Tag Archives: Progress

Getting Back Out On The Road Again.

Copy of I Never Want To Run A Marathon... And That’s Okay (4)

Happy Sunday all! It’s been a little while since I’ve been blogging, it’s definitely been a busy few months for all the right reasons and while we’re currently (at the time of writing) in a crisis of the Coronavirus, I wanted to talk about something I’ve been working on recently to distract myself and that’s getting back into running (again!) and if you haven’t read my “2020: The Year of Running?” I’d recommend reading that first.

Towards the very very end of the year last year, I was on a roll with the running and on New Year’s Day, Scott and I went out for a lovely run to one of our local parks and it was great. I didn’t care about the time at this point, we were just glad to be out for a run. However… that’s where it stopped for a while. That’s the thing about the dark mornings and the dark evenings; you might be the type of person who can get motivated during these times but for me, it’s a time that can get me quite down especially after a day of work and I couldn’t think of anything less appealing than going to the gym or out for a run. (However, I love going to the gym, but getting myself out for a run was much harder)

So initially, I was training for the Craic 10K race that takes place on St. Patrick’s Day every year in Belfast. However, due to the Coronavirus, many races like these have been cancelled or postponed until a later date. It wasn’t something that shocked me because of course, it’s the right thing to do but I was aware that there was a high possibility of this happening. 

The next postponed date in June gives me quite a lot of time to improve my timings which I think will give me an aim for the next few months. I’m 100% confident that I can run the distance because I’ve done it before (and if I wasn’t confident, I know that would be about the mindset rather than the physical challenge).

For the meantime, we have no other races booked because we don’t know what position the country will be in over the next few weeks or next few months.

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I’ve started running on the treadmill more recently than I ever have before. I tend to get bored on the treadmill but I find that I get intimidated by outside sometimes; I would make excuses to run with Scott but in all honesty, I was worried about not being able to run the length of myself. While I was trying to get out of my own head, I found the treadmill in the gym really helpful because even though I wasn’t going a full 5K distance, I was still pushing myself and working out my perfect pace, so I was still doing the work. 

Our most recent run went really well in fact; we ran 8K (or five mile) altogether and only stopped twice. Scott and I normally walk for about ten minutes or so before we start our run, to give our bodies time to warm up, we’ve found it’s a perfect warm up tactic for us. 

It started off at a slower pace but we had talked about not worrying about the time, the distance was more important. You have to choose one or the other when you’re getting back into running, so, because we were originally preparing for the 10K race, that’s why we choose distance. I was really surprised how clear my head was; if you’ve read previous blog posts of mine, you’ll know that mindset is a huge barrier for me and if I’m not in the mood to workout, I CAN NOT push it.

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We ran down one of our favourite routes that goes towards the water and we were absolutely fine until we got to the park where the beach is partially exposed. That’s when we discovered that some families have no consideration for anyone but themselves. As a runner, walker and cyclist, I’m very aware that we all need to be aware of our surroundings. I let others runners run past me, if a cyclist is behind me and I don’t realise until late, I instantly move out of the way. If there is a large family, I try my best to give them room but I get frustrated when a family take up an entire path and I believe that’s where my limit ends. It ended up putting me off my run a little and it was frustrating. I know now that we need to take another part of the route next time to make sure that doesn’t happen again but if we’re all more aware of our surroundings, then it will make everyone’s journey a much happier place. (Rant over right?)

Apart from that one issue, I was happy with the run. We did over the 5K distance that I wanted to do, my breathing was fine throughout the majority of it and I was so pleased that my head let me go further than I originally thought. Our time was 1 hour and 5 minutes and while I wasn’t concentrating on time, it’s hard not to reflect back on what you used to do. 

IMG-20180902-WA0010-01.jpeg(Our old race numbers from a few years ago!)

I was talking to someone about this on Instagram this week about my mindset when it comes to running. It’s hard not to reflect on what you used to do; my fastest 10K was 1 hour and 4 minutes so for a 8K to have a slower time, it can have an effect on me but I’ve found it really important to be present in my runs and I know the more I run, the faster I will be. That’s how I originally became faster; my first ever 5K was 40 minutes and it got down to 30 minutes and 2 seconds and all that was because of hard work and consistency. I also have to think about where I was in my life at that point, I wasn’t particular happy in my job at that point and I used it as a distraction, whereas now I’m very happy with so many elements in my life that part of me doesn’t mind that I’m slower, because I’m now a lot happier.

I’m currently working on what my running goals are going to be, now that I’m getting back out there more often. Whether I will post them on the blog publicly, I haven’t decided yet. Thank you so much as always for reading today’s post and if you have any tips or advice surrounding this, you can let me know over on my usual Twitter and Instagram social channels. Have a great week! 🌻

Training for a 10K Race: Three Loops and One Long Run.

Recently I wrote about signing up to my second official 10K race and in that post, I said I would write about my running progress every two weeks, so that’s what I’m doing today.

Altogether over the last two weeks, I’ve had four successful runs. Ideally, I would like to get about six in but four isn’t bad considering the amount of bad weather and snow we have had. These four runs consisted of three loops around the same area and one long run so I’ll start with the three loops first.

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This particular loop Scott introduced me to and it had daunted me because it’s around an industrial estate that I didn’t know too well but once I had been around it a few times, I knew what turns to take and knew when to cross over. When I ran with him, he stopped us at the 5K mark so I could mark my timing correctly and see how well I was doing. However, when I ran on my own, I decided to start a little further back than the last time and I ran past the last point, so what first became 5K then became 6.5K. I didn’t realise I had added an extra 1.5K to the route entirely.

Saturday Afternoon Loop Route

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This run was my favourite run out of the three, mainly because this was the first day of sunshine we had seen in weeks and it was when I discovered I had added on an extra 1.5K so I was over the moon. In terms of pace, I find it very difficult to determine my speed if Scott isn’t there. I never know if I’m going too fast or too slow because he keeps me in line but this is something I’m trying to work on. I may have went overboard on my running gear on this run, I knew it was sunny yet I continued to wear my warm hat and my fleece coat so I was half way done with the run and I was so sweaty. I got about three quarters of the way finished and that’s when the mental battle started because you would think that when I knew I was nearly done, I would push through to tell myself I’m “almost there”. That’s where my head differs, it does the opposite and makes me feel like quitting at the last hurdle. Understandably, I was running then walking for twenty seconds and then back to running, I had a few of these periods towards the end. This is another issue I want to work on because this could potentially hold me back from breaking personal best times and I don’t want that to happen of course.

Tuesday Evening Loop Route

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Tuesday evening’s run went quite well but there was a significant difference in this one and the one on Saturday afternoon, I hadn’t worked on Saturday so understandably, I was feeling tired from work but I pushed myself out of the door anyway and the majority of the time, I am always glad that I do. I wrapped up warm for this run because it wasn’t a nice sunny day and it was a very cold night, but by the end, I was very sweaty. I earned every little sweat drop though! I was over a minute slower than the previous run which I tried not to be too disappointed with and I did slow down towards the end (just like the previous run) and that currently held my time back too. Apart from those few points, it was a good run.

Sunday Morning Loop Route

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Fresh early Sunday morning air. I want to say that I was running at around half seven on a lovely fresh Sunday morning which was so refreshing. I absolutely love running at that time because your body hasn’t quite woken up so it gives you an extra boost and that certainly helped me time wise with this. While I still had the mental block towards the end of the route, this was my fastest solo time on this route so far and I couldn’t have been more pleased.

Last but not least is my big run for the two week period. The full 10K, now it might sound strange that I’m running 10K distances even though this training series is for the purpose of training for a 10K race. Well, fortunately I know that I’m perfectly capable of running that distance but I have a number of objectives. I want to track my progress for this race like I was meant to for my last race, I also want to get better time and pace wise because that is something I can aim for.

Belfast City Centre to Dundonald (via Greenway)

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This 10K started in the centre of Belfast, around by the Lagan River, up towards the Albertbridge Road heading for Connswater and finally heading up to Bloomfield Avenue where I knew there was continuing part of the Comber Greenway. I don’t know where the Connswater Greenway starts in the centre of Belfast so for me, I knew that route from walking it a few times and I then began running on the Comber Greenway route. By the time I was getting on it, it was coming up to about half five and it wasn’t too dark but by the time I got to the end of it, it was considerably darker. I was still able to see and I thankfully didn’t need my head torch but it was cutting it close. If you’ve never been on this particular Greenway, it’s not very well lit and the only light you really have is in front of you when you can see the next set of traffic lights so it’s quite closed off apart from coming up to the next stop.

There were a few obstacles for me on this run. Firstly, I was heading to an appointment back where I used to live so I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to run back there. In doing that however, I had a backpack with me filled with my work clothes and everything that I take to work. Mind you, it wasn’t very heavy but it still had some weight in it and it was on my back the whole time. Another obstacle was again, the mental block but it didn’t seem to pop up as often as I thought it would, it still popped up here and there but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I over dressed for this run again, I would say that it was even before the half way point where I felt like I didn’t need my hat or my coat anymore but because my bag was so jam packed, my only option would have been to carry them in my hand and I didn’t want to weigh myself down further so they stayed on.

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The Comber Greenway is really gorgeous in the day time so I would be tempted to run down it more at the weekend during the day to build up my endurance because you don’t see the distance go in as much as you would if you were running up the main Newtownards Road right up until Dundonald, and it’s always nice to run with very pretty views, right?

That’s all for this fortnight’s running progress. As I said, I’m hoping to keep this up every two weeks until the race itself so I hope you’ll keep reading along with me. Thank you so much for reading!

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)

My Health and Fitness Journey.

As 2014 comes to a close, I wanted to post about my health and fitness journey over the past few years. 2014 by far, has been my healthiest year so far.

I won’t go into full detail about my entire life, but I’ll give just a jist (: In May 2012, I came home from a year of University and had piled on a lot of weight. Before I left in September, I was over weight and the fact that I’m pretty short, didn’t help matters. So the next few months were spent over eating along with watching Netflix constantly, not really socializing and not really exercising (apart from walking to and from class and to get my shopping). I came back in May, and decided to get my act together. I had a Nintendo Wii and had a game called “My Fitness Coach” and this had so many routines on it. You could change the location, add your own weights in, decide what type of exercise you wanted to do: yoga, lower body, core body etc. etc. It was the perfect home workout, and I used it about four or five times a week for months. When I eventually went back to college in September, I sometimes got up in the morning before I had to get ready and sneak in a quick session. I really loved it. I didn’t need a gym, I had my own home workout system that worked perfectly.

I got to the next May and I eventually got sick of being interrupted by my family when I was working out. When I was jumping around the living room, making a lot of noise, I guess it’s hard not to laugh but it got to the point where I was willing to travel to a gym rather than have to plan workouts when my family weren’t in the house or if it was early enough in the morning. So I joined the gym near to my college, it was the cheapest I could find and I know they say “you get what you pay for” but in all honesty, I love the gym I go to. It has loads of machines and the only wait you really have is for the free weight machines, but I can always cater my workout to work around busy machines anyway.

From May 2012 until April 2014, I lost 47lbs and on 14th April (2014) I hit my ultimate goal weight of 126lbs or 9st, and ever since I’ve been maintaining between 124lbs and 126lbs. I’ve worked really hard to get there and I would like to lose maybe another half a stone but I’m not too focused on the numbers now, I can feel myself getting stronger and toned and to me, a set of scales will never be able to tell me that.

I plan to go into fuller detail on what I do at the gym, the type of foods that I eat and all that other stuff in future posts, but since a lot of my New Year goals are health and fitness based, I thought it would be a good basis to post a little about my journey before talking about those goals more in depth.