My week in training – 50 days to go!

Week 8 of my training plan on the road to the Boston Marathon and there’s just 50 days to go! I feel as though things are really starting to ramp up now, although my weekly mileage hasn’t increased massively, maybe it’s just my mind playing tricks on me, who knows! This week actually felt pretty tough though and I was struggling mentally towards the end of the week, but now the sessions are all done, looking back it has actually been a pretty successful week!

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been up to this week.

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Monday:
I woke up in London as I’d spent the weekend there with my friend Liv. We ran the Old Deer Park half-marathon in Richmond the day before but I’d paced Liv to a 2.04 finish time and so felt fine to train on Monday as I had the day off work. I had planned to do my scheduled session 1 but the gym didn’t have everything I needed so I did a bit of a random session made up of some squats, single leg deadlifts, leg press (which I never do!), pull ups and calf work. It was ok but in hindsight I should’ve used it as a rest day.

Tuesday:
Back up north at my mum’s house, I headed out for a late morning run, an easy five miles just to get the legs turning. I used this as my easy pacer/recovery run of the week and it felt fine. Another one ticked off.

Wednesday:
My first proper strength session of the week, woohoo! I’m loving my current gym programme and slowly but surely, thanks to some top programming, I feel like I’m getting stronger. Here’s what today’s session included:
Push jerks
Pause squats SS with box jumps and chin ups
Romanian deadlifts (3 sec pause at the bottom) toes elevated, SS with strict press
Hanging leg raise SS with single leg calf raise

Thursday:
There was only a 20min tempo run on the cards today but I felt absolutely shattered for some reason. However, 20 minutes is 20 minutes and I therefore had no excuses. I also had a dentists appointment to get to so had to run super fast to get back home in time to drive there – motivation ey haha!

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Friday:
I think I must’ve moaned to just about everyone who would (or wouldn’t) listen to me about running on Friday – haha sorry! For me, that’s what training is about sometimes though, especially marathon training, just digging in and getting it done. Tonight’s session was to run 5 mins hard, 1 min super easy until I’d reached 10k. I finished at the supermarket, got some hot chocolate and an uber home!

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Saturday:
With lots to do today I was up fairly early to get to the gym for when it opened – yes I am that person- to do my second and final strength session of the week. I did:
Power cleans from the blocks
Deadlifts
Bulgarian split squats SS with bench press and single arm row
Candlestick progressions SS with calf work
This was followed by a delicious brunch which will be in a blog post next week, so keep an eye out for that!

Sunday:
Sunday funday long run day…ohhh how I hated the first half of this. I was a greedy little piglet before I set off and so spent the first half too full, feeling sick and heavy! I kept it steady and from mile 10 picked it up for the last 6 miles to include a few 7.30s – result! I’m hoping the speed is in there, I just haven’t had the guts to tap in to it properly on long runs yet! We went for a delicious lunch after at Bill’s. I had a vegetable tagine and hummus to start – yummy 🙂

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Here’s to another week down and a much needed rest day tomorrow!!

Han xx

 

 

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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

 

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…!

🙂

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:
hip lift 1
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:
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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:
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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.

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)