Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary – Just keep running

weatherIt’s been a big couple of weeks in my training plan as I’ve now hit the big weekend runs that are further than I’ve ever run before.  I’m always looking to push myself out of my comfort zone and I definitely did that!

I don’t think I was quite prepared for the jump to double digit mileage – it seemed like a gradual step up but it was certainly challenging.  I’d run a 10.5 mile before but when I say run, it was with some of my fellow club ladies and the dogs and there was lots of chatter and a few stops along the way (I think we averaged about 15min miles) so didn’t really count that as a proper run.  One of my running buddies, who is significantly more experienced than me and a regular half marathoner, volunteered to keep me company and we set off for a 10 mile out and back along the canal.  We’d planned that route as it is pretty flat but one thing we couldn’t plan for was the weather.  We battled gale force winds and rain and it made it a whole lot harder than it needed to be.  Dan kept me going though despite my swearing (sorry mum) and complaining all the way round.  It was all going as well as could be expected until about 8 miles in when my body just refused to run anymore – it was my first experience of hitting a wall.  I think the extreme weather got the better of me and even though we’d only run 8 miles I think the effort against wind equated to running a lot more than that!  After a little walk, I managed to carry on for the last two miles and finished the 10 in a reasonably respectable 1hr 49mins.

So this weekend, I was thinking, it couldn’t be any worse for my 12 mile run right? I’d arranged to meet a fellow club runner who was unfortunately unwell so I was actually really nervous about heading out for my longest ever run on my lonesome and to top it off, the sun decided to come out and make it the hottest day of the year so far. Last summer, I really struggled with the heat having just come back from injury and being very new to running so I was interested to see how I’d cope with the 20 degree heat.  Instead of an out and back, I planned a loop around the town so I wasn’t too far from home just in case (!) and I also took along a gel that a fellow club member had very kindly given me to try.

The first 6 miles was great, I really enjoyed the run and the weather didn’t seem to be bothering me too much.  I had broken the run down into four sections and at 6.5 I had completed the first two.  I decided to try the gel at this point as I’d been running about an hour.  The ones I used were the SiS GO Isotonic Gels – they are pretty thick and gloopy but being the first one I’d tried, I imagine they are probably all like that.  I have heard that quite often, runners find that gels upset their stomach quite a lot so I was a bit hesitant but all was good.  After completing section 3, I was left with the final 2 miles.  Two miles – that’s easy, I could do that, couldn’t I?

They were a very hard two miles but I did it!  I finished the 12 miles in 2hr 9mins, injury free and feeling pretty proud of myself!  I was surprised by the time as I’d had a couple of little walks but averaged 10:48 pace and it’s left me feeling optimistic for the big day in just under 4 weeks time.

March has been a pretty great month training wise.  I’m feeling really strong and love that each time I’m seeing little improvements.  The big achievement in March was that I hit my first 100 mile month! Here’s how the rest of the stats stacked up:


Total distance: 100.38 miles

Number of runs: 19

Average distance: 5.3 miles

Furthest distance: 10 miles

Coming up this month, I’ll be running in the Chick’s Chase 10k this week and Flitwick 10k in a couple of weeks time.  I’ve booked lots of races so am pretty sure I will easily smash my 12 race target for the year.

2015 mileage to date: 251.94

Miles to go to hit target: 448.06

Happy running

D x


Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary – reflecting on the last year


This week has been one of reflection.  A year ago today I completed my first ever event, the Sports Relief 5k and graduated from the couch to 5k programme run by my local club, the Leighton Fun Runners.  Tonight, I ran alongside the latest group of couch to 5kers, supporting them as they themselves tackled their first ever full 5k.  It got me thinking how much I’ve changed since I completed it back then.

I never set out to be a ‘runner’.  I was at a time in my life of change and trying new things and also wanted to get a bit fitter.  I joined the couch to 5K programme after hearing about it from an old school friend via social media and thought it would be a great way to get a bit fitter and maybe meet some new people.  From the start, I never found it easy.  I always approached each weeks task with a ‘I’m never going to be able to do this’ attitude which whilst I always ended up surprising myself, often made it a lot harder than it needed to be. I managed to reach the end of the programme and even signed up for membership of the club, still not really thinking of myself as a runner, but someone who was giving it a go occasionally.  Shortly after I suffered an ankle injury which meant I completely stopped running and lost all confidence in my bodies ability to do it.

It took me three months to gain the confidence to go back to club and I’m so glad I did.  Last week I ran 5 consecutive miles under 10 mins and this weekend I completed a 10k race in my home town in 1:00:47, not quite a PB but given the ‘undulating’ nature of the course was an amazing achievement for me.  The point is, my mind set has changed completely.  I’m now craving challenges and I am constantly pushing myself to achieve more.  The last 6 months of running have seen me almost starting from scratch to training for a half marathon and setting myself new targets and goals every week. I don’t think I’ve ever been this motivated about anything before!

So at the end of the first quarter, here’s how the targets I set at the start of the year are looking:

  • Run 700 miles minimum – so far this year I have run 200.65 miles
  • Complete 12 events – to date I’ve completed 2 x 10k’s and booked 1 x 5K,  6 x 10k’s and 3 x half marathons (a total of 12 so far and I imagine there will be quite a few more)
  • Finish 10k in under an hour – my fastest so far has been 1:00:37!!
  • Complete at least a 15 mile distance – Kinda forgot about this one but I’m sure after the first half we’ll give it a go.
  • Trail running – make the most of all the lovely routes we have locally – I’ve booked the dirt half, a mostly trail half marathon and also organising a bluebell run in May in a local woods.
  • PB’s – lots of them at all distances! – I have smashed my 5k PB and am hoping to keep bettering that 10k time!
  • Push myself to achieve but remember its all about having fun too! – I’m definitely doing that so far 🙂

I’ve still got a way to go on some of them but I’m pretty pleased with the progress so far!

P.S.  No bling this weekend but I did get a really cool Tshirt – here’s a few pics with my normally awful running face on!

Running Leighton 10k

Happy running!

D x


Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary: 5 days to go!

Last night I had a big moment, I ran my first 5k, non-stop with no walking!  Am feeling hugely proud of myself for reaching the first milestone in my running career!  Admittedly I have a lot to do to improve the speed (currently at 34 minutes) but I never would have thought I could have achieved this in just 8 weeks when I started back in January.

When I started I had never really run before and in the first week, I struggled to run for 2 minutes solid!  I still remember the dread on my face when I saw that we had to run for a whole 8 minutes in week 4.  Each week I continued to surprise myself and while it didn’t really get easier, I did manage to push myself that little bit more each week.  I’m now running for 34 mins and even managing a little sprint finish at the end 🙂

Running with other people has made it so much easier, for anyone who is just starting out I highly recommend it as a fab way to stay motivated and meet new people!  I’ve met some fab people during this process and I’m sure we’ll continue to be running buddies now its coming to an end.  I have to give huge thanks to my local club, The Leighton Fun Runners for organising the couch to 5k course – they have been amazing and are a true inspiration!  Even though most of them are running marathons and ultra marathons on a regular basis, they still took the time and patience to train us newbies 🙂

Now I just have 5 days left until my first official race – The Sport Relief 3 miles.  I’m actually really excited about it. A couple of weeks ago I marshalled at our local 10k and most of the time I was thinking – I can’t wait for my first race, and now here it is!  I’d love to get in a good time, I’m not expecting to cross the finish line anywhere near the front, in my eyes, the only person I’m competing against is myself, so if I make any improvement on my best time then I will be over the moon.

So I have a couple more training runs to fit in this week and then thats it!  I have to thank everyone who has sponsored me so far, I’ve raised well over £200 which is another incentive for me to get my butt around that course on Sunday!  Still plenty of time to get your donations in and you can do so on my Sport Relief giving page.

Wish me luck!

D x

Fitness Journey, Health & Fitness

Fitness Diary: the story so far

So I’ve never been particularly sporty or fit. I used to be a dancer from the age of 8 – 14 but even then, stamina was not my strong point. This year, I decided to try and change that (and my waistline) and finally get myself in shape. I set myself 2 goals:

1. Run 5k comfortably

2. Drop a dress size

I have tried running before but not with much success but then I heard about a programme that my local running club were offering to beginners to get them to 5k. I had already missed the first week when I heard about it but went along on the second week. I walked in feeling pretty nervous and shy but soon realised everyone in the room was at a similar level and the coaches were great. Not too pushy and fitness crazed but offered some motivation and advice to get you where you wanted to be. The programme is based on a Monday night club run and then 2 ‘homework’ runs during the week.

So now I’m coming to the end of week 6 and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. I’m definitely not the best in the group but I try hard and push myself a little bit further each week. Tomorrow is the big test as we move from interval runs to solid running for 25 minutes. By the end of week 9 I should be running 5k. Lets keep fingers crossed!


The second of my objectives is not going so well however.  I know that a lot of people say that running often turns fat to muscle but I haven’t seen a difference in weight loss as yet.  I do feel like I am toning though and I haven’t exactly been dieting so thats the next phase!  A friend recommended this site  to calculate your calorie intake so will be trying this next week and see how I get on.

The other random fitness challenge I have taken on along with the girls in the office is the 30 day squat challenge.  It’s mostly just a bit of fun and an attempt to get rid of some of the junk in the trunk 🙂  Here it is if you want to give it a go yourself!

30 Day squat challenge
30 Day squat challenge

D x