Live: Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert

For the second time this year, we had a chance to see Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert live, in one of my favourite London venues – Oslo in Hackney. 

Taking to the stage in novelty jumpers and hats, there was a Christmas feel about the show, with some tracks taken from their recently released ‘Ghost Stories from Christmas‘ album.  We even had Asda lights, and a cracker pulled with one of the more ‘active’ audience members. 

A few pictures from the show:

Twitter Digest

I tweet more than I blog. Interesting links, good reads and occasionally a pithy comment. 

So to keep my content all flowing to one place – I’ve added a Twitter Digest here – each day a plugin pulls all of my tweets from the day before, and posts them here. 

Hopefully will be a dynamic way to keep my site updated. 

Miracles do happen

I ran five kilometres this morning. Four months ago I couldn’t run for a minute.   

I used to visit the gym two or three times a week, repeat twenty or thirty minutes of cardio. Sure, I’d be sweaty and puffed out, but I couldn’t ever run.   In the end, I’d blame my knees or my ankles and stick with exercise that had no impact. 

Then, this winter I decided that I wanted to do some walking – I headed down to a local stretch of river and would walk three or four kilometres listening to a podcast or audiobook.  Every time I would be overtaken by healthy-looking joggers and cyclists.  

Dorney Lake – a London 2012 venue

After completing some walking laps of Dorney Lake, I decided that I really wanted to run around it – but knowing how much I hated running, I needed a programme to get there. 

Enter the NHS Couch to 5km programme – I started on June 8th, and graduated on 22nd August. I was short of the 5km, but it was within reach. 

Now, I’ve ran around Dorney Lake on a 5km track a total of four times – slowly, but surely I plod my way round. 

To me, it’s proof that miracles can happen…

I did a few things to help me get there:

  1. Held myself accountable – a video diary, telling people I was on a journey made me accountable for my work. 
  2. Enrolled a cheer squad – one or two positive messages of support after each run was enough to lift my spirits.
  3. Found the right tools – good shoes, good socks and some proper running tops made me feel like an athlete, even as I was learning. 
  4. Geeked out – Strava and some decent Bluetooth headphones kept me amused and entertained. 
  5. Enjoyed it – one of the best pieces of advice was to look up and out and the world as I ran.  

As I’ve said on more than one of my videos, if I can do it, you can too.  Take a few steps, run for a minute and before you know it, you’ll be running a five kilometre stretch. 

Podcast: Boys don’t cry with Russell Kane

I’ve written about podcasts before (here and here), and I’m constantly seeking out new ones to add to my commute and gym feed.

I stumbled across Boys don’t Cry, hosted by Russell Kane today and listened to the latest episode on the way to work.  It’s hosted by joe.co.uk which is an interesting online men’s lifestyle brand. 

Boys Don’t Cry – Russell Kane

The episode I was listening too, debated the issue of flirting in the post #metoo era and how (primarily) young men act now that the dynamics of relationships have shifted a bit. 

Russell Kane hosts, alongside comedians Justin Moorhouse and Danny McLoughlin as well as a ‘female auditor’ Rachel Fairburn.

The 45-minute show is both funny and attention grabbing, and gave me some food for thought as I plan any words of wisdom that I have for a young man heading off to university in the next month.  

The archive promises to discuss the ‘issues that men don’t usually like discussing’ – probing the ‘inner recesses of male insecurity’. 

I’d highly recommend Boys Don’t Cry – an entertaining listen, I’m going to be working my way back through the other episodes next.

What podcasts am I missing?  Let me know in the comments what I should be checking out? 

Couch to 5km – lessons for beginners

I’m over halfway through the Couch to 5km programme, it’s the first time I have undertaken a fitness challenge like this one. I’m not a natural runner, so it has taken some effort to get here, but as I was running this morning, I was thinking about what I have learned so far on this journey.

  1. It’s OK to reset, it’s not OK to give up – at the end of week one, I thought I had made a mistake. I was suffering with painful ankles and calves and I started to entertain that idea that I couldn’t do this. A bit of investigation and research and I came up with an alternative approach that reduced the pain and kept me going.
  2. If you need to repeat a week, do that – whilst I was researching, I kept repeating week 2, making small changes each time to see what would work. I did week two a total of three times before I felt I could move on.
  3. Prepare properly – it seems obvious, but stretches and the right equipment can be the difference. The pain I felt in Week 1 and 2 were alleviated by getting shoes with more support for my ‘over pronating’ feet, better socks and then finding a stretching regime that really works for me.
  4. Take it slowly – a bit like lesson 2, it’s OK to do this at your pace and ignore everyone else. Watching other runners is fatal, they are all better than me – so trying to keep up with a pace that is anything other than mine is not a good move.
  5. Reward yourself – I promised myself a new pair of cheap earbuds when I got to week 5 / run 3, two thirds of the way through the programme. It felt like a milestone to run 20 minutes, and so I treated myself to a prize. Now, I’m thinking about what to get myself at the end of week 9.

So far, the programme has been hard but the results have surprised me – in week 1 I struggled to run for 60 seconds and never thought I would get to run for 20 minutes. I have a way to go before I can hit 30 mins, and then a full 5km – but I’m confident with this programme, I’ll get there.