Running Noob: Reading Half Marathon Training Update

Oh. My. God. Running is really freaking hard.

I’ve never enjoyed running for its own sake. I may have mentioned it once or twice before. Anyway, now I find myself in a situation where I am running half marathon (thanks Fergo), the Reading Half Marathon to be precise. In just over a month’s time.

Aaaaaaargh!

SIDE NOTE: There is still time to register! Registration closes tonight at midnight – if you fancy joining us on the day, go to http://www.readinghalfmarathon.com/ to sign up!

So, I’ve been hitting the pavement and the treadmill and I’m not going to lie to you gang, I am finding it difficult. I’d never truly appreciated just how different the fitness is compared to the stop-start of field sports.

Here are two different days tracked on my Fitbit:

Those red bits? They’re running-induced, peak cardio. The sweat. Oh god, the sweat.

I’ve been making an effort to go running three times a week, over and above other things like my commute on my bike or rugby training. For a couple of weeks I honestly thought running might kill me. I didn’t feel like I was making any progress. My legs ached between runs, my feet hurt and I couldn’t keep up with washing all the sweaty kit! But today I had a bit of a eureka moment.

Whilst cycling home I reached the dreaded killer hill in the final stretch of my journey – it’s a long slow pull up 240 feet over a mile – and whilst my legs still felt it, I was not huffing and puffing the way I used to. I actually felt pretty good by the time I reached the top. My cardio fitness has definitely improved and IT FEELS GOOD!

Now I just need to work on the achy feet and legs… more time needed in the company of my foam roller, I think!

 

 

Advertisements

Dear Katie: Starting out the year right

Dear Katie,

I promised I’d check in and hold myself accountable for my 2018 New Year Goals, so here I am.

It’s been a week, and a pretty good one at that, but then I guess most people come out of the gates strong in the first week of January only for it to head south rapidly after that. I suppose only time will tell. Anyway, this is the summary of this my efforts this past week for your delectation:

Goal One: Run a half marathon

  • I still hate running. But we’re signed up to the Reading Half so I’m committed. Was delighted not to massively embarrass myself at the training day on Saturday…
  • …however, some of the photographs that were taken that day have hammered home my need to reduce my waistline. Motivation!
  • I have a new found respect for people who run. It’s hard! My fitbit tells me it gets my heart rate up better than any other exercise I do and my legs are in tatters after two days of training!
  • Realising recovery is key means I’m actually using my foam roller and stretching more!

Screen Shot 2018-01-09 at 13.11.46.png

Continue reading

REVIEW: Body Conditioning @ Everyone Active

Disclaimer: Not going to lie – this has been sat in my drafts for no reason other than I have a memory like a sieve… but it is still as relevant as ever as Body Conditioning is a still a staple of the Castle Centre’s group exercise timetable.

Everyone Active have recently taken over the running of several leisure centres in Westminster and Southwark. They’ve also invested a fair bit of cash in refurbishing and creating brand new timetables, and they are clearly pretty pleased with the way things are going so far. So pleased that they have staked their reputation on it by inviting a bunch of fitness bloggers, such as ourselves, to check them out and review them. In this review, I’m sharing my experience of the Body Conditioning class at The Castle Centre. For more info on the leisure centre itself, check out the my thoughts on it here.

Delighted at the prospect of trying out a few new classes on the house, I trotted off to Elephant & Castle one Monday evening after work to have a go at the Body Conditioning class. Described on the Everyone Active website as “A challenging workout designed to improve your cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and physical endurance, delivering all round benefits to every part of the body. Suitable and adaptable to all levels of fitness from” I thought, that doesn’t really tell me very much, but it certainly sounds suitably challenging.

The biggest clue I got on the content before it started was that it was populated solely by women with the exception of one guy, who admittedly left after 15mins. Our instructor, Galena, cranked the poppy music up high and enthusiastically hollered at us to get started – the first combination of moves we did included a ‘grapevine’. Lightbulb moment: this is an old school aerobics class.

The participants were certainly representative of all different levels of fitness and form, which was great to see, but I was a little disappointed when it became clear that there wasn’t going to be variations on the moves to make them harder (or easier). Despite this, I certainly got out of breath and swe-e-aty! Which is as good an indicator of a decent cardio as any in my book, but I wouldn’t say it truly delivered a ‘challenging’ workout, as promised.

If you are looking for a fun way to get a bit of cardio into your weekly routine and mix it up a bit by doing something a bit silly I would thoroughly recommend this class – it is high-camp and freaking fabulous. I’m not usually a fan of dance-based classes, because frankly I’m terrible at them, but this class gave me a workout for my brain as well as my body, and I really enjoyed the old-school aerobics moves – after all if they ain’t broke, don’t fix ’em!

For more class reviews in the London area, check out the Reviews section under ‘What we write about’ in the header above.

The New Year Bandwagon – Ditch the detox and kick-start healthy habits instead

It’s January. I had a hectic December and, much like everyone else, ate and drank waaaaay too much. On top of that, I am four months in to a significant change of lifestyle, i.e. student life, and playing a lot less sport as a result. Things were beginning to look grim. Not to mention wobbly. Something had to give, so here I am shamelessly piggybacking off Katie’s recent post about Dry January and friendly sabotage to talk about the January Bandwagon.

It’s still one of the most popular New Year’s resolution in the UK – “I will lose weight”, so people up and down the country part with wodges of cash to join gyms (a lot of Twitter angst was felt towards this by regular gym bunnies) and slimming clubs. Now, I’m not in dire straits by any stretch, so paying to have someone weigh me once a week and talk about ‘syns’ or ‘points’ wasn’t something I felt I needed to do, and as someone who already hits the gym of my own accord I felt fairly well equipped to take myself in hand, but having stood on the scale on New Year’s Eve morning to be faced with 69kgs it was clear I needed to do something. Now.

Continue reading

Sport for girls should be pink

Happy New Year, everyone! For my first post of 2016, I have been gifted a topic by a red hot (or should that be hot pink?) debate raging in Ireland right now.

[Sidenote: I wrote the first draft of this using a Bic for Her ballpoint pen… If you haven’t read the Amazon reviews I implore you to do so. For the good of your hand health.]

Whilst idly browsing Twitter this morning, I came across something posted by Her.ie magazine that made me double-take. An Irish company appear to be promoting a new product, marketed at women, to encourage the uptake of Gaelic Football by female players – enter, the Ladyball. That’s right y’all, the squidgy, pink #Ladyball.

Image from theladyball.com

Image from theladyball.com

The all new Ladyball specifically designed for a lady’s game – soft touch for a woman’s grip, eazi-play for a woman’s ability, fashion-driven for a woman’s style. Play like the lady you are.”

Continue reading

10 Reasons More Women Should Take Up Hiking

We’ve been talking about rugby a lot recently. Now for something completely different.

Hiking is great, I love it. You have an excuse to head out on an adventure in the great outdoors, with the wind in your hair and the mud squelching satisfyingly underfoot. Sometimes I consider plastering myself in blue face paint, wielding a big old stick and hurtling naked down a mountain side screeching “I AM QUEEN BOUDICA!”, but then I think it might just be easier to call one of my outdoorsy mates and suggest we take a jaunt up a big hill.

Continue reading

6 Things Sporty Girls are Tired of Hearing

1. “You’re playing sport AGAIN tonight?”

Yup. Bloody love it. I would genuinely rather go and run around outside with a bunch of awesome people after work than most other things.

Source: Tag Rugby 7s

2. “Aren’t you worried about bulking up?”

Er, we’ve been through this guys. Girls’ bodies don’t react the same way to strength and resistance training as guys’. Having said that, sure, I’m fairly muscle-bound and therefore a tad on the heavy side, but my body fat % and wait:hip ratio are pretty damn good. Take that potential heart disease and type 2 diabetes. #BOOM Continue reading

Daddy Cool: Fathers’ Day fitness inspiration

Being as it was Fathers’ Day on Sunday we wanted to take the opportunity to pay homage to our Dads this week, in much the same way as we did for our Mums on Mothers’ Day – we’re both very lucky to be close to the men in our lives, they are a continuous source of support, inspiration and encouragement, and they are undoubtedly also the reason the pair of us are so bloody headstrong and competitive…

Kate: My Dad has always been a keen sports man, when he was younger he played soccer, rugby and gaelic football for school and university teams as well as being a keen runner and squash player. Nowadays, along with my mum, he cycles, rows, kayaks and hikes like a mad person!

Continue reading

Review – Record Breaking Squat Jumps & BMF Fun in the Sun

It’s official! Katie and I are bona fide World Record holders!

Admittedly, breaking this record didn’t involve some life-threatening feat of daring, or anything really gross like not cutting our toenails for a couple of years, but it is still a real record, honest guv.

Last week British Military Fitness ran a special event to celebrate National Outdoor Fitness Day, where they attempted to beat the world record for the greatest number of people performing jump squats simultaneously at a single venue and These Girls were very kindly invited to join in! So, off we toddled to Wandsworth Common on a sunny Saturday morning, thinking this was as close as we’d ever get to being on that show Record Breakers with Kriss Akabusi. Anyone else remember that? I must be getting old.

Continue reading

The Running Bug & Friends: Committing to my first Half Marathon

You may have heard, Katie Ferguson ran the Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 on Sunday. But she didn’t just run it; she smashed it. 3.33.24. For those of you who don’t know, that is a very, very good time.

Spot the happiest runner...

Spot the happiest runner…

I went to watch the runners whiz past at Canary Wharf  and found myself carried away on a wave of unexpected emotion. As I’ve mentioned before, I am not a fan of running. I’m quite bad at it and I don’t really understand the appeal of running for its own sake – except the fact that it is fantastically good exercise – but something about watching the London Marathon this year really inspired me. When I spotted Katie amongst the throngs I (a) screamed so loudly that I scared an old lady, and (b) honestly almost shed a tear of pride. What an outrageous and ballsy thing it is to set yourself the mental and physical challenge of running 26 miles. What sort of extraordinary person wakes up on a Monday morning, goes into work and at the watercooler utters the words “I achieved a GFA time at the London Marathon” in response to the question “How was your weekend”?

Continue reading