Marathon Training – Week 1

So as most of you will be aware, I decided to take on a big challenge in 2017 and entered my first marathon! It is now 16 weeks away and I’m in my first week of structured training. Until now, I have been running regularly but intuitively. I am both nervous and excited for this venture and can’t wait to share it all with you! Does anyone else have a big race coming up this year or something you’re working towards?!

Day 1 – 1hr Body Pump

I was actually feeling really negative about my training and my body (everyone has those days, right?!) and I totally lacked the motivation to work out. However, if I’ve learned anything in this process, I know that the best way to shake the negative attitude is to go work out! Guess what? It worked and I felt 10000 times better after my class. I couldn’t cop out on day 1, especially as I slipped up and bought a bar of chocolate… Cravings took over, but hey, I knew it wouldn’t kill me.

Day 2 – 3 miles

I decided to run the 3 miles intended for day 3 and swap my rest day as I had plans for Wednesday evening and it worked better for my week. The weather was absolutely shocking (lots of rain and wind) so I took to the treadmill on the way home from work. I can’t afford to catch a cold in this training cycle! I haven’t run treadmill miles in forever – so it felt a little bit weird but I got it done nonetheless (and was glad that it was only 3 miles!)

Day 3 – Rest

I took my rest day and it was entirely welcomed! My legs were aching from Body Pump on Monday and I really needed a night to just chill after getting my nails done. Sometimes it just takes something small to make you feel a little better.

Day 4 – 4 miles

4 miles before breakfast! God I missed my morning workouts. It sets me up for the day and I generally feel a lot better and more productive at work. I’m going to try and get back into doing these, even though it means I do have to get up pre-6am to fit it in before work.

Day 5 – 3 miles + 45 minute spin class

I was going out for dinner with my friend after work and going to a spin class at 7am before working, meaning I’d have to have come home and run before going for dinner. I knew I wouldn’t feel like doing that so I got up half an hour earlier in the morning and got it all done before work. I felt great all day – but it did affect my hunger!! I’ll need to take more food to work next time I decide to do a longer session in the morning.

Day 6 – Rest 

Ah… what a lovely Saturday morning spent chilling out, eating good food and watching Peaky Blinders. Just because it’s the weekend and a rest day doesn’t mean I have to fall off track. I still made good choices in terms of nutrition and a sober night bowling with friends was the perfect way to socialise without throwing all my hard work out the window!

Day 7 – 5 miles

I finished the week off with a mid-afternoon run. It was really cold and trying to snow outside but it felt good nonetheless. I ran in a pretty good time and had a delicious treat afterwards – my 3 ingredient banana pancakes! A great end to a great week!

Total: 15 miles

I spend my Sunday evening preparing and planning my meals and workouts for next week. I am ready for week 2 of my training and actually looking forward to Monday! Hope you all have a good week!

L x

Eating Out In Amsterdam

I’m just home from an incredible 3-day city break in Amsterdam and I couldn’t be more upset about it. The minute we arrived in our hotel to leaving for the airport to fly home it was crazy busy but brilliant!

We stayed in a gorgeous hotel, The Hoxton, in an area called 9 streets. The hotel came highly recommended to us by a friend and it did not disappoint! We had an amazing room with a view out on to the canal so we couldn’t have asked for more.


However, I was apprehensive about having a weekend away from my normal routine, with the start of my marathon training cycle due to begin in just a weeks time. With no room in my hand luggage for my runners, I set about researching some healthy eateries to ensure that I at least stayed relatively on track with my nutrition. Upon arriving in Amsterdam, I quickly realised that it wasn’t going to be hard to eat well there. Being a pretty hip city, it was way ahead of the game in terms of health cafes and restaurants. This being said, I was also there to enjoy myself just before my training began so I didn’t want to be too strict with it.

On Friday, we were pretty hungry after travelling and arrived at our hotel just in time for lunch. We decided to dine at the hotels restaurant and use the time to get our bearings and figure out a plan of action for the coming days. The restaurant, Lotti’s, had quite a short menu but also offered good options for breakfast, lunch and dinner all within the one menu. I quite fancied a steak (one of my go-to choices when eating out as you can easily keep it relatively low-calorie by pairing with a salad or veg) but as it was lunchtime I opted for a salad instead. Chicken Caesar salad. Now this dish is a tricky one as once you add up the sauce, the Parmesan cheese and croutons, your lettuce based dish could end up clocking in at 1000+ calories. I’m a little fussy when it comes to ordering this. I always ask for dressing on the side – that way I can add the bare minimum or none at all. I also tend to request no croutons as I don’t really see the sense in ordering a salad if you’re going to eat half a loaf of crispy bread through it. However, in certain situations, I sometimes feel uncomfortable or feel it is not appropriate to be making such demands so I just leave them to the side. This time, Lotti’s were super accommodating and I got my dressing on the side! The salad itself; I’d give it a 6/10.

Friday night was a little bit of a disaster. We walked for miles across the city before we came to the restaurant where we eventually dined. We just hadn’t planned things properly and by the time we arrived and got a table it was well after 9pm and we were starving from the days exertions. We ate at an Argentinian restaurant in Jordaan called Salmuera. On walking through the door to our table we walked past a huge grill full of chicken, steak, pork and fish with the spicy aromas filling the air immediately…mmm!! At this point I knew we’d made a good choice and I was going to be able to eat well there. We both went for a 1/2 grilled chicken and shared a side of mixed vegetables and sweet potato. It was a high class Nandos – and that’s not a bad thing! 8/10.


I forgot to mention we drank quite a lot of red wine in the Argentinian place so I woke up on the Saturday morning feeling less than fresh – but still determined to stick to my plan of eating as well as possible. That went out the window when we ventured to The Pancake Bakery! It seemed like half of Amsterdam had the same idea.. but it’s always a good sign when you have to wait for a table. After Brandon convincing me I deserved it after all the walking we’d done (and it didn’t take a lot of convincing) I ordered a crepe style pancake with Nutella. It was everything that dreams are made of. I’m sure you can all imagine… but it beat me, I ended up feeling sick and couldn’t finish it. At that point I realised I’d made an error and should have gone for one of their savoury giant omelettes – which looked incredible! It still gets a solid 7/10 but be prepared for the laidback service!


Lunch on Saturday was on the go! We ended up getting a Braatwurst from a stall, Braat! on the rooftop terrace of the Heineken Experience. This was a solid 10/10. It was far from what I’d choose as a healthy lunch option back home but it tasted amazing and I really wanted to try it – so I decided not to deny myself a simple pleasure.

It was Italian (one of my favourite cuisines EVER!) on Saturday night at Casa Di David. It was just a short walk from our hotel which was also a bonus! We’d tried to get in on the Friday evening but they were fully booked – a good sign – so we had to wait! Make a reservation if you want to go at the weekend. I had Amatriciana bucatini (a kind of thick spaghetti-like pasta) and it was delicious. The carbs were most-welcomed after a long day of walking all over the ENTIRE city! I wish I’d worn my Fitbit to track how many miles we walked/steps we’d done.

Pancakes were on the menu again for Sunday morning. This time, we dined at a really cool restaurant, Mook, which was quite a walk from our hotel – but oh, so worth it! The simple, clean interior oozed style and it was clear we were in one of Amsterdam’s hip, well established brunch locations. Surrounded by loads of cool and quirky people, we couldn’t wait to get a look at the menu! Brandon was excited to see stacks of pancakes being served around us and we both opted for the Blue Magic Pancakes – organic pancakes served with blueberries, maple syrup and coconut. Brandon chose the deluxe version which included strawberries and banana too! They were absolutely delicious but again, I couldn’t finish them! It felt naughty but healthy at the same time! I highly rate this restaurant and would 100% return if I’m ever back in the city.


I realised I am a creature of habit when I ended up ordering another Caesar salad for lunch at a gorgeous restaurant we discovered, Herengracht, located in the Herengracht area. Either that or it’s just a popular salad that a lot of restaurants have on their menu. We dined outside in their terraced garden area with Brandon’s friends despite the sub-zero temperatures. That might be a bit of an exaggeration but it was close! I made my usual requests and to my surprise the waitress got it right without writing anything down. My salad arrived and it was delicious; a definite 9/10. Maybe it was the addition of the bacon but I wasn’t even jealous watching the boys eat club sandwiches and french onion soup!


Sadly, after all that our weekend in Amsterdam came to and end and it was off to the airport to catch our flight home! There was so much we didn’t see or do and I would love to return to experience it again and check out more of the places we discovered to eat!

I hope this is of some use to you all if you ever find yourselves in the Netherlands wondering where to eat out!

L x

‘I Can’t Run’

I said these exact same words to myself around a year ago when I struggled to run for longer than 5 minutes on a treadmill without feeling like I required a full tank of oxygen to breathe. I said it to my partner over and over again meanwhile I’d be sat on the sofa gorging on my second packet of crisps of the day. Then I was unable to run as my body didn’t have any fuel from starving myself. These were all excuses, because running was hard. In fact, it seemed damn near impossible to me at the time. I’d see people out running and wonder how they were performing this miraculous act. Oh, how messed up this thinking was. In reality, I couldn’t run because I wasn’t in a good frame of mind to try, not because MY body was incapable.

My first piece of advice to anyone looking to get into running is don’t tell yourself that you can’t do anything. As I’ve discovered – the human body is capable of a lot more than we may even realise. It adapts to whatever you put it through! Everyone can run. You just have to get out there and remember that the first run is always the hardest!!

Don’t do too much too soon either. Even experienced runners make this mistake. It’s no use running six times a week on week 1 and then week 2 is non-existent. Start slow and build it up until you’re consistent week to week. This is where you’ll see your body changing and progress being made.

I’m about to enter into my training cycle for the Edinburgh Marathon in May after 3 weeks of being unwell. I’ll begin on Monday 6 February and train for 16 weeks. After recovering from illness I wanted to get myself back to a base-level of fitness before this begins and my first time back pounding the pavements was tough. I ran 2.5 miles (which was all I could manage) on Monday and then 3 miles on Tuesday – in pretty slow times compared to what I was doing prior to Christmas. It was difficult for me, mentally, to listen to my body and ease myself back in slowly. Yes, I’m a bit gutted I didn’t run a bit further or a bit faster but I would have done more damage to my body going hell for leather on those 2 runs. I made that mistake just after Christmas in going back to the gym too soon and it put me out for a further 2 weeks!

And… just after getting back into running, I’m off to Amsterdam this weekend for 3 days so I’ll be taking some more time off exercising. Hopefully all the walking we do whilst sightseeing will make up for it! I’ve also done a lot of research into healthy-eating hotspots in Amsterdam so I’ll be doing a post on where to stay on track whilst in the city, when I get back! Keep your eyes peeled!

Time to get my bags packed! Have a good one.

L x

 

How To Push Through When The Going Gets Tough

There is no one set rule book when it comes to running and how every individual body reacts to different situations so it’s impossible to predict how you will feel day-to-day, on each run and throughout a period of training. It’s easy when everything is going great but when you hit a bump in the road, it’s how you deal with it that determines your progress.

For example, some people see the sun and they are straight outdoors, whilst others prefer the cooler temperatures of the winter running season. 5 miles one day may feel like a total breeze, whilst other days it may feel like 26.2. It’s important to remember the good days when the bad days come creeping along.

I’ve been feeling a bit demotivated recently with the change in season. I’ve noticed that I’m feeling like I’d much rather be at home tucking into a hearty meal with the heating on than dragging myself to the gym. I’ve had to seriously talk myself into my workouts in order to stay consistent with my training and ensure I’m reaching my goals. Not to mention, I also have a holiday coming up in 3 weeks.. so now is not the time to be pigging out!

Here’s what I’ve been doing to stay on track:

  1. Track your training and nutrition – My Fitness Pal and my Believe Journal have been my best friends over the last few weeks. I use them to stay accountable. On the days when I can’t be bothered with a run or a gym class, I ask myself ‘do I really want to log 0 miles in my journal today?’ and the answer is no! I want to log more miles than last week – and thus far, that’s been enough to keep me going! I also find it pretty tough to track when I’ve gone off track with my nutrition so I much prefer to stick to meals I know I can log accurately on MFP and that way I know I’m fueling my body with the right stuff.
  2. Meetup.com – I discovered this website very recently which aims to connect people with similar interests and I found that there is a local running meet-up near where I live every Sunday. Training with others is a great way to maintain motivation, push yourself and even when you don’t feel like you’re having a great session, someone else may be having the best session of their life. I’m a firm believer that positive energy rubs off on others and this may be exactly what you need to find your love for the sport again. I’m hoping that in spending some time with others who also love running, it won’t feel as difficult as it has been feeling.
  3. Try something new – Maybe you don’t feel like training because it’s gotten repetitive and you’re so used to it. I’m certainly going through that at the moment, so I decided to do something totally out of my comfort zone. I signed up to a Hot Yoga class at a local studio. I’ve only ever done yoga once before and I can’t say I loved it, but I’ve heard great things about the benefits of introducing it to a running routine. I’m excited because I took the plunge to give it a go and it’s bound to be something a little bit different from my current training regime!

I can’t preach that these things will work for everyone but I’m hoping that they’ll keep me in the groove and on track throughout the coming winter months. Why not give it a go? I’ll be posting a review of my Hot Yoga experience after my first class so keep an eye out!

Have a great weekend!

L x

Day Sixteen – Mixing It Up

I didn’t get a very good sleep last night. I was restless and up half the night, in the end only getting just over 5 hours sleep (not enough!) As I was so tired this morning, I just did not have a run in me when I got to the gym. Instead I did 45 minutes on what I think is called the epileptical – which is surprisingly harder than it looks. Hammering it out on the treadmill I used to look at everyone on these machines thinking; are they actually working that hard? And I could feel others doing the same to me today, but I’ll never think that again! I only managed just over 2km but managed to burn over 350 kcals. I performed under half the distance I usually would on the treadmill but I could really feel the burn on my glutes and thighs and I war dripping with sweat when I finished, so it definately works!

I may try to incorporate this into my week of workouts to keep it interesting. The last thing I want is to get bored of the gym. It’s also essential for my progress to keep my body guessing and prevent any kind of plateau.

I treated myself to a couple of new gym tops on the way to work this morning (just from Primark, nothing fancy) but I realised I didn’t have enough for the week now that I’m working out regularly and was running around like a mad woman midweek trying to get my gym gear washed. Now I don’t have to stress. There’s also something physcological for me about having pretty gym clothes! It makes me feel good and I work out harder when I’m in that positive mindset. I will need to invest in some new leggings soon as the pairs I have are becoming a little loose as I’m losing weight. However, I don’t want to purchase yet as I’m saving that as a reward when I get to a certain point in my journey. I’m also trying to reign in my spending given that I’ll be purchasing a flat in the very near future. I’ll need the cash to furnish that rather than kit myself out with the latest Nike wardrobe. I’m also a strong believer in rewarding yourself in other ways than through food, so for me it’s a great goal to work towards. However, I’m by no means dissing the concept of a cheat meal – I love them!

Today’s intake consisted of:

  • Black and Red Grapes
  • Melon and Pineapple
  • Sweet Chilli Lentil Curls (a great susbstitute for crisps)
  • Chicken with Couscous
  • Small Cottage Pie w/ Salad

I’ve been slacking recently with my meticulous meal planning. As I had a busy weekend I didn’t do a meal plab or food shop for the week and ai do feel as though it has thrown me off my game a little. The last couple of nights my dinners have been a last minute affair. It’s eating away at the control freak inside me! I need to get back to my planning and prepping to ensure I’m continuing to make healthy choices.

Let’s hope that I get a better nights sleep tonight and am ready to hit the gym hard tomorrow!

L x