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.

gym1

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

🙂

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Race review: York 10K and some extra miles…

There’s nothing like running on home turf is there!

York 10k 1

 

York is such a beautiful city and even though I’ve lived here for a couple of years now I don’t think running past York Minster or along the river will ever fail to make me smile.

The Asda foundation York 10K started at the racecourse which is about a 1.5 mile walk from my house which is handy as there is no designated race parking. I walked to the start with my friend and house-mate Carley who was running her first 10K race.

We arrived in plenty of time and there was a small race village set up on the racecourse with some food and drink stands, charity stands, bag drop and of course, toilets.

We were crammed into our start pens by 9.15am and were off on time at 9.30am. Although Carley and I stood in the same start pen we split up once we crossed the line and agreed to meet at the finish as I was planning to use the race as part of a longer 16 mile run for Berlin Marathon training.

The course was great. It took in some of the city’s best landmarks and nicest streets and there were crowds cheering at every part of the course which was fantastic to see. The only downside was that I found myself weaving in and out of the other runners and having to slow down at parts to find a space to dash through but I guess this is to be expected in such a popular race.

At two parts of the race you come back on yourself which I always find mentally tough but before I knew it the finish line was in sight and I was grabbing a bottle of water and a raspberry flavoured sports drink, provided by Asda.

Runners moved through the finish line quickly which was good and after grabbing a drink you could collect your finisher’s goody bag.

In the bag there was a finishers medal, a tech t-shirt which I was really impressed with and a highly welcomed Mars bar.

Carley's victory snapchat!

Carley’s victory snapchat!

After collecting my bag I went back to meet Carley who absolutely smashed it, finishing her first 10K in 61 minutes. We had a super quick race debrief before I set off for another 10 miles agreeing to meet her back at home and head out for a well deserved lunch.

Those 10 miles were hard. In fact I actually didn’t run 10 miles at all but nine instead which took me to 15 miles in total. I’d finished the 10K in just under 47 minutes at a comfortable pace but I think had I not stopped after the race I would’ve found it easier. Basically my lungs felt fine but my legs were tired and I was paying for neglecting my long runs. Luckily though I’ve recovered well and I went on a 30 minute easy pace recovery run yesterday.

It’s now less than seven weeks until the marathon and yes, I’m trying not to panic when I think about how little time that leaves including the taper, but I’ve got another long run planned for this weekend.

On Saturday morning I’ll be doing this… 2 miles easy pace, 2 x 10 min at threshold pace with 2 minutes rest in-between, 10 miles at an easy pace, 15 minutes at threshold pace and then 2 miles easy pace. PHEW I’m tired just reading that but it’s ok because straight after that I’m heading to London with Dane to watch two of his athletes compete in the London Triathlon on Sunday.

Happy running all 🙂

#hannahshappypace

Training on holiday & the Berlin Marathon countdown

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

Run 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

Run 2 Run 1

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

Run 3

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

Run 5 Run 6

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

Run 7

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

LDN mara 1

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

Ciao!

 

Marathon race week tips

Just five days to go until the Manchester marathon!

Taking a break & getting my pose on during my last hill training session before the marathon

Taking a break & getting my pose on during my last hill training session before the marathon

So the marathon has come around very quickly and it’s that time again when maramania has set in and all you want to do is run yet your taper plan says it’s time to take it easy.

Race week can make people crazy – please don’t tell me it’s just me!? – so I’ve put together a top 10 list of tips for marathon race week.

1) Taper
Cutting back on running is frustrating but trust your plan and trust the taper. Stick to short and easy runs with some strides in or swap a run for yoga or swimming.

2) Rest
Get plenty of sleep in the build up to the marathon, especially if you usually don’t sleep well the night before a race.

3) Hand sanitizer
Am I the only one who goes crazy with the hand san in the run up to a marathon!? Sometimes it’s when you stop that you start to get run down or pick up a cold so I’m religious with my hand sanitizer.

4) Don’t panic train
I am nowhere near where I’d like to be for this race in terms of training but now isn’t the time to panic train. If you’ve missed long runs due to injury or other commitments don’t try and play catch up. Trust in the training you’ve done and focus on the taper now and ensuring you’re healthy for the race.

5) Look back over your plan
Trust in your training and look back over your plan to remind yourself of just how much work and effort you’ve put in to training. It’s natural to start doubting yourself in race week, everyone does but take this time to reflect and think of the positive elements and successes of the last few months.

6) Don’t try anything new
Now isn’t the time to buy a new pair of trainers, start using different energy gels or decide you’re going to try new foods. Save that for after the marathon. Stick to what you know. If you’ve got a routine and you always eat pizza the night before a race, do that. If you know what works for you then stick to it and you’ll prevent any avoidable mishaps.

7) Plan
Have a race day plan. If, like me, you’re staying overnight somewhere before the race make a list of what you need and tick it off as you pack that way nothing vital gets left behind! Know how you’re getting to the race village as well and allow for traffic and other unpredictable circumstances when thinking about time. It’s nerve-wracking enough on race day let alone having to deal with being late or not knowing where you’re going.

8) Nutrition & hydration
Similar to number 6, don’t try anything new, stick to what you would usually eat or drink although it is wise to cut back on certain things. I don’t drink alcohol in the lead up to a marathon or eat lots of rubbish food. That said, I know people who drink several beers the night before a race and people who eat whatever they want and still put in a good performance! Just be mindful and do what works for you. Don’t use the excuse of carb-loading to eat everything in sight otherwise you could end up feeling sluggish and heavy on race day.

9) Don’t lift heavy 
If your usual training routine features heavy lifting then give those sessions a miss this week. I usually do CrossFit about 3 times a week but have a break from it during the final taper week – you don’t want to risk any injuries or have DOMS on the day of the marathon.

 10) Positive thinking
Finally, think positively! Visualise crossing that finishing line and how amazing you’re going to feel. I also like to devise a race strategy and think about how I’m going to tackle it and at what pace. Let’s also not forget that we’re doing this for fun so enjoy it – that feeling with last a lifetime!

Are you running a  marathon soon? Or have you recently completed one? Let me know what your race week tips/strategy is! 🙂

Tag me in your marathon pictures on Twitter & Instagram using #hannahshappypace

 

Never has the phrase ‘après mud party’ excited me more

Photo credit to Tough Mudder HQ.

Photo credit to Tough Mudder HQ.

Today I got overly excited at reading the phrase ‘après mud party.

Not just because I like to be muddy – although I do when it comes to running –  but because that phrase means that Tough Mudder Yorkshire is just over one week away.

When the Yorkshire Tough Mudder Volunteer Programme pinged in to my email inbox this afternoon I wasted no time in getting familiar with what I’d be doing on the day as a volunteer and reading all about the perks that come with it.

Running Tough Mudder is an experience in itself, as my best friend Liana who ran the course last year told me, but we’re getting the complete Tough Mudder experience over two days this year. On Saturday, August 2 we will be volunteering on the course, cheering people on and helping them along the way before running the course on Sunday. The gazebo has been purchased for maximum socialising on Saturday night and after much deliberation our outfits have been planned right down to the colour of our shoe laces – neon yellow for Liana and bright red for me.

We can’t wait to don our TM volunteer t-shirts and really get stuck in to help make the event a success and enjoyable for everyone. Not to mention we are so excited to run the course ourselves.

As Liana put it, it’s essentially a weekend away for us. It combines all of our favourite things as well; adventure, challenges, being outdoors, running, lifting, socialising and wearing gym clothes. Bring it on!

#Allin24 with my food prep

The most important part of my preparation for the Adidas UK Thunder Run 24 Hour got underway today….food shopping.

With two nights camping and a 24 hour run ahead of me I have been making extensive lists of the supplies I’ll need to take.

Top of the list is of course Lucozade Sport drinks to recover after each lap. I am obsessed with the Caribbean Burst flavour which is so good I could bathe in it. Next is Meridian Foods peanut butter which will no doubt get lathered on Soreen malt loaf which I tried for the first time today. I can only describe it as dangerous stuff as I ploughed through half a loaf before lunch.

Treats keep me going so I didn’t even hesitate in adding a multi-pack of caramel Freddo bars to my shopping basket today. I’ll no doubt be imagining the taste of it when I’m struggling (well, hopefully I won’t be struggling too much!) on one of the late night laps.

I will also be taking lots of water, bananas and porridge pots. Here’s my list so far:

-Lucozade Sport drinks
-Bottled water
-Coffee
-Peanut butter
-Soreen malt loaf
– Porridge
-Freddo bars
– Paleo granola (homemade)
– Flapjack (homemade)
– Peanut butter cookies (homemade)
– Banana and blueberry bread (homemade)
– Homemade peanut butter cups (homemade)

Obviously these aren’t my main meals, just staples to get me through the weekend. As I’m a newbie to trail running and events such as the Thunder Run I’d love to hear any suggestions of what snacks are good to take!
You can tweet me @HannahBryan91
Or comment on the box below.

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!