London Winter Run: Get Ready to Race

Be prepared for the big day with Bethan Taylor’s top tips to get ready to race.
The date’s been in your diary for months, and all you can think about is the big race that’s now just a week away. You’re raring to go after all those early starts and long weekend runs, and you can’t wait to cross the start line and show the world what you’ve got.
Whether you’re running 5k or a full-on marathon, what you do in the days and hours leading up to the big day could make all the difference when it comes to smashing your goals. So get prepared with our our top five tips to help you get race-ready, have an awesome day and finish strong!
1. Pack your race bag well in advance
The last thing you want on race day is to realise you’ve forgotten an essential! ‘You’ll be nervous enough on race morning without having to worry about what you need and what not to forget,’ says Elle Linton, personal trainer, blogger and fitness expert for the Cancer Research London Winter Run. When you’re packing, Elle suggests ‘keeping in mind how you’ll feel post-race (hungry?!) and any extra layers or changes of clothes you might need.’ So make sure you pack that extra protein bar and a snug hoodie for the journey home.
Read the full post {HERE} on We Heart Living! 


Track Cycling at Lee Valley VeloPark

Photo Credit: my buddy Anneleen who talked me into this! 

I've never seen track cycling. I've never heard stories about track cycling. I've never ridden a fixed gear bike. I'd class myself as a slow cyclist. And I'm not known for taking risks.

So how do you ask yourselves, did I end up at the Olympic Park Velodrome on the Track Cycling Taster Session?! I'm wondering too. 

The good news is, I did it. The not so good news is I could have braved more had the session been longer. 

This is how it went down.

A 9am start, but kit set up is not included in this time so I arrived at the venue at 830am to collect my bike and helmet (included in the £30 cost). I also had to take along gloves and optional clip in shoes (or pay to hire). For some reason I decided against kitting myself out in my best cycling gear - I feared this may make me look like I had a clue what was about to happen.

Fixed gear bikes are controlled by the pedals. I know, I know. Sounds simple. When you pedal the bikes moves. When you stop / pause pedalling...the bike stops. You drop. So you don't stop pedalling unless you have something /someone to hold onto. You get clipped in for the session and technically, your feet don't touch the floor again till you finish the session.

By now, I've lost that teeny weeny bit of confidence I had. What also didn't help was seeing the gradient of the track wood. A sideways hill. How does that work?!

First things first, we learn about the different areas of the track, what all the lines mean etc and then crucially, how to set off, control the bike and stop. Okay, some confidence creeps back in. A few laps round the safety zone (the flat bit) and I feel like I could avoid the embarrassment of falling off this thing.

Next up, we get to try the first little slope. Not too bad. The next slope to me looks a little too much. I try, but my legs aren't pressing hard or fast enough. Again. I get up there, and come down on the bend. My quads are burning and I'm breathing heavily. Eventually I get there, by which point everyone else is miles ahead, even on the (what looks) vertical bit (we learnt overtaking by this point). I'm happy where I am though...down low...legs still moving, butt still on the saddle.

It's like I've blinked and the 60 minute session is over. I made it up a couple of (what I call) levels...nearly white knuckled, but I've defo done one thing this day to scare me. I din't hit above the blue line so this means I couldn't progress to stage two of Track Cycling accreditation but jheeeez, I would want more practice anyway!

Anneleen and I with our certificates :) 

So am I the next big name in Track Cyling?! Far from it! But it has inspired me to hit up that spin class to let my legs get used to moving fast as opposed to my humble commuting pace. Getting some speed in my legs will pay off for my Triathlon in the summer too and then maybe, just maybe, I'll go back and give Track a go again! For the time being though, I can say, I cycled at the Olympic Velodrome!

Do you ride a fixie?! Have you ever?! What's your one thing a day that scares you for today?!

Elle :) 


Elle About Town, January 2015

It's 2015 and activities are in full swing! With so much exciting stuff going on, this is my space to share with you! 

Social: Bounce, Holborn

Table tennis, food and drink. Sounds like the perfect evening for us! One of my work Christmas do's took place at Bounce - somewhere I've wanted to check out since it opened. I had a quick go at the TT but chose to focus more on the food - pizza and nibbles, oh and the low calorie beer. Would be a perfect spot to get social in groups of 4 - 6 to keep it intimate!

Events: Park Run, Peckham Rye

I made it back to Park Run on New Years Day! I incorporated the 5km event into my mileage for the day to make for a perfect start to 2015!

Events: Battersea 10km with RunThrough 

Another race incorporated into my training was the Battersea 10km. I had 9.7km planned for the day so it worked well! 4 laps of the course which was flat and sunny with a few of the Team Naturally Run crew at a beautifully slow pace was worth it for the medal. A mini replica of the Battersea Power Station (which is under demolition and currently only has 3 towers, not 4).

photo credit - Leah, of Naturally Leah

Lifestyle: Passion Planner 

My Passion Planner for 2015 arrived! HOORAY! Now it's time to get on with creating the life I want to live! I even celebrated and bought some new pretty highlighters from Muji! I'm working on redoing my goals - 3 month, 1 year etc etc as well as focusing week to week. I've scribbled my Half Marathon training plan into it already as that's one of the big goals I'm working on for 2015.

Classes: ELLE Fit with Sweaty Betty 

I spotted this class last year and booked immediately! A Pilates class in one of the Sweaty Betty stores (I attended Jubilee Gardens, Canary Wharf) and an epic goody bag for £15. I'm not a huge fan of mat Pilates but after attending this class I realised I may have misjudged it. It was definitely a workout, just not a jump around like a crazy cat kinda workout. It was tough. And I loved it.

Coming Up....

Finally, I get to get the glow sticks out, rave and call it a workout! YES! Friday 23rd January at Pineapple Dance Studios...a tenner {Book here} and join in on the fun?!

NTC Week Yoga 

I didn't secure a spot for any of the original exclusive classes but I did get an invite for a secret NTC Yoga class. Just what I need to be fair - more yoga in my life.

London Winter Run 
Final, FINAL chance to get a few quid off your entry and join us at the start line of this 10km on 1st February 2015! Entries close on Monday 26th January. 

Join our Facebook event page too to be kept up to date with all that is going on!

What's coming up for you in the next month?! 

Elle :) x


Up at The O2

Brief: The best places to go in London.

Yup, that's a pretty broad brief right?! But when I was asked by the hotel group Millennium to contribute to a guide, I knew exactly where I wanted to go! Up at The O2 (UATO2).

UATO2 embodies both London and this blog. It's active, outdoors, fun and you get to see London in its entirety!

Pre Climb | The rain stopped and the sun came out just in time for my 1130am climb (thank you heavens!). It was cold though, so I was wrapped up well in warm layers. I arrived 15 mins before my climb time allowing me to take it all in. It's become normal for me these days to not really research what I'm letting myself in for!

The first part to the experience was to watch the safety video which explained pretty much everything, equipment, what to expect...

Next up, time to grab our onesies (aka climb suits), boots and harnesses. And to implement the number 1 tip from the video...use the bathroom before you start! The onesie was a welcome addition to my outfit, waterproof and hooded.

Once we stashed our personal belongings away in lockers (bar mobile phones / cameras - the one thing we could take) it was off to the starting point.

The Facts

The walkway is: 

  • constructed out of tensile fabric 
  • suspended 52 meters above ground level 
  • two meters above the surface of The O2 tent canvas 
  • three hundred and twenty meters long 
  • slightly bouncy to replicate the surface of the tent structure 
  • set at a maximum gradient of 28degrees during ascent and 30degrees during descent, along which climbers must travel unaided 

In Climb | Once we were all connected to the cable system it was time to go! The very first part of the climb was by no means easy - in fact, its the toughest, and feels like the steepest part of the entire experience!

Manoeuvring my climb latch - to allow me to move and not move at the appropriate times - whilst taking in the 360 views was breathtaking. Within what felt like no time at all, we reached the Observation Platform where we could detach ourselves, take photos and enjoy the views.

Before I knew it, it was time to start our descent which I think felt faster than the ascent - makes sense as its less physically demanding. The views are still there though so the experience continues...

Post Climb | The entire experience is planned with military precision. Our belongings met us at the other side where we swapped them for our climbing gear! There's also a shop filled with branded gear if you're looking for a keepsake to remember the experience.

In total, from video to getting my stuff back, took 90 minutes. One of the quickest but fun 90 minutes.

And the question it boils down to...Would I go again?! YES! 

What are your favourite places / activities in London?! Have you been to UATO2?! 

Elle :) 

p.s Thanks to Millenium Hotel Group and Joe Blogs for pre purchasing my ticket! I was not paid for this post and all opinions are my own, of course :) 


Swimfit at Nuffield Health

Somewhere, somehow, on the webosphere, I came across the Swimfit class which launched in this New Year at Nuffield Health Clubs. I'm currently taking swimming lessons once per week but to progress faster I need to get in the pool another 1-3x per week and Swimfit seemed like a perfect option!
"Each class provides an alternative way to work out, improve fitness, reach targets and train for personal challenges in a social environment. Guided by ASA trained, fully qualified instructor, Swimfit offers a structured workout. 
It provides a mixture of different routines, strokes, speeds and lengths to encourage a more varied and challenging workout than traditional lane-swimming. With various accompanying training aids and challenges, there is something to suit all abilities and interests. 
Swimmers can work out and improve at their own pace with support at every level." nuffieldhealth.com 
So I arrive at the City branch at 7am for my 730am class, fuelled by an "almond milkshake" smoothie (recipe from Honestly Healthy). Feeling a little under the weather too, I had considered staying in bed, but I'm working on integrity this month. Staff at reception were great and got me fully clued up (directions to the changing rooms, how to use the lockers, where the pool was, which pool, who the instructor would be).

Keen as ever, I'm by the pool ten minutes early with the realisation that I actually have no idea what I'm in for. I did get to have a quick chat with Ryan, our Instructor, who explained to me how the session normally works. 730am on the dot and it was straight into the pool (considerably warmer than the pool I take my lessons in). At this point, I was the only person in attendance so Ryan asked to see both my breaststroke and front crawl - 2 lengths of each.

Before I knew it, he had me practising my front crawl kick (using a kick board), front crawl arms (using a pull buoy), breaststroke timing (pull, glide, kick) then onto breathing technique. During my recovery periods, I learned a little about Ryan too - a triathlete - which means he has an understanding of my journey. Ryan also gave me some advice for outside of the pool - to work on upper body strength in the gym, core strength and hip flexor flexibility (something I also got told by Alastair (Physio) from Pure Sports Med).

We finished off the 45 minute session with a little backstroke (legs only). I don't remember ever having learnt / done backstroke in my life! Considering that one month ago, I had never attempted front crawl I'm pretty proud of the progress I am making. I'm so looking forward to completing my triathlon swim - just the thought of that motivates me to keep pushing.

I'm so glad to know there are resources out there for adults learning to swim or looking to improve their technique.

Would you class yourself as a swimmer?!

Elle :) 

p.s a huge thanks to Nuffield Health for letting me gate crash their class! I was not paid for this review, nor even asked to share about this class! It's all for my own benefit ;) and to share with you! 
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