Chris Worfolk's Blog


Announcing Resilient Running

August 16th, 2018 | News

In June, I launched my Running For Beginners course. It quickly became the most popular online course I have ever taught, with nearly 2,000 people signing up in the first two months alone.

The course has received great ratings, but some students wanted to take it further. Some were existing runners and found the course content too basic. As it was a beginners course, I didn’t want to make it too advanced. So, I started work on a new course for existing runners looking to take their game to the next level.

The result is my new course, Resilient Running. It will teach you to run faster, longer, and stay injury free. It covers technique, training, injury prevention, nutrition, psychology and more. It’s targetted at people who already run on a regular basis, so we get straight down to business. There are no beginners steps because that’s all covered in my first course.

Will it prove as popular? I certainly hope so. Over 1,000 people have signed up in the first 48 hours.

Here’s the trailer:

Pride Parkrun 2018

August 15th, 2018 | Sport

Every year, the Pride team turn up to Parkrun to cheer people on and hand out free goodies. Last year, I got a pair of rainbow laces, which I was wearing at this year’s Pride Parkrun.

I had a triathlon to so the day after, but I also felt like I was losing fitness. So, I decided to forgo the “take it easy” approach that would involve resting my legs and instead, go hard and hopefully give myself a confidence boost that I was still performing well.

I did and I got it. Thanks to a sprint finish when I realised I might just make it within the minute, I managed to run:

22:58

This is 19 seconds off my personal best, but it is only the second time I have managed to go sub-23 so I was very pleased with it. Did it give me the confidence to smash it at the Allerthorpe Classic triathlon? Find out soon…

Grenade Carb Killa

August 14th, 2018 | Reviews, Sport

According to the marketing people at Grenade, their Carb Killa bar is magic. They don’t say magic explicitly, but they’ve basically produced a chocolate biscuit that contains almost no carbs or sugar.

Each 60g bar of the “caramel chaos” comes with 23g of protein, 1.4 sugar and 1.4g of “impact” carbs. I’m not sure what impact carbs are, but the full nutritional information suggests it means sugar, while the entire thing contains 13.5g of carbs. There is also 7.9g of fat and 214 kcals.

Compare this to the Tribe 10 protein bars I currently use which have 10g of protein, 23g of carbs, 12g of fat and 245 kcals. Even my protein shakes only come with 20g of protein, although it’s more once you mix it with milk.

It tastes great. Indeed, it’s difficult to believe I’m not consuming something incredibly unhealthy. It tastes exactly like a chocolate biscuit. If anything, you may find yourself eating too many of them.

Cost wise, they’re okay. They cost £2.50 individually at Sainsbury’s. However, if you bulk buy them from Wiggle they come down to just over £1.50 each, which makes them comparable to the Tribe products.

South Leeds Duathlon

August 13th, 2018 | Sport

Recently, the inaugural South Leeds Duathlon was held at Cross Flats Park in Beeston. There were three races: a junior, a Leeds Girls Can and an open adult race. I took part in the latter (obviously), which was 2.3km run, a 4.5km cycle and then a final 2.3km run.

I finished in 36:11. That is about a minute faster than GO TRI Temple Newsam last year. Which isn’t too shabby as the Temple Newsam course was longer for both run and bike sections. It’s not going to get me into ITU either, though.

The worst part is that I forgot to collect my free t-shirt :(. It would be easy to blame Venla for distracting me with her mixture of whining and running into places where she should not be. So I will.

A non-talking horse

August 13th, 2018 | Photos

As far as I know, this horse can’t talk. But it’s a nice picture, so I thought I would post it anyway.

Triathlon For Beginners

August 12th, 2018 | News

In June, I launched my Running For Beginners course. It has been a big success with nearly 2,000 students registering in the first six weeks and plenty of five-star reviews.

Following on from that, I’m pleased to announce my next new course, Triathlon For Beginners. Here’s the blurb:

This course will teach you everything you need to know to complete your first triathlon with confidence.

We’ll start right from the basics and build up to advanced techniques. We’ll cover swim, bike and run, of course, but also all of the bits that connect triathlon together and the strategies and secrets that will allow you to complete the entire event. Including:

  • How transition works
  • Building a training schedule with brick sessions
  • Strength, stretching and recovery
  • What nutrition and kit you need
  • How to use sport psychology to your advantage
  • Everything you need to know for race day

Whether you have signed up for a race, done a mini-triathlon, or just thinking about giving it a go at some point, there is no better time than now to start learning. Click buy now to get started. I can’t wait to see you inside the course!

It’s available on Udemy now, and you can check it out here.

Is being overweight good for you?

August 11th, 2018 | Health & Wellbeing, Science

The idea that being overweight is bad for you is well established. Being overweight takes years off your life, so it’s important to eat right and exercise to keep your weight under control. More recent evidence, however, has challenged this.

For example, a 2013 paper in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that overweight people had a lower level of all-cause mortality than people of a healthy weight. The paper was not well-received, but nobody seems to have been able to poke any holes in it, either.

Similarly, a 2009 systematic review published in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International concluded that:

The prevailing notion that overweight increases morbidity and mortality, as compared to so-called normal weight, is in need of further specification.

So, should we give up with the diets and let our waistlines expand a little? Maybe. But even if more evidence goes on to support these findings, there are some good reasons for sticking with the current line on what a healthy BMI is.

Overweight vs obese

Something that all the studies agree on is that people have worse health outcomes, including death, if they are obese. Overweight is one thing, but being obese is bad for you in any study.

And you might be surprised how easy it is to reach the category of obese. Consider that my BMI hovers around 24. 25 is the line between healthy weight and overweight. So, I’m nearly in the overweight category. And I look like this:

Not the buffest individual, that’s for sure, but I don’t look like I’m carrying around any extra weight either. And you only have to move up to a BMI of 30 to go into the obese category.

All-cause morality

As the NHS points out, these studies typically look at all-cause mortality, which means people dying of anything. The problem is that this contradicts individual studies of any topic. For example, if we look at heart disease or diabetes. Whenever we look at the individual causes, we find it is better to be a healthy weight.

There is a huge amount of evidence to support this, so in order for us to accept an alternative view, it would ideally need to explain this discrepancy.

Quality of life

The second problem is that these studies just look at mortality. But that is never the way that NICE or Public Health England have looked at how to provide the most efficient healthcare system.

We measure outcomes in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). It’s not enough just to be alive. Modern medicine allows us to keep pretty much anybody alive indefinitely. But sitting in a medically induced coma on a ventilator isn’t a life that any of us would choose.

As a study in Nature points out, being overweight is associated with fewer years of disease-free life. In short, you might experience a longer life, but it won’t be a happier or more fulfilling one.

Indeed, this could help explain the findings. If people are already inside the medical system because they’re having to be treated for obesity-related illnesses, we may be better at spotting other diseases. Or it may be that carrying around some extra weight will reduce your quality of life but also help you to stick around for an extra week when you become seriously ill because you have larger fat reserves.

Conclusion

There is genuine evidence that you will live longer if you are a little overweight (but not obese). However, so far we have been unable to explain why this is. And, more importantly, you will also have a reduced quality of life. Therefore, the current guidelines on maintaining a healthy BMI are still relevant.

How long do HRM-Tri batteries last?

August 10th, 2018 | Sport

The HRM-Tri is a chest strap heart rate monitor produced by Garmin. But how long does the battery last?

Garmin gives different estimates. On their website, they say ten months:

Battery life: 10 months (Tri training 1 hour per day)

While on their YouTube page, then say 18 months:

The CR2032 batteries in your HRM-Run, HRM-Swim or HRM-Tri straps will last approximately 18 months, depending on use.

I only got my hands on a Garmin device at the end of January, which means I have been using the HRM-Tri for six months. Today, while running, my watch told me that the battery on the HRM-Tri was very low.

So, that’s somewhat shorter than they claim. Luckily, however, it is easy enough to change the battery and it uses a standard 2032. Here’s a video:

Make sure you don’t drop one of the screws. Otherwise, you’ll be in a desperate search to find it before your toddler eats it.

Finland nutrition

August 9th, 2018 | Food

While I was over in Finland, I raided their supermarkets for the sports products they had. Some of it was Finnish, some of it was American. Here is what I found.

Gatorade

I’ve never tried Gatorade before but it thumbs up. I like this stuff. It doesn’t feel as heavy as Lucozade.

Powerade

Another widely sold drink that I’ve never tried. It was good, but I prefer the flavours of Gatorade.

Maxim protein bar

This was very tasty. Almost as tasty as the Carb Killa bars.

Arla protein yoghurt

Chocolate and orange flavour. it definitely has a distinctive taste compared with other yoghurts, but in terms of mixing up my recovery food, I could see myself throwing in some of these.

Tupla protein bar

This not only looks like a Mars bar (but has no relation) but also tastes like a chewy version of a Mars bar. All of which is good.

Cricket protein bar

These are named Leader Zircca bars. Leader is the brand, and zircca is the Finnish word for cricket. Not the game, but the insect. It’s made of crickets: 15 of them go into each bar. They were okay and didn’t taste like you were eating insects, but I haven’t left craving more.

Venla’s trip to hospital

August 8th, 2018 | Family & Parenting

Last week, Venla had what appeared at the time to be a seizure (she’s totally fine by the way, in case you’re worrying!). So, taking no chances, the daycare rang for an ambulance. It’s standard procedure for under-twos to be taken to hospital. Here are a few observations.

The NHS staff were lovely

At every step, we ran into nice people. It started with our paramedic who I loved, not just because his name is also Chris, but also because he too could make a passible career as a Ross Nobel impersonator.

Everyone was good with kids and happy to see Venla. Now, you might think that was a given, given that we went to children’s A&E and then the children’s observation unit. But, when Elina gave birth to Venla, one of the pediatric consultants came around to check on her and he was completely flummoxed by her clothing fastening system, complaining he always got it wrong. Apparently, you can work with babies for your whole career and still not really know what to do. None of this this time.

Hospitals are ill-prepared for healthy curious children

Venla was pretty unhappy at daycare and in the ambulance (constantly switching between crying and excited yelling “in a nee-naw!”) but once we got to hospital she quickly returned to her usual self.

This was okay in the waiting room where they had toys and walls to contain her. But once we were in an examination room, or worse the ward of the CAT unit, she couldn’t care less about the toys. All she wanted to do was touch every expensive medal device and open every draw she could find.

She could easily do this because many of the draws were placed at an excellent height for a toddler. Worse, many of them were open-sided to allow medical staff to grab items quickly in an emergency. It also allows toddlers to grab things.

It occurs to me that hospitals are used to dealing with docile sick children who cuddle up with their parents. Or maybe who feel well enough to push some buttons or do a bit of colouring. But a curious child like Venla, who feels back to her full strength. That has trouble written all over it. After five hours of chasing her up and down hospital corridors and around hospital wards, we were both exhausted.

There is a lot of inefficient beaurcacy

At least it feels inefficient. Maybe it is there for a reason. But I was ill prepared for the whole process.

When we got to daycare, the daycare staff were telling the paramedic what had happened. I assumed the paramedic would be taking notes and these notes would then be handed on to the rest of the hospital staff.

But we were asked to describe what had happened. Even though we weren’t there. When I was getting a brief summary from the paramedic and the daycare staff, I didn’t realise that I should have been taking notes because I was going to be tested on it later.

But apparently, I was. First by the nurse in A&E, then the A&E doctor, then the A&E nursery nurse, then the CAT unit nurse, then the CAT unit doctor. Even though neither of us had witnessed it. Why the notes weren’t simply handed over is unclear.

The whole thing was free

It was nice to be left with a bill of £0, which would have been tens of euros in Finland, or tens of thousands in the United States. Which, for a Friday night out as a family, seems like a cheap win.