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

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. 

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!

 

Training for a 5K Race: An Introduction and My First Run.

You’ve read the title and you’re probably thinking, “Why are you trying to train to run just over three miles?” We all have to start somewhere don’t we? As you’ll read in my new monthly intentions post going live on Friday, I have signed up to a 5K with my boyfriend in August so I have just over a month to build up my stamina when it comes to running.

20170717_211842-01(I’ll take this view over jumping on a treadmill any day. So gorgeous!)

If you read my tweets or watch my Instagram stories, you’ll know that I love the gym. Of course, there’s some days I don’t have the greatest workouts and other days, I’m already looking forward to the next one. For me personally, I believe the gym and running are on two different levels; I’ve ran two different 5K’s before in fact. One was a ParkRun and the other was a charity race for Mo-Running (I wrote a blog post on the build up to it but I forgot to write about my experience during it. If you want to read the blog post, it’s right here!) but I went into those very blind. I probably ran faster than I should have, and ended up having to walk part of the way, so that slowed me down and then I dreaded starting to run again.

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(I live in these shoes. I walk to work in them, I run in them and I do any cardio in the gym in them. They’re a great all rounder, except for weight training.)

You might be asking “what’s different this time” and I have someone by my side training me. My boyfriend has ran many marathons and even ultra marathons; he absolutely loves running and coming from a weight loss background too, he’s had to build his fitness up so that includes starting from a pace where I’m at right now up until the level he’s currently at, so I’m in very good hands. (He has a blog too which centres around fitness, food and weight loss so you’ll find it right here!) We’ve been on a few runs together over the last few months and as silly as it sounds, he’s taught me how to run. Running isn’t just running, there are so many other elements to it, which I’ll talk about in a later post. This is just an introduction to how I’ll be training and I wanted to talk a little about how my first run went.

As I mentioned above, I’ve taken part in 5K’s before but Scott said to start this fresh because the time I hit on Monday night can be my new personal best. The last few months for me have been particularly challenging when it comes to the word “goals” so this new personal best isn’t a goal to beat, it’s something to aim towards but not beat myself up if I don’t achieve it the first time around.

Scott taught me to build my running up by using the analogy of “If you can’t hold a conversation, slow down” so over the past few months, I’ve been taking this on board and it’s really helped. I think my problem before was I was just going too fast, I didn’t know what my pace was and I just wanted to finish but exhausting myself wasn’t going to help that. So we stuck as a pace that was comfortable for me, there were a few hills to go up and down, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get out of breath especially going uphill but they weren’t very steep.

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(Excuse the quality of this particular photograph: It was late at night when I was trying to take the picture and Instagram tends to lower the quality of your image now too.)

So here’s my stats. from my first run: I use the Blaze in the FitBit series, I’ve had it for almost a year and I love it. Not only do I track my runs but it’s in constant use in the gym and I’m accountable for my steps every day thanks to it too. For just over 5K or 3.1 miles, it took just under 45 minutes altogether. When I first seen my result, I was really disappointed; Scott had set a “estimate” aim of 36 minutes and in my head I thought “That seems achievable” so imagine my disappointment when I see almost 45 minutes pop up. I didn’t even try to hide the fact that I was annoyed and I really couldn’t hide it. I was so certain that I would hit the aim, and having had a rough memory of my last 5K, this was a slower speed, so the self critical thoughts creeped in, despite having a “body high” after running the distance.

20170717_210540(One of the gorgeous perks of running in the evening.)

Having had the time to reflect back on the experience I’m not as disappointed: I ran continuously without breaking for a walk, it was my first 5K in just over a year and my body needs to get used to running so going at a slower pace is what it needs right now. Taking all of that into consideration, I didn’t do too badly. I’m still a little let down with myself but that’s more of a mental thing for me that I’m working on.

Thank you so much for reading today’s blog post. I’ve been wanting to write about fitness for the longest time on the blog and I’m so happy that I’m finally doing it. I think it’s always great to read about other people’s experiences, so if you have a running blog or if you’re a runner and you’re wrote a blog post on it, please send me it! I’d love to give it a read ❤ 

Why I Enjoy Yoga.

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It was my second yoga birthday last week and last year I shared my story on how I got started (which you can find here!) and advice for those who are thinking of trying yoga for the first time (and you’ll find that right here!) So this time I wanted to share the five things that I enjoy the most about yoga.

1) It’s something to look forward to every week.

Now in my New Year’s Resolution post, I said that I wanted to incorporate more yoga into my home life but for right now,  I love having something to look forward to every week. I go on Monday nights after work so even though almost everyone hates Mondays, this softens the blow a little.

2) My progress is amazing!

I’m doing poses that I couldn’t do two years ago or even a year ago. I can straighten my legs in poses that I had struggled to do with a bent knee. With practice and constant progression in class, I’ve surprised myself and to me, that’s exactly what I want get out of learning any new skill. If you’re not learning then what are you doing?

3) I am “in the moment”.

I can only ever remember two yoga sessions I had where I couldn’t stop worrying about what was going on in my life and therefore, I didn’t enjoy the class. The majority of the time however I can completely zone out of my life for an hour and take every moment as it comes. I want to do that more this year and because yoga has already incorporated this element, I think I’ll find it easier to do it in other parts of my life.

4) It improves your gym workout.

I taught myself to sit up straighter on the rowing machine because of yoga. My posture when I’m doing weights is much stronger now because of yoga. My stretches at the end of my workout are now longer and more effective because of yoga. When people say it can change their performance in the gym, they really mean it.

5) It’s the start of a bigger journey.

I don’t know if I would have dived into the world of mindfulness and meditation  if it hadn’t have been for yoga. Mindfulness was really opened up to me in therapy but it was talked about during our weekly yoga classes from time to time. Meditation is something that we take part in at the beginning and the end of the class so when I do it at home, it’s second nature to me.

What do you love about yoga? Let me know your thoughts on all things yoga, good or bad, I want to hear them!

(Featured image source: unsplash.com)
(Top Image Source: Pixabay)

#ItsTheLittleThings

If you follow me on Twitter, you will have seen me use this very hashtag. But why? 

Lately I haven’t had the strongest mental health days and I’ll be the first one to admit that sometimes it’s hard to accept that. We all struggle sometimes but I fully acknowledge that I haven’t been okay. I use Twitter as an outlet and I sometimes just believe that it’s just me that sees my tweets but in reality, I know that’s not true.

How comfortable am I using a public forum saying how I feel? I wouldn’t call it comfortable; I have people in my “real life” who see it, I have complete strangers who don’t know anything about me see it  and I have those that I became friendly with via Twitter who see it. Is that daunting? Absolutely.

Everyone deals with their own situations differently; some people hold everything in, some talk about every single emotion they have, some talk about extremely hard times while others only talk about the good times in their life. To each their own; I talk about good times but I don’t go into detail about the bad times. I feel like I’m a good balance in between all of those I listed.

So back to my original point, what is #ItsTheLittleThings? It’s a hashtag that I use when the little things in my life make me feel better. It can be anything from a great gym session to just making a cup of tea. Yes, even a cup of tea.

I’m not saying that every time I use it I’m having a terribly bad day; I simply use it for own mental health, good and bad, and when you find something that works for you, I believe you should embrace it ❤

“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.” – Henry David Thoreau

Why I Don’t Drink Alcohol.

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I made the decision not to drink when I was around sixteen. I had half a glass of Peach Schnapps when I was about fourteen and a sip of champagne at my formal when I was sixteen. That’s the height of my drinking, honestly. Ever since I was sixteen, I’ve always been asked why I don’t drink and I really don’t mind being asked; if people are genuinely interested, then I’m happy to answer. I don’t know many other twenty five year olds that don’t drink so I think that’s why when most people see someone not drinking when everyone else is, they can be taken aback.

I always get told “If you control how much you drink, you’ll not lose control” or the best one yet, “You don’t lose control, you know what you’re doing all the time.” Both wrong in my opinion, I believe that once alcohol enters your system, you’re not in control like you were before. Yes, of course there is science behind it all but I still wouldn’t let my boyfriend drive after one drink. Call me overly cautious and yes, he would still be under the limit, but if you’re choosing to drive, don’t drink. That’s why I offer to drive, I really don’t mind it; I actually like driving so it’s never a problem for me.

I don’t know whether this is because of the zero drinking or because of the type of person I am but I would rather come home after a long week of work, stick on the TV and have a big cup of tea rather than go out on a night out. Going out is a lot of effort, and don’t get me wrong, I go out sometimes and it’s nice but I couldn’t do it every week or every fortnight; once a month might even be pushing it. I find when I used to go out (when I was just with friends) I would hit the 11:30pm mark and I wouldn’t be able to have a decent conversation so that was always my cue that it was almost home time. Having someone repeat themselves over and over again or someone just talking absolute nonsense in your ear is something that I personally can’t listen to until the early hours of the morning in a very noisy night club (unless it’s my boyfriend and he’s just adorable when he tells me stories when he’s been drinking).

Alcohol.

Money is also a huge factor. So on an average night out, I used to spend more money on taxis getting home than my drinks. I drink water and pure orange, that’s it! Oh, and let’s be realistic here, if it was even a little sociable acceptable, I would ask for a tea but I think that might be a step too far, don’t you? I don’t drink fizzy drinks or sparkling water, it’s just water and pure orange. So normally the water is free and the dearest I’ve paid for an orange is around £3 (I only bought one that night after that price!). Alcohol is not cheap! So why not go out, still have a good time without the massive cost and buy myself something else that I might be able to get more use out of?

Now I don’t think I’m a perfect person because I don’t drink. The last thing I want to do is come across like someone who thinks “Oh look at me, I don’t drink so I’m automatically better than you” because I really have never thought like that. I’m not any better or any  worse because I choose not to drink it.

I hope this post gave you an insight into someone who doesn’t drink. I have no problem with people who drink by the way! If you drink, cool. If you don’t, cool. I have zero problem with it. What I do have a problem with is when people don’t understand and don’t actually listen. No, I don’t want “one drink”, I’ve said no, what’s so hard about that? Thankfully over the past few years, my teenage years and now in my mid twenties, I haven’t had too many of those experiences. It just seems that it seems to be such a foreign concept to some people and it’s all about understanding at the end of the day.

(Images from pexels.com)