The pros and cons of setbacks

Just when you think everything is running along too smoothly (literally in my case) suddenly BAM! Something will come along to throw you off-course.

I felt my shoulder blade pop at the weekend when out running and like the stubborn moron that I am, I carried on and thought it’d be okay. I’ve now spent the last couple of days/nights in absolute agony, taking alllllll the ibuprofen and heat patches I can find.

With only six weeks to go until the half marathon, this setback is making me panic even more that I’ll get behind on my training and won’t be able to complete the route. I’ve started doing that thing where I’ve been reading far too many articles on training schedules and do’s & don’ts and have begun to panic whether I’m doing far too little or far too much.

inspirational quote

As annoying and as painful as it is, sometimes we need set-backs to give us a bit of a shake-up, even if we don’t necessarily appreciate it at the time. Things can’t always be smooth-sailing afterall, life would be too easy (and boring) if it was.

I think sometimes your body also has its own way of telling you “Enough is enough,” and as rubbish as aches/pains/colds are, it’s a warning sign to tell you to slooooooooow down.

So from now on, I’m going to stop panicking (ha, easier said than done) and carry on doing what I was doing, after some rest and my umpteenth salt bath…

How do you conquer set-backs? 

Why I love running

This time last year I was preparing for my first ‘running event’- the Canary Wharf jog, a 5k route which seems comparatively laughable to me now.

I never set out to go and do a half marathon ever really. I’ve always watched or gone to see the London Marathon and thought “I’d love to do that,” but didn’t think I’d have the time or stamina. I got into it off the back of swimming because I could no longer make the training after work, once I started working in London again.

We’re lucky enough to have free spit ‘n’ sawdust gym in my building and although it’s not the biggest of places, has all the basics. I’m not into weights (yeah I know I should mix it up but #cardioforever) so a treadmill, a bike and a cross-trainer is good enough for me.

I started running outside just over a year ago when I realised that 1) it’s much more simulating than running stationery, in what feels like a green-house at times and 2) my sense of direction isn’t as rubbish as I thought it was- I’ve only had to climb over a fence once when getting lost!

So yeah…however cliche it is, I have caught the running bug.

Nike Downshifters

My faithful Nike Downshifters

Reasons why I love lacing up my trainers to pound the pavement:

  1. Exercise is therapy for your mind and exercising outside is even better for you- waiting on the heatwave so I can get me some tan!
  2. It makes you feel productive for the rest of the day, especially if you manage to do it first-thing in the morning.
  3. It’s freeeeeee…you just need a half decent pair of trainers (if you’re a beginner) and the road.
  4. It’s precious ‘me’ time, where I can get lost in my own thoughts.
  5. I feel less guilty about having ‘treats.’
  6. I feel a lot more toned and healthier, running won’t give you drastic weight loss but it helps you to maintain a certain weight level.
  7. It helps you to appreciate the outdoors more.
  8. Even when you’re completely KO’d after a run, it gives you this addictive buzz.
  9. I love the achievement I feel after I run a little bit further.
  10. Losing yourself in an awesome playlist (see my latest below) helps make everything a little easier.

 

You can sponsor me for my half marathon challenge here, to help me raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.

Keen runner like me? Leave me your tips/thoughts in the comments below.

Balance is the Key to Life

I’ll confess that I had a bit of a mini break-down last weekend, which sounds sooooo dramatic, I know but as most girls will know, every now and again, you end up crying buckets for absolutely no reason. Damn hormones. Well…not for no reason, I guess I started feeling overwhelmed again and gallivanting around everywhere all the time, didn’t really help. There are a few things at the moment that are stressing me out and I’ll be glad once I know the outcome of them (sorry to be cryptic) but in the meantime, I think I’ve been distracting myself by doing loads of things and trying to be Super Girl ha. As usual, I end up feeling ‘burnt-out,’ so this week I’ve decided to chill out more, spend some time with my family and get a few bits and pieces done that I’ve been putting off doing. My little sunshine get-away to Spain on Saturday has come at the right time too!

I find it hard to get the right balance in my life sometimes and I feel at times I’m neglecting some things more than others and to be honest, I’m so busy worrying about those things when I’m concentrating on what’s in front of me, that I turn into a complete and utter grouch. Like I said in my previous post about the art of saying no, I’m trying to get into my mindset that its okay to miss out on things or turn things down because I need an evening monging out in my pjs, watching one of my guilty pleasures (usually a crap chick-flick or Geordie Shore).

So in spirit of my couple of weeks of ‘Me-time,’ although I don’t like calling it that because it sounds selfish but anyhow, here are a few of my creature comforts that I do to relax and unwind. Ah…bistoooooo… Creature_Comforts A nice bubbly bath- You can’t beat a laaaavly scalding hot bath filled with a beautifully-scented bubble-bath, I love Palmolive’s Naturals range (Milk & Honey- yum!) and BodyShop’s Passion Fruit Shower Gel because you can still smell them hours after a scrub in the tub and they’re kind to your skin. I know most bloggers are Lush fans but I don’t dig being covered in glitter.

Pamper sesh- I’m not patient enough to sit there with a facial mask on but I do love a cleanse/tone/moisturise regime. I treat myself to Clarins products every now and again and their everyday exfoliater and cleansing milk is gorgeous. My skin is mostly combination but it can be quite sensitive too and I find that Clarins is not too heavily perfumed to cause irritation. Admittedly my skin is driving me nuts at the moment because I keep getting a few break-outs (I had none when I was a teenager!) so I’ve been using some blemish treatments (Bodyshop Tea Tree Skin Clearing Lotion and Witch Blemish Gel) to keep them at bay.

Snuggly PJs- I’m a sucker for a cute PJ set (not very sexy I know) but sometimes you just need a bit of comfort when you’re slobbing out. Tesco and George at Asda always do really reasonably priced sets and the quality is good. I usually then like to snuggle up in my dressing gown or a blanket with a pillow. I’ve been looking for a couple of quirky scatter cushions for my bedroom for a while now but haven’t really found any that fit my duck-egg/cream theme. Think I may have found a winner with this Layla Grayce one…

Tea & Cookies- Nothing beats a good British cuppa and of course, what goes best with a brew? Cookies! Yeah I know you’re supposed to lay off the refined stuff when you’re feeling a bit under the weather but that’s 70 calories of happiness, right there.

Girly Reads/DVDs- I love buying three or four magazines to read over a weekend so that I can flick through them at my leisure. My fave glossies are Elle, Company magazine, Look and InStyle but I’m gonna wait this week to stock up at the airport for the plane journey. Most of the mags are giving away some awesome beauty mini’s this month. My TV at the moment is being dominated by Sport (good job I’m a fan!) so yeah I’ve watched about 90% of the World Cup and most of the Grand Prix, Tour de France and Wimbledon…I think I’m entitled to a month of trashy chick-flicks! Katherine Heigl is one of my favourite rom-com actresses so I guess it’s no surprise that 27 Dresses is one of my guilty-pleasures, probably because I can relate to the main protagonist Jane’s Type A personality and I’ve been a bridesmaid like 7 times! Don’t get me wrong, I do prefer a comedy/thriller most of the time (currently on Season 3 of Breaking Bad) but sometimes you just need to watch something that doesn’t require too much concentration.

What are your creature comforts for maximum relaxation?

Health-Kick 101

I have distinctive haunting memories of being in my second year of uni (4 years ago now!) and trying a little navy blue strapless dress on in the changing rooms of Republic. To my horror, a size 12 just about zipped up and I remember coming out of the shop nearly in tears because I had to get a 14- I desperately needed a dress for a girlie weekend away. My mother consoled me saying that sizing was different in certain stores and although I know that more now (looking at you H&M and Topshop) I knew that I had become a bit more shapely than I usually was.

Before anyone slaps me on the wrist, no I don’t think that size 14 is fat; I’d rather have curves than bones jutting out any day but I knew I’d had the standard puppy-fat that most students end up with when going to uni. The average student gains 2 stone while at uni apparently! I was doing a lot of burning the candle at both ends with studying, going out 3 nights a week and my part-time retail job meant that I worked till 10pm when I did a late shift. Although I’ve never been one to eat in excess or gorge myself on takeaways/junk food, I was still coming home from work late and having a full-on dinner at 11.30pm. The 3-4-1 drink deals probably didn’t help either and I wasn’t in a proper sleeping routine, now I can just about stay awake past 11pm during the week!

It all adds up and even though I felt like I never stopped ‘running around,’ like most students, I probably wasn’t taking care of myself as well as I could and the weight had crept up. I’ve always been around a size 10-12 (my hips don’t lie) and I just felt uncomfortable in my own skin, for someone who’d been a bit of a Tom-boy when I was younger. So I made some small lifestyle changes as much as I could, for example, instead of eating a normal dinner when I came in from work, I’d have a bigger lunch and make some toast when I got in (Brinner is winner) and I started going to the gym.

Image from thedailyconfidential.com via Pinterest

Image from thedailyconfidential.com via Pinterest

I’m not going to say it was a drastic change but people started commenting on how well I looked. When I finished uni, it became easier to get into a routine and once I was working a 9-5 job, I managed to go back to one of my most-loved childhood hobbies- swimming. I think I’ve said before but sometimes a fitness regime for me can become monotonous and if I set myself a challenge, it helps my motivation. That’s why I did the 5K Swimathon last year, the 5K Canary Wharf Jog last month and I’m looking to do the 10K Run To The Beat race in September; if I have a goal, it kicks me up the arse to get my training in.

I found that exercise helps my mind as well as my body and for me, it can be very therapeutic. This time last year I felt very frustrated with where I was in my life and the swimming/running helped me to unwind. Now I fit in a run or I go to the gym during my lunch break, when you get that 3pm slump and need something to wake you up. Rather than reaching for coffee or chocolate, I find that running outside invigorates me and wards off those sweet cravings.

I struggle to diet to be honest because 1) I’m ridiculously fussy 2) I don’t really eat meat and 3) I have to watch my blood sugar. I’m trying to cut down on certain things (biscuuuuuuits) and add more salads/fruit to my meals. I do enjoy the exercise more though!

Here’s some things I’ve been trying lately:

(FYI- I’m no expert so if anyone wants to put their two pence in, please do!)

* Green Tea– I luuuuuurve tea! Name me a Brit who doesn’t! But having sugar in it adds up so now I’ve swapped my PG tips for Twinings Green Tea. If that’s too bland for you, try Green tea with Honey or Peppermint, it only has 2 calories and contains no fat/sugar.

* Water, Water, Water! I’ve always taken a bottle of water to work with me and now that I have my Brita Filter bottle, I fill it up 2 to 3 times a day. Often when you think you’re hungry, its your body crying out for some hydration. They recently launched their #PourOClock campaign to encourage people to reach for a glass of water rather than a sugary snack.

* My Fitness PalThis one is a work-in-progress. I used the app a couple of years ago and have started using it religiously again. I’ve found that it does passively-aggressively guilt-trip you and I’m not sure how I feel about that! I need to start weighing myself on a weekly basis to check if its working!

* Change It Up- Again if I do the same regime every day, it becomes boring and your body gets used to it. Challenge yourself by shaking up your routine every couple of weeks. I’ve somehow not managed to get lost around Canary Wharf when I go on a different route ha! I use sites like Running Routes as well.

* Avoiding PR ‘goodies’- Working in the media, especially alongside magazines, is a hub for treats and goodies that wink at you every time you walk to the printer. I’ve convinced myself that I’m sick of cupcakes and only allow myself to dip my paw in every now and again.

* Dark chocolate- If I do fancy a little treat, dark chocolate is my fave! I mean I’m not saying buy 10 bars of it and gorge yourself silly on it but it contains less fat/sugar than milk chocolate. Pret’s Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt is my guilty pleasure!

Anyways, I feel that this post has been personal enough, I might enlist the help of my fitness pals to create another one with some top tips!

How do you guys keep fit? What handy apps/tricks have you come across? Share below 🙂