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A Runner's Ramble

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by Michael Briggs

Running Challenge: Running Home For Christmas

I love a challenge, me, absolutely love them.

Whether it’s training for an event or trying something new with sessions to provide a test, nothing leaves me content than completing a challenge.

So, with the extreme lack of running that I’ve done this year, I thought that I’d set myself a running challenge over this festive season – ‘Running Home for Christmas!’ 

Now, this is simply a daily running challenge, just to clear up confusion. I may run home from work if I can, honestly, be arsed to – the focus is to run for 14 consecutive days, whether it’s a mile or five, as long as I clock in a run!

Starting from This Monday (12/12/2016), this challenge will take me right though until Christmas Day! Some ask but I feel that I can do it, even if it’s just over a mile a day, I think I’m capable.

I’ve never been involved in running back-to-back days, to be perfectly honest, I don’t rate it as, from being involved in athletics for over 10 years, training with no rest days is bad for the body – when do you ever get a chance to recover?!

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But, rather than just twist my face and frown upon it, I thought I’d give it a go and see if I can do it, challenging myself as well as giving me a purpose to consistently run – “don’t knock it, until you try it!” the saying goes, so, why not?!

It won’t just be roads but trails also and timing will not be a factor. I have no intention of keeping an eye on the clock or look to lower anything right now, just log in the distances.

This year, I’ve just found myself being very lethargic with running, a part from the summer leading up to Darlington 10K and the start of winter where I was flying in the gym and roads. Other than that, I’ve just been too laid back which is so poor on my behalf – I need this kick up the backside!

Without a shadow of a doubt, diet, drinking limits and portion sizes go out the window during the festive season, especially when the Christmas Party season in full flow as well – tis the season to be jolly and merry, isn’t it? Doing this is perfect to the build up to the big day, I won’t feel as heavy or bad when indulging in a few glasses of wine along with a few more pigs in blankets.

It’s canny exciting, if I’m perfectly honest. This is guaranteed to get me out the house each night and target distances – including a Parkrun or two, which I’m desperate to do!

I’ll be logging in a weekly write up just to show the progress and general thoughts as, with the Building A Runner blogs have dried up – there’s no point in writing REST days or talk about how I ran once, it’s just demoralising to write.

Anyway, stand by, this is going to be BELTA!

If you’ve ran consecutively, how have you found it and is there any tips? I welcome them, to be honest!  


11th December 2016

The One With The Running Awards

For what feels like a lifetime ago since nominations went live, tonight the window closed to cast your vote for the prestigious Running Awards 2017.

Firstly, to those that voted, shared and wished me luck leading up to this – thank you! The support has been so welcoming and humbling too. I feel very fortunate that friends, family and even newcomers to the blog, have shown support, something I’m very grateful for. 

I first found out that I’d been nominated at the latter stages of the summer. It was by chance that, when I was checking the list, there was my blog, at the top of the list (alphabetically) – I could not believe it!

Last time that I entered something like this was for the North East Blogger Awards back in 2015, where, foolishly, I thought I was in for a shout to make the final nominations for my category. I didn’t make the cut, so rather than taking it graciously and on the chin, I spat my dummy out and was in a huff, a few hours later I realised that it was something silly to overreact to.

This time however, I’ve learned and be happy to just have the blog on that list, along with 60+ – last time I counted – other fantastic bloggers out there. So even if I don’t make it through, the fact that I was on that list with the likes of Runner Shoes Guru, The 401 Challenge and The Runner Beans, to name a few, is incredible.

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Writing this blog makes life even more enjoyable, I have to say. When I started this in 2014 after my first Great North Run, I seen it as a small distraction, to write a couple of posts and then let it sit there. Never did I think that I’d be continuing to write consistently and eventually, vlogging too.

Running, to me, makes everything that bit better, talking about it makes my passion for it rise tenfold. Tactics, training, trail running, new shoes, reviewing kit, these are things that I never thought I’d be talking about with you or even get the chance to do.

I love to talk about it, just ask anyone that I’ve ran with recently or my previously posts, I get giddy like a kid at Christmas. Even more so when it involves shoes! Don’t get me started on running shoes!

Do I expect to win it? No. Come on, the other contenders out there are head and shoulders above my blog and it may sound defeatist, I know but these guys have been blogging for years and years, with thousands of followers to boot but I certainly want to try make a dint at least! Plus, it would be nice, as far as I am aware of, I’m representing the North East of England, which feels amazing.

The future of the blog is simple, really, to write for as long as my legs allow me to run for and be humble for opportunities and followers.

To everyone on the list – good luck!

Keep an eye on my social media channels to see the latest news from this!


8th December 2016

My First Trail Run

Ever since I started running, I’ve always wondered about trying trail running. At first, I thought that it was a waste of time, “why would I want to run in a forest and get covered head to toe in mud whilst getting soaked?!” – I was fairly critical as you can tell.

As time went on, however, my arm was slowly but surely beginning to get twisted about the prospect of taking to the trails. Watching runners such as Ethan Newberry aka The Ginger Runner or Luke Adams with his 5k Trail Race Series in South Shields, got my attention, I’ve never set foot on a trail route but I really wanted to give it a go – trouble was, I didn’t know where to start.

I tweeted the wonderful UK Run Chat community for advice, some replies were very helpful others, well, thought it was funny to mock the tweet and take the piss a little…

Anyway, the ideas that arrived really urged me on to research Trail Shoes, kit and, more importantly, routes. Weeks passed and still, I was plodding the roads, desperate for a change of scene – the hilly stages of my runs are welcomed at the best of times but now, I’m getting bored. img_4777

As winter crept in, along with Christmas, I noticed that Luke has put a suggestion on Facebook to launch a Guided Trails Day that would take place on a Sunday through the outskirts of Beamish Museum, FINALLY, something that would cater for my needs to try this, all the positives were there;

  1. It’s guided – my ManNav works wonderful when I’m the daylight and not knowing where I’m going, however, in trails, in the middle of nowhere, I can’t trust it here, but being told where to head made it much more enjoyable!
  2. It’s easy – by this, I mean the breaks in between to explain different parts of the trail, act as perfect recovery spots and allow for others to catch up – NO-ONE IS LEFT BEHIND!
  3. Coffee – I mean, come on, I’m not going to turn an event down if there’s coffee at the end.
  4. Cost – £10 is nout, especially to get a taster and for Luke to give up his spare time to take us out for the 75 minutes or so.

So, with that paid for, the hunt for trail shoes escalated and, as I was identifying the pros and cons for different shoes, I politely requested that whatever I pick, could be an early gift, with the result being, yes! Eventually, I narrowed the search to the Adidas Kanadia 7 TR Shoes.

Granted, the 8’s and the XT Boost models did look appealing, but I just liked how the 7’s looked and felt when I got them in my hands, plus, I’m quite loyal to the brand at the minute, with my training, racing and weightlifting shoes all stemming from Adidas and they seem to be working well for me currently.

As Sunday arrived, I packed my spare gear and snacks, as I had Emma (Emma’s friend) join me to participate too. As we got started, I noticed that the GPS Watch was flagging, showing two bars remaining on the battery, here I was praying it could hold, especially as it was my first ever trail run, I wanted it documented, I just had to take a chance.

When we got started, I made sure to take my time, while, making sure my shoes are far from pearl white as they were from the box, while enjoying the scenery. Descending was definitely my favourite part as well as ploughing through bogs and puddles – the dirtier I got, the better!

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Some of the route had glorious views, I’d imagine the more I do them, the better the views would be as, there would be more than one course to complete, even if I used the same trail. Easily the highlight of the morning, was my attempt (successful I must stress) of clearing the stream. This was, roughly 2.5/3km in to the run, I think. The way the distance was described to me was, that it would be a walk in the park, I’ve long jumped in the past, trained for it mostly, so I knew that I’ve still got a 5/5.50 metre jump in my legs, so anything less than, would be simple – turns out, it was wider than I thought!

There was a tiny raised platform that I clocked straight away that would act as a perfect point of taking off from, it would just be a case of gauging the distance, speed and how far back I’d need to go to establish the right speed. Anyway, I stripped away any  doubt (although beforehand, there was plenty) and went for it, a quick burst of speed, foot plant then take off – here I don’t remember a lot – followed by the landing. I made it, just and relieving more so!

I’ve still got that knee drive and dorsi flex tekkers!

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We were told that the course was just over 5.5 miles but it flew by, I didn’t even realise we’d finished until I see the home straight. I had so much fun that it is true what they say (I’d love to know who ‘they’ are that say this) ‘time flies when you’re having fun.’

Although I came home battered and shattered, it left me wanting more. It was so refreshing to not just try something new but to meet new people who are in the same boat as you and it’s something I’m looking forward to later this month when the next in the series of the Guided Trails take place.

If you live locally and fancy the venture, I’ve pop links to Luke’s on site with further information HERE


2nd December 2016

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