Time for a Spring Declutter?

Time for a Spring Declutter?

Is it just me? I seem to be 'nesting'!

I'm clearing out cupboards, tidying up shoes and generally in a Spring frame of mind! The appearance of the sun yesterday made me realise how much my windows need cleaning, I feel it's time to welcome some freshness back into my house again.

SLJ expert Jennifer tells us how the declutter process can even help your fitness!

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Second time round fitness - it's SO much easier, find out why!!

Second time round fitness - it's SO much easier, find out why!!

Over a period of 5 years I trained hard, my first marathon time was a steady 5.15 and my last one, 3.45. Luckily I avoided typical running injuries so I didn't have any reason to stop for long other than the occasional sore Achilles' tendon or winter cold. However an innocuous fall on a skiing holiday changed everything ....

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SLJ 7 - Wonders of Knole Park

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1. The Park

The Park at Knole tells the story of a time before man-made landscaped beauty became an obsession for wealthy landowners.  The famous herd of deer maintain the balance of nature with their careful grazing.  

With 1,000 acres to explore, there's something for everyone, walkers, runners and wildlife watchers within the bracken-lined paths and tree-filled landscape. The park is also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest because of the rare species found within it.

Dewponds are dotted about the park and are a sign of the park's old age. Most owners of country houses had their parks landscaped in Georgian times, modifying them with large-scale gardening work. But Knole escaped this fate and now represents a very unusual piece of medieval managed countryside. 

2. The House

Knole House is vast, complex and full of hidden treasures. Originally an Archbishop’s palace, the house passed through royal hands to the Sackville family – Knole’s inhabitants from 1603 to today.  It is said to have 365 rooms and 52 staircases.

Art lovers will find Reynolds, Gainsborough and Van Dyck and Textile enthusiasts can see the 17th-century tapestries and furniture that make the collection of international significance.

Major renovations are currently being carried out and external repairs have been completed and a new Bookshop Café and visitors centre will open in 2015 and a world-class conservation studio is being built and many showrooms are painstakingly being conserved.

 

3. The Ice House

Hidden away from the house down a hillside is a shady dell where one of England’s earliest ice-houses is situated – built to store ice over the summer

Like most ice houses in Britain, it is domed and brick-lined and looks a bit like an igloo!  Ice was brought in from the Fens in East Anglia, and from the north of England, especially the Lake District. Some even came from Scandinavia. And, by the end of the century, icebergs were being towed from Canada to feed demand!

 4. The Deer

Kent's last medieval deer park is home to 350-strong wild deer herd. They're descendants of those hunted by Henry VIII who roam the 1000 acres of parkland year-round. Knole's parkland is exceptional in its vast size and unmanaged landscape. Expect trees fallen and left to nature and bracken thick with protected wildlife.

 The herd at Knole is mostly made up of fallow and the Japanese sika deer. The fallows were introduced into Britain by the Romans, and hunted for sport. The sika deer were brought into parks during the 17th century, and to Knole in the 19th.

 

5. The Gallops

Among its physical landscape features, the earliest single feature you can see today is the Gallops, the broad gully carved by a prehistoric river. It's most obvious where it runs along the west side of the park. The drive dips into it before climbing again up to the house. As you walk southwards along the Gallops, there are places marking tributaries coming down from the ridge on which the Sevenoaks High Street now stands.

 6. The Brewhouse Tearoom  – when it opens in 2016

Part of the current renovation is the rebuild of the Brewhouse Tearoom where visitors will be served in greater comfort and where they can enjoy lovely food while looking out over the parkland.

 

7. The Sackville Family

Since its purchase in 1604 by Thomas Sackville, 1st Earl of Dorset, the house at Knole, Kent, has been inhabited by thirteen generations of a single aristocratic family, the Sackvilles.  Set in the heart of a medieval deer-park, this great house was the birthplace and home of Vita Sackville-West. It holds a wide array of fascinating family histories – you’ll find it hard to beat the characters and stories that make up the famous and ancient Sackville dynasty.



SLJ 7 - Why and how to keep running

'Why and How to keep running'
The list of reasons I could give you as to WHY you keep running is as long as my arm and many you will already know well.  We all run for a lot of the same reasons as well as some very different ones, here is a short list of those I think should cover most people.
- Live happier
- Live longer
- Sneeze less
- Strengthen your body and bones 
- Stress relief
- Improve your fitness and feel good
- Sleep better

 

Now a few bits of advice as to HOW to keep running - 
Progress training gradually  Set goals that are realistic and appropriate.  This makes them easier to achieve and in turn you continue to be more motivated.  Set you own pace and schedule, whilst taking into account the rest of life and how much time you can honestly set aside for your training/leisure.


- Consistency  Try to be consistent in your training.   It is better to exercise twice a week than aim for 4 times, miss sessions, stop , start, stop, start..... it is not nearly as beneficial as a consistent pattern. We all know that holidays and life sometimes get in the way of our leisure time but try to get back into your consistent pattern as soon as things settle again.


- Cross Training  If you have time in your life you will benefit from participating in some kind of exercise other than just running.  It helps to improve your overall strength and helps to reduce risk of injury.  Mixing things up means you are not constantly subjecting the same muscles and joints to impact or overuse.


- Don't Overdo Things  Follow any hard training session with an easy one, not hard followed by hard, this will increase the risk of injury.  Overdoing things can be counter-productive.  Be aware of the signs of over training - Generally feeling exhausted/ Legs feeling agitated/ Signs of being run down e.g. colds, viruses, dry skin/ coldsores/ ulcers etc.


- Running Community Running alongside others can encourage you, challenge you and help you along the way.  Its great to find others to run with who keep the same pace, both for company and so you can help them feel good about their running the same way  they will do for you.

- Fuel for running   Ensure that you have eaten sufficiently and are well hydrated before exercise, even the day before if you are a morning runner.  It is important to balance the energy that comes into and goes out of your body, too much of an imbalance could lead to poor recovery and lowering your immune system.   Although you may not feel like eating immediately after running it is important to eat and drink within the first 20 mins of exercise to re-balance sugar levels, re-fuel energy stores and repair those muscles you have been working so hard.  A small healthy post run snack will prevent your body going into overdrive later and craving the not-so-healthy alternatives (hopefully).

- Rest Days  Rest and recovery days are essential in your mission to continue running.  No matter how much you love an activity overkill can lead to boredom and injury.  Your running workouts will help you increase your fitness only if they are followed by rest and recovery promoting activities.  Ignoring your need for recovery can lead to injuries, a reduction in your performance and more than likely a loss of enjoyment.  Recovery days are the time when improvement happens and our bodies adapt after our hard work.  Walking, swimming, slow jog or any activity at a low intensity are ok on these days as they help repair muscle fibres if kept at easy/recovery level.

 

The SLJ Beginners Course - Pre Course Information

So - you are considering signing up for the Sevenoaks Ladies Joggers Complete Beginner Jogging course. 

Firstly, well done, it's hard to start something new and to be out out of your comfort zone, harder as we get older! 

In order to prepare for the course it is a good idea to have tarted to make some simple changes to your day to day routing. You may already do all of these things, in which case that's great, but if not, it will give you some ideas of things to think about prior to starting. 

Our Pre-course plan can be printed off and used as a guide to trigger you to remember these small changes. You won't need to prove you have done it to anyone but perhaps you could get your family or friends to join you to keep you motivated. 

SLJ 7 - Lies Runners believe

With the internet and social media playing such a large part of our day to day lives I'm sure that it can't have escaped your notice that suddenly, anyone can become an 'expert'. This means that they want to impart their knowledge, some of which is utterly wrong, some could even cause you an injury.
Here are some of the common things I have read!


1) You are too old to take up running

Well meaning friends or family love to advice that once we are past about 30, we are too old to take up running. This is so not true, think about the amazing people we have seen in the news recently. There was a 95 year old gentleman who broke the 200m track record, he only took up the sport later in his life and now has a personal trainer, lifts weights and east clean food! Although running does get harder as we get older, as long as you set yourself realistic goals there is no reason to say you can't be successful. 

2) Treating yourself to a pair of the latest highly technical shoes will make you a faster runner

Every year we are bombarded with a new design, some special gel or new technology to tempt us to buy new running shoes, often with the promise of making us go faster!  Sadly this isn't always true. The coaches at Sevenoaks Ladies Joggers would advise you to stay away from bargain brand shoes and stick to those that have been specifically fitted to your feet and running style.  A University of Newcastle study could find no conclusive link between expensive running shoes and injury prevention or better running performance. 
So, steer away from buying the most expensive pair because of something you read and head to Bat and Ball Sports or Up and Running in Sevenoaks where you’ll be able to get expert opinion on the right shoe for your running style.
PS the shoes below really do have wings, click for info! 

3) I don’t have time to run today

Always running for an hour or for a set distance, is not going to make you lose weight, get faster or fitter. Mixing up your running is. If you are tight for time, particularly when the kids are off school, set yourself a goal of doing something for 25 minutes. Maybe take the kids to the park and get them to time you doing some shorter speedier sets of about 30 seconds. Get them to mark where you got to and see if you can reach that point each time. You can make it educational by asking them to time you, and write don the time, then get them to try and see how far they can go. There’s no denying that long runs are beneficial, but they certainly aren't the be all and end all of running. 

4) It is very important to stretch before every run

If there’s one thing that every new runner thinks they should do, it is stretch before a run. But research shows that this can be a disaster!  Far from warming you up for your run and loosening up your muscles, stretching pre-run can actually increase injury risk and reduce running efficiency. According to research carried out at Florida State University, stretching cold muscles before a run reduces efficiency by about five per cent when compared with a gentle walk/jog warm up. SLJ do a series of dynamic movements such as skipping, high knees and pony feet! 


5) If you warm up and cool down properly, you won't get injured

Whilst warming up correctly, wearing the right gear and avoiding overtraining are all great ways to help prevent injury, many of us who have been running for a long time will tell you that there is no absolute sure way to prevent an injury occurring. A rough estimate says that 70% of runners will suffer with some form of injury at some point. The most common area for these injuries is the knee, closely followed by the Achilles, shins and heels. If you do have an injury, simply rest, recover, and get back to it when you're ready safe in the knowledge that we have groups for all abilities. 


6) Jogging or Running is the only exercise you need

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Ever since the running revolution of the 60’s and 70’s, jogging has been put on a pedestal as some sort of exclusive miracle exercise. There’s no doubting that jogging is great for you, but if it’s all you’re doing then you’re not getting the full benefits. Doing some other form of exercise will only improve your running if they  include strength, balance, stretching, core work and non weight bearing activity. So go ahead and dance, swim or hoola, it may make you faster! 


 

7) I should carbo-load before every run - 

If you’re sitting down to a mountain of pasta the night before you run with us the only thing it’s going to do is make you feel bloated and lethargic when you’re trying to run. 
Carbo-loading should only be reserved for times when you will be running 12 miles or more, otherwise you will just put on weight and feel lumpy. When I did my first marathon I chomped away on Pasta and put on nearly half a stone! If you do have a long run coming up,the best formula to follow is to consume around 8-10g of carbohydrate per kilogram of your body weight during a carbo-loading period. For a runner weighing 70kg, that is roughly between 560g and 700g of carbs.

Note**
For those of you who haven't caught up with Facebook war of the Spiralzer, how to make Carb free version of Spaghetti, you might like to take a look at our videos below!