Training for Strength

I recently started cross training more. I have always been a big fan of HIIT training, cardio, body weight and all that horrible sounding stuff. With my dodgy hip/knee, I need strengthening exercises so I can keep running without any more instances of Runners Knee (the dreaded words!) or hip pain. On my last Long Run of 13.1 miles a very kind cyclist veered into me, meaning I had a quick leap into a ditch – meaning I twisted my leg and my knee went. Luckily the pain hasn’t lasted – but it reminded me that I need strong muscles if I’m going to manage 100km of trail running.

  

Gunshow!


 I decided to give the Focus T25 workouts a go. Not cheap and not easy – but I’m 3 days in and I can honestly see why.

The workouts are intense 25 minute bursts that send your heart rate up and down; mixing cardio, body weight and ‘focus’ – intense movements that require muscle control and balance. It’s actually great fun, incredibly sweary (the sign of a good workout!) and the modifier is wonderful when it comes to push-ups!

Burpees squats and jumping do feature, but for the short amount of time you do expect to be leaping around like a madman or where are the results coming from?? You also get a calander to mark off exercises and how you think you did, and track your measurements (not your weight – finally a progress tracker that makes sense!).

My first workout was great, although I did step on my son’s toy dinosaur, which I’ve now taken as my mascot. A few days in and I’m still enjoying it, my glutes are definitely feeling it and I’m hoping for success. 

  
Stay strong!

Amy x

Oh no, not Intervals!

I’ve been off for a few weeks now with illness. Unfortunately it happens, and a part of training is recognising when you can’t! Super irritating I know. But sinuses are clear, cough has gone, and I’ve been back this week. Six months to go to the big 100k!

As part of my training, Thursdays have become the dreaded Intervals/Hill Repeats day. So wheras usually I’ll be running at race pace or recovery, on Thursdays I’ll be going all-out. Here’s why.

Your body gets used to running. It doesn’t feel like it sometimes, but at a steady running pace you eventually get a little complacent. You need to put stress on your muscles to burn fat, improve your form, and strengthen yourself for long, difficult runs.

Interval training does that – short bursts of hard running, followed by periods of easy running. I tend to like 1-2 intervals – run as fast as I can for 1 minute, then rest for 2. 

There are a million ways to interval run, as well as different ‘types’ – the hilariously named Fartlek, for example, is a less planned-out version of interval running, where you run til your body hits it’s stopping point and then slow it down until you’re recovered, then go again. Many people swear by it. I personally like my interval training as I like ‘timed’ bursts of speed. I like the discipline of running at high intensity for a little longer than I want to, and I think it prepares me mentally for long runs when I really, really want to turn around and go home!

So that’s my plan for today. Next week is hill repeats, but that’s basically a swear word so best not mention it ’til I’ve done it!

Wish me luck!

A x

Running into the wind

So. It’s a bit windy.

Having lived and started running in beautiful Cornwall, it might surprise you to learn that I’m not super experienced at running in the wind! Cornish weather is very mild – mostly damp, occasionally sunny, usually grey. On very windy evenings the beach did become a wind tunnel, but otherwise it was mostly rain and fog that slowed me down!

So, with a storm we have for some reason named Barney whipping leaves up, how easy is it to run in the wind? As I discovered earlier – not very. But the howling wind sounded very much like a challenge to me, so I put on my pinkest top, tied the girliest plait I could, and laced up.

  
Here’s some lessons I took from this evening.

1) You might not have control over your legs.
I am a very ‘springy’ runner. Being used to trails and hills, I have some spring in my step. And at one point I rounded a corner, and a cross breeze lifted my legs clear off the ground. It was magical. Or pants-wettingly terrifying. Not sure.

2) Autumnal leaves become dangerous.
Have you ever dodged a 20mph leaf? It’s not okay. I’m glad I opted for long running tights because although my gloriously grippy shoes save me from slipping, I think my ankles might have regretted being let out to the air.

3) Try daylight running for goodness sake woman
Wind plus darkness equals enormous ballet leaps to avoid the curbs. Which equals more danger of blowing away. Seriously, trying to keep your eyes on the road while wincing from the wind? Not fun.

4) Cover up – but you don’t necessarily need thermals!
Long sleeves, long tights, yes. But the amount of extra effort you exert running uphill into a gale will keep you warm enough! I was sweating after 2k.

5) It’s a whole body workout
This evening, my abs got a workout. No, really. Running against the wind is apparently hard on your core, because of the extra balance and effort required, and possibly the jumping. My shoulder ache from keeping my arms up, my ribs hurt and I don’t know why.

6) Moisturise!
I have dry skin anyway, so Argan Oil is my best friend in the cold weather. However, a combination of cold, wind and sweat has dried my face out even more. I’ve taken to rubbing my face in the oil just before I go out to create a kind of barrier – and so far so good! Unless I wake up with scales tomorrow in which case, disregard my advice.

7) It’s really, really fun.
So if I’ve put you off, I can only apologise! Yes it is hard. Yes it does hurt. But you’re a runner! You’ve got this. So get your flourescents on, cover up, lace up, and stay safe. When the wind is at your back, you’ll realise why you did.

This is Happy. Honest!

Happy running!!

Amy xx

Run Gear

So I get asked sometimes for my ‘Trail Running Checklist’ – what gear I like to use, or just what I like the look of the most! I’ve blogged before about how much I love my Salomon Wings, but just thought I would pop a quick post up with my favourite Run Stuff (at the moment!)

What’re your favourites? Any recommendations? Leave me a comment below or tweet me! I’m always¬†looking for Winter running kit suggestions, Cornwall did not get quite so cold as it does up here (I am already shivering).

shock absorber active shaped support

Mum-Tum Shaming

I went to a walk in centre over the weekend, with stomach pain. (I’m fine)

During the exam, the Doctor who I was seeing told me she needed to check my abdomen. So I lay down, lifted my top slightly – and saw her eyebrows visibly raise. She asked me if I had lost a lot of weight because, as she put it , I have ‘A lot of loose skin’.
I was a bit shocked, but I managed to say (making my irritation fairly clear) – ‘I’ve had two babies!’

She continued her examination, saying again ‘There’s just a lot of skin though…’.

To which I replied, now feeling very awkward ‘Well I’ve lost over 100lb…’

Now she didn’t say ‘congratulations’ – which might have begun to make up for a completely unnecessary comment on my physical appearance. She didn’t move on, or say anything nice, or reassuring. At one point she mentioned that it was difficult to tell if there were any issues because there was ‘so much skin’ in the way. It was awful. It was embarrassing. It was upsetting.

Now here’s the thing. I have lost over 100lb. I have had two babies. I have stretch marks, and tiny scars. My body has been through a lot. But now I’m better. My skin doesn’t hang down, it doesn’t get in the way, it doesn’t cause me discomfort or any real problems. It isn’t a medical issue. I just have a stretch marked, soft, slightly wobbly ‘Mum Tum’.

Underneath that, my stomach is strong. I have worked very hard to make it strong. I eat well, I exercise a lot. The outside physical appearance is not disgusting or unpleasant. It’s just a little wrinkly. 

I don’t want to excuse your behaviour at all, Doctor, but I can understand a momentary surprise – I’m fairly slim now, and because my stomach is firm there’s no outward sign that I have a mum-tum. So I can forgive a momentary eyebrow raise, in surprise. But there is no need – no excuse, no reason – to comment. There’s no need to stare. You are a doctor, I am sure you’ve seen far more interesting and unique bodies and shapes and sizes than my normal, wobbly skin. 

So I want to end by saying that I am upset. Not because of my appearance, but because I allowed you to make me feel embarrassed by it. I wanted to apologise, almost, for how difficult my slightly loose skin made it for you to check my abdomen. That’s wrong, and it was wrong for you to make me feel like that. I am not apologising to anyone.

  
This is my stomach. If you don’t like it, I don’t care. This has carried two babies – it helps me sit and stand and run and laugh. This is a perfectly fine, functional, female stomach. This is my Mum-Tum. And I love it.
Thanks for reading!
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RMR’s Steps For Humanity

This weekend, I’ll be converting each mile I run into a ¬£1 donation to Steps For Humanity, a new fundraising event organised by the awesome Run Mummy Run group. If you want to join in – run, walk, skip, treadmill – just follow the link and once you’ve gone the distance, donate to the GoFundMe page! 

Money will be going to CalAid and MOAS (other grassroots charities may be added but will be detailed on the page as and when).

http://www.gofundme.com/stepsforhumanity