March 7, 2024

How female-only run clubs are empowering women runners

This International Women’s Day, we've partnered with Brooks to meet two women who, after joining run clubs, Gorp Girls and Club 99, feel empowered to achieve more as women in sports. Now, they hope to inspire other women to enjoy all that outdoor exploring has to offer. We catch up with them to find out what they love about running, being part of a female sporting community, their top training tips and more. 

Phoebe and Helmi have always been keen runners. In fact, the sport has played a key role in their mental health. Phoebe grew up in the picturesque county of Cornwall. “I always loved exploring when I was little”, she tells us. “I have an active family so running and swimming was always what we did growing up. I found it therapeutic and it helps my mental health”. Meanwhile, Helmi started running when her grandmother became ill. “I ended up doing my longest run ever, going from a 5K to a 30K because I was using running as a way to process what was happening”, she says.

A sense of understanding, security and empowerment

Since joining run clubs, (the Gorp Girls and Club 99) both women say they’ve felt a greater sense of belonging within the female sporting community. “There’s no pressure to perform and people are considerate”, says Helmi. “There’s a shared understanding of the different challenges that we face as women. For example, safety and running or walking at night. Also, the outfits. I want to wear tiny running shorts and a sports bra when it’s warm, which can sometimes be more uncomfortable when you’re around a group of men”, she continues. Phoebe agrees: “It really gets you out at nighttime and feeling like you’re safe in the city which can be really hard for women at times. When you’re with a group of women, you feel empowered and that really transfers to real life as well. When you have a really strong body of women behind you it inspires you to do other things”, she says. 

Alongside the empowerment she finds in the community spirit of a female run club, Phoebe tells us that it enhances her sense of self care and self love. “I have met so many amazing people through running. I’ve also found a bigger love for myself, because I’m looking after my body when I run. I feel like running is self care and self love. As well as an appreciation for nature, I have seen so many beautiful scenes”, she continues.

Runners’ highs, mental health boosts and self esteem

Running clearly plays a huge role in maintaining healthy, happy lifestyles for these ladies. Phoebe enjoys the feeling of escapism: “I love the freedom of getting out of my head and into my body”, she says. “It's such a freeing thing to dedicate that hour – or even half hour – to yourself. We lead busy lives and our brains are split into so many pieces, so for that hour or however long I’m running for, I know that time is entirely dedicated to me and that really inspires me to keep going”. Helmi admits that she doesn’t get runner’s highs after every run “but when I do, I feel like I’m flying – it’s like main character energy”, she tells us. 

Phoebe notes how her strength and endurance has improved since joining the running community and this brings a great sense of pride. “I can get out and do a 20K run now. It’s definitely a challenge, but I feel such pride after I’ve done that. I love that running allows me to take risks and really push myself”. Helmi agrees that running has helped her in all aspects of life. “It makes me feel more confident and has brought me new friends. It’s helped my mental health, made me fitter, made me stronger – both mentally and physically. It’s helped me in every way”, she says.

6 top tips for female runners

It’s great to see Phoebe and Helmi’s passion for running. Since finding an extra confidence boost within the female running community, they’re thriving. So, do they have any training hacks or tips for fellow female runners? Here’s their top six. 

  1. Stretch.  “I need to stretch, always, before and after [a run]. I sometimes forget and I know that’s really bad, so just honouring your body by stretching before and after is really important” – Phoebe. “Yes, always stretch. Even when you can’t be bothered and you want to just jump in the shower. It’s going to save you a world of trouble” – Helmi. 
  2. Go out early. “If you just get up a bit earlier you can fit it in. Even if it’s just a 2K run. It doesn’t have to be long. A quick 15 minute run can completely change your day. You begin with that attitude and it flows through to the rest of your day” - Helmi. 
  3. Make no excuses. “Put your shoes on and get outside. Don’t think about it too much. It’s amazing to think of the relationships you’ll find and the happiness it will bring to your life. Don’t overthink – just get involved” - Phoebe. 
  4. Don’t stop! “If you’ve started to run and feel like you have to stop, don’t. Just slow down! Even if it feels like you’re slow motion jogging, just slow down instead of stopping. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Even when you think you don’t have the energy, running gives you energy. So always remember that, when you’re thinking of the excuses not to do it. Future you will feel better!” - Helmi. 
  5. Beginners, get comfortable running – then join a club. “Before joining a run club, get used to running on your own. Not because you’ll be left behind, but because it’s not fun when you feel like you’re struggling. Once you’re comfortable, just go for it. There’s always going to be someone who is in a similar boat to you” - Helmi.
  6. Don’t focus on speed. “Fast doesn’t always mean the best. Sometimes the slow paced, long runs feel a lot better on my body than when I absolutely peg it. For me I’d much rather get slow, longer runs in and listen to my body. I used to not listen and just go hard. My body wasn’t ready for that” - Phoebe.

In the case of Phoebe and Helmi, confidence comes from clubbing together with like-minded women – but the right gear certainly helps. We asked for their thoughts on the latest collection from Brooks, as both are wearing pieces from the collection. Phoebe is wearing Brooks’ running shoes, which she tells us are “so light and the cushioning is incredible”. In fact, she’s impressed with the full range: “The shoes, the leggings, the shorts, the track jackets – you can really tell every single detail has been thought about and that Brooks put themselves into a runner’s mindset. That’s so important when you're making running products because, say you’re doing a long run or an ultra, if the product quality isn’t good, that’s going to affect your outcome”, she says. Helmi meanwhile, is rocking a neon pink jacket – also from Brooks. “I have other running jackets which can feel crunchy or loud when running. This is so smooth. It’s easy to run in very light and waterproof”, she says. 

So, what’s next for Phoebe and Helmi? Both fancy an ultra marathon. Phoebe would like to challenge her body and see how far she can go. “Also to discover and explore new places. Running is such an amazing way of exploring the city”, she says. Helmi is keen to travel for her first ultra: “There’s one happening in May in Finland, which a couple of the other girls in our run club are going for. Also, because I’m Finnish, it would be quite cool to do that in Finland”, she says. 

So, whilst being a female in the sporting community can still come with its downfalls, Phoebe and Helmi highlight the empowered route to running with confidence. “Women continuing to hold space and be unapologetically themselves and crushing it – as well as people appreciating them for who they are, is SO important”, says Phoebe. We couldn’t have worded it better ourselves. 

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The Ultimate London Marathon Weekend & Spectators Guide 2024

Heading to the TCS London Marathon on April 21st? Save your energy for the iconic track – when it comes to planning the best route to a memorable weekend, we’ve done the hard work for you. From must-book restaurants to the best spectator spots and of course, everything you need to know from lace-up to cool-down, here’s your ultimate guide to the TCS London Marathon 2024.

Your TCS London Marathon 2024 itinerary

London is bursting with must-visit hotspots all-year round, but the city really comes to life during marathon weekend. With the weather beginning to warm, gardens in full bloom and restaurants and bars alive with electric atmospheres, now’s prime time to explore the city at its finest. The team here at Let’s Do This have compiled the best places to eat, drink, be entertained – and of course, get prepped for the marathon itself.

Where to caffeinate 

Need a morning pick-me-up? That spring in your step starts here. 

  • WatchHouse, various locations. Sourced from around the world in line with the seasons and crafted in South London, WatchHouse brews up quality coffee from bean to cup. 
  • Monmouth Coffee Company, various locations. Located in Covent Garden, The Borough and Bermondsey, Monmouth Coffee Company are champions of coffee roasting and retailing. Heads up: for takeaways, you’ll need your reusable cup.
Monmouth Coffee (Image cc @Monmouthcoffee on Instagram)

Best places to drink

Our top two pubs for pre-marathon gatherings and post-race toasts.

  • The Devonshire Pub, Denham Street. Perfect for a pre or post-race drink, particularly if you like Guinness – that’s what The Devonshire is famed for. Plus, if you’re feeling peckish, you’ll find homemade bar food from the in-house butcher and bakery and an upstairs restaurant and grill.
  • The Crabtree, Fulham. Retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city centre to soak up the picturesque sights of the River Thames. Nestled between Hammersmith and Putney bridges, The Crabtree is a family-friendly pub that’s notable for its iconic views. Revellers love the sun-soaked beer garden on good-weather days. 
Crab Tree Pub in Fulham (Image cc @thecrabtreew6 on Instagram)

London’s hottest dining destinations

Worked up an appetite? You’re in the right place. London is home to a cultural melting pot of top cuisine. Perfect for a post-marathon celebratory meal.

  • KILN, Brewer Street. Think noodles and Thai-inspired dishes, cooked using wood-burning ovens and grills. Book seats in the basement for up to six people or, for walk-ins, keep an eye out for seats at the ground-floor counter to watch the chefs at work.
  • Berenjak Soho, Romilly Street. A dining experience with a difference. Immerse yourself into Iran’s rich cultural history at Berenjack. Inspired by the hole-in-the-wall eateries that line the streets of Tehran, expect Persian dishes, sharing plates and chargrilled kebabs. 
  • Zephyr, Notting Hill. Enjoy casual dining, inspired by Grecian culture. The blend of delicious food and a late-night bar makes Zephyr a great venue for post-marathon debriefs and celebrations with friends. 
Delicious eats at Kiln (Image cc @kilnsoho on Instagram)

Bakeries and delis

For lunch, a snack or a sugar-laden sweet treat, London’s little black book of bakeries always rises to the occasion.

  • Arôme Bakery, Mercer Street. One for the sugar-seekers. If you like the sights and smells of a traditional French patisserie, a trip to Arôme must make it onto your itinerary. Amidst the classic croissants and pain au chocolat, you’ll find Arôme’s signature offering: honey butter toast. Ooh la la!
  • Buns From Home, various locations. As the name suggests, these buns were originally made from home (during lockdown), and have since made it to Notting Hill, Sloan Square, Hammersmith and Victoria – to name just a few. This takeaway raises the game when it comes to croissants, buns, cakes and homemade bread. 
  • Boxcar - The Baker and Deli, Wyndham Place. This bakery and deli welcomes everyone – including our furry friends. It’s the perfect pitstop for a sandwich, wrap or sweet treat. 
Pain Au Chocolat at Boxcar (Image cc @boxcarbaker on Instagram)

Carb load in luxury 

Whether you’re fuelling your run or carbing-up to be a supportive spectator, is it even TCS London Marathon weekend without pasta?

  • Bancone, various locations. With locations in Covent Garden (awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand 2020-2024), Soho and Borough Yards, Bancone’s pasta is freshly handmade, every day. Relax into the informal atmosphere as you enjoy award-winning pasta dishes. Chef’s kiss.
  • Lina Stores, various locations. The fresh pasta steals the spotlight at Lina Stores – an extension of the successful delicatessen. Also serving up antipasti, dolci and secondi, expect your carb-loading escapades to temporarily transport you to Italy before you’ve even made it to the TCS London Marathon. 
  • Luci, Covent Garden. London’s first Italian dining bakery. Carb-loaders, head upstairs for the sit-down menu, which features fresh pasta and Italian classics. Bellissimo. 
Bucatini Cacio e Pepe from Bancone (Image cc @bancone.pasta on Instagram)

What to do during TCS London Marathon weekend 2024

Soak up the marathon weekend atmosphere, without tiring yourself out before the big day. 

  • Visit the LME Expo. Ready to get into the marathon mindset? Then head to the LME Expo. Here, you can pick up your bib, soak up the atmosphere, meet with fellow runners and check out the stalls of amazing brands who will all no doubt be keen to support you. 
  • Explore London in bloom. From Hyde and Regent’s Park to Battersea and Greenwich, the TCS London Marathon always takes place against a backdrop of beautiful scenery. We love Hampton Court Palace’s Tulip Festival. Here, over 100,000 tulips will be bursting into bloom across 60 acres of richly-coloured royal gardens.
  • Enjoy a West End show. London’s West End is home to some of the best performances in the world. During TCS London Marathon weekend 2024, Sir Ian McKellan is starring in Player Kings at Noël Coward Theatre. 

From your first coffee to that final celebratory meal, we hope our TCS London Marathon weekend itinerary helps to enhance your time in London. Whether you’re here to run the marathon, or to cheer from the sidelines as a spectator, you’re in for a memorable weekend. Enjoy!  

London Marathon Expo on From April 17th-20th (Image cc @londonmarathon on Instagram)

The Spectator's Guide to the TCS London Marathon 2024 

On Sunday 21st April 2024, the UK capital will once again be playing host to the world-famous TCS London Marathon – an event that’s become a popular fixture in the sporting calendar since the inaugural race on 29th March 1981. We’ve covered the route to a perfect marathon weekend with places to eat and drink and what to do and see, here. For race day itself? Here’s some handy pointers for cheering your friends and loved ones on from the sidelines. 

Where does the TCS London Marathon route start and finish?

The 26.2-mile TCS London Marathon route starts south of the River Thames at Blackheath, passes through Greenwich and crosses the river, over Tower Bridge. It continues through central London before runners cross the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace. So, where are the best places to enjoy the sights and soak up the atmosphere of this globally-celebrated event? It all depends on the kind of experience you’re after. 

Popular TCS London Marathon viewing points

If you’re looking to enjoy the energetic TCS London Marathon atmosphere, one of the most popular places to stand is on the 1.5-mile stretch between Tower Bridge and Limehouse. Spectators love this viewing point for its two-in-one view of participants running east towards Canary Wharf, before looping around the Isle of Dogs and then heading west for the finish line. This gives you two chances to cheer for your runner, without moving places. The largest crowds tend to gather around Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and of course, at The Mall for the grand finale. 

Where are the quieter places to watch the TCS London Marathon?

If you prefer a calmer viewing point, head south of the River Thames, to Woolwich. If you stand at around the three-mile mark, you’ll likely find that most other spectators at this stage of the race will be rushing to get to the popular landmarks like Cutty Sark, Tower Bridge and the London Eye. From Woolwich, you might like to head to Woolwich station on the Elizabeth line to Canary Wharf, which is around the midpoint of the race. Canary Wharf’s best viewing points are at South Colonnade, Cabot Square and Westferry Circus.

What are the best accessible viewing points for the TCS London Marathon?

There are plenty of accessible viewing points for marathon spectators with disabilities. These are:

  • Cutty Sark
  • Canary Wharf
  • Rainbow Row (usually known as Butcher Row)
  • Tower Hill
  • Victoria Embankment 

Head to the TCS London Marathon page for more information, including the what-three-words addresses for these locations. 

London Marathon Route 2024 (Image cc London Marathon)

Where’s the best place to view the TCS London Marathon finish line?

If you’re looking to support your runner as they make their way to the famous marathon finish line, hop on the Jubilee line westbound from Canary Wharf to Waterloo. Here, you can change to the Northbound Bakerloo line to Charing Cross. Then it’s just a short walk to view that all-important final stretch of the race.

10 TCS London Marathon tips for spectators 

How to make the most of a marathon weekend as a spectator? Here’s our ten tips.

  1. Map out your chosen route before the race. Get familiar with where you’re going. You don’t want to risk missing your runner whilst you’re trying to find your way around.
  2. Stay close to the nearest tube station. This’ll make for a quicker transition to your next planned viewing point. 
  3. Avoid the bus. There tends to be lots of transport redirections on marathon day, due to road closures. 
  4. Don’t forget your camera. It’s a good idea to take camera, so you can use your phone to track your runner. 
  5. Take plenty of snacks and drinks in your backpack. The TCS London Marathon is always a long day.
  6. Wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be walking around a lot. 
  7. Pack plenty of layers. Being prepared for changing weather conditions is essential. Suncream, warm layers and waterproofs, always.
  8. Agree how you’ll track your marathon runner beforehand. If you both download the Official TCS London Marathon Tracker App and your runner carries their phone with them during the marathon, you can track their precise location. Otherwise, you’re limited to monitoring when they pass one of nine timing gates.
  9. Agree on where you’ll meet with your runner after the race. Of course, it goes without saying that the TCS London Marathon attracts a huge crowd, so be prepared for delays.
  10. Make yourself easy to spot in the crowd. Wear bright colours. Use props. Take balloons with your initials on. Make a supportive sign. Anything goes here. 

By planning ahead, you’ll set yourself up to enjoy the celebrated sights and atmosphere that the TCS London Marathon has to offer, as well as supporting your runner through what is likely to be one of the biggest, most challenging events of their lives. 

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Let’s Do This’ 10 steps to race day success

T’is the season to start putting that marathon training into motion. Our team at Let’s Do This HQ have shared their top ten tips for getting the most out of your event. Here’s what to start planning now.

T’is the season to start putting that marathon training into motion. Our team at Let’s Do This HQ have shared their top ten tips for getting the most out of your event. Here’s what to start planning now. 

1. Start slow.

The saying “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” couldn’t be any more fitting than when it comes to marathon day itself.

“In a race, everyone will be flying off the starting line, pumped full of adrenaline and excitement – don’t follow that crowd. Start off nice and easy. Know your goal pace and stick to that. You’ll end up overtaking those people later in the race, which will feel much better than them overtaking you”.

2. Prioritise rest.

Tick off your tasks well ahead of race day – and then relax. 

“Take it easy the day before the race. I’ve made the mistake of walking 30k steps around the expo the day before a race. Go to the expo and do any other prep earlier in the week if possible – you’ll thank yourself on race day”.

3. Carb loading is key.

Have a plan in place for when you’ll start upping your carb intake – and by how much. 

“Increase your carbs earlier in the week. For example, load up on carbs Wednesday to Friday,  then have a normal meal on Saturday to give your stomach a break. Also, the golden rule: nothing new on race day. If you’re feeling tired during the marathon, don’t be tempted by a gel you’ve never tried before at the gel station. This can cause havoc in your stomach”.

4. Display your name clearly.

If people can see your name, they’ll cheer you on. 

“Don’t forget plenty of safety pins to display your number prominently – and make sure your name is easy to see on your front. There’s nothing better than when people you’ve never met before are screaming your name.. People love to cheer you on, especially in London!” 

5. Practice in your gear ahead of race day.

You don’t want to be put off by chafing, blisters or any of the unexpected niggles that can come with new gear. Smooth out those creases before race day.

“I always wear the same race day gear now because I know it works for me. A great pair of shorts with side pockets is essential to ensure I have easy access to my nutrition while running. I always bring sunglasses for no-rain days and a visor for rainy days to keep the top of my head cool. Also, put a pair of sliders in your bag to wear after the race! The last thing you want to do is put on tight trainers. Comfort is key. Oh, and a sweater for after because you’ll cool off a lot after the race”. 

6. Make a race day ritual.

Figure out your favourite way to calm the nerves and master the marathon mindset. 

“I like to listen to music to get in the zone. I know people who enjoy talking to others before a race, to ground themselves and help them to stay calm. I always focus on the moment I'm in, rather than overthinking the race. You have to trust that your training is banked and you’re capable of what you’re trying to achieve, whether that’s your first marathon or you’re trying to hit a PB. My favourite mantra is: ‘You can do hard things. Your mind will give up before your body’ – so always tell yourself you are capable”. 

7. Get enough sleep on the event lead-up.

Even if you don’t sleep the night before a race, if you’re generally well-rested, you’ll be in a better place for the day itself. 

“Pre race nerves can make it hard to sleep the night before a race but if you get a couple of good nights’ sleep before, that sleep bank will carry you through. Don’t stress yourself out too much if you have a poor sleep ahead of race day”.

8. Stay in a positive mentality.

Don’t overthink what you could or should have done differently - trust the process.

“Trust that the training you’ve done has set you up for success and always remember that you can do hard things. It can be easy to get into a negative headspace, but it is important to stay positive and stay in the moment”. 

9. Leave plenty of time on the morning of your event.

Rushing can lead to stress, which can affect your positive mindset. Keep things calm by giving yourself ample time. 

“Make sure you know where the bag drop is, in relation to where the start line is, so you can get that taken care of with enough time to warm up and get yourself in the right mindset”. 

10. Agree a communication plan with your supporters.

From how you’ll spot them mid-race to where you’ll meet afterwards, you’ll thank yourselves later for pre-planning this.

“Make sure you don’t miss your support squad by agreeing beforehand where you can expect to see them during a race. Make sure your loved ones have a big obnoxious sign or even a large inflatable balloon to set them apart from the crowd. If you want your crew to support you during the harder bits of the race, get them set up at the right mile for a boost of energy when it matters most”. 

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Everything you need to know if you're running the TCS London Marathon 2024

Heading to the TCS London Marathon on April 21st? Save your energy for the iconic track – when it comes to planning the best route to a memorable weekend, we’ve done the hard work for you. From must-book restaurants to the best spectator spots and of course, everything you need to know from lace-up to cool-down, here’s your ultimate guide to the TCS London Marathon 2024.

Running the TCS London Marathon 2024? Here’s all you need to know

Running the TCS London Marathon? First of all, congratulations. This is a huge achievement that takes patience, practice and determination (then gives you bragging rights for the foreseeable). We’ve rounded up the top tips to make the most of marathon day, including where to go for everything from official information to free pizza. You’re welcome. 

5 things every runner needs to know on marathon day

  1. Check your TCS London Marathon email. For all the accurate and up-to-date information about start times, meeting points and more, you’ll need to check your email from the TCS London Marathon organisers. The race starts at different times for different runners. This email holds all the information you need that’s specific to you and your start time, so do check. 
  2. Download the TCS London Marathon app. This is a game-changer for race day. It tells you all you need to know about getting to the start line – including when and how best to travel to the runners’ village in Blackheath, for example. You’ll be given a tube stop that’s best for your start time and wave. It’s worth sharing the app with your race-day supporters; it has lots of handy tips for them on there, too. 
  3. Agree on a post-race meeting place. After you’ve grabbed your bags from the collection area, sweaty hugs and celebrations are in order – it’s time to meet your wonderful supporters. The official meet and greet area is at Horse Guards Parade. Here, you’ll find signs that show all the letters of the alphabet. Before the race, agree on a letter to meet under. Don’t rely on calling your friends and family – the huge crowds often mean unreliable phone signal. 
  4. Make the most of free travel. Docklands Light Railway, Southeastern, the TFL tube and bus services are free for TCS London Marathon runners heading to and from the race. All you have to do is make sure your bib number is visible.
  5. Scoop-up your freebies. Rewards after running 26.2 miles through London: pride, bragging rights, endorphins and – freebies. Lots and lots of freebies. You can always count on the TCS London Marathon to provide runners with plenty of perks and special discounts. Below, we’ve rounded up a few from past years that will hopefully be returning again this year.
Map of the 2024 TCS London Marathon Route (Image: TCS London Marathon)

The perks of being a marathon runner 

Of course, pre and post-race perks are different every year but if there’s one thing for certain, you can expect to be treated like royalty after running the TCS London Marathon 2024. In fact, you’ll literally finish the race outside of Buckingham Palace and if that’s not a sign of your post-race treatment, we don’t know what is. The below freebies tend to be the same each year, but check back here closer to the race for any changes. 

  1. Stamped race poster at Tracksmith 

Tracksmith’s London store on Chiltern Street in Marylebone usually offers a commemorative race poster, stamped with your TCS London Marathon time (21st-22nd of April). While you’re there, it’s also worth checking out Tracksmith’s range of limited-edition TCS London Marathon gear.

  1. Free burger and beer at Bill’s

Restaurant chain Bill’s traditionally offers marathon runners a free burger and a beer in any of its London branches on race day. Book on the website to guarantee a table or wander in with your fingers crossed and hope there’s space. The four Bill’s restaurants closest to the route are found in Soho, Covent Garden, Victoria and Clink Street (Bankside).

  1. Free burger at MEATliquor

You can head to any of MEATLiquor’s London locations on race day and show your medal for a free burger from the menu, which includes vegetarian and vegan options. The nearest restaurant is MEATLiquor W1 on Margaret Street, near Oxford Circus, which is a little over a mile from the meet and greet area in Horse Guards Parade. This offer is available at any of MEATLiquor’s nine London branches, though. If you’re a TCS London Marathon volunteer, you’re usually eligible for a free burger, too – just show your badge.

  1. Free meals at The Real Greek

The good people at The Real Greek have been dishing up free meals to marathon runners for years and hopefully 2024 will be no exception. Flash your medal to get a free Greek plate (vegan options available). The offer is usually for dine-in customers only, but can be used at any branch including those outside London. The nearest one to the marathon route is in Covent Garden.

  1. Pizza At Franco Manca

In the past, marathon runners have been welcome to take their medal into any Franco Manca restaurant on the Sunday of the race, or the Monday after, to grab a free pizza. If that’s the case in 2024, you can expect an announcement on Franco Manca’s social media channels, so keep an eye on those.

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Train Like a Pro with GB Running World Champion, Josh Kerr

Who better to help with our event training prep than GB’s 1500m world champion, Josh Kerr? The Let’s Do This team caught up with him to chat about everything from his top tips, to ‘that’ gold medal-winning moment – plus, the science behind why he pees on a pen every morning. Want to know how to train like a pro? Join us to get race day ready with the champion himself.

Who better to help with our event training prep than GB’s 1500m world champion, Josh Kerr? The Let’s Do This team caught up with him to chat about everything from his top tips, to ‘that’ gold medal-winning moment – plus, the science behind why he pees on a pen every morning. Want to know how to train like a pro? Join us to get race day ready with the champion himself.

Josh Kerr on his gold medal-winning mindset

“If you trust that it’s going to be there, it’ll be there”, Josh Kerr wrote in his journal before the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest. This was the memorable race that would see him scoop the gold medal. “That means that I trust that my legs are going to feel good. I trust that my mind’s going to be making the right decisions and I’m going to be sharp on the day”, Kerr explains. His positive mindset has clearly played a role in his route to running success.  

Josh’s competitive nature appears to be another winning factor. We were curious to know what went through his mind in that final 200 metres. “It was all about putting pressure on”, he says, “I needed to make sure that Ingebrigtsen felt my presence. He kept looking over at me every 100 to 200m or so in that last 600, so I was like ‘Okay, I know he’s definitely not having an easy time of it’. My goal was to make sure that he was feeling pressure on that top bend so he was as tired as possible on that home stretch. Clearly, it worked. What else can we learn from Kerr’s success? We asked Josh to share his top training tips.  

Josh Kerr’s top three training tips

1.   Don’t compare yourself. “I run probably 50 to 60 miles less than some people I’m racing against […] I look at some people’s sessions and think ‘I can’t do that’. I’m still a world champion, but I can’t do those sessions. So don’t worry about what you can’t do – worry about what you can do”.

2.   Embrace your nerves. “When you’re in an individual sport and you look left and right and everyone’s trying to beat you, it’s a very difficult sport. There’s a reason you’re nervous and it’s because you care, but if you care too much and you get too nervous, you’re not going to do well. Just take a deep breath and go out and do what you do every day”.

3.   Prioritise rest.  “When I was in college, I got invited to run in New York in the murals mile and I spent the whole day walking around because I’d never been there. I got to the event and I was absolutely knackered. Staying off your feet and priming your body the day before is smart”.

Kerr’s nutritional recipe for success

Of course, nutrition plays a key role in any athlete’s training plan. Kerr advises against calorie counting and focussing on nutrition, instead. “I haven’t missed a single training day through illness or injury for two years”, he says. “Just make sure your body’s getting what it needs. That’s why I feel I’m hitting the peak right now. Because I fuel myself with the right amount of veg, protein, carbs and fat so my body can hit the tarmac every day and feel fine”. So, what does a gold medallist’s meal plan look like? 

Josh gave us the lowdown on his nutritional routine. “Monday night, Thursday night and Saturday night before sessions, we hit carbs pretty hard. Then we lower them the days after a session. So for example, Tuesday morning we’ll work out and then it’ll be a protein day for the rest of the day – pretty low on carbs. That’s the way we work things”.

Getting to know the real Josh Kerr

Off the track, Josh has one daily ritual that we weren’t expecting. “Err, yeah I can talk about it”, he grins, before divulging: “Every morning, I pee on a pen”. There’s a handy reason for it. “It tells me my hydration status so I can change my water/ sodium intake before training”, he says. “It’s a reasonably disgusting device. You pee in a cup every morning and it doesn’t look great, but it helps in making sure that I’m hydrated enough in the sessions”.

Once that’s been taken care of, Josh enjoys journalling and morning runs, where his training is often underscored by hard electronic dance music. “Every single time I put them on, my headphones tell me to turn down the music”, he says. On rest days, his go-to ritual is to get up early and have an ice bath, before napping for the rest of the day”. Josh also looks forward to spending time with his loved ones. It’s clear from our chat that he’s very much a family man. When asked who his biggest fan is, Josh replied “My family and my Mrs. My family as a whole”.

That rounds-off our chat with Josh Kerr. We left feeling inspired and ready to take on our next challenge. Though, we might leave the pee pen ritual – for now.

Yoga for Runners

Yoga for Runners

Yoga is the perfect solution for a runner's recovery, both physically and mentally. A simple but regular yoga routine will release tight muscles, increase range of motion, improve flexibility and make you an injury-free running machine! 

Yoga is the perfect solution for a runner's recovery, both physically and mentally. A simple but regular yoga routine will release tight muscles, increase range of motion, improve flexibility and make you an injury-free running machine! 

The best part? It won’t take long and it has beneficial long term effects - you might even find the mental gains of yoga start to overtake the physical ones! (But we’ll take both thanks). 

Fitting yoga into your running routine

At the end of the day, the best yoga for runners is the yoga routine you commit to.

Most runners are already in the groove with their training schedule, but the idea of stretching - let alone stretching those hammies - sends chills down the spine. We hear you, but you could be missing out on some worthwhile benefits for your recovery and mental stamina.

Yoga for runners is beneficial for both body and mind. Whether it’s a pre run or post run yoga routine, this physical practise focuses on lengthening and strengthening the muscles, as well as improving stability, balance and coordination. 

Plus, a steady rhythm of breath is key for a successful run - and this is the same for yoga. Relaxed breathing even when moments are challenging is a super power, this is what builds resilience and mental stamina. 

So, where to begin? The golden rule is to keep it simple. 

8 yoga poses for runners

Feast your eyes on eight yoga poses that will stretch your body, calm your mind and have you feeling rested and recuperated. 

  1. Downward Dog 

 A downward dog a day keeps the injuries away! 

This grounding yoga pose is a great inversion for lengthening the back of the legs and spine. You can do these pre-run and post-run. Try walking your heels one by one into the floor for an extra calf stretch!

Stretches and strengthens:
Calves, hamstrings, abdominal muscles, upper body; back and shoulders. 

How to: 

  • Start kneeling with hands underneath shoulders and knees in line with hips. Lift hips to the sky. 
  • Keep everything active. Draw the navel to your spine and the rib cage in (abdominal lock). Aim for straight legs (we know this can be tough in the beginning, so a bend in the knees is fine and soon you’ll develop greater hamstring flexibility). 
  • The intention is to send your heels to the ground. The more you practise the better you’ll get.  

Tip: The abdominal lock (known as uddiyana bandha in yoga terms) strengthens the core and this makes this pose more effective.

  1. Runners Lunge 

Give a warm welcome to your hip flexors! They’ll be so grateful to find you performing a runners lunge. 

Remember, your hip flexors want to be lengthened as well as strengthened! Over-stretching is not the answer, but it is a good idea post run. 

Stretches and strengthens:
Hip flexors, hamstrings, quad, it bands (lateral thigh).  Improves knee and ankle mobility. 

How to:

  • From a quadruped position place the right foot in between the hands. Keep hands in line with shoulders. 
  • Lift the left knee off of the ground and straighten the leg. Pay extra attention to keeping the leg straight and find tension in the left glute to support the lumbar spine. 
  • Keep an upright spine with the chest proudly forwards and shoulders away from the ears. 
  • Imagine breathing into the hip flexors and keep the crown of the head lifted towards the sky. 

Tip: You can do this dynamically as part of a pre run yoga routine or after a run by holding the pose for longer with slow breathes. 

  1. Revolved Low Lunge with quad stretch

Let’s bring the quads to the party. The quadriceps are a group of muscles located on the anterior of the leg and they can get super tight with lots of running and exercise. 

Stretches and strengthens:
Hip flexors, hamstrings, quads, shoulders, spine. 

How to:

  • As above, but with a twist! Keep the left hand on the floor and in line with the left shoulder. Drop the left knee to the ground. 
  • Rotate the spine to the right and reach your right hand to the sky. 
  • Bend the left knee and reach for the left ankle. Pull the left foot toward the body. Be sure to keep the glutes engaged and breathe to move deeper into the pose. If you can’t reach your ankle yet, try using a strap or lean your foot against a wall for support. 

Tip: As you twist, encourage a deeper flow of breath into the body to generate fresh blood and oxygen to the spine. 

  1. Saddle pose (Double or Single leg)

In case the revolved lunge didn’t quite hit the spot, we can bet this stretch will. Saddle isn’t for the faint hearted, but worth every whimper. 

Usually found in yin yoga sequences which include more passive holds. Yin yoga for runners is another excellent option for relieving tight muscles and encourages stillness. 

Note: Take extra care if you’ve had any prior injury to the knees. Be sure to use props to elevate if necessary.  

Stretches and strengthens:
Quads, hip flexors, psoas, anterior core, ankle and knee mobility, shins, increases flexibility in the lower back.   

How to: 

  • Start kneeling with glutes to heels in a Hero pose. (If not possible, place a small towel underneath the knees to create more space, or sit on something to elevate the hips). 
  • Untuck and extend the right leg straight along the floor. Press hands into the floor and lift hips up to find a posterior pelvic tilt.  Slowly make your way down onto the forearms or possibly onto your back into a Reclined Hero pose.
  • For something deeper, try both legs bent and then reach arms up over head. Remember to breathe deeply and keep a posterior pelvic tilt.
  • To come out, roll to the side of the straight leg or tuck the chin and use forearms to push up gently.

Tip: Take it slow as you move into this deep back extension, be sure to keep the navel active; pull in and up to the spine (remember the abdominal lock) and maintain a posterior pelvic tilt. 

  1. Reclined Pigeon 

Lay back, relax and get all the goodness of a glute stretch in a supine position. You can use this as a warm up or cool down pose. 

Stretches: glutes, hips, hamstrings, piriformis.

How to:

  • Lie on your back with knees parallel and feet hip distance apart. Cross right ankle over left thigh. 
  • Reach through the gap in the legs and hold the hamstring of the left thigh. Use your right elbow to push the right knee away and then slowly draw the legs closer towards the chest using the breath. Keep the head on the mat. 

Tip: Holding this supine pose for a longer period of time can help with hip-opening and decompresses the lower spine which can help relieve any nasty back pain symptoms or dull aches and pains in the lower spine. 

  1. Reclined big toe pose 

Your hammies might be upset with you at first, but with practise this one will become your best friend. 

This is one of the best yoga poses for runners as it allows fresh blood to travel down towards the hips and improves flexibility of the hips and lower back. 

Stretches and strengthens:
Hamstrings, quads, calves, abdominal wall. Improves blood flow to legs and hips. 

How to: 

  • Lie in a supine position with both legs extended along the floor. Keep your head on the floor the whole time. Lift the right leg up to the ceiling. Use a strap to go around the flexed right foot (or if possible, hold the big toe). 
  • Straighten the leg as much as possible. A slight bend of the knee is okay as you work on the hamstring flexibility. Go steady. Take deep breaths and with every exhale gently pull the leg closer towards you. Keep this active. 

Tip: This pose is done best with the abdominal lock. Pull the tummy in to tighten the abdominal muscles to strengthen them and also keep them firm! Win win. 

  1. Supine spinal twist pose 

This grounding pose calms the body and mind. Perfect post run. The abdominal twist also stimulates digestion by massaging the organs. 

Relax your lower back and encourage spinal health with this reclined twist. 

Stretches and strengthens:
Spine, lower back, glutes, pecs. 

How to: 

  • Lie on the side with hips stacked and knees in line with hips. Arms are extended along the floor and in line with shoulders.  
  • Hold the knees so they stay stacked. Reach the top arm above the head and then behind to create a twist in the spine. 
  • Hold the arm behind to get a stretch in the chest and breathe slowly. 

Tip: Hold the arm behind for three to four breathes to get a deeper stretch across the pecs. 

  1. Child Pose 

Last but not least, child pose. Almost everybody’s favourite. This position brings the heart rate back to normal and is considered a restorative pose. 

Stretches and strengthens: 

Lower and upper spine, lats, hips. 

How to: 

  • Start kneeling with glutes to heels. (If not possible, place a small towel underneath the knees to create more space, or sit on something to elevate the hips). 
  • Place knees mat width apart and fold forward. Go as far as feels comfortable. Rest your head on the floor or a prop. 
  • Let your belly relax and your diaphragm expand as you breathe deeply into your lower spine. 

Tip: For an extra lat stretch reach the left hand slightly over to the left and place the right hand on top. Repeat on the other side. Enjoy this one - it’s a goodie! 

So, why should you include yoga in your running training routine?

  • It’s great for pre run and post run because it uses both active and passive stretching. 
  • What sets yoga apart from simply ‘stretching’ is the emphasis on breathing and its meditative qualities.
  • Many yoga routines also include balancing exercises which greatly improve coordination, core stability and neuroplasticity.

And remember: 

  • We love props! Use them whenever you need to, whether you’re a beginner or intermediate. They create space and support your joints.  
  • Though we recommend yoga as the best recovery, a pre-run yoga routine that includes dynamic stretches and balancing exercises would be beneficial too. 

Here’s to you and all your future running and yoga-ing. You’ve got this! 

The world’s best cycling documentaries

Grab the remote, take a seat (be it on the sofa or on your at-home training bike) and prepare to be thoroughly amazed by this line up of epic, tragic, gripping, thrilling, life-affirming, jaw dropping cycling documentaries.

Grab the remote, take a seat (be it on the sofa or on your at-home training bike) and prepare to be thoroughly amazed by this line up of epic, tragic, gripping, thrilling, life-affirming, jaw dropping cycling documentaries.

MAMIL, 2018

Sunday in Hell, 1976

Clean Spirit, 2014

The Stars and Water carriers, 1973

Icarus, 2017

Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story, 2014

Slaying the Badger, 2014

Geraint Thomas: The Road will Decide, 2019

The 1991 Motorola Cycling Team documentary, 1991

23 Days in July, 1983

Paris-Roubaix 2016 Backstage Pass, 2016

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