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 ❤ 

SS: Sunday Saves (#55)

sunday-saves

Happy Sunday everyone and welcome back to my Sunday Saves. As I’m sure you know by now, if you haven’t read last week’s post, you’ll find it right here or if you want to read my previous Sunday Saves over the past year, you’ll find them right here! This week’s theme is focusing on fitness: more specifically, preparing for a workout, tips on being a beginner runner and finding the motivation to work out in the morning.

1) Lifestyled by Jennie (Motivational Reasons For Exercising In The Morning)

I am such an advocate for exercising in the morning so I am, of course, going to celebrate Jennie’s post about it. She gives us four genuine reasons why working out in the morning is better than the evening, straight after work for example. I can’t wait to write about my own experiences on this!

2) Fit Cake (Preparing for a Workout)

So now that you’ve read Jennie’s post about getting the motivation to get up in the morning, why not read Emma’s post on how to prepare for a workout. This includes making sure you drink your water (especially when working out, I can’t stress how IMPORTANT this is!) and the art of stretching.

3) Harmony Blaze (Me, Myself and Running)

Emma’s post (Yes, this is a different Emma!) has come at a great time for me as I begin my own running journey just before the Summer. Originally, I had begun last year; it was around this time last year I signed up for my first Park Run but unfortunately life happened and I never kept up with the running. Thankfully, that’s changed this year and I’m finally ready to give it a go again. Emma talks about why she took up running, what she loves about it and even a few tips to newbie runners like me.

That’s all from this week’s Sunday  Saves; if you have any other fitness posts you think I should read, please tweet me over at @RetroSnowflake on Twitter or leave a comment below. I crave more fitness posts! Thanks for reading, and have a lovely weekend, whatever you get up to!

SS: Sunday Saves (#22)

It’s the first Sunday in October! I’m sure you’ve seen many tweets, many blog posts and many YouTube videos saying “I can’t believe it’s already October” so I’ll leave that to everyone else. As with all Sunday Saves, if you’ve missed any of the series, they’ll be located right here! This week I’ll be talking about finding the time for exercise, being more confident and living life a little slower.

1. A Mile in my Glasses (Ways to fit exercise into your schedule)

I really liked Michael’s post but not because I related to it. I don’t relate to it; I do have the time to go to the gym and I’m sure many would be envious of that, but when it comes to mindset, it’s a completely different story. Over time I know I’ll be as motivated as I once a few months ago, but right now I’m struggling with getting myself back into a routine (which is totally okay! We’re all going through something at the end of the day). What I really like about Michael’s post is that it’s not unrealistic or unattainable, it’s genuine advice to say “Hey, whether you are a morning person or you’re finding it hard to find a time of the day to work out, I’m here to make it a little easier”. He recently ran a 10K too so well done to him! Hopefully I’ll be able to do that one day too!

2. Soph Writes (Being a more confident you)

Aah confidence. You are a funny one aren’t you? As some one who is currently fighting against confidence, I think Sophie’s post on being more confident in yourself, is a perfect booster for when you’re feeling low. I have it bookmarked on my phone so I have it whenever I just need that reassurance of being enough and working every single day on being the best version of myself.

3. Pretty Not Included (5 Ways to Embrace Slow Living)

What is slow living? I’ve never heard of ‘slowing down’ in that way but Sarirah explains it in such a lovely way. Her advice is attainable, realistic and is something that I will definitely try and incorporate into my lifestyle, including having your breakfast in a calmer landscape, which to me is just simply not eating your breakfast while browsing through social media from the night before. Acceptance for me is something I am constantly working on and that is a particular battle of mine but she raises some incredibly true points about accepting your situation and really letting your life flow in its natural way. Not something that I personally can do at the moment but one day? I hope so. Sarirah explains that you don’t have to make subscribe to big life changes; those little self care acts add up just as much as the big ones, and that’s what really matters.

This week’s Sunday Saves all seemed to be ones that really focused on being your own person and improving yourself, which I didn’t actually plan at all, but I enjoyed it regardless. I hope you enjoyed too!

How has my yoga experience been so far?

So this week seen the completion of my six week term of yoga that I signed up for at the start of the year. If you read my New Year’s Resolutions post, you’ll know what I wanted to try new things and practice more yoga so I signed up to a yoga class that had a six week term.

I went every Monday night after work and it was just down the street from my work, so it’s the perfect location and the perfect time. I wanted to try yoga more seriously because I wanted to become more flexible and be able to relax, because even though I have no house to pay for, no children, no “big” responsibilities basically, I still get very stressed out. I’m a huge worrier and I wanted to find something where I could relax, even just for an hour, and concentrate on my body rather than my head.

We do a deep relaxation and concentrate on our breathing for the first five to ten minutes at the start and end of each class. The first week, I made myself jump at the end because I dozed off. The second week, someone had to shake me gently to wake me up. Yep, I fell asleep during yoga. Everyone was lovely about it but it was slightly embarrassing. But hey, at least I was relaxed.

I can feel myself learning something new every week, we do a number of the same poses every week as well as new ones too but we try and advance them and stretch further with them. It’s not just a same old same old class every week, you do actually learn and feel yourself becoming better at yoga, which is what I wanted. I had tried yoga online before, but there’s nothing like going to a class and a teacher actually helping you into the pose. I went to the class on my own and it was actually a really big step for me. I’ve started going to more things on my own, and it is getting easier. It’s still scary but when I’ve been to most events, there’s always someone who will come and talk to you when they see you on your own.

I’ve signed up to another six weeks which start this Monday (but I’ll be going on Thursday night then going back to my Monday schedule) and I can’t wait to advance more in my poses. I can see a huge difference in the way I feel, even from just that one hour a week and apart from not wanting to wake up for work on Monday, I genuinely look forward to a Monday because of yoga. It’s my “me-time” slightly after the weekend and just to take a time out.

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.