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!

peaks 1 peaks 2

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…!

🙂

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

🙂

Berlin marathon training

Warning: look away now if you don’t like squiggly red line running routes and heart rate graphs!

Berlin marathon

In honour of National Running Day I thought it was only fitting to write something about running and more specifically about my running.

If you follow me on Twitter/Instagram you will probably know that I’m training for this year’s Berlin Marathon (woohoo). I still can’t believe I was lucky enough to secure a place in the ballot, I’m so excited!

I also happen to love Berlin having visited once before on a four day city break with my friend Hannah G. The nightlife there is like nothing I have EVER experienced before. Anyway, that’s another story and a different blog post entirely.

Berlin mara 1

Back to this post and my Berlin Marathon training. So far my training has been good and I’m injury free – touch wood – having largely stuck to my programme which is about 25 weeks in total if I remember correctly.

Each week on my programme is different but there are certain elements which are constant. Every week there will be two quality sessions, one focusing on speed and the other on distance. The rest of the week is split in to minimum 30 minute runs. A run after a quality session will always be a 30 minute recovery run at easy pace and the others will have some strides thrown in.

rec run 1

A recovery run with 7 x 20-30sec strides thrown in.

Here’s what my training looks like for this week. This is the second week of phase two of my programme.

Monday 30 mins easy pace with 7 20-30 sec strides
Tuesday 30 mins easy pace
Wednesday Quality 2: 4 mins hard, 3 mins recovery jog until reached 10K
Thursday 30 mins easy pace
Friday 30 mins easy pace with 8 x 20-30 sec strides
Saturday Quality 1: 20 mins easy pace, 20 mins threshold pace, 20 mins easy pace
Sunday 30 mins easy pace

Saturday is my first Q1 (quality 1) session but this is my second week of Q2 sessions. I’m really enjoying the programme so far as it means I’m running regularly and even when I don’t feel like it I remind myself that 30 minutes is more than manageable. I think it was on a Runner’s World Facebook thread where one woman wrote that whenever she doesn’t feel like running she always runs at least one mile. If at the end of  that mile she still doesn’t want to run then she allows herself to run home, meaning she’s done at least two miles that day. This is a great strategy if ever you’re lacking in motivation as by the time you’ve reached two miles about 15 minutes has passed so I think I might as well do the other 15 and before you know it you’ve reached 30 minutes.

A recovery run which turned in to a pretty fast 5 miler, whoops.

A recovery run which turned in to a pretty fast 5 miler, whoops.

I’m also monitoring my average and max heart rate thanks to my fabulous Garmin Forerunner 220.

One of the main benefits of using a heart rate monitor is that it can help you to make sure you’re recovering adequately from other runs. If you know your average resting heart rate and VO2 max you can work out what your heart rate should be on a recovery run. Having a quick glance at this on your watch while running means you can make sure you’re not overdoing your easy/recovery runs (something I am guilty of!) and this can ultimately help to prevent overuse injuries.

HR 1

A 5k made up of fast intervals which got my HR to 191.

Monitoring your heart rate also gives you a more precise way of gauging exertion levels which is usually more accurate than your own thoughts on how hard you think you’re working.

A 10K Q2 session HR graph

A 10K Q2 session HR graph

I’m definitely getting faster as well which I love and I already feel comfortable at a faster minute mile pace than before which is great. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve still got a long way to go before the Berlin marathon and over the next two weeks my speed sessions really start to ramp up, eek!

A Q1 long run from the previous week.

A Q1 long run from the previous week.

My goal is just to perform as well as I can in the marathon on September 27 and enjoy running my first marathon abroad. I’d love to run sub 3.30 or dare I say it break 3.20 but we’ll just see what happens on the day. Either way, I’m ready for the next four months and to see what I’m capable of.

Are you training for a marathon? Let me know what your programme is like!

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

 

Finding my happy pace: Easter weekend 18 miler

I can’t quite believe that it’s just 12 days until the Manchester Marathon!

18 miler

I’m finally allowing myself to get excited about the thought of reaching the start line now! After a couple of months of “should I or shouldn’t I” run the marathon I’ve settled on “maybe I can after all.”

If you’re familiar with my blog you might have read my posts on my sub 3.45 marathon goal for Manchester and then how an injury  threw a spanner in the works.

However, despite ruling it out for a while I’ve persevered and tried to get the miles in without getting too stressed that I was about a month behind where I should be in my training plan.

Anyway, this weekend, spurred on by the good weather and the lure of Easter eggs, I hit the roads to see if I could manage 18 miles.

I set out at about 7.50min/mi pace for the first couple of miles, trying to slow down to an 8.35 pace which would be my ideal marathon pace for Manchester. I soon settled in to a steady rhythm and despite feeling a twinge in my knee at mile 5 it wasn’t enough to quit so I carried on and it soon went.

Mile 9 came and it was time to turn around and run back. I took a bottle of water with me which had an orange flavour High5 Zero Electrolyte tablet in and I also had one tube of tropical punch flavour Shot Bloks.

In case you’re interested in how I fuel my long runs, I normally don’t take a drink or any energy gels with me unless I’m running more than 10-12 miles.

I had my first drink and Shot Blok at 9 miles and then every three miles after that, so another drink and Shot Blok at 12 and then my final one at mile 15. I didn’t end up drinking the whole bottle of water and had three Shot Bloks in total.

I felt good throughout the run and it was so nice to be running in the sunshine and without a jacket on for once! Hello spring!! 🙂

I managed 18 miles in 2 hours and 28 minutes which I was thrilled with! Last year when I was training for the Yorkshire Marathon I ran 20 miles in 3 hours and 3 minutes so I definitely feel as though I’ve improved which is a major confidence boost ahead of the marathon.

I finished with a victory dance in the street and a bemused look from a couple of dog walkers but I was so happy! I refuelled with an egg scramble and then some chocolate – not the best refuel I know –  before heading out for some shopping and amazing Hotel Chocolat hot chocolate with my mum. Later that evening Dane and I celebrated at Ambiente Tapas (he’d spent a good three hours mountain biking!) and it was delicious. Ambiente Tapas is my favourite restaurant so if you’re in Leeds or York it’s definitely worth a visit!

Heading out for tapas to celebrate.

Heading out for tapas to celebrate.

I’m now feeling much more confident about the marathon but will see how the next two weeks go and if there’s any sign of my injury flaring up I’ll re-think my plans.

Happy running! 🙂

Clean Carrot Cake

“This feels like a naughty treat.” 

cake 3

Those were the words of my boyfriend Dane as he ate a spoonful of my freshly baked carrot cake, shortly followed with “now can I have a cup of tea!”

Yes, this cake has no flour, no added sugar and even the “icing” is clean. As you may have noticed if you’ve read some of my other recipes, I like to keep things simple and this cake was no exception. It’s super easy to make and doesn’t require any overly fancy ingredients.

You will need: 

For the cake:
2 red apples
250g of oats
2 tsp of cinnamon
2 heaped tbsps of grated carrot
2 large eggs
4 tbsp of agave nectar honey
1 tsp baking powder

For the icing:
One small tub of natural fat free Greek yoghurt
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp honey

To make:
– Start by peeling the apple and chopping it in to small pieces before putting in a pan with a couple of tbsp of cold water. Cook on a medium heat and add the cinnamon, stirring occasionally. As the apple begins to warm and soften mash it with a fork.
– Once the apple is soft and is partly mashed then take off the heat and set to one side.
– In a food processor add the oats, eggs, honey, and grated carrot before adding the apple and baking powder as well. Blend until thoroughly mixed and well combined. It’s definitely best to use a food processor or a blender here rather than just a mixing bowl and spoon as the oats need to be blitzed a little bit to represent flour in the cake.
– Grease a cake tin and add the mixture before popping in the oven at about 180 degrees for minimum of 20 minutes. To test when the cake is done poke the middle with a knife and if the knife comes out clean then the cake is ready.
– To make the  frosting add some of the yoghurt to a bowl before adding the icing sugar and honey. Be careful about how much yoghurt you add as it depends what size your cake is and it shouldn’t be so runny that it runs off the cake!
– Make sure the cake is completely cooled before you put the icing on.

The "icing"

The “icing”

Enjoy 🙂

Tag me in your creations on Twitter & Instagram using #hannahshappypace

The Major Series 10K

“KEEP moving those legs otherwise you’ll get stuck and I’m not coming in to get you” – British Military Fitness.

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There’s little I love more than a challenge, especially when it’s a muddy one!

Last weekend my top teammate Dane and I tackled The Major Series at Leeds Bramham Park, a British Military Fitness (BMF) trail race voted the best in the UK.

Dane and I were signed up to the 10K race which actually turned out to be 12K and after an early start we arrived in time to set off in the first wave of the day.

Over that 12K we tackled nature’s obstacles from hills, mud, water and ditches to ropes and even bright pink space hoppers! This wasn’t my first muddy trail race, I ran Tough Mudder last year so I was interested to see how this was going to compare.

In short the obstacles in The Major Series are, in my opinion, better for a trail race than Tough Mudder as they use the environment rather than manmade structures.

Keeping your trainers tied tight was VITAL as you tried to wade your way through the Stench Trenches. The smell of fresh mud hits you instantly and as the BMF volunteer said its best to keep moving otherwise you will definitely get stuck! My legs felt as though they were moving through thick treacle as I tried to drive my knee up through the mud. When you’re waist deep in a bog of black tar like mud trying to claw your way to the other side on tired legs it’s easy to get stuck and Dane had to pull me my leg free at one point.

Getting ready to set off!

Getting ready to set off!

There’s plenty of mud in Cooper’s Crawl too which requires you to showcase your best commando crawl – Dane takes first prize on that one – as you keep as low to the mud soaked ground as possible. There’s also Spike’s Mud Crawler (the picture at the top of this post) where you’ve got barbed wire to contend with.

You’ve got to get low again to avoid some dangling electric fencing wire on one of the obstacles where there’s actually an escape route! And yes they are on – my left buttock can testify to that!

Aside from the mud there are plenty of logs to jump over, ditches to crawl out of and amazing trail running over mixed terrain. Oh, and there’s LOTS of water as well. My legs and feet were numb from wading through streams, under bridges and through bogs.

Then came the obstacle I was dreading most. Since Tough Mudder, Arctic Enema has haunted me so I knew I wasn’t going to enjoy Martin Marine’s Zone. There are two barriers you have to swim under and with the volunteers urging you to do it in one that’s probably what I should’ve done. Instead I swam under the first one before coming up for air and tackling the second one – it’s like a giant brain freeze!

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My favourite obstacle by far though was Sander’s Slide where Corporal Sander is ready to give you a good soaking before you take a run up and slide down the hill on your stomach much to the joy of spectators.

Last but not least, remember space hopping when you were younger? Well the last obstacle before you run over the finish line is the Breast Cancer Campaigns pink space hoppers.

Waiting for us at the end was a well deserved goodie bag full of a Moma! porridge sachet, a Coco Pro protein coconut water (which was AMAZING), a Beet It bar, dog tag medal and a £25 voucher for a health food website.

All in the entire race was so much fun and Dane and I finished with a massive smile on our face which we’d pretty much had the whole way round and we both said how much we enjoyed it.

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The only thing I would’ve like to have seen was foil blankets waiting for us at the end as it was FREEZING and maybe some power hoses to rinse off afterwards as it made getting changed a bit of a nightmare.

To find out more visit majorseries.com.