[F] is for Fundraising

F   Many people run in order to raise money for their chosen charity and there are even races organized purely to find much needed monetary support (and raise awareness of course). I remember times when most of the fundraising was done by knocking on people’s door so the fundraising of the digital age is making things much easier (especially for introverts like me). Facebook, twitter, blogs, emails allow you to reach wider audience and if you throw a cake sale in the office to the mix, the fundraising is not as daunting as it may seem and can be actually fun! Common on – everybody loves cake!

And while we are on the topic of fundraising, I’m not sure if I mentioned that I’m running the London marathon this year. Well, I am – in less than three weeks on Sunday 26th April, and I will be wearing a pink vest showing my support to Action for Blind People. If you would like to help, this is my fundraising page.

Yeah, that wasn’t cheeky at all 🙂



[E] is for Energy

E   I’ve touched down a little bit on this in my last post – you need fuel, energy to keep you going when you train. I try to get most of the energy from what I eat and from getting decent amount of sleep. I aim to get at least eight hours of sleep when I’m training; even 30 minutes longer sleep than usual makes a big difference.

When it comes to energy on the go, everyone is little different and is good to experiment and find out what suits you best. Generally, for a run up to an hour I don’t take anything else with me but water. For longer runs of around 90-120 minutes I will mix an electrolyte drink and for anything over two hours I’ll have gels and water. I have noticed that if I run in the morning, I am quite often hungry so I’ve started carrying energy bars or jelly beans with me. Personally, I much prefer running after work or at lunch time and my long ‘morning’ Sunday runs very rarely start before 11am, unless it’s a race. Surprisingly I have no problem with getting up early for that; I did a 28km race starting at 7am last year and loved it.

If you are training for a marathon or half-marathon, find what works for you when you are out and about as realising that some gels give you stomach cramps on the race day is not something I would wish you to experience.



[D] is for Diet

D   If you are trying to shed few pounds, kilos, stones or whatever other unit you measure the weight in, exercising and running is a great way to achieve your goal. However if your goal is to run a marathon, don’t cut down on your food intake too drastically. You need food to fuel you. This is of course not a free out of the jail card for overeating.

The important thing is what food to eat and what food to avoid. Healthy and fresh will always beat sugary and fried whether you are aiming for one or the other.



[C] is for Cross-training

C   To become a better runner is not only about how often or how long you run. It is important to give the ‘running’ muscles and joints a rest by doing a different aerobic activity – walking, cycling and swimming are all good alternatives.

I walk to and from work every day and try to include a session on elliptical trainer or a bike once a week as well as a dip in the pool.  Swimming is my personal favourite, I just wish it was possible for me to swim outside rather than in a pool; I do feel like a wet hamster after a while. My front crawl is rapidly improving though 🙂



[B] is for Blisters

B   Blisters. They are almost inevitable. When I started running they were just a mild inconvenience as I never ran long enough for them to be a problem but as the kilometres started piling up they can turn into a real unpleasant issue.

After my first marathon, I lost four toe nails. After my second, I didn’t even get a blister.

The difference was properly fitted trainers. If you thinking about running a marathon, get an assessment in the sport shop where they will recommend the right shoes for you. Trust me, it is worth it.


[A] is for Athletes

A   I wanted to be many things when I was younger; being an accomplished sportsperson was never one of them. I’m now approaching 35 so I guess I’ll never become one. I’ll never be the fastest or strongest runner.  On the other hand, it is never too late to embrace your inner athlete. I found mine during my late twenties (and I mean ‘two months before turning 29’ late twenties) and ran my first 5k race when I was 29.

Since then I ran several 5k and 10k races, seven half-marathons, two marathons and completed two 100k endurance walks. And I am not finished. I am planning to run three marathons this year and hope to turn 2016 into celebration of half-marathons by running a race each month, and eventually complete a marathon on each continent. That’s my ‘things to do before you turn 40’ plan.

Not everyone can win the Olympic medal but everyone can be an athlete.