Running Tips

Run San Francisco

Last month I flew across the pond with adidas and touched down 8 hours behind in San Francisco. The Jetlag hit me hard.  So hard that at one point I thought I was in Chicago. I also thought the The Golden Gate Bridge was called The Red Gate Bridge. I still think my name is better but apparently it’s too late to change it.

Still, in my confused and delirious state I met some incredibly charming people, bore witness to some beautiful scenes and adopted a brand new Instagram husband.

Boyfriends Of Instagram

Here’s my trip to San Francisco with adidas in bite-size form.

After checking into The Clift Hotel (very nice but no in-room kettle- sacrilege!) I was presented with adidas Ultra Boost X trainers and took them for trail runs from Lands End to Ocean Beach;

Ocean Beach San Francisco

on a track session around Kazer Stadium;

Kazer Stadium San Francisco USA

up the steep hill of Filbert St and down one of the most iconic streets in San Fran, Lombard St. 

Lombard Street San Francisco USA
Crossroad San Francisco

in a huge warehouse on treadmills;

Treadmill adidas Ultra Boost X

and eventually reaching the top of Bernal Heights Summit before taking on our greatest run, across The Red Gate- sorry, Golden Gate Bridge.

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco

All the outdoor runs were at jogging pace, in wet and foggy conditions but with the most scenic views and certainly landmarks to visit on a short trip, easy to get to by car if running everywhere isn't your thing.

I ate breakfast and dinner at Clift hotel which was nice and on my final day we had 2 hours to squeeze in some sight seeing, out of our running kit. Here’s some San Fran experiences I can thoroughly recommend:

1. Be A Shameless Tourist

When I’m in a foreign country I take pleasure in the simplest things. My friend Adrienne swooned as she spoke to an American Police Officer, aka a cop, and I was made up by the sight of a bright yellow school bus, half expected to see Bart Simpson in the window.

The Simpsons

2. Get On A Tram

From Grand Union Square we took an old tram all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf. The hills in San Fran are so steep that at times it feels as though you’re on a roller coaster and you can even hang your feet off the edge for a more thrilling experience. *Scream if you wanna go faster*.

IMG_6099.JPG

3. Buy Some Tat!

You’ve been there. Done that. Got the $10 fridge magnet to prove it.

San Fran Souvenir

4. Connect with people

Experience's are better when shared and although I went on a trip with friends I know back home, I had the pleasure of meeting my girl crush Hannah Andersson, reconnected with Sophietta and Julia who I once met in Paris and talked DS lips with Hannah Bronfman (Google it).

Hannah Bronfman

Have you been to San Francisco? What did I miss?

xoxo

IMG_6912.JPG
Girl Gang
Julia and Sophietta
Bernal Heights San Fran
adidas Pure Boost X
Clift Hotel View

WIN! Life On The Run | Saucony

School run, coffee run, late to work run, training run: it all counts so three cheers for Saucony’s brand new Life On The Run collection, a range designed for the everyday runner. Their Freedom ISO trainers are definitely ticking my boxes.

Saucony Life On The Run Collection

Plush Cushioning? Tick!

I run outside on hard surfaces and thanks to the cushioning, they soften the impact of each and every running stride.  They're like running with pillows on your feet... without looking clinically insane.

Skipping Lunge Exercise

Lightness? Tick!

Your feet are already supporting your entire bodyweight so why trouble them with extra weight from a shoe? These shoes hug your feet like a second skin.

What to wear when running

Look banging? Tick!

Great fit, grip and breathability are all winners, but worthless if the shoe looks like naff.  Thankfully the Freedom ISO Saucony trainers beautifully achieve the marriage of style and functionality so you may kiss the bride!

Saucony ISO Freedom Running Trainers

Three big boxes ticked! Here’s a video of me in action, sporting the new Life On The Run range and showing it’s true versatility.

COMPETITION TIME

This sounds cheesy but I genuinely get inspired to run by friends, family, health reasons and all of you! Be it here, when I bump into people out and about or on Twitter and Instagram, you guys really motivate me to keep on moving so I've teamed with Saucony to give you and a friend the chance to WIN the Life on the Run Freedom ISO trainers, worth £140 each!

HOW TO ENTER

All you have to do is comment below, sharing your fitness goal for this year or a fitness tip and if you're on Instagram, tag a friend on my Saucony post. Winners will be announced on Sat 11th March 2017 so go go go and good luck!

What I’m Wearing: Saucony apparel and trainers.

This blog post was brought to you in collaboration with Saucony UK

*If the winner’s sizes aren't available when the competition is drawn alternative product of the same value will be supplied.*

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

 

 

The London Tri | 5 Triathlon Tips For Beginners

When I signed up to the AJ Bell London Triathlon 6 months ago, I was optimistic that I'd learn how to become a strong swimmer, a good cyclist and a better runner, but just three days prior, I suddenly realised that maybe I had been overly optimistic. After all, I'd never done a triathlon before and I'd only had one swimming session, hadn't practised cycling and I was purely counting on the fact that I'm already a confident long distance runner to get me over the finish line. Luckily the penny dropped that maybe I wasn't going to survive the three triathlon disciplines of a swim, bike and run safely without a little help from my friends.

The London Triathlon 2016

Enter exhibit, Dream Team made up of Hayley and Adrienne, two of the most inspiring and empowering women I have the fortune of knowing. Together, we took part in the AJ Bell Triathlon Olympic Relay and they ensured me that we would cross the finish line happily, safely and together by taking on a leg of the race each.

London Triathlon Swim

Hayley has completed several triathlon's before and took on the 1.5K swim before passing on the baton to triathlon first timer little ol' me, who endured a 40K cycle, before Adrienne brought it home for us after a 10K run in the sweltering heat. I couldn't have been more proud to be part of this team but if it's your first time doing a triathlon, here's a few things you ought to know.

AJ Bell London Triathlon Medals

1) Arrive there with loads of time to spare.

With over 15,000 people entering the race, it may take you a long time to find out where you're going and what you're doing. In fact...it definitely will. (At least 2 hours).

2) There are zero water stations.

I set off on a 25 mile cycle in the sun without a bottle of water expecting a pit stop for a water break. Rookie mistake.

3) You need to count your own laps.

Shout out to the geezer who I bellowed at 30 minutes into the race to tell me how much longer I had to cycle for. Life saver.

AJ Odudu, AdrienneTMM & Hayley Jane Fitness

4) You may want to learn how to use your bike!

I totally cycled 40K in the wrong gear which was (leg-sapping) fun. 

5) Remember to have fun!

Despite our lack of race preparation we soaked up the incredible atmosphere, took full advantage of the free post race protein bars and massage stations, captured the breath tacking views of London's Victoria Docks and most importantly, completed the race. We wore our medals with pride and even met Sporty Spice! It was a great day out.

Mel C and AJ Odudu

It just goes to show the incredible achievements we can make together by cheering each other along. In fact we have all been inspired to actually train hard to enter the triathlon next year to accomplish all three disciplines individually so watch this space.

Congratulations to everyone who completed their triathlon and good luck to everyone partaking in The AJ Bell London Tri today. You will have a blast.

XOXO

Find out how you can partake in the AJ Bell Triathlon by clicking here.

Top 3 Foam Roller Moves

Work hard and sometimes, rest harder. Did you know that stretching and resting post workout is often overlooked? Yet it's an important way to avoid the risk of injury and is the quickest way to rebuild, repair and recover your muscles, enabling you to be at your best during your next workout.

I've teamed up with New Balance to share ways that you can use your rest days to the maximum and to show that running and resting really do go hand in hand. This is why I'm bringing you my top 3 Foam Roller Moves, especially essential for runners.

1. HAMSTRINGS

Hamstring movement using a foam roller

2. QUADS

Quad movement using a foam roller

3. Calves

Calve movement using foam roller

Foam rollers act as a 'self-massage' reliving muscular soreness even further and they are a great tool for the development of a more supple body. These top 3 moves are particularly great for runners as they focus on your hamstrings, quads and calves so roll on and find my step by step guide on how to do them safely by clicking here.

In this post I am wearing the New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 Trainers, New Balance Racer Back Bra Top and the New Balance Printed Impact leggings. 

Photos by Duncan Nicholls

#IAmTheCompetition

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.

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


Running Tips for Beginners

Tomorrow I'll be taking to Finsbury Park, London to run 5K as part of the Race For Life Series. To get me in the mood I'm going to the Anniversary Games  to watch the likes of Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Mo Farah at the Olympic Stadium which I'm super excited about. Who could forget that in 2012, in that very stadium, Mo Farah won the 5000M race in a time of 13 minutes and 41 seconds. WOW!

Screen shot 2015-07-24 at 15.24.28.png

I won't be going for Olympic Gold, but I will be running for a fantastic cause, Cancer Research. It's a charity close to my heart and one that I have actively supported before during London's Winter Run.   

Running Tips for Beginners

Over this 5K trail, I'm envisioning a muddy obstacle course where I (and thousands of women of any ability) can run, walk, climb or crawl to the finish line, all while dressed in Race for Life's signature colour pink, making it the prettiest event ever! 

To some 5K doesn't seem like much, for many it'll be a huge achievement, especially for such a great cause. So here are some running tips for beginners.

Good luck to everyone running, walking and crawling in pink tomorrow. See you at the finish line!

AJ

XOXO

 

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