Health & Wellbeing

The Secret of Sticking to Your New Year’s Resolutions

I’m going to assume that you’ve stumbled upon this article because, like me, you make New Year’s Resolutions every year but can never stick to them? The struggle is actually real. You know the drill, you spend the last few weeks in December being totally carefree and saying ‘I’ll worry about that in the New Year’ and then frantically planning how exactly you’re going to a) sort your finances out b) get in shape c) generally get your life together in the last few hours of said year with a fleeting thought because you just know you won’t stick to them anyway.

What if I told you that you can set goals and you can see them through for a whole year? I know right, pigs are flying and hell has frozen over. I’m going to give you some tips and tricks on exactly how you can make manageable, realistic New Year’s Resolutions and how you can stick to them.

Now we’ve kissed at midnight, it’s time to write our New Year’s Resolutions!

How to Make Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

Now, I do love sayings like ‘Dream Big’ and ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ as we should all aim to strive for things we want which are out of our comfort zones. Imagine if Wilbur and Orville Wright decided that building the first aeroplane was ‘impossible’. Doesn’t bear thinking about.

That’s not what this post is about though, what we are going to do is look at goals that are realistic for you to achieve so you feel like they’re manageable, attainable and easy to stick to.

As an example, let’s look at how you can save money for a deposit for a house. Let’s imagine, in crazy cheap world where the pigs are flying, that you’ll need £5,000 for a deposit. Let’s also now imagine that you’re earning £20,000.00 per year. It would be unrealistic for you to aim to save that much money within one year if you have other bills and financial responsibilities… obviously. But let’s look at some ways that you can really save more money and get you closer to that goal.

If you’re looking for ways to save money and get fit on a budget, check out the link here for tons of tips and tricks!

Firstly, look at your current salary. Can you ask your boss for a salary increase or pick up extra hours at work? Do you have enough free time to take on another job to earn some extra cash? Don’t underestimate the power of the side hustle and jobs you can do at home that can earn you extra money like telesales, leaflet dropping and surveys or have you got items you can sell on eBay. Once you’ve looked at all of the ways you can make some extra cash, budget your outgoings and come up with a figure that is enough to make a significant contribution to your savings pot and set up a direct debit to a completely separate account that you can’t access easily. Any additional money you can make can also be added to the pot.

So, your goal is ‘Save £5k’ let’s break this down month by month with some ideas on how you can help your budget along.

January – ask big cheese for a pay rise, work overtime or get a part-time job + budget outgoings and set up a direct debit.

February – do I have anything I can sell on eBay or upcycle?

March – save all of my birthday money, don’t spend it!

April – think of ways I can earn money from home such as online tutoring, translating, telemarketing, copy typing.

May – cut out all fast food and Starbucks and save money I would have spent.

June – set up ’round up’ on my bank account so anything I pay for with debit card gets rounded up to the nearest pound and goes straight into my savings.

July – look at outgoings and reduce bills and outgoings where possible.

August – instead of going out with friends, have nights in watching movies or sports and get everyone to bring something.

September – car insurance renewal due, look around for the cheapest deal and don’t stick with the same company because it’s easier.

October – look at ‘once a month cooking’ to reduce food bill costs by meal prepping.

November – hold a car boot sale with friends or family and sell any unwanted goods that you couldn’t sell on eBay or through Facebook.

December – if you have a large family or friend group, go into a Secret Santa so you only have to buy one present

Try and give yourself one big ‘task’ to fulfil each month that will get you a little closer to your goal so that you’re staying on track but so that you’re not trying to do everything at once, which is overwhelming.

Saving money can often feel like a spoon stuck in the middle of a potato, balancing money on top of a calculator…

How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

I’m hoping that from the above example you can see how much easier it is to stick to your resolution when you break it down month by month. But what happens if you fall off the wagon?

There are many reasons why people aren’t able to stick to their goals on a long-term basis from personal circumstances to lack of motivation but here’s what to do if you fall off the wagon. Let’s use the saving for a deposit as an example again:

1) Print off pictures of your dream home and stick them somewhere you can see them frequently i.e. the fridge, your desk at work, your front door, as a constant reminder why you’re trying to save your money.

2) Remember that it’s ok if one month doesn’t go to plan. Readjust your budget, look at where you went wrong and start the next month off with great intentions.

3) Make a ‘money chart’ so you can tick off when you hit your next savings checkpoint so you can physically see how you’re progressing, which is a great motivator.

4) If you’re trying to save money, don’t reward yourself with a financial incentive as this will defeat the whole object. Instead, focus on something else you find rewarding that isn’t going to take away from your goal.

5) Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you feel like you’ve truly set an unrealistic goal for yourself, change it don’t quit it!

If your goals are more fitness orientated, check out the link here for some useful tips on how to get back on track.

So there you have it. In short, break down any goal you have into manageable chunks month by month so you have mini-goals to look forward to each month. That way, it’s much less daunting and should keep you motivated long-term.

I hope you’ve found these tips and tricks useful in sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions. Let me know in the comment section your tips for sticking to your resolutions and how you get back on the wagon if you lose your motivation.

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Running & Fitness Tips

Top Blog Posts of 2018

As this year is drawing to a close, I thought it would be great to do a roundup of the best posts on the blog in 2018 and give you an opportunity to catch some posts that you might have missed throughout the year. Click on the header links to read more.

Thanks to anyone that read or commented on any of my posts, I’m eternally grateful to be part of this health and fitness community and love hearing all of your inspiring stories and helping one another get through the sometimes not so easy parts too. You’re the best! Let’s make 2019 even better and be happier, healthier and more inspired than ever.

Top Tips on How to Have an Exceptionally Productive Day

Have you been struggling to get your productivity up and at ’em? I’ve got some great tips on how you can have an exceptionally productive day to ensure you get all of your must-do tasks completed. Heck, you might even have time for a break too!

31 Tips for Running Beginners

From getting the correct running shoes to being safe when you’re pounding the pavements, here are 31 tips if you’re new to running on how to take up the sport. Don’t forget that running is supposed to be fun too, so make sure you’re making it an enjoyable hobby so that you’ll want to continue for years to come.

What I Ate to Lose a Stone in One Month

I’ll share my photo food journal with you every day for an entire month which led to my stone weight loss within a month. I lost the weight by eating healthy foods, no fad diets and also enjoyed some of my favourite foods and drinks too. Moderation really is the key.

12 Tips on How to Get Fit on a Budget

You don’t have to have an expensive gym membership to get fit. Check out these tips on how to get fit when you’re also trying to save money. There’s no excuse with all of these tips to get you looking and feeling your best without spending any extra cash.

25 Amazing Benefits of Running

As if you needed any more reasons to get out there and run, here are 25 amazing benefits of running that you may not even be aware of. Warning: this post will make you want to get out and run with all of this running motivation!

Should You Work Out With Music?

We’ll debate the pros and cons of whether you should work out to music or whether it’s better to listen to something a little more motivational or nothing at all. Pick a side, which one are you choosing?

Half Marathon Training | Week 10 | Diary of an Injured Runner Blog Post

Eugh, daylight savings really hit me hard in this half marathon training week!

Run Every Day January Challenge 2019

And don’t forget to join me in the 2019 Run Every Day Challenge in conjunction with Mind Charity which is promoting the benefits of mental health and daily exercise. It’s not too late for you to join in, I can’t wait to get started with it and kick-start my New Year’s Resolutions in 2019.

 

That’s it folks! Thanks for reading and I look forward to smashing my goals and watching you all smash yours in 2019. I know we can motivate each other even more this year.

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Getting REaDy for RED January

I first heard about RED January from people I was following on my Instagram account. I had serious FOMO (fear of missing out) and I wished I’d heard about it earlier so I could do it too!

If you don’t know what RED January is all about, let me tell you more. First of all, don’t be put off by the Run Every Day January slogan. The aim of the initiative is to support your mental health by doing something active every day, this could be walking, running, swimming, cycling, basically anything that gets you moving this January. They’ve also partnered up with the leading mental health charity, Mind, to help raise funds towards the vital work providing information and support.

If you want to donate to this fantastic charity please click this link

There’s no doubt that there are positive effects from physical activity on your mental health and we all know that January can be a challenging time. It’s cold, it’s dark, we’re getting over the Christmas season/ holiday lbs and we’re also broke!

Following RED January 2018, 87% of REDers reported feeling significantly better physically and mentally after completing the challenge.

I feel very strongly about encouraging others to get out there and be active and seeing others achieve great things too (this is one reason why I started my running Instagram account in the first place, it’s an actual online community that supports each other through the highs and lows of running, so if you’re thinking of setting one up, I’d highly recommend it).

I’m trying to also bring RED January into my workplace by doing fundraising and encouraging people to get out there and do more exercise. So far on the agenda, we have a plank challenge to see who can be the champion plank-er, guess the sports balls in a jar, hula hoop challenge and a quiz. Who out there doesn’t want a happier workforce and colleagues… no-one that’s who.

How am I getting involved in RED January? My plan is to run every day. That actually seems like a pretty terrifying prospect to me. Yes, I’ve run a lot in the past, yes I’ve done a total of 40 races in the last 2 years, but running every day! Sheesh! I’m pretty confident that I can do this though, I’m pretty determined once I put my mind to something. Not only that, when I signed up for RED January, I ordered one of their technical t-shirts for £10 so I can cross off each day that I’ve run. I’m going to purchase some little iron-on stars and stick one of those on every day to make it really pretty as some extra motivation.

This sounds great! How do I sign up? Visit https://redtogether.co.uk/ for more information and to register or https://www.mind.org.uk/redjanuary Both sites have tons of information, resources and ideas on how you can get involved. I’d love to hear about all of you that have signed up already and how you’re going to incorporate activity into your days and sharing this journey with you. I’d highly recommend following the hashtag #REDJanuary on Instagram so you can see other people who are taking part too and join the community.

I’m fully expecting to only run half a mile some days when I have a lot going on, and that’s fine with me, as long as I’m getting out of the door with my trainers on I’ll be happy with that. I have come across a stumbling block already though… my usual running shoes have been sabotaged by my house rabbit, Teddy, and he chewed one of the laces clean off! Luckily though, when you sign up for RED January, they send you a pair of beautiful red shoe laces so I’ll have to pop those on instead.

Here’s what you get in the full pack when you sign up.

If I haven’t convinced you already, go to the RED January or Mind websites, check them out and I’m sure you’ll feel inspired and look forward to January as much as I am! What a way to kick off your 2019 New Year’s Resolutions!

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7 Week Half Marathon Training | Beginners Running Blog | Week 5

I’m afraid to report that this week has been just as bad as the last. Am I even writing a running blog right now or more a ‘what I didn’t do this week’ blog?? I’m still suffering from illness and also I feel a little exhausted too. I’m sure I said this last week but I’m trying to do lots of things and I’m doing them all badly!

So what did I get up to this week? Well, I coughed….. a lot…. so much, in fact, I pulled a muscle in my back and it was agony for a couple of days.

It was also my birthday on Friday and I still wasn’t feeling great but had a great evening eating pizza and snacks and drinking prosecco.

The worst thing that happened this week was that I was signed up for the Oldbury 10 mile race today (Sunday). It was a race that I missed out on last year so I was keen to sign up as soon as the registrations were out. It was also going to be a good gauge for where I am in my training for the half marathon in 2 weeks time. But I didn’t race it. I’d decided on Saturday night that I was still coughing and I don’t even know if I’d have had the energy to run that far. If it had been a 10k I might have attempted it, but 10 miles seemed a stretch too far for me on this occasion.

Let me tell you, I didn’t take this decision lightly. I’ve done around 40 races in the past 2 years and never have I not turned up to race one of them, even when I felt injured or just low enthusiasm. The fact that there’s a medal out there with my actual name on it and it’s not in my sweaty, ill hands makes me feel sad.

Not only that, I’m now wondering whether I should even attempt to run the Half Marathon at all now? This month, Strava kindly emailed me to let me know I’d run 11.5 miles the entire month of August. Which is depressing!

If anyone’s got any advice on whether they would run the half having done hardly any training or whether they’d give it a miss I’d love to hear it. I don’t want to start not turning up to races, I’m not that person at all, but I also don’t want to do something stupid. Am I likely to be injured having not run further than 10k in months?

On a brighter note, here’s a picture of me and Teddy bun, who has been a much better-behaved bunny this past week. He didn’t help me open my birthday cards though like my beautiful Labrador used to. I miss her so much, my birthday just wasn’t the same without her. I want more than anything to have another dog in my life but unfortunately, my circumstances won’t allow for it at the moment. I’m also planning to spend a month travelling around the British coast and there’s no way I could do that as easily with a pupper in tow. So, for now, I’ll smile at strangers dogs instead…

Hope you’ve all had a better bout of running than I have and here’s to a better week next week.

5k Race Reviews

Yate 5k Race Review

A race at the birthplace of JK Rowling which totals an odd distance of 5.6k starting at one of the local primary schools. The course is over public paths and country lanes and is open to the public for the duration.

About the race
When: –
24 June 2017 @ 11.00am

Where: – St Mary’s School, Church Road, Yate, Bristol, BS37 5BG

Cost: – £7.00

Organisers website: – www.stmarysrun.co.uk

Yate was developed from a village into a town from the 1960s and is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name was derived from an old English word ‘giete’ meaning a gateway into a forest area. Right next to Race HQ, St Mary’s Church, dates from Norman times.

Race Aces
Nice country routes in places

A great race if you’re on a budget but still want a medal and a race atmosphere

Lots of goodies including sweets, medal and an air freshener

Race Unlaces
Strange distance! 5.6k isn’t a race distance that I can compare to any of my 5k race times

While the route is fairly scenic in parts, it’s an out and back course so there’s not many spectators around

It’s open to the public which means there’s plenty of opportunities for pedestrians to interrupt your running flow and it’s narrow in places where there are footpaths so you may get stuck behind some slower runners at times

My Race Stats:
Time: 34:16 | Mile splits: 10:09, 9:24, 10:17, 4:15
Position: 100/165

Total runners: 165 | Fastest Male: 19:38 | Fastest Female: 27:01 | Slowest: 51:55

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 18min ~ 110 miles | Birmingham:  1hr 39min ~ 90 miles | Bristol: 32min ~ 12 miles | Cardiff: 1hr 2min ~ 45 miles | Exeter: 1hr 42min ~ 90 miles

Next event: 8 June 2019

Overall star rating:


Conclusion
It’s obviously a cheaper race and you definitely get what you pay for but that doesn’t make it a bad race. It’s not chip timed but timed manually and race HQ was a bit underwhelming crossing the finish line due to the nature of the smaller number of runners.

The route was not too bad but you can find yourself stuck behind slower runners especially at the beginning due to narrow footpaths. This is probably the smallest race I’ve ever done, and for someone that wants to get into racing but may be a bit nervous, this is a brilliant introduction to races. It was a well organised event and there was a lot of encouraging local spirit with local businesses supporting the race.

Would I run it again? I probably would but I am a bit more partial to the bigger races.

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

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7 Week Half Marathon Training | Beginners Running Blog | Week 4

After a fun-filled weekend in London last weekend to watch Britney Spears on her Piece of Me tour, this week is a stark contrast. I can’t even take it through day by day on what I got up to running-wise because I’ve been sick all week.

I always say that I’d love to live in London for around a year for the experience, however, I feel like this weekend proved to me that I’m not cut out for the big city life and I’m much more of a country girl than I realised.

Monday was a bank holiday (hooray) and I was so looking forward to a lovely break after the hectic weekend but I felt exhausted all day and didn’t do anything on my to-do list. On Tuesday I started to feel like I had an adorable drippy nose, which is just what your colleagues want to be around. By Wednesday, my cold had fully set in and I worked from home all day and tried to have a bit of a rest at the same time. Thursday and Friday were just awful. I’ve always been one to get up, get dressed and I usually feel better for it. I managed to drag my drippy-nosed butt into work but had to come home shortly afterwards. Several colleagues told me how awful I looked and it wasn’t even a lie… I did look awful… can’t even deny it haha.

This is what working from home looks like when you have a house bunny. He loves to jump across the keys and type random things

Saturday and Sunday didn’t look much better as my cold progressed into a glorious cough and sore throat.

I have to admit, I am the worst sick person ever. I go through the stages of feeling sorry for myself through to being angry that I’m sick. We’re right into week 4 out of 7 of my half marathon training schedule and I’ve lost this entire week.

This is a question that I often find myself asking when I’m sick. Am I too sick to run? Do I need to rest or will the exercise do me good? Honestly, I’m usually so drained from being ill that no amount of willpower in the world will get me out pounding those pavements. However, I’ve been sick 3 times already this year, once with the flu, another with a mild cold and now this. I think you get a feel for whether you should actually work out or not.

There was no way I could have run when I had the flu, I could barely get out of bed and I was lucky to have a furry four-legged Labrador to keep me company when I didn’t see people for days (everyone stayed away, quite rightly!).

My last sickness, I felt pretty good. I’d been eating pretty healthily and I am 100% sure that this helped my recovery. I definitely decided that I was well enough to exercise during this period. A slight runny nose was not going to stop me this time around.

And today, again, no chance that I could work out. When I was looking back at last week, I think perhaps I was primed to get sick. I was really tired all week so I should have seen it coming. Coupled with a heck ton of germs in London, I didn’t stand a chance.

From my understanding, if you’re feeling sick ‘from the neck up’ you’re ok to exert yourself. But if you feel weak or you have sickness in your chest, you definitely shouldn’t work out. However, on my running Instagram, the people I’m following frequently get sick and usually run through it no matter what. As I mentioned earlier, I’m such a pathetic sick person I just want to lie down and not get up until I’m better again!

Evidently, I’m not cut out for the London, fast-paced, life but more suited to staying indoors with the occasional escapade running outdoors.

Everyone needs a sick buddy, here’s mine!

I am absolutely in awe of people who run marathons, Ironmans and other gruelling sports competitions while suffering from serious illnesses. These people are so inspirational they blow my mind. Here I am talking about having a little bit of a cold and being able to just about manage to lift the TV remote, and there are people out there who are suffering and in pain every day of their lives and yet still manage to put their bodies through extraordinary feats.

Colds and other minor illnesses though, I believe, are usually prolonged by physical exertion so sometimes an extra day or two rest may help you recover quicker than if you didn’t rest. As long as you’ve been consistently sticking to your training plan, having a week off isn’t going to do much harm in the long run.

So, I’m going into week 5 still sick and I have a race on Sunday. Send help…

I’d be interested to hear your take on running when you’re sick and whether you push through or whether you choose to rest (I know many of you runners are the opposite to me, you motivated goal diggers you).

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7 Week Half Marathon Training | Beginners Running Blog | Week 3

Welcome back to my half marathon training blog! Here goes with this week….. and panic in 3…. 2…. 1… Summer has gone and the winter/ rain season is very much upon us – English weather, so heckin’ annoying.

Monday 20 August | Rest Day
I don’t know whether it’s the change in weather (aka from summer to full-blown winter) but I’ve been feeling just awful this past week. The mornings are dark, and getting out of bed is 10 times harder, and the evenings seem super short and it gets dark way too early. That also means that my motivation is lowwwwwww.

Tuesday 21 August | Planned run day
So… here’s what happened, I planned to go for a short run when I got home but I just didn’t have it in me. I felt exhausted when I got home from work and ended up falling asleep on the sofa all night (one of my all-time most annoying habits).

Wednesday 22 August | What’s up
I felt totally drained again today when I got home, I’m not sure what on earth is going on. I feel tired all of the time and I’m sleeping most of my evening away. Running is so far at the back of my mind at the moment when it should be at the forefront. I have a 10 mile race in a couple of weeks and it’s the first time since I started running that I’m thinking of pulling out because I know it’s not going to go well. It was supposed to be a good gauge for me 2 weeks before the half marathon but it’s going to be more like a reality check on how little work I’ve done this time around.

I’m really hoping that this is just a mini phase because I don’t think I’ve gone this long without doing proper training runs since I started taking running more seriously 18 months ago. I’ve been in one long taper…

Thursday 23 August | Packing? No thanks
In preparation for my weekend in London, I decided that I’d need a London manicure too. I have so many nails though I had trouble deciding so it was up to Teddy to make the decision for me. That obviously burned zero calories to go with the zero that I’ve burned so far this week, which totals zero.

Friday 24 August | Shopping
I realised that I actually had no backpack to take with me to London this weekend so I had to go shopping and get one. That obviously then took a large chunk of time out of my evening after work and I did zero miles… again…

Saturday 25 August | London Baby!
Got up early to get ready to go to London on the train, I just love going to London (even though it scares me and I don’t understand the tube and people….. just people everywhere). The occasion? Britney Spears was at the O2 arena doing her Piece of Me tour.

We got into London around 12.30pm and our first stop was the London Eye. I wanted to do a ‘Coachella style’ photo in front of the wheel but there were so many people, we went and had some lunch and got cocktails (two for one yes please) in the Slug and Lettuce.

We stopped off at Downing Street (like you do) and took a lovely stroll through St James’s Park and stopped to speak to some birds. I also saw some pelicans, which I’ve never seen before, and a squirrel trying to fight some pigeons off so that he could eat a nut – he was utterly unphased, clearly, he’s a tough London street squirrel.

The next stop was the Queen’s House. I’ve been told that when the flag is up at Buckingham Palace, the Queen is home. I mused that if I were the Queen, I wouldn’t want to answer the door and I’d make sure the flag was always down and I’d be watching Netflix and having a snooze. It’s probably best that I’m not the Queen… just saying.

We went to the hotel to get ready for Britney and then took one stop on the train to get to the o2. It was absolutely huge inside, I’ve never been to a concert as big as this before. Our seats were pretty good and Britney wasn’t a tiny dot in the distance. This may well be a controversial opinion but Britney Spears was the best performer I’ve ever seen live. From the moment she got out on stage until the minute she stepped off she was absolutely on it.

After the concert, we went to a nearby bar so that we could avoid all of the crowds going home, and landed on a rooftop bar which was full of people who had also been to see Britney and some of them were dressed up as Britney… why didn’t we think of that.

Sunday 26 August | Still in London
Putting our backpacks back on after wearing them all day yesterday, was agony. After all of the excitement of yesterday, we decided that we’d do some sightseeing today, however, the weather was absolutely atrocious. We went over to Tower Bridge and got soaked right through (I didn’t realise I’d need wellies to walk around London but that should have been my footwear choice).

We had booked in to have afternoon tea and Prosecco at a cute cafe type establishment and we happily watched everyone walking past getting soaking wet on their way to the Notting Hill festival, while we sat all smug in the dry.

Cold, wet and exhausted, we made our way back to the train station to get the train home (and a cheeky cocktail in one of the bars). My contacts lenses were playing me and I couldn’t see a damn thing by the end of the day and we got home about 9pm. Contact lenses out, snooze trousers on! Tomorrow is a bank holiday, blessed. I’m going to need the day off tomorrow after such a hectic weekend.

Total Miles | Zero but did walk A LOT around London

Click here to read last week’s running blog ==> last week

How many miles did you manage this week?

Trail Race Reviews

Bath River Pursuit 12k (2017)

This 12k race is a two lap, multi terrain, 94% flat course (except for a few steps and one slight incline) held on roadside paths and trails along the River Avon, the Bristol to Bath Railway path and transverse through the open countryside with beautiful surroundings of the Avon Valley.

About the race
When: – 
Sunday, 21 May 2017 @ 10.15am

Where: – Stothert & Pitt RFC, Bristol Road, Corston, Bath, BA2 9DJ

Cost: – £17.00 (12k race)

Organisers website: – aspirerunningevents.co.uk

Can I transfer? You can transfer to another event and swap your entry with another runner (check dates of last transfers).

It’s a trail run, do I have to wear trail shoes? The running organisers advise that road shoes are fine, however, if the course becomes muddy, trail shoes are recommended. When I ran this course we’d had heavy rainfall in the days leading up to the race but it was not too muddy. I did feel that trail shoes would have been beneficial to me but I did run it in road shoes.

Corston is a small village close to the River Avon, with a population of 494. The All Saints Church dates from the 12th century and is a grade II listed building.

Race Aces
There are options for running 6k and Canicross at this event. If you’re new to trail running, the 6k would be a perfect distance for a taster.

Nice flat, scenic route with fairly stable terrain.

The day of the race, a little runner lost their teddy bear and after an email shot to the runners the teddy was reunited with it’s owner.

Free race photos are available so look out for the photographers (unlike me who never sees them until it’s too late – no cute race photos of me).

Race Unlaces
The course is open to the public and the advice from organisers is that you may need to watch out for fishing poles from anglers fishing along the riverside as well as other members of the public that may be on the course.

I’m not a fan of 2 lap courses, you go right back past the finish line before doing another lap on this route.

While the terrain is mostly even, there were a few areas with large tree branches underfoot so I feel that trail shoes would be beneficial.

This event is not chip timed.

There are some narrow parts on this course which is frustrating if you’re behind a slower runner and there’s no passing points.

My Race Stats:
Time: 1:20:50 | Pace: 10:51 | Mile splits: 10:05, 10:37, 9:39, 10:15, 10:08, 11:05, 10:12, 8:45
Position: 71/97 | Gender position: 18/30

Total runners: 97 | Fastest Male: 49:45 | Fastest Female: 57:40 | Slowest Runner: 1:44:25

Organisers’ Social Media Information
Instagram:
 @aspirerunningevents | Twitter: @AspireRunning | Facebook: Aspire Running Event

Distances from Major Cities
London: 2hr 24min ~ 116 miles | Birmingham:  1hr 53min ~ 96 miles | Bristol: 28min ~ 9 miles | Cardiff: 1hr 13min ~ 53 miles | Exeter: 1hr 46min ~ 101 miles

Overall star rating:

Conclusion
This was a lovely small race and my first ever trail run; this event made me want to do more trail runs. The views are really pretty but might be difficult to get a PB if you happen to get caught up behind a slower runner on one of the more narrow parts of the course.

As mentioned previously, I don’t enjoy 2 lap courses, there’s nothing worse than running right past the finish line and knowing that you’ve got halfway and need to run the same route again but you can downgrade to the 6k if you weren’t keen on the double lap.

When I ran this race I didn’t have any trail shoes as I was pretty new to running but the recommendation was that road shoes would suffice. Personally, I think they would have been a better addition to my race especially on the more difficult to navigate terrain areas.

Is there anything for spectators to do? The Rugby Clubhouse is open for food and drinks during the race for spectators and runners so you can enjoy some snacks while you’re watching the finishers, the second lappers and the cute Canicross runners.

I think the race was good value for money, the medal was average but the route was spectacular, as long as you don’t run into any pedestrians!

Would I run this race again? Yes absolutely, but I’d do it in trail shoes next time.

Please note that the above opinions on the race are my own and based upon my own running skill level (I would consider myself to be an average runner) and while I’ve made every effort to ensure anything contained within this post is accurate, please check the race organiser’s website for full information.

If there’s any more information about the race that you’d like to add or ask, please leave a comment below

Blog

7 Week Half Marathon Training | Beginners Running Blog | Week 2

Welcome back to my half marathon training blog! Highlights from this week include ‘was this my first time out wearing running shoes? Turns out, it wasn’t, but it sure felt like it’ followed by ‘I ended up in a snooze situation that I couldn’t get out of’. So let’s jump into what went on this week.

Monday 13 August | Yoga day
Thought about doing some yoga. Didn’t. That’s all there is to say about that. Spent the evening instead trying to hold onto my bread roll while the rabbit tried to steal it from my hands. What kind of sassy bunny have I ended up with??

Tuesday 14 August | Rest Day
After all of the excitement of doing literally nothing productive yesterday, I figured I was due a rest day… I’m taking this ‘treat yo self’ mantra a bit too seriously and I need to stop.

Wednesday 15 August | 2k is better than no k
I had a million things to do this evening after work but I was so determined to get out and run that I vowed to do at least a mile, because a mile is better than nothing right! I’ve mentioned before that I am not a warm weather runner and much prefer running in the cold so 24 degrees is definitely too hecking hot for me! It was also a little bit windy (it’s England, it’s pretty much always windy) which made it a bit trickier.

I set out all raring to go, secretly hoping that, while I was aiming for a mile, I may well pull 3 out of the bag… I was wrong about that. My legs felt like actual lead and I tried to cast my mind back to remember whether I was in fact a runner and whether this was my absolute first time out wearing running shoes. Turns out, it wasn’t, I have the medals to prove it, but it sure felt like it.

Determined as I felt, I just didn’t have it in me today so I wrapped up a short loop around and back home and felt content enough that I’d gone out. I’m practically superwoman, I know.

Thursday 16 August | Rest Day
I can’t quite believe how sore I feel today after yesterday’s mini run! It dawned on me that I can’t actually remember the last time I went out and ran that wasn’t a race… which is terrifying to me. It’s a good job I don’t have a half marathon in 6 weeks…. oh wait….

Friday 17 August | Planned Run Day
I’d planned a run for tonight when I got home from work but I was so tired I decided to have a little sit and watch TV then *bam* I accidentally ended up in a snooze situation that I couldn’t get out of. It was one of those naps where you know you need to come around but your eyes are saying nope. Very annoying. Sleep deprivation has done nothing for my mood or motivation this week.

Snooze days are the best days

Saturday 18 August | Busy Day
I was awake super early this morning thanks to my rabbit (he had some 5.30am time out outside) and it did cross my mind to go out for a short run but I had so much to do today and was leaving the house early so I couldn’t. I’m doing a ‘long’ run tomorrow, which I suspect will only be about 4 miles for me and I’m going to take it very slow and steady, I just need some miles in the legs at this point.

Spent the day in Bath doing a bit of shopping so I spent a lot of time walking around (that totally counts as training right??).

Sunday 19 August | ‘Long Run’
Today’s run was one of those that nothing went right and could be considered a ‘terrible run’. However, I already knew that this was going to be a terrible run because a) it was super windy b) it was really muggy c) I had a bread roll, unicorn smarties and a peppermint tea for breakfast. A, B and C combined I almost didn’t go out but there was that little niggle in my mind that said I absolutely had to. I have a to do list as long as my arm but I need to start making running a priority again!

My pace started off great, lovely and slow at around 12:00. Perfect. Just what I was aiming for. Even with this slow pace though it still felt incredibly tough. So while this may have been the run that ended with me having a bleeding toe from a rogue toenail, it was also a run that happened. And that’s the main thing. I’ve also never seen my face look that red and blotchy before. While I’m no glamorous runner by any stretch of the imagination I don’t usually look like an actual post box.

As weeks go, it wasn’t the best, it wasn’t the worst. I could have tried so much harder but I got out there at least a couple of times and did my best. Next week is going to be a bit of a struggle as the weekend is jam packed but we’ve been blessed with a Bank Holiday Monday so I’m going to make that day my long run day instead.

Total Miles | 5.4

Click here to read last week’s running blog http://bellesrunningblog.com/2018/08/18/7-week-half-marathon-training-beginners-running-blog-week-2/

If you’re training for a distance race I’d love the hear how you manage to motivate yourself when you really don’t feel like it.

Running & Fitness Tips

6 Of The Best Ways to Find New Races

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I am a little bit addicted to running races (let’s be honest, I also love the medals too!). I get asked quite a lot how I find new races so I’ve put together some ways that I find great ones and some sites that I use frequently.

1. Look at your maps

One of the most effective ways I’ve found races that are local to me is to look at the maps app on my iphone and write down a list of towns that are close to me. Once I’ve got a little list of places I’ll head on over to Google and type in the town name followed by the distance I’m looking for (which is usually 10K). For example, on the screenshot below I’d search for Fishponds 10k, Frenchay 10k, Filton 10k, Bedminster 10k and so on. I’ve found many races local to me that I never knew existed in this way.

2. Look to your local running club

Often people who are affiliated with a running club will go to races together, that is after all a shared interest for everyone there! This is a great way to find new races and have moral support at the same time, which is especially great if you’re new to running and races. If you’re also a member of a running club you can get an affiliate discount on most races.

3. Take to social media

My favourite social media platform is Instagram and, if you didn’t already know, there’s a whole running community on there. Most of my followers are people who are local to me or have attended races that I have so I’m always taking an interest when they post races that they’ve been to (especially if it’s got a particularly appealing medal!). They can also tell you what they thought of it and whether they’d recommend the race itself.

I also have a Twitter and Facebook account for posting all things running related, however, I haven’t found these as effective for sourcing races but nonetheless there are communities here too.

4. Source running club websites

Even if you’re not part of a running club, check out the websites of clubs near to you. Sometimes they’ll have links to local races and some clubs will actually put on their own races so have a look at these.

5. parkrun

While parkrun isn’t a race as such, it’s worth noting that if you enjoy the experience of being part of a race all for free then check out the parkrun app. It will give you full details of all parkruns, not just in your area but all over the globe, so if you are inclined while on your travels, have a look here for your running fix.

6. Websites

Here’s a list of some great websites that I like to peruse if I’m on the hunt for a new race.

www.runbritain.com ~ this website is a great resource for all kinds of races, distances and areas, you’re sure to find a new race here for sure.

www.timeoutdoors.com ~ again, great resource based on a search criteria. I’ve also found many races on this site that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else

www.fabian4.co.uk ~ I don’t find this the easiest site to use but they often have some quirky races listed on here. Many of the races I attended last year were from this site.

www.thrunningbug.com ~ handy for finding bigger and further afield races.

www.goodrunguide.co.uk ~ they’ve recently upgraded this site as it was quite difficult to use before, however, they’ve made it much easier to search for races and covers the whole country.

Races in the South West England
As this is where I live, I thought it would be pertinent to include the websites that I use all the time to find races local to me. Many of these are parts of a series and run by the same organiser and they do many different terrains and distances.

www.southernrunninguide.com ~ not only good for finding races, it’s also a great resource for all things running.

www.aspirerunningevents.co.uk ~ I’ve done several of the races in this series and they do mostly trail runs with stunning views.

www.relishrunningracescom ~ very well organised races and, again, races with stunning views off the beaten track. They often have multiple race distances on the same day from 5k all the way up to marathon.

If you have any other ways to find races local to you, let me know any tips you may have below.

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