A great event - very well organised. I came 84 of 956 in total spending 12h33m52s. A great experience, and it will not be my last of this kind. Also in July I was "interviewed" for the Endomondo Blog about my running and training. And by coincidence got my "picture" in Trail Running Magazine - sort of... 😋 Look carefully behind the woman in front...

In August I was "hand-picked" by the Suunto Team to test and review the new Suunto Spartan Ultra Multi Sport GPS watch. I was selected based on my footage from my 100km run earlier in the year. Here I was one of 14 to test and review the watch. I later got to keep it. There are still many software updates planned for the watch. I like the watch very much and I'm looking very much forward to use it with all it's functionalities fully working. 

At the Oxford Half-marathon in October the goal was to beat my PB from last year (2015). I had focused my training to gain more speed though the last few months leading up to the race. I managed to beat my PB from '15 with over 4 minutes - 1h25m44s. 😁 A great day with family vising and running from Denmark and perfect weather. 

The year in numbers:

  • Distance: 3722km - almost twice of 2015 (1888km)
  • Elevation gain: 28760m
  • Calories burned (running): 148052
  • Races: 2 ultras + 1 half-marathon
  • Running shoes added to the collection: 5
All in all a great year of running for me - I hope it's been a good one for you as well! Let's see what 2017 brings!
Happy New Year all😊

#YouVsTheYear #RunWithFight #HappyNewYear

See you out there in the new year!

Best M.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

November 2016

A great month of running - Logged 401km 😀

November has come to an end and winter is upon us, which mean freezing temperatures, slippery roads and more or less permanent forehead markings from the head-torch...


For me it's been a great month of running. I've logged 401km according to Endomondo, which is near the monthly distance as of when I trained for Race To The Stones (100km) earlier this year. I'm pleased to yet again having reached this level. 😀

I love this time of year. When I go for my early morning runs (wake up at 5:30am), it is still dark and quiet outside. Only a few souls are up at this early hour - mostly for work it seems. And when leaving the city centre of Oxford to run along the river, I pretty much got it all to myself. Engulfed in the cold darkness I can almost only hear my own breathing and my foot steps. 

Then, somewhere along the route, the sun starts rising very slowly and the world around me slowly becomes more and more visible in the dim light from the sun still hiding behind the horizon...
A special time of day indeed 😊

I've been to a few evening sessions with Headington Road Runners - a running club in Oxford not far from where I live. So far I've been to a couple of Thursday sessions, which is the main weekly session 'suitable for all abilities'. Although I as good as always have been running by myself, except for races, it was fun to be running with equal-minded. It was also great to be running in places I've never been before - 
different to where I usually run. 
I've also been attending a Saturday cross-country session in South Park. A great but tough session - loved it 😎

During my own training runs I've been on a few long ones in November. On one of them, I followed the Oxford Canal out of Oxford, turned around at some point and the same way back. A decent run of some 42km - or a Marathon if you like 😃 On this run I found some great street-art under a bridge over the Oxford Canal 😃
#OxfordsHiddenGems



Another run was about 35km following the River Thames upstream from Oxford, round the back side of Farmoor Reservoir, and over Boars Hill back to Oxford. A great run which claimed its prize in terms of blood. I thought I'd found the right path (via my pre-loaded bread-crumb-trail on the Suunto Spartan Ultra) but I found myself running through knee-high nettles and thorn-bushes for some hundred metres before actually finding the path I was supposed to be on. However, a lovely run nevertheless. 😄

All in all, a great month of running 😉

#YouVsTheYear #RunWithFight #IWILL

See ya out there...

Best M.


Friday, 18 November 2016

Review Under Armour Charged Bandit 2 Night

A small review of the Under Armour Charged Bandit 2 Night ðŸ˜ƒ

I've got my hands on a pair of Under Armour Charged Bandit 2 Night and have decided to write a small review on them. Under Armour is relatively new in the running-shoe-business, and some are not aware that they actually make shoes as well besides sports clothes. However, they are playing around with many different models and makes, and I have got to try a few including the Under Armour Fat Tire Low trail shoes, which I wrote about some months ago and like very very much!


I'm not gonna write about all the technical details which you can find here on the Under Armour website. Instead I'm gonna write about how if find them and what I like about them and what I like not-so-much.

To start with, the looks of them is great in my opinion. I like the black/orange colours. The top and sides are reflective which helps to be seen in the dark. The top-front of the shoe is fairly soft and forgiving when touched/poked, but not really stretchy, which I find good, as you want your toes/forefoot to stay in place during a run, and not "floating" around in the toe-box. If compared to the Under Armour SpeedForm Gemini 2 or the Under Armour SpeedForm Slingshot, the foot is more fixated in the Bandit 2 Night shoe. Not that the Gemini and Slingshot are not comfortable, they are very much indeed, but I feel my forefoot are moving a bit around in them.

Many Under Amour running shoes have no cushioning on the inside of the heel-cap, which may seem strange when comparing to many other brands, but once I put them on, I don't feel it at all - nice and comfy :-) The heel-support in the Bandit 2 Night is better then in the Gemini 2 and the Slingshot, which I see as a major improvement. I found it bit too loose in the other two for running and I have the feeling of being able to slide out of the shoes at times. I don't have that feeling with the Bandit 2 Night. In my opinion they have a fairly tight grip around my feet while still being comfortable and having space for the toes as well. 
The tongue (the loose flapping part under the laces) is fairly wide and goes along way down on the side of my feet. However, it is not noticed when I tie the laces, and they tie up nicely around my feet. I've left out the top lace-hole as the laces otherwise will go too high up in my opinion. 

My first few runs in them has been great. They feel good and the cushioning is a bit better than in the Gemini 2 in my opinion. I've read that some find it a bit too hard, and that the sole changes character after a while of running. I have not noticed any of this yet, as I've only been out in them a few times. I'll take them for a long run later to feel them with my own feet 😀  


The sole has a good grip on the ground, though in places it felt a bit slippery due to the many fallen leaves on the ground and wet weather, which is doomed to be slippery... So pretty much any shoe would feel slippery in these conditions.

I like the direction Under Armour is taking and so far, I like these Bandits quite a bit and compared to other models I've tried from the Under Armour range, these Bandits are the best I've tried so far for road-running 😊

Oh - and I've now passed the 2016-mile-mark(~3244km) for the year 😉💪

See ya out there and stay safe 😉

#UnderArmour #YouVsTheYear #RunWithFight #IWILL

Best M.

PS: The running shoes have been kindly provided by Under Armour UK, however, the views are my own!
 

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Autumn running

Last week I hit 3000km for 2016 - Way longer than last year! :-)


Totals of 8th November 2016
This year I've been running a lot more than I did last year. Last year I managed to conquer 1888km, and with almost two months left I might even almost double that number. So far I've passed 3000km which I'm very pleased about. I set a target some months back to hit 2016 miles (approx. 3244 km) in 2016. I'll pass that target in a few weeks time. It will be tough to cover twice the distance of last year (3776) - it's 666km from today - a nice "round" number ;-) 

In previous years I've been running a lot less. I've been running for a long time on and off, but throughout the previous years I've kept at it to push further to test my abilities. One question arises from that: 

How do I know where the limit is? 


I honestly don't know - and I think most people don't know their limits when it comes to running - even at anything in life... And what does it take for me to say: "This is it - this far but no further!"? - Yet again, I cannot answer that...
For now, however, I definitely don't feel like I've hit the wall just yet, so I'll continue to explore my capabilities as a runner. 


Regarding the Suunto Spartan Ultra, I've been so fortunate that I can keep the watch. I'll continue to test it as new software updates are released. The last update was for supporting Android phones for the Movescount interface. I've now managed to upload my exercise data via the phone (a bit slow though), and can now receive notifications from various phone apps on the watch display using Bluetooth. This works fine, though I'd love to be able to deactivate the sound when a notification is received! I now use some gel for solving the HR issues. Works just fine, though it should not be necessary, but apparently it is for me!
UPDATE: I'm now back to not using any gel - only water to wet the HR electrodes before an exercise, and it now works fairly reliable! I'm not sure if I'm doing anything differently or a software update has done the trick!


I've got some updates I'd like to see in future updates for the Suunto Spartan Ultra:

  • Display your daily steps/calories in Movescount
  • Use different colours in Movescount: when more than two data-inputs are selected, all data curves are white, except the last one chosen, which makes it hard to distinguishes them!
  • The possibility to set HR range-alarms, pace-alarms, etc.
  • Sounds/vibrations on/off for notifications
  • Include avg. paddle rate/stroke rate for kayaking in the Movescount overview.
It's it definitely getting colder out there, and this morning we had sub-zero degrees in Oxford. I still chose to run in shorts though, which was just fine :-) And with the colder weather, comes darkness as well. I bring my Petzl Tikka XP head-torch for these mornings along with my high-vis vest - Both to be able to see but also to bee seen!



I've included some photos from this autumn, which can be found at the very bottom of this post. Please view them in full-screen :-)

Safe running out there :-)

#YouVsTheYear #RunWithFight #IWILL #SuuntoSpartan

Best M.