Long Distance Running

I'm Running The London Marathon

I’m running this year’s London Marathon on Sunday 23rd April and I’m both excited and terrified in unequal measure (currently the excited to terrified ratio is 1 to loads). Yes, I enjoy running. Yes, I have good fitness levels already.  But I’ve never ran 26.2 miles in one go before and I’ve never had to face the potential humiliation of being over taken by a novice dressed as a chicken.

Run London

Over the past 5 years I’ve attended many marathons and have become very good at them.  Spectating really is an underrated discipline. I’ve watched from mile 8 where the runners look strong, happy and totally at one with their costume (or at two if they’re a donkey).  But I’ve also watched from mile 25 where the scenes are somewhat different. Bleeding nipples, tears of pain, sweaty banana suits peeling off, and, if your spectating skills aren’t as tuned as mine, you might accidentally look down and clock some soiled undies. So I know what I’m getting myself into.  My three main priorities are; 1) don’t hurt myself 2) don’t ruin a pair of undies and 3) to trip anyone dressed as poultry.  

Tower Bridge London

So why am I taking on such a challenge?

Five reasons:

1) There’s really something special about thousands of people coming together to run for fantastic causes in one direction: forward.

2) My spectating coach says I’ve pushed spectating as far as I can.

3) I watched my friends over the years try and fail to win a ballot space so now that I have one I can’t wimp out!

4) My friends that have ran it have all said “you see the city how you’ve never seen it before”. Perhaps they missed out "through squinted eyes and a layer of sweat" ...but I'm still keen to see it for myself.

5) The feeling crossing over the finish line.  It will be my biggest physical achievement to date and I can’t wait to cock my head back and scream at the top of my lungs “Thank f*** that’s over!”

The London Eye

As a complete Marathon novice I’d really value your support; training tips, podcast and music suggestions to listen to whilst I’m running, recovery tips and motivation so Tweet me @ajodudu or follow my progress on Instagram @ajodudu . Currently I keep telling myself this:

The London Marathon

But I need positive mantras coming out of my ears!

Big thanks (?!) to adidas for getting me a spot. Closer to the time I will announce a charity that I will be running for but until then...send help!

Virgin London Marathon 2017

If you liked this blog post please SHARE. 

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.

Adidas Boost Trainers White

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

 

 

 




How To Train To Run | Workout videos

Running is one of the best forms of exercises out there. It keeps your heart healthy and your mind focused. But did you know that a few tweaks here or there to your training can make the world of difference? I teamed with adidas to create a series of workout videos designed to make bad runners good and good runners great. On your marks, get set, go!

Train to Run Flex Workout

Flex it out this week with AJ Odudu's Train to Run workout. Incorporate these moves into your routine and you'll be off to a flying start.

Posted by adidas Women on Saturday, January 9, 2016
Train to Run Strength Workout

Push your limits with AJ Odudu's final workout. Designed to work your arms, legs and core, it's time to dig deep and show what you're made of.

Posted by adidas Women on Saturday, January 23, 2016
Train to Run Stability Workout

It's time to work that core. Get those abs fired up with AJ Odudu's stability workout.

Posted by adidas Women on Saturday, January 16, 2016
Train to Run - Endurance Workout

January's here and it's time to hit the ground running.AJ Odudu is bringing you a workout a week to get you ready. Week one - improve your endurance.

Posted by adidas Women on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Half Marathon Race Plan with Barry's Bootcamp

Over the last three weeks I have been training with Barry's Bootcamp in preparation for the Royal Park's Half Marathon, which took place over the weekend. Here's a little bit about my journey.

Barry's Bootcamp AJ Odudu

I've only ever ran one half marathon before. I'd trained for months by simply running for miles on pavements, usually carrying a bag containing my laptop and spare clothing, as I'd journey from A to B. All I did was run and needless to say I was bored.

Admittedly I found this dull routine to be very effective (running a time of 1 hour and 37 minutes on race day) but in fact, all of that running was too strenuous for my body. I was constantly exhausted and often injured my knees. My back was sore, I was limping for a week after the half marathon and all in all it took quite a while for me to recover.  

What possessed me to sign up for another half marathon a year later after feeling so shoddy the last time was the charity I ran for, Tommy's. But when I signed up for the Royal Parks Half his year, I wanted to remain injury free by taking on a different training approach, regardless of the great cause.

AJ Odudu Tommy's Charity

I wanted to focus on strength and weight training (something I'd skipped the previous year) whilst incorporating short but fast runs to increase my cardiovascular strength and improve my stamina whilst maintaining my energy levels throughout the days.

Whilst I do maintain my fitness levels all year round I've been out of the country a lot, skipping training sessions and so when it came to race focused preparation, I had less than a month to train. I was so nervous but in this dilemma was born a challenge; How To Get Race Ready in 4 Weeks with Barry's Bootcamp.

I'd done Barry's Bootcamp before, picking up classes here and there and knew that Barry's master trainer Anya Lahiri sessions where brutal but brilliant. She knows exactly how to push her clients so I took all of my training advice from her.

AJ Odudu Instagram

How many training sessions did I do?

Although Anya had advised me to take 4 classes a week for 6 consecutive weeks, because of work commitments abroad I could only attend 4 classes a week for 3 weeks, and they weren't consecutive.

Who did I train with?

Anya mainly. She is Barry's Bootcamp master trainer in London and does the 8:20am slot at Barry's Central in addition to numerous slots at Barry's East. When I couldn't attend her classes I took Taylor's class (he has hardcore treadmill sessions too) and Sandy's class (with challenging leg sessions).

How fast did I run half marathon last year?

Last year it took 97 minutes for me to run the 13.1 mile half marathon course with a few injuries and 2 weeks recovery needed.

How fast did I run the half marathon this year?

I ran it in exactly the same time of 97 minutes despite less race preparation. This time I ran injury free and with no need for 2 weeks off exercise. 

Royal Parks Half AJ Odudu

Why did Barry's Bootcamp work?

During the 30 minutes of high intensity treadmill series in each Barry's Bootcamp class you move through sections of intervals, hill work and sprints which challenge both your endurance and your speed. The treadmills are specifically designed to absorb impact when you run on them. Much safer than pounding the ground and thus preventing injuries caused by big impact.

Barry's Bootcamp Treadmill

There was also the addition of strength training, which is the key to remaining injury free. The 30 minute strength sections would include compound movements (such as dead-lifts, squats, pull-ups, chin-ups, bench press, and step-ups. These exercises target functional movement) bodyweight exercises (such as lunges, planks and push-ups which build the core strength you need to prevent injuries and get stronger) and hip straighteners (exercises focusing on the glutes and hips; two of the most important stabilising muscles that are used while running).

Barry's Bootcamp Resistance Training

So there you have it, proof that runners need to do more than just run, that reducing injury rate isn't that difficult and that Barry's Bootcamp is both a safe and effective workout.

Barry's Bootcamp East London

Here marks my next challenge with Barry's Bootcamp: Six Weeks To A Six Minute Mile. Stay tuned!

xoxo

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? Barry's Central is a 2 minute walk from Euston Station and located at 163 Euston Road
London, UK NW1 2BH
 

Barry's East is located at 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.

My Fitness Wardrobe #1

Here's a fit kit that quite literally brightens up my workouts. The trainers come true to size and offer light support and great flexibility to boost range of motion and promote strength in your feet for barefoot running.

Despite my longish legs (I'm 5ft8), these leggings fit in a size small without rolling down. They have reflective elements so you are unmissable when training in low visibility, they are made with Dri-Fit fabric helping you stay dry and comfortable during your sweaty workouts and they even have a discreet zip pocket for storage of gym keys and other small items. Not to mention the colour which I love. 

The poncho is more of a style addition rather than functional active wear but it's lightweight, waterproof and the adjustable hood offers great cover, meaning that this jacket is certainly coming with me to a few of the Great British festivals I have lined up this summer.

 If you like it, try it, tell me if you buy it

xoxo

London Marathon 2015 | Fitspiration

Yesterday it felt like the whole of London got up early and did some serious exercise to partake in the London Marathon. Over 30,000 people took to the streets of London to get their Forrest Gump on, and pound over 26 miles of ground for charity.

I woke up first thing in the morning, went for a brisk walk around the park, did some push ups, had a really healthy breakfast and given the fact that I'd a fairly heavy weekend up until that point, I was actually feeling pretty smug. After praising myself for getting out of bed early, I then headed to Westminster to go whoop and cheer for people a lot more worthy of glorification, the marathon runners.

I thought it was going to be an absolute nightmare with the blocked roads and the vast amount of people but when I got there, the atmosphere was great, people were friendly and soon enough I was at the front of the crowd, seeing the runners go by. Paula Radcliffe ran with the masses as opposed to the professionals which was a really lovely way for her to say goodbye to the sport that has given her so much and given us so much inspiration and entertainment over the years. It may have been her last race, but Paula Radcliffe will continue to inspire female runners world wide. 

I was stood at mile 25 and at first I thought, “Oh this is nice. Everyone running looks really happy considering they’ve been at it for 25 miles. They're almost making it look easy!” I could see a man dressed in nothing but a red tutu, a Ben Big with legs, Batman and Robin and I even saw Chris Evans run past. "This is delightful" I thought. Soon after, I saw a woman crying, a man limping, and people with bleeding nipples. But ya know...swings and roundabouts. Despite their clear signs of agony they were still moving forward and I was in awe.

The Marathon for me, as a spectator was, exhausting just to watch. My voice is a little husky from all the cheering I did but it was truly uplifting and extremely inspiring to see. So here is a blog post dedicated to everyone who took part in the London Marathon yesterday. The spectators, all those who donated to the fantastic charities and most importantly, the Marathon Runners paving the way for change in the world and motivating people like me to do something worth while. Well done!