Low Wood Club Members Area

Marathon training Part Two- Things to consider by Jo Wood


Ahead of this Sundays London Marathon we carry on our tips of things to consider when training for a marathon. It's not as easy as Mo Farah makes it look!


It's sometimes hard to fit all the necessary runs in per week. If you need to skip any runs try not to avoid the longer runs as these are the building blocks to a good marathon time. Most importantly if you become injured do not try to run through the pain. Seek expert advice as soon as possible.


Do not run at the same pace, training runs for a marathon need to be executed at different speeds.

A long steady 18-20 mile run should be just that. Most often people set out too fast and then suffer at 15-16 miles, pace yourself. During your training try to include short fast 5-6 mile runs as well. Learn to measure your own running tempo.



This is a very personal area and depends on foot biomechanics, foot strike, running speed and body weight.

Once you have found a shoe that suits buy two pairs and alternate. This will extend the shoe life and also enables the shoe to "recover" between runs. From experience there is nothing worse than needing a new pair of runners just a couple of weeks before the marathon.



This is important especially if you're going out with a specific marathon goal time in mind. For example if your aim is a 3hr30mins marathon then train at 8 minutes per mile. You will find your longer training runs are slower than this but this is where your interval running, weight training and faster shorter miles help.


Food for marathon training is very specific to the individual. Find what suits you and stick to this, keep the same foods and times when training so that on marathon day the body is used to the foods.

One personal tip is practice with gels do not introduce them on race day! These are very harsh on the digestive system and can cause stomach cramps if your not used to them. Find one you like and buy lots so you do not get to race day having to buy one you are not used to.

I hope you found these tips useful and don't forget you can find me at Low Wood Club Gym Monday to Friday if you need any personal advice.


Marathon training Part One- Things to consider by Jo Wood

On Sunday 13th April thousands of runners will take part in the 2014 London Marathon are you one of them, or are you considering taking part in the 26 mile challenge in the future?

The following blog will give you a few tips on marathon training, this may surprise a few people but it's not all about running!


Marathon training should include a strengthening programme, that includes weights, medicine ball and resistance bands. Improving your strength enables you to cope with the heavier weeks of run training and reduces the risk of injury. Picking up injuries is common place when covering mile after mile of repetitive running motion, most of which is performed on the road.



Due to core and strength training being integral to marathon training it is wise to build all this into high intensity circuits, Time is at a minimum for anything other than running but conditioning is vital and needs to be performed weekly.



Every training run should have a purpose for example a tempo run, an interval run or a long aerobic run. Don't just clock up the miles without a structure.

Well planned, quality run sessions with purpose, balanced with good rest are paramount. Keep away from lots of mediocre runs make them count.



As soon as fatigue kicks in, running style changes. This is where good running form comes in. Practice this when tired in your training- focus on keeping good posture and stride length.

Weekly mileage should build up gradually, no massive jumps in the distances you run. Core training also helps with this by keeping good upper body posture.



Many of us have to fit marathon training around our busy lifestyles. It is often difficult to get the correct amount of rest, sleep and nutrition required. It is important to get the right balance of work and rest to make the necessary physical and psychological changes to our training which then leads to improved running. Marathon running is high impact so requires plenty of rest and recovery, why not take a dip in the Low Wood Club hot tub!



Low Wood Club offers personalised gym programmes to prepare you for any challenge or sporting event.

Watch this space for part two of marathon training.

Keep On Running

Jo Wood

Thanks to James Dunn and Runners World for sources of information



Pancakes with a twist

So Tuesday 4th March is the day we all go flipping mad and celebrate Pancake Day, but are you bored of just lemon and sugar? Below we have put together some interesting alternatives.


1/2 cup quick oats, dry
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
3 egg whites
1 tablespoon brown rice protein powder, vanilla
Nonstick cooking spray
Fresh blueberries, optional
2 teaspoons maple syrup, optional

Combine quick oats, cottage cheese, egg whites, and protein powder in a blender. Mix well until it resembles traditional pancake batter.

Heat a large pan over low heat, and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Pour in all the batter to the center of the pan. Let it cook for approximately 3 minutes until the sides easily lift. Flip pancake and cook for an additional two minutes.

Serve with fresh fruit, maple syrup, or the topping of your choice.


3 cups almond meal
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt ( optional)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, light coconut milk, or milk
2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, or butter, melted


In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, flaxseed, salt, and baking soda.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk and oil or butter and whisk thoroughly.

Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add more milk as necessary, one tablespoon at a time, to reach pancake-batter consistency.

Lightly oil a skillet and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Cook for three minutes, or until bubbles form and edges are cooked. Flip and cook for three minutes or until underside is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter.

Serve with desired toppings.



1 cup (123g) whole wheat flour (or white whole-wheat)
1/2 cup (40g) quick oats
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large egg (or 2 egg whites)
1 cup (240ml) milk*
2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar (or light brown)
1/4 cup (63g) Greek yogurt*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup add-ins like chocolate chips or fruit, optional


Toss the flour, oats, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg and milk together. Whisk in the brown sugar and yogurt until no lumps remain. Whisk in the vanilla until combined.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in. Stir gently until just combined. Do not overmix the batter or your pancakes will be tough and very dense. Add any mix-ins you prefer, but again - do not overmix the batter.

Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat. Coat generously with cooking spray, oil, or butter. Once hot, drop about 1/4 cup of batter on the griddle. Cook until the edges look dry and bubbles begin to form on the center or sides, about 1 minute. Flip and cook on the other side until cooked through, about 2 more minutes. Coat griddle/skillet again with nonstick spray for each pancake or batch of pancakes.

Keep pancakes warm in a preheated 200F degree oven until all pancakes are cooked. Serve immediately. Pancakes taste best right after they are made. Pancakes freeze well, up to 2 months.

I hope you enjoy trying these recipes and why not send us some pictures of your results or even send us some of your own pancake recipes.



Looking for a challenge in 2014?

We are now well into 2014 and it's great to see so many people in the Low Wood Club gym throughtout the day. The question is do you need something to train towards? Below is a few examples of challenges you could take part in this year.


23rd March 2014 at Kirbie Kendal School

Run 1, 3 or 6 miles







   10th May 2014

   Walk 40 miles








                    May 18th 2014

                    Run 26 miles






                    GREAT NORTH SWIM

                    13th-15th June 2014

                    Swim 0.5, 1 or 2 miles






                       21st June 2014

                       Walk 20 miles



Hopefully these challenges will give you a few ideas to test yourself and raise money for charity this year.

Don't forget to see the Low Wood Club fitness team for any advice or training plans.

Nev's Squash Blog

After last years thrilling end to the squash calendar where Britain’s own Nick Matthew became the three time world champion and world number one, we started this year in New York.

The tournament of champions is held in at New York Central, it’s a very prestigious tournament with its past winners including the greats Jansher Khan, Jahangir Khan and Jonathan Power.

The venue has a similar set up to Manchester central where the World Championships were held last year, The Tournament of Champions seems to always have an excellent following with most nights been sold out. I personally viewed most of the tournament on PSA Squash TV, which is website dedicated to live squash

It was great to see the BBC covering the semi finals and finals of the world championships last year, and also Sky showing extended highlights after the event. After the disappointment of Squash not getting in to the Olympics 2020 it was brilliant to see a so called “smaller” sport get such good coverage. It amazes me how a sport played in over 175 countries across the world and 20 million people play worldwide, not being included in the Olympics 2020,  it’s a very simple an portable sport, the court requires minimal space and can be erected anywhere. Squash tournaments have been held in many iconic locations around the world, attracting players and non-players to the sport. This makes squash an ideal sport for showcasing the host city. Anyway rant over.

Where were we …. Tournament of champions, with the world number two Ramy Ashour not playing due to injury it gave Nick Matthew a brilliant chance to build on last years success, the draw was wide open, it was very difficult to pick a pre tournament favourite.

Watching the early rounds there weren’t any early upsets, the Frenchman Gregory Gautier who so many times over the last few years has lost in finals agonisingly looked very strong he beat Tom Richards, Alistair Walker an Simon Rosner to get himself to the semi final. Nick Matthew an Mohammed El Shorbagy comfortably got themselves through to the quarter finals as well an the surprise package of the tournament was Amr Shabana, the Egyptian is 34 and has may PSA squash titles to his name but in the last few years has been struggling to find form in the bigger events. Shabana sprung a surprise and defeated Nick Matthew in the quarter finals and beat another Englishman in James Willstrop in the semi-final to get himself into the final. As Shabana is one of the older players on the tour he has adapted his game to become a more aggressive player early on in the rallies, trying to kill the ball early an try an not get involved in long rallies so opponents can grind him down. The Frenchmen Greg Gautier won the other semi final defeating Mohammed El Shorbagy. The final was expected to be a tight tense affair with Gautier being the clear favourite but Shabana blew him away 3-0, with Gautier only picking up 15 points in the entire match.

The next big event on the tour concluding this weekend is the British championships which should be a shootout between Willstrop an Matthew, Matthew has never lost to Willstrop in a tour event so he should expect to become the British Champion again, but nothings ever guaranteed in Sport.

Back in the club, it’s good too see members starting to dust down there squash rackets and get themselves back on the court. It’s nice to open the squash diary in a morning to see 6, 7, 8 courts booked that day. Over the past few weeks I’ve started giving a few members beginners lessons which I really enjoy, hopefully I can get a few more members playing and hopefully get a few tournaments going.

One of our long term members Steve Edmondson has been playing in the over 50 masters tournament in Coventry last weekend an did very well, an he’s competing in the British championships in a couple of weeks so good luck to Steve.





Just how important is CV fitness to our health? According to Cooper (2013) “Exercise is the best medicine”. Dr Cavill (2013) believes that “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost effective drugs ever invented”.


According to recent research, CV fitness is the one measure everyone should be aware of as they age. Studies suggest that CV fitness is “the single best predictor of mortality from any cause”. CV fitness can improve the quality of life; it can reduce the risk of major illnesses by up to 50% and can lower the risk of early death by 30%.

To back this up a study conducted at the University of Dallas has been collecting CV data from subjects since 1970. By using a treadmill exhaustion test on their subjects they found that just 30 minutes of good quality CV exercising 3-5 times per week reduced the chances of dying from any cause by 58% and increased life expectancy by 6 years. Due to these research findings the American Heart Association have proposed to create a “National registry of cardio-respiratory fitness data”. This will help to establish norms and help doctors to use exercise as a way of treating many diseases.


The benefits to be taken from CV exercise, however, only came through regular, consistent exercise. No random workouts, consistency is the key. A good CV workout means increasing heart rates to 70% plus heart rate max, or simply exercising to a level where you are only able to answer questions not hold a full conversation.


To make sure you’re getting the most from the time you’re spending in the gym/pool, book a consultation with a member of staff now.


Challenge: Add 10 more minutes of aerobic exercise into your current programme, do something different and tax the body.


Happy exercising



One to One Afterburn Training by Jo Wood

Afterburn sessions are half an hour long but give great results. They are not something you choose to do on your own. These are complete "Out of the box" exercise sessions, taking you above and beyond what you would personally do in the gym.

Afterburn training is designed around the principles of continued energy training after your workout is complete. There is a guaranteed 500 plus calories burnt in these thirty minute sessions, results are a definate yes!!!


-Increased resting metabolic rate when doing NO exercise.

-Increased metabolic rate during exercise.

-Muscle efficiency is improved.

-Reduced body fat.

-Stronger muscles.

-Improved muscular definition.

-Increased fitness levels.

-Improved mood-feel amazing.

-Time efficient training - equivalent to one hour of moderate to vigorous exercise.

Sessions can be booked one to one or in groups up to 3, and will be taylor made to individually fitness levels.

£20 per 30 minute session, £100 per 6 30 minute sessions.

To book or for further details call 07944 380990.

Jo Wood is the personal trainer at the Low Wood Club and is available to all members at an additional cost.

Don't forget all Low Wood Club members get complimentary fitness asssesments and programmes.

Nev's trip to the British Allam open


When I first read about the British open I had to double check that I had read it right, A squash court outside, in a football stadium, in England, with our weather? Surely that can’t be right, I was very intrigued and having travelled to London and Manchester to watch the Squash, Hull was just going to be another adventure.

When I started working at the leisure club over 4 years ago, I’d never played squash or even seen it on television or read about it in the media. Things have changed since then, I now play 5 times a week with our members and even coach a few of the members who are in the same situation I was 4 years ago. Never played the sport and are just keen to learn.

Just over 3 years ago we were very lucky to witness the then world number 1 squash player, James Willstrop, he was recovering from a Achilles injury an used our court for a week to help his rehabilitation. (It’s safe to say I didn’t do much that week) I stood an admired the best in the world, at that point I got the squash bug. Since then I’ve been to London on 2 occasions an Manchester 3 times to watch the best in the world compete.

Last year the British open was played at the 02 arena and won by Britains own Nick Matthew, who I was lucky enough to sit next to during the session I attended on the Tuesday evening. Nick had already played and won earlier in the afternoon, so I picked his brain for a good 30 minutes. I asked him what he thought of the venue and conditions, he explained its difficult to play in colder conditions as the ball doesn’t bounce as much and particularly the Egyptian players were struggling as they are used to playing in warmer climates.

The first match of the evening session featured an all Egyptian affair, the current world number one Ramy Ashour played his playing partner Omar Mossad, Ramy won quite comfortably 3-0 and despite what Nick Matthew had said earlier Ramy in his interview after the match said.

“The conditions are amazing, the court is amazing! It 's just looking perfect. When the idea first came out, putting a squash court on a football pitch, nobody was sure of how it would look. And it's working! I've been putting photos of the court on tweet and FB, and everybody agrees that it's stunning.”

I agreed with Ramy, it was amazing!!!!!

 The next match on was really what I had come all the way to Hull for, James Willstrop was playing South African Steve Coppinger. I got talking to a gentleman sat just behind me who had travelled all the way from South Africa to support Steve Coppinger,(I thought I had travelled far coming from the lakes.) It was a gripping match lasting over an hour, but James just managed to grind out a victory. In what he called “brutal” conditions. After he did his interview I managed to get James to sign some pictures which Colin Fox took of him whilst he was at the Low Wood 3 years ago, which are hopefully going to be displayed in the club very soon.

“ I see coming through this match as a very positive thing. It's not squash this, it's so cold, it's really brutal on the body, and it's not endurance work, more of a shoot out!!!!
Thing is, it's going so fast you don't have much time to gather your thoughts...
This is really an inticing week ahead, the whole world of squash is coming to Hull... And I was ready for it tonight, and I'm glad I was, because he was just on fire”...
James Willstrop


The final match of the night involved the to be, in my opinion, World champion Mohammed El Shorbagy. The Egyptian is only 21, last year he won the world junior open an has rocketed up the world rankings to number 5, he plays very entertaining an agrresive squash which is great to watch. He brushed aside his opponent Miguel Angel Rodriguez of Columbia in just over 30 minutes. Which seemed to fly by.

Unfortunately James Willstrop got beat in the semi finals on the Friday by Ramy Ashour, Ramy went on to beat Greg Gautier in the final on Sunday. There was some good news for the Brits though as Laura Massaro beat Nicole David in the women’s final to make history as the first ever-British woman to win the British open.

Well done Laura!!! I’ve just booked my tickets for the world championships which are being held in Manchester at the end of September, where hopefully James can go one step further an be World champion!.



Ambleside Marafun by Jo Wood

The 2013 Ambleside Marafun was a brilliant success. The weather was good, 50 teams entered and on last calculations close to £15,000 was raised for the Will Clark Foundation.

The marafun is not only a fun day, but turns what is often a solitary sport/physical activity, into an enjoyable team event. Before the marafun many of us got together for team training runs and tactical planning.

At running events often you just turn up, run, then leave. The marafun turns into a day long event, I could actually see this event turning into an annual running type festival. It could be a great opportunity for local business to put up stalls in the park and promote themselves.

I have been told that to keep the marafun going each year the Rotary club need to find a big sponsor. I am crossing my fingers for this big sponsor to be found.

It was great to see the Low Wood Club team supporting the event giving out free water to the runners which was much needed in the sunny conditions.

Finally for those wondering how the Low Wood elite team finished, we came 5th so room for improvement next year!


Now that Spring has arrived , gardening provides an excellent opportunity to exercise your muscles and get some fresh air. At this time of year I see many patients who injure their backs after resuming gardening , following relative inactivity during the winter months. Here are some tips to help you continue gardening in a healthy way and prevent injury.

1) Warm up I hope you always warm-up before a gym workout! The same applies to gardening. Muscles are less prone to injury when warm , so take five minutes to get your blood flowing by walking around your garden a few times before starting.

2) Use Proper Posture This is most important , you must lift and bend correctly while working . Bend your knees , leaning over from the hips and keeping your back straight. Instead of using your superficial back muscles , you should take advantage of your deep core , buttock and thigh muscles.

3) Use a Wheelbarrow Make sure you don’t strain your back when moving things from place to place in your garden or by lifting heavy items ( watch those compost sacks!) on your own.

4) Take Breaks to Stretch and Rest It’s never a good idea to bend and twist your back for to long. Take a break every thirty minutes. Whenever you bend your back too much it’s a good idea to stand up , place your hand on your waist and bend backwards , stretching your back in the opposite direction. If you haven’t done any gardening for several months then build up gradually , in the same way you would if training for a sporting event. Pace yourself , breaking the work up in to manageable increments and build up the time gradually.

5) Get a Physiotherapy Check up If you feel pain when gardening you should stop and get a check up to find out if there are any specific actions you should practice or avoid.

I hope you all enjoy getting back in to the garden , all we need now is some warmer weather! Janet Smedley , Club Physiotherapist , Appointments can be booked by calling the club on 015394 39344.

Andy's trip to the Olympic Games

So ever since getting my hands on two tickets for the track cycling at the London Olympics, Sunday 5th August has never been far from my thoughts. Last Sunday the day had arrived and my journey to the Olympic Park began at Amersham tube station - which is a 40 minute train ride into central London. Prior to the games the doom and gloom merchants had stated that the London transport system would fold under the pressure but I saw no evidence of this as I boarded the train with my free travel pass that was issued with my velodrome tickets.The train was full of excited sports fans and the Games Makers in their grey, purple and orange uniforms. The train was buzzing with the whole carriage discussing the Golden Saturday evening in the Olympic Stadium.

Forty minutes later we arrived at Kings Cross where we jumped on the new Javelin bullet train and in less than six minutes we were outside the entrance to Olympic Park, amazing. The Games Makers made us feel instantly welcome and guided us to the airport like security which could have taken no more than 2 minutes to navigate.

So there I was stood with the Olympic Stadium directly in front of me with hundreds of people taking pictures of the magnificent venue and the shouts of go team GB ringing around the park. I made my way to the far end of the park to find the Velodrome, this walk was quickly interupted by a small crowd in front of me surrounding the BBC studios. As I got nearer I realised the crowd was due to last night's gold medalist Jess Ennis being interviewed for Radio 5 Live. We joined in with chants of "GO JESS GO" and massive cheers as Jess showed off her amazing gold medal. It was a brilliant start to the day and we made our way to the Velodrome with some great pictures and big smiles on our faces.

The Velodrome, or 'The Pringle' as it has become known due to its likeness to the poplular crisp, is a very small venue compared to others with a maximum capacity of just 6000 spectators. We entered via an air lock door as the venue has to be kept at a certain temperature to give the optimum conditions for racing. We were lucky enough to be sat only eight rows from the front and were in touching distance of the cyclists. The first thing that you notice is the heat - with the Velodrome kept at a constant temperature of 28 degrees it felt like the Low Wood Club changing rooms!

The temperature increased as the seats slowly filled up and the atmosphere was electric as GB's Ed Clancy emerged for his 4000m time trial in the mens omnium. Prior to the start the arena was silent but this quickly ended as Ed left his block with what only can be descibed as a 'Mexican wave' of sound erupted as the British cyclist whizzed past our section of the arena. Ed clocked the second fastest time and left him well placed for a medal later in the day.

The morning session ended with the womens sprint qualifying and my personal highlight; the appearance of Queen Victoria Pendleton, GB's most successful female track cyclist. The noise in the Velodrome went to a new level as Vicky started her 200m time trail, she certaintly didn't disappoint as not only did she qualify the fastest she also broke the Olympic Record too! The crowd were on their feet and I have never witnessed an atmosphere like it, what a morning.

With our Velodrome session over we explored the Olympic Park passing the Copper Box, Riverbank Arena and the impressive Aquatics Centre. This place is huge and I would recommend anyone to pay it a visit even once the games are over. The biggest queues I witnessed during the whole day was for the Olympic Megastore with hundreds of people buying a special souvenir of their day from fridge magnets to giant Wenlock toys.

We ended a very special day in front of a giant screen with thousands of other people cheering on Andy Murray and the track cyclists, GO TEAM GB!

The road to Sandhurst-Part 1

James Boyd as many of you will know is a leisure assistant here at the Low Wood Club. James or Boydie as he's known has been with us since early 2011 and has combined his work at the club with his studies. He recently graduated from Leeds University with a degree in business management after completing his 3 year course.

The next step for James is to follow his dream and gain a place at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on the officer commissioning course. Training at Sandhurst covers military, practical and academic subjects and while it is mentally and physically demanding, there's also plenty of time set aside for sport and adventurous training.

The Boyd family has a military history and James has always wanted to become an army officer as he has a keen interest in travelling and is looking for both a physical and mental challenge.

Unfortunately for James entry to Sandhurst is very competitive and only the best will be accepted so he has to make sure he is 100% prepared for his entry exam in May 2013. A main part of the requirements is the physical exam where certain parameters have to be met such as running a mile and a half in 11 minutes while wearing a 25kg rucksack.

Between now and May we are going to follow James's progress as he works alongside Low Wood Club's fitness instructors to get himself into the best physical shape of his life.