Grab life by the bells with the January kettlebell swing challenge



Who actually keeps New Year’s resolutions?

If you’re screaming ME at the computer right now then please let me know – I want whatever you’ve got.

I’m not a quitter by any means but there’s something about New Year’s resolutions that I struggle to stick to. It might be something to do with the fact that at the start of the New Year people tend to go BIG. I think this is where I, along with a lot of other people, probably fall down.

It’s great to have goals but making your resolution something which you know deep down isn’t going to be manageable or even achievable is essentially setting yourself up for a fall.

I’ve decided to take a different approach this year and break my resolutions down in to month long goals to take on a different challenge or adopt a new habit each month.

Dane suggested the idea after we completed just over three weeks of the 100 burpees challenge (blog post to come on that soon). I love the idea of pushing my body and at the same time improving my fitness and endurance so this was the perfect idea.

I declare January as Kettlebell Month.


Taken from Dan John’s 10,000 Swings Kettlebell Workout, our challenge will be to complete 1,000 swings a week which works out at something like 142 a day.

I’ll be doing mine with a 20kg bell whilst Dane will be using a heavier one and we’ll be doing Russian swings.

Dan John suggests breaking the swings up in to manageable sets and increasing the number of reps each time. For example 100 swings is broken down like this:
Set 1: 10 reps
Set 2: 15 reps
Set 3: 25 reps
Set 4: 50 reps

He also suggests introducing a low volume strength movement between sets such as tricep dips, goblet squats or chin-ups. It would work like this:
After set 1 – 1 rep
After set 2 – 2 reps
After set 3 – 3 reps
After set 4 – 4 reps

Rest 3 minutes or so after the entire four sets are completed with 30-60 seconds rest between sets.

You might not feel as though you need 30 seconds rest between set one and set two but trust me, when set four rolls around you’ll be glad of the rest. 50 unbroken swings after the other 50 is harder than it looks.


So that’s Kettlebell Month – I can’t wait to get started. Other monthly challenges for 2015 will include swimming, yoga and handstands. I won’t be neglecting my running though as 2015 is going to be a BIG year running wise for me.

Here’s what I achieved in 2014:
– I ran my first marathon in 3.53
– I took part in my first 24 hour race, the Adidas Thunder Run 24 Hour and ran 31 miles.
– Along with my friend Jim I completed my first trail half-marathon, the Dalby Forest No Ego Run.
– I can officially say I’m a Tough Mudder
– I joined a running club and I started CrossFit.

Here’s what I want to achieve in 2015:
– Remain injury free!
– Run a sub 3.45 marathon
– Run a marathon abroad (Guten Tag Berlin Marathon!)
– Run my first ultra-marathon

Let me know what your 2015 goals are. You can Tweet me @hannahbryan91 email me or follow me on Instagram @hbryan91

Happy New Year 🙂

An advent calendar with a difference

Photo credit to Advent Running

Photo credit to Advent Running

Since the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon – which was almost two months ago now – I am ashamed to say that I have really struggled to get back in to running. It is partly because of niggling injuries and partly because it’s that time of year when the motivation to jump out of bed on a cold, dark and wet winter morning can start to dwindle.

It was by chance that I spotted the Advent Running Challenge on Twitter which involves running every day for at least 30 minutes for 25 days, ideally starting on December 1.

With the Central Lancashire New Year Half Marathon fast approaching I thought that this would be the perfect time to get back in to the swing of things and make time for running in what usually promises to be a busy month full of Christmas shopping and festive fun. Not to mention that more running equals more mince pies!


I will be starting my challenge tonight and will finish my last run on Boxing Day.
Get involved and check out the challenge online or Tweet Advent Running to share your pictures and running experiences. There will also be a spot prize each day for the best photo, video or written description of the day’s run shared on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

2014 has been a great running year for me and I want to make this final month a good one! Happy December running everyone!


Vale of York half-marathon

When the race organisers said that the course for the Vale of York half-marathon  was flat, they weren’t joking. With just one slight incline across the entire 13.1 miles, this course is perfect for those looking to bag a PB or take on their first half-marathon.

Held yesterday for the first time, it was also perfectly timed for those running the Yorkshire Plusnet Marathon on Sunday, October 12.

The event was sold out and over 1,000 runners were expected to take part. I joined those runners along with my best friend and fitness pal Liana (follow our fitness journey on Instagram using #fabsfitness) as we headed to the start line at the Race HQ at Sherburn Aero Club.

The sun was shining and other than not enough toilets, I can’t fault the organisation of it. The two ladies working on the bag drop were very busy but as long as you’re patient that doesn’t matter.

As I am now well in to my training for the Yorkshire Marathon (last weekend I ran 20 miles!) Liana and I decided to enjoy the sunshine and run this at marathon pace, rather than race it at half-marathon pace. After the first two miles we had settled in to a comfortable pace, with our mile splits only differing by a couple of seconds either side.

So far my long runs haven’t always been at marathon pace, especially the much longer ones.  My coach told me that I need to be able to run some of my long runs comfortably at marathon pace so this was a great training run for me.

Although the route was made up of long, flat and often straight roads, it was made enjoyable by the attractive scenery. As we reached the finish line the crowds had picked up and really gave runners a boost as they crossed the finish line.

Once we had handed our timing chips in we were greeted with an energy gel, a technical t-shirt and a medal.

All in all, the route was great and both Liana and I said that it was one of the most enjoyable races we had ever run. I’ll definitely be back next year to try and secure a PB.

vale of york half mara

Liana and I celebrate with our medals after completing the first ever Vale of York half-marathon

20 facts about me

Time for some blogger loving!

This afternoon I was Tweeted by Jess Wreford (@jcwnutrition) who writes a fantastic blog documenting her fitness and nutrition journey. Jess encouraged myself and fellow bloggers @ashjvella @alexbakero @ThomasGudgeon @SpamellaB @BeiFit @hookedonhv @healthjenblog and @fabgiovanetti to write 20 facts about ourselves.

After reading Jess’ I wasted no time in starting mine and it felt quite therapeutic to write actually. So here goes…


20 facts about me :)

20 facts about me 🙂

1) I’m 22 and have been working as a trainee journalist for the past year after spending three years at the University of Sheffield studying journalism.

2) #poweredbypeanutbutter – I am ADDICTED to peanut butter, in particular Meridian Foods peanut butter and will put it on just about anything.

3) I once ate a kilo of peanut butter in just three days.

4) I’m a runner and have completed four half-marathons – my PB is 1 hour 39 and I’m hoping to get that down to 1.28 by early next year.

5) I am currently training for my first marathon – the Yorkshire Plusnet marathon on October 12 and I am hoping to run it in under four hours.

6) I recently joined a running club, the Knavesmire Harriers, to help work on m y speed and endurance and I love it.

7) I LOVE fun facts – if you’ve got any fun/quirky facts hit me up!

8) I’m a huge fan of adventures, so much so that I even have the word ‘adventure’ tattooed on me in Nepalese.

9) In 2011 I trekked to Everest Base Camp with a group of students from university for a charity called Childreach International.

10) I recently started CrossFit at CrossFit Jorvik and I’m already addicted to it. I’ve also seen the benefits of doing CrossFit in my running.

11) The majority of my wages goes on food for new recipes or trainers – I have lots of trainers both for working out and just for day wear– my Nike Airs are my babies!

12) Every morning when I get to work I drink two coffees, with a little bit of milk, no sugar, in quick succession.

13) My favourite time of day to run is either first thing in the morning before everyone else is awake or in the rain.

14) I love lazy mornings at the weekend before heading out on a long run and my ideal breakfast in bed would be smoked salmon, poached eggs, spinach, big mushrooms and really good brown toast.

15) I advocate a healthy, balanced lifestyle. My friend Liana has the motto of healthy body, healthy mind and I completely agree. I love treats and never deprive myself of anything.

16) Health and fitness wise I’m learning how to fuel my body properly and I’m on a mission to get stronger and faster. Strong is the new skinny after all.

17) I work-out about 5-6 times a week with a mixture of running and CrossFit.

18) I’m going to be an auntie next year and I’ve already told my sister that I’m going to teach the baby to run really fast.

19) I was a cheerleader for two years at university and took part in competitions alongside my friend Becca.

20) I run simply because I love it. I find running therapeutic and I have found that there’s not much that a good hill sprint session or a 10K can’t solve. For me it’s also about feeling healthy and full of energy and to know that you’re looking after your body to the best that you can.

Conquer the Forest No Ego Challenge

I am proud to say that I am one of the top 50 finishers in the first ever Dalby Forest No Ego Challenge!

As my first trail race I wasn’t sure what to expect but within the first half a mile I knew it wasn’t going to be like any other half-marathon I had experienced.

The hills were relentless and we grappled with loose rocks on steep descents and tired not to lose our trail shoes whilst wading through muddy bogs.


Before the madness got underway.

Before the madness got underway.

Jim and I all smiles before we headed to the start line.

Jim and I all smiles before we headed to the start line.

My friend Jim picked me up at about 8.30am and we made our way to the picturesque Dalby Forest which took us just over an hour. Registration was quick and easy and once we had our number it was time to get a few pictures before a brief warm up and a pre-race talk. We were told to let those who were “going big” to go first as after about 100m the path narrowed to single file.

Our strategy was to try and run nine minute miles which we worked out would get us in at 1 hour 57 minutes. However shortly after setting off we realised that it might be a struggle.

Within the first mile we hit the first climb which was almost impossible to run up. Small and steady steps Jim assured me, which actually turned out to be a pretty good strategy but I saw at least a couple of people walking up every hill we were faced with. Trying to make up time after the hills was almost impossible too as the flat stretch afterwards was used for recovery rather than for speed.

However the route itself was amazing. Flying down winding banks through the forest, navigating your way over fallen trees and through muddy bogs made this the best race I’ve ever been a part of.

That said though, it was one hell of a challenge and without Jim I definitely would’ve struggled a lot more. At times you’re running solo and as someone who is used to the cheering of crowds during a road race I can imagine that if you were running alone and were not a seasoned trail runner it could be quite lonely.

Another difference is that  you have to give the terrain your full concentration for the duration of the race. You can’t switch off the same way you might do on the roads. If you’re not paying attention to your footing one wrong move could see you coming down on your ankle.

Dalby Forest was the perfect setting for it though and like any other race, all of the runners were supporting each other which was fantastic. It was also interesting to know that even some of the seasoned trail runners taking part were not doing it for a time, something which took me a while to adjust to I must admit.

The muddier we got though the more fun I began to have and whizzing through the forests and breathing in that wonderful earthy smell was just fantastic.

The final hurdle was a killer hill before a sprint finish across the line to come in at just under two hours at 2hrs28mins and the 11th lady to finish. Not bad for my first trail half-marathon I’d say, especially considering that we stopped twice to try and get rid of my persistent pins and needles in my left foot/leg and stopped to drink at every water station.

The feeling in my legs afterwards was nothing like that after a half-marathon road race either and I definitely felt as though I had worked a lot harder. It was such a great feeling though and I am definitely going to sign up to another trail challenge in the future. But until then it’s time to soak the blisters in TCP and Savlon in the hope that they recover in time for this weekends Adidas Thunder Run!

Keep your eyes peeled for the official pictures as well which I will post on here when they’re out.

Celebrating with my No Ego Challenge t-shirt after the race

Celebrating with my No Ego Challenge t-shirt after the race

Don't even want to try and clean these yet...

Don’t even want to try and clean these yet…

Check out those blisters!

Check out those blisters!


Marathon training & some other challenges in between

After weeks of thinking about it I’ve finally devised myself a training plan for the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.
With just under three months to go I thought I’d share my training with you as I work up to running 26.2 miles and take on a few different challenges in between. 

Here’s a little about what I’ve got coming up:

Saturday, July 19: The No Ego Trail Challenge – Conquer the Forest half marathon at Dalby Forest
Just five days from now I’ll be running my first trail half-marathon. I’m not sure just how much of the stunning views of Dalby Forest I’ll be able to take in though as we battle through water, jump over fallen trees and tackle mud bogs and plenty of hills. As it’s my first one I’m not expecting a fantastic time but ideally I’d like to complete it in less than two hours.

Saturday, July 16: Adidas Thunder Run 24 Hour
For many people, the thought of running for 24 hours would sound like some form of extreme punishment. To me though, it sounds like one hell of an exciting challenge. I have been lucky enough to secure a place on the Women’s Running magazine team for this incredible challenge, organised by Adidas. The idea is that someone from the team has to be running the 10k trail route at all times across 24 hours. Each competitor must complete at least one lap but after that you can run as many as you want, or take it in turns. Hats off to those solo runners who do the full 24 hours by themselves! I don’t doubt that it’s going to be a huge test for me, both physically and mentally.

Saturday, August 2: Tough Mudder Yorkshire
My best friend and fitness fanatic Liana took on Tough Mudder last year and this year we’ve decided to do it together. We will be volunteering as course marshals on the Sunday after running the course on the Saturday as well. For those of you who don’t know what Tough Mudder is all about, it’s described as the toughest event on the planet. Over ten-12 miles we’ll tackle a range of obstacles from underwater tunnels to rope climbs and even fire to test our strength and all round physical (and mental) capabilities.

So that’s what I’m facing at the moment, a gruelling three weeks with plenty of recovery and mobility work in between and quite frankly I can’t wait!