How to run 10K

What No One Tells You About Running The London Marathon

Yesterday saw thousands of runners take over London for the day, conquering a huge challenge and raising millions of pounds for charity in the process. I was one of those lucky runners and 24 hours later I'm still in awe of what a spectacular and unique occasion it was.

London Marathon AJ Odudu 2017

I really am bursting with pride. If you watched or are feeling inspired, great! But before you sign up to a marathon, here are just a few things that no one tells you about running your first marathon.

1)  The emotional onslaught you face on race day and the week prior. 

A combination of nerves, anxiety, impatience, excitement and cold hard fear.  If only the armada of butterflies in my stomach were able to propel me across the line.  Instead by mile 20 it felt like they had all turned back to caterpillars.  Which was ironic because it was about that point when a caterpillar overtook me.

London Marathon 2017 Costumes

2)   Boredom

Everyone talks of “hitting that wall” but no warned that I may hit boredom.  Four and a half hours is a long time to be doing one thing, and at times you find yourself being hypnotised by a swinging ponytail. Luckily the boredom passes quickly. Unluckily it's soon followed by pain.

3)  Nothing goes according to plan

The race gels you have been practising with suddenly make you feel sick. Your activity tracker doesn't work and you thought you'd be able to hear your parents scream your name but didn't. These unexpected moments stress you out!

London Marathon Family and Friend support

4)  You run more miles than you signed up for

Weaving in and out is not the one! A slalom of empty water bottles, discarded gel packets and the odd rhinoceros. I think I notched up a half marathon with just my zig-zagging.

5)   The feeling of astonishment when...

...being overtaken by people and objects that should never assume that role.  Mr. Blobby, a Womble and at one point a guy with an actual washing machine on his back.  Apparently Currys closes early on Sundays. I was even shamed back into running by a wonderful OAP called Jeremy. What a legend!

Virgin Money London Marathon 2017

Despite all of the above, the atmosphere of togetherness is incomparable. The strangers that dedicate their entire day to coming out to spur you on;  the runners who are in just as much pain as you but find the strength to reassure you that you'll be ok; your deeper bonding between your family and friends . It's beautiful. It's brilliant. It's the best worst idea I ever had!

London Marathon 2017

I'm sore today but pain is temporary and the memories I created yesterday will last a lifetime. It's definitely too early to say whether I'd ever put myself through that again but I'm proud to say I did and I managed to smile through most of it. 

London Marathon Adrienne LDN

Well done to everyone who completed the marathon, thank you to everyone who supported and if ever you get the opportunity to do it for yourself... well, just think long and hard! 

London Marathon AJ Odudu 2017

XOXO

Top 5 Running Tips

As the dates for the London Marathon come closer it's not uncommon for people to feel inspired to pound the pavements to improve their fitness. Running is hands down one of the greatest ways to keep fit. It's the best aerobic exercise for physical conditioning of your heart and lungs, as well as a great way to relieve stress, tone your entire body, lose weight and quite simply, it's convenient.

Whether you're a seasoned running pro or early in your journey, sometimes we all need a bit of encouragement. So grab your running shoes as I give you my top five tips to get you running happily ever after.

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1. Find Fitness Motivation

The first hurdle to confront is motivation which, unsurprisingly, is easier said than done. I challenge you to write down some goals. Maybe you’re training for the London Marathon or Great North Run, maybe you want to shift a few pounds or it could be that you want to simply be fit. Write them down and stick them up on your mirror or somewhere you look often, as a daily reminder. On a more immediate note, try keeping your fit kit by the door before you go to bed, as quite often it’s the thought of exercising and lack of preparation that puts us off.

Quad stretch adidas

2. Improve Your Flexibility

Tight hamstrings? Sore back? Stiff hips? Loosen up! You don't have to be a bendy yoga bunny but your flexibility is important when it comes to running. During your runs, your flexibility enables your joints to move through their full range of motion, helping your muscles work more effectively and therefore, boosting your performance whilst reducing your risk of injury. Quad, cobra and standing lunge stretches will improve your flexibility greatly and if you can make it to a yoga or pilates class weekly, even better.

Marathon Training

3. Boost Your Endurance

Naturally when we fatigue our running form weakens. We curl up our shoulders, hunch our backs, our arms tend to flap by our sides and our breathing pattern becomes irregular. Weakening our technique means our performance suffers whilst putting us at risk of injury. However, improving our stamina reduces all of those side effects, enabling us to run for longer before fatigue kicks in. Try combining strength training with cardio whilst reducing your rest times in between workout sets, in order to boost your endurance.

Stretch adidas

4. Get Stronger

Running is a high impact workout and high impact exercises aren't always kind to our joints. Luckily, strength training will increase the ability of your bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles to withstand the high impact of running. Weight training dramatically increases the strength of your muscles when done so safely and even adding small amounts of resistance to your workouts with a resistance band will strengthen your muscles. The stronger you are the better you get.

 

Plank Core Workout

5. Improve your Stability

When running, muscle strength in your hips and glutes are really important for stabilisation and your core strength is important for your posture and so the stronger and more stable you are in these areas, the better your running form and performance. Try push-ups with your feet on a medicine ball, a one-legged squat reach, single leg dead lifts and raising one leg off the ground when planking.

If you want to find out more, I created an entire workout series of workout videos to get you ready to run which can be found by clicking here.

Happy running!

XOXO

Photographer: Sam Travis

AJ Odudu adidas UK

 

 

 




Race For Life | Pretty Muddy 2015

So at the weekend the moment finally came for me to head to Finsbury Park , London, join the #PinkArmy and run 5K for Cancer Research's Race For Life Series, Pretty Muddy.

Race For Life London AJ Odudu

The clue was in the title but 3K into this pink obstacle course I was wondering where this mud was. It soon came in abundance. 

Race For Life London AJ Odudu

Mud slides, pools of muddy water, tunnels leading to more (you guessed it) mud and even having a group of unsuspecting "helpers" shovel mud onto us, meant that the mud was completely unavoidable. 

Race For Life London AJ Odudu

It was lots of fun though. A well sign posted obstacle course, around a beautiful park and so naturally,  I was delighted to be getting muddy for money, helping to raise cash for Cancer Research the only way I know how; running about!

Race For Life London AJ Odudu

There's still plenty of time for you to donate or sign up to a race near you so join in if you dare. You'll get a pretty medal to go with your pretty muddy hand and well deserved it shall be too.

Race for Life AJ Odudu

Lots of earthy love,

AJ 

xoxo


Where To Eat In London | West Thirty Six

Situated in the heart of West London by Notting Hill, West Thirty Six is an all-day grill house and cocktail lounge and I swung by there for a delicious lunch with a couple of my girl friends, Mollie and Chloe.

The venue is beautiful, featuring  an open grill, quirky lounge spaces and an incredible roof terrace, the latter being where my friends and I dined. 

I ordered the salad, lamb cuttles and chocolate bar and peanut crunch which was all, sensational. If only pictures could capture  the wonderful flavours on my palette. Luckily, food envy wasn't a problem as I sampled the girls's lemon sole and chicken dishes too which were equally as pleasant. The salads are sexy, chips are chunky and West thirty Six plays the likes of Alicia Keys in the back ground. My idea of heaven.

Whether it's a dinner date venue you're after, a relaxed environment for a business meeting or simply somewhere to pop in for a drink, this venue ticks a lot of boxes. I think this just might be my new favourite place.

Let me know if you know of any other nice places to eat in London. I'd love to try them. 

Lots of foodie love, AJ 

xoxo

Where: West Thirty Six, 36 Golborne Road, North Kensington, London, W10 5PR | 0203 752 0530

Favourite dishesHeritage tomatoes, cheese and avocado salad (starter) |  Lamb cutlets (main) | Chocolate bar & peanut crunch (dessert) | Cauliflower & pomegranate (side)




Barry's Bootcamp | East London

To celebrate the launch of their eagerly awaited second London studio, Barry's Bootcamp invited me along to their brand new East London branch to try a full body workout with celebrity trainers, Anya and Sandy. I've tried each of their classes before in their Central London studio but location wise, this suits me better so I'm excited.

Barry's Bootcamp East London

Like their Barry's Central studio, the space at Barry's Bootcamp East has a modern, almost industrial New York feel, complete with a fuel bar (where they serve delicious protein shakes, Ozone coffee and nutritious in-house food) and swanky changing rooms bursting with lotions, straighteners and lighting good enough for those  pre-workout selffies.  This studio raises the bar however, providing those who forget their running shoes with three choices of footwear from the latest Nike running range. Genius!   

Barry's Bootcamp East London AJ Odudu

If you don't know much about Barry's Bootcamp then here's the story. They offer hour-long workouts, targeting specific parts of the body, that include 30 minutes of interval treadmill running and 30 minutes of strength training. The running has a mixture of different speeds, including varied inclines and is interspersed with strength workout on the floor.

Barry's Bootcamp East London

All of this takes place in a room that adopts a red hue and that is filled with motivating, thumping tunes. They play the kind of music that you would hum and sing along to if only you could catch your breath.

Barry's Bootcamp East London

It's brilliantly brutal! If there's an ounce of competitive spirit within you it suddenly surfaces and a bit of will power goes such along way in this class. Anya and Sandy push you just enough to ensure you break through those pain barriers and constantly encourage you to believe that you're always stronger than you think and will make it to the end of the class and guess what? You always do! Granted, you feel absolutely shattered at the end of it but you also feel proud and elated. Your endorphins really do go through the roof!

Barry's Bootcamp East London AJ Odudu

I've tried many a workout class but I must admit that I find this to be the most effective way to improve your cardiovascular system, lose weight and build muscle. With their very own in house dog, Crusoe and the friendliest team around, you can't help but feel like a member of one big happy fit family.  

Barry's Bootcamp East London AJ Odudu

Regardless of your fitness levels, you can burn 1000 calories each class so it really is no wonder that Barry's Bootcamp is the best workout in the world! I filmed a cheeky little YouTube video when I first tried Barry's so here's a tapas amount of what you can expect in motion.

Barry's Bootcamp are taking online bookings now so I hope to see you at a class very soon :)

Lots of sweaty hugs and kisses,

AJ

xoxo

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How Much? £20 per individual class but prices vary between £14-20 depending on the class package 

How long? Each class is one hour long

Where? 2 Worship Street (entrance on City Road) London, UK EC2A 2AH | It's a 5 minute walk from Moorgate Station and 10 minutes from Liverpool St and Bank underground stations

Would I recommend it? 100% YES.  You can book a class by clicking here.

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Nike Women's 10KM Race | London

Today,  London was one of 20 cities across the globe to host a race as part of the Nike Women’s Race Series. This was a 10KM race in Victoria Park London, with a clear message; To unite us women and enable us to experience and celebrate the power of sport together.

I wrote a blog post in the lead up to this race (which you can read by clicking here), where I said that my running crew and I would start together, run together and finish together but in truth, we couldn't even find each other. We had all entered different waves with varying start times and so I adopted a new run crew member, Cythia Erivo, (not to mention the 10,000 other super women running behind, in front and alongside me).

Pre-race selfie done, we picked up our feet and ran! The race was really well sign posted with incredible words of encouragement on placards, spectators and live music throughout the 10KM course.

For me, crossing the finish line is always the best part of any race. That huge sense of achievement is indescribable and today I stopped to notice a sea of women giving congratulatory hugs to one another. It was really special.

Post race we collected our medals in the form of an exclusive Alex Monroe necklace, before being greeted by a glass of champagne and a Birch Box post race pamper kit. Had I have known all of these treats were waiting for me at the finish line, I'd have certainly ran faster.

Soon after it was time to eat and enjoy the live DJ sets on offer, one of which was by my friend and BBC Radio 1 DJ, Clara Amfo who was playing the likes of Kelis, N.E.R.D and all the crowd pleasers.

Ladies, today we came, we saw and we conquered. I couldn't be more proud to be a woman. Here's to many happy more run's together. #WeRunLondon

AJ Odudu

xoxo

Find out more about Nike Race Series by clicking here.

London Winter Run featuring Selfie Stick

Yesterday, I took part in the London Winter Run along with 15,000 others. It was a stunning 10K route that took us past some of London’s most iconic landmarks including the London Eye, The Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and back round to Westminster. After warming up and dropping my bag off at the closest Fitness First gym, my friend and I walked over to the start line on Victoria Embankment. That short walk to the start line made me feel as though I’d immediately cooled down and I was beginning to question why on earth I was up on a Sunday morning freezing my fingers off. I soon snapped out of it and remembered that I was conquering the cold weather in aid of Cancer Research.

I knew I wanted to capture as much of the amazing atmosphere as possible, taking in all aspects of the winter themed routes with areas being dubbed as ‘snow zones’, ‘ice caves’ and even polar bear hugs at the finish line and so of course I took my selfie stick and filmed the whole thing on my GoPro. I looked like Inspector Gadget as I weaved in and out of people with my extended arm and as silly as I looked, I was delighted that my selfie stick seemed to put a smile on peoples faces. It certainly distracted me. Instead of thinking about how much further I had to run I was concentrating on “getting the right camera angles” and all the sign posts “in shot”. I mean…I’ve got 10 kilometres worth of selfies!

It was exceptionally good fun with the route being picturesque, fairly flat and the streets filled with thousands of people all heading for the same destination, raising money for the same cause. It really was quite moving. Those who didn’t run cheered and I got to finish the race with my best friend Chris and my selfie stick. Sadly, the race organisers don’t give medals to selfie sticks but if they did, it would have been GoPro gold.

For more information on next year’s Cancer Research London Winter Run, visithttp://winterrunseries.co.uk/