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DANCE UPDATE!

So the Spice Girls Dance-A-Thon was loads of fun!

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Here’s a photo of everyone who stayed dancing right until the end! Well done! Thank you everyone involved, the Spice Up organisers, box office staff and the Manchester Central security team. Big love to one of the security team who joined in! I loved *every minute* leading the Spice Girls dance session! I encouraged everyone to sing along as well as give it their all dancing, and they did!

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Some of my amazing friends came along, check out my ILL band mates posing with me in the Spice Bus! The Spice Up exhibition has been extended until the end of September and can now be found in The Great Northern!

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My Zumba classes are going from (high energy) strength to strength. Just received some lovely feedback from Chloe: ‘I LOVE IT! Really enjoyed being offbeat and free styling and it felt like a space to be able to do that too. You’re really great Fi’

THANK YOU CHLOE! SO ARE YOU!

My next Zumba challenge will be learning the officical Zumba Instructor Network choreography to the sizzling Level Up track by Ciara. It’s such a cool track, it was no surprise when I learned that Missy Elliott had been involved in the creative process. What a track, about self-improvement and getting better and better at whatever you do.

If you like this video (I love it) you should watch the ‘making of’ video. The video is spellbinding and showcases how extremely far music video choreography has come in the last few years.

Watch how the dancers learn and MOVE! So much respect for PARRI$ what a legend!

But don’t be scared off, my Zumba classes will soon feature this track musically, but with moves way more accessible than in this video! You don’t need to be a professional dancer to enjoy dancing with conviction in a Zumba class, you just need to be ready to have fun!

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Everyone (18+) is welcome. My Zumba classes are every Wednesday 6-7pm at Platt Lane Sports Complex in Fallowfield. Prices: Public £4.70 / MMU Student £4.20 / Other students, MMU & MMC Staff £4.40 / Concession £2.45

TODAY I GOT A BBC RADIO SHOUTOUT FROM ONE OF MY HEROES, TALKING ABOUT DANCE (IN CAPITAL LETTERS)! I am so excited to go dancing at Lucky Cloud Sound System this Sunday in London with my friend Caroline. I’m still buzzing from hearing Lauren Laverne do a BBC Radio 6 Music shout out to us today, when talking about listeners weekend plans! LISTEN AGAIN 25 mins in:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/m0000fjf

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The featured photo at the top of this blog is me posing with another one of my heroes: FIERCE DANCER / Manchester legend / northern powerhouse / Mother of The House of Ghetto Darren Pritchard. After one of Darren’s most enjoyable Vogue Workshops I’ve ever experienced, part of Superbia, during Manchester Pride Weekend, we were *totally feeling ourselves* and we had just been told that there was steam coming from the room!

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Photo by JA G Wallis

I also have some really exciting news coming up about a dance event I will be leading at Halloween! Stay tuned! 💀💃🏻⚡️💋

 

Tomorrow I’m leading a DANCE-A-THON at the Spice Girls Exhibition!!!

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Last Sunday I walked around SpiceUp, the brilliant exhibition of Spice Girls clothing, records and memorabilia at Manchester Central. It brought back so many happy memories of my sister (age 7) and I (age 10) collecting the sticker books, making up dance moves to Who Do You Think You Are, and watching the Spice Girls VHS on repeat. The Spice Girls made us feel like we could be confident, loud, proud and have fun. Their music is so uplifting, it is a real honour to be creating a dance / fitness extravaganza where people can dance together to their favourite Spice Girls hits!

I am absolutely thrilled to have been telling everyone I know that tomorrow (Sunday 2nd September at 4pm) I will be leading a 30 minute high energy DANCE-A-THON to back to back Spice Girls tracks. Everyone is welcome to attend, get involved and/or watch, and cheer us on. Everyone is encouraged to sing their hearts out too!

Of course, we will be doing warm up exercises at the start, to If You Can’t Dance, to get everyone psyched up and ready for action (cue Mel C’s high kick) and then the all important cool down stretches to the more relaxed tones of 2 Become 1, to reduce muscle soreness the following day.  It’s recommended that all dancers come early and stay for the full 30 minutes!

I’ve really enjoyed the choreography process this week. As a fully qualified Fitness Instructor and Zumba Instructor, who LOVES DANCING, I’ve incorprated all of the original Spice Girls iconic chorus dance moves, along with aerobic and toning exercises. The session will be a real workout and a highly enjoyable one too!

The exhibition is fantastic. Congratulations Alan Smith-Allison and everyone involved. It’s great to see all the 90s fashions, and iconic outfits that were seen all over the planet. And who knew that there were so many different kinds of Spice Girls dolls made and circulated in different countries?!

I urge all Spice Girls fans to go on one of the guided tours with the oh-so-fabulous and knowledgaeable Alex Lodge. He has met every single Spice Girl, he knows his facts, and he will blow your mind!

So bring your dancing shoes (PLATFORMS AND HIGH HEELS MUST BE TAKEN OFF FOR THE DANCE SESSION!) bring some water and come and have a dance! All fitness levels and abilities welcome. All ages welcome. Tickets are available here. Get to Manchester Central early so you can have a look round, come find the DANCE-A-THON inside the exhibition space, and get down!

SAY YOU’LL BE THERE!

More Awesome Feedback from my Zumba Classes!

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“After your Zumba class I couldn’t stop dancing when I got home!”

“I feel amazing after your Zumba classes, and the high lasts all night and the following morning until lunchtime!”

“It really is true what group exercise and Zumba can do for the soul, I’m coming back every week!”

“I can’t believe that was an hour! It went so quick!”

“I’ve sweat more in your class than I have ever sweat in my whole life!”

“I experienced different pains in my legs the following days after my first Zumba class with you, but my legs are already getting fitter, the soreness has definitely reduced.”

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My Zumba classes are 6-7pm every Wednesday at Platt Lane Sports Complex. All fitness levels welcome!

Public £4.70 / MMU Student £4.20 / Other students, MMU & MMC Staff £4.40 / Concession £2.45

My First Ever Zumba Class was a HIT!

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Lots of shiny happy people hugged each other, expressed their thanks and congratulated me after my first Zumba class last night! It was so much fun!

We had to wipe steam from the mirrors to take a photo in the reflection! We got drenched in there! Such a good workout.

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Lots of great open minded energy and smiles from the start. I enjoyed it so much and already can’t wait for next week!

I LOVE the feedback from last night:

John: ‘Slightly surprised to still be alive after that, but feel properly great now.’

‘… It’s brilliant. The music’s bonkers. Like the Macarena, only with a massive bass drum and a really angry man shouting at you over the top.’ 😂😂😂

‘Absolutely no way I’d have got through that when I was smoking. It is serious business.’

Chloe: ‘I LOVED IT!!!!! So much fun and vibes Fi, you bring the ENERGY as always.’

Steph: ‘Fiona just totally smashed her first Zumba class, I know, I was there and it was awesome sweaty fun! Much better cardio than running on a treadmill!!’

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My Zumba classes are open to everyone (18+) and are £4.70 per session or included in the gym membership at Platt Lane Sports Complex. Monthly direct debit for gym membership is £18.50 per month for members of the public / £13 for Manchester Met students / £16 for other students, MCC & Manchester Met staff.

Zumba is incredible for so many reasons, but one of the best things about a Zumba workout is the FUN and self expression involved. Take a look at the 2 videos below. 2 dancers in the first video dancing to the same Zumba track as the 2 dancers in the next video. Same choreography, but because of the way they dance and how they choose to style out the moves, they bring something different. It’s all about how you go with the flow, how you bring it and how you OWN IT!

Same track, same choreo, yet with a slightly different essence in each video! If you’re interested in coming to one of my classes, stick one of these videos on and have a go! Just keep practicing and it will get easier and more and more enjoyable when you’re able to lose yourself in the moves!

If you’d like to book onto one of my classes at Platt Lane Sports Complex, feel free to call the reception: 0161 247 5605

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Delivering my FIRST EVER ZUMBA CLASS tonight! Wish me luck!

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If you know me well, if you’ve read my blog before, if you’ve seen me on a dance floor, or if you’ve bumped into me at Platt Lane Sports Complex talking about the new Zumba classes, you will already know… I LOVE TO DANCE!!!

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I am honoured to have been trained by totally inspiring Mexican Zumba instructor Sandra Bayliss in April 2018, with the hope of bringing Zumba classes to Manchester Met students and members of the local community at Platt Lane Sports Complex!

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The training day was 8 hours, combining highly energetic dancing, and sitting down writing notes on genres, rhythms, specific dance moves and all kinds of visualisations to help us remember moves. Visualisations like landing a plane, rubbing your boobs up a wall (lol) for the body roll, chopping the sugar cane, carrying a candle… And for me, these visualisations have really helped with the learning process.

And my is it a learning process?! I have spent hours and hours listening to the different tracks, identifying intros, verses, bridges, choruses and breakdowns all in a language I don’t yet understand! Then came the watching of the Zumba Instructor Network DVD On repeat. Throughout summer, watching and practicing, even drawing little stick men with arrows in different directions to help me memorise portions of tracks.

A major springboard moment in the learning process was when I enjoyed dancing to a free Zumba-for-everyone class in the streets of Columbia, where Zumba comes from! This was a recent trip and dancing with everyone in the streets to Zumba, was a real life affirming moment! It gave me a real boost for the mind, body and soul, it gave me more confidence in my Zumba dancing, and I learned some news moves too!

 

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I felt so happy to see all ages of people , all genders, getting right into it, and it was FREE! Apparently this happens every Sunday in the Trinidad Square in Cartagena. How’s beautiful is this? GOALS! Loads of people were wearing the yellow Colombia football team shirt, and there was a real electricity in the air, because Columbia had just won their first World Cup 2018 game that afternoon! They were out a few weeks later, but hey, people still experienced pure excitement and pleasure in the moment, that lifted their souls.

Which brings us back to the power of DANCE! Specifically Zumba! Zumba Fitness really is ‘the most joyful money machine on earth’ Haha.

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And there’s a reason why Zumba is the most successful dance class in the world. In fact there are many:

Not only do you lose yourself in all the intoxicating, colourful, vibrant rhythms of reggaeton, salsa, cumbia, merengue and more… You also reap these benefits: Calorie and fat burning, improved coordination, full body workout, aerobic benefits, anaerobic benefits, confidence boosting, increasing self esteem, it gets you hooked on exercise, anyone can join in, it is social and IT IS FUN!

I learned on the Zumba course that your participants might not really remember how to execute correct technique, but they will remember how you made them feel. I love this.

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During my first ever Zumba class, I got the giggles at the start, but a few tracks in, I was lost in the music, I had lost all my inhibitions, I was FEELING THE  MUSIC and I started to notice my mood was getting more and more lifted with each track. The intensity varies between each track, to create an interval training session, better for fatburn and preserving energy for more intense moves! But gradually the moves get more intense and complicated, as you pick them up and own it!

There is so much to say, but I must dash. I am so ready for tonight’s session! All fitness levels welcome. From experienced dancers to complete beginners (18+) come and give my Zumba class a go!

Wednesdays 6-7pm at Platt Lane Sports Complex, Fallowfield, Manchester.

£4.70 per session or included in the gym membership.

Bring a water bottle and a towel! See you in the fitness studio in the Leisure Dome! LET’S DANCE!

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Here’s the brand new Platt Lane Sports Complex fitness class timetable. See you there!

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MMU Sport Photoshoot!

Lots of exciting changes are coming to the fitness timetables across MMU Sport, very soon! Sports photographer Molly Darlington (she’s really good, check out her Instagram: @mdarlingtonphotography – do it) took some photos of me leading various classes and PT sessions in the gym at Platt Lane Sports Complex, for the new timetable launch. Stay tuned for more info!

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How low can you go? Make sure those glutes are activated!61BF4372-132D-4E4F-B0CE-93EAC8F572E0

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Working the cross-trainers:E35B310F-6F49-4AF0-8A00-7590C4BD536B

Lat pull-down… Exhale on the pull, keep your back straight, and keep that core engaged!69BAA389-39A5-45DD-AE47-EAFCC46E37E3

Checking squat technique with the bar before we add weight! 609A8331-F63C-4673-AC3C-23380E889948

Making the ‘Y’ from the legendary ‘YMCA’ in military press!7FC7256B-F2AB-4536-A454-66F1925C4166

 

New Boxing Equipment!

Shiny new gloves, pads and skipping ropes from @ProBoxUk for our Box Fit sessions at Platt Lane Sports Complex!

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I’ve been learning some awesome new drills & skills for my Box Fit sessions, thank you @pullinpt 💪🏼 & @joc_sport 🥊

We currently run 3 Box Fit sessions every week:

Mon 17:30-18:15, Wed 09:30-10:30, Fri 18:15-19:00

New to boxing training? Seasoned professional? Everyone welcome! Call @plattlanemmu reception: 0161 247 5605 to book onto a class!

 

Wonderful feedback! Thank you and WELL DONE Georgia!

One of the students I helped train for The Great Run – the much loved Manchester 10K – did the run IN EXACTLY ONE HOUR! I saw the evidence from the GPS tracker on Georgia’s Instagram live! THIS IS AMAZING!

Here’s Georgia (in the purple T-shirt) on the day of The Great Run, Sunday 20th May 2018, raising awareness and funds for The Hospice of The Good Shepherd.

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A few months ago she told me that she would be doing the 10K Run for the first time, with members of her family. They have been raising funds for the hospice that helped Georgia’s auntie before she passed away. This is incredibly moving and such a positive thing to do, in the context of losing a much loved family member.

Georgia is one of the regulars in my fitness classes at Platt Lane Sports Complex and I have really enjoyed working with her, enhancing her cardiovascular endurance and stamina, increasing leg and core strength, training for a safe, enjoyable run, with the hope that she could get a good finishing time in her first 10K event.

It’s such an awesome feeling to see that she did the run in such a brilliant time and that she will continue to run from now on!

Georgia: “After telling Fiona I would be running the Manchester 10K, she offered to help me train for it and having had no previous running experience, this was something I came to be extremely grateful for.

We had 10 weeks to train before the run so we had one personal training session per week and she even let my two housemates who weren’t doing the run join in.

Fiona taught me different exercises and techniques that would improve my running style and help build my stamina, along with teaching me lots of different facts about running.

I managed to run the 10K in exactly 1hr which is something I would never have been able to do without the help of Fiona.

I can’t thank her enough for the amazing support she gave me in the run up to the event and she’s even motivated me to do more running in the future.

THANK YOU!”

THANK YOU GEORGIA! BIG RESPECT TO YOU AND ALL OF YOUR FAMILY! (And your mates who turned up to the training sessions!) Keep up the good work!

When was the last time you made time for real relaxation?

To mark the end of #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek 2018, I’ve compiled a list of 10 of my favourite pieces of deeply relaxing music.

This week The Mental Health Foundation chose to raise awareness around stress.

If we make time for relaxation, we are less likely to experience stress. Stress can be seriously bad for our health. It is so important to be able to feel calm, and to know – in such a ridiculously busy world – that we have the ability to find moments of peace.

E7E16B09-632A-48FE-A7B4-B366447F17A7I know for a fact that chilling out to music, meditation and exercise (specifically yoga and swimming) can really help me to feel relaxed.

I also love the healing power of gong vibration detox (group relaxation with large gongs being played around you). Click here to listen to my radio interview with Manchester based Gong Spa Practitioner Martyn Cawthorne.

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But if you’re struggling to find peace, make it simple. Run a bath, light some candles and play these tracks below! No bath? No worries! Simply make time to lay down with your eyes closed and listen!

5 Days Until The Great Run! Vee Uye talks about her Love of Running

Vee Uye is a friend of mine who inspires me greatly. She’s like a superhero.  She is a prolific runner, she’s totally knowledgeable and passionate about running. She motivated me to get into running, which changed my life.

I asked her to answer a few questions to get people psyched for the Great Run (the much loved Manchester 10K) happening this Sunday, and to also offer some advice to people who might be new to running.

She’s a physiotherapist, she’s just completed her Level 3 Sports Massage qualification and soon she will start a Masters in Running Biomechanics!

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How did you get into running?
I was never particularly good at sports as a kid. By the time I hit adolescence, I’d completely lost interest. Fast forward to university and I was living a very unhealthy life. I wasn’t active, I was overweight, I drank, I smoked. I remember catching sight of myself one day and thinking, ‘how have I got to this?’.
I headed to the nearest newsagents and picked up a fitness magazine. It contained a running plan it it for absolute beginners. I figured that running was the cheapest activity I could get into to try and lose weight.
I started the plan. The plan nearly finished me! I was running for 1 minute and walking for 3 mins and I thought I was going to die!! But I stuck to it and started running further and further. But the end of the plan I could run for 5k straight so I found a plan that took me from 5k to 10k. I started to legitimately love running and the mental and physical benefits it gave me. I entered the Great Manchester Run for the first time and absolutely loved the vibe. It was like I’d found my people! Since then I’ve run loads of races from 5k to marathon distance. It’s safe to say that running is now a massive part of my life. It inspired me to retrain as a physiotherapist, and in September I’ll be starting a postgraduate degree looking at how running biomechanics relate to injury.

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Out of all the races and marathons you’ve done, which is the most memorable so far?
Tough one. I think that has to be the Brighton Marathon in 2014. I ran with my best mate the entire way round. He is a much better runner than me but hadn’t really trained that well for the distance so we ran the same pace. We’ve known each other since we were teenagers and we had similarly difficult starts to life, which translated into us both being a bit too into partying for such young people. So to run the marathon with him, as healthy adults, meant something really special. During the race, there were times when I struggled and he kept my motivation up. Then, he would start to flag, and I’d chat to keep his spirits up. We crossed the line hand in hand. I’ll always remember that.

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What are the 3 most interesting insights you’ve learned in all your years of running?
First off, running is excellent therapy. It is meditative and mindful. You can think about absolutely nothing whilst running, or you can work through problems in your head. You can run on your own for some ‘me time’, or you can get out with a group and chat it out. My partner Lucy knows when I haven’t been running much and will practically order me out of the door as it affects my mood that much. Sometimes, when you are feeling low, lacing your trainers up is the last thing you want to do. But that is your cloud talking. If you get yourself out of the door, 9 times out of 10 you come back feeling better than when you left.
The second thing I have learnt is that no one cares! What I mean is that I used to be really paranoid I’d be called out for not being a proper runner. Or laughed at in the street when I was doing my 1 minute wheeze/cough/splutter running. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. I realised that the only person judging my speed, size, or technique was me. No one else cared! They were all busy with their own lives. You are highly unlikely to be last in a race, if you enter one, and even if you are, no one will care! Run because you want to. That’s what counts. That’s what people admire.
Lastly, you can’t just run. This took a while to sink in for me, but it is really important that you are also strong. The forces you will subject your body to whilst running are pretty big. Modern sedentary life has robbed us a bit of our natural capacity to absorb these forces so we need to counteract that by cross training. I’d recommend doing something resistance based at least twice a week. Yoga, or bodyweight exercises, or using the machines in the gym, whatever you enjoy. The bonus is that not only will you reduce your risk of developing a running related injury, but you can carry the many benefits of strength training into other areas of your life.
Which other runners, if any, inspire you?
If I had said Yuki Kawauchi a few weeks ago, you probably wouldn’t have known who I meant but he’s big news at the moment after winning the Boston Marathon. The reason he is a big deal is because until this prestigious win, he worked a full-time job, and raced multiple marathons each year as an amateur. He always, always pushes himself to the absolute limit. ‘Zip up your Yuki suit’ is a saying popularised by a podcast called Marathon Talk. It basically means stop complaining and get it done! Such is the character of Kawauchi. I try to zip my Yuki suit up when I’m in the middle of a tough session or race.

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I also admire Paula Radcliffe. Mary Keitany tried to break Paula’s 2003 marathon world record of 02:15:25 in London this year and in failing to do so, she reminded us of just how spectacular an achievement that record is. It’s stood for 15 years and looks like it will stand for a little longer too. 53336837JM032_IAAF_World_AthleticsPhoto from Getty Images

The other runner I have to mention is Eliud Kipchoge. This guy IS running. He is poetry in motion. Super humble, monastic in his approach to training, totally zen. I recommend checking out Nike’s Breaking 2 documentary for an insight into, I believe, the greatest marathon runner of all time.

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What sort of things do you eat the day before a 10K Run?
I think people can get a bit hung up on what to eat before races. There’s a big emphasis on stuffing yourself full of pasta and taking sports gels. Personally, I think you don’t need to. Eat healthy, well balanced, meals the day prior to the race. Your body will have more than enough fuel to get you through. There’s no need to load up on gels or anything like that. I wouldn’t eat anything unfamiliar as it is likely to upset your stomach and that’s the last thing you want while running. You also need to make sure you eat breakfast at least 2 hours before the race. I check the start time of my wave and work back from there. If I get peckish after that, I might have half a banana.

How do you motivate yourself to train throughout the week?
Motivation is a finite resource. I can’t always count on being motivated to get me out of the door, especially when it’s raining, or I’m busy, or stressed. The way I manage this is by making it difficult not to go on a run. For instance, if I know that I have limited time in the morning, I get everything ready the night before so I just have to roll out of bed and into my running gear. Or I might plan to run to work, turning a session into a commute. If I feel that my mood might be getting low, I’ll arrange to run with friends, or with my club. That’s usually enough to ensure I get out as I don’t want to let people down. The bottom line is, it isn’t always a beautiful day, your mind isn’t always in the right place, and time isn’t always on your side. But with a bit of pre-planning, you can usually make it work.

What’s your favourite piece of music to run to at the moment?
Controversially, I tend not to listen to music whilst running. I know some people can’t run without tunes but if I listen to anything, I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts related to running and fitness. I do this for a few reasons. The first one comes back to making runs work for me. I’ve got limited time and it’s a way of maximising my day by learning. The second reason is that I find my feet locking to the tempo of songs I’m listening to. I like to keep my cadence above 175 steps per minute and music that matches that tempo…is usually not what I want to be listening to in the morning! The final reason is that I like to train my mind as well as my body. The marathon is my main distance and to run 26.2 miles, you need to be comfortable in your own head. More often than not, I’ll take my headphones out and just let my mind wander.

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What advice would you give to runners doing their first Great Run experience this Sunday?
Enjoy it! It’s probably the best supported 10k you will ever do so soak it up. Also, pace yourself. When you cross the start line, your adrenaline will be pumping and everyone around you will take off like a rocket. Try to remember your training. You aren’t going to be able to magically run 2-3 minutes per mile quicker on race day than you could the day before so stick to your pace and if you have something left in the tank at the end, you can put your foot down then. It’s not easy, everyone gets pulled a bit faster by the occasion and the atmosphere, but try to resist the urge to set a world record. It will only end in tears!3DB400F5-2667-45C7-A3EB-219DF31E2F80
What would you say to someone who is interested in getting into running, but not sure where to start?
The best advice I can give is to start a structured running plan for beginners. Something like the Couch to 5k. Or send a message to running clubs in your area to see if they have any beginners sessions. Both Chorlton Runners and Manchester Frontrunners offer beginner sessions periodically so find out when their next programs begin. The benefit of starting a structured plan is that it will help you gradually increase the time/distance you are running for. One of the biggest risk factors for developing injuries is doing too much too soon, and as an inexperienced runner, it might not be clear how to gauge how much is too much. If you are considering taking up running, go for it! I never looked back. I wish you the same joy and peace of mind running brings to me.

Thank you Vee! Keep up the excellent work, and good luck with your upcoming Masters!

ALL THE BEST TO ALL RUNNERS THIS SUNDAY! 💚