Monthly Archives: July 2010

Nike Training Club

Getting progressively achier throughout the day after last night’s Nike Training Club at Virgin Active.

I was flanked by fellow marathon trainees Avril Mair and Jenny Dickinson from Elle magazine looking lithe in black Lycra. Our swept-back hair didn’t last long – regardless of fashion credentials, when it comes to the gym everyone must strip down to sportswear, get sweaty and have their fringe stick to their face.

Training Club is basically Brian’s own version of circuits. There are press-ups, squats, core exercises with weights, sit-ups and jogging, kicking and leaping galore. The guy is a task-master. It’s a good job he’s got a Scottish accent – people with good accents can get away with murder.

It turns out, that unlike running, olives and French mustard, I still detest burpees. I can’t do them – I look like a demented frog and they make me feel about twenty stone. Still, if Bri’ says they’re toning my thighs I’ll sure as hell keep doing them. That and the fact that if I refuse he’ll make the entire class drop and do press-ups. I tried it. Apologies to all. If it’s any consolation my arms are in agony.

After class I quietly thought to myself ‘well that wasn’t actually as hard as I’d anticipated’. Queue smug chuckle. Well… it’s true what they say about pride coming before a fall. I just tried to put a yoghurt pot in the bin and had trouble lifting my arm out beyond 45 degrees and my thighs below a squat. The pot is on the floor. It can stay there.



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ipod Nike +

Here’s an idea. Don’t put your ipod with Nike+ insert down your sports top while doing a 6 mile run. The sweat breaks the ipod meaning you have no idea how far you’ve run, how fast, how many minutes your average/best mile was and how many calories burnt (if you’re that way inclined – which I’m not).

Very disheartening after a strong run. Thank the tinternet then for, where I plugged in my route and discovered I’d done 6.66 miles (bad omen?)

No idea how long it took me however, aside from it was 6.45pm when I left my house and 7.50pm when I next looked at the clock (with a quick pit spot in Sainsbury’s and a 5 min walk home ). So I’m guessing around the 55-60 minute mark, but who knows. Lesson learnt. ipod and sweat don’t mix.

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Did anyone else notice the amazing sunset last night? I did some stretching on the roof and watched the sky melt from purple, to orange, to blue and finally slip into a silky black.


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Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend

For a girl who this time last year was running in plimsols. (Don’t ask it was one of the worst mistakes of my life). I now have in the region of 20 pairs of trainers. I learnt the hard way – via a very nasty hole in my foot, a twisted knee and a resulting infection, that if you’re going to do the work, you need the right tools.

just a few from my growing collection

Hence my expanding collection. I’ve got kicks for dancing in, kicks for playing tennis in, kicks for running in, kicks for jumping about town in and now I have kicks for training in.

Little did I know that you need separate shoes for running and for running training. I guess there was a time when you didn’t, when people just went for it in whatever was available. But now, we have technologists and sports experts whose job it is to maximise performance potential and minimise risk of injury by developing trainers that work with us. Clever huh. So, may I introduce the newest addition to my trainer family: The Nike Women Trainer 1.

NikeWomen Trainer 1

Firstly ladies, this shoe has been designed specially for you. No men allowed. Not that I’m saluting any object or activity that excludes men. but I do know that when it comes to training, men and women have different needs, so it makes sense that our footwear is different too, right? So this little trainer is designed to pack a lot of punch for the felines out there.

The idea with the Nike Women Trainer 1 is you wear it when you’re cross training, i.e taking classes at the gym, working out at the gym, partaking in activities such as skipping and circuit training. Why?

The sole is created with Diamond FLX Technology, which means the sole has maximum maneuverability, allowing your muscles and limbs to move as they should without constraint, offering excellent grip and proving a good foundation for balance. This would not be good for long distance running. But for training = TICK.

diamond cut – see?

The Diamond Flex Technology is pitted as such that it actually activates your muscles, so while you’re squatting, jumping and lunging it supports you and encourages muscle response. Clever stuff. So, does it really work in practice?

I wore my NikeWomen Trainer 1 to Body Combat at Virgin Active in Oxford Street last Thursday. A 45 minute class that takes you through a collection of martial arts styles – a mixture of high-octane cardiovascular training and anaerobic leg lifts for muscle durability, strength, balance and focus.

In charge was Brian Cochrane one of Nike’s Master Trainers. Wow. That man knows how to inspire energy. The class was non-stop and everyone was raring for more. Brian pushed the 25 attending women through their paces to a backdrop of pumping euro pop (not my, er, favourite choice of tunes, but they certainly did something to keep the adrenaline going).

A combination of stretching, punching, kicking, lunging and jumping all structured around traditional moves from Karate/Kung Fu/Tai Chi/Capoeira had us sweating like sweaty things.

The trainers felt very secure on my feet owing to the lace-up plus added velcro fastening. The air in the heel was welcomed, particularly on the jumps, a lot of which landed flat-footed or even heel first. As an ex-dancer the leg balances came quite naturally – I’m used to doing them in thin leather ballet shoes, so wearing a brand new pair of training shoes felt a little awkward to me, but I can imagine that for most people their Diamond cut sole would have been a huge help. Certainly, during the changes of weight (of which there were many) the multi-directional movement the shoe allowed was a great advantage to me. POW.

close up

Slightly heavier than other trainers I’ve previously worn for class, I think it will take a couple more wears before my feet are attuned to their obvious benefits. Like any pair of new shoes you can’t expect 100 per cent comfort on the first wear. However, I think me and little miss diamond sole are going to get along. It’s totally important that I cross train as well as clock up miles on the road. As someone who has recently overcome a torn muscle it is hugely important that I cross train – to strengthen my core, improve muscle durability and stamina, increase flexibility, keep my hips, knees, ankles and joints well tuned and also to get my heart and lungs used to being under immense pressure.

And let me tell you, I’m happy with all the support I can get. Thank you Trainer 1.

RRP £65

Body Combat at Virgin Active Oxford Street Plaza, Thursdays 5.45pm (although you’ll need to be a member). Non members should log onto Nike’s Online Training Club, which is a bit like having a personal trainer, without actually having to fork out. Genius.)


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Secret Garden Party

Quite simply a place of magic. Lakes, pagodas, floating lanterns, clear blue skies, oysters, vintage, massage, yoga, bands, djs, unicorns, boats, dragonflies, cider, debate, mayhem, madness, facepaint, glitter, gaffa, hula -, trapeze, sparkle, sizzle and pop. Oh to live in a field permenantly. Still, the fun can’t go on forever. Tents must be packed up, eyeliner scrubbed off and hair washed, brushed and tied back ready to return to earth. Or for me – time to kiss goodbye to drinking and get my head down for the marathon. Thank you Secret Garden Party for being a wonderous final foray before the serious stuff begins. Enough of the fanfare… back to the real world. Bang.

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GoingGoingBike (dot com)

Whoever came up with this idea must have had a real Dragon’s Den moment. If I was Deborah Meaden I’d want to throw money at it. But I’m not. Still, I can throw enthusiasm and perhaps the odd bike part.

Last night was the launch party of new bike website at the so-hot-right-now Look Mum No Hand’s in Clerkenwell. is a website set up for cyclist and bike enthusiasts. It’s a space for making use of the 1.5 million unused bikes that apparently sit around rusting in our garages/hallways/car parks/brother’s bedrooms. It’s an online community where people can safely buy and sell bikes and bike parts.

i spy something beginning with 'C'

The site offers an auction facility where retailers and cyclists can sell their bikes or bike parts. It is also a place where everyone from bike nuts to bike beginners can get advice and chew the fat on things spoke related. Joyous.

Sell or Buy: You can ‘Buy now’, ‘auction’, ‘lot auction’ or ‘put in a reserve price’. Listings are free and the site takes 5% commission on every bike sold (like Ebay). Buyers can search using the Bike Match widget for a specialist bike.

Bye bye bike crime: GoingGoingBike has a Prove It system that hopes to cut out bike crime on the site. In conjunction with, the site encourages bike owners to register their bike with the site along with the bikes serial number (they’ll show you where to find this). Then when a seller uploads a new bike, they’ll cross reference it with Bike Revolution to check it hasn’t been registered stolen. There are also various (quick and easy) hoops you’ll need to jump through to prove the bike is legitimately yours.

Bike Love: Everyone loves a sexy bike (no just me?!) and here you can share your gorgeous machine with other bike fanatics. Score each other on hair, teeth, smile (spokes/frame/handlebars) and try and budge your wheels up the bike porn leaderboard.

Bikepedia: Sounds dodgy. But it’s not. This is the sites jargon busting engine.  Type in any bike related word you don’t understand and it translates it for you. If you don’t know your front axel from your front bottom. You need Bikepedia (coming soon).

The site is easy to navigate, has good core values and succeeds in being accessible to girls, boys, bike wizards and what-the-hell-is-a-bike people. You don’t need to be on Dragon’s Den to see it’s a clear winner. Plus, at the launch party they set the world record for the longest bike daisy chain. DaisyDoes bike daisy chains. How could you not like?



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Marathon Training Part Deux

Stage two, in the many stages of what my marathon training will become, was returning to Run Dem Crew. Once a weekly regular, my attendance this year has been slim. Which is particularly embarrassing as Zest Magazine published an article on me and a friend focusing on the merits of joining a running club together – the main one being maintaining the motivation to go every week and not let each other down. Oops.

The thing is, I just haven’t been prioritising it. If a good social invite came up on a Tuesday I was likely to accept. Note the past tense. Now I have the FEAR. I will be there every week. Early.

So, Tuesday marked my return. I ran with the Hares group and we clocked up 10k starting at the 1948 store in Shoreditch and making our way down to the London Eye and back again. Our route weaved over Tower Bridge, down the alleyways that form the rear warren of the Southbank and then back over Millenium Bridge, past St Paul’s Cathedral and back up via Liverpool Street station to base camp. A swift foot tour of the City.

following the white rabbit at Spitalfields' market

feeling wonky

tower bridge

sunset at Southbank

Run Dem enjoy some mid-evening zen

a sprint through Liverpool Street station

For me the run was an exercise in mind over matter. As I think my entire training regime will be. Learning to get my arms, legs and lungs to carry on, even when my head is telling me to stop. Then when my limbs fail me, getting my mind to convince them to plough on. I can see how drawing on all my resources will be the only way to succeed. Mind, body, limbs, lungs, legs and so on.

I could practically hear my body’s internal dialogue as I hit the 5k mark; a push-pull of emotions ranging from enthusiastic start, to dread to comfortable contentment then encouragement, relief and then pride.

I’ve run a lot of 10k’s in my limited running career, so it’s no longer a major achievement. Yet still, the overwhelming sense of achievement, each and every time I complete one is immense. The adrenaline from sprinting out the last leg and then the rush of exhaustion and the buzz in the 1948 store afterwards with 40 people’s collective energy, everyone swapping stories of the run just completed. I’ve no idea why I’ve fought going every week. I never regret it. And I always love it.

Tuesday’s run was also I should add, stinking hot. The tropical humidity making it tough to get a full reach of air and the thickness of heat a struggle to cut through, especially around the 8k mark. There was not one person not dripping with sweat by the end.

I am a little concerned about my right knee. It seems to be as accurate as a Nike Plus on telling me when I’ve reached the 10k mark – it starts twisting, aching and begging me to give it a rest. A proper diagnoses is needed so I’m off to a professional. Just as soon as I can afford one.

Kit worn:

Nike Lunar Glides+, the lightest, squishiest running shoe, designed for women of any running style. They give support, they give flexibility and they don’t weigh a tonne. Bravo. I have genuine love for these shoes, they feel like running on a clouds against my old hunky chunky pair of runners.

Old leggings – in a rush I scooped out my old dance leggings. No wicking away sweat there. Sweaty Betty. Bad choice Daisy.

Pink leopard print Nike training vest. Because if you’ve made the effort to go to running club, you want to make sure people can see you.

Going Up: Starting, and loving, some serious training.

Going Down: Reality Bites. This is going to be very fucking tough.

NB: I turned down a VIP party with Mark Ronson to go to Running Club. If that’s not dedication…

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