The Welsh Runner

He has a sub two and a half hour marathon record. An unbelievable 1:11:04 half marathon record. And an instagram feed that will inspire any runner, novice or amateur.

This is the Welsh runner. As posted on his account: “It won’t happen in a day but it will take a day to make it happen,” boasts the motivational athlete.

Matt Rees has only been running for two years. Having bought the most lavishly expensive pair of trainers, he soon realised comfort beat cost.

“I stuck with some comfy trainers I had been using for the gym which happened to have enough cushioning to run on. The next step was to just get out there. Although, I only ran twice in the first two weeks,” Matt said.

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After constant and ongoing process, Matt now runs for his local club with determination to keep improving.

So what does our hero think about our turf?

“South Wales is perfect for running,” said Matt, adding that the various routes offer plenty to entertain. “I vary road, trail, grass, hills, and coastal routes to keep it interesting. We have some of the best scenery in the UK and arguably the world,” he added.

Matt believes such scenery, such as his most-most loved Welsh beaches, parks and forests, helps motivate and inspire runners to go outdoors and seek some adventure.

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Matt told AppyRun that his favourite route is The Gower:”the coastal path around Gower is incredible. I love it. You can run for as long as you like and you experience the best views every time you go around a corner.”

According to The Welsh Runner, this offers no flat ground. Hills and vales occupy this route – alas, the views at the end of the toil are worth it. Freed by the element of nature and solace, Matt said: “I feel free running down a hill, it kind of feels like I’m a kid playing again. I have been known to stick my arms out to the side like a plane, but only when no one is around.”

“I need to choose what to wear in these conditions. A good waterproof jacket is key in Wales, but they can get toasty.”

An unbeatable, unbreakable runner, perhaps? Let’s account for Welsh weather!Matt admits it’s tough to motivate himself during Welsh gales and winds “The worst is when it’s really windy. It makes it so hard and can really get you down. I just keep reminding myself how good I feel after a run,” he said, adding that the hardest part is getting ready.

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Although the Welsh weather can halt runs in their tracks (pun intended), Matt feels fortunate for the conditions we experience. With runner friends abroad struggling for coolness in the heat and others failing to run at all due to snow, Matt said he is ultimately grateful for our country’s mild running conditions.

From personal experience, Matt advises trail runs for fun but road runs for personal bests.”I train on the track a fair bit and it’s great for specific sessions but it’s definitely not my favourite,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

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Daily Prompt: Tempted

via Daily Prompt: Tempted

We have all been there. The 6am 5k VS the alarm clock. The afternoon light jog VS Pret a Manger’s lunch deals. Or hammering a 10k in the evening VS iPlayer and a constantly brewing kettle.

Temptation is all around.

While some think of it as ‘defeat’, others think of it as ‘deserved rest.’

Doubtlessly, everyone deserves rest days. But did you deserve 14 in a row?

AppyRun is here to remind you that a small run is better than no run. A workout is better than a stay-in. Even if it’s your thighs clapping at your 2 mile jog – you’re still getting applause!

Start the new year as you mean to go on: with optimism, determination, and a healthy heart and mind.

Daily Prompt: Flee

via Daily Prompt: Flee

With Christmas looming, overtly hyped in shops and high streets, and meeting work deadlines before the longed-for period, we all need a little escape. Don’t let this be merely a new year’s resolution – to relax and have that ‘me time’ -go for it now.

Flee from the stress. Flee from personal, financial or work-based issues, or even from that argument about who used the last of the milk to traffic jams and running out of data on your mobile.

And how can you do this? Run.

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Jeffrey Martin Phd. of Wayne State University in Michigan said that stress can often increase fatigue and muscle tension as deep breathing when stressed increases the effort of running. The Sports Psychology professor said, “athletes under stress, according to studies, get sick and injured at a higher rate than lower-stressed athletes.”

Appyrun researched some top seven tips to flee from kerfuffles this Christmas:

1.) Don’t expect too much

High performance expectations is only putting more unwanted pressure on your self. Say in your head you’ll run for ten minutes, and if you’re enjoying it, say five minutes more, then another five, then five again. That way you’ll achieve something tiny, or even something big if your legs can carry you for two hours.

2.) Run outside

We know its cold. We know it’s probably raining as we know we’re in Wales. But treadmill running is known to cause repetition and contributes to potential boredom. Obviously in a snow storm we don’t condone you to don your Nikes and brave the blizzard. But outdoor running, whether road, trail, or pavement can be interesting and sights you see could motivate you to run further and discover more, especially with Wales’s beautiful surroundings.

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3.) Run to the beat

Runner’s World investigated a study by the The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research which proved that running with music had an impact on performance. “On the 5Ks when the runners listened to music, they ran their first two laps (of 12.5) faster than when they ran with no music.” If you’re in it for the PB’s, listen to fast, upbeat music. If you’re merely going out to get away from the office/ family argument, then slower and more soothing music can work for you. Appyrun found that having a go-to ‘Power Song’ massively motivated them to run when they listened before running.

4.) Buddy Up

While running alone can help you compartmentalise your issues, running with a buddy allows you to verbally address your stress. Harry Mills Phd said, “socialisation or enjoying other people’s company and maintaining a sense of connectedness to others, is an important component of stress reduction. According to the doctor of phsychology, running with a partner reduces feelings of loneliness and promotes feelings of safety, belonging, and enjoyment.

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5.) Spice up your run life

When running as a flee from stress, tactics and pro techniques may not be on your mind. But doing something as small as sprint alternating can help you focus on something else (pace) and allow you to move the stress to the back of your mind in the meantime.

Sprint splits are known to increase heart rate, which promotes good heart health and in the long run (pun intended) a healthier heart can lead to reduced stress.

Health Fitness Revolution said, “sprinting also has many benefits beyond physical ones, such as providing stress relief and building perseverance and discipline.” The elating feeling of fleeing everyday issues with wind under your wings will certainly leave you chuffed with yourself, as they also said, “he release of [extra] endorphins when sprinting stimulates confidence and relief, especially after having successfully completed a workout.”

6.) Use your head

Running, as any other sport, requires mental toughness. We’re not telling you to go out and nail a half marathon, but getting out there for even a short period will help strengthen your muscles and your mind.

“Mental toughness,” said Graham Jones of the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, covers “self-belief, [promotes healthy] motivation and desire, dealing with pressure and anxiety, and focus.” A small jog will push these constructive feelings through your body, which all contribute to a healthier cognitive state.

You can toughen up your mind by running any distance.

7.) Sweat success

We’ve all had a crick in the neck before a deadline or during an argument, as stress causes physical tension in the muscles. So, if you flee from the issue by running, the sweat you produce during this cardiovascular activity contributes to stress relief.

“Exercise stimulates neurochemical pathways in the brain, resulting in the production of endorphins that act as natural painkillers,” says James Ting, MD, California’s Hoag Orthopedic Institute sports medicine physician.

We know it sounds silly, but wearing extra layers (a given at Christmas time anyway!) increases the amount of sweat produced. Gross, but tactful. “I wear three layers when I train,” said ex professional boxer Ebbi Wasay, 28. “I’m dripping with sweat, but it’s good for you!”

Beep Beep Boop! – The Active Travel Act

Did you know about the Active Travel Act 2013?

To ensure easy access and safety around Wales, the Welsh Government committed to building inter-city cycling and pedestrian paths.

The Government’s Health Impact Assessment stated: “We want to make walking, running and cycling the most natural and normal way of getting about. We want to do this so that more people can experience the health benefits; we can reduce our greenhouse gas emissions; and we can help address poverty and disadvantage.

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How will it address these, you ask? The Government aim to expand the economy and unlock sustainable economic growth. If more people walk, run and cycle, congestion will be reduced as well as the number of sick days, and Wales’s tourism industry will boom, they hope.

Following this act, any point of the city is reachable on foot or by bike with the utmost safety considered.

“The Act is a world first,” said a spokesman at The Welsh Government, “which makes it a legal requirement for local authorities in Wales to map and plan for suitable routes for active travel.”

Each year, officials will survey and review the current routes and consider was to improve them. This means that in 2015/16, £1.65m was allocated to Active Travel in Wales alone to respond to health and active life needs.

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Officials define the term “health” as the “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.” While we’re all aware of running’s positive effects on the body, the mental benefits need to be recalled.

A UCL study published in JAMA Psychiatry said regular exercise can reduce the odds of depression by 19%. GP Nurse Practitioner Andrea Hampson, 54, commended this, and said, “Running is the best, easiest and cheapest cardiovascular activity around. I’d recommend it not only for weight loss, but as a great morale and mental booster.”

She added that running releases our most beloved endorphins, or “happy hormone,” which is crucial for a positive mentality and also helps us focus better on tasks.

AppyRun urges you to make the most of running, especially after government efforts with this effective scheme. Grab your kicks, and try running to work, using travel organization Sustran’s expertise.

Or clap eyes on that landmark a few towns away you’ve always wanted to see by seeing what’s available with Visit Cardiff.