Tag Archives: Running

Wexford Half Marathon

Wexford Half Marathon 2017

The last time I took part in a half marathon was April 2016 in Madrid.  A year is a long time to be resting on your laurels in running terms.  It was a combination of factors which kept me idle.  Some were of my own doing and some were due to injury.  

Time however has a habit of slipping by so quickly.   Continue reading

Rough Running at Wexford Half Marathon 2016

It was sheer frustration. Having gotten out of bed at six that morning to drive to Wexford I was more than a little disappointed with how my run went. I actually felt like I was going to cry. Continue reading

Park Run 

Parkrun_32

Park Run was originally started back in 2004 by a group of 13 runners in the UK.  Park Run came to Ireland in November 2012 with Malahide being the first location.  Since then it has extended to a number of locations throughout the country.

In Dublin you can check out Malahide Castle, Ardgillan Castle, St Annes Park and Marlay Park. A full list can be found here.

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Ardgillan Castle


Malahide

Malahide Castle

Park Run is a weekly 5k run which takes place on a Saturday morning at 9.30am.  It’s free to join but you do need to register.  The registration process will generate an individual barcode for you which will act like a timing chip and record your finish times each week for you. Great for tracking your progress.   You can also view your times online under the results section.

It’s a fun, interactive way to get started on your running journey and its quite common for runners to hang around for tea/coffee afterwards.  Runners are a great bunch of people and always eager to trade tips and motivate each other.

As the events are run entirely by volunteers many of the runners and their friends and family lend their time to ensuring each event is adequately set up and staffed. They are always to happy to have more support even if you don’t intend to run.

A perfect way to get you outdoors, fit and healthy with like minded people of all ages and fitness levels.

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Should You Run With Music? 

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Rising up, back on the street
Did my time, took my chances
Went the distance, now I’m back on my feet
Just a man and his will to survive

Whether you are a fan of Survivor or not I suspect everyone knows the lyrics to Eye of the Tiger at this stage. As incredibly sad as it sounds (and I’m sure it does), it’s one of my go to songs for when I need a booster while running.

To choon or not to choon has been a debate among runners since the world went wild for walkmans! For me when the fatigue sets in and I need to channel all my energies, dig deep and push forward I find that a song with a good beat helps me get back into my stride and keep going. Of course Eye of the Tiger has the added bonus of immediately putting you in Rocky mode and Rocky ain’t a quitter.

Like anything else, there are pros and cons to running with or without music. I’ve chatted to quite a few fellow runners and the decision to choon or not choon seems to vary quite a lot. Some like to chat away to running buddies as they pound the ground. Some like the sound of the ground being pounded foot step after footstep. Some race off into their own stream of thought and just absorb the sounds around them as they run their chosen route.  Others like me prefer the sound of music flowing through their ears.

Some of the more serious runners tend to avoid music in favour of listening to their own bodies.  How they land on the road and their breathing are vital pieces of feedback to help them adjust and compete. Apparently some studies show (I read that online) that listening to music increases concentration, lowers perception of effort and keeps you more stimulated.

Some would argue that running with headphones is a health and safety issue. It increases your risk of an accident if you don’t hear that car coming behind you. I have actually seen on some race sights a notice in reference to the use of headphones i.e. stating they are not allowed or discouraged.  Obviously something like this would be impossible to police so essentially a blind eye is turned and should something happen to you as a result of wearing headphones the race organisers will not be responsible.

Running with Headphones

Running with Headphones

For me running with music helps me to get into the ‘zone’.  I like to start it off with slightly slower songs, nothing with too much of a beat to it.  Then as I fall into my natrual pace I like to play songs which have similar beats to them and a mix of both vocal and just instrumental.  I find if an upbeat song comes on I naturally run quicker whether I’m trying to keep pace or not.  That’s probably something I should try an avoid so I’m not doing bursts of running faster and wearing myself out.

I also have what I like to call my ’emergency playlist’ and laugh as you may but for me it actually works.  I find it particularly useful when I’m doing a half marathon for example. I might be on the last couple of kilometres and need that extra push so I’ll shuffle to my playlist and without fail I’ll always manage to pick up the pace and go that bit faster.  It could be psychological of course.

Once or twice I’ve gone for a run and forgotten my iPod and have found it very difficult to get into a stride.  This may be due to the fact that I have become accustomed to running with music of course.  It’s the way I started out. I also find if I’m on a treadmill and I don’t have my own music I’m constantly distracted and put in a poor performance. Everyone has their own preference.  Me I like to choon!! In fact I’m probably a bit too OCD about my running playlist.   For my ’emergency playlist’ I’m probably a bit, no a lot 80’s and 90’s music.  It consists of the following below, and I’ve included the videos too at the bottom.

Survivor – Eye of the Tiger from Rocky (video above)

Survivor – Burning Heart from Rocky

Moving Pictures – Never from Footloose

Swedish House Mafia – Don’t You Worry Child (probably gives me a bit of credibility)

Underworld – Born Slippy

Three Drives – Greece 2000

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Mac in a Sac – Running Jacket – Product Review

Mac in a Sac

Mac in a Sac

I’ve been a bit lazy with my running lately. The weather is cold so running outdoors is not exactly appealing. The gym is boring and basically I’m making lots of excuses for not getting off my ass.  As luck would have it the folks over at Target Dry got in touch with me and asked me if I would give them feedback of one of their Mac in a Sac jackets.  Always up for a challenge and in need of a run I accepted their offer to send me one and set about putting it through its paces.  The following is an honest account of what I found.

Mac in a Sac

Mac in a Sac

The first thing I should say is that it arrived promptly within a couple of days in the post.  They are actually based in Belfast and quote standard delivery in Republic of Ireland as 3-5 working days. It comes in two colours.  The one you see in the pictures is nautical blue with a red trim. The other colour is acid lime. I chose the nautical blue.

Mac in a Sac

Mac in a Sac

The Mac in a Sac actually comes in a lite running version and a jersey lined version which is the one I am testing out since its that bit colder out. It also folds away into its own pocket for handiness. It doesn’t actually come with any instructions about how to pack it away but in fairness it’s not rocket science once you figure out which pocket it should go in.  The inside of the left pocket has a fabric loop to carry it once packed away. It also has a hood which tucks away into the collar of the jacket.

Hood Folded Out

Hood Folded Out


Folded into the Pocket

Folded into the Pocket

So how did it shape up against the elements?

Well before I actually got to run in it, I wore it to work a few times.  It was warm enough to keep the cold out. It held up quite well against the chill factor of a wind. It’s water proof which is very handy and its very light. The weather has been so changeable so it had been working well as a general all rounder jacket.

5k Run: To really test it out for use as a running jacket in the colder weather I wore it on a couple of different runs.  First up was a 5k around the town where I live. I tend to get uncomfortable with too many layers when running in the cold so opted to go for a t-shirt, light long sleeve top and my jacket. The jacket has elasticated cuffs on the sleeves and adjustable draw strings on the bottom of it to ensure a snug fit.

Elasticated Sleeves

Elasticated Sleeves


Adjustable Draw String at the Waist

Adjustable Draw String at the Waist

It was light enough that I didn’t get overly warm and I didn’t sweat too much in it either which was great. It’s lined well and kept me warm and the fabric stood up well to both wind and the light rain I ran in. The fabric itself feels quite nice to the touch.

10k Run: The second run I wore it for was a longer one about 10k. Again it was in more winter type conditions. Cold and windy and my chosen path took me along the coast so I was very exposed to the elements. It remained comfortable to wear for the full run.  Again I didn’t feel I was overheating in it.  The fabric is quite breathable.  It also has two large pockets which can easily fit your phone, gloves or hat.

Down by the beach

Down by the beach


Breathable Eyelets Under Arms

Breathable Eyelets Under Arms

A couple of things which I felt could be improved upon were as follows:

The sizing chart on the website is a little confusing.  I opted for a medium which fit quite well with my couple of layers under it. I had used a tape measure to check my size before having it sent to me and based on the chart that would have matched to an XS when usually a medium in all jackets fits me.

Size Chart

Size Chart

I did query it with them and they were more than happy to give me a recommendation which did fit well.

I found that the main zip can be a little tricky and get stuck slightly unless you are pressing the seam flat against your body. As the material is quite light it easily moves away from your body while you are zipping or unzipping it.

Main Zip

Main Zip


Main Zip

Main Zip

Overall I’d give it an 7/10 as it fits a range of uses, not just running and I can easily see myself packing this as a handy and space saving jacket while travelling also. The jacket retails at approx. €44 (GBP to Euro conversion) Target Dry currently have a sale on their website until the end of January and this jacket has 20% off at the moment leaving it at approx. €35

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Disclaimer: while Target Dry did provide me with the jacket the feedback is an honest account of how I felt it performed as a jacket for running in. They were advised I was under no obligation to write about it or speak favourable of it unless deserved.