What to do when you don’t hit your target running pace 


Sometimes, you have to laugh at how ironic life can be. On Tuesday, a couple of hours before going for my training run, I wrote my weekly training recap and said how I was happy that I had nailed my intervals during my speed session. Literally one hour later, I went out to do this week’s speed session (outdoor) and I just couldn’t hit my pace.

The workout: 1.5K warm up, 6 x 800m in 3’45 (4.44min/K pace) with 90sec RI, 1.5K cool down

My intervals: 4’08, 03’57, 04’05, 03’57, 04’01, 03’42

I wanted to give up after 2 repeats when I saw that I couldn’t hit my pace. I was giving it by all, pumping my arms and breathing out like a damn elephant and the clock was still not budging in the right direction. Before beating myself up, I decided to take the opportunity to reflect (told you I love reflecting) on why this workout felt so difficult. Here was my mental checklist:

1) How was my sleep?  I actually slept quite well but did not the two previous nights due to Lawrence coughing a lot

2) How was my fueling? I had breakfast but it was some cereals I do not usually eat and a couple of hours before with nothing in between

3) Was I well hydrated? Probably not, had coffee and orange juice for breakfast with again, nothing else in between

4) Did I warm up properly? Nope

5) Where am I in my menstrual cycle? Per the suggestion of Kim Ingleby, a great coach and Sweaty Betty ambassador, I started tailoring my training according to my menstrual cycle. A quick think of the calendar reminded me that my period was due (sorry if this is TMI), hence why this week was supposed to be a drop down. However I switched my training to have a less intense training week next week due to my wedding. It probably explains why I was also so tired after my last long run.

6) Am I sure of the distance I am running? It sounds silly but I sort of barely measured the distances and my total mileage for that session was 700m what it should have been. Furthermore, last week’s session was a treadmill session and this was outdoor.

7) What am I thinking about? Well, although I was determined to get through this session and was trying to give it my all, my mind was distracted enough to think about all the above! I usually tell the runners from the group I lead that during speed work, they should run fast enough that they cannot even think!

8) Do you still deserve a kick up the derriere? At this point, I decided that I could cut myself a bit of slack and learn from this session to prepare better for next time. And then it happened, the most two random moments of inspiration in the space of a couple of minutes. As I was resting before my last interval, trying to convince myself that I could do it, this drunk guy at the park who had seen me pass by him a couple of times told me not to give up. I said “damn right, it’s the last one, I am going to make it a good one”. And THEN, as I was running my final stretch this guy in a weelchair passed by me. I looked at him, nodded, told myself to shut the F* up, that nobody was forcing me to do this, that I was lucky and that it was time to REALLY give it my all. That was my 3’42 interval.

My point with telling you this is that we all have rubbish workouts. However, unless you always train at the same time, the same place and eat the same thing before, you are bound to have some variations. That’s OK. Take this opportunity to reflect on what was different and what you can act on. Cut yourself some slack because even if you think that it’s not going well, you are still out there training. Finally, never give up. Inspire yourself from your surroundings and be grateful of being able to do what you love. It’s not over until you cross that finish line.

How do you deal with a tough workout?

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Bristol + Bath Marathon: Training update week 5

Bristol to bath marathon training run less run faster


Apologies if you were expecting this post yesterday, I am following my own advice and getting lots of sleep lately. Week 5 of training was a good week. Touch wood my ITB has not been playing up again. I am working on a post on its management so I can share with you some tips that can helpfully be helpful to you if you suffer from the same problem.

Monday: Really awesome speed session. I hit my target pace and was mentally focused despite running on the treadmill. I can think of 4 things that made it better than the previous ones.

treadmill marathon training run less run faster intervals

Sweat fest

  1. The pace was the same as previously but the running intervals were longer. They still felt easier and I might just be getting stronger/training is paying off.
  2. This week the plan recommended resting interval as opposed to light jogs between repeats. That really really helped.
  3. My treadmill incline was 0. I usually always run on an incline of 1. That’s probably a massive factor as to why it felt easier.
  4. It’s the day I had all these snacks and perhaps it’s just what I need before a speed session.

Tuesday: I did an ab and upper body workout from Kayla’s Itsines Bikini Body Guide 

Wednesday:  I went running with fellow Hill Killer Girl Hannah in the morning. I did not hit my tempo pace but I still ran 1min/K faster and 2K more than what I usually run early mornings. Plus I wanted to have the time to chat and have a proper catch up as it is the last time we will run together for another couple of months. I encourage you to read Laura’s latest post on letting go of target paces when marathon training.

Thursday and Friday: I was supposed to do some cross training on one of these day but it did not happen as I finished work late both days and couldn’t face working out in the evenings. This is why I like to workout in the morning and be part of the 6am club. If you do it first thing in the morning, you cannot bail! I watched this video again for a boost of motivation.

Saturday: Long run, 22.5K. I cannot believe that I casually ran more than the half marathon distance as part of my training. I decided to run about half of my run on the trails and it was amazing. So peaceful, quiet and much softer on the knees than concrete. My splits were a bit uneven but my overall pace was bang on the one recommended by the training plan so, I was quite pleased with that. My stupid watch stopped at some point and it took me some time to realise it so I ended up running 1K extra.

Although the run itself did not feel too difficult, it completely wiped me out and I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed and only got up to meet Claire to eat cake. That’s the other side of marathon training for you: it makes you t-i-r-e-d (and hungry, but you already knew that).

deer park bristol ashton court

I stumbled on some nettles to take this picture. That was NOT fun.

Bristol Ashton Court

IMG_6909 Sleepy head post long run

Sunday: Lots of sleep and cross training in the form of moving flat. Believe me, that was a workout.

Upon reflection, I am glad that I managed to do my 3 runs this week and I felt strong for the 3 of them. I wished my organisation had been better so I could have done some more cross-training but what can I say, life happens and I prioritised the running this week.

The next 3 weeks are going to be manic. Lots of travelling and a wedding. I do not know what this will mean for my training but I will sure keep you updated!

Do you like trail running?



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Sunday reads #1


I have decided to rename my “Links I’d like to share with you” series “Sunday Reads” because it seems much better to catch up on all these lovely articles on a relaxing Sunday. Here are some of my favourite recent reads.


Jen is training for her first ultra marathon and shares how important it is to have a good support network. I couldn’t agree more and wouldn’t have embarked on this second marathon journey without a good support network.

Ashley got the confidence to run in a sports bra and I admire her so much for this as I do not have the confidence to do this yet.

Charlie is training for the Chicago marathon and I absolutely LOVE this article and the wise words of her coach on “wanting it enough“.

Leah shared with us her running story

Lissy wrote about how she can get “inspiration overload” from what everybody is doing out there but how important it is to remember why you are doing the things you are doing and enjoy the process along the way. I get it, I wrote an article on why comparison is the thief of joy earlier this year. I hope that my blog can inspire you but also show you that the process is not always easy. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and keep going.

If you are a runner or want to understand runners better, have a look at these 22 facts, they are hilarious.

whole 30 salmon avocado olive salad healthy

Leah’s feel good food.


Leah wrote about the whole 30 diet she follows a couple of time a year and why this is for her. Some people can see it as a soundless diet (and I mean diet as in an eating regimen, not a weight loss process) but it is what makes her feel good and therefore what she should be doing. Very much like with running, we shouldn’t always compare our plate with our neighbour’s.


If you are a Londoner, this will make you smile.

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SmartShake, perfect for your snacks and shakes

slim black smartshake healthy snack

SmartShake is perfect to carry my snacks and my protein powder


Have you heard of SmartShake? As the name indicates, it’s a pretty smart shaker. The innovation lies in the fact that it has a separate compartment for you to put your protein powder in it, so you can have a protein shake straight after your workout and use it as a regular water bottle until then. Lawrence uses his all.the.time and will not go to the gym without it. It blends protein powders really well and we have been using our SmartShakes to make our protein mousse (read my review here).

After Monday’s realisation that I might slightly be overdoing it with my nut intake, I’ve been bring mine* to the office  to carry one of my snacks: a mix of salted caramel dark chocolate, almonds and dried prunes. I have the slim version, which is elegant and has a 500mL capacity, the perfect size when you are already carrying toms of tupperwares, your running gear etc. The possibilities are endless. You could also use the compartment to put your keys, jewellery, change, an emergency hairband or headphones in.

You can buy SmartShake online but I have also seen them in Boots and Holland and Barrett stores.

*PR sample – All opinions my own and a very thankful Lawrence so I don’t steal his SmartShake anymore.

How do you carry your snacks or protein powders? 


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Are healthy snacks making you fat?

nut healthy protein snacks


I am not one to count calories, but on Monday I came to the realisation that I should perhaps track things a bit more as my healthy snacks/nut addiction is perhaps not the healthiest.

On Monday, I carried on with my smoothie addiction, but this time made one with two massive tablespoons of peanut butter. Fine. I was still hungry after lunch and went to the supermarket after to by an apple. Did you know that a pink lady is 60p and that you can buy 5 raspberry-filled donuts for 65p?! The struggle to make the healthy choice was real. Close to the till, I noticed the new graze snacks packets and a Nakd bars. I proceeded to buy both….and eat both in the afternoon along with my apple. It’s later that it hit me. Fair enough all of these are healthy and full of proteins….but it’s also full of FAT!

Here are the statistics. Between the peanut butter in the smoothie, the naked bar and the graze box, I consumed 853 calories, 33g protein, 39g carbs and 62g fat, including 12g of saturated fat! That’s over a third of my daily recommended calorie needs. According to the UK dietary guidelines [1], based on a 2,000 calories diet, your daily fat intake should be 70g, including 20g of saturated fat…

Now, I am not saying that I am going to start tracking calories, but I will try to reduce my nut intake and snack on fresh food instead, as this was a bit of an eye opener. On a separate nut note, I had an AWESOME speed session that evening, which also means that I could possibly do which such snacks before a tough running session. Perhaps just not everyday.

Edit 11h15: Just to clarify, healthy fats are good for you and this is why I include them daily in my diet and would encourage you to do the same. However that day I also had avocado, smoked salmon and cooked with coconut oil, which are also great sources of healthy fats. As mentioned in the comments, I believe that it would be better that in the future, my snacks come from a variety of food and not just nuts.


[1]  http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/reference-intakes-RI-guideline-daily-amounts-GDA.aspx

Do you check how much nuts you eat?

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