Half Marathon Training Plan

London Marathon 2012

Inspired by Lazy Girl Running I have decide to put a Training Plan together for an Autumn Half Marathon.

I have a place for the Great North Run, (which has been on my list of things to do for a long time), but am going to have to pull out or hopefully defer to next year as I have a wedding of a good friend to attend the same weekend, that unfortunately doesn’t happen to be in Newcastle.

I still want to do a half marathon this Autumn so have selected the award winning Ealing Half Marathon at the end of September.

I have not had an “official” training plan since I ran the London marathon many years ago. I have just been muddling through with the odd run here and there and staying in fair good shape.

I ran the Adidas Half Marathon in March and achieved a PB by a whopping 12 or so minutes. As I mentioned in my post about the race, the PB and excitement to be racing masked the fact that I did not have the longer distance base fitness and I was really cheating myself that I was ready because I had run a few quick 10kms.

The new plan pretty much breaks down to – Continue reading “Half Marathon Training Plan”

The 22 Day Challenge – Stretching

Stretch head up

For a number of years I used to get a sore back when I stood up for too long. This usually used to come on when I was out “shopping” and did not want to be. Maybe this was psychosomatic, but that is when I used to notice it most and when it used to hurt the most. I also got it when I ran and when I did squats at BMF.

I committed to take some action over my back pain. I went to see an Osteopath. I explain my symptoms and my physical activity (running and cycling) and he proclaimed that there was no problem with my back. It was my hamstrings! Hamstrings (the big muscle running down the back of your leg) are attached to the muscles in your back, and my tight hamstrings were pulling on the muscles creating the discomfort. Although I stretched pre and post exercise, my homework was to stretch every day and come back next week and report back. For my second session, I explained that my achilles were now tight. He said, you have stretched your hamstrings and now the tightness had moved to your Achilles. I now had to stretch these and I also had to stretch my quadriceps, as it was the opposing muscle to my hamstrings.

I committed to stretch every day to try and help my back. Continue reading “The 22 Day Challenge – Stretching”

The Best Sport Films – A Personal List

Do you like sport films? It’s all very well, being proactive, achieving your goals, getting out there and smashing things but everybody needs a break from time to time to sit down and relax. If you have had a hard training week, sometimes the best thing for your recovery is to put your feet up and stick a film on!

I have been a movie fan since I was young. I can remember going to the cinema to see E.T and Back to the Future. It was not all future classics though; I also went to see Caravan of Courage!

My love of sport and film combined, so through the years many of my favourite films are sport films.

I would like to share with you some of my favourites that I recommend for you see –

Friday Night Lights (2004)Friday Night Lights

This is the story of the 1988 Permian Panthers, a Texas High School American Football team. The film is an adaptation of the book by Buzz Bussinger (a harder and more political read than the film). The film follows 4 different characters, all with their own problems through the team’s season and their dream of a Texas State Championship. The movie shows the harsh realities and pressures of being a football star in a small Texas town where football is life and death and the whole town turns out to see the “Friday Night Lights”. The film shows how dreams can be shattered and how football can be a dream ticket to get out of town. The characters are all well drawn and the football scenes are well shot and fairly brutal. The soundtrack by the Texas band Explosion in the Sky is amazing and worth listening to even if you have not seen the film. The film also got spun out in the highly regarded TV series, which is also worth a watch. Continue reading “The Best Sport Films – A Personal List”

Facing your Fears – Heights

Eiffel tower at night.

I went to Paris a couple of weeks ago. What is the first thing that enters your mind when you think of Paris? The Eiffel Tower, right? If you go to Paris, you have to go up the Eiffel Tower!

I have been to Paris a number of times and I have even been up the Eiffel Tower a couple of times, but I have never made it to the top. I have made it to the second level twice. I have always a little ashamed of this. I went with a group of friend back in 1999, and while they went all the way to the top, I stayed on my own and played it “safe”.

So, am I scared of heights? Sometimes yes, and sometimes no!

I always jokingly say “I am not scared of heights. I am scared of falling”. This is just a smart way of saying I am not really scared of heights and making myself feel a little better. Continue reading “Facing your Fears – Heights”

The benefits of drinking more water

Glass of water

In my post “Why am I not better” I spoke about the number of small things that you can do to improve your health and performance. You could call this the Compound effect (a number of little changes that can add up to a greater, positive impact in the future) or what British Cycling call marginal gains.  (I am not quite at the marginal gains level yet, but you get the point).I stated that I was going to undertake a 22 day challenge to drink more water and see if there is any benefits.

Why 22 days? There is popular belief that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This come from a book Psycho Cybernetics written by a German cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz in 1960 where he observed that the adjustment period for his patients was a minimum of 21 days. Over time this has become more popular and has become the stock answer for how long it takes to form a habit.

So for now I am going to go with 21 days and add 1 day as way of an upgrade!

Why did I make drinking more water my first self-improvement?

First of all, I am highly aware that I do not drink enough water. The colour of your urine is the best indicator of hydration. Let just say, mine is not where it should be. Continue reading “The benefits of drinking more water”

Polish Coleslaw Recipe

Polish Coleslaw

In my Inspiration to action post one the four things you can do to start having a healthier life was to “Eat more green things”

One of the ideas to help you do this was to make your own coleslaw. Yes, I know it is not green, but its vegetables and they are good for you!

As with many things I now love. I used to hate coleslaw. That was until I tried Polish Coleslaw! Introduced to me by my girlfriend!

Below is a recipe –

Ingredients – Serves 2

The ingredients for Polish Coleslaw
The ingredients for Polish Coleslaw
  • 2x Carrots
  • Red Cabbage (as much as required)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 Leek (can use spring onions)
  • Mayonnaise (Polish variety preferred)
  • Lemon Juice
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
Polish Mayo!
Polish Mayo!

You will need to change/estimate the quantities depending on how many you are serving. Just add an extra carrot or a bit more cabbage.

Method

  1. Grate the carrots into a bowl
  2. Grate/thinly slice the red cabbage (fancy peelers and shredders are useful for this but a cheese grater is fine) as required into the same bowl.
  3. Very thinly slice the leek. Add to the carrots and cabbage.
  4. Add one tablespoon of mayonnaise to the carrots, cabbage and leeks and stir in. (You will need no more than this. At times a tablespoon may be too much. Add a little at the start, you can always add more). This may take a couple of minutes. Keep stirring until all the vegetables are lightly and evenly coated.
  5. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Stir.
  6. Season with a little salt and black pepper. Stir.
Graters
A good grater makes the job easier!

That is it!

It goes with pretty much anything. I tend to have it with fish and potatoes.

Give it a try. It is a great way to eat raw vegetables so that none of the nutrients are lost.

Smacznego!

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

Inspiration to action – Make a change

IMG_1566It is very easy to be inspired. Taking action is the hard bit. There are lots of blogs, podcasts, Instagram posts and You Tube videos of people doing great things and making changes to their lives.

Every morning I am inspired to do lots of things with my day. One example is my meditation practice. Lots of content I read and listen to says that daily meditation has many positive benefits. I have tried to create a meditation practice for going on a year or so, but haven’t been able to be consistent. I will do 3 days in a row, then I will have to be early at work or something similar and I miss a day, then I miss another day and before I know it a week has gone by without meditating.

One thing that I was inspired to do and took action on was losing weight and getting fit. I used to be pretty lazy exercise wise. The food I ate was carb and meat heavy and there was plenty of socialising at the local watering holes. In this instant I did take some action and I have seen the benefits. Since then lots of friends and family have asked me how I did it and what I changed. Though it was a concise decision, I did not really do one thing. It was combination of things. Continue reading “Inspiration to action – Make a change”

Breakfast – Oats, Nuts/Seeds Mix, Fruit

IMG_3301

For a long time I did not eat breakfast. I was very much “a cup of tea is all I need in the morning” type person. You will have heard the phrase “Breakfast is the most important meat of the day”. For some people it may be and there will be others that do not like to eat in the morning. I think it is up to you and it should be based on how you feel or what is best for you. A simple guide is – eat if you are hungry and don’t if you are not.

What I have found since I starting eating breakfast regularly is that I have more energy, my concentration improves, my mood improves and I tend not to snack on things I shouldn’t. If I cycle to work, I am pretty hungry when I arrive and there is no chance I will make it through to lunch without breakfast.

My breakfast “revolution” started in 2014 when I went to Yorkshire for the start of the Tour de France. I stayed with my step grandparents (Brian and Sheila) and breakfast was porridge oats with fresh berries on top. I tend to be an egg on toast man especially at the weekend, but I was a guest and reluctantly tucked in to my oats and fruit. I was happily surprised how much I enjoyed it and it set me up nicely for some hollering and cheering on the streets of rural Yorkshire as 150 pro cyclists flew by. Continue reading “Breakfast – Oats, Nuts/Seeds Mix, Fruit”

Why am I not better? (Than I think I am)

Can I run like The Flash?
Can I run like The Flash?

I have been thinking about writing this post for some time, I consider it regularly. I was thinking about saving it for later, but I just can’t get it out of my head. Why am I not better?

As I alluded to in first post, I was a fairly successful athlete and sportsman in younger years and teens. I always won my school sports day. I won managers and player’s player of the year with my double winning Sunday league football team. I was captain of my local rugby team and a county medal winning swimmer.

“I still think I can win a sprint. I still think I can effortlessly bend a free kick into the top corner of the goal”.

I am not bragging or looking back fondly on my athletic glory years. The point of the post is – I still think I can win a sprint. I still think I can effortlessly bend a free kick into the top corner of the goal. I still think I can turn out for a local rugby club and give it a good go. I still think I can take most people on in a 25m swimming race!

The other point of the post is that I have plenty of experience to know that I can’t do any of those things and that consistent training and practice is required to do them well. That does not stop me trying to play 5 a side football once every 2 years like I play week in week out (and actually realising I can’t change direction or that if I kick this ball to hard, I am going to pull my groin!) or racing my friends whenever I see a swimming pool, ‘cause once upon a time I was a really good swimmer.

OK, poor me! Yes, I am not as young as I used to be and I can’t run as fast. Continue reading “Why am I not better? (Than I think I am)”

Podcasts you should be listening to

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 21.56.47I have been an avid listener of podcasts for going on 10 years. One of the reasons I started listening was that I began to take the bus to work and need something to listen to. The other reason was that I had started running again and I needed something to listen to.

There maybe some people who still don’t know what a podcast is. I have just looked it up on Wikipedia and it does not make a lot of sense to me!

The way I would describe it is. It’s like a radio show that you can download via iTunes or directly to your phone and you can listen to it any time you like. Some podcasts are just that, a recorded live radio show that is then downloadable at a later time. Some are recorded and then put on the web to be downloaded and were never played out live. You subscribe to the podcast and when a new episode is available, it automatically downloads to your iTunes or your phone.

If you have an iPhone, then you already have an app on your phone (that you can’t delete) to download podcasts. I am told that this is not the greatest podcast app and that the Overcast app is better (also available on Android). I have not used this app, but it has been recommended to me a number of times.

I am pretty old school when it comes to podcast downloading. I have an old and battered, but highly loved iPod Nano 3rd generation. I load the podcasts into iTunes on my laptop, then plug my iPod in and manually select the podcasts I want to listen to.

IMG_3237
My poor old battered iPod nano!

I absolutely love podcasts. It surprises me that more people do not listen to them. There is amazing free content out there that you can listen to at your leisure. There is a podcast for whatever you are interested in. Sport, Business, Comedy, Economics, History, Philosophy, Music, Science, Meditation, The Archers. There are also a lot about health, fitness, nutrition and wellbeing. These can help you on your journey to a better, fitter more healthy life.

Below are a number of podcasts I highly recommend to you. Some are about health and nutrition and running and some are about other things, but there are all excellent and you should definitely give them a try. Continue reading “Podcasts you should be listening to”