Switching Up Training

It was National Fitness Day 2017 yesterday and I can’t think of a better time to share with you all why I have changed my training recently, what I’ve been doing and what results I’m expecting!

Training should not feel like a chore (because no-one likes doing chores) and it’s impossible to adhere to a programme if you don’t enjoy it.

In the last few months, I have found myself struggling to motivate myself to train without a specific goal to work towards. I’d spoken about this previously  I began skipping my workouts or working out out purely because I felt like I had to burn off calories, rather than doing because I truly love it. This is the mindset I have been battling (and winning the battle) with over the last few years so I knew I had to do something to find my love for exercise again.

What I did to switch up my workouts? 

As a runner, its strange to admit that I have actually been doing very minimal cardio. Other than the odd 5k at the weekend, I’ve only been running to and from the gym – which is only 0.8 miles each way! I haven’t even been to a spin class recently! Instead, I’ve been focusing a lot on strength training. I’ve been doing conditioning and strength classes in the morning before work. These include compound movements such as squats and deadlifts, as well as plyometrics (jump training) and I’m working my entire body.

What results am I expecting from this shift in my style of training?

I think (hope) that I will go into next years running season feeling strong. With a bit of a rest from longer distances and a focus on building muscle, I hope that my legs will be refreshed (as well as bigger and stronger) and I’ll be at a good starting point to prevent any injuries when I start loading back on the miles!

Have any of you ever gotten fed up with your training? What did you do to combat this?

I hope you all have a lovely Thursday!

L x

Tracking and Accountability

What do you do/use to track or plan your workouts?

There’s a number of apps, websites and diaries out there where you can plug in or write down your workouts. I have personally used the FitBit app, MyFitnessPal, MapMyRun and a Believe Journal. I have found all 3 of these apps really useful, particularly MapMyRun which I still use today because I don’t own a fancy Garmin watch (yet!) and haven’t quite figured out how accurate my FitBit is at tracking mileage (it’s the ChargeHR from a couple of years ago) but over time I’ve discovered what works best for me.

It all started with a really simple spreadsheet that I began using to track when I was sore or having problems with my back to feed back to the chiropractor. Rather than telling him, “oh, it was sore the other day” I could tell him exactly what day I was sore and what I had been doing that day or days previous, in order to see if there was a pattern in my pain.

I have a seperate tab for each month with all the dates pre-entered, then a column for the workout and one for any notes. Here is my July workouts so far!


I realised that I love being able to see all my workouts in a list like that as it really does show all the hard work I’ve put in. It motivates me and it only takes 30 seconds to fill it out after a workout. There’s no tricking the mind into thinking you’re doing more or less when it’s written down in front of you. I can’t lie to myself about the work I’m putting in. Right now, I’m getting results because, as you can see there, I’m putting in the work.

It keeps me on track as I can also see where I skipped workouts or took rest days. I had a bit of a rough time at the start of the month which meant I prioritised family over working out. It’s not normal for me to take 3 days rest in a row.

If you have any tips or suggestions for tracking and staying accountable, let me know!

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 Forty Four – Tuesday Tip

Exercise is all about finding something you love, otherwise it’s a chore. If you don’t have the passion and drive for what you’re doing, you won’t stick to it and it won’t work for you. I’ve found that love through running. However, I’m not saying that I absolutely LOVE logging endless hours on the treadmill but I enjoy that it gives me the strength and endurance to perform better and progress myself when I do get the chance to run outdoors. It’s great shaving minutes off my times.

I skipped my cardio at the gym this morning due to a sore knee and shin splints. I’m considering going to see a professional about this as I’m unsure if it’s something I really need to be concerned about or if I’m just overdoing it on the treadmill. Instead, I targeted my full body with a weights session and focused a lot on my legs – which are now like jelly. As my weights sessions are never as long, I had some spare time afterwards to go and enjoy some down time in Starbucks with a black coffee before work.

My intake for the day was:

  • Black Grapes
  • Apple
  • Nutrigrain Blueberry Bar
  • Ski Smooth Raspberry Yoghurt
  • 2 Wholemeal Warburtons Thins w/ Ham (not enough for lunch after the gym)
  • Chicken w/ Brown Rice and Broccoli

After dinner, Brandon and I dropped my car at a garage as it’s needing an MOT – why does everything you need to splash out money on come at once? When we got home we were relaxing on the sofa and I decided to treat myself to half of one of the easter eggs we’d been given. It’s not strictly part of my plans but I didn’t feel guilty as I know I’m working out a lot and it won’t be a regular thing!

Now it’s off to bed to get a good sleep for tomorrow’s session!

L x