Brunch at Alyssum Cafe Bistro, Sheffield

If you’re looking for a delicious brunch in a super cute setting with mouth-watering cakes to devour afterwards, Alyssum is the place for you.

In a predominately student populated area, you could easily drive past Alyssum, based on Barber Road, Crookesmoor, if you weren’t looking for it.

It’s tucked between a few shops and is really quaint. With just a few tables inside, surrounded by ornate, homely décor, you’re in luck if you get a table straight away.

This popular brunch spot is a very foodie place indeed and an Instagrammers haven for sure!

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Instagram is in fact how I stumbled across Alyssum and after browsing through their pictures it was quickly added to be brunch ‘to do’ list.

After the gym one morning, I finally headed there with my friend Jade. We both had the vegan Alyssum breakfast which was made up of a potato rosti, house-made tomato and pepper smoke paprika salsa, sautéed mushrooms, falafel and avocado.

It was absolutely delicious, not to mention beautifully presented. The menu speaks for itself, with plenty of choice and lots of delicious Greek options for breakfast, brunch and lunch. Take a look for yourself here to get those taste buds tantalised.

Beware though, you’ll definitely want a cake afterwards! The cakes change daily and although I didn’t try one on my most recent trip, it’s safe to say I’ll be back to try one asap. Check out their website here for some seriously insane pictures of their cake creations. They even make vegan chocolate cake too!

Alyssum’s tasty creations don’t stop there though…we need to talk about the coffee! Both Jade and I devoured two cappuccinos (almond milk for Jade, soya for me!) with vanilla syrup in one and hazelnut in the other. They were SO good, seriously – so good! I love coffee. Not to mention, they were presented beautifully as well.

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The menu and pictures speak for themselves but once you’ve read the menu and looked over their Instagram feed, get yourself in the car and head over there!
Enjoy! If you do go, let me know what you think 🙂

Full body gym workout

I thought I’d share a recent full body workout I filmed the other weekend for you! It’s gym based and is part of the second phase of my current gym programme.

Below is the full video, showing most of the exercises minus the core and calf work. I’ve also written the full session below if you want to give it a go! If you haven’t done any of these movements before though, there are plenty of progressions and I’d always advise asking a trained professional to talk you through the movement to ensure your form is on point! If you’ve got any questions, feel free to ask 🙂

 

Hannah’s Happy Pace Full Body Gym Workout:

Power clean & Jerk 4 x 4

Deadlifts 3 x 6

Bulgarian Split Squat 3 x 8
Barbell Bench Press 3 x 8
Dumbbell Incline Bench Row 3 x 12

Candlestick/Dragon Fly Progressions 3 x 3-6
Single Leg Eccentric Calf Raise 3 x 15
Seated Bent Leg Calf Raise 3 x 15

 

Summer training & races to come

Well hello there! It’s been a while since I properly posted a training update – or anything for that matter – so here goes!

I’ve had a little break but I’ve since been quietly working away, trying to improve my running and strength and slowly build back up towards marathon training.

long run

I’m running the York Marathon in October which will be my 5th marathon! York was actually my first marathon as well so I’m super excited to go back and run it again. Not only that, but it’s home turf so I’m hoping the family (including my 1-year-old niece!) can all come and cheer me on which would be amazing.

Aside from that, York is flat – yipeeee! My current marathon PB is at 3.25, which I achieved in London earlier this year. I’m not expecting to beat that at York but what I am aiming for is a strong finish. My goal is to be able to run that last 10k as strongly as I ran the first 10k. I realise I’m not going to be finishing the race as gazelle like as when I started it, but I want to be able to maintain a consistent speed, without seeing those mile splits climb.

So basically, that’s what I’m training towards. As always I’m doing my three gym sessions a week. This is made up of 2 strength sessions and a third focusing more on conditioning rather than lifting big numbers – I do love a bro sesh though as demonstrated below, ha!

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At the minute I’m running three times a week. Before anyone tells me that you need to be running every day to run a marathon, you definitely don’t need to. For me, it’s about getting in the quality sessions and finding out what works for me. I’ve tried running 6 days a week and for me, that just doesn’t work – particularly for my mental health! If you want me to do a post on training for a marathon on three runs a week – just let me know by commenting below or Tweeting me (@hannahbryan91).

speed session

This week I did a speed session on Tuesday, an easy run on Wednesday and a long run on Friday. I’ve got one more gym session to do (my conditioning one), which I’ll do tomorrow (Sunday). This might increase as the marathon nears but this depends on a number of factors i.e. time and my body! I’m currently getting some help with my nutrition which I’m hoping is going to benefit my performance and aid recovery so I might end up running more within the next few months, but I’m going to tell you more about the nutrition side of things in a different post!

easy run

Here’s a list of what I’ve got coming up:

August – Askern 10 miler
September – Great North Run
October – York Marathon, Sheffield 10k
November – exciting challenge to be announced soon!

I’ll try and get some other races in but at the minute that’s what I’ve got booked in.

The only other thing to mention is that I decided not to accept my Good For Age place for London next year. I hope I don’t regret it! My plan is to focus on Boston – providing I get a place! If I don’t get a place…then the Great Wall Marathon is on my list…!

That’s all for now training wise, I’ll keep you updated as the marathon nears. I’m ready to work hard for this one!

🙂

London Marathon 2016

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Well, where do I even start with this post!? Another World Major Marathon ticked off and 26.2 glorious miles around the streets of London shared with some of the most inspirational people I’ve ever had the pleasure of running with!

London, you were truly amazing…but before I get in to all of that, here’s a little run down of my entire race weekend.

Friday night was spent doing the essential final preparations, packing, updating my Ipod and ensuring I had a lovely, even fake tan glow – ha! I hit the hay early Friday night as I was up pretty early Saturday morning to have my hair done…priorities!

I arrived in London just after 1pm on Saturday and headed straight to the expo at the Excel centre. This is when the excitement really started to kick in! Signing the wall was such a surreal moment and it hit me that this was the LONDON MARATHON;  people enter the ballot year after year and are unsuccessful, and here I was about to run it – I felt very lucky to say the least.

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After strolling around the expo my feet were starting to hurt, not to mention I was hungry and bordering on grumpy! With that in mind, we headed to our hotel in Peckham (oh hey Del Boy!) and then got an Uber to Vapianos (my favourite place!) for ALL of the carbs and all of the chocolate pudding.

Saturday evening was pretty uneventful after that. I had a final pre-race debrief with my friend Liv who was also running, (her first marathon!) and we arranged for me to go to hers (also in Peckham) Sunday morning so we could eat and then travel down to the start line together.

Me and Liv post race - VICTORY!

Me and Liv post race – VICTORY!

I barely slept on Saturday night but it was nothing a coffee couldn’t sort on Sunday morning. 7am was when I started to get stressed about getting taped up and getting to Livs house in time so that I could eat! We actually got to the start line in good time and after queuing for the loo it was time for some photos and a quick warm-up before heading to our separate start pens.

I was actually really surprised that when the gun went off at 10am I was over the line by 2 minutes past! I was a bit worried as the first few miles were spent trying not to trip over people and were slower than what I was aiming for – although really I’d only just decided on a whim and positive encouragement to try and average 7.45min/mi! The race soon thinned out though and it was time to take it all in!

The first 10 miles seemed to fly by and everything felt comfortable. Despite the fact I was comfortably hitting under 7.45min/miles I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it up for the whole way round, but part of me thought what the hell, throw everything you’ve got at it!

My support crew were at mile 9 and 14 but I never spotted them which was a bit disheartening, but I just kept on turning the legs and ticking off the miles. At about mile 18 I thought the race was never going to end and I knew I’d be in for a tough fight from mile 20.

At mile 20.5 I saw the team and started to cry and shouted “I’m done” at them…nothing like being dramatic hey Han! Had I ran over to high five them though, I’d have genuinely found it hard to get going again! Thankfully, I’d spotted Faye (who I follow on Instagram and who had run Boston on Monday) and we’d been back and forth in front and behind each other for the whole way round. I knew she was a strong runner and was faster than me so I decided to try and stick with her.

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Faye, along with the beautiful folk of London cheering on the masses, is what got me through those last six miles. Turning the corner and onto the mall was surreal and I knew I’d managed a PB. I crossed the line in 3.25.05 and promptly hugged Faye. What a run. A PB at London…London! It’s still sinking in to be honest. My training was average at best and I battled through more mental struggles during this marathon training than any of the previous ones, but I’m so pleased with that run. London, you were truly amazing.

marathon

For now though, it’s time to rest, eat and enjoy some time training without the pressures of a marathon. It’s also back to the drawing board to get some autumn goals nailed down…watch this space.

Glute & core conditioning circuit for runners

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It’s a well-known fact that runners need a strong core and solid glutes to help maximise running economy. Most physiotherapists and strength and conditioning coaches will advise doing various exercises to help keep your core and glutes strong in order to help prevent injuries as well. Not only that, but these areas of the body, particularly in running, support your every move.

When we run, our glutes keep our pelvis level and propel us forward as we drive one foot in front of the other. Strong glutes will help you to generate a more powerful stride though a strong hip extension.

If your hips are wobbly or your core is weak, you’re wasting valuable running energy through those areas. That wasted energy should be put into getting a greater stride which can ultimately help you get faster!

As part of my strength sessions I do a core and a glute circuit as accessory work to compliment the rest of my strength work and running sessions. I like to think of it as part of my general body maintenance.

I do 3 sets of each circuit and between 12-15 reps for each exercise.

I’ve detailed them below, give them a try and let me know what you think!

Glute circuit:3 sets of 12-15 reps each leg. Do all of the exercises on one leg before switching to the other leg. 

Side lying clams:
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Lie on your side and bend your knees to a 90 degree angle/just under. Keeping your feet together, hinge and lift your knee up as far as you can. Squeeze the glute to keep it engaged and try to keep your hips facing forwards as much as possible.

Side lying straight leg raise:
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Lie on one side with your legs out straight. Rotating the foot slightly to engage the glutes, lift the top leg up as high as you can until you feel it in your glute. Lower it back down slowly and that’s one rep.

Prone hip extensions:
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Lying on your front, place either a rolled up towel or rolled up yoga mat underneath your hips. Bend one leg to a 90 degree angle and leading through your heel, lift your leg up and squeeze your glute at the top before lowering back down slowly.

Side lying recovery position leg lifts:
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Lie on your side once again and put your leg across your body in a 90 degree angle, similar to the recovery position. Lift your leg up so it’s level with your hip again before lowering back down. That’s one rep.

Single leg hip lift:
hip lift 2
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat to the floor about hip width apart. Take one leg off the ground and straighten it completely before lifting your hips up, driving through the heel of your foot that’s still on the floor. Finish the movement at the top by squeezing the glutes before lowering down to start the next rep.

Donkey kick:
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Start with your hands and knees about hip width apart and then lift one leg up, keeping it bent at a 90 degree angle. Push through your heel and squeeze your glutes at the top. Really concentrate on squeezing your glutes and using hip extension to lift the leg rather just swinging it up and down aimlessly.

Now on to the core circuit. Do 3 sets of between 12-15 reps. I use a Swiss ball for this circuit but you could also use valslides or a TRX.

Swiss ball pikes:
pikes
Start in a plank position with your feet on top of the Swiss ball. Using your core, keep your legs as straight as possible and try to pull your feet towards you as you bend at the hips, so that your hips are stacked over your shoulders.

Swiss ball knee tucks:
knee tucks
Start in the plank position with your feet on the ball once again. Similar to a pike, use your core to bring your knees in as close to your chest as possible before rolling back out to the plank position again. As you roll back out, try not to let your back arch, keep a hollow body position by tilting your pelvis.

Swiss ball mountain climbers:
mountain climbers
These are harder than they look, trust me! You can do mountain climbers with or without a Swiss ball but add the Swiss ball for an extra challenge. When using the Swiss ball to do mountain climbers the key is to keep that hollow body position and bring your knees in slowly in a controlled manner until your knee touches the ball.

Swiss ball hamstring curls:
hammy curls
Lie on your back and straighten your legs out, putting your feet on top of the Swiss ball to lift your hips. Keep your hips lifted as high as possible and engaging your hamstrings and core, bring the ball in slowly towards your bum. Roll out until your legs are straight again, keeping your hips lifted for the whole rep.

Cookie dough Twix cheesecake chunks

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Surely that title has got your mouth watering already?! Yes, these aren’t healthy but baking unhealthy treats and desserts is definitely part of my happy pace.

If you’ve got a real sweet tooth then you’re about to fall in love, as these chunks pretty much incorporate everything you could want in a dessert. I’ve called them chunks because despite the fact that these were meant to be ‘bites’, it’s just not possible to have one small bite, I need a big handful per portion!

You will need:
To make the cookie dough:
– 226g unsalted butter
– 220g brown sugar
– 2 eggs
– 1 tsp vanilla essence
– 260g plain flour
– 2 packets of chocolate chips
– 9 mini Twix bars (or another biscuit based chocolate bar of your choice)
To make the cheesecake layer:
– 225g soft cream cheese
– 65g granulated sugar
– 1 egg
– 1sp vanilla essence

To make:
-Start by lining a baking tin with foil so that there is an overhang on each side. Grease the foil with a little bit of butter and set the pan to one side. Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees.
– First, we need to make the cookie dough layer. Either in the microwave or over a pan of hot water, melt the butter in a bowl and then put to one side to cool slightly. Next, add the brown sugar to the melted butter and mix together. Add in the egg and vanilla before slowly adding the flour and then mix well to combine. To finish, add the chocolate chips and mix well. Take half of the mixture and spread a layer into the bottom of the foil lined baking tray. Leave the rest of the mixture in the bowl for later.

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-Next, line your Twix bars on top of the cookie dough mixture that’s already in the baking tray.
– To make the cheesecake layer, grab a separate bowl and add all of the ingredients before mixing/beating well until it’s of a smooth consistency.
– Spoon the cheesecake mix on top of the Twix bars before adding the rest of cookie dough mixture on top.
– Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes and then leave in the dish on a wire wrack to cool. Once completely cool, use the foil overhang to get the cake out of the dish and then cut in to big, hearty chunks! Keep them in the fridge…if you don’t eat them all in one go!

img_0165Enjoy 🙂

Raising money for Breast Cancer Care UK

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A slightly different post today but it’s a pretty important one! As you’ve probably guessed from the title, I’ve decided to do some fundraising.

I’m currently training for April’s London Marathon and have decided to support a charity in the process. London will be my fourth marathon after I was lucky enough to secure myself a good for age place thanks to my performance in the Manchester marathon last year. I’m so excited to tick off another of the marathon world major’s and be part of such an iconic race.

virgin-money-london-marathon

It was quite difficult choosing a charity to raise money for as there are so many amazing causes and organisations out there. However, the choice was made easy when my dad suggested raising money for Breast Cancer Care UK.

BCCare

My dad has worked in the breast cancer field for over 30 years now and has helped thousands of women. He also did his PhD research on breast cancer while he was training in Australia, so needless to say it’s a cause close to his heart.

Every year, approximately 55,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast Cancer Care is there to provide help and support to each and every one of those women, including their friends and family.

The money I hope to raise while training for the London Marathon will help Breast Cancer Care to provide vital support services including running their helpline and online forum.

Breast Cancer Care also provides information points in hospitals as well as face to face services for anyone with breast cancer, as well as their family and friends.

Training for a marathon isn’t easy and even though this will be my fourth, in my opinion the training doesn’t get any easier! I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it though, and I’m prepared to make the necessary sacrifices over the next four months in order to get my training done so that I can put in a good performance and hopefully raise lots of money in the process!

My dad has given so much through his work and I’d love it if I could give something back through my fundraising and running.

I’d be so grateful for any donation, even if it’s just £1! To borrow the popular Tesco phrase, every little helps!

If you’d like to donate I’d be forever grateful and it’s safe to say that it’s going to a fantastic cause. Please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/HannahsHappyPace to donate.

I promise to train hard and run as fast as I can on April 24! If you live in London/will be there on marathon day, please look out for me and give me a big cheer! 😀

As always, you can follow my marathon journey here on Hannah’s Happy Pace, or on Instagram or Twitter.

Thank you,
Hannah

🙂