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.

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 🙂