News

We need to get out more!

We need to get out more!

I know I always bang on about how much I love being in the great outdoors, but after two months of lockdown I've realised just how important nature is for mental health and wellbeing. Being able to go for a walk or run in the forest has become the highlight of my day and allows me to fully switch off from work.⁣⁣Given that many of us work from home all day, it means that we don't have the option of leaving work at the office or doing an active commute. Setting work/life boundaries is always important, as is giving yourself...

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VALA ambassador: Guy Ilott

VALA ambassador: Guy Ilott

This week we're catching up with VALA ambassador, trail/ultra runner and all around great guy Guy Ilott. We'll be hearing how Guy got into trail running, why he loves it and what his top tips are for anyone looking to get into it. Guy recently completed a challenge to run each day in July for baby loss counselling charity Petals and racked up the equivalent of running 10 marathons throughout the month. Impressive, to say the least!   Hey Guy, can you tell us a bit about yourself? I’m 32 and based in Oxfordshire. I’m a father and a trail/ultra runner that enjoys getting outside...

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The power of your mind

The power of your mind

Several weeks ago my bestie @lia_sweatsalot did the unthinkable and smashed out a 10k, which is the furthest that she's ever run 👏 This got me thinking about how our goals often seem much scarier and unattainable in our mind than they are in reality. I remember the days when running a non-stop 5k seemed unfathomable and unattainable. In hindsight, I often used the phrases "I'm not a runner" or "I ONLY like sprinting" as a bit of a cop-out to not really push myself. The reality was that my ego and self-doubt was getting in the way and I didn't want to try...

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Why mental health is as important as physical health

Why mental health is as important as physical health

I've lost count of the amount of people that I've spoken to since the beginning of VALA that use exercise as a way to improve their mental health. Whether it's as an antidote to stress or to burn off excess energy from being sat in a chair all day, exercise is something that we've collectively realised is hugely beneficial to our mind. During off-days when my anxiety or OCD is rearing its head and I’m sluggish after being sat at my desk all day, it can feel easier to stay home and watch Netflix instead of going for a run....

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Man V Miles

Man V Miles

In the early days of searching for ‘natural’ energy gels, I came across an article on the @manvmiles blog by sports journalist Kieran Alger. In his article, Kieran mentioned that "Fuelling with real food such as bananas, dates or honey can be just as effective but, for me, it depends a lot on the race distance and how you’re approaching it. Getting a date out of a food bag while doing 6 minute miles chasing a sub-3-hour marathon is going to have it’s problems". I remembered trying to unwrap a cling-filmed date mid-run, which is no easy feat once it's been smooshed...

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The great packaging dilemma

The great packaging dilemma

When I first started discussing our packaging with manufacturers, I was overwhelmed with the variety of shapes and sizes that gel sachets came in. Whilst researching, I read a lot of online reviews to find out more about people’s packaging preferences. I noticed a lot of comments that certain gels felt a bit too bulky to fit several of them in a belt or vest for a long training session.⁣⁣After speaking to my partner Dann (aka my VALA inspo) about gel sizes, he was adamant that VALA’s sachet should be as compact as possible. He mentioned that there's nothing worse...

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