A brief training update & tips to maximise your training time

While I don’t like to start with an apology, I feel this post needs one. So firstly, I apologise for the lack of posts recently. In the last two months I’ve moved to a new city and started a new job – life has been hectic to say the least! With the love of a new job to keep me occupied, I’ve found that my priorities have shifted and as a result, training has taken a back seat.

I’ve been more than happy with this, much to my surprise, but with a marathon on the horizon and the drive to hit a new PB, I’m having to adapt my training slightly and make the most of the sessions I can do.

When you’re following a structured or dedicated training plan, it’s inevitable that aspects of life such as your job, house or a family, may mean sticking to that plan isn’t always possible. I thought I’d use this post to give you a quick training update and list a few of my top time saving tips to help you fit training in and make the most of training time.

squats

At the minute, my strength training programme is pretty much the same every week, for four weeks. I’m incredibly lucky that I have Dane to write me a new strength programme every month. At the minute I’m doing two strength sessions a week and I love knowing what I’m going to be doing every time I walk into the gym, for me it just means I get on with it instead of faffing about! The first session is made up of squats, rows, split squats, core exercises, calf work and stiff leg deadlifts. The second session involves sumo deadlifts, dumbbell step ups, more core work,calf work and hip thrusts. At the end of every session I do a glute circuit, which I’ll blog for you with some videos at some point.

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Now on to the running! The road to London Marathon is a long one, so I’m mindful of pacing myself. I’ve been doing a speed session once a week (last week I did 800m repeats with a 200m walking rest period in between) and then a couple of recovery runs, one longer one and a tempo one.

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As I mentioned earlier though, if something comes up at work or with my friends/family, then that schedule can change. Some people train with the mindset that it’s NEVER ok to miss training but personally I think that’s an unhealthy attitude to have. My training for the Berlin marathon definitely taught me the importance of balance!

So here’s a couple of my top tips on how to maximise your training time and fit it in to a busy schedule:

  1. Schedule training in the same way as you would with a dinner date. Drafting in a training buddy is beneficial in so many ways but if you use training time as a way to catch up with someone at the same time then you’re more likely to make sure you fit it in. The other evening, Dane and I wanted to see each other, but I also needed to train and eat so we ran to a restaurant!
  2. Utilise your lunch hour. I get 30 minutes at lunch which isn’t enough time to get a run in and eat, but it’s definitely long enough to get outside and stretch my legs. Getting some fresh air will not only rejuvinate you for the afternoon but can help fire you up for training later in the day. On the other hand, if you don’t get time to train, at least you’ve been out at lunch to stretch your legs and will feel far less sluggish in the afternoon.
  3. Make your quality sessions count. On days where you can afford to do a good session, find the motivation to do it. This is beneficial not only physically but provides you with some mental relief from the pressure of a structured training schedule. If you finish early one day at work for example, or don’t start until later, then make that the day of the week when you’ll do your biggest session. If the rest of the week doesn’t go to plan then at least you’ve got one of your main sessions done.
  4. Be as prepped as you can possibly be. It’s such a simple thing but having your food prepped, clothes laid out and gym bags packed saves so much time and just takes that hassle out of getting ready for the gym or thinking you need to go home to get your stuff or worrying about when you’re going to eat. Having your food prepped too will also help to fuel training.food prep 1
  5. Mix up your training. Similar to booking in a date with a training buddy, booking on to a boxing, spin or another fitness class will make sure you get a good workout in using a structured time period. I find that a spin class is perfect for this. It’s 45 minutes of solid hard work and forces you to work hard throughout.
  6. If you’re worried that you won’t have time to train at all, firstly, try not to worry! If you’re really pushed for time but eager to get something done, do one or two tabata sets. Burpees, kettlebell swings and even body-weight squats are all absolute killers! Equally though, if you don’t have time to train at all, don’t worry, just look ahead to the rest of the week.

What are your time saving tips when it comes to training? Tweet me @HannahBryan or use #hannahshappypace on Instagram. Follow me on Instagram @hbryan91

🙂

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Training on holiday & the Berlin Marathon countdown

Thanks to the fabulous running community on Twitter I’ve been reminded that it’s less than 10 weeks until the Berlin Marathon! 

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10 weeks though! Seriously, where has the time gone?! I’m already at that ‘can’t stop thinking about it marathon stage’ and constantly drifting off into day dreams of running a 3.15 marathon (yeah right, Han!) and I’m not ashamed to say I’ve already planned the outfit I’m flying in! God help whoever has to put up with me for the next 10 weeks, I apologise now.

As you may have spotted from a previous a post, I’ve been in Italy on a bit of a tour across the country. When we booked the holiday I knew I wouldn’t be following my set marathon training plan for a number of reasons; 1) there’s gelato to be eaten 2) the heat and 3) I booked a holiday to relax, sightsee and have a break.

So with that accepted I settled on trying to get a few runs and some bodyweight exercises in now and again, it is part of my happy pace after all! Still, it was hard not running. I worried about getting behind, worried about the extra pizza weighing me down and worried that I ‘d be too unfit to get back on track.

The reality is that it’s two weeks and I actually exercised most days. Granted most days it was walking but when sightseeing in Venice and Rome we averaged 8 miles of walking a day! Never forget to pack your Garmin on holiday, even if you’re not going to be running!

If you’ve got an autumn marathon booked and a holiday coming up as well then check out these tips on how to maintain a training routine while away.

Sightseeing – Grab a guidebook and go on a walking tour. Lonely Planet books are amazing for this. Not only will you see the sights and plenty of hidden gems along the way but you’ll also be banking some miles in the legs. Think of it as another version of steady state cardio. Another amazing way to see the sights of where you’re staying and to explore an area is to get up and run! Run early in the morning before the heat hits and use it as a way to explore the area and see some sights before everyone else is awake. It’s like your own personal private tour and a chance to get up close and personal with the city.

Run 2 Run 1

Use your surroundings – If there are some steps down to the beach do stair runs up and down them or sprints along the beach. Think of the feeling of jumping into the sea after a hot and sweaty workout! Also, use the sea or a swimming pool if your hotel has one to get some swimming in. It’s a great cross training activity and gives your knees a break from road running or pounding the treadmill. Not to mention it’ll cool you down!

Run 3

Move the furniture- Make space in your hotel room/find the space to do a bodyweight workout. This can be as little as a tabata workout or an hour long strength session if you wanted it to be. Check out Dane’s blog where he’s posted what we did as well as some more challenging hotel workouts. Make sure you look around and see what you can make use of. It might be a step for calf raises or a chair for Bulgarian split squats for example. A good bodyweight workout can go a long way! You can burpee, hip thrust, or squat jump just about anywhere! If you’ve got some bands pack those in your suitcase too to use when you get there.

Run 5 Run 6

Running past the colosseum, along the Venetian canals and by the harbour in Ischia was amazing and I feel so lucky to say I’ve done that. I’m excited to get stuck in to Berlin training once again now though as well as my new programme for the gym designed by Dane. You can check out my previous programme in an earlier post here.

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In other marathon news I’ve only gone and got myself a good for age place in next year’s London Marathon! 😀 YES!

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I’ll be keeping you up to date with how my trainings going over the next 10 weeks as well as posting plenty about Italy and the new recipes I’m going to rustle up inspired by the food I’ve eaten in Italy.

Ciao!

 

Easy homemade guacamole

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If there’s one food that’s extremely versatile it’s avocado. This homemade guacamole is super easy and quick to make and can be used as a dip, added to your lunch, spread on wraps or as a garnish on certain dishes.

You will need:
– 1 red chilli
– 1 red onion
– 1 whole lime
– 1 ripe avocado
– Black pepper for seasoning
– tomatoes (optional)

To make:
– Start by finely chopping the chilli and red onion and put into a bowl.
– Peel and dice the avocado and add to the bowl along with the black pepper for seasoning.
– Next add the juice of one lime and mash together with a fork.
– If you want to add tomatoes I’d recommend a variety of red and orange ones. Simply chop finely and add to the mixture as well.
– Voilà – homemade guacamole ready in a flash!

Enjoy 🙂

Tag me in your creations on Instagram and Twitter using #hannahshappypace

Seafood & three tomato courgetti in a spicy tomato sauce

Crazy for courgetti!

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Looking at the picture on the left you could easily mistake it for a pan of pesto covered spaghetti yet it’s actually one of my favourite “pastas”, courgetti!

Thanks to my handy little spirazlier (which you can spend as much or as little on as you want – mine was £13 from Amazon) I’m able to transform this underrated vegetable in to yummy ribbons of courgette as a substitute for pasta. The outcome is a light dish which has the same texture as spaghetti and is quicker to cook than pasta – I love it.

Another food I love is fish and it goes great with courgetti which is how this dish was created. The recipe uses fresh, clean ingredients that are easy to get hold of and the entire dish can be made in less than 40 minutes. Healthy eating doesn’t need to be overly fancy and involve lots of ingredients you can barely pronounce, just eat good stuff! Also, this dish is ridiculously tasty!

You will need: (this served three people, two ladies & one big portion for the other half!)
– Three courgettes, spiralized
– Cherry tomatoes, chopped
– Vine tomatoes, chopped
– Sundried tomatoes, chopped
– 1 tbsp red pesto
– 2 tbsp, tomato purée
– King prawns
– 2 salmon fillets
– Coriander, chopped
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– Kale
– Coconut oil
– 1 red chilli, chopped

To make:
– Start by preheating the oven to about 180 degrees and wrap the salmon in some tin foil before putting in the oven to cook for about 18-20 minutes.
– Heat a tsp of coconut oil in a frying pan and add the chopped garlic, cherry tomatoes, vine tomatoes and chopped chilli. After a couple of minutes add the tomato purée.
– When the salmon has been in the oven for about 10 minutes put the kale on a baking tray and drizzle with a little oil before putting in the oven to roast for about 10-12 minutes – be careful though as it does crisp up quickly.
– Add the spiralized courgetti to the pan and stir in the pesto, king prawns and chopped coriander.
– Once everything is ready, put the kale in a bowl then add the courgetti pasta and top with a piece of your salmon fillet.

Enjoy and tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace

Got a courgetti recipe you want featured? Contact me! 

Berlin marathon training

Warning: look away now if you don’t like squiggly red line running routes and heart rate graphs!

Berlin marathon

In honour of National Running Day I thought it was only fitting to write something about running and more specifically about my running.

If you follow me on Twitter/Instagram you will probably know that I’m training for this year’s Berlin Marathon (woohoo). I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to secure a place in the ballot, I’m so excited!

I also happen to love Berlin having visited once before on a four day city break with my friend Hannah G. The nightlife there is like nothing I have EVER experienced before. Anyway, that’s another story and a different blog post entirely.

Berlin mara 1

Back to this post and my Berlin Marathon training. So far my training has been good and I’m injury free – touch wood – having largely stuck to my programme which is about 25 weeks in total if I remember correctly.

Each week on my programme is different but there are certain elements which are constant. Every week there will be two quality sessions, one focusing on speed and the other on distance. The rest of the week is split in to minimum 30 minute runs. A run after a quality session will always be a 30 minute recovery run at easy pace and the others will have some strides thrown in.

rec run 1

A recovery run with 7 x 20-30sec strides thrown in.

Here’s what my training looks like for this week. This is the second week of phase two of my programme.

Monday 30 mins easy pace with 7 20-30 sec strides
Tuesday 30 mins easy pace
Wednesday Quality 2: 4 mins hard, 3 mins recovery jog until reached 10K
Thursday 30 mins easy pace
Friday 30 mins easy pace with 8 x 20-30 sec strides
Saturday Quality 1: 20 mins easy pace, 20 mins threshold pace, 20 mins easy pace
Sunday 30 mins easy pace

Saturday is my first Q1 (quality 1) session but this is my second week of Q2 sessions. I’m really enjoying the programme so far as it means I’m running regularly and even when I don’t feel like it I remind myself that 30 minutes is more than manageable. I think it was on a Runner’s World Facebook thread where one woman wrote that whenever she doesn’t feel like running she always runs at least one mile. If at the end of  that mile she still doesn’t want to run then she allows herself to run home, meaning she’s done at least two miles that day. This is a great strategy if ever you’re lacking in motivation as by the time you’ve reached two miles about 15 minutes has passed so I think I might as well do the other 15 and before you know it you’ve reached 30 minutes.

A recovery run which turned in to a pretty fast 5 miler, whoops.

A recovery run which turned in to a pretty fast 5 miler, whoops.

I’m also monitoring my average and max heart rate thanks to my fabulous Garmin Forerunner 220.

One of the main benefits of using a heart rate monitor is that it can help you to make sure you’re recovering adequately from other runs. If you know your average resting heart rate and VO2 max you can work out what your heart rate should be on a recovery run. Having a quick glance at this on your watch while running means you can make sure you’re not overdoing your easy/recovery runs (something I am guilty of!) and this can ultimately help to prevent overuse injuries.

HR 1

A 5k made up of fast intervals which got my HR to 191.

Monitoring your heart rate also gives you a more precise way of gauging exertion levels which is usually more accurate than your own thoughts on how hard you think you’re working.

A 10K Q2 session HR graph

A 10K Q2 session HR graph

I’m definitely getting faster as well which I love and I already feel comfortable at a faster minute mile pace than before which is great. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got a long way to go before the Berlin marathon and over the next two weeks my speed sessions really start to ramp up, eek!

A Q1 long run from the previous week.

A Q1 long run from the previous week.

My goal is just to perform as well as I can in the marathon on September 27 and enjoy running my first marathon abroad. I’d love to run sub 3.30 or dare I say it break 3.20 but we’ll just see what happens on the day. Either way, I’m ready for the next four months and to see what I’m capable of.

Are you training for a marathon? Let me know what your programme is like!

Egg muffins – a healthy high-protein breakfast or snack

Muffins? Love. Eggs? Love. Egg muffins? GO ON THEN!

egg muffins

Many of us don’t have the time/would prefer not to make eggs in the morning so these are the perfect portable breakfast to have on the go or as a snack or lunch accompaniment.

Boasting the density of a muffin and all the protein benefits of eggs, this is a super easy and tasty recipe to rustle up when you’re doing your food prep.

Not only that but it’s another way of getting your greens in first thing in a morning. If you’re someone who can’t stomach the thought of broccoli for breakfast (personally I love it morning, noon and night!) then this is a great way to get those vitamins and nutrients in your system in a creation which actually tastes amazing too.

You can keep these egg muffins in the fridge, heat them up or simply eat them cold.

My recipe below used the ingredients I had in the fridge at the time but you can add chorizo, salmon, sweet potato… basically anything you like – give it a go and let me know what you use.

You will need: (makes 6 big muffins)
– 6 eggs
– Handful of chopped spinach
–  Pepper/spices to season
– 4 spring onions, chopped
– ¾ bacon rashers, grilled & chopped up

To make:
– Crack the eggs in to a jug or a large bowl and whisk with a fork as though you’re going to make scrambled eggs.
– Add the pepper and other spices as well as the rest of the chopped ingredients and stir well.
– Pour the mixture into muffin cases or a Yorkshire pudding tray, basically anything that’s deep enough to hold the mixture and put it into a pre-heated oven at about 180° for 20-25 minutes until cooked.

Have you made these and added your own fillings? Let me know. Tweet me at @hannahbryan91 or tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace

Super quick sausage & bean stew

A stew which takes less than 30 mins – yes please!

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If there’s one thing I hate it’s waiting for my food! After a run I am RUNGY (see what I did there!?) and the last thing I feel like doing is waiting an hour or so for my dinner to cook.

I love to food prep and I’m pretty good at making my lunches in advance but not so much with my dinners and they tend to end up being something super quick and easy. When I’m cooking for just me it tends to be meat/fish, veg & some sort of lentils/carbs if I’ve trained. It’s always something pretty basic really but when I’ve got friends over I feel as though I can’t just give them the basics.

So last night Dane and I did some tough intervals (a post to come on that session soon!) and after that I needed something I could rustle up quickly for us both…you don’t want to be around Dane and I when we’re hungry!

This stew is perfect for that. It’s full of flavour and packed full of fibre and protein from the beans. This means they’ll keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer.

If you’re a vegetarian then simply leave out the sausages, it’s more than substantial on its own I just love sausages!

I served mine on a bed of crispy kale or if you fancy something even more filling then serve it with brown rice or quinoa although don’t forget you are getting carbs from the beans.

You will need:
– Sausages (I used Tesco finest sweet chilli sausages which are delicious)
– 1 tin of cannellini beans
– 1 tin chopped tomatoes
– 1 tablespoon of tahini (I used dark tahini which I’d recommend if you’re digestive system is good because you’re getting the full benefit of the seed because in the light tahini the seeds have been hulled)
– Handful of sundried tomatoes (drained of oil)
– 2 cloves garlic, chopped
– 1 tsp chilli powder or a chopped red chilli
– 1 tsp cumin
– 1 tsp paprika
– Pepper for seasoning
– Coriander to stir in and to garnish

To make:
– Start by either grilling or frying your sausages (I’d always recommend grilling but if you’re frying then try to use coconut oil)
– Once the sausages are cooked simply put them to one side. Drain the beans and rinse them with water before adding to a large pan along with the tomatoes (chopped and sundried), tahini, garlic, spices, pepper and some chopped coriander.
– Heat in the pan for about 10 minutes or until everything is piping hot. You can either serve with the sausages on top or chop them up and stir them into the stew.

* If you’re making crispy kale heat the oven to about 180 degrees and when pre-heated put the kale on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and put in the oven for between 10-15 minutes – keep an eye on this as once it starts to crisp up it does so very quickly!

For afters I had some (and when I say some I mean that we ate it all) of this Lindt dark chocolate and a gingerbread green tea – so, so good!

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Enjoy 🙂

Tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace