Health & Wellbeing

What I Ate to Lose a Stone in a Month

For as long as I can remember I’ve led a healthy lifestyle which includes working out and eating a pretty healthy diet. While I’ve been running and working out consistently, my diet for the past year or so hasn’t been up to scratch and I found myself eating chocolate on a regular basis for breakfast because I hadn’t been organised enough to prepare something the night before. I’d then feel really hungry by lunchtime and grab something else unhealthy and feel that I’d ruined the whole day and may as well have something equally unhealthy for dinner too! I finally decided that enough was enough! I’m a fully-functioning adult and I know what I should and shouldn’t be eating and it was about time I started looking after myself a little better.

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

I wanted to share with you all exactly what I ate in a month and I’ll tell you, I found it easy and I said on multiple occasions that I didn’t understand why I hadn’t been eating this way forever because it was easy to maintain. While I did lose a stone in a month eating this way, please do bear in mind that everyone is different. I am very petite so do not need to consume as many calories as someone who may be considerably taller or more active than me and I am also no dietitian or doctor but this is just what I ate, which I believed to be a fairly healthy selection of foods.

So what better way to share with you what I actually ate than to show you photos of every morsel that passed my lips, even if it was something small. I also tracked my calories on My Fitness Pal and tried to stick more or less to the recommended calorie limit, however, I always find it much more representative to look at what I’ve eaten. It’s fine to just track calories and see a number at the end of the day but I could have eaten anything (I find mostly beige foods are the culprit) but that doesn’t mean WHAT I ate was particularly nutritious food and that was my main goal. If you’ve never taken photos of what you’ve eaten I’d urge you to try it, you might be surprised how ‘healthy’ your day was.

I’ll give you a little breakdown daily of what it was that I ate and anything else that might be particularly pertinent to my day such as workouts or how I was feeling. Also, I wanted to share that my main aim was to eat much healthier and weight loss was not the main goal here.

I found that eating these foods made me feel much less hungry generally as I was eating more healthy foods and more food too! So here goes…..

Day 1
Didn’t start off great as I didn’t have much food in the house so I had to go through the cupboards and improvise. It’s bank holiday today so none of the shops were open! So far, so good….

1
Protein berry almond smoothie, scrambled egg + toast, veggies + cous cous, homemade popcorn, nutrigrain bar, 4 peppermint teas + 1 pint water


Day 2

Another ‘what I had in the cupboards day today’ kinda beige… I can’t wait to go food shopping tomorrow!

2
Protein + almond milk + berry smoothie | toast + small cheese & olive omelette | uncle bens rice pack | homemade sweet + salty popcorn

Day 3
I spent the whole evening meal prepping! I’ve had a headache all day too which sucks.

3
Porridge + almond milk + mango | Homemade | ham + egg salad |apple | salmon + veggies | banana

Day 4
I felt really tired today. Today is the first day I didn’t have a headache, not sure if my change in diet is something to do with it. Went for a walk at lunch and walked the Pupper to the vet and back.

4
Breakfast muffin + veggies |apple| spicy chicken, whole grain rice, lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, cucumber, sweet corn | banana| cashews | salmon, cucumber, tomatoes, pepper, mushrooms

Day 5
I had to resist some cakes at work, I’ve done so well these past few days, I don’t want to have one! I kept making eye contact with them from across the room but I’m having a cheat meal tonight. I feel a little fuzzy headed and I can’t concentrate. I also feel a bit bloated and I haven’t been able to work out as normal because of it. I have walked the dog and walked at lunch every day so far.

5
Breakfast muffin |apple| chicken, rice, sweet corn, red onion, tomatoes, pepper + cucumber, lettuce | banana| fish, chips + curry sauce | lots of peppermint tea

Day 6
Oops, I had cake for breakfast but it was for charity so it would have been rude not to right! Went to the cinema and instead of having a drink, hot dog and snacks I restricted myself to popcorn only.

6
cake | chicken salad |apple | cashews | mushroom + cheese omelette + salad + cinema popcorn

Day 7
I had a massive lie in today as I’ve been super tired this week (still clawing back that hour we lost)

7
breakfast muffin | Nectarine | cashews | hasselback jacket potato + spices + cheese + salad |apple| peppermint tea x 4

Day 8
Today was the Devizes half marathon and I wasn’t particularly overwhelmed with my time or the course in general. Ate lots of calories but not much food (around 1800 which is shocking)! I meant to treat myself with a cider when I got home from the half marathon but didn’t realise I’d accidentally picked up an alcohol free one…. devastated!

8
Banana | 6 jelly babies | gel | chocolate | cheese burgers | alcohol free cider

Day 9
Considering I went up to my calorie goal, this was all I ate all day! Looking back at the past few days I’ve eaten so much amazing food, feel a bit disappointed in this but there’s always tomorrow.

9
Banana | fruit juice | burgers in buns + cheese

Day 10
Really loving these meal prep containers. I’ve been portioning out all of my veggies for the week and these keep it all really fresh for days. If you’re looking for some cheap ones to get you started, click here for the ones I purchased – these have 2 compartments but you can purchase them with 3 if you’d prefer.

10
Breakfast muffin |grapes| salmon + mushrooms, cucumber, pepper, tomatoes | carrot | turkey sausages, new potatoes, courgette, red pepper, carrot, broccoli  + mixed herbs + chilli flakes | olives

Day 11
I didn’t enjoy or eat all of my dinner (photo #5) so I had to make another dinner…

11
Carrots | salmon, mushrooms, cucumber, tomatoes, sweetcorn, feta, peppers |apple | grapes| turkey sausage + veg | mushroom omelette, lettuce, olives, pepper, feta + dressing

Day 12
I felt a little fuzzy headed today and had a job to get out of bed. I was expecting to have loads of energy and be bouncing out of bed but that hasn’t been the case. Unfortunately the dog has kept me up every night this week which might be why I’ve been feeling so tired. Today was a cheat day!

12
Protein powder porridge + berries |carrot| chicken, egg, pepper, cucumber, tomatoes, feta | grapes| cheeseburger + cheesy chips | Lots (6) cups peppermint tea

Day 13
I didn’t bring proper snacks to work with me today so I felt a little bit hungry through the day. Made it up with dinner though.

13
Porridge + almond milk + protein powder + pine nuts | chicken + egg, sweet corn, tomatoes, feta, pepper | banana | hasselback potato, cheese, olives, dressing, lettuce

Day 14
Feel ridiculously tired today.

14

Scrambled egg on wholemeal toast | turkey sausages, carrot, potato, courgette, broccoli | kiwi, grapes + apple| cashews

Day 15
Frenchay 10k race today, it was really lovely I’d definitely do it again.

15
banana, protein powder, almond milk + peanut butter smoothie | banana| double cheeseburger, large fries + mozzarella dippers | kiwi, apple + grapes

Day 16
Today’s breakfast didn’t go well so I didn’t have anything to eat!

16
Apple | chicken, peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, feta, olives | jelly beans | kiwi x 2 | boiled egg | salmon + Packet pasta

Day 17
Went for a run tonight and the wind was terrible it sucked all of the energy out of me.

17
Porridge + milk + protein powder | apple | chicken, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, feta, peppers, dressing | | hummus + celery | mushroom, cheese + olive omelette | strawberries| cashews

Day 18
While I’ve been finding it fairly easy to eat much better it can be quite difficult to keep up with meal prepping, working out, working my 9-5 and everything else. I have managed to avoid headaches lately but I definitely haven’t been drinking enough water so must work on that.

18
Porridge, protein powder, pine nuts + almond milk |grapes  + strawberries | chicken, dressing, feta, cucumber, tomatoes, peppers | apple| boiled egg | hasselback potato + spices, cheese, lettuce, pepper, beetroot | mushrooms

Day 19
Thursdays are takeaway nights! I can’t believe how easy it’s been to completely change my diet with not much effort at all!

19
Porridge + pine nuts, almond milk + protein powder | hummus + celery |chicken  + salad | apple| sausage chips & curry sauce | peppermint teas

Day 20
This little rascal of a pupper stole my original piece of salmon straight from my plate but luckily I’d meal prepped one for tomorrow so had to eat that one instead!

20
Smoothie |grapes + strawberries | salmon + salad | | boiled egg | turkey sausages + veggies

Day 21
I feel much slimmer the past few days, I almost have no interested in weighing myself because I know that I look and feel better and I don’t need a scale to tell me that, even if I haven’t lost any weight. My love for strawberries and grapes as a combination is real.

21
Banana + peanut butter smoothie + protein powder + almond milk | grapes + strawberries| cashews | hasselback potato, spices + cheese, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers

Day 22
I felt super hungry today for some reason.

22
banana | scrambled egg + pepper | kiwi, apple, grapes | hummus + carrot | packet quinoa + wholemeal rice + mushroom | baked potatoes + herbs + spices + mayo

Day 23
Can I make beautifully seasoned new potatoes without burning them? No I cannot… Rocked out some yoga today for the first time in ages

23
Porridge | apple | Ham salad + wholemeal tortilla | kiwis | fried eggs, pepper, mushrooms, burned potatoes, turkey sausages.

Day 24
I felt super hungry today, which is unusual. I also nearly got hit by a cyclist on my run because he was looking down at his phone

24
porridge | apple| pasta chicken salad | kiwi| banana| roasted potatoes + mayo | cashews (eaten in bath) | grapes + strawberries

Day 25
Work function today so a different lunch to what I’ve been eating but managed to get my snack in!

25
Porridge | strawberries + grapes | wraps, crisps, latte, small cake | dominoes treat meal

Day 26
Really felt terrible today after yesterday’s meals! I felt bloated and I felt really tired. I feel like today was the day I ‘fell off the wagon’. I wasn’t happy with some of my food choices which were based around ‘I feel really hungry and need to eat now’ and I grabbed whatever I could. I didn’t eat a proper breakfast either because I was lazy.

Ferrero rocher | strawberries + grapes | cashews | wholewheat salad | apple | dairy milk | packet rice | jelly beans

Day 27

apple | yogurt rice cakes | ham, mint potatoes, veggies | cucumber + hummus | fish cake, eggs, greens, tomatoes | strawberries + pineapple

Day 28
Eating loads today in prep for tomorrow’s race!

Wholewheat bread + scrambled egg | pineapple, grapes + strawberries| wholewheat pasta, tomatoes, olives, leaves, cucumber | salmon, mushrooms, baked potatoes, fried egg, sweetcorn


Day 29
Bridgwater 10k today which is why I had the cheat meal. Also managed to get a PB today so I’m over the moon with that!

Banana | McDonalds | post race smoothie | goodness knows bar | my first ever McFlurry

Day 30
Lots of round food today!

Porridge, pine nuts + almond milk | apple | chicken pasta | oranges | yogurt rice cakes | hasselback potato, cheese, tomatoes, sweetcorn, olives + pepper

And there you have it! This to me is a ‘diet’ that I can keep up with. Yes I’m eating quite a few cheat snacks and meals along the way but I’m also eating the healthiest foods I’ve ever eaten. For the first time I’m feeling excited about cooking and I’ve been loving finding new recipes on Pinterest.

Useful Tips
I made sure that I weighed out foods like chicken, cheese and potatoes to get some perspective on portion control. Things like fruits and vegetables I didn’t calorie count I just used a rough estimate as to a portion.

Sticking to set meal times every day helped so if I did feel peckish I knew it wasn’t going to be long until I’d have to wait for my next meal / snack.

Cut out any drinks that weren’t water or peppermint tea.

I made sure that I didn’t have ANY snacks in my drawer at work which in turn forced me to plan my meals the night before and I left my purse at home so I wasn’t tempted to buy something from the shop or the vending machine.

Buying meal prep containers really gave me a renewed enthusiasm for trying to eat healthy and the key to eating consistently healthy foods was weekly meal prepping. I’d then organise my fridge into days and just grab anything on that day’s shelf. It also made me less likely to waste food as I was using everything up just by prepping into separate containers. For the containers I purchased click here

I made sure not to cut any food or food groups out of my diet with the exception of limiting dairy products and using milk alternatives and reducing calorific drinks like fruit juices and Starbucks.

I NEVER went hungry, if I’d eaten over my calorie goal but I still felt like I needed more food, I’d have an internal conversation with myself and ask ‘are you really hungry’ and if I was I’d eat something.

While I was also running and working out, I’d take any opportunity to walk anywhere instead of taking the car whether that was to the vet, the shops, a friend’s house and I felt much better for it.

I have a dog and I walked her daily as well as walking every lunch time.

I hope this post has given you some inspiration to overhaul your diet if you feel like you want to. It was nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be although I did suffer with headaches at the beginning (probably junk food withdrawals) so I didn’t workout as much as I usually would.

If you’ve managed to overhaul your diet or you’ve got some other tips please leave them in the comments section.

Happy Meal Prepping!

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7 Week Half Marathon Training | Beginners Running Blog | Week 1

Welcome to my 7 week half marathon training journey! You may be saying ‘7 weeks, that’s a little unusual, Michelle’ and you’d be right… however, that’s the amount of weeks I’ve got left after neglecting my training! Originally I scheduled my training to start with 12 weeks until race day but things have got a little hectic. Not only that, the weather has been absolutely scorching and I’m sure as heck no hot weather runner…

Sunday 5 August | Trail Run at Cannock Chase
Today was a race day! It felt so good to be going back to a race that I adored last year and easing myself back into things, mostly because I never consider trail running to be a PB kinda thing, I like to think of it as a ‘beautiful scenery leisurely run’ kinda thing (unless the terrain is difficult and I’m falling over… it happens).

Cannock Chase is a bit of a trek for me at 2 hours away but I think it’s totally worth it. The trails are beautiful with woodland all around you and the occasional lake. When I ran this last year, my absolute favourite part was going over the stream! You could either run through it (like a nutter and get soaking wet feet for the entire race) or go over stepping stones. I thought ‘this is what trail running is all about’.

The weather was scorching hot at around 30 degrees but because you’re running under cover from the forest, you’re not in the blazing sun and the temperatures are more bearable.

I went in with zero time goal, I wanted to go around the beautiful course and I stopped a few times and took pictures (judge me, I don’t care) and my final time was 6 minutes slower than last year. If you want to hear my in depth race review from 2017 read about it here.

I did have somewhat of a minor injury with my left ankle. At times it felt a little unsteady especially on the uneven trail that was more rocky than gravel. I really need to do some work on my ankles, that’s going to be one priority over the next coming weeks.

When I ran Chew Valley a couple of months ago, the redeeming factor about running up a ginormous hill is that the last mile is entirely downhill. Because the downhill is so steep it takes a bit of a toll on your joints and I couldn’t push myself much because my ankle was too sore, yet it had been no problem the rest of the race.

Monday 6 August | Ouch Day
What happens when you haven’t run properly for 3 weeks the day after a trail run? You feel like you’ve been beaten with a stick is what. My shoulders were agony today and I hurt all over!

Tuesday 7 August | Work day
Had so much to do tonight, I really don’t know how people manage to workout, work full time, keep a clean and tidy house, have relationships and a social life, prepare healthy meals and do a side hustle… if you know, please tell me the secret! I feel that most of the time I’m doing lots of things… badly.

Wednesday 8 August | Work day
Another evening spent working. Help. Me.

Thursday 9 August | Productive day
I had a half day today and was fairly productive taking an exciting trip to the local tip to get rid of some things… How the other half live.

Friday 10 August | Day off
I had the day off today so that I could get a cosmetic procedure! I was a bit scared that it was going to hurt but it was absolutely fine and the lady was brilliant. I thought I might be able to sneak a run in this afternoon but that probably wasn’t the best idea.

I spent the evening working on the blog, drinking strawberries and cream Baileys and getting my house rabbit to like me!

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You’ve heard of beauty and a beat, here’s bunny and a blog

Saturday 11 August | More cheese Gromit
The answer is yes always more cheese! Nearly 22,000 steps, 2 proseccos, 2 cocktails, 1 cider and a dissarono and coke later, we went on the hunt for Gromits around Bristol. It was a rubbish rainy day but we still had tons of fun. Needless to say, today wasn’t a rest day but wasn’t really a workout day either but I am knackered and went to bed pretty early!

Also, props to me, I got on a bus from town which I don’t think I’ve done for over 10 years! I’m usually an Uber girl but it was kinda nice and made me feel sleepy unlike an Uber when I try and avoid making conversation with a stranger the entire way home.

If you don’t know what the Gromit trail is, here’s a description from the website, raising money for Bristol Children’s Hospital. https://www.grandappeal.org.uk/trails-exhibitions/gromit-unleashed/

In Gromit Unleashed 2 Nick Park’s Academy Award®-winning character Gromit has returned to Bristol for his second starring role in the award-winning charity’s sculpture trails, but this time he’s not alone; the loveable pooch is joined by his pal Wallace and arch nemesis Feathers McGraw! The trail features over 60 giant sculptures designed by high-profile artists, designers, innovators and local talent. Sculptures are positioned in high footfall and iconic locations around Bristol and the surrounding area, perfect for a family day out around the city and beyond.

Sunday 12 August | This day went wrong
I literally had so much to do today and didn’t manage to do any of it which is very annoying! Before I knew it, it was 7pm and I’m starting to get ready for going back to work tomorrow. Time to plan for next week’s running goals, the only way is up after this week!!

Overview
This week as a first week back was a bit of a disaster. While I did manage to run a trail run last Sunday, I haven’t done much else! This is now taking me to 6 weeks for training. I have a 10 mile race at the beginning of September which will be a good gauge of where I am (or not), I need to get this thing going! Jesus take the wheel…

This week total miles | 6

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Need For Speed | Week 4 | 10k Training | Diary of an Injured Runner | Race Day!

Hey everyone! If you’ve been reading my need for speed journey, you’ll have noticed that I didn’t actually post this back in May (which is when the race was) because it’s been in my draft posts this whole time! And I have a lot to say about this race so I’ve got no idea why I didn’t post it. Anyway… let’s jump back in time and relive the final week of the race that started it all.

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

Monday | Rest Day

Clearly I was going to take a rest day today after running races on Saturday and Sunday last week! And rest day I had!! I had real trouble sleeping on Sunday night (perhaps from all of the excitement) and didn’t get to sleep until pretty late. Thankfully it is a bank holiday so I was able to have a nice lie in (ignoring the fact I was awake and up at 6am feeding the animals).

I spent a bit of time watching some YouTube videos about ‘maintaining’ your body during rest days and it inspired me to try some stick rolling. According to The Run Experience, you should be doing something every day to help combat injuries and I’m terrible at actually doing this. I spent most of my time rolling my hips because that’s where it felt particularly bad but I am hoping it’s going to help most with my shin splint pain.

Tuesday | Day Off

Wednesday | Unintentional Day Off 

Thursday | Rest Day
 

Friday | Unintentional Day Off 

Saturday…. you can see where this is going
I kind of gave myself the week off, mostly because I’m really worried about aggravating my shins and I really didn’t want to make things worse with the big race tomorrow. Getting injured is just the worst and I’m so jealous of anyone that manages to get away injury free. On my running Instagram I’m following many other runners and some of them are just running crazy distances consistently without injury, but there are probably 5 times more people suffering serious injuries that have put them out of action and that really scares me. This is always a problem when you sign up for so many races, if you get seriously injured, you obviously shouldn’t run and I sign up for A LOT of races!

One reason I bought my spin bike for home was that, depending upon what kind of injury I’d had, I could still get some pretty decent cardio in but with less impact. I did find that when I was suffering from plantar fasciitis, this still aggravated my foot, the pedals are pretty sturdy and it didn’t like being in that position, but luckily I’ve not been suffering quite as bad this year.

Sunday | Race Day!
Waaaaaa, the day is finally here. Do I feel like I’ve done enough work to beat last year’s time? No, I do not. Was that all my fault? No, you’ve been suffering through some injuries but perhaps could have tried a bit harder… There’s nothing that makes me hecking mad with myself as much as knowing I could have tried harder. But anyway!

Woke up to a dry and sunny morning but it wasn’t too hot so I was hoping that the early start was going to make sure we were home and dry before it got scorching. I’d rather run all day long in the rain and cold weather than the heat, I’m just terrible at it!

One criticism I have of big races like this are the crowds. I’m used to doing races with around 300-500 people but this is literally thousands of people running and around the course. This means that instead of having one ‘3-2-1-GO’ you get several and it takes FOREVER to even get up to the start line. I was in the white wave this year and I think it was the green wave behind us, because there are so many people in the pens all of the groups get jumbled into one and by the time we set off (at least half an hour after the warm up!) I was starting with mostly green people. I thought ‘this is no problem, once we set off I’ll be able to overtake anyone that might be slower because the roads are pretty wide’. Well I was wrong about that! I think for the first mile I was struggling to get around slower runners, my pace was all over the place because I was trying to compensate for my slower start, it was just a bit of a disaster!

Also, I had another mishap with my watch. Because it took so long to get past the start, it sort of happened all of a sudden and I hadn’t set my watch up as I didn’t realise we were setting off. That meant I pressed start on my pacer a good time after we actually set off and that was the one thing I was counting on to help me achieve my 55 minute dream (I don’t know if I’ve already mentioned, my 2017 time was 58:19 which was my PB for that year, so I wasn’t looking to take too much off but my race times so far this year haven’t been close to that).

Once I managed to settle into a pace I felt a bit better but I was definitely struggling. It was getting pretty hot and I found myself walking for a couple of seconds at water stations just to compose myself a little and get my head back in it. I love watching The Run Experience on YouTube and I’ve watched most of their videos, one piece of advice they gave for a 10k is don’t stop at water stations. The race isn’t long enough for you to give yourself much benefit during the race and you’re ticking off major time by stopping, however, while I didn’t drink much at the water station, I did pour some water over me instead.

So, all of that aside, I finally found myself staring down the road towards the finish line. (Another thing I hate is long finish lines – Dublin Half Marathon…. just wow). I looked down at my watch and I was at 54/55mins ish and I thought I really need to push at this last bit, I’d be gutted if I took a leisurely pace and it ended up I could have got 55 mins! This was quite possibly the worst part of the entire race for me. There were so. many. people on that final stretch. Some people were walking at this point (probably because the waves were so jumbled up) but mostly people seemed to be out for a leisurely stroll toward the finish line and it gets narrow here as you go past the centre towards At Bristol. The frustration of trying to have some sort of sprint finish while having to try and weave in and out of so many people was enough to make me feel the angers. I love the Bristol races but I’m not so sure I’ll be doing this one again next year, I just find it all a bit too stressful! Does anyone else find this?

Pushing the stop button on my Garmin was both a relief and a disappointment. My watch time said 56:33 (which I knew wasn’t right due to my failure to press start crossing the start line) and I was gutted. While this was a PB for me by just over 2 minutes, I couldn’t help but kick myself for walking those couple of times and generally having a grumpy run because of all of the people.

My official time was 56:57 so I barely managed a 56 min race let alone getting close to the 55 mins I was after. I know that I’ll get there though but it definitely won’t be at a big race like this one. I longed for for the smaller races of Glastonbury and the Clock Change Challenge, which do have their own downsides, but not being able to push yourself to your ability because of crowds just isn’t what I’m looking for in a race. It’s funny though because I don’t recall it being like this last year. Were there more runners? Was I just unlucky in my race wave?

While I didn’t get the time I was going for, I have changed my whole mindset when it comes to racing. For some silly reason I was never pushing myself because I was worried I’d burn out and running races for me isn’t all about PBs, it’s sometimes about going to new and exciting places and getting to see them and explore them. Finding my Garmin pacer though has changed the game for me and I can’t imagine running a race now without it. It gives me the reassurance that I can slow down if necessary or that I need to push myself a bit more whereas before it was just sheer guesswork especially on that final mile.

I’ve got so many more exciting races coming up this year and I know I’m going to achieve that 55 minute PB and who knows, perhaps I’ll be looking to a 50 minute PB this time next year!

Did you race the Bristol 10k this year? I really would like to hear from other runners who have done it and your personal experiences with this race.

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Need For Speed | Week 2 | 10k Training | Diary of an Injured Runner

Wow what a week! I had a highly anticipated (by me) race on Sunday 29th and I’d put a lot of pressure on myself to get under that elusive hour and I pushed myself HARD on race day but did I get a sub 1 hour time… let’s find out!

Disclaimer: This post may have affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

Monday | Yoga Day
Yoga is something that I’m always sure I need to do but because it’s not cardio, I’m not interested! I’ve heard for years that yoga is the perfect accompaniment to running and I can see why. I’m terrible at not stretching enough before and after a run (I’ve been working on it) but I wanted to dedicate a day just to yoga.

I searched through YouTube (there was no way I was going to do my outdated workout DVDs that go on for hours) and found a YouTube channel ‘Yoga with Adriene – 30 Days of Yoga’ so figured that would be a great place to start. I wasn’t wrong, she’s a really great instructor and it’s not boring like some yoga workouts are. I’m considering next month doing a 30 day yoga challenge and I just might use this series.

Tuesday | Fast 5k (that didn’t count)
I ended up in a full on rage today. I went out with the intention of using some kind of pacer on my watch because I need something to keep me on track during races and I really can’t be doing any kind of adding/ subtracting in my mind while I’m running (let’s be honest I can’t do any kind of math even when I’m not running) and I found an add on app for my Garmin Fenix 5s which is called ‘Peter’s Pacer’. Great! Let’s test it out.

I set the time for 30mins for a 5k run and it alerts you when you are under your target time and shows you how many seconds you’re over/under. Amazing. Except, I was having some kind of internal struggle and went off way too fast thinking in the back of my mind I might get a PB and pushed myself so hard I crashed and burned.

I paused my watch several times but the longest time I paused my watch was when I had a major wobbly… the last stretch of my run is on a very long, pretty straight pavement which has got lots of grass on either side. There are lots and lots of dog walkers in this area as well as runners and, unfortunately, cyclists, even though the pavement is fairly narrow. So I spot a cyclist pretty far down the way and so I did that thing that EVERYONE on the planet does, you move to one side of the pavement well in advance (try this out and you’ll be surprised how far away you’ll do this when you’re walking in the opposite direction to another pedestrian). However, this particular cyclist was on his mobile phone looking down. We’re getting pretty close at this point but he’s sort of moved to the left hand side so I go to the right side. At the very last second (while still looking down at his phone) he swerves to the right side and nearly hits into me! I had to put my hands out and say ‘hey’ so that he doesn’t cycle straight into me. His response….?? Now you’d probably think he’d say ‘sorry, I wasn’t looking where I was going’…. no. He shouts back at me ‘hey’ as if I’d just run into him and then cycles off proceeding to look back and shout stuff at me. What an absolute total idiot! If you know me, I’m the least confrontational person on the planet so I was shocked at myself when I was so angry at his response, I turned around and shouted ‘look where you’re going’!

There are not many things that irk me as much as people cycling on pavements, especially if they’re going fast. You perhaps might think ‘maybe it was dusk’ or ‘perhaps you weren’t wearing bright enough clothing’ and both of these would be wrong. I was wearing my BRIGHT PINK LEGGINGS, people could have spotted me from twenty times the distance that we nearly collided. If he had looked up for even 1 second, he would have seen me! So that put me in a pretty bad mood and I nearly abandoned my run entirely. Investing in a treadmill looks more and more appealing than braving it out in the urban jungle.

Anyway… enough of my near death experience, back to my watch. I was using this app to pace myself and when I reached 5k, finally, I stopped my watch but it didn’t actually record like it usually does so I was not happy about that!

Wednesday | Rest Day
Went to Cardiff today with work so today ended up being my cheat meal day (which was amazing), but I was definitely feeling it later on in the evening.

Thursday | Blah Day
Considered doing some kind of cardio workout but I was feeling super tired so had a rest instead. Out here living my best life eh!

Friday | Cancelled Day
I had an easy run on the agenda today but I was in a bit of a grump and still super tired so I skipped it but I did find a really useful Garmin tool. After my failed run on Tuesday with the Garmin add on I reasoned that the Fenix 5 is a pretty amazing watch there must be a way for me to do the same thing on the main watch functions. And Son of a Gun there was! And it was even better than the other one.

If you go to ‘run’ and hold the menu button it will take you into another menu. Select ‘training’ and go down to ‘set a target’. Here, you can set a distance only, distance and time or distance and pace goal. On these data screens it will show you your time ahead/ behind, an avatar to show how far/close you are on pace and your estimated finish time. I can’t wait to go out and test it!

Saturday | 5k Using Pacer
The Garmin Virtual Pacer is going to be a game changer for me, I can tell already. I tested it out today for my easy 5k run with a 30 minute goal. Even though this isn’t too difficult a time for me to achieve, it was pretty windy so I had to work much harder but it did keep me on track. I have a race tomorrow and I am definitely going to use this tool to get by sub 1 hour time.

Sunday | Bridgwater Bolt 10k
I was feeling really pumped for this race and I was feeling nervous, which is unusual for me, but I knew I was going to be going for under an hour as opposed to turning up and ‘trying my best’. I have to say, this new mindset of mine is helping greatly with my running! I think I’ve realised that actually I SHOULD be improving after running consistently for over a year and, apart from injuries I’ve had, there’s no good reason why I shouldn’t be smashing those PBs.

This was such a great race, I really enjoyed it. The course was pretty much flat with a couple of hills around 4 miles and 5.5 miles but I was so determined to run them and I’ve slowly come to realise that if there’s a hill up, there’s bound to be a lovely hill to run down!!

So, armed with my new ‘trick’ up my sleeve, I set my Garmin for a time of 59:30 (just to doubly make sure I was under the hour). The first mile or so of the race was really frustrating because there was a narrow pathway that you have to navigate, but so too do a couple of hundred other people. My time was dwindling before my eyes and I was starting to panic that I’d never make up this time further in the race so the first opportunity I got I tried to dash inbetween the other runners ahead of me and get my watch ahead by a couple of seconds.

As I eased into the race, I’d managed to get around 1 min ahead of my race time and logic told me that if I could keep this 1 min buffer time I’d be able to finish in under an hour easily… The hills did have a bit of an effect on me but by this time I’d managed to get around 2 mins ahead! Whoop go me! This was when I started to get a little excited when it dawned on me that not only could I get under an hour, I might actually hit an ALL TIME PB!! Once that thought occurred to me there was no stopping me and I pushed myself right to the end, finishing with a time of 57:15.

Obviously we had to celebrate with our first ever McFlurry too!

There you have it. Change your mindset and you can change your whole world! Hoping you’ve all had a great week and that you too can change your whole worlds.

Running & Fitness Tips

How to Get Back on Track

Whether you’ve had a break from running due to illness, injury or life just got in the way, sometimes it can be hard to get your motivation back. Here are some tips and tricks on how you can get your mojo back and how to keep it.

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

1. Sign up for a race
I’m sure races aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but there’s no better motivation to get out there and train when you’ve got an event to train for. You don’t even have to go for a PB but it could be the push you need to ignite your motivation again.

2. Set goals
If you’re a bit of a planning and organising nerd like I am, setting goals can be a great incentive to move you forward. Print off a weekly or monthly calendar and plan out some short term goals and block your time out as if you would with any appointment.

3. Remind yourself why you started
Sometimes we lose sight of why we want to achieve the goals that we aspire to. If you have a specific goal in mind, such as completing a couch to 5k plan, remind yourself why you want to achieve that goal.

4. Get a running buddy
Many people find that having someone you’re accountable to will motivate you when you’re really not feeling like getting out there. Arranging to meet a friend will make the experience more enjoyable and you may even forget that you’re working out!

5. Get some new running gear
Personally, nothing motivates me more than buying some new running clothes even if I’m only taking them for a little spin around the block. You don’t have to spend a lot of money either, I’m often content with a running top or even a running belt or accessory.

6. Plan plan plan
You know what they say ‘failing to plan is planning to fail’ so plan plan plan and I bet you won’t be able to wait to get started on your new goals. Even if you’re planning day by day, look forward to what you’ve set out for yourself the next day and the next day.

7. Give yourself small rewards
Sometimes, if I’m feeling really unmotivated, I’ll plan out each week and plan into the end of that week a small reward if I manage to do all of my runs and workouts. These don’t have to be in the form of designer bags or food treats they can be small things such as a pamper day or evening, going to the cinema or binge watching a favourite series.

8. Look to the future
While no-one can guarantee the future, we can shape it to a certain extent. You’ve heard that saying ‘imagine where you’ll be in a year’s time if you don’t give up’. Try and visualise where you want to be in a year and what great things you’ll achieve if you start now and don’t give up.

9. Get a personal trainer
If you’re lucky to have enough spare money or time, get a personal trainer who will kick your butt and get you motivated again. If you really like the idea of a personal trainer but you are strapped for cash, do some research into trainers near you as sometimes they’ll do deals where you can rope some friends in to share the cost with a group session and also you’ll be more accountable to each other to show up.

10. Lay out your clothes
If you’re one of those people who can only find time to run in the mornings or you just prefer to workout at that time, lay out your workout clothes the night before, that way you’ve only got to roll out of bed, throw them on and get out of the door. Equally, if you’re more of an evening runner, set your clothes out to get changed in to as soon as you get home from work.

11. Be kind to yourself
So you’ve fallen out of your routine, it’s not the end of the world. Try not to beat yourself up too much and if you feel like you need more time off, for whatever reason, don’t torture yourself if you don’t manage to get out there just yet. Just tell yourself that you will be back out there soon and look forward to the time you are.

12. Start small
Sometimes the thought of planning out a whole week, month, even year is a daunting prospect. If you really can’t think that far ahead in terms of how overwhelming it may be for you to get there, take each day as it comes. Set really small goals for yourself such as going for a walk instead of getting running or doing half a mile instead of a full mile. Every little bit helps towards your future progress.

13. Track your progress
I’m all for using stickers to track things that I’ve done well that week. If I’ve managed all of my planned workouts for that day or week, I’ll give myself a gold star. Looking back and seeing how well I’ve done and tracking any progress I’ve made will often motivate me to continue. Bullet journals have taken off in the past year so if that’s your thing, set out a habit tracker and check off each day.

14. Change your workout up
If you’re a runner and you’re feeling a little demotivated with it, why not try some other form of cardio such as a spin class, yoga, or even just changing up your usual running route. A change is as good as a rest, so they say.

15. Look at where you lost your focus last time
What was it that made you fall off the wagon the last time around? Were you setting yourself unrealistic goals that you just couldn’t meet? Make sure that if you’re planning in your workouts, it works for you. If you really can’t run first thing in the morning because of your lifestyle then plan to run another time that is more convenient. Look at where you think you fell down and try and work around these things so that you can achieve your goals. Don’t make things harder for yourself otherwise you’ll think of them as more of a chore than a pleasure and you’ll end up quitting again.

16. Cross train
It’s always a good idea to cross train rather than doing one form of workout which will help you avoid injury. You need to be challenging your body in as many ways as possible so that you’re constantly progressing and getting fitter and stronger. Make sure you’re planning in strength training and stretching into your weekly routines.

17. Give yourself a pep talk
Sometimes all you need is to give yourself a pep talk. You can’t be bothered to go out and run? So what, get out there, stop being lazy and do it anyway! The only person stopping you is you (unless you’re unfortunately injured). If you’re not great at giving yourself some tough love, ask a loved one to do it for you. Get that friend to text you and say ‘hey, get out there today’.

18. Have a quote or photo in a prominent place
If you’re motivated by a quote that you can really relate to, print it off and put it on your desk or set it as your phone background so you have to see it every day and serve as a constant reminder to you to get out there and achieve your goals.

19. Have a contingency plan
After suffering from multiple running injuries, I decided to invest in a spin bike for home use. Classes were just getting much too expensive and it’s not always convenient for me to get to a class. Now I had no excuse to not work out, even if it wasn’t the workout I had planned to do. I can sit on the bike and watch my favourite shows or I’ll make a banging playlist that I’ll sing along to. Plan for what you can do if you can’t get out and do your scheduled run. If plan A doesn’t work out, there are still 25 more letters!

20. Make it fun!
Life is supposed to be fun so make sure that you’re making your workouts fun too. You want to have a little dance while you’re running to your favourite tune… do it! I’ll let you into a little secret, I do this all the time and I don’t care if someone sees me singing while I’m running or having a little bop on the side of the pavement, I’m having fun and working out and that’s all that matters to me and it’s what keeps me going out time after time.

I hope some of these tips have inspired you to get out there and get your motivation back. If you’ve got any more tips on how you get back out there, leave a comment below I’d love to hear them.

Running & Fitness Tips

12 Tips on How to Get Fit for Free!

While celebrities like the Kardashians flaunt their workout routines in empty gyms having personal training sessions, the rest of us look on eating tubs of ice cream watching Gossip Girl and wondering how the heck we can look like them with 1% of the budget they have… no…? Just me then.

In all seriousness, health is big business and there are now so many ways for people to keep fit, you’d think we were all marathon-running-Instagram-goddesses but, in case you’re in need of some new ideas on how you can keep fit while spending the least amount possible, here’s some tips on how to get fit when you’re tightening the purse strings.

Disclaimer: This post has affiliate links, which means if you choose to buy through my links I receive a commission at no extra cost to you! I’ll only ever link products that I absolutely love and use, thank you for supporting me.

1. Dog Walking
These 4 legged miracles are more than shedding, crying, hungry monsters that live for free in your home that don’t understand anything you tell them but they listen anyway, they’re also a great way to keep fit for free. If you don’t have a pooch of your own, I’m sure you know someone that has a dog that would be more than willing for you to take them out for a spin around the neighbourhood. Heck, why not even get a bunch of ’em and pretend you’re Cesar Milan The Dog Whisperer… step too far??

2. Outdoor Gyms
On a walk back home with my Dad a couple of years ago we spotted an outdoor gym and I thought it was the craziest thing I’d ever seen! Who on earth would want to be working out in the middle of a busy park in front of noisy kids and flying footballs at their heads! Obviously, I couldn’t resist having a go on all of the gym equipment and I can 100% verify that I was breaking a sweat by the end of it. Here’s a link to the one in Exeter that I’m referring to http://www.tgogc.com/Gyms/United-Kingdom/Devon/Belmont-Park-Devon.html

Dad clearly enjoying the free gym equipment!

I’m 99% sure that at 7am on a Sunday morning there aren’t going to be hoards of people just waiting in line to get on the equipment so if you’re that way inclined and you don’t mind working out in front of total strangers then you definitely need to give this a go. Check out the Great Outdoor Gym Company who have these types of gym equipment in parks all over the UK http://www.tgogc.com/Gyms/

Definitely dressed for the gym!

3. Running
Any runner will tell you that running isn’t a ‘cheap’ sport but I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money when it comes to taking up the sport (unless you really really want to). When I first started running I didn’t have a GPS watch and apps weren’t invented yet so I used to do my runs and then hop in the car and drive the route to see how far it was! These days there are lots of fitness trackers like Nike running, Strava and Map My Run so you don’t need to spend money on a fitness watch, especially if you’re just starting out.

I’d suggest the only investment you really need to make is on your footwear. Get a great pair of running shoes and you can run anywhere you like.

4. Workout DVDs
This is where I started my ‘keeping fit’ journey many many years ago and, truthfully, I can still do the same workout DVD that I’ve done for 15 years and be physically challenged by it and have fun at the same time. They don’t seem to be as popular nowadays, I’m assuming thanks to the internet, but once you’ve found a DVD that you enjoy keep at it and you will see results.

Some of my all time favourites are the Ministry of Sound Pump it Up DVDs. The first DVD was inspired by the Eric Prydz Call on Me music video in 2004 (yes, that’s how long ago that song came out!) and then a series followed, and I loved pretty much all of them until they stopped making them – sad face. I then moved onto the Clubland workouts as Deanne Berry who fronted the Ministry of Sound DVDs had moved there too.

Another favourite workout series of mine are Davina McCall’s DVDs. I think she’s up to around her 15th DVD now and she looks amazing. While the Clubland and Ministry of Sound DVDs are more dance based, Davina’s are more strength training and overall fitness. So trawl those charity shops and bargain bins because you may find an amazing workout that you can do in the comfort of your own home, any time of the day or night and in your favourite pyjamas.

5. Instagram
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll have heard of Kayla Itsines who is an Australian personal trainer who has used her social medial to promote her fitness brand and has racked up 9.1m followers on the platform. She posts mini workouts on her Instagram page which you can do at home and she’s also got some pretty awesome E Books and a workout app.

There are so many Instagram accounts I’m not even sure where to start but a couple of great ones are @workouts.for.women and @absworkouts so check them out and literally knock yourself out with an endless supply of workout tips and everything else inbetween right at your fingertips.

6. parkrun
I guess parkrun technically comes under the ‘running’ category here but to me it’s an entity of its own. Obviously, you can hit the open road and run wherever and whenever you like and time it yourself, but you certainly don’t get to be part of the running community running alone that you do at a parkrun event. If you don’t know what parkrun is, it’s a volunteer run, free, timed, 5k run which started in the UK in 2004 and it’s spread far and wide since then. You’d be hard pressed to NOT find a parkrun near you! Saturday mornings have never been the same since.

7. Cycle to Work
I hadn’t rode a bike for nearly 10 years when I decided it would be a great idea to start cycling to work. My, very neglected, bike had been in the garage for so long but I was surprised that after pumping up the tyres it was good to go. I hopped on the bike to cycle the 5 mile journey and I never looked back, I cycled to work for an entire year after that and the thought of driving seemed weird!

Many organisations have Cycle to Work schemes these days where employers loan cycles and safety equipment as a tax free benefit. Check out if your organisation has one and relive your youth and get back on the bike.

8. YouTube
This isn’t going to be news to you but you can find ANYTHING you want (and don’t want) on YouTube. It has an almost endless stream of workout videos which will take you through abs workouts, aerobics, and yoga, there really is something for everyone.

The first channel I ever watched on YouTube was Blogilates who has so many videos up it would be impossible for you not to find one that tickled your fancy. They really are the modern day workout DVDs except you can pick a new workout every day and still never run out of new routines.

9. Home Workout Equipment
This doesn’t mean that you have to buy some dumbbells and resistance bands and do a Green Goddess routine from the 80s! Home workout equipment has become much more accessible and versatile since then and you can pick up some relatively cheap items that actually get you fit.

I loved spin classes and went every week for a couple of years, however, I never liked that sometimes I didn’t enjoy the spin instructor so much. Sometimes you’d get ‘serious’ spin instructors who would wear cycling gloves and you’d do an entire 45 minute road run sat down, then the next week you’d get an I’m-at-a-70s-party-and-going-to-sing-all-my-favourite-tunes instructor. Don’t get me wrong, they are both great instructors in their own right but it was hit and miss whether I’d enjoy the class or not, that and the fact it became so expensive to attend a weekly class, it was more cost efficient for me to buy my own spin bike!

I purchased a bike for around £100 and it’s the best investment I’ve ever made. While I’m mostly a runner, there are days that I can’t face running into torrential freezing rain or it’s too late for me to get outside and not feel like zombies just might be chasing me. Not only that, it’s helped get me through some running injuries and I’ve been able to keep my fitness up when I’ve been unable to run. The best part is that I can listen to my own music, do my own spin routines and have the best workout! I’ve also watched a few YouTube videos of spin classes for some inspiration or if I just haven’t got the capacity to come up with a great playlist.

To keep things really cheap, have a look on EBay or free sites where you might be able to pick up a bargain on a spin bike, rowing machine or treadmill and exercise to your hearts content knowing you haven’t got to queue in the gym and you’re saving money too.

10. Walking
You may roll your eyes at the idea of going for a long stroll but walking has so many benefits that you can’t ignore and is actually a pretty efficient way of getting and staying fit. At most, you need some comfortable shoes and then you can head out to woodland trails, exploring new cities and get to know your neighbourhood better (I’ve found some absolute gems of places that I’d never had ventured to if I’d have been in the car).

I’m a huge fan of leaving the car at home, when practical, and walking there instead. My main shopping centre is around 1.5 miles away and I’ll tell you, trying to find a parking space on a Saturday there is nearly impossible. There’s nothing I enjoy more than leaving the car at home, taking a leisurely stroll there and not having to stress about where I’m going to park. And yes, it does take me longer but I feel so much better for it AND I’m getting ever closer to my daily step goal of 10k steps!

11. Workout Apps
These are a great way to fit at home workouts into your life for a fraction of the cost of a gym. You can pick up some free Apps such a 7 Minute Workout and Couch to 5k runner in the App store so have a peruse of the ones available and pick one that suits you.

12. Leisure Centres
Leisure Centres, while not always ‘cheap’, can be a great way to still go to the gym but for a much better rate than a gym which has all of the facilities such as sauna. While these gyms are lovely to go to, they are often very expensive and you have to make sure that you’re making as much use of your gym membership as possible to get the best run for your money.

At most leisure centres you can sign up to a gym membership that you pay per month and use the gym and attend as many classes as you like, so if you absolutely must go to a gym, shop around and find the best deal.

I hope you’ve found some of these ideas helpful and I’d love to hear any of your suggestions for keeping fit on a budget!