Can running help ulcerative colitis?

I have been pondering for a while about whether or not to publish this post. I am fairly reserved when it comes to discussing personal issues, and must confess that it took a fair amount of courage to post this on my blog. I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) in September 2005. After an initial period of anxiety and shock, I was prescribed a cocktail of medication, ranging from corticosteroids, immunosuppressants and anti-inflammatory agents. For those who may not know, ulcerative colitis is a form of inflammatory bowel disease, in which the large colon can become inflamed. As there is no known cause for this condition, treatment measures are usually prescribed to help control symptoms, as there is no known cure. Going through periods of active symptoms and remission, my health was never quite the same as a pre-colitis state, resulting in some degree of impairment with leading a normal lifestyle.

Being somewhat of a cliche, I have always been very active with exercise, maintaining (albeit infrequent) gym training sessions since diagnosis. In fact, it is worth mentioning that just before my initial diagnosis, I was in very good shape. However after being afflicted with colitis, no matter what I tried, could never achieve the same level of physical fitness. This post will not be questioning the various hypotheses and research surrounding the cause of ulcerative colitis, but rather focus on what palliative measures one can take to prevent a relapse of symptoms.

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Why I love the half-marathon!

Having run several 10k races and recently completed a marathon, I have been thinking a lot about my own distance preferences during training. Of course, a varied training plan is definitely required, and I am only commenting on the types of distances I enjoy the most during training.

During my preparation for the London marathon, I managed to bring my 10k times down to sub-45, meaning that it is now a relatively short (duration) and fairly fast race. As I have become more and more keen about running, my perception about race distances have definitely changed. In terms of โ€œeffort requiredโ€, the 5k run has now become my 10k, and how I approached a 10k run is now how I feel about the half-marathon.

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YOU’RE IN! Getting my place in the 2014 Virgin London Marathon

There is no doubt about it. Getting a ballot place in the London Marathon seems to be a lottery win. With 125,000 applicants competing for some 20-25,000 places, the chances really are against one (I could not find the exact figure for ballot places available, but this seems to be the prevailing number). This makes the odds for securing a place 1:5, at best. Although no one knows for sure what the exact ballot process for selection is, forums are rampant with runners raging about how they have been rejected year after year.

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Pushing yourself when running

Running is a form of both science and art. The beneficial impacts of running upon the human body are plentiful. However, the body also requires some encouragement in the form of mental stimulation to ‘push’ yourself when you are ready to give up. As a scientist and qualified gym instructor, I am more than familiar with the physiological adaptations going on inside the body as one exercises and ‘hits the wall’. But this post is not a scientific one. I will simply ramble about my personal thoughts on how I feel and tackle any mental obstacles I face in my daily runs.

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