These days I run just like Red Rum…

Red-Rum-on-Southport-BeachNo, not gallloping very quickly with a tiny Irishman on my back. Instead, I have decided to take a leaf out of the late, great Ginger McCain’s book by using the golden(ish) sands and azure(ish) shallows  that run alongside my adoptive, one horse home town of Southport to make my long runs a little more effective and enjoyable, while endeavouring to avoid more injuries.

After all, this is the training regime that enabled Red Rum to win a record three Grand Nationals. So if it was good enough for him, I’m bound to say that it’s good enough for me; especially as I generally look like an old nag that’s been ridden hard and put away wet after a training session anyway.

You see, having reached the age where it’s nigh on impossible to train hard and still make it uninjured to the start line of a few races every year, it’s definitely time to start training smarter; especially as this year’s big date with destiny is the Rat Race Scotland Coast to Coast. Naturally, that means spending more time making use of the sand dunes to reduce strike impact. But current thinking is that soft ground can be just as problematic as pavements, as it can allow the heel to fall below the level of the front of the foot, thus overstretching the Achilles, not to mention putting additional stresses on ankle ligaments.

My new and revolutionary (for those of a non-equine persuasion) method enables me to run on hard-packed sand that has a little bit of give, while providing my feet and lower legs with a constant cool dousing of salty water, not to mention some useful additional resistance.

Naturally, it’s too early to say whether this rare splash of horse sense is going to help keep me injury-free in the future, but while I’m obviously not going to be troubling the bookies at Aintree, I can at least report that my new Red Rum Regime (which may well be the title of my best-selling exercise book if this all works out), has at least managed to reverse the terrifying decline in pace that’s been afflicting me for the last 18 months.

If the truth be told, that still means I’m running at more of a trot than a canter, but at least it proves, contrary to popular opinion, that I’m not ready for the knacker’s yard just yet…

Deep Heat Muscle Rescue Review

Deep Heat Muscle RescueAs I may have mentioned in these pages a couple or three times, I love the smell of Deep Heat in the morning: largely because it usually means I’m in the changing tent at a big race, or am at the very least about to head out for a sweaty 10-miler along the beach.

However, having extolled the virtues of various Deep Heat products designed to warm, cool, soothe and otherwise pander to the vagaries of my aging body on a number of occasions, it seems that the company has just pulled the old switcheroo by coming up with some slightly cissified products in its seeming endless quest for perfection (not to mention range extension).

Do I love the smell of Vanilla, Orange and Rosemary in the morning?

Yep, that’s right, Deep Heat has now come up with a couple of products that not only look as if they belong in Jordan’s handbag, but no longer smell like Deep Heat should.

And yet, having broken all the rules of injury rehabilitation by pulling a sneaky 10-miler on Friday night, just to prove that I’m fit for 12 miles of mud in next Saturday’s Hell Up North, my aching body was in urgent need of a little TLC over the weekend.

Time then for a long, hot bath using Muscle Rescue Bath Soak, which promised to ease my muscular tension with ‘electrolyte minerals and essential oils of rosemary and orange.’ All of which left me feeling and smelling rather lovely, if I do say so myself; though obviously I don’t know how much of that was due simply to the hot water…

Then it was time for the judicious application of the rosemary and vanilla scented neck and shoulder cream before heading up the wooden hill to Bedfordshire. And how was that? Well, there were two surprises in store: the first of which is that there’s very little vanilla and a whole lot of rosemary going on here; ensuring that while I’m undoubtedly ‘mutton’, I smelled pretty much like a leg of lamb as I retired for the night.

The other surprise was that despite its much less medicated, and in fact very pleasant aroma, the cream delivered just as big a dose of heat to my aching neck and shoulders as standard Deep Heat.

The hugely cissified verdict

Let’s be clear about this: I’m no-one’s idea of a metrosexual. I’ve never moisturised nor waxed, and would almost certainly have assumed from the tasteful pink packaging that these products were aimed at ladies – had they not been given to me – and left them on the shelf.

However, the fact must be faced that using standard Deep Heat is only ever going to mean funny looks down the pub and huge unpopularity around the house. So I have to say that the bath soak was a delight and the neck and shoulder cream delivers all the heat relief you need. They also both smell pleasant enough to let any runner socialise as normal. So while I think that Deep Heat have gotten the packaging very, very wrong, these are great products for runners and keep fit enthusiasts of both persuasions. In fact, the only downside I can see is that I’m now desperately craving a rack of lamb…