The 5 Best Bits of Running Advice I’ve Been Given

Today was my first long run in two weeks (high fat/virtually zero carb eating does not mix well with long distance running), I knew it was going to be tough but I had to do 6-7 miles according to my training plan. I decided to run the same route as I ran two weeks ago – but backwards. This meant I had one steady uphill for about 2 miles, then a long steady downhill, then one sharp hill for about 500 metres and lots more downhill – rather than what felt like about 5 miles of slow steady climbing with a big downhill in the middle. As I was heading up said sharp hill  desperate to stop I heard the voice of one of my running buddies from days gone by in New Zealand, a lovely lady called  Karen Justice.

Always run up the hills – you can recover going down them

There she was like a running angel speaking in my ears. Either that or I was having some kind of carb deprivation induced auditory hallucination. But anyway, theory is that running uphill strengthens you mentally and physically so if you can do it, you should – it’s something I always try and do, particularly on the short sharp hills.

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This got me thinking of other tips I’ve picked up over the years from various runners, coaches etc and I came up with four more I always remember. They are…

Time on your feet is what counts – Arian Vitali, running buddy

Even if you have to walk sometimes, you’re still getting the miles in

The night before, the night before a race is the most important sleep – Gary Regtien, founder of the RatRace Auckland.

I always, always go to bed early that night now and never stress if I wake up on the hour, every hour the night before. Because I don’t stress, I fall straight back to sleep again and get a good night’s rest anyway

Unless you want to be out there all day, you have to work on your speed – Dean Hodgkin, personal trainer

Admittedly, this one I haven’t managed to integrate into my own training yet and I am out there all day – but I do think it’s something I need to integrate – soon!

Dead Last Finish beats Did Not Finish which greatly trumps Did Not Start – motto of the WISH Team

Yep, proved that one the other week!

I’ll also add one more of my own

Sprint the last 100-200 metres (or even just the last ten) of every long training run

 If I can do that I know I’ve got more left. That gives me the confidence to up my mileage next week.

Admittedly this week that didn’t happen – me and The Wall, we met today at about six miles. My last one and a bit were torture and a mix of running and walking. Next week I’ll have more in the tank and will be back to my ‘sprint’ finish. 

 

So what’s the best tips you’ve been given or want to share?

How to Wake Up Happy

Studies show that those who workout in the morning are more likely to stick with their plans – but there’s now a new reason to move on first thing. Studies from the US’s Northwestern University have shown that people exposed to bright light in the morning seem to have a lower BMI than those that snuggle under the duvet for as long as possible. Exactly why isn’t known but it’s possible that it regulates appetite hormone and may even alter the way we metabolise sugars. But what if you’re not a morning person?

Gratuitous cute thing shot.

Gratuitous cute thing shot.

 

No, sorry I don’t have a miracle cure for that – but I do have a way to at least feel a bit enthused when you wake up. You see until recently my alarm was a nice tinkly bell sound, then I had to get up early for a flight and the only place to charge my phone was a long way away from my bed so The Boyfriend set the alarm to that horrible klaxon sound that you just can’t sleep through.

The problem is, I didn’t look at what he was doing and so I then spent six week waking up to the horrible klaxon sound. It did not start my day well. Eventually I decided enough was enough and made him teach me how to change it (it was remarkably easy if you know where to look – big hint, it’s not in sounds, it’s in the alarm app itself!) and as I was doing it I noticed I had the option to add a song as my wake up tone. More importantly the song that was being suggested was Best Day Of My Life by American Authors. Erm, talk about most motivating thought to wake up to EVER. Plus it starts with some jaunty woo woos and a woo woo makes everyone happy right?

So that’s it – my alarm ring tone is now Best Day of My Life and weirdly it does make me think ‘wow, what could actually happen today. Could it really be the best day of my whole life?’ As yet I admit they’ve more kind of been okay, than amazing,  but I’m still hoping. And hope is fun. Any day that starts full of hope and possibilities is a good one I reckon.

 

Cat image: freedigitaphotos.net

Remember the Broccoli Bread – now they’ve made pizza

Well my high fat diet is over – I lost 9lb in 11 days, now it’s onto low-carb maintenance to make sure it stays gone again. And what better way to start than with the new Pizza Slices from the team behind Plan Bread Broccoli Bread. You might remember I told you about this a while back (click here to refresh your memory) but in a nutshell, a gentleman called Paul Shackleton had invented a top secret formula that allowed him to make a gluten free bread heavily based around broccoli making it super low-carb. And very tasty it was too.

The Mozzarella and Sundried Tomato slice

The Mozzarella and Sundried Tomato slice

Now he’s started making pizza slices from a variation of the dough – and very tasty they are too. They come in a microwavable bag that you pop in the pingy thing whole. One minute later take it out, peel off the outside and voila, perfect looking pizza. It even looks all grilled and yummy. And it tastes like it too. Okay it hasn’t got that snappy texture of proper oven grilled pizza, and in places it was a tiny bit dry, but if you’re on low carb and you’re craving pizza, this, my people is your answer. It would absolutely and totally fill that cheesy shaped hole. And you get exciting green dough to amaze all your friends.

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The Chicken and Salami version

I still can’t tell you what it’s made of. In fact, now I think about it I feel that another attempt to quiz him on this matter might be why Paul decided to drop it off at a friend’s office rather than bring it me himself….hmmm, sneaky. What I can tell you though is that the Mozzarella and Sundried Tomato one I had yesterday had only 188 calories and 3g of carbohydrates per fairly hefty slice. There’s also a Chicken and Salami one that has 236 calories but still only 3g of carbs. Sadly the fact that it got dropped off at lunchtime and it was 10pm by the time I got it home meant I didn’t think eating that was the absolute healthiest idea I’d ever had. Apparently, though the slices tot up to around 50% less calories and 90 percent carbs than even the lowest cal/carb pizza out there.

Right now it’s only available for delivery in London, but if you want to find out more, the details are on their website here

18 Thoughts You (Only) Have on a High Fat Diet

 

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I’m back on Educogym. For those who don’t know, Educogym is a high-fat , super-low carb diet combined with heavy weight lifting. I did it 18 months ago and lost 9lb in 12 days which I kept off for over a year. Then I went on holiday to the US. The rest, like my waistline, was history and so I decided to go back on the plan for 12 days to reset things. It’s not easy (see my diary from last time I did it here). This time I haven’t felt as sick, but that doesn’t mean it’s plain sailing mentally – on which note I present to you….

18 thoughts you only have when on a high fat diet!

I promise that every one of these has genuinely gone through my head in the last week.

1) Does it count if I just lick the cake?

2) If I mash the avocado and cream cheese; that’s kind of guacamole. Guacamole is awesome. Winning.

3) I loathe you with every fibre of my being (upon seeing woman eating banana on the train)

4) Do I need mouthwash yet? I feel like I need mouthwash? How do I know if I need mouthwash? (Buys mouthwash)

5) Does mouthwash have carbs in?

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6) I am eating food purely as fuel not for pleasure or reward. This is what naturally thin people do…..naturally thin people suck.

7) What do you mean I only lost 100gm overnight (raises fists to sky) “why, why are you punishing me?”

8) Eh? bacon has sugar in it? Why? Do pigs eat chocolate?

9) Mmmm, chocolate (gazes off into the distance for 10 minutes)

10) Before you start burning fat for fuel: My ipad is downstairs. I don’t have the energy to walk downstairs…..I’ll just stare at the ceiling. I’ll call it meditation.

11) After you start burning fat for fuel: Can we go for a walk? How about a run? What time is the gym open? What can I clean till then?

12) There’s an awful lot of pictures of carbs on twitter (unfollow, unfollow, unfollow)

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13) Emmental. Why does it have holes?

14) Mmmm Pringle. I want that Pringle (said Pringle was on the pavement at the time)

15) Cheese mashed into scrambled eggs is amazing. I’m going to market this. I will call it Cheggs.

16) £15 for Ribeye. £15? Surely I get a whole cow for £15

17) I would sell my soul right now for an olive.

18) 7.5lb gone in seven days – this is the best diet EVER.

And it’s that last one that’ll keep me going (and probably thinking more slightly insane thoughts) for another 2.5lb.

 

Images: freedigitalphotos. net

Runner’s Toenail? The answer in a bottle

 

Miners London Calling nail polish Miners London Calling nail polish

I just painted my toenails with this polish. It was the closest one at hand. I looked down and realised now all my toenails look like the dodgy black one I get while training.

I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but hey, it’s camouflage. If you want to try it it’s Miners London’s Calling.

Yoga: At Selfridges. On the Roof. Okay!

It’s the year of rooftop yoga. Seriously, there’s going to be a whole load of seriously confused pigeons flying around London wondering why all their past perches are full of stretchy people in lululemon. Everywhere from a car park in Peckham to swanky bar Coq d’Argent are hosting sessions and now Oxford Street store Selfridges are in on the act. Their sessions take place in their rooftop restaurant On the Roof with Q – although don’t worry, they’re on a Tuesday morning (from 10-11am) so you wont have diners checking you out as downward dog. The classes are priced £20 when booked online in advance, £25 for drop ins and they’ll supply your mats etc.

Image@ selfridges

Image@ selfridges

 

Oh, and these are just with any old trainer either – they’ve teamed up with Triyoga to offer some of London’s favourite yogis. Check the list out below….

22 July - Yoga with Nadia Narain
29 July - Yoga with Bridget Woods Kramer 
05 August -  Vinyasa flow with Christina Singleton
12 August - Vinyasa flow with Kate Walker
19 August - Yoga with Mimi Kuo Deemer
26 August - Vinyasa flow with Celest Pereira
02 September - Vinyasa flow with Claire Missingham

If you want to find out more details, it’s all here. to book online go to triyoga.co.uk

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Fitspiration – from the strangest of places

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Today I’ve been staring at my knee. Specifically the two little scars on either side of it (I tried to take a picture of them, but they don’t seem to like the camera).

The scars are from an operation on my meniscus I had, funnily enough around the same time I started this blog (see my post on recovering from surgery here). I’d torn it and while I could walk, running was out of the question. I couldn’t run for about six weeks before the op and the same after. I didn’t really miss it at the time, I was too busy worrying about why I couldn’t put weight on my leg then focusing on starting walking again, but today I was reading John at Fitfor365′s post about coming back after injury, looked down and thought. ‘Okay, I’m pretty lucky that I had enough insurance to get the operation done fast and that it worked out fine.’ And that’s telling me that I should be grateful I can run and motivating me to put my trainers on today and get out there and celebrate the fact.

Sometimes you get your fitspiration from the strangest places. Where have you found yours lately?

 

image: freedigitalphotos.net

Overweight – or Pre-Obese?

Today I went to the Fitpro Live exhibition at the Excel to check out some of the new fitness trends on offer. I’ll tell you about some of those in a day or so, but I was intrigued by the little gadget I was given at one of the stands. It’s a ‘handy’ BMI monitor – now, I know all the arguments against BMI, how it doesn’t take muscle into account, or  look at where you store your fat, but to be honest, they don’t apply on my body – I’m more fat than muscle and I carry round my middle  - so sometimes I need a little nudge back to reality when I’m getting a bit on the heavy side. But I’m not sure I like this one….look closely at the results dial! photo (55) My height and weight (which will remain a state secret) give me a BMI of 25.7 – just a teeny, tiny bit higher than the normal BMI. I was expecting to see the little arrow appear in the ‘overweight’ category – but on this little gizmo it’s named pre-obese. Talk about a wake up call. What a different a word change can make. Overweight doesn’t sound so bad – pre-obese? I’m not so sure about that. If I’d thought about quitting my current stint on Educogym tonight that’s going to definitely keep me on plan.

London’s Underwater Disco – Fun Alert

This Saturday – July 19th- I’m spending the day checking out new fitness trends at the FitPro Live exhibition which I’m very excited about (expect enthusiastic posts about bizarre workouts accordingly).

A selection of other lucky people though are going to get the chance to visit London’s first Underwater Disco. That’s right, there’s a new swimming pool in town and it has a sound system that you can hear under the water, Accordingly, for one night only, you can boogie in your cossie or make like a mermaid to Cher songs (NB: Cher not guaranteed!)

Image@lovecamden.org

Image@lovecamden.org

It’s all part of the opening day for the new pool at London’s 5 St Pancras Square near Kings Cross. The pool itself is open from midday to 4pm Saturday, the underwater disco takes place after it closes.  Even better: it’s free

There’s four 45 minute sessions on offer

Two for under 16s: from 5pm

Two for over 16s: from 7pm

See more at lovecamden.org – but do it quickly. You have to book in advance and tickets are limited.

 

Just to help them out, I have compiled a suitable playlist….

Nightswimming – REM

Nice Weather  for Ducks – Lemon Jelly (video above guaranteed to make you smile)

Twisting by the Pool – Divine

Splish Splash – Bobby Darin

Every Breath You Take – The Police

The Shoop Shoop Song (Mermaids Soundtrack) – Cher

River Deep, Mountain High – Ike and Tina Turner

Waterfalls – TLC

Echo Beach – Martha and The Muffins

I’ll stop now or I’ll be here all day!

Run Like A Diva: It’s sparkly

 

Last night my phone tinged. ‘I think you need to do this,’ said my virtual buddy Jonelle from the Only in Japan blog.

Considering I was having my little pity party yesterday I wasn’t sure what ‘this’ was going to be; 100 lashes with birch twigs; eat ‘all’ the chocolate, spend my evening online looking at pictures of pigs in knitted socks (oh, hang on, that was last week)? Actually ‘this’ turned out to be a half marathon taking place in San Francisco next May, one of the Run Like A Diva series.

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Now this isn’t new, but it had escaped my beady little eyes before now. It bills itself as the most fun and glam running event with boas, tiaras, flowers, handsome hunks and more.

They had me at tiaras. I already have a running tiara (see look). Bar airfare and that pesky training malarky I’m ready!

Me - in the start corral. Still not quite awak

Running Tiara

The San Francisco event takes place on May 31st next year but there are sooner ones in other US cities. SF appeals though a) as it’s far enough away from the Disneyland Avengers race I’m doing in November to be viable b) Jonelle lives there at the moment and we’ve been looking for a time to finally meet. Plus c) it’s close to The Boyfriend’s birthday when he likes a holiday!

I can’t quite commit to it just yet as I’ve got a few other things to sort out first, but if you have no such obstacles in your way registration has just opened at runlikeadiva.com. Now, if only I could get them to come to England……..