Sounds of Running #2

I’ve loved Witness by Roots Manuva for 14 years but never realised it had a video. And what a video – especially for anybody who gets shown who’s boss by primary school aged parkrunners every Saturday morning….



Are you a Run-Faffer?


Cap/image from

I lay in bed early this morning, trying to sleep through Mrs Run Don’t Run making heavy weather about whether to go on her usual Sunday morning bike ride or not. It involved a lot of text messages, peaking outside to check on the iciness of the roads, and then, once the decision had been made to get the bike out, a lot of careful weighing up and mind changing about food, drink and the most ideal kit selection. As soon as she returns, I’m planning on immediately heading out on my long run, but you can be fairly certain that it won’t be the smooth handover of a carefully drilled triathlon relay team. For I am a run faffer. To faff is “to muck about, wasting time doing something not necessary.” It’s a real word and a genuine affliction- it must be because it’s in the Urban Dictionary!

The thing is, you might be one too, especially at this time of year. Check out the tell-tale signs:

1. Over-careful route planning – you want a route with no hills, which you’re not bored of, which needs to be familiar enough to avoid getting lost, with no likely puddles to mess up your box fresh new trainers, and it has to end outside your house after exactly 9.5 miles because that’s what your programme says. Cue consulting of maps, cutting bits of thread to measure distances.
Potential Faff-Factor: 60 minutes

2. Deciding the kit you wear has to match, or at the very least, doesn’t clash. This informs the perfect choice of socks. However, you can only find one.
Potential Faff-Factor: 20 minutes

3. Taking extra care over your hydration needs, especially before a 3 mile recovery run. Insisting on filtered water, from the fridge, in your favourite “lucky” bottle which is nowhere to be found, although other vessels are available.
Potential Faff-Factor: 10 minutes

4. Killing the time waiting for your breakfast to go down by snacking.
Potential Faff-Factor: 180 minutes

5. Easily locating your iPod, but then having a last minute wish for a new playlist (cue switching on of creaky old computer, loading up of massive music library, hand-picking of new tunes, sorting into gradually increasing BPMs with a nice bit of slowing down towards the end for your warm-down)
Potential Faff-Factor: 60 minutes

6. Announcing every run, no matter how trivial, on a range of social media.
Potential Faff-Factor: 10 minutes

7. Last minute clothing shuffle when the promised “mild conditions” turn out to be permafrost.
Potential Faff-Factor: 15 minutes

8. Watch-fiddling – entering a new work-out, switching from imperial to metric “for a bit of variety” then spending 10 minutes stood outside, losing the benefits of tell-tale sign 9.
Potential Faff-Factor: 20 minutes

9. Doing a thorough warm-up (the most beneficial faff, and naturally the one I’m least guilty of).
Potential Faff-Factor: 15 minutes

10. Reading running blogs about faffing, thinking “Yes, I do some of those, but he’s missed out the most important faff which is…..” then not being able to remember your log on name or password to add it as a comment under said blog.
Potential Faff-Factor: 10 minutes

So are you a run-faffer? Can you suggest even more ways I can take even longer to get out of the house?

A Mile in My Shoes – A Run Don’t Run Mixtape

Yesterday I threatened a running themed mixtape. This morning, while most of my Twitter feed were on their way to various races, I lay in bed and got to work on my mix.

The mixing is basic and the beats per minute go up and down like heartbeats in an intervals session, but I like to think “A Mile in My Shoes” kind of captures the running process: Get Up, Leave House and then you’re Running Away. Your Run is now properly underway. You get Faster until you feel like you’re Moving Like a Train or indulging in a High Speed Chase. Then the exhaustion sets in – you repeatedly tell yourself to Keep on Moving (or Keep on Movin’) and then as the lactic acid flushes through your legs, it’s more a case of “Come On Feet“! Although you might occasionally kid yourself you’re in a race, as the end nears you remember that No One Gets the Prize. And then all that’s left is the realisation that for the next few hours, there’s No More Runnin (sic) because it’s all come to an End.

Sounds of Running #2

I was overdoing it on the hydration front last night. Unfortunately this happened in a bar so today I can barely get out of my chair, let alone face anything involving real, live running. To compensate I’ve been thinking about songs that might fit in nicely on my running mixtape.

Did I mention I’ve been plotting a running mixtape? Not a mix of dodgy Dutch trance tracks with beats per minute that perfectly match my cadence while gradually driving me insane. Instead this will be a collection of songs I like that somehow complement the process of getting ready, going out on a run and coming home again. If I can get a grip on the world of digital djaying I might even share the results with you sometime soon.

imageThe Sly and the Family Stone original of “Running Away” is on the long list although I have this 1980s Paul Haig version gathering dust in the loft somewhere. For those not up to speed with obscure Scottish indie music of the last century, Paul Haig used to front a band called Josef K. They were an intense, less colourful version of Orange Juice (both bands were on Postcard Records) at a time when bands tended to jingle jangle their guitars. Josef K certainly gave good jingle jangle.

Running Away include a series of lyrics which could be seen as demotivational for runners:

“Running away, to get away,
Ha Ha Ha Ha,
You’re wearing out your shoes”


“Another day, you’re further away
Ha Ha Ha Ha
A longer trip back home”

The video also features two men, running. Possibly running away, but definitely running fast against each other. It also looks as though Paul and his mates have bet a substantial amount of money on the race. Or maybe they’re sponsoring them, in the days before JustGiving and the Internet?

Places I’ve been running which appear in songs #1

This post might be the first of a series of one, but I just had to tell the world where I’ve been running this evening. Little Ilford Park! I didn’t know such a place existed before my running club organised for me to pay a visit in the company of about 40 other runners. I also didn’t realise that Little Ilford Park in deepest East London was the inspiration for this song:

To be honest I always thought this was about an imaginary place that was conjured up in the minds of the Small Faces after they’d indulged in some of the practices that the late 1960s were infamous for. However it seems I was mistaken. There’s a whole Wikipedia page about the history of the song including a bit of controversy about exactly which East London park inspired it. There’s even disagreement about what put the “Itch” in “Itchycoo” – stinging nettles, wasps or the contents of rosehips?

It has to be said, Itchycoo Park doesn’t really live up to what was promised by the Small Faces in their tribute:

Over bridge of sighs
To rest my eyes in shades of green
Under dreamin’ spires
To Itchycoo Park, that’s where I’ve been

I think we entered the park through a rickety kissing gate, not exactly a “bridge of sighs”. There was greenery, well flat scrubland, but dreamin’ spires? There were a few tower blocks but Itchycoo Park was decidedly spire-free. At one stage a few of us were confronted by a group of local kids who spotted the panting bunch of grown-up wannabe runners and decided to show us we were no match for them. Amazingly, after a few metres of jogging alongside they ran out of puff, the wise old tortoises overcoming the younger hares.

Ulimately, it was a warm summer’s evening, we were in the middle of a 6 mile run and I guess we had “all come out to groove about, be nice and have fun in the sun”. Itchycoo Park wasn’t “too” beautiful but nobody left nursing any stings.

UPDATE: Turns out I wasn’t the only runner moved to blog about out trip to Itchycoo Park on Wednesday night – check out the Fatty Must Run version of events HERE

Itchycoo Park is the green space at the southernmost tip of the route

Itchycoo Park is the green space at the southernmost tip of the route

Sounds of Running #1

No, not Chariots of Fire, not the Theme from Rocky, these are my running tunes. Tunes that are either very apt or simply good to run to. First selection – Quasimoto’s ideal soundtrack to the last mile of the 2010 Hastings Half Marathon and the perfect speed for today’s 5 minute walk, 5 minute run in the sludge of the local park. Come on Feet!