Training for a 5K Race: Last Minute Training!

Saturday morning arrived, the day before the race so as some last minute training, I knew I was going to do the Park Run again. Scott was competing in his own race that morning so I went on my own instead.  I signed up to the correct Park Run this time (As I mentioned before,  I had done a previous Park Run so I convinced myself I was going to go to that one again, even though it’s about an hour and a half walk away) so I was able to get a time on the website this time. When you’re standing around on your own, you do wish you had someone with you but that doesn’t last too long before you head over to the start line.

(It was a sunnier day than last week but I put my hoody in my bag just in case.)

The first lap I really surprised myself at how I felt my pacing was; I was a comfortable tired but not too tired that I didn’t feel like I could go on. The only killer in both laps was the last hill of each, I struggled mentally with those and took a five second walk before starting back again but it wasn’t as hard as the previous week had been.

One change I made in this run was inward thinking. I have spoke to myself (inside my head) many times using positive mantras and encouragement but the times it didn’t work, I don’t think my head was in the right mindset. This run however, was very different for some reason. I lost count how many times I told myself “You can do this” and it worked. I can’t explain the feeling I had when I told myself that but normally “the other side” would say “No you can’t” but I didn’t have that on this occasion. The only thing were it was tough, like I explained in the last paragraph, was the last hill on each lap. I’m really happy I’m starting to break down that negative running barrier.

When it came to the finish, I was at the point where I couldn’t push myself to go faster for the last few metres, so it’s safe to say, I was very tired but I knew it was a good tired. I had only looked at my watch one time during the run and it was coming up close to the start of the second lap so I had an indication of a rough time.

I had not expected another personal best! Of course, instantly I knew I wasn’t going to pull this off in the race the next day but I didn’t care. I was so happy that I had a personal best under 34 minutes! My aim overall was under 35 minutes so this was like the little cherry on top! (If you’re wondering why my distance is wrong, read my last post about my first unofficial Park Run and it’s explained there!)

Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you want to catch up on the previous posts of the series, they are all be linked below:
Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run.
Training for a 5K Race: Running and Negative Mental Health.
Training for a 5K Race: The Lone Run. 
Training for a 5K Race: My First (Unofficial) Park Run

SS: Sunday Saves (#65)

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Good morning everyone and Happy Sunday! Today is my 5K race so if you’re reading this on a Sunday morning, I’ll be running my butt off! If you’re not sure what my Sunday Saves are; it’s a series that I write every Sunday focusing on three blog posts I’ve found throughout the week. I then share them in the post so you can read them too. If you want to read my other Sunday Saves, you can find them all here!

1) Living in Saturn (Going Cruelty Free)

Going cruelty free is something I have been slowly doing over the past few months when it comes to beauty, skin care, hair care and even house hold products so when I came across Kaelin’s post on Twitter; I was interested to find out why she wanted to go cruelty free. You can read her post to find out what her reasons are behind her decision but I feel like it’s important to understand where your products are coming from and from there, you can make your own informed decision.

2) Momentarily Dreaming (7 Tips for Meal Planning)

I’m quite ashamed to admit that my meal planning has been at an all time low lately. Every Sunday night I used to be on the top of my game with my curry for the week and my energy balls for my snacks. Not so much now and I NEED to get back there. So if you’re like me and want to get back into meal planning mode, Sam’s post is the must read! Her tips are realistic and you can change them around to fit your own lifestyle whether that’s a family of six or whether that’s just yourself.

3) Insert My Blog Name Here (Signs You Are Still A “Friends” Addict)

It always amazes me when I meet people who aren’t as obsessed with Friends as I am (One of my best friend and my boyfriend are two of these people, and believe me, I was shocked!) so that’s why I love Paula’s post. She talks about the signs that you’re still an addict including watching Comedy Central for hours on end even though you’ve already seen the episodes countless times and frequently quoting it in my life. Friends is one of the only programmes (apart from The Office US) that I will always watch and never get sick of. It was such a huge part of my childhood and it’s something that when I do have children, I want them to love it just as much as I do.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post! Remember to go over to all the links I’ve mentioned today and give them a read, they’re really worth it. Have a lovely day!

My Week Day Morning Routine

Morning routines are a tricky thing aren’t they? Some people swear by them, some people can’t remember the last time they had one and feel like they don’t need one. Each to their own but for me, having a morning routine is vital to keep my mind and my body set up for the day. I briefly talked about my morning routine in my Monday Syndrome blog post last week and I know I post quite early on Twitter so I thought I would talk about it in more details in a blog post of its own.

☀️  Wake Up ☀️

alarm-clock-2115489_1280(Original Stock Image)

I wake up at 4am. No really, I do but I can understand why that sounds quite odd to many people but it’s what now works for me. It didn’t take too long for me to get used to surprisingly. When I was living at home, I was getting up at 6am for both college and work (I had to get the bus at 8am) so there’s isn’t too big of a difference.

🌸 My Meditation 🌸

tea-lights-2223898_1280(Original Stock Image)

I haven’t become particularly religious (in the spiritual sense) participating  in mediation every morning and every night; for example, at the weekend if my boyfriend stays over, I wouldn’t normally stick on a mediation every single time but I know that if I want it to become a priority, I would need to start doing it at the weekend too just as much as the work week.

In the morning I would choose a short meditation, no longer than ten minutes because my mind is just waking up so I don’t want to choose a thirty minute practice if my mind isn’t focused. That’s why six to ten minutes is perfect! However, this is one downside and I’ve fell for this many times; I have a tendency to lie down during the practice and I think to myself “Oh, I’ll be able to stay awake until the end.” Fast forward to waking up again at 5am, and being almost an hour behind schedule. Now and for the foreseeable future (until I don’t fall asleep at the drop of a hat), I sit up in bed for these morning meditations.

☀️ Get set, get ready and go! ☀️

So after the meditation is complete, I get out of bed and get ready to go to the gym. For my morning workouts, I don’t eat anything beforehand. If it was after work, I would defintely need food but first thing in the morning, I don’t feel unwell if I don’t eat. I normally just fill up my water and drink it on the way to the gym.

🌸 Workout 🌸

By the time I wake up, meditate, get ready, grab my bag, fill up my water and say hello the little kitty, it’s about 4:25am giving me perfect time to get to the gym just before 5am. My gym is a half an hour walk away so if I power walk the majority of the route, I get there just before the top of the hour. The walk there is like my warm-up so I never feel the need to stretch before a workout or do a warm-up on a machine because I’ve technically already done that.

IMG_20170806_101629_565(One of the rare times I had a short yoga practice after my workout.)

Talking about my workout routine is difficult, mainly because I don’t do the same thing every day. Some days I choose the “Fat Burn” setting on the cardio machines and blast at those for at least ten minutes; other times I build my own levels by choosing a higher level every thirty seconds to a minute on a machine. (This depends on the type of machine and how long I am giving myself for the machine). Other times I will only choose one cardio machine and do a quick level up blast for ten minutes and move over to the weight machines section for up to thirty minutes. Mixing is up is absolutely key for me because if I get bored, it won’t motivation me to go (Remember we talked about motivation in Monday Syndrome?)

20170815_213730(An example of one of many Instagram stories that are posted on my profile. I find this is a way to keep myself accountable and to show people what I’m doing in the gym that day.)

My time in the gym has slightly increased for the last few weeks, normally I would stay for half an hour but because I’ve started to get up earlier and want to fit in as much as I can, I can spend up to an hour there. I know there are people who can spend three hours there and fair play to them but I find for me if I can get an effective workout done that tires me out and makes me feel like I’m making progress, then I don’t need to spend an excessive amount of time there each morning.

☀️  Breakfast Time ☀️

20170414_134107-02(Please note that I don’t look like this in the morning after the gym. This photograph is after a shower, dried and straightened hair as well as my make-up all finished. However, it shows the exact emotion I feel every morning when I make my amazing smoothie!)

After the half an hour walk home, it’s time for breakfast! If you follow me on Instagram, there will be many days out of the week where I will post an Instagram story of my morning smoothie. I also make two slices of toast with some butter, but that’s not as exciting as a smoothie is it? One thing I would love to start incorporating into my routine is mindful eating; I want to savour and enjoy my food but right now, I just stand in the kitchen eating and drinking while watching a YouTube video.

The rest of my morning routine is quite boring from this point. I go up for my shower so I wash my hair every day (Unfortunately my hair is very greasy and I can’t NOT wash it daily, as much as I hate doing it), I spend about half an hour doing my make-up while watching a YouTube video or listening to a podcast then I fed the kitten while getting my bag ready for work. I thought my activities post 4am up until I make breakfast would be the most interesting to read, but I might consider doing a morning make-up routine in the future if it sparks any interest.

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I’m hoping to do a more in-depth blog post on meditation, the benefits for me, what apps I use and the techniques I use, because there’s so much more I want to speak about in terms of meditation, so look out for that at some stage! I hope you enjoyed today’s post and if you have any morning routine posts that you’ve either written or would recommend, send them my way in the comments, my Twitter or over on Instagram.

Training for a 5K Race: My First (Unofficial) Park Run.

So Saturday marked my first unofficial Park Run of 2017, and I say unofficial because I forgot to print out my little scanner code so I won’t get a time on the website but I don’t mind because both Scott and I recorded it individually; I recorded it on my FitBit Blaze and he recorded his on the Nike Running App.

IMG-20170812-WA0001-01(The starting line for the Park Run and of course, full photo credit goes to Scott because he’s taller and he’s better at getting overhead shots of the crowd.)

We arrived just on time, just after the little talk the volunteers give to the runners so we made our way around to the starting line and the laps themselves weren’t too different to how I had been running. The only difference was that we were starting at the western point of the pond and running down the hill to the pond towards the end which meant we had to run up the steep hill twice. The run was very similar to my one apart from those few points though, which I felt at ease with.

At the very beginning I had some of the self-critical thoughts and doubts creep into my head thinking that there was no way I could do it and they seem to creep back at the exact same place for the second (and final) lap. I’m glad I pushed through the thoughts but it’s not the nicest mindset to be in, it might just take a while for that to pass, right?

20170812_102727(It was quite a cloudy day and it wasn’t very warm but that worked in my favour during the run, because it seemed like the perfect temperature.)

One thing that I’ve found is my FitBit seems to be slightly off and I had noticed this a few times but the run on Saturday seemed to confirm this. The run altogether is 5K exactly yet my watch is knocking 0.1miles off my time which is quite frustrating so if you see me posting my watch times and it only says 3.02 miles, it’s really 3.12 which is just over 5K.

So what was my time? Well I’m so happy that I hit another Personal Best because Scott said to me just before the end, “You’ll be so surprised at the end.” and I said that I was preparing myself to be disappointed. When you’re running in a big group of people, because there are so many people in front of you, you feel like you’re running too slow and I always look back to that very first slow run that I spoke about so I always feel like I’m running at that speed.

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My time was 35:42 according to Scott’s app, and it’s almost ten seconds more on my watch because I was so happy to finish that I forgot to hit the pause button, so that’s why there’s a few extra seconds on. According to Scott, from the first run we done together, I was doing a 14 minute mile and on this particular run, my average was 11:26 a mile, so quite the drop in times! As you can see from the watch statistics, it says 3.02 miles when really it was 3.10 miles so I’ll have to see if I can fix that somehow. It syncs with my GPS on my phone so I’m not sure what’s going on with it.

Thank you so much for reading today’s post and if you want to catch up on the previous posts of the series, they are all be linked below:
Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run.
Training for a 5K Race: Running and Negative Mental Health.
Training for a 5K Race: The Lone Run. 

SS: Sunday Saves (#64)

sunday-saves

Good morning everyone and Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a wonderful day so far; I’ve had a lovely weekend so far and I’m hoping for the same positive vibes today. On this week’s Sunday Saves, I’ll be talking about gratitude, yoga and dreams this morning so I hope you enjoy.

1) From Lucy With Love (Weekly Gratitude)

As you know from reading the blog, I have been incorporating gratitude more into my daily life (If you want to read my blog post on it, it’s right here) and Lucy does this in blog form and I love it! If you’re just looking for gratitude inspiration or want to find out what she’s been grateful for, check out her post. And Lucy, the Tony Robbins documentary is amazing! I need to re-watch it again.

2) Brianne Etc. (10 Ways That Yoga Changed My Life)

Reading Brianne’s post made me get even more excited for heading back to my yoga practice tomorrow night after a four month break. Yoga can be revolutionary and it’s not an exaggeration that it can be life changing; it can change your mindset on so many elements of your life. I can’t say there isn’t one point where I don’t agree with Brianne, she really has hit the nail on the head, so if you want to find out how she thrives because of yoga, go check out her post!

3) Dolly Dowsie (National Dream Day | 9 Mind Blowing Facts About Your Dreams)

This post by Fiona is over two years ago but I seen it pop on my latest feed and thought it looked quite interesting. I’ve never really analysed my dreams before except if they have babies (because I’ve heard that’s meant to mean a death is coming) or if someone dies (because that’s meant to mean someone will have a baby, right?) Fiona’s post is all about dreams and more specifically, facts about dreams so it’s quite a nice read if you want to learn something new! (Because you should learn something new every day, right?)

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s picks and remember to give them a visit to see what they have to say. If you’re interested in reading any of my other Sunday Saves, click here and you’ll see my previous sixty-three posts. Have a great day and thank you for reading!

Training for a 5K Run: The Lone Run.

So with less than two weeks to go until race day, I need to up my running game and this is my third run since signing up to the race less than a month ago. This was my first lone run because Scott had to work so I thought it would be good experience to see where not only my head would be but how far my own motivation would take me, even though on the day of the race, I know he’ll be there.

20170717_210915(How pretty are the swans?!)

If you remember back to my second race, I wasn’t in the greatest place mentally but I’m very happy to report that my head was in a much better place for this run. I described it as “losing motivation” to Scott but he said it’s more self-doubt that anything. I got round about half way of the course (I say “around”, I only checked my distance twice because I didn’t want to get too obsessed with checking it) and I felt like I couldn’t do the full distance. I added a few more hills into this run than previous two so I felt the extra challenge of those and I think those were fuelling the self doubt.

Running on my own definitely wasn’t as lonely as I thought it might be. I’m quite used to my own company anyway but I thought since I was in a public place, I might feel it more but surprisingly I didn’t. I had my music playing throughout so I didn’t feel like I needed conversation because of that. Something that I’m still struggling with is my breathing; it might sound silly but controlling your breathing while running is quite challenging. Thankfully because I have my headphones on, I don’t hear the very heavy breathing noises but if I didn’t, I don’t think I would be able to hear myself think.

IMG_20170811_064507_229(The evening’s statistics on my FitBit!)

As you can see with my FitBit above, my numbers were thirty seven minutes and forty eight seconds. As with the second run I ran a little further than the 3.1 miles so if you scale my numbers back to exactly the miles to match 5K, I would have completed it in the thirty six minute mark which matches my last run. I was really happy with my results; I didn’t expect the same timings because I didn’t feel like I had went at the same pace.

20170717_210217(The waterfalls in the park are so peaceful especially in the evening.)

Overall, I’m really happy with how the run went. I’m very happy that my time stayed the same and I’m glad that I was able to push past the self doubt because that’s probably something that will always play on my mind (and it’s not something that happens when I’m just running either). It’s less than a week and a half to go now until the race, exciting!

If you want to read about my introduction to this series, you’ll find it here and if you want to hear about my raw, emotional experience when running, you’ll find that post here. Thank you for reading the series so far, I can’t wait to share the rest of the journey with you!

 

I’m done with Monday Syndrome.

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Over the past few months I’ve talked openly about trying to change not only my perspective on my life, but in my attitude too. It’s a very hard road at times, no-one can ever be positive one hundred percent of the time and I would never claim to live up to that impossible standard, but the harder days is when gratitude plays a significant part.

The one thing about trying to have a more optimistic perspective is that you look at every aspect of your life to see where the negative energy tends to stem from and I’m very lucky that my period of therapy so far has had a massive impact of me figuring out the positive and the negative.

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“Remember, Mondays are fine. It’s your life that sucks.” A quote said very simply on Twitter by Ricky Gervais that always seems to have stuck with me. There’s nothing more time consuming that complaining about a Monday, just think about it; the amount of time you complain about it, you could be doing something a lot more productive. You could be looking up a new class to go to, you could be planning a run, you could be writing a blog post or you could be reading a new book for example. The amount of time and quite frankly, energy we put into moaning about it on Twitter, thinking about it in our head or actively talking about it, don’t you think we could use our time more wisely?
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I think the majority of us can admit that we’ve either felt like this or still feel like this on a Monday and it is understandable. Many of us start back to work on a Monday so that means coming back from a chilled work-free weekend so it can be overwhelming to start back for another week. Let’s face it, most of us are in a career for the next forty to fifty years, so I’m sorry to break it to you but Monday’s will keep coming round every week for the next while and there is no way I’m spending the rest of my life complaining about something that I can’t change.
So what can we do about it? Well we can’t avoid Mondays so here’s what I personally do to make the start of my work week on a better note.
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1) Have a morning routine.
For me, having a morning routine is absolutely key to keeping my mind in check and my morning starts at 4am, yes, I did just say 4am! For those wondering why, I’ll be writing a blog post on my routine soon (which will be linked here) but ever since having a morning routine, my day has started off on a better foot. I’m not always running late for work (It does still happen sometimes, I’m not perfect!), I’ve given myself enough time to meditate, head to the gym, have a tasty breakfast and have some cuddles with my kitten before I leave for the day. It’s all about what is important to you and how you want your morning to look, which leads me onto my second tip…
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2) Find your motivation.
This is one of the most important points I’ll make in today’s post. Why? Let’s face it, if you don’t have anything to get up for in the morning apart from work, how will you convince yourself to do it otherwise? For me, I wake up early and go to the gym. What’s my motivation? Well, I like to live a healthy and active lifestyle, I prefer going to the gym in the morning rather than the evening and I see myself constantly progressing when in a gym or workout environment. So whether that’s feeling like my fitness levels have been raised when I’m pushing myself on a cardio machine, hitting another personal best on a weight machine or getting a faster time during a run; that progress is what makes me strive to go to the gym more. Your motivation could be that you want to sit and eat your breakfast in peace instead of only having five minutes to eat it while rushing out the door. Your plan could be to get up twenty minutes earlier and either get ready for work and have that extra time before taking some time for yourself to sit down and eat your breakfast, or why not do it the other way around? Your motivation can be that simple, but if you can’t find a reason to change your morning even by the slightest detail to boost your mood, then you have to ask yourself, do you really want to change?
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3) Plan your week.
I love knowing what I’m going to do for the next week and if you’re like me, you’ll know how satisfying it is choosing what days to go to the gym, when you’re going to meet up with a friend or even have a night to yourself. Whatever plans you like to make, write them down somewhere you’re going to be looking on a regular basis and make sure they’re realistic. Being busy every single night of the week might seem like your productivity is at its highest but if you don’t pencil yourself in for some down time, are you going to have time to enjoy yourself in amongst the busyness of the week?
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4) Having time for myself.
Reflecting on my last point, taking some time for yourself is incredibly important. For the last five months, I’ll admit, this hasn’t been on the top of my list, but I’m going to make it a priority again soon. Every Monday evening after work, I would attend my favourite yoga class about thirty seconds away from my office. Now you might think it’s strange to go to yoga on a Monday night, it sounds more like a weekend or even a Thursday or Friday activity. Surprisingly (when I didn’t have a morning routine), this is what made me just a little more excited for Monday’s. I got to focus on myself and be present for an entire hour without my phone and without worrying about anything. You don’t have to have your “me time” be a yoga class; It can be having a date night once a week with your partner, you can have your best friend round for a tea or coffee, you can go to bed a little earlier with a candle lit and read a good book. You don’t have to be extravagant and book yourself in for a manicure every week (but if you want to do that, and can afford to, then you do you!), it really can be very simple things that will give you a better perspective on the week.
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In no way am I saying that I never complain about going to work or the fact that it’s Monday again, I do sometimes but I don’t want to do that forever. I don’t want to “live for the weekend”, why live for two days out of the week when you can make the most of the seven we already get? Monday’s are always seen as a new week, a new perspective and a fresh start so use that positivity in your favour. You never know what you might achieve by slowly changing your mindset around!