Event, Personal

Pre-Birthday Weekend and The National Running Show 2020

National Running Show Selfie

This month has felt like the longest one on record! I’m not even counting down to payday (27th), nor my birthday (30th), and yet it still feels long.

My birthday falls on Thursday this year, so we decided to celebrate it this weekend rather than next as it fell in line with The National Running Show.

The National Running Show:

National Running Show

My husband and I went to The National Running Show last year and really enjoyed it. Chris, as a non-runner, ended up spending more than I did! I was really looking forward to it again this year.

We left the house at 9:30am and arrived at Resort’s World, Birmingham, just after 10am. A quick trip to the Nike Factory Store, followed by a long walk over the NEC, and we finally arrived at The National Running Show.

It was actually a lot busier than I had expected it to be! The queue to the entrance soon disappeared and we made it inside. We were both given a Runderwear bag which was packed with a few freebies and leaflets. We both got a can of drink, some protein energy balls, freeze gel sachets, a flapjack and a few other offer leaflets.

There were a lot of talks going on around the venue, however we were too busy visiting all of the exhibitor stands. I think we managed to try every sample on offer! There were quite a few tasty vegan protein and energy bars being sampled. Neither of us were keen on the Beet It! juice or the hydration drinks, such as S.O.S and Nuun. 

The Spartan obstacle race stand was fun to watch as people attempted monkey bars, wall climbs, rings and hoists. We weren’t really dressed the part to join in so we stuck to spectating! 

There were a lot of stands, however it didn’t seem like there was as many competitions, freebies or offers when compared to last year. Neither Chris or I made a purchase this time. I was tempted to buy some Cherry Clif Bloks, and did need some energy gels, but didn’t find an offer that was cheaper than buying them online. The same goes the 2XU compression tights; I could do with replacing my two medium pairs for a small, but the best offer was £35, compared to £25 online. I didn’t sign up for any competitions this year and the exhibitors didn’t seem as talkative as last year. Still, it was nice to see some new products and I’ll never say no to a free sample!

It was an enjoyable morning out, despite being really busy! I’m glad that we managed to get free tickets, as I don’t think that it would have been worth paying for if you were only going to try and get some good offers or discounts. Some of the talks sounded interesting, but we weren’t able to stay as long as last year. I’d like to go again next year if it doesn’t fall on a race weekend.

On the plus side, we got a fair amount of freebies!

National Running Show Freebies

Birthday Treats:

We had to leave The National Running Show at 12:45 so that we could make it back to the cinema in time. Chris had booked for us to see Bad Boys For Life at the 1:30pm showing. 

I love the first two Bad Boys movies, and was a bit nervous of the third being a bit of a let down. It was quite a hyped movie, but it lived up to it (for me anyway!). Chris preferred the first two movies, and it was probably my least favourite of the three, but it was still a good watch nonetheless. 

To round off the day we went for a meal at Las Iguanas. We had been planning on visiting for a while as we both enjoyed our meal at the Blackpool Las Iguanas last year. With it being a bit of a trek for us to get to, we had to wait a fair while! Still, it was worth the wait! After a lot of deliberation I ended up ordering the same thing that I ate after the Blackpool Marathon… Veggie Enchiladas. This time we also ordered dessert. I went with the Chocolate Coconut Tart and Chris opted for the Brownie. I savoured every mouthful of mine as it was just so tasty! I’m not sure how many calories I consumed, but they were worth it!

Sunday Runday:

With 90 days to go until the London Marathon, I need to be getting the miles in. Last week I managed 11 miles, but they were a real struggle. I ended up spending most of the run in heart rate zone 3 and couldn’t wait to finish. This week was a complete contrast. Although I didn’t run on Saturday (I usually do Parkrun or at least 3 miles on the treadmill), I covered a lot of ground walking around Birmingham. 

After seeing a live demonstration of Zwift at The National Running Show, it reminded me that now I have a new laptop, I could give it a try. I purchased an ANT dongle ages ago, but then found out that my tablet wasn’t compatible with Zwift so never used it. I’ve had this laptop for a few months and didn’t even think about installing Zwift! I set it up Saturday night and then all I had to do before my run was plug in the dongle and connect my heart rate monitor and footpod. These connected seamlessly and off I went on the treadmill.

It was nice to focus on something different. Usually I do my long runs with TV, YouTube or music on my phone. Instead I could focus on my little Zwift avatar running around with others and looking at some scenery. I ended up on a desert course with some dinosaurs! It’s also good as it shows me my pace, mile splits, distance covered, elapsed time, heart rate and cadence. I didn’t have to keep checking my watch as everything I needed was on the screen. Another added benefit is seeing when my footpod drops out. My footpod is over three years old and has taken a bit of a beating. Every now and then it will drop out and give a pace reading of 0, or a really slow pace such as 20 minute miles, when I’m actually keeping a steady pace. It doesn’t do it often enough for me to warrant buying a new one… yet! #WatchThisSpace

I managed to stay in zone 2 for most of the run, with a little time being spent in zone 1 and less than a minute in zone 3. My heart rate does spike a little when I drink or take an energy gel. On the topic of gels, I tried a Clif Blok at The National Running Show and was pleasantly surprised. I have two packs lying around the house that I hadn’t tried yet as I didn’t want to risk them on race days. After doing some reading, I found that three Clif Bloks are equal to one energy gel. As I suffer with IBS and taking too many energy gels can be a bit too sugary for me, I decided to give the Bloks a try on my long run. I took my first Blok at mile 5, then mile 6, and the third at mile 7. To be honest, I could eat them like sweets! I enjoy the taste and they seem to sit well with my stomach. They are a lot easier to consume than gels and you don’t have to worry about sticky hands! 

I ended the run at 12 miles, in a time of 2:30:50. Usually I start out too fast, but I managed to start out slow and then pick up the pace in the last few miles whilst staying in heart rate zone 2. I felt like I could have gone further, but didn’t want to go overboard.

Long Run 28th January 2020


Overall, I had a great weekend! The National Running Show is something that I look forward to now each year. Bad Boys For Life was worth the wait, and food was amazing! My Sunday long run went well. I tried some new things with Zwift and Clif Bloks. Oh, and I’ve ordered some things for my birthday, so now the excitement builds as I wait for them to arrive! Again… #WatchThisSpace.