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!

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New Year Resolutions: Goal setting and chocolate regretting

It’s that time of year again – the end. Or, the beginning of the new one, depending on your disposition. Either way, it’s that time when we’re all stuffed full of cheese, chocolate Santas and regret, and we decide to declare publicly (thanks to social media) that we have set ourselves unrealistic goals for the new year. I’m hoping mine are less unrealistic and more suitably challenging.

Instagram Resolutions

Katie F’s goals for 2017. She smashed it.

Katie (fellow blogger, muse and all-round good egg) had one hell of a 2017 in her sporting career and managed to knock her resolutions out of the park, I, on the other hand have devoted this year to changing careers and the time and monetary stress associated with that. I have to admit that my motivation in terms of health and fitness has diminished, to the point where Katie has had to give me a good, proverbial kick up the arse and signed us both up to run the Reading Half Marathon in March.

So, there we go, resolution number 1 right there: Run my first half marathon Continue reading

Cyclists. Don’t be d*cks. (and no, I don’t mean ducks)

A couple of weeks ago cyclist Charlie Alliston was charged with “wanton and furious driving” after hitting and killing a pedestrian who stepped out in front of him whilst he was riding a bike with no front break. The whole situation was enormously unfortunate; he should absolutely have had two breaks on his bike (it’s the law!), but to be killed by a bike travelling at 14mph is statistically very unlikely (this article in The Guardian does the maths), so Kim Briggs was extraordinarily unlucky.

Now, the whys and wherefores of this story have been hotly debated in the bear pits of online tabloid comments sections for weeks, so I have no intention of trying to single-handedly put the issue to bed or trivialising what is a thoroughly tragic event. But I do think we should acknowledge that this has done nothing to help the image of cyclists in the eyes of the media, motorists of pedestrians. It’s important that they know, notwithstanding Alliston’s questionable behaviour and words, we are not all terrible people.

So, in an effort to curb the ever growing us-vs-them mindset, these are my rules of thumb, from one cyclist to others, so we don’t come across as total c**ckwombles.

  1. Make sure your breaks work / actually have breaks

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Guest Post: Recovering from major sports injury

We’ve been doing a fair bit of yoga recently, which along with our own personal, physical niggles, has gotten us to thinking seriously about recovery, and moreover what happens when you sustain an injury that puts you out of action for an extended period of time?

Our good friend and all-round sporting badass, Stacey Coffin, recently had to deal with just that. We asked her to share her experience of  tearing her anterior cruciate ligament earlier this year,  how she’s dealing with it and what advice she has for anyone going through something similar.

Stacey
When my boyfriend and I were sitting on the couch a few days into January and began talking about our goals and resolutions for the year, tearing my right knee’s anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) 4 weeks later did not fit into the plan. I play a fair amount of sport, mainly touch rugby 4-5 times per week, which is not a sport you are likely to manage without an ACL. Continue reading

5 reasons to play mixed sport this summer

I am a BIG fan of mixed sports teams, particularly of the social format. I’m currently playing mixed netball and touch rugby and to be fair, I probably actually enjoy it more when it’s mixed than if it was ladies only. Particularly netball, where, although I love the pressure and competition,  I put far too much on myself and lose the ability to enjoy it.

I can imagine some people haven’t always had the best experiences with mixed sport and it drags back to awkward PE lessons, but if you’ve got a bunch of decent people who aren’t idiots or ridiculously sexist in their thoughts about gender performance in sport (with bias in either direction), it usually makes for pleasant entertainment. So please don’t be afraid of giving it a go because of prior assumptions.

Go Mammoth, O2 Touch and Try Tag Rugby are all decent places to start – whether you have a team already, want to join as an individual, want to play something you’re good at or something you’ve never done before, you’ll find a league somewhere!

1. Less pressure. There is typically one half of your team who has not played this game at school. Sometimes, neither half has! This generally means you have a fighting chance of not being completely incompetent in comparison! There’s something about the balance between the genders as well that makes the pressure to do well still there, but it’s a bit less imposing. I can’t explain why. We’re also old enough and big enough now to not make a huge fuss about having to play sports with *shock* members of the opposite sex without being melodramatic about it and making assumptions about their capacity due to their gender. Yes, you will still see some teams who are ridiculously poor at using their women but I’ve noticed it less and less – and the more people play mixed sport, the better it’s going to get.

2. You usually get to either a) learn a new sport you haven’t played much before or b) teach others a sport you know how to play quite well. Helping others is a sure fire way to improve your game, and there are so many transferable skills between different sports that it will help you across the board. Playing touch was a key driver of my short-lived (although still active) 7s career, and that’s partly because of the encouragement I got from both females and males on my team that I had the ability to step up and do it.

3. You will laugh a lot. If you’ve ever seen a confused face as someone tries to get their head around the fact that they can’t run with the ball, you’ll know what I mean. Or a 15s player trying to understand that they can’t just hit hard lines and run straight at people who are about a foot shorter and several stones lighter than them when playing touch. Extra points for flair and style. Mixed leagues are also much more likely to be social – so although there will be an element of competition there (no matter what people say), it is much more about enjoyment and fun.

4. You’ll learn you can hold your own and it will up your game – if your opposing player is suddenly a good few inches taller than you’re used to – and probably about 5 times more accidentally physical (see point about laughing), you’ll jump higher, run faster, dodge with a bit more purpose and think more about what you’re doing. And get a sweet satisfaction when your opponent is visibility irritated about it. However, sometimes people are not that good despite obvious physical advantages…but this is the same in any sport.

5. It will probably end in the pub. And if you pick a good league (hint, O2 Touch), you often can get some free chips and nachos. Or garlic bread. Which is dreamy (#cleaneating) You’ll get a bunch of new friends with a similar interest to you, therefore always have ringers available for any other sports team you ever need and you’ll probably end up playing at least one season!

What are your thoughts on mixed sports? The way forwards or a painful reminder of PE lessons?

#YourGoTri – The time Kate was finally convinced to try Triathlon

It’s been a super summer of sport and between the Olympics, the Paralympics and the Brownlee’s demonstration of sporting brotherly love at the Triathlon World Series in Mexico a couple of weeks ago, “triathlon” hasn’t been far from anyone’s lips.

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The Brownlee Brothers (courtesy of mirror.co.uk)

If you’ve been reading or following us for a while, you’ll know that it is Katie F, not me, who is the triathlete of the pair of us. I hate running with a burning passion, and despite being a reasonable cyclist and a not-terrible swimmer, the running alone has always been enough to put me off even considering doing a triathlon. So when British Triathlon contacted us to say that they were running a campaign called #YourGoTri to encourage new people into the sport by pointing out how easy it is to factor all three disciplines into your weekly fitness routine, Katie gave me a look that said “now you really don’t have an excuse”.

I guess now I really don’t. Continue reading

An unabashed listicle: 5 Motivational Quotes from Women in Sport

A short post today, written more for my own benefit than anyone else…

I’m flagging. I’m having a bit of a wobble. Nothing major, just a bit of a wall, and as I’m sure all you runners can attest, a wall can be overcome with determination and the willingness to feel the burn. And boy is it burning. No, I’ve not run my first marathon, I’m knackered because of life in general. Masters Degrees are hard work – who knew??

So, in an effort to motivate myself, I’ve turned to our beloved world of Women in Sport for some motivation, inspiration and perspiration. Time to keep my chin up and power though. I hope they might bring a bit of light to anyone else who might be in need of it too 🙂

1. “Whoever said, ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.” – Martina Navratilova

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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!

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What I learnt playing rugby for the first time…

Kate & I went on a little jolly last weekend – to Brighton! The girls we play touch with had been flirting with the idea of getting together a 15s team, but quickly realised that finding more than about 10 girls from work to actually play was going to be a tough ask. So it got downsized.. And yours truly, when asked if she wanted to play, responded with a ‘maybe’ which was understood to mean yes. Immediately followed by “AAAAAH OMGOMGOMG I HAVE NEVER PLAYED CONTACT I AM GOING TO BREAK EVERY BONE IN MY BODY AND DIE”.

So yah, there was a lot of panic. However (as you will soon find out), I was basically massively over-reacting and I’d love to try and persuade other girls that it isn’t anywhere near as terrifying as you think it might be. This weekend was the culmination of 2 weeks of stressful events – my first tri, followed by the Chiltern 100 and then potentially getting my face broken à la Georgia Page.

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