Archive for the ‘win’ Category

Sooo…  there now follows very little at all about running. This is because I have done very little running at all.

Since that triathlon I did last month, I have run one less time than the number of EU referendums the UK has had.

Now I’m not sure if it’s the cause or the effect…  if it’s to do with the lack of running or the result of the referendum… but my motivation has been on a fairly low ebb recently.

My Garmin will tell you I have been running…but it’s lying.  I’ve been playing tennis while wearing it so I can see what distance I’ve been covering and still get ‘BOUNTS‘ points. (I’ve written about them before, I’ve effectively earned £15 so far this year for free, just doing the little bit of activity I already do. If you’re looking for a Bounts referral code, use avery1132 or just click the link for 100 free points when you do your first activity.)

Smallest child has taken up tennis (instead of dancing) which starts at 9am on a Saturday, so that’s parkrun off the agenda for the foreseeable future.  I don’t mind that.  Just glad that she is being active and enjoying it.  The biggest child has been doing a lot of tennis too (more about that later), and thankfully, the same sport has been keeping me active in this non-running month.

It’s weird that I enjoyed the triathlon so much, ran a great 5k time considering the swim and bike beforehand, and yet have done nothing to do with running since.  In part this may be due to the dodgy left ankle which seems to flare up after any exercise recently.  It may also just be a bit of the post-race blues that I often get.- does anyone else get that? Oh… and putting a bit of my recent weight loss back where it came from.  Here’s a picture of just how unmotivated I’ve been…. I have a brand spanking new pair of some of my favourite running shoes in the cupboard – unworn – tags still attatched… and they’ve been there for four weeks.  Even their presence can’t persuade me outside yet.

  
I have signed up to one of the free 5k decathlon race series in September and a local 10k in November/December (I can’t remember exactly), so I have something to work towards at some point at least…and a bit of work to do beforehand.

So I really have been ‘Not Much Of a Runner’ recently. My thoughts a few years ago of doing an Ironman before my 40th birthday will remain as just that – thoughts.  I did look into it, but the cost financially and physically have me beat(en) before I’ve started.  There’s a reason not many people do one.  Mine is not one of those inspirational ‘Can do’ blogs I’m afraid.  If you want one though, go and check out www.runslikeadog.wordpress.com and read about Cathy, who is two weeks away from doing her first Ironman .

 

It’s been all about the tennis for me and my boy. With the help of a little bit of luck, he was selected to go onto Centre Court at the Nottingham Women’s Open Tennis to go and toss the coin at the start of the quarter final match featuring the British player ‘Tara Moore’ (who lost incidentally) – obviously a highly specialised job that only a ten year old can do.

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Him doing that meant that my daughter, my wife, and I got free tickets for the day and we saw some great tennis.  I also got free tickets earlier in the week thanks to the tennis club I play for.  The following weeks thanks to another internet competition I’d entered, we got free tickets to the semi-finals of the challenger tour (kind of like the equivalent to the Championship as opposed to the Premiership – to use an English football comparison – and I won’t mention English football again).  This involved a lovely drive to Ilkley, Yorkshire and the prize also included a grass court coaching session on that morning.  I hat a bit of a hit too but pretty much left my son to it for a couple of hours before settling in to watch some more great tennis.

   
    
  

  

As a result of yet another competition, I then won free tickets to the men’s ATP event in Nottingham on the Monday (I had already taken the week off work) but anticipating it would be chucking it down, I cycled there and back home so at least I got some exercise despite only seeing 20 minutes of tennis before needing to collect the kids from school.

However I then got a message from the competition people saying that as it was such a washout on the Monday, and one of their other winners was unable to accept their free tickets for the Tuesday, would I like them.  Well yes I would indeed, I said. So I cycled again on the Tuesday and this time got a bit sunburnt.
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On the Wednesday, I actually already had paid-for tickets that I’d purchased months ago (see, I do actually contribute sometimes) and I cycled in once more, but this time I had a friend collecting the kids from school and I wouldn’t have to leave early and I could relax a bit.

  

 Logic would dictate that carrying a bottle of bubbly for over half an hour on the bike and then opening it would only have one result. Well it did… and the cork landed – as I was helpfully informed by the security personnel – on court number 3! oops.

No more free tickets since then.  I’m not going to Wimbledon this year.  Maybe my son will get good enough in about 15 years to qualify there and I’ll get my free tickets then.

 

I’ve been playing tennis as well, though –  I’ve bought a new racquet AND tennis shoes, and I’m  working my way through the rounds of my club’s own championship so will be playing in the semi-final soon… most likely to be against our club’s coach… mmmm… I know this is supposed to be a running blog, but I’ll let you know how much I lose by.

I don’t think I’ll be winning a trophy…
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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 😀