The JogBlog Guide To Healthy Habits

Krakau, Gefängnis Montelupich, Klosterschwester

The best way to get into the habit of doing something is to do it regularly. Okay, so obviously a habit isn’t something you do once, but how do you make something into a habit? Here are three of my tips to doing something more than once.

  1. Get a training schedule: I’ve got a couple of half-marathons coming up at the beginning of 2015 and I know if I don’t get a schedule and just leave my training to the ‘do a run when I feel like it and hope my mileage magically increases without trying too hard’ method, then it’ll get to January and I’ll think, ‘Oh shit, I’m doing a half-marathon in a couple of weeks and I haven’t done more than a couple of parkruns since August. Oops’ and then I’ll end up limping round the half in 3 hours and pretending my leg fell off or something.My favourite schedules are the ones by Hal Higdon. I especially like these because they’re in miles and not all that fancy 8 x 400m easy x I-haven’t-a-clue-what-you’re-talking-about stuff and I also especially like these because you can generate them into iCal files to import into Google Calendar, Outlook, iCal, etc.schedule
    Want to know just how successful getting a schedule is? Well, it’s Wednesday today and usually, I’d spend a Wednesday evening drinking wine while watching Waterloo Road and The Apprentice (DON’T JUDGE ME) but, because my schedule says I’ve got to do 7 miles tomorrow (actually, I should be doing the 7 miles on Saturday but I won’t be able to but schedules can be rescheduled), the wine will be absent. See, schedules are healthy habit inducing!
  2. Get a training buddy: In general, I don’t like running with other people on a social basis as I’d rather zone out and listen to my music but a really good way to make sure you get out the door is to arrange to meet someone; whether that’s by publicly stating on your running group leader’s Facebook page that you’ll be coming to the Tuesday night speed session (yes, I did that and to make sure I definitely didn’t weasel out of it, she came and picked me up and gave me a lift there) or to arrange to see a friend at parkrun. You’re not going to stand your friends up, are you? Nope. Well, not unless you’re a bit of a twat, anyway.
  3. Get signed up to Janathon: Okay, I’m biased because I’m the Queen of ‘Athons (curtseying in my presence is optional) and the more people who sign up, the better I look but Janathon is a fantastic way to get into the habit of exercising. Not only will you feel fitter by the end of the month but you’ll have so much energy you won’t want to stop and you’ll be begging me for a Februthon.

So, there’s the JogBlog Guide To Healthy Habits, and here are some tips from simplyhealth – what are yours?

Gym goers getting more than just a workout

In collaboration with James Duggan 

Gym goers getting more than just a workout

It’s getting very close to the end of the year now and as the dark nights draw in and the winter weather sets in, people are finding it harder and harder to motivate themselves to get in the gym and keep up their fitness regime.

One sure fire way of getting fit is to get up before work and hit the pavement, but with the miserable and dark mornings kicking in, this is something that fitness-hopefuls will put off until the sun reappears.

Hitting the gym, on the other hand, is a different scenario. Getting up on a misty morning in December and quickly running for the door can prove quite easy, however, packing a bag for the long trip to the gym can be a lot more daunting.

So how can people motivate themselves in the gym this coming cold Christmas? Without a doubt, the best way to approach the gym, especially for those who despise the thought of it, is to use it as a time to multi-task.

Most of this can be simply aided by the help of a smartphone. For example, if somebody’s life really needs some organising, a hurried hop on the exercise bike along with that trusted app-enabled phone and duties can be dealt with.

Overdue emails can be sent, important work can be checked over and updated and all before the arrival at the office in the morning. It’s a great way to organise a busy day, using an easy to-do list, with users able to find a convenient app for this at Wunderlist. It’s a win-win situation without the extra hassle, as those on-the-go will feel energised and bosses will be super-impressed by productivity and effort.

Of course, it doesn’t have to always be about the work, “all work and no play..” as the famous saying goes! It’s hard enough that people are having to flex quads on the leg press, so why not use the time to enjoy some entertainment as well?

It may be unbelievable for some, but there are thousands of mobile games out there that don’t have to take hours to download. Naturally, when people are in the gym, there isn’t time to go Googling the best games out there, but there are directories to save time and further unwanted hassle. Fortune Palace, for example, can help to speed up a great workout routine by providing a list of the best games available.

Working out doesn’t have to feel like work, with plenty of easy-accessible entertainment on hand at a person’s fingertips, making time slip by as the pounds drop off. As well as gaming available in a person’s hand, watch time on the treadmill go by a lot quicker, by watching TV on many of the screens located around the walls of the gym.

Then, with work activities already finished off and some fun has been had, it leaves people with plenty more spare time to do the things they love in the evening, proving that the dreaded gym-workouts have certainly become more than just a distressing routine.

Gone are the days of just working up a stressful sweat, with gym-goers now able to enjoy themselves while they get important matters done as well.

It couldn’t be simpler.

How to step up your workout in 2015

Guest post in collaboration with Livefit

How to step up your workout in 2015

As the year finally draws to an end, stuttering fitness routines and relaxed schedules are common as we all get ready for the festive season and the delicious cuisine of Christmas.

Although a number of people think this is the time to relax your routines, it is actually the time you should be focusing on your fitness the most. This will help ensure that you don’t have to “start again” at the beginning of the new year and can continue an already solid fitness routine that you have a lot of experience with. It also means you can eat as much as you want on Christmas Day too…

Get a helping hand with a personal trainer

A New Year, a new resolution and a new you; every year more and more people look to improve their health and fitness but usually these fall short and their routine splutters out, sometimes as soon as the end of January.

Just remember that you don’t have to go at it alone, getting advice is easy and can help you stay motivated, keep you on track and ensure you become everything you want to be. Live Fit personal trainers are there to help, be your fitness buddy and keep you motivated throughout the year. By creating a detailed fitness plan that caters to your favoured sports and works around your schedule, with a supplementary nutrition plan to match, your personal trainer will make sure you keep going on a regular basis and really step up your fitness level.

Get some new gear

The end of 2014 and start of 2015 brings with it ample opportunity for gift giving and taking advantage of the number of sales and deals that are available. Why not use it to save a small fortune and invest in some new state-of-the-art gear? Top of the range trainers, running attire and fitness gadgets can all be bought at a discounted price, if you haven’t already ask for them for Christmas, and these can all help improve your workout. Specially designed running trainers are more supportive and comfortable, improving your posture as you are running or carrying out other forms of exercise which can help to reduce strain on your feet and the likelihood you will get injured.

smartwatch

Accompany your routine with a suitable diet

The best way to supplement your fitness routine is to also work on your diet and focus on eating foods that will benefit your workout and help build muscle and look after your body. They are a number of different things you can focus on, depending on your workout, for example if you are focusing on weight lifting and muscle building eating a lot of protein rich foods will help your muscles grow even bigger. One of the most important things to do is to drink lots of water a day, ideally around 4 litres, as this will ensure you stay suitably hydrated and again will help with your body recover after exercising. Additionally, eating lots of fruit is beneficial as the natural sugars they contain are much better for your body than the more artificial sugars present in chocolate and sweets.

Try something new

Change is good, especially when it comes to exercising. Trying new sports can be a great way to shift your workout up a gear as you start to enjoy a new sport (and form of activity) recreationally, on top of your normal workout routine. There are a number of different new sports to try that will you might fall in love with, all of which focus on a different set of muscles and area of your body, potentially targeting and exercising an area of your body you don’t normally focus on in your routine. Trying something new can add a whole new dimension to your workout!

frisbee

Adjust your schedule

Research has shown that people who exercise at different times gained more muscle and lost more body fat than those who stuck to a strict regime. Adjusting your exercise schedule to see what time is best for you to workout and you might revive a tired regime. In addition, training just before bed will ruin your sleep as your body is charged to full capacity.

Janathon 2015 – Entries Are Open For Janathon’s 5th Birthday!

Janathon 2015

Yeah, Janathon is 5 – where did that time go? As it’s the fifth birthday, it’d be great if as many of you as possible would sign up and make it the best one yet. Remember, you don’t have to blog every day – microblogging is fine, so if you’re feeling a bit typed out, just tweet (#janathon) or post on the Janathon Facebook page what you’ve been up to exercise-wise (you can post what else you’ve been up to, too, if you like, we’re all friends here).

With the help of Deputy Helen, we’re hoping to get some fabulous prizes lined up to give away in a draw open to all participants. So far we’ve got fitness writer Julia Buckley’s bestselling book The Fat Burn Revolution  to give away and I’m going to be adding prizes to the website as they’re confirmed, so keep checking to see what’s up for grabs.

Not one to get my priorities muddled, I’ve set the date for the post-Janathon meet up. As in previous years, it’ll be held in the Holborn branch of Strada. More information on the Janathon website – I hope you can make it.

So, have you signed up yet? Remember, slacking is not an option. Enter Janathon 2015 here.

Helly Hansen Winter Duel

Six and a half years ago, Warriorwoman and I had a challenge within a challenge (sorry about the broken links to the pics). Salomon had asked us both to undertake personal running challenges and so we decided to make things more interesting by seeing who could complete their challenge first. My challenge was to run 100 miles in a month. I know that’s not many for some of you, but it was a lot to me then and I still haven’t run over 100 miles in a month since. Warriorwoman’s challenge was, I think, to run past each station on the Circle Line (this was when it was still a circle. Well, a loop, anyway).

I am far too much of a laydee and noble sportswoman to say who won that particular challenge (clue: IT WAS MEEEEEEEEEEEEEE) but now we’re having a rematch in the form of the Helly Hansen Winter Duel.

Participants in the duel download the app, sign up and the app will set you up with a duelling partner matched to the level of running you’re currently doing or you can choose a partner. I signed in with my Facebook account and there was Warriorwoman’s little face peeking out of my screen and as I think we’re probably on equal terms when it comes to fitness, laziness and can-I-be-arsed-to-go-out-for-a-run-ness, I challenged her to a duel, which she accepted.

We started off really well, as you can see.

Helly Hansen Winter Duel

Slacker? Who, me? As if.

The challenge lasts for five weeks and at the end of the five weeks, the participants with the highest number of miles recorded will get the chance to duel face-to-face at a Helly Hansen training event.

It’s simple to log your miles. You just click that big button you can see in the photo above that says START TRAINING and the app records your time and distance (as far as I can see, it’s purely a stopwatch and map, so I could, in theory, cheat and cycle thirty miles but that would be cheating and cheating is bad and Warriorwoman would never believe I ran thirty miles in one go anyway). When you finish your run, press stop and it shows you how far ahead or behind your partner you are in that current week.

Helly Hansen  Winter Duel

I hope sheep aren’t afraid of heights

As we’ve both got half-marathons coming up, I reckon this challenge will give us the motivation to actually do a bit of training. It certainly gave me more incentive to get out for the six miles I should have done on Saturday.

For more information, watch the video below, or visit the Helly Hansen website.

The JogBlog Guide To Cycling Safely In Winter

Cycling Safety

I’m a raver. Aciiiiiiiiid.

Ideally, you should leave your bike(s) safely locked up in the garage until the summer, as cycling in the winter is absolutely minging but, if you’re like me and live far far away from the train station or somewhere else you need to get to and you don’t drive, you’re going to have to get on your bike. However, there are a few things you can do to make your journey slightly more a) comfortable and; b) safe, and I list these, in no particular order, below.

  1. Lights. The absolute most important thing. I’m being serious here (yes, honestly). I see so many cyclists riding without lights and they’re fucking idiots and they really annoy me and if they get splattered by a car or go to prison for knocking over a pedestrian who didn’t see them on their lumps of metal then they deserve all they get. Lights don’t even have to be expensive – I’ve got my main lights on my mountain bike that I use most of the time to get me around but I’ve also got some of these cheapy cheapy lights (at the time of writing, they’re £1.43 including delivery – how cheapy cheapy can you get?) that work perfectly well and are small enough to carry around if I’m out on one of my bikes that don’t have lights and it’s a possibility I’ll be coming home in the dark.If you don’t have lights, you’re a dooby dooby nutjob.
  2. Hi-vis jacket. Yes, there’s a possibility you’ll be mistaken for a builder but hey ho, it’s all about being seen and keeping safe – it’s not a fashion contest. If you really don’t want to wear hi-vis (but you get used to looking like a builder, honest), you could get one of the Karrimor Reflekt jackets I blogged about the other day. They look like a normal jacket until light shines upon them, then they light up like a simile for things that light up that I can’t think of right now.
  3. Hi-vis rucksack cover. If you don’t want to wear any kind of hi-vis/lighty-up jacket, then hi-vis rucksack covers are available. You’re not so vain you wouldn’t put hi-vis on your rucksack, are you? As well as making you more visible to motorists, it’ll also keep your rucksack dry. Win-win, as saddos say.
  4. Wrap up warm. I’m still seeing some people in town wearing shorts and flip-flops but they’re hard and probably from Newcastle or something but if you’re not a) hard; or b) from Newcastle, you’re going to need to keep your bits warm while you’re on your bike. No, you mucky-minded lot, I’m talking about other bits that stick out like your fingers and your nose. Wear gloves and either a scarf or a buff that you can pull up over your nose and chin. Although, if you’re like me, you can only breathe through a buff for about three seconds before you suffocate and have to pull it down and get cold again. But, buffs are cool and keep your neck warm and they come in all different patterns and can be worn in lots of different ways.
  5. A toolkit. I bought a toolkit from Amazon for about £11 including delivery. It’s great. It attaches to your bike, so there’s no chance of you forgetting to take it out with you and contains levers, a pump, a puncture kit and other things I don’t know how to use.
  6. A carrier bag. Yes, a carrier bag. Take a carrier bag out with you and tie it over your bike to keep the seat wet in case it rains while you’re away from it.
  7. Learn how to fix a chain. Okay, so I don’t know how to use the toolkit or how to change a puncture (I’ve been relying on the ‘someone else will do it for me’ method, but luckily I haven’t – touch wood – had a puncture yet, but I have fallen off in the ice and the snow when I came to a sliding halt at a crossing (damn you, person in wheelchair; next time I’ll make you wait until I’ve gone past before you can cross the road) and my chain came off. I didn’t fancy wheeling it home two miles in the snow so I phoned Shaun and said, ‘Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp, my chain’s come off, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa’ and he said something about putting the bike in third gear and turning the wheel, which worked and I cycled merrily home instead of trudging along at 2 miles an hour in the sludge.
  8. Ass savers. No, I’m not talking about the carrier bag again but someone on my cycling group’s Facebook page brought to our attention Ass Savers mudguards. These are great. They don’t need tools, come in lots of different colours and will save you from getting rain and mud up your back. You can get them on eBay for about £5.
  9. Money/charged phone. Bit obvious really, but make sure you have a charged phone with you so you can call for help if you need to, and money for a taxi/train/bus/cup of tea while you wait for someone to fix your puncture.
  10. Don’t cycle drunk. You might not have a friendly policeman willing to lock your bike up for you and give you a lift home after seeing you unsuccessfully try to ride your bike in a straight line. No, of course this isn’t a true story. (Okay, it’s totally a true story. Wasn’t in London though, obviously.)

If you’d like some more cycling safety tips, there’s a pretty infographic here, but these are my JogBlog Guide To Cycling Safely In Winter ones.

Any tips you’d like to add?

Be Seen and Be Safe In The Karrimor Running Reflekt Range

Guess who stuck diligently to the first week of their half marathon training schedule last week? Yep, you got it – not me. I wasn’t a complete slacker though, as I did join my running group on Tuesday evening for their speedwork session, which involved running past the Outlet Centre’s food court approximately twenty-three times and I can tell you, the smell of chips frying didn’t get any less tempting the more times I ran past it. But at least I was only running past it and not through it, like the Ironman participants had to do in the summer, only to be rewarded for their efforts with a plastic cup of water and an energy gel when they ran – drooling and starving like an extra from The Walking Dead – through the exit.

I should probably admit, I only went to the session because, in an act fuelled foolishly not by wine for once, but by coming home energised and motivated after my local parkrun the Saturday before, I posted on Emily’s – our running group leader – Facebook page that I would be coming along on Tuesday and posting it publicly on her page so I couldn’t get out of it. She even offered me a lift, so there was definitely no getting out of it and now she says now she knows where I live, there will definitely be no slacking off in the future.

As it was an evening run, it gave me the chance to try out the new Karrimor Running Reflekt range I’d been sent. As you’ve probably guessed from the name, it’s made with reflective material. On one of the billion tags that were attached to the jacket and tights, it said to take a photo with the flash to see the transformation. So I did. Here’s the jacket.

Karrimor Running Reflekt Jacket

Photo taken with flash

Karrimor Running Reflekt Jacket

Photo taken without flash

And here are the tights and jacket together, in a runner’s equivalent of double denim.

Karrimor Running Reflekt Tights

Photo taken with flash

Karrimor Running Reflekt Tights

Photo taken without flash

As you can see, these clothes really are reflective. When you’re outside and not taking photos of yourself in the mirror while being ignored by your cat, you can’t tell they’re reflective by looking down at them but my running group were impressed by how reflective they were and wanted to know where they could get some.

It’s not all about the reflectiveness though – this is decent kit. I’m really fussy about my running tights as ones that don’t stay up or are uncomfortable really get on my wick(ing fabric – ha!) These tights are great. They’re thick, long enough (they’re almost too long and I usually have the opposite problem and can’t get tights/trousers/leggings long enough), have zips on each ankle/calf, have a zipped pocket on the back and – most importantly for me – they stay in place and there’s no running along pulling your tights back up while simultaneously hoping you’re not giving yourself a wedgie in full view of any passing dog walkers. You’ve probably noticed they have a pink pattern on the ankles and this is going to annoy the pink haterz, but I like it.

I don’t usually wear a jacket while running as I get too hot, but as it was raining, I thought it might be a good idea and although it fit well and was comfy enough, I did get too hot but if you like running in jackets and want one that will help you not get run over, this is the jacket for you. Karrimor also do a reflective long-sleeved running top but I didn’t get sent one of those to try, boo.

The Karrimor Reflekt running tights are a bargainous £19.99 (honestly, they’re well worth this – I want to get some more as I haven’t got any other decent long running tights) and the jacket is £59.99. The range is available in men’s and women’s (unsurprisingly the men’s tights don’t have pink bits) from the Karrimor website.

Oh yeah, I ran five miles this morning to make up for the five miles I didn’t run on Saturday. I’m not sure how well I’m going to be sticking to my schedule the rest of the week as I’ve been invited to afternoon tea at the Houses of Parliament tomorrow for a running thing (just thought I’d sneak that in there) and I’m out all day on Thursday.

Just getting my excuses in early.

Infographic: Common Running Injuries

Like most beginners, when I first started running, I suffered from a few injuries. Thankfully, I haven’t had anything serious since then, only a few niggles now and again. Okay, so that’s probably because I ran a lot more in the early days but that’s not the point.

If you’re prone to injuries, you’ll be interested in this infographic, featuring some of the most common running injuries, along with tips on how to avoid injuries and some home treatments.Common Running InjuriesInfographic supplied by Cute Injury – Personal Injury Specialists

 

The Accidental Queen

I wanted to go to parkrun this morning but, alas, I got up too late. Only slightly too late and I could have made it if I’d got into my running gear immediately and cycled down to the park without having a cup of tea first, but I’m not much of a get-up-and-get-out-the-door kind of girl, so I dossed about for a bit, then went out for a run by myself round a few local quiet country lanes.

As is usual for round here, I didn’t see many people. I saw a woman and her dog twice and as I got onto the trail that leads back to my road, the dodgiest looking man I’ve ever seen was walking towards me. He was wearing a t-shirt, shorts and trainers but he wasn’t running (obviously only people who are running are allowed to be wearing t-shirts, shorts and trainers) and didn’t look like he had been or was going to be running (obviously all runners look like runners) and he was walking along the path with his fists clenched and his head down. As I went past him, I saw fury on his face and wondered if he always looked like he was in a bad mood or had he just had an argument with his girlfriend or something? But, anyway, he didn’t murder me (obviously) and I carried on running, only looking over my shoulder about twenty-three times to make sure Mr Bad Mood Face hadn’t decided to follow me.

crown

When I got home, I did my usual uploading to SportTracks and Strava thing and was pleased to see I’d won a crown on Strava. YAY! I am currently top woman on the leaderboard for a local segment and fourth overall. Okay, so I’m the only woman on that segment and fourth out of four but that’s not the point. I got a crown. I’m the Queen and you all must curtsey. Ha.

Winners Announced: Upbeat High Protein Dairy Drink

upbeat-protein-drink

The winners of my Upbeat High Protein Dairy Drink giveaway, drawn at random at www.random.org, are:

Maxine Partridge
Kim Neville
Vikki R

Well done, I’ll be in touch for your addresses, and will post the vouchers to you asap!