Friday, 16 January 2015

Update: Fantastic Jantastic and my second half marathon

After a predictably sedentary Christmas, I knew it was time to get my arse into gear come January.

When I read about Jantastic, it seemed like the perfect way to motivate myself to ensure I kept at least three workouts in the diary every week. It's a really simple concept - set yourself a workout goal each month and then log what you've managed - but for someone like me who is the queen of excuses, it's been a great way to keep myself accountable.

I hit my goal for week one and I'm on track for a successful week two as well - we'll see how the rest of the month goes!

I've also been sorting some races out for the coming year. As I've said before, there's nothing like the gut-wrenching fear of knowing you've got to run in front of potentially thousands of people to get you training!

I'm really excited to have signed up for my second half marathon, the Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon. It looks like a great race and I can't wait for May to arrive (although I guarantee you I won't be saying that in a few months) so I can get stuck in. A few friends of mine will hopefully also taking part and it will certainly be a little easier to reach than Liverpool! 

Other race dates in the diary so far are the Cancer Research London Winter Run 10k and the British Heart Foundation Regent's Park 10k.

There's even been mention of possibly doing Survival of the Fittest later in the year...*gulp* 

So 2015 looks like it's shaping up pretty well. I've been having a little think about what I want my goals to be but that's a post for another day. For now, it's time to get back on 10k form!

Harris x

Did you run the Run Hackney half marathon last year? What races are you excited for this year?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Do you even pre-workout?

My experience of supplements etc doesn't really stretch any further than the occasional protein shake after a long run or work out. But when the lovely people at USN offered to send me some of their Hyperlean Two-In-One pre-workout to try, I thought I'd give it a bash.

Here are some of the benefits that they say Hyperlean can give you:
  • Can improve nitric oxide generation
  • A great energy source
  • Can contribute to muscle recovery
  • Promotes weight control and lean muscle maintenance
I've been trying a serving of Hyperlean about 40 minutes before I go to the gym - I don't really like the feeling of drinking a lot before a run.

Once you've shaken it up, the pre-workout is a slightly weird pinkish colour. My only criticism of it is the taste - I really dislike the 'fruit fusion' flavour and have on occasions had to hold my nose to force it down! However this is something that's very much down to personal preference. I often struggle to find flavours of things that I like (Nuun has finally solved this problem with about nine million different flavours!) so I'm not really surprised that this was a sticking point for me.

'Fruit fusion' just isn't the flavour for me :(
I definitely feel like I have the energy to work out for a bit longer when I have some of the pre-workout - bizarrely one thing I particularly noticed it in was when I did the plank! 

I've also been feeling less sore and DOMS-y but then I've also been a good girl and doing my foam rolling after working out too so that may be a combination of both. 

While I'm not sure a pre-workout is something I'd use regularly, if you fancy a really intense workout or need a bit of a boost then it certainly can't hurt!

Harris x

Do you ever use a pre-workout? Do you struggle with finding flavours you like?

Monday, 17 November 2014

Monday Morning Motivation

(found here)
It's an oldy but a goody. Everyone prefers to stay in their comfort zone. Your comfort zone is...well...comfortable. And right now my comfort zone is sitting in my bed.

Okay, okay, I'll go for a run now.

Harris x

Monday, 10 November 2014

I've found the one...and it's a spiralizer

I thought it was just a fling. I thought maybe my feelings would change. I though perhaps my trust was misplaced.

But NO, my spiralizer is definitely the one.

My new boo
So what is a spiralizer?

It's basically a nifty gadget for turning any fairly firm veg into long strips (they can either be thin like spaghetti or thicker like udon noodles) in a cool spiral shape.

I've heard tons of people talking on Twitter about making 'courgetti' or 'zoodles' - the world's best portmanteau describing spaghetti/noodles made out of courgette, so I decided to get on board.

DISCLAIMER: I really dislike courgette

But here's the thing: quickly fried and then smothered in pesto or simmered in a delicious tomato sauce, you'd have no idea that these courgetti contained any of the gross green stuff. I may even put some recipes up in future (you have been warned) because I feel like I need to spread the spiralizing love!

Go on, try and tell me this doesn't look delicious
I'm an absolute pasta fiend and while there's a time and a place for a big old bowl of the stuff, it got to a point last winter where I was eating it every single day. I also struggle to get enough veggies into my diet (I admit I can be a little picky) so any way of sneaking more greens into my meals is fine by me, Now instead of eating a serving of pasta, I eat a whole courgette!

When my spiralizer first arrived, I was a little confuse about how exactly to go about it all. But after some quick googling I discovered it's actually dead simple - check out Inspiralized for easy how-to videos on how to turn pretty much any veg into spirals (and also lots of delicious recipes).

So far courgetti is definitely my favourite spiralized food, although I have also made myself some 'noodle salads' spiralized cucumber and carrot. Cucumber works really well but I found that carrot is harder because it's thinner (the thicker your veg the better your noodles). However maybe if I used some beefier carrots it might be better.

My next spiralizer venture is hopefully going to be sweet potato curly fries. I think this may involve a bit of trial and error but fingers crossed!

My rather unphotogenic (but delicious) tuna 'noodle' salad
As a slight veggie-phobe I can honestly say that getting a spiralizer has really helped me to up my vegetable intake. I've had it for about three months now and it still makes regular appearances unlike some gadgets (liquidizer I'm looking at you). I've recommended buying one to everyone from friends to work colleagues to random people on Twitter - if only I was on commission! Yes it might still not be huuugely healthy to smother my courgetti in pesto but hey...I'm working on it!

Harris x

P.S. I got my spiralizer here

Have you ever tried a spiralizer? Do you struggle to get your portions of vegetables in?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Confessions of a running loner

I'm a loner...when it comes to running that is.

In theory the idea of pounding the pavements with someone else is lovely. I've got a romantic vision of speeding along the banks of the Thames in the winter sunlight with a running pal. Nothing can stop us. We're encouraging each other and challenging each other.

But another part of my brain is convinced that it just isn't possible. What if we have different paces? What if I'm holding them back? What if they're holding me back? What if I get tired and want to stop? What if they get tired and want to stop? Do we have to talk? Won't I be too tired to talk? If we don't talk won't it be a bit weird? Or awkward?

Plus my mind always drifts back to one of my very first (and incredibly unsuccessful) runs with a group of friends when I was in my first year of uni. It was horrific.

I also find running great for de-stressing, letting my thoughts run riot and generally getting rid of some of my worries. With all the stresses of running with someone, what if that gets ruined?

But last week I was getting ready to pop out for a short and easy run when I realised my flatmate Iona was also lacing up her trainers. Turns out we were actually intending to run the exact same route. After much "see you out there!" we finally decided to try running together.

Begrudging running buddies
Iona is of the same view as me: running is a solo sport. No interacting. No faffing. NO TALKING. So that's how we did it. We ran side-by-side for the most part, with our own music in. The only interacting was me pointing out the route (it was Iona's first time).

It might sound antisocial but for us it worked a treat.

It was actually really nice knowing someone was there with me and at no point did I feel stressed about pace. We gave each other the option to drop back/carry on ahead if we needed to but we seemed to manage just fine!

Now that I've finally got over my fear of running with others I'm not really sure what's next. I've always wanted to try a running group but the worries mentioned above always stopped me. Maybe I'll even be able to TALK while running?! I know, I know, baby steps...but never say never.

Harris x

Are you a running loner? Would you recommend joining a running group? 

Sunday, 2 November 2014

You used to be fun! Expert tips on keeping the enjoyment in running

Where has my running mojo gone? Why am I not enjoying this any more?

I've seen lots of posts recently about motivation and enjoyment - or lack of it (particularly check out Charlie's great advice on ways to get your running mojo back)! I think I'm safe to say that it's something most of us struggle with, particularly as the cold winter nights draw in.

While I'm not sure I have words of wisdom just yet, I thought I'd share these tips from Decathlon.

I can particularly relate to Simon Freeman on the pleasure of seeing progress. I'm amazed at how far I've come with my running and love seeing what else my body is capable of.

What do you think of Simon Freeman and Tom Williams' tips?

Harris x

Sunday, 26 October 2014

See Harris Inspired: The Runners

Okay so I know this was released aaages ago but a friend sent this to me recently and it really struck a chord with me.

I've been properly running for about a year and a half now and while I'm always experiencing peaks and troughs with it, this video reminded me of the power that running can have: not just transforming you physically but also mentally.

It's not a fancy film and it's only about 11 minutes long, but I absolutely love The Runners.

Harris x

What did you think of The Runners?