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...


New Sunday Class at Clapham Common

So Ladies! I knew this was on the cards but Facebook just confirmed that I will start teaching a new addition to the NTC timetable, each and every Sunday, 11am at Clapham Common!

NTC at Victoria Park

I'm looking forward to this; it's my first permanent outdoor class which is starting as the weather is turning ever more wet and cold! I will therefore be co-teaching with my ski jacket ;)

NTC at Victoria Park

So it's time to put everything I have learnt from covering sessions at Victoria Park into this new class! Look forward to meeting the group and getting to know them too :)

Come rain or shine ...I will see you there!

Elle :) x


The Pole Story ;)

The Beginning

A few years ago, I regularly attended dance classes at Pineapple Studio's in London. One day, whilst scouring the timetable, I came across pole dancing classes on a Saturday afternoon. Why not, I thought. Off I went. There began my story.

Class was interesting, a mix of beginners, those who had done pole before and those who were amazing because they had a background in dance. It was a very strength based workout with the emphasis being on arms and upper body. The day after, muscles ached that I never knew existed! I was hooked!

The Middle

I found a pole school (Ecole De Pole) and enrolled on a 6 week beginner course to cover the basics. After a few months, I enrolled on the next course; Elementary, where I learnt more spins and tricks as part of a routine. At more than £20 for a class, or £140 for a 6 week course this was becoming an expensive hobby. I did my research and found that I could purchase a professional pole for £160 for my home which was easy to install and is easy to remove as and when I want to. I did the maths, and it meant I could practice at my leisure and reduce the expense. Pole purchased.

So Far (as there is no end to this story!)

I haven't been practising for a while; I've been waiting for the next level course with dates that suit me and I have finally found it! The next course (Intermediate 1) starts on 19th November so I had better get my practice in! It's where I will learn to go upside down (which as you can see I can do but I actually taught myself)! I will be putting together a training plan to get ready for my course which I will share with you when I have devised it!

I have found pole to be one of the most challenging, but rewarding forms of exercise. You gain strength, tone and cardiovascular benefits as well as enjoying yourself. Many women have said it helps to improve their confidence on top of all of that!

If you have any questions or would like to share your story please leave me a comment below!

Elle :) x


RTTB Training: Week 2

Firstly, can I say that my maths skills have been tested due to the constant conversion of miles to km's and vice versa during the last couple of weeks. For as long as I can remember I have measured my runs in km's and all of a sudden I have to focus on miles to train for RTTB!
Then (I already knew this but for some reason chose to ignore it), I had to focus on how I run, to help me to keep going. I tried to run starting my landing phase with a heel strike; this gave me excruciating shin ache which made it difficult for me to go on. My own personal running technique calls for me to land on the ball of my feet. This seems to be a more comfortable and efficient way, which allows me to run (rather than walk) for longer. I worked this out during my Week 2 Tuesday run; I had a 1 hour lunch break to get to the gym, run, and get back to my desk so I chose a timed run of 40 minutes and included some intervals whilst trying to maintain a steady race day pace.
This is week 2 of training, almost at the half way mark! I'm realising though that a lot of people are signing up for this race distance without much time to train. I'm being told it's mind over matter, and I think that is true.

My schedule for the week was supposed to look like this:
  • Monday: 6 miles
  • Tuesday: weight training
  • Wednesday: 3 mile tempo
  • Thursday: cross training
  • Friday: 4 miles
  • Saturday: 8 miles
  • Sunday: rest 

Tuesdays run
My actual schedule for the week looked like this:
  • Monday: weight training 
  • Tuesday: 3.52 miles, NTC (teaching)
  • Wednesday: 2km hills/sprints and 15 mins weight training (FRAME Camp)
  • Thursday: NTC (teaching), Circuits (teaching)
  • Friday: rest
  • Saturday: rest 
  • Sunday: rest 
Coming up in Week 3... (which was actually last week) Erm, last week I completed a lot of eating, drinking, and inactivity in Miami! So now, in Week 4, I have some catching up to do as well as reversing the effects of my vacation!

Elle ;) x

Previous related posts:

RTTB Training: Week 1
The start of my RTTB journey


Stay active with cherries!

I was sitting in my office one day, absolutely aching from a workout the day before the day before when I remembered some research that was carried out at London South Bank University using Cherry Active so I thought I would try it! What's the worse that could happen?!

What did happen is, it did what it said it did on the tin (plastic bottle in this actual case). It aided my muscle recovery meaning I was a little less achy the next day as well as feeling less tired than usual after an intense workout. 

Cherry Active is made from 100% pressed and concentrated Montmorency cherries with a very high antioxidant strength (antioxidant score of 8260 ORAC units per 30ml - about the same as you'd find in over 20 average fruit and veg portions). You mix it with water, and voila! 
The laboratory test results

According to the Cherry Active website you can also add it to a juice/smoothie, natural yoghurt or post-exercise drink.
I've also seen this drink featured in numerous magazines for various reasons including the fact that they say it helps to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. I did first try out the capsules, however, the case they are in is very light and on one occasion, I half swallowed the tablet but didn't which made it difficult in subsequent attempts! So steer clear if you are not good with pills! The drink though, tastes great, with a bit of a tang, and is oh so refreshing. 

I guess not everything works for everyone, but this seems to work for me! (p.s at £13 - £15 a bottle, I suggest you try the sachets first! The bottle lasts a month based on one 30ml serving every other day).

Elle :) x


Hitting it hard on hump day...with FRAME Camp

Yesterday (Wednesday) officially went down in history as a bad, bad day; more so for the fact its what's known as 'hump day' where you get that middle of road/ middle of the week feeling. Anyway, I stand by the fact that exercise is the best medicine to improve your mood and its also scientifically proven.

I booked myself onto a FRAME Camp class for 6.30pm so I took a 60 minute stroll from South London, across the river to East London to clear my mind and make good use of the spare time (it also saved me £1.35 in bus fare!).

This class was just what the doctor ordered. A 15 minute dose of tension releasing strength and toning work followed by a 15 minute dose of anger and frustration reduction in the form of fighting with a treadmill (actually, crazy hills and sprints!).

Somehow I still couldn't manage to crack a smile, but inside I was feeling good (minus the fact I bailed out of the final sprint at a whopping 13.5kph as I was sure I would vomit!). I rehydrated with a Vita Coco and a Bounce natural energy ball for a protein blast to ensure a quick recovery! Today though, I can definitely smile, and I'm looking forward to going back after my holiday to tackle that final 30 second sprint!

Elle ;) x

What to expect: wear trainers suitable for running, be ready to work hard and sweat as its a high energy and high impact class. You'll get to burn between 350 and 500 calories in this session.


Method in this madness?! FRAME Method Class

Now that I am finished this class and on my way home, I feel amazing; exhilarated in fact. Couldn't say the same for during!
The blurb read that Method was a mix of yoga, Pilates and barre work. That is true; very true. We began with 2 sets of dumbbells; one light (2kg) and one heavy (3kg). The warm up consisted of lots of knee lifts and arm swings in every direction imaginable before we moved onto a challenging arm routine using said dumbbells. This hammered home to me what I already know; I need to do more upper body work! I had to give up with my "heavy" weights and use the lighter ones! Don't judge me!

From here we moved to the barre with our Pilates ball and strap in tow. Hmmm, now ball between knees, heels together and toes out. Sounds easy?! Now up onto your toes and then squat down, repeatedly! And...pulse!

Once we had set our glutes on fire from the barre work we moved onto some floor work with the strap, then a cushion and more with the ball. We did stretches throughout the class, at key moments where they were really (REALLY) needed! Class ended with some downward dog and great stretches.
I can smile now, at the memories of how hard I worked, but some exercises required closing of the eyes and deep breathing to make it through...4...3...2....1....collapse!
My outfit

There was not one part of my body that didn't get a workout during those 60 minutes so I will definitely be back! I wanted "me" time in a workout and I got it!

Oh and did I mention that I finally got to rock my outfit from the personal shopping experience that I won through FRAME in July?! Heck, I rocked it!

Elle :) x

Extra info: Class took place on monday evening, starting at 5.30pm for 60 minutes. No shoes required for this class. Impact is very low. I earned about 400 Nike Fuel points which is not bad for a strength and toning session. Class cost approx £15.


RTTB Training: Week 1

This time, one week ago, I was training as normal. I then somehow decided to sign up for Run To The Beat (RTTB) half marathon, and had to devise a training plan to fit into the 4 - 5 weeks left before race day. I always plan my week of training in advance, so I had to do a bit of shuffling around to fit in the extra run training. 
My schedule for the week was supposed to look like this:
  • Monday: 3 miles 
  • Tuesday: weight training
  • Wednesday: 2 miles
  • Thursday: weight training
  • Friday: cross training
  • Saturday: 5 miles
  • Sunday: rest 
Fridays run: 2 miles
Tuesdays run: 3 miles
It went more like;
  • Monday: NTC (teaching) & tabata
  • Tuesday: 3 miles, tabata, NTC (teaching)
  • Wednesday: rest
  • Thursday: NTC (teaching) & tabata
  • Friday: 2 miles & tabata (half hearted)
  • Saturday: rest 
  • Sunday: 60 minutes Zumba
So, this week was not exactly a running success with the main issue being that I didn't get my "long" run in over the weekend! I kinda knew this would happen as I like to relax on the weekend; so maybe I need to schedule my long runs for during the week to combat this! I did however hit my Nike Fuel goals for all 7 days of the week, and had my most active Friday since I got my Fuel band in May.

There are moments where I think I will be fine running this distance, and other times I wonder what I am doing! I think I need to stick to my training, make sure my legs are rested before the race and get my nutrition right. 

Coming up in week 2, I have a 6 mile, 4 mile, 8 mile and a 3 mile tempo run. If I succeed, this will probably be the most I have ever run in a week!

Elle :) x
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