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  • How To Find Time To Exercise

    All VIPs have hectic lifestyles. Time = Money so it’s important to maximise it. That’s where fitting in time to exercise can become an issue. Do you want to spend an hour exercising or an hour shopping? And then there’s the issue of showering and doing hair and make-up afterwards.

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    I’m the sort of person that would pick shopping over exercise every time. Do you use a fitness tracker? Mine used to be terrible, as I’d even pick clearing up my dog’s poop over exercising. However, I do want a tight, toned body, which means working out is vital – I don’t want the saggy skin that comes from dieting without exercising. So the way I solved my dilemma was to do exercise when nobody else was doing anything fun; either first thing in the morning or late at night.

    Morning

    Pros 

    – You’ve fasted overnight so you burn body fat rather than what’s in your stomach

    – You don’t have time to make excuses, particularly if you lay out your sports kit by your bed the night before. 

    – It puts you in great mood for the rest of the day, especially if you are exercising at home and can pick your own upbeat workout tunes. A home gym or other home fitness products don’t take up as much room as you’d think.

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    – Breakfast tastes better when you’ve earned it.

    Cons
    – If you’re not a morning person then leaving your duvet feels like TORTURE

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    Night-time

    Pros
    -It’s satisfying to finish  a long day and spend some time on yourself.

    – You tend to be more careful about what you eat and drink in the day if you know you have to do a workout later.

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    – Performance can be better if you’re sufficiently fuelled and hydrated. Your body can push itself further, with higher levels of intensity

    – Night-time TV is better than daytime TV. So if you’re working out at home you can do it when TOWIE’s and fit it into your routine. On the LINK

    Cons
    – You have the whole day to make up excuses why you can’t possibly go.

    – Exercise releases endorphins so it could disrupt your sleep if you do it before bed without time to chill out and cool down.

    What do you prefer? I’d love to hear as many exercise tips as possible. Let’s help each other look hotter.
    Tweet me @livelikeavip or tag me on Instagram – livelikeavip

     

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    Sure Run To The Beat: Wembley 2015

    What are you doing on 13 September 2015? If the answer is not Sure’s Run To The Beat 10km at Wembley then you’re missing out.

    But don’t worry as it’s just opened for entries and I hear there are still places left to sign up online, which I discovered when I went to the launch party for the event. As a result, I’m definitely doing the run so if you make excuses you’ll also be missing out on a chance to hang out with the Live Like a VIP team.

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    The launch of the event was an introduction to what we can all expect in September. Running is only one aspect of this 10K. I would say it’s as much about having fun as it is getting fit.

    First of all, we were given silent disco headsets so we could listen to great tracks while running. Music is a key element of Run To The Beat with some top DJs lined up to entertain the runners.

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    It’s also a social event. You can learn a lot from chatting to fellow runners at the start line and after the race. Plus there will be an exhibition of some top running brands. At the launch event at Mahiki, I tried on the new Tom Tom Cardio GPS watch I have another GPS watch that requires a heart rate monitor strap, but the heart rate monitor is built into the wrist strap of this watch. And it’s just £179.99 which is cheaper than my other watch, Do you think it looks pretty?

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    You can customise the face of the watch and the strap so you can match the watch to your running kit. That’s the kind of gadgetry I like!

    Doing exercise doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style or fashion and DJ Sarah Jane Crawford, who played at the warm down for the run, is an example of this. Her boyfriend Ross is a personal trainer, she works out all the time and she looks HOT.

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    A warm-down is super important for stretching muscles to keep them flexible and  we were lucky to have a session with celebrity trainer Paola Di Lanzo, whose Body Barre class I recently blogged about.

    After the main Sure Run To The Beat there is a festival after-party, where there will be warm downs and massages (as well as a chance to meet new people and party).

     

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    If you like music, meeting new people, setting yourself a challenge and shopping then this is the 10K for you.

    If you;re going do Tweet us or Tag us on Instagram – livelikeavip on both.

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  • VIP Health And Fitness: Sleep

    Whenever I meet people with great skin I ask them what their secret is and nine time out of ten the answer is sleep and drinking lots of water. I’ve always had the water thing sorted but it was only recently that I started sleeping more when I took part in Sleeping Duck’s 100 Day Sleep Challenge. (See a reminder of that blog post here).

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    I’ve been sleeping on a Medium Firm Sleeping Duck mattress for a while now and I am not only sleeping for longer but I sleep deeper than ever before. Imagine the feeling of freshly washed and pressed sheets against your skin after a long day working hard and running round? That feeling is even more pleasurable if you’re lying on a supportive mattress that cushions your body so you feel cosy and comfortable in all directions – from all around you and underneath.

    But sleeping in the summer is a lot harder than it is in Winter and survey results suggest two thirds of the population struggle to get a full night’s rest when it’s hot. If that’s you, then you may want to follow these 10 Life Hacks to getting a better night’s sleep:

    1.    Rejig your sleeping routine gradually to get used to the longer lighter days. You could start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier and then the next night 30 minutes earlier

    2.    Preplan your evening meal to ensure you eat around 7:00 pm to ensure your food is fully digested before going to sleep. A glass of wine with dinner is fine, but a couple of nightcaps can disrupt the quality of your sleep and prevent you from getting into the deeper stages of sleep. This may also cause you to wake up in the night. Ensure that your evening meal consists of some snooze food, which is food that will help you sleep. These include warm milk, oats, bananas, turkey, almonds and chamomile.

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    3.    Try to stop drinking tea or coffee by lunch-time. Caffeine is a stimulant that can last in your body for five to eight hours. Some people can still feel the effects up to 12 hours later. And beware of the hidden caffeine in things such as energy drinks, tea, yogurts and chocolate

    4.    Exercise can improve the quality of your sleep, but not within three hours of bedtime. Exercise is energising and raises your body temperature. Try to arrange your workout either in the morning or late afternoon. Exercising later than this (unless it’s sex) may disturb your sleep

    5.    Allow plenty of time for a bedtime routine including a warm shower or bath, some relaxing music or an audio book. Allow yourself to unwind into a good night’s sleep

    6.    Your pillow should fit you like a glove, and depending on your sleep position (side, front or back) size (small, medium or large) plus other factors, you should choose one that suits you and your sleep quality could improve.

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    7.    Review your bed. Is it giving you the right support in the right areas? Is it keeping you cool at night? A good mattress can give you almost an extra hour’s sleep. Keeping cool at night is a way to help optimise the release of your sleepy hormones. Sleeping on a silk pillowcase will help you keep cool as it is a heat regulating fabric. Cool during the summer months and warm and cosy during the winter months. And there are additional benefits for your hair and skin.

    8.    Ensure that your room is cool, dark and quiet. The ideal temperature for sleep is 16-18 degrees centigrade. Keep it uncluttered. It should be like a safe haven for sleep.

    9.    Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day including weekends and holidays where possible. Try to pack in some hours before midnight to ensure deep quality restorative sleep.

    10. Don’t bring your laptop/smartphone to bed. Not only can it cause stress close to bedtime, research has shown that the blue light emitted from these devices can affect the quality of your sleep

     Thanks to Sleeping Duck for these tips and for the 100 Day Challenge. They’re the only company to let you try a mattress for 100 days to make sure you’re completely happy with it.

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  • Triathlon Thursdays: Swimming

    As the date of The AJ Bell London Triathlon approaches (8-9 August), so do my feelings of fear, I’m fully committed to it as I’ve told all my friends and family and my Twitter and Facebook followers, plus I’ve spent a fortune on kit,  but the prospect of swimming 1.5km through the Docklands water before cycling 40km and running 10km still makes me nervous.

    What if I get hit or kicked on the swim? What if I can’t get my wetsuit off? What if I fall off my bike? What if I get cramp?

    It was safe to say I was quite nervous when I arrived at the Virgin Active gym in Canary Wharf for the first of three Triathlon Thursdays sessions, held each month in the build up to August. This one was hosted by Ray Gibbs from Swim Canary Wharf, who is one of the fastest swimmers in his age group, despite only learning how to swim properly in his 20s.

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    Ray started off my giving us some tips about the London triathlon swim course. Helpful tips include:

    (1) Take a large water bottle to hydrate yourself and pour down your wetsuit before starting the swim. You could be waiting in your wetsuit for a while.

    (2) When you enter the water, tread water gently. Don’t use up too much energy. Try the egg beater kick as opposed to the breast stroke kick for treading water.

    (3) Breathe slowly and calm down as you wait for the klaxon to sound, You want to start the race slow.

    (4) When you finish your swim you need to take your wetsuit off and put it in a plastic bag. Wear you swimsuit under the wetsuit. Don’t head to the first plastic bag – there are several people helping you do this.

    (5) There are a lot of stairs to go up from the water to the transition area. Pace yourself going up them or it will make you dizzy!

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    Then it was time for me and another triathlete trainee to enter the water. How gorgeous is the Virgin Active pool? Ray bought another swim coach so the other trainee and I had 1-to-1 tuition.

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    We started with a gentle warm up and then went through a variety of drills to prepare ourselves for what would happen in the open water. First, we practised sighting.

    In the open water there are no lane lines. Athletes swim to a buoy and then turn round but this relies on keeping the boy in your eyeline. It’s a lot easier than you think to go off in one direction and find yourself swimming extra to get back on course. We practised lifting the head up once every two strokes to check where we were going. The more we practised, the smoother it got. I don’t know what I’m doing with my arm in the photo below, but I really got into it!

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    Then it was time for some combat work. The London Triathlon attracts 13,000 entrants, which means a never ending stream of athletes entering the water. Some will swim to the side of you, some may stop in front of you and some may even try to swim over you. The way to get past this is to stick to your own pace. Don’t panic and don’t slip into breast stroke as your body will go down and people will swim over you. Ray and his assistant helped us practise staying focused by swimming after us and trying to grab us mid-stroke. At first, it was frightening but then I realised the only way I was going to get to the end was to continue what I started – I had to keep swimming and not let anything phase me.

    The session ended with some stroke analysis. I was told I needed to increase my stroke length to reach out in front of me then pull back all the way to my legs. I’m going to practice this…

    After 2 hours in the water, I felt a million times more confident. Preparation is key! I’ll keep blogging about how I’m getting on with my triathlon training and I’ll definitely be goin to the next Triathlon Thursdays session on 25 June to get some cycling tips that I can share with you.

    Visit The AJ Bell London Triathlon website for more details about the race. If I can do it, anyone can.

    Read more »
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    VIP Workout: Paola’s Body Barre

    On a Saturday morning at 9am, Paola’s Body Barre class is completely full. This isn’t even the first class of the morning. Paola had been doing something to another class before I arrived, which left them revitalised and chatty. There were people walking out of her Fulham studio looking like they had the winning lottery tickets / snogged David Beckham / been told that chocolate was calorie free.

    Naively, I assumed this meant the class would be simple. I’ve been to Barry’s Bootcamp before and nobody speaks before the class as they want to conserve their breath. With the gorgeous studio, which feels feminine and homely, and the happy class who didn’t look like they were about to suffer I thought that I would point my toes and stretch and  then get to the Kings Road for when the shops open.


    Paola's Body Barre - studio shoot

    I think it was five minutes before I realised the class I had signed up for was called Paola’s Body Barre BURN. With lunges, jumps and side steps, your heart rate rises before you know it. Although, perhaps the cardio is the easy part as I soon found myself stretching muscles that I didn’t know existed. It was my lungs that started burning first, but this was nothing compared to the burn I felt in my thighs, followed by my bottom and abs.

    Paola's Body Barre - studio shoot

     

    Paola's Body Barre - studio shoot

    The class is divided into three parts. After a warm-up on the mat, the class moves to the bar where we used a variety of weights and balls to isolate and work muscles. The final section is all for the abs, which is ideal if, like me, you need to get into a bikini for a holiday anytime soon.

    I can guarantee that you won’t get a workout like this anywhere else as it’s not a traditional barre class – it’s a barre class with extras. The founder Paola di Lanza is a dynamic pilates expert and her classes have elements of this and of core fitness movements as well as the barre work. This reaches more muscles and improves strength as well as flexibility. The muscles you need to walk tall and elegant, the muscles you need to stay stable when you run and those troublesome bingo wings – they all get targeted.

    If you don’t believe my word for it then the list of celebrities and VIPs that work out at Paola’s Body Barre are endless  – Amber Le Bon, Millie Mackintosh, Madeline Shaw, Zara Martin and Lilah Parsons. All the gorgeous bodies I see so regularly on the red carpet were sculpted at PBB. Next time I see these people I’ll look at them with new admiration as I know how hard the workout is.

    Will I be going back? Absolutely – I got a 10 class pack after the class. Here’s me smiling afterwards with Paola herself.

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    Visit PaoloasBodyBarre.com for more details about the trainers and to purchase class packs;. The more you buy, the better value it becomes.

    Also, check out my article on post-workout skincare here.

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    Sleep Like A VIP: Sleep Diary

    Sleep is the ultimate way to rest and recover but it doesn’t always come easy. Jet-lag, joint pain, stress, allergies and tooth-ache – all of these factors and more can stand in the way of the perfect night’s sleep.

    As I am recovering from an injury (I hurt my knee training for the London marathon), I’ve found it harder to get to sleep. If I wriggle into the wrong position in my sleep, I wake up in agony. Keen to stop this from happening, I’m taking part in Sleeping Duck’s 100 day sleep challenge.

     

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    Sleeping Duck has just launched it’s Titan mattress in the UK – a customisable mattress. Customers can vary the firmness and feel of the mattress to ensure they get a great night’s sleep. And if it doesn’t work for you after a 100 day trial, then you can ask for your old mattress back.

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    When I asked about what difference the mattress could make to me, I was told:

    Sharing a bed has never been better: The individually pocketed springs won’t disturb the sleeper every time their partner tosses and turns. Each spring operates independently of the next, giving both sleepers the freedom to move.

    Things tend to heat up in the bedroom but the mattress shouldn’t: Sleeping Duck regulates the temperature of the mattress to keep heat down and comfort levels up by using foams manufactured with a porous open cell structure.

    Your very own Swiss masseuse: Generous layers of memory foam and latex work to relieve pressure points and improve blood circulation for a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep.

    Putting a spring in your step: Sleeping Duck’s 5-zone spring system provides a natural spine alignment for the body. The mattress has a varied spring firmness to match the major regions of the body. This provides targeted support for the head-to-neck, shoulders, hips, pelvis and legs.

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    As you can see above, the mattress is now on my bed!

    I have had it on my bed for a week now and I am genuinely pleased to say I have noticed a difference. I feel like I am sleeping in a hotel bed, as I can’t feel any uncomfortable rocking when I toss and turn. I used to have the cheapest mattress ever – one that came free with the bed – and so having one that adjusts to my body feels like a luxury.

    My leg is not completely better so I’m still having problems drifting off, but I haven’t woken up in pain during the night in the past seven days. I’d call that progress!

    I’ll keep you updated with how I get on with this mattress again during this 100 day challenge, but so far it’s looking positive.

    Any questions? Tweet me @livelikeavip

    See the Sleeping Duck website here

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    Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 Round-Up

    The Virgin Money London Marathon is a remarkable event, whether you run it or not. Regular readers of this blog will know that I planned to run it and I trained for it…and then injury hit.

    For one month, I attended physio appointments, rested and did everything I could to get better – I even drank tart cherry juice and made sure I had at least 8 hours sleep a night. But if the wrong injury takes hold, the best plans in the world cannot fix your body. You need to be patient.

    So this year, I attended the Virgin Money London Marathon at Mile 23 and I’m glad I did as it taught me several life lessons. Here are 6 positive things we can all learn from this year’s 26  mile race.

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    (1) The power of positive thinking.

    At the 23 mile mark, people were in pain. You could see their running style flop. The knees started to sag and heads started to bow. But whenever someone heard the crowd chanting their name or they saw a friend or family member in the crowd they found some extra energy. When they felt positive and supported, they ran better.

    (2) You’re never too old to make new friends

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    London is an intimidating city. People are in their cliques and the weekend and during the week, everyone is so focused on the commute that it’s almost a crime to look someone in the eye. But on marathon day, runners were encouraged to cross the finish line hand in hand. On the support crews, we chatted to other onlookers about who they were watching out for and helped each other identify our friends. The world is a better place when we’re nicer to each other.

    (3) Take things step by step

    If you asked any first-time runner what their goal was, many would have said ‘completing the course’, Running 26.2 miles is a really scary thought. I find that the only way to cope is to avoid thinking about the big distance and set a target for each mile. That principle can be applied to most things in life whether it’s losing weight or doing a big work project.

    (4) Put things into perspective

    I was devastated when I found out I couldn’t run this marathon. Some runners would have been upset that there were injured mid-course. But life isn’t over just because you don’t get the time you want or you’re not able to run. There is always next year.

    (5) Have a plan

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    I was a spectator this year, but I still planned in advance by checking the weather forecast (so I knew what to wear), working out where the nearest loos were and tracking my friends on the Adidas map which sent me alerts each time my friends crossed a certain checkpoint, This meant my day ran smoothly,

    From previous experience, I know the runners would have laid out their clothes the night before, planned their breakfasts in advance and put together a supply of gels and painkillers for post-race. Failure to do that would mean nerves and impact their performance. Life is easier when you have a vague plan!

    (6) Celebrate your achievements!

    Running a marathon is a huge achievement and the ideal cause for a celebration with friends and family. All too often, we look to the future and fail to remember the good things we’ve done in life.

    Just as runners look back on their split times at the end of a race, I think everyone should take some time on a Friday to look back over their working week and feel proud, even if its just of something small.

    Who’s running in 2016? Visit the Virgin Money London Marathon website for details of how to apply in the ballot on 4 May.

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  • Guide To Re-Shaping Your Body

    Most women say that they want to ‘lose weight’, when in actual fact they want to change the shape of their body. I hate to tell you this, but losing weight does not change the shape of your body. You might get a bit smaller, but the shape will stay the same. This means you’re always going to be unhappy. Change the shape of your body and you’ll look leaner and tighter. Want to know something interesting too? Your weight might stay exactly the same!

    The key is to avoid focusing on the number on the scale. Honestly, it does not matter as much as you think it does. What you should be focusing on is the way your clothes feel and fit, and what you see in the mirror. You can also measure yourself to monitor your inches lost. Most of the time, someone will feel disheartened that they’ve not lost any weight, but they don’t realise they’ve lost inches. Who cares if you haven’t dropped weight if your body has obviously gotten smaller? It’s the same the other way round: people are usually thrilled to learn they’ve lost a few pounds, but they haven’t lost a single centimetre.

    So, what do you have to do to reshape your body? Take a look:

    Never Starve Yourself

    To reshape your body, you need to be eating the right foods. If you starve yourself, you’ll damage your body in a number of ways. First, you’ll encourage your body to eat away at your muscle tone. This is what gives you an awesome body shape, so you actually want to have more muscle in the body. You can also mess up your metabolism, which can make it harder for you to see results.

    Build Muscle

    Muscle will help you to shape your body, so make sure you do strength training regularly. People often ask me how I got my abs that you can see in the photo below and I always tell them they need to get on the dumbbells and barbells.

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    Track What You’re Eating

    Although eating clean is brilliant, you can still put on fat if you’re eating too much of it. Track what you eat and pay attention to the amount of carbs, fats, and protein. You want to be eating enough protein to keep your muscle tone. You also want good fats and carbs to help fuel your body and encourage fat loss. You just need to make sure you’re eating it all in the right amounts, so use an app like My Fitness Pal.

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    Exercise for Fat Loss

    There are specific exercises designed for fat loss that will really boost your metabolism. Plyometric exercises are fantastic, but so is HIIT and even weight lifting. Check out these top recommended fat loss plans to give you an idea of what you should be doing.

    Be Consistent

    You can’t go to the gym sporadically and expect to see results. Be consistent with your efforts, even if it’s just 3 times per week.

    Don’t Rush It

    This is a long process, so just try to enjoy the journey. It’s been proven that taking your time with things like this always leads to long term results, but rushing will see you back to square one fairly quickly.
    Use these tips and you’ll get much better results!

     

     

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  • 5 Reasons To Run Adidas Silverstone Half

    If I wasn’t injured (see my last blog post for an explanation of what I’ve done), then I would be running The Adidas Silverstone half marathon. Yes, Silverstone! On the motor racing circuit.

    This is why I think it’s worth doing:

    (1) It’s budget friendly

    It starts at 12 so there’s mo need for a hotel the night before the race. A return coach ticket from central London costs just £25.

    (2) The track

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    Did I mention it’s at Silerstone? How many times in your life will you get the opportunity to run round a F1 track?

    (3) Ideal timing forthe Virgin Money London Marathon

    The Silverstone race is exactly 6 weeks ahead of London. It’s great ‘race pace’ practise and will teach you how to deal with nerves and crowds. If you’ve not raced much before, this will be useful.

    (4) It’s packed with supporters

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    Because of the iconic track, you’ll find friends and family want to come and cheer. I often find that the more support, the quicker I run. This is great if you’re hoping for a half marathon PB and even better if you need a bit of confidence before a bigger challenge (like the London marathon).

    (5) It’s tracked, timed, chipped and linked to Facebook

    Although you could run 13.2 miles in a training run, there’s something satisfying about it being official. Also, if your friends and family cannot make it, you can link your chip to Facebook and your friends can follow you en route. With the chip, you can track your mile splits to see how steady you are. Remember , there’s still six weeks to improve before the Virgin Money London Marathon, or other halfs you do later in the year.

    Visit the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon website for details of the 2016 race and a 2015 race report. See you next year because I’m determined to do it at least once!

     

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  • Marathon Training: Injuries

    It’s important to me to keep this marathon training diary honest. I’m going through the same issues and trials, tribulations and achievements as other runners.

    I have learned the hard way that you can’t have achievement without preparations. If you don’t warm up, stretch and progress with your training slowly you’re going to get injured.

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    Above is a photo of my leg with a suspected meniscal tear in my knee cartilage and a strained calf. It could also be linked to an already weak achilles tendon, which is why my ankle is taped up, below.

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    How did I do it? By not listening. In my head, I knew I should always warm up slowly before each run but being a busy girl I like to fit my run in before work, which involves waking up at the last possible moment, putting on my exercise gear and running at full pace straight away because it’s cold outside in the mornings. I also know that I shouldn’t go from three runs a week to six days a week straight away as there’s some rule that says you should only increase your mileage by 10% each week.

    And yet in January I started to train for six days a week out of nowhere. My December had been full of parties so I was averaging two or three plods a week. By mid January, I signed up for a 10k race on a sunday morning. I’d been working the day before and didn’t get home til 9pm so by the time I’d wound down and got into bed it was almost midnight. Like usual, I got up at the last possible moment and jumped in a cab to the race start line. After the starting gun went off, I was running less than an 8 min mile. At the third mile, my calf started to scream in pain so much that I had to stop and stretch it out. I limped round the course, stopping a few more times before I reached the end.

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    I knew I was injured straight away, but I didn’t realise how bad it was. I was due on holiday a week later so I thought I should just rest it for a week and the holiday week. But as it started feeling better, I may have tried the treadmill while I was on holiday. By the time I was back I was straight back to running.

    I saw on Facebook that some of my friends were up to 16 miles. So I jumped straight up to a 13 mile run during which I was cramped up for most of the way. The next week I attempted a 16 mile run but I had to walk after 10. Something was wrong!

    After some research into physiotherapists, Six Physio came up time and time again. 

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    It wasn’t initially obvious what was wrong with me when I first visited them as I showed several symptoms, but without a doubt I have issues with my calf.I might also have a meniscal tear in the cartilage of my knee, which is where the cartilage inside the knee joint is worn down. This cushions the knee and if it’s worn down (after 4 marathons like I’ve done) then the calf absorbs some of the impact.

    I’ve had to cut back on some of my mileage and take it easy, as well as follow some other advice that is so useful it deserves it’s own blog post. But the lesson to be learned from this is to warm up and to increase your mileage slowly. Be kinder to your body or it will say no and you’ll get injured.

    Hopefully, Six Physio can make me better. Watch this space!

     

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