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.

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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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How to make the perfect egg scramble 

  
If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat you’ll know just how often I eat egg scrambles – I love them! 

Not only are they super tasty but they’re also seriously nutritious and a great way to brighten up your breakfast. 

Here are just some of the reasons why you should consider whipping up a scramble for breakfast…

  •  Eggs are an inexpensive protein source which will help you to feel fuller for longer. The egg white is also full of minerals including zinc, vitamin D and vitamin B12.  
  • If you’re following a low carb plan or opting for a low carb breakfast on a rest day for example, then an egg scramble is perfect. 
  • You can add anything! Egg scrambles are a fantastic way to get your vegetables in early and therefore make a highly nutritious breakfast, packed full of fibre and vitamins. 
  • They’re easy and quick to make with very little washing up! 
  • You can turn it in to a breakfast burrito for a delicious post workout meal of a balance of carbs, protein and fats. 

I could go on and on but instead I’ll let you rustle one up for yourself. 

  
You will need: 

1 tsp coconut oil 

– 2 eggs (for 1 person) 

– ALL the veggies! Throw anything in! Some of my favourites include asparagus, kale,  leeks and sundried tomatoes. 

– Cracked black pepper for seasoning and a dollop of Meridian’s PB to finish – optional but highly recommended!

To make: 

– On a medium to high heat, melt the coconut oil in a non stick frying pan. 

– Roughly chop your chosen vegetables and add them to the pan to soften slightly. 

– In a bowl, beat your eggs with a fork and then add them to the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon until cooked. 

There you have it, an egg scramble rusted up in no more than 10 minutes! 

What do you like to add to yours? Tweet me your creations @HannahBryan91 or tag me on Instagram using #Hannahshappypace

Egg scramble breakfast burrito topped with PB

How to recover after a marathon 

First things first, you’ve completed a marathon! Woohoo, congratulations, it’s a major achievement and definitely one worth celebrating! 

Before you start the celebrations though it’s important to think about how you’re going to aid your recovery after the race. Generally it takes your body 2-3 weeks to recover from a marathon and what you do in the stages after the race is just as important as what you’ve done leading up to it. Of course, recovery will vary for each runner. A seasoned marathon runner for example is more likely to recovery more quickly than someone who just completed their first 26.2 

Recovery after a marathon starts as soon as you cross that finish line. Drink something as soon as you can and eat a banana or something you’re offered as soon as you’re over the line. As hard as it may be, fight the urge to immediately collapse in a heap on the floor – don’t sit down! A walk to meet friends/family or back to your hotel or car will be good for you and will prevent you from seizing up immediately. 

Once you’re home, put your feet up and as soon as you can stomach eating get some fuel down you. Make sure there’s carbs and protein in there to start replenishing those depleted glycogen stores and aid muscle recovery. Something along the lines of a chicken pasta dish is ideal. Of course, now is the time to treat yourself to a pudding too, you’ve earned it! Listen to your body and give it what it craves, this is its way of telling you what it needs! 

Running a marathon is a huge stress on your body and after the race you are more likely to be susceptible to injury and infection as a result of that stress as well as depleted glycogen stores and dehydration. Make sure you get plenty of rest and eat healthy, balanced meals to keep yourself as healthy as possible. Think hearty, wholesome dinners, vitamin c and early nights! 

Now let’s talk about DOMs! Many people suggest an ice bath to ease muscle soreness but speaking from my own experience I don’t see it as the be all and end all. I’d recommend doing some light exercise to ease DOMs within the first few days after a marathon. This could be a gentle 30 minute walk, a slow swim or even a gentle, short bike ride to loosen up the legs. Yoga is always beneficial too. Hydration is key as well. Drink little and often after the race until you’re rehydrated (hello clear wee!) and this will help to ease muscle aches and pains by flushing out the lactic acid. A massage within a couple of days of the race can help to ease muscle soreness too. 

Post marathon blues are inevitable and trust me, they are real! My advice for beating the blues is to focus on something which isn’t running to give yourself a mental break. Now is the time to try something new that you couldn’t do before because of marathon training. Once you’ve recovered, set yourself some new and exciting running goals! 

In terms of returning to training, ease yourself back in to it and most importantly listen to your body. Try not to put pressure on yourself to get back to it before you’re ready. Try some easy pace runs to get back in to things and remember, easy pace means easy pace! Foam roll and look after yourself. 

Enjoy the recovery time, wear your medal to work and make sure everyone knows what a running superstar you are!! 

🙂 

#hannahshappypace 

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

 

On yer’ bike! Why cycling is good for runners

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There’s no doubt that cycling is one of the most popular cross training activities for runners. There are numerous benefits to getting on your bike from improving your vO2 max to building on leg strength and cadence.

Whether it be on the road or in the gym, time spent spinning those legs on the bike is valuable fitness in the bank.

Cycling reduces stress – I’m not just talking about the stress relief of endorphins firing but also the stress on your legs. Cycling let’s you add another high intensity workout to your training programme in place of a running session to reduce the impact on your legs. Trust me, your legs will thank you for putting less stress on your joints from pounding the road or the treadmill. This in turn reduces the risk of injury as well.

Cycling builds leg strength – I’ve been told by my physiotherapist before to build up the strength in my legs, particularly in my quads. Cycling will help to build up the strength in your calves, shins and quads which is beneficial for runners. Cycling also has the same triple extension that running does. In both running and cycling you extend your knees, hips and ankles which you can do at a similar cadence to running when cycling, or even faster.

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Cycling helps you to recover – While you’re working on other, maybe weaker areas of your body the over worked areas will feel plenty rested which in turn will help you to (hopefully) remain injury free. Not only that but if you’re well rested you’ll be able to perform better on your next run. That said, if you are unfortunate enough to have a running injury then cycling is great rehab for your legs and can help you to maintain a good level of fitness.

Cycling gives you a change of scenery – Cycling gives you a mental break from running and the mind games that come with it! This can be invaluable in helping you to get out of a training rut or can even help you to break through some important mental barriers when training for a race for example. It will also keep your legs guessing and they will then feel fresh for that next run. In a practical sense, you can also go further in a shorter time on a bike and can therefore have a literal change of scenery and see more!

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Cycling can’t replace running – However it is important to note that cycling can’t replace running. If you do choose to build cycling in to your running programme then you must keep up your long run and other quality session such as speed for example, especially if you’re training for a race! Easy pace or recovery runs can be replaced by cycling and of course, if your injured then adjust this accordingly as mentioned above in this post. I’d say it’s also important to keep up your strength work, too.  About 10-15 minutes is said to be the equivalent of one mile and try to keep between 90-100RPM to mimic running cadence.

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Healthy pancakes with blueberries

Pancakes make the perfect Sunday brunch or weekend breakfast…

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They also make the perfect post-work out snack if you add some protein powder to them, making them the perfect balance of protein and carbohydrates. If you top them with some honey or golden syrup you’re making the most of that recovery window where it’ll go straight into your muscles to refuel rather than to be stored as fat!

You will need: 
– 1/2 cup of coconut flour
– 1 tbsp oats
– 3 eggs
– 1/2 cup of milk
– any fruit you want in there
– 1 tbsp of natural honey or golden syrup if you want to sweeten them

To make:
– Mix all of the ingredients together in a blender or by using a hand blender.
– Put a dollop of your chosen oil ( I use coconut oil) into a pan on a low heat and when the oil has melted add a spoonful of the mixture to the pan.
– Flip the pancakes when you see the surface begin to ‘set’/bubble. Stack them up and then add whatever toppings you fancied.
– I like to top mine with honey, blueberries and peanut butter!

Tag me in your creations using #hannahshappypace and let me know what you top yours with.

🙂

 

Five prep tips if you’re an early morning gym-goer

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  1. 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.

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    Travel container from superdrug.co.uk

  2. 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.
  3. 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.blow-dryer-311549_640 (1)
  4. 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!

    Wearing the doughnut post 1 hour run before a quick turnaround for a Crossfit WOD a couple of hours later.

    Wearing the doughnut post 1 hour run before a quick turnaround for a Crossfit WOD a couple of hours later.

  5. 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.

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    My overnight oats (recipe in previous post)