My first interview :D

I have been interviewed by the awesome Lissy recently regarding my experience training for the Paris Marathon. Go read it here :D

 

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Two words

Shin splint.

Two words I had hoped to never pronounce during this marathon training. I have no idea what happened between  last week end where I completed my last long run (13 miles) and today. I took it easy on the run, took some breaks, had plenty of energy gels and water, and yet…

I guess that I did not recover properly. There is this second wave of flu going on lately and just everybody around me has been ill. I have been fighting it off for 10 days already. I felt fine but guess that I was not completely fine as I have been coughing a little. On tuesday I went to the gym for my speed work session and it was just impossible to run. I had to cut it short. The irony is that I felt so fine that day  that I had cancelled my sports massage in the morning. Luckily I was able to book an appointment with my physio for the following day.

The bottom line is that it’s quite inflamed, we don’t want this to develop into a stress fracture and I have to rest. No more running until Sunday where I can go for a short run and see how I feel.

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I have the feeling to be having an out of body experience. I mean, this cannot be happening to ME? Not at 10 days of the marathon. Not when I did not get a single blister during the training. I invite you to read Leah’s post on the emotions of an injured runner. I have been fortunate not to be injured as long as Leah but I am already loosing it.

So in the mean time, I RICE (rest+ice) (good job we have the ice machine at the lab), take turmeric supplements, a natural anti-inflammatory and….wear my ugly trainers to work. Now, I like copying Leah for a lot of things. Signing up for a marathon, getting injured and having the same trainers ;) These babies are, hummmm, challenging to style. Upon leaving the house yesterday, my other-half raised his eyebrows and said “Are you taking another pair of shoes with you?”

 

IMG_1985Come oooooooon. They are not THAT bad. Here is how I have styled them these past two days.

IMG_1990Note the pink scarf and the pink bag to coordinate with the pink sole. I also made sure to have great hair volume to distract people and prevent them from looking at my shoes. Unfortunately you cannot appreciate my hair volume as this picture was taken at the end of the day. However you might notice my great balance.

And today’s outfit:

IMG_1995Grey jumper, pink scarf and pink necklace to match my sexy shoes.

Sarcastic much?

 

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Will run for brunch

The problem when you don’t blog regularly is that you don’t really know how to start your next blog post.

Lets rewind to one of my second long run with the TNR girls back in February.

TNR1

Photo by Leah

That run was though. It was the first “proper” long run and we endured all kinds of weather, from sun to hail.

TNR2

Photo from Leah

TNR3

Moments later in Greenwich park (photo from Leah)

My legs actually gave up 500m before the end and I fell. Scratched my knees and my right wrist started swelling quite badly. I then spent the afternoon in bed icing everything (thanks Gabi).

That makes me think that I never told you the story of the picture of my blog banner. 2 years ago, I fell (it happens a lot) on a half-marathon run prep. I was admiring the view and BAM. I actually hurt myself quite badly. I got up and took a picture of the view to literally remind myself that when life puts you down, you’ve got to pick yourself up. So the following week, when I passed my new falling spot, I took a picture of it.

Favourite place where to fall number 2

Favourite place where to fall number 2

We try to finish our long runs in a nice places for some yummy refuelling. I could forget about my painful wrist and knee by tucking into scrambled egg with homemade gravid lax and a smoothie from Del’Aziz.Brunch at Del'Aziz

The following week, I did a long run on my own where I ended up at the lab. Sadly, my cells were the ones to get fed however, I could fully enjoy the ice machine to ice my knees and shins once at the lab.

I like pink

I like pink

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Ice ice baby

Then there was THE evening 18miler. Mamamia. I’ve decided that I don’t like evening long runs. The anticipation and stress built up all day. What to eat, what to where on the run. Carb loading at the office was fun too.

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4 pm carb loading at the office

I couldn’t have done this run without the TNR girls. Our route consisted of two 9 miles loop along the river. Having a loop is tough. You think that you are finished but you aren’t…you need to go again. I also trialled some new glucose tablets on that run and they did not agree with me. I had stomach pain minutes after taking them. At least it was not on race day. To make things more difficult, I also ran with my backpack. I could really feel the extra weight towards the end but I was glad to have some dry clothes and my jacket to head home. We finished our run at wagamama where I had the chicken katsu curry.

I have to stop doing the "peace" sign

I have to stop doing the “peace” sign

number 71

number 71

 

The week after was a drop down for me, which was a nice break  before running…20 miles. The longest run of the training. Melissa had planned an awesome route for that one. 20mile map

I was not felling so confident after the 18 miler but this run really put my confidence back up. The route was super enjoyable, good weather and awesome company.

selfie

Photo by Melissa

I discovered shot blocks for energy and had no backpack. After 10 miles, I turned round to Melissa and said “Oh, I know why I feel better, I am not running with my backpack for once!”. Yes, it took 10 miles to realise that. Naive should be my middle name.

We finished the run in South Ken, at Muriel’s kitchen for….you guessed it, more food. I had meatballs, shared a salad with the girls and finished by an awesome orange and polenta cake.

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Photo by Charlie

Photo by Charlie

Yesterday I ran 13 miles and ended up at a friend’s for brunch and a good catch up! That’s it for now! Two weeks to go, time to taper, stretch, sleep lots and keep eating a ton (I am defo going to miss that part after the marathon).

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So how is it all going?

So how is this marathon training going really, you may ask. Well it is going well! I am sticking to my running plan and increasing the distance! I just got back from a 20miles run with Charlie and Melissa. This was our furthest run and now we are starting to taper! Wow, I can’t believe that we are nearly there.

My plan for the remaining 3 weeks is to keep my 3 weekly runs to keep these legs moving, but also incorporate a tiny bit more cross-training. I have definitely not been as good with my cross-training as I was at the beginning of my training (see a recap here). And yet, I know that my running would huuuuuuugely benefit from some more pilates and yoga to work my core and get a good stretch.

Therefore, last weekend, I was really excited to be invited by simplyhealth to a hot pilates class at the Yotopia studio in Covent Garden.

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Hot pilates is performed in a room heated at 40C…last week end was one of the hottest week-end of the year. Needless to say that we were nice and warm. It was better to take a group shot before the class hehe.

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The first thing that surprised me in the room was that there were no mirrors. It turned out to be a good thing in my opinion as I really focused on the instructions given by our lovely teacher Amy and got a reaaaaally good work out out of it. I learnt some new plank variations that I will do during my taper weeks.

IMG_2700 IMG_2704 IMG_2706According to simplyhealth, hot pilates has many benefits:

Detoxification

Sweating on a regular basis allows the body to cleanse itself and release harmful toxins and waste from the skin. When you sweat your capillaries expand, helping the body dissolve all those hidden toxins lying deep under your skin.

Immunity boost

Viruses cannot survive in high temperatures so increasing the body’s core temperature helps fight off infections, which are pushed out through sweat.

Healthy connective tissue

Hot Pilate’s opens the body’s connective tissues helping the muscles get in to more strenuous postures and positions.

Weight Loss

Hot Pilates can result in weight loss because stretching deeper helps to build more muscle, which in turn burns more fatty acids and breaks down glucose.

Simply Health UK has a back care app in association with the BackCare charity. For every app downloaded SimplyHealth donate £1 to the charity.

In the end, the heat did not bother me that much and I felt great afterwards :D

Thank you simplyhealth for reminding me how great pilates is!

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Happy birthday PeachyLau !

I started this blog one year ago today :D

HB blog

 

Image source

It’s become my space to ramble mostly about running, cosmetics and food.  My first post consisted of my 12 favourite running tips for beginners. Here they are again for your pleasure:

1) Sign up for a race

I find that preparing for a race is the best motivation! Good news is that you have already done that :) After training for a half-marathon in 2011, I stopped running after the race. Big mistake. I had to start my training almost from scratch for this year’s so this time I am making sure not to stop!

2) Get the right shoes:

You do not have to suffer from knee/shin pain when running. I used to choose my running shoes based on their price and colour until I got a bit more serious about running. Different shoes will offer a different type of cushioning and support. Also, you might want to get a pair half a size bigger to leave room for when your feet swell from running. Finally, your running shoes have a certain “mileage to them” and if you are experiencing any pain, it might simply be time to change them. Shops like Decathlon, runnersneed and Nike usually offer a tailored fitting session where they will determine what type of support you need and let you try the shoes on a treadmill.

This is a very good site to get more info: http://www.shoeguide.co.uk/exec/content/advice

3) Dress like a runner

I really like wearing running gears, it instantly motivate me more to go running if I “look like a runner”. More importantly running gears are usually made of
breathable materials which can only make running more pleasant. With this cold weather, you want to have different layers of breathable material otherwise you might not get rid of the sweat effectively and get a cold. I like the Nike ones a lot and also Decathlon’s. For women, get a good running bra!!!!! This will definitely make all the difference.

4) Warm up and stretch

It is very important to warm up before setting off for your run, especially in this weather.My best friend who is a physio has been recommending me to do “active warm up” instead of stretching. Indeed, it is difficult to stretch cold muscles but you also want to contract said muscles for running so it is a bit counterproductive. I found this video online that groups some of the exercises I do for my warm up: http://www.fitsugar.com/Active-Warmup-Running-15171594I also circle my ankles in both directions to warm them up, add a few squats to wake up the glutes and a few jumping jacks to increase my heart rate.After your run, you should spend some time stretching your calves, hamstrings, glutes, thighs, back and arms, hip flexors, holding your poses for at least 30sec.This seems to be a good routine http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE0U4_2pHOY

5) It is OK to walk

I think that it is important to remember that it is OK to walk, especially when you are just starting. Interval training is what makes me improved the most. One of my friends did the NHS couch to 5K programme and was very positive about it so it can be something to check.Try alternating the running and walking times, progressively decreasing the time spent walking. Interval training can then be used to improve by alternating 45sec high intensity exercise with 1 min recovery for instance. One good way of knowing how hard you are pushing yourself is by doing the “talking test”. If you are able to speak while running, the intensity is probably 5-6/10. If you can speak but are out of breath the intensity is 7-8/10. If you cannot hold a conversation then 8-10/10. You can use this as a guide of how hard you are pushing yourself.

 6) Eat/drink right

You might want to eat 30min before your run but I would not advise you to eat just before going. At least that does not work for me. You might discover some foods that do not agree with you before your runs. You also want to stay hydrated and perhaps have a drink before you set off and for sure one after you finish. Many people carry a water bottle when running. It is comforting but personally I do not like carrying one. I find that it off balances me a little.

 7) Keep track of your progress

If you have a smart phone, I can only recommend the Nike+ add. It is very motivating to see your improvements and thanks to this app you will have a record of the route you ran, the time the weather conditions etc. Mapmyrun is also a good website to log in your training. Try to be consistent, going for 10 min is better than not going at all

 8) Pump your arms

When you start to be fatigued, your posture will suffer and that will actually only make running harder. When it gets tough, make an extra effort to check your posture and pump your arms!When the arms are pumping, the legs are following :)

 9) Ice it

You might experience a bit of pain from starting running. Ice your shin or knee in that case and take a rest day. Go see your physio if the pain does not pass.

 10) Keep it varied

Try different routes, try interval training, try to go to a short run where you try to be fast or a long one which a slower pace, run with a friend…

 11) Stay safe

I fell during a long run of my half-marathon training. That is when I realised that I was a bit young and stupid as nobody knew where I was, I did not have my oyster card, tissue, keys, money or anythingon me and it was not a busy area. SO my advises would be to let somebody know where you are going, be careful if you listen to music as you might not hear cars coming, nights come early so wear high visibility gears and maybe have your oyster card on you so you can take public transport if you cannot run anymore.

12) Motivation….

That is a tough one. Running for charity is the best motivation for me but here are another few tips that I use:I plan and think about my run, think about how good I am going to feel after it. The only runs that I regret are the ones that I do not do. Sometimes it takes me absolutely ages to decide to go but in the end I never regret it and always feel better after so I try to remind myself of this feeling.

Some week ends, I jus put on my running gear first thing in the morning. I then really have to go since I am “ready”.I try to go in the morning so this way it is done and dusted and I cannot use the excuse of finishing work too late and being too tired.

I really really love ice cream so going running means I can indulge.

During a run if I want to stop I pump my arms. Then I say to myself that I can keep going for 2-5min extra and see how I feel then. I usually feel fine and just say to myself that I will keep going for another 5 min etc.

I repeat to myself 100 times (yes yes 100 times) “I am a runner” or “I am not a quitter”. Having to concentrate to keep track of how many times I am repeating tricks my mind enough for it to forget about the pain. Making my grocery list also works.

If I am really tired I walk until a set point (a tree, bench or lamp-post) and then start again.I say to somebody that I will go for a run. I usually go in case they rain check on me.So here are my running tips!

Hello legs
Hello legs

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Do you like running? I LOVE it.
What is your favourite running tip? I love keeping track of my progress and see how I am improving
When are you next going for a run? This week-end at the latest
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