Running in a winter wonderland

Howdie BRR

I thought there might not be a blog this week, after we lost our internet connection at home. Moral of the story: if, whilst decorating, you find a box on the wall with wires coming out of it, don’t cut the wires until you know what they are connected to. It was an expensive mistake, and obviously Chris’s fault – he didn’t stop me doing it!

New fitness trends you can expect in 2021

The pandemic has caused a dramatic shift from in-person gym visits to online workouts. One US survey last summer found that “most Americans believe that gyms will become a thing of the past after the coronavirus”. That probably overstates reality, but according to the survey, 75% of participants said they found it easier to stay at home and exercise, while 64% are more interested in exercising at home than before the pandemic. Industry experts are anticipating even more “massive shifts” in our fitness culture towards home exercise equipment, from big purchases like treadmills and bikes to smaller tools like dumbbells and exercise bands. That’s good news for exercise equipment companies, but potentially bad news for gyms and workout facilities, and the people who work in them. The American College of Sports Medicine says the top five trends for 2021 will be:

  1. Online training
  2. Wearable technology
  3. Body weight exercises
  4. Outdoor activities
  5. HIIT

BRR in Action

Thank you to Dennis for organising the Winter Handicap competition, and well done to all competitors in race #01, especially Natalie Traylen, Charlotte Owen, and Ron Vialls, who placed 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively and who, along with Martin Brooks, Belinda Riches, Debbie Coyle, and John Lang, got a new handicap. It’s all a bit of fun to keep us motivated until we can start doing ‘real’ races again. Let’s hope that isn’t too long now.

At Barking (not)parkrun, the top five places went to BRR (first and second claim) members. Martin Page was first over the line and scored another PB by finishing in 21:17, Ron Vialls was second in 22:21, Belinda Riches third in 23:28 (also a PB), Natalie Traylen was fourth in 24:25 and Jason Li was fifth in 26:26. Martin and Ron got the highest age grades of the week too, at 77:37% and 76:05% respectively. Rob Courtier made his NPR debut, finishing in 30:38 and Alison Fryatt (me!) finished in 32:33.

Meanwhile, at Virtual Park Run, Martin Page was second overall in a splendid 20:39. Belinda Riches was almost first female until someone snatched it away from her, but second female in 23:28 is still pretty awesome. Rory Burr finished in 25:19 and Kresh in 39:55.

Cristina and Trevor Cooper pushed the boundaries again, completing their fifth virtual Ironman, consisting of a 3k run, 40k cycle and 10k run. Thank goodness the cycle can be done indoors on a static bike.

BRR activities

Every Tuesday @ 5.00pm until track reopens – Debbie’s fitness session on Instagram (search ComradesinCoaching). Check the BRR WhatsApp Group on the day in case of any changes.

8 February to noon 14 February – BRR One Hour Run – how far can you go in an hour? Winner is the person who posts the longest run – no prizes, just a warm glow of self-satisfaction. I’m giving you until noon on Sunday as I know many of you do your long run on a Sunday morning. Please post a photo of your result on the Winter Handicap thread. You can post in kilometres or miles and I will convert. Do take care if it’s snowy or icy out there.

w/c 15 February – Winter Handicap #02. Run 5k on the course of your choice between the Monday and Midnight Saturday. Post a photo of your result on the Winter Handicap thread. For fairness, your watch should read 3.1 miles or 5k (we know on the Barking parkrun course this may mean you have to run a little bit more than the official course, just to be sure). The final results for the competition will be based on your best five performances across seven races, so there is still time to join in if you missed the first race.

Cracker Corner

I used to have an origami business but I closed it down; there was too much paperwork.

Now I’m writing a song about being a locksmith; it ends with a change of key.

Boom! Boom!

Running shoe quiz

How do you pronounce ‘Saucony’?

A)   Saw-sony

B)   Sauce-oh-knee

C)   Saw-co-knee

D)   Sock-ah-knee

Answer at the end of the blog.

5 Stretches to Try After a Cold-Weather Workout

Stretch #02 – Pigeon Pose

This week’s stretch is a popular yoga pose called ‘Eka Pada Rajakapotasanam’ – no wonder the English name of ‘Pigeon Pose’ is more commonly used! Pigeon Pose  works as a hip opener and forward bend, stretching your thighs, groin, back, piriformis and hip flexors. The extended leg to the rear gets a stretch of the outer hip, and resting on the front of your foot stretches your calf too. As well as being helpful after a run, this stretch is a good antidote to sitting for long periods. The model in the photo is well-upholstered, but it shows you can stretch no matter what your body shape is.

How to do it:

 Sit on a mat and bring your right leg underneath your body, placing it in front of you with your shin parallel to the top of your mat.

  • Extend your left leg long behind you and rest the top of your foot on the mat.
  • Keep your right foot flexed and try to keep your left hip as close to the mat as you can. If it lifts off the floor, bring your right foot a little closer to your body. Keep your torso straight.
  • Hold for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then switch sides.

And finally…

Well, Darcy Bussell was never my favourite judge on Strictly Come Dancing, and I’ve decided I like the storm with the same name even less. It may have produced lots of lovely photos, but it wasn’t s good to run in. That said, it wasn’t so much the snow that Storm Darcy brought that caused the problem at Hainault on Sunday, but the gale force wind (I exaggerate for effect) that was blowing the snow horizontally into your face, regardless of which direction you happened to be running in. But it was my feet that had the main problem. Better get the needle and thread out, and practice my darning skills…

Happy Running



BRR Chair


Quiz answer: It’s pronounced ‘Sock-ah-knee’. The shoe manufacturer Saucony is named after Saucony Creek, in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, USA, as the company was founded on the banks of the creek in 1898. The word is Native American. The three circles on the company logo represent three boulders that the creek flowed around.


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