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 1 | 10k Training | Diary of an Injured Runner

It dawned on me the other day that it’s only 4 weeks until the Bristol 10k. While there isn’t anything particularly spectacular about this, as I’m running multiple 10ks this year, it’s a massive deal for me because this is where I got my race PB last year. I’ve never come close to hitting or breaking this record of mine and I’ve been continually frustrated that I can’t even get under an hour in alllll of my races! It’s the only race I’ve ever run and got under an hour. What I find most frustrating about this is that I’ve been training for the past year (with the exception of December / January where I had the flu and did no running at all) and I can’t seem to improve my times.

So I decided to make it my mission in these 4 weeks to try and increase my speed so that when I’m at that start line, I’m all set to smash my course time and perhaps even pull an all time PB out of the bag!

I’m going to talk more about what I’m going to do to increase my speed in the next few weeks but for this week, let’s just look at what I’ve been up to.

Monday | Yoga Day Turned Sick Day
I did not feel good today, which is never good when you’re trying to start a new regime! After the Frenchay 10k yesterday, I was going to do a long yoga session to try and keep my injuries at bay and give myself a great stretch out but it wasn’t to be.

Tuesday | Easy Run ~ 2.5 miles
I wanted to go out and get some miles in the legs so there was nothing too strenuous about this run, although it was super windy which I HATE.

Even though this run wasn’t a particular victory, I am feeling great and injury-free which is such a novelty for me. I’m really hoping that if I can keep any niggles at bay I’m going to be able to keep training so that I can put the miles in, as this is where it’s all gone wrong for me in the past. I need to be able to run, otherwise, this just isn’t going to work out.

Wednesday | Strength Training
Strength training is something that I’ll always avoid. I’m a cardio junkie, always have been, and I find anything other than this a tad boring. I didn’t want to go mad though so I kind of cheated and did an old workout DVD of mine which had a ‘toning’ section which was pretty tough but, to be fair, it could have probably been better.

Thursday | Rest Day
No workouts for me today but I did manage to squeeze two walks in today so not a total rest day. It was also my cheat day and I had an amazing takeaway.

Friday | Hill Work + Lamppost sprints
It was pretty hot today, I guess we’ve skipped spring and gone straight to summer! Don’t let that fool you, apparently there’s more snow on the way. Get it together England!!

After a dance workout in my living room (waiting for my Garmin to charge) warm up, I tried to do a little bit of everything and push myself, I did an easy run followed by my ‘nemesis hill’ for miles 0-2, lamppost sprints for mile 2-3, and then the final mile was a nice easy pace. I had the best Spotify playlist and was really feeling The Saturdays’ Greatest Hits Megamix.

Saturday | High Intensity Workout
The plan was to do Davina McCall’s newest workout DVD, however, I really wasn’t feeling it so I opted for the 2004 Nell McAndrew Ultimate Challenge Ultimate Results instead. Wow, I forgot how intense this workout was! My legs were literally on fire doing this and my arms felt like they might actually fall off. I can’t believe how unfit I am now, even with all the running, I still have noodle arms but that’s all changing!

I dug out one of my Labrador’s tennis balls from the cupboard and used it as a mini foam roller for my legs. I’ve had some pain down the side of my shins for the past few months so I was hoping that it would relieve some of the pain I’ve had there and I’ll say this, it felt great! The only downside is that I bruise like a peach and now I’ve got bruises all down my legs!

Sunday | 7 Planned Miles Turned into 5 (also the London Marathon!)
I did contemplate not going out for this run after the intense workout I did yesterday but I felt pretty good so I went out with 7 very slow and easy miles in mind. They’d predicted that it was going to be the hottest London Marathon ever so I don’t know why I was so shocked that it was absolutely boiling at 8am…

I started off ok, my legs felt good and I was loving the quiet roads, however, I turned the corner and there was a long stretch of headwind and it just knocked me for six. I kept running but my energy had gone from an 8 to around a 3 and that was it for me, I was done. I was walking for literally no reason. Yes it was warm but the majority of my races are in the summer months so this isn’t something that’s new to me. I tried to claw it back with a really slow pace but I just couldn’t get back to it.

So I’m struggling on my final stretch of road and the end is in sight, and this woman was running in the opposite direction towards me and she had the most amazing body I’d ever seen on anyone in real life, she was awesome, and suddenly I’ve never felt less in shape in my life. Then I was kind of annoyed with myself for feeling like this, why do we have to compare ourselves to others when it brings us down so much? Let’s not just be kind to other people, let’s also be kind to ourselves too.

Weekly Roundup
While I had a bit of a pants run on Sunday, I was pretty happy with my efforts this week. I know I need to incorporate some more speed work in my runs so next week that’s going to be the number one goal and everything else will have to work around that. I may even have to suck it up and break out my torturous foam roller.

I have a race next Sunday and I’m already hoping that I’m going to be able to get under an hour ahead of the Bristol 10k as it’s predominantly flat and I’ve got the mental determination to do it.

If you’ve managed to shave some significant time from your PB let me know how you did it, I’m looking for tips for sure!

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.

how to get back on track with fitness | kick start your fitness routine

Half Marathon Training | Week 8 | Diary of an Injured Runner

For goodness sake, the Beast of the East is back! Just when England had finally got back to ‘normal’ the sight of snow is again upon us and has cancelled more races this weekend such as the Weston Super Mare Half Marathon, Bowood House 10k and Reading Half Marathon! I will say, I’ve been super lucky in that respect. I had a race in between the last flurry of snow but I was going to sign up for the Bath Half (couldn’t get in as it was full) and the Weston Super Mare Half (but I thought it was expensive) and both of these were cancelled. Even so, it hasn’t been a great week for me running-wise…

One race I missed out on this weekend was the Frampton Globe Trot, which sold out in 4 hours! It’s definitely going to be up there with the races that I want to do in 2019 as it looks like so much fun.

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
My legs were still super tired from yesterday’s race but not in a muscle soreness kind of way, they just felt a little weak noticeably when I was walking upstairs. Other than that I felt great and was still on my runner’s high from the Minchinhampton 10k. Checked the stats today and I was 280th out of 471 runners and the 104th female out of 257, which I can’t say I was crazy about but I know I ran to the best of my ability.

Tuesday | Recovery Run 5k
I debuted one of my pairs of running shoes the Asics Patriot 8s which I’d purchased in a 5 (a size bigger) and they were great, they felt nice and comfortable but I do feel like I’m missing some cushioning and I feel quite heavy footed when I’m striking the floor. I’m on the hunt for some more expensive ones but I’m still out doing my field research (aka doing a poll on my Instagram and seeing everyone else’s favourites).

All of that aside, this was an awful run as my legs didn’t feel like they belonged to my body and my top half felt like Phoebe from Friends with my arms flailing all around. I don’t normally run like this (I’m 87% sure that’s the case), however, that wasn’t the worst part. I had terrible pains going down the inside of my legs after around mile 1 and when I got home my knee was not in a good way. My legs felt like they were planks of wood and really seized up so I did around 15 minutes of stretching and they seemed to have eased up a bit. I had a bath later on and by the end of the evening they were feeling a little sore but pretty good otherwise. Perhaps my legs were still fatigued from Sunday’s run?

Wednesday | Indulgent Day
It’s my Mum’s birthday on St Patrick’s Day so we went out for dinner tonight and we both had lovely steaks and deserts… I regret nothing, it was delicious.

Thursday | Rest Day
I was going to put myself to a run today but I decided that, after Tuesday’s disaster of a run, I’d give myself another rest day just to make sure I was fully recovered.

Definitely loving a rest day!

Friday | Worst Run of My Life 1.9 miles
Today was like no run I have EVER had before in my life (dramatic aren’t I).

I figured that because of Tuesday’s pain following my run I was going to do roughly 2 miles around the block and then come home and do a dance workout. I started off strong, perhaps a little too strong, and had to ease myself back a bit as I was supposed to be taking it steady. I managed around a mile in relative comfort and then the pain started. I couldn’t even pinpoint where the pain was but it was pretty much from my hips all the way down to my feet and I nearly cried at one point in sheer frustration that I was actually not going to be able to continue running.

So for the first time ever, I stopped running and had to hobble the half of a mile home in the cold. When I got home, things went from bad to worse, I couldn’t even stretch out my legs at all they were so stiff! I knew I had to try and do some stretches but I just physically couldn’t. I then started to think of all of the races I’ve got coming up (one is a 10k next weekend) and that I just might have to pull out of my half marathon in 3 weeks time.

Surely my legs can’t still be tired from Sunday’s race?? They felt absolutely fine! What’s really strange though is I got in the bath and had a bit of a sulk but by the time I got out my legs felt pretty much fine again, with the exception of a little calf pain. Yes they still felt tired and yes they ached a little bit (more than you’d expect from running only 2 miles) but they felt good… what on earth is going on??

Saturday | Rest Day
I had lots of work to get done today so I was sat at the home office pretty much all day. My little chicken nugget of a Labrador wanted to be close to me so I pulled her bed up and she slept right next to me while I worked.

I had a glorious package delivered today… as if I needed any more… my new Tikiboo leggings arrived!

Sunday | Snow Day = Spin Day
Today was supposed to be my long run day and I was going to try for around 8 miles. The Beast of the East had other ideas though and, to be honest, after the pain of this week’s two runs I don’t think it would be very smart of me to attempt to run that far even if we hadn’t had snow again. I am getting ever concerned that I haven’t run further than 6 miles in a very long time so if I manage to get to the start line of the Devizes Half, I have no idea how well I’ll be able to run it.

Anyway, enough of what I can’t do and more of what I can do! Thankfully I have my spin bike to fall back on when running is out of the question and because I couldn’t do my long run I decided that I needed to do a ‘long cycle’ instead. I wasn’t sure what that consisted of as I’ve only really done 45mins – 1hr before but my logic was, if I’m running a half marathon, 2 hours would be about right in comparison.

I put on the film Revenant to distract me but it was pretty gory in places so I spent a lot of time looking away (which wasn’t the plan). I tried to do some variations of spinning and did: – 30 mins flat road running, 30 mins hill climbing, 15 mins flat road, 15 mins hill climb x 2 which totalled 70 miles. My legs held up really well and I definitely put them through their paces. Plan A was to tire my legs as much as I would if I was running and I’m pretty sure I managed that as I couldn’t get up off of the sofa later in the evening…

So that was my week, mostly filled with disappointing runs but I managed to claw it back with a good spin. My plan next week is to do a gentle run during the week and a couple more spin sessions and I must do more stretching and foam rolling (don’t I say that every week…).

I hope your week has been awesome. Let me know what you do when you can’t get out and run.

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!

Frugal fitness ideas | Get fit on a budget
How to get fit for free
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