Overhaul of training and eating..

More details about a big event that I am training for will be released soon, mainly due to funds and some other factors mean I may or may not compete.

But what I am focussing on, is getting myself ready for this epic, once in a lifetime challenge. If not I will be in the best nick of my life. So its a win-win all round.

For this event, I want to train in the most sensible way I can, which means minimalizing the risk of injury and working on more muscle groups than the ones I just use for running.  Last year’s downward spiral in my running journey I think wasn’t helped with the monotonous plod on the pavement and boredom it created, so my new plan is more mixed, more trail-based and I am much, much happier in the first week of my new training regime.

So, taking into account my age,  44, and where I am at now in regards to weight, type of training and eating plan I have been looking in the below areas for improvement.

Abel & Colesmoothies and clean eating.  We have been getting the weekly ‘Simple recipe’ food box for quite some time now and really enjoying the meals.  Nothing quite tastes as delicious as organic food to me, and besides, its got me back into enjoying cooking.  We decided to add onto our weekly order the smoothie box, this week’s recipes were banana bread, kale zinger (oh boy, that was hard-core), and a mango one which I will have later today.  I am not one to jump on the scales every day, but I know  need to lose quite a bit of weight to be able to take on this challenge, so that my body isn’t spending unnecessary energy lugging around surplus weight.

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Jeff Galloway (Buy Jeff’s book here) – 3 minutes run: 1 minute walk – I bought Jeff’s book a while back and only got round to picking it up yesterday.  I decided that this is the way I will train for my event as its the best chance of protecting me from injury and conserving energy to ensure I can go for longer periods and more mileage.  Some of the stories in the book where runners have achieved PB’s in races using this technique is incredible.

Without Jeff in mind I have been doing this style myself on my runs last week on the trail hills, but now have set the run/walk programme into my Garmin and going to try this out on my run on Thursday and see how much mileage I can cover.  It will be weird as I know I will feel odd walking so early in the run, but I have heard so many good things about this technique that I must give it a go.

Hydration – aiming for 4 pints a day.  This out of everything, is the biggest challenge and always has been for me, something as simple as drinking water! At the moment I seem to be powdering my nose all day.  Apparently when you start hydrating more then this is natural until your body gets used to the new amount of water!  Some days I just seem to drink coffee – which is NOT good.  So, this I am hoping generates some energy for me, can’t do me any harm right?

Swimming – Adding in swimming to my weekly schedule, this is to help with breath and also to give my arms a good workout.  My first swim was this morning and I managed 20 minutes in the pool,  next week I am aiming for 30 minutes.  Next time I am making sure I put my goggles on and old lady swimming hat.

Next focus: climbing steps…. lunges and everything else to build the leg muscles.

Have a great week all xx

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Taking back my power

My new motto of ‘focussing on me’ has opened me up to a world of opportunities and a huge creative wave has swept over me, allowing me to start getting involved with some very exciting new projects.

Two very big challenges, one which will take me over a year to achieve, and the other, well who knows… they both have massive potential and will push me to my limits both mentally and physically.

Once more details have been finalised I will share on here.  I’m feeling rather excited, but instead of blabbing my mouth off as normal, I am holding back and once green lights have shown, then all systems gooooooooo……

But for those who spend much time helping and supporting others and feeling overwhelmed with it, then now is the time to take a step back, close the door and let the world of opportunities open up to you.

You’ll be so glad that you did, wish I did this a long time ago!

Take back your power, for you.

xx

A Poppy challenge….

On a moments whim I decided to enter the Virtual Runner UK Poppy Challenge ! The overall collective team challenge is to run a total of 88,824.6 km between 1 Nov – 30 Nov, with a minimum of 33 km’s each to receive this beautiful medal. From your £12 entry fee, a 20% donation is given to the British Legion.

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Virtual Runner – Lest we forget medal

The challenge is to honour the British that fell in WW1 and a good reminder how truly lucky we really are today.  On the days that you are inconvenienced in traffic, or your iPhone doesn’t work, or a multitude of other first world problems doesn’t compare to what they went through.

Simply put, without these heroes of the past we wouldn’t have the freedom of our lives today.  How lucky are we to live in an affluent part of the world, with medicine, running water and everything at our fingertips.  History could have re-written our story.

While I will be clocking in the km’s over that month I will be thinking of my Granddad who fought in WW11.  Granddad, a fiery, dark haired Camden-ite was part of an anti-tank regiment – he fought in Europe and heroically took part in the D-Day landings.

He went missing in the Ardennes, presumed dead, but in fact had been shot and hid from the enemy, to be luckily found by British troops.  My Nan, who without doubt had been in a hero back home, running with my Mum in her arms as the Dagenham docks were being blown up, was overjoyed to have her husband back, alive – what a miracle that was.

What they all went through at home and overseas will hopefully be nothing we experience in our lifetime or ever again.  My Granddad didn’t escape much of the war for years after, however he found a lot of joy in his grandchildren and taught his eldest granddaughter, me, how to hand-jive!

I will be thinking of my Granddad throughout this challenge, especially the moments he must’ve felt scared, or that he would never see his family again, and the wonderful moments we spent together and will be forever in gratitude to him.  I wonder at times what he would make of my life now, its so very different to how they lived back then and to even he passed away back in the 80’s.

I keep his war medals in a box at home and every now and again look at them, his photo will always be on display.

When I am much older I will pass my daughter my running medals, plus Granddads war medals.  Both are worlds apart in achievement, but may be can both be linked by determination.

My Granddad, my hero.

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BB xx

 

Looking ahead to Cheddar…

Each event takes in what has been affectionately dubbed the ‘Hell Steps’; a cheeky little flight of steps with a surprise mid way up

Oh dear! as my two year old daughter would say!  Just popped onto the Relish Running site for my next race which is fast approaching on 21st August and read this!

In a way I am looking forward to running a race which is not pavement pounding, this sounds  a complete challenge…. it opens with ‘You are running one of the toughest events in the South West’.  So whether it takes an hour or ten hours for me to complete the Cheddar Gorge 10k it will be a whole new experience and another one to add onto my running journey.  No doubts while I am running it I will be thinking what on earth made me book it, or why didn’t I go for the 5k option!

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Cheddar beauty

The views look incredible around the route from their website and I am wondering if I should invest in a Go Pro to record it all?  We are hoping to use that type of camera when we go to the States later this year so may be worth the investment now, and also to practise with it so I am up to speed for my holiday in November.  The prices seem to range from £159 upwards… so not a cheap purchase by any means.. hmm…

Last week, I tried out my new trail shoes which were excellent, I am very much a converted Mizuno lady! I will be wearing them in even more over the new three weeks till race day. Not sure on the rest of the kit as yet… with this terrain I am thinking that trousers may be better than my skort, will see! But I will definitely have my water backpack on.

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The trusted backpack!

The whole weekend sounds really good fun all in all! We are camping nearby at the same campsite as one of my runner friends, it will be my daughters first camping trip and I am just praying that she sleeps that Saturday night!

Relish Running are fast becoming my favourite event organisers… at only £18 to enter this race you can’t grumble at that!

 

Looking forward to updating you all on how I get on… BBx

NEW BLOG POST: 30 day shred!

As I enter the final chunk of the 30 day shred challenge, I thought I would share how beneficial I have found this challenge and how its impacted my running training.

JM

For those who do not know its a 30 day, 20 minute workout, split into 3 Levels (1-3).  Ex-Biggest loser coach Jillian Michaels instructs the video in her normal, motivational manner with two ladies showing you the moves so to speak, one at advanced level and one at beginner level (adapted, easier moves) which you can follow along, depending on your ability.

For the first 2 levels I have been mostly doing the beginner level, but mixing in some of the advanced to see how it felt and now I have reached Level 3, I have found I am much more stronger and can do a lot of the advanced level. I have to be careful of the planks with jacks as my continuing big toe issue has been reoccurring (of which I am changing my shoelace style to see if this improves).

Each 20 minute session level is split into multiple cardio and strength exercises interspersed and each only being 30 seconds long. What I like about this is that the exercises seem to fatigue each muscle group – but as its only for 30 seconds, its entirely manageable!  Whenever I am struggling I tell myself its only seconds rather than minutes, or an hour that I have to go!

Its really sat well alongside an online course I am taking run by Dublin University ‘Exercise prescription for the prevention of diseases’ – yesterday’s lesson was on how much strength and cardio we should be doing.  Current guidelines suggest that ‘moderate intensity for 30 mins/day 5 days a week, or vigorous intensity aerobic exercise for 20 mins 3 days/week’.  Also its recommended to have ‘2-3 days/week strength training, with a guideline of 10,000 steps a day!’.

 

So with this in mind and once I find myself post-shred I intend to continue with strength training 2-3 times a week as I have really felt the benefits to my running training in terms of stronger posture (so therefore a much stronger core) while running and legs feel much stronger and reactive.  I have also noticed that the jumping exercises have helped with this strength, specifically while I was trail running last weekend I felt so strong and agile as I had to navigate that terrain, its definitely helped.

Its been fascinating to see my shoulders take shape and arms build muscle, all of which will power me through my runs!  That with a focused breath, I feel more of a better, complete runner incorporating these changes, just all-round stronger really.  Apparently there is a diet plan online you can follow alongside the shred but I have decided to continue eating as I am for marathon training, I don’t want to feel weak on those longer runs.

Which reminds me to get ready for an 8.5 mile run today!

All in all I would highly recommend the 30 day shred and the benefits it can bring to a runner, you don’t have to be at the advanced level to feel and see the results.  I will certainly be looking into Jillian’s other videos to see what else I could do in terms of strength, I really like the way she instructs in the videos and glad there are two options to follow along to!

Happy bank holiday weekend all! BB x

 

NEW BLOG POST: Bucket List… oh boy

I’ve seen such amazing races on my Facebook feed lately that it just feels me with massive excitement, I WILL BE DOING ONE NEXT YEAR … this one especially excites me, I only thought the other day how running around temples would just be awesome, a little Lara Croft may be? Hell yeah!… the marathon I REALLY wanna do! Bagan Temple Marathon!

This looks incredible!

Check out the awesome video on their website… its description is pretty intoxicating too.

A relatively flat course, the route takes runners through a temple wonderland and small villages where it feels like time has stood still. The heat and dusty course is a challenge for most runners participating in the Bagan Temple Marathon. However, the beautiful temples, the friendly villagers, the other-worldly atmosphere make this marathon one of a kind.

 

That’s on the list plus … Marathon du Mont St Michel – I have been to Mont St Michel while on holiday in France and its just breath-taking (also to St Michaels Mount in the UK)… could you imagine returning to run a marathon? Well yes… on the list.

The Marathon de la Baie du Mont Saint-Michel is above all a sportive, festive gathering in the heart of an emblematic location in France and overseas, full of history and culture. The Marathon de la Baie du Mont Saint-Michel hosts 5000 runners each year who come from all over France and from every corner of the world. That makes more than 30 nations who come together to experience a magical sporting event in an exceptional environment – the Bay of Mont Saint-Michel between Cancale and Mont Saint-Michel – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With the majestic Mont Saint-Michel as a backdrop, the Marathon de la Baie du Mont Saint-Michel is one of the only marathons is the world where you can see the historical finish-line even before embarking on the legendary 42,195km distance.

And there’s always this one too…..Midnight Sun Run, Tromso….

Start and finish in the city centre. After 2K you’ll be crossing The Bridge of Tromsø.  The bridge rises from 6 up to 43 meters over sea level and brings runners to Tromsdalenwhere the sight of the Arctic Cathedral with the mountains behind is a great view. After running about 20K the runners recross the bridge, and return through the city centre. The second half of the course is mainly flat and quite easy to run. The course has been measured and controlled by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS).

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Just thought I would share these amazing marathons…. I wonder which one I will do?

BB xx

NEW BLOG POST: The year that was….

Wow what a year this has been…!  A LOT of ups and downs… personally, professionally and with my training too…

Just as a recap – I have completed 2 half marathons and 2 10k’s this year!

Bath Half – 2:45 (8 months post-birth)

Bristol 10K – 1: 06 (offically, 1:05 Garmin!)

Race for Life: 1:04

Bristol Half: 2:30:42

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Bath Half.. first Half…

 

Other highlights include my one year runniversary in Oct, 100 mile challenge in Oct as well as currently completing the 12 10k’s of Christmas challenge (my own challenge) now in Dec, and felt it a good time to reflect back on all those achievements (especially as I am nursing a slight hangover from yesterday’s Christmas party! Ouch…).  I may not be the quickest, but I can look back with pride and say that I put 100% into my training (which has included a strength training session too for 14 months) and say I truly did the best I could at all these races and hold my head up high.

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So a lot to be grateful for this year in terms of running, a lot of love/hate as normal, but this week I feel I have made a breakthrough with looking at nutrition, specifically my iron levels and how this impacts my energy.  Feeling fatigued and sluggish I felt like I did a few years back when I had to get iron tablets from the Doctor as I was anemic.  At that time walking alone tired me so much.  So I have been busy researching iron rich food to eat and topping up my iron levels that way rather than go the pills route.  I have never been one for pills, and would rather always look at prevention rather than cure.   Already I am feeling much better!  Here’s what Dr Google advised to opt for!

Foods rich in iron include:
  • Red meat.
  • Pork.
  • Poultry.
  • Seafood.
  • Beans.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables, such as spinach.
  • Dried fruit, such as raisins and apricots.
  • Iron-fortified cereals, breads and pastas.

The dried fruit is not quite agreeing with me, however seafood, dark green leafy veg, red meat and poultry I can’t get enough of…!  Plus eggs also carry a lot if iron too, so been having these too, once an avid hater of eggs, scrambled is fine for me!

I have a new plan too devised by the lovely Howard Chambers which I have been following, however in a pickle this week, it incorporates my 10ks challenge however due to schelping to Bristol and London this week (plus nursing a hangover today) , I will have to do 3 x 10ks over the next three days.. I can do this… I can do this… I can do this…..

Popeye

Really looking forward to next year now… I have some excellent races to look forward to.. new trainers (and finally that gait analysis in Jan), Bath Two Tunnels 10k in Feb, Bath Half March, Swansea Half June, Gloucester marathon August, Cheltenham Half Oct.  Next year is going to be a much better year in all aspects… I can feel it already.

Finally I just wanted to say Happy Christmas to you all and wishing you all the best for 2016.  Thank you to my friends (online and offline!) for their continued support in all my endeavours, I am so grateful to have found you all.  There’s no running away from me now, I can probably catch up ha ha.

Remember, no man is a failure who has friends… Its a Wonderful Life

Peace , BB xx