Mac on a long, cold and wet run

Mac on a long, cold and wet run

Did this conversation happen in your head this morning?

“You should really get up and run.”

“Have you looked outside? It’s colder than Sochi. Plus it’s raining. And this bed is soooo warm. Why the hell would you want to run in this sh*t?”

Good question, brain. Is there any point, at all, to running in this foulness?

Although it’s hard to get going, cold weather = optimal running conditions. Studies have shown your body takes longer to tire when running in the cold compared to hotter weather – so you’ll get more out of your run. Plus, believe it or not, it’s actually good for you. Exercising in the cold apparently increases your immune cell count (good for warding off bird flu). 

But, top of the list? How good does a warm shower and hot cup of tea feel after a long, cold, miserable run? You’ll be appreciative and grateful for the rest of the day, not to mention have oodles of energy.

Right, now I’m motivated, tomorrow, things are going to be different. Here are five things I’m going to do/think to get myself the hell out of bed and go for that run.

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Lizzy Hawker is one of Britain’s greatest endurance athletes – and given the manner and grace in which she approaches her sport, I’d happily say one of the greatest – full stop.

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I had the absolute honour and pleasure of spending an afternoon with Lizzy talking about her achievements and her approach to life a month ago (and she had the annoyance of having to deal with several emails from me post interview following up on fine details afterwards – again – all to which Lizzy responded so honestly, friendly and patiently I felt like hugging her through the screen).

Being not just a passionate runner but a writer as well, I feel a huge sense of responsibility to tell the stories of fellow runners whose incredibly courageous stories don’t play out on TV screens but often late in the night under just the  lumens of a headlamp. And not just to tell them, but to tell them well. Capturing the subtle details that make them who they are and able to achieve what they do. What makes them truly, truly brilliant.

Lizzy’s story was finally published this morning , and I was a little disappointed to discover it wasn’t in the way I’d originally written it. I know I’m a professional, and I shouldn’t worry about these things (I mean, I get paid anyway, right?) But I really wanted her story to be told the way I originally wrote it.

So here ’tis. Lizzy’s story. The way I told it.

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Last week we learned about trail running races everyone can do in HK. This week, we’re talking about running in the right gear, namely, shoes. So, can you wear your ordinary runners on the trails or do you need a trail specific shoe? And if so, which one?

The short answer is yes but the practical answer is, preferably not.

Trail running shoes are different from ordinary runners in two ways: (1) they’re more robust to handle tree roots, rocks and other obstacles that you may subject your poor tootsie to while on the run, and (2) they provide better grip when running on common trail surfaces, like rocks and, if it rains, slippery, muddy surfaces. So while you can run with your ordinary runners - no problemo – you may find that over certain terrain you’re not as speedy or as well protected as you may be in a trail running shoe.

So, which shoe?

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I love heading out and getting lost on the trails – lost in my thoughts, lost in the stark contrast of the concrete jungle I live in and lost in the beauty of it all.

Because of my passion for the subject, I often get asked what’s the best way to get involved. It sort of makes me laugh as the first time I ran on Hong Kong’s trails was with a US$20 helmet on my head* – and that was only three years ago.

That said, I’ve run many more trails since then (thankfully sans the helment) and have managed to acquire a bit of know how over the years. Since I’ve had many people ask me for more info, over the next few weeks (to coincide with the imminent arrival of the trail running season), I will endeavour to craft HKAB’s Rookies Guide to Hong Kong trails!!

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When the weather in Hong Kong plays nice, the results are picture perfect and being inside is a crime. Here are three outdoor fitness classes that you should check out, especially as the weather starts to cool down.

1. Ape Fit

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Linds showing us how it’s done

The brainchild of the effervescent Linds Russell, Ape Fit doesn’t feel like a fitness class, more like playtime for adults. That doesn’t mean it’s not challenging though – I left the end of my 1 hour class absolutely pooped (which takes a lot these days) and wondering how the hell Linds managed to get us doing paired-TRX weight runs, an upper body strength circuit, frog-jumps (pictured above), ape walks… the list went on. The mind boggled. The body complained. But dang it felt good!

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Vitamins & mineralsI don’t know about you, but I get tired living in Hong Kong. Exhausted. Recently I haven’t been able to get through the day without a second coffee – double shot. I’ve been screaming to the heavens for an answer, and though I don’t have them all, I’ve figured out something:  living in Hong Kong, you have to take your vitamins. 

I know some might disagree, and arguably on a balanced diet you shouldn’t need vitamins, but who has a balanced diet? Really? Who in this town gets enough sleep? And who doesn’t slip up with a few too many vinos post work every now and then (or more than now and then)?

As I exercise quite a bit, I’ve been researching what I can take for general health and also what I can take to support my body in its rigorous regime. More than anything, I figure that I take so much from our bodies daily, it’s nice to give it something back.

Buckle in, here is my list of vitamins and minerals that I take regularly and why.

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