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Getting active - running, walking cycling? - A place for advice and encouragement

Oh, technology these days! In my day… get up before born… gravel… ‘biopace Shimano Muddy Fox’ …etc. :grin:
I am rather jealous of your route. I’m in West Yorkshire and there is NO flat anywhere. I have a sub-compact on my bike and a big 32 at the back because I’m constantly going up stupid cartoon hills - they just paint the roads up them. Contouring didn’t get to Yorkshire. I have very good brakes because I’m also trying not to kill myself going down them…


I bought a bike through the ‘ride to work’ scheme just after my 50th birthday. Eight years on it’s proved to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, I’m less stressed and far happier as a result. Of course, I was rubbish to begin but after a few months I found myself going on rides I had never previously thought possible.

I use the free version of Strava. Being able to see what I’ve achieved when I get back home is a great motivator to do the same again at the next opportunity. I’m not interested in beating personal bests though because it might compromise my safety on the road ( I’d rather unclip and pull in to allow the oncoming one ton plus steel cage to pass first ! ).

Todays figures = 39.98km at an average of 20.5 km/h. Not bad for a wobbleur !


Getting back into running has definitely been one of the (few) blessings of the lockdown for me. I only started running seriously a couple of years ago and got to the point that I ran the Edinburgh Marathon last year… but sprained my ankle doing so and, for various reasons too boring to get into, found it hard to get back into it even after the ankle healed. I’d started getting back into it in February, cautiously and with the help of my partner (who is very patient with my being a fair bit slower than he is!), but now we go for a run two mornings a week (not a long distance, just 3.5 miles) and it’s been really important for us both, in terms of mental and physical health (as if the two could be separated anyway!).

What’s been key for me so far is nipping potential injuries in the bud. I’ve had a couple of recurring issues with my IT band and one of my adductors; the former I can take care of with judicious use of a foam roller (before a run works better than after) and the latter with a weekly core-strength workout.

Re waving to other runners, I nearly always do now that I live in Kent (wouldn’t have dared in London!) - I get them in return about half the time which is better than nothing, I guess…


View of a very old Tunturi static bike, 3rd hand and donkeys years old. Coming into its own at the moment. Usually I attend indoor cycling classes at our gym three times a week plus a couple of back to back aerobic exercise classes on a Saturday morning. Our gym is streaming a mix of live classes each day so a mix of those, a bit of Joe Wickes, Tabata and the bike is keeping us going. We have rediscovered how tiring skipping can be as part of our Tabata exercises.


Hi Rachel,
If it helps I think what you’re doing is great and the right thing. Your core is so important and really helps form. I’ve been over both ankles in my time - both sober, WALKING along pavements (sobriety is your enemy!)

I found what helped me with my ankles was actually when I started training for a trail race, I found some lovely off-road trails. It was like a light went on. Perfect. Training on uneven surfaces strengthens your ankles and aids proprioception. Since doing a lot of gnarly stuff, now my body seems to anticipate things, and I feel a slight ankle pain, my weight is already off that foot and my other one comes out. It’s like my body now anticipates. Amazing.

No doubt you’ve been to a physio - a good one is worth their weight in gold as you learn. I’ve also found working on my running technique has been key for me.

Oh, and if you ran Edinburgh last year, I will have cheered you - I was there supporting my partner and her sister. :grin:

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I agree! My partner puts it that you find excuses to not train the longer the day goes. But there’s also for us the question of who gets ‘custody’ of certain days :slight_smile: It can lead to arguments.

The big thing for me last year was in Feb when I got back to running after 5 years and had a bit of a brain rush to the head - and committed to a 50K/ 31.7 miler ultra - I knew it wasn’t going to be easy - and was also seriously lumpy with a good bit of climbing and decent throughout - so that got me training, partly through fear of being under-trained. And that fear got me up at daft times in the morning for some very long runs :grimacing:

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What is this idea? I’m intrigued!

I am really struggling with exercise at the moment.

My regular exercise of choice is Olympic Weightlifting. As well as being my exercise of choice, it’s also my mental health regulator. While I am doing a lot of flexibility/mobility, body weight circuits and cardio exercise at the moment (as well as some very beginner yoga) to the point where I am actually losing weight, it’s not giving me the same satisfaction as heavy squats or lifting.

I am currently bike and running shoeless, and very open to suggestions as to forms of exercise I should try!

So was I. Here’s the first thing I came across:

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Sounds lovely, I wish I lived near enough to a forest to try it! Somehow ‘main road bathing’ doesn’t hold the same appeal


shot knees was a problem here too - lots of badminton, rugby and hockey as a kid.

Until recently the last big run I had done was a 10 mile ‘gun carriage race’ across some aldershot training grounds…couldnt walk for days afterwards so knocked running on the head

Then I had a session with Prof Greg Whyte (sport relief celebrity trainer) and he gave me a routine for my knees to strengthen them…within a few weeks I was back upto 5k and have done 10k…but I just get bored - even with the luxury of running in countryside

currently combination of allotment and 5k runs helping me keep isolation belly at bay !


Thank you - that’s really great advice, especially about running off-road. Unfortunately I’ve yet to find any trails within easy walking/running distance of me that aren’t hemmed in on both sides (not great for social distancing), but that’s definitely something for the future. One of my local Parkruns is Lullingstone, which has been described as ‘90% uphill in the mud’ - sounds like a good challenge…

Amazing! I can assure you that I HUGELY appreciated your cheering even if I had no idea who you were :smiley:


Patrick, I understand - my mental health has been vastly improved by a number of habits that keep things on an even keel. But we are all different. I’m very impressed at your Olympic weight lifting and see how you can’t exactly do it at home - unless your home has reinforced floors, a Smith machine maybe, all that stuff :smile:

Going from my own experience, maybe there’s a couple of suggestions, but I don’t know just what you have, if you have a garden etc. Apologies for any you’re doing already!

I wonder, do you have kettle bells? Or maybe someone around has them and doesn’t use them? Kettle bell workouts seem quite tough and really tiring, and wonder if that might give you the ‘lift’ you need. I wonder if maybe you have a spare set of lighter dumbells that you could use as a kettle bell? I saw this guy Aldo Kane doing it on a Horizon programme about biorhythms and it seemed quite intense. There seems lots of youtube videos.

The other is maybe, also if you have some weights in your place, trying a different style of workout - at least the lighter parts of something like the John Long workout he originated for climbing. The idea is strength without bulk. Because you’re so used to some kind of weights, it would be a real shock to the system. Maybe just that will offer a challenge - doing 30 reps can be horrible!

Workout From Hell workout here

The last thing is a totally different tack and involves meditation - I find that can be, after a learning curve, a really good way to go. There’s a lovely online free book here about Zen meditation - this is a good tradition and it’s a well-written and accessible book with practical advice on how to sit, and try.

Similarly, there are guided meditations you might try here. I’ve found these very useful.

Actually, this stuff isn’t so far from exercise - I know some amazing runners who link the two explicitly, and talk about running as a moving meditation.

Hope this helps. I think the important thing at this time is also to cut oneself a break - these are difficult times for everyone, and sometimes getting by relatively ok is an achievement.


That sounds very hard. 12k was enough for me. The main problem was that I found that I no longer enjoy running, which was a challenge for motivation :wink:

Maybe when this is all over, you should have a go at this:

Though it’s perhaps more suited for those of us who inhabit the windswept fens.


30 reps. 30… reps…

This sounds awful. I’ll give it a go!

Given that I do a sport entirely driven by the 1 rep max (and usually in training terms doing sets of 2-3 at 80% of that), this is an anathema to me. It’ll be a challenge, if nothing else.

I’ll report back (or not depending on how much of a crumpled little heap on the floor I am).

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Your knees sound very like mine @MikeFranklin. I was told never to do high impact about 15 years ago after having a patella tendon reconstructed. The surgeon basically said, if you go out running don’t fecking come back to me…not an issue since I hated it anyway! It meant I was able to keep playing cricket for another 12 years or so, and still play the odd game as well as ski-ing.

Like you I am dreadful at motivating myself to train, and had got a personal trainer, whose son comes to cricket coaching. She was very good at bullying me, which is needed, and also pushing me to do more. Unfortunately lockdown has put paid to that, though she still nags me on Messenger! Unlike you, I can’t do it immediately after I get up. Late morning best. Downhill running is just the worst for knees known to man though!


I like your attitude! :smile:

The ultra is a different way of thinking - before I started back, I’d already had a lot of experience running. A lot of them also are trail/fell events and need Full Body Kit - which is a specified set of survival things, so you have to have full waterproofs, food, water, and insulation and survival bag/blanket - it sounds a but much, but if you break/sprain an ankle on the moors, and it’s bed weather, things can change very fast.

Urgh! yeah, wind is the Dutch version of mad hills. I prefer the hills. I remember cycling against the wind on Arran and going down a hill and having to pedal quite hard. The wind was blowing me to a stop otherwise. Just grim. I’ll give you a ‘no’ with a side order of ‘no’ and some sprinkled ‘no’ on top.


Love the mountain biking, I invested in a Santa Cruz Bronson which is great for all sorts of off road stuff. Spend lots of time at Canock Chase but also go to some of the bike parks such as Bike Park Wales and Antur Stiniog. Not been out for about 6 months, I broke my arm in July last year and was just coming back when I suffered a herniated disc in my lower back. Just recovering from an operation to correct the disc, surgeon has told me I can start a slow build up on the road then back to the full monty in 6 weeks. Can’t wait. At least the weather has been decent and I am doing a few miles in the sunshine.


My outdoor exercise of choice is walking, and I’m lucky to live on the Gower peninsula so I have all sorts of options - beach, cliff top, woodland, countryside…
Nevertheless, what made the biggest difference was accidentally taking out a subscription to Audible talking books. I download full-length books and listen while I walk, and I’ve heard some wonderful readings. In similar vein if it’s raining (often) I use an exercise bike but in front of the TV. With a well-chosen programme I don’t notice the effort involved. In the first couple of weeks of lockdown I’m conscious of a significant weight gain but a régime of morning walks & pre-dinner cycling has restored me to normal!