Loving Lake Garda

23 07 2012

Easy Lake Garda by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

On the way back from Venice to Milan for our flight back to England, we stopped off on the coast of Lake Garda, near Lazise, for a few hours on the beach and in the lake.  We swam, we read, we ate carpaccio and hamburgers, and then just before the sun started to set we had a little 5km-ish run up and down the side of the lake.  We didn’t go too far, since the lakeside path seemed to stop on us at one point, but we enjoyed an easy run alongside a beautiful lake with fabulous views of blue.

Lazise, Lake Garda

Mer was running her new webbed shoes for the run, I’m going to let mine wait until back home in buenos Aires so that I can wear them in properly.  If I have lots of injuries with normal running shoes, imagine the problems I might have completely changing my form to a front of the foot running style.  At the same time, by wearing them in and getting used to them slowly, I’m hoping that eventually they’ll help me to run light and stay injury free.

My bare footing running shoes





Hitting The Hills, Hitting The Beach! in Venice

17 07 2012

Hills Venice by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

From England we headed to Italy to watch Operas at La Scala (Manon), the Arena in Verona (Aida) and La Fenice in Venice (Carmen), which were all brilliant in their own way.  The day we arrived in Venice, Mer couldn’t stand the heat (39 degrees) and so insisted on going to the beach.  The beach! I was expecting museums, churches, canals and gondolas and found myself on The Beach!  We had fun though and saw great views of Venice from the vaporetto on the way out to the Lido, I might even recommend it.  

But when we got back to Venice proper in the evening, it was time to take a look around and what better way to do it than to go for a run (very Woody Allen in Everyone says I love you I found out afterwards!)

It was lovely to meet Venice again by running up and down it’s bridges and getting cut off by canals.  I’d been once about 15 years ago for a day and it had rained and I hand;t thought much of the place.  But now, returning in a couple and enjoying The Beach and then a run, the magic of the place really came out.  It was also excellent hills training with all those steps to deal with and the breathtaking architecture meant we had run three or four kilometers without even realizing it.  We also got quite a lot of odd looks as we walked back through St Mark’s Square on the way back.  It seems Woody and Julia haven’t made running through the streets of Venice all that popular! 





Brighton beach – running abroad

17 07 2012

Easy Brighton by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

There’s always incredibly rewarding things about running on holiday.  First of all the sheer goodness you feel about enjoying running enough to take the time to do it when you’re allowed to be doing nothing.  Secondly, the freshness and curiosity of running in a completely new environment, enjoying the reaction of differently cultured passers-by, the differing weather and taking in the new views and paths and landscapes.

And so even though I’ve run in Brighton before (my little sister lives there), I was filled with enthusiasm and energy as the wife and I set off down the seafront.  Especially since I was in my new shoes, purchased in Run and Become a few days before.  I was also nursing a calf injury, so was a bit worried it might not hold up and I would;t be able to run again on the holiday – we were in England, Italy and Spain for three weeks in total, visiting family, watching operas and going to a wedding in each respective country.

But the calf held up, the sea breeze invigorated and the shoes felt very comfy.  I’d gone for springier ones from Mizuno rather than the rather rigid Sauconys I’d had before.  I was worried they might not give me enough support, but so far so very good, I felt I was bouncing more and hopefully this means my knees will benefit from more bend and I might even lessen the injuries.  Time will tell!





Running away with it…

3 06 2012

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/177990533

Funny that this 5km easy was only a minute slower than my 5km fast on the previous run.  I guess that’s where I’m at at the moment, just trying to get the body used to the kilometres again and trying to find a good running form that will minimise injury risks.

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/179098810

First time I’ve run for an hour in the comeback.  Was very pleased to get to 9km and am confident I have ten kilometres in me, although not got any races on the horizon.  Although this did make me wonder for a minute or two if I shouldn’t be running Fiestas Mayas instead of organising #IHTOC50, but only for a minute mind.

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/180372201

Just a muscle loosener and a keeping in the rhythm after the long run the other day.

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/181425128

No run this weekend.  A week between runs, not the best!  But I still managed an easy five km, although one of the calves was tightening up towards the end – need to be careful and remember the number one goal is not get injured!

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/183989223

My first ten kilometre run of this comeback period.  I’m managing not to overdo things, at least running wise.

http://connect.garmin.com:80/activity/embed/184812980





Surviving Through Song – Words of Wisdom for NQTs

31 05 2012

At #IHTOC50 (International House Teachers Online Conference) on Friday May 25th, up to 500 IH teachers from around the world came together to share their experience, knowledge and love of teaching, as well as to celebrate fifty years of teacher training at International House.

I was lucky enough to be heavily involved in organising the whole conference, in my role as Academic Coordinator for Resources and DoS Support, but I also gave one of the plenary sessions on the day.

I then gave a slightly different face to face version of the session at the Anglo conference in Montevideo on Sunday 19th August, with the kind support of Macmillan Uruguay.  This session included the observation tasks you’ll find below, but I left out Ask by The Smiths as the song of The Eighties and left that up to Just Like Heaven by The Cure.

Surviving Through Song – Words of wisdom for EFL teachers

The idea behind my session was to give some sound advice to Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) about how to survive in their early years of teaching, based on my experience as an NQT myself back in Prague in the late nineties, and then as a senior teacher and DoS helping new teachers settle into their new careers, and most recently as a CELTA trainer sending new teachers off out into the wide world of ELT, and also as a DELTA trainer, welcoming not-so-new teachers back into the fold for further teacher development.

Since we were celebrating 50 years of International House teacher training (the first teacher training course took place at IH London in June 1962 and would later develop into what we today know and love as the CELTA), I thought it would be fun to look back over the best music of the last fifty years to find some inspiration.  Then it occurred to me that using song was a great way of ingratiating yourself with your students in your early years of teaching, so why not pass on a few ideas about how to use my chosen songs in the classroom at the same time?

And then during the planning stage and with some great input from people (mainly my former IHCAM and DELTA trainees) commenting on my previous blog post  ‘Turning CELTees into successful NQTs’, I realised teachers may also appreciate some help with reflecting on their own teaching, both through self-observation and peer / DoS observation.

So I ended up with a song from each decade of the last fifty years and one for luck.  And for each of these fab songs, I had advice for new (and not so new!) teachers, a lesson for using the song as listening practice and as a springboard for speaking or language activities, and also an observation task that can be used to help teachers improve in the area inspired by the songs.

To go through each of them here would make for one incredibly long blog post, so instead I’m going to try and post about one song/decade/idea on a regular basis over the coming weeks.  And as I do so I’ll add links to each of the posts here below so you have an index to all of them in one place.

The Sixties – For Students

The Sixties – For Teachers

The Sixties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Errors & Correction

The Seventies – For Students

The Seventies – For Teachers

The Seventies – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Critical Moments

The Eighties – For Students

The Eighties – For Teachers

The Eighties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO On The Podium

The Nineties – For Students

The Nineties – For Teachers

The Nineties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Successful Stages

The Noughties – For Students

The Noughties – For Teachers

The Noughties – For Observation IHTOC50 NM TO Going Round In Circles

The session seemed to go down very well and people said they found all three aspects of it useful, so I hope you find something useful in there too.  If you do, please let us know with a comment.

And then if you have other songs you’d like me to dish out the same treatment on, do let me know about them too!  Enjoy!





Many more hills ahead

9 05 2012

Hills by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

My first ‘hills’ run since January and a third lot of overdoing it in three runs since the return began.  Another six kilometres with the usual cross the bridge five times, rest for five minutes and cross it five times more before heading homewards.  Except I was enjoying myself so much I decided to up the pace over the last kilometre as well as I headed back around the small lake to the car and I managed to keep the pace up to around 6m/km.  Which meant no time for thinking anything except what I was doing running wise.  

The one thought I did have was that I felt much better after my last run and that my legs seemed to have recovered much quicker – was this a result of having a pilates class on Monday?  Did the pilates help the legs to recover better?  I have a class tomorrow too, so if I don;t feel leggy come Friday it must have something to do with it, because normally after a run like today I would be feeling it til the weekend.  Looking forward to the next run already, but going to keep it to twice a week for at least my first month back – that’s the only way I can stop myself from not completely overdoing it! After all, I have many more hills ahead of me to climb…





Easy doesn’t it

6 05 2012

Easy by mcneilmahon at Garmin Connect – Details.

The second run of my latest comeback and having chastised myself all week for doing too much last Tuesday, I ended up doing the same distance but quicker today – when am I ever going to learn? 

The problem was today there was perfect weather for running when I went out, 20 degrees and sunshine but with a cooling light breeze.  In T-shirt and shorts I was neither too hot nor too cold and so I could run easy without getting too hot and enjoy the crowds out enjoying the Palermo lakes and the weather like me. 

Thoughts were split between two things today – finding form and keeping the body as balanced as possible (i.e. not very) as always, and also the organisation of IH TOC50, since I’ve spent the rest of the day trying to out the schedule together and am about to email all of the lovely speakers with the latest details.  Schedule seems to have come together quite smoothly – a wide variety of sessions spread throughout the day from early morning to late night GMT – will we survive the 15mins breaks between sessions?  We had 30mins last time out, but I reckon with separate rooms and hopefully different moderators each time we should be fine.  

I’ve also had a fun idea about my own session at the conference on helping NQTs settle in to the job and survive their first year of teaching.  But I think I’ll keep that under wraps for now so I have a little surprise in store on the big day.  








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