Things My Personal Trainer Has Never Said

As part of my regular fitness routine, I do two 30 minute sessions with a personal trainer every week. I train with Steph not because I have to but because I enjoy it; she is as much a friend to me as she is a trainer, and she has pushed me further than I could have ever imagined.

PTs may be considered by most as paid torturers, but not only do they train hard in the gym, in order to gain their qualifications they also have to train hard and gain an incredible understanding of the human body, nutrition and training techniques, so they do really know what they’re talking about.

I’ve been training with Steph for 2 years now, and with all the wisdom she has shared with me in this time, there are some things she’s never ever said to me..

‘You can’t eat *insert here*’

Sure, a lot of personal trainers double up as nutritionalists, and many do help their clients put together meal plans and diets, but what I love about Steph is that she has never told me that there’s anything I shouldn’t be eating. Like me, she believes that treats are ok and holidays are for pigging out, and it’s so nice not having a voice in my head saying ‘you shouldn’t be eating this, what would your trainer think?’. In fact, she frequently tells me about the things that she’s eating! At the end of the day, food is fuel and if you’re still training and keeping balance, that’s all that matters.

‘You have to eat *insert here*’

As well as never restricting me, she doesn’t dictate. I get to choose what I eat, and while she’s always more than happy to offer advise when I ask for it, she lets me take the reins and learn things for myself.

‘You shouldn’t lift heavier than..’

Before I trained with Steph, I wouldn’t pick up a dumbbell heavier than about 5-6kg, and now I won’t touch anything lighter. There’s nothing she hates more than the belief that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights, and the only time she would ever stop me from going heavier is if she felt I wasn’t ready or I could risk an injury.

‘Weight gain is bad’

About every 4 weeks we do measurements. This isn’t to make me feel good/bad about myself, it’s just to track my body, and while I do get on the scales, the number doesn’t matter to her. Primarily we look at change in my actual measurements, and if the scales do go up, I’m never made to feel bad about it.

‘You shouldn’t miss a training day’

There are mornings when I wake up and I don’t feel up for training, whether it’s cos I’ve had a bad nights sleep, I’m not feeling 100% or I’m suffering from an injury. I am never told that this isn’t ok. A big part of training is understanding my body’s needs, and if it needs time off then that’s fine, and in the same way I understand that sometimes she needs days off. Missing a day or a week isn’t the be all and end all.

‘You have to get smaller’

She understands that everyone has different goals, and that not everyone goes to the gym to drastically change their body. Sure, I ultimately would like to see myself get a bit leaner, but it’s more about getting fitter and healthier, and if I don’t see any change in my body when I’m doing that then who cares?

If a professional PT has never said these things, why should anyone else?

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Putting the Running Shoes Back On

Tips for buying running shoes

After taking time off from running through October, yesterday was meant to mark the start of my next leg of training in the run up to my 2017 races. The reality of that, however, was that I caught a 24 hour bug going round my family and spent the whole day sofa-bound, oops!

My point is, its time for me to get back into the swing of things! In just 16 weeks from this weekend I’ll be taking on the Glass Slipper Challenge at the WDW Princess Half Marathon weekend, and autumn/winter is my favourite time for training so I’m actually really glad to be doing it now! I’ll be taking things nice and easy in the first few weeks as I’m still a little concerned about the problems I’ve been having with my foot, but once I start my new job at the end of the month, I’ll be spending a lot less time on my feet during the day so will definitely need to hit the roads again, and I’ll be able to get back into a proper routine.

I’m also – and you could say more importantly – starting to think about my running costumes for next year! I have four Disney races booked already, but right now I’m just concentrating on the princess races. As much as I love the Disney princesses, I don’t know if I’ll dress up as one of them or go a little more abstract or do a side-kick; I keep turning to Etsy for inspiration but I think I’ll make any outfits myself to save money!

I don’t think I’ll be posting weekly about my training for these races, but I’ll definitely do a few updates in the coming months so stay tuned!

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A Super Run Saturday

Its been ages since I wrote about running, and with 4 weeks to go until our Disneyland Paris races (and the Bournemouth half marathon the following week!), training is having to ramp back up, and today was a good run!


Super, in fact!

Bournemouth ParkRun was celebrating its 3rd birthday, and as a result there was a superhero theme to today’s run; naturally I saw it as the perfect opportunity to showcase my amazing new Captain America leggings from Poprageous. In order to get in a longer distance, Dad and I decided to run the 2.5k from our house to the park before the race, then carry on from the finish line to visit my nan, which was about another 4k.

Despite telling ourselves that we’d keep our ParkRun pace quite slow today, I went off pretty fast, but was feeling good through the whole course – although I’m back to struggling with stitches again, yuck! Slowing down a little in the second half of the timed 5K, we crossed the line in 33 minutes, paused for a slice of birthday cake, then continued on our way.

As I was timing the run in one distance, pausing MapMyRun only for when we were waiting for ParkRun to begin and our cake break, as we ran on towards our next destination and keeping a pretty fast pace as we had done throughout, it suddenly became fairly apparent that we’d hit 9K well under the hour mark, and if we could hold the pace as we were, there was a good chance that we’d manage 10K in a new PB. Unfortunately, at about 9.7K the road began a bit of an uphill, but I was determined to push on, knowing that just around the corner from the top I could coast a downhill, and that pushed me past the 10K mark in 1:02:59! Its only about 20 seconds faster than my previous PB, but its a confidence boost that I really needed; I’ve been feeling a little out of practice recently, what with recently holidays and my hatred of summer training.

Overall, we ran 11.5K in 1:14:41, and it felt really great!

Bring on Disneyland Paris next month!

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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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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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10 Things to Know Before Your First RunDisney Event

You’ve got a RunDisney event on your bucket list, or maybe you’ve signed up for your first one this year; you might want to read this..

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Don’t expect a PB

You can have every intention to go out and smash it on the day, but as soon as you see how beautiful the castle is all lit up, or that perfect sunrise shot you just have to take, not to mention all those great characters along the route, you’re gonna start caring less about your race time and more about having a good time! Now this doesn’t mean you won’t get one – I did! – but just don’t stress over it, ok?

Don’t stress over organisation

RunDisney events are impeccably organised, so do not stress yourself for a second about anything. Hakuna Matata.

Check costume rules

Yes yes yes to dressing up, but be sure to double check those guidelines, the last thing you want on race day is to be told that the outfit you carefully coordinated isn’t allowed.

Also please don’t be that person who waits until race day to wear their costume for the first time, rookie rookie mistake..

Pick up your participant t-shirts before forking out on merch

Instead of going straight for the official merchandise, go and grab your race packet – we thought our participant shirts were pretty awesome, so didn’t feel the need to buy all the other shirts on offer. Yay happy credit card!

Join the New Balance virtual queue

You’ve seen those shiny new releases and you just can’t wait to get yourself a pair, but silly as it sounds, sometimes you can’t just walk up to the booth and ask for a pair. New Balance set up a virtual queue, whereby you enter your details early in the day, then when it’s your turn, head on down to the desk and you’re golden!

If you’re doing a longer distance, there will be more than just parks

So the longer the distance, the more park you get to see, which is great, but it does also mean you’re gonna see a lot more of backstage and highways. In WDW for example, the 5k and 10ks generally only feature Epcot, while the half includes the Magic Kingdom, but there’s a whole lotta road between the two! Now the lovely RunDisney team try really hard to put on great entertainment on these stretches, but there just isn’t the same scenery going on!

There are early mornings involved

3am, just sayin’..

You are not alone

This works on many levels. 1) Chances are you will be running with at least 10,000 other runners, possibly up to 25,000. Believe it or not though, you probably won’t feel too crowded! 2) Most other runners are really nice and supportive, whether they’re just chatting to you as you go or counselling you as you hit the wall; complete strangers may just become your best friend for a few miles. 3) There are a few runners who can spoil it, those who can’t share their race nicely. They might shove past you because you’re not going ‘at their pace’, they might tut and groan; ignore them, you’re having a way better time than they are.

Don’t feel silly wearing your medals to the parks!

Everyone does it, and you’ll get all sorts of people congratulating you, asking questions, sharing stories etc, it’s a lot of fun. And if you run more than one race, multiple medals is 100% acceptable.

Races are totally walker friendly

Don’t be worried if you don’t think you can run the whole course non-stop, you’ll find the majority of people taking regular walking intervals – some as early as 100m into the race! Just be considerate and move to the side so others can pass you.

You’re gonna have an awesome time, I promise you, so just go for it! The goodies are worth every second!

#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!