Sweating it out – are you replacing your minerals?

The sun is finally out and I (and everyone else, don’t lie) am SWEATING a lot. Especially if you are doing any kind of sport. I sacked off track partway through the session last night because a) it was the hardest sessions EVER (6 x 1 mile) and b) it was the hottest day ever.

Now, I obviously know when you sweat, you lose electrolytes and that is a bad thing. You don’t perform as well, you don’t recover as well, you get cramp. That is why companies are constantly peddling electrolyte drinks, vitamin water (I drink it because I like the taste rather than any nutritional benefits), protein coconut water (still tastes as bad as normal coconut water vom) to get you to replace lost salts and minerals.

So that is a form of supplementation – but supplements as a whole, I’ve never really felt the need to delve into…It’s a combination of

  1. thinking I don’t need to (and I know best obviously)
  2. remembering a nutrition module in my degree with the conclusion of you don’t really need to if your diet is sufficient
  3. every study showing the benefits having an opposite study that refukes the claim (again, side effects of a sports science degree)
  4. I always forget to take them.

Pharma Nord got in contact a few months back to ask if we would like to try out their Bio-Magnesium tablets, and I have to say, I was easily convinced by the claims of magnesium in reducing DOMS and aiding recovery. I rarely feel like I’m not in a state of DOMS (to the point that my legs always hurt walking up stairs.end of) so this was a BRILLIANT way of convincing me.

What role does magnesium play in the body?

Magnesium regulates A LOT of reactions in the body (over 300 enzymatic reactions!), from protein synthesis to blood pressure regulation. It is also probably fairly low in the list of “top things you would think about supplementing” – with iron and sodium tending to be near the top of the list for endurance athletes, but its role must not be ignored.

Continue reading

Advertisements

How much does running really cost?

Running is touted as being a super cheap sport. On one hand, it is. No gym fees, no monthly payments, no feeling of having wasted money if you don’t go.

HOWEVER. And this is a big however. As soon as you start taking it seriously and get over excited about decent kit and races and technology, it quickly becomes not cheap.Trainers, summer kit, winter kit, autumn kit, wet weather kit…multiple pairs of shoes, garmin (s)….then you start branching out into triathlons and it’s a whole new kettle of fish!

The reason I’m writing this is because I just shelled out on a new pair of trainers, and didn’t really bat an eyelid at the cost, easily acknowledging that they were worth it because of the amount of wear I get from them. But, it doesn’t all have to be flashy. There a places to splurge and places to save, and you really really don’t need everything under the sun to take up running.

Trainers. I mean, you could get a pair of trainers for £20. They might fit. They might not. I know what shoes suit me and fit me, and unfortunately, I can’t usually find them in sports direct for £30. If you’re going to invest, this is the area to do it. You want something that fits your feet and suits the amount of running you do. However, do shop around – find a pair that suit you (go for somewhere with gait analysis) and then don’t impulse buy –  have a look online, find the same model in an earlier version or a previous season’s colours and you can easily drop £20-30 off the price.

Worryingly, despite spending all that money, I’m getting pins and needles just like I did in the previous pair I couldn’t get along with. SIGH.

Problem here is that you then start to need multiple pairs of trainers for different activities. OK OK, you don’t actually need them as such. Well, you kind of do. But you can get away with just one pair. But they WILL need replacing on the regular!

Sports bra. I mean this is basically a necessity. I 100% do not buy new ones as much as I should. I have around 10 Shock Absorbers in rotation. Each one is about £30. That is a lot of money’s worth of sports bras. But I am not going cheaper. I do not trust a sports bra from H&M thank you very much.

Club subs. OK, I said it’s not like a gym in that there aren’t regular fees, but if you want to join a club, you have to pay up. However this is generally pocket change, with most clubs charging £20 or less FOR A YEAR! England Athletics affiliation is a bit more (but, you then get £2 off race fees so typically 6 races in a year makes it financially viable, plus you can enter cool running club events like FREE cross country), plus then anything else your club sessions might cost (i.e. track use)

Pants. I do not see the point in spending lots of money on pants. That is why my ‘running pants’ are an amusing story in my family. I once tied a pair together at the side when they split at Thunder Run. I have not thrown them away. This is ridiculous because I bought 5 pairs for £2 in Primark.

Socks. I um and ah about socks. I have special ‘race socks’ which are my more cushioned, thicker, comfier ones, that naturally, cost more money. And I like them. But for daily use, I don’t think you need to spend £££ on one pair. Get a Decathlon multipack.

Races. I mean this is pretty simple, don’t pick a massive race and you won’t pay a massive fee. I mean you don’t even have to race. But I guarantee an adventure race or themed race will cost you way more than a local 10k. Maybe when you start out, the big, expensive races seem more appealing, because the reason they are more expensive is typically bigger locations (therefore higher running costs) and nice gimmicks to try and make you forget you are actually running. Use simple race finders like on fetcheveryone and Runner’s World to find some local races near you and support your local running economy – you’ll also find a lovely sense of community and friendliness. If you want a cheapie, try parkrun – you can’t get much cheaper than free!

Leggings. I mean I have a range – £10 from Sports Direct up to some pricey 2XU compression ones. My favourite are mid-range, Ronhill, decent size pocket, good length, don’t rub, right temperature. Decathlon have some great bargains.

Tops. My only priority here is wicking fabric. Look for races that include a tshirt in the fee, then it’s a win win situation! You don’t have to spend a ton on tops – yes, things like Lulu & Sweaty Betty may look nice, but to be honest,you’re running.It doesn’t realllly matter. Most of the cheaper places now have started doing great designs as well, from your traditional sports shops like Decathlon to places like New Look branching out into fitness, so if looking good is your priority, shop around.

Jackets. I don’t think you need to spend 3 figure sums on running jackets unless you live somewhere where it only ever rains and it’s always about -3 degrees.If you do, then it’s probably a good thing to invest in. Otherwise, get something showerproof and bright for dark nights.

GPS. I love Garmy. I spent a fair amount of money on Garmy. (You can tell my appreciation by the fact he has a name and is a proper noun) But you don’t have to – there are a ton of free apps that will do your basic measurements for you (see, Strava – other apps are available) But I don’t always carry my phone, and if I do I never look at it when I run, and Garmy does underwater and transitions and intervals and heart rate and sleep and steps and elevation and tells me when I’m going too slowly and does EVERYTHING I EVER NEED IN LIFE. So if you are a data geek and want to have an immediate idea of your performance, this is an area to splash out. But there is such a price range on GPS, so you just need to work out the minimum of what you need.

Accessories.  This depends on what you need. If you are commuting, a specific running rucksack is something it’s worth investing in. Otherwise they chafe like hell. If you’re running a lot in the dark, a decent headtorch is probably worth your while. Then you won’t fall down any holes. Gloves – you can get away with 2 pairs for a pound from Primark until it starts to get really cold and rainy, then I would maybe look at something better.

Physio/Sports Massage. Ah yes, when things go wrong. As someone who has had their fair share of physio sessions, let’s just say I’m glad it was covered through health insurance because central London physio prices are not the most kind on your wallet. HOWEVER, I would still have paid for a fair chunk of this myself because it’s important to me. I’ll forego a nice dinner out to get to the bottom of my niggles. As for massage, massage is great – see if you can find someone training/studying (ask at local colleges, they will always need guinea pigs) as it is bound to be cheaper, grab yourself a foam roller from Amazon, OR, just buy a lacrosse ball for a few quid and sit on it.

I think there is a lot about balance – once you start running, you may find yourself spending less in the pub and less going out for dinner. Therefore, NEW RUNNING CLOTHES! I have a weird mentality that buying running clothes is never a guilty habit because I guarantee I get use out of them. This is probably why my boyfriend is fed up of me only wearing running clothes or rotating through several outfits and proclaiming “I have nothing to wear” yet refusing to go shopping for ‘normal clothes’.

However what I do love about running is the ease – once you’ve got your trainers on, off you go and the world is your oyster. Just gotta buy those trainers first!

What is the one thing you will always splurge on? 

Biggest running-related waste of money?

The New Year Bandwagon – Ditch the detox and kick-start healthy habits instead

It’s January. I had a hectic December and, much like everyone else, ate and drank waaaaay too much. On top of that, I am four months in to a significant change of lifestyle, i.e. student life, and playing a lot less sport as a result. Things were beginning to look grim. Not to mention wobbly. Something had to give, so here I am shamelessly piggybacking off Katie’s recent post about Dry January and friendly sabotage to talk about the January Bandwagon.

It’s still one of the most popular New Year’s resolution in the UK – “I will lose weight”, so people up and down the country part with wodges of cash to join gyms (a lot of Twitter angst was felt towards this by regular gym bunnies) and slimming clubs. Now, I’m not in dire straits by any stretch, so paying to have someone weigh me once a week and talk about ‘syns’ or ‘points’ wasn’t something I felt I needed to do, and as someone who already hits the gym of my own accord I felt fairly well equipped to take myself in hand, but having stood on the scale on New Year’s Eve morning to be faced with 69kgs it was clear I needed to do something. Now.

Continue reading

Sport for girls should be pink

Happy New Year, everyone! For my first post of 2016, I have been gifted a topic by a red hot (or should that be hot pink?) debate raging in Ireland right now.

[Sidenote: I wrote the first draft of this using a Bic for Her ballpoint pen… If you haven’t read the Amazon reviews I implore you to do so. For the good of your hand health.]

Whilst idly browsing Twitter this morning, I came across something posted by Her.ie magazine that made me double-take. An Irish company appear to be promoting a new product, marketed at women, to encourage the uptake of Gaelic Football by female players – enter, the Ladyball. That’s right y’all, the squidgy, pink #Ladyball.

Image from theladyball.com

Image from theladyball.com

The all new Ladyball specifically designed for a lady’s game – soft touch for a woman’s grip, eazi-play for a woman’s ability, fashion-driven for a woman’s style. Play like the lady you are.”

Continue reading

2015 – a wrap up

Everyone seems to be doing a wrap up of what took place this year…so thought I would follow suit, especially seeing as we are nearing These Girls Do’s first birthday!

It’s been a great journey so far – met some awesome people, taken part in some awesome activities and I don’t think we ever appreciated that people would actually enjoy reading what we wrote…

So without further ado, here are a few highlights!

January. 

Tackled dry January for the third year under much duress from everyone else for being boring. Did not give in. Decided to write a blog whilst Kate was a few drinks down and I was not. Held her accountable. Struggled for blog name. Launch of This Girl Can. Found name for blog! Kicked things off with some thoughts around women’s sport not being that exciting, heavily prompted by some interactions with a fairly high profile rugby coach who thought that as girls, we wouldn’t be interested in rugby, despite attending a talk specifically on rugby. Followed by a similar view on women’s cycling, including pink clothes, fixing punctures and overtaking men. Kate attracted some attention chatting about the use of plus size models. 

Continue reading

Breaking the running rules…guilty

I got thinking as I ran through Hyde Park the other night about the fact it was actually quite dark in places, despite there being several lights and lots of people doing the same…and it got me thinking – what is the limit as to where I would stop ‘just nipping through’ and stick to the main roads? It then made me think about the countless other things I do before/during/after running that apparently are AWFUL and should never been done.

Yes, I do understand about running safety, and yes, you could say I am being naive because thus far, I’ve been extremely lucky and not had any incidents – and I want to say up front that there is no way I am trying to downplay anything from a personal safety perspective but isn’t running ultimately about enjoying yourself and feeling free?

How did people train before the days of mobile phones, of Oyster cards that get you back from anywhere in a very large SW London radius, of shoes specifically designed to make you less likely to roll an ankle? I mean they were still doing it and managing to survive – so are we trying so hard to do things ‘right’ that we forget how to do things ‘fun’?

What could make me a bad runner…? Continue reading

Daddy Cool: Fathers’ Day fitness inspiration

Being as it was Fathers’ Day on Sunday we wanted to take the opportunity to pay homage to our Dads this week, in much the same way as we did for our Mums on Mothers’ Day – we’re both very lucky to be close to the men in our lives, they are a continuous source of support, inspiration and encouragement, and they are undoubtedly also the reason the pair of us are so bloody headstrong and competitive…

Kate: My Dad has always been a keen sports man, when he was younger he played soccer, rugby and gaelic football for school and university teams as well as being a keen runner and squash player. Nowadays, along with my mum, he cycles, rows, kayaks and hikes like a mad person!

Continue reading

Review – Record Breaking Squat Jumps & BMF Fun in the Sun

It’s official! Katie and I are bona fide World Record holders!

Admittedly, breaking this record didn’t involve some life-threatening feat of daring, or anything really gross like not cutting our toenails for a couple of years, but it is still a real record, honest guv.

Last week British Military Fitness ran a special event to celebrate National Outdoor Fitness Day, where they attempted to beat the world record for the greatest number of people performing jump squats simultaneously at a single venue and These Girls were very kindly invited to join in! So, off we toddled to Wandsworth Common on a sunny Saturday morning, thinking this was as close as we’d ever get to being on that show Record Breakers with Kriss Akabusi. Anyone else remember that? I must be getting old.

Continue reading

Rip Van Winkle’s guide to working out: Sleep, exercise and holding off on the gin

I’m not a great sleeper. I love to sleep, I’m just not very good at it. At the weekend, I can easily sleep for 12 hours if I don’t set an alarm and as a teenager I took teenage lie-ins to whole new levels of concerning. I used to sleepwalk as a child and grind my teeth and I still toss and turn and talk, but apparently I don’t snore (thank goodness for small mercies…).

sleep

Working in the City means I find myself in stressful situations from time-to-time and, by my own confession, I am a bit of a worrier, which doesn’t help matters. But I’ve never been a great sleeper, so stress can’t be the only factor at play. The only thing I know for sure that helps with these nocturnal niggles is exercise.

Continue reading

These Girls Still Do – Yoga and physical activity in older women

As I mentioned previously in our Mothers’ Day special, my mum is a yoga instructor. She took up Hatha Yoga about 15 years ago when she became concerned about her joints and has been head over heels in love with it ever since. After my younger brother was born, she trained as a Yoga teacher as it was something she loved to do and was a flexible (no pun intended…) job that she could work around Dad’s working hours and the hectic timetable of having three, and subsequently four, young children to look after.

I’m incredibly proud of my mum, her business has gone from strength to strength and she offers a valuable service of easily accessible yoga classes to women and men of all ages and abilities throughout the local, rural community. But what impresses me most of all is her clients. The majority of the people who attend her yoga classes, though by no means all, are women of retirement age. I go to class whenever I have an opportunity and let me tell you I am a fit person but these ladies truly put me to shame in the flexibility and strength stakes.

Continue reading