Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas

Perhaps you started the day with a parkrun or maybe a glass of fizz or a big cup of tea.
Perhaps you plan to go for a family walk later or will be staying in your PJs all day.
Maybe dinner is a big blow out, you find yourself on a mission to eat as many chocolates or mince pies as possible, or maybe it's more modest.
Maybe you're with friends and family or spending some quite time alone with all your favourite films.

Whatever you're doing today and however you spend it I hope it's joyful, peaceful and a happy time.
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

How Many Miles Earn You A Mince Pie?

They're singing "deck the halls", but it's not like Christmas at all... mainly because it's so damned warm! I've been doing in my best to be festive but it's hard when you can wander around in a t-shirt quite happily. Don't get me wrong, I'm *really* looking forward to Christmas but it doesn't feel as though it's in just two days time.

Monday was the last Circuits class of the year for Barnes Fitness and featured a Santa hat, seasonal tunes and mince pies. I was quite sad that it was over but I've got one more half term to cover in the New Year so planning for that will commence shortly.
The setting for our afternoon tea at The Vyne
Other efforts to be festive have included an afternoon tea at The Vyne National Trust property, Kew Gardens Christmas trail complete with hot chocolate, roasted chestnuts and a ride on the carousel and a carol concert on Sunday night. I've done stacks of Christmas making and baking and wrapped gifts in front of Christmas films like Scrooged and Elf.
I've even done a couple of festive runs. Bracknell parkrun on Saturday was Christmas themed, with everyone donning festive attire such as Santa hats and Christmas jumpers. I wore long tights and a Santa t-shirt and was baking by the end! Didn't stop me scoffing a mince pie though. More mince pies *and* mulled wine were on offer after the Muddy Welly on Sunday too. I'd run to the event but the return home was at a walking pace...
I finish teaching later today, the last RunFit session of 2015 was last night and I'll be heading back to my parent's for Christmas. I'm going to run Christmas day and Boxing Day, as I clock up a few more towards the grand 100 that I've been working towards all year, and return to teach a few classes on the 29th and 30th.

Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: metafit
Wednesday: Strength training
Thursday: Speed work
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: parkrun & yoga
Sunday: "Muddy Welly" 10k race plus jog there and back (2.5 miles)

Are you planning to run on Christmas day? Feeling festive or decidedly "bah, humbug"?

Monday, 21 December 2015

Event Review : Muddy Welly

It's been a whole since I wrote a race review, because it's been a while since I did a race! It's been most odd, after doing so many earlier in the year. I wasn't sure that I would be doing any more events this year but with the start line less than a mile and a half from my front door, friends taking part, the promise of mulled wine and mince pies at the end and a lovely course, I couldn't resist and signed up just a week before the day.

The Muddy Welly 5k & 10k races took place at Wellington College in Crowthorne but didn't really contain enough mud to fully live up to it's name. Starting at a very civilised 10am, I had plenty of time to eat some apple and mince pie nut butter porridge, watch the Strictly final, jog to the college, collect my race number *and* chat to people before the start of the race.
There was a good turn out, although I'm not sure how many entrants there were, and a good split between the two distances. The start line also happened to be the finish line where the mulled wine and mince pies were already on display; an incentive to get round quickly if ever there was one! The course was a 5k loop around the grounds; slightly different from the summer event held at the college and in the opposite direction, with more off road sections, which I prefer. It really was an absolute joy to run.

It was another unseasonably warm December day but dry with a light breeze so good conditions. The course undulated through the grounds, past ponds and a golf course. It wasn't a winding course, particularly, but there wasn't a hope of going wrong with a liberal application of red spray paint, yellow arrow signs, red and white tape and plenty of marshals. The only negative comments I have are that it was a narrow start so hard to set a good pace, and there was a bottleneck a couple of kilometres into the first lap, but it didn't seem to slow us down too much given that everyone I spoke to afterwards did much better than they'd expected. The water station at kilometre 3 (and 8) could have done with a second person there to help out. There were no cups poured when I passed on the first lap and no more than half a dozen on my second. Not a big problem at this time of year but one of the very few areas for improvement.

Not much in the way of seasonal attire in this race, although I was happy to be away from those wearing jingle bells quite quickly! There was a bit of chat on the way around, spectators cheering in the areas closer to the college, and just a really good vibe about the whole thing.

I managed to over take a few people in the last kilometre and had a strong finish in a time much better than expected. I didn't bother to get my official time from the machine but was very happy with what my Garmin said. As soon as I crossed the one I was presented with my medal and able to refuel with mince pies, mulled wine and bottled water. There was still quite a buzz of people about the place and cheers for those crossing the line. All in all a very friendly race.
The 10k cost £18 in advance. This included chip timing, a lovely medal and time tab for the back, as much mulled wine and as many mince pies as you cared for and free bag drop. I would certainly do this again in another year. In fact, I think I'm looking forward to it already.

Friday, 18 December 2015

Recipe: Toffee Apple Pancakes

I can never find quite the right pancake recipe when I want it so frequently end up making up my own on the spot. My most recent effort, inspired by a new peanut butter and some browning bananas, turned out really well so I'm sharing it here, so that you can try something similar and also so that I can find it again when the mood takes me!

These pancakes are light and delicious but you can make them as indulgent as you like.

Toffee Apple Pancakes

Makes 6 small pancakes

1 banana
1 egg
1-2 tbsp TPW Toffee Fudge Crunch Peanut Butter Luxe
2 tbsp apple puree
1 tsp chia and flax seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp bicarb
1-2 tsp coconut oil


  1. Heat the coconut oil in a pan while you make the pancake batter
  2. Put the banana, egg, peanut butter, apple puree, cinnamon, bicarb, chia and flax seeds into a blender or into a jug if you want to use a hand blender. Mix until you have a batter. It will be somewhere between thick American style pancake batter and thin crepe batter.
  3. Pour a little of the batter into the hot pan. You're aiming for small saucer size pancakes.
  4. When little bubbles start to appear on the top, after 1-2 minutes, flip the pancake over and cook for a further 1-2 minutes.
  5. Pop on a plate while you cook the remaining pancakes. Keep warm in a low oven if you wish.
  6. Serve with TPW Zero Maple Syrup, apple puree and more peanut butter if you wish. If you want even more indulgence, a little butter between each pancake is extremely tasty!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Christmas, Culture and Concerts

Stop the search, I have got my energy back! This coincides with the reintroduction of sugar and more carbs into my diet though I wonder if my energy would have returned naturally if I'd kept going with the change. Unfortunately, since reintroduction of these elements, I've gone rather overboard with them and let pretty horrible as a result so I expect I'll be going back to it quite quickly. I'll be writing a full post on it in due course but I've learnt that I *do* have will power and *can* cut things out when I want to but exercising moderation comes much harder.
Soup and a HUGE cheese scone at Grey's Court
I had my best parkrun in about 5 weeks on Saturday. It was at my parent's local course which I've done a few times before and enjoy a great deal. I was convinced I'd started too fast but managed to hang on. My legs felt bouncy and I managed, finally, to get round in under 30 minutes, even under 29 minutes! Number 94 done... getting close to the 100!

Christmas has arrived at the gym in more ways than one. The decorations are up, cards are being exchanged and classes have been slightly quieter, although those who are there are working extra hard, presumably so as to enjoy one more mince pie. It's all very cheery. We will be open for classes between Christmas and New Year and I fully intend to make my classes a bit tougher.
The wind down has definitely begun and I'm feeling remarkably under control this year. So much so I'm wondering if I've forgotten anything! What's added to this feeling was a long weekend with Mum and Dad. We visited two local National Trust properties to see the houses decorated for Christmas, went to a matinee at the theatre, watched an entire series of Downton Abbey in 24 hours and rocked out at the annual Status Quo concert.
Quirky Christmas decorations at Basildon Park
My aim this week is to keep up the momentum of last week and better it if I can.
Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: metafit
Wednesday: Strength, speedwork & yoga
Thursday: 5 mile run
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: parkrun
Sunday: 1h45 of jumping around (aka Status Quo concert)

Monday, 14 December 2015

Waste Not : Leftover Veg Stir Fried Rice

During the time I spent scrutinising my food habits recently I learned that I'm inherently frugal with my food. I can't abide throwing things out and the key to this is having a few reliable recipes to make the most of odds and ends of things that are left over. One of my favourites at the moment, aside from the ever present "bung it all in" soup I make quite often, is vegetable fried rice. You can throw all sorts of bits and bobs in and end up with a tasty, nutritious meal at the end of it. The addition of cashews and egg means there's a good protein hit, good carbs in the form of brown rice or quinoa and of course, lots of veg.

Left Over Veg Stir Fried Rice

This makes a great lunch or perhaps a light dinner.

  • Handful of cooked rice (I prefer brown) or quinoa per person
  • A good amount of left over veg (broccoli, peppers, mushroom, courgette, green beans and sweetcorn are all good but don't feel restricted)
  • One egg per person, beaten
  • A small handful of cashews, toasted (optional)
  • Soy sauce
  • Chilli flakes (optional)
  • Oil
  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok
  2. Once hot, add the veg and rice and cook until heated through. I sometimes like to heat up left over rice in the microwave first to ensure it's piping hot and not harbouring any nasties.
  3. Add the soy and chilli flakes to taste. 
  4. Move the rice and veg to one side of the pan and add the egg to the other side. This is easiest if the pan is tilted slightly in the egg direction. Let it sit for a moment and then use a spatula or chopstick to scramble the egg without mixing it in to the rice mixture.
  5. Once the egg is softly scrambled, remove from the heat and mix in with the rice.
  6. Serve topped with toasted cashews.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Kinesiology Taping : What Is It and How Can It Help?

It's been increasingly common to see sports people walking onto the track, pitch or court with brightly coloured strips of tape adorning their bodies. This tape is known as KT or kinesiology tape, and aside from becoming a bit of a fashion statement it is much more than that.

So what is it?

KT was developed in the 1970's by Dr Kenzoto correct muscle abnormalities around painful joints. It was designed to be the same thickness as the epidermis, breathable and flexible so as to become almost unnoticeable once it's on. 

How does it differ from athletic taping?

Athletic taping is designed to immobilise rather than support, with the aim of protecting the muscles. This can inhibit blood circulation, unlike KT which promotes the circulation, normalises muscle function and allows full range of movement. Both serve a purpose and it's important to use the right one.

What can it be used for?

It can help to reduce bruising and swelling by increasing the circulation of blood and the lymphatic system, speeding up the healing process. It is also useful for pain relief, can help weak muscles, reposition joints, normalise muscle function and improve proprioception (feedback from muscles and joints). It's very effective for postural correction but shouldn't be relied upon.

How does it work?

For pain relief, KT lifts the skin away from the fascia; less pressure means less pain! This also creates more space for blood flow which helps with healing. The direction of taping, the position the limb is in when being taped and the amount of stretch applied to the tap before adhesion to the skin, all alter the affect the tape will have. Taping from the origin of the muscle to the insertion point excites the muscle whereas the opposite inhibits it, so there are many different ways of taping, depending on what you need to achieve.


Here are a few examples of some of the more common taping techniques. 
Ankle sprain 1

Ankle sprain 2
Tennis elbow

Postural correction
Achilles Tendon taping
Plantar Fascia taping

Who can administer KT?

Many osteopaths are trained in the application of KT as are an increasing number of personal trainers. 

Is it for me?

KT should be used in conjunction with corrective exercises or appropriate therapy and not relied upon. It is an intermediate measure and not a cure. It can be useful to get you through a competition or event but if there is an ongoing problem, this needs to be addressed.

Have you ever used KT? Did it help?

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Socialising, Sweet Treats and Seasonal Festivities

Last week was back to relative normality in terms of workload, which is something of a mixed blessing; lovely to have a bit more time in the day but also nice to earn some more pennies of course.

Having that extra time on my hands, though, meant that I could be a little more sociable which was well timed given that my friend Shruti, the girl who talked me in to climbing Kilimanjaro which is what started this whole blog in the first place, was over from the USA for just five days. So on Wednesday, after class and PT, I hot-footed it into London to meet Shruti, her hubby and 10-month old baby and our mutual friend Alex for lunch at Jamie's (free wine, soup and mince pies thanks to the Gold Card) and a wander around Covent Garden. It was wonderful.
The Christmas tree got brought indoors and decked with lights and baubles, the advent calendar has been started and my mum has been sending me a steady stream of goodies by post too. This has included socks, tea bags, snack bars and chocolates. My fruit bowl may contain clementines and sprouts but they are of the chocolate variety!
I also submitted my distance total for my November training and received a poppy medal for my efforts thanks to Virtual Runner. I'd hoped to do many more miles but it's all contributed to the grand total of all entrants and it was money for a good cause so really can't complain. Plus it's a wonderful medal.
My training wasn't any better on the running front during last week but overall I did a bit more exercise than the week before, including yoga by Christmas tree light in the local school hall and Busy parkrun on Saturday morning. Running Bushy has been on my "to do" list for over a year and once I realised it wasn't very far from a friend who lived in Richmond, who I happened to visit at the weekend, it was a no brainer. Admittedly it was horribly windy and my legs refused to work, but it's ticked off and I'm now up to parkrun number 93!
Getting festive by some holly in Kew Gardens
We supplemented my parkrun with a walk to and around Kew Gardens on Saturday and around Kensington Gardens on Sunday, after a rather bizarre trip to Notting Hill in an attempt to have brunch. It didn't work out quite as planned but that's a story I'll let paul tell sometime. The good news is that this week I seem to be getting a bit more of my energy back, having re-introduced a few more carbs back into my diet. I'm not going crazy, but it's definitely worth doing for the sake of my sanity.

So all in all, last week's training ended up like this...
Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: Rest day
Wednesday: Strength
Thursday: Yoga
Friday: metafit
Saturday: parkrun + 2miles run + 4 miles walk
Sunday: 4 miles walk

What's your favourite place to go walking this time of year? When does your tree go up and what's the best advent calendar you've ever had?

Monday, 7 December 2015

Waste Not : Another Week in Food

I realised that looking at my food consumption for jet one week wasn't really going to show any trends or habits so I decided to keep going and scrutinise my habits for another week. I was rather worried, at the beginning of the week, that I would have to throw a lot out but I managed to make use of most things before they were lost forever. So here's the update for last week...

  • Almond milk, avocado, spinach, apple - smoothie with spirulina powder, cinnamon, vanilla and frozen banana
  • Squash, leeks, onions - roasted veg soup
  • Avocado, broccoli, sweet potato, eggs, beetroot, spinach - "healthy bowl" meals
  • Carrot and apple juices - used for my barley grass shots
  • Spinach, lettuce, apple, red pepper, cheese - salad
  • Apples - snacked on these, some plain and some with almond butter
  • Avocado, tomatoes, spinach, eggs - a lovely brunch
  • Sheep's yogurt - this was mixed with granola 
  • Apple juice - soaked some granola and topped with yogurt
  • Left over lentil soup
  • Left over rice, red pepper, broccoli, egg - egg fried rice
Sweet potatoes
Pomegranate juice
Sheep's yogurt

I had to throw out  more tomatoes that had gone mouldy and the rest of the clementines.

What's Left
Excluding the things I bought this week...
  • A broccoli stalk
  • Half a red pepper
  • Beetroot
  • Apples 
  • Chillies  
  • Onions 
  • Sheep's cheese
  • Eggs
  • Condiments and protein shakes
  • Roast veg soup
So at the end of this experiment I'm fairly happy that I don't waste any fresh food but what I DO need to work on, and what will be a priority project in the new year, is to start using up my store cupboard staples. I've got stacks of pulses, grains, nut butters and so on, that I seem to keep adding to rather than using up. And there's no harm in using things up, I don't have to ration things out just in case, nor have a huge variety of these things on hand.

Are you guilty of hoarding dry goods? What store cupboard essential can't you be without?

Friday, 4 December 2015

Review & Recipe : Indigo Herbs Organic Kick Ass Vegan Smoothie Mix

If you regularly use products like barley grass, spirulina and cacao nibs then you may already have heard of or ordered from Indigo Herbs. By it's own admission the company is on a mission to "empower optimum health by inspiring people to take responsibility for their own wellbeing by making excellent quality herbs and superfoods available and affordable". Certainly when I've been shopping around for supplements and powders they've often ranked up there as best value for money.
They are also sponsoring, a campaign that is inspiring and supporting people trying vegan for January, whether that be for health, nutrition, animal welfare or environmental purposes. And in honour of this they've worked with Sam Taylor, an internationally competing martial artist, who also happens to be vegan, to develop the Organic Kick Ass Vegan Smoothie Mix.
It's a great addition to your smoothies, porridge and a multitude of other foodie things as this superfood mix is high in protein, dietary fibre, vitamins A, E, C & B2 as well as being high in calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. It won't add masses of calories either, unlike some protein powders, with just 28kcal per 15g. This list of ingredients is enough to make you feel healthier just by reading it!
Organic Spirulina Powder
Organic Maca Powder
Organic Banana Powder
Organic Moringa Powder
Organic Chlorella Powder
Organic Wheatgrass Powder
Organic Chia Seed Protein Powder
Organic Pumpkin Seed Protein Powder
Organic Barley Grass Powder
Organic Baobab Powder

I was very kindly sent a pouch of this mix to try for myself and I enjoyed coming up with a couple of recipes with it. I didn't venture far from the smoothie (mainly due to time constraints) but was really happy with the results. I also think this would be awesome added into granola before baking! A point of note... this mix is very green and so will affect the colour of your finished smoothie. If you're making something with a lot of light coloured fruit, for example, it may turn murky but it will still taste excellent. So without further ado, here are my two smoothie recipes. 

Banana Cardamom Milkshake

If you like the popular Indian spice, cardamom, you will LOVE this!

  • Seeds of 3 crushed cardamom pods
  • 1-2 cups coconut milk, almond milk or cashew milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Organic Kick Ass Vegan Smoothie Mix

Simply put all the ingredients into your choice of blender (I currently use a Blend Active but a jug blender or hand blender will do) and blitz until smooth. 

Kick Ass Choconut Smoothie

This will really set you up for the day!
  • 1-2 cups coconut milk, almond milk or cashew milk
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp Organic Kick Ass Vegan Smoothie Mix
  • 1 tbsp nut better of choice (I used the Supernut Butter mix from TheProteinWorks)
Again, this is simply a case of putting all the ingredients into your choice of blender and blitz until smooth. 

If you try either of these and enjoy them, I'd love to know. For further inspiration, check out more recipes here and stock up on Organic Kick Ass Vegan Smoothie Mix here.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Unwilling Legs and Cold Feet

It was one of those weeks where you just kind of plough on, only looking a few hours ahead and forgetting what day of the week it is on a regular basis. Thank heavens, then, for lovely things through the post from my mum. A sudden cold snap meant chilly toes and 4-5 layers of clothes at the gym so Christmas slipper socks were perfect!
It was a busy week because I was covering extra classes at the gym while Anna took part in a kettle bell competition in Dublin (and smashed all her expectations). It was a bit of a whirl but great fun and this week feels empty by comparison. As a result I pounced on every free moment I had, made a lovely dent in the sofa and drank oodles of tea.
Looking at the training I achieved during the week it would be easy to think that the lack of longer sessions was down to extra workload but regrettably not. I had a good chunk of time put aside for a long run but I had no energy what so ever. The mind has been willing but the body unable. The change in my diet is still taking it's toll (thankfully only a week to go) and is frustrating beyond words. While I've been bright and chirpy in myself I've had no power in my legs at all. I had my slowest speed session EVER and binned the long run because I realised I would either end up stopping after 3-4 miles having hit the wall and getting frustrated. I'm a bit fed up with it to be honest.

There was a plan to go for a walk on Sunday whilst visiting my cousin and goddaughter in Dover but the weather was so horrific we bundled up inside with a film, conversation and the baby. Can't really be disappointed with that really.
Last week's training ended up like this...
Monday: Strength
Tuesday: Rest day
Wednesday: metafit
Thursday: 3.6 mile run & yoga
Friday: Speed work
Saturday: Rest day
Sunday: Rest day

When you've had no energy do you push on or listen up?

Monday, 30 November 2015

Vik's Picks : November 2015

The weather's just starting to turn to become the sort that you'd expect this time of year. We've been lucky to have a long spell of rather mild weather, all be it somewhat blustery and wet. I'm starting to feel the chill in the gym and outside when I'm teaching so it's probably no surprise that my picks this month relate to that!
  1. First up is this gilet. It has a detachable hood, is nicely padded, boasts inside pockets and the ones on the outside zip up. I ordered one to be printed with my PT logo and web address and I've barely been out of it between classes. Snug!
  2. I earned a few more points with TheProteinWorks recently so I decided to try this butterscotch protein mousse dessert. I love butterscotch angel delight but can easily eat a whole pack in one go so was glad that the extra protein in this means I can only manage half at a time. Similarly great taste but less of the guilt. 
  3. Isn't this buff great? I don't own this design but I'd like to. My collection of buffs has been brought out again after summer retirement, to cover ears when I'm running and warm the neck when I'm teaching outside. Also handy when I forget my sweat towel at the gym. Gotta love a buff. 
  4. Also keeping me warm are these leggings from Sweaty Betty. These were a birthday gift and again, I've spent a lot of time in these. They're super long, comfy, generous on the pockets and warm! These are so super cosy that I may not need to double layer with sweatpants later in the year and that's saying something. 
  5. I've cut a bunch of things out of my diet on a temporary basis recently, to see if it makes a difference to my blood sugar and energy levels. Gluten, cow's dairy and sugar are all on the no-go list at the moment and so my usual sweet treats of chocolate, biscuits and cake are largely no go. I'm still in the "craving sweet things" phase and when that hits I've found a date or two really hits the spot for me. They're also great for sweetening smoothies and gluten free cake so all hail the date!
What are your winter gear picks? What alternative sweet treats could you recommend?

Friday, 27 November 2015

Waste Not : My Week In Food

Last week I shared with you the contents of my fridge with the intention of sharing with how it's used and what waste I actually produce. This was inspired by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's War On Waste programme as I wondered if I was actually as good as I thought. So time for an update on what's gone in and out of my fridge this week.


  • Lettuce, avocado, eggs, tomatoes - these made several salads with sprinklings of seeds and a dressing of left over sundried tomato oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Left over spinach omelet - had this for lunch with some avocado
  • More tomatoes, some lettuce and half an avocado - used the tomatoes to make a batch of "butter chick peas" rather than using tinned or carton tomatoes. I had this with rice one night and with lettuce and avocado another night as I was craving greenery

  • Half a butter nut squash and 2 onions - these went into a big batch of soup along with some lentils
  • Half an avocado and 4 tomatoes - made a raw cream of tomato soup for a lighter eating day.
  • Spring onions, half a red pepper, a little broccoli, an egg, left over rice from curry night - veg fried rice
  • Pomegranate juice - used all of this to disguise the taste of the barley grass powder
  • Sheep's yogurt - this was mixed with granola and used to tone down the chickpea curry. Surprised at how much I liked the taste
  • Apples - snacked on these, some plain and some with almond butter

I only bought one fresh thing last week which was a bag of spinach.

I had to throw out a few tomatoes that had gone mouldy (they had been there a loooong time) and
one clementine that I didn't get to in time. Not bad!

What's Left

  • Some broccoli
  • A red pepper
  • Beetroot
  • Apples 
  • Chillies 
  • Onions 
  • Leeks 
  • A little bit of lettuce
  • An avocado
  • Half a tub of sheep's yogurt
  • Sheep's cheese
  • Eggs
  • Half a butternut squash
  • Almond milk
  • The rest of the juices, condiments and protein shakes

This has really highlighted to me how little I really consume during the week and how far I can make things stretch. I certainly don't need to buy anything fresh this week unless I need something specific although I suspect I'll buy some more tomatoes. 

Have you ever taken a good look at what you *really* use in a week? Would anyone like any of the recipes for any of the meals I mentioned?

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Surprises, Sunrises and Shivers

Hey all, hope you're managing to stay warm in this sudden temperature drop. I've taken to wearing ALL the layers and still not quite managing to keep as warm as I'd like. The hot water bottle has been dusted off in an attempt to warm up toes of a night time and the heating is now very much ON.
Cold weather seems to bring about stunning sunrises.
Fairly uneventful week last week. I taught, I planned, I watched various catch up channels, and I worked out. I sort of went into hibernate mode, which isn't always good for me. Energy levels were low for most of the week which was probably a side effect of recently cutting refined sugar, most carbs and grains and caffeine out of my diet. As a result there was a distinct lack of running last week partly as I just didn't feel up to much, partly because I feared at becoming stranded with rock bottom energy levels. The treadmill helped and I was overjoyed on Friday afternoon when I felt *keen* to go to a boxing class.

Saturday was a joy. Ok parkrun was very cold but I made it to yoga and met a friend there unexpectedly. We took up position by the radiator and nattered away until class started which in itself was great as I felt myself progressing with a few postures. There was a text from my mum waiting for me after class, saying she and dad had booked a table at my favourite local restaurant for dinner and would I like to join them? Um, YES! Bless them, they travelled up from Kent for an afternoon and evening with me and mum even bought me flowers. It really lifted my week and I even managed to stick (mostly) to my diet.
That's actually a type of cabbage in the middle I believe.
On Sunday I had an early start to get up to Birmingham for a course in Boxercise for Kids. I've been helping out with the kids classes at Box Bell Fit for a while but this course will enable me to lead them too. It was a good course, mostly theory driven, and highlighted how much thought needs to go into working with children both from a safeguarding and physiological point of view. I came away with lots of ideas and am having to stop myself from rushing in to set up family classes! There was some practical element but unfortunately not enough to warm us up. The school where the course took place had all but shut the heating off and I had to borrow gloves from someone to warm my hands up for the written exam. I would have liked to have stayed for the free Boxercise Masterclass about an hour after the course finished, despite the fact it would have made me quite late getting home, but I couldn't face being cold any longer so made a quick getaway. It took me an hour in the blast of the car heater to thaw out!
So I started the week armed with inspiration, motivation and energy. I'm going to make a real effort to get out for a proper run this week, even if that means wearing many layers.

Last week's training:
Monday: metafit
Tuesday: Rest day
Wednesday: Strength training
Thursday: Rest day
Friday: Speedwork & & Turbo
Saturday: parkrun & yoga
Sunday: Rest day

Does the cold put you off of exercise? Have you seen any great sunrises recently?

Monday, 23 November 2015

A Running Questionaire

There've been quite a few serious posts on the blog lately so I thought that it was about time I posted something just for fun. So how about a running questionnaire! I pinched these questions from Mary's blog, and some of them really made me think.

Would you rather run along a beach path or on a mountain trail?
Ooo tough one to start with! I loved and hated the beach sections of Tiree in equal measure with their flatness and seemingly never-ending nature so I'll probably err on the side of mountain trail. I've little experience here but despite hating hills, trails are fun and what goes up must come down. Plus, views, right?
Beach running on Tiree

If you could choose the flavour of Gatorade at your next race’s aid stations, what would it be?
I wouldn't. I don't drink it. Nor do I drink Lucozade. The only thing I tend to drink that's not water is nuun and my current favourite flavour of that is lemonade.

If I gave you a £100 gift card to a running store, what would be the first thing that you would purchase with it?
I *ought* to by a new sports bra and maybe a fancy reflective jacket but in reality I'd buy capris! I've got enough trainers (although there are plenty I still covet) but I'm a sucker for funky capris.
Do you prefer to follow a training plan or wake up and decide then how far and how fast you want to run?
I always have good intentions of following plans, and do ok, but can feel quite constrained and overly worried about following them so given the choice, and if I didn't have an event to train for, I'd prefer to just run as I feel.

Would you rather start your run with the uphill and end on the downhill or start your run with the downhill and end with the uphill?
Always get the uphill out of the way first. There's the argument for the legs being more warmed up at the end of the run but they're also tired and I'll be grumpy so let's pick the option that involved least swearing.

When you can’t run, what type of cross-training do you choose to do?
I cross train even when I can run, because I am the type of person who get's bored if I'm only doing one thing all the time. I mainly do metafit, HIIT, boxercise-type classes, circuits, kettlebells and yoga but will swim or cycle occasionally too. I'd love to dance more often but that's fallen off the radar recently.
 I've tried trapeze and trampolining too!

What is your preference—> Out and back, point to point or loop runs?
Loop runs are best for me because it's harder to talk myself out of turning back early and saves on the logistics of getting home again in a point to point.

If you could recommend ANY running related item to a new runner, it would be a—>
pair of trainers that you LOVE. If you love your trainers then you're much more likely to want to put them on and go show them off.

Do you ever see any wild animals while out on your runs?
Yes, mainly squirrels around this way. There was the occasion when I actually kicked a squirrel by accident having apparently snuck up on him. I'm not sure who was more surprised. I've seen the odd deer in the forest too but that's about it.

Ever gotten lost while out on a run?
Not to the point that I've had to call for help but there was one occasion in particular when I got lost in the forest (with company) and it took a bit longer to get home than expected, adding a couple of miles on to what was a medium length run. 

If you could have one meal waiting and ready for you each time you got home from a run for the next 30 days… what would that meal be?
I can't possibly answer that question because I don't have a favourite meal and often I'm not hungry for a full meal when I get back from a run. A chocolate milk drink and a bit of cake wouldn't go amiss though!
Capris or shorts… what do you run in most often?
Capris. I own very few pairs of shorts, and certainly no loose fitting shorts, that don't start chafing after 3 or 4 miles.

At what mile (or how many minutes) into your run does your body start to feel like it is warming up and ready to go?

It takes me about a mile to warm up and get into the flow of a run. There have been a few occasions when it's taken longer or never really happened at all but when you find that moment of complete flow it's pretty special.

What do you do with your key when you run?
Put it in my shorts pocket. I have a special pair of keys, free from key fobs etc, that I take when I run, rather than my usual set.

If you could relive any race that you have done in the past, which one would it be?
A real tough one. There are so many that I've loved, either for what I've achieved or the fun I've had. It would probably be one of my marathons, maybe Marathon Du Medoc. 
Party time at Medoc
What has been your biggest motivation lately to get out the door to get your run on?
My growing sense of lethargy. I know the longer I leave it, the worse it will be so I just go out to run with no set agenda.

When you go for a run, do you leave right from your front door or do you drive somewhere to start?Almost always from my front door. That's part of the attraction of running for me, that I don't have to go anywhere to start. I'll travel to run with friends, for races and parkrun, but I'm lucky that I have a lot of loves places to run within a couple of miles of my front door.

When running in daylight—> are sunglasses a must or an annoyance?An annoyance usually. Of course it depends on the light, and the trade off between wearing sunglasses and being able to see but despite having a really good pair of sport sunnies with interchangeable lenses, I prefer to go without. My eyelashes catch on the lenses sometimes and I can't stand it.

When you get tired, what keeps you from quitting?
I honestly don't know. Perhaps it's breaking down the distance left into more manageable chunks, seeing friends or family on the course, or just a fear of feeling guilty if I don't do my best.

I'd love to hear your answers to these questions! Pick one or two to answer in the comments or link me up to your version on your blog :)