Bristol Active Bucketlist

It’s that time again where we begin to welcome new and returning back to Bristol! In this post, we are sharing some Bristol-based activities that we think deserve a spot on your active bucket list. If you do try any of our suggestions, let us know, we’d love to see your paddle boarding pictures or your new favorite trail. 

Run the downs

Clifton Downs is a running hot spot. With great routes and amazing views over the Avon Gorge, it’s the perfect place to clock up some miles and explore a bit of Bristol whilst you are at it. New to Bristol? The Welcome Fair will be an opportunity to get to know this iconic Bristol location. Keep an eye on our social media for the launch of the 2022 Bristol Run Series if your keen to set some running goals and join our community.

Visit the Wave

Bristol may not be known for being a surfer’s paradise, but it doesn’t mean you can’t catch some waves.  Just a 20-minute drive out of Bristol City Centre, this inland surfing pool offers a range of sessions, whether you are a surfing pro and just want to get out there or if you are a complete beginner. Surfing your thing? Make sure you check out the University of Bristol Surf Society for surf gear access, socials and weekends away. Surf @ Bristol SU

Get climbing

Bristol students love to climb and luckily there’s plenty of climbing centers  around the city where you can reach some new heights. Climbing is not only great for strengthening, it’s also an effective form of cardio and has several psychological and personal benefits from improved goal setting to increased self-confidence.

Cycle to Bath

If you’ve bought your bike to university (wise choice!) then you must cycle the famous Bristol to Bath Railway Path, a 13-mile off-road route suitable for cyclists and walkers.  It might be a little longer than the 20-minute train ride, but you will spot plenty of wildlife and work up a sweat. Just make sure you stop for tea and cake in beautiful Bath!

Watch a game

You don’t have to go very far to catch a match! On Wednesday nights you’ll be able to watch our #WeAreBristol student clubs compete at our Coombe Dingle Sports Facility. Our Pavilion will be serving food and the bar will be open too for the complete game-day experience. If you’d rather be on the pitch, there will be opportunities at the start of term to ‘Give It a Go’ and trial a range of sports clubs and activities for free What’s On & Events @ Bristol SU

Get paddling

Bristol is famous for it’s picturesque and lively harbourside, but you don’t just have to explore it by foot. Recent years have seen more and more people opting to paddleboard their way along the harbour. Stand Up Paddleboard Bristol offer a Paddleboard Harbourside tour suitable for complete beginners and provide all the kit and instruction you’ll need for a safe and enjoyable paddle.

Climb lots and lots of hills

This is an easy one, you won’t get very far in Bristol without going upwards at some point. It may be steep but you’ll thank all the inclines later. Walking uphill can boost your respiratory and lung function as well as strengthening your circulatory system, not to mention a huge endorphin rush!

Walk and explore

The best way to get to know a new city is to get out and explore. Grab your flatmates, some comfy shoes and a bottle of water and find your new favourite spot whilst getting active too. Just 30 minutes of walking a day can improve your overall health and boost mental well-being. If you like a bit of structure to your walk, check out one of Bristol’s many walking tours and learn about everything Bristol, from Banksy to Blackbeard. Our B:Active Residence programme even offers a walking tour for free – keep an eye out on their social media @bristolunibactive to find out more!

Try a water sport

There may be a few water-based activities on our list but sometimes sport is just that little bit more exciting off dry-land. University of Bristol Sailing are one of our clubs offering social sessions as a chance to learn to sail in a fun and friendly way, with taster sessions happening throughout October as part of ‘Give it a Go’. The University of Bristol Sport app is a great way to find out more about our clubs and find out all you need to know about trial sessions, memberships and more!

Join the Colour Run

Every year in September, University of Bristol Sport and Bristol SU host a 3k, very fun and equally as messy, Colour Run. This year is no different and will be held on 26 September at the Coombe Dingle. It’s a chance to run, walk or skip around the course whilst getting covered in colourful paint (we can guarantee great photos!). Tickets are available to book now! Bristol SU Beta

 

 

Free ways to have an active life in Bristol

 

Being on a University budget shouldn’t stop you from living a healthy, active life. In this post we will be looking at some free-of-charge opportunities to exercise your body and boost your mood, available both within the university and the wider community!

1) Swap treadmills for pavements.

Up your step count, improve your wellbeing and explore some of Bristol’s beautiful walks. Local walking/running spots include Harborside, Leigh Woods, Ashton court and the stretch between your front door and the supermarket! It doesn’t need to be a marathon,  just make sure you stay safe, wear reflective clothing where possible and know your route. The Bristol Run Series happens annually and is a great opportunity to train with an aim!

2) Book a B:Active class

Did you know that many of our fitness classes that are part of our B:Active Residence programme are free of charge for those living in University-allocated accommodation? You can try yoga, conditioning, pilates and more without making a dent in your budget. It’s also a great way to meet other students in your accommodation outside of your flat.

 

3) Give it a Go

During Welcome Week you’ll have the opportunity to try out a huge range of sport and fitness society sessions for free. This will give you the chance to meet new people and try some new things without having to commit to a membership first. These sessions are run with Bristol SU so keep an eye on their socials and website for more details.

4) Attend our Giant Fitness Class

This September we are giving you the chance to try out three of our most popular classes for free at our Giant Fitness Class. This will be a 90 minute session, made up of 3 classes held at the Indoor Sports Centre, no booking required. You can find out more here…
https://bit.ly/3yNWWeO

couple doing press-ups

5) Get out and about

Bristol is definitely not short of green spaces, many sporting free courts and even outdoor gyms. Brandon Hill Park is a great example – it’s a workout getting there in the first place!

 

6) Be app-y 

This year, many of our Run Series Members have inspired us by opting to walk/run with the help of podcasts and apps. From one that makes you feel like you are running away from a Zombie to Sarah Millican trying to get you off your couch, it’s one way to spruce up a run for free

7) Keep it green

If you are keen to get working out from home but don’t have the equipment, there are plenty of ways to use things around your house (full wine bottles are great as weights!)  or even using sites such as Freecycle to get hold of the right kit without making a dent.

8) Get online

The University of Bristol App is the home of 50+ On Demand workouts, ready whenever you are. Home workouts are great for when you’re on a tight schedule, studying from home or even if you just aren’t ready yet to return to our facilities.

9) Follow @Bristoluniactive on Instagram

Here you’ll find loads of active inspiration, tips, updates and even live -streamed fitness classes – it’s really as easy as that! B:Active is the perfect access point for students who are looking to get moving and connect with our community.

10) Stay connected

We will always keep you updated on all opportunities and flag up those that don’t require membership or cost. Make sure you are following us on our social medias, check in on our website or pop in a say hello to our team at the welcome desks at our facilities

 

What to Eat Before and During a Run

Written by Dr Fiona Lithander, Performance Nutritionist and Dietitian

Dr. Fiona Lithander
Dr. Fiona Lithander


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.

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Running for Wellbeing (part two) – The Five Ways

Sick of wellbeing? We don’t blame 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. 

via GIPHY

Without being overly reductionist, let’s try in this short blog post to clear up the issue. 

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Faces of the Run Series: Roy Kiruri

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!

Bio

Name: Roy Kiruri
Staff or Student: Bristol SU Sabbatical Officer, International Students
Run Series Event: Whole Series!

 

 

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Running for Wellbeing

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, have been thoroughly shaken up and questioned during the pandemic. With so many of the more “traditional” forms of activity off-limits as a result of gyms and indoor sports facilities closing, more of us than ever have turned to running, as a free, always-open, option. This has presented a unique and very real opportunity to continue to break every stigma, stereotype, and general misunderstanding surrounding what running looks like, who running is for, why we choose running as an activity, and the overarching benefits it gives.

Whilst reported levels of physical activity have fluctuated due to the ongoing restrictionsoverall the perceived value of being active has grown significantly in the last year COVID-19.

Photo by Arek Adeoyea on Unsplash

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Faces of the Run Series: Brandon Dobson

“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.”

Bio:

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 Ive believed my whole life so farI have always been very active and played sports that required me to run but 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 terrible runner, 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, and as such, I often walked away from many sports when I had experienced a bad day In running, this competitive streak manifested  in trying to run longdistances 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 cant 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. 

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Faces of the Run Series: Teigan Ball

“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.”

A lady running in a maroon coloured jacket
Action shot of Tiegan running

 

Name: Tiegan Ball

Role: Wellbeing Sports Liaison Officer

Division: Student Wellbeing Network, Bristol SU

Other roles: NHS Bank Worker and Novice Captain, University of Bristol Boat Club

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.

A fitness tracker screenshot showing a run route around Bristol Harbour
Tiegan’s favourite run route around Bristol Harbour

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.

A lady running with the sun setting behind her
Tiegan running at sunset

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.

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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.

 

 

Faces of the Run Series: Rushab Shah

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.

A selfie of Rushab Shah and his Sister, Sachee, smiling
Rushab and his sister, Sachee, out on a run

Bio

Name: Rushab Shah
Staff or StudentStudent Sabbatical Officer
Role: Bristol SU
Run Series Event: Whole Series!

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Faces of the Run Series: Vicky Dickson

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!


Bio

Name: Vicky Dickson
Job: Business Development Officer
Division: Sport Exercise and Health
Run Series Event: Whole Series!

 

 

 

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