WHY I CAN’T WAIT FOR MY TRIATHLON TO BE OVER

This triathlon has been a long time coming, in fact it’s been in the works since I completed my very first sprint triathlon 3 years ago. I decided to sign up for it as my big challenge for 2015 because I like to have a new challenge every year. I mean, why not? Challenging yourself to the point of near exhaustion is fun right? Right…

Actually, it IS fun and actually, I’m really looking forward to the event in 10 days so that I can see how far I’ve come. I like to challenge myself because I like the feeling of achievement and triumph when I’ve silenced my own doubts.

At the same time I’m coming to realise that actually I don’t love doing triathlons. No, that’s not right. I love doing triathlons, I’m just not so keen on endurance training. There, I said it. I find it difficult to push myself, I find it boring and I miss doing cardio for fun.

Continue Reading…

Debunking Fitness Myths

As a Personal Trainer and a fitness blogger I can see a lot of pressure in the industry to look and act a certain way which can be rather stressful and damaging for some people. 

The world of perfect abs, long legs and sweat-free faces on Instagram portrays an image of fitness that is fun, easy and full of happiness. It can be all of these things but it can also be tiring, tough, demoralising and grump-inducing when you’re getting up and it’s still dark outside. Plus, no one actually looks perfect if they’re working out properly! 

Here are some of the top misconceptions of the fitness industry:

1) Selfies show the truth 

Even I have been guilty of only posting the most flattering selfies but don’t trust what you see. There are various things you can do to create the perfect selfie:

All I did in the 3 minutes between the two photos was to turn off the overhead light, put on underwear that fit better, twist my body slightly to the side to show off my best angle, flex and, of course, add a filter. So don’t pay much attention to those ‘before and after’ shots!

2) To be healthy and fit you have to have a six-pack

Having a six-pack just means that your body fat percentage is low enough to be able to see your abs. Also, the shape of your abs is totally dependent on your genetics, some people can get a six-pack, some can’t. For the majority of people the lifestyle you have to live to achieve and maintain them would stop them living a normal life free from counting every single calorie. Also, ladies, having such a low body fat percentage might stop your periods. Surely that can’t be good for you…

I prefer a bit of definition and that’s about it for me!

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3) Personal Trainers & fitness bloggers live like saints

Anyone who knows me will know that this just isn’t true. I love to eat anything and everything. Pizza is probably my favourite food and although I don’t really have a sweet tooth I can eat sweet n’ salt popcorn or ice cream for days. I may not drink that much but that’s because I don’t like the taste of most alcohol! However give me a margarita (or 3) and I’m a happy girl… It’s all about living a balanced lifestyle. Indulge when you want to but get to know your body and understand what it wants and when. 

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4) Exercise is easy

Exercise is not easy. And if it is easy then you’re not pushing yourself. And if you’re not pushing yourself then you won’t make any progress and reach your goals. Even if your goal is just to clear your head you need to put in a bit of effort to achieve that. The real side of fitness is early mornings, freezing hands and ears in winter, ridiculous sports bra tans in summer, stinging sweat in your eyes, not bothering to wash your hair because you’re only going to get sweaty again tomorrow, permanent hand callouses, blistered feet and stiff muscles. But all of this adds up to feeling alive, proud and on top of the world.

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5) You have to able to run really fast

Nope. Have you seen me run? It’s not pretty, it’s not fast but I get the job done. If you run you are a runner, if you lift you are a lifter, if you spin you are a spinner, it doesn’t matter how fast, how heavy or how much you do it. Just get out there and give it a go, you’ll amaze yourself.

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Race Report: The Gauntlet Games

A 10k race? With gladiators? And obstacles? Hell yes, was my response. Get me there now.

Which is how a group of 5 over-excited intrepid Gauntlet Girls came to be in Trent Park, North London early on a Saturday morning.

This isn’t going to be a regular race report because quite frankly it wasn’t a regular race. For a start there was no timing at all which meant that everyone could take it at their own sweet pace. Oh and there were also lots of things and people to slow you down on course.

We’d opted for the 10k version which meant that we did 3km of obstacles before turning off for a 5km trail run and joining back up with the course for a last 2km of obstacles, although it felt shorter than a full 10k. I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking but here is a summary of my feelings about the race:

– long queues to pick up race numbers & race t-shirts suck

– half-naked men are great until they’re pelting balls at your legs

– laughing until my stomach hurts is great

– trail running is way more interesting than road running

– water mixed with poster paint is really slimy and then really sticky

– water is cold. Like, really cold

– wet trainers are gross to run for an hour in

– a wet lycra-clad bottom results in a very satisfying noise when slapped

– races with friends are infinitely more fun

– I WANT TO DO IT AGAIN

Warming up:

Getting friendly with the gladiators:

Never trust an Aussie and a PT armed with sticks:

Water is cold part I:

Water is cold part II:

Foam gets in your ears:

Apparently my go-to obstacle race face is this:

Charlie’s Angels eat your hearts out:

Never forget to stretch:

In summary, we heart The Gauntlet Games.

Triathlon Training Update

You know that feeling when you book in a dentist appointment a couple of months in advance and then put it to the back of your mind because you’re actually really dreading it….? Yeah, that. But with a triathlon…

With just over a week to go before this year’s first triathlon I thought I should give you an update into my very disorganised preparation.

1) Swimming

This is still the part of the triathlon that’s scaring me, not because I’m a bad swimmer but because swimming in a wetsuit in open water is a whole new ball game. It’s the bit that screwed me last time, taking twice as long as I’d hoped.

I’m also still swimming breaststroke 90% of the time which is fine in a lovely pool like the Olympic Aquatics Centre but it’s pretty heavy on the legs which is not ideal when you have a bike and a run phase coming up next.

I’ve swum no more than 3 or 4 times in the run up to this triathlon between 1km – 1.7km but not in open water and not in a wetsuit. Whoops. Continue Reading…

The 10 stages of every run

Every run starts and ends the same. You start running and then you stop running. It’s what’s in between that’s the ‘fun’ part…

However long my runs are I always seem to go through the exact same thought patterns and it becomes a mental as well as a physical challenge to keep going. I thought I’d share them with you because let’s face it, running is ridiculous.

Stage 1: Right, I’m going to step out of the door and this is going to be great even though I don’t want to go because it’s cold and rainy and stuff.

Continue Reading…

HIIT vs LISS cardio

You might have seen a previous post that I did about the benefits of cardiovascular training which is a great place to start because anything that raises your heart rate is going to be beneficial to your cardiovascular system. 

There’s so much more to cardiovascular training however and I’m going to discuss the biggest 2 right here for you, you lucky people. 

You might have heard people talking about HIIT (high intensity interval training) but have you heard about LISS (low intensity steady state)? 

Chances are you might not have heard about it but you’ve more than likely done it before. When you’ve decided that the 3 doughnuts you’ve eaten today were a bit much and you’re going to go to the gym and jog on a treadmill? LISS. When you dare to bare your pale skin for a gentle session at the pool for the first time this year? LISS. When you decide that you’re going to be healthy and go for a long walk ending up in a not-so-healthy pub lunch? LISS. Basically, if you can hold a conversation whilst training, you’re doing LISS.

The benefits of this kind of training is that because you’re normally working at 60-80% of your maximum heart rate, you’re comfortably within the ‘fat-burning zone’ which means that you’re burning a higher percentage of fat within the energy that you’re using. 

Think of it like a cake. At this stage, the energy that you’re burning is the size of a cupcake (stick with me, don’t get distracted by the thought of cupcakes) and a majority of that is fat. 

LISS is therefore good for:

– Unfit or elderly people who want to lose weight but need a low-impact form of exercise to protect their bodies

– People who have the time to go out walking for a couple of hours or jog for an hour, it’s pretty time-consuming!

– Endurance athletes (marathon runners, triathletes etc.) who need to get their bodies used to working at low-intesity for long periods of time

– Anyone who wants to unplug for a while, force themselves to not look at a screen and enjoy the great outdoors

There’s one big flaw with LISS though. Whatever your goals are your body will need to keep adapting otherwise your progress will plateau. If you just do LISS you will reach that plateau quite quickly as the body finds it easy to adapt to and then gets very comfortable. 

Have you heard that story about the person who went to the gym 3 times a week, did the same workout each time including a 20 minute run on the treadmill and 15 minutes on the stationary bike? Do you remember when they stopped going after a few months because they stopped losing weight? They should have done some HIIT. 

Which bring us to HIIT (funnily enough). HIIT covers any kind of cardio exercise that combines periods of near-maximum work with periods of recovery. It can be applied to most forms of cardio including running, cycling, swimming, skipping, boxing etc. and includes things like tabata and circuit training. For example, you could warm up, then sprint for 30 seconds followed by a recovery period at a jog for 1 minute and then you could repeat that as many times as you like before you cool down/pass out.

HIIT will bring your heart rate up into the moderate/intense training zone meaning that you’ll be improving your aerobic fitness and overall performance. In these zones you’ll be burning a higher proportion of carbohydrates than fat but don’t be fooled, you’re still burning plenty of fat. 

Let’s go back to the cake idea (focus now…). With HIIT the cake is now Bruce Bogtrotter-sized (if you don’t get this reference then shame on you, go and read Matilda right now).

The amount of calories from burning carbohydrates and fat is much higher than what you’ll burn through LISS meaning that you’ll probably burn more fat overall. It’s a smaller percentage of the cake but the cake is so much bigger with HIIT. Makes sense? 

Here are some of the benefits of HIIT:

– Great for time-poor people, you can squeeze a brilliant workout into whatever time you have available, even as little as 7 minutes if necessary, and keep your heart rate up

– It keeps the body adapting because your heart rate is going up and down with periods of work and recovery and your body doesn’t know what’s coming next

– The ‘after burn’ effect or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) from HIIT keeps your metabolism high after exercise meaning that you continue to burn calories when you’re lying in your post-gym bubble bath. Result

– HIIT allows you to keep any muscle mass (within reason) as it uses muscles to their maximum capacity, keeping them working. Think about a sprinter’s physique vs a marathon runner

– The explosive nature of HIIT will help you to increase the strength in your muscles which in turn could improve your endurance performance – a good point to remind endurance athletes of the importance of cross-training

It might seem like I’m leaning towards HIIT as the preferable form of cardio but actually, I believe that both LISS and HIIT have their roles in fitness depending on the individual and their goal. Ideally, a combination of both would help to improve overall cardiovascular fitness and health and to reach personal goals. 

Try including a few sprints next time you go running and reap the benefits! 

The Benefits of Cardio Training

Welcome to the 2nd in my series of demystifying exercise posts. This time I’m focusing on cardio, mostly because people say ‘I’ve eaten a pizza but it’s ok because I’m going for a jog later’. I hate to burst your bubble but it’s worth WAY more than just burning a few calories. 

When people talk about ‘cardio’ they basically mean anything that works your cardiovascular system (heart + lungs). You could argue that this includes just about everything that we do on a daily basis but I’m focusing on specific activities that we do to strengthen the cardiovascular system. 

I’m also lumping various cardio training systems together for this post, look out for future posts to delve deeper into specific systems (e.g. high intensity interval training (HIIT), low intensity steady state (LISS) etc.)

Here are my top reasons why you should be cardio training if you’re not already:

1) Weight control – Cardio training raises your heart rate significantly from resting which means that you will need to use energy to keep going. Once you have used the readily-available supplies of glucose within the muscles, your body will begin to burn fat throughout the session and for some time afterwards

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2) Increased body efficiency – Through consistent cardio training the body adapts to increase blood flow to muscles and remove waste (CO2 & lactic acid) more efficiently meaning that your endurance increases. You know that burning feeling that makes you stop? It will go away with commitment, I promise

3) Better heart health – One of the adaptations from cardio training is increased stroke volume in your heart i.e. your heart can pump more blood around your body with each beat. This can have the effect of lowering your resting heart rate and potentially decreasing your blood pressure, putting less strain on your heart

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FYI, there are battle ropes in there somewhere, I’m just making them move faster than the human eye (ok, faster than the shutter on my iPhone camera…)

4) Happy brain – As well as the release of endorphins that any exercise triggers in our brains, there is something about getting out and about and unplugging for a while. Whether you’re running, hiking, swimming, cycling, spinning, dancing or whatever form your cardio training is taking, use the opportunity to unplug from technology, chat with friends or just spend some time with your own thoughts 

5) Unclog those arteries – Cardio training can decrease levels of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), the bad cholesterol whilst increasing levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs), the good cholesterol. This is important as you age to keep your cholesterol within the healthy range

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So what are you waiting for?! Just get out there and raise your heart rate!

2015 Race Calendar

The atmosphere, buzz and sense of achievement connected with any organised sports event is scarily addictive… And this is why I keep signing up for more and more! 

This year you can find me at:

February 1st – Winter Run 10k – COMPLETED 73:16

May 23rd – Eton Dorney Sprint Triathlon (750m swim, 20km cycle, 5k run)

June 7th – Finsbury Park Women’s Running Series 10k

June 21st – Nike Women’s 10k (Victoria Park)

August 8th – London Triathlon Olympic (1,500m swim, 40km cycle, 10k run)

Who’s with me?  

Race Report: Winter Run 10k

‘Guys, we need to sign up to this race! It’s through central London and there’s fake snow and polar bears and everything!’

Skip forward a few months and our team had dwindled right down for plenty of very valid reasons. However, despite an awful race prep and freezing cold weather, this race was momentous for me and here’s why….

The Training

There was no cardio training to be seen in the month leading up to the race. In fact, my last run had been a slow 4k on New Year’s Eve in Nice that felt really rather tough. 

I’ve been doing lots of strength training and because I’m bulking I’ve not been using calories up on cardio. So while I’m definitely stronger I had serious doubts as to my cardio fitness which has never been a strong point of mine. 

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The Race

I’d spent all day before the race in bed with a migraine so the immediate prep was going really well. Not. 

I managed to get some sleep the night before, after cramming in some rice and woke up feeling quite fresh which was a nice surprise. The morning was grey and cold, just right for running… We got down to the welcome area nice and early and I warmed up outside Downing Street before I felt remotely comfortable taking off my coat to leave with Simon. 

The start line was a little bit chaotic as although we’d all been given wave times there didn’t seem to be any checking or order to how people were starting. Everyone was crammed into the start area and they were just letting 2,500 people go in each wave. It meant that I ended up doing the warm-up 3 times before I even got to the start line!

Anyway, off I went feeling pretty sceptical about how it was going to go. However, I surprised myself by feeling really quite comfortable all the way up until 5k. 

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At that point though the problems hit. My hip flexors tightened up first, followed by my back and finally my left ankle. By the time i hit 8km it had become a mental battle. 

I didn’t even notice the fake snow zones or cow bells along the route although I do remember being a little underwhelmed by the novelty of the race. Just being able to run on closed roads along the Thames was enough of a novelty for me.

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I could hear my normal pace running away from me through my headphones so I just concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and ticking off the ½ km markers. This was one race that I was going to finish running, whether my muscles wanted to or not. 

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With 200m to go, I normally step up a gear and go for a big finish but this has to be the slowest sprint finish I’ve ever done. But I did it. I proved to myself that not only can my base fitness carry me through a 10k without walking but I can also run by myself and self-motivate. It was a good feeling to cross that finish line and hold my head high. 

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The Results

1st km: 07:10

2nd km: 06:50

3rd km: 06:54

4th km: 06:47

5th km: 07:16

6th km: 06:21

7th km: 07:19

8th km: 07:21

9th km: 07:04

10th km: 07:30

TOTAL TIME: 01:13:12

Now that I’ve got the bug back, I’m itching to sign up to EVERYTHING. But while I fight the urge, I’ve got a sprint triathlon in May to get training for so watch this space for training updates.

Race Report: Women’s Running Series 10k Finsbury Park

In a moment of endorphin-induced madness, the day after my first ever 10k, I signed up for my second ever 10k only two weeks later. Well, no pain no gain as they say… 

The Training

After taking a few days to recover from Run To The Beat, I managed to pack in two short but speedy runs, one 8.5k run in the glorious French sunshine, two extreme spin bootcamps, a quick 30 minute PT session and a #PumpSweatandBurn class. No way was I going to let my fitness disappear from my first run… 

I managed to taper on the Thursday and Friday before the run and spend two days sitting around eating huge quantities of food to celebrate the Jewish New Year. 

All in all, not bad preparation but not great… 

The Race

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Having slept awfully the night before the race and eaten far too much for dinner, I dragged myself up and forced down a Nakd berry bar. My enthusiasm levels for this race were distinctly lower than the last one… 

We arrive at Finsbury Park in plenty of time to have a nose around the little tents that were set up and have a good stretch and sit down. It was only a small event, the smallest that I’ve done but there was a great tent run by the Scouts that was serving tea, cake and biscuits. 

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After an energetic and useful warm up we were ushered to the start line and Heron and I tucked ourselves in behind the 70-minute pacer. That’s what we were aiming for at Run To The Beat and as the course here was much hillier, we were just aiming to stick with the pacer and not go much faster. 

The hills hit pretty quickly, at around 1.5k but we plodded up and down until we realised that the course was taking us back round for a second loop. I’m not a fan of laps on courses because generally I lack motivation to do the second lap, something that kicked in here as I knew all of the hills that I would have to tackle again. 

However, there’s no excuse to stop. So I didn’t. At around 6k I started struggling up the hills and Heron kicked away from me. I fixed my eyes on her back and promised myself not to lose sight of her. 

Helped by that and by the brilliant pacer, the hills on the second lap seemed to be easier as I overtook some walkers and powered through. By 8k I was ahead of the pacer (but not by far) and so when I came to the 9k marker and heard my last pace update through my headphones I put the accelerator down and flew the final kilometre. 

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Coming round the final corner the clock read 01:08:29 which surprisingly gave me 34 seconds to get home to beat my RTTB time. I legged it. As you can see from the photo… 

It was only when I crossed the finish line and received my chip time that I realised I’d come in at 01:07:59, knocking a whopping 01:03 off my previous PB. 

Chuffed faces all round. 

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The Results

1st km: 06:56

2nd km: 06:58

3rd km: 06:44

4th km: 06:40

5th km: 06:57

6th km: 06:41

7th km: 07:03 (this is where I struggled)

8th km: 06:46

9th km: 06:48

10th km: 06:20 (this is where I legged it!)

5k split: 34:15

10k split: 33:44 (woohoo for negative 5k splits!)

TOTAL TIME: 01:07:59

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I’m pretty booked up with library and classroom sessions for my Personal Trainer course from now until January but my next race is booked in for 1st February, the Winter Run 10k along the Thames. 

If anyone fancies some cold-weather running in the meantime, let me know! 

Je Vais Faire Un Jogging

Having signed up for my second ever 10k race only 2 weeks after my first ever 10k race, I should have spent the weekend in between relaxing, doing some light exercise and chilling out.

Instead, I went to France and ate my bodyweight in roquefort, camembert, baguette, soup de poisson and coffee eclairs. Because that’s what going on holiday is all about. 

However, I did head out on the Sunday morning for a run (fuelled by camembert) and managed a delightfully pleasant and hilly 8.5kms in the glorious sunshine. 

I had to run on the roads for most of the run (don’t worry mum, I ran into the traffic) but the French drivers were very courteous and gave me lots of space in my luminous yellow leggings. 

The blue skies were endless and I felt on top of the world as I powered up and down the hills. The only downside is that it was so hot in the sun I was sweating a bucketload (*sweaty selfie alert*)…. 

Once I made it into the town there were a few more people around and it felt much more like running in London so I stopped shortly after the bridge below. 

It was one of the best runs I’ve had so far, I felt strong and steady in my rhythm and didn’t struggle too much with the hills. I feel in the perfect position to take on the Women’s 10k in Finsbury Park on Saturday, bring it on! 

Race Report: Run To The Beat 10k

When I started running a year ago I couldn’t even run the 2 mile journey home from work without walking and it annoyed me so much that I refused to accept it. I’ve spent the last year getting fit and working on my running to the point that I decided to sign up for my first 10k, having never run further than 5.5km. Big challenge… 

The Training

I completed a 6 week training programme, you can read about part 1, part 2 and part 3 here. It went pretty well despite having a cold in the middle of it so I went into the race feeling really rather excited and well prepared, something that I’ve never had before going into a fitness challenge!

The Race

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Having slept like a baby the night before I woke up feeling fresh and excited. I scoffed some porridge made with oats, water, strawberries, flaxseed and chia seeds in the car on the way over to Wembley and tried to drink as much water as possible. 

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The race village was bathed in sunshine and had a few food and drink stalls set up although most of it was just the bag drop. I ended up swapping my Run To The Beat t-shirt for an Allergy UK t-shirt to support Heron, who I was running with, and to make it easier for the boys (Simon and George) to spot us as we made our way round the course.

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Heron and I made our way into our pen where we had quite a long wait with some very annoying Fitness First warm-up people. They would have been better on a cruise-ship rather than warming up runners…

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Once we were walked down to the start line we were only waiting for 5 minutes before we hit the course which helped keep the nerves under control. After a quick good luck hug we were off. 

The first 3k flew by as we were shouted on by the boys at 1km and we found our pace. The first small hill came at 3k and we powered up it, skipping round all of the people who were walking and feeling pretty proud of ourselves. 

Pretty quickly we reached 5.5k where the real hills started. Between 5.5 and 7k there were a number of steady inclines and steep hills. We put our heads down, dug in and climbed those hills without walking. Looking at the splits, we didn’t even slow down too much! 

When we reached 8.5k (further than I’d ever run before) I hit the wall. Heron hit her stride and took off and while I tried to keep up for a bit, I lost her at around 9k.

The last 1k was one of the most difficult bits of running I’ve ever done. My arms and legs were like jelly, the sweat on my face had dried and become salty and the sun was very hot. 

When I turned the final corner the finish came into view along with the clock. It read 01.08.00. I’d been pacing myself to a 70 minute finish so I had only 2 minutes to make it round the next corner and down the hill. 

Cheered on by one final sighting of the boys I flew down the hill. stopping the clock at 01.09.02. Success!!

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The Results

1st km: 06:53

2nd km: 06:18

3rd km: 06:47

4th km: 06:31

5th km: 06:51

6th km: 07:04

7th km: 06:54

8th km: 06:46

9th km: 06:51

10th km: 07:07

TOTAL TIME: 01:09:02

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Now the real question… what next?! 

I’m definitely going to be signing up for the London Triathlon next year and I’m eyeing up a Spartan Race or two… Any thoughts on new fitness challenges for the next 6 months? 

 

Run To The Beat 10km Training – Part 3

I’ve (nearly) reached the end! I’m now 3 days away from the big race and I’m feeling very calm, prepared and rather excited which I never thought would happen. Anyway, here’s how the previous couple of week’s worth of training has gone:

Week 5:

Monday: Rest or x-train – Quick 2.5km run to the gym followed by Mash Up (30 minute circuits + 30 minutes boxing)

Tuesday: 25 minutes fartleks/hill training – only managed 2km with 1 sprint session before I got a horrible stitch and had to walk the rest of the way home

Wednesday: Rest – felt too energetic so I did a 30 minute PT session followed by 60 minute boxing session

Thursday:  45 minutes (moderate) – felt a bit sore so I walked 5 miles and stretched out my legs

Friday: 25 minutes (easy) – still feeling sore from Wednesday so I cycled my 5 mile commute and ate a burrito

Saturday: Rest – I knew I was going out on Saturday night so I squeezed in my last long run, 8.3km, early on Saturday morning. Despite getting a horrible stitch at 5.5km I struggled through and felt pretty good by the end

Sunday: 55-60 minutes – Hungover. As planned

Week 6:

Monday: Rest/x train – I tried out Kate @ Form Fitness’ new class, #PumpSweatBurn and I did all of these for an hour. Top class!

Tuesday: 25 minutes (easy) – Wasn’t on top form so walked home and had some comfort food, a bath and an early night

Wednesday: Rest – Nailed it

Thursday: 35 minutes (easy) – I’ve cycled for half an hour and I’ve got a 30 minute PT session this evening

I’ll be resting Friday and Saturday, ready to shake the little legs off on Sunday and blast through the 10k. 

BRING. IT ON. 

Run To The Beat 10km Training – Part 2

Weeks 3 and 4 of the 6 week training programme are done. And they’ve largely been a bit of a disaster (with a few moments of glory). We’ve been having our bathroom redone so I’ve spent the last couple of weeks moving round between my brother’s flat (thanks Jonny and Sam!), my parents (thanks Mum and Dad!) and my boyfriend’s parents (thanks Sylvia and Tony!). I’ve also had a cold so running has completely taken a back seat… 

Week 3:

Monday – Rest day – Yep, rested so hard

Tuesday – 25 minutes (hard) – Managed 22 minutes up and down the hills of Hendon. It reminded me how flat Hackney is and how I’m not used to hills! 

Wednesday – Rest day – Rested the hell out of Wednesday

Thursday – 35 minutes (moderate) – Nope

Friday – 25 minutes (easy) – Again, nope

Saturday – Rest day – Aced this one

Sunday – 45 minutes – Ummmmmmm nope

Week 4:

Monday – Rest or cross-train – Switched this with tomorrow’s run and did 4km in 29 minutes up and down the hills in Radlett. It was pouring with rain (which I normally love) and I had a stabbing stitch but it felt good to be back out and over my cold

Tuesday – 25 minutes fartleks/hills – Rested hard

Wednesday – Rest day – 4.5km in 32.50 minutes up and down the hills in Hendon with Amy (massive props to Amy who hadn’t run in a year but kept up!)

Thursday – 40 minutes (moderate) – This just didn’t happen but I did stay up until midnight painting my new bathroom if that counts?

Friday – 25 minutes (easy) – Ran on the treadmill at the gym as it was the only way I could fit it in. I HATE treadmill running, it’s so boring and monotonous. But needs must I guess

Saturday – Rest day – Switched around my weekend runs as I went out on Saturday night and didn’t fancy a long run on a hangover… Heron and I nailed out 7.3km in 52 minutes which is the longest that I’ve ever run. Well proud of myself… 

Sunday – 50-55 minutes – Well deserved rest day!

2 weeks to go until the race and I’m going to draw my (time)line in the sand. I’m going to be aiming for under 70 minutes which is about the pace that I’m currently running at. Seeing as I’ve never run 10k before, whatever I manage will be a PB! 

Run To The Beat 10km Training – Part 1

If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning, you’ll know that I started it with a post about how I was getting back into fitness through running. You might also have noticed that I have a love/hate relationship with running. Which is why I decided to sign up to Run To The Beat 10k to prove to myself that I can run and I can also ‘be a runner’. 

So this is part 1 of my training route to the 10k on September 14th. 

I’m following a 5k to 10k training programme to help me judge my training and pace and it’s working really well! 

Week 1:

Monday – Rest day – totally nailed this one

Tuesday – 20 minute run (moderate) – skipped this and went to a 60 minute Warriors (boxing fitness class)

Wednesday – Rest day – I felt like a run so I did! 2.45km at 06:27 average pace followed by 60 minute boxing class

Thursday – 20 minute run (moderate) – skipped this for a 30 minute cycle and 30 minute PT session

Friday – 20 minute run (easy) – did this on the treadmill at the gym followed by 35 minutes of making up my own circuits

Saturday – Rest day – easy peasy

Sunday – 35 minutes long run – I did 30 minutes at 06:43 pace and then a 30 minute PT session (in the pissing rain…)

Week 2:

Monday – Rest day – which was lucky as I had a tummy bug

Tuesday – 25 minute run moderate – Skipped this to go to 60 minute yoga class which was much kinder on my tummy than a run

Wednesday – Rest day – I did a 21 minute run at a pace of 06:21 and then a 30 minute PT session

Thursday – 30 minute run moderate – life got in the way of this one but I did a 40 minute cycle instead

Friday – 25 minute run easy – did this one on the treadmill in the gym followed by a 30 minute circuit session including TRX, battle ropes and trying not to laugh at the gym posers

Saturday – Rest day – Squeezed in a 30 minute PT session 

Sunday – 40 minute long run – This is tomorrow’s challenge and I’m a little nervous as it’s going to be the longest that I’ll have ever run. Watch this space! 

I’ve also been making sure that I’m eating plenty of food as running on a calorie deficit is just plain miserable. I’ve reintroduced protein shakes in the mornings with salads for lunch and a good sized snack in the afternoons even if I’m not hungry followed by a dinner that includes protein, carbs and good fats.

Even though I might not be sticking to the plan exactly, my running is feeling stronger, my little legs are moving faster than they ever have before and I’m starting to believe that a 10k might actually be in my reach!

Race Report: Run Hackney 5K

I’m not what you’d call a ‘natural runner’ but then I also thought that I wasn’t the kind of person who would enjoy kale in the mornings. I got that wrong.

I see running as a challenge, one to be conquered and therefore I’m going to try and overturn my aversion to running by… well… running. 

As a Hackney resident I was getting massive FOMO about the Run Hackney half marathon until they announced a 5k to be held the day before the big race. I immediately signed up. 

The Training

I didn’t do anything extra on top of my normal 4-5 weekly fitness studio sessions and the odd run so yes, the training went swimmingly

The race

Saturday dawned bright, hot and sunny. So I had a green smoothie and then went back to bed. By the time Simon and I finally left the flat, the sun was burning and we drank plenty of water on our 1.5 mile walk down to Hackney Marshes.

The race village was very well set up with lots of space, a clear bag-drop (which we didn’t use) and a smattering of food stands selling sushi, burgers, smoothies and coffee.

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We quickly lined up at the start having missed the warm up and waited nervously with a couple of hundred people of all shapes, ages and sizes. 

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And off we went! The first 1.5km was along a nicely shaded path and I smashed out my first km in 06:20. Although I was quickly being overtaken by a lot of people, I stayed steady at my pace as I didn’t want to burn out too quickly. 

The next 2 kilometres were run in a horseshoe around the football pitches. This was hell. It was very hot with no shade and all you could see was how far down you had to run before you could make the turns and run all the way back up. Torture.

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Once we’d finished the horseshoe of hell we turned onto the canal and ran in its delightful shade all the way back down to the entrance to Hackney Marshes. With Simon pacing me, we sped up as I wanted to make sure that I completed the run within 34 minutes (my previous unofficial PB). 

I’d somehow kept a bit in reserve as I started sprinting when I hit the plastic matting leading to the finish and powered through the finish. 

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The Results

As this wasn’t a timed race I used my Runtastic app to time myself and allegedly the course was 230m short of 5km! I felt a little cheated because of this BUT my average pace was 06:32 which is my fastest yet. 

I’m well on my way to hitting my goal of sub 30 minutes for a 5K so I’m using this as practice before I do Run To The Beat 10k in September. Eeek! 

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Sometimes it feels like you’re running backwards

I’ve been flying pretty high for the past few weeks because I feel like I’m getting stronger, my 30 day paleo challenge has been going well and my body shape is noticeably changing.

But even with all of that, I suffered a bit of a setback yesterday.

I went back to Dean’s Boot Camp at London Fields Fitness Studio last night which I’d been loving before I went to India. There’s a lot of running and cardio involved in this class which takes place outside in London Fields. 

Now, as you all know, I’m not the strongest runner, but I am getting better. That said, mixing burpees and push ups with laps around the park was a real struggle. 

I was getting back to base last on every single run, often quite a way behind everyone else. As much as I wanted to run faster, I realised that I couldn’t have completed the reps at that tempo so I stuck to my slow and steady plod. 

However, shuffling along by myself started to get to me. Everyone else seemed so much fitter, faster and stronger. I started to feel like a failure which I haven’t felt for a while. I’ve come such a long way already but the huge distance that I still have to go suddenly seemed like a step too far.

The only thing that picked me up was a massive high five from Dean at the end of the circuit and some encouraging words from him to tell me to maintain my tempo and that I was doing well. 

Following that class I’ve added a new aim for 2014: to not come last in every running circuit. 

It’s something to aim for and I’m going to start getting there by going back to Dean’s class on Saturday morning and running my little legs off. 

Photo credit: http://www.motivationblog.org/running-inspirational-posters/#.Uyxpnz9_sVA

The truth about running

Running and I have a turbulent past but we’re mending old issues and becoming friends again. Here’s how…

Way back when, in my school days, I was very sporty. I represented the school at lacrosse, tennis and athletics but as I got older the puppy fat started to appear and I lagged behind everyone else. The final straw was not making it into the top 30 of the cross-country run and therefore being dropped from the lacrosse team when I was 15. After that I pretty much gave up.

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I played football for my university and struggled through every single fitness session, only ever coming on at half time as I wasn’t fit enough to play a whole game. I half-heartedly tried to improve my fitness by going on a few runs but together with the prodigious amounts of alcohol I was drinking and my weakness for Chinese takeaways, I didn’t get very far.

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Jump forward to mid-2013 and I’d been working at a desk job for 4 years. It had taken its toll on my fitness to the point that walking a couple of miles felt tough. It was time to get in shape…

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I started going to classes at the brilliant London Fields Fitness Studio, doing Pilates and yoga to strengthen my muscles and eating properly (most of the time). But running was still a pretty major mind block for me.

I started small and slow, 10 minute runs down the road followed by 20 minutes of walking. Everything hurt, I sweated and swore but vowed that I would get better.

Gradually, I started running the short route home from work (1.75 miles) at a crawlingly slow pace but eventually I could do it without having to stop and walk.

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Fitness and eating clean began to be a major part of my life. I was exercising 6 days a week and eating healthy and nutritious food. As boring as it sounds, the difference it’s made has been amazing.

I can now run 4km without stopping which is a major achievement for me and my little short legs. My goal is to run 5km in 30 minutes or less this summer and I’m working up to this by doing some steady runs combined with interval and strength training at various different classes. It’s a big challenge but I’m determined to do it.

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And the strange thing is that I’m actually starting to enjoy running!

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