Happy New Year! 2013 is here!

Here are some words from William Arthur Ward...
"This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!"

Happy New Year! and Keep it SimpElle!

Elle ;) x


The 2012 lowdown

I think the one word I'd use to sum up 2012 is EPIC! This post is just a few of my highlights for the entire year!
  • February: Nike Training Club (NTC) class on the London Eye to mark the leap year. Check out the video below...

  • April: Saw the launch of the Nike Fuel Band. This was the beginning of my journey to keep track of my activity levels on a day to day basis and compete with friend via the app and Facebook
My NikeFuel stats (n.b Decembers data is not complete)

  • April: We trained Super Natural with Katy B at Westfield London; the pictures are all here :)
  • April: I began teaching my first NTC Live Class at Westfield London in Shepherds Bush / White City

  • June: We trained NTC with Serena Williams
  • July: I STARTED KEEPITSIMPELLE! Here was my first ever post...about what I do!
  • July: Saw the first ever NTC Live Festival take place in London. You can read all about it in that specific post...click here
  • July: I ran my first ever 10k in a time of 1:05:52 at the Nike British 10k. Click here for the full story.
  • July: The Nike weekender ended with the FuelFest! An event in which the attendees fueled the night through the Nike Fuel they earned! We Fuelled the night!!
  • September: I became qualified in Ante and Post Natal Fitness. Check out all of my qualifications on the 'About Elle' page
  • October: I ran my first ever Half Marathon. Read about #MyMoments of Run To The Beat 2012
  • December: I completed the Intermediate 1 pole course after an 18 month break. Read about the course and journey in the Week 5 post

Now it's time to look forward to 2013 and set my goals for the year ahead!

Hope you achieved some great things too in 2012! Please feel free to share in the comments below or send me the link to your blog posts about your 2012!

Elle :) x


Wishing you a Merry Christmas ;)

Just wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas! Hope you have a fabulous day tomorrow and get everything you wished for! 

If you do anything today, make it some core exercises for an instant (temporary) flat stomach before you don your celebration outfits! Check out my Drill Pack (1) with 3 of my favourites! 

Elle ;) x

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Pole Position; Intermediate 1 (Week 5)

Usually, these courses are 6 weeks long but due to the Christmas holidays mine was just 5. This is a real shame because I followed a learning curve much like that pictured where week 5 is the massive dip and I'm certain week 6 would have been an awesome week! But hey, pole life goes on ;)

So trying to do the routine was a task in itself considering my body seemed to have forgotten a lot of what I had learnt the previous 4 weeks. There were some moments of clarity and lots of laughter! With just two of us in attendance for final week it meant Christina was even more eagle eyed picking up on toes not pointed and wrong hand positioning.

With a few minutes left before the end of the class, Christina taught us some basic moves on the SPINNING pole! This was exciting for me as I had never had a go on the spinning pole before...and my first attempt almost made me die laughing! I mounted the pole with a leg swing into a standing position and the pole started spinning, with me on it, faster than I ever imagined a pole could spin! I closed my eyes with fear, whilst Christina instructed me to "sit" which at the time of fearing for my life meant nothing! Eventually I realised she meant to lower my hips and I did so making the pole slow down considerably! I stepped off and fell to the floor laughing...one of those laughs where you can't even breathe...

Image from Pole Dance Adventures
We got the hang of it though...and I even made a short little video of corkscrew to standing with some twists and backbends :)

Before we left, Christina very gracefully and beautifully performed the routine from Intermediate 2; to me, it felt like a huge step up from Intermediate 1 with lots of inversions, moves based on the straddle and one handed stuff! I think I will aim to repeat Intermediate 1 in the New Year and work on some conditioning during that time before I move onto Intermediate 2!

Yours in Pole, 

Elle ;) x
The rest of the story:


Sunday Brunch: Banana Pecan Pancakes

Good morning! It's Sunday as I'm writing this post! So it's either your rest day, in which case you deserve a treat or it's your long run day if you're in training, in which case you also deserve a treat!

This is a recipe I love to use for Christmas Day breakfast / brunch as well as any weekend that I have to time to make something a little above and beyond 3 minute porridge!

Banana Pecan Pancakes served with crispy bacon
Serves 4-6, 30 minutes

225g self raising flour
300ml of milk (or substitute)
1 ripe banana about 200g unpeeled
1 large egg
75g of pecans roughly chopped
Oil or substitute for frying
12 rashers of streaky bacon
Maple syrup, to serve

1.Preheat the grill. Peel and mash the banana with a fork then set aside. Soft the flour into a bowl with a pinch of salt. Slowly whisk the egg and milk into the flour until smooth. Stir in the mashed banana and half the pecans. Heat some oil in a large frying pan and fry small ladlefuls of the batter in batches. Cook until the tops are dry and set then turn and cook for a further two minutes until golden. Keep the pancakes warm.

2. Meanwhile, cook the bacon until the preheated grill for 8-10 minutes turning halfway.

3. Stack 2 or 3 pancakes on each plate , top with bacon, the remaining pecans and finish with syrup.

Nutritional information: 474kcal, 24g fat (6g sat fat), 53g carbs, 23g total sugars, 1.9g salt

I recently used this recipe when I was carb loading for my half marathon! It def made carb loading enjoyable ;)

I am not a fan of bananas so I never add it when I make this myself. In all my recipes I use soya milk too as I am lactose intolerant. This never alters the taste or texture and means I don't miss out on cakes and treats! You can also freeze these pancakes and use them at you will by either defrosting them or toasting direct from the freezer if your toaster has that option!

Happy Sunday!

Elle ;) x


Pole Position; Intermediate 1 (Week 4)

Me in a "pole sit"
So I had this master plan to video myself doing our routine in class yesterday and then, if it wasn't too cringe worthy I would share it here with you guys! Unfortunately, I was told we aren't allowed to film the routines due to copyright! Hmm. So just a couple of photo's with my update this week!

Week 4 reminded me of Week 1 a little; I had a tired and achy body which made it hard work to do any and everything! 

Each week after warming up we do some conditioning, usually starting with "pole pull ups", 3 with left hand on top, 3 with right hand on top. I can now do my 3 full pole ups on each side breaking only a minor sweat! 

Wrist Seat. Source
One more week to go after this, but we still had more new moves to learn! We learnt how to do a "wrist seat" (see picture) when you hold the weight of your lower body on your wrist. We practised our handstands again with knee slides, into a stag (pictured). 

Handstand stag
Back to the routine, and time to focus on the dance moves and not just the pole tricks! Tricky when you're knackered and achy! By the time we got to doing the routine, I had to leave out the pole tricks! We did work our way through the entire routine though, and I requested that next week we do the routine first so we have a chance to doing the dance moves AND pole tricks before exhaustion sets in. Maybe once my body recovers, and I have finished the course, I can get some practice in at home to get some good photos ;) 

Me in an "attitude layout"

Yours in Pole, 


Keep Calm and Do Pilates (Move & Prove)

Currently I've been evening out my workouts between teaching and me time. In the last week, I had my third week of pole course. I also attended a Pilates class and Frame Work (a mix of ballet, dance, Pilates and yoga).

It's been a long time since I've been to a Pilates class after the timetable at my work place changed in the summer. It's a class I really need to help me with my posture, lordosis (curvature of the lower spine) and to increase my core strength. This class at Shoreditch Pilates was different to any I had ever been to before! Sure we did lots of core work, but it was also dynamic and included a lot of arm work which is great progress towards my personal goals.

I rocked up to Frame thinking I knew what was in store having done the class before but when we got started I realised this was the one class in their signature series that I had yet to experience! Our instructor Natalie was great though; encouraging and motivating us through tough sets of arm, core, leg and cardio drills! (There was nothing we didn't do; downward dog, burpees, crunches, plank, split kicks, hip abductions, stretching...)

On top of all this, I attended yoga on Tuesday which is great after pole to stretch out my shoulders and upper body. I also unlocked Leah Kim's advanced yoga workout on the NTC app at 2000mins! It was an enjoyable 45 minute routine but I found some of the cues a little off time and confusing! I topped that up with the Jeanette Jenkins 15 minute ab blast and that was me for the day! A 45 minute Zumba core class on the wii another day topped up with a 15 minute NTC get focused abdominal workout and that was another day!

How are you making it count before Christmas?! Move and Prove here!

Elle ;) x

By the way: I attended the Shoreditch Pilates class using the 0calendar free class in December offer. I paid to attend class at Frame.


Pole Position; Intermediate 1 (Week 3)

I spent the entire tube journey to my pole class on Monday evening staring at the hand rail in the middle of the carriage wandering what moves I could execute on it! Then I spent the entire walk to the studio examining lamp posts and all sorts wandering if they would work for pole...

I was in the right frame of mind for week 3...

Good job too, as the learning curve is steep in Intermediate 1! Only 2 weeks ago we first attempted basic inversions, and now we are onto handstands with knee slides! One good thing is that I am feeling stronger in my upper body already. I think I am also learning to tolerate some of the discomfort that comes with certain positions such as the 'pole sit with balance' - I did manage a smile as opposed to a grimace for once.

My straddle from standing has improved; I can now actually do it myself!! I just need a little more control as I return my legs to start position. I managed to do a few more 'pole pull ups' (pull ups on the pole) this week too which I am very proud of!

In everything though, we have one side that is stronger than the other due to usage throughout life e.g writing with your right hand, brushing your teeth with one hand; and this is evident when doing pole. Certain moves I can do without thinking on one side, yet on the other side, I can barely take my own weight! I hate using my weaker side when doing pole, but the fact is... "if you hate it, you need it" as I read in the AKR Conditioning blog.

What exercises do you love to do? and which ones do you avoid?

Elle ;) x

The rest of the story:
Intermediate 1 (week 2)
Intermediate 1 (week 1)
My Pole Story


Reality bites...

Quite often, the ladies I train come to me and tell me that they have seen fantastic results in the form of feeling great, a change in their body shape, but no real weight loss. I am always quick to assure them that this is likely to be due to the fact that they have increased their muscle mass and with muscle weighing more than fat a static weight is not unusual.

It's funny though how accepting that information myself, as a Trainer, is hard to swallow.

The test laboratory
I have always kept an eye on my weight, not a close eye but I always know where I am. Since leaving University my weight has been around 61 - 62.5kg as a normal range. I'm a (UK) dress size 10 and happy! On Monday, I donated my body in the name of science as I normally do every quarter, to testing for the FitFlop. Part of the testing involves taking your weight and height. Well, this was interesting! My weight came out at 65.7kg! Somewhere...I gained 3 - 4kg...and I don't know where. I still fit in my clothes and I just ran a half marathon so my thoughts are that it's muscle!?! Currently, I teach 3 classes per week and usually have another 1 or 2, plus train myself once or twice a week. Compare this to a year ago when I taught 1 class per week and probably trained twice myself.

Although I can accept that part of it is muscle mass, I think I have lost some focus over the past year. As Personal Trainers, sometimes we forget to set our own SMART goals because we are so motivated to help others reach their goals...

I racked my mind to remember if I had set myself any goals and I found a little note on my office pin board which I believe I wrote around this same time, 2011. I think these goals are still important and very relevant to me, however, I should have made them SMART. So, there is no better time than now to review them, and refocus before Christmas, ready for 2013. I will also be looking at my nutrition as I feel I have picked up a few bad habits  such as oatcakes (nutritious) with nutella; not planning my meals for the week, so just having a bowl of pasta with a ready made sauce and probably having portion sizes that are too large!

So what's my plan? 

1. Start planning my meals on a weekly basis
If you don't already plan your meals for the week here is a printable meal planner from Life in Yellow (found via Pinterest) that you can use to keep organised!

2. Review and set my SMART goals 

3. Use David Kirsch's NYBD for 2 weeks starting 5th December

4. Achieve my goals!

So what were your goals for 2012? Did you achieve them? What about 2013, have you thought about that?! Share your ups and downs with me here...

Elle ;) x


Pole Position; Intermediate 1 (Week 2)

Week 2 came around as quick as you could say "Pole Fitness". The bonus was that my upper body had recovered well; the bad news...I pulled a muscle in my neck which was really REALLY sore! That and a sore finger which I have had for the past 2 weeks! It seems to me that an athlete never has a well week!
Swan Lift
A lot of things became apparent this week:

1. Nothing was easy. I asked my teacher Christina if we were expected to pull off a flawless dance routine at the end of the 5 weeks. I felt reassured when she informed me that everyone repeats the course 2 or 3 times before they move onto Intermediate 2. Phew!

2. Practising between classes may help me progress faster. Christina also suggested Vinyasa Yoga and lots of press up / abdominal exercises. Check out my Core Exercise Drill Pack for some ideas :)

3. It hurt. A LOT. I remember this being the case previously, but it takes a few weeks to acclimatise to the pain and it seems I am not yet there. Pole also brings about many bruises in many places (see diagram below)
Pole bruises

4. Hard work = sweat. Sweat = no grip on the pole. No grip on the pole = hard to do anything! I'm an avid user of hand cream which I think does not help. I have been told that my hands will sweat less as time goes on, and I try very hard not to rely on grip products.  

5. Things to work on this week include going from standing into an inverted straddle, my endurance and pole sit (sitting on pole using thighs only to hold on; sounds easy but it's quite painful!)

I have a copy of the routine so I can practice in between classes and I see that next week we will be moving onto the next part of the routine which includes handstands!

What can I say other than, onwards...and upwards ;)

Elle :) x

Check out Week 1 of the Intermediate course and My Pole Story before Intermediate 1...


Friends in high places ;)

Working in an office often means that I work through my lunch break and eat at my desk. We all know this is unhealthy and yet we continue to do it. So when I got an offer to spend my lunch break in the great outdoors trying out suspension training, I couldn't say no!

First up, what is suspension training?! Wikipedia describes it as
"...an approach to fitness training that uses a system of ropes and webbing called a "suspension trainer" to allow the user to work against their own body weight. These (exercises) are done with the aim of developing strength, balance, flexibility, and joint stability simultaneously."
Setting up on the swings
Off Lex and I went to the kids playground at Imperial War Museum and strapped up to the swings. It was drizzling, but it was bright and not particularly cold. We did a short warm up; some light jogging, fast feet, high knees etc before getting down to the tough stuff! This is what we managed to fit in before the swings got taken over by miniature people...
Suspended lunge

Assisted squat jumps
Upper body:
Bicep curls, Overhead tricep extension, Pec flye

Lower body:
Assisted split jumps, Assisted squat jumps, Suspended lunge

Suspended froggers, Suspended side knee tucks

With arms already tired from my hoop, pole and NTC antics, this took me to shaking point! The core exercises were definitely targeting the right areas but my arms were too tired to hold me up for too many reps!

I'm looking forward (slightly masochistic!) to the pain I will be in the next day though! I just keep telling myself, sore today...STRONG tomorrow...

So, what's for lunch?! You can even combine a walk or cycle to your favourite lunchtime restaurant for some healthier options!

Elle ;) x


Pole Position; Intermediate 1 (Week 1)

Eighteen months since finishing the preceding Elementary course, I was back  for Intermediate 1 where we would learn inversions (going upside down) and inevitably be taught an even more complicated dance routine to link all of our new found pole skills and tricks together. I was not wrong!

Inverted V
I was a little apprehensive as my upper body was still sore from the last weeks' training, and I was unsure if my upper body and core strength had improved since my last pole course. There was no time to worry though as we jumped straight in! After a warm up, we completed some conditioning exercises such as pull ups on the pole and scissor kicks. We practised our "hangback" starting on the floor to get a feel for the position, then progressed onto the pole and added crunches to work our abdominal muscles.

We soon got down to business and moved onto a basic inversion. I had taught myself to do this at home quite a while ago so I wasn't sure if I remembered how! I managed it a few times with no problem before I got tired and we had to move onto something else.

After learning a few more new moves, we put them all together into the start of the Intermediate 1 jazz dance routine which was choreographed to "We Are Young" by Fun. (see video below). I now have a week to recover, and maybe get some practice in at home before I do it all over again...and more...!

Elle ;) x

Check out My Pole Story before Intermediate 1...


The marvels that Monday brings...

No surprise that it is Monday morning all over again; somehow the weekends just seem to whiz by!

This Monday though, will be the reveal of which Nike Training Club (NTC) class has won the Fuel Challenge. The competition was to see which class could rack up the most Nike Fuel in their session. I had the pleasure of teaching 4 of the classes in the competition - Westfield London, Stratford, and 2 Clapham Common classes. Keep an eye out on the NTC FB page for the results...

Fuel results at Clapham (Sunday) 2341 #NikeFuel
This weekend, I also got to try out some new kit for training outdoors. One new addition to my collection were a pair of Nike Legend Tight Fit Pants in grey heather. I'm pretty sure that at one point or another we (ladies) have all made the mistake of wearing grey leggings to work out, only to feel slightly embarrassed when sweat patches occur in unsightly places. Needless to say I was a little sceptical about wearing these! However, they fit just as great as my previous pair in black even though the material feels like it has more elasticity and the only marks on them at the end of the session were from me rubbing my muddy hands down my thighs! What kit have you got to keep you warm when running or training outdoors?

Guess which one is me?! ;)
Then, remember my Aerial Hoop class on Wednesday night last week?? (If not, you can read all about it here). Well! To this day, I still have considerable muscle soreness in my upper body! But I know that once I am fully recovered, I will be stronger! No time to waste though; I am off to start the next chapter of my Pole Story tonight with my first class of the 5 week intermediate course. My bag is all packed; shorts, sports bra, t-shirt, and the highest heels I could find! ...wish me luck! I still think pole is one of the best forms of exercise out there! What is your favourite piece of equipment? or favourite class that gets you the results you want?

Come back soon to find out how week 1 of my pole course goes...and also if I lead a class to victory in the Fuel Challenge...

Elle ;) x


All the hoopla about Aerial Hoop

It's the morning after the night before and I can confirm that I have not run off with the circus! But I did finally make it to try out an Aerial Hoop class! I'm feeling a little tender, but not in the usual places. The joints of my fingers ache, my palms are sore, and the back of my knees feel like they would be bruised (if I were the type that bruises easily). Don't think for a minute though that I didn't enjoy all 1 hour and 15 minutes of this class! It took me back to my primary school days; the memories of swinging round and round on the climbing frame! It was somewhat easier in those days though as I was fearless and also half the weight I am now! Naturally!

Aerial Hoop by Flying Fantastic at Gymbox, Farringdon

The aerial hoop (also known as the lyraaerial ring or cerceau) is a circular steel apparatus (resembling a hula hoop) suspended from the ceiling, on which artists may perform aerial acrobatics.

The Before 
First things first, the class is for both beginners and intermediate so no circus experience is required! I was unsure what to wear so I opted for some capri leggings, sports bra and long sleeved top. Socks are optional, and shoes are not necessary.

The During
Picture from Hoop Monster
A thorough warm up was followed with one heck of a session! The first skill I learnt was getting onto the hoop. Sounds easy? Hmmm. It consisted of hanging from the hoop, bringing my knees to my chest, rolling over into a pike position (as pictured but on the lower end of the hoop), THEN lifting my legs up and over the hoop so it was between my knees. From there, you grab the hoop with both arms, pull your upper body up while you straighten your legs and slide into a seated position. THERE!

That made me sweat! ...I realised this was all much harder than it looked. It was a great upper body workout though which is an area I need to work on.

Man on the moon
We did plenty more moves, which all began with the above just to get on the hoop. One of my favourites was called 'man on the moon'; it looked and felt very elegant.

The After
I have detailed the short term effects in the introduction to this review and I fear that DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness) will set in fully tomorrow. The long term effects though are much more desirable! It's a great upper body workout with lots of arm, shoulder and core strength involved. Check out the Drill Packs for Arms & Shoulders and your Core to get a head-start. It will also improve your flexibility over time, and your control. There was no cardio element to this class but I still worked up a sweat.

And then some...
Drop in classes cost £18, however you can make a saving if you book a course. Check out the Flying Fantastic website for all the information!

If you wait for the perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done! Get out there, try new things and you will reach your goals!

Elle :) x


Paella; but not as you know it!

In my younger days, my food repertoire was very limited. I didn't eat vegetables (with the exception of sweetcorn) and I especially didn't eat fishy things. Since then, I have come a long way. I eat a much more healthy and varied diet as well as introducing new foods. The fish thing, I'm getting there... I tried king prawns a few years ago and am happy to cook them these days :)

So here is a favourite recipe of mine! It's great for midweek, and you can store and take to lunch the next day...

Paella Fried Rice (BBC Good Food)
serves 4, ready in 15 minutes


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 small chorizo sausages, cut into slices
  • onion , sliced
  • garlic clove , chopped
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 600g cooked plain rice
  • 200g frozen cooked prawns
  • 100g frozen peas
  • lemon wedges, to serve

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan. Tip in the chorizo, onion and garlic, then cook for a couple of mins until softened. Stir through turmeric, followed by the rice, prawns and peas and 150ml boiling water.
  2. Keep stirring until everything is warmed through and the water has been absorbed. Serve with lemon wedges.
Nutrition per serving:
347 kcalories, protein 20g, carbohydrate 50g, fat 9 g, saturated fat 2g, fibre 2g, sugar 3g, salt 1.19 g

I always throw in a bit more chorizo as I love the flavour. There is no reason you couldn't add other vegetables to get more of your 5-a-day.

If you add this to your menu this week, or next, leave a comment and let me know what you think! Also, if you don't already plan your meals for the week here is a printable meal planner from Life in Yellow (found via Pinterest) that you can use to keep organised!

Elle :) x


Rise of the Exergame!

Who remembers when dance mats hit arcades?! I was one of many kids keen to spend my money playing tis game and trying to show off some skills ;) Today, these types of games have come as far as our very own living rooms; in my case, in the form of a Wii.

I bought my Wii console because I wanted the Wii fit game and the Wii fit board so I needed the Wii. Such games have now become known as 'exergames'; computer games which use your body and movement to control what goes on. Since buying my Wii, I added Zumba Fit, Mario Kart, Wii Sports, Just Dance and Zumba Fit 2 to my collection. The problem is, if I'm honest, that's exactly what they are! A collection...gathering dust in my living room. After the novelty wore off of the chick on YouTube hula hooping in her knickers, I became less interested and inspired by these games. The only ones that actually work me to a level that I would deem exercise are Zumba Fit 1 and 2.

This month though, saw the launch of Nike+ Training for the Xbox Kinect. I'm intrigued to try it but I unfortunately don't have an Xbox at this moment in time. But my real interest is in whether or not these exergames actually provide any significant benefits to our health and fitness...here is the evidence that has been found...

Summary (The British Heart Foundation, 2012)

x Most exergames are considered to be a light-to-  
moderate intensity activity for both adults and  
children. In older adults, most games are likely to  
be a light intensity activity.

x  Exergames provide an alternative to sedentary  
behaviours, but they only contribute a small amount  
to daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.

x  More high quality research is needed to assess  
exergaming’s potential for providing long term  
changes to levels of physical activity and sedentary  

x  When designing interventions that incorporate  
exergaming, guidelines on frequency and duration  
of usage should be given to participants.  

At the end of the day, I'd say don't give up your gym membership just yet! But these are definitely great options to keep family, friends and kids active and entertained at home!

Elle :)

Something for the weekend: Ying & Yang Yoga, FRAME Barre

After spending a week recovering from my first half marathon, I decided a yoga session was just what I needed to stretch out my legs and get me back in tip top condition. Naturally, being one of my favourite studios, I checked out the FRAME timetable and found an 11.30am class last Saturday morning that I felt would work for me. They also had a barre class scheduled to start directly after so I thought “why not!”

I haven’t been to yoga in quite a while; I had a little stint with Bikram in July this year and have been ‘too busy’ to make it to my regular Tuesday lunchtime class at work. This was evident, as downward dog was more a chore than a relaxing pose mid flow. Class was great overall though, we did plenty of hip opening moves and I got excited when we did preparatory work on handstands. I even got to show off my crow pose; I somehow have managed to master this one with barely any practice!

Next up, Barre class. At this point, I wondered what I was thinking doing two classes back to back but there was no way I was going to give up now! Barre class follows a pretty standard structure; we started by warming up our feet and ankles, did some leg work incorporating dumbbells for upper body, some jumps, abdominal work and stretching. The next couple of days, I could feel the effects of the class though! My calves, abs and arms / shoulders were telling me they got a good workout!

I took a leisurely stroll home after this, got snuggled upon the sofa and the rest is history…

How will you stay active this coming weekend?!

Elle ;) x


RTTB Training: Week 5

Race Day T + 1 and I am feeling the pain! My hips, quads and knees are so sore that it is very difficult to walk! I realise now the benefits of training; my body would be more used to the long runs, I would have increased my pace and also felt a little less sore. However, I made the best of a bad situation and considering I have never EVER run 13.1 miles in my life, I am VERY proud to have completed my first half marathon in the time that I did! 2:27:43!

Featured on the FuelStream at nike.com/mymoment

The week before the race was solely dedicated to tapering (although I think the whole 5 weeks could be classified as tapering!). I wanted to feel prepared for this race, as it's very much mind over matter. I love a list, so I created a simple Survival Guide for preparing and running a half marathon which I posted late last week.

My schedule for the week was supposed to look like this:
  • Monday: 5 mile run
  • Tuesday: cross training
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: weight training
  • Friday: stretch
  • Saturday: 2 mile run
  • Sunday: RACE DAY

My actual week of training looked like this:
Monday: FRAME Camp 
  • Monday: 2km hill sprints / 15 mins weight training (FRAME Camp)
  • Tuesday: NTC (teaching)
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: NTC (teaching)
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: NTC (teaching)
  • Sunday: RACE DAY (This has a blog post of it's own!)
I have learnt a lot from this RTTB journey. I don't think I have "caught the running bug" just yet but I won't be giving up here! Realistically I need to go back to a 10k distance and conquer it as that was the farthest I had ever run (only twice) before yesterday. I enjoyed the half marathon, and I will most definitely do it again but with more training under my belt!

Elle :) x

Previous related posts:

Run To The Beat 2012 - #MyMoments
RTTB Training: Week 4
RTTB Training: Week 2
RTTB Training: Week 1
The start of my RTTB journey


Run To The Beat 2012 - #MyMoments

I did it! I finished all 13.1 miles (21km) of Run To The Beat! I'm still waiting for my official race time, but I came in somewhere around the 2:30 mark!

Here is how it went down:

The Good:

Carb loading was fun! Saturday I made myself pecan pancakes which I had with some streaky bacon and maple syrup! It's no pasta, but heck I needed a treat!

I was dressed appropriately for the chilly weather and bitter wind! I will be rethinking my bin liner policy as it  would have kept me protected from the wind when waiting to start in the pens.

Thank you to the guy who cheered me on to keep going at around mile 6...that really did help!

The pacers were really useful! I spent the entire final 7 miles passing, then being passed by the 2 hour 30 min pacers!

I picked up a hydration belt a few days ago which meant I always had fluids readily available as opposed to where the stations were. Fuelled by water, Lucozade and Clif Shot Bloks...I kept steady to the end.

My finishers medal was ready and waiting for me at the finish line! One more to add to the collection!

The Bad:

I spent about 40 minutes queuing to get my bag at the end of the race; at this point, I was starving (food in bag), sweaty (fresh clothes in bag) and needed to get off my feet and get home rather than stand after running my first half marathon!

The Ugly:

The name suggests that you would be bopping to tunes the whole way round; the reality is that you spend about 30 seconds (if that) running past each music station so barely having time to listen to any of the tunes they were banging out!

There were not that many toilets on route, so that meant long queues. Anyone that stopped would have added at least 5 minutes or more onto their time. I luckily managed to run the whole race without needing to stop for the bathroom.

Thankful for the Nike+ app as the mile markers were hard to spot! With all the people using the app and the internet though, it didn't connect to Facebook so I got no cheers! But I know you were all rooting for me ;)

The hills! THE HILLS! ...the worst was somewhere close to the end; my legs were threatening to give up on me so I was not excited by a stint downhill. Earlier I sprinted down the hills to make up time for slowing down going up but this time, this time I needed to take it easy to not lose control. You can't practice that on a treadmill!

Make it #MyMoment I did...and as someone much fitter than me once said...onto the next one!


Drill Pack 3 - Cardio

It's been a while since I've shared some drills with you so it's time to get back to the grind with some exercises to get your heart racing and burn some calories!

Lo and behold, you do not need a treadmill, cross trainer, stepper or any other machinery to meet your quota of physical activity for the week. The guidelines say that we should get in 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on 5 days of each week (Department of Health, 2012). They also say you can switch it up too with some vigorous intensity stuff mixed in with the moderate ;)

These drills are one's I use when teaching Nike Training Club. You can become a part of the community and sign up for free classes yourself via their Facebook page.

Beginner - 30 seconds 
Intermediate / Advanced - 60 seconds 

Starting in a push up position, jump one foot forward and up towards your hands keeping the weight above your shoulders and you knees between your arms. Switch feet back and forward as quickly as possible. Ensure you keep correct form, especially not allowing your hips to go too high!

Push up starting position

Beginner - 3 x 10 seconds with 10 seconds light jogging in between
Intermediate / Advanced - 2 x 30 seconds with 10 - 30 seconds light jogging in between

I use this drill in the warm up, as well as in the main section of my classes.

Stand with your arms by your side; raise one knee up towards your chest as you swing the opposite arm. Change, by bringing down that leg, raise the other leg whilst swinging the opposite arm. Repeat the moving as fast as you can either on the spot, or moving forward if you have the space.

Check out the video here.

Beginner - 30 seconds 
Intermediate / Advanced - 1 minute

Start in a lunge position (as pictured). From a low lunge position, jump and switch the position of your feet. Control your jumps, and keep switching your feet as fast as possible! Stay down low!

Take a look at some of the other Drill Packs I have shared with you so far and make a routine that you will enjoy:
Drill Pack 2 - Arms & Shoulders
Drill Pack 1 - Core

If you don't already have the Nike Training Club app (currently on iPhone / iPod touch) download it now!

Elle :) x

P.S Safety always comes first. If you are new to exercise ensure you seek advice from your GP. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids, wear appropriate clothing and carry out drills in a suitable space. Technique is paramount, and nothing should hurt. Should you experience pain, discomfort, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, shortness of breath etc, STOP and consult your GP. 


Elle's Top 10 Survival Tips for RTTB

I'm 4 days away from my first half marathon and doing well to keep any anxiety subsided! I have spoken to everyone I know to try and gather information on how to prepare for Run To The Beat Half Marathon and to ensure I am race day ready. I put all that information together here, for you, and for my own reference...


2. Pack your race day bag BEFORE the morning of the race. Ensure you include a change of clothes for after the race, sandals, plastic bag for wet clothes, tissues / toilet paper, water, snacks / food , race gels and a towel (amongst many other things).

3. Pack a race outfit that is tried and tested. This is not the time to whip out brand new trainers or sports bras. Your kit needs to be reliable and comfortable. Don't forget your race t-shirt, your chip, map and other bits and bobs that you have been sent in your race pack. I will also be sourcing a small waist bag to carry my valuables and gels along the route with me.

4. Keep off your feet as much as possible the day before the race and race morning. You want your legs to be at their best for when you get going. Don't forget to cut your toe nails too!

I'll be trying out these Shot Bloks on race day

5. Ensure you eat 2 - 4 hours before your start time.Something like porridge will be a good start to your day. Other options include a bagel with peanut butter or a banana and energy bar.

6. Hydration! Drink 16-24 oz of water 1 hour before the race then stop; empty your bladder as much as possible before the race start. Drink a small amount 10 minutes before you start and every 20 minutes there after. Utilise the sports drinks offered about 40 minutes into your race and use your gels as and  when necessary. 

7. If it's cold out, take some cover ups to wear at the start line which you don't mind disposing of before you start. You might also want to carry a bin liner to use if it rains! I personally have never been a bin liner kind of girl! 

8. I will be focusing on my race as 4 x 5km runs; that way I won't freak out looking at the bigger picture! After all it's mind over matter (right?!)

9. Once you have finished (hoorah!) you should eat something Low GI along with some form of protein. A lot of people say chocolate milk works for them; unfortunately I am lactose intolerant so this is not an option for me! Other ideas are the bagel with peanut butter or a smoothie. The main thing is to refuel as quickly as possible, and not to forget to rehydrate.

10. ENJOY YOUR RACE! ...what's the point otherwise?! My sole aim is to finish; WHEN I do that, I will be proud! 

So, what do you carry in your race day bag? And do you have any more tips for us?!

Elle ;) x


RTTB Training: Week 4

Day 1 of Week 4; I returned from my holiday in Miami. In my post box was my race pack which proves I have entered and they haven't forgotten me! In my email inbox was a message from RTTB, the subject heading being "WHAT'S YOUR MOTIVATION?"; should I be worried or excited?!

The email says

"Now that your training is at its most intense period, we are urging you all to establish what your motivation is for completing Run to the Beat powered by Nike+. Whether it’s to lose weight, get fit, de-stress or meet new people, keep the reason in the forefront of your mind as it will serve as a fantastic motivator in the build up to the event."
Motivation Mantra #1
...and this really got me thinking about why I am running this race! Why do I even keep fit?! and why do I love teaching everything about exercise, health and fitness?! The answer can be found in the image Motivation Mantra #1. This is not a goal for my, its a part of my journey; a way of life. Then comes Motivation Mantra #2. We achieve more when we push ourselves, beyond what we thought was possible, outside of our comfort zones. A half marathon is that for me (right now)! My genetic make up says I am a sprinter; my athletic achievement says I am a sprinter. I won't let that stop me!

Motivation Mantra #2
My schedule for the week was supposed to look like this:
  • Monday: 4 mile tempo run
  • Tuesday: weight training
  • Wednesday: short intervals
  • Thursday: stretch
  • Friday: 4 miles
  • Saturday: 11 miles
  • Sunday: rest 
Sunday's jog after class; short & sweet, cold & wet!
My schedule for the week actually looked like this:
  • Monday: rest (on holiday)
  • Tuesday: NTC (teaching)
  • Thursday: unwell
  • Friday: unwell
  • Saturday: unwell
  • Sunday: NTC (teaching) & 1.7 mile run
All in all, not a great week, but these things happen! One week left to go...

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