Yoga – how long will it last!

On New Years Day we went for a soggy, wet walk. By the time we got back the gym was shut so in desperation I decided to disappear and do some yoga. Unfortunately I realised just how tight my body was. A couple of months ago I had been quite good at doing yoga on a fairly regular basis, to the extent that I was actually seeing benefits. As you can predict, this didn’t last for very long.

It was very clear that I needed to do something about it. The trouble is fitting everything in; the gym, the running, the job, being a Mum, a wife and a housekeeper. (Notice the order of the list!)

My alarm goes off at 6.30 am. I get up to make a cup of tea and some breakfast before wasting half an hour or so on social media. It occurred to me that I could forego the social media and fit in half an hours yoga.

I use YouTube for my yoga and this week have been using Runner’s Yoga with Adrienne.

I managed 2 days which I am very pleased with. Yoga first thing in the morning is not the best time as everyone is stiff after a nights sleep but it is a good way to start the day. I kind of feel a bit more chilled. I wonder if this is just because it was close to a holiday? Time will tell.

Today (Saturday) I had a bit of a lie in with a cup of tea to start but then I did get up and do half an hours yoga. This time I used Ekhart Yoga for runner’s. I am no expert but this routine feels a bit more intense (maybe because I had done the other one 3 times and have got used to it?) For now I think I will mix it up between both these until I feel a bit more flexible!

I wonder how long this new little fad will last?

Do any of you use YouTube for Yoga? Can you recommend any different ones?

 

2016…..the year that was

I feel that I am a day late writing this post. Over the last 2 days I have enjoyed reading everyone’s round-up of the year and have been inspired to write my own….even if I am a day late.

According to Garmin I have covered a total of 1,539,27 miles running, swimming or biking. This has been completed in 324 activities and over 238 hours.

It seems that most of these are running as I have done 212 running activities, covering 1,42:02 miles in 191:36 hours.

2017 has seen some pb’s too:

5k This kept coming down and now stands at 25.31. Can I go below 25 minutes I wonder?

10k this came down to 55:25 in May

Half Marathon: I was so pleased to get 2:00:49 at the Silverstone Half Marathon this year. If only I had gone 49 seconds faster.

Marathon: 4:30:31 at London although my official stat was 4:40 but over a distance of 27 miles!!

Which time do I take? The one from my watch that recorded the marathon distance or the official race time?

2017?

I don’t do New Year Resolutions but I do have 2 targets: 1 to raise £2000 for my charity and to run London in less than 4.30. I am guessing that by this I mean my official time!

I wish you all a very happy New Year 🙂

REMINDER:

If you want to get fit in 2017 you can join this supportive Facebook group to help you start running or simply to get fitter by improving your walking.

 

 

A fit and healthy 2017?

Here in England we are just coming to the end of our Christmas holidays having had an extra day due to Christmas day falling on a Sunday. This means that today has been an extra bank holiday. That is the potential for 4 days of feasting and indulgence.

Hands up if you have eaten a little too much over the holidays?

If I am honest I think most people do which is why January is traditionally the time for New Year Resolutions, many of which are health based ones. How many resolutions have you made only to break within the month?

 

 

However…….if you want 2017 to be the year to get fit then I may well be able to help you achieve your goal.

Over on Facebook I have set up a group for anyone wishing to start to run/jog. The idea is that we all support each other along the journey. It is well documented that sharing your  goals with others, as well as joining in with others helps you to stick to your goals and that is what I am trying to facilitate.

Image result for achieving your goals quotesNot everyone has a network of willing friends on their doorstop that are able to start running with you. This group will replicate this. The idea is that everyone will be going through the same experiences so successes, difficulties and questions can all be shared with people who understand and are going through the same thing as you. It is a closed group so only members will be able to see the posts  making it safe and confidential. In addition, despite not being a professional with any specific training I will also be on hand to offer advice whenever I can using my experiences and knowledge that I have built up over the years I have spent running.

Who can join?

It is open to anyone who would like to start jogging. A smile and sense of humour is not obligatory but beneficial. You may have had some experience of jogging before or you may be a complete novice. We are open to all. (If you have any known medical issues that may be affected by exercise then please seek medical advice before you start.)

How does it work?

All you have to do is request to join the group. Then, from Sunday the 1st January I will guide you through the workouts on a weekly basis. This means that you will be able to complete them whenever best suits you. (I will be basing it on the NHS couch to 5k as this is a proven way that many people I know have used to start running with.)

What will I need?

At the very basic level you need a pair of trainers and some comfortable clothes to wear. Ladies will benefit from a special exercise bra. To begin with you don’t need to buy anything expensive (with the exception of a bra – this is really worth it as comfort here is important.) A pair of jogging trousers and a t-shirt will do along with a hoody type sweater if it is cold. At this stage comfort and accessibility is most important. Looking wonderful can happen later. A watch is helpful as you will be walking for a period of time alternated  with jogging. If you have a smart phone you can use this.

One final word of warning is that if you are going to be going out in the dark then please think about wearing a reflective jacket of some sort and not black and dark clothes. When you are starting out you may want to hide in the shadows (I know I did) but safety has to come first and that means being visible. Sorry.

How much does it cost?

Absolutely nothing. It is FREE. I love running. This is no secret, I love how it makes me feel and I am very keen to help others gain the same benefits. Over the years I have tried to inspire people by writing posts on this blog but this year I have decided to be a bit more proactive.

In March I am organising a virtual 5k race that you can sign up to if you wish. This will have a cost as I am using it as a way to fundraise for The Mothers’ Union that I am running the London Marathon for in April.

 

What is a virtual race?

This is where you run, walk or do a mixture of the two over a distance of 5k within a set period (in this case March). When you have done it you will then receive a bespoke medal that I am in the process of designing as we speak. By joining the above Facebook group there is absolutely no obligation to sign up for this at all although it would be a fabulous way to graduate at the end of the 9 weeks of couch to 5k.

What now?

Please spread the word amongst your friends and family. If you have any questions then please ask. Most importantly, if you have ever thought about running then please consider joining in. 🙂

 

 

Comfortably Hard

My plan says 3 miles at tempo pace for today. Not my favourite as it means working hard and running just out of my comfort zone or “comfortably hard”. As far as I am concerned those two words do not belong together at all. To top it all off the weather was foggy.

Luckily for me I realised that the club run tonight was a 5k timed run. Perfect. I knew that I would try harder and keep going for longer at a harder pace with other people around than on my own so I opted for this option.

The timed runs at club are sort of handicapped with the slower runners setting off first and the fastest last. There were 4 in my group. When we set off I quickly went to the front but then immediately realised that this was maybe not the best idea as setting off too fast ends in tears. I slowed down a bit. After a bit one man went off. I tried to keep with him and did quite well.

Each mile seemed to go on forever, so long that I began to wonder if my watch had gone wrong and wasn’t going to buzz at each mile. But it did….it just took it’s time. About half way I began to catch the group in front of me which really spurred me on (it is nice to have someone to aim for). I was then promptly over taken myself!

During the last mile I really began to struggle. I kept trying to relax and forget how far I had to go. Luckily the final stretch is downhill which was just as well as I was very reliant on gravity at this point. I had a lot of people over taking here and was literally hanging on for dear life.

I came 18th out of 40 something runners which I was pleased with and the time on my watch showed 26.31 for the 5k. This is really close to my personal best which I achieved in the summer. I also didn’t slow down that much however I felt: mile 1 was 8.27, mile 2 was 8.29 and mile 3: 8.42. Not bad splits at all. My heart rate is another story however – it got up to 172 which for me is extremely high. Even the average of 160 is higher than normal (my easy run on Friday had an average of 139!) I was definitely working hard.

I hope this is true!

Yes it hurt but I feel really pleased for doing it. That is the thing with running – once it is over you feel glad you have done it. I could so easily have found an excuse to stop. No pain no gain!

 

And so it begins….

My Aims

I met with a personal trainer last week. He asked me what my aims were. That was a simple question:

To get through the marathon training without getting injured.

Ever since I got my first ballot place in the marathon 3 years ago I decided that I needed professional advice when it came to training for a marathon. My initial fear was the dreaded runners knee. I knew from reading various magazines that running doesn’t use all your muscles on your legs and imbalances can create all sorts of issues. The PT that I had used previously had moved onto other exciting adventures hence the new one. After a bit more chat (actually after the session) I also added that I would like to better my personnal best time for a marathon. I am delighted to say that he has taken up the challenge. Apparently he likes a challenge as much as I do!

Plans

Very quickly (as in the next day) my plans were sent through. I have a strength programme to do once a week  and ….get this……a running plan. (I have never had one of these before.) No longer am I following a generic plan. I now have a bespoke plan written just for me. I am so excited, especially as it looks completely doable (so far!).

I have three weekly runs

– a tempo (which is miles in length rather that metres – gulp!) which is meant to be a relatively fast paced run.

-an interval run which is even faster than a tempo run but is over a shorter distance with short recovery breaks.

-a long run (starting at 7 miles!)

In addition to this I have a day for stretching and a day in the gym. The other 2 days can be rest days or active recovery of swimming or biking.

Considering I currently run on 4 days and try to fit in a gym session as well as biking this seems perfectly doable and a good fit for my busy life. It also gives me a specific day for my stretches which I really need to do more of. My body is not getting any younger and I need to look after it. I will focus on three quality runs a week, do my stretching and see how it goes.

Ahead of myself?

The plan starts from tomorrow. Most plans for the London marathon do not start until January so I am more than happy to start now. I run anyway so working harder than I would have but on fewer days seems to me to be a good way to get going. I am slightly worried about the accountability. Someone will be ‘watching’ my progress of my runs and I will not be able to make my usual excuses as easily. This is no doubt a good thing.

My first run will be Tuesday as I have completed a relatively tough cross-country course today (sand, ugh I hate sand).Tomorrow will be a rest day and then I have a tempo run. Please send me good luck vibes – I shall need them.

 

 

 

My Latest ‘little’ Challenge

I have been quiet on here but very busy in the ‘real’ world. I have continued with my running (that is a non-negotiable in my life), completed quite a lot of sewing over the summer (including my ‘happy dress’) and done a fair bit of knitting and crochet. I have also got a dedicated little sewing area which is lovely – if only I had more time to use it…..

I was unsuccessful in the London marathon ballot this year, which wasn’t unexpected but never fear, I am as mad as ever (probably even more so) as I have accepted a charity place. This means that over the next 5 months I will not only be looking after my wonderfully demanding family, doing a very busy day job and training for a marathon but also raising awareness and spreading around all the wonderful things the charity does as well as raising as much money as I can for them.

I MUST BE MAD??

Nothing like a little challenge to get you going.:)

 

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Who doesn’t like an interesting life?

 

A new adventure

On the 20th of August I was in Wales, on holiday. The reason for choosing Wales was easy: I was going to take on the challenge of Racing a Train. Sounds very different I thought. I like different. I signed up!Image result for talyllyn railway race the trainDoesn’t it look fab? My family would be on the train and I would run. Everyone would happy.

Unusually this race takes place on a Saturday ……. and in the afternoon. It turns out that afternoon races are not good for me. There is far too much time to get nervous. I was really nervous. It appears that I was stepping right out of my comfort zone with this race.

So lets put this into context….

I am a fen girl who is used to running on the flat with relatively dry weather. This race takes place in Wales which is wet and hilly. Gales were predicted on the day of the race along with rain. We had travelled down in rain on the Friday and it had continued to rain on Saturday morning. It was going to be muddy! The wind was not that bad for a town on the sea-side but would still be a factor when running the race.

As we arrived in the town where the race started we saw some runners completing the races from the morning. They looked tired and quite muddy. This just added to my mounting feeling of dread. I soon texted my friend saying that I just wanted it to start as I knew that I would be alright once it started.

Lining up at the start it appeared that I as slightly better prepared than my brother who had somehow failed to charge his watch! As the train whistle rang out to start the race we set off. My brothers words of advice echoed around my head: save some energy for the second half as it is more uphill.

Predictably I set off faster than I would have liked but we did have the wind behind us. I managed the first 6 miles in exactly an hour which I was pleased with as the terrain was uneven. I even got to wave at what I thought might be my family on the train as it steamed past! As we got to about half way the ground began to slip away quite steeply to one side – one poor man nearly fell into the bracken a couple of times. At this point I decided that safety had to  come first which was just as well as it got a LOT steeper after this point.

 

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An action – taken whilst running photo.

 

Just after the half way point the path became very narrow and steep. I slowed to a walk but was very aware of those behind me so at the first opportunity I decided to stop to let them past only to find that they were happy walking and ended up holding me up! (Trust me to be so thoughtful of others!)

Once we had passed this part we came to the next, unexpected ‘obstacle’ –  a bog.

We can’t go over it, we can’t go through it. OH no!  We have to go through it.

Squelch, squerch, squelch, squerch!

(Excerpt from the well known children’s book: We’re going on a Bear Hunt)

It was FAB!

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By now I was really getting into my stride. I suppose that I now knew that there was no time pressure, I was just here to enjoy it so I started taking photos.(There was a lovely marshal by this waterfall who actually took my photo with it but I shall spare you that image!)

I would just like to add here that the marshals at this event were the most amazing people ever. I may have been in a vest but these people had to stand in the driving wind and rain for a long time, in the middle of nowhere. They all smiled and were polite. They were nothing short of awesome, especially as a lot of them were not exactly young.

The 14 mile race took me 2 hours and 44 minutes. The elevation gain was 413 metres. Not fast, not flat and VERY MUDDY. I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Would I do it again? Definitely. Trail running rocks.