Why wear compression gear for running & Pro Compression Giveaway

Running the Berlin Marathon

I’ve worn compression socks for 3 out of my 4 marathons, and I’m pretty sure I’ll wear them in October for the Chicago marathon too. My favourite compression socks are Pro Compression, so when they contacted me about hosting a giveaway for you guys, I was all over it. To win a pair of Pro Compression Marathon socks (you don’t have to run a marathon in them!) either comment below with your sock of choice or tweet about this post (using @charliedwatson and @procompression in the tweet) and you’ll have a choice of their snazzy colours! Open to UK and US residents, competition closes 5th June 2015.

As well as wearing compression socks, I also own a couple of pairs of compression leggings. I really like the 2XU- and although very unattractive to put on, they feel nice and snug once you’ve pulled them up fully! Plus I’m obsessed with patterned leggings at the moment, so these Alpha Printed leggings from Under Armour fit the bill of being functional and fashionable.

But some of you are probably wondering what the benefits of compression are for running.

procompression Paris marathon

Why wear compression for running?

Compression gear is designed to circulate your blood back to your heart and lungs more efficiently, replenishing the oxygen and nutrients in your muscles more quickly.

Wearing compression socks, sleeves or leggings can;

  • Improve recovery speed and minimise muscle soreness, which is why a lot of people wear them during or after running to help reduce the effects of the long run on their legs.
  • You’ll lose less energy from your muscles vibration, mostly through the quad and calf.
  • It raises blood lactate accumulation, meaning that you’ll be able to run harder for longer before lactic acid becomes a real problem and you experience cramps.
  • Improves anaerobic and aerobic threshold.
  • Decreases injury risk, the force of the impact from the ground up the legs is lessened, this reduces the stress. They can also help support and stabilise areas of previous injury.
  • Compression gear gently squeezes the muscles helping keep them warm to allow them to work more efficiently.

Don’t forget to enter the competition to win a pair of Pro Compression marathon socks or sleeve of your choice, you can also use the code PRO15 for 40% off. I’m planning on placing an order really soon so email me (charliewatson88@hotmail.co.uk) if you want to club together on postage :)

My Top 5 Running Moments

I saw this on someone else’s blog (although I am so sorry but I have completely forgotten where) but thought it was a fab idea, so I thought I’d share mine with you guys today.

New York Marathon

Here are my top 5 running moments;

1. Finishing the New York Marathon with a 36 minute PB. I had loved almost every minute of the race, and couldn’t quite believe that I’d just run through Central Park and earned my second marathon medal. Along the course I’d seen my parents, high fived Tom, and cried with pain/happiness at seeing Tom’s parents.

2. Running hand in hand across the London Marathon finish line with my friend Emily. It had been a real slog, but we’d made it. I thought I’d finish never wanting to run again, but luckily I just couldn’t stop thinking about running it faster next time- despite the huge blisters on my feet.

3. Running along the Thames with Tom on Valentine’s Day this year- it was his suggestion to run (which makes me SO happy), the sun was shining and we bumped into a friend on the Thames tow path too. After our run we made a big brunch before going to Twickenham to watch the rugby. Ideal Valentine’s Day!

4. Waddling over the finish line of the Berlin Marathon and hearing my friend shout my name from the VIP area to say well done. Just before he’d spotted me I’d been hunched over the fence, trying not to vom- obviously I styled this out when I realised he was watching! I then received a text from Lissy with my results- 10 mins faster than my goal time, and my first Sub 4 marathon.

TOm marathon hug

5. Not exactly MY running moment, but during the London Marathon when Tom came over for a huge hug at mile 23. It was completely worth not running the marathon myself for that one moment. Closely followed by overhearing him telling friends that he wanted to run it again!

What are your top 5 running moments? I’d love to hear them!

SUP: Stand Up Paddleboarding Putney

Stand Up Paddleboarding Putney

If my legs are shaking through fear and an inability to balance, does that mean my muscles are working?

Climbing onto a paddleboard and pushing myself out into the freezing, grimy and not to mention, busy, Thames on Saturday afternoon, I was scared. Scared that I would fall in, that I would get in the way of a boat race or that I would hurt myself.

Luckily, none of these fears came true but it didn’t stop my body shaking with nerves.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

I’d been invited along to the launch of Crewroom’s new SUP club, a twice weekly paddleboarding club leaving from the Crewroom headquarters in Putney. An enthusiastic yet apprehensive group of us donned lifejackets and waited to get onto the river. I think more people than they were expecting had turned up to the session, so there was a lot of hanging around while boards were found, and groups were split up. Hopefully they will have this sorted out before the next session!

After a brief safety talk, we stood along the already teeming river, waiting our turn to have a go. About 4 of us were on the water at any one time, Zoe and her friend went first, then swapped with my friend Charlie and I.

IMG_9433

Paddleboarding is definitely harder than it looks, especially in fast moving water. I found it really tricky to manoeuvre confidently through the water, and felt incredibly unstable when I tried to stand up. I spent most of the 10 minutes that I was on the water on my knees on the board. Charlie on the other hand, was a natural.

Stand UP Paddleboarding Putney

 

Stand Up Paddleboarding

 

The movement to paddle yourself through the water is very different to rowing; you want to pull the paddle directly down rather than out to the side. You also hold the long paddle at the top of the handle, with your other hand further down, swapping sides and grips as you paddle along. As well as the muscles in your legs working to keep you standing upright on the wobbly board, it’s also a great ab and arm workout too.

zoe putney bridge 2-9987

As well as weekly paddleboarding clubs on Tuesday and Saturdays, they also offer longer tours. ON Saturday a group were heading off on a 2 hour tour to Chiswick and back- definitely something to build up to! If you live in London or are just visiting, Paddleboarding would be such a fun way to spend a day. You can sign up at Active360 to book a place on a tour or for SUP club.

Thanks to Zoe’s Mum Yaffa for a lot of these pictures. 

How I deal with Chronic Headaches/Migraines

I’m on day 7 of a cluster headache attack. It’s not pretty.

Sadly, I’m no stranger to these sorts of headaches, the type that leave you feeling sick, dizzy, unable to concentrate and increasingly clumsy. Where your eyes hurt to be open, and any form of movement/loud noise/light is painful to the body.

I’ve suffered from headaches for as long as I can remember but as I get older, they’re getting worse. I’ve spent hours and hours in dark rooms, unable to sleep but unable to function. I’ve been sick on the tube and I’ve missed parties.

But I try to limit the effect that these headaches have on my life, and have researched and tested out ways to help reduce the pain and to prevent them in the first place. I know I’m not the only one that suffers from headaches, so maybe a few of these could help you too or someone you know who suffers from headaches and migraines.

Drink loads of water– I drink about 3 litres a day. I know lots of people get headaches when they’re dehydrated and I am no exception. It’s one of the only things we can actually control, so make sure you keep hydrated throughout the day, and don’t leave it until your thirsty to start glugging water. I also think Coconut Water can be a really great addition; it’s really hydrating plus a great source of magnesium.

tom marathon supporters

Caffeinate– A lot of people get caffeine withdrawal headaches, and for others caffeine can be a headache trigger. However, for many coffee or tea can actually help easy a headache. Caffeine can constrict the blood vessels reducing the pain (caffeine is an ingredient in many painkillers!). I often reach for a coffee or iced latte when my headache is particularly bad.

Get your eyes tested– I only discovered last Summer that I need to wear glasses for all screen time, and actually anything up close. I really can notice the difference in my headaches when I haven’t worn them- even when checking my phone. This is such a simple change that can make a huge difference!

Take a break- from your screen or whatever you’re concentrating on. Go for a walk, get a drink or a snack, or go and talk to a colleague. A few minutes away from your computer can do wonders.

Cut back on the alcohol– I can’t drink red or white wine anymore without getting a headache, and I am much more susceptable to hangover headaches even after 3 drinks. It’s annoying, especially as a lot of my social life still revolves around drinking, but I just have to watch it. I also try to drink a ton of water and eat when I’m drinking to ease the headaches. This is potentially my most frustrating headache trigger as I always feel so lame.

Relax- stress is another of my major triggers. Not so easily avoided! After working until 10pm on Thurs eve for a tight deadline, I woke up with a raging migraine on Friday morning. Not a coincidence. I’m trying to work out ways to relaxing a little more, like yoga, mindfulness, listening to podcasts before bed to distract myself etc (I’ve got a whole post coming on this soon!)

yoga-rooftop-St-Pauls

 

Massage – I regularly see the amazing Josh at TwoTwenty who targets the tight areas in my head, neck and shoulders to release these hotspots. They link directly to my pain areas, and although the sessions are anything but pleasant, they really work. You can also massage your own pain points to help ease the tension.

Exercise– Getting the blood pumping can be beneficial for headache relief (plus you’ll think less about your headache is your legs are burning!) I avoid jumping and hardcore cardio workouts with a bad headache but stretching and strength can be great. You’ll also get the benefit of endorphins- nature’s pain relief!

Get enough sleep – For me tiredness is another trigger, so I try to get at least 8 hours a night. It’s best to aim to go to bed and wakeup at the same time everyday – even on weekends!

I’m also currently trying out increasing my magnesium levels and adding more anti inflammatory foods to my diet. Additionally I’ve signed up to get acupuncture in a few weeks- I’ve heard it has worked miracles for other migraine sufferers; fingers crossed!

(I also wrote a whole piece for Anne’s blog about natural headache cures and preventions – feel free to check it out!)

5 Fit Girl Problems

 

nike vest top - the runner beans

5 Fit Girl Problems

Things you know if you’re only a fit girl…

 

1. Forgetting something vital for your workout- whether that’s not packing a sport’s bra, leaving your work shoes at home or having to wear a completely mis-matched outfit.

We’ve all been there. On Wednesday I had to wear trainers at work all day, including to 2 meetings. I’ve had friends that have forgotten skirts and bras who have had to do a mad dash to Primark or M&S before going in to the office.

Nightmare.

2. You are ashamed of your feet. They’re bashed up, potentially missing toenails, have toughened skin from long runs and are generally in need of a professional pedicure.

nike free runs - the runner beans

3. Your colleagues give you strange looks because you are always producing strange healthy snacks and smoothies from your handbag. Oh and constantly eating.

I don’t have any drawers at work so my snacks are laid out on my desk each day! Also, why is it more embarrassing to eat homemade energy balls than a kitkat?

gym tote

4. You are constantly washing clothes; sports bras, socks, leggings, shorts. Depending on the activities you can sometimes end up wearing 3 outfits in one day.

5. Hair washing. How many days is it acceptable not to wash your hair? Is it obvious that you dry shampooed? Surely blasting your sweaty hair with the cold hair dryer is almost the same as washing and blow drying?

What are your fit girl/guy problems?