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Running Marathons in the UK

5 May 2015 13:47:17

Running in the UK with Proviz

It’s always rewarding to achieve your goals. To set yourself a challenge and work towards accomplishing it. You may even surprise yourself and surpass it by miles. You may set a distance challenge, a time challenge, a strength or weight-loss challenge; all will motivate you to work harder, faster, better. However, it’s no secret that the hardest you will probably work is when you are pitted against someone else; not in a Gladiator type scenario, but with a little healthy competition. What better way to test yourself against others and the clock than to take part in a marathon. There are countless running marathons all over the UK, catering to every fitness level and area of interest. We’ve narrowed down just a few. 

Kent Roadrunner Marathon - 30th May, 2015

This marathon is aptly named, as runners complete 17 laps of a 2.59km track to finish the marathon. This isn’t for those who like to combine sightseeing with their marathon, as you will be running past the same surroundings 17 times in quick succession. This is for people focused on stamina, speed, and competing against their own times. There is a cut-off time of 6:30 hours, as all runners are expected to have finished by then. Registration ends on May 14th and starts at £34. Check out their website for more details: http://www.kentroadrunner.com

Guernsey Waterfront Marathon – 30th August, 2015

Unlike the Kent Roadrunner Marathon, this one takes you through the picturesque surroundings of Guernsey. The 10 mile race starts at the waterfront and weaves through lanes and roads to reach the highest point on the island, then descends back down to the bay. Happening alongside the marathon is also a relay race with teams of either 2 or 5 runners. Registration costs start at £44 and the deadline is the day before the marathon, the 29th of August. For more information, have a look on their website: http://www.guernseymarathon.gg  

Run to the Beat 10k – 13th September, 2015

This London marathon suffered a bad year in 2013, receiving many complaints, but it has revamped its image and extended the course to 10 kilometres around Wembley Park. The event even has DJ sets after the race, incorporating a festival vibe with its “epic after party”. The marathon certainly appears to be targeting a younger demographic, yet there are no age restrictions in place. At £37.60 to register, it is fairly well priced. Take a look at their website: http://www.runtothebeat.co.uk

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5 Exercise Fad Fails

6 Apr 2015 01:14:00

Recently, the technology and demand for safe and efficient exercise accessories has really taken off, take Proviz’s popular and award-winning REFLECT360 range for example. However, not all innovations in exercise and fitness have been quite as successful. There have been countless fads in exercise and fitness; from clothing, to machines, to diets and workouts. Some are weird, some hilarious, and some down-right dangerous. Either way, it’s easy to see why some fads lasted, and some should never have made it off the ground.

1. Prancercise

Prancercise

Joanna Rohrback posted the Youtube sensation Prancercise: A Fitness Workout in 2012, and since then the video has been viewed by over 11 million people. The instructional video aimed to spread the word of Joanna’s unique exercise method, but instead gained popularity for its comedic quality. The technique of Prancercise is pretty self-explanatory – Joanna teaches you to hop and bounce as you walk at a medium pace and bend your arms in a small flying motion, essentially “prancing”. But whether you can actually get fit from this is hard to tell. Watch the video for yourself and see why it caught on, but not in the way it intended: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-50GjySwew

2. The Treadmill Bike 

Treadmill Bike

The idea behind this innovative exercise machine is also pretty self-explanatory. It is essentially a treadmill with wheels. While many products are made to fill a gap in the market, it’s difficult to see how or why there would be any demand for this contraption. The bike boasts the same fitness benefits of the regular bicycle, “while protecting your feet from dirt and other contaminants commonly found on the earth's surface”. The beauty of the outdoors, without even touching the ground! Not surprisingly, the Treadmill Bike hasn’t really caught on, and with a retail price of around £1,650, it isn’t cheap either.
 

3. Vibrating Platforms

Vibrating Platforms

Much like the vibrating belt phenomenon in the 1950s, vibrating platforms boast fitness and weight loss benefits, without you actually having to do anything. The idea behind vibrating platforms is to apply the science of the body’s natural response to destabilization. And although there have been some proven benefits to this form of movement, the claims that this is a fat-burning wonder machine are unfounded. It would be great to achieve physical health and fitness just by standing on a platform for a few minutes a day, but unfortunately real exercise takes a bit more work than that. Some vibrating platforms can cost upwards of £5,000, so it’s any wonder why they still aren’t very popular.
 

4. Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power

Horse Riding Fitness

This interesting device was designed for those who love the movement of horse-riding but hate the outdoors, and even horses it seems. Hailing from Korea, the exercise machine is “for those who like to ride the horse in front of TV and in home comfort of their own space.” Well you will definitely get your own space if you use the Horse Riding Fitness Ace Power, as no-one will want to be seen with you! The machine also has the disadvantage of not simulating anything like real horse-riding. Instead of the strength and agility needed when riding a living horse, the machine merely bounces you up and down with a small amount of resistance. It’s easy to see why this exercise machine never caught on.
 

5. Breatharianism (Or Living on Light) 

Breatharianism

People often swear by diet alone to bring them health and weight loss, but it has long been proven that a combination of diet and exercise is the best method. The Breatharian “diet” takes things to a whole new level, teaching that people can be nourished from light alone. Much like plants, Breatharians believe that you don’t need to eat or drink, and that once you achieve true harmony and peace, the body can survive without food, water, and sleep. Not only is this incredibly untrue, the diet is also very dangerous. An Australian woman publicly tested the diet out, but had to stop after 4 days when her speech slowed, her pupils dilated, and her body became severely dehydrated. This extreme diet has definitely not caught on, and for very good reason!

 

While diet and fitness fads may come and go, one thing that will always be true is that your safety comes first. Wearing specially designed sportswear helps support the body and can help reduce the chance of injury. Similarly, if exercising outdoors it is equally important to ensure that you are visible to on-coming traffic, whether that be people, cars, cyclists or even horses! Keep yourself safe and check out Proviz’s full range of highly reflective sportswear.

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Tips to Improve Your Running Form

1 Apr 2015 14:00:05

Running Picture

As the temperature starts to rise, although very slowly, the prospect of running outside starts to look a little more tempting. Now is the perfect time to dust off your running shoes and get ready to head back out there. Whether you’ve been running for years, or just a beginner, it’s important to look at how you run; your form, your ability level, and your running attire. All of these things can help you avoid injury, and make running easier and more enjoyable. However, it’s important that you don’t suddenly change your running technique, because you will set yourself up for injury. Slowly ease your body into a different way of moving.

One of the most important things to look at is your posture. Make sure you don’t lean forward as you run, even if your shoulders are tired. Keeping your back straight and your head tall will help to avoid injury and also work your core muscles as you run.

Running can wreak havoc on your knees if you don’t get your technique right; it is the most common injury runners’ experience. The constant impact on the knee can weaken the muscles surrounding it and lead to long-lasting damage. There are many factors that come into play, but one of the main ones is looking at where your foot falls as you run. Those who land on their heel experience greater impact shock, while mid-foot strikers provide the knee with a bit more support. It is also important to make sure the foot lands under the knee, not in front of it, as this can lead to injury.

Whether you are a fast or leisurely runner, the length of your stride should always be short and quick. Never try to reach your foot forward or lengthen your stride. This won’t make you go quicker, it will only throw your hips and knees out of line and lead to injury. It is also important to relax your arms and hands, as crossing them over or swinging them too high can throw your gait off.  

It can be difficult remembering all of these things once you’re running, particularly because everyone runs differently and not all forms are the same. Just be aware of how your body is moving, whether you notice any pain, and whether slight adjustments to your running technique decreases strain and improves the mobility and speed of your body.

At the end of the day, it is also important to make sure you are wearing the right gear as well. Running clothes that support and protect you are a great investment, and may even help save your life. Check out our running accessories for more information.

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Top Cycling and Running Apps

10 Mar 2015 12:54:14

Image of Cycling App

It’s no secret that advances in technology have made life easier and safer than ever before. One example is Proviz’s own REFLECT360 range. Its cutting edge reflective material gives cyclists and runners the edge when it comes to safety and practicality. The next step for any tech savvy cyclist or runner is a comprehensive app for your phone. You can now carry around everything from exercise logs, detailed maps, heart rate monitors, and full bicycle manuals, all on your phone. Take a look at a few of the most highly rated.  

 

Cyclemeter
Cyclemeter App 

This app has been touted as the most advanced for cycling, mountain biking, and running. It give you a selection of features, including maps, graphs, intervals, laps, announcements, zones, and training plans. You can keep a track of everything from your heart rate, bike speed, and bike power to your workouts and past statistics. The app is free with the core features, but you can upgrade to add more advanced settings. The downside is that it is built exclusively for iPhone, iPad and iCloud, meaning that Android and other operating systems miss out. 

 

Strava
Strava App

Strava is a nice and fairly simple running and cycling app that allows you to connect with friends and other users. You can log and analyse all of your work-outs, map routes and times, and then compare your stats with your own past efforts and others who have run or ridden the same course. The social side of the app allows you to follow other riders and runners, and in doing so, keeps your motivation up as you track the competition. Strava also has the advantage of working on both iOS and Android, but it doesn’t have the same extensive features of Cyclemeter. 

 

Bike Repair
Bikerepair App
This handy little app gives you step-by-step guides about how to fix your bike when something goes wrong, and 58 detailed photo guides that make repairing your bike simple and straightforward. This is a great app to have on your phone just in case. It stores the history of what you’ve done to your bike, so you know what has broken before and what you did to fix it. It also has a price comparison tool so you can check part prices from 13 online cycling retailers. The only downside is that this app isn’t free, it will set you back £2.49 for iOS and £1.93 for Android.

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The History of Cycling Clothing

5 Mar 2015 11:48:58

Cycling History Infographic

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Cycling: The stats

2 Mar 2015 05:56:09

Cyclists

It is clear that more people are cycling in Great Britain than ever before. The steady rise in bike riders has coincided with an increased awareness of cyclists as road users, and the creation of safer areas and lanes for cyclists. There have been campaigns highlighting the importance of cycling safety and awareness, and more cycling-centric things like shops, riding clubs, cafes, events, websites, chat rooms, and cycling-friendly roads then there has been before. Along with the campaigns and infrastructure, brands like Proviz have continued the trend to ensure cyclist safety. As bike technology advances, so too does the clothing and accessories for bike riders, with Proviz leading the pack. It is clear that the U.K. has truly embraced cycling as a popular past time and mode of transport.

The CTC Cycling Statistics have found that 43% of the population owns or has access to a bicycle, and that 8% of the population (around 3 million) cycle 3 or more times a week. It might not seem like much, but the increase in urban areas has been quite substantial, with cycle use on main roads over the 2012/13 financial year being 176% higher than in 2000. Along with this, 741,000 people use a bicycle as their main form of transport for getting to work in England and Wales, up by 90,000 from 2001. The data collected, mainly through the National Travel Survey and the Consensus, points to a definite increase in bicycle use. It’s not just the amount of people cycling either, it is also the mileage clocked by cyclists, which is up 20% over the last 15 years, to about 5.1 billion kilometres in 2013. 

Not only do these increases in cycling point towards a welcome improvement in health and wellbeing, they also show that people aren’t relying on cars to get them around, which in turn has a positive impact on the environment. It’s really a win-win!

We have definitely come a long way, but statistics still show that we are lagging behind most other EU countries. The Dutch cycle the most, unsurprisingly, with 43% of the population saying they cycle every day. Malta, however, is right at the bottom, with a massive 93% of people saying that cycling is something they never do. It is by no means a competition, but this really shows how far the U.K. has come with embracing cycle culture and how much further we can go!

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