Monday, 25 May 2015

Coping with Injury and staying motivated.

Hi all
 This is a difficult post for me as today has been a bad day, I've been resting my injured leg which I've had repeated problems with. Today I did a light test run as I want run a tough mudder with family next week I managed just a mile and a half then  had serious calf pain, had to stop before I did worse damage. I am now worried about next week I want run the event but if calf is still like this no chance I can :(.

So feeling down and struggling for motivation, going to spend some time reading posts by some other runners and athletes who inspire me and try keep motivated, also tomorrow I'll try get the gym and do a long session on the cross trainer as its none impact should still be ok so at least feel like done something to try keep fitness level up. Finally time I did something about my recurring injury so going to have to get it medically looked at and some more treatment advice.

I hope for some better days soon as today has been a real knock to my confidence and motivation.

I wish everyone well

Sunday, 24 May 2015

one week till Midlands Tough Mudder 2015

Well as i'm dodgy old legs have been playing up still(problems with calf strains and tears) I've rested up this week apart from circuits and walks, as its just a week now till the Midlands Tough Mudder I'm entered with some family members. I really hope all healed by then so I can run and enjoy the event it should be fun, and I'm looking forward to coming back with a good review of it for you folks who are thinking of entering one.

will keep you posted as the week goes on

Happy running all

Friday, 22 May 2015

Bank holiday weekend - running reading and competitions

as the bank holiday weekend is here I shall be running (if dodgy calf lets me) or on the cross trainer at the gym and doing some reading up for my Open Uni course, but one other thing I'll be doing is entering competitions! there is always lots about on bank holiday weekends and it is a great way to pick up some shiny new gear for free! twitter and facebook  always  are good for them, check out the sporting stores and brands. If I see any really good ones I'll try remember to update this post with them :)

there is also a list of competitions over on the moneysavingexpert site see:

have a great weekend all

Monday, 18 May 2015

Social media for running, exercise and the outdoors - support is out there

 thought I'd write a follow up post about getting support and interacting with other runners, or folks interested in increasing physical and mental health through exercise and outdoor activities.

I wrote a post about this a while ago and there was a lot of interest, running/exercise and outdoors activities are great for increasing confidence, fitness and positive thinking but if your not part of a large social group as I am not, then they can be a bit solitary. Now I know the natural response is join a group but for some people (myself included) this can be difficult down to confidence/depression or anxiety or even things like your location.

So where do we  find some support through difficult times, or get given tips on training or even just a pat on the back when we have done a good session. I have found a lot of support from social media or on websites where you post your training, also I know a lot of people have found local groups to train with from sites like this, and as they have already chatted with members of local clubs have got the confidence to join.

Some sites I use : or

 twitter -@TheRunningBug
              @UKRunChat   hosts regular group chats on twitter about running topics

also its worth following sports brands on social media they interact and often provide some interesting and motivational articles which they put up for discussion.

Happy and safe running all, on a safety note as with all social media avoid or report anyone trying to meet up or inappropriate messages. Stay safe!

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Squat Challenge to increase running strength

So  my week has been squats...lots of Squats, I've decided take up 30 day Squat Challenge this has come about as with me still getting niggling injuries in my calf's. I need up the strength in my legs for the Snowdonia trail marathon so I've been doing a daily Squat session at home and upping the numbers, its just an additional but should help when I need run for the hills! :) it also wakes me up and gets me feeling positive it is a good way to break any rubbish thoughts.

I have seen lots doing the 30 day Squat challenge this is kind of my own version, I've started at 150 a day as I'm comfortable with that, but going push the numbers. will let you guys know I get on.

now the final part of this update my shiny new jacket, when I was out on Brecon Beacons I realised I needed a new trail running jacket that was lightweight and really waterproof, I had some Amazon vouchers I'd saved and Amazon had a 20% off sports&outdoors offer  so I treated myself to a Montane Smock, I'll be posting a review soon.

updates soon

Mindfulness books and exercises :)

Hi all

So this week has all been about the positives for me, it is easier when the sun is out. I realised I have been neglecting my Mindfulness exercises to increase mental health though.

Mindfulness exercises

 so I've started reading up again as lately I've had a few injuries again and they get me down. I really find the mindfulness useful it just helps focus on the good and clear my mind, and think about what you really want and what makes life better. There are lots of books out there if anyone is interested, I use 'Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world' but try local library or online and free audio downloads too. I will say that it takes time to get real benefit though and give yourself a full chance by doing it somewhere you get a bit of peace :)

Mindfulness does take a while to get comfortable with, and to get best results have to use it regular I've found, but it does help with breaking depression cycle for me and eases my anxiety problems, if listening to audio a worthwhile tip is try a few as I've found I find certain voices easier to respond too, as I think most people do. I guess  try it and find what works for you! also from speaking to other people find what time of the day you respond best as this seems to vary :)

on a final point I really think Mindfulness exercises benefit me not just against depression and anxiety, but also my approach to life in general my goals and enjoying the basics :)

Hope everyone is well.
happy running/walking or just being happy :)

Friday, 15 May 2015


Hi all, in this review we look at the Trail Mix 4, hydration belt by Nathan Sports this is an area I've been keen to review and start using myself as I move up in distance and also to more difficult terrain in my running.

Field test

taken this belt out for a few runs now, it sits well during a run and the bottles are easy to access and replace in there holders without breaking stride, the pouch is large enough to hold all run essentials too. the fastening is secure enough that you do not have to worry about the belt staying.



A great belt for long distance runs or mid in hot conditions, worth paying a bit extra as the Nathan belt sits far more comfortably than other belts I've tried.


Four easy-squeeze 10 oz / 300 ml Flasks remain comfortable over longer distances thanks to a lighter weight, fully adjustable mono-filament belt. A Swivi™-buckle cants belt for seamless fit.

  • For belt: hand-wash only. Penguin Sport-Wash recommended
  • Flasks and caps are dishwasher-safe (top rack only)
  • Flasks are BPA-free
  • Not for use with hot liquids – do not microwave

  • Wednesday, 13 May 2015

    Deuter Guide 45+ Daypack - REVIEW

     While I was on the trip in Brecon Beacons I got to take out my Deuter Guide 45+ Daypack, I've been really pleased with this pack so decided post my review.


    Physically its a robust pack with two sections and plenty of access zips with the main compartment having a top and two side opening, the lower section with a sturdy zip too. the body is slightly narrow as with most Alpine packs. The back section is really comfortably padded along with the shoulder straps.

    Field Test

    I took this out for its first longer test on the Brecon Beacons and it did a great job, packs well as once you gear is in the straps tighten up to make the pack very secure, as for comfort once the pack is on and the chest/waist straps fasten you hardly feel it. I did some light running with it even and a good paced walk no rubbing at all.


    I'm very happy with this pack its a great size for a daypack, well constructed versatile.



  • Long back lengths for those who are 170 cm to 195 cm tall
  • Detachable Vari Flex hip belt
  • Side zips for easy access to buried items
  • SOS-Label
  • Height adjustable lid closure with central zipped compartment and valuables pocket
  • Snow skirt
  • Detachable rope lashing strap
  • Compression straps (can be fastened over middle of pack)
  • Wet pocket
  • Valuables pocket
  • Hydration system compatible
  • Removable foam mat
  • Bottom compartment with removable separator

    • Monday, 11 May 2015

      JT Expeditions weekend - Brecon Beacons.

      Hi all
       So I was lucky enough to be able to spend last weekend with JT Expeditions, this was a all down to friend winning a competition with MERRELL but as they were unable to attend they passed it on to lucky me!

      The weekend involved me and a guest (my nephew Alex) arriving in Bwlch on the Friday night and staying at the Star Bunkhouse then to take part in walking, trail running and climbing/abseiling over the Saturday and Sunday.

      On arrival a great start the Star Bunkhouse is a really nice venue, easy to find plenty of parking and inside loads of walking info, and the facilities were perfect there, good rooms and downstairs a large kitchen to prepare group meals and large dining area. Pete the owner is a friendly host and if your lucky you'll get see his two Labrador's :)

      Next up Jake from JT Expeditions he is a top bloke, really friendly and enthusiastic about what he does, his outdoor interest are really varied, and he runs courses and expeditions from trail/mountain running, hill walking and climbing to mountain biking pretty much anything you want do out on the hills or mountains he caters for, He also runs international expeditions (yes I want go on one already!).

      We were joined on the weekend by Christina and awesome American girl who has had some great outdoor sports adventures, On the Saturday we headed out and did a hill walk Pen Y Fan, it was worth going for this alone the views were stunning and Jake provided plenty of info on the local area (which just made me want to come back and walk other routes). We then headed back for tea and cake and later went for a short trail run/jog in perfect weather just to take advantage of getting out and seeing more views and enjoy the weather. There is a pub opposite the Star Bunkhouse which does great food so we enjoyed a meal there that evening.

      Sunday morning we travelled to Symonds Yat for climbing, again this Forest is a truly stunning location, Jake gave clear tuition and soon had everyone understanding and had everyone confident in the gear and got rid of any nerves in the group. The climbing was great fun and a chance to learn some new skills, followed by the abseiling which gave a great view of the river.

      I had a great weekend and I would certainly recommend a trip to the Brecon Beacons, and definitely would use JT Expeditions and the Star Bunkhouse, I will again in future.

      a very fun and different way of exercising.
      Happy running all, thanks for reading





      Newton Running - BOCO SOL Trail Shoes - REVIEW - UPDATED 27/07/2015

      Hi have recently got hold of a pair of Boco Sol by Newton Running to review, first impressions well padded and made as you'd expect from Newton running and trail shoes, these are in the blue but they have changed the colour to red now. The tread of the shoe is really varied from large triangle some ridges and smaller points of contact. weight is 272g so quite light for well padded and built shoe with thick robust laces as opposed to elastic speed lace.


      I used the Boco Sol's in the Snowdonia trail marathon, it was horrendous conditions really wet, difficult terrain either boggy mud or extremely slippy rock. I kept my footing thanks to the Boco Sol's and 29 miles later no blisters either.

      Field test

      So for the field test I got these out on a trail in the Brecon Beacons, it was a dry day but there had been rain previous day, so parts of track were nice and soggy and slippery. shoes coped fine on all sections and did not clog up tread. When trail switched to more grassy area's shoes still help and kept traction and on down hills they dug in to give a steady and safe feeling ride. I did not really get to take them onto stony path's but due to their origins I'd imagine they will hold up well, but I will update the review when taken them up Snowdonia.



      A high end shoe so not cheap but then again a lot has gone into the shoe and they are well made as to Newton running's usual standard. good grip and a safe comfortable ride on tricky sections of descent.
      Only possible drawback the traditional lacing as opposed to speed lace but this is personal preference for some people, so no great loss for me.

      thanks for reading


      Weight • 272 g

      Heel-to-toe drop • 3mm

      EMB • No


        • Upper materials have been treated with a durable water repellent coating
        • Open weave, highly breathable mesh upper
        • Durable rubber toe bumper protects toes from impact on rocks, roots and other trail hazards
        • Anatomical metatarsal stretch panels
        • Non-slip laces
        • Heel lock lace
        • Gusseted tongue
        • 360 degree reflectivity
      • Outersole

        • 4-lug platform
        • Outsole employs multi-directional lugs to provide optimal grip on uneven terrain
      • Midsole

        • Tuned Action/ReactionTM technology in the midfoot
        • Biomechanical metatarsal sensor plate
        • Enhanced medial midsole platform
        • High rebound EVA
        • Highly durable s.h.a.r.c outsole composite
        • ETC anti-friction, anti-bacterial sockliner
      • Green

        • 100% recycled laces, webbing, insole top cover
        • 100% recycled PET upper mesh
        • 100% recycled box, packaging
        • 10% recycled outersole rubber

      Thursday, 7 May 2015

      Hoka One One - RAPA NUI 2S TRAIL Shoe - REVIEW

      Ok so finally body was up to taking out the HOKA ONE ONE  RAPA NUI 2S TRAIL shoes out for review, first impressions out the box the shoes look good,not too heavy (292 g) considering they are a trail shoe and have the thicker sole cushioning. the shoes are comfortable and you do feel the extra cushion even walking, also I liked their speed lacing system.. they include optional insole as well which is a nice touch.

      Field test

      I took the shoes out today on a rainy,windy 5 miler, it was on mixed terrain from stony path to a wet and muddy hill section. Firstly the all important grip! the tread is reasonably deep and has v sections rather than long ridges the v's are well placed at various angles and with enough space between to stop clogging. The shoes performed better on the stony trail even in the wet, they did ok when it got very muddy but they do get points for not clogging as many trail shoes do and losing grip.

      Next up is comfort, it took a little while to get used to the ride as the heel is so much higher but it is a cushioned and pleasant run in them, certainly suit running who suffer from impact injuries this would be a blessing. I found stride was not affected and there is real benefit on jolting downhill sections from the extra absorption the shoe gives. the shoes also kept out most water and did not end up twenty pounds heavier as some do :)



      A high end comfortable shoe for getting the miles done, excellent on stony dusty trail, good on heavy wet/muddy . Looks good though thicker sole takes a little getting used too. great for heavy footed or impact injury runners and as a mileage shoe for all.

      score a good 8/10

      thanks for reading


    • Ultra Size

      • GEOMETRY:
      • Offset: 5mm
      • Heel: 35mm
      • Forefoot: 29mm
      • WEIGHTS:
      • 10.3 oz / 292 g
      • Weight is based on size EU 42 2/3 and may vary depending on size.
      • Balanced Meta-Rocker geometry
      • 6mm Vibram® lugs with full ground contact design
      • Seamless, breathable anti-debris mesh upper
      • 1.5 volume IMEVA midsole
      • Quick lacing system

    • Tuesday, 5 May 2015

      Happiness is a pain free run!

      Hi all
       Had to post as so happy today...actually managed to run pain free today for 4 miles at about at 8 mins per mile. first pain free run back, after the leg injury coming back then my dodgy back last week too. So means I can actually get on with some good runs now out on the hills and start building up to Snowdonia Trail marathon.

      happy running all
      Gareth :)

      Saturday, 2 May 2015

      better legs,bad backs,new gear and expeditions!

      Hi all
       Lots going on this week firstly dodgy leg feels a lot better no pain when walking now so should be running on it again soon, but... I went to circuits on Wednesday got carried away (forgot I have a back made of glass) and popped my back again, its not too bad now but the muscle spasm made muscles  locked so taken few days for them to ease up, I should be ok start of next week.

      Now next week I need be better as lots happening new gear reviews to do, including Newton Trail Shoes and still need review the Hoka one one shoes.

      I also am off on an expedition to...Brecon Beacons, so ok not really an expedition but a weekend of walking and climbing all thanks to winning a competition prize from Merrel! this is a big thing for me to go away for few days is something not done for a long time, with my problems with depression and anxiety stuff like this is difficult but it is a big step forward. I'm going with my Nephew who kindly puts up with me :)  (and is a far better runner).

      so end of next week should be some more interesting blog updates, wish me well as very nervous about going somewhere new, but hopefully will manage step forward.

      happy running or just happy whatever all