Mirror 15L hydration backpack review

marathon training running bristol trespass

With the lovely Claire before one of our morning run.


I would not call myself the most experienced runner but after nearly 5 years of running and keeping this blog as an online diary of my training allowing me to reflect, I really like to be able to look back at my training, learn from it and aim to improve.

During the Paris marathon last year, my stomach was an issue. In retrospect, I know that part of it is was because I would drink/eat my gels in one go instead of sipping them slowly. I have taken my own water bottle in recent races and my stomach could handle regular little amount of hydration/fueling much better. However, I do not really like running with a water bottle as over time I find that my form suffers from the imbalance. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the few times I fell during a run were the rare occasions I was carrying a water bottle.

When Trespass contacted me with the opportunity to trial something from their range of sportswear, I immediately choose the Mirror 15L hydration backpack* to accompany my marathon training.

IMG_6615I am familiar to running with a running backpack and in fact trained with one for the Paris Marathon last year (check a funny story about it on Lissy’s blog). When time came to choose a hydration backpack, I choose the Mirror 15L as it was the smallest one from the range and it already came with a 2L water bladder, making it a cost-effective purchase.

There is a waist and chest clip for adjusted fitting and the shoulder straps are comfortable.  I wish I could have it slightly tighter on the shoulders to fit my petite frame but then, again, it might be a good thing that I don’t have it too tight as there is no chaffing to declare so far!

There is lots of space in the main pocket and more importantly zips so I can put my keys, gels, tissues, change etc in different compartments and find things readily! The added bonus is the little strap at the front that is big enough to slip a gel in so you do not have to stop to refuel.

Be prepared to see the Mirror 15L backpack on pretty much all my long run pictures.

*PR sample

Do you like running with a hydration backpack?

The mirror 15L backpack is currently on sale with 51% off.

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Bristol + Bath marathon: training update week 2

Bristol + Bath marathon trainingHi

It’s time for another recap of my training for the Bristol + Bath marathon. Spoiler alert, I am really enjoying the training so far. That being said, ask me in another two weeks, I might be saying something different.

Run less Run faster week 14 trainingI mentioned last week how I was starting to have some pain in my glutes and I was blaming it on the Bristolian hills. I think that’s not the only story. I am back sitting at an office to work on a research project and I think my posture was not great. Indeed, at some point during the week, my shoulder and back were also on lock down. I think that I have more or less sorted it now. Regarding my training, here is how it went.

Monday:  I have started doing a couch to 5K running course for staff members so did some alternative running/walking with them. I also had a good stretch session with the new runners and later on in the evening I did some serious foam rolling.

Tuesday: I started the day with a yoga workout and catch up with the lovely Steph via Pactster  followed by the “booty lock mitigation” video from Jasyoga. It really helped! 

In the evening, I met the Hill Killer Girls to attempt the tempo run described above.  We did not really follow the pace nor the distance but to be fair it was difficult enough as we were running off road and we were chatting! I know that tempo runs are important but I might do them only every other week or add an extra fun run sometimes as I want to keep having fun with my friends and not focused too much on time. And fun we had! We went to pick up Claire’s dog, Henry and then went to the pub! This is one of the first time that we socialise! haha we usually meet in the early morning hours, run and then just say goodbye!

Henry labradoodle dog running bristol

Every run should finish with cuddles from Henry! And check our colour coordination.

Wednesday:  I had planned on doing an arm workout from home in the morning but this was not possible as I found one of my housemate’s friend sleeping a night off in the living room…I did not have the courage to do it in the evening, which was probably best to give my glutes more rest.

marathon training treadmill

So dead after this treadmill session I can barely smile

Thursday:  I had the pleasure to do the speed workout describe above. I decided to do it on the treadmill to avoid setting off too quickly like last week. URGH. This is the first run where it hit me that I am marathon training as I would NEVER put myself through this otherwise. Surprisingly, the first and longest repeat went well. After that, my brain mental game was not on point. It was me vs the clock. It was more painful to see the clock going so slooooooooowly than having to run. I had to jump off the treadmill for a few seconds during the 1K, 800m, 600m and also increase the resting intervals. I could beat myself up for not managing the workout but I won’t, I have decided to embrace the difficulty to work on my mind on top of my legs and will be back on the treadmill for some training runs!

Friday: I started my day with another yoga video with Steph via Pactster followed by 2 x 15 min “bootylicious” barrecore videos. Oh my days, this was painful! I first heard about barrecore as a good cross-training for runners on Charlie’s blogShe is using it as part of her cross-training for the Chicago marathon and I can see why. I will doing it again. 

Home workout yoga barrecore

NO need for fancy equipment to get a good sweat at home!

Saturday: I decided to “eat the frog”and do my long run as soon as possible in the weekend to a) stop thinking about it b) avoiding to bail c) still have the feeling to have had a weekend.

I had such a nice run! I caught up with some podcasts and I enjoyed sunny London! It’s the second run I do with my new hydration backpack and I have to say, I really like it!

The route I mapped in my mind was bang on what I needed to run, I felt supper happy about that. I was supposed to run 6.13 min/ K but ended up averaging 6.06 min/K.

I am so glad to have done it then as it was absolutely pouring rain on saturday and I would not have been as brave as my friends Charlie and Lissy to face a long run in the rain!

And that’s a wrap! I didn’t realise that I trained so much this week! I am really loving the variety and I am feeling fairly strong during my runs. Except that now I have a slight knee pain, perhaps some compensations from the glutes? I am going to train hard again this week and then have a step down with 3 days off to rest.

*PR sample

Do you like running in the rain?


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WIAW #14 Meal prep and ice-cream

WIAW What I Ate WednesdayHi

meal prep

It’s a bit late in the day but while emptying some pictures from my phone, I realised that I had planned on doing a WIAW blog post to here it is!

This is what I had last Tuesday. I started preparing the base of my daily eats the  night before. Meal prepping is a must during marathon training. overnight oat

Since I was going for an early morning run, I made some overnight oats with berries, which I topped with some almond butter in the morning.  I had 1/2 at home before I had to go to the office. I then had 1/4 as dessert and the rest later in the afternoon. Lunch was a couscous, lettuce, tomato and feta salad with a boiled egg.  During the day, I snacked on almonds, dried prunes and had a pear.

In the evening, I roasted a chicken, which I had with avocado, sweet potato fries and ratatouille. I then proceeded to eat chicken ALL WEEK long. I was good, super convenient,I don’t mind eating the same things over and over again because I like the food I cook but I now will take a 2 week break from eating chicken. ;)

Dessert was some cookie dough ice-cream from Haagen-Dazs. I looooooove ice cream. It’s one of the things I wrote in my very first blog post. The fact that I can spell Haagen-Dazs without double checking says a lot. I totally opened the cookie jar that evening with the ice-cream. I had some more the following day and on Sunday and that’s not counting the pizza on Friday and all the cakes in between. I have my final wedding dress fitting on Saturday. I bought it ages ago and haven’t tried it in over a year! Fingers crossed that it still fits!! In the mean time I have to stop using marathon training as an excuse to eat all these treats otherwise I will have to get married in Lycra (it actually sounds quite appealing).
roast chicken ratatouillecookie dough ice cream

Do you meal prep?

What’s your favourite Haagen-Dazs flavour? I am torn between cookie dough and strawberry cheesecake.

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Bristol+Bath marathon: training update week 1

run less run faster 15 week marathon training

15 week programme, here we go.


Sometimes I think that I sign up to races just so I have a weekly training update blog post to write. More seriously, I really enjoy these posts and have an online diary to remember how I have been training, reflect on it and try to improve. Very much in the still of my Bristol half marathon training, I will compare what the plan indicates and what I have been doing.

Monday: I did 45 min of yoga for athletes with 3 Jasyoga videos that focused on core and upper body. Then I planked for 75sec. My aim is to get to 90sec by the end of the month.

bristol running

We are actually that happy even with a 6.45am start

Tuesday: Tuesday was a bit of a mess. I thought I’d do my 14km pre-work but I was not organised enough to do it so I ended up doing a 6.6km. run with my Hill Killer Girls crew. We had Lucy as a new recruit as from last week!

Wednesday: I used Pactster to do a yoga workout with my friend Harriet. It was hard! After we finished working out together, I did some more core work on my own.

Constitution hill Bristol strava

Constitution hill…

Thursday: Long story short, a lovely girl called Hannah commented on Charlie’s instagram, who in turn referred her to me so we could go running together. I messaged Hannah saying that I had a speed session to do and she immediately agreed to tag along!!

  • 4.5km running to meet Hannah and find a place to do speed work
  • 4 x 800m in 02:28, 02:40, 02:47 and 02:37
  • Walk to cool down followed by a very hilly run home.
  • Foam rolling once home

Since I don’t wear a watch, I had no idea how fast was I was going for these sprints. TOO fast. But then I found it weird to do sprint work without going flat out so just kept sprinting. I need to work on that.

Friday and Saturday: life/rest

Sunday: Long run. 14.5K, 6.15min/K average pace. My km split were a bit uneven, more due to the very touristic area where I decided to go running more than anything else. I set off at a pace that felt “easy” aka where I could comfortably breath normally from my nose. I checked my phone/strava once after a few Km to see if what I felt was the appropriate pace was the pace I was supposed to run at. It was, I then kept running while catching up on my podcast and forgetting about time/pace etc. That was a really nice run.

The low: I already have a niggle on my lower back/glute that I am having a hard time to shift. After 1 month of running by the sea in Weston-s/-mare, I am not used to the Bristolian hills anymore. Plus, during my May/June training, I focused on getting some core/upper body strength and completely neglected my legs/glutes. I need to work on that. Also, although it did not feel too bad at the time, Thursday’s session was probably too hard and did not help.

The high: I have really enjoyed all my runs and the diversity of my training. I am happy that I remained flexible when I had to juggle things around and that I am just trying my best while enjoying it. Progress takes time and I am happy that I can now very comfortably do a long run at that pace. I could not have done that 2 years ago.

Also, I love how I have met some lovely ladies via the blog/twitter/instagram and that they are joining the Hill Killer Girls movement and just tagging along/supporting me in my marathon training.

How do you judge whether or not you are running at an easy pace?

How did you meet your running buddies?

Edit 22/07/15: The running app in the first picture is the Run Less Run Faster  app. You can use it without the book but I have found the book very educative and would recommend having it.

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Bristol to Bath marathon training plan

Run less run faster marathon training plan bristol to bathHi

As mentioned in my previous post about my thoughts on the Bristol to Bath marathon, I am planning on using “Run Less, Run faster” for my training plan. It is a 16-week plan which should have started…last week. I usually manage to keep up with staying fit while on holiday but after an exhausting year, I needed to relax. I only managed to do one yoga session with the lovely Harriet one morning thanks to Pactster.  

In the end, not training that week has enabled me to re-evaluate my goals. Putting the training plan aside, this book is a really good source of information and dedicates a whole chapter to goal setting. Well the prediction says that I will not get a 4h marathon time. This is not bad news. On the opposite, this sets me free.

Indeed, if I take in account my current 5K and 10K time, my marathon finishing time is about 04h03. However, taking in account my half-marathon time, my predicted marathon time increases to approximately 04h15. The fact that I am not 100% committed to the recommended cross-training probably increases that time even further.

I know that running a marathon is not an all or nothing type of situation and I do not mean to undermine anybody that runs one in a time above 4h. As mentioned previously I am not sure where this time pressure I’ve got going on comes from. Running a marathon is an achievement in itself and this is what I will focus on. I will remain flexible with my training, aim for the finish and try to have fun in the process.

How do you set your goals? 


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