Gimmicks. Exercise. Motivation. Sticks. Carrots.

I used to think that if you needed a gimmick to get you exercising, then it was taking something away from the enjoyment of exercising for its own sake and you might as well not bother.
Apart from that, I thought, gimmicks were a waste of money. 

Quick image search for exercise gimmicks…


Sheesh! Yup. This is still the case, I’m sure, for a lot of things. But can they work too?

I barely use it much now, but I found the Wii-Fit was great for getting me (and particularly my son) active on a rainy day. And yes, all the arguments about getting outside, getting wet, getting fresh air, etc. are indeed very valid.  We both still enjoy getting outside of course, but occasionally it’s a laugh to see him attempt a rowing race (and in the process, do approximately 50 sit-ups whilst barely being aware of it).

Do you remember those bracelets, worn by sportspeople, that harnessed the magnetic powers of the atmospheric chi lines of powerful nature magic causing ions that flow around the chakra plexus? Well… clearly they didn’t work…

Trion:z bracelet link

Triniton (‘trying it on’) spoof version link

[Edit: oh my goodness! Even the original version reads like someone has written it as a spoof!]

But did they work? A placebo effect, for all of its placebo-ness, is still an effect, is it not?

Now I’ve been losing a bit of weight recently. Not tons (obviously) but enough to feel that at the start of a 5k run, I should, all other things being equal, be able to run faster for the same effort. Result was, I did. PB. Thank you very much.

But did I put the same effort in? Or did I just have a bit more belief in myself?

A few weeks later and I have purchased a cheap Garmin (with Heart Rate monitor strap) via a well known online auction site. I run a 5k again. I get another PB. Thank you very much.

Now clearly, a Garmin doesn’t make me run faster. Maybe, it was that I could leave my phone (and therefore my run app tracker doobrie-wotsit) at home, thus saving me from carrying an additional few grammes around the 3.1 mile route? Maybe it helped me stick to the required pace better? I think it’s probably this.

Another week, a bit more weight loss, a bit more belief, another PB, and before I know it, I’ve gone from struggling to break 23:00 minutes for a 5k to now be only eleven seconds away from a time beginning with 21:something.

The same is often true of the weeks I run when I have bought a new pair of running shoes. They turn out to be PB weeks. Anyone else find this?

(Obviously you don’t necessarily know which week I’ve bought new running shoes. I was thinking more of you and when you have new shoes.)

I am still using my various running points accumulators too Bounts and Running Heroes . The same run, tracked via GPS app, gets me points for both of these. After approximately a year of use, I recently exchanged my Bounts points for £15 in gift cards. For runs I would have done anyway. Bonus.

If you haven’t yet signed up to this and you already use a tracking app then you really are missing out on money for nothing. (P.S If you do sign up then using the code Avery1132 when you do will get us both additional points)

The points are also still building for Running Heroes too but the rewards aren’t so good, I find. However I have found the weekly challenges very motivating. They vary in difficulty/effort, but if you complete them, you get entered into prize draws for various goods. This has sometimes meant that I’ve been out for runs I might otherwise not have been motivated to do. I’ve still never won anything yet, mind you and I doubt either of these reward schemes would interest me if I had no interest in running in the first place.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I’ve barely run at all. Darker, colder nights and a chesty cold that’s been hanging around have resulted in just a half hour walk/run last weekend and a very leisurely parkrun with my son (which was great) the week before. The Garmin has sat on the sideboard, gradually running out of battery and the only points I’ve been accumulating have been of the sort counted by dieters. 

So what will get me back out there? I tell you what… It’s very unlikely to be a bracelet or a games console or a fetching silver space-sauna-suit, and it won’t be an app or a watch or the promise of points or a high-protein flapjack or beetroot juice or the lure of a sub 22:00 5k*.

(*mmmm….actually, if I’m honest, it might be that last one, at least in part.)

National running poetry day

Posted: October 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Well… it was National Poetry Day yesterday, which is when I started writing this.

It does mention running at one point (so it does qualify here).

An Email came from school today…

An email came from school today,

That caused a bit of fuss.

It could be read a certain way,

I’ve summarised it, thus…

“Ask your child to bring to school

To put up on display,

Their favourite poem or one of yours ”

Well, bring it on! I say.

I’ll write the greatest piece of verse,

Or sonnet, ode or rhyme.

This is what I do for fun,

It’s how I waste my time.

My wife just smiled and looked at me…

…with love (…or could be pity),

For she knows I now won’t go to sleep,

’til I complete this ditty.

I get to work with dictionary/internet/thesaurus,

As I contemplate the structure,

Do I go with verse and chorus?

Are rhyming couplets cool?

(They are a useful tool)

Now how do you spell ‘limmerick’?

Should I go back to skool?

I toss and turn, try not to think,

How one bad line could spoil it.

It’s midnight now. I need a drink.

And then I’ll need the toilet.

Despite my doubts, it’s going well,

But I’ve not written quite enough.

It’s morning now. I’ve still not slept.

My word – I’m feeling rough!

“Some people have WAY too much time!”

My darling wife would say.

She’s right.

I might turn out the light.

I can’t! The night’s now day!

“You silly man!

They don’t want yours!”

(My wife thinks I’m a fool)

“A favourite poem’s what they want

 to put up on the wall…

E.g. the greats like Wordsworth, Plath,

Byron, Keats or Shelley,

Not yours, you just run, bike and swim,

And watch bad films on telly!”

“Oh!”  I sigh.

“I’ve done it now… I might just hand it in.”

It might go in the staffroom

(Or it might go in the bin).

Or be kept as an example,

Of how words can be misread,

And make a man a poet

When he should have slept instead!

I’ve finished now,

But please don’t think, great poems have to rhyme,

‘cos folks – they don’t, though up ’til now

This one has.





I tried a haiku,

But mine don’t always make sense.

E.g. suasages

Here is a picture of a boot…

(Well, my tag line isn’t “random thoughts and running shorts” for nothing, you know!)

There is a link, though. I gave blogging the boot after June. I kind of just stopped enjoying writing it. So I stopped.

The same was true with running, to be honest. I knew I wouldn’t stop for good, but it was good to have a break.

In hindsight, I could have turned the blog into an interesting, “how I found my mojo” story, but given that I didn’t know how long it would take, it could have got very boring indeed.

Certain stresses have come and gone, but some remain.  Most are self-imposed, hence leaving the blog dormant for a while.

I’ve been running when I feel like it. I’ve done the odd parkrun, played a fair amount of tennis, taken the kids out on bike rides.  

The mojo isn’t fully back. But I am running again, which is a start.

Here’s that picture of the boot again…

  You could say this is a re-boot. A small reboot, at least.

What is new since I last wrote? 

Well we now only have one rabbit since ‘Colin’ (classic rabbit name #1) was found as stiff as a board in his litter tray a few weeks ago. ‘Hoppity’ (classic rabbit name #2) seems to be coping well without him mind you, and my children have very much taken it in their stride too. I later overheard appropriate questions between them like, “do rabbits cry?” and, “I’m a bit sad Colin is dead, are you?” so at least they aren’t sociopaths.image

Child2 is now at school full-time, but at a different one to her brother, so I am ‘enjoying’ the logistical delights of school runs, pick-ups, after-school clubs, sports coaching, and general communications.

I have, as yet, failed to invent some new business and make my millions from home in the past couple of weeks…but equally, I have resisted spending millions to try to artificially fill the gap left by my children abandoning me during the day… so I reckon that evens out.

I had got a bit sloppy with my eating habits recently, as demonstrated by my complete inability to lose enough weight to reward myself with a half marathon entry recently. But I’ve made progress here too and have entered for a brilliant 20 miler (the Ashby20) in March next year.  That is the total extent of my race calendar for the future.

Oh, and off the back of an additional 3kg weight loss, I got a parkrun PB a couple of weeks ago 22:28 (which was probably due to the psychological boost of feeling lighter as much as the actual physiology – I nearly threw up on the finish line).

I’m not exactly wasting away yet, mind you so my longer runs still have the potential to be a fire hazard due to the amount of upper-thigh friction. Thankfully, the lovely people at Chaffree got in touch recently to say, “Hey Notmuchofarunner, do you still pose a risk to woodland areas when you do a trail run, due to the high probability of starting an illegal chub-rub fire? If so, would you like some more of our rather wonderful, seamless, anti-chafe merchandise? (Especially since you wrote that random lovely blog post about the last lot we sent you)”

…or something like that. 

Anyway, I said, “yes please, thank you very much”, and so I have some more most excellent running undercrackers. They are seriously brilliant for running in, but I’ll say no more now for fear of coming across as some kind of underwear fetishist. Read the link for more info (about ‘Chaffree’, not underwear fetishism).

I was even motivated enough to for a quick 5 miles in before breakfast this morning, though due to clicking the wrong button it got recorded as ‘5 miles of alpine skiing’ on Strava. Now edited.

That’ll do for now. Just to show intent. I’ve not given up. It’s just a run/walk, blog/don’t blog strategy.

Juneathon done.

Posted: June 30, 2015 in Juneathon, not running
Tags: ,

30 days of exercise.
30 days blogged about…Just sometimes a day late or sandwiched in with another post…

…like this one.

Last night I went straight to the tennis courts after work and left there 4.5 hours later. Lovely.

Lost a big match after going down 9-7 on a tie-break. A bit gutted, but a great game.

Not been doing much running this month, to be fair. Not in terms of miles anyway.
It doesn’t look like I’ll be entering the Nottingham marathon this year. I said I’d only enter if I managed to shift 10kg.

I haven’t.

I think I need a bit of a break. No pressure. No goals. Just enjoy the running. Or not running.

Time to sit back, relax, enjoy Wimbledon.

I went down to the tennis club again tonight, actually. Stopped off first, bought some ice, bought some beers…

My kind of tennis…

Cheers, Juneathon people.

Normal service of only occasional random blogging (sometimes about running) now resumes.

Or “Uh oh” …Or whatever it was I was emailed by Strava recently, telling me that MY course record had been STOLEN!

Well, I’ve only just gone and nicked it back haven’t I! Eh? Yeah I have!

Take that, course record thief!


Ok…So it’s only 0.3 miles and less than 2 minutes running.
Ok…So it may have reactivated some dormant asthma condition that I was previously unaware of.
Ok…So I did this run purely to pursue this course record again and the previous ‘owner’ of the record (the thief) achieved his (only 3 second slower) result as part of a 10k loop (I’ve just snooped on their run history)…

…But for now…

It’s mine!

All mine!

Mine, I tell you!

Mwaaaa haa haa a ha ha haaaaaa!!


Posted: June 27, 2015 in Juneathon, Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,










I was so up for a parkrun this morning. ‘Up’ mentally, and ‘up’ physically… I’ve been getting faster and fitter (just not any lighter… But that’s all part of my cunning training strategy!).

I was actually out of bed and everything!…

…Well… nearly everything. After yesterday’s ‘out of the house all day’ adventure with the kids, we ordered in a pizza that evening. It was lovely.

And then everyone went to sleep. Which was also nice…but it unfortunately meant that this morning, there was all the morning stuff to do plus all of last night’s ‘last night’ stuff to do, there was no milk, hard-working wife still had hard-work to do, the kids were up, tennis coaching and ballet lessons awaited the little people and the in-laws were due round at some point today too.

I should have done it last night. Then I could have been off and out this morning.

Despite having got all dressed up in my running gear, I traded the run in for a proper breakfast, numerous cups of coffee for myself and my good lady wife (I only have one by the way – that term is not used to differentiate between different wives, like I have a ‘bad manly wife’ or anything), and getting both the kids and the house looking moderately presentable… 
…this included eating a cold slice of pizza.

Having taken Child1 to tennis, I met a fellow club member there and we ended up playing a set ourselves so I did at least get some decent exercise in.

As a bonus, Bounts – the website I have reported on before where you can earn points for exercise – redeemable for real world cash gift cards (sign up here for 100 points to get you started), have recently started magically recognising my attendance at my local tennis club and awarding me attendance points too. That would have been extra handy if it had started a month or two back, based on how much I’ve played recently. 

After lunch I took Child2 to ballet, did some food shopping and then I’ve spent the late afternoon cremating meat on the BBQ and drinking cold beer with my wife and her family. 

There are worse ways to spend the last part of the day.

Tomorrow’s breakfast

It arrived at last!

After great anticipation and a build up worthy of a child with their first chocolate advent calendar… Friday 26th June 2015 was international handstand day!

It was also an inset day for the children (for my international readers, joining me today in celebration of international handstand day, an inset day = teacher training – i.e. No children in school/nursery). So I had them both to myself for the whole day.
I am a lucky dad. These are the kind of days I like.

The only request from either child was that we went swimming at some point. My only request was that at some point I should do a handstand to mark international handstand day. My original plan, having checked the swimming timetable, was to leave the house early, cycle to the swimming pool together, swim, then cycle off somewhere for a picnic lunch, before then some mad adventure in the afternoon.

There was, however, plenty of morning faffing top be done; picnics to be made; children to be woken and breakfasted; bikes to be oiled, brakes checked and seats raised (these little people don’t stay little for long, do they?); and handstands to be attempted.

WARNING: below is photographic evidence of me attempting to stand on my hands in the morning in a very lose-fitting dressing gown. I have taken care to obscure my face from the photograph but I am wearing nothing else apart from slippers (which I was kindly bought recently for father’s day – I’ve got some ‘Minions’ ones too, but I’m not wearing them). YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!





Are you sure you still want to do this?





Ok then…




I was actually pleasantly surprised that I could still bend down to my toes. Go me!
So, back to our day… The kids and I eventually left the house after much deliberation about the route…

“I don’t like cycling on the roads” 

“it’s dangerous!!”

“I don’t like hills!”

” can’t we just take the car?”

But eventually, the kids persuaded me to stop being such a wuss and just start pedalling.

We had a great time cycling and then swimming, with Child1 managing 50m front crawl at the end of the session to ‘earn’ (they were going to get one anyway) him and his sister a treat from the machines in the foyer after the swim. She isn’t yet swimming independently but happy to be in and around water.

Next, a short cycle to the park for picnic (now about 1:30pm) as despite machine treats, we’re a bit peckish.

Deliberately ‘forgetting’ to bring a football was a good plan as both children played really nicely together and we all attempted another international handstand day handstand…


A basic understanding of the laws of physics will betray the fact that neither my own or my son’s (sorry- but especially my son’s) attempts held ‘form’ for more than a mere fraction of a second.

We spent ages on the park and I then led them off on another bike ride to a secret location.

They didn’t like ‘secret location’ bike rides… But they did great. And when we got there, the cinema still had some tickets left for the newly released ‘Minions’ movie.

Quick Film review: Meh…it’s no ‘frozen’ but the kids enjoyed it, so therefore I did.

We cycled back home and got in literally just before the rain started. Great timing.
Great day.

Oh… and great slippers!



Posted: June 25, 2015 in Juneathon, running
Tags: , ,

Yesterday, Wednesday 24th June was rattling through with very little going on in the way of exercise.
I’d taken some friends to the Nottingham Open tennis in the morning but I couldn’t stay, myself due to my fatherly duties (daughter collection from nursery later).

It wasn’t until later in the evening, when eldest child went to cubs that I got the day’s exercise in.
My good lady wife had arrived home just in time to take charge of the youngest so once I took the eldest to cubs, I could just go for a run until collection time.
It was a good job too, because a minor accident nearby meant I wouldn’t have been able to drive home anyway. A 10k run later, though and with Child1 now collected from cubs, the route was clear. Wednesday – done.

Thursday 25th
Squeezed in just a set of tennis in the morning but it was a good one. It took an hour and I was dripping afterwards.

But when I got home, I had an email informing of a theft.

Something of mine had been stolen.

The email started… “Uh, oh” …never a good sign. Then continued..”your course record has been stolen!” It was from Strava.

I know. I imagine you are in shock right now too… But yes, I did actually have a Strava course record. It was/is a downhill segment (naturally! Well, it wasn’t going to be anything else) and I ran it on an occasion a while back when it had just started raining very heavily and it was dark (this is important as it meant I could see if cars were coming at the point I had to cross the road).

Anyway, it has been stolen from me.

I will get it back.

Maybe not today.

Maybe not tomorrow.

Or the day after.

Or the day after that.

Or next week.

Possibly not next month
(I’ve very busy, you know)

Next year’s not great for me either…


. do you fade out in a blog post?

Double Monday

Posted: June 23, 2015 in Juneathon, not running
Tags: , ,

Monday 22nd June

I remember, approximately twenty-something years ago, at school, I loved Wednesdays.

Wednesday’s timetable was, I think: double P.E (yay! Love P.E!) double maths (love puzzles) and double music (love making lots of noise).

Today (…well…yesterday now…but today too, actually) is not a Wednesday.

Monday, at school twenty-something years ago was double hunanities. I don’t know why it was called ‘humanities‘ it wasn’t very humane to bore the pants off us students for hours and then give us ten hours of homework to do by yesterday. Well that’s how it felt. There were probably other lessons on a Monday, but they could not overshadow humanities!

Today (yesterday now) is (was) a Monday.

But it didn’t just feel like a Monday, yesterday, it felt like a double Monday.

I was unproductive and slow and if my thoughts were spoken out loud, I’d have told myself to shut up and get out of my own company.

I was looking forward to tennis night though, in the same way that twenty-something years ago, I looked forward to the end-of-school bell…

…But when I got to tennis it started tipping it down with rain, big time.

So at this point, I’m supposed to tell you how I laced up my running shoes and went for an invigorating run in the rain, singing at the top of my voice, smiling at everyone who thought I was mad and brightening people’s day as I deliberately stand next to that huge puddle as the car drives by to give myself a refreshingly muddy shower and celebrate the wonder that is the sensation of life!! WoooHooo!!!

…But no.  I didn’t do that.  I have done that before…but not on this particular double Monday…

On this particular double Monday…I played tennis in the rain for an hour and a half with other mad people.

It was quite nice.

Tuesday 23rd

I didn’t post yesterday’s post yesterday, because if I did, my parents would have phoned to check I was ok. They read my blog…and they read into my blog…which is dangerous. I am ok.
I was ok. It was just a double dose of Monday. You don’t need to phone. Oh and dad has said I can use that poem thing I was on about for father’s day (as long as I credit him), so I’ll go and edit that into my B&B post in a bit

Today was a different day. It was Tuesday, for starters.

I felt much better today.

I am considering a late night run, but having done 60 press ups in 60 seconds earlier (just to see if I still can) and therefore meeting tonight’s Juneathon requirement, I think I might go to bed early…or at least early for me.

Don’t forget people (UK people at least), Friday is national handstand day – yes, seriously that is a thing.

That day’s blog could be interesting.


Posted: June 21, 2015 in Juneathon
Tags: , ,

It’s Father’s Day today so I started by getting up early and running 20 miles…

…nah!! I had a lie in and was given breakfast in bed for the first time in a long time.

I went on to have a lovely day – I exchanged emails with my dad (I didn’t actually speak with him but he doesn’t really ‘do’ Father’s Day so he won’t mind) who had written a great short poem about being a dad… I just thought, I could share the poem here but would want to check with him first.

I played tennis (my Juneathon activity for the day) with my son and watched tennis from Queen’s …. Go Murray!

Then it was dinner with the in-laws, a game or two and then bath and bed for the kids.

Then I thought I’d check out the Randoms bag for today… 


So to complete a related exercise, I figure it’s time for a couple of bicep curls. 


______UPDATE EDIT _______

Dad has given permission for me to use his poem as long as I credit him:

Here is my own advice to dads; it’s all about deciding …

When to say yes
and when to say no
When to hold on
and when to let go
When to jump in
and when to lie low
or when to admit that you really don’t know.

When to reach out
and support should they fall
When to cheer up
when they’re made to feel small
When to build up
and to help them walk tall
or when to step back and do nothing at all.

And if you’re not perfect
it’s not really so bad;
Just try to be
a “good enough” dad.

© C.D Avery 2015