Tag Archives: health

How much exercise?

I am finally beginning to believe in myself with regards to my fitness and running abilities. A couple of days ago I managed to run 12 miles (as well as spend the rest of the weekend packing and hauling boxes around!). I am also speeding up again. This Sunday I managed to run 5 miles at an average speed of about 8.50minute miles. This is much more what I would expect.source

I had begun to tell myself that this was because I was having proper rest days and only running three – four times a week. Then I read this post by musingsandmotion where she documented her weeks exercise program. She had ONE rest day. Yep ONE, not two or three ONE. I suddenly felt inadequate and woefully unfit. What is your view on this? I used to exercise nearly every day – when I had the time. I now like to think that I do more quality work outs? Am I just kidding myself?


I suspect that this is the important thing. I need to stop worrying about and comparing myself to others – I just need to focus on me and do what is right for me. After all we are all different so what is right for one cannot be right for all…(If only it was as easy to believe it!)


I thought I was fit!

This week I have had a bit of a wake up call. Most of you will know that I ran a marathon on May the 6th.  Over the following three weeks I didn’t do much and when I tentatively started again I found that I had some pain in my right knee 😦

I decided to take it easy for a bit, concentrate on stretching and maybe cut back on the running a bit.

The obvious way for me to do this was to return to the gym for a bit. This in itself was a bit of a wake up call. My core and upper body strength was completely shot to pieces. I had obviously been neglecting this far too much.

In between gym visits I carried on running. Sometimes my knee was fine and others I had to keep pulling up with pain. Being inconsistent I decided that it was probably not too serious but did visit the doctor.

I have to say that I was very impressed. I got an open referral to a physio. I went along on Monday and had a 15 min ‘triage’ appointment.

I am right it is not serious. Apparently I have ‘runners knee’. The obvious response to this is that of course I have! It is obviously a relation to ‘tennis elbow’ and ‘policeman’s foot’! In other words common complaints due to consistent use.

I can live with this. It is not serious and I can get it better. The worst bit was when she did the assessment. it would appear that it is not only my upper body and care that is weak, my bum and some of the muscles in my legs as well.

I have been given some exercises to do. Fine except that the exercises I have to do are ones that I used to not be able to see the point of. I can now!

1.  The Clam

2. The squat with a pillow

Illustration of squat with squeeze excercise

3. Inside leg lift

I also have to Streeetch.

So what do you think? Am I just getting old?

I shall let you know how I get on.

Fair Skinned, Freckles and a Red Head

In the Easter holidays I had a mole removed from my back. Not for the first time. No-one was particularly worried. Not my GP, nor the consultant at the hospital. I was told I would get a letter in about 6 weeks with my results. Fine. Sorted. Finished.

Fast forward to 14 days later (the day the stitches came out) and I get a phone call out of the blue saying could I come to the hospital TOMORROW at midday to discuss my results?

So now what? Do you:

  1. Cry (on your poor unsuspecting friend who is visiting)?
  2. Panic?
  3. Phone your Mum?
  4. Phone your husband?
  5. Think that you have cancer?

I did all of the above although not in that particular order.

Then followed 18 hrs of mental torture with this never-ending cycle of thoughts ranging from the bleakest through to the embarrassingly hopeful:

  1. It must be really aggressive to have got the results so quickly.
  2. Maybe the results are inconclusive?
  3. Imagine me without hair.
  4. Think how much you love your children and how you must treasure every minute with them and not get cross and shout at them.
  5. Can I be as strong as I need to be?
  6. The mole has gone – it will be fine.
  7. How will we manage without me working?
  8. Why me and my family again?
  9. I was just getting everything sorted.
  10. What about my children – what will happen to them now both parents have had skin cancer?
  11. It must have spread.
  12. I don’t feel ill?
  13. Should I make an appointment with my GP ready for when the stress got on top of me and the depression hit?

I slept quite well that night. Surprisingly.

As I do I hid on the morning of the appointment. Didn’t drop the children off at school and cancelled running with a friend. I couldn’t cope with people and having to put on a show. I was far too tearful. Even a fairly innocuous text from my friend made me cry!

So I went for a run. On my own. Out in the middle of nowhere. As far away from people as possible. Into the countryside. Loved it. Felt strong. Felt alive.

As I headed back towards home I felt everything closing in on me. The pressure, the stress, the unknown, the worry.

Once showered I chose to wear clothes that I felt nice in. Not sure why really. Suppose I needed the boost.

On the way to the hospital I was remarkably calm. My friend had made sure that I had plenty of ‘easy’ knitting to do whilst waiting. (Bless her, she is the BEST) Even so I was very serene. No sweaty palms and most amazingly of all, I could concentrate on the knitting. My husband was not so lucky. He had been through it before and needed to know the details. I was a bit naive, expecting it to be terrible or ok-ish. He knew more.

Of course we had to wait a fair while but, for me that was fine. When we were finally called the consultant was lovely. She confirmed that yes it was melanoma, (a surprise to even her!) but that it was ‘the best sort’. It was mainly on the surface and had not started to go any deeper so really this was the start – and the end!

So there we are:

the best bad news you can have!

Joanne Scrace

Does Cold Weather Affect Performance?

As I began  my run this morning my toes were so cold I was worried in case they snapped off. (Slight exaggeration but you get my meaning?) They did soon warm up but it got me wondering about the effect running or working out in cold weather has on your performance. When I say cold I am talking just below freezing which comparatively isn’t very cold for some parts of the world but is quite cold enough for me thank you very much.

After some research I found out the following:

1) When your body temperature drops below 37′ C  your body requires more oxygen to remain at the same pace. This is because your heart pumps less blood around and it is also harder for your muscles to get the oxygen from the blood.

2)The optimum temperature for endurance runners is between 2′ and 11′.

3)According to a formula Schwarz devised, you can expect a time increase of 1.66 percent when the temperature drops to -1, and  a 3 percent increase at -6,

4) Dehydration is still a risk when running in the cold as you lose more water though respiration, you still sweat  and you feel less thirsty.

So how do you minimise these effects?

1) Keep your core temperature as high as you can, through warm ups, extra clothing etc as it is harder to regain warmth once it is lost.

2) Practice running in the cold as your body will adapt to a certain degree.

3)Wear layers so you can remove or add layers as you go. Remember that should you get injured and you end up walking you will get cold very quickly as the sweat takes away your heat – be prepared.

4) Manage expectations – if it is cold you will not be able to sprint as hard, or manage your personal best.

So what does this mean for me? Well I can pleased with myself for training in the cold and wind. I will continue to dress up warm (and carry the extra weight around). Most importantly I shall be kinder to myself when things do not go exactly to plan with my performance.

How do you cope with cold days? Do you put it off or continue anyway?

Resources and further reading:



My Park Run Debut

Last Saturday (yes a week ago now!) I ran my first ever park run race. I decided to do it because I could really do with the practice of running in crowds. I find this really hard. Being over a distance of 5k it is a comfortable distance for me.


Registering was really, really easy. I simply filled in a few details and very soon received an e-mail confirming and giving me my unique bar code to print out in order to get my time.


Having laid in bed the night before listening to the rain beating against the window I realised that it would be a wet and muddy run as it is run on tracks. Undaunted I arrived fairly early and sat in my car for a fair while wondering whether I was brave enough to remove my lovely cosy sweat shirt as it was quite cold. Spotting someone I knew I made a very quick decision to risk  it and jumped out of the car.

The Start

For the first time in …um forever, I did a bit of a warm up. I walked fairly briskly wondering at all these other people who seemed to take the whole business very seriously – sprinting, stretching etc. (Do you warm up? I am terrible at it).  Just before the start us newbies were pulled to one side by a very lovely enthusiastic lady who went through the  process with us, including the rules. These consisted of keeping to the left and being nice to everyone. I then went off to line up at around the 27 minute mark figuring that I would probably run about this time due to the volume of people.


As expected the start was quite congested and therefore slowish. I tucked in behind someone and followed her path dodging around people to find some open space. The course itself is run over 1 shortish loop and 2 longer ones. There were quite a few tight corners  and lots of nice puddles. To start with I was a typical girly girl and tried to avoid all the puddles but soon gave up on that!


This photo sums up the other two main hazards – wet, slippery bridges and dogs running with runners. The former was fine but I very nearly fell over a dog!! It was close to the beginning, just as the course was narrowing. I was on the right as I was overtaking but someone shouted ‘coming through’ so I moved over a bit. I was about to move back when I saw a dog (or rather  nearly tripped over it !). I have to say that I really felt that this was a bit unfair but as I survived I cannot complain too much.

The end

As always this was a long time coming. I thought I was at the end, speeded up and overtook several people only to find that it was further off than I thought> I couldn’t keep the pace up and so ended up being over taken by all those I had done! (Oh well you learn). At the end we were fed into a funnel and given a ticket.

We then headed over to the cafe where we had the ticket scanned as well as our bar code. That was it. Finished and done. I found it a bit strange, like I was skiving off early although not really sure why.

Back home

Back at home, later that day I had an e-mail telling me my position overall, my time as well as a load of other results. It even knew that it was my first run. Impressive eh?

I will definitely be doing this again. I really, really enjoyed it and found that I pushed myself quite hard – running a fairly good time for me. I had thought that I would not go that fast to allow for fairly easy improvement but that is just not in my make up at all. Can you do that? Do you have any great park runs near you that you do? Oh and the best bit of all is that it is totally free. I really strongly suggest that you give one a go if you can.

Too much running?

Running Too much?

Last week I found a new blog (well new to me!): healthyfrenchie, Reading this really made me think about my training. I spend a lot of time running. Now this is for several reasons

1. It is quicker than going to the gym (no traveling required!)

2. It is effective

3. (Probably the most influential) When training for my half marathons earlier this year running is the training you do!


Now this may sound really obvious as training to run a half marathon is going to involve running! However reading the lovely blog healthyfrenchie and also watching some documentaries on Olympian athletes I have realised that I have very much neglected much of my body (in terms of fitness that is.) Running is not going to tone my upper body. Does this matter? Honestly – I am not actually sure but I have had a bit of a shake up!

The Gym.

On Saturday I headed off to the gym and, after running outside  (3 miles) I did some weight work on my upper body. It felt quite good and I really ached the next day (evidence to how much I had neglected this!)

The Garden!

Yes you read correctly. Monday evening I did a workout in the garden (and I have a very small garden at that!). My wonderful husband came home and said that he would quite like to go the golf course. Of course I said fine! Only, however because I was thinking about this post from Healthyfrenchie: Making Up Your Own Workout. I can definitely do that thinks me and so I did. With the company of my eldest son and the timing abilities of my next eldest we had quite a good workout. (yes I do ache!)

My Personal Workout!

I did 1 minute of each exercise x2!

1.        2.                 3.

Step ups                                                     dips                                        star jumps

4.              5.                      6.

bench step ups                              walking lunges                                      push ups

7.               8.  Burpees (no image!)             9.

Squat jumps                                                                                                     plank

10.             11.         12.

Jump lunges                                        sit ups                                            shuttle runs

13. Boxing!

So what do you think? Is it fairly balanced? Can anyone give me some bicep and back exercises to add in? Fancy giving it a go?

I am going to do a bit more research into training so will get back to you in due course.

Truth or Lies?

I have learnt something new today – Ostriches do not stick their head in the sand when in danger. It is a shame because I had all sorts of clever headings for this post revolving around this fact! Instead I will go with the mantra – I MUST NOT MOAN (No-one wants to read a post full of my moans right?)


Ostrich (Photo credit: Ginger Me)

I have completely neglected the running half of my blog the past couple of weeks! Why? Well I am frustrated and when this happens I tend to pretend that it is not happening. I think that I hope that it will then go away. Obviously this doesn’t happen so I am being brave today and facing up to a few home truths.

True or false?: I thought I was fairly fit.

Picture credit:Britsintheus

So why do I ache so much? This week my body has felt completely broken! Last week  running was an effort – you only have to look at the figures. Despite cutting back on miles my timings were slow. This week too has been hard. I have been like an elderly lady with two knee replacements. My thighs are so sore. (I must not moan!) The positive however is that I did run 10 miles in quite a good time on Saturday, following 7 on Friday! (I can be positive!)

Answer: I am expecting too much from myself (or am I just getting too old?)

Picture credit: fitness motivational quotes

True or False? I thought my shoes fit.     

So why have I got blisters all over my feet? I have no answer to this except that it hurts 😦 (I know I must not moan!) Any answers gratefully accepted (I have changed nothing, not socks, not shoes, nothing!)

Answer:? (should be true as I had them fitted properly in a shop with a treadmill!)

On the other hand I have had my successes – I ran my fastest mile (8.17) without setting out to and I ran 10 miles for the first time in months. See, it is not all bad really but it is very easy to ignore the good things and convince myself that the bad things are bigger than they are. Is there anything that you do this for? Do you ignore the good things and focus on the bad?

Picture source: fitness motivational quotes


Some things just do not go away and some things are not as bad as you make them out to be. There are good things mixed in as well as the bad (Or is that just me?)

Insane or Dedication?

For those of you reading this who don’t run the answer will be insane, because going for a run is always insane, but for those of you who like to dabble then please read on and let me know if I am as insane as I think I am.

Under pressure:

Most of you know that I run, quite a lot. Some of you will know that I have recently began to not only record my mileage but also my workouts here.  I have, therefore just added a whole lot of pressure onto myself (more than just what is in my brain!). Wednesday, (yesterday) is one of my run days, except that due to child illness I was unable to go (that and I was shattered!) I even sent my apologies to a meeting I should have attended.


Normally this would not have been a problem, I would simply have gone out on Thursday evening instead. Fine except that I would not be able to without leaving the children home alone as Hubby is away.


Being the responsible adult that I am this was not going to be possible. That left two options: Not run for 2 days or get up early…. When my son came into me at 6.30am this morning instead of letting him in and dozing off again I jumped out of bed. 10minutes later I was out of the door and literally stumbling down the road. I soon remembered why I do not do this on a regular basis.

Reasons I do not run first thing in the morning:

1. My brain and legs do not have time to link up properly.

2. I have no fuel.

3. I am slightly dehydrated.

4. My muscles are stiff.

5. I do not run very fast.

Need anymore reasons? I did however feel better for doing it.

Over to you:

So where do you stand on this question?

Do you think that I am insane or would you have done the same thing? Would you have done this but made some changes? Please let me know. I need to know if I am certifiable or not!

Drip, drop

I am not a fan of writing a post about the great British weather but I just cannot help it today! I went for a run on Sunday. It was a slowish run. I had waited for a heavy downpour to finish and thought that this would be a safe time to go out – surely there would not be any left after the amount we had just had? Well obviously there could! I got to the end of the road and saw black, menacing clouds. I turned around and picked up a rain coat! Good job because it rained for most of the 30 minutes I was out. Rain was running down my face. (I so hate that!)

THEN today I went for a run again. On the school run I put on a jumper because it is always a bit cool in the mornings. Except for today that is! I soon took it off. I did go for a run and instead of the rain causing water to run down my face today it was sweat! Too much info? Sorry. It was obviously not quite as bad as from the rain but I think this just sums up the British weather nicely. Unpredictable!


It was worth it!


I have had a tough week, mostly on an emotional level. I have been disappointed by the selfishness of humans and the way me and my family have been treated. Anyway this morning I was tired. I got dressed in my running gear as normal for a Friday but was a bit half-hearted.

Let’s just see……

And then, as we left for school it started to rain. This combined with the wind was not enticing me to run! However, once I had dropped the children off I decided to give it a go and see how I felt. It had stopped raining by now and so I set off feeling a bit tight and tired but, as is often the way, felt ok once I got going.


Due to a road that I usually use being shut I was forced to run a bit further than normal but when I got to the point where I could have cut the run short (too short really) I carried on and I am so glad I did because I saw one of these:

This is a Marsh Harrier. They are big birds and we occasionally see them around here. They are larger than the average bird we usually get. I saw him really up close – close enough to see the markings which was really amazing. It was really windy and he was struggling with the wind a bit but it really lifted my mood. I love seeing things like this as it makes me realise that I really do live in the countryside and that there is more to life than silly selfish people.

I went on to run 8 miles which I was pleased with – and yes I was glad I went.

(Rather belatedly here are my summaries for last week.)