Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Breakfast / Post workout smoothie

Last week I made this fab smoothie. It's sweet and chocolatey, but there's no added sugar anywhere!
The sweetness comes from the banana and dates and the chocolatey-ness from cocoa powder. You can use whatever milk, nuts and dried fruit you prefer for this... I'm wondering if apricots will go well with this??

What I used:
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup milk
1/2 ripe banana
a few dates
a handful of nuts, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon cocoa powder

Whack everything in a blender

I've made this a few times in the last week. One day I used some almonds and cashews in my smoothie, as that's what's lying around at home. Another day I used a few teaspoons of peanut butter. Both were yummy. I threw in a little cinnamon powder and sultanas (golden raisins) on another occasion. Again, this was good. I have some dried figs at home too, think I might throw a few in next time!


Tell me...
  • What is your favourite smoothie? 
  • What fruit do you use in a smoothie like this?

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Weekly Workouts - WC 19th May

So this week was a much better week 
  • The tummy problems I had last week have gone away.
  • I took 3 days off from work for a bit of R&R.
  • I got crafty (as I do when I get some time off) and made a cute clutch.
  • I had some yummy Green Thai Curry and Strawberry Baked Cheesecake - Takeaway Treat!
  • I made a fab breakfast/post workout smoothie - recipe coming soon...
  • I made muskmelon vodka cocktails (blended muskmelon, lightly frozen; a splash of vodka; topped up with soda).
  • And I ran, did my strength workout and yoga too! 

My workouts:
Monday: 1.50 miles – super-hot weather
Tuesday:  Essential Yoga, from Runner’s World 
Wednesday: morning – Abs and Bodyweight strength workouts – left me sweating; evening – Intervals 12 x (1.5 mins fast, 1 min slow) = 3.18 miles in 30 mins
Thursday: 2.60 miles – slow; lead legs today
Friday: Rest
Saturday:  Stretching
Sunday: 4.10 mile easy run – longest run to date…

All in all, a great week!

Happy running...

Tell me...
  • Do you use Nike Running? What's your colour? What's your total distance? (I'm Orange - total 48.28 miles)
  • What's your favourite takeaway treat?
  • Do you have a Yoga workout you would recommend? 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Weekly Workouts - WC 12th May

Ok, so last week I made a commitment to myself to add strength work into my workout routine...Instead I got taken out by a nasty case of food poisoning!

I went to Pune extremely early on Monday morning, and after a 4 hour journey, spent close to 12 hours in the office and something I ate did not agree with me. Tuesday in the office was a living nightmare, as I battled with griping stomach cramps and drowsiness from the medicine I took, followed with a 4 hour journey home.

My balcony in Pune

The 'view' from my balcony

My room - spacious and clean

Wednesday and Thursday were no better. Long hours in the office and the stomach cramps were still with me. Not to mention the extreme temperatures and humidity in Mumbai in May... I was dehydrated in the 10 minutes it took to go from my apartment, out on to the street and catch a rickshaw. Running was out of the question.

Ice cream helps with the heat (strawberry - yum)

 The cramps finally disappeared during the long hours in the office on Friday, and by Saturday night I was feeling 100%, so on Sunday I went for my only run of the week. I didn't do any yoga or strength work at all - my good intentions wiped out by a bite of bad food...

Back to the workouts:
Monday - Saturday: Food poisoning = REST
Sunday: 3.12 miles non-stop for the first time, 43:59 minutes, 30 deg C, 78% humidity

On an entirely random note, this made me laugh on our morning walk on Thursday. The crow, as always, is squawking at my dog, Coco (who is off to the left), and this kitty is eying him up for breakfast!
"Come closer so I can eat you!"

Let's see what happens next week...

Happy running...

Tell me...
  • What are your tips for battling a bad tummy?
  • What did you see that made you laugh this week?

Thursday, 15 May 2014

So how on earth did I end up running?

I'd just started exercising and knew I needed help to keep on track. Whilst I was on a 3 day a week workout plan, I was also walking daily (with my dog, Coco) and trying to increase the distance and speed we were walking.
I remembered a website I'd come across earlier in the year,

 Lift is a website that helps you build positive daily habits to achieve your goals. (Read this article on the science behind Lift to understand how it works.)
I can start tracking any goal of my choice, daily meditation for example, and Lift sends me daily emails so I can see how I'm doing. There are daily quotes to strengthen your resolve and motivate you to achieve your goal:
"Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat." ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
"The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible." ~ Arthur C. Clarke
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions." ~ Dalai Lama

And the Lift community can give me 'props' and leave encouraging messages to spur me on.
In late December I chose my goal of daily exercise so for 21 days Lift  reminded me to exercise and away I went, logging my GWOD workouts and daily walks with Coco.

But how did this turn into running?
Besides the basic plans like daily exercise, Lift has more advanced plans for things like learning a language or how to begin a blog, where daily steps are defined for you to follow. I soon found a few plans that caught my fancy... First I spotted a fixed meditation plan by (which I signed up for and thoroughly enjoyed). Then I noticed a 5k training plan for Beginners... Could I do it?

The plan, by Heidi Boynton of Team Mermaid, promises race readiness in 6 weeks following 40 simple steps. But then I looked more closely... In the intro it mentioned the plan is designed for people who can jog for at least five minutes in a row.
This plan was NOT for me. Running for even one minute was out of my reach! 

Luckily for me, I then found a true beginners running plan on Lift, 'Ease into Running', created by Brett Stewart of the "7 Weeks to Fitness" website. This fantastic plan takes you from easy walking to 10 minutes continuous jogging in 8 weeks.
As Brett explains:
"It's a great plan for first-time runners, individuals who've spent a long time away from exercise, and anyone who wants to experience the cardiovascular benefits of walk/jog intervals. If you aspire to lose weight and get into shape, this program is a crucial first step!  Most sessions take 20 minutes or less."

This plan was just what I needed. It boosted my confidence and made me feel good about what I was achieving. It built up slowly and didn't push me too hard, too fast, too soon, but instead challenged me just enough. And as I began running, the high I got from each run was fantastic... I was hooked!
At the end of the 8 weeks I nailed it by jogging for 10 minutes continuously and IT FELT GREAT! (even though my lungs hurt and my legs were wobbly☺)

So that's how I became a runner.

Happy running...

Tell me:
  • How did you start running?
  • Why?
  • When?

Monday, 12 May 2014

Weekly Workouts - WC 5th May

I intended to add strength work to my program this week, and failed miserably. A work trip to Pune did me in with extremely long days and I just couldn't motivate myself. Although I did add my Yoga back in for a nice stretch... flexibility is important!

Whilst I was in Pune, I randomly saw this scene from my window at the guesthouse where I was staying...

Yes, that's a man taking his goat for a walk! I just want to add that this is not out in the sticks... Pune is a fairly big city, and this is currently a little bit of wasteland between a whole bunch of apartments, office blocks and a big shopping mall.

Monday: 3.02 miles, 35:59 minutes
Tuesday: Scheduled 
Rest day 
Wednesday: Rest day due to Pune trip
Rest day due to Pune trip
Friday: 3.30 miles, 42:07 minutes
Saturday: Yoga 

Sunday: 3.12 miles, 41.49 minutes 

I commit to adding strength work next week, even though I'm in Pune for a few days again.

Happy running...

Tell me...
  • What are your tips for exercising when you're away from home?
  • How do you motivate yourself to exercise when you're tired?

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Beginning my Exercise Plan

After I made the decision on Christmas Day to get started, I didn't want to wait even another day!
Running had not crossed my mind at this point, only exercising was on my radar. I had come across a health and fitness website sometime before, and had been impressed with its scientific approach (I'm a former Maths and IT teacher with a BSc in Nerdiness, so these things matter).
A workout series on this website caught my eye and it seemed perfect for me. I easily get bored so a workout with plenty of variety is important to me, and this seemed to offer just that.
So what workout caught my eye? Greatist's Workout of the Day (GWOD) is an online health and fitness magazine. They publish daily articles with tips, news, recipes and much more. Their website claims:

Bet you've never met a health site like this

We don't tell you what healthy means. Instead, we celebrate choosing whatever healthy means to you.
    Seriously, we cite every fact with a scientific study!
  • REAL
    We give you a realistic view about health.
  • FUN
    Once we put a Shake Weight to the test…

What's a Greatist?

We're so glad you asked! Our belief that is you don't have to be the greatest all the time, but instead, just be a greatist: Someone who chooses to fit small healthier choices into their everyday life. A greatist...
  • likes making healthier choices because it makes them feel good.
  • is up for trying tabata workouts, mud runs, or even naked yoga.
  • enjoys cupcakes, but doesn't mind baking them with whole-wheat flour and shredded carrots.
  • knows the importance of being healthy, but also knows health takes work.
  • realizes that health is about feeling better, not looking better.
  • is someone who doesn't take things too seriously and always knows that healthy is happy.

So what's so special about their workout of the day series?
The series changes every couple of weeks. Different fitness specialists bring different types of workout to you.

When I began there was a series of Tabata exercises, different for every workout and I could choose whether I wanted to workout 2, 3 or 4 times a week. I didn't need any complicated equipment, just my exercise mat and my hand weights made from water-filled soda bottles!
The plan was flexible and fun, filled with variety. There were links to videos to show me how to perform the exercises.
Since then there have been many different types of workouts, something for everyone! When the latest set of workouts isn't to my fancy, I just go back to one of the earlier sets that I enjoyed.
Greatist... It's the greatest!
(sorry, but I couldn't resist... The cheerleader in me escaped for a moment there)

Happy exercising...
(Please note: I'm not affiliated with Greatist in any way, shape or form, I just like their workouts)

Tell me...
  • What's your favourite workout?
  • Can you keep doing the same stuff day in, day out?
  • How do you add variety to your workouts? 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Weekly Workouts - WC 28th April

A few weeks ago I was struck down with a nasty cold and at the same time things kicked into overdrive at work and I ended up (unexpectedly) back in the training room. For 10 whole days I didn't have the energy to run or workout. 
When my energy finally returned, I jumped in a little too quickly in my first run back and ended up with a nasty stitch that just wouldn't go. I hobbled my way through the first half of that run and still had to slow walk for a lot of the second half too. 

Monday: Rest day
Tuesday: 2.52 miles, 43:00 minutes! Stitch
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: 2.48 miles, 27:55 minutes, Intervals 13 x (1 minute fast, 1 minute slow)
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: 2.70 miles, 34:43 minutes
Sunday: 40 minutes brisk walk with my dog, Coco 

Next week I'll up my game a little, and get some strength work going.

Happy Running  

Tell me...
When you've been out for a few days due to illness or injury, how does it affect you?