Learning to Olympic lift again

A few years ago I started Crossfit, and loved it! However, trying to keep up with Crossfit Wods and marathon training proved too much, and so sadly it had to go. What went with it was learning to Olympic lift.

Without anyone at the gym to coach me, I felt it was too tricky, and dangerous, to try and teach myself! However, I’ve wanted to get back into it for ages as I really enjoyed it and wanted to add it in to my training sessions for power and strength, as well as to learn a new skill.

So finally, almost a year-and-a-half later, I’m learning again!

I’ve started with push jerks and split jerks and have also begun perfecting my power clean technique. I’d forgotten how beautifully frustrating it was, if that makes sense?! It’s like any lift I guess, or any session in the gym, you want to lift more and get better and when you do, it’s so satisfying!

I’ve posted a few videos below. I’m aware that my technique needs a lot of work, especially on my clean, but hey, I’ll get there!


If you’d like to learn to Olympic lift, or want to perfect your technique, I’d always recommend getting a proper coach to help you so that you learn the correct technique and how best to build it in to your training.

If you’ve got any tips for me I’d love to hear them too!

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Summer training & races to come

Well hello there! It’s been a while since I properly posted a training update – or anything for that matter – so here goes!

I’ve had a little break but I’ve since been quietly working away, trying to improve my running and strength and slowly build back up towards marathon training.

long run

I’m running the York Marathon in October which will be my 5th marathon! York was actually my first marathon as well so I’m super excited to go back and run it again. Not only that, but it’s home turf so I’m hoping the family (including my 1-year-old niece!) can all come and cheer me on which would be amazing.

Aside from that, York is flat – yipeeee! My current marathon PB is at 3.25, which I achieved in London earlier this year. I’m not expecting to beat that at York but what I am aiming for is a strong finish. My goal is to be able to run that last 10k as strongly as I ran the first 10k. I realise I’m not going to be finishing the race as gazelle like as when I started it, but I want to be able to maintain a consistent speed, without seeing those mile splits climb.

So basically, that’s what I’m training towards. As always I’m doing my three gym sessions a week. This is made up of 2 strength sessions and a third focusing more on conditioning rather than lifting big numbers – I do love a bro sesh though as demonstrated below, ha!

strength 1

At the minute I’m running three times a week. Before anyone tells me that you need to be running every day to run a marathon, you definitely don’t need to. For me, it’s about getting in the quality sessions and finding out what works for me. I’ve tried running 6 days a week and for me, that just doesn’t work – particularly for my mental health! If you want me to do a post on training for a marathon on three runs a week – just let me know by commenting below or Tweeting me (@hannahbryan91).

speed session

This week I did a speed session on Tuesday, an easy run on Wednesday and a long run on Friday. I’ve got one more gym session to do (my conditioning one), which I’ll do tomorrow (Sunday). This might increase as the marathon nears but this depends on a number of factors i.e. time and my body! I’m currently getting some help with my nutrition which I’m hoping is going to benefit my performance and aid recovery so I might end up running more within the next few months, but I’m going to tell you more about the nutrition side of things in a different post!

easy run

Here’s a list of what I’ve got coming up:

August – Askern 10 miler
September – Great North Run
October – York Marathon, Sheffield 10k
November – exciting challenge to be announced soon!

I’ll try and get some other races in but at the minute that’s what I’ve got booked in.

The only other thing to mention is that I decided not to accept my Good For Age place for London next year. I hope I don’t regret it! My plan is to focus on Boston – providing I get a place! If I don’t get a place…then the Great Wall Marathon is on my list…!

That’s all for now training wise, I’ll keep you updated as the marathon nears. I’m ready to work hard for this one!

🙂

Race review: Nottingham 10 mile road race

Woah, it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged – apologies for that! I’m back now though and thought I’d share a race review from the Nottingham 10 mile road race with you.
nottingham 10 mile race
I ran this on a very wet Friday evening last week. Luckily the sun did come out for most of it though!

The race kicked off from Nottingham’s National Watersports Centre at 7pm. I got there at about 6.15pm and parking was super easy. It was a short walk to the registration area and luckily we could wait inside before going to the start line. There was no defined start line but it was pretty easy to figure it out – I just followed the other runners!

The course is essentially two-and-a-half laps around the lake. I was worried the route would be boring but it really wasn’t at all! If you need a huge crowd when you race then I wouldn’t recommend this, although where people were watching they did some great cheering!

I didn’t have a plan going into the race; in fact I didn’t actually want to do it at all after a long week at work – and it was chucking it down! I decided to just make sure I ran under 1.15 and use it as a great training run.

I felt strong the whole way round and came in at 1.13 – happy with that 🙂

There’s no medal at the end which I was gutted about as I love a good medal haha. When you pay to enter (I think it was around £20 maybe) you can also pay for a finishers t-shirt though.

Every finisher also gets a goodie bag which had a mug and a banana in.

All in all, this was an enjoyable race and I’d recommend it to anyone who lives near Nottingham. A great way to spend a Friday night!

My next race was supposed to be Sunday however I’m now going to be watching the athletics in Birmingham which I’m incredibly excited for!

Training is going well though and I’ll have a full blog post on what I’m up to and what I’m training for at the moment up at the weekend!

🙂

Mexican breakfast – Huevos Rancheros recipe

mexican brekky 2

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

mexican brekky 1 Mexican brekky 3

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.

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

🙂

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