Step back in time…

Apologies if you now have an awful song in your head… but I have to share my latest training addition to my overall training plan for the Great Wall of China marathon.

I have a new training buddy… Cher!  That’s right… Cher has been dusted off and brought back to my living room for her 40 minute step aerobic routine back from the dark ages of the early 90’s.


Doing the routine on my new step this morning, I could remember the entire sequence near enough, the bits where Cher starts singing and joking, to where she goes quiet later in the routine (obviously knackered).  I religiously worked out to this ‘video’ back in the day, which was nearly every day for months on end – my legs were like Arnies.

Dad had made me an aerobic step out of wood and I used that, it worked perfectly well, and was still going strong when I left home in 1992, wonder what ever happened to it?

Keli Roberts is the step instructor in the video with Cher as one of the group, she is still in the fitness industry and I am sure I have a ten minute kickboxing boot-camp DVD of hers lurking in my drawer that I will have to dig out.

There are three levels you can workout to, those who want a low impact version (no step), intermediate (regular step & moves) and advanced (higher step, adding repulsion to some moves to make it more of a challenge) and I was impressed with how much I kept up with it… sweating like a pig by halfway I managed the intermediate level (like my pal Cher), but without the black lace, wig and ruffles which she adorns in the video.  Interestingly enough there is a heart rate check at midpoint in the video and I was bang on in the middle for my age range, so very pleased with that.

Its 40 minutes of fun, and the bad hair and outfits are just superb… I shall be doing this again and incorporate this as a regular feature of my training plan – those thousands of steps on the Great Wall are not going to be walked by themselves and the more I get my legs used to this exercise the less pain I am hoping to feel on the Wall.  May be a step warm up / run combo might be called for.

So a big thank you goes to Cher for turning back time this morning for me, wonder if she still does step herself? Or has it been relegated to the loft with her gold discs and Oscar statue.

Now… where’s that Jane Fonda DVD…



Get busy living, or get busy dying..

Its been years since I watched the Shawshank Redemption and its no shocker to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed it when I popped it on the other night.

Stephen King, to me, is one of the greatest modern American authors.  I am not a great reader by any means, but there has always been something about his work, his imagination, that has resonated with me.  The Shawshank Redemption in my opinion, is one of his greatest stories, and the words ‘Get busy living, or get busy dying’ stuck with me long after I watched the film.

How many of us go through each day, without actually enjoying it?  On the hamster wheel with work and home life/housework and another day has passed, just like any other.  All of us deserve more than this – we are more than our jobs, titles,  or anything else that we have been labelled with.

Which brings me onto the reason for this post, finally!  Recently I placed another order of coffee pods, the order previous to that hadn’t been that long ago and made  me take stock of how much coffee I was actually drinking on a daily basis. Eep, it worked out to be 6 cups (or sometimes more) a day. Not good!


Reason that I have been reaching for my standard black Americano is that I am constantly ‘knackered’, dragging myself to bed as soon as I can, lacking motivation for anything and we all know this level of caffeine will disturb sleep patterns (and god knows what other health issues).

But its not just caffeine  I’ve been reaching for, its been sugar and salt too to give me energy – and unfortunately all this has piled on half a stone since this time last year, n matter how many miles I have run, you just can’t outrun a bad diet…

Now I am training hard for the Great Wall marathon, I decided to do a bit of research to combat this fatigue and fell upon Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome…

Adrenal Fatigue is a decrease in the adrenal glands’ ability to carry out this normal function. It is commonly caused by chronic stress from any source (including emotional, physical, mental, or environmental) that exceeds the body’s capacity to adjust appropriately to the demands placed on it by the stress.

Well I could very well fall into this category… looking at the symptoms, I tick every box.

  • Difficulty getting up in the morning
  • Inability to handle stress
  • Regular and unexplained fatigue
  • Cravings for salty foods
  • Mild depression
  • Insomnia
  • Overuse of stimulants like caffeine
  • A weak immune system (4 colds in 2017 alone)

Whether I have Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome or not I don’t know but I decided to check out how to battle it.  It can’t hurt, as the treatment is healthy lifestyle changes rather than anything drastic.

First things first I decided to focus on two areas this week rather than overwhelm myself with the lot;

Caffeine:  I have cut back on my cup of Joe.  Just having 3 a day, and drinking more water and herbal tea.  I’ve noticed the benefits of this after only 2 days in – feeling more awake and better within myself (emotionally).

Sleep: My daughter is nearly three and mostly sleeps in with us even after we have plastered her bedroom with Frozen posters and millions of toys! She has a habit of kicking out and mostly all night I will get kicked in the back, chest or face! So I normally get a very interrupted nights sleep.  This has got to stop, for our sakes and for hers.  So slowly trying to get her back in her own bed now.  With my husband on nights I tend to do the most childcare out of the two of us, and just need some space to myself even at night in bed.

So onwards and upwards – I have been swapping out some of my go-to bad food ‘crisps and chocolate’ for better, healthier, options.  Not looking at calorie content at the moment but choices, so been eating nuts, boiled eggs, hummus rather and will continue on with this…

Lastly, in prep for the Great Wall I have ordered a new aerobic step – the old one I finally found in the garage and managed to crush and break in the garage door (long story) so as soon as this arrives I will dig out my old Cher aerobic step routine which I did religiously back in the day! I actually can’t wait. Old Skool!

Hope you are doing well with your training and enjoying Spring as it seems to have finally arrived 🙂

The Great Wall Marathon plans 2018

Well, the last few weeks have been interesting… I have made the monumental decision to enter the Great Wall marathon 2018 and set this as a goal to put all my efforts into.  I’ve no races planned this year at all … but there’s something about this event that has me hooked.

Its not quite like a normal marathon of ‘plodding the miles’, it has over 5,000 steps to navigate (5,164 to be precise for the full marathon) and revered as one of the worlds challenging marathons.

Established since 1999 its run every third Saturday of May each year.  Whether I do the full or half marathon is yet to be decided (based on my fitness levels at the time of booking) but my hankering to re-visit the Great Wall as well as being back in China is something I can’t ignore for much longer.


From 1992-1996 I spent 4 years living it up as an expat in Hong Kong, (the days of 9 hours of Thai Boxing per week and every other night on the booze are long gone) and had the chance to visit Beijing and see the beautiful Forbidden City, Summer Palace and many other of jaw-dropping tourist attractions.  Its always been somewhere I have wanted to return to.


Researching and chatting to some YouTubers who have completed the half and full Great Wall marathons, they have all advised to do plenty of squats and lunges for the steps and to concentrate on this rather than getting the mileage in.  The steps add hours onto your normal marathon time, which isn’t a problem for me as I have no marathon time.

So my Jeff Galloway technique of training for this event is perfect and after 3 x 10 squats and 3 x 10 lunges yesterday, I can really feel the DOMs today and know I need to concentrate on strength more and continue to train injury free with Jeff’s technique.  Its my best chances of getting through the event in one piece.  Ohh did I mention it will be hot and humid too – 30 degrees Celsius? I need to step up with hydration quite significantly.

Elevations… (gulp).elevationmap2016As you can imagine, the package itself isn’t cheap, there are a few tour operators offering overseas runner packages with sight-seeing options (Ming Tombs etc), and that’s the only way to get race entry.. ohh and this expense would be on top of potentially buying a house this year too!  BUT, I have my heart set on this AND its a once in a lifetime event to attend.  Interestingly enough, the cost will be the same for my husband (not sure for my daughter) – so they may as well do the 5k fun run on offer!

Plenty of hill training for me, plenty of swimming, running, squats, lunges, burpees …. this is going to be HARD – BUT its also achievable if I focus and get serious and of course its very, very exciting.

Already been bugging some of my ultra and fell running friends for advice and plenty of training with them up hills and pushing myself. Most importantly will be the mental challenge of this… I need to get tougher inside and out.

I’ll be blogging and vlogging my training journey as a journal for myself to look back on my progress.

14 months to go… the countdown starts.

Have a good weekend all. xx



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.


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