YearOfFit – Top Tips for Buying Running Shoes

Running is a great way to keep fit. Its a good workout, its versatile and the selling factor for a lot of people is that its cheap – but your running shoes shouldn’t be.

Tips for buying running shoes

I’m all for a bargain, but I strongly believe that getting a good pair of running shoes is an investment, and you shouldn’t just rock on up to Sports Direct and pick a pair based on the colour matching your favourite yoga pants. Trust me, your feet are worth it.

1. Get accessed

This isn’t as scary as it sounds, promise! If you go to a proper running shop, they’ll put you on a treadmill and get you to run a little bit to access your running style, meaning they can recommend a pair of shoes that will suit you best. It may be that you turn your feet out a little while you run (an over-pronator, like myself!), or you have weak knees or ankles, but by getting a professional to look at your gait, you can find a pair of shoes that are going to work with your body.

2. Shop around

Once you know what sort of shoes you need, you’ve got the freedom to shop around a bit! Try different brands, get a feel for all your options and check out outlet stores!

3. Always wear good socks

Even when you’re just trying on potential shoes, you should try to wear the right socks. Special running socks are available to give your feet more support, and you like to wear these, then be sure to take them with you when you try on new shoes; they can make a big difference to the fit! Wearing the wrong socks can also lead to blisters!

4. Know sizes

I always used to think it was as simple as knowing your shoe size, but some brands of running shoes recommend you size up or down. Asics, for example, recommend you buy their shoes half a size bigger than your regular size. General rule of thumb is a thumb – you should be able to press down about a thumb’s width at the end of your big toe, to allow space for your feet to move happily.

5. Don’t be afraid to be afraid of change

If you find a pair of shoes that work for you, don’t be afraid to stick to that same make and model. My dad, for example, always buys the same pair of Asics, because he knows they suit him, and that’s a totally normal thing for runners to do!

6. Know your shoe mileage

Believe it or not, running shoes have a sort of use-by date. Different companies may say differently, but in general you should be replacing your shoes after about 300-450 miles, just due to general wear and tear, and to keep you running at your best.

Do you have a favourite shoe brand?

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Airborne Fitness at Oxygen Freejumping

I’m a firm believer in fitness being fun, otherwise its just a chore, right? So I, quite literally, jumped at the chance to try out the latest craze of trampoline fitness classes at Oxygen Freejump in Southampton.

Oxygen Freejumping

Now I actually have a background in trampolining (which made me even more excited to try this out), as I did it from the age of 3 until about 15, everything from weekly training to regional competitions, but I was definitely a little out of practice when I took to the springs yesterday!

Oxygen Freejump

Not only was I lucky enough to try out this class, but I was also able to bring my friend Jess, so after an early morning drive to Southampton, which is about 30 miles away for us, we arrived early and had a coffee in the little cafe.

Oxygen Freejumping

I had no idea how big it was there! In my head I had pictured a big room full of trampolines, but there were actually a bunch of smaller sections, as well as the main freejumping area, and it was in one of these little side areas that our class was held. Before we could get onto the trampolines, we had to get a pair of special grippy socks, which were £2 (but you get to keep them for future use!) then we were lead through to the hall by our instructor, Tyler.

Oxygen Freejumping Airborne Fitness

There were 16 little trampolines making up the floor, one per person, as well as three walls of trampolines and a small strip in the middle which is where Tyler demonstrated all the exercises. As with all good workouts, there was a warm-up consisting of 30 second rotations of different exercises – high knees, star jumps, lunges etc – before we got into things properly, and by the end of the warm up I was already feeling the effects; it was hard work!

Oxygen Freejumping Airborne Fitness

An hour flew by! Although we had quite a few little much needed water breaks, I’m not really sure where the time went; we moved from exercise to exercise, some were solo, some were done in pairs, and exercise sets were broken up by jumping laps around the room. We did everything from planking to bouncing off the walls, and while it was hard work, it was so much fun! I don’t think I stopped smiling and laughing for the whole hour.

Its worth noting that while the class is held in a separate area to the other bounce sessions, there’s just a net between you and the other Oxygen users, so its not entirely private! Not a problem for me, but if you’re not keen on public workouts, this may not be for you. I’d also recommend bringing a water bottle with you, it gets hot!

The class is £10/session, but I would 100% recommend it to anyone looking for something a little bit different and I’d love to go back; if I lived closer I’d probably make it a regular thing, and I’d also love to give freejumping a go!

Have I inspired you to book? Use discount code HERO20 today to get 20% off at your local Oxygen Freejumping centre!

I was able to participate in this class free of charge in return for this review. All opinions are my own.
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YearOfFit – Home Gym Essentials

These days there are a million ways for you to stay active without paying out for a gym membership.

There’s workout videos, YouTube, dancing, Pinterest, and you can even buy your own machines so you don’t need to share with smelly strangers, and if you’re doing any of these things, you might be thinking about setting up a little ‘home gym’. Yeah? Well here are a few bits of kit you’ll want to consider!

Home Gym

1. Swiss ball

There are a lot of things you can do with a Swiss ball, from pilates to core work; you can even use it as a chair or bench!

2. Skipping rope

Skipping is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories, and a rope is a really cheap piece of kit!

3. Resistance bands

Another budget piece of kit, but a great way to save paying out for pricey strength training equipment

4. Kettlebells

Although I really hate them sometimes, kettlebells are a really versatile option if you’re thinking of buying weights

5. Foam roller

Most people, runners especially, have a real love/hate relationship with the foam roller. Personally, although it can hurt, my foam roller is my go-to for tight calf problems and general muscle aches and pains.

6. TRX/Suspension cables

If you’ve got somewhere safe and strong to secure them, suspension cables are a great piece of kit that utilises your body weight for strength training. The possibilities can be endless!

7. Step box

Whether you’re using it for an aerobics workout, a weight bench, or just a general prop, a box can be a great purchase for your home gym area

8. Dumbells

Dumbells can be a pricey piece of equipment, but if you want to take your home gym to the next level, a pair or even a set of dumbells is the way to go!

9. Mat

Save yourself from workout out on cold or uncomfortable floors with a foam or rubber exercise mat!

Do you prefer to workout at home or at a gym?

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Introducing The Happiest Fitness Co

I have one major ‘issue’ in life, and that is that I’m never one to settle, and I call it an ‘issue’ because I don’t believe for a second that anyone should ever consider ambition to be a flaw.

For me, my ambition is fairly simple: no never have to work for anyone but myself. Even as a child, I never wanted a job that I wasn’t in charge of; when I wanted to be a vet, it was in my own practice, and even after I set up my cake business, when I got a job in another shop for experience, it was tainted with the fact that I was still answering to someone else. So of course right now, in the middle of an existential life crisis (WHAT DO I WANT TO DO WITH MY LIFE?), my current day job is becoming less and less appealing by the minute.

BUT this post isn’t for me to moan about my job, its a happy post to announce.. I’m going into business again!

The Happiest Fitness Co

I’m taking my love of Disney and fitness, adding some of my creative skills and today sees the official launch of The Happiest Fitness Co!

I’m going to be offering a line of Disney inspired workout clothes (the first items of which will hopefully be available next week!) and organising virtual events, like the Frying Pan 5K which is already open for registration! Its pretty safe to say that I’m super excited!!

Want to be the first to hear about our exciting updates? Follow @happiestfitness on Twitter and @thehappiestfitnessco on Instagram!

Friday Favourite Five – Fitness Brands

Today is such an exciting day for me. If you follow me on social media, you’ll have seen me harping on about The Happiest Fitness Co, which is my new fitness brand, and today is the official launch day, yay! I’ll tell you all more about it tomorrow, promise!

So keeping on theme, today I’m sharing my top five fitness brands!

1. Fabletics

I love cute workout clothes and Kate Hudson is a huge idol of mine so of course I’m in love with Fabletics, and I really struggle to press that ‘skip this month’ button sometimes, to the pain of my bank account..

2. Sweaty Betty

Some of the most beautiful prints and gear ever, and such a wonderful workout ethic behind the brand!

3. Blogilates

Originating on the YouTube scene, Cassey Ho and her Blogilates brand are one of my latest obsessions. As well as fun workout videos, there’s pretty workout clothes and accessories, yay!

4. Tone It Up

Another, more recently discovered by me, YouTube fitness sensation, Tone It Up also has some incredible workout videos, and more amazing gear, apparel and also nutrition!

5. Asics

As a runner, finding the right shoe is a pretty big deal, and after retiring my Nikes, my new GT-1000s are it for me. The staff at Asics stores always take the time to make sure everyone has the right shoes for their feet and running style, and that’s super important in my eyes.

Do you have a favourite fitness brand?

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#YearOfFit – 5K by Summer

If you read my post on fitness goals that everyone can achieve, you’ll have seen that one of them was running a 5K.

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I genuinely believe that anyone is capable of finishing this distance, and to prove it, why not give this programme a go? Its six weeks, and what do you have to lose? Get those shoe’s on and let’s go!

Week 1

Tuesday: Walk for 1 minute, run for 30 seconds, and repeat 5 times. Easy right?

Thursday: Run for 1 minute, then walk for 30 seconds, and repeat 5 times.

Saturday: Run 1km, taking walk intervals if you need to

Week 2

Tuesday and Thursday: Run for 2 minutes, then walk for 30 seconds. Do this for 10 minutes.

Saturday: Run 1km. Try and walk as little as possible

Week 3

Tuesday: Run for 3 minutes, walk for 30 seconds x4

Thursday: Run for 5 minutes, walk for 1 minute. Repeat 3 times

Saturday: Run 2km in 2 minute/30 seconds run/walk intervals

You’re halfway!

Week 4

Tuesday: Run for 10 minutes, then walk for 2 minutes x2

Thursday: Run for 5 minutes, walk for 30 seconds x3

Saturday: Run 3km. Aim for 5 min/30 second run/walk intervals

Week 5

Tuesday: Run/walk 10 minute/1 minute three times

Thursday: Just run for 15 minutes

Saturday: Run 1km, walk 0.25km x4 (hello 5k!)

Week 6

Tuesday: Run 2km

Thursday: Run/walk 10 minute/30 second intervals for 3.5km

Saturday: Run your 5k!

I read somewhere recently that an 15 min/mile is just as far as a 10 min/mile, and this is such an important thing to remember; it doesn’t matter how fast or slow you might be, you’re still getting out and doing it!

So now you’re 5k ready, why not sign up for a virtual run? The Frying Pan 5K is raising money for the Rainbow Trust, you get an awesome medal and did I mention that I’m organising it?!

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#YearOfFit – Let’s Talk Fad Diets

This post is probably the one I’ve been most looking forward to writing so far this year. I’ve done a bunch of research and interviewed people and everything, and the reason I’ve put in so much work is because this is something I feel so passionately about.

Now before I get into things, I’m just going to say that while I’m not an expert/dietician/nutritionist, I’ve studied a lot of the areas that are involved in this topic: food science, diet psychology and human biology, so I’m not just sharing opinions here. I’m also going to be using my own terminology, so let me just explain that.

Fad, of course, just means something that’s popular for whatever reason, but I’m going to be discussing the main two different types of diet that people do: restrictive diets and lifestyle change diets. Restrictive diets are just that – purposefully cutting out or restricting the intake of a certain food type or group; think Atkins, Slimfast, juicing, fasting 5:2 etc. Lifestyle change diets are the ones where you aren’t necessarily cutting anything out, you’re just looking at your diet more carefully, maybe working on a point system for foods etc. These are your classic Weightwatchers or Slimming World style.

Ok, so I’m gonna start with restrictive diets.

You’ve seen your favourite celebrity drop from a size 14 to 6 in the blink of an eye and they’re putting it all down to this new diet. Naturally, you’re intruiged, and with summer just around the corner and the thought of your bikini looming, you figure why not give it a go, right?

All of these diets offer quick results – big weight drop in a short amount of time. Now this seems great, and short-term, sure, they’ll do the job, but I’m gonna let you in on a not-so-little secret: as soon as you go back to your regular habits, all of that weight is gonna come speeding back to you, and might even bring a friend, sometimes leaving you heavier than you were pre-diet. All of the people I interviews put some weight back on, and most put it all back.

The biggest issue with RDs is that you are denying your body, which is something you should never do. You NEED carbohydrates for energy. You NEED those good fats to protect your organs and maintain a healthy metabolism. You NEED protein to repair and grow. I could go on. Now your body can go a certain amount of time working just fine if you cut back, but after a while, you’ll start noticing that you’re not on your A-game.

Now everyone’s body works differently, and this is where the effects of these diets can differ hugely. Take my mum for example. A good few years back, my mum did LighterLife – a shake based diet – and was loosing a fair amount of weight. Woo, right? Well yeah, until she started to find her hair was falling out.. Lots of my interviewees experienced breakouts, some felt sluggish all the time, I could go on.

So apart from denying your body vital nutrients (which not all of them do, but still), there are mental ramifications to these diets too. By cutting certain foods out of your life, even if only temporarily, your brain will change the way you perceive this foods, and this will generally go one of two ways. First up, and this is more common with sweeter foods, it can lead to a ‘forbidden fruit’ mentality; you can’t have it, therefore you want it even more. Hello cravings. A ‘slip up’ here will normally result in a response of – and this is a genuine thing – the ‘what the hell’ effect; ‘you’ve had one Pringle, you may as well eat the whole tube’ thinking. This mindset is NOT HEALTHY.

Alternatively, and more dangerously, it can lead to certain food having negative connotations attached to them, and this is association is most common with carbs. You’ve been ticking along on Atkins just nicely, but someone brought home a pizza and you had a slice, and now you feel horrendously guilty and you’ll spend your whole day tomorrow on a cross-trainer in an attempt to ‘atone’. This mindset is NOT HEALTHY.

We’ll move onto lifestyle change diets.

No, these diets can’t promise you a drop of 3 dress sizes in 2 weeks, but the average member can expect to lose 1-2lbs a week, which is still pretty impressive.

Notice how I said ‘member’? Well that’s because all of these diets promote a community aspect, whether it be weekly meetings, online forums or just support from other members, and this community plays a really key part in the success of the diet. Sure, you don’t have to attend the meetings to see the results, but having other people with you doing the same thing can be a real help and motivator.

So why are these diets better for you? For starters, you’re still eating properly. Yes, you might be cutting back on certain things, indulging less and watching what you eat very carefully, but you’re still eating real, balanced food. Balance is important. You might be counting ProPoints, or syns or even just counting calories, but you’re making your own choices and staying in control. I call them lifestyle change diets because over time, you’re just developing better eating habits, and the more you stick at it, the more eating better becomes a part of your lifestyle. We’re talking being healthier for life, not just until summer is over.

Talking to some people who have done these diets, they loved how they never felt that they were missing out on anything and how easy they were to stick to, compared to RDs they’ve tried. Now my interviewees did still have some negative comments about these diets. For example, one person struggled with how liberal the diet was, and due to over-eating some foods didn’t lose as much weight as she felt she could have.

But really, after reading all this, do I even need to tell you what’s best? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a hundred times if that’s what it takes: eat right and live healthy and your body will reward you. It is, first and foremost, your body, and it can look however you want it to look.

Being healthy and happy is so important, please don’t forget that.

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I’m Still Running!

I’m feeling particularly chatty this month, can you tell?

I really love my blog as it is right now, but there’s one thing I actually really miss from my blog this year, and that’s writing about running. Last year, posting weekly about my RunDisney training became such a huge part of my blog because running was such a huge part of my life, and with the races being all the way back in January now (doesn’t that seem forever ago?), not writing about running has kinda meant its all taken a little bit of a back burner position in my life, so I just wanna write a little update to share what I’ve been up to in the last two months, and what’s going to be happening this year.

Coming back to regular training from the races was, to be perfectly honest, a bit of a let down. Not in the sense that we weren’t doing well, but when you go from running around Orlando, Anaheim and the Disney parks then come home to regular road-running, the scenery just doesn’t quite compare.

But we did it. A day or two after we touched back down on UK soil we had to face the dreaded recovery run. There’s never anything spectacular to say about recovery running; it feels like hard work, but its that hard work you have to put in so you don’t seize up into a big ball of retired runner. Then, my body’s jetlag response kicked in. FUN FACT ABOUT ME: jet lag makes me physically ill, and that put me out of action for what should have been our first ParkRun of the year. What a start, right?

Once I got over that, we got back into our semi-regular running routine, but really, my heart wasn’t in it. If you kept up with our 2015 training updates, you may have noticed that every few months I would lose my pep and get a little frustrated, and this would really just be me going through a funk of getting wound up with anything from the weather to the routes we were running, and this was starting to descend on me again. I was getting bored of running down to the beach and back, and I was getting really fed up of the mud that was taking over our ParkRun route, not to mention being ill, and all of this was accumulating into negativity on my end. Dad also went back to working away instead of at home, so with him having less opportunity to run with me, I was finding too many excuses to not go out.

Then something happened. I remembered that running is a big part of me, and that I didn’t want to hate it, and something clicked in my head. So we decided to give our local ParkRun a little bit of time off, instead visiting our second closest course a go; its much flatter and involves no mud, yay! I also started going back to my old schedule of running in the week – Tuesdays and Thursdays – but going solo to improve my independent running.

I’m setting myself a new training plan. At the moment, we’ve not got any long races booked until September, so I’ve got time to train back up to those distances, so for now I’m going to be working a bit more on speed over shorter distances, bringing up my 5K and 10K PB. Yes, this has an advantage for races, but it does wonder for my self-esteem and motivation.

So I’m back to running 2-3 times a week, one fast pace/short distance, one longer distance and a Parkrun on Saturdays if I’m not working. I’ve also already completed three virtual runs this year, yay!

Do you wanna here more about my running?

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Another Fitness Wishlist

Its been a little while since I shared a wishlist with you, and you know they basically go one of two ways: Disney or fitness. Today is the latter!

Keeping fit is such a huge part of my life now, and I’m forever looking for new ways to stay motivated, whether it be new workout clothes, adding something new and different to my routine or finding some great new healthy recipes, and I’ve found myself once again making lists of things to blow my hard-earned cash on..

Wishlist

I love how colourful this one is too!

So first up we’ve for the Eco Yoga Towel from Yoga Design Lab, which is so beautiful and bright I fell in love! I know its not a proper yoga mat, but I’ve got one of them and I think this would be great to take down to the beach in the summer and I miss doing yoga so I think a new toy will get my butt back into gear with my inner self.

How cute is this pastel foam roller and band set from Tone It Up? You might be familiar with their Youtube workouts, but they also sell cute fitness gear! I’ve been thinking about getting my own foam roller for a while now, and this mint/coral combo is perfect! Another recovery item, after having issues with my knee for a few months now, I’m looking to get a trigger point massage stick in the near future.

Ok, another fitness craze that I’m kinda wanting to get into is the weighted hula hoop. Now I’ve always been awful at hula hooping, but I still wanna try it and I think this multi-coloured hoop is the prettiest!

A relatively new fitness brand to the scene, Pink Soda clothing is available from JD Sports, and I’m crushing on this mint/black reversible sports bra big time! Rounding out this wishlist, I’m a real sucker for a cookbook, and Get the Glow by Madeleine Shaw looks like its going to be packed with healthy, wholesome foodie goodness.

Are you gearing up for a summer of fitness fun? Don’t forget to follow my #YearOfFit series!

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#YearOfFit – Meal Prep 101

Be honest with yourself now, how many times a week/month/year do you say or think the words ‘ok, I’ll start eating better again tomorrow!’? Mmhm.. We’ve all been there.

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In reality, the trick to successfully maintaining healthy eating is all in the preparation. Just taking a few hours out of your week to get yourself organised will save you so much time, stress and slip ups, and you’ll feel like a superhero for being so on top of things!

1. Sort yourself out with the right containers

The right container can be different for different people. My collection of lunchboxes is incredibly varied, but are generally all cute and quirky because that makes me excited to use them. For some people, having matching containers is more important. Design is really a preference thing, but what matters is that they do the job!

There are also a bunch of really nifty lunchbox hacks – for example, I use silicone cupcake cases to split up my lunch!

2. Know your portion sizes

The most common mistake people make with healthy eating is incorrect portion sizes. Yes, you can eat veggies until your heart’s content, but sometimes there is such a thing as too much of a good thing! You can find so many portion guides on the internet.

3. Work with variations

Sure, a lot of people see meal prep as making a big batch of one thing for several days worth of meals, but I guarantee it won’t take long before you get seriously bored of your regular chicken and rice dish. Instead of doing this, I generally make batches of meal components, eg grilling chicken pieces, and then I can mix up my meals by using different sauces, a different salad mix, making a wrap etc. This way you can look forward to your lunch everyday, rather than feeling a bit blah.

I do, however, have my favourite meals that I could eat all day every day, so I generally throw them in every now and then!

4. Think about reheating

The dangers of reheating certain food items are fairly well known, but be sure to look up anything you’re unsure about – rice is a surprise high risk item!

5. Freezers are your friend!

I don’t know why a lot of people are so anti-frozen food; its such a good way to preserve food without additives! Supermarkets offer so many frozen products that you can just microwave now, making them ideal meal-prep ingredients!

Are you a meal prep pro?

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8 Things Becoming A Runner Will Change Your Outlook On

In 2015, I took on the official title of ‘runner’ as I spent the year training to go from total novice to half marathon distances.

 

Now I’m by no means a professional, or the fastest, or an expert, but I am a runner nonetheless, and I’ve said it a good few times now: we’re a strange breed. Once you start taking your training seriously, you suddenly find your views and feelings on certain

1. Injuries – for normal people, a sprained ankle or bad back are an inconvience, sure, but for a runner, every little injury is a total disaster. Suddenly you’re filled with thoughts like ‘how many runs will I have to miss?’, ‘this will totally blow my training schedule’ and ‘oh God, what if I can never run again?!’; its basically the end of the world until you recover a few days later.

2. Bad weather – heavy rain, gale force winds, sub zero temperatures? Quite frankly there could be an earthquake and you’d still be considering ‘just a quick one’. I mean, once you’re wet, you’re wet, you might as well keep on running, right?

(Once you’ve run a Tough Mudder event, you know you’ll never be as cold and wet as you were coming out of Arctic Enema so rain worries become obsolete)

3. New shoes – shoe shopping is fun, yes? Um, no. Choosing a new pair of trainers opens up a whole can of worms: are they supportive, are they too cushioned/not cushioned enough, do you like the colour, have you worn this brand/model before, will they rub, I could go on..

You also hate throwing out your old faithful running shoes because you’ve gone through so much together.

4. Fibre – we all know fibre is good for us, but a big fibre-filled breakfast before a long run is an absolute no go, unless you want to lose valuable time in a port-a-potty or searching for a bush to squat behind.. Save your fibre for rest days.

5. Cold showers – suddenly the thought of jumping into an ice bath can sometimes be the best idea EVER. You’re not crazy, you’re a runner..

6. Medals and t-shirts – when you signed up for your first 10k, you didn’t really care all too much about that finisher medal or unisex performance top that was included in sign up, but now you basically decide whether or not a race is worthy of your time based on the standard of the medal/t-shirt; you can run that distance anytime, anywhere, so why should you fork out cash for the privilege if the goodies aren’t up to scratch?

7. Summer – we wait forever for summer to come around, but once its upon us, we quickly remember that we hate running in the daytime, and suddenly it’s a mission to rework your training times around the sun’s movement, and that’s before having to think about extra hydration, chaffing etc..

8. Runners – yep, now you’re a part of this community, you’ve left all your previous misconceptions about runners at the door. Every runner is still getting out there and doing it, we don’t judge each other. We smile and greet each other as our paths cross, we share race stories and training tips, and if you don’t get on with someone? Well you can just trip them up..

So now, want to become a runner?

#YearOfFit – Fitness Goals for Everyone

Happy Wednesday! Are we all feeling good today?

I guess, following the previous introduction post, this is the first ‘proper’ #YearOfFit post of the year, yay!

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If you’re planning on joining me and having your very own year of fitness success, you’ll probably have set yourself some goals or targets for the year – I know I have! – but today I’m going to talk about the goals that anyone can have and achieve, even if it takes a little bit of hard work! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again: fitness is for everyone, whether you’re hitting the gym every day or just trying to walk more; it all counts!

Learn to swim

As far as I’m concerned, this is about more than just fitness, its about safety. An article in The Guardian last year said that 1 in 5 adults in England can’t swim, and to me that seems crazy! Swimming is not only a great way to keep fit (especially for those with injuries), but knowing how to hold your own in the water could save your life one day. I’m not going to get morbid, but please, if you can’t, promise me you’ll learn to swim this year?

Run a 5K

Yes, I’m bias, but a 5K is a great goal if you’re taking it up running this year. My best tip on how to get into running? Step outside your front door. It doesn’t matter if you start off running for just 10 seconds at a time, and walking in between; you’re still trying and it will get easier. Is that the finish line in the distance? Yes, yes it is.

Plank for 2 minutes

Planking is a great way of working your whole body with minimal risk of injury and minimal effort. Start by holding it for 10-20 sec, then add a few more seconds on every day. You’ll get there in no time!

Incorporate weight training

Weight training seems to have such a negative connotation with many people, but seriously guys, ITS REALLY GOOD FOR YOU! Try and add some weights into your workouts, and I promise you’ll find yourself feeling better and noticing results!

I truly and totally believe that every single one of these goals can be achieved by anyone. Go, surprise yourself!

#YearOfFit 2016

Welcome to #YearOfFit 2016!

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New-ish series, following on from my previous #fitfordisney posts last year, this is going to be all about keeping fit and healthy, and enjoying it!

Now I just want to start off by saying I am no personal trainer, nor am I a nutritionist or expert; I am just a girl who loves keeping fit. If you’ve followed me for the last year or so, you’ll know that I spent the whole of 2015 training up for the two half marathons that I ran at the beginning of this month, along with another 5k and 10k. I love going to the gym, and tend to do so 3-4 times a week. Long story short, I am really enjoying my fitness journey so far, and I want to share more of it with you, and would love for you to have your own journey this year.

Another thing I want to clear up before this series really kicks off – there will be no body shaming here. This is about fitness and health, not size, but also your body is your body, and it can look however, and do whatever you want it to. Skinny? Good for you! Consider yourself a little on the larger side? Great! Fitness and a healthy lifestyle looks good on everyone!

So what can you expect from #YearOfFit this year? Well I’m going to be writing a combination of fitness tips and advice, sharing some of my favourite workouts, and also covering diet, from meal prep advice to some delicious healthy recipes, and if there’s anything you’d like to see, get in touch!

So right now I want you to think about what you want to get out of your #YearOfFit. You might want to run your first 10k, you might want to take up a new hobby; whatever it is, write it down, take pictures, whatever, and please please PLEASE get in touch to tell me what you’re up to! I’m excited to see who’s going to be with me on this adventure this year!

Ready?

Let’s do this!

(Want a little head start? Read my previous #fitfordisney series for some of my older posts!)

My 1000 Mile Challenge 2016

It really is time to say goodbye to 2015, and tomorrow I’m going to be sharing all my New Year’s resolutions (so keep an eye out for that one!), but today I want to tell you all about one thing in particular I’m hoping to do in the coming year.

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I’m calling it My 1000 Mile Challenge, and it is what is says on the tin: throughout 2016, I’m aiming to run 1000 miles, whether it be an official race, on the treadmill at the gym or just going out and running; if I’m running, it will count.

While I’m aware how crazy this all sounds, it works out to less than 20 miles a week, or just under 3 miles a day. A year ago this would have seemed 100% impossible to me, but after the year I’ve had? I’m up for the challenge!

And, of course, there’s a reason for my madness – it’s all for charity! Each month I’ll be choosing a different charity to support (and please get in touch if you have any suggestions!), and shamelessly begging people to sponsor me, with the aim of raising £1000 collectively, and I’ll be sharing my fundraising pages on Twitter so everyone can keep up with how I’m getting on!

Am I mad?!

#fitfordisney – A Fitness Lustlist

Happy, healthy Wednesday everyone, good day to you all!

Today I’ve put together what I like to call my fitness ‘lustlist’. Its sort of like a wishlist, except full of wonderfully expensive products that I could never justify spending the money on, and that’s ok, because I’m happy to admire them from a distance! Sure, if I won the lottery or something, they’d definitely be on my shopping list, but while I find them beautiful, I can live without them, I just thought it would be fun to share a few with you!

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First of all, there’s Rundies! Yes, as the name suggests, undies for running, kinda like day-of-the-week pants, but with different runs printed on them, cute right?! $65

Sweaty Betty is a fitness brand that prides itself with beautifully designed workout clothes, and the Chromo Run Tee (top centre) and Ultra Run Bra (bottom right) are no exceptions! £125 and £42

I’m also a sucker for a bit of Nike, which I think makes me a bit of a fitness snob, but hey ho! I’m not 100% sure why, but I kind of love the Pro Engineers Giraffe Training Tights (bottom left) and I love the colour and design of the Dri-Fit Knit Epic Crew Training Top! £50 and £47.99

We also know how much I love Fabletics, right? The Moorea Bra (centre) is such a nice change of design from regular sports bras, and comes in a few different colours too! £30 (or £22 for VIP)

And finally, despite my general favouritism for Nike running shoes, these Asics GT-1000 are such a lovely colour! £97

Quite a stunning selection right? Do you have a lustlist too?

xoxo

RunDisney 2016: 12 Weeks to go!

Twelve weeks?! Its amazing how time flies when you’re not counting every week!

So its been 3 weeks now since I last did a RunDisney update, which was the week Dad and I completed our first Tough Mudder, and despite planning on running in the week following, that just didn’t work out; we were bruised and sore, and it just made sense to let ourselves recover properly.

And that week, obviously, was the week I left on my road trip, so there’s another two weeks without running for me! Dad’s been running a few times without me while I’ve been away, working primarily on his speed over shorter distances, mainly his <30 minute 5K.

We kicked back into proper training mode yesterday with our usual ParkRun. I took things a little slower, for a few reasons: firstly, I was coming out of three weeks off, secondly because I didn’t want to push myself too hard too soon, and finally, because we had a new member of the family ParkRun squad: my 8 year old cousin, Sophia. She’s a natural athlete, and having run a Race for Life earlier in the year, I thought it would be a really great for her to get into running more regularly. At first, she ran with my sister, who has a much slower pace than Dad and I, but it wasn’t too long before she was running at my heels, so I kept with her for the race, and we crossed the line together at 33:36; a slow time for me, but an amazing time for her, and given that I was feeling rusty, I don’t think I could have gone much faster without doing myself some damage!

So we’re back now! Proper training schedule has resumed, and its the final push to January now, crazy huh?!

°o°

RunDisney 2016: 15 Weeks to go, and Tough Mudder!

Ok, we all know what this week was about.. Tough Mudder.

With that looming at the end of the week, we decided to only run once, on Tuesday, and skip Thursday to save ourselves for Saturday.. It was a nice little 5-6 miler, nothing special, but Saturday..

Saturday was all about the mud. If I’m being honest, I’m still a little in shock and awe that its all over, and that we did it. It was beyond insane.

Up and on the road by 7.30am, a rush to sign in and find our team, and into the warm-up zone for a quick jump around before making our way to the start line – which of course we could only get to by getting over a 6ft wall!

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From there, it was only 11.8 miles with almost 30 obstacles to get through before we crossed the finish line again, no biggie..

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Ice baths, mud miles, 12 ft walls, tunnels, hills, and electric shocks – the photos don’t do justice – and just over 4 hours later, we crossed the line and were greeted by goodie bags and a pint!

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I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it was such an incredible experience! Definitely hard work, but amazing. Our team was phenomenal, especially Dad, who only actually signed up for this during the week, but was such a trooper and blew us all away!

Would I do another one? Let’s just watch this space..

And as for Run Disney, today marks the first day of double digits – only 99 days until we leave!

°o°

RunDisney 2016: 16 Weeks to go!

Coming off the high of last week (Dad’s PB and our longest continuous run), this week has also been a great one. We’ve definitely found our stride, if you pardon the pun, and every aspect of our running seems to be improving so much, we’re actually surprising ourselves!

As per usual, we ran twice in the week, Tuesday and Thursday; both very different runs. Tuesday was a fairly regular route for us, with a difference: we ran basically all of it! Pretty much all of our training so far has been a rather loose interpretation of Jeff Galloway’s ‘run-walk-run’ method, whereby walking breaks are encouraged so as not to overdo it or cause injury, but following our first continuous 5K last week, we’ve really found the kick up the backside to keep going, knowing that we can. We did walk a steep bit of hill, but other than that, we ran the full distance.

Thursday was a split run – we ran down to my nan’s house, about 3k, stopped off there for a quick visit, and then ran back home, so about 6-6.5k altogether. Generally, the outward journey is downhill, and the homebound uphill, but we tried to push ourselves as much as possible. Yes, we hate hills, but they do appear in most of our routes, so they’re pretty much an inevitable part of any run. When possible, we run what we can, but personally I don’t see any shame in walking them because it does save straining ourselves, and it still works our legs pretty hard.

Saturday was a 10-miler. Its the first really long distance we’ve done since we got back into training after Japan, but with the successes of the last week in mind we kept fairly positive. The route was chosen based on us having a pretty good knowledge of the distances of certain legs, and that helps us keep pace and also have an idea of the end goal, so off we set..

We ran at a slightly slower than usual pace, and comfortably completed the first 5k in about 33 minutes – not too shabby – but we kept on running. Comfortably, we hit the 6k mark, and then the 7k mark, and were basically shocking ourselves as we kept going! We decided that we would stop at the halfway mark – 5 miles/8k – mainly because I needed the toilet, and also to take on a little bit of fuel, but super proud of ourselves for running that whole distance without stopping to walk! Quick loo stop, fuel loaded, and off we went again, running all the way to the 14k mark before we reached a nasty hill that we walked, and then stormed the last stretch home!

Overall, we actually did about 10.1 miles in 1hr 58 (including our toilet stop!) and more importantly, feeling as if we could go on for another 3 miles quite happily! Knowing that, I feel totally confident in our ability to run the full half marathon in 2.5 hours, especially with another 3-4 months training.

Yep, pretty happy this week! Next week I’ll be running my first ever Tough Mudder race, which will be something a little different and I’m totally terrified, so be sure to send lots of pixie dust my way!

°o°

#fitfordisney – Fitness Motivation

The biggest response I get from people when I tell them about my training routine is ‘how on Earth do you find the motivation to: wake up at 7 to go to the gym/go for an 8 mile run after a 9 hour shift/choose a salad over a burger?’

Motivation is a funny thing really; different things work for different people, and I’ve written before about what motivates me, but there are a few methods that in my experience work really well:

1. Tell everyone what you’re doing

Be prepared to annoy people. Tell everyone about what you’re up to, post photos of your healthy meals on social media, share those pre/post gym selfies! While you might feel like everyone’s getting bored of it, by making your actions public, you’re more likely to keep it up because it feels like more people are involved; if you slip up, its not just yourself who knows about it. (I probably haven’t put this into words very well, but it works, promise!)

2. Never forget that end goal.

Surround yourself with your vision. Personally, I’ve plastered pictures around the edge of my bedroom mirror to remind me of the body I want and the clothes I want to look good in. I also follow a lot of fitness accounts on social media, so whenever I check what’s going on in the world, I’m greeted with motivational images.

3. Reward the small steps

Sometimes the bigger picture can seem so far off that it can be a struggle to keep fighting for it, so don’t forget to reward the little victories eg. a new PB, another step towards your goal weight etc with a little treat.

4. Surround yourself with like-minded people

Friends, family, coworkers, whoever, seek out other fitness boffs around you who you can talk to about your training, share advice and keep you motivated!

5. Don’t do it alone

If you struggle to motivate yourself, find someone else to motivate, and they in turn will keep you going! Get yourself a gym buddy or a running partner, or join a class – being surrounded by others gives you the umpf to work harder.

6. Dress to impress

Its not a superficial thing, its genuinely true that wearing nicer workout clothes makes you feel better about yourself while you’re sweating yourself fitter!

7. Do it for yourself, and don’t let anyone get in your way

°o°

RunDisney 2016: 20 Weeks to go!

Despite my positive attitude to our new training schedule, I knew a week like this would happen at some point: the ‘disappointing’ week – the kind where running isn’t top priority.

In all fairness its my fault. I had two total burnout gym sessions this week which left me too tired and too achy for our early week runs, and it was the sensible decision to give them a miss in anticipation of a bigger distance on Saturday.

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So this week we ran 7.5 miles, in the fairly respectable time of 1 hour 30. Sure, we’ve been faster, but this week wasn’t about pushing ourselves, it was about keeping going. Plus, despite being a British summer, its still August and it was really warm, even at 8am, and I really struggle with heat.

So what else has happened this week? Well becoming an ever-increasing priority for Dad and me is improving our eating habits, and while its a bit of a challenge, we’re slowly getting there, and probably the greatest revelation on this subject is our lasagne transformation. Lasagne is my all-time favourite meal, we eat it every week, but we’ve made a few simple changes – swapping beef mince for Quorn mince, and adding spinach as well as using spinach lasagne sheets – and we’re definitely onto a winner, it tastes amazing! I’m also making an effort to prepare more meals in advance so I’m not tempted to grab a ready meal at work or give into my snacking temptations.

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With all this in mind, I’m pretty pumped for getting back into things properly next week with a few key mantras in mind:

– Always find time to stretch and cool down properly

– Eating healthy makes for happier people

– Just keep swimming!

°o°

#fitfordisney – What’s in my gym bag?

I love reading ‘What’s in my bag’ posts on other people’s blogs, so I thought it would be fun for a #fitfordisney post to do a ‘What’s in my gym bag’ post!

I’ve written before all about my gym bag itself, and how much I love it – its the Fabletics Sophia Satchel, and you can read all about it here – but today I’m emptying it to share the essential items of my gym kit that I love.

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For starters, I have a LOT of hairbands; everything from scrunchies to headbands. Because I have such long hair, keeping it all out of the way when I’m at the gym or out running is damn near impossible with just a simple hair tie, so I generally keep a skinny headband on me at all times, either to wrap my ponytail up into a bun, or to control the wispy hairs around my face which drive me mad! The wider headbands I tend to wear more around the house, or when I’m doing yoga.

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I generally walk to and from the gym, so don’t use the shower and changing facilities there, which means I don’t carry a massive amount of toiletries, but I cannot be without lip balm so I keep one of my many Eos balls in with my kit, as well as Vaseline hand cream in a vague attempt to keep my hands soft after doing weights! I also always have my combination lock, because you have to provide your own at my gym, and the nifty tool that opens my Fitbit when I need to change the battery, just in case!

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While hygiene is important in most aspects, I feel that foot hygiene is pretty high up there on the list of most important places to keep clean, and generally fairly forgotten about. As a runner, my feet are the most used body part in my workouts, so I always keep a can of shoe deodorant in my bag to spray my trainers after use, as well as a spare pair of socks. On the topic of feet, I also keep my pair of yoga socks in my gym bag, should I need them. They might look weird, but they’re crazy comfy, super grippy and I love them.

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Then there’s the gym essentials: a water bottle and a sweat towel. We all sweat, its entirely natural and you can’t do anything about it, but you can be considerate to other gym users by wiping down your equipment after use, whether you’re super sweaty or not, and for your own good, keeping hydrated is vital for replacing the water you lose while you’re working at your hardest. I have an Aladdin water bottle which is 600ml, and I generally will end up refilling it halfway through my gym sessions because I try to drink as much as possible.

So that’s me and my gym bag, what’s in yours?

#fitfordisney

RunDisney 2016: A Training Update

It has been a long time since I’ve written about our RunDisney training, for a few reasons:

1. I was finding it a little repetitive each week; ‘woo, we ran three times, woo, we were a little faster this week’

2. Due to injury/our recent Tokyo trip/various other excuses like the weather, we’ve really not been as into training as we were when we were at our peak

3. We haven’t run since pre-Japan

Everyone takes breaks, and knowing that that is ok is important; a work, work, work mentality doesn’t do anyone any good. Sure, we’ve enjoyed a little break, but we know we have to get back into our proper training schedule this week as tomorrow marks 23 WEEKS UNTIL WE LEAVE FOR DISNEY WORLD. No biggie or anything.

So we are now totally 100% officially confirmed for all our races – Disney World 5K, Disney World half, and Star Wars Rebel Challenge (10k and half). While we’ve been confirmed for all our races since June, because we’re booking the California leg of our trip through a RunDisney sponsored travel agent, we only officially entered Rebel last week. We’ve also entered all of our Proof of Times, due to our estimated finish time for the halfs being under 3hrs 15; we’re aiming for around 2.5 hours.

All of our accommodation is sorted! In Disney World we’ll be staying at Port Orleans – French Quarter, which includes a quick service dining plan, but we’ve also made a few Advanced Dining Reservations which I’m really excited about. Its still too early to book Fastpasses, and we’re having some problems with booking the Keys to the Kingdom tour, but we’ll cross all those bridges when we get to them! In Disneyland California we’ll be staying at the Paradise Pier hotel, booked through the travel agent, which means we won’t get our confirmation details til November, but we know that’s where we’ll be and that’s good enough for us!

So now its just a case of buckling back down into a training routine. Next week will just be a case of easing ourselves back into it, and then after that we’ll begin ramping it up to hit the bigger distances, and also do a little challenge training to get ourselves used to the idea of running long distances without a rest day in between.

23 weeks, lets do this!

°o°

Five before Twenty-Five

I spent most of my childhood dreaming about being an adult. I always just wanted to grow up, but now I’m actually an adult, I kind of can’t believe its true, especially the thought of turning 21 in less than 4 months!

And although I am an adult now, I still spend most of my time thinking about my adulthood dreams, and who and where I want to be when I grow up. Now I’m a real sucker for setting impossible targets, then putting up with the inevitable disappointment of not hitting them, and I’m really working on changing this habit, so as far as the next few years go, I’m just going to set five goals, some a little far out, but all possible if I work crazy hard to make them happen!

1. Personal: Move out

I love living at home, I really do, and I can’t imagine what it will be like not living with my parents, but I really don’t want to be 25 and still sleeping in my childhood bedroom! I never went away to university like my sister did, so I think it’ll be a huge culture shock, but I’ve always dreamed of having my own place and although I have no immediate plans to fly the nest (especially given my next point), its definitely something to look into in the next few years.

2. Professional: Open a shop

If you keep up to date with me, you might have heard me talk about my cake business, which I’m super proud of, and my ultimate goal is to open a cake shop in my hometown of Bournemouth, and be able to dance around a kitchen full-time. I’ve been playing around with this thought for the last few years, but when I come back from my Tokyo Disney trip in July, its going to become a top priority for me, and I really hope that 2015/16 is the year of Lottie’s Cupcakes!

3. Fitness: Run a marathon

If I’d had said this to myself a year ago, I would have laughed so hard at how ridiculous it sounds, but I actually like to think that it might be possible. I’m not saying this year, or even next year, and probably only just the one time, but I think by the time I turn 25 I’d like to be able to say that I’ve completed a marathon! Spoiler: it will be a Disney one.

4. Travel: Go on a solo holiday

I’m so lucky to have been able to visit all the incredible places in the world that I have done, and am eternally grateful to my parents for all of those experiences, but I have never actually travelled anywhere without them, or as part of a school group; I’ve never even been on a holiday with friends! With that in mind, single gal I am, I’m really excited to be going on a road trip in October around Europe, and although I will be meeting my family for a weekend in Disneyland Paris, I’ll be doing the rest of the two week excursion with only my thoughts for company; call me crazy!

5. Just for fun: Read at least 25 of The Guardians Top 100 Greatest Novels

This might not sound like a hoot to some, but I do love to read and I hate how little time I can find, and also that I didn’t read more classics while I was at school. I think 25 is a doable number, its about 6 books a year, so one every 2 months.. It helps that I recently discovered Penguins Clothbound Classics, which are beautiful books and I’m hoping to build up a nice little collection of them!

Five goals, four years and 3 and a bit months, can I do it?

Your Guide to ToughNBuff Challenge Workouts

I’ve now completed two whole weeks of my Children’s Society ToughNBuff Challenge and I’ve been planking my socks off!

Its not too late for you to start your own challenge, and to show you just how easy the exercises are, here’s the how-to videos that the lovely guys at ToughNBuff have made to inspire you!

Planking

Squats

Push-ups

Burpees

Now get started! Sign up at www.toughnbuff.com, and get fundraising!

The Sophia Satchel

I’ll admit I have a slight addiction to Fabletics; cute gym wear is my jam, and I’m a firm believer that wearing clothes you feel better in when you workout improves your whole workout mentality.

So when I needed a new gym bag and I came across the Sophia Satchel, I was sold on the fact it was pretty, and you could use it as a backpack, or add the detachable shoulder strap to wear it across the body, so when it arrived and I discovered all the amazing extra features, I just had to share them all with you!

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Its made from a soft polyester, which can mark easily but is also super easy to wipe clean. The front pocket is a great size, and there’s also two inside pockets (one zippable), and a large zipped pocket down the side of the bag.

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As well as the backpack straps, there are metal loops on the side of the bag to attach the shoulder strap to, and all the straps are length adjustable.

But here’s where the surprises begin, because you know the front pocket..

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Yep, removable! It attaches to the main bag with metal loops that clip on, and magnetic poppers at the bottom, so you can use the shoulder strap to use it as a mini bag, or use it as a wash bag or cosmetics bag!

On top of that, because of the way it attaches to the main bag, you can also use it to carry your yoga mat!

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I’m so pleased with this bag; as a VIP member I got it for £26 (£35 for non-VIPSs), its such great value for money and I’m raking in the compliments down the gym!

What’s the most important feature of your gym bag?

ToughNBuff June – Week 1

I can proudly say that I’ve survived the first week of my ToughNBuff challenge!

As I said last week, I chose to do the planking challenge, and so far I’ve spent 215 seconds in the infamous plank position – over 3 and a half minutes – and I’m definitely feeling it! So here’s what I’ve done so far:

Day 1: 20 seconds – this one was pretty easy; its over before you even notice you’re doing it!

Day 2: 25 seconds – this was also fairly short and sweet, although there was a slight ache coming on in the last few seconds..

Day 3: 30 seconds – this was the first time I really felt like I was having to dig in to keep my bum up!

Day 4: Rest Day!

Day 5: 35 seconds – the ache was slightly more apparent, but knowing there’s only a few more seconds to go is enough to push to the finish!

Day 6: 45 seconds – ok, this one got tricky! I found that having the timer turned over so I couldn’t see it made it a lot easier though.

Day 7: 60 seconds – a whole minute of achy abs!

So who am I doing this for?

The challenge is to raise money and awareness for The Children’s Society, a UK charity that does vital work for children living in poverty, or with the scars of abuse – physical, mental and sexual.

The charity was founded in 1881 by Sunday school teacher Edward Rudolf, and last year alone worked with 23,000 children living at risk, but that’s still not enough. It is estimated 3.7 million children in the UK are living in poverty, and because of this, the charity is working to change government policies, so that no child has to live in poverty again.

If you do nothing else today, spend some time reading about their work at www.childrenssociety.org.uk, you’ll honestly be amazed how bad the current UK situation is!

Today is another rest day, yay, but tomorrow I’m back into planking madness! Don’t forget you can sponsor me by going to my Just Giving page https://www.justgiving.com/tcsfitLottie-Martin/

🙂

ToughNBuff June with The Children’s Society

Summer is coming and its that last minute bikini body panic rush to hit the gym and tighten that tummy ready for the beach!

But if you don’t have a fancy, or not so fancy, gym membership, there are loads of ways to get your exercise fix at home without the need for special equipment or a personal trainer, and one way you can do this, and do your bit for a fantastic charity is by taking part in the ToughNBuff Challenge, hosted by The Children’s Society

Firstly, who is The Children’s Society?

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The Children’s Society are working for the futures of children in the UK; children on the streets, children who are suffering abuse, refugee children, the list goes on..

For some of these children, happy endings only seem to exist in fairytales. They have seen things that no child should ever have to see, and done things no child should ever have to do, and even when its all over for them, they live with the memories that can haunt them forever.

The Children’s Society does believe in happy endings. They believe in fighting child poverty, nurturing and supporting destitute families, and tackling neglect by providing counselling and support to the victims of abuse.

They are changing the lives of these children, and they need help to do it.

ToughNBuff Challenge

I will be taking part in the 30 day ToughNBuff Challenge throughout June, and you can too! Its super easy:

1. Sign up at toughnbuff.com – they do all the hard work, setting you up a Just Giving page and everything!

2. Pick your challenge – you can choose between burpees, press-ups, squats and plank challenges!

3. Get exercising, and get fundraising – complete your daily challenge, and nag everyone you know to donate, its a great cause!

So I chose 30 days of planking. I start today with 20 seconds, and by the end of the month I’ll (with any luck!) be holding a 5 minute plank! You can keep up with my daily progress on my Instagram and Twitter accounts, and I’ll be posting updates here every 5-7 days. If you’re feeling generous, pop across to my Just Giving page to donate, and on top of that warm, fuzzy feeling, I’ll love you forever!

Let’s do this!

RunDisney 2016: Training Week 15

Another week, and a new PB, yay!

Jeff’s training schedule implements something called ‘Magic Miles’, which is where every other week you time yourself for one mile, and then watch how this time improves with your training. Dad and I, however are sort-of bypassing this, and instead taking part in our local ParkRun 5k every other week instead, and tracking our improvement based on our times for that. Last time we did a ParkRun, we set a PB for the distance, and this week we managed to beat it; granted only by maybe 20-30 seconds, but an improvement all the same!

The great thing about our local course is that its mixed terrains and levels, from grass to dirt tracks to concrete paths, with uphills and downhills, so it really covers everything, and although most races tend to be fairly flat, it prepares us for all eventualities and works different muscles for all round effectiveness!

We’ve (rather spontaneously) entered a 10k next Sunday, and we’re hoping to beat our previous record for a race, which is 1 hr 7 mins, but its looking like its gonna be hot, hot, hot, and its mid-afternoon, eurgh!

°o°

RunDisney 2016: Training Week 12

Another week of running, another week closer to the main event!

Yesterday was another big run – 11 miles! And d’you know what? It was easy. Well, that’s not entirely true; we ran the first half into what I like to call ‘brick wall wind’ (because it literally feels like you’re running into a brick wall), and there was a sand-in-the-eye incident, as well as a little bit of rain on the way back.. But running wise, we really got into our stride, if you pardon the pun.

Because both Dad and I had a little bit of calf pain in the week, we thought we’d be better off doing regular run-walk-run intervals, which once we hit the wind, we were eternally grateful for! So the first half (into the brick wall wind) we ran for 0.4 miles, then walked 0.1, and then on the way back we did 0.9 and walked 0.1, and we averaged a steady 5 miles an hour the whole way through, finishing the total distance in 2hrs 13mins. That in itself was an incredible accomplishment, but even better was knowing that we could have easily kept going for another two miles!

We nailed everything, from the time of day for good (by which I mean not too warm) weather, to eating a good breakfast that had us energised, but not feeling stodgy, and even having on-course snacks of a wine gum every few miles. For the first time I think we know that not only can we do it, but we’re easily going to do it in a great time: sub 2hrs 30!

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RunDisney 2016: Training Week 9

Almost halfway through our programme, whaaa!?

So after my spending my last update moaning, and despite having last week off training, we absolutely smashed it this week. Mmhm, that’s how we do.

Something just clicked into gear. For starters, we’ve stopped pre-planning our routes, running three new, different courses. The beauty of this really was not knowing how far we were from home, where was halfway etc, meaning we pushed ourselves further, without knowing comfortable places to stop for a quick walk. It also meant we ran a few different terrains; uphill, downhill, parks, gravel paths etc, instead of smooth, flat routes.

Another improvement was, despite the week off, we hit the ground running (literally!) and while previously taking breaks has left us a little lethargic and made getting back into it a bit trickier, I felt great from run 1. It may be from spending more time at the gym, cleaning up my eating habits a bit, or just improving my training mentality a bit, but this week has just felt so much easier than previous weeks. I was running further, faster and feeling less of an aftermath.

Basically, I’m pretty happy this week! Sign up for our first race is a week Tuesday, and at the moment we’re on track for a time of about 2.5 hours, which is great!

Keep running folks °o°

RunDisney 2016: Training Week 8

Well I am pooped.

Today we ran 8 miles, once again setting our furthest distance run to date, and we did it in 1 hour 41 minutes. Looking at previous run paces, its a little down on where we should be, but given that Dad missed the 6.5 miler two weeks ago, skipping up to 8 miles was always going to be a bit of a shock to his body and we were never going to beat our best pace, but we weren’t actually too far off: we hit 5 miles in 59 mins, which was just two minutes slower than I’ve done before, and bearing in mind a section of the route we did was very steep uphill, I’m pretty happy with today’s effort.

We’ve had a few problems this week, mainly due to becoming far too relaxed in our training, bordering on lazy. Once we find a route, we tend to run the same one for every midweek training run, and because of this we’ve been getting into the habit of stopping for walking breaks more frequently than we should, and also not pushing ourselves to the full distance we should be running; our midweek runs should be based on running for 30 minutes, rather than a specific distance, but instead we’ve just been doing 2/3 miles and calling it a day, which sometimes is only 20 minutes run time.

We’re also resting too heavily on our walk/run/walk training programme, recommended by RunDisney coach Jeff Galloway, the idea of which being that its ok to walk when you’re tired, because it prevents injury and actually keeps you running at a faster pace than if you try and push through the pain. That said, however, in an ideal world we should be running at least 2/3 miles before needing to take walk breaks, whereas at the moment our lazy habits mean we’re walking 2/3 times in a 2/3 mile run. I know that we’re still not at our fittest, so mistakes are allowed, and we’ve still got ages to go til the races, but I feel like we really should be pushing ourselves more, instead of slacking off.

Ok, rant over..

Next week we’re going to have another week off official training as Mum and Dad are going to be away Monday-Thursday, but I’m going to do a bit of solo training so as not to lose momentum. Until next time!

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RunDisney 2016: Training Week 7

Yeah we might have skipped last week.. Dad was still recovering from his shin splints and I thought my body could do with a rest, so we had a break and continued this week..

Which wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, yay! If anything was difficult it was probably the mental side of getting back into the swing of things, but we managed all three runs with no real difficulty, although we did take it slowly to start with, just to test the water. The weather in Bournemouth has been a bit up and down this week, not that we let it stop us, but running in sunshine is certainly a lot nicer than rain!

In my week off I spent time working a little on my core as I’ve read in a few places that a strong core helps prevent the dreaded stitches that I suffer from quite regularly. I’ve only really done a couple of different exercises, but I am starting to notice a difference which is promising!

Next week we take on 8 miles, which for me is only 1.5 miles more than last week, but Dad missed the 6.5 mile distance so we’ll probably take it a little slower. This coming week marks the start of April, which means we’re less than one month from our first sign up, and we’re going to be looking at booking our flights, so there’s much to look forward too, eek!

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RunDisney 2016 – Training Week 1

As I announced last week, me and my dad are hoping to be lucky enough to take part in not 1, but 2 RunDisney events at the beginning of next year; running a half marathon at each. We started running together last year, going from total inexperience to finishing the year with a 10k, so a half marathon is a total step up for us.

For us, the most sensible way to train was to use the training schedule designed by Jeff Galloway, the esteemed US athlete and trainer used by the RunDisney gang. Its a 20 week programme consisting of 3 runs a week: 2 x 30 minute runs, followed by a run of a set distance.

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So the running this week hasn’t been too difficult; just a case of building up the muscles and getting back into it. The real challenge has been running in the chilly temperatures of an English January, and dressing suitably for it; we did all our running last year in slightly warmer temperatures! I’ve been wearing full length running leggings, and a vest top underneath a fleece jumper, which is working quite well for me, but as I only have the one fleece I’ve got to look into a bigger range of options to avoid smelliness!

Just 19 weeks to go..

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RunDisney 2016

Right, so one of the items on my Disney Bucket List is to participate in a RunDisney race. These event weekends happen about 3 times a year at both Walt Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California, and each weekend consists of a marathon, half marathon, 10k, 5k and a selection of races for kids.

I’m not a professional runner, but Dad and I took up running last year with the target of running a 10k, which we did back in October in a very respectable 1 hour 7 minutes. So I got a little excited when the first races of 2016 were announced, and the Disney World Marathon Weekend and Star Wars Weekend at Disneyland fall just a week apart, and a crazy idea popped into my head.. Why not do both?

I mean, if I’m going to fly out for one, I might as well.. I proposed the idea to Dad, a 10k at each weekend, and rocking the parks in between, and he’s in, but today he offered an alternate plan..

A half marathon at each.

That’s right 13.1 miles, twice in two weeks. That’s a whole marathon altogether, and the longest we’ve ever run to date is 10k.

There is a little method to the madness; first of all we have 11 months to train, which is plenty of time (RunDisney provides training programmes, and to go from beginner to half marathon takes 20 weeks), and second, and more importantly, it means we complete the Coast to Coast Challenge; completing a half or full marathon at both Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year gets us an extra medal!

The race entries don’t open til later in the year, so our plans aren’t 100% finalised, but we start training next week, and I’m going to be starting a new series following our journey.

Wish us luck!

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#fitfordisney – My Top 20 Disney Workout Songs

1. When Will My Life Begin – Tangled

2. I’ll Make A Man Out Of You – Mulan

3. Zero to Hero – Hercules

4. One Jump Ahead – Aladdin

5. I Wanna Be Like You – The Jungle Book

6. I Just Can’t Wait To Be King – The Lion King

7. Under The Sea – The Little Mermaid

8. Let It Go – Frozen

9. He’s a Pirate – Pirates of the Caribbean

10. A Star Is Born – Hercules

11. Belle – Beauty and the Beast

12. Strut – The Cheetah Girls 2

13. I’ve Got A Dream – Tangled

14. Get’cha Head In The Game – High School Musical

15. Almost There – The Princess and The Frog

16. Hasta La Vista – Camp Rock

17. Digga Tunna Dance – The Lion King 3

18. Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo – Cinderella

19 – We Belong Together – Toy Story 3

20 – Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride – Lilo and Stitch

#fitfordisney: The Lion King

The Outfit

(based on a few items I own myself!)

Lion King

1. Hakuna Matata crop top from Look Human

2. Hakuna Matata yoga pants from Kohl’s

3. Lion King socks from Hot Topic

4. Nike Free 5.0 from Nike

The Music

My top 5 upbeat Lion King songs 🙂

1. Digga Tunna Dance

2. I Just Can’t Wait to be King

3. Warthog Rhapsody

4. The Lion Sleeps Tonight

5. Grazing in the Grass

Standby for the movie workout, coming soon!

Why get #fitfordisney?

Alongside a number of other upcoming events in my life, Disney is a big reason for improving my fitness levels.

‘Why do I need to be fit to go to Disneyworld?’

Yes, its a theme park, not an assault course, but there are still a number of reasons for hitting the gym before your trip;

1. You underestimate how much walking you’re going to do – the average guest covers around 7 miles per day in the park (I’m going to do some research on this during my trip with the help of my Fitbit), and if you’re not accustomed to walking long distances, or if you’re going in the scorching summer season, it can be a shock to the system.

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2. Disney food is to die for – the last thing you want on your holiday is to be on a diet; where’s the fun in that?! With ice-cream sandwiches, bakeries on every corner and some of the coolest restaurants in the world, you shouldn’t have to be concerned with calorie counting, skipping meals or feeling guilty about what you eat.

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3. Disney workout clothes – check out what Lookhuman have to offer, but Etsy and other places have amazing stuff too!

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4. If you’re going to run just one distance race in your life, runDisney – runDisney organise running weekends and festivals, and yes, the course you run is around the parks! Each weekend/festival usually has a 5k, 10k and half marathon, as well as a Fitness Expo, and these events run throughout the year at both Disney World Florida and Disneyland California. A runDisney half marathon is very high on my Disney bucketlist!

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5. Looking good on your holiday – whether its a summer bikini body or just slimming down for photos, a holiday is one of the most common reasons people give for wanting to get fit. It also gives you an excuse to splurge on new clothes, especially if you’re going to be hitting the outlets!

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I’m not a total selfie nut, promise! These pictures are from my Instagram @lottiedoesdisney and I tag my workout pictures with #fitfordisney 🙂

Now.. how #fitfordisney are you?