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Scrib’s 2014 New Years message

1 Jan

Its been a while, but one of my 2014 resolutions is to get blogging again!

So its 2014 and I bet a few of you have New Years resolutions to get fit, lose a few pounds, stop smoking and be healthier. But like so many previous years you are wondering if this new spark will last much past March. I’ve been there myself, and people often ask me how I broke the cycle and went from fat Scrib’s to not fat Scrib’s. So heres Scrib’s top tips based on my experience:


1. Money doesn’t do the work – YOU DO!

Buying sports stuff or paying for the gym doesn’t make you fit! Really? Yes really! We’ve all done it, including myself. You start out and buy all the latest gear or sign up for a year to the local gym. After a few months, after giving up, you are left out of pocket and feeling beaten and you still haven’t done what you set out to do. That then makes you feel more deflated than you were when you started.


I’ll let you in on a little secret: Spending your money might give you an initial mental boost, everyone likes a bit of retail therapy, but its YOU that does the work, not the gear or the membership card. Rather than spending your hard earned cash on the best kit why don’t you simply try going for a run/or walk with what you have to hand. Just put on the trainers, T-Shirt , etc you already have.


Gym’s are a good way of getting fit, but personally I’ve never used one. I don’t see the point as you can get fit by just using your own body and the great outdoors. One obvious advantage a gym has, of course, is weather protection, especially in the UK!. Personally I love running/walking in the elements, maybe you should try it? Do what feels right for you, but remember a 12 month gym membership alone is not going to get you fit. Its YOU and YOU alone!


You could do what I did and tell yourself you’ll treat yourself to that snazzy gear or the gym membership once you’ve proven yourself by achieving a goal (see tip 2 first though).



2. The most expensive isn’t always the best.

So now you’ve proven to yourself you can do this. You’ve been running, cycling or walking and the miles are racking up. You’ve used stuff you already had (trainers, etc) and it hasn’t cost you a penny. Now you may – although this isn’t a necessity – want to treat yourself as a reward by replacing those dogeared trainers with some shiny new ones. So you go onto the sports store website and buy the most expensive pair of trainers you can find, within your budget. I did this a number of times but I found that the most expensive isn’t always the best and I actually ended up getting injuries from trainers claiming all sorts of ‘high tech’ wizardry. Keep it simple.



3. Don’t listen to that little negative voice.

You know the one….. “you haven’t got the time”, “Its too cold outside”, “I’ll go tomorrow”. If I had a pound for every time I hear people say “I just haven’t got the time” but then spend the next hour playing on their favourite smart phone app or watching TV.


Tell the little voice to “shut the f*** up!” and get out there! Don’t let it win, take control. I still fight with the little voice sometimes, but I realised that I get a much better feeling of achievement when I’ve finished a run and know that I beat it!



4. Don’t do too much – No quick fixes – Baby steps.

A BIG mistake people often make is to slap on their trainers a few days after New Year and try and do too much. On my first trip out I was aiming to run for miles and miles and I ended up almost collapsing at the end of my street, literally yards from my front door. It put me straight off and I didn’t attempt to exercise again for weeks!


Give yourself a realistic aim. Even if its a slow 5 – 10 minute run at first. Be realistic and build up SLOWLY! Nothing is easy in life especially getting out of a rut. Getting fit is one thing that money can’t fix. YOU have to do it yourself. You’re probably not going to be running a 10k, or cycling 50k, on your first trip out so don’t discourage yourself by assuming you can.


Start slowly and work up. We live in a society that demands instant results, but you have to face facts its not going to happen over night. If anyone told me I could run a marathon when I stumbled down my street, carrying my 14 stone, all those years ago I would have laughed in their face. But now I have, but it took time, effort and determination. But the rewards were worth it! Well worth it!


Achieving your REALISTIC goals gives you an amazing sense of satisfaction.



5. Yummy treats are good, but as treats.

OK, we all like food treats (cakes and curry are mine – but not at the same time), but if that becomes a daily event its no longer a treat, its the norm. I’ll treat myself at the weekends (Friday night nosh up for example). At first it can be hard, but you’ll certainly enjoy the treat more when you’ve waited and earned it. Remember a treat isn’t a treat if you have it often. Also keep in mind that drinks also contain calories. Think of food as anything you consume that is used as energy by your body. If you think about that for a second it may change your thinking somewhat. If you stick to this and exercise, you’ll soon find your whole attitude to food changes.


At first you may have to be more strict, but as you build your fitness you can sometime afford to have the odd extra midweek treat  (birthday cakes at work for example), but I always make sure I run a few extra miles to counter it.


Remember food (remembering drink) is fuel – pure and simple. You have to balance it. Too much and your body stores it.



6. Motivation – You don’t have to do it alone.

I started getting fit pretty much on my own, but thats just me. If you want a bit of encouragement, motivation or company why not join a running club, perhaps with a friend. They are free to inexpensive (perhaps a couple of quid a session) and you’ll be running with lots of different people of all abilities, including beginners.


Most towns (UK) now also do a ‘Park run’. This is a 5k run around the local park on a Saturday morning. Theres a great sense of community at these events and well worth a try.


You can do an internet search for such events in your area.



7. Apps.

If you already have a smart phone there are a variety of free fitness Apps that can help motivate you. Personally I use Runkeeper, but there are many others. These are useful for seeing your miles build and your pace drop. This can then have the effect of motivating you to do better – works for me. You can also use many of these Apps to monitor your gym activities, swimming etc, some will even interface with some of the more modern Gym equipment.



Well thats my round up of what worked for me. Good luck!


Runkeeper released

14 Dec

A new version of Runkeeper is out. The main update, apart from the normal bug fixes that all Apps benefit from, is support from the Wahoo BTLE heart rate monitor.

Runkeeper gets auto pause. Updated.

30 Oct

Its been a long awaited feature that has finally appeared in the latest version of Runkeeper for iPhone ( What is it?

Auto Pause!

The theory is that with auto pause, enabled from the App ‘settings’ page, that your current activity will pause automatically if you ‘stop’. When you resume the activity will also resume, automatically.

Unfortunately, I’m unable to find any further information on the criteria for a ‘stop’. For example; some run tracking apps will auto pause if your activity distance drops dramatically to a crawl, others will class a stop as a literal stop, which I’m assuming is what Runkeeper is doing.

Android users will currently have to wait as this feature, and others, are in the current beta version.

More info here and on the RunKeeper support pages.


Update: I used auto pause this morning and it worked well and as expected. I was doing a cycling activity and had to stop of traffic lights. As I did Runkeeper automatically paused the activity and then resumed a few seconds after I resumed my peddling. Seems like a feature I’ll keep enabled as it works as described.

You may be asking what’s the point of auto pause and to answer that you have to appreciate that if you stop during an activity, say to talk to someone or to wait for traffic, etc, you stats (average pace, etc) start to be effected. You may ask “so what?” and for some people that may not matter. However, if you are training seriously your stats can be quite important as you try and improve your performance.

iPhone 4s still stays dry with ZipLock bag!

15 Oct

A few days ago we, OK us geeks, waited with baited breath to see what would be in the Apple announcement.

Would it be a new iPhone? Would that iPhone be an iPhone 5? One thought that went through my mind was ‘If its a iPhone 5, presumably with a new body design, would it still fit into a ZipLock bag?”.

Why on earth would I want to put an iPhone, or any expensive smart phone, into a ZipLock bag? I does sound a bit mad, but there is logic in my madness. If you read my “Keep that iPhone dry – Perfect ZipLock bag size” and “Running kit” posts you’ll see why.

However to summarise: I go running in the rain sometimes and needed a cheap, reliable way to keep my really expensive smart phone (iPhone 4) dry, as I use a running tacking App called Runkeeper (its also a good idea to carry a phone whilst running for safety and emergencies).

iPhone 4s

I couldn’t find any purpose made, snug fitting, waterproof ‘bags’ for the iPhone 4 (or any other model for that matter) on the market, that would allow me to keep the waterproofed iPhone in my running armband or running belt.

However, after a big of googling I stumbled across the idea of using a ZipLock bag instead. And talk about cheap! No £££ cost as you can buy around 100 ZipLock bags for less that the cost of a bottle of water!

So the Apple media event came and went and the new phone wasn’t a iPhone 5, it was the iPhone 4s, which externally looks exactly the same as the iPhone 4. So no need to get onto ebay to buy any more ZipLock bags.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens in 12 months time when the iPhone 5 finally make an appearance!

Update: Brooks ADRENALINE GTS 11

27 Sep

I blogged a while back about my new Brooks ADRENALINE GTS 11 trainers that I purchased after my trusty, long suffering Newtons finally started to fall apart.

As with all new equipment you “can’t just judge a book by its cover”, and I wanted to give an update on progress, now I have had time to run them in for a while.


I always get a bit concerned when buying new running footwear as it can be an expensive mistake if you find you’re not suited! And its not so easy taking them back to the shop after you’ve been out on them.

With the Brooks I can report I’ve had no issues at all and still think they are one of the best pair of running shoes I’ve ever had. Definitely as good, if not better, than the Newtons, although slightly heavier.

I’ve done over 80 miles on the Brooks, including the BUPA Great North run, and I have to say they have been very comfortable, light and breathable and I haven’t had so much as a blister! All in all an excellent purchase!

Keep that iPhone dry – Perfect ZipLock bag size!

6 Sep

I blogged while back, in my Running Kit post, about how I use Ziplock bags to keep my iPhone (running RunKeeper) dry on wet runs, a fairly common occurrence in the UK. Now, I know this isn’t the most interesting subject, but the weather can be yet another excuse not to go out, especially if you’re carrying an expensive electrical device, like a smart phone for monitoring your activity.

On those rainy days I simply pop the iPhone into my trusty ziplock bag (normally double bagging for extra safety), start of Runkeeper (yes, you can still use the iPhone through the plastic of the bags), pop it in my Photon running belt and off I go. In the past I’ve done this in anything from light drizzle to an absolute downpour and so far the ziplocks have servered me well.

The bags last a while, but aren’t really designed for extensive reuse so I do replace them every few weeks for a fresh one. They are so cheap (100 for less than £2) its not exactly a financial burden.

The only niggle was that the ziplock bag I used was 7.5″ x 5″ which meant the bag was a bit too wide for the iPhone. Not a problem as I could simply fold the extraneous bag width back across the phone. The only issue with this was that the ziplock seal was then  bent, and bending seals is not a good idea. This is probably why I opted for the double bag approach in the first place, but even then both seals (the inner and outer bag) were bent over.

Anyway, my 7.5″ x 5″ bags were running short due to wear and tear and being used by family members for other purposes, so I needed to order some more. I took the oppertunity to rethink the size issue. After a quick look on Amazon I found a ziplock bag with the dimentions of 7.5″ x 3″. I thought I’d give this version a go so I bounght 100 of them and another 100 of the 7.5″ x 5″ version, just in case.

The 7.5″ x 3″ works really well. The iPhone (iPhone 4 in case you are wondering) fits in snuggly and you can also – just – double bag it using two 7.5″ x 3″. No extraneous bag width, so no seal bending and less chance of a leak. I still double bag, but that’s just me being cautious.

For less than £2 for 100 you can’t go wrong and I have yet to find a light, slim iPhone armband or ‘jacket’ that’s downpour waterproof.

New running shoes – get the correct size.

1 Sep

I blogged yesterday about replacing my old worn out Newtons with some brand new Brooks ADRENALINE GTS 11 trainers.


One thing I forgot to mention was show sizes. Now I normally take a size 7 (UK), however I’ve read lots of articles over the years suggesting you should always go a half or full size bigger.

Why? Well when you run your feet can slightly swell. Things might get a bit tight using your normal size trainer.

Personnally I only go a half size larger for my running shoes, up to a 7.5 (UK) and in the end is all down to your particlar build and how your body reacts to exercise.

Always ask advice from whoever you are buying new running shoes from,  and go from past experience, to choose the ideal size for you.

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