Category Archives: Diet and Fitness

30 Day Breakfast Challenge

I’ve always struggled with eating breakfast.  I find it especially challenging on mornings when I go running.  You see, I love my bed and hate getting up any earlier than I have to so going for a run at 8.30am when I’ve only got out of bed at 7.30am doesn’t give me a lot of time for a good breakfast.  Especially when I’m running around making packed lunches too.  Anyway, during May I am making a conscious effort to eat breakfast every day.  This doesn’t mean I’ll be eating a lot but a banana counts!

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So, how have I done so far?

  1. Weetabix, berries and milk
  2. Porridge with berries
  3. Banana
  4. Bagel with banana
  5. Banana
  6. 0% fat natural yogurt with honey
  7. Forever Ultra Shake with berries

What do you have for breakfast?  I need some ideas for quick, easy and light breakfasts.  Bananas can get boring.

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Active 10

On Wednesday evening I watched The Truth About … Getting Fit on BBC One (it is available to watch on up layer until the beginning of March 2018). It was interesting and tested the theory behind 10,000 steps and whether or not aiming for 3 brisk walks of 10 minutes each day would be better for health gains. The small experiment they did showed that, yes, doing 3 10 minute walks, where you get your heart rate up, is better than aiming for 10,000 steps. The programme also mentioned the One You Active 10 app which measures your walking and “encourages” you to get your walks in each day.

I downloaded the app and set a simple goal of 1 10 minute walk each day. Unsurprisingly, I got the first day as it was a running day anyway. I even got a “reward” for achieving my first goal 😊.

REDJanuary is over

It’s done, January is finished and with it my exercise challenges. At the beginning of January I signed up for REDJanuary – run every day. I didn’t plan to run every day, but rather, I planned to exercise for at least 10 minutes every day including running, walking and yoga. 

Guess what? I did it! I exercised every day! I ran at least 3 times each week, sometimes 4 and recorded 74.5km of running on my Garmin. On the days I didn’t run, I walked for at least 10 minutes. I also completed a 30 day yoga journey True with Yoga with Adriene.

As I am more interested in improving my fitness rather than losing weight, weight loss wasn’t a goal. Just as well really as I didn’t lose anything. However, thanks to the regular exercise, I have actually lost inches round my waist, hips and belly. Actually, my hips and belly are the smallest they’ve been for 24 years!

So, what now? Do I just stop because January is over? Tempting, but no. Now I’ve got the consistency of exercising every day, I want to keep going. I am aiming to run 2 to 3 times a week and keep up the daily yoga practice. I’m also going to add one strength training session each week with a long term goal of strength training twice a week. One small change each month should make them easier to incorporate and maintain in my everyday life.

Today was a good start to February with a 4k run. 

Did you reach your January goals? What are your goals for February?

It’s Saturday so …

it must be parkrun day 🙂 I’d like to say it was a lovely parkrun day but it really wasn’t.  There was hail!  At least I think it was hail, if it wasn’t it was heavy rain which hurt like hail.  At least Poppy Coffee were there for post-run tea (for Adam), chili mocha (for the Man) and hot chocolate (for me).

After finishing 2017 with two good runs of sub-31 minutes, I was a little disappointed to run 32:08.  However, as I only went for one run this week instead of the planned 2-3 and I reduced the running interval to 3 minutes, we have been doing 4 minutes, with a view to running faster (the rain and wind meant the running interval wasn’t faster) a 1:20 drop in time for 5k wasn’t too bad.

I got Jeff Galloway‘s Run Walk Run book for Christmas and have been reading it.  I’m a great believer in run walk run and all of my running PBs have come from run walk run intervals and Adam has never completed anything longer than 1 mile as a constant run, and his 5K PB is 30:18!  From reading the book, it looks like a 7-minute mile pace is achievable on 3 minute run, 30 second walk, that would be around 21 minutes for a 5K! I don’t think I’ll ever get that fast but I’m going to work on bringing my intervals down to that and then aim to get the running part faster.  Next week, I’m going to try 3 minute run, 55 second walk.  I’ll be borrowing the interval timer I bought my husband for Christmas for that 😉

After getting cold and wet at parkrun, we walked home and while Adam and my husband were having their showers I thought I’d do day 5 of True (Yoga with Adriene).  I’m loving this “me time” which I have created by doing the yoga.  For the first 4 days, I made a conscious effort to turn off the TV between 9.15 and 9.30 pm so I can do the day’s practice before going up to bed at 10 pm.  I’m hoping this will become a regular routine which will continue after the 30 day journey/challenge is over.

So, this is also day 6 of REDJanuary completed 😀

Are you still meeting your goals this week?

Motive …

Yesterday was day 1 of Yoga with Adriene’s new True 30 day yoga programme with the theme of Motive.  If you sign up to the programme via the website, you get a daily email to help you get the most out of the practice (today’s theme is Trust).  In yesterday’s email, and through the 24 minute practice, Adriene asks:

What is your motive for joining True?

Now, I hadn’t really thought about it but, having followed 9 days of one of the previous 30 day challenges in the past, I know that daily yoga helps me in so many ways.  It isn’t only the stretching, although that certainly helps, and it is more than the self reflection.  It helps my mood, my running, my posture, my body has less aches and pains.  It’s time for me to concentrate on me for anywhere between 24 and 40 minutes before I go to fight with Adam about bedtime.

I also find that yoga practice also complements, and maybe even enhances, all the other changes that I have made/am making to my life.  I am, usually, careful about what I eat.  I don’t eat “clean” but I don’t overeat and I don’t eat cakes and chocolates as much as I would love to.  I exercise on a regular basis with running or walking most days, if not every day.  I am aiming to add strength training back into the mix too but at the moment the yoga will have to fill that void.

However, this time round, I think my main goal/motive is to get further than day 9 and, maybe, even get to day 31!

If you haven’t done yoga before, or even if you have and haven’t found Adriene yet, check out her youtube videos.  The runners’ post run practice is a must for me and, when I have time (and I’m not doing a 30 day challenge) the runners’ yoga is great too.  What I really like is that Adriene tells you to do what feels good to you, you don’t have to stay and hold a pose with out moving, if you want to wag your tail while doing cat/cow then do it!

Day 1 of True was completed last night.  Bring on day 2 this evening.

York 10 Mile

Today was Yorkshire Marathon day and, as they have for the last two years, the fantastic team at Run for All events added a 10 mile run for those of us who wanted to experience the atmosphere of a marathon but don’t want to run that far. The previous 2 10 mile events were fantastic and this year’s event was just as good.

This year we got to the start area in time to see the start of the marathon. We then had 30 minutes to walk round the university campus (the start and finish is at University of York) and go to the toilet before the start of the 10 mile run.

As usual, due to wanting the toilet, we started at the back. Next year I think we should at least try to start a bit further forwards.

For the past few weeks, we have been running parkrun using 5:1 run/walk intervals so reduced the run interval down to 3 minutes. The reduced running interval was really comfortable and we averaged just under 7 minutes per km which was just over 11 minute mile pace. We were doing really well and I had hope to be able to pick up the pace a little from the 7 mile mark – it’s only a parkrun to go when we get to 7 miles 🙂 Unfortunately, at 6 miles the 10 mile route merges with the marathon route and we had to keep to the right side of the road to let the faster marathon runners through. This wasn’t a problem from 8 miles or so but before that the road was a country road and quite narrow making it hard to pass other runners. As we walk at regular intervals, I don’t like passing runners if we’re going to walk within about 30 seconds if they don’t have enough room to get past us easily. So the pace slowed a little for a couple of miles. Still, it was a fab run with a lot of support round most of the course.

As I have for the past 8 years, with Adam since 2014, we were running for Snappy Want to sponsor us?

Bring on next year 🙂

Getting Back On Track

I am slowly getting myself back on track with regards to exercising, weight management and general wellbeing.  My year started out OK with the usual post-Christmas weight loss and push back into exercise but then it stalled.

As I hadn’t been going to the gym, and I couldn’t really afford to keep paying for it anyway, I cancelled my gym membership.  As a result, I stopped doing strength training.  I really have no excuse for stopping.  I mean, I can do body weight exercises and I do have resistance bands and a kettlebell at home.  So, why don’t I use them?  For some reason, I don’t like getting dressed for exercise at home, unless I’m going out for a run, and when I come home from a run I don’t have time to do anything more than a post-run stretch.  Actually, the reason is probably more along the lines of I don’t have time when no-one else is at home – I don’t like being interrupted while exercising.

I have been running quite a lot this year though.  However, that also stalled as I started the year doing a lot of run/walk pacing at parkrun and running with my husband.  So, while I have been getting out running 2 to 3 times peach week, my running didn’t improve.  That is until I took a week off parkrun and Adam ran with a friend of ours at parkrun and ran the fastest 5k he’s run in over 2 years!  The following week I ran with Adam and our friend and ran my fastest time since April 2015 when I set my 5k PB of 29:21.

At the beginning of September, I went to get weighed at Weight Watchers hoping that I hadn’t put on so much weight over the 6 weeks of the Summer holidays that I’d have to pay for the first time in over 3 years – yes, I’ve been a Gold Member for over 3 years!  Fortunately, I didn’t.  I put on 2.5lbs in 6 weeks but I am still within 5lbs of my goal weight 😀

Last week, my Weight Watchers Coach gave us all a goal setting piece of paper and said we could fill it in if we wanted to.  I decided that as I was on a roll with getting my exercise back on track, I started a 5k to 10k training plan using an app from Active.com, and was starting to feel good that I would fill it in.  I shared some of the information on to our meetings’ facebook group and thought I’d also share it here:

Milestones for 2017 (so far)

  • Ran my fasted 5k since 2015 – now sub-32 minutes
  • Maintained my weight for a 3rd year

I am proud of myself because …

I returned to meetings at the first opportunity after working all of the Summer holidays rather than waiting a week to see if I could lose a bit of weight first

Goals for the next 4 weeks

  • Lose 1/2lb per week
  • Run the York 10 Mile on 7th October 2017
  • Attend the Weight Watchers meeting EVERY week

Goals by Christmas

  • Lose 7lbs to give me an extra “cushion” for Christmas
  • Run sub-31 5k and maybe even get back under 30 minutes

To be more successful in my journey I need to …

Write down everything I eat, as I eat it!

Since writing my goals, I have achieved one of them – I ran sub-31 minutes at parkrun yesterday 😀  The York 10 Mile is next week and Adam and I will be running for SNAPPY, again https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adamsefton

Running Events Review of 2016

Last time I wrote about running was in May 2016 so here is, hopefully, a quick recap of the events we covered last year and what is planned for 2017.

R U Taking the P? 5K

On Fathers’ Day, Adam once again took part in R U Taking the P? 5K.  As it is a men only race to raise awareness and fundraising for male cancers, I wasn’t allowed to take part.  This year, Adam’s dad wasn’t at home to run it with him but, even knowing this, Adam asked if he could do it anyway.  It was the first time he’s ever run an event from start to finish on his own.  I was so proud of him.

There were a few people who we know from parkrun there and they kept an eye out for him which was great.  In fact, he got a mention on the York parkrun Facebook page and was featured in the parkrun newsletter in September.  I am so proud of him.

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York 10K

We entered the York 10K in August.  Not as good as previous years but we completed it.  Adam’s hat blew off while we were running down Nunnery Lane, just before we got to Micklegate.  We finished in 1:10:38.  Not bad considering we didn’t run between January and April and had only run up to 5k in training which was very hit and miss.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

In September, Adam and I went over to Disneyland Paris for the weekend so we could take part in the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  It was AMAZING!!!  I don’t know what our time was as both of our running watches ran out of battery at around 13k (out of 21k).  This was an event to take part in rather than run for a time though and it was so much fun.

Unlike other runDisney events which start at 5.30am, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon had a start time of 7am which meant we didn’t have to get up too early.  The one thing I didn’t like was that there were no toilets once you got into the coral, waiting for the start.  We were waiting for over an hour from the last toilet to actually going through the start line.  Needless to say, I needed to go to the toilet when we started.  Ah well, there are plenty of toilets in the parks and we, and lots of others, peeled off as soon as we got to one of the ones backstage.  As usual, there was only 3 toilets in the ladies and the men had 2 plus 3 urinals.  A group of ladies, including myself, decided that we’d risk the wrath of the men and ran in to the men’s loo.

We ran through Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland Park.  There were lots of characters to meet and have a photo taken with but we only stopped to meet Chip and Dale as the queues were too long for the others.  After about 5k, we left the parks and ran through the French countryside before returning the Disneyland Paris and running through Hotel Santa Fe and Hotel Cheyenne to get to the lake and run past Sequoia Lodge and Newport Bay.  The last part of the run was through Disney Village.  Adam and I had started flagging a bit, I think it was because we didn’t have our intervals to keep us on track, when we were running through the hotels but as soon as we got to Disney Village, Adam got his second wind and was off.  I was happily chatting to someone from the UK (another parkrunner) when Adam decided that he was going to start his run for the finish line!

After the finish line we met Daisy and got our medals.  They are heavy!  The run was worth it for the bling, lol 🙂

York 10 Mile

Once again, the team behind the Yorkshire Marathon decided to include a 10 mile run.  Adam, of course, decided that we should run it even though it was only 2 weeks after the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  As last year, it was a great run with lots of support round the course.  I think the lack of training and the fact that we’d done the half marathon 3 weeks before caught up with me because I didn’t think I could carry on at 8 miles.  I managed even though I had to reduce the run/walk intervals.  We finished in 1:53:46, 3 minutes slower than last year.

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What’s coming in 2017?

At the moment, there is only the York 10K.  If there is a 10 mile to go with the Yorkshire Marathon, I’m sure we’ll enter that again but they haven’t released details of it yet.  Adam is going to be running R U Taking the P? again.  This year he will probably be running with his dad, or at least starting with him.

Now that I have completed 100 parkruns, I’m planning on volunteering at least once a month but will still be running 2 to 3 parkruns each month, unless the horses are using the track 😉 (York parkrun uses the service track at York Racecourse so is cancelled if there is horse racing).  My fastest time for parkrun was 31:52 in 2016 and I would love to get back under 31, or even 30, minutes in 2017.

100th parkrun Completed!

I haven’t written on my blog for months!  Since May 2016, in fact.  Sorry, life got in the way a little.  I’ll catch up with everything that has happened in the 2nd half of 2016 over the next couple of weeks, I hope.

First though, I completed my 100th parkrun this morning!!!   I ran in the heavy rain and hail with the wind blowing it horizontal on Christmas Eve and then ran Christmas Day parkrun just so I could do the 100th one this year.  It’s been a long time coming, I’ve been doing parkrun since August 2013 but took about 3 months off earlier this year while it was cold and wet and couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed, lol.

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Over the past few months, Adam has decided that he’d rather volunteer than run (his dad is now volunteering as the photographer most weeks) so he needs to do another 15 parkruns to get his 100.  He’s well on his way to his volunteer 25 t-shirt though.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

After last year’s runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon that ended up being a 7 mile run instead of 13, I did my sums and decided that Adam and I could do the inaugural half marathon at Disneyland Paris in September 2016.  I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun.  The only downside being that my husband will probably be away working so only Adam and I are booked on the trip 😦

Today, I finally did the last thing which I needed to get done/booked before we go so I can now relax and not panic, well not much anyway, until September.

So, I have booked the Disneyland Paris hotel, the Eurostar (from London to Disneyland Paris), the hotel in London for the day before Disneyland Paris and for the day we return from Disneyland Paris, trains to and from London (so happy that if you register with Virgin Trains you can book your tickets up to 6 months in advance rather than the usual 12 weeks).  I have also bought our half marathon entry and tickets to the inaugural party at Walt Disney Studios.  I’m so excited!  The amount Adam keeps talking about it, I think he’s excited too – I had to tell him so that I can get him out running/training for it.

One thing which is different about this run is that unlike other events where you can sign a waiver, under French Law, you have to get a Medical Certificate signed by your doctor to say that you are fit to enter the race.  I finally organised the Medical Certificates for Adam and me and picked them up today.  They are now uploaded to the registration site and we are ready to go.

Now we just need to put in the miles and the time in training for it.  At least we still have over 4 months to go 🙂

I managed to get a longer run than I anticipated this morning due to forgetting to pick up the Medical Certificates yesterday.  I was planning on running a 3km loop but had a phone call (which I didn’t answer) when I was half way round.  I looked at the caller id which came up with “No Caller ID” – when my doctors surgery calls it comes up with that – which made me remember I needed to pick up the Certificates.  So, I decided I’d extend my run and run to the doctors surgery.  I’d done 4km of consistent running, no walking, by the time I got to the doctors so decided to pause my Garmin and then restart it when I got going again.  I ended up with a, not quite constant, run of 5.55km in 36:15!  It’s not the time or the distance that I’m happy with (well, I am because it’s the fastest I’ve done for a while) but more the fact that, apart from the stop at the doctors, I ran without any walk breaks for over 35 minutes 😀

Bring on the York 10K – yes, we’ve entered that again – and the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  We may add the Yorkshire 10 mile if they do it as part of the Yorkshire Marathon again.