How To Master The Fiendishly Difficult Pistol Squat

It is testament to the squat’s effectiveness that there are so many widely practised variations of the exercise. Of all those variations, the pistol squat stands out as the toughest unweighted squat exercise, testing your strength, stability and mobility to the max.

If you’re not already an accomplished single-leg or split squatter, then it’s best to start with those exercises rather than go straight into a full pistol squat. Along with building up your leg strength it’s worth working on your hip and ankle mobility before you try the full pistol squat, because no matter how powerful your legs are, you won’t be able to adopt the pistol position without flexibility in those areas.

Sporty types in particular will benefit from adding the pistol squat to their fitness routine, assuming the sport involved requires a lot of running (darts players don’t really need to bother). Working on one leg in this way mimics the movement of running and will both increase your power and help make you more resistant to injuries.

How To Do A Pistol Squat

Stand on one leg with the other held straight out in front of you. Slowly lower into a deep squat, keeping the airborne leg straight. In the bottom position of the exercise the hamstring on your standing leg should be touching your calf, with the other leg extended parallel to the ground. Once you’ve reached the pistol position, pause for a second, and then push back up by driving through your heel. What you do with your arms during the exercise is up to you, but it’s wise to hold them out in front of you to help you balance when you are new to the exercise. Once you become a pistol master you can keep your arms against your chest or even hold a weight of some kind.

If you find you’re toppling over every time you try a pistol squat or that you can’t get sufficiently deep, try holding a suspension trainer or an anchored resistance band while doing the exercise. This will help with your balance on the way down and assist with pushing back up from the pistol position.

The Legs Workout To Build Bigger Legs Fast

This six-move legs session will hit your quads, hamstrings and glutes hard, as well as your entire core, to provide the direct stimulus need to pack on lean muscle to your lower body. It’s comprised of two tough straight sets then four more exercises paired into two supersets – and because it gets your heart rate up, there’s a big fat-burning benefit too. Simply do the moves in order, sticking to the sets, reps and rest periods detailed, then have yourself a nice little sit-down.

How to do the workout

This six-move session is made up of two straight sets and two supersets. Do move 1, sticking to the sets, reps and rest shown, then do all reps of move 2. After resting, do moves 3A and 3B as a superset, and the same again for 4A and 4B, to shock your legs into growing bigger and stronger.

Warm up thoroughly, starting with some gentle lower-body mobility movements and dynamic stretching. Then do some light deadlift sets, interspersed with more mobility work in the rest periods between warm-up sets. Gradually increase the weight of each warm-up set while reducing the reps until the next increase is your work weight.

1 Deadlift

Sets 5 Reps 8 Rest 60sec

Why It’s the classic big lift for all-over muscle

How Stand tall with the barbell in front of you, then squat down and grasp it with an overhand grip. Keeping your chest up and core braced, press down through your heels to stand up. Push your hips forwards at the top, then lower.

2 Leg press

Sets 5 Reps 8 Rest 60sec

Why Work your quads and hamstrings hard and safely

How Sit in the machine positioned correctly according to the instructions. Place your feet lower and closer together to work your quads more, or higher and wider to hit your hamstrings and glutes more directly. Bend your knees to bring them towards your chest, then press back to the start.

Superset 1

This first superset will hit your hamstrings and quads hard. Because these two major muscles will be thoroughly warmed up from the first two straight sets, try to go as heavy as you can while maintaining correct form and completing all the reps. Go slow on the eccentric part of the move, where you return to the start, to work your muscles even harder.

3A Seated hamstring curl

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 30sec

Why It isolates the backs of your thighs to fatigue more muscle fibres

How Position yourself correctly with your legs straight and the padded bar against your lower leg. Squeeze your hamstrings to bring your heels towards you, then return to the start.

3B Seated leg extension

Sets 4 Reps 10 Rest 60sec

Why It isolates your quads so you can go heavy

How Position yourself correctly with your knees bent and the padded bar against your shins. Raise your feet to straighten your legs, then squeeze your quads at the top. Lower back to the start position slowly to increase the tension on the target muscles.

Superset 2

This final superset comprises two high-rep moves to target and fatigue as many muscle fibres as possible so you end the session with your heart rate soaring. If you struggle to hit the rep target, lift lighter or finish each set with bodyweight reps.

4A Dumbbell lunge

Sets 3 Reps 8 each side Rest 30sec

Why This works all your lower leg muscles as well as your abs and lower back

How Stand tall, holding a dumbbell in each hand. With your chest up and core braced, take a big step forwards with your left leg and lunge down until both knees are bent at 90°. Push off your front foot to return to the start, then repeat with your right leg. Alternate your leading leg with each rep.

4B Dumbbell squat

Sets 3 Reps 15 Rest 60sec

Why It targets your glutes and abs as well as your quads and hams

How Stand tall, holding a dumbbell in each hand. With your chest up and core braced, bend at your hips and knees to squat down as deep as you can without rounding your back. Push down through your heels to stand back up and return to the start position.

Photography: Glen Burrows; Model: Olly Foster

The Best Running Headtorches

It takes a hardy person to not only head out for a run at night, but to do so in a place without street lights. If you are one of those runners, we salute you. Your bravery and commitment to the sport know no bounds.

We also heartily encourage you to get a good headtorch, because running in pitch-black conditions is a recipe for disaster even if you stick to the flattest asphalt. And if you are heading off-road then only the very brightest of headlights will do, if only because tripping over a root in the woods while running in the dark sounds like the start of a horror film.

Avoid unexpected pitfalls on your night runs with one of these hyper-bright headlights.

Best Budget Option: Kalenji ONNIGHT 710

While it’s not as bright and long-lasting as some of our other picks, the ONNIGHT 710 is an excellent cheap option that will more than suffice for runners who aren’t looking to log all-nighters on the trails. The rechargeable battery lasts three hours at the highest 300-lumen light setting, which is bright enough provide around 75m of visibility, and there are two lower lumen settings (120 and 30) when you’re looking to conserve juice.

Buy from Decathlon | £24.99

Best For City Runners: Black Diamond Iota

The Iota is a very lightweight headlamp that’s great for short runs in dark urban areas rather than complete wilderness. The max output is only 150 lumens and the battery powers that level of brightness for just two hours, but the Iota’s very comfortable to wear. The battery is rechargeable and there’s a three-level gauge that shows how much you have left when you turn the light on.

Buy from Amazon | £36.69

Best Budget Smart Headtorch: Petzl Reactik+

This smart headlight is the ideal option for those who hate having to adjust their lamp during a run. The Reactik+ takes in the ambient light around you and automatically adjusts its beam to suit the conditions, although you can override the automatic lighting whenever you like. It also links with an app so you can set up the light profile you want and get details on how much battery life you have left – on the brightest setting of 300 lumens the rechargeable battery will last 2½hours.

Buy from Amazon | £67.74

Best For Ultramarathon Runners: Petzl Nao+

An altogether more extreme option for those who frequently run through the night on technical terrain. The Nao+ has a 750-lumen front light which reacts to ambient light like the Reactik+ does, and also a back light which is often a requirement for entering through-the-night ultramarathons. The rechargeable battery will last 6½ hours on the highest setting, and you can move the battery pack from the headband to a belt accessory to make the Nao+ more comfortable to wear for long periods.

Buy from Amazon | £124.37

Best For Battery Life: Black Diamond Icon

By opting for four AA batteries rather than a rechargeable unit, the Icon offers a monster 70 hours of juice on its highest 500-lumen setting. You might be thinking that strapping four AA batteries to your noggin will make the Icon uncomfortable and you’d be right, but fortunately the pack can be moved to waist pack or pocket easily.

Buy from Amazon | £69.50

Expand Your Dinner Repertoire With This Red Pesto Fish Skewers Recipe

Most of us have a few tried and trusted recipes we make on rotation, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Occasionally we’ll attempt to mix things up with something entirely new, but this kind of novelty is usually saved for weekends and holidays, because who wants to tax themselves after a long day at work?

However, with the right recipe it’s perfectly possible to try something entirely new in half an hour or less, especially if you get the ingredients delivered to you with a recipe box service like Mindful Chef, which created this excellent fish skewer recipe.

We’re willing to bet that very few of you have made red pesto ling skewers in the past, but the below recipe takes just 25 minutes to prepare and it makes for an excellent healthy midweek meal. And if you can’t find ling in your local store, we reckon you can sub in cod or pollock instead.

Ingredients (serves two)

  • 2 150g ling fillets
  • 120g cherry tomatoes
  • 30g pitted black olives
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • ½ cucumber
  • 1 lemon
  • 2tbsp red pesto
  • 80g brown rice
  • Large handful of flat-leaf parsley
  • Sea salt & black pepper
  • Coconut oil or olive oil

Also required: 4 skewers

Method

  1. Rinse the brown rice and place in a saucepan with 400ml boiling water and a pinch of sea salt. Simmer for 20-25 minutes until cooked, then drain.
  2. Meanwhile, cut the yellow pepper and the ling fillets into bite-sized pieces. Thread the ling on to the skewers, alternating with the yellow pepper. Mix the red pesto in a bowl with 1tbsp olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. Spread the pesto over the fish skewers and set aside while you make the salad.
  3. To make the cucumber and olive salad, slice the ends off the half cucumber and dice into 1cm cubes, quarter the cherry tomatoes and halve the black olives. Roughly chop the parsley leaves. Place the cucumber, tomatoes, olives and parsley in a bowl with 1tbsp olive oil and half of the juice from the lemon.
  4. Preheat a frying pan or griddle pan on a medium heat and cook the skewers for eight to 12 minutes, turning occasionally, until the fish is cooked through and the peppers have softened slightly.
  5. Place two fish skewers on two warm plates and serve alongside the cucumber and olive salad and the brown rice. Drizzle over the remaining lemon juice.

How To Maintain Your Willpower During Sober October

If you’re currently in the middle of an attempt to avoid alcohol throughout the month of October, then all power to you. Taking a month off the booze is a great way to reassess your relationship with alcohol, and also to show off the benefits of cutting back to both your health and your wallet.

However, let’s not pretend that it’s going to be an easy ride. By the middle of the month your motivation to stay dry is probably starting to wane.

“The first week is often the easiest,” says Jo Hemmings, a behavioural psychologist and supporter of Macmillan’s Go Sober for October. “And the last is OK because you’re in the home straight. Weeks two and three are usually the most difficult, when your willpower is at its lowest.”

If you are finding it harder and harder to stay on the wagon as October progresses, then heed this advice from Hemmings on how to maintain your motivation.

Look In The Mirror

The benefits of going booze-free become apparent very quickly.

“After just a week, your skin will look better, you’ll have better-quality sleep and you will probably have lost a few pounds,” says Hemmings. “Embrace those positives.”

A dry October provides a well-timed health boost as well, because Christmas is around the corner. When you consider all the partying to come, a sober October will start to feel like a blessing.

“Christmas is coming up. It’s a time of excess – whether food, spending or alcohol,” says Hemmings. “With your one month sober, you’ll be in tip-top physical and psychological health.”

Treat Yo’ Self

If you’re someone who frequently hits the pub after work, the amount of cash you’ll have saved after just a couple of weeks will be considerable. Put that money towards something more lasting than a couple of quick drinks.

“Think of the money you’re saving and maybe treat yourself to something,” says Hemmings.

Occupy Your Mind

The hardest times to avoid alcohol will be the times you’d normally be drinking so it’s helpful to come up with alternatives.

“Don’t clock-watch,” says Hemmings. “If you’re someone who likes a drink on a weeknight, for example, do something else to take your mind off the booze.”

One thing you could try is exercise. That might sound like a joyless double whammy – no booze and you have to work out – but exercise will make you feel excellent, we promise. And given that you’ve been off alcohol for a couple of weeks, you’ll be feeling healthier and readier to work out.

“While you’re feeling fitter, do some regular exercise. It releases feelgood endorphins, the body’s natural narcotic,” says Hemmings.

Get Creative With A Mocktail

When the going gets really tough, try a mocktail to take the edge off the urge to drink without actually indulging.

“They taste great and give you the satisfaction of a booze-free cocktail,” says Hemmings. “You can find some great examples on the Go Sober For October website.”

Get Some Social Support

As long as you avoid certain areas of the internet, you’ll find it a very supportive place. Lots of people will be trying to stay dry this October, and lots of them could be struggling just like you, so get online and start backing each other up. Check out the hashtag #GoSober on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to find other people signed up for Macmillan’s Go Sober For October campaign.

Remember One Drink Isn’t The End Of The World

Stay sober if you can, obviously – but if you do have a drink, don’t let it spiral out of control and give up on the month entirely.

“If you do find yourself tempted into a drink, don’t be hard on yourself,” says Hemmings. “It happens. Don’t give up, just start back again tomorrow. Don’t let one bad day spoil your efforts.”

This Parmesan And Broccoli Festoni With Maple-Cured Bacon Recipe Is A Great Mid-Week Dinner

To answer what is probably your first question, it’s a type of pasta, and yes, you can use penne instead. Festoni might be a more exciting ingredient to throw into the mix, but it’s not the easiest type of pasta to find so you can stick with the trusty tube if needs be.

Your second question might well involve some combination of the words “parmesan”, “bacon” and “healthy” in a questioning tone. And sure, this isn’t the healthiest recipe on Coach (there’s white wine in it, too, and let’s face it, you’re not letting the rest of the bottle go to waste are you?), but we’re very much of the view that cooking for yourself with whole foods is an easy route to improving your diet, which is why we thought this recipe from Waitrose was worth sharing. Plus, we’re not saying you should eat bacon and cheese for every breakfast, lunch and dinner. In fact, we’ll actively say not to do that. Don’t do that.

Anyway, this dish also has broccoli in it, so there you go. The recipe below calls for purple-sprouting broccoli spears, but if they’re not available you can use tenderstem instead.

Preparing the ingredients should take around ten minutes and cooking only 15, meaning that this recipe is a great quick meal you can pull together in the evening on work nights when time is tight. That’s as long as you haven’t spent an hour in the local shop trying to find festoni pasta.

Ingredients (serves four)

  • 400g festoni (or penne) pasta, dried
  • 2 x 200g packs purple sprouting broccoli spears
  • 2tsp olive oil
  • 250g maple-cured smoked back bacon, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • 50g freshly grated parmesan

Method

  1. Cook the pasta according to pack instructions. Meanwhile, trim the thick ends from the broccoli and cut the stems into 1cm lengths, leaving the florets whole. You should have about 300g, including some of the broccoli leaves. Add to the pasta water for the final two to three minutes then drain, reserving about 4tbsp of the cooking water. Return the pasta and broccoli to the pan, covering to keep warm.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the bacon for four to five minutes until crispy. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Pour in the wine and let it bubble, scraping up any bits from the base of the pan, until the wine is reduced by half.
  3. Add the broccoli, pasta and reserved water to the pan. Mix together, then add most of the parmesan, stirring until all the ingredients are coated.
  4. Serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper and the remaining cheese.

Recipe and image courtesy of waitrose.com

The Best Resistance Bands For Your Home Workouts

Frankly, no home gym is complete without a set of resistance bands. And they should absolutely be the first bit of fitness equipment you pick up when you decide to extend your home workouts beyond bodyweight.

That’s because resistance bands are cheap, effective to use in a variety of ways, and easy to use without putting yourself at any risk of injury. A set of bands won’t cost you more than £20 and you can use them to build strength, do rehab after an injury, increase your mobility, and in many other ways.

Resistance bands usually come in a set of three or five different resistances, with the colour of a band indicating how heavy it is. Generally yellow bands have less resistance, blue and black bands have a high level of resistance, and red and green bands are in the middle. But there is a lot of variation between brands, and special colours are often thrown into the mix – gold bands in particular are usually very strong.

The standard band options are open-ended strap bands, looped bands, or tube bands with detachable handles. Generally strap bands are good for mobility work and stretching, and can be tied off to create a loop, but proper looped bands are usually better for strength sessions, while tube bands with handles are the easiest kind to use for high-resistance strength workouts.

Given the low cost of resistance bands, we reckon it’s worth having a few different types to hand for your workouts. Here are the best available right now.

Theraband Resistance Bands

These straight bands are great for mobility and rehab exercises and come in a wide range of lengths and resistance levels, so you can get exactly what you need, whether that’s a 1m-long light resistance yellow band or a 5m max resistance gold band, which will be handy for flinging rocks at castle during sieges even if you never summon up the strength to use it in your workouts.

Buy from Amazon | £2.49-£40.98

AmazonBasics Resistance and Pull Up Band

A long looped band is useful for hooking around your shoulders and feet for exercises like squats, and can also be used to assist with pull-ups until you progress enough to tackle the exercise unaided. Amazon’s own-brand bands come in three different levels of resistance, with the lightest being purple (Amazon have gone rogue there) and the heaviest being blue, with green in between.

Buy from Amazon | £12.99-£18.99

COREZONE Resistance Loop Bands

There are six bands in this set, which offers a resistance range from 4.5kg to 18kg to cover all the bases that beginners are likely to need covered. The bands also come with a lifetime guarantee, for those who have any concerns about durability, and an online workout guide to show you how to use the bands.

Buy from Amazon | £10.95

Protone Resistance Bands Set

This comprehensive set will fulfil all the resistance band needs of even those used to lifting heavy free weights, because you can double, triple, quadruple or even quintuple up the bands using the detachable handles to increase the resistance if required. The set also comes with a carry case and attachments so you can anchor the bands to a door or post for certain exercises.

Buy from Amazon | £19.99

Bytomic Figure Of 8 Resistance Band

Figure-of-eight resistance bands don’t offer the same range of uses as straight, loop or tube bands, but they are handy for exercise like rows where their short length and large handles are a bonus. The Bytomic bands come in three levels of resistance, ranging from the lightest yellow through red to black.

Buy from Amazon | £7.98-£8.98

Asics DynaFlyte 3 Running Shoe Review: An Impressive All-Rounder

Since the first edition of the DynaFlyte launched in 2016 the aim of the shoe has been simple: to deliver the ideal balance of speed and cushioning to make it suitable for all kinds of running. In the years since the shoe has been refined and improved to make it lighter and more responsive, while still retaining enough cushioning and support to make it suitable for long runs. I tried a variety of runs in the DynaFlyte 3 and although it undoubtedly has strengths and weaknesses, it does work as an impressive all-rounder shoe that most neutral runners will find fits the bill for training of all types as well as racing.

Key to that is the FlyteFoam Lyte midsole, which provides enough cushioning to protect you from the impact of logging big distances while still being light enough not to be much of hindrance on fast, short efforts. I say not much of a hindrance, because the DynaFlyte 3 is not an out-and-out racer. Its 257g weight (men’s size 8) is lightweight for a daily trainer, but it’s not as explosively responsive or lightweight as a shoe like the Adidas Boston 7 or Nike Zoom Fly. I tried a track session and a tempo run in the DynaFlyte 3 and while it’s no slouch, these aren’t the shoe’s strongest area. There’s little pop off the toe and the hefty stack of cushioning at the back of the shoe is noticeable and a little cumbersome when sprinting.

However, the track isn’t really where the DynaFlyte 3 is designed to spend its time, and when you take it out for longer efforts on the road it shines. The ride has a firm feel that’s quite different to the raft of bouncy shoes that have followed the trail blazed by Adidas’s Boost foam, and while I do love running in a bouncy shoe, that difference is no bad thing. The FlyeFoam Lyte cushions the impact of running without you losing the feel for the ground. The heel-to-toe transition is smooth and when you get into a rhythm at a good pace over long runs, the DynaFlyte quickly disappears on the foot.

It’s a shoe that would work well for marathon and half marathons in particular, but it’s also comfortable to wear when you’re taking it easy over long distances.

The upper on the DynaFlyte 3 also impresses. The flexible Adapt Mesh 2.0 fabric stretches to accommodate the foot nicely without sacrificing too much support. Opt for the LiteShow version of the trainer and the fabric has reflective details woven throughout to make you more visible at night.

Advances in foam technology have resulted in a lot of brands making lightweight shoes that still carry a comfortable stack of cushioning to support you over long distances, and the DynaFlyte 3 is one of the best available on that front. If you’re looking for a running shoe to carry you through a lot of of training that’s also fast enough to help you impress over 22.1km or 42.2km come race day, it’s certainly a shoe to consider.

Buy from Asics | £135

Is Refined Sugar Bad For You?

The latest science First, to be clear, ditching all sugars is madness – nobody’s advising that you drop all glucose, fructose and lactose from your diet. The refined kind is another matter. The current NHS intake recommendation is no more than 30g a day, or less than 5% of your calories – a limit largely based on links between the sweet stuff and chronic diseases including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

This is where things get tricky: the most recent review of studies, published in December 2016 in the Annals Of Internal Medicine, concluded that low-sugar recommendations are ultimately based on weak science. Other experts immediately countered that the review was funded by a trade board that includes representatives from Coca-Cola and Hershey. Meanwhile, researchers are working on establishing causal links between sugar and disease: rodent research suggests that a molecule known as TNF-alpha, which has highly inflammatory properties, might connect obesity with diabetes, and Why We Get Fat author Gary Taubes is leading the charge in trying to link insulin resistance to brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Ultimately, new research hasn’t come up with sound reasons to put you off sugar – but the fact that it’s so calorie-dense and nutrient-sparse should be enough to prompt you to minimise your intake.

The expert take “Yes, insulin inhibits fat oxidation and can increase fat storage,” says James Rutherford, a nutritionist and Bio-Synergy ambassador. “But taking in sugar at the right time can be beneficial for exercise performance. It’s best consumed when demand for energy is high, which means the best time to consume high-sugar foods would be around exercise.

“Increased glucose in the blood from sugar before exercise will generate energy to fuel the training session, especially if it’s of a high-intensity nature. Consuming some sugar after exercise will result in the increased blood glucose being moved to muscle cells to replenish muscle glycogen and aid with the repair process.

“At other times in the day when energy demand is low, though, muscles are not in a highly receptive state and therefore insulin moves glucose to fat cells instead.”

Do eat  Protein pancakes. “To slow the release of refined sugar, consume it alongside good-quality protein and fats,” suggests nutritional therapist Dr Christy Fergusson – in other words, treat your sweet tooth with a whey-packed snack and you’ll limit the damage. Alternatively, experiment. “Sugar alternatives such as honey can taste just as sweet but contain more nutrients and fibre,” says Fergusson.

Don’t eat Anything that gets the sugar into your system super-fast – that refillable chicken-shop Coke-bucket, say. You’ll jack your insulin levels sky-high, ensuring that you store fat as well as packing in a tonne of junk calories.

Last-Minute Tips For The Royal Parks Half Marathon

The Royal Parks Half Marathon is London’s most exciting autumn running event, with a stunning closed-roads route that takes in four of the capital’s eight Royal Parks. If you’ve been lucky enough to get a spot in the event and have put the necessary training in then you can be pretty sure you’re going to have a great day, but to make extra sure of that, take heed of these handy last-minute tips.

Take An Old Jumper For The Start Line

The UK is enjoying an unseasonably warm October but temperatures before the 9am start will still be chilly, and you’ll be waiting in the start funnel for 20 minutes or more. If you take an old jumper you don’t mind parting with you can discard it just before you actually start running, and it will be collected and recycled by charity Traid.

Practise Pinching And Pouring

The Royal Parks Half Marathon has become more eco-friendly this year by swapping out bottles for cups at some water stations on the course. Drinking from a cup while running requires a little skill, but with the right technique you can avoid drenching yourself and make sure you get the desired hydration. Pinch the cup to form an oval and then pour from one of the thinner ends into your mouth, rather than putting the brim to your lips, where it will be knocked around the by the bounce of your running. Or, obviously, you can just stop and drink.

Steel Yourself For The Hyde Park Right Turn

There’s a point like this in many races, where you start running away from the finish while you can see a whole host of runners going towards it. In the Royal Parks Half Marathon you turn right near the seven-mile marker to complete a loop of Hyde Park and for our money this is mentally the toughest part of the race – you can see runners passing the ten-mile marker around that point while you still have almost half the race to go. Our advice? Get yourself in the zone and try to ignore the signs.

Don’t Go Mad When You Hit The Home Straight

Arriving in the home straight in any race is a joyful moment and usually it’s the time to turn on the afterburners and kick for home. However, in the Royal Parks Half Marathon the home straight is loooong – around a kilometre – so don’t start sprinting too soon or you’ll run out of gas with 400m still to go.

Pick Your Tube Stop

Thanks to its central location the Royal Parks Half Marathon is very easy to get to on public transport, but it’s still worth planning your trip carefully to make sure you get there in plenty of time for the 9am start. The four closest Tube stations are Hyde Park Corner, Knightsbridge, Marble Arch and Lancaster Gate. Take your runner’s booklet with you to see your route to the start from there.

Get Money For Old Trainers At The Runners Need Stand

If you have a pair of knackered trainers that you’re ready to throw away take them to the race. You can trade them in for a £20 voucher to put towards new shoes at Runners Need as part of its Recycle My Run campaign, which launches at the Runners Need stand at the Royal Parks Half Marathon festival area. You can use the voucher there and then at the Runners Need stand, or in-store or online later.