My week in training 29 Feb – 6 March

my week in training

Monday:
Rest day! If I do a long run on a Sunday I’ll usually always have Monday as a rest day. Sunday’s run was a mix of fast paces for 14miles in the lovely Yorkshire sunshine. My legs felt fine on Monday but it’s always nice to have a sleep in rather than a 5.30am gym start isn’t it!?

Tuesday:
I trained at the gym this morning and got to try out my new lifters! They were an absolute bargain by the way, £29 from £90 – how could I resist!
At the minute, I lift twice a week minimum and follow a programme which changes every three weeks. On each three week programme, the sets and reps change every week but the session remains the same. Today’s session was made up of back squats, front foot elevated split squats and single leg deadlifts, with some supersets, core, calf and glute work thrown in, too. This was actually one of the best sessions I’d had in ages, legs felt strong and I had a lot of energy.
The energy was still there after work which was good as I had a run planned. I  had to do a 10k made up of 5mins at 10k pace with 1 minute recovery jogs in between. I finished in 43minutes and 21 seconds which I was thrilled with after a heavy strength session.

Wednesday:
Another early morning gym session, this time made up of sumo deadlifts, bench press, bent over rows, step ups and then a serious booty blaster, but more on that in another blog post! I was literally shaking afterwards – what a sesh! My second breakfast was definitely needed after that!

Thursday:
Track Thursday this evening! Headed back to the gym to do my speed session which was a mix of paces held for either 2 minutes, 1 minute or 30 seconds, with the rest periods getting shorter each time. I was sweatttyyyy afterwards and beyond ready for my dinner but it was a good session although in all honesty I probably didn’t work as hard as I could’ve done.

Friday:
Rest day! Woohooo! I started work at 7.30am this morning so no early gym session. I also had a long run planned for Saturday and a friend from uni coming over so my workout was basically cleaning the house quickly before she arrived!

Friday night dinner & drinks!

Friday night dinner & drinks!

Saturday:
After a delicious meal out on Friday, my friend Liv (who is also training for London) and I got up to run out to the peaks. Huge bowls of porridge later and backpacks (well, for me) at the ready and we were off. Well, I think it’s safe to say we experienced every weather possible on this run from snow at mile 3 to wind rain, sunshine and finally hailstones at mile 15! 16.63 miles later and we were done. The route was stunning and even though I thought I was actually going to get trench foot from the mud and water at one point, I felt like I was Bear Grylls’ sidekick! Check out these  pictures below!

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Sunday:
My legs felt fine and I floated the idea of an easy paced run or going to the gym but in all honesty I think I was still drunk from the night before!! Had a fantastic night out on Saturday with Liv and my friend Hannah with a solid 3 hours of dancing and plenty of drinks. It’s alllll about balance…so here’s a picture of Sunday brunch at my favourite spot in Sheffield.

Sunday brunch

Ready to take on next week now! Only 7 weeks to go…!

🙂

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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.

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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

🙂

Mexican breakfast – Huevos Rancheros recipe

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This is my version of the classic Mexican breakfast, Huevos Rancheros. If you haven’t heard of it before, it’s basically a bowl full of tasty, fiery goodness. It makes the perfect weekend breakfast or post training brunch.

You will need:
– 1 tin of borlotti beans (drained)
– 1 handful of coriander (chopped)
– 1 red chili (de-seeded and chopped)
– 1 tin chopped tomatoes
– 1 red onion (chopped)
– 1 clove of garlic (chopped)
– 2 handfuls of kale
– 4 eggs
– 1 avocado (optional)
– 2 wholemeal tortilla wraps (optional)
– 1 handful asparagus (chopped)
– 1 red pepper (chopped)
– 1 lime
– Coconut oil

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To make:
– Add a little coconut oil to a large frying pan and allow it to melt on a medium heat. Add the chopped onion, garlic and chili and saute until they begin to soften.
– Next, add the red pepper, kale and asparagus and cook until they begin to soften. While the vegetables are cooking, turn the grill on.
– Add the borlotti beans and chopped tomatoes and then turn the heat down slightly. Leave to simmer for about 5-10 minutes.
– Cut the wraps in to triangle tortilla crisp shapes and place on a baking tray under the grill for about 2 minutes each side, basically until they crisp up. This can happen pretty quickly though so keep your eye on them!
– Once the tortilla chips are done, add the coriander to the frying pan along with the juice of the lime. Then, crack the eggs into the pan on top of the bean mix and place the frying pan under the grill until the eggs are cooked. They should resemble fried eggs. It’s up to you whether you want to leave them runny or not.
– Once cooked, dish up in to bowls and top with avocado. Dip in your tortilla chips and enjoy!

Tag me in your Huevos Rancheros creations using #hannahshappypace on Twitter @HannahBryan91 or @Hbryan91 on Instagram
🙂

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.

track

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

🙂

Race review: Berlin Marathon 2015

Where to start with my weekend in Berlin!?

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A week ago today I was running around the streets of Berlin alongside some 40,000 other amazing and inspirational runners.

A week later and I’ve still not stopped talking about it. The inevitable post marathon race blues came but once they’d gone I was left with the overwhelming urge to continue planning my next one!

Similar to planning my next marathon (London 2016 by the way), I’m jumping ahead again and I’ll start from the beginning of my Berlin 2015 journey, well at least from the airport.

After a pretty sleepless night Dane and I headed to the airport at 4am on Friday morning for a 6am flight to Berlin. As you may have read from one of my previous posts I had actually planned what I was going to wear months in advance but Dane surprised me with the best present ever. He’d got me kitted out in Hannah’s Happy Pace gear which included two race tops and an amazing hoody! I love, love LOVE them!

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Once we’d arrived in Berlin we headed to our hotel which was a short walk away from Potsdamer Platz and an in excellent location in terms of the race and getting around the city. The early morning start got the better of us and we had a nap in the afternoon as opposed to our original plan of running to the expo to pick up my race number. The following day we did just that, headed out for a little leg loosener to the expo which was just a few miles away.

When we got there we were somewhat underwhelmed by how small it was. Little did we know at that point we were just in the entrance rather than at the main bulk of the expo – whoops! It was actually enormous! Stands selling everything from Garmins to FitBits and personalised trainers were packed in to the aircraft hangars but before we let ourselves loose with our credit cards I picked up my number.

You’re given a BMW Berlin Marathon band which is heat sealed to your wrist before you collect your number and information bag. This was when it all started to feel VERY real.

Afterwards, we might have made a few cheeky marathon purchases including two Adidas BMW Berlin Marathon t-shirts – pictured below. Super cheesy smiles optional.

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Due to little sleep the night before, on Saturday afternoon I was grumpy, tired and hungry – and that’s not a Hannah you want to encounter! Luckily we stumbled upon Vapiano’s, an amazing Italian restaurant. I won’t write much else about it on this post other than what we had as I’m saving it for a blog post of its own – trust me, it’s worth an entire post! I had wholemeal spaghetti with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes in a lovely orange/chilli oil. It was delicious!

Luckily I slept pretty well on Saturday night and strangely enough I didn’t wake up feeling too nervous. Breakfast was porridge and a banana and a cereal bar shortly before starting the race.

It was quite a walk to the start pens and Dane wasn’t allowed through to the start line so we had to say goodbye quite early on, something I’m not used to in a race. At this point it took all I had not to cry when I said bye to him, despite knowing I’d see him at the 7k mark – get it together Hannah!!

The start pens were crazy! Despite running a previous marathon time of 3.38 I’d been placed in pen G which was for 3.45-4.15 hour runners. I tried to squeeze in to F but was sharply told this wasn’t an option. The pens were packed. I jumped over the steel barrier and squeezed in between a pack of people. It was a good 20-25 minutes before we even crossed the start line but despite the wait and the packed pens the atmosphere was amazing, the entire pen was buzzing with energy, singing, clapping and cheering as other runners/pens ahead of us set off.

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The first few miles were spent weaving in and out of people and I didn’t really pay much attention to the beautiful landmarks I was passing. It was all eyes on the ground to avoid clipping someones heel or crashing in to someone. I managed to see Dane ever so briefly at the 7km mark quickly shouting “I’ve only been going for 35 minutes!”

I didn’t have a plan going in to the race but Dane said try to stick to under 8 minute miles and still go for a 3.30 finish – he was convinced I had it in me – at least one of us was! Either way I thought I’d give it a go and just go with how I was feeling in each mile. Run the mile you’re in! I soon realised that averaging around 7.35 – 8 min miles felt comfortable and decided to stick to that for as long as I could, a risky tactic in the first half of a marathon I know. I passed the halfway mark in about 1.41 and was still feeling good so decided to stick with it although there was part of me that worried I’d gone out too fast and wouldn’t be able to sustain that pace for the latter part of the race.

The elite runners!

The elite runners!

It’s weird that strength tends to come out of a struggle and a struggle was exactly what I was expecting in the latter stages of this race. I knew I’d be fine up until mile 20 but having only ran 18 in training (due to no fault other than my own!) I knew my legs would be feeling it by then and I’d need to dig deep and find that strength to push on. Mile 18 came and went and in my head I said to myself, get to 20 and you’re practically done.

20 is where the fun starts though! Except in this case it was mile 23 when I felt as though I literally couldn’t puhsh any more! My mile splits were s l o w i n g quickly and even though I could hear Dane’s voice in my head telling me to lean forward and push on I felt as though I literally couldn’t!

The finish line wasn’t even in sight when I hit 26.2 miles on my Garmin in 3 hours 28 minutes. WHAT, don’t do this to me I thought, I should be finished!! Finally the finish line was in sight and I crossed the line in 3 hours and 31 minutes.

One of the things I dislike most about crossing that finish line is that there’s no one there to hug instantly haha – needy Han! Despite congratulating other runners in the vain hope of a hug, I knew I’d have to wait until I tracked Dane down. I cursed myself for not running with my phone so he could come and get me as our meet point was at least a good 10 minute walk away. At our meet point I collapsed in a sweaty heap on the floor before Dane arrived thrusting the GoPro in my face and FINALLY I got my victory hug!! WOOHOO! 3.31, my victory hug, the marathon was done and a huge bowl of pasta was in sight – happy Hannah!

Not only that but I’d somehow managed to secure myself a Boston Marathon qualifying time!! 2017 here we come!

If you’re thinking of entering the ballot for Berlin – do it is all I can say. It’s an amazing city (blog post to come on what to see do and where to stay/eat soon!) and the race is one of the world majors – need I say more!?

In terms of organisation I think the water stations could have been more frequent and it was at least 5 minutes before I was offered a bottle of water after crossing the finish line. Also, there’s no free finishers t-shirt so I’m glad I bought an Adidas one from the expo.

I’m thrilled with how the race went but of course I’m gutted I didn’t officially go under 3.30. That said, I’ve learnt a LOT from this race and from my training leading up to it. I’ve learnt just how important a solid strength and conditioning programme is and the vital importance of speed work and there’s plenty I’m going to be changing for London 2016 which will hopefully be the chance to well and truly nail that sub 3.30 which I absolutely know I’ve got in me. It’s quite exciting really.

I’ll be writing something on how I’ve recovered since the race later in the week but for now I want to be super cheesy and thank everyone who’s followed my training journey, my friends and family for always being so supporting (look at me, it’s like I’m doing an Oscars speech haha!) and of course, Dane, for putting up with my all to frequent running meltdowns, 6am starts on a Sunday for my long runs, for pacing me on speed sessions and for keeping me fit and healthy with my strength and conditioning programme – I love you all!

For now though I guess it’s time to park the Carb Queen crown and get back to the track…

#hannahshappypace

 

Crystal light balancing therapy at The Sanctuary of Healing

Before my visit to The Sanctuary of Healing I had no idea what a chakra was or whether mine were aligned. All I knew was that I was eager for some relaxation time and to try something different. 

  

The Sanctuary, near Blackburn, believes that our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energies need to be able to flow freely through our body in order for them to be able to work together to heal the body. 

Spiritual healing is never something I’ve learnt about before or even believed in so I was excited to try one of the treatments and experience something different. 

My friend Liana and I opted for the crystal light therapy treatment which lasted for 30 minutes, although you can opt for a one hour treatment.

The Sanctuary told us that crystal light therapy ‘combines natural healing frequencies with the use of precious gem stones to bring balance and harmony’ to both body and mind. 

A treatment is said to help correct imbalances in the body which can manifest as an illness; in particular IBS, joint pain and sciatica to name a few. It also claims to help with Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and asthma. 

The treatment uses chakra crystals and colour which are said to radiate energy to each chakra in our body. We had seven lights pointing to the main seven chakras in our body. Chakras are basically  the energy centres in our body according to ancient Indian medicine. 

They are: 
1) The root chakra at the base of your spine.
2) The sacral chakra in your lower abdomen. 
3) The solar plexus chakra in the upper abdomen. 
4) The heart chakra just above your heart. 
5) The throat chakra in your throat. 
6) The third eye chakra in your forehead between your eyes. 
7) The crown chakra at the top of your head. 

So basically what we did was lie on a bed with a ridiculously comfy pillow while one of the therapists adjusted the lights accordingly to align with our chakras. We then had the option of having the lights dimmed or not and whether we wanted soft music on. I opted for both. Then it’s time to relax for 30 minutes and it’s up to you whether you stay awake and watch the lights or go to sleep and let the crystals do the work.

Afterwards people are said to feel more energised, enjoy a better nights sleep, feel less stressed and more relaxed. I can definitely say that I felt more relaxed but I’m dubious as to whether the crystals had anything to do with that but all in all it was a lovely, relaxing and peaceful afternoon. 

Before our treatment we enjoyed some lunch in the café which was delicious! We had one of the chefs special pulled chicken and crispy pancetta salads which included a soft boiled egg, coleslaw, shredded carrot, yellow tomatoes and mung beans. In keeping with the treatments at the Sanctuary the menu is of course full of healthy yet delicious options with some delicious looking desserts too. 
The staff we met during our visit were incredibly helpful and answered any questions we had about the food and the treatments and even gave us a guided tour of the meditation facilities on offer. 

  
  
One thing I did take away from the experience was the importance of relaxation. These days even when we think we are relaxing, before we go to sleep for example, we’re actually not. There’s always something distracting us, from phones to our other halves! I’m going to try and make a conscious effort to relax properly before bed to ensure I get the best possible nights sleep, ignoring my phone and maybe putting on some of that soft soothing music! 

Have you tried crystal light therapy or are you a fan of healing? Let me know your experiences. You can Tweet me @HannahBryan91 or email me at hbryan91@gmail.com 

🙂 

Berlin marathon training – one week to go!

“I’ve learned that it’s what you do with the miles, rather than how many you’ve run.” – Rod DeHaven 

Fast forward a week today and I will have landed in Berlin, checked into my hotel for the weekend and picked up my race number from the expo.

Even though the marathon is just over a week away it still doesn’t feel like it’s really approaching! Maybe I’m in denial due to how unprepared I am for this race! I say unprepared in the sense that I’m no where near where I wanted to be in terms of training but I’ve only got myself to blame for that. Still, I’m making the most of what I’ve done and can only hope to get through it injury free! The main aim of course is to enjoy running one of the most iconic marathons in the world and to savour every moment of the weekend. It will be amazing to run through the streets of Berlin alongside so many other amazing athletes.

Speaking of amazing athletes, I’m also planning to meet some other runners for pre marathon coffee and cake and post race victory beers which will be fantastic. We’ve created a group chat on Twitter where we’ve unleashed our maranoia on each other. Running is such a fantastic community and an amazing way of bringing like minded people together.

Anyway, back to the training I’ve been doing. I recently completed a fantastic 18 mile trail run which was lovely on the legs although it felt as though I was moving for hours! My legs definitely thanked me for completing it off road though. The weekend before that I did another 18 mile run with 12 miles on the road and six on trail which felt really good. I haven’t however managed to hit the 20 mile mark yet which I would’ve really liked to have done for both my legs and for a mental boost as well. People aren’t exaggerating when they say the race really begins at mile 20! That said, I’ll just have to dig deep and use my grit and determination to kick on towards the end, Mo Farah style! #onemomile

Aside from running I’ve been keeping up with my strength sessions as best as I can thanks to a specific programme from Dane. Here’s a snippet of just one section of my latest programme:

  • Barbell hip thrusts  with a band around your knees 3 heavy sets of 15 reps (I did 70kg)
  • Superset with lateral banded side steps 10 each side (feel those glutes burn!)
  • Incline bench YTWs 5 rounds (1 round is a y, t and w) with a light weight if you can.

Calf work has also been programmed as well as plenty of core work and I have to say I am feeling really good after these sessions. I feel stronger and, touch wood, it’s injury proofing me! Really hope that hasn’t jinxed it now!

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Away from the roads, tracks and the gym I’ve also found some time to get in some fun rest day movement with Dane.

Last weekend we headed to Brimham Rocks, near Harrogate, for some rock scrambling and a picnic in the sunshine. Rock scrambling quickly turned in to hill sprints, pull ups on trees and even some strong man work from Dane! See the video evidence on his Instagram – @danemitch.

It was so nice to be outside moving in the sunshine and to see other people doing the same too. Seeing people outside enjoying themselves makes me happy!

Here’s a few snaps of what we got up to..


      

So that’s pretty much all of my random training updates for now! The plan from now until the marathon is to look after myself and keep well for the start line- oh and locate my passport! I’ve also joined periscope so you can follow my Berlin journey live throughout the weekend. My user name is the same as my  Instagram @hbryan91 so make sure you follow me!

🙂