Rowing to a PB, the Benefits of Big Tunes, and Secret Running.

Mixing It Up

Throughout July I am running every day. Usually I stick to a six session a week schedule, doubling up once a week to give me two full rest days, but for three more weeks my recovery days are actually a-couple-of-easy-miles days. So far, it’s not been so tough, but because of the extra miles on those easy days I’ve been able to find more time to do some conditioning and cross-training while still hitting my 30 plus mileage goal. I’ve always enjoyed incorporating work on the exercise bike alongside treadmill sessions, but it’s been a little while since I’ve bothered doing any circuits or weights.

Yet if I want to hit my 5k PB in August as I plan, I’ll need all the extra strength and speed that I can find. Not only that, I used to struggle quite a bit with niggly injuries. To avoid that it is wise to try and balance some of your weaker muscles with your stronger ones by going cross-curriculum with some other low impact exercises.

Rowing has become a big favourite for me, and it’s not too much bother to squeeze twenty minutes of it in after one of my easier-going running sessions. It’s a piece of gym equipment that nearly anyone can just jump onboard and get going with, but I do advise focusing on working the machine with proper form in order to get the most out of it.

If you feel like you need some advice on that optimal technique, who better than British Rowing themselves?

Big Tunes + Fast Sessions = More Fun, says Science

I’m writing this blog in between my morning and afternoon sessions on my double up day. The morning session was a high intensity treadmill session. It is, for the most part, not that fun. It’s tough, it’s sweaty, but it is inside, in the garage, and this means I can have music on, as loud as I want. This certainly makes it more enjoyable, and now science is backing that sensation up.

I found the story on the consistently brilliant Runners World who reported on the study made by the journal – Psychology of Sport and Exercise.

The study was designed to investigate the effects of researcher selected music on sprint interval training. They took 24 “insufficiently” active adults (12 men, 12 women) and had them complete 3 x 20 second “all-out” sprints under different conditions: with podcast audio, with motivational music, and with no audio. What they found was that participants felt much better about their workouts (which were designed specifically to be unpleasant, but beneficial) when they had been listening to the motivational music.  

Essentially what they are saying is: listen to music when you’re doing intervals and you’ll feel a whole lot better about it. From experience, I have to say I agree. On long runs I prefer to go without music, and in general I do not enjoy listening to music out on the road where I live as the country roads are narrow and winding and you never quite know when a car might come behind you from around the corner, but for my big treadmill interval sessions I find tunes to be essential to keeping my motivation high. Now science is backing me up so…vindication!

Secret Gin Run

Okay so this section is usually reserved for race focus, and this is definitely not a race. Plus in the few weeks that I have been doing this weekly running blog this is the second Gin-focused-run I have done. I don’t even like gin that much, I swear, but this run was too interesting to ignore.

It is a steady 10k running “tour” of London which takes in historical and interesting gin-themed-locations and ends with a well-deserved drink of predictable nature. But if gin isn’t your thing check out the website anyway, as there is also a beer focused tour and a coffee one too. Anything that offers up an accessible and interesting route into running is a good thing in my book and yes, this is a kind of hipster, millennial, whatever idea, but you know sometimes hipster millennials come up with some damn good stuff and in my book, this is damn good stuff indeed. Not every run is liquid in inspiration. A quick browse of the website reveals a Power Women of the East End tour, and a Jack the Ripper theme too (hopefully this doesn’t involve actually running from anything or anyone).

The next Gin tour is Saturday 13th July, but tours are regular and head out in different speed groups to match experience and ability. For more info visit

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