Track East with Run Dem Crew

Track East
Picture by Darren Lewis Harris

It has come as something of a surprise to me that I’ve never written a blog post about Track East, the weekly Run Dem Crew track training that has been taking place at Mile End Stadium for the past 4 years. Having attended the anniversary celebrations last night, I’ve decided to put that right with an explanation of what takes place. I hope it will encourage more new faces to come down an be part of the magic.

Track East, Thursdays, 6.45pm, Mile End Stadium, 190 Burdett Road, London

Continue reading “Track East with Run Dem Crew”

Independent State of Run Dem Crew

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Now that we’re two Tuesdays into the 2016 edition of Run Dem Crew, I’m pleased to say  the new independence of the crew is a very good thing indeed. We’re no longer tied to one brand, which means we can work with a range of partners, and in week 1, Charlie Dark’s diplomatic yet candid speech explaining the reasons for this transition made sure everyone was on the same page. It was humbling to hear of the personal sacrifices that have been made to ensure the crew continues to flourish and we are very grateful. Charlie gave all present a clear understanding of the foundations of the crew movement and its subsequent development, including the highs of the first Bridge the Gaps and the low points when the movement has been divided or split. I’m not going to go into details out of respect for all concerned, but I feel excited to be part of this movement and confident that Run Dem Crew is moving forward with integrity and vision. Continue reading “Independent State of Run Dem Crew”

Ain’t No Crew Like Run Dem Crew

Run Dem Tee

Wherever I lay my tee-shirt, that’s my home. That’s been the situation for Run Dem Crew recently, but this week we’ve heard that a new location for our Tuesday sessions has been found, and normal service will resume on January 12th. Whoop, whoop!

That didn’t stop Dan Maskit, affectionately known as Run Dem Bear, from organising one of several unofficial runs last night. After a Christmas break we were all missing our running family and it was great to meet up with some of the crew again and share stories of our Christmas and New Year exploits. We are a community and home or no home, we will make sure we meet up and support each other. Continue reading “Ain’t No Crew Like Run Dem Crew”

Tips for Marathon Runners

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After reading Run with Faust’s write-up of the Liverpool Marathon, I’ve been inspired to write a response. I don’t know this man, but his experience reminded me of my own first marathon experience, which scarred me so much I didn’t run for five years afterwards! I’m hardly an expert, but having run four marathons now, I’d like to share what wisdom I have gained.  Continue reading “Tips for Marathon Runners”

New York State of Mind

Sometimes when you least expect it the things you’ve been searching for come searching for you.

This week I found out I’ve qualified to run the New York Marathon. When I ran 1:24:17 at the Berlin Half Marathon last year, New York was the last thing on my mind. It was Mother’s Day, and as I ran I was thinking about the strength and love of the woman who brought me into the world. I was over the moon with my new PB, and that, I thought, was the end of that…

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Continue reading “New York State of Mind”

From Dib Dab to Dibaba

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Roll up, roll up, for one man’s journey from Dib Dab to Dibaba. Over the next three months, in an occasional series, I will chronicle my friend Junior’s attempt to transform himself from a man sometimes seen munching through a six-pack of McCoys to the owner of an abdominal six-pack as he trains for the London Marathon. Continue reading “From Dib Dab to Dibaba”

Lost your mojo?

Mojo

A lot of friends have mentioned lately they have lost their running mojo. To a certain extent, so have I. Whether this is due to the summer heat, the constant striving for PBs losing some of it’s lustre or simply boredom, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break.

I haven’t stopped running completely, but I’ve reduced my mileage and dropped the training plans. As a result, I’m still running and still enjoying it. The spark is still there, but I’ve allowed the embers to burn down low for a while before stoking the fire up again.

The first part of this year went really well for me. I won the FlatLine 10 in February and smashed my half-marathon PB in Berlin in March. But after 3 consecutive races not going to plan, culminating in a scorching Hackney Half, it felt right to listen to my body and take a break.

Besides, I knew I was going to Thailand for 3 weeks over the summer. I’m here now, and let me tell you, there won’t be a huge amount of running done in this heat! Out here, I’m all about the yoga, the Thai massages and the swimming. There’s an amazing place called Yogarden just a short walk from my hotel. I’m getting very zen.

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http://www.theyogardensamui.com

I’m planning to run Copenhagen half marathon in September, but there’s little point in starting a training plan in these conditions, so I’m just going to take that race easy. I’d only have 4 weeks to train for Copenhagen after Thailand, so it would be unrealistic to go for a fast time. It will be fun to explore a new city with NBRO and Run Dem Crew, and enjoying that will be my focus.

Although I’m not following a plan, it doesn’t mean I’ve completely abandoned striving to get better. When I was in London, I was enjoying the twisting and turning of the Run Dem Crew elite suicide pace runs. I’ve also particularly enjoyed Jason’s recent track programme of Yasso 800s. I’ve been able to push myself sufficiently hard within these two sessions for my competitive side to feel satisfied, and I’ve enjoyed not having success determined by something as all-encompassing as a goal race. The best thing about the Run Dem Crew runs is the camaraderie. As Charlie often says, running is the least important part of what we do.

Crew Track

In the past three weeks I’ve only clocked up 26 miles in total, compared to 20-30 per week, so it’s a big step down in terms of mileage. I started running again in the summer of 2012 and I don’t think I’ve ever done less than three runs a week since then unless I was injured.

The other thing I’ve been doing in my down time is building up my overall body strength, and in particular my core. I was doing bodyweight workouts and yoga in London. These are great as you don’t really need any equipment, and by deepening strength and flexibility you see benefits in running, will be less likely to get injured, and feel better and stronger in general life. This was prompted after doing an intense hour and a half EnergyLab core workout recently and realising I was a long way from where I wanted to be.

Out here in Thailand, I’m enjoying the very different challenges of running at an easy pace in intense heat. It’s great that I don’t have to do a long run or fit in 2/ 3 recovery runs. It’s just a case of pulling on my trainers, stepping out the door and going. I’ve made contact in the virtual world with some locally based runners and am hoping to run with them soon. The yoga and the Thai massages are helping my body rebalance, as well as building core strength. My body is recovering from the mileage and my joints and muscles are getting a break.

So, losing your running mojo doesn’t mean not exercising. It’s a chance to mix things up and let your body recover and grow. Don’t get down-  do other things- swim, cycle, stretch. Running will be there when you’re ready to come back to it. Listen to your body and mind and have a break. Even elite athletes have a month or so off each year. I’m looking forward to building back up to fitness towards the end of the summer, with a renewed appetite for the road, and deeper reserves of energy, strength and flexibility to draw upon.

In the meantime, I’ll keep enjoying the views from my hotel room…

BoPhut

 

Shouts to Tilly for the track photo.

Hackney Half- A Celebration

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Today, in the scorching sun, we ran, cheered and celebrated Hackney, my friends and I, in a celebration of community by community and through community. Hackney took me into its arms when I needed a new start in life. Years later, so did Run Dem Crew. So it was fitting I should run the first mass-participation race in Hackney surrounded by the family I’ve chosen. Continue reading “Hackney Half- A Celebration”