Training and motivation

Winter bug stopped your running streak?

Germy the messy runner bristol winter cold flu face (2)

Hello there, ye Great British winter. You are a great season for running, with your crisp coldness and poignant-looking pathways, giving us the excuse to layer up.

But you are a terrible season for welcoming in those damned pesky germs. You know, the ones that scupper our best-laid running plans. That halt a nicely building running streak. Yes, you. YOU.

It always starts the same way (for me at least). A scratchy throat and encroaching leaden fatigue, leading into sinusy giddiness and full-face snot explosions. Lovely. That’s been me for the past week (lucky Harry!) and right now, as I type, clattering words together with a brain composed mainly of mashed potato.


The biggest frustration with being ill, is having to stop, even if your logical self knows it’s your body saying ‘woah there’. And especially if you’re the sort of person who can find it hard to get back into running after a much-needed break. So, writing from one germed-up amateur runner to another, here are some things I’ve found help me get through the dumbfounding boredom and infuriation of winter sickness.

Picking up a running / health / wellbeing magazine

the messy runner runners world winter flu germs (2)

Let’s face it, you’ll have time to pour through it now you’re all bunged up and in quarantine from the office. I find picking up (or getting your nearest and dearest to source a copy) of a good running-dedicated publication to be a pretty good tactic to keep spirits and motivation up.

Runner’s World is the obvious choice. Think panoramic photography of covetable round-the-world running spots, focus on improving and strengthening, forthcoming challenges and inspirational human interest stories. Gobble it all up and store it for later.

If you’re up to it, gentle stretching

I’ve found this to be a good halfway activity when feeling rubbish and a bit blue with it. Stretching is as important to runners as hydration anyhow, helping keep your body supple and moving so you’re not going from cold when you do get back up and running. What’s more, with plenty of yoga-based stretch videos of various lengths and intensity available on YouTube, it’s free! Even if you’re only in for one minute or ten, it’s a constructive low-intensity activity that’s not only good for you, but ensures down time doesn’t have to be tumbleweed time.

Running Shoot-3
© Tom Howl Fields

Get some fresh air to gauge how you’re feeling

Stepping outside is for me, along with stretching, always a good test of how I’m doing. Even in this nippy weather, getting out for a gentle trundle around the block, or even sitting out in the garden with a cuppa is a good idea. Again, it helps keep your body ticking along and gives you some of that lovely Vitamin D our bodies like. Yep, even on those gloomy overcast days.

Really listen to some music

Using your non-running time as an excuse to just listen has become a bit of a favourite thing of mine actually. I mean when was the last time you got to just lay down and absorb a full album? And I don’t mean while scrolling on your smartphone. I’m talking about conscientiously finding a record that spikes your curiosity, dimming or shutting off the lights, and having a bit of a headphones moment. Well, with or without your headphones. I find it both relaxes and indulges my hungry creativity monster.

Make a reinvigorating soup!

Soup is nice. And it’s usually pretty uninvolved to cook. Turmeric is tasty and with all of the hype around the wonder spice, feels even healthier to ingest than usual. I like making courgette and turmeric soup.

Courgette turmeric soup the messy runner bristol

Order something new to take out on your run

Is there any kit you’ve been hankering after but haven’t got round to acquiring? It could be a new water bottle, headphones, sweat band or socks – it doesn’t have to be mega. But again, researching and then waiting for the post to come is a fairly gentle, enjoyable and exciting activity (if you’re the excitable type).

Watch a motivational documentary

If you haven’t seen the BBC Mind Over Marathon documentary, which saw ordinary people experiencing various mental health issues embark on training to complete the London Marathon, first time round, you missed a trick. What a beautiful, and highly inspirational thing it was. Embodying the full power of running in helping lift the spirit and support mental wellness. I’d recommend this interview with MoM runners Jake and Poppy here. Or, of course, find your own nugget of inspiration.

Last, but absolutely not least, bide your time with this whole recovery thing. It will be worth it. Plus some, albeit forced, full-bodied space from the running game could help you come back wiser and more well-rounded.

I’d love to hear about your own Winter bug motivation boosters! Comment below or Like The Messy Runner on Facebook.

Training and motivation

How to get out running in cold weather

Woman wearing snowy scarf

Brrrrrrrr! The weather is getting a wee bit nippy out, putting us well into the season of scarves and snoods here in Bristol, UK. For anyone who struggles with the idea of running at any time of year, the idea of setting foot on frosty ground from November-to-February is going to be even less appealing, right? But I tell you now, as a hot-blooded (often overheating) mammal with a standard 9-to-10 minute-per-mile running pace, once you’re out there, you’ll be glad you made the effort.

No, really!

So, if you have the motivation to at least give it a go, here are five things that have really helped me get up and running in the darker, colder months … along with one major thing to avoid.

Try it!

  1. Get your gear on!The Messy Runner lycra Bristol running

First things first, if you don’t get out of that snuggly jumper and into some mean-looking lycra, it ain’t ever gonna happen. So rule number one is to shift your mentality by physically getting into your running gear. That’s it.

  1. Layer up for five/ten minutes’ time

It can be very tempting to wrap up like Joey dressed as Chandler when you’re bracing yourself to go out. However it’s not really the most practical approach, as chances are, you’ll need to start peeling layers off a few paces down the road. And it adds literal weight to what should be a freeing activity! Visualise how steamed up you usually get after some minutes of movement, and dress for THAT.

  1. Warm up with some active stretches indoors before you go

Last winter especially, I got into the habit of upping my heart rate just a little before stepping out of the front door. For me, this involved some jumping jacks, some steady lunges, shoulder and gentle neck rolls, and some ankle rotations. Whatever your front room allows for!

  1. …then a couple more once you step outside!

Now you’ve warmed up a little, get focused on phase two of your warm up, this time outside. I’d recommend some knee lifts and heel kicks (they’re one of my go-tos), followed by some gentle jogging up and down your street, before you start on your run ‘proper’.

  1. Bring gloves … and some pockets to put them in.

If you do tend to get nippy fingers, runners’ gloves are a good investment. Even if you end up taking them off a short way into your run, they will help you get through that first cold-blast bit, and are usually thin and light enough to cram into one of those compact pockets you find on running gear.

All that aside, there is one Big Thing to avoid in this cold weather.

winter drive

ICE. If it’s skiddy outside, I really would just call it quits and go to your local gym (or wait until it thaws out). Otherwise it’s all too easy to injure yourself, and then you may not be running at all, my friend.

You’re all set!

Let me know how you go by commenting below or by Liking The Messy Runner on Facebook.

Training and motivation

OUCH! The Messy Runner’s top five tips for recovery after an ankle sprain

It’s a typical September night here in Bristol UK. You know the kind. The damp grey, drizzled under foot kind. The leaves have turned and tumbled to paste on the ground kind. The students are rowdily back into the swing of another boozy academic year, kind. Draw in deep the steamy city air and heave a sigh, reader. Then cast your eye over that cosy-looking edge-of-Clifton bar, and in that shadowing corner, spy the short, twenties-ish girl with the fiery hair, tapping away at her laptop, writing this spiel, chiseling a frown line in concentration and drinking non-alcoholic beer.

Non-alcoholic beer?! NON-alcoholic beer? What are you, an amateur, woman?!

The answer, oh generalised judging voice of the genuine lager-consuming public, is yes! Yes I am. And proud, for I am an amateur in far more ways than one. I, am the amateur of amateur runners. Hence the amateur beer drinking. And my amateur tale of amateur running woe turned… well, OK, as it turns out.

You might recall, last time I wrote, that I’d sprained my ankle while commuter-running, and I was pretty upset about it. I mean, you would be, wouldn’t you? That first time around, I swapped running for spinning classes and Body Pump and Pilates, and every other week or so caved in and hopped on the treadmill regardless. Naturally my ailing ankle would shriek and swell afterwards. But as far as I was concerned, I was running and maintaining my fitness, and that was all that counted.

Limp ahead two months to January 2017, when Harry and I finally made our hankered-after move to Bristol (on a day as similarly dank and sodden). It was a beautiful thing. So beautiful, in fact, that the morning after, I threw on my running gear with gusto – without my trusty ankle support – and Went Too Soon. Just 0.8 miles down the road, I staggered and went right over on my ankle a second time, and knew I was back to square one, with a face-full of angry tears and expletives.

When One Goes Too Soon

Being back at square one has often felt like a boomeranging inevitability with me and my running. Weeks spent over-enthusiastically building up my mileage undermined by fatigue or niggling injury. Numerous half marathon race entry fees left unfulfilled because I’d gone down with something at the last hurdle. Two ankle sprains in as many months (in chimes the small violin).

So when this particular square one landed back in January, I knew I had to suck it up and embrace the whole recovery thing properly this time, and stop with the dwelling and pouting.

Here’s what I did.

I swapped my bandage for a heavy-duty ankle support

I’d already bought one of those standard stretchy bandage-style supports after the first sprain saga, and decided the second time round that I needed to up my game. My mighty marathon-running, IRONMAN-smashing auntie, Jane Wood Rackham, advised me to go the whole Darth Vader and get one of these. This more shielded, adjustable, elasticated sports-ready ankle support was the business for giving me the assurance I needed to get back into my spectacular sweatfest right away. At first I would wear it in my spinning and Body Pump classes to give my rickety ankle the confidence boost of extra support and then wholly depended on it when I was ready to make my gradual transition back into running. As time went on, I was able to phase the heavy-duty support out in favour of the original trusty bandage, until at last I was comfortable enough to leave both safely stowed in my drawer.

I got enthusiastic about cross-training

Runners (or merely mortal ‘people who run’ like myself) are well known for their single-minded approach to fitness, despite all those Runner’s World articles hammering home the importance of mixing up your exercise disciplines. So when running was ruled out, I had to channel my running fixation in a different, non-weight-bearing direction. I picked cycling and spinning classes, weight rep training and (sitting-room carpet) Pilates as fresh obsessions, and got what all the fuss was about. As someone who had resigned herself long ago to not having any real core or upper body strength, seeing the results of my alternated training was a really pleasant surprise. I developed definition in my arms, legs and even somewhere in the region of my abs. The diversion made me more thankful and aware of my physical potential, and excited to return to running having learned how cross-training can support and strengthen my efforts long-term.

I fell in love with Pilates

I mentioned above about getting into ‘sitting-room carpet’ Pilates – and that’s with wholehearted thanks to the power of YouTube. Among other things, Pilates comes highly-recommended for strengthening ankles in rehab, so with a new mat in tow and a sliver of space left in front of our TV screen at home, I logged on and got into my Pilates 100 (if you’ve no idea what I’m on about, think lots of puffing and fast hand and leg actions while tautening your abs for minutes on end). With so many different free Pilates classes on YouTube, I got to sift out two unpretentious favourites from across The Pond that earned big plus points with me for not whiffing of corny dance beats or heavily make-upped women thrusting pelvicly. I salute you, Fitness Blender, for your ‘gimmick-free’, clean way of doing things; slowly building the reps and shifting the poses so that they just creep up on you.

Sean Vigue Fitness, meanwhile, is my hero…

Yoga and stretching are now part of my daily routine

…And not only in the realm of Pilates. I think it’s pretty fair to say my boyfriend has come to accept that the sound of the unfailingly positive lilt and idiosyncratic narration that typifies a Sean Vigue Fitness yoga class or stretching routine bouncing around the flat – distracting you just enough to sneak in some real challenging poses and sequences right there – are as much a part of our day-to-day now as breakfast! I’m not even kidding.

I have practised yoga on and off for a good 10 years for relaxation and mindfulness. But now I depend on it every day to keep my body moving; recovering from the latest run or warming up for the next; and continuing to strengthen not just my ankles, but my entire torso. And as Sean says, ‘It’s tax free, it’s equipment free, and NO ONE can take it away from you’. Holler.

I found myself a local sports therapist

I know not everyone has the funds to afford private support – not that I’m the highest earning wolf in the pack by any stretch – but if you do, it’s worth finding a local sports therapist to help you get on the straight and narrow of recovery, by, at the very least, booking yourself in for an initial assessment. For me, that was Bronwen Henley, a Bristol-based chiropractor who not only specialises in sports injuries, but was actually writing a dissertation on ankle sprains at the time, and she was worth every penny. She gave me practical strategies for helping my ankle recover from its overstretched elastic band state, and a warm, like minded sounding board. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that even though I am but a speck of an amateur runner, running means a huge amount to me; quite frankly, it encompasses everything I need to feel alive (hence why The Messy Runner even exists). Finding a therapist who understood that, even of me as that speck, made a real difference. Bronwen even encouraged me (hobbling skeptic that I was) to stop holding my breath and enter the ballot for next year’s London Marathon to help focus my recovery.

9 mile September

Wrapping this thing up, it’s worth pointing out that there is no quick fix after an ankle sprain. These, for me, have constituted real, long-term behaviour changes. And ultimately, frustrating as it has been, I’ve got to know my body better because of those fateful ankle crunches. Last Saturday I managed a nine mile long run. That’s the farthest distance I’ve covered in a single go since November 2016 and probably earlier. I could easily slip up again, but if I do, I’ll know what to do.

Feel free to comment below or get in touch here.


Messy-ness · Training and motivation

Get Up Offa That Thing! (beating the racer snakes)

Hello folks. Today I’ve officially been having a Day Off, and not because I am poorly, but because I can! It’s delightful. Harry being his teachery good self, his time in terms, while I, being wayward scribbler (of sorts), means I’ve spent the day Han Solo.

It’s a funny, reflexive thing when you’re not used to spending time completely by yourself (that is, not even sharing a luggage rack on the train home with a gent with something stuck in his teeth), as is actually making sure it is actively spent, rather than let-go-by. I’m fixated with it. Sometimes, I’ll admit, to the point of tear-forming anxiety.

But why? I wondered, as I festered bluely the other week. Why the obsession with not ‘wasting’ time, even when it’s to recover? Even when, this is what life is, and a very lucky one at that? Threads of thought span out, akin (I fancy) to the memory strands from Dumbledore’s brow into the pensieve, or the racer snakes chasing newborn iguana babies in the first episode of Planet Earth II (you know the ones).

The thoughts went: it’s the sneaking shadow of mortality. The spectre of capitalism; the need for citizens to be productive at all costs. The drive to survive our online lives, Black Mirror-like, by living to satisfy our social profiles. The fear that being stock still, through illness or monies (a lack thereof), is your limit; and therefore the limit of your experience. All of the above, searingly intertwined.

Sometimes the shadow is happy for you to watch the full fourth season of Girls in a few hours, while eating an entire pack of oatmeal and raisin cookies. (I went through a phase of doing this A LOT last winter.)

Most-times, however, the shadow wants you to Get Up Offa That Thing. Needless to say I’ve been trying to find a happy medium between Karl Marx and James Brown.

This has involved…

  • Commuting to work in my running gear, so I can now build regular running in to and from the station. I mean, I knew other people have been at it forever, but for me to do it? It’s crikey worthy. Definitely preferable to beating myself up for not having the time or energy to go at all. I’m only three goes in, equating to a solid 5k a day if I go there and back. I’ve loved it. It is oddly extra-motivating knowing I have to mission it to a particular place, instead of simply clocking up miles to keep my pedometer happy. Aside from this lightning strike of realisation, this has further been made possible by a lightweight runner rucksack, which hugs my stumpy frame pretty nicely, see exhibit A:
  • Getting my flu jab – as someone who often gets horrendous flu over winter every winter, I figured it was worth a shot (HAAA). Especially having heard my sister and her fellow comrades have flu jabs, paid for by The Man, every year, and she’d been flu-free for five years! Obviously it’s not guaranteed, but still.
  • Pilates – this, my new favourite hobby, has been a revelation, for several reasons. I have been reunited with my stomach muscles, after all these years. What a renaissance we are enjoying. Also I’ve had this immediate feeling of being stronger and more flexible, which is refreshing and, so I’ve read, a great partner for running. Today I did a 30 minute session from YouTube, with all the stupid ‘dum-dum-dum’ background music to boot, but it works.
  • Frank Turner in show on Saturday. He is the best live act; supreme, like chicken. And knowing his openness about blueness and battling, it is like going to see a friend. In a crowd full of hot, sweaty friends.
  • Eating well – and yes, often a little bit too well. The thing with the stuff I share on this blog is that, I do try and do the right things most of the time. Eat the good stuff, cook from scratch, put superfoods in everything, pack in protein, make turmeric soup. But there is also a big side of me that buckles to sugar or Cheeselets, and ends up going to town. Last night it was ring doughnuts, one after the other, just like an American cop.

In short, I’m experimenting still, in this busy time of twinkling lights, afternoon gloom and flooding at the door, to find what works.

And striving to avoid being cast as the unfortunate iguana baby, enveloped in racer snakes:

On the Run! · Training and motivation

Form-ula Run*


Blimey, it’s been a little while, hasn’t it? A lot’s happened since we last spoke – tomorrow I start a brand-new job (So I’m a spike of excited-nervous energy); H and I’ve started the hunt for somewhere new to live (that isn’t an airing cupboard); there’ve been Mont Blanc-style highs and some real sadness to take on, so a busy old time. A lot of life admin filling in the gaps, all necessary and ageing. But the house is less scruffy.

Anyway, I’m digressing before I’ve even begun, because I am here tonight to fill you in on the merry dance I’ve been having with that e’er elusive runner’s idyll; the runner’s very own Room of Requirement –

– Yes, I’m talking about the imperfect search for the perfect running FORM.

Type ‘running form’ or technique into your search engine and you’ll find lots of articles on the subject with swathes of differing advice. In short, the more you read, the more confusing it becomes to know what you should be doing.

My particular fixation, along with many others’ I know, stems from reading Chris McDougall’s awesome book, Born To Run (check out the TED talk here.)

Born to Run tackles the gulf between Westerners’ fixation with costly motion-control shoes to support a wince-inducing, inherently ‘bad’ running habit, and the seemingly natural-born runner, embodied by the Rarámuri or Tarahumara people of northwest Mexico. Their kit? Leather sandals, love, a belly full of Chia and (at times) some home-brewed tequila. If that’s all these guys need for a 48-hour dart, McDougall writes, how are we making such a meal of it?

I’ve had my own fun with ‘form’. When I first started running nearly 4 years ago I wore my mum’s old squash shoes with no issues. Then I got some neutral actual running shoes, began upping my mileage, which lasted a good while. When time came to get my next pair, I paid a trip to the local running specialist, who took one look at my (unmoving) feet, and told me what I needed, to treat their diagnosis of ‘overpronation’, was the most supportive Asics on their shelves (circa £100+ a pop). These too, were fine; great even.

But when injury or illness stopped me from cracking my first half-marathon a third time, I decided to pay a visit to a podiatrist for a second opinion.

My funny legs are part of our family legend. The story goes that when my concerned young parents took me to the doctor as a toddler, worried that one of my feet were turning in more than the other,  the doctor’s reply was simply, ‘That’s just how she is’. So that’s just how I’ve been. It’s not something many people notice, but it’s there.

So when the podiatrist concluded one of my legs was longer than the other, and overpronation wasn’t the thing, things fell into place. Suddenly my shin splints, odd back aches while standing, and antipathy towards high heels made sense. I started wearing a slim orthotic in one trainer, and was hopeful things could change.

Then I discovered the arguments championing barefoot running and forefoot foot strike – that again, the Western fixation with ultra-supportive shoes is counterproductive for forcing us to land on our heels, when the most efficient, injury-free technique, is to ‘glide’ on your forefeet, bringing your knees up under your torso.

So over the last three weeks I’ve ditched my ultra-supportive shoes for my neutral pair, and hoiked myself up towards my toes. At first my calves felt the burn, and my pace slowed – but my strides per minute increased by 10 to 180-185, which I hear is a sweet spot to aim for. I’ve also read it takes a while to build pace and distance back up after making such a stark change – so maybe not the wisest move with a week to go ’til the Great West Run. Especially as I found, experimenting with fore-foot landing, that in certain shoes, my toes felt really bruised, and my shins, tender.

But I do feel lighter in my running, which has got to be the key, right? On my sage triathlonic uncle’s advice, I’ve also started foam rolling before I head out on the route, and it’s helped instantly.

Then today, four weeks after making the change; after four weeks of confusion, tenderness and tenterhooks, I glided. And I was me-quick. Whether it’s the start of a tough glide to marathon distance? Who knows. I hope.

*sorry. It had to be done.

Training and motivation

The Kid v Adult price gap: The Great Shoe Rip-Off?

Me in shoes

My name’s Daisy Bee, and I have funny feet. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m no Cyndi Laupera fair few of my favourite people do too.

What it means when it comes to running, is that I’ve been through quite a few pairs of shoes in my quest to find the ones that are right for me.

I’ve worked up the ranks from my mum’s battered gym trainers (brassic times), through cheap and cheerful neutrals, and then, when I arrived in Taunton and discovered Tony Pryce, onto Asics. So the past couple of years I’ve flitted between two ranges: the Asics GT 2000s and 1000s to be exact.

Now, these shoes don’t come cheap: we’re talking around the £100 mark a pop, but as an investment that would keep me (in my experience) colourfully cushioned against injuries spanning shin splints, sciatica (gah), hip and knee pain, I never questioned it.

But when time came around for my next purchase, I decided I was going to do something revolutionary. I decided to shop around online for my next pair of Asics GT 1000s online. And not got to a real-life physical shop.

What I found was – obviously no shocker – is that you can rip a lot of £££ off the RRRRRRRP by doing this. And even more if you’re stumpy like me with size 5 feet by opting for children’s shoes.

This is where the bone of contention started sticking its calcium-ated nose in, because:

RRP for the women’s Asics GT 1000, size 5 is £100:

Asics 1000 women's shoe

While, the child’s Asics GT-1000s, size 5, come out at £40 RRP:

UntitledKids GT Asics 1000

Por qué? Is this just a cynical commercial tactic to charge people more for the same product defined differently? Certainly that’s an easy conclusion to jump to.

Or is it actually – as I found reasoned in one Runner’s World forum thread – a fair reflection of the simpler supportive mechanics required for the shoe of a child who is soon going to burst growth-spurtily out of it, compared to that of a grown woman who’ll be pacing up way more miles? Or even more simply, are the kids’ trainers cheaper because children’s clothes escape VAT?

Well, I have no idea. The internet doesn’t seem to garner me any conclusive answer.

But I now have my new Asics GT 1000 children’s shoes. They’re bright blue with bright orange laces (see specimen A above), and they ran well on their first outing. I am going to do the only thing I can do – see how my electric blue feet beacons fare in the weeks and months ahead, and get back to you… hopefully with my shins splint-free :-0

Training and motivation

The Perils of Running in Public – My Top 5

crop Messy Runner on a Sunday morning

The launch of ‘This Girl Can‘ was a triumph for trying to combat anxieties about being seen getting a sweat on in public. It’s something I get, having been through that tortuousness as a teenager. But when I got to my mid-twenties, I realised that resolve is everything. And celebrating your health through exercising with gusto is even more.

My biggest tip to the sweatyness shy? Look like you mean it, etch that determination on your face, and everything else will follow.

Beyond embracing my public perspiration, since I’ve been regularly running 3/4 times a week in public, I’ve discovered the perils that come with it. Some more so than others. Here are my Top 5 Perils of Running in Public – please feel free to add more to these in the comments below.

1. Other pedestrians
I’m sorry my fellow pavementeers, t’is ye who feature first in this countdown, and here’s why. Never have I encountered more disdain when out running than from other pedestrians. And not to discount the lovely, considerate of you out there. But there are those countless people I’ve met who will a) barely register your sweat-streaked existence or b) refuse to shift over just a little, hold onto their mutts, or shuffle themselves into single file for just a few seconds so you don’t have to lurch into a traffic-laden road. Oddly enough, being forced to face my own mortality is my biggest public running bugbear.

Yes, I may be travelling faster than you in my heinous, obnoxious display of pseudo-fitness, but I am but running. I am still a fleshly, blood-filled being just like you. Being a runner doesn’t suddenly enable me to take on traffic, scale protruding buildings a la Spiderman, or soar like a sooped-up base jumper over your head (though man, if I could…). I am a 5 foot 2″ human girl; I am not a Transformer.

2. Crossing and running on roads
This requires alertness, technique and experience, and asks as much of the runner as it does the driver. As with number 1 I’ve come across many thoughtful motorists who encourage me to pelt on (suspect many of them were runners/running sympathisers). I try to avoid breaking my pace. Jogging on the spot just about covers it, but contemplating a full halt? Nooo, I won’t, I can’t! I’d rather squiggle. So I end up squiggling until I can cross over without peril. I just figure that the most important thing, with anything involving anyone else, is to make yourself as visible as possible. Even if it means top-to-toe fluoro and semaphore. Yes.

3. Remembering to smile and be gracious
Not alarming members of the public of all shapes, ages and sizes with your puffity breathing, wide-eyed efforts and (my) traffic light red face is something I strive for. Especially when there is a great huge chunk of society who just simply doesn’t understand why a person would want to run in the first place. I’ve found that a thumbs up on the way past, and a cheery thanks for stopping/ acknowledging me by steering your dog over, goes a long way. Smiling, on the other hand, can be met with some confusion. I think sometimes I must’ve pitched my smile a bit weirdly; people just think I’m in pain. Or struggling with wind. But it’s good to persevere.

4. Seeing people you know
– Especially if they’re not even a tenth as sweaty and lycra-clad as you, and you’re going to be seeing them at work in, oh, half an hour or so. My ruse is to adopt a similar method as in number 3, but with an extra jot of, ‘Look at me, I’m in my element!’. And grinning manically. Oh, and speeding up a bit so you can get your image out of their head as swiftly as possible.

5. AND..other pedestrians
It really is my biggest public running bugbear. A meaty, bear-sized bug. 🙂