Ask Us Anything

Think of us as your active-lifestyle agony aunt. From gear recommendations to running hacks, we’ll answer all your event-related questions. Our favourites will feature across our social pages and in these newsletters.

Think of us as your active-lifestyle agony aunt. From gear recommendations to running hacks, we’ll answer all your event-related questions. Our favourites will feature across our social pages and in these newsletters.

To get your questions answered, either DM us at @letsdothis_ or email in at

The best ones we’ll share here on our blog, in our newsletters and across social media to help others in our community. 

To view the latest questions and answers from our community, click here.

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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! 


How should beginners train for a marathon?

In our experience, the post London Marathon ballot day leaves us either feeling totally amped to get training or seriously disappointed about missing out. If you’re in the disappointed camp, time to set your sights on something else.

In our experience, the post London Marathon ballot day leaves us either feeling totally amped to get training or seriously disappointed about missing out. If you’re in the disappointed camp, time to set your sights on something else.

Find your marathon

For those raring to go ahead of marathon day, this post will give you the lowdown on everything you need to get through your marathon-whether it’s your first or you’re prepping for a PB.

So, how long does it take to train for a marathon?

Generally speaking it can take anywhere between 12 to 24 weeks to train for a marathon–depending on your fitness level and how regularly you already run. 

There are plenty of marathon training plans out there, but to begin with it can all seem very overwhelming. 

Your first step is to decide on your goals and work out whether they are attainable. Do you currently run 3 days a week? Then don’t choose a training plan that wants you to be running 6 days a week–your body will be overwhelmed with all the extra mileage and you’ll most likely get injured. 

While you’ll be excited to start running further distances, try to trust the process and listen to your body. The risks of not increasing your mileage sensibly could end in a trip to the physio and your marathon plans in the balance. 

To avoid this, make sure to book your marathon well in advance and set aside a good few weeks of light, easy running to begin to increase your mileage before starting your training plan. 

TOP TIP:  When building up your mileage you should be increasing it by 10% each week at the very most. This is so your body can acclimate to the extra strain of the added distance.  If you’re a complete beginner, try to book your marathon 6 months to a year in advance to ensure you have plenty of time to prepare. 

Do I need to run the marathon distance before I run a marathon? 

This one’s completely up to you, but most coaches and training plans strongly advise against it. If you’re aiming for a specific time (especially if it’s not your first marathon), the most you may want to run in training is around 22-24 miles.

How to pace for a marathon 

One thing you definitely should be doing is running at your marathon goal pace.

For example, if you want to run the marathon in 4 hours, you should be adding marathon pace mileage into your runs in accordance to that time. 

A good way of doing this is to add pacing into your longer runs. For example you could run 1 hour at an easy pace with the last 30 minutes at your goal marathon pace. This type of run is a great way to prepare your body and acclimatise to the pace that you’ll be aiming for during the race. 

Do I need to be running races in the lead up to a marathon?

It’s a great idea to get a feel for racing before you tackle a marathon race.

If you’re following a 16 week training plan, it’s worth racing once a month as you slowly increase your distance. The week of your races you should be aiming to run less distance to ensure you’re ready for the higher intensity of the race..

For example after the first 4 weeks, you could try your local park run or a 5k race. Experiencing multiple race days will help get your legs prepared for running longer distances at your goal marathon pace (or faster if you’re having a good day!) and your mind prepped for dealing with the excitement of the day. 

After your 5k race you can then begin to increase your mileage further for 3 weeks and then tackle a 10k race

You can treat these races as a rehearsal for your marathon in more ways than just aiming for a higher intensity workout. You’ll get used to running in a crowd, pick up tricks for establishing your toilet routine, work out how your body functions on long and exciting runs, and learn what pre-race fuel works well for you.

Half marathon training runs

A perfect way to test out your fueling is by doing a half marathon. A half marathon is the perfect distance and duration for testing out how to fuel well during a race, as most guidance suggests that you should be eating on any run above 12k.

What fuel do I need to use during a marathon?

During a marathon, nutrition is key. You should be practicing fuelling correctly on training runs as well as in your races leading up to the marathon

A general rule of thumb in a marathon is to start fueling 1 hour into your race, and then every half an hour after the first hour. Remember everyone is different and it is up to you to decide how much fuel you need.

What to eat during a half marathon

Many runners use electrolyte gels. Gels contain a high concentration of carbohydrates and sugars to keep you going. There are plenty of brands out there to try, and best of all you can fit two or three in a running bum bag or a zipped pocket in your running shorts. 

If you don’t like gels there are plenty of alternatives, such as sweets as well as nutritional snacks like nuts that work in the same way. Ultimately, everyone is different, so it’s essential to make sure you test out your fuel to see what works. 

Ultimately, whether you’re taking on your first or fiftieth marathon, it’s an incredible achievement and a truly memorable experience. By preparing and thinking about your mileage, training plans, nutrition and race technique, you’ll help to make sure you can get the most out of your marathon experience.

Happy training!

person who has finished a marathon

Marathon Recovery: How to Get Back to Your Best After 26.2

You’ve put in the hours and passed up on the social plans. Marathon day is finally here, and you’ve earned a lifetime of pride after making your way through those gruelling 26.2 miles...

You’ve put in the hours and passed up on the social plans. Marathon day is finally here, and you’ve earned a lifetime of pride after making your way through those gruelling 26.2 miles.

But your journey doesn’t stop here. Post-marathon recovery is an essential part of the process – and can also be part of the fun!

In post-recovery and looking for your next marathon moment? Check out the best UK marathons out there and book your next one today.

What happens to your body after a marathon?

Whether you’re fit as a fiddle or a long-distance novice, marathon running puts an incredible strain on your body. First, your glycogen stores will be low, having put your muscles through their paces. The muscles themselves have also taken a hammering, as well as your tendons, ligaments and bones. 

You may even find you’re shorter than when you started! Spinal compression makes us lose up to 1.25cm in height. You’ll likely be dehydrated too, and have lost up to 5kg in fluid. The physical toll may cause hormonal imbalances, leading to a weakened immune system.

After such a wild ride, proper marathon recovery is essential. From muscle repair to a better immune response, you need the right balance of rest and nutrition.

What should runners do after finishing a marathon?

Recovery after marathons starts from the minute you cross the finish line. Scary as it might sound, keep moving – static stretching could make muscle damage worse. Walk calmly through to the post-race area and treat yourself to a carb-rich snack.

Try a 90-minute nap to encourage muscle repair through REM sleep. Save the post-run pints for a few days afterwards. Your body will already be dehydrated and susceptible to colds.

For the following few days, try low-impact exercise such as swimming. Keeping moderately active (not running) can help to increase strength. By day 4, you’ll be ready for a post-run massage

Within a week, you might want to try a light recovery run after a marathon – but listen to your body! Never run through the pain.

How much time should I take off after running a marathon?

Everybody’s marathon recovery time is different. It depends on your fitness, strength and experience – plus how much training you’ve gone through beforehand.

You may have heard the theory that you need 26 days for 26 miles. Some even recommend 42 days for 42km! If you’re fit and active, you’ll probably need far less time before you start feeling back to your old self. But the right marathon recovery plan will help.

Both studies and anecdotal evidence tell us that people start to feel better after around seven days. Here are ways you can speed up your post-marathon recovery:

Monitor your fluid intake

Keep an eye on your urine to make sure you’re not dehydrated. Ideally, you’re aiming for a light yellow, straw colour. If it’s consistently dark, you may need to up your fluids.

Maintain blood flow

Healthy blood flow is an essential part of your post-marathon recovery plan. This encourages healing by transporting oxygen, proteins and potassium around the body. Light exercise such as yoga and swimming will help, as well as warm baths and massages from day 4 onwards.

Refuel appropriately

The one time when it might be advisable to eat pizza is after a marathon! Your body will not only have lost water, but vital electrolytes. Replenishing your salts is as important as replenishing your carbohydrate stores. 

Of course, this isn’t a free pass for junk food forever. In the days afterwards, go for protein-rich foods and try anti-inflammatories such as berries, nuts and fish.

How to prioritise rest and recovery

The best recovery for runners involves a whole lot of sleep. Aim for eight hours each night, and wind yourself down a few hours before. Banish the blue lights and put yourself into a relaxed state – no devices in the bedroom!

For active marathon recovery, try a restorative walk in the woods. If you’re short on time, work it into social plans with friends or during a lunch break. Change up your gym routine in response to your body: weeks 1 and 2 should be stretching and low-impact exercise, while you can resume weightlifting from week 2.

Our bodies can take up to a month to heal completely from the stress of a marathon, so hold off on the harder training runs until then.

I feel fine after running a marathon. Do I really need a recovery break?

Even seasoned marathon runners need a post-marathon recovery plan. You may be itching to pound the pavement again, but your body is still undergoing stress, even if you don’t feel it. Scratch your exercise itch with low-impact activities and take this time to sleep.

Hang your medal up with pride and start thinking about your next goal. You will run again, but you do need a break – you deserve it!

5 best-practices for avoiding a stitch while out running

Stitched can be super annoying. In this case, prevention is the best treatment, so here are our top 5 tips for how to stop a stitch while you're out running.

A stitch is a sharp or stabbing pain in the abdomen that can make you feel the need to slow down or stop running. It’s common in long-distance running, and can also cause pain in the shoulder or neck. But why do we get a stitches while running and, importantly, how can we prevent them?

When it comes to the cause of running stitches, there are two theories. Theory A is that the blood pumped to the limbs during exercise puts pressure on the diaphragm, causing the stitch. Whereas Theory B is that a stitch is caused by the body struggling to digest during exercise.

Either way, one thing for sure: a stitch can be super annoying. In this case, prevention is the best treatment, so here are our top 5 tips for how to stop stitch while you're out running.

Strengthen your core

Having a strong core is great for a lot more than just preventing stitches. When it comes to running, it will help to improve form and posture. On top of this, a strong core can help to prevent you from getting a stitch by protecting your organs and giving you more control over your running pace. So, if you find that you regularly get a stitch when running, think about incorporating some core exercises into your routine. You won't regret it, and these exercises will leave you well prepared for your next training run or race.

Woman doing bicycle crunch

Avoid big meals right before running

Theory B suggests that what we eat plays a huge role in whether we get a stitch or not, as it comes down to digestion. This highlights the importance of diet and nutrition when running. While it’s important to be well fuelled for your run, experts suggest avoiding eating a large meal too soon before you head out - especially if your meal is heavy on fat and fibre, which takes longer to digest. But, the digestion system is complex and there’s no “one size fits all”. Play around and find what works for you, whether that’s having a light pre-run meal, snacking en route or using energy gels to stay fuelled.

Focus on your breathing

A stitch is often related to the way we breathe when we’re running. This is to do with Theory A - that it’s all caused by the diaphragm. The idea is that shallow breathing, which comes from the chest, doesn’t give the muscles enough oxygen. But how does this knowledge help you? Well, if you focus on the quality of your breathing from the beginning of your run then you should be able to prevent a stitch from occurring. This means breathing in and out through your nose (where possible) and breathing deeply from your stomach, not your chest. Think of your breath as one fluid motion and try to maintain control.

Warm up

Seeing as a stitch can be linked to breathing, it’s important to prepare your body for the exercise you’re about to do. If you go from standing to sprinting without a warm up, you’ll find that your breathing is erratic and uncontrolled. If it’s cold outside, you might also find yourself struggling to breathe or seizing up. A warm up helps to prepare your body for exercise and lifts your heart rate gradually, regulating your breathing. Pre-run yoga is a great way to help focus the breath and warm the muscles up gently.

Stay hydrated

Did you know that a stitch can be triggered by fruit juice? This is due to sugar leaving the body. But, while you should avoid fruit juice and sugary drinks of that nature, it’s important to stay hydrated when running. Drinking water or a sports drink while running may prevent a stitch, as theories suggest a stitch can occur from dehydration. However, it’s also important to be aware that, while hydration is key, drinking too much water before a run could also trigger stomach pains due to excess water sloshing around. The best option is to hydrate gradually, drinking little and often before you head out on your run.

Runner drinking from her water bottle

What if you do get a stitch?

Don’t panic! Here are our top tips:

#1 - Stop running and touch your toes - it works, apparently!

#2 - “Exhale deeply and push your stomach out” - tip from Laura Hamzic from the NHS couch to 5K.

#3 - Put pressure on the area - and massage gently.

#4 - Stop and stretch - leaning away from the side of the stitch.

Just starting out on your running journey? Download our free 5km training plan to add some structure to your training.

Free 5km Training Plan

Stephanie Ede, running with an SIS energy gel|||||||Pre event running gels||

The best running gels that are guaranteed to get you through your next race

Running gels or energy supplements are needed for any event with more than 90 minutes of intense exercise. Here's Let's Do This pick of the best on the market right now.

Ever heard of hitting the wall? Well, this occurs when your glycogen - the carbohydrate store in your muscles and liver which gives you energy - runs low. Running gels will help to replenish these carbohydrate stores and reinvigorate your running.

Generally, gels are needed for people participating in half marathon, marathon or ultra marathon races as well as Half Ironman, or Ironman events. Or, to put a specific time on it, any event that requires more than 90 minutes of intense exercise.

Rule of thumb: if you’ve not been training with running gels, don’t decide to use them on race day. Running gels are not for everyone, and they can cause an upset tummy. So, if you’re looking for that extra energy shot come race day, then make sure you’ve been using it during your training.

With this in mind, I’ve included some other energy products which might work for you. As ever, I spoke to the Let's Do This team to get their recommendations for the best running gels and energy alternatives currently on the market.

SiS Go Isotonic

When it comes to running gels, Science in Sport (SiS) are one of the best in class. These gels have 22g of carbohydrate per sachet and are designed to efficiently top up your glycogen levels during an intense race. SiS Go Isotonic energy gels were recommended by double Olympic medalist Constantine Louloudis, because the gels are not too thick or gloopy which makes them easy to take on.

SiS Beta Fuel

For events with an endurance focus or if you need to conveniently carry a lot of carbs, look to the new Beta Fuel range from SiS. Each gel contains 40g of carbohydrates, almost double that of a standard gel, and is made using a unique 1:08 ratio of maltodextrin to fructose. This blend allows the body to absorb and use up to 90g of carbs per hour, and has the added bonus of avoiding any stomach discomfort! As well as the standard, Beta Fuel gels come in a nootropic version with added caffeine for when you really need a boost.

Torq Gels

Torq energy gel for running

Another leader of the energy gel world, Torq offer a huge variety of flavours so you can really find what works best for you. If you’re just starting to use running gels, then it’s worth testing Torq’s sample pack. Each gel holds 30g of carbohydrate, so slightly up on the SiS Go Isotonic gel. With that amount of carbs, it’s even more important that you’ve been training with these ahead of race day.

Maurten Gel 100

Maurten energy gel

The Maurten running gel comes in very highly recommended by Jessica Frey, former CEO of Virgin Sports who, in her own words, "absolutely loves Maurten". And, it’s also the chosen running gel for Eliod Kipchoge, Mo Farah, and Kenensisa Bekele. So, you’re in good company on this one. Jessie used the gels to get her through her first Ironman event and describes them as not too sickeningly sweet. Each satchet contains 25g of carbohydrate.

High 5 Iso

High 5 Iso energy gels

Another gels that comes highly recommended from the team, as a result of it being not too gummy or viscous in nature - making it much easier to eat and digest. That said, I've been well warned that this also makes these gels easier to spill while running, so get ready for sticky fingers. These 60ml sachets contain 23g of carbs and are completely caffeine free.

Clif Boks Energy Chews

Clif bloks running gel alternative

Ok, so this is an energy bar rather than gel. But still, these energy chews are perfect if you're out on a running adventure or if you can't stomach running gels. They come in five different flavours - Black Cherry, Margarita Citrus, Mountain Beer, Strawberry, and Tropic Punch - and each bar has 8g of carbohydrate and 33 calories, making them ideal for some mid-run fuel.

Honey Stinger Energy Chews

Honey stinger energy chews, a good alternative to energy gels

Energy chews are another good alternative to a straight running gel, and the Honey Stinger’s are some of the best in the business. I'd especially recommend the fruit smoothie flavour. These small chews are perfect for regular snacking while you’re out on the trails, or running in an ultramarathon. One 50g packet contains a total carbohydrate of 39g, with 160 calories inside each packet.

Do you use running gels or do you prefer alternatives? Let us know in the comments below.

Stephanie Ede taking on some SIS energy after a run
Stephanie Ede and two others returning to running after an injury

8 expert-backed tips for returning to running after an injury

If you’ve ever been sidelined from running, you’ll know how upsetting it can be. Running injuries come in all shapes and sizes; from shin splints to runner’s knee to broken bones, all are unpleasant and can hinder your running routine. Most injuries require periods of rest for a full recovery which, despite it being annoying, means taking a break from running for as long as the doctor or physio recommends.

If you’ve ever been sidelined from running, you’ll know how upsetting it can be. Running injuries come in all shapes and sizes; from shin splints to runner’s knee to broken bones, all are unpleasant and can hinder your running routine. Most injuries require periods of rest for a full recovery which, despite it being annoying, means taking a break from running for as long as the doctor or physio recommends.

Importantly, even after the recovery phase, returning to running after an injury isn’t as simple as lacing up and bouncing out the door. It can be a stressful experience, and you might find that you’ve lost confidence. However, plenty of runners successfully get their mojo back after an injury. All it takes is patience and perseverance. So, to help you get back into action, we’ve put together some tips from those who know best, including Lucy Bartholomew, Stephanie Ede, and Constantine Louloudis.

1. Use the 10 minute rule - Lucy Bartholomew

Lucy Bartholomew is a 24-year-old ultra runner who ran her first 100k ultramarathon at the age of 15. Impressive, we know. She recommends the “10 minute rule” for runners recovery from an injury. This essentially means that you go out and run for 10 minutes to see how you feel. If the injured area is feeling stiff, sore or painful, you can stop. If not, you can keep going. The “10 minute rule” is all about getting you to listen to your body and understand what it needs, while taking less pressure off the run in the first instance.

2. Do pre-run and post-run yoga - Stephanie Ede

Stephanie Ede is a professional triathlete who leads up the customer success team at Let’s Do This. She puts her body to the test swimming, cycling and running immense distances, and recommends yoga as her go-to method when returning to running after an injury. A quick yoga routine before you run is great for warming up the muscles and improving body awareness, while post-run yoga helps cool down and loosen up. When recovering from an injury, yoga can help tap into the body and put you in a good headspace.

3. Combine walking and running - Constantine Louloudis

Constantine “Stan” Louloudis is a gold medal winning Olympic rower, who also works here at Let's Do This with us (yes, we’re very lucky). For those returning to running after an injury, he recommends walking before you can run - or doing a mix of the two. While runners often feel pressure to run for prolonged periods of time, the walk-run method is perfect for easing your body back into intense exercise. Stan also advises to spend at least 80% of your training at tempo pace so as not to do further damage or wear yourself out.

4. Drop the ego - Emma Kirk-Odunubi 

Emma Kirk-Odunubi is a footwear specialist and sports scientist who has been in the running industry for over 10 years. If you follow her on Instagram, you’ll know that she battles with IT band syndrome, which often flares up when running long distances. Emma recommends dropping the ego when it comes to running after an injury. On a 33KM planned run she decided to “stop at 30km and recover, rehab and be strong enough to come back later next week” - proving there’s no shame in deciding your body has had enough.

5. Stretch and foam roll - Claudia Saunders

Claudia Saunders is a professional athlete and a super speedy runner. She, like Steph, puts firm emphasis on stretching - with a particular focus on foam rolling. Why? Because the benefits of foam rolling are particularly poignant for those returning to running after an injury. Designed to relieve muscle tightness, soreness and inflammation, it can help assess how your body is feeling before and after a run, while also potentially preventing any future injuries.

6. Stay off road - Mo Farah

Mo Farah is the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history. This means he knows his stuff. When returning to running after an injury, Mo advises staying off road, as pavement can damage joints, ligaments and muscles. He recommends running on grass, wood chips and dirt instead, as these are kinder on the legs and will alleviate stress on your calves and knees.

7. Ignore the clock - Aisha Praught-Leer

Aisha Praught-Leer is a 1,500m runner who competes for Jamaica. In 2015, Aisha had achilles surgery - yet only one year she was competing at the 2016 Olympic games. So, how did she bounce back so successfully? Well, Aisha’s coach encouraged her to take off her watch when she was training and stop focusing on data. Times aren’t important in those early days. She recommends letting go of all the things that are getting in your way and making you worry - and simply just running, as quickly or slowly as you can.

8. Sleep and eat healthily - Paula Radcliffe

Paula Radcliffe is a former British long-distance runner and the three time winner of the London Marathon. She focuses on leading a healthy lifestyle to accompany here running, and this becomes even more important when recovering from an injury. Getting the right balance of protein, carbohydrate and essential fats alongside plenty of sleep and rest will ensure your injury is healing effectively and your body can support you. In short, if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you.

Ready to return to running after an injury? Check out our 5K races to get you back into the swing of things.

Women cold water swimming

7 reasons to try out cold water swimming

Everyone seems to be cold water swimming these days. And so they should! While plunging into freezing cold water might not be the first thing you think of when you hear the word “fun”, there are lots of benefits of cold water swimming, especially for runners training for a competitive race.

Everyone seems to be cold water swimming these days. And so they should! While plunging into freezing cold water might not be the first thing you think of when you hear the word “fun”, there are lots of benefits of cold water swimming, especially for runners training for a competitive race.

Whether it’s a river, lake or the ocean, here are some of the many benefits of cold water swimming.

Pain Relief

Got sore muscles? When you’re training for a running race such as a half marathon or marathon, aches and pains aren’t unusual. But have no fear, because cold water swimming can provide excellent pain relief. There’s a reason we use ice packs on sore muscles: cold water causes blood vessels to constrict, therefore reducing blood flow to the area and reducing swelling and inflammation. So, a cold water swim could increase your recovery and provide some much needed pain relief the day after a long run. 

Boosting your immune system

Alongside relieving aches and pains, cold water swimming has been scientifically proven to boost the immune system. This is because our bodies become more used to changing conditions, which boosts our white blood cell count. Those who regularly swim in cold water will find that their bodies get better at fighting off infections and may find they’re less run down.

Variation when training

Cold water swimming is a great exercise to add to your weekly training routine. You probably already know that strength training is important when it comes to running because it builds the muscles needed to run faster for longer. Well, swimming is great for this too, as it’s a powerful full body workout that boosts muscle growth. And, swimming in cold water could be even more effective, as it helps boost your immune system and prevent pain while strengthening those muscles.

Stephanie Ede, cold water swimming

Building lung capacity

Swimming is an aerobic exercise, which means it’s great for lung capacity. Activating the large muscle groups that require lots of oxygen, swimmers may find that they become less breathless when doing other exercises, making it a great exercise for runners. And, cold water swimmers need to focus on their breathing even more, as the temperature shocks the system, requiring even more control. Just be aware that cold water can be a severe shock to the system, so it’s important never to dive in.

Boosting your mood and reducing stress

Ever heard of endorphins? Cold water swimming is so addictive because it guarantees them, every time. While the exercise alone stimulates endorphins, the cold water also shocks the body, increasing the feeling of adrenaline. This means that you essentially get two for one when it comes to the exercise high. And, cold water swimming is also great for stress management and inspiring calmness, especially when it takes place in a natural quiet landscape. It can even be used as a way to treat depression.

Burning calories

Not everyone exercises for enjoyment, and that's absolutely ok. If you’re exercising to try and get into shape, cold water swimming could be a great workout to add to your repertoire. When done right, cold water swimming burns calories - fast. Swimming is already a great workout because it works the entire body while boosting lung capacity and reducing stress. But, cold water swimming can be even better. The intense cold forces your body to work extra hard to stay warm, burning more calories as a result. So, alongside a healthy diet, one or two cold swims a week could make a huge difference when it comes to weight loss.

It’s free!

Exercising can be expensive. From pricey gym memberships to fancy trainers, some exercises just aren’t that accessible to everyone. Cold water swimming is great because anyone can do it. While some like to invest in a wetsuit or other thermal gear, all the boldest and bravest cold water swimmers need is a swimsuit.  

Recently taken up cold water swimming? Let us know your favourite spots in the comments below.

Pre run food

What should I eat the night before a long run?

Have you ever been on a run and felt lacking in energy? Dizzy or weak? An urgent need for a bathroom stop? If any of these feelings are familiar, then it sounds like you need some help on what to eat before a run. Importantly, you want to ensure you're eating the right thing the night before a race and remove any risk of hitting the wall during a half marathon or marathon.

Have you ever been on a run and felt lacking in energy? Dizzy or weak? An urgent need for a bathroom stop? If any of these feelings are familiar, then it sounds like you need some help on what to eat before a run. Importantly, you want to ensure you're eating the right thing the night before a race and remove any risk of hitting the wall during a half marathon or marathon.

When it comes to running, what we eat is important. The “right” food gives us the energy we need to keep going, but the “wrong” foods could cause an upset stomach or make us feel lethargic. So, it’s important to make sure you fuel up correctly before a competitive race - especially if you’re aiming for a PB. In this article, we’ll break down competitive races and suggest what to eat before running them.

General Advice

Before we get into specifics, there are a few things to know about running and food. While runners might think that breakfast matters more than their meal the night before, what you eat the night before a run is absolutely vital because it’ll be your main energy store.

Generally, runners should focus on the four main areas for their pre-race evening meal: carbohydrates, protein, fats and vitamins and minerals. Let’s break them down.

  • Carbs: Arguably, these are the most important. Stored in the muscles and liver, carbs will help keep your energy high, prevent your blood sugar from dropping and help replenish glycogen levels. Whole grain carbohydrates like brown rice or pasta get the best results.
  • Protein: Protein intake is important because it reduces the likelihood of injuries by accelerating muscle growth and helping to rebuild muscle fibres. Choose protein that’s low in fat, such as eggs, fish and poultry.
  • Fats: That being said, a small amount of fat is essential in a healthy diet, and runners need this valuable metabolic fuel for energy. Polyunsaturated fats are best, such as sunflower seeds, fatty fish like mackerel and salmon, and avocados.
  • Vitamins and minerals: All runners need vitamins and minerals to turn food into energy, maintain bone strength and repair muscle tissue. Get vitamin A from sweet potatoes and kale, and find valuable calcium in milk and spinach.

So, how can you apply each of these food groups to your pre-race evening meal?

What to eat before a 5k race

5K races are great for beginners. They are a short and sweet runs which mean you can really enjoy the whole process. While a 5K running race might not need too much preparation, it’s still important to eat well the night before. We’re talking complex carbohydrates, protein and a little fat to give your body enough energy to perform at it’s best.

Suggestion: Grilled salmon, brown rice and steamed veg such as broccoli or spinach.

What to eat before a 10k race

A 10K race is more challenging, but a great distance for runners who are training for longer races or who enjoy the speed of a 5k run, with that extra challenge. Your pre-10K meal should provide you with plenty of energy for the next day, so think about what you might eat for a 5K and increase the protein and veg. You could also fuel up on carbs gradually in the run up to your race.

Suggestion: Grilled or oven-cooked chicken breast, roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus.

What to eat before a half marathon

Now we're onto the big ones, where what you eat before the run becomes even more important. A half marathon is when running starts to get really challenging. You’ll need to train for a few months and watch your diet throughout the process so your body is well fuelled for longer distances. Your pre-half marathon meal should be carb heavy without overloading. Either of the 5K or 10K meals would do it (but you might want a slightly larger portion), or you could follow in Jessica Ennis-Hill’s footsteps and go for something a tad more interesting like a pasta bake.

What to eat before a marathon

Running a marathon is a huge achievement, and it takes dedication. This doesn’t just mean in terms of training - it also means in terms of your diet. You’ll need to avoid fizzy drinks, fast food and alcohol during training, and eat nutritious dinners during the week in the run up to your race. The evening before, we recommend Mo Farah’s staple meal of pasta, steamed vegetables and grilled chicken. You might also want to bring some running snacks with you on race day such as energy drinks or gummies - but practise with these beforehand as they could upset your stomach.

Tips for pre-race day eating:

#1 - Go light on fibre: Whether you’re running a 5K or a marathon, too much fibre could upset your stomach and cause an unwanted bathroom break.

#2 - You don’t need a carb overload: Yes, carbs are great for runners, but you don’t need to eat them in excess. Watch your portion size so you don’t feel lethargic or sluggish.

#3 - Enjoy your meal: Eating healthily is important before race day, but the chances are you’ll be nervous. Cook something you enjoy and want to eat to help with the nerves.

#4 - Stay hydrated: Hydration is key when it comes to running, no matter the distance. Your evening meal should be accompanied with plenty of water, and go easy on the salt.

#5 - Listen to your gut: What to eat before running can vary - and you know your body better than anyone. If you have any underlying health conditions or intolerances, listen to your gut and go with what you know it can handle.

We'd love to hear what you eat before running or what your special pre-race meal is? Let us know in the comments and feel free to share your recipe!

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