Archive for the ‘free’ Category

I nearly ran a 5k last weekend with my son in a park near our old home.

It was part of the Decathlon running series. A free event put on by the sports store. If you have  a Decathlon near you, it is worth checking out. It’s not chip-timed or anything, but it was friendly and well organised and a very pleasant morning. It wasn’t quite 5k, hence the ‘nearly’ but more of that in a bit.

I might be NotMuchOfaRunner, but my son is even less of one, so when he agreed to do this one with me a few months back (swayed by the free t-shirt and goodie bag ‘worth £10’), I signed us both up straight away (there was persuading my wife or daughter though). He has been out on his bike a few times accompanying me on a run, but hasn’t run himself since May when he managed just under 30 mins for his school’s 5k.

Here’s a couple of photos of him doing his stuff during the race. None of me… but just imagine a slightly taller version with less hair and generally more tired-looking if you want an idea.

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He’s a funny one, my boy. I made sure he knew that it was fine to walk… that we weren’t going for a time… that it was a hilly course…etc. Basically  no pressure. But he wanted to get sub 30 and really beat himself up when he struggled to run up the hills or had to slow to walking pace. Thankfully, the end came in sight before I’d expected it and all of a sudden, his energy had returned as he pulled off a strong final straight into the finish.

Knowing the park quite well, I took him to an outdoor tap at the edge of the field and he soaked his head for five minutes afterwards to cool down. He was fine after that and didn’t again mention what a ‘terrible run’ it was (his unhelpful mantra for the last 2 kms).

It wasn’t just me who was surprised by the early finish. Here are a few of the titles from other people’s Strava runs that I saw later on.

“Shipley Park 5k (only 4.65k so I ran to end of field and back)”

“Decathlon 5k (that wasn’t quite 5k!!) Run with Jane”

“Decathlon nearly 5k”

“Decathlon short 5k series”

And my own, “Decathlon running series (?)5k(?)”

 

Ha ha. So don’t target this race if you are going for a legitimate PB… but for  our purposes of a ‘fun run’ it was very welcome! Don’t tell my son it was short, though!

We thanked the officials and headed off to the Decathlon store to collect our goodie bags…

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…Mmmmm…. NEARLY £10 maybe….Stretching it perhaps? Here it is…

Energy drink – £1.50
Bottle of water – £1

Energy bar – £1

(These are educated guesses, by the way)

Decathlon lanyard thing – £0.50 (not that I think I’d buy one for 50p but it makes the maths simple)

Fabric P.E bag advertising decathlon – £3 (pushing it)

Which means that sticker that says ‘run power’ is worth £3 ! Apparently. Who knew?!

Haha! I don’t mind really because…

1)It was a well organised event (though I did get an email a short while back telling me I’d been signed up for the Bolton event! …someone must have clicked ‘send to all’ by mistake).

2)It was free.

3)It was a lovely morning.

4)I was with my son.

5)It felt very inclusive.

6)We got a decent T-shirt each upon sign up (yes that bright yellow one!) but I won’t be able to wear it on a trip to my local Decathlon store for fear of being stopped to ask where the goggles/archery equipment/football shirts/bike locks/etc are…

Maybe that makes up the value of the goodie bag 😉

No matter. The run was worth it (for me) even without a goodie bag because I was with my boy.

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I hope he forgets that he doesn’t like running very much quite soon, because I’d like to go out again.

Why do I run?

How many blog posts try to answer this question?

I’m not sure I know the answer…to either of the above. Partly because the answer changes day to day, month to month, year to year.

I started initially so that a female friend at university didn’t have to run alone at night when we were on placement in a new place. But I found myself still going for runs when she said she couldn’t make it.
Stress relief. I think that is still the main reason for me.

One of the best explanations from someone else that I have seen, is one with which you may already be familiar if you are within the running world.
It’s by ‘the oatmeal’ and can be found here.

Gimmicks can help get me out running too. I remember being given an iPod and a Nike+ foot pod thing many years ago now. Then using the Nike+ app with its sort of internal pedometer (my iPod didn’t have gps).
When I eventually got a smart phone, that opened up a new means of run recording, via gps tracked runs. I used apps like endomondo, runkeeper and more recently Strava.  Seeing the miles clock up and seeing speed and distance improvements certainly helped, along with the various other stats.
Also parkrun – the run not a race  (but where you push yourself hard over that final straight so that person you’ve been ‘leapfrogging’ with over the past 4.8km doesn’t overtake again over the final 200m) adds a new element to running motivation for some. Some people don’t miss a week.

This Juneathon and Janathon malarkey… Exercise everyday, blog everyday for a month… Or doing a ‘runstreak’… Motivating? Definitely at times. But if you miss a day, what happens to that motivation?

Jantastic – the initiative from the marathon talk folk was really useful for helping me to get out and running over the first three months of this year in preparation for a marathon in April.

Would I have got out and run without it? Probably. But I think it helped.

Or did it?
Do any of these things?

Or do they do the opposite?

Would I still do Juneathon if nobody read/liked/commented?

Does the motivation come from within (intrinsic), or externally (extrinsic) in the form of whatever ‘reward’ we perceive we get?

Moreover, does the introduction of extrinsic rewards lead to an overall decrease in intrinsic motivation once the external rewards are removed?

I remember the above hypothesis was a generally accepted one in sports psychology around the time that I did my GCSE in physical education …errr…a few years ago.
There was some experiment where people were observed regarding the length of time spent playing with a puzzle. They were then paid a small amount for solving puzzles the next day, and then the day after that the pay was removed and the puzzle playing dramatically decreased. (If I was still at university, I’d have to reference that, but because I’m not, and I’m feeling lazy, I’m not going to. Such a rebel!)

This hypothesis – that intrinsic motivation was decreased by the introduction and subsequent removal of extrinsic rewards – was perhaps a rather sweeping statement to make anyway as more recent studies seem to suggest things are a little more complex and that in some circumstances extrinsic rewards can actually enhance intrinsic motivation. (If you are interested to read more, there’s a bit of a summary at www.appliedsportpsych.org )

This is good news, I think.
I don’t want to be decreasing my desire to be active by using the various gadgets/apps/rewards-websites that I do. But… and unfortunately, I have to admit, I can think of times when this has happened in the past… I don’t want to not get out of the house because I can’t find my phone/ipod, or stop a run because my app has crashed and ‘it won’t count’.

So maybe it’s good to get out every now and again without an app, without an iPod, without even a goal or a session plan in mind. Just go. If you don’t think you would, or could, then maybe your intrinsic motivation has been decreased?

Now… not to undermine all of that… but intended as an extra, an add-on, a ‘sign-up and forget about it’ sort of thing, I have joined up with two rewards sites. One (Bounts) has been going for a while and the other (Running Heroes) only started up in the UK in this past month.
Both sites award points for the exercise you record via any number of apps and you can then exchange these points for tangible rewards such as discount vouchers, gift cards, etc.
It would be a real shame if it ever got to the point where anyone just ran for the purpose of earning these points, but personally, I figure, “if I’m running anyway…why not?”. I am currently at a point with Bounts where I’m just a few runs away from being able to get a £10 supermarket gift card… effectively for runs I’d have done anyway.

If you haven’t already signed up to Bounts and you are thinking about it, then for a limited time we can both get a load of extra points if you sign up through this link or quote avery1132 when you sign up.

I was also contacted by Running Heroes recently and in addition to bonus points if you sign up through this link, they also sent me an instant 100 point bonus code ‘run67run‘ which they said I could share with my readers.

My personal idea with these sites is, having signed up, just to forget about them for a while. They sync up automatically with the apps I use and the points build up over time for what I do anyway. If someone wants to send me vouchers for doing that – great.

Yesterday, I played tennis. I didn’t get any (website-related) points for that. I still enjoyed it. Intrinsic motivation still intact there. Today it’s back to running, though…and I’ll probably get a few points for it… But that’s not the reason I’m going.

If you use these sites, I’d be interested to know what you think of them too. Let me know.

Recently I have become aware of a couple of sites that aim to reward runners for their physical activity.

The newest of these is Running Heroes which gives more points for longer, faster runs and will retrospectively give you points for your most recent eligible run (via whatever apps you choose to synch with it). So particularly worth considering it if you’ve just run an ultra-marathon!

I have signed up and am in the process of checking it out. I shall no doubt provide further feedback in the future, but for now there is the element of building up a points tally for redemption at some point in the future at no cost and without changing my current exercise habits.

If you do think of signing up, consider clicking THIS LINK (or the one at the end of the press release) for 25 bonus points.

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Press release follows: ————- ———– ———– ———– ———– ———– ———– ———–

Running Heroes is launching its UK version
Running Heroes is connecting brands to its community of engaged sportsmen by making their daily jogging fun thanks to rewards and challenges
Paris, the 5th of June 2015 – Founded early 2014 in France, Running Heroes (www.runningheroes.com) went live in the UK just a week ago with the ambition of encouraging people to run in order to stay fit and avoid health issues that is still today one of the first causes of death in the world. More than 1.500 runners already registered on the UK platform after just one week online.
Having built one of the largest running community in France with more than 140.000 members in just one year, Running Heroes launched the Australian version of its website early May and is online in the UK since the 5th of June 2015. More than 150 partners have already trusted Running Heroes in
France including companies such as Nike, Spotify, Uber or Birchbox. Their rewards offering includes of course running and sports brands but also a broad set of products and services like nutrition, boxes, fashion, cabs or online courses. Running Heroes was named a Cool Vendor by Gartner in April 2015, a distinction awarded to worldwide success stories like Dropbox, Evernote, Instagram or BlaBlaCar before.

The way Running Heroes reward runners follows simple steps:
1. Runners connect their running app / watch (Nike+, Runtastic, Garmin, Strava, Runkeeper, Polar, MapMyRun or Endomondo) on RunningHeroes.com using their Facebook, Gmail or personal email address and their apps IDs;
2. Each time they run, runners are allocated points depending on the distance, time and elevation of their session as well as their profile (women gets 20% more points for example);
3. With their points, they get access to exclusive discounts and gifts offered by RunningHeroes’s partners.
In addition to its international expansion in the UK and Australia, Running Heroes is launching new features to further engage its community:
• Running sessions, which enable runners to find people to run with and to set clear meeting date and place they will mark on their agenda;
• Community, which is a tool that allows runners to find a sparring partner around them with a comparable level and comparable habits in order to keep each other motivated and challenge themselves;
• The Forum connects our heroes so that they can exchange tips or share their experiences.
Besides, the Company is launching Cycling Heroes (www.cyclingheroes.com), its so-called equivalent in cycling following the same principles. The website will be launched at the same time in France, Australia and the UK.
Contacts
Boris Pourreau – Co-founder & CEO – + 33 (0)7 83 67 07 18 Quentin Auberger – UK Country Manager – +33 (0)7 83 67 07 18

———– ———– ———– ———– ———– ———– ———– ———– ———– ———–
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So there you have it. Check it out if you like. Don’t if you don’t.

If you do though, remember…Get 25 bonus points by signing up through this link!

I was supposed to play a tennis match today. I got there early. Too early. A week early, in fact. I went home and then played tennis with my son instead.

There –  I’ve logged today’s exercise online.  But do you log your exercise the old-fashioned way?

Do you want this?  It’s brand new. It’s free. I have it. I will give it to you.

Seriously. If you want it, you can have it. Free. I’ll even pay postage. No catch.

Don’t be shy. I just want it to go to a good home.

This is a link to the Amazon blurb

My lovely, non-running work colleague bought it for me as my ‘Secret Santa’ present last Christmas. It was very thoughtful of her and obviously I thanked her…but I haven’t used it and I don’t think I will as I tend to keep an online record of my runs instead.

In the first part of the journal there is general advice and information about different sorts of training, shoes, motivation tips, diet, injuries and race schedules.  The second part is 28 week’s worth of run journal.

So… If you would like it, to actually use it, and not just flog it for a couple of quid on eBay (I mean, I could do that if I wanted it to go that way…and I don’t) then just leave a comment below, saying something like, “yes please, I would like it” and I’ll randomly select one such person next week and get in touch.

I know you can’t always take me seriously on here, like the time I extolled the virtues of a fantastic new tennis app or when I reviewed the TRINITO:N sports bracelet but this time I really am giving these away. I’m pretty sure I know what they are, sort of. I knew I didn’t actually want them, but as they were only £3 from my local charity shop, I thought that maybe one of you lovely people might like them.
I was quite happy for the charity shop to have my three pounds anyway, and if nobody does want them then I’ll see if eBay people do (so please don’t ask for these just to put them on eBay yourself, but they’re absolutely free to you if you’d like them for your own use).

PEARL iZUMi leg warmer thingies (possibly ‘arm’… But I think ‘leg’)

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In case you can’t make it out on the blurry photo…
Length = 46cm
Diameter = 9cm (narrow end)
15 cm (wide end)

Circumferences approx. 18cm (narrow) and 31cm (wide)

There is some of that rubbery, grippy seam stuff at the wide end (like you find on a cycling shirt)…

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For those of you that want washing instructions (there will be at least one of you)…
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…and here’s why I think they are for legs rather than arms. It has an ‘S’ for small…
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And although they fit my arms perfectly, I don’t think my upper limbs are ‘small’ exactly…
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But genuinely, they would work for this purpose. I would just rather wear a long shirt, I think.

So, if you’re interested in having the warmers for this winter weather, let me know in the comments below and I’ll use one of those random number generator things to choose a recipient and I’ll be in touch. UK only please (unless you want to pay the postage).

If you don’t want them, then please do click on the Trinito:n link (if you’ve not already seen it) anyway. Just for a bit of entertainment 😀