Written by Dr Fiona Lithander, Performance Nutritionist and Dietitian
In this blog post, our in-house Dietician and Nutrition expert, Dr Fiona Lithander, gives us the information and advice that we need to stay well-fuelled before and during a long run. Whether you’re taking part in the University of Bristol Run Series Half Marathon or you like to de-stress with a long run in the evenings and on weekend, this post is for you!
Before a run
The key thing is to start your run well fuelled and well hydrated. A pre-race meal is recommended about 3-4 hours before the start of the race. This may differ slightly between people which is why it is important to practice, to see what works best for you.
Wellbeing is quite the topic right now and, because of that fact, wellbeing might possibly be a source of confusion, concern and annoyance for you. As something currently quite ill defined, tricky to grasp and without any consensus on actions or deliverables, I can really understand this.
The University of Bristol Student Roundnet Club was new on the scene in 2019. In this post Committee member, Antoine, writes about the experience of setting up a brand new Bristol SU Sports Club, and shares top tips for any students interested in doing the same thing next year with another new sport!
What is Roundnet?
Roundnet is a relatively new sport which is very popular in the US and is taking the rest of the world by storm. The sport is amazing because it can be played almost anywhere and really caters to all abilities; from your casual BBQ with friends to competing in a World Championship final. The European and UK Roundnet scenes are thriving with new and exciting clubs and tournaments, so it was definitely a great time to get into the sport. Roundnet is also well known for its incredibly friendly and inclusive community, which is at the core of our Club’s ethos.
Roundnet is a sport played by four players in teams of two around a circular net. Once the ball is served onto the net, the other pair have up to three touches to hit it back onto the net. Once the ball contacts the net, possession changes to the other team. There are no boundaries, it is a 360º game! A team wins a point once the other team is unable to return the ball legally onto the net.
The University of Bristol Run Series is a community and wellbeing focused virtual event. Through this event we are encouraging staff, students, alumni and people of Bristol to re-connect with one another over a common goal – be that 5k, 10k a Half Marathon (or all three!) – with the aim of bettering our physical and mental health during a time of anxiety, uncertainty and isolation.
Our ‘Faces of the Run Series’ blog posts will shine a light on individuals who have signed up to one, or more, of our virtual events and ask them to share what brought them to our virtual community this year! Through this blog series, we hope to introduce you to your fellow runners by putting a face to the Facebook profile, email address or Strava user we’ve only had the opportunity to ‘meet’ in 2D so far!
Name: Roy Kiruri Staff or Student: Bristol SU Sabbatical Officer, International Students Run Series Event: Whole Series!
In this blog post our Pete Burrows, our University and Run Series and Wellbeing expert, ‘joins the dots’ between the activity of running and our individual wellbeing. It is for people whose ‘personal best’ has nothing to do with numbers – be that race time or distance – and everything to do with being your most authentic, happiest self and living your best life.
COVID-19 and the Good News for Wellbeing
Global perceptions of physical activities, like running, havebeen thoroughly shaken up and questioned during the pandemic.With so many of the more “traditional” forms of activity off-limits as a result ofgyms and indoor sports facilities closing, more of us than ever have turned to running, as a free, always-open, option. This has presenteda unique and very real opportunity to continue to breakevery stigma, stereotype, and general misunderstanding surroundingwhat running looks like, who running isfor,why we choose running as an activity, and the overarching benefits itgives.
Whilst reported levels of physical activity have fluctuated due to the ongoing restrictions, overall the perceived value of being active hasgrown significantly in the last yearCOVID-19.
“There isn’t anything worse than running – at least, that’s what I’ve believed my whole life so far.
I decided to take up cross-country with my school and that’s where I truly decided that running wasn’t for me.”
Name: Brandon Dobson Staff or Student: Student Studying: Geography (BSc), School of Geographical Sciences Year of Study: Third year Additional roles: Lead Activator for Sport, Exercise and Health
There isn’t anything worse than running – at least, that’s what I’ve believed my whole life so far. I have always been very active and played sports that required me to runbut at the age of 10 I decided to take up cross-country with my school and that’s when I truly decided that running wasn’t for me.
I wasn’t a terriblerunner, but I was certainly no Mo Farah, often placing somewhere between 20th and 60th out of 150 to 200 people. I have always been competitive and given myself a hard time when I’ve not performed as well as I think I should, andas such, I often walked away from many sports when I had experienced a bad day. In running, this competitive streak manifestedin trying to run long–distances far too quickly, which is why I struggled so much – my technique was entirely wrong.
More than 12 years have passed since, and while my attitude towards my performance has relaxed significantly, my hatred of running competitively has remained. When I heard about the Bristol Run Series, my first thought was “why would anyone want to do that, I can’t think of anything more boring than running for hours”. Nonetheless, lockdown took its toll and I have become significantly less active,from doing some form of fitness every day to now only getting active around once a week. The effects were noticeable;my physical wellbeing suffered and my mental wellbeing was far from where it should be – I was unhappy. In desperate need to get myself back into shape – physically and mentally – I did something quite shocking I signed up for the whole Bristol Run Series.
“I have been really struggling with motivation during these last few weeks. The Run Series provides me with an excellent opportunity to do this for me, to collect the medals, join a community and feel a part of the university again.”
Studying: Bachelor of Science, BS Childhood studies
What is your experience with running up until now?
I never used to run; I was adamant that I couldn’t do it. I used to think it would deteriorate my muscle growth. However, in the first lockdown, I purchased my first pair of running shoes. I started with a short 5k around the downs, once or twice a week as a maximum. I was very much a gym girl; cardio wasn’t my forte at all. Since the first lockdown, I have steadily increased my distance and decreased my time. So, to cut it short, I am probably an intermediate runner.
What motivated you to sign up for the run series in 2021?
I have been really struggling with motivation during these last few weeks. The run series provides me with an excellent opportunity to do something for myself, to collect the medals, join a community and feel a part of the university again.
What is your top tip for getting out the door for your training runs?
For me, I must schedule the run a few days before. I am not a spontaneous person as such, I like to mentally prepare for a run. I like to eat properly beforehand (a carby meal a few hours before). It is about doing what suits you. I also like to run in the evenings, as a break in-between studying. The sunsets are also so beautiful so it is great for the mind as well.
What are you most looking forward to about taking part in the Run Series this year?
I am most looking forward to being a part of a community again. I love to socialise and, obviously, it has been hard this year to feel connected. The run series will allow me to feel a part of a team and strive to be the best version of myself that I can be!
What is your favourite pre-run snack/food?
I love sliced banana with peanut butter on top (crunchy peanut butter, of course). Personally, it is so important that I also eat well the day before. If I eat poorly, I can’t expect a good time but again just getting out and running is so much better than not doing anything. Do this for you.
There is still time to sign up for the first Run Series event, the virtual 5k, this weekend (20-21 March). For more information, and to sign up, visit the Run Series website.
John Wilford is our Sport and Health Manager. He is also a Dad of three who has been navigating working from home and homeschooling over the past year, and he has some wisdom to share.
“A marathon, not a sprint.” This sporting metaphor has been a common refrain over the last year. The last couple of months have become more like a car trip though – “are we there yet?”, “you’re squashing me”, “I feel sick” “I’m hungry”…
The February school break came as a welcome pause even though the break from school was being spent at “school”. Getting teenagers out of bed became even more futile and there were still cries of “the wifi is playing up”, but it was time spent playing games of Among Us and, Youtube content disrupted, instead of Maths lessons or Mrs Wordsmith.
One aspect persisted – physical activity levels stayed low. Previous lockdowns saw a national dip in levels for children with more 5 to 18-year-olds not reaching the recommendations of 60 minutes of physical activity per daythan ever.
Our second Face of the Run Series is this year’s elected Sports and Student Development Officer, Rushab Shah. Rushab has been at home in Nairobi, Kenya since Christmas, which is where he will be running the Run Series virtual 5k on the weekend of 20-21 March.
We caught up with Henry Abrahams, our resident Sports Physiotherapist at the University of Bristol SportsMedicine Clinic,who has just got back from 2 weeks working with the GB Olympic Rowing Team helping them prepare for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“For the athletes and support teams who were working towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the pandemic has really shifted the goalposts, not only with the games being delayed to 2021 but also through restrictions on travel and training. Alongside my role as a Physiotherapist based at the University of Bristol Sports Medicine Clinic, I am also lucky enough to work as a contractor with British Rowing, the National Governing Body for Rowing.