#RunWithAnIdea Post 2: Would you pay £50 (~$75) for a 10K race?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Continuing our #RunWithAnIdea project, this week we are talking about race entry fees.

What is the most you have ever paid for a race?  Was it worth it?

The most I have ever paid is £82.50 for the London Triathlon (sprint distance).  Unfortunately, I withdrew this year due to a pesky injury (money unfortunately is gone).  Triathlons are of course a different ballgame, as they require 3x as much space and staffing to cover all the disciplines.  On the other hand, I have also pay £12 for a low-key half marathon in Auckland, New Zealand and really enjoyed it.

I understand race fees need to cover permits, road closures, staffing, mailings, and publicity.  Then there are incentives, such as free t-shirts, goody bags, and the coveted race bling.  Most races seem to be aligned with a charity these days, so perhaps some of the fee goes toward the organization too.  Are the rest simply for profit?  (I must say I imagine there are many simpler/easier ways to make money)

Maybe in my old age, I am becoming more money conscious.  But to look at all the things I can do with £50 (especially when I see it converted to $!) I don't think I would pay that much for 'only' a 10K. Unless there was an incredible gimmick (such as running hand-in-hand with Paula Radcliffe, an obstacle course through Buckingham Palace gardens, or solid gold bling) there is a lot of other stuff I could do with that money that would last longer than an one-off experience.

Race organizers- As a side note, it would be fabulous to opt out of the t-shirt, especially if it is cotton.  I have enough t-shirts that I don't wear because they are too hot or don't fit.  Put the £5 towards your organization instead.  Yes, the photos look cool when everyone is wearing the same color shirt but it can be a waste of resources too.

For me, there must be an equation to relate entry fee to the energetic demand of the event.  As I have been fundraising this year for Rod's Racing, I feel that I have spent a lot on race entry fees which could have gone to the orphans I am trying to help.  It does add up, as many of my friends in their quests to increase their bling collection.  Racing can be addictive because you are chasing a new PB, exploring different parts of the world, trying to loose weight/get fit, or supporting a cause you believe in.

Perhaps because I have done many 5Ks, 10ks, and a few halves, I have a different sense of value for the events.  If you have never run a race and have your heart set on a particular event, don't let the entry fee hold you back.  Only you can determine what is a fair price for the entertainment value and instant motivation.  Once you have a few medals on your wall, you will know what is important to you at a race and find events that cater to your needs.

I would love to hear how you select events to run in.  What is important to you?  Location?  Distance?  Free stuff?  Entry fee?

Quickie Workout #63 (Stairs required!)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Take you will need a flight of stairs and a reasonable amount of fitness.  Be sure to hold on to the railing.  

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com)

Warm  up- Walk up and down stairs for 3 minutes or until you start to break a sweat
1 min-  'Box jump' on to the lowest step from the ground.  If this is too advanced, you can do step ups.
1 min-  Push/Press ups, inclined on steps for beginner, declined for advanced.
1 min-  One legged squat (right leg off side of step for a greater range of motion, squat with left leg)        
1 min-   One legged squat (left leg off side of step for a greater range of motion, squat with right leg)           
1 min- Tricpep dips
1 min-  Reverse lunge by placing one leg on a step but facing away from stairs.  Add in lateral raise.
1 min-  Reverse lunge by placing the other leg on step.  Add in frontal raise.      
1 min-  Stand close to bottom step, bend over, and place hands on the bottom step (or 2nd step if you can't reach bottom step). Bend arms at the elbow to lower head closer to the step.  Exhale and extend arms. 
1 min-  Climb steps 2 at a time, but lunge before switching lead legs.                      
1 min-  Perform a plank on your hands rather than elbows.  To make it more challenging, perform on a decline.
1 min- Boat pose on the bottom step

Weekend Challenge: Express Gratitude

Friday, July 26, 2013

This weekend, take a moment to genuinely thank someone in your life.  It can be someone you work with, your neighbor, a family member, or the person who makes your coffee every morning. Take the time to thank them for what they do and make sure they accept your thanks.  Don't let them brush off your compliments.

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in things we forget to let people know we appreciate them.  Hopefully the person you thank will pass it on.

Getting our Cities Fit for Cycling

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Today's post is by my husband James, a keen cyclist. He's commuted by bike in London for more than five years and writes his first blog post on ptmollie.com about current cycling safety issues

Cycling is fantastic way to travel, with numerous health benefits. As the University of Leicester highlight, scientific studies have shown how cycling:

These studies, and other recent cost-benefit analyses, generally show that across large populations the benefits of cycling in urban areas outweigh the costs. However, cycling also comes with risks and population-level statistics are not much comfort if you're the individual who gets injured.

Last Monday the third cyclist in as many weeks was killed on London's roads. The tragic death sparked a protest ride by more than two thousand London cyclists (of which I was one) organized by the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) and calling for dedicated space for cycling. If we're going to get more people cycling, enjoying the health and lifestyle benefits it brings, we're going to have to make our roads safer.

The 'Get Britain Cycling' report [pdf] by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group has several recommendations for how this can be done. These recommendations include increasing investment in cycling infrastructure, lower speed limits in residential areas and stricter planning guidelines for how roads are designed. Another key recommendation is improving training for individual cyclists (and motorists). I commute to work in London and have picked up a few tips that I'll share in the future, but for now the LCC website has some great advice, there's a good beginner's guide in the latest edition of Cycle Lifestyle, and the best book on safe and enjoyable cycling is Cyclecraft by John Franklin

Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the Get Britain Cycling report but not committed himself to enforce the recommendations. The report will be debated in Parliament by MPs on Monday 2nd September and The Times newspaper Cities Fit for Cycling campaign is encouraging everyone to ask their MP to attend the debate. I've written to my MP and it would be great if you would too. My letter is below if you need ideas and see The Times campaign page for more info and to find your MP.

In the meantime, get out there on your bike and enjoy the rest of summer! If you haven't been on your bike for a while, Mollie is now a certified Cycle Leader for the Breeze Network and will soon be organizing a ride. Alternatively, you can also find a SkyRide near you, or if you're in London join the Prudential RideLondon FreeCycle on Saturday 3rd August will be closing the roads in the city to create an eight-mile traffic-free loop from Buckingham Palace to the Tower of London.

Wherever the road takes you, enjoy the ride!

My letter
Dear XXXX,

Earlier this week I was on the London Cycling Campaign protest ride calling for dedicated space for cycling to prevent further cycling deaths in London (1). The ride was sparked by yet another cyclists' death, this time at Holborn (2). Only a few weeks ago another cyclist was killed in our own borough of Lewisham (3). These deaths indicate how dangerous cycling remains in London.

As you may remember from previous emails, I commute to work by bike and cycling is my main mode of transport. Cycling is a healthy, sustainable and affordable transport option and the more people cycle the more our communities will benefit. However, to enable and encourage more people to cycle, allowing the benefits this will bring, we need to make our city and borough safer for cycling.

Implementing the recommendations of the Get Britain Cycling report (4) published in April by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group will help do this. These recommendations include increasing investment in cycling infrastructure, improving training, lowering speed limits in residential areas and ensuring that cycle provision is included at the planning stage of all new developments. I have written to you previously about lowering speed limits, but you seem against this proposal, which is disappointing.

I hope that you will be at the debate about these recommendations in the House of Commons on Monday 2nd September and that you will listen carefully to the arguments. In turn, I hope that you will be encouraged to support the recommendations. Will you be at the debate?

Yours sincerely,

James Millington

(1) http://lcc.org.uk/articles/holborn-protest-ride-attracts-2500-londoners-calling-on-the-mayor-to-provide-safe-space-for-cycling
(2) http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/family-pay-tribute-to-kind-compassionate-loving-alan-neve-51-who-was-killed-when-hit-by-tipper-truck-in-holborn-8713203.html
(3) http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/wife-of-cyclist-killed-in-suspected-hit-and-run-in-lewisham-pays-heartbreaking-tribute-to-her-soul-mate-8675885.html
(4) https://allpartycycling.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/get-britain-cycling_goodwin-report.pdf

Quickie Workout #62

Sunday, July 21, 2013

For today's workout, you will need either tins of soup, bottles of water or light weights.  Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com)

Warm  up- Jog for 1 min, then pick up the pace for the next minute, and again for the 3rd minute
1 min- Burpees     
1 min- Lunges
1 min- Bicycles (abdominal exercise)  Think about the twist by doing slow and controlled.          
1 min- Press/Push ups over 4 counts (3 to lower and 1 to come back up)     
1 min- Reverse curls (have legs in air and lift hips up off ground)
1 min- 'Fire hydrant' on left leg (kneel on all 4's. Lift leg out to side with knee at 90 degrees)         
1 min- 'Fire hydrant' on right leg (kneel on all 4's. Lift leg out to side with knee at 90 degrees)       1 min- Boat pose         
1 min- Alternating frontal and lateral arm raises with calf raises. Hold can of soup or bottle of water to make it more challenging.                        
1 min- Triceps kickback You can do this with both arms while standing by hinging forward at the waist with a slight bend in your knees.
1 min- Sumo squats (without a bar though. If you want you can hold a weight)

Weekend Challenge- All you need is a partner & 3 minutes!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Thanks to the guys at Fitness Playground for the weekend challenge.  I ran/played with them Monday night and had a lot of fun.  If you don't like being in the gym, you should give their sessions a try (first one is free!).

Part of our workout was a friendly game between partners.  In a plank position (on your hands) you have 1 minute for each of the following tests.  Keep track of the score for each one.  Best of the three wins!

1.  Tug of War- Grab each other by the wrist and pull to see if you can make the other person (gently) fall over.  Pulling the elbows is cheating.  One point each time you make the other person collapse.

2.  Shoulder Tag-  One point each time you successfully tap the other person's shoulder.  No face slapping!

3.  Hand Tag- Similar to #2, you get a point each time to touch the other person's hand.

Feel free to comment below with results and photos of the fun!

Hobbling along....

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My summer race schedule is/was about to kick it up a notch.  As part of my fundraising efforts for Rod’s Racing and also succumbing to peer pressure from other London bloggers, I managed to line up 3 races in 3 weekends in July.  First was the National Lottery Run, next London (sprint distance) Triathlon, and finally Prudential Ride London (100 mile bike).  Of course, it would have been a good idea to have a calendar handy when committing to each of these but I just got swept up in the anticipation of being sporty and tough.

Since my New Zealand half marathon, I have been battling pain in my heel which a few physios have diagnosed as plantar fasciitis.  I have never had this injury before and am frustrated as to what brought it on.  True I didn’t train as much as I should have for that race, but I still finished in a respectable time of 2:10.  I was running in a pair of trainers that were about a month old so I am wondering if they aren’t really the best shoe for me.

To let it heal, I haven't been running much, got a few massages, and have made my foam roller a constant companion.  I have also been foam rolling and stretching.  Yet still the pain is there.  Because of this, I am giving up my spot in the National Lottery Run (I know- The Olympic Stadium!) and Virgin LondonTriathlon.  It is a huge disappointment for me to go back on my word about races that I committed to for the orphans. However, I want to heal properly.  I have a few more events in the fall and will work even harder at staying on track with training for those.

What injuries have slowed you down? Were you disciplined enough to rest and recover? 

Filled with guilt, I am thinking about putting in a long swim to make up for missing the triathlon.  I will be putting in an 100km bike ride this weekend too.  Would you still sponsor me please?

Quickie Workout #61

Sunday, July 14, 2013

For today's workout, you will need either tins of soup, bottles of water or light weights.  Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.

Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com)

Warm  up- Walk up and down stairs for 2 minutes.  Squats for 1 minute.
1 min- Push/Press ups against a wall, on a stable counter top, or on the ground.       
1 min- Knee lift to opposite elbow while standing.  Twist upper body at the waist.
1 min- Walking lunges                            
1 min- Jumping jacks/star jumps           
1 min- Mountain climbers    
1 min- Push/Press ups on knees or toes                           
1 min- Boat pose                                      
1 min- Forearm plank                
1 min- Supermans                            
30 sec- Side plank left 
30 sec- Side plank right
1 min- Hop-hop-low squat then 4 punches    
1 min- Lunge down then jump up and switch legs into another lunge

#RunWithAnIdea Post: Is there an Olympic Legacy?

Friday, July 12, 2013

I was thrilled to be invited to take part in a multi-blog writing series called 'Run With An Idea', which is the brainchild of Diary of a Dashing Fashionista and Carrie On Running.  It is a way to spark some healthy debates about running and other health-related topics.  We will be posting every other week, so check by here on Fridays for my views, or see what everyone has to say with the link above.

The first topic whether or not there is an Olympic Legacy one year after London 2012.  I decided it would be useful to see what my readers thought.  Thanks to everyone who took part in my survey.  It provided all of us with some incite in to what the general public feels about this topic. Working in fitness, my views can be a little skewed as I am heavily involved with Sport England's Sportmakers campaign (which was developed to inspire a generation to be more active before and after the Olympics).  I have seen my Sportmakers alumni excited about leading others to be more active but what about the execution?

Seventy four people participated in my survey and 60.9% felt there isn't an Olympic Legacy in their community.  The feedback mentioned that London has seen the most benefit to new sporting opportunities and their connection to the Olympic Legacy.  From a list of suggestions, most respondents thought group exercise sessions in a park would be the best way for the general public moving, followed by novice level sport teams for adults new to a particular sport.  From my personal experience, I held free running technique sessions at various times in Green Park and had trouble getting people to turn up (even though they said they would).  It was still rewarding working with the few people that did because they seemed to enjoy the technique pointers and interval training which was something different to the typical long runs seen in free run clubs.  The philosophy behind Sportmakers isn't necessarily about quantity, but rather connecting people to activities.  My participants mentioned several time they wouldn't have the discipline to run sprints on their own and felt it was a beneficial coaching session.

According to my survey, the Olympics inspired 27.4% to try a new sport and 16.1% to volunteer in a sport-related activity. So if Sportmakers (official or unofficial) out there donating their time to get people moving, who is noticing?  Where are the events?  How do we spread the word about these opportunities to get more people involved? If we want to see an Olympic Legacy, should the Olympic facilities and equipment be open to the public by now at a reasonable membership/hire rate?

As a Sportmaker, I have friends I met through the program out there holding sessions in all different sporting disciplines.  The effect might truly be grassroots at the neighborhood level, more underground in its impact.  One of the challenging aspects of Sportmakers is that we have to rely on self-reporting to see how the program is in practice.  But how can we take it one step farther so everyone knows being active is easy and good for you and where to get involved?

76.7% of respondents wished they had more time to exercise, citing work commitments as the biggest block that prevents them from getting enough exercise in.  Should Sportmakers link up with the larger companies in the UK?  Instead of holding sport sessions, do we need to be more present in the workplace, changing perspectives in corporate culture about work-life balance?

In my little East London world, I see the Olympic Legacy inspiring people to be active and lead others to be so too.

Do I think we can do better? Yes.

Do I think people need to make physical exercise a priority over pubs, Facebooking, and TV? Yes.

Do I think we can do this? Absolutely.

But how do we do it effectively?  I don't know.

Modern day presents so many ways to make life easier (cars, bus, tubes, factory machines) and be distracted. Changing an entire culture is tough but it can be done over time.  A lot of money has be invested in the Olympics and Olympic Legacy. Can we re-evaluate the spending so far to see what has been the most effective and refocus our efforts? I don't think it is time to give up but rather keep at it. Any impact we have on people's health is a good one.  62.2% of people said they have been more active in 2013 than 2012.  Let's continue on this trail of success and keep the momentum going.

Weekend Challenge

Summer has finally arrived in Londontown.  This weekend I challenge you to explore your local farmers market for local fruit, veg and meat products.  Cook a meal from scratch with your findings.  Get friends and family involved and make the entire process a team effort.  When you put a little love into your meal, it will taste that much better.

The recipe can be a family favorite or something new you found on the web (search through over 30 recipes here on my site to start).

Let me know in the comments below what you created in the kitchen.

Weekend Challenge: Is there a London 2012 legacy in your community?

Friday, July 5, 2013

This weekend's challenge is two-fold. First, please complete this survey about the Olympics and how they inspired you.  There is a group of bloggers working on a series of posts to discuss fitness and sport, and the info you provide will help us kick off what will be an interesting exchange over the summer.

Second, I want you to be a Sportmaker.  Encourage someone to join you in physical activity this weekend. It can be anything- a walk, a kickabout, table tennis, bike ride, sailing, golf, Zumba, tennis, you name it!  Let me know how you got your community moving by leaving a comment below.