Tag Archives: race for life

Race for Life – One Year On

Around this time last year, I wrote about taking part in my first ever 5k race and how I had literally gone from the couch to 5k, with the enormous help & encouragement from Emma Rogers. So, it was only right that I should do the very same race again this year – a one year on check in report, I guess.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

I absolutely had no desire to ever run again after doing the first 5k race for life. I found running to be long, boring & bloody painful hard work. The 5k was just to prove to myself that I could do it, then I’d hang up my running shoes & move on to something else.

Who’d have thought, that a year later, not only did I come back to replay the race, but that I had also done so many other runs & events in the time between. I’m pretty proud of my medal board, I really, honestly NEVER expected my life to change so much in such a short time.

My growing medal collection.

My growing medal collection – 5ks, 5miles, OCR events, half marathon & full marathon medals.

What started out as a weight loss plan, has become a new life, an obsession, something that I think about all day every day. Not only did I lose over 5stone, but I have kept it off. I’ve met a whole load of great new friends, both through running & through going to the gym. I’ve been retraining and am now qualified as a weight loss specialist, a nutritionist, a sports nutritionist & am *almost* a qualified fitness instructor – just the last assessments to go!

I get asked what the “secret” is, probably every other week. In all honesty, there is no secret. There is no quick fix & there are no short-term answers. The way I have trodden my path, may not suit others, but you need to find what works for you & your lifestyle. It also needs to be your own decision. Nothing will work unless you whole-heartedly want it to. You need to change your mindset, it isn’t a diet, it is a lifestyle.

I totally recommend signing yourself up to something like a 5k fun run, it gives you a tangible goal, something that you will have to work for & something that will become easier with training. In turn, the training will help you to love exercising & will usually help you shift some stubborn lbs too – assuming that you don’t congratulate yourself on your exercise with a chocolate cake! You can’t outrun a bad diet. The key is to find enjoyment in the process, and the results will follow!

So, my sister and I took a stroll down to the park for our run yesterday morning. We could have decided against it as we are both sporting slight injuries from our moonwalk marathon – my knee has given in when I run & Nic has a pain in her foot & shin-splints. But, hell, we were going to take this on.

The run was fairly smooth, we learnt from last year to get near to the front at the start, it’s no fun trying to get past a load of walkers when you want to run, so we had a pretty good & not too busy route. Nic’s shin-splints meant that we had to stop/slow down a few times, but we STILL took time off of last year’s race. My first ever training 5k was 39:42, last year’s race for life was 35:57, this year’s time was 32:49. Considering our injuries, our stopping & our less than speedy pace, we were pretty pleased with that time.

All finished!

All finished!

Next year, I’m aiming to get it under 25mins, because I KNOW I can do that pace, but I need to be injury free.

If you would love to be able to run a 5k race, but don’t know where to start, just get out there and get going. Try running for a minute at a time. You’ll be surprised how you grow to love it. The freedom, the ability for your own body to take you places. The surprises you’ll see that you usually miss when driving about in a car. The rush of good feeling that you’ll get when you come home, sweaty, out of breath & pink in the face.

Why not join your local running club, the guys you’ll be surrounded by know their stuff. You will be supported and encouraged. I run with Hastings Runners & they are an awesome bunch. Or try checking out to see if you have a local parkrun – a no pressure 5k weekly race. If you’re not up to running one yet, go and volunteer – I can bet that by being surrounded by runners, you’ll want to get in on the action too!

Go, get out there, enjoy running & enjoy life – find your happy!

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My Top 10 Tips for Fitness and Weightloss

I’m no expert, or fitness/nutrition professional (so, clearly, these are just my opinions & observations of my own journey), but I have managed to shed over 4stone and drop almost 4 dress sizes, since January – and you know what, it really hasn’t been that difficult!

Here are my top 10 tips on how to get fit and lose/maintain weightloss:

  1. Get in the ‘zone’;

There is absolutely no point you reading any further if you are not 100% ready to do this. You need to look at your end goals and how you want to achieve them. If you want to starve yourself for 3 days and hope that it works, it won’t, you’re doing it wrong.

Look at yourself like a car – you need fuel to function, so starving or heavily restricting your diet is rubbish, you will just eat away at any muscle you have & store fat, so it’s a lose lose situation. Work out why you want to lose weight. For me, I was fed up of looking like a lard meatball, a flabby, unrecognisable heap of my former self (for the record, I have NEVER been ‘skinny, but I could at least shop in the high street stores before!).

You also need to move to keep working. Think of the last time you saw a car that has been parked up for an age – rusty, bits fallen off, won’t start – yup, you want to avoid that scenario where possible! My goal has never been to be ‘thin’ it is to be healthy, and that is where the difference lies.

2. Be time efficient;

“I don’t have time to exercise”

“I’m too busy”

“It’s too hot/too cold”

“I’m tired”

I definitely used to say these, there was always a good ‘reason’ as to why I was fat and why I didn’t do any exercise. Well, here is the answer to those ‘reasons’:

“Those that really want to do something find a way; those that don’t, find an excuse”

Occasionally, I find myself trying to think of excuses to get out of running, doing a workout or cycling, but you know what? Nothing is MAKING me do any of it, I CHOSE to do it, so I don’t have to get up and move my ass, but if I don’t, what would make me get up the next time? I find that excuses lead to excuses. Don’t get me wrong, it is good to have rest days, you don’t have to kill yourself every day, but think of even walking to the shops as a mini workout – just get moving a bit every day.

Get up half an hour earlier and do a workout. Do a mini workout whilst watching the TV in the evening. Do some weights or squats when you’ve got 5minutes spare (& yes, EVERYONE has at least 5 spare minutes in a day – even ‘very busy’ people). Ride a stationary bike whilst reading a book.

Find. The. Time.

3. Fuel yourself;

It is so important to eat right if you want to change & if you want to see any kind of results. I do do quite a bit of exercise now (you wouldn’t have read that from me last year!!), but if I was still drinking a bottle of wine a night and eating take out every day, I wouldn’t see much change. You need to take a holistic approach to it, so food and fitness go together.

Don’t restrict your foods or calories drastically, you will fail, or make yourself ill. The biggest annoyance for me is when people say, “oooh, which diet are you on?!” – well, I’m not on any diet. I can eat whatever I want, I just eat less & I try to make good food choices, for example:

WANT CRISPS – have some popcorn

WANT CHOCOLATE – have a cocoa nakd bar

WANT WINE – have sparkling water

WANT CHIPS – make carrot chips, or, just have a half portion of chips if you really really want them.

I also give myself ‘cheat days’ – typically at the weekend, because we usually see friends or family, so I can have wine, I can eat chips, I can have dessert, I can have cocktails and cheese, but you know what, I just eat less than I would have done when I was bigger and I try to offset it with exercise.

I also try to really focus on eating more protein – I’d rather have 2 helpings of protein and then either none or a half helping of carbs – I’m not on a low carb scheme or anything, but I KNOW that protein will help to keep me full and will help with building and retaining muscle tone, in combination with exercise. (I ADORE QUEST & CLIF BARS!!)

4. Gear yourself up;

If you are totally serious about getting fit, then there are a few things that I would totally recommend buying or downloading:

  • myfitnesspal app (free) – allows really easy tracking of foods and nutrition, tailored to your weight and goals
  • fitbit (£) – I have a flex, it is BRILLIANT – read my review here
  • 30 day shred DVD (£) – I CANNOT recommend this highly enough
  • freeletics app (free version) – for when you have been working out for a little while!!
  • a piece of gym equipment (£) – I have a stationary bike and a crosstrainer. I would totally recommend getting a little fold up exercise bike, not too costly (especially if you grab it in a sale, or secondhand)
  • get some hand weights (£) – you’ll need these for 30 day shred anyway, but you can use them independently, you know, for your 5minute workout.
  • enter a race (£) – set yourself a real challenge. Race for life is a good starting point. I completed my first last month – read about it here.

5. Hydrate;

Water. Just drink lots of water. You don’t need energy drinks, you need good food & lots of water (and sometimes a berocca tablet!).

6. Dump the Car and Move it;

Quit driving everywhere. Use your legs to walk. Walk to the shops, carry your shopping back in a rucksack!

My 3 year old can walk pretty far now as we traipse about everywhere, plus, we get to have silly chats on the way.

If you have to drive to work, park further from the building, use the stairs. Get off the bus a few stops early etc etc. See everything as a possible challenge. Do it. Move it.

7. Donate or sell your ‘fat clothes’;

Every time I try on some clothing that is too big, I put it in a charity shop pile. When I get a nice little stack of clothes together, I take them round to our local charity shop. This takes away my safety blanket, I can’t get bigger again, because I’ll have no clothes & I really really don’t want to have to buy bigger sizes again. Plus, it’s always good to give to charity, much better than chucking them out or hoarding them in the loft! 😉

If they are fancy or expensive clothes, you could also try your hand at selling them, then using the money you make to buy new, smaller clothes.

8. Involve your friends and family;

It is much easier to stay on track with your new lifestyle, if everyone around you is involved. I’m not suggestion that you get Grandma up and running a marathon with you, but she might like a stroll (or push, if she is in a wheelchair) around the park.

Feed your family whatever you were planning to eat – my hardened carnivore of a husband, now actually likes ‘meat-free meat’ and tofu, my 3 year old will eat fruit and vegetables till the cow comes home!

Get outside as much as you can. See if your sister or brother want to come with you to a race, even if it is just to spectate.

The more you all move about, the easier and more natural it becomes 🙂

9. Don’t Beat Yourself Up;

Remember, YOU are the one that is choosing to do this, NO ONE is forcing you. If you choose to have a day off, then do. If you choose to eat an entire chocolate bar, then fine – your choice. But try to look at things in the long-run. If having a rest, or eating something a bit naughty & delicious will stop you from reaching your end goal completely, then don’t do it, but, hey, we’re all allowed a day off here and there.

This is a lifestyle, NOT a temporary diet.

Which leads me on to…

10. Never, ever, ever quit;

Progress is progress, no matter how slow. But quitting will stop you from reaching your goals, always.

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Race for Life – 5K of pink

Had you told me in January that I would be running a 5k race for life in June, I’d have laughed at you and shaken my head. I’m not a runner, I don’t do any distance running…

photo 3 (2)Since maybe March-time, I’ve been attempting to be able to run a 5K race. Up until 2 days before the race, the longest I had ever run for was a 4minute burst, using the race for life training plan.

The Friday before race day, I decided to shove myself out the door, abandoning the interval jogging scheme & just see how long I could run for without stopping. I was hoping to be able to run for 5k, but to be honest, I didn’t really expect to be able to go for longer than the 4 minutes I had achieved previously.

I managed just over 5K, non-stop in 39:42 – not bad, for a non-running tortoise!

On race day (Sunday 15th June), I headed down to the park – we (my sister & I) were running the Hastings race for life, around Alexandra Park – a beautiful place to run, gorgeous rose gardens, lovely trees. We met up with one of my sister’s work-mates & joined the sea of pink to start the run.

Parts of the run were very busy, so there were patches when we had to walk a bit, but as the race progressed, it thinned out a bit, so it was easier to move around and keep going.

I’m not gonna lie, the last km was TOUGH! I was definitely slowing down, but still going  – we went in for a nice sprint finish at the end & scored a time of 35:57! Pretty good for only my second ever 5k run!

At the end of the race, we were given a bottle of water, a medal & a chocolate chip brioche (the last of the two were very quickly adopted by my little lady, who had been waving at me from the sidelines at various race points.

So, would I do it again? Yup. Was it hard? Oh yes. Would I recommend running it? Definitely. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can (& you get to feel smug for the rest of the day & eat lots of food!).

Fancy dropping us a sponsor for our hard work and helping us to kick cancer’s butt? Well, that would be just amazing, thanks! Our just giving page is here:

http://www.justgiving.com/jolly-joggers750

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Gymboss Interval Timer

OK, I got this Gymboss timer to help me with my interval training. I’ve decided to take up running (sort of). I suck, but I’m enthusiatic.
gymboss

I’m following a 5k plan that I downloaded from the race for life website. It involves running for increasing amounts of time, in the first instance, interspersed with brisk walking.

I’m not gonna lie, it is HARD work (especially when coupled with an apparently slightly dodgy heart… another story entirely). But this gadget makes it so so much easier.

The timer can either work as a standard stopwatch type timer, or you can program it to do heaps of circuits of varying times and repetitions. The best bit is that it counts down each individual circuit, but also the number of reps too, so at any point (usually when you feel like your legs can’t carry you for another second), you can glance at it and see exactly how many seconds of running and how many reps you have left. Genius. It also beeps VERY LOUDLY at you, should you miss any of the intervals!

Yup, yup, I’m sure there’s an app that will probably do it for free for you, but I don’t like to take my phone out when I’m running, so this handy dude just straps on to my wrist for hands free freedom.

*This is not a sponsored post, I just really really love it!*

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