My 2016 Race Calendar

2016-race-calendar

We’re nearly into May, and comfortably back into running season.  Now that I’ve got my first half marathon out the way, it’s a good time to think about all the other races I’m doing this year.  I’ve signed up for a lot so far!

My 2016 Race Calendar: The Road to NYC Marathon

Nashville Rock’n’Roll 5k: April 30th

Source

Considering that I haven’t run in two weeks due to injury, and the weather is looking so rocky that I’m getting warnings my flight may be affected, this one is in danger of not happening!  I’d hoped to run my first ever sub-30 5k on this race, but now I’m aiming to just be able to run it after having some severe issues with my knee and hamstring.  Fingers crossed!

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Home Stretch: My Final Half Marathon Training Update

Lose It For Science

Guys, it’s nearly here!  The More/Shape Women’s Half Marathon takes place this coming Sunday, and I’m on the last week of my training plan.  I’m feeling nervous for the race, despite all my training I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough to run 13.1 miles.

Training for a half marathon: How did we get here?

Let’s check out the training schedule:

training for a half marathon

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15 times Friends understood your attempts to lose weight

So, I have a confession to make.  I have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Friends – I must have seen every episode multiple times over the years. Tonight I’m heading to a Friends trivia night (this trivia night, in fact), and I’m quietly confident for a high ranking score.  And on that note, here are 15 times that our favourite 6 characters perfectly summed up all of your attempts to lose weight.

1. The one where you decide to lose weight

It’s never a fun moment, that day when you realize that no, it’s not your washing machine shrinking all your clothes.  It’s your months of neglect, beers and chicken kebabs taking their toll on you.   Time for a change!

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The myth of the fat burning heart rate zone

Fat Burning Heart Rate

Myths Under the Microscope is a new feature of the blog which reviews some of the more well-known theories, assumptions and misconceptions about health and dieting. I’ll be looking at these ideas objectively, seeking out the evidence and sharing my conclusions on whether they are good or bad advice – and providing you with the sources I’ve used so you can verify for yourself.

This week: the fat burning heart rate zone

You may have heard about heart rate zones while exercising, and saw the colorful posters splashed around every gym showing which zone you need to optimize your workout.  I’m sure you’ve heard one or two of these statements before too:

  • “You should be in the ‘fat burning’ zone to get the most effective workout for weight loss”
  • “You’re just burning the food in your stomach if you work too hard, you need to slow down to start burning fat”
  • “Lower intensity is the way to go to lose weight, higher intensity just wastes your muscles away”

So you’re telling me, that I can do easier workouts and lose MORE fat?  Sounds too good to be true, right?  But, what does the “fat burning heart rate zone” mean?  And is it true?

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Diet forgotten, match abandoned. 2016 is go!

Happy new year everyone!

I haven’t written a blog post in a few weeks, for a couple of reasons.  I’ve been really busy with work, I’ve done some travelling and had a business trip to France which was much more stressful than I expected, and had some personal issues too. All in all, December was a split month for me, in some ways it was not the best month for me, but in other ways it was awesome. However, I did have some successes with running, so all was not lost!  I completed two more races since my last post, bringing my 2015 total to 19.

Ted Corbitt 15k, 9th December

It had arrived, the big race. My longest distance of 2015. The race that marked the final cell of my excel-spreadsheet-training-plan. It was an unseasonably warm December morning, which meant a last minute change to my running clothes. Running in one short sleeve tee was a nice novelty for mid-December!

 

Ready at the starting line with a running friend
Ready at the starting line with a running friend

 

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Vacation mid-way point – Checking in

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Good old London town

Half way through my trip home already!  I’ve spent 3 days in London, 3 days in Glasgow and tomorrow I’m off to the in-laws in England for 4 days.  It’s been a great trip home, even if the weather hasn’t exactly been hospitable, lots of rain!  I’ve been staying with my cousin who has two new dogs, so I’ve spent a lot of time with my two new best friends.

Ollie and Alfie
Ollie and Alfie

In my last blog post I outlined my plan to stay on track while I’m at home:

  • Step 1: Pick your battles – choose a few ‘bad’ foods to eat at home, instead of eating ALL the bad foods
  • Step 2: Set exercise goals in advance
  • Step 3: Track EVERYTHING
  • Step 4: Be accountable!

So it’s the vacation mid-way point:  How is the plan going? 

I won’t lie.  It’s not.  I have really tried to stay on track, but it’s been a LOT more difficult than I thought it would be.  This is mainly due to two reasons which I’ll go into below, but before I start explaining – I know these aren’t excuses to fall off the wagon.

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Vacations: Good for the soul, bad for the diet

I am writing this blog post whilst sitting at a bar in JFK airport, drinking a wheat beer.  I’m very pleased to tell you that I am on vacation for the next 10 days!

Don't worry, I tracked the beer calories
Don’t worry, I tracked the beer calories

Well, I’m SORT OF on vacation.  You see, I live in the good old US of A, northern NJ to be exact, but I am originally from Glasgow in Scotland.  I’ve been living here for 3 years and need to renew my visa so that I can stay in this lovely country.  In order to renew a visa, I need to visit a US Embassy outside of the country and give them my passport for a week – so it makes sense to travel home and wait out my passport returning whilst catching up with my family.

I am so excited!! I have 3 days in London, then 4 days in Glasgow, then 4 days in south Yorkshire.  I’m planning to catch up with family and friends, and see my nieces for a few days who I absolutely love.  Get me on that plane already!

There’s just one problem with disrupting your regular routine:

How do you stick to your diet and exercise regimes?

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Pain is temporary. Internet race results last forever

Truer words were never spoken
Truer words were never spoken

Yesterday I ran the Garden State Plaza 5k, a quick flat race round the perimeter of the largest mall in New Jersey.  Not gonna lie, I struggled to add on another 2 miles after the race (as I had 5M in my training plan) – not from exhaustion or injury or laziness, but because a shopping mall doesn’t exactly have anywhere to run!

It was fine when we had the road closed off for the race, but afterwards I resorted to weaving up and down the car park aisles to get my extra distance in.  People kept looking at me like I couldn’t find the finish line so had resorted to just running up and down in neat little lines instead.  Let’s just say it wasn’t one of my favourites!

Car park selfie. I really need to start bringing people with me to these races, get some better photos!
Car park selfie. I really need to start bringing people with me to these races, get some better photos!

Anyway, I digress.  One of the supporters had a sign that said ‘Pain is temporary, internet race results last forever’.  It made me chuckle, and pushed me on to run that little bit faster as I approached the end of the timed race.  When I got home I decided to test the theory – do internet race results really last forever?  

To test it out, I searched for results from a 10k I’d walked in 2011, before I’d taken up running as a hobby.

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Jump starting the weight loss campaign

So I haven’t been very good at maintaining this blog!

Where have I been for the last month? 

Nowhere, to be honest.  I’ve got no excuse, I’ve had a terrible few weeks and haven’t been sticking to my plan as promised.  It stops now!

I’m hoping that we can start over.  One false start shall lead the way to my next successful weight loss attempt.  I’ve used too many excuses this month – I’ve been out for dinner too many times, I’ve used being busy in work as validation for coming home and ordering take out and generally being quite lazy.  Exercise wise, I  haven’t been too bad (I’m never too bad with the exercise), but food-wise I’ve made almost no effort at all.  And unfortunately Continue reading

Cheat without cheating: Eating the right amount of the wrong foods

Yesterday, I had a bad day.  A rubbish, mad-at-the-world, in-a-mood-for-no-reason bad day.  We all have them, and it’s very easy to give up and eat all the wrong foods when you’re in a bad mood.

I started well, from a food sense.  I had my normal breakfast (Nature Valley Sweet and Salty cereal bar, if you were wondering).  I filled up with green tea between breakfast and lunch, as I always do.  I had a tuna sandwich on wheat bread for lunch.  All in all, a pretty successful start to my week.

Then I got home.

Now, I don’t know about you, but 4pm is my danger time, the time of the day where all willpower and rational thinking go out the window and I say Continue reading