Half Marathon Training

April 26th, 2015: Blackpool Half Marathon

I have signed up for my second half marathon which will be the Blackpool Half Marathon towards the end of April.

The first half marathon I ran was the Great North Run back in 2011, which I completed in 2 hours 23 minutes, having done some training but not very many long runs.

This time, I am really hoping to go sub-2 hours and have been looking at training plans to help me achieve this. Incorporating speed and interval work, tempo runs and long distance over the next 16 weeks should see me reach my target. I am also going to continue with strength training, especially the back of my legs and bum to help with hills.

This weekend training kicked off proper, with a 3km temp run on Friday, 5.73km interval on Saturday and a 10.61km longer run on Sunday. During the week I want to fit in 2-3 strength days focusing on legs, arms and abs with another 2 or three shorter runs.

Have you signed up for any races this year, or any other fitness challenges?
xoxo

 

 

Post-Holiday Weigh In

So Christmas has come and gone, many a glass of champagne has been drunk, turkey and the trimmings eaten and far too many chocolates to remember have been consumed.

January 2nd 2015: 162lb

And that has resulted in about a 4lb weight gain. And you know what, I am OK with that! I definitely feel more jiggly than I did before finishing work for Christmas and the first run since the 23rd December is probably going to hurt a bit, but I don’t feel too bad. Once I am back in my lunchtime gym routine and eating pattern at work I hope to see those 4lb shift fairly quickly.

I also drink a lot more water at work than I do at home. Sitting in close proximity to a water cooler has definite advantages!

I’m Thankful

Thanksgiving was months ago and I’m not even American, but I am thankful that we had more than enough food to eat during the Christmas. I think about the people on the UK and around the world that don’t have enough to eat on a daily basis and am thankful that we do not have to go without. Some colleagues and I organised a food collection to take to a local food bank before Christmas and I plan on regularly donating to those in need in my local area.

New Year Resolutions

2015…come and get it!

The New Year brings new resolutions for 2015, and whilst I don’t judge myself too harshly if I don’t stick to them throughout the following 12 months and beyond, this year I am making resolutions that I hope to adopt long into the future.

  1. Connect with loved ones more – I am a terror for not replying to text messages, not returning phone calls and not listening to my voicemail  for days, so this year I have made it my main resolution to be better at connecting. Answering communications from my friends and family quicker, and starting the conversation if I haven’t heard from someone in a while.
  2. Read more books that aren’t historical fiction – Oh how I love a bodice-ripping, sword wielding book set in the 16th-18th centuries, but I also love a lot of other books and need to read more in 2015. I have purchased Hilary Clinton’s Hard Choices and the first few chapters have been very promising. Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind Of Girl was a Christmas present and that’s next on the book shelf.
  3. Enjoy more fresh air – Getting outside more in 2015 is an aim of mine. Now that my little girl is more agile on her feet and is able to walk further without needing the pushchair, we can walk along the canal or the woods in my hometown. We can also take day trips into the Yorkshire Dales, which we are lucky to live on the doorstep to.

I can’t say that getting healthier is a New Year resolution as it’s more of a life goal, one which I have been trying to achieve for many years and am still struggling with daily.

With that said, my next post will be the dreaded post-holiday weigh in:-(

What are your resolutions this year?
xoxo

Christmas Break Exercise Challenge

UPDATE: This lasted about 3 days once I had finished work and all of our guests had arrived, so there you go. I went on 1 run (nearly 8km) the evening before Christmas Eve and that was it for exercise over the holidays. OOPS.



 

I LOVE Christmas! I love the time off work, the twinkling lights, time spent with friends and family, but most of all, I love the indulgence of this time of year.

Unfortunately, each Christmas for the past few years has seen me gain weight like no other time. I go wild with sweet treats, cheese boards and turkey, and am normally fairly inactive.

So this year, I have set myself a little exercise challenge that will run between Tuesday 16th December (as that’s when I thought of it) and Sunday 4th January. Monday 5th I will be back at work full time and back to my lunchtime gym dates.

Each day I have to complete 4-5 exercises, and the number of reps will increase as the challenge goes on.

On Tuesday 16th I started with:

  • 15 x Jumping Jacks
  • 10 x standard squats
  • 5 x press ups (not modified)
  • 20 seconds of plank (on hands not forearms)

By the 4th January I will be doing:

  • 15 x Jumping Jacks
  • 20 x standard squats
  • 10 x press ups (not modified)
  • 60 seconds of plank (on hands not forearms)
    AND
  • 10 single leg kettelbell dead-lifts on each leg

I have done the challenge each day so far, keep checking back to see how I do over Christmas!

Have you set yourself any health/fitness goals over the holidays?

xoxo

Food Diary – 16 December 2014

Normally I track my food intake on My Fitness Pal but I am too busy at work in the run up to Christmas to take the time to track this way, don’t want to turn on the computer when I get home, and find the app a little tedious.

So instead of getting off track, I thought I would update here, it’s so much quicker (but doesn’t have the calorie information).

Breakfast:
2 x medium eggs, fried without oil on 1 slice of white bread, plus a mini tangerine.

Dinner:
M&S Sweet Chilli Chicken Salad and a yum yum – so naughty but so nice, ho ho ho!

Tea:
Pepper stuffed with quinoa, leeks, carrots, roule cheese and sprinkled with crispy pancetta, mmmmmmm!

I will try to take a photo of my tea and share it with you tomorrow, but I will probably forget!
xoxo

Recipe: Winter Courgette Spaghetti

This is a seriously amazing recipe that is packed full of green vegetables, makes great leftovers and feels really hearty and comforting on a cold winters night!

A bowl of this courgette spaghetti will make you feel comfortably full, is packed with fibre, has loads of green vegetables and can easily be modified to suit anyone’s tastes.

Ingredients (Makes 2 bowls)

  • 3 courgettes – use a spiralizer or julienne peeler to make thin ribbons
  • 150g Brussels Sprouts – halved
  • 1 leek – ends removed and cut into 1/2 inch circles
  • 100g tender-stem broccoli cut into small pieces
  • 80g frozen peas
  • Large pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • chicken stock concentrate (I use Knorr)
  • Large pinch of crushed black pepper
  • 50g roule cheese
  • OPTIONAL – 4 rashers of smoked pancetta or 3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon cut into small pieces

Method

  1. In a non-stick frying pan, cook the pancetta until crispy, remove and drain of fat
  2. Boil water in a pan and add the stock concentrate, the Brussels and the leeks – cook until just tender (3-5 minutes)
  3. Meanwhile, on a medium heat, in the non-stick frying pan, add the courgette ribbons and broccoli and stir for 1 minute. Add the chilli flakes and continue to stir for another 2 minutes
  4. Drain the Brussels and the leek and add to the courgette mixture – if some of the stock gets into the pan that’s good, it will make the sauce a bit more tasty!
  5. Add the roule cheese and black pepper to the vegetables and reduce the heat, stirring gently until the cheese is 80% melted
  6. Divide the mixture into two bowls and sprinkle the pancetta over the top
  7. Enjoy your quick, easy, healthy meal!

Top Tips for this recipe
If you are a vegetarian, swap the chicken stock for vegetable stock and the pancetta for toasted pine nuts – the crunch is a great contrast to the creamy softness of the rest of the dish!

Sorry that I don’t have any pictures, I will start taking my phone into the kitchen so I can snap away as I cook! If you make this recipe send me a picture!

xoxo

Cheats?

When you are looking to lose weight and enjoy a healthier diet, do you have cheat meals or cheat days?

I have been thinking about this a lot lately as sometimes having a ‘treat’, as in your favourite chocolate bar, Krispy Kreme or carb-heavy, cheese-heavy pasta dish can take the edge off feeling like all you eat is super grains, salad and fruit. But what happens when a small treat turns into a weekend of heavy indulgence, it becomes so much harder to get back into healthy eating.

Take a couple of weeks ago compared to this weekend as an example. Two weekends ago I had enjoyed a week of good healthy food and consistent exercise, and when it came to the weekend, I knew I didn’t want to see all that good work go to waste. So I had a nice meal out with the hubby on Friday, but when Saturday and Sunday rolled round, I was back to healthy eating and going for walks with the little one. I noticed it on the scale and I felt good as Monday came back around.

This weekend however, Friday started with a cheesy pasta dish (I will share the recipe as it is divine!) and then wine, toasted sandwiches, chips and chicken kievs and lots of chocolate all happened. Oh yeah. Once I had had that first ‘treat’ I felt like I could keep going and this morning, all that’s left is feelings of mild guilt and disappointment.

I think what it comes down to is moderation. And it helps to stock your cupboard with moderation in mind. For example, instead of full-size bottles of wine, you can get some nifty 150cl bottles and just have one on an evening. Buy funsize chocolate bars and only take one from the kitchen into the living room. Shopping smart and not putting treats in front of you will help to combat cravings and gluttony.

Coming up with meals and recipes that make you feel like you have indulged whilst being made with healthy whole foods can also help. For example swapping spaghetti with courgette spirals or make dark chocolate discs with dried fruit and nuts instead of eating a whole chocolate bar.

Do you have any healthy recipes that don’t really feel all that healthy?

Maybe you eat really well during the week and then at the weekend you relax a little bit? Or maybe you prefer to stick rigidly to healthy eating because cheat meals can set you back?

xoxo