Last weekend I went and trained in a commercial gym for the first time in…. a long time. I won’t say it’s name but it was one of those cheap ones that is open 24 hours a day. It had loads of machines, a reasonable amount of free weights, one lifting platform with rubbish barbells and what they call a ‘functional rig’ in the middle. I got a decent session done but really did not enjoy it!
As soon as I walked in my enthusiasm and intentions of smashing out a big training session just fizzled away. Sounds a bit dramatic I know but it felt like I’d entered a factory, that I was an animal entering a battery barn to be bulked up ready to be sent to the slaughterhouse.
The lighting was dim with only one window letting in a small amount of natural light into the corner…
I’m currently on a two week holiday travelling Italy and I’m having an absolutely awesome time! I’ve sailed down the beautiful canals of venice, strolled through the incredible sights of ancient Rome, visited the picturesque towns along the pastel coloured Amalfi coast and seen many more famous sights, attractions and hidden gems along the way so far.
Right now I’m on a sandy beach on the volcanic island of Ischia looking forward to relaxing in the natural springs, hiking up mount Epomeo and more bumming around on the beach over the next few days.
The food in Italy really is unbelievable and is a major reason why we decided to holiday here. Luckily Hannah is a massive foodie too so if you head over to her blog here I’m sure she’ll be writing about it.
But here’s just a few snaps to wet your taste buds (though I must warn…
Meet Lady Garmin, I rarely go anywhere without her. She’s the timekeeper of my happy pace, she pushes me when I’m not going fast enough and she sings happily to me when I get a new PB. I love her.
I was given this watch as a present as I embarked on a new marathon training plan and even though I’ve only ever had one Garmin before I have been super impressed with everything this watch can do.
To start with, the Garmin Forerunner 220 lets your friends/family/coach see where you are during a training run or a race, providing you’ve got your phone with you and are using the Garmin Connect app. I don’t run with my phone often as I like time out from it on my runs but I do take it with me on particularly long/rural runs and this feature is great if you’re racing or for worried parents/significant others!
Let’s start from the minute you put the watch on shall we. The lightweight design makes it feel as though you’re barely wearing a watch and the strap is comfortable and does not rub.
There’s absolutely no delay in connecting to GPS to get going – just press the run button and you’re off.
Once you’re running Lady Garmin automatically pauses when you stop and starts again when you continue on your run – this means there’s no need to keep clicking stop/start if you have to stop at traffic lights.
You can also set her up so that you get vibration alerts if you’re going too fast/too slow compared to your goal pace. Although if you don’t want that feature on make sure you turn it off as she will keep buzzing away at you if you’re too slow!
You can customise the display shown when you’re running and this can include distance, pace, time, average pace, heart race zones (comes with a very comfortable heart rate monitor), calories etc or you can set up two screens and switch between the two. You can switch between them manually or set it up so that the display switches between the two automatically.
After your run you’ll be told your distance, average pace, cadence, calories burnt and can then see your mile/km split times.
If you’ve managed a new personal best your Garmin will sing and beep happily at you to say congratulations on the new PB and this will be stored on there for you to have a look at and remind yourself of how fab you are at any time.
Lady Garmin also programmes interval workouts and there are free training plans and support on Garmin Connect which you can download and load on to your watch for coaching as you run!
If you’re looking for a new watch I’d highly recommend taking a look at the Garmin Forerunner 220 for not only a reliable and accurate watch but one that’s going to push you too!
When I start my 24 week Berlin marathon training plan (more on that to come soon!) in a few weeks I’m going to start wearing my heart rate monitor a lot more so that I can learn more about my body and how to perfect my pace.
Some girls get flowers and others get jewellery. I get peanut butter and new trainers!
Yes, these amazing Adidas trainers were my valentines present from Dane and they arrived just a few days ago thanks to a super speedy (free) delivery from Adidas.
I did a lot of shopping around and gait analysis before deciding on the adistar Boost ESM trainers in Flash Pink to match my Hannah’s Happy Pace colour scheme.
I tried on what seemed like hundreds of pairs of trainers but these were the clear winner. A close second were the Adidas grete 30 boost trainers which were possibly the lightest trainers I have ever put on my feet but the adistar boosts felt strong enough to support me through my marathon training.
Here’s what they’re all about…
The shoe offers the best support for a natural foot strike to prevent any pronation and has a TORSION® SYSTEM inbuilt for midfoot stability.
The upper lining of the shoe offers support and comfort and is completely seamless. I’ve also got quite wide feet so finding trainers which accommodate for that can be hard but these were the perfect fit.
The midsole features the much talked about Adidas boost technology which is alleged to give energy back with every stride to help you feel light and fast when running.
Adidas say: “Boost features thousands of visible energy capsules that store and unleash endless energy every time your foot hits the ground.”
The toe of these curves up slightly and at first it took me a while to get used to it but I found that it does actually help you spring forward and gives you power back, just like the description said it would.
The shoe is solid and there’s not a seam out of place. My feet, ankles and legs felt totally secure and supported yet I didn’t feel like I was running in a heavy shoe at all.
I took mine for a spin at the weekend and completed a quick 10 miles (my goal sub 3.30 marathon pace) and they were amazing!
Normally I wouldn’t do more than 10k when breaking in new trainers but these felt as though they were made for my feet. I realise that might not be the same for everyone but I’d highly recommend them if you want a stable yet light training shoe that’s going to be able to do the miles whilst you maintain your speed, if not get quicker thanks to the Boost technology!
Here are the other vital stats:
– Weight: 265g (Size UK 5.5)
– They have a grippy rubber outsole
– They come in colours Flash Pink, Zero Met and Clear Grey
– Start at size 3.5 (UK) right up to size 9.
– They have a breathable mesh lining.
– External heel counter for best heel fit and comfort.
– FREE Adidas delivery until March 22 – so what are you waiting for go and order some to #boostyourrun 🙂
Call us nuts but throughout December in the build up to Christmas my girlfriend Hannah and I decided to embark on a little exercise challenge: 100 burpees everyday!
The idea was pretty simple – 100 a day spread out however we wanted and if for some reason we weren’t able to do the full 100 one day we could carry them over to the next day. There were only a couple of days in which we missed and had to make up for the next day as it was surprisingly easy to fit them in. On a super busy day we would just drop down for 10 now and again, I did a few whilst cooking dinner, between working on my laptop etc and Hannah even dropped down to do them in her works canteen on a few occasions!
Other days when we wanted a tougher workout, we would either combine…
It’s that time again when another challenge month has come to an end and it’s on to the next. February was yoga month where Dane and I did at least 10 minutes of yoga every day.
We decided on ten minutes because it seemed like a manageable amount of time to fit in to our day and could easily be done in the morning, before bed or as a way to stretch after training.
We usually ended up doing more though and I downloaded two yoga apps and went on YouTube for tutorials. After a week or so though I had learnt enough combinations to create my own routine. Check out Dane’s website – All Things Movement – where he will soon be posting a 20 minute yoga routine guaranteed to get that blood pumping and those muscles working.
As a runner I have inevitably tight hips, tight hamstrings and poor shoulder mobility from the repetitive motion of pounding the pavements but after 28 days of yoga I saw noticeable differences.
Here’s what I noticed:
– Positions such as classic downward dog helped me to improve the flexibility of my hamstrings and over the course of the month simple moves such as forward bends became easier and I could gradually go forward that little bit more. I do think it’s important to say that without pushing myself during some sessions I might not have improved as much and yes it is painful but like any other training the pain is worth it.
– My general mobility and range of motion improved. I noticed that my squat depth improved as I had been struggling with this after the marathon due to majorly tight hip flexors. Not only that but the range of motion in my shoulders improved too which I am thrilled about as it’s something I really need to work on. Again, I’m not going to lie this was painful at times and I had to push myself.
– Yoga isn’t painful all the time though! It gave me new ways to stretch after running, a way to relax before bed and a better way to start the day with that wonderful yoga feeling. If you’re a CrossFitter, yoga can help to counter some of that soreness after a tough metcon WOD as well. I also slept better which, although I can’t be sure, I believe was helped by yoga.
– Holding a pose or stretch and feeling that “burn” makes it easier to push through the pain of a long run – obviously don’t push through if you’re injured – but it can help you to focus and work through it when you’re struggling. It takes your mind (and body) to a place where you can access that endurance when you need it most during a race or training run.
– Practicing yoga helped me to breathe more efficiently when exercising and is something I think is particularly beneficial to runners. It can help with efficiency and eventually your breathing will naturally match your pace.
– I became more aware of where my body was/where I was placing my weight. My balance improved and I was aware of how I needed to adjust the weight to improve my balance and performance. This not only helped with my running but also in CrossFit with elements such as engaging my shoulders when doing an overhead squat and squatting in general thinking about which part of my foot I was putting my weight on.
– Yoga helps to improve strength and most definitely your core strength as you have to stay tight during each pose.
I definitely think that to keep seeing these benefits I need to keep some yoga in my training routine. I won’t do it every day but I will try and aim for one or two 30 minute sessions a week – I really enjoyed it!
Dane and I decided to round off yoga month with some acroyoga and I’m still laughing at our attempts! My abs certainly got a good workout from all the laughing as well!
We did manage to nail a few poses though and it was so much fun! I definitely think that the 28 days of yoga prior to that helped with my strength, mobility and flexibility.
Here’s what we managed to do… (keep reading for a hilarious acroyoga fail video.)
Acroyoga fails….(I’m still laughing now!!)
On the second one watch how quickly Dane manages to get his legs in to that lotus position!!
March is handstand month – follow @hbryan91 on Instagram and @hannahbryan91 on Twitter to see what we’re doing. I’ll post a piece soon on the handstand progressions I’ll be doing!
I’m a massive fan of home made beef burgers because they’re so easy to make and you know exactly what you’re getting.
If you use lean minced beef it cuts down on that fatty content as well which is always good. Now on to the best bit, sundried tomato and avocado! Who wouldn’t want that stuffed in a burger!? It’s a match made in heaven in my opinion and the result was a taste sensation.
If you make a big batch of these you can keep them in the fridge and take some for lunch the next day as well.
You will need:
– Pack of lean minced beef
– Two ripe avocados
– 1 small tub of sun-dried tomatoes (from deli counter so no oil if possible)
– Juice of one lemon
– Coriander (chopped, to taste)
– Salt & pepper to season
– Garlic (one/two cloves chopped depending on how much you like)
– One egg
– Coconut oil
– In a large mixing bowl add the beef, egg, chopped garlic, coriander and salt and pepper and combine well.
– In a separate bowl mash the avocado, chopped sundried tomatoes and lemon juice.
– Using your hands, make two thin-ish burger halves (these are going to make one burger). It is easier to shape them on a surface lightly dusted with flour to stop them from sticking.
– Put one heaped tsp of avocado mixture in to the middle of one burger half and then add the other burger half on top, pinching the sides to form the burger and to keep the avocado in. Repeat until all of the mixture has been used.
– Add a tsp of coconut oil to a frying pan and fry the burgers on each side for about 10 minutes/until thoroughly cooked. Alternatively you can grill the burgers. I wouldn’t advise cooking them in the oven though as that will dry them out.
– Serve with sweet potato wedges, crispy kale and corn on the cob.
Enjoy and don’t forget to tag #hannahshappypace in your creations! 🙂
It will be six weeks on Sunday until the Manchester Marathon and I think it’s fair to say that my training has not gone to plan at all due a knee injury.
However Thursday nights training run was a success so I thought I’d share with you where I’m at right now.
This was my longest run since the Yorkshire Marathon back in October, yes, OCTOBER! I can’t quite believe it has taken me this long but like anything else where injury is involved these things take time and it’s best to do it right.
Anyway, I was going to try either 10k or 10 miles on Thursday night; there was literally no plan other than go out and run and see how I felt.
I mapped a route out in my head, strapped on lady Garmin and off I went in to the night! I got to 10k and felt good so thought I may as well carry on to 10.
However I’d misjudged the route and ended up doing 11 and even though I had done 10 miles on Sunday that extra 1 mile was HARD.
It felt great to get the miles in my legs and it’s also a confidence boost too knowing that I am still capable of running far and it’s just a case of building it back up.
I also managed to beat my 10 mile time from Sunday by a minute as well, happy days.
Here’s a breakdown of my timings & mile splits:
Total time: 1.30.11
Distance: 11.01 miles
Average pace: 8.11/mi
It’s early Sunday morning and your eyes are barely open as the microwave whirs. When it pings you’re still on autopilot, chopping up a banana and slowly munching on breakfast. It’s long run day.
Sacrificing your Sunday lie in can be hard and when it’s still pretty cold outside it’s even harder to get out and enjoy that long run. Spring is fast approaching though and as the weather picks up I’ve found myself enjoying my long runs more and more.
Here is my top 14 list of reasons to love long runs and embrace your Sunday Funday.
1- Second breakfast – Trust me to think of food first but that breakfast after is just SO good. When I ran the Yorkshire Marathon I spent a sizeable chunk of the race thinking about where to go for food afterwards. Not only does it pass the time but you get to eat a delicious and nutritious meal afterwards. Who doesn’t love a second breakfast?
2- Endorphins – It’s impossible to not feel great after going for a run. Sure you might feel tired and achey but those endorphins coursing through your veins will have you feeling psyched and ready for the day ahead, which leads me nicely to my next point.
3- Rest of the day – Getting up early to get that long run in means it’s out of the way and you’re free to enjoy the rest of your day. You can embrace Sunday Funday without having that long run feeling hanging over you all day.
4- Miles in the legs – Embrace the fact that this long run is getting the miles in your legs. Whether you’re training for a marathon, half-marathon or a 10k it’s all miles in the legs and that kind of confidence is invaluable when it comes to race day.
5- Time to think – Long runs are the perfect time to think about things whether it’s clearing your head, thinking about race day if you’re training for an event or simply thinking about your week ahead. Not to mention it’s the perfect time to…
6- De-stress – If you’re hitting the road and feeling agitated by something, I guarantee that by the time you hit four miles you’ll be feeling better. Running is the perfect way to de-stress and take that anger out on the roads/trails as those endorphins start to hit.
7- See nice places – When you’re running you become an aerobic tourist. Drive somewhere different and run from there or simply try a new route at home to see different places and take in some amazing views.
8- Spend time with a friend – If you prefer running with someone then this is the perfect way to spend time with a friend, providing they love running too of course! When you’re doing lots of long runs it can be hard to fit social commitments around that so if it’s a fellow runner you want to catch up with then invite them along one Sunday.
9- Practice fuelling – It might not be the most exciting reason to embrace the long run but come race day you’ll be happy you tried out those different gels and found out what works best for you.
10- Perfect your pace – Same as above. It can also show you just what you’re capable of and where you’re currently at with your training.
11- New running gear – Putting in more miles? Then it’s definitely time to reward yourself and buy those new leggings/trainers you’ve had your eye on.
12- Push yourself – There’s something so satisfying about pushing yourself and seeing what you’re capable of. Even if it doesn’t go to plan you’ll have an idea of what you need to do next time to improve.
13- Never be bored on a Sunday – No weekend plans? No problem! Sunday Funday long runs mean you’ll always have something to do on a weekend.
14-End to a great week – What could be better than rounding off a week with a good, solid long run? Not only that but you’ll start the next week off on a high knowing that you’ve had a great week and ended with a fantastic training run.
Enjoying the nicer weather & running with the dog!