- Hotel miniatures – To save you from carting around big bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash stock up on mini bottles from hotels whenever you go away. I came back from Italy with loads of miniature shower gels, shampoos and conditioners which are perfect to keep in your gym bag. Alternatively you can buy small travel bottles to fill with your own shampoo/conditioner/body wash to take to the gym to save space in your bag and make sure you’ve always got them.
- Pack your bag – This is such a simple one but it means you can have that little bit longer in bed if you know your bag is packed and ready to go. Laying out your gym kit the night before is also one less thing to do in the morning so you’re not dashing around trying to find some clean socks or the shorts you want to wear. Basically it’s just a good time saver and takes the unnecessary stress out of your early morning routine. Don’t forget to pack a couple of carrier bags too for your sweaty clothes and wet towel.
- Hair dyer creased clothes – I always pack my gym bag the night before and more often than not I’ll have packed a top for work that should really be hung up rather than folded and stuffed into a gym bag. Come 7.30am when I’ve finished my session it’s in desperate need of an iron. Never fear though because the gym hair dryers come in pretty handy here. Use them on the warm/hot setting and it blows out the creases in no time at all.
- Dry shampoo and a doughnut– I wish I had the patience to carefully blow dry my hair and then curl/straighten it as some women do every morning at the gym. Truthfully I just can’t be bothered after a tough session, I just want to get ready and go so I can eat! If I’ve not done a session where I’ve got seriously sweaty I’ll spray some dry shampoo in my hair and then use my faithful doughnut. Sadly I’m not talking about a Kirspy Kreme here but the hair doughnut you stick your pony tail through and pull your hair over the top to create a giant messy bun. These are absolute lifesavers and believe it or not they actually work better on unwashed hair and you can’t even tell you’ve come straight from the gym!
- Food prep & post workout snacks– I always make my breakfast the night before to save time and money. If you make it the night before you know you’ve got it to devour straight after your workout and you don’t need to worry about how and when you’re going to refuel. Check out my overnight oats recipe which is a great post workout breakfast to have on the go. Also it’s worth packing a snack to take after if you’re someone who takes a while to get ready or likes to eat breakfast at your desk. Aim to eat the snack (or your breakfast) within 30 minutes of finishing your workout.
With nothing but a weekend of eating and running ahead it was time to rustle up a new recipe.
I gave them the name Mission Balls due to the absolute mission my friend and I had making them – there was a lot of smoke coming from a borrowed blender at some point! Yet despite that slight mishap, these energy bites turned out well are are a great pre or post workout snack.
I am a snack monster and I am constantly on the lookout for new, healthy snacks that I can grab as I’m leaving the house and take to work ready to eat before training later that day or just to nibble on during the afternoon slump.
These bites fit that bill perfectly and are a much more economically friendly version than buying a bar every day or even a multi-pack box of cereal, energy or protein bars.
They are also ridiculously easy and quick to make and don’t take up much room in the fridge either. Another great thing about them is that you can customise them depending on what fruit/nuts you fancy.
You will need: (makes about 14 energy bites depending on how big you make them)
125g dried apricots
100g cashew nuts
25g raw cacao powder
4 heaped tablespoons of honey
3 heaped tablespoons of Meridian smooth peanut butter
I found the best way to make these energy bites is to put the mixture into the blender a little bit at a time.
So basically – and this shows just how simple they are to make – put a portion of all of the ingredients into the blender and whizz around until they are well combined.
If the mixture is looking a little dry add more honey or peanut butter.
Keep blending the mixture until it is all combined and then tip out of the blender and into a bowl or on to a plate.
Now you can get your hands involved and form the bites in to whatever shape you desire. I went for balls but bars work just as well. Form them in to the desired shape and then sprinkle them with a bit of cacao powder and pop into the fridge to set and voila, homemade energy bites.
“Grind it out, Hannah, just grind it out.” Those were the words I was repeating out loud to myself like a madwoman on my final long run before the Yorkshire Marathon.
With less than two weeks to go I took to the roads at the weekend to complete my final long run and it was definitely a tough one.
Knowing I was about two weeks behind where I should/wanted to be due to a bit of an iffy calf I was apprehensive about how far I’d make it on Saturday.
22 miles would’ve been the dream but I think deep down I knew that wasn’t going to happen having not ran more than eight miles in the past two weeks. So I settled on doing anything between 16-22 miles – I’m not one to give up easily!
Everything was fine to start with, I felt strong, my Shot Bloks were slipping down like I was eating fruit pastilles in front of the X Factor on a Saturday night and I was running a good 30 seconds quicker on each mile than my estimated marathon pace. Until mile 18 that is.
I think my mind gave up before my legs did, which is usually the case, hence why I began chanting to myself whilst Eminem Till I Collapse was on repeat.
I reached 20 miles and decided that was enough, disappointed that I hadn’t managed to hit 22 but pleased that my calf looked like it was going to hold up for the race – and that’s the most important thing, I kept reminding myself.
So with the countdown officially ON (I say that, I’ve been counting down for the past 70 odd days!), it’s finally time to taper.
I’ve been reading up on how to taper and have found that most blogs are suggesting to reduce mileage by another 20-25 per cent during the final two weeks and to run everything easy. So that’s exactly what I’ll be doing.
I’ll be doing three/four runs this week and two/three CrossFit sessions to keep my strength up but if my calf starts playing up I’ll swim instead of run and will take it easy with CrossFit.
I’m in the process of planning my final week now (eek!) and have stocked up on different flavoured Shot Bloks for the race and have almost finalised my race outfit – priorities ey!
Yorkshire Marathon – Let’s do this!!