What Happened to my Mental Health When I Ran Every Day? RED January days 28-31

First of all, I wanted to say thank you to everyone that has followed my Run Every Day January journey and has spread the word, taken part and supported the mental health charity Mind.

If you want to learn more about Run Every Day January and how it can help you, I’ve put together this post which gives you information on the charity and how taking part can help your mental health.

To read my full RED January journey, here are all of my previous blog posts, no holds barred and 100% honest:-

Continuing the RED January Journey

As RED January draws to a conclusion I’ll be sad to see it go. But first, here are my last 4 days of the run every day challenge 2019.

Day 28 >>> 0.64 miles >>> Sponsored snoozing

I was exhausted when I got home. I sat on my bed for a moment and then accidentally slept for 3 hours! Obviously, this is a new habit that I’ve adopted for RED January, does anyone want to sponsor me do that every day instead?

So by the time I got out for my run it was 9.20pm which isn’t the ideal time to go out obviously.

Day 29 >>> 0.7 miles >>> Snow thanks

Today’s run did not feel good! I was short of time so had to whizz around the block but it was also starting to snow. My legs felt super heavy and I had a little headache so absolutely wasn’t feeling it.

I then spent the evening driving around Bristol City centre hopelessly lost because of the new bus lane restrictions to turn up to the pub quiz an hour late to then come probably last. If you can solve any of the below anagrams and what they all have in common I’ll hand out a prize…

Day 30 >>> 1.1 miles >>> That was not (n)ice

Possibly the coldest run of RED January! The paths were very slippery in places and it was so cold I couldn’t really feel my face.

While running in cold weather is my ‘thing’ when it’s too cold I end up with a chesty cough when I get home which really isn’t nice.

I’m absolutely over the moon that I have one run left of this challenge and that I’ve run. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! Who would have thought that I’d have been able to complete this challenge, certainly not me!

During today’s run I was thinking about next January and how I can hopefully take part next year too. It will be interesting to see where I am and what I’m doing in 2020, it’s all very exciting.

I had the day off today but I certainly wasn’t having much of a rest as I had so much to do so I planned in my run for a little later in the afternoon.

Day 31 >>> miles >>> The final day!

Wow what a final day! It was very windy and there was a promise of snow in the air. The wind made for a pretty miserable run, however, I’d resigned myself to the fact that I was going to get a January PB and smash out a 5k tonight using my training feature on my Garmin Fenix 5s.

I wasn’t disappointed, it’s not quite my 27 minutes all time 5k PB but I’ll take it! I feel kind of sad that the challenge is over but I’m definitely going to put my feet up and enjoy a girly cider and some chips to celebrate. The snow certainly came down this evening, I hope tomorrow isn’t a snow day although all of the street is completely covered and it’s definitely settled.

I’m running the London Winter 10k on Sunday which I’m looking forward to I just hope it doesn’t get snowed off! I need that polar bear medal in my sweaty palm whether there’s snow on it or not!

My RED January Stats!

Here they are in all of their glory, my total RED January stats for 2019:

Total distance | 45.1 miles
Total time | 511.74 minutes
Average daily miles | 1.5
PBs I achieved | 2
Times I ran in my pyjamas | Probably around 5
Vo2 Max Increase | +1 (this means according to my watch, I didn’t get any fitter)
Buttons I begrudgingly sewed on | 28 – at time of writing, I still have 4 to sew on. This was the real challenge….

What did I learn from Run Every Day January?

I feel like I learned a lot about myself during RED January. I realised that I’m actually a lot more determined and headstrong than I think I am when I put my mind to it. I felt sure that I was going to fail this challenge at some point due to illness or injury but I actually enjoyed running every day, even if it meant having to go out at 9pm!

I learned I need to work on my procrastination and to try and get things done in the moment instead of hesitating in starting. I am juggling many balls in the air at the moment so my free time is so precious to me and maintaining a good work-life balance, relationships and self care time can be difficult.

I often say I’m doing many things badly, which makes the overwhelm just that little bit more difficult to deal with. Running even for a short distance did make me feel like I’d accomplished something even if I hadn’t managed to tick off any of my other things to do that day.

Running every day definitely improved my mental health without a doubt. I’m the type of runner that can go out with a jumbled mind and come home with complete clarity. I do a lot of my best thinking when I’m pursuing another activity (such as driving or in the shower) so running is perfect as I’m getting fit while sorting my thoughts and feelings.

Some days I went running in my pyjama bottoms and I’m ok with that. I sure was generating a lot of washing during this challenge so some days I went in whatever I was wearing around the house and some days this was pyjama bottoms if it was dark enough for me to get away with it!

I’m not the type of person to get emotional from nowhere but a few times while running I felt this sudden sadness or uncontrollable upset creep over me. I never felt that this was a bad thing, I felt like it was an opportunity for me to address any feelings that may be bothering me and doing this every day perhaps was forcing me to address them sooner than I would usually. I’m 100% an overthinker and I’ll analyse every word I’ve said that I think may have upset someone or play back in my mind something that I wish I’d done differently.

One thing I really embraced as part of RED January was the community aspect of it. I enjoyed the fact that loved ones and colleagues and even people I’ve met online had been inspired to take part and everyone was automatically welcomed as a REDer with words of encouragement and motivation.

A surprising thing I’ve learned from running every day is that my fitness did not appear to improve at all… I’m wondering how this is possible??

My watch stats (while I know they are not exceptionally accurate and only a general guide) suggest that I didn’t improve my fitness levels at all during the whole month of January.

I also didn’t feel any fitter from the first day to the last day. I’m quite surprised how much fitness I’ve lost from taking those couple of months break, I can usually get back into it but couldn’t seem to the entire month.

I’m going to be doing some more cross training next month where I can get some great cardio and strength training in.

Running every day definitely took a toll on my body and I had quite severe side effects about 6-8 days in.

I had terrible stomach pains that I just couldn’t shift and they continued on and off throughout the month. If I had done more miles one day, I seemed to pay for it in the following couple of days.

Towards the end of the month this pretty much disappeared but I think all that jumping around and using core muscles that I hadn’t used for a few months was a little bit of a shock to the system!

Another thing I learned, not necessarily about myself but about people in general is, some people don’t want to be helped and that’s fine too. By forcing someone or harassing someone to take part in the challenge, they’re not going to necessarily gain anything from it as it will become more like a chore than a pleasure.

I want to take part in Run Every Day January, how do I do it?

I picked up some tips and tricks I learned along the way from RED January that will help you to conquer the challenge yourself and also motivate you along the way.

  1. You’re in this for the long-haul. This challenge is going to take determination to complete but don’t forget there are 31 opportunities for you to prevail so you need to keep your fitness up to last the entire month. Keep your mileage low! We’ve all got different fitness abilities so you will have to tailor this to your abilities but don’t go out all guns blazing smashing out 10ks every day. You will burn out and you’re likely to get injured if you aren’t conditioned to run these distances. My own personal goal was to get out with my trainers on every day but I soon upped the challenge slightly by challenging myself to a mile every day when possible.
  2. Sign up for RED January at https://redtogether.co.uk/. Here you can get lots of great advice on how you can get involved and how you can support the initiative. You can also purchase a Run Every Day January T-Shirt to tick off those days you were active.
  3. You don’t have to run every day! The community encourages you to do some form of physical activity every day but this doesn’t mean you have to run, this could be swimming, walking, yoga, tennis, anything that gets you moving.

4. Join the RED January community by following along on social media and make friends along the way.

Follow along with RED January with these links: –
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/redjanuaryuk/
Twitter | https://twitter.com/redjanuaryuk
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/redjanuaryuk/

Follow the mental health charity Mind with these links: –
Website | https://www.mind.org.uk/redjanuary/
Instagram | https://www.instagram.com/mindcharity/
Twitter | https://twitter.com/mindcharity
Facebook | https://www.facebook.com/mindforbettermentalhealth

Conclusion

I really enjoyed this challenge and I’m so glad I signed up for RED January. There are more resources, more people willing and able to help you and ways you can improve your own mental health than you could believe.

I hope that this post has inspired some of you to take part in next January’s challenge but you don’t have to wait until then, you can start today! I guarantee that if you put in just a little bit of time and effort every day you’ll feel the benefits because I did and there’s no reason why you can’t too. So get out there and start today!

Thank you to everyone that has supported and sponsored me this far on the journey. If you want to donate to the charity Mind, click here.

running every day | mental health and running

RED January Trail Run, Canicross & Wind Days 21-27

This week I ran my first race of the year, realised that my calves hate me, wrapped up RED January at work with a plank challenge and hula hoop challenge and met some cute puppers along the way!

If you don’t know what Run Every Day January is, check out this post here which will give you information on how daily activity can help your mental health and how you too can raise awareness of the positive benefits to help others.

To read more of my blog posts for my RED January journey check out these posts below:

Day 21 >>> 2.5 miles >>> My calves hate me

I feel like I’ve been taking this challenge a little too easy by doing a mile minimum every day so I decided to ramp it up a bit (not too much I’m not crazy) and try for around 2 miles.

Today’s run was brutal too. It was pretty darn cold and the wind was almost unbearable. I tried to put my head down and run through it but I felt like I was running in custard. Which would be awful because I HATE custard!

I’ve realised some very important things about myself during this challenge (I’m going to share them all in my RED January summary next week) but here are a couple for now.

1. I’m actually scared of my own shadow. There’s one stretch of path I run along where there are lots of streetlights which gives me around 4 shadows and one of them is right behind me. EVERY TIME I run this section I have that couple of seconds of panic where I think my own shadow is someone about to grab me. I’ll never learn.

2. My calves hate me and I need to stretch more. During today’s run, my calves were absolute agony it’s a wonder I managed to run at all they were so tight! I had to stop about 3/4 a mile in and try and stretch them out but I felt like I was hobbling more than I was running.

3. I’m really proud that I’ve made it this far. While I am a very determined person and I am my biggest competition, I was sure there were going to be days that I actually couldn’t get out and run or I was sick or I felt I hadn’t eaten enough etc. I’ve shared in the previous RED January weeks how much of a procrastinator I am and while that has been an issue some days getting out of the door, I’ve gone (some days as late as 9pm) eventually!

It sort of makes me feel like I need to continue with this streak once the challenge is over because I’ve resigned myself to doing something every day no matter what and fit it into my daily routine.

Speaking of being a procrastinator, I am terrible at getting up for work on a morning especially in the winter. It’s cold it’s pitch black and my bed becomes 200% more comfortable after my alarm goes off (is this some kind of physics?). So after I got into bed I decided to look for an alarm app that was going to get me out of bed when my alarm went off.

I’ve used alarms that you have to solve maths problems and crosswords before they’ll turn off but my maths is terrible and I wake up grumpy enough! I found one called Barcode Alarm which works by scanning a barcode of something in your bathroom or kitchen and the only way to cease the alarm is to scan said barcode!

I chose a small bottle of shampoo in my bathroom cabinet to scan and it worked a treat! If you’ve got problems getting out of bed I’d highly recommend this!

Day 22 >>> 0.7 miles >>> No time

I had a hair appointment not long after work tonight so I came home (zero time for procrastination) got changed and went around the block. It was super cold though the temperatures have definitely taken a dip!

Day 23 >>> 1 mile >>> Bambi on Ice

The pavements had frozen in places on tonight’s run so I was trying to run light-footed and try not to slip over.

Something very curious has happened since I’ve been doing RED January. I’m constantly in fear that something is going to sabotage my ability to complete the challenge! My first worry right at the start was an injury so I knew I had to keep my mileage low because I hadn’t run consistently for a few months.

Since then I’ve had the following thoughts while running:-

“That dog just barked at me, what if he chases after me and bites my leg and I can’t run”

“What if I slip over or trip and I break my ankle and can’t run for months let along finish the challenge”

“That child is going to step out in front of me and I’m going to injure them and myself”

“What happens if I get sick. You’re always sick and it would only take the mildest of colds to put you out of action”

I’m clearly taking this challenge very seriously and don’t want to fail but I need to chill with the worrying!

Day 24 >>> 0.6 miles >>> Oh my knees

I’ve been very lucky so far that I’ve not suffered from too much of an injury this month. I have had some old flare-ups of some foot pain but it’s not unbearable and I can comfortably run. But today… you know when you don’t realise you have something until that something is giving you trouble.

Like your ears. You know you have ears but you probably rarely think much about them day to day. Then you have them pierced and all you can think about are your ears!

Well, I can tell you I definitely have knees and they were definitely telling me they were there every single step of the way! I’ve never experienced knee pain before and I think my not doing a proper warm up and cool down every day hasn’t helped.

I wasn’t feeling too good tonight, I felt very tired and like I was getting sick! I felt a little strange before I left work and felt hot with a scratchy throat. I came home and sat on my bed and before I knew it I was tucked up under my blanket freezing cold and feeling awful. By the time I’d had a snooze and dragged myself up it was gone 9pm. It’s never too late but let’s face it no great distance was going to be run tonight.

In sewing news, does anyone want to come and sew on the 14 buttons I’ve procrastinated sewing on?? I’ve got a race on Saturday and want to wear it for that so I have to add them all on by then!

Day 25 >>> 0.5 miles >>> RED January fundraising

We rounded up our final RED January fundraising day today with a hula hoop and plank challenge. While we didn’t get a huge uptake of willing participants we did have tons of fun and we made a little bit of money in the process for the charity Mind.

It turns out hula hooping is harder than planking! Our gold medal winners achieved a 5-minute plank and our hula hoop champion broke 33 seconds.

We thought it would be fun to let participants know the world records for both challenges just to inspire them but no one wanted to, or was capable of doing an 8-hour plank or a 70-hour hula hoop!

I did have two attempts at the plank challenge and not having done one for must be coming up to a year I was pleased with my 2 min 9 seconds time while listening to the Rocky theme tune!

Really short run tonight because I didn’t go out until 9.20pm! My knees felt much better today but I didn’t feel too well in myself.

Day 26 >>> 5k >>> Warmley Forest 5k Trail Run

I wasn’t really mentally prepared for this race today and I was concerned that I might fall over especially after they announced at the beginning that it was ‘technical’. Technical translates to me ‘you’re going to fall over’.

My favourite part about today’s race was the Canicross participants. We got to ‘awwwww’ over lots of cute puppers who were raring to go running in the mud!

On the short journey to the run, the weather was awful and bleak with rain. I had to contemplate the possibility this might be my first race ever in the rain! But sure enough, it cleared up and we stayed dry.

The dogs set off first on both the 5k and 10k and the main event went just after. The course was 90% on mud or grass and in places, the mud was very thick and very slippery, I’m so glad I had my trail shoes on (this is only their second outing).

I managed to stay upright the entire race which I was impressed with myself for but I did suffer with my calves which were on fire with all of the hills and mud running.

A couple of lovely people commented on my RED January T-shirt and asked if I had really run every day. I kind of wish that there was more on the back to promote Mind because that’s the whole reason behind it.

White button for race day!

Mum, being the pro race photographer she is, asked one of the Canicross finishers if she could take their picture with him wearing his medal…

The cutest finisher

Really lovely race, a great way to end RED January on the last weekend. Getting to see all of the dogs just made it all that much sweeter.

One of the young marshalls around the 4K mark was one of the kindest marshalls I’ve ever had at a race. He was so lovely and wished me a great rest of the race it really made me smile.

Day 27 >>> 1.42 miles >>> Wind sucks (or blows)

I felt great today! Considering I had a tough race for my legs yesterday I had tons of energy, my legs felt fine and I was enthusiastic. There were blue skies and it was cool but not too cold… except the wind. My enthusiasm was short-lived as step by step the wind stole all of my energy.

This wasn’t what I wanted for today, I wanted to try and do 2 miles but I feared that might feel like 9 miles running into the wind. Give me rain any day but wind, no thanks.

If you’re taking part in RED January too well done, we’ve come so far, only 4 more days left you’re doing amazing!

Belle's Running Blog (3)

RED January The Struggle Is Real (days 14-20)

This week I sort of felt like I was doing the bare minimum but I was happy that I managed to get out every day even when I was busy and had plans. I’ve had a bit of an emotional week this week and I think that’s been reflected in my running.

Let’s get into this week’s Run Every Day January Challenge!

Read all about RED January here and how you can get involved and how it can help you with your mental health.

If you want to read more about my RED January journey so far check out these links below: –
How I conquered RED January days 1-6
– The Good the Beyoncé and the Flamincorn days 7-13

Day 14 >>> 1 mile >>> Is this still happening?

The procrastination is real in this one. Instead of coming home from work and putting my running shoes on right away and getting the run done, I’ll sit around for like an hour on the edge of my sofa so I’m not actually sat down but I’m not exactly stood up either… then I’ll eventually get my butt up and go out.

I don’t know why I’m like this, it’s so annoying I would’ve thought I would be in some sort of routine by now but apparently not!

Day 15>>> 1.1 mile >>> yep this is definitely still happening

Professional procrastinator that I am I distracted myself pre-run with some Zak Effron in Bad Neighbours. Do I want to order a takeaway before I leave now? No, I do not, I want to be as fit as that, please. I bet Zak doesn’t eat chicken kebab and cheesy chips from the local takeaway…

I’ve been finding that my right foot is not enjoying this challenge much. I’ve suffered in the past with the dreaded plantar fasciitis but managed to stave it off to continue running.

Tonight was my first run this year in the rain and that pretty much sums up today.

As does me trying to run around a man and two dogs in the dark by taking a short cut and not knowing where I was going and went down a dead end road and ended up coming out right in front of him anyway. Increases the mileage a little I suppose…

I felt heavy today, my legs felt heavy, my eyes felt heavy… feels like someone turned gravity on a little more?!

Day 16 >>> 0.8 miles >>> All about Mind

I appeared on the Mind Charity’s social media pages today for taking part in RED January which I thought was pretty cool!

I may or may not have sat down on the footstool and swayed side to side for 15 min because I didn’t really want to go out. It’s got cold again, my foot was hurting, I was super tired and my hair was a mess.

That called for a pyjama run (it was dark it’s fine) even if it was a short one. Getting out there is just the worst part I’m so bad, I should get straight home and go straight out… but I don’t so that’s just the way things are.

Day 17 >>> 2.03 miles >>> Lovely Runch

I was working from home today so I used my lunch break as an opportunity to go for today’s run (runch). It was lovely and sunny out but it was chilly and a little windy. What is it about being out of the house on a weekday afternoon when it’s sunny that feels so amazing!

I had a great breakfast but I felt a little lethargic while I was out. Once I got home from running I felt more productive and energised, RED January really is living up to its name.

That means I’ll have more time this evening to sew all of the buttons onto my RED January t-shirt that I’ve been putting off for 4 days…

Day 18 >>> 0.7 miles >>> Short and Sweet

I was meeting a friend in the evening for a drink and a natter so I had to get home and do a short run. Was pretty pleased with 0.7 miles to be honest…

Day 19 >>> 1 mile >>> Strange Run Today

I was in a very strange mood today and left my run until the last minute possible. I’d already done a 3 mile walk in the morning but when I finally went out for a run I was weirdly emotional and felt upset about everything and also nothing.

Seeing people out with their dogs made me particularly sad and made me miss my Pupper.

Day 20 >>> 1 mile >>> A mile is a mile

I stayed over at a friend’s house last night and had yummy pizza and a lovely chill out. I got home about lunchtime and decided I needed some breakfast before I went out for my run.

So, first I did that… then I watched the rest of You on Netflix (not sure how I feel about the ending) and then Inception. Then I had a snooze and finally went out about 7pm. Strangely there was no one around. Even stranger than that is that I feel no more fit than I did at the beginning of the challenge! How is that possible??

Oh, I also forgot to mention that I did another pyjama run tonight too… what can I say, running is running and if I’m doing it in my pyjamas then that’s happening.

The colder weather had made it very difficult to want to get out there and run this week but I’m pretty pleased I managed a mile every day except two!

On an absolutely unrelated note to running, I had to share a little project I put my hand to this afternoon (it wasn’t all films and snoozing).

While I was leaving Asda the other day I saw a clothes sale rack which had some sparkly skirts left over from the Christmas party season. One in particular caught my eye with the on-trend reversible sequin fabric.

There was one skirt which was in a large enough size that I felt it would fit perfectly over my old fashioned footstool! I borrowed my Mum’s staple gun and stapled the fabric all around the underside and made a pretty cool piece of furniture if I do say so myself!

I am a tad obsessive though trying to ensure every sequin is facing the right way…

If you’ve been taking part in RED January too, how are you keeping your motivation up? With 11 days left to go I feel pretty optimistic I can see it through the rest of the challenge.

RED January ~ The Good the Beyoncé and the Flamincorn (Days 7-13)

When I started this running blog back in January of 2018, I always wanted it to be an authentic account of my running journey. No sugar coating. No making things look better than they were. Just me, being myself and writing as if I were talking with a friend. So this week… let’s just say it’s uber authentic…

Also, after writing my post last week on Should Guide Runners Receive a Medal Too I’ve been thinking how I’d really like to get involved with helping blind people in sports so if you’ve got any tips or advice let me know!

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.

TOTAL MILES THIS WEEK = 10
TOTAL RED JANUARY MILES = 22

RED Day 7 >>> 1.1 miles >>> What day/ year is it again?

I did not want to go out for tonight’s run, I left work later than normal and got stuck in traffic so I lost an hour of my evening. As is customary for me, I ate 4 Quality Street chocolates and a banana, put my big girl pants on and went out. I programmed 1k into my watch but I really wanted to make it to a mile so I did push a little further.

There I was feeling all accomplished and came home to eat dinner and watch Silence of the Lambs… Clarice sure is a good trail runner she needs to give me some tips!

I feel like I’m getting sick though (if you know me I’m always sick so this is nothing new). I feel hot one minute then cold and I have a runny nose and a scratchy throat… this can’t stop me from completing the challenge!

Managed another fastest mile! Only another 2:40 to take off my best PB… off to sew another button on BRB (I may or may not have stabbed myself in the hand many times during this challenge… 7 minimum).

Fastest mile of 2019 so far…

RED Day 8 >>> 1.5 miles >>> Sleeping vs running

I had a terrible night sleep last night and had a headache when I got home from work. I put dinner in the oven which gave me half an hour to go out and get back. Except I put my trainers on and sat on the sofa for 15 minutes and nearly fell asleep!

Run was uneventful, highlights included nearly being run over on a pedestrian crossing (because the rules of the road don’t apply to everyone), meowing hello back to a cat and running a little faster when I got it in my mind someone was following me (thanks to yesterday’s Silence of the Lambs).

It was on the chilly side again tonight but I managed my minimum mile distance. An early night is in order I think. Zzzzzzzz

RED Day 9 >>> 1.0 mile >>> Only 22 days left but who is counting

When it’s 2 degrees outside and it’s so so warm indoors, how do you drag yourself out to go for a run? What I do is procrastinate by doing many things I don’t want to do less than I want to go out for a run and finally run out of things to do and then finally get out there!

I decided to do my usual mile run route backwards. At first, it felt exhilarating like a brand new route! It wasn’t quite so exhilarating when I was running the wrong way down my usual pathway and because it was so dark and I didn’t know the path, I kept veering off into the grass. The lights from cars driving past were making me lose my bearings and my eyes were playing tricks on me.

I felt like I wanted to run a little further than a mile but my knees were really painful and I’d put the oven on before I left so I felt like I should head back.

In other news! I received my Flamincorn 5k virtual medal today and it’s so pretty and sparkly and I wanted to wear it on my run for some motivation but I was worried I might knock my teeth out! The medal was delivered really quickly, I ran my 5k on Sunday and submitted it that afternoon via www.virtualracinguk.co.uk.

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In even more news, I also received my race pack for the London Winter 10k, which is going to be a logistical nightmare to get to and I really didn’t think this through properly. I originally only signed up because I thought the medal was awesome (thanks Instagram for giving me medal envy).

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So, an unpleasant side effect that I’ve been experiencing since day 6 of RED January is stomach pains. They come on shortly after I’ve completed my run and continue through the evening until I go to sleep at night. Then by the next morning, I feel absolutely fine, until after my run again the next day.

I’ve been running consistently now for about 2 years and I’ve trained for half marathons, trail runs, dozens of 10ks, I’ve done races back to back in one weekend multiple times and I’ve never experienced this before. To say it’s annoying is an understatement!

If they could just go away now, that would be great, thanks so much.

RED Day 10 >>> 2.5 miles >>> Tonight Matthew, I’m going to be… Beyoncé

What a great run I had tonight! I think it had a lot to do with my playlist which was an old running Spotify playlist I had and I forgot just how great some of those tunes were! Obviously, there was ‘Who Run The World’ which gave me the opportunity to run and sing at the same time!

If you’ve been running for a while you’ll know that some days are like this. Other days you’ll feel like the worst runner ever and feel like giving up but it’s these days that make it worthwhile. So I highly recommend if your motivation is a little low, throw on your favourite music and get out there I guarantee you won’t regret it.

This also lead to a January PB mile time of 9:34 which is by far the fastest mile I’ve run so far in this challenge!

RED Day 11 >>> 0.68 mile >>> Give me all the M&Ms

I didn’t finish work until sooooo late today and I accidentally ate an entire bag of M&Ms on the journey home. I’m sure this isn’t why you started reading this blog to hear about all of my bad snack habits but yet here I am sharing them anyway. Not the M&Ms they’re all mine I’m not sharing those!

Yesterday I felt like Beyoncé and today I feel like one of the lesser known ones in Destiny’s Child…

I think this is my shortest run EVER, including the time I took my Labrador out and she pulled me to the ground when she saw another dog just around the corner from my house and we turned around and came back home, but I didn’t get out until 9pm.

Today we had our first RED January event at work but it wasn’t overly successful, unfortunately. We played ‘Guess the Weight’ and had some fitness equipment for people to estimate how much it all weighed. The prize was a shiny gold medal (obviously 100% real) and we tried to put the emphasis on the awareness/ charity aspect rather than the ‘winning something’ aspect.

Next week we are going to run a plank and hula hoop challenge so fingers crossed we’ll get more people involved!

Later in the evening, even though I’m a proper grown up, I still like to learn the dance routines to music videos. I’ve done this as long as I can remember the first one being PJ & Duncan Let’s Get Ready to Rhumble but some of my most recent favourites are Justin Bieber’s Sorry and Kiesza’s Hideaway. What can I say, I love music and I love dancing and you’re never too old for that!

RED Day 12 >>> 1.0 mile >>> Sponsored by my pyjamas

Ok, so today didn’t go exactly to plan. I’ve been suffering this week, mostly while at work, with palpitations and no amount of Badger Sleep Balm and breathing has been helping. Here’s the link to the Badger Sleep Balm I absolutely love the smell of it as it’s very calming to me. In the spirit of RED January, I’ve been walking at lunchtime and I can tell you, it helps a ton.

Anyway, I didn’t go out for today’s run until 8pm and I ran in my pyjamas (they look like leggings so I feel like I could get away with it when it’s dark)! I pre-ran a bath before I left and made a cup of peppermint tea for when I got back so I had something great to look forward to.

I grabbed my torch and just went out and ran as far as I felt happy with. Obviously being January, it was pitch black but I feel pretty safe in my neighbourhood but I also love watching horror films which isn’t particularly conducive to happily running alone and feeling like I wouldn’t be kidnapped or some creature wearing a mask might kill me… You’ve got to pick your battles I guess.

RED Day 13 >>> 2.7 miles >>> It happened

Nothing much eventful about today’s run, I did a walk warm up for around 3 mins. My knees were giving me a little bit of trouble at the start but it soon eased off.

The worst part about today’s run was my calves. I did a little walk on an incline and it really knocked my calves for 6. I had trouble getting running so I had to do some stretches before I could get running again.

The wind wasn’t particularly in my favour on the last mile but it wasn’t cold so that was something. Followed up my run with a nice dairy-free butter crisp sandwich!

While I’m not particularly happy with my overall mileage this week I am happy that I went out every day even if it was at 9pm some nights! I want to try and avoid injury though so I think keeping the mileage low might be a smart idea.

If you’re taking part in RED January, how have you found this week? What has been motivating you to go out every day?

My Best and Worst Races, Full Running Calendar and PBs of 2018

2018 huh, what a year! There have been highs, lows, horses, stunning scenery, mud, a lion, lots of falling over and even a few PBs! It hasn’t been the best year for me personally, and running had taken a bit of a backseat in comparison to last year. I had to say goodbye to my beautiful Labrador in the summer and, quite frankly, I didn’t have the enthusiasm or energy to run for months (I’m really keen to write a blog post all about losing a pet and things that really helped me, for anyone else who may be going through the same thing). Then I got sick and couldn’t run a couple of races towards the end of the year, which I was devastated about and didn’t take the decision not to run lightly (in 2 years I’ve never had a Did Not Start, I always turn up to a race). Then my final race of the year, the Watermore 10k, was a bit of a disaster…

I’m going to share my entire race calendar for 2018 (including the two I didn’t make the start line for) and include my favourites as well as my least favourites, followed by a cheeky look at my PBs and how much I’ve improved as a runner since 2017. Check out the further links next to any of the races I’ve done full reviews for or blog posts.

My Favourite Races of 2018

Martock 10k
What a lovely race the Martock 10k was! The honest reason I wanted to enter this race was, I saw on my Instagram that someone had run it last year and I thought the medal was so cute I had to have it (medal goals) and I managed a PB at this race.

Martock 10k

Minchinhampton 10k
If you’re looking for a lovely, village-style race, this is one you’d definitely enjoy. Read my full race review here or read more on my training journal here

Longleat 10k
Oh my gosh, the rain we had this day! (Fun fact, in the past 2 years I’ve done a total of 47 races and not once have I had to run in the rain, that’s not to say it hasn’t rained before and after). Because the weather was so awful, most people didn’t hang around afterwards but I wanted a picture all by myself with the Longleat Lion… I mean, obviously right! For a full race review on the Longleat 10k click here or to read my blogging week of the race ‘diary of an injured runner’, click here

Brecon Beacons Trail Race
The prettiest trail race I ever did do! The Brecon Beacons cemented my love of trail running, except I did spend a considerable amount of time stopping and taking photos because the views were stunning. I had a little bit of a disaster on the way because I’d accidentally set my Sat Nav to ‘avoid tolls’ which took me a hecking long way around Wales instead of directly over the bridge, not such a good start. The medal was also some pretty hefty bling which looked great amongst my medal collection.

Read more about the Brecon Beacons 10k Trail Challenge click here or to read my blogging week of the race ‘Need for Speed’ click here

Frenchay 10k
A really lovely village run with some serious hills and trail sections. It’s all fun and games isn’t it when you’re doing the first mile all nice and downhill, except you have to run back up that hill on the final stretch! Not feeling like Mo Farrah now are you Michelle… no you are not. Despite the hills, it didn’t put me off this race and the ‘medal’ was a cute mug which I have on my mantle.

My No-So Favourite Races of 2018

Hawkesbury Upton 5k
I certainly had some beef with this race for sure. It didn’t help that it was freeeeeeezing cold (in June) which didn’t put me in a happy running mood. I found this race very strangely put together, from the warm up to the fact that children and adults went off running together. I was very concerned that I was going to accidentally trip over or get tripped over by a child, in my opinion, they have very different styles of running to adults and many of them would weave all around the course which I found quite unnerving. I will say though, the kids that ran it were amazing runners, truly, and this tiny child who must have been around 6 was whooping my behind for sure!

Bath Skyline Trail Run
I had prepared myself to fall over during this race, I just had a feeling that it was going to be that kind of trail running. I’d already signed up for the 10k race but when I got there something was telling me to defer to the 5k instead (it was after all a 2 lap course, which I’m not that keen on anyway). Even though I ‘officially’ transferred to the 5k race, I ended up not having a time recorded on the website for some reason.

I will say, the views on this race are spectacular and that was the only thing that was keeping me upright the majority of the time. I fell over once in the wet, muddy, woodland section and the very nice runners in front of me asked if I was ok. I then stood up, took another few paces and went down again… they were probably wondering who the heck I was and if I’d ever actually run any sort of race before!

Read the full race review here or to read more about my falling over journey on my weekly blog post here

Slay the Dragon Trail Run
Again with the trail running, I’ve decided I’m going to stick to the trails I know in 2019 so I don’t end up in such a grump and gosh was I in a grump after this one (I think my face in my ‘post-race selfies’ proves this). We’d had some terribly cold and snowy weather the week before this race and the churned up mud was frozen solid and it was agony for me to run on. I was really concerned about twisting my ankle and ruining the rest of my race year!

Read my full race review here or to read my training blog post with more info on the Slay the Dragon 10k here

Concorde Canter 10k
Feeling nostalgic for Concorde, I signed up for the Concorde Canter. It promised to be a flat, unused airfield which in my mind means ‘very flat, you’re gonna get a PB’. How wrong I was! While it was relatively flat, the wind across this 2 lap course was unbelievable. Not only that, the weather was scorching hot. It was also, quite possibly, the most uninspiring and uninteresting course with long sections of airfield that you couldn’t even see the end of.

Even worse than this, I didn’t even get to see Concorde (except on the medal, which was quite cute).

My 2018 Race Calendar

January
Longleat 10k ~ 28th

February
Bath Skyline Trail Run ~ 11th
Slay the Dragon Trail Run ~ 25th

March
Minchinhampton 10k ~ 11th
Clock Change Challenge ~ 25th (read my race review here and blog about the race here)

April
Devizes Half Marathon ~ 8th
Frenchay 10k ~ 15th
Bridgwater Bolt 10k ~ 29th (read my blog about the race here) spoiler, I get a PB!

May
Brecon Beacons Trail Run ~ 5th
Glastonbury Round the Tor 10k ~ 6th (read my blog about the race here) – spoiler, it’s hot!
Bristol 10k ~ 13th (read my race review here and blog about the race here) – spoiler, I hate how busy this race is!
Caerphilly 10k ~ 20th

June
Chew Valley 10k ~ 10th
Hawkesbury Upton 5k ~ 16th
Martock 10k ~ 17th
Pretty Muddy ~ 30th

July
The Concorde Canter ~ 4th
Thornbury 10k ~ 12th

August
Cannock Chase ~ 5th (read my race review here and blog about the race here)

September
Oldbury 10mile run ~ 9th
Bristol Half Marathon ~ 23rd
Watermore 10k ~ 30th

2018 Personal Bests

2017
1k ~ 4:53
1 mile ~ 8:04
5k ~ 27:35
10k ~ 57:53
Half ~ 2:15:41

Total miles ran ~ 402

2018
1k ~ 4:50
1 mile ~ 7:59
5k ~ 27:03
10k ~ 56:33
Half ~ no record set

Total miles ran ~ 208 miles

Wow I ran half the amount of miles than I did in 2018 but I actually set PBs across each distance, with the exception of my half marathon (the Devizes half, read about this disasterous race – which does include a horse – here)

I hope you’ve all had a great running year, let’s smash our goals in 2019! I’m starting off January with RED January (Run Every Day January in partnership with the Mental Health Charity, Mind – read more here how you can get involved too) which I’m hoping will get me back into running as I’ve already signed up for 5 races and I want those PBs baby!