Favourite Reads of the Week #7

Time for a round-up of things that caught my eye online last week:

This article from Leo at Zen Habits about loneliness. I like my own space and am comfortable being alone, it’s partly why I love running long distances so much, and enjoy running alone most of the time.

This article about why BPA free plastic may be even worse than BPA! It’s just so hard to avoid shit like this, and people think they are doing the right thing buying the BPA free, and yet it appears it could potentially do more harm than good!

This post on what it means to listen to your body. I’m so guilty of being terrible at this, and running through pain, but after all the injury problems this year, I’d like to think that I am a bit more in tune, and know when to reign things back in!

Laura’s amazing race bib blanket. I have a drawer full of race bibs that are tucked away, so I think it’s a really cool idea.

This recipe for salted caramel maple nut clusters, which I will almost certainly be whipping up for the Christmas period!

Read/Watched/Listened to anything good this week?

Viridian Qi Ribose Review

I am a big fan of Viridian. They are my first choice when it comes to supplements, and I have previously used loads of there products to boost my health. I’m also a big fan of their foody products including coconut oil, range of omega oils and beauty tea!

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I was recently sent one of their newer products to try out, the Qi Ribose powder, and I wanted to try it for the full month to see how I got on with it. The powder is intended to help with energy metabolism, so it came at the perfect time for me as I was dealing with the house move which was an incredibly busy and stressful time.

Qi is the traditional Chinese term for the natural energy that flows through your body, sustaining health and vitality.

Qi Ribose is a blend of ribose, magnesium, acetyl-l-carnitine and malic acid all designed to help with the mitochondrial function- our energy powerhouses! I think most people would be aware of the benefits of magnesium, and I’m always recommending it to people, especially those who are active, or suffering with sleep issues. It is also important as a co-factor for the formation of ATP, our energy currency. The other ingredients may be less familiar so here is a brief rundown:

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Ribose: Is a naturally occurring sugar which the body makes, and it is an essential part of ATP. It also helps to rebuild depleted ATP pools. It is thought to enhance energy and exercise performance as well as having heart protective benefits.

Acetyl-l-carnitine: An amino acid, that also helps with energy production in the mitochondria. The acetyl form is more bio-available to the body. It is key for muscle movement as well as heart function. Red meat generally is the best source of carnitine, so I’m not sure of how much I’d be getting naturally in my diet from other sources, although it is also synthesised from amino acid Lysine.

Malic Acid: A natural acid found in foods like apples. Is a key part of the citric acid cycle so enhances ATP production and aerobic metabolic function.

It’s in a powder, which you add to water, it’s not the most pleasant tasting thing, but it’s not awful! There are no additives, and it’s Vegan friendly. They recommend 1-2 tsp a day, as I was using more from a sporting perspective 1 tsp a day was adequate, although for heart health I think the 2 tsp would be more appropriate.

I think this is a great product, I felt brilliant during the month I was taking it. I’ve been working out hard, and had a lot going on over the last few months but I felt this really helped me through that busy period.

I also slept amazingly well when I was taking it, I’ve always been a good sleeper, but since running out of the product I notice I don’t sleep as deeply during the night. I found my digestion was brilliant while taking this too, I’m not sure if that had anything to do with this at all! The results are not something I can solely put down to the product, as there are so many varying factors, but during that month I did find I had a lot more energy, also less bloating generally and felt leaner. I unintentionally dropped a bit of weight, and whether it was due to this supplement, or not, I’m not sure, but it could have been a factor, particularly due to the carnitine content.

I think this is a really good sports performance product, and would be beneficial for anyone who is suffering with low energy, or worried about cardiovascular health. It currently retails at £24.95, and I would definitely recommend it if you are lacking in energy and need a little boost.

 

Disclaimer: I was sent this product for review purposes, all opinions are my own. If on medication please consult GP or pharmacist before taking supplements.

I’m Scared of Hills

I’ll admit it, I’m terrified of hills, and it’s not the uphill effort, but the downhill terror!

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Since moving to Greenwich, I’ve started doing a weekly hill run on the beastly hills in the park. I’m in sort of a love/hate relationship with it, as I feel great after, and know how awesome it will be for my running in the long term, but during those couple of minutes I go through a pre-uphill moment of dread, during uphill gritting my teeth and grinding it out, and post-uphill gasping for air relief- these are lung busting hills! I then have a bit of a run on the flat to calm down my legs and lungs, before turning to face my nemesis- the downhill.

I haven’t fallen over running for about 4 years which isn’t bad considering, but I just have this fear that I am going to stack it going down these hills, especially at this time of year when they can be damp, or slippy. It’s 30 seconds or so of sheer terror, as I feel absolutely out of control of my body haring down these hills. The glee I feel at reaching the bottom without falling is immense.

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I’ve run quite a few hilly trail races (above is from the Badger half in the summer), and I’ve never been scared of the down-hills off road, I guess due to the softer landing surface, but running down these tarmac hills is scary! I think going from flat as a pancake north London running to this hasn’t helped as other than races I haven’t run any hills for ages. I guess I just need to face my fear and get over it, but I wish I didn’t feel quite so bloody terrified while bombing downhill!

Any tips for downhill running?

Why am I Streaking?

I’m streaking. Run streaking that is. I’m 3 weeks-or 21 days-into my current run streak, which when I say it seems a lot, but it’s gone very quickly! My previous longest streak was when I did the Marcothon way back in 2011, running at least a 5k everyday during December. I am doing the Marcothon/Advent Running challenge again this year, but I started my streaking a little early, and quite unintentionally.

IMG_3807I had run a few days in a row, and thought why not carry it on for the next few days before the Advent running challenge kicked off. A few of the early runs were just 1 or 2 miles to get my legs used to daily running, but I’ve solidly been doing 5k plus since the beginning of December and the body has been holding up well! Last week was a 30 mile week, which other than the Berlin marathon week  I hadn’t hit since the ultra in May, which seems insane, but injuries really took their toll all summer.

I think it’s been in my head for a while to start a streak, and with no training plan or immediate race on the horizon, it seemed like a good direction to take my running in. I’ve really been getting into Matt Frazier’s  No Meat Athlete podcasts lately, and there has previously been a lot of talk about run streaks, as well as goal setting. I’ve found with the daily running, as Matt had suggested, it’s just about building a habit, the more you do something, the more ingrained it becomes, so there’s never been any “I don’t really fancy it today” moments, I don’t even think about, I just get up and I’m excited to get out the door and run.

IMG_3834I’m not really training for anything in particular, other than trying to get some base fitness back up for a possible spring marathon, so I guess it was as good a time as any to start this. I’ve found especially with the dark cold days, that it’s been a good reason to get out the door and get some fresh air, when I probably would have had an extra hour in bed, or gone home and sat on the sofa instead.

I don’t really see it as a challenge as such, just something I enjoy doing, and while that continues then I will continue to go with it. Most of the time I run first thing in the morning, sometimes before the world wakes, sometimes back before the sun has begun to rise and I just find it to be a really peaceful (even in London!), reflective time, and it starts my day off on the right foot. There is also something quite empowering about deciding to do something and actually following it through.

IMG_3803I feel so much more productive, have better clarity of thought, my mood is better, it just generally helps on a whole other level of things other than the obvious running is physically good for me. I haven’t set an end goal, so there is no pressure, I just get up and want to run, and it’s made me fall in love with running all over again.

Obviously I was a little wary about running so much, due to the injury problems this year and especially the ITB, but as long as it holds up I’ll carry on with the streaking!

Have you ever run streaked?

Favourite Reads of the Week #6

Here is my weekly round up of things that caught my eye online this week:

This article in the New York Times about a program where doctors are prescribing fruits/vegetables instead of pills to support low income families with overweight children. I think this is a pretty revolutionary idea, and I guess if the huge interests of the pharmaceutical/medical/food industries have anything to do with it, it is not something that will take off, but still it’s great to see that there are schemes out there like this. I also think the importance on education and knowledge is key for schemes like this to succeed.

This post on how stress can affect your gut, amongst everything else! I think stress plays a huge role in the development of so many diseases, and unfortunately the majority of the population is in a chronic state of stress. I like yoga, meditation and epsom salt baths to unwind.

I love strength training, and it’s massively helped my running. I enjoyed this post on the reasons to incorporate it into your running routine. I’m currently following Julia Buckley’s strength training plan, and so far so good in terms of no more injury flare ups since Berlin!

‘Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth’- Albert Einstein

This controversial article on the Guardian “debunking the detox myth”. Though I do agree with some of the points it makes, like the overuse of the word “detox” for marketing purposes, I disagree with the reductionist and biased view this article presents, especially the lumping in whole foods into the argument. Unfortunately some of sources for the article, are renowned sceptics and medical propagandists, pumping out this kind of shit and trying to constantly undermine and disprove natural alternatives, for the benefit of their own agenda. I’m surprised the Guardian even published it, as it’s just crap one sided journalism, using extreme examples. Just because things don’t conform to medical or scientific advice it doesn’t mean they are flat out wrong. I do disagree with a lot of the ways products are marketed, but ultimately in our society everyone is selling something and that includes the medical profession and big pharma. Rant over.

This article on the Guardian on benefits of a ketogenic diet for epilepsy.

Read, watched or listened to anything good this week?