Daily Greatness

Following my last post this post may come as a bit of a surprise! Sorry.

Over the Christmas period I had a sudden urge to buy a training journal so that I could  record all my fitness achievements. My requirements were quite specific:

  1. To be able to able to use it for my running.
  2. To be able to record my gym sessions.
  3. To be able to record my food (this is an area that I need to work on, especially when running longer distances.

Hmm well this turned out to be quite a task I can tell you! Most seem to be written for the gym, or for running, or for exercise but not food…. I asked on twitter and Facebook but still didn’t find anything to meet my exact requirements…..and I still haven’t!

What I did find was this:

Dailygreatness Training Journal: 12 Weeks to a Rocking Fit Body, Mind & Spirit

I need some positivity in my life! This is a whole programme designed to improve your health and fitness over 12 weeks- perfect if your New Years Resolution is to get fitter and healthier. You can subscribe to the ‘Rocking Fit’ programme which is designed to improve you body, mind and spirit but I am going this alone!

Before starting on the actual journal bit there are a series of tasks to do. Now, believe me, I am not one for tasks, not…..at…..all. BUT I did find these thought provoking. I had to think about my values. This is one of those things where you go through the list and think…yes, yes, yes and then you get to the end and you have said yes to them all. I did, eventually manage to identify 5 key values  which was HUGE for me.

What I particularly like about these exercises are that they really make you think about what it is that you want to achieve, why and then the steps that you can do to achieve them (SMART goals anyone?) Yes, even I managed to set some goals which from someone with a huge aversion to setting goals is awesome.

Image result for setting goals quotes

Each day you have 8 daily steps to follow, all designed to keep you on track to achieve your goals. In the morning there are some questions designed to help you identify things that you are thankful for. Now I am rubbish at this and had to think really hard to identify 5 this morning (I know, in reality I have so much but, as I have said before, I tend to focus on the areas needing improvement.) I am hoping this improves! There are boxes to check if you drink 8 glasses of water, meditate and stretch. Then in the evening there are questions designed to get you to reflect on your day, identifying things that went well and things that you could improve on.

It is this that has inspired me to start my daily morning yoga sessions (yes, I am still doing them!) Stretching and mindfulness in one. I am definitely benefitting from this. I feel calmer as I start the day and the stretching can only improve too. When I first got the journal, I did wonder if I would find the time to fill it in, but I am. I am enjoying the enforced focus on me for a change, it feels like I am finally looking after myself properly and I AM WORTH IT. If I also manage to become a bit more positive and achieve some goals then all the better.

Image result for I am worth it quotes

I shall update you as I move further into it (I only started Monday). Right now though I am very excited by it. It will serve as a record of my training for the London Marathon but hopefully will give me some life skills and practises that will continue to benefit me for years to come.

Should you wish to purchase your own copy follow this link. You will get 5% off your purchase (and I will get a 10% referral reward). This is (I believe) something that everyone gets when they purchase one of their journals and has nothing to do with me reviewing their product.

Disclaimer: All the views in this post are my own. I have bought the book myself.

 

Am I good enough?

I have had to take some time off work this week due to my son being poorly. Luckily the person that covered for me was someone I knew fairly well. I say luckily because I hate having time off work so leaving it with someone I trusted was a huge help.

This post was inspired by what she said to me after the day was finished. Yes it  was all very complimentary (she is a friend!) but what struck me was all I notice are the things that are wrong and that I haven’t done. I don’t ever step back and think about what I have done well. I actually ended the day feeling quite positive and that I can actually do my job ok. This was a bit of a revelation to me. Yes there are things I can do to improve but some of what I do is done quite well.

Before you ask, I do enjoy my job….a lot,  but I rarely feel that I am doing some of it quite well. This is because I spend my time focussing on all the things that I know need to be done better. My bet is that you are the same. I knew that this was definitely the case when it comes to exercise and running, being a parent etc but with work I had never really thought about it. I just kept my head down and kept working.

So in the future this is going to be my motto:

Image result for you are doing a good job quoteI will continue to improve, that is a non negotiable but I am going to try to recognise the bits that I get right.

What about you? Are you good at recognising your strengths?

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.