29.5.15

Update Your Top Workout Tracks

Anytime is a good time to update my playlists for working out. At the moment, I mostly use music when I'm teaching and when I get lazy (a lot) I just put my old iPod touch on shuffle so never know what track is gonna drop next! I never know if those in my class enjoy the music; they never complain so I can only assume that no news is good news?!

When I was asked to write a sponsored post about my favourite workout tracks, I initially declined; I'm just not that on top of music and these days don't even run with music / podcasts / external sounds!

So to freshen things up a bit, I did what I do best! I took to Facebook and Twitter to find out what tracks are at the top of your playlists and am sharing my favourite responses with you here!

Tunes to request from your Spin Instructor: 


Rhymes - Hannah Wants & Chris Lorenzo
Kaiva, Wild Honey & Bear

Right Before My Eyes - Little Nikki
Lucy, Lucy Lunges


Hit the gym with these bad boys: 


Higher Ground - TNGHT
Chi-Chi, Life of Chi

Harder Than You Think - Public Enemy
Bethan, A Pretty Place to Play

Faint - Linkin Park
Georgina, Fitcetera

Work B*itch - Britney Spears
Laureen, Peachy Lau


Run with these tunes: 


Shake It Off - Taylor Swift
Zoe, London & Me

Roar - Katy Perry
Leah, Naturally Leah

Turn Down For What - DJ Snake
Sophie, This Blog is Sophie's Blog

Holiday - Green Day
Andrew, via Twitter

...what an amazing list! Listening to them all to put together this post got me all pumped to work out (even though it's 10pm and I'm really tired!).

Add these to your playlists NOW, then find your nearest gym to lift heavy, run fast or spin it out!

What's you top track right now to workout to?! Any of your favourites already made the cut for todays list?! 


Elle :)  

p.s I will be compensated to write this post (you can catch all the details in my May Blog Stat's post coming soon!); the little money I make goes straight back into my blog so thank you for reading! All opinions remain my own! ;) 

28.5.15

Top Tips For A Better Nights Sleep

Over the past few weeks, I made a commitment to myself to ensure I go to bed on time so I could wake up feeling refreshed rather than face a day seeking out doses of caffeine.

It also was important for my training. Resting, and getting enough sleep is as important as going hard when working out.

With the amazing success of #HillarysWeekOfSleep recently held by Hillarys, they have teamed up with Wellness expert Dr Lauren Kita to put together her top 10 sleep tips to help you get a better nights sleep.

When I was contacted about trialling out a sleep kit and sharing said top tips, the answer was most definitely yes. I mean, I surely can't be the only one who is looking to work out how to get that sought after great nights sleep?!

So, if you already had a click of the link and read the tips, you'll fully understand the reasonings behind the contents of my sleep kit:

Lumi Bodyclock
Lavender Oil
Yoga Mat
Notebook


I was most excited about the Lumi Bodyclock - it's been on my Amazon Wishlist for a while (and we all know how serious that is, right?!). It uses a light to gently wake you up from your sleep in the morning. Having never tried it before, I opted to also use the additional alarm sound because I did need to be at work on time! Just in case! I've found that I've been waking up feeling well rested and haven't had to use the snooze button as much. It's also replaced me using my mobile phone as an alarm clock meaning I don't spend my last few minutes before bed staring at the bright screen! Win, win!?

I then changed my bed clothes (fresh sheets, dreamy!) and doused them in lavender oil. Lavender is such a calming fragrance, making my room smell like a spa and helping me to wind down when I jump into my bed.

One of Dr Lauren Kita's tips is to do things that energise you during the day.

"Yoga is another great way to integrate exercise and mindfulness. The more you can be mindful during the day, the easier it will be to switch off at night. Over time, you can literally rewire your brain so that this process becomes second nature – allowing you to drift off effortlessly! "

I haven't given this one a go yet as I've been busy hitting the pool, running and trying my hand at triathlons recently so have been pretty exhausted when it comes to the evening anyway. I am planning on adding 15-30 minutes per day of functional training to my workout schedule just to boost all the cardio I'm doing. Stay tuned to see how that one goes...

Last but not least, I put the notebook to good use. I keep it on my bedside table with a pen so I can jot down whats on my mind before I go to sleep. It usually consists of things to remember to do the following day. I also love to read as opposed to watching tv - the bright light of the screen actually stimulates your brain, going against your efforts to get to sleep once you switch off! Reading a chapter of my book, in a low light helps me to relax and start to wind down my mind.

All in all, my commitment to sleep is paying off. I can make it through the day without desperately needing a caffeine hit and I have the energy I need to train. Such a small change makes such a big impact; makes me wonder what other little tweaks we could all make on a day to day basis!

So, what are your top tips for getting a good nights sleep?!


Elle :) 

26.5.15

Elle Loves... May 2015

After my first 'Elle Loves' post went down so well, I decided to do one for May. Featuring some of my favourite products I have tried this month in all different categories - workout gear, food and gadgets! 


1. Speedo Fit Body Positioning Kickback Swimsuit* 

This costume has been a staple in my swimming wardrobe for the last couple of months. It offers light compression around my core which is supposed to help you keep the right position in the water. It's super comfy and flattering without showing off too much. They come up pretty small though so you may need to size up to get the right fit.

2. MeasuPro Pulse Oxometer* 

I've had this little device (pulse ox) for a few months now which coincided nicely with me doing some hours at the Altitude Centre in London. It measures the oxygen saturation levels (SpO2) in your blood and also gives you your pulse (HR). When you train at altitude, your SpO2 levels decrease and your HR tends to increase.

This pulse ox comes with its own little carry case and a lanyard which is useful if you use it when exercising like I do. It's useful to keep an eye on your SpO2 levels when training at altitude to ensure they don't go to low. Over time, you'll be able to see how you acclimatise to training at altitude and working out at sea level will seem so much easier!

3. Abel & Cole Fruit and Veg Box

Here's a short diary of an Abel & Cole medium fruit and veg box:  

Apples - Carrot, apple & ginger juice
Baby spinach - Spinach 
frittata 
Bananas - Smoothies, w/ almond butter 
Green cabbage - Gave to Mum 
Leeks, Potatoes - Leek and potato soup 
Strawberries - Chia pudding topping
Fennel - to be used (
probably will juice)
White onions - Leek and potato soup, Spinach frittata

Everything is organic and fresh. I love that you can see what's coming in your box via the website where you can also substitute things that you may not want / need that particular week. Delivery takes place on a specified day and if you are not in, they leave it somewhere for you (outside my private front door for me).

I haven't fully gotten through my second box, so I've postponed my third box for another week. At £18.75 plus delivery (£1.25) I don't really want anything to go to waste. There was also the option to get a smaller box or just fruit / just veg but I'm keen to increase my fruit and veg intake so the more the merrier!

Abel & Cole also sell meat boxes and quite a few other alternatives which I am keen to try out in addition to regular groceries!

4. ProteinWorks Diet Protein Truffles *

What a treat for when I finished my whole30 and great for my post triathlon munchies! I tried out the Mint Chocolate flavour which has to be a favourite combination of mine anyway! They come individually wrapped so you can pop a couple in your handbag / training bag to snack on when you'r ready. Idid make the mistake (only once, never again) of putting one in my cycle jersey during my triathlon and the combination of body heat and good weather meant it looked less than appetising when I went to eat it!

Each individual truffle (30g) is just 96kcal with 10.2g of protein. Such a simple and healthy indulgent way to boost your protein intake during a day! {check them out here}

5. TomTom Multisport Cardio GPS Watch* 

I've been wearing this watch on my wrist almost religiously for about 8 weeks now. The main reason being that it can track all the activities I currently take part in - swimming, running and cycling. Swimming was the side of the watch I was most keen to get to know - as a new swimmer I find it hard to keep track of my laps so I wanted to be able to do so with the watch. I haven't found it too be 100% accurate for swimming; I'd say it misses off a good 30% of the laps I do. This may be down to switching stroke and / or not pushing off hard enough from the wall.

Tracking runs is pretty straightforward. It uses GPS so once you update the maps regularly it doesn't take too long to lock into the satellites. I love that it also measures heart rate when running (and cycling, but not swimming unless you choose the freestyle mode but you need to be outdoors!). Recently, TomTom integrated with Nike+ so you can upload your runs to the Nike+ website. This was a huge win for me as I have the last 8 years of running and fitness data on my Nike+ account so would rather keep it going than switch over to a completely new system.

I used the watch in my triathlon the other day on freestyle mode. It was great to be able to see how I was performing in cycling as I've never had a bike computer since taking up cycling again in my adulthood. I also have a record of all my splits for the different events so will be able to compare when I do my next triathlon. This only worked though because the swim was open water so GPS was available.

There is so much I could tell you about this watch, it probably warrants its own post so I will potentially look to do that in the near future.

What products have been loving over the past month?! What products are on your wishlist to try?! 


Elle :) 


p.s products with a *, I received complimentary either for review or just by chance (yes, this happens!) but as always all opinions are my very own! 

25.5.15

#Whole30 with The Whole30 Book

Hooray! I have officially finished my fourth round of Whole30! Unfortunately I woke up on Day 31 a little under the weather so didn't feel much like celebrating. I did however treat myself with 3 Lindt truffles and one diet protein truffle from Protein Works. 

For this Whole30, I decided to freshen things up a bit; it's easy to get stuck in a rut cooking the same old recipes over and over again. So I updated my cookbook library and decided to take inspiration from each book on a weekly basis. 

For the first part I used Hemsley & Hemsley; The Art of Eating Well

For the middle 10 days or so I took inspiration from Deliciously Ella


The third and final book was the new release from Whole30 called The Whole 30: The official 30-day guide to total health and food freedom

The last few times I did my Whole30 I have to admit I wasn't fully in the picture. I knew I wanted to do it, so I just did. I scanned through the book, It Starts With Food: Discover the Whole30 and Change Your Life in Unexpected Ways and dove straight in the deep end (quite unlike me!). 


Recipes I tried included, sausage patties with sweet potato mash and caramelised onion, beef brisket, romesco garlic prawns with courgette noodles (pictured below), steak with garlic shallot relish (pictured below), greek salad (pictured above), spinach and tomato frittata and coconut curry chicken. 



What have I taken from the last 10 days? 
These ten days were probably my favourite due to not having to work out which recipes were compliant and which weren't. All of the recipes were easy to make, I even got to whip out my slow cooker for the beef brisket.

One part of the book I love is the section on sauces - it can be a big deal when you do whole30 and can't add ketchup / BBQ / sweet chilli sauce to your meals for a little added flavour! I love making my own mayonnaise and using it to make quick meals like jacket potato with tuna mayo.

What have I taken from the whole experience? 
Since completing whole30, I'd say I have been about 50% non compliant; a few days after finishing, and then being unwell, I took part in my first ever triathlon and used my tried and tested methods of fuelling myself. After my event, and some more swimming, and running I just feel like I can't calm my hunger. I'm happy to have a relaxed week or two and then get back to 80:20. I think part of the issue has been that I haven't been using a structure or a book so I guess I'll have to choose another book and get meal planning to get me back on track. 

Each time I complete whole30 I think I learn a little more about myself, my body and the way I eat. This time, I focused heavily on post workout nutrition and worked hard to add more vegetables to my meals. I also tried to mix breakfast up a bit and not rely so heavily on bacon and eggs - my new breakfast crush was chia pudding!

Doing whole30 always refreshes my awareness of what is in the food I eat, what I don't need and how I can make healthier choices for long term results. I've even started making my own almond milk this time round and started buying more organic ingredients (within my budget). It's not cheap, but we only get one body. 

Are you considering a whole30? What is holding you back? 

What's your favourite whole30 recipe?! 

Check out my whole30 Pinterest board for inspiration! Beware though, I'm not afraid of a little SWYPO (google it!).

Elle :) 

22.5.15

Garmin Eton Supersprint 17.5.15 #MyMoments

It's the day after I've officially become a triathlete and I don't quite think it has sunk in yet. It's crazy (good) how much went into preparing for this day, all in the lead up to Windsor Triathlon in June.

Forty eight hours before I was due to be on the start line, I woke up feeling very, very unwell. I had an uncomfortable stomach, a headache, felt tired lethargic which totalled to not feeling capable of going to work never mind taking part in a three disciplined event. I spent the next 2 days resting, hydrating and feeding my body with nourishing foods.

It meant I woke up on Sunday 17th May able to make my way across London and take part in my first ever triathlon.

Swim 400m | Bike 21.2km | Run 5km 

Transition

Image Credit: Human Race FB

Setting up for the race start went quickly. We entered transition with just under an hour to go and before I knew it, we were in the water ready to go!

I used the time to set up my transition area with all the kit I would need. So my bike kit and running shoes, plus towel and snacks to keep me going. I also finished getting dressed for the swim and squeezed into my wetsuit. Wetsuits were optional but there was no way I was going to be swimming without mine!

Swim | 400m | 27:02 

Five minutes before the start, we had our briefing. This is where I started to struggle; we entered the water for the briefing and had to tread water to stay afloat and listen. For me, not being well and nervous, treading water was a huge waste of energy. So by the time our start was signalled, I was completely stressed out! I made a go for it, then had to turn back and just gather myself and my thoughts together. I had a quick chat to the race marshals who got one of the guys in the kayaks to stay with me for my swim. This made me feel much more comfortable knowing someone would be keeping an eye on me!

Image Credit: Human Race FB

I tried to get in a rhythm swimming breaststroke but I was so nervous it was insane. I reverted back to breaststroke with my head out of the water which had its own difficulties; the first part of the course was against the current so meant I had waves splashing into my face. I swallowed some water a couple times which made me cough and splutter but when I needed to I was able to hang on to the kayak to catch my breath and regain composure. I eventually made it to the first buoy for a right turn which meant I was swimming across the current. Somehow this was only the finest bit easier with the waves splashing one side of my face! I gave front crawl a go and it felt quite comfortable, I just wasn't relaxed enough to keep it going!

At the next buoy it was another right turn and heading for the finish line. By now I was relieved to be swimming / taken along by the current! I gave front crawl another go and managed to make it to the shallow part of the lake just before I got joined by the wave behind me! The kayak crew were amazing; they obviously knew the lake really well and instructed me where the lake was shallow and would get deep then guided me over to the ramp at the finish line.

I was a little overwhelmed finishing the swim and exited the water into transition with a banging headache.

T1 | 4:08 

My bike was positioned right next to the "swim out" area so took me little to no time to find it. I got a little stuck getting my wetsuit off over my tomtom watch on my wrist and the timing chip on my ankle but eventually it was on the floor and I was dressed to ride in my tri suit, socks, cleated shoes, sunglasses and cycle jersey. I removed my bike from the stand and made a run / walk for the "bike out". Next up was 4 (approx) 5km laps of the bike course...

Bike | 21.1km | 1:01:17

I used the start of the bike section to get hydrated, refocus, get my legs into the swing of things and get some energy down me; I took along shotbloks to use as they taste great, are easy to digest and I have used them before. The first half of the bike lap was a little uphill and into the wind which made it quite uncomfortable. The second half however was flat and less windy so I just relaxed each time at the start of the lap and pushed to fishing each lap. I kept an eye on my pace on the watch to see if I could keep it consistent.

Image Credit: SportCam 

T2 | 1:35 

I came through the "bike in" found my spot and switched into my trainers after racking my bike and removing my helmet. The "run out" was also next to my racking spot so I just glugged down a little extra water and made a run for it.

Use code KISDISCOUNT to get £5 off your Human Race Triathlon!

Run | 5km | 32:44

The 5km run was an out and back twice. It was the place where you were closest to other competitors and the support between participants was amazing. By this point I was running with all the guys in the waves behind me but that didn't put me off at all!

Image Credit: SportCam
Coming into the finish line was a guy next to me who said "lets sprint finish" ...I thought why not! Then he said "race me! ...beat me to the finish!" ...so I mustered up the last bit of energy I had and gave it my all....


It was at this point that I started to look for my medal ...only to then realise that our "medal" was a t-shirt which we received before we even started the event. I was a little disappointed, and still am (I'd planned on sharing an amazing photo of my new bling live on FB when I got it!) but at the end of the day it doesn't take away from the fact that I AM A TRIATHLETE. I also have a orange swim cap to remember my wave and the awesome memories of the morning!


Check out the Race Report from Human Race {here} - I even got a little mention ;)

A huge Thank You to the volunteers on the day, especially the guys in the kayaks who supported me through my whole swim, the guy on the bike course who counted all my laps and gave me words of encouragement every time I cycled past him, all the competitors who spoke to me and kept me going through the run, to the guy who challenged me to sprint and race him across the finish line.

I love that before this day, I had no idea what time I could do this in and now I have a time to work on and I know where I can improve in the future. By no means am I done with triathlon. Four weeks left till Windsor and I plan on being there and working for that medal...

What was your first experience of triathlon like?! 


Elle :) 


p.s a huge Thank You to Human Race for the place in this event and support along my journey to Windsor. Thank You also to SportCam for the photographs. As always, all opinions are my own :) 

21.5.15

Hay Fever Survival with Boots

When Boots got in touch with me about trying out a few of their products to help with the symptoms of hay fever, it couldn't have been better timing! 

I'd had sniffles for a few weeks and suspected it was hay fever but just never got around to doing something about it. My "hay fever survival kit" arrived and sat on my dining table for a few days - till the Run Hackney 5km run on The Marshes where I suffered at the hands of pollen. 


So for the Run Hackney Half Marathon the next morning, I was prepared! The kit also included a handy water bottle for running, a waist pack and sunglasses. I opted for the Irritated Eyes Mist as you use it externally and works with contact lenses. I also tried the Nasal Spray - it actually is a peppermint flavoured (smelling?!) powder that creates a barrier to stop allergies. 

The nasal spray and eye mist helped me to shift my focus away from what the weather / allergens were doing to my body allowing me to focus solely on the race, and the experience of the morning! 

Here are some useful tips on how to prepare / deal with hay fever symptoms: 

Angela Chalmers, Boots UK Pharmacist explains: “Many people with hay fever wait until their symptoms strike before they take action, but the earlier you prepare, the better.  Here are some things you can do ahead of time:

1)      Speak to your pharmacist now so they can determine the right treatment for your personal symptoms so you can put an effective routine in place before the pollen count rises

2)      Nasal sprays should be used throughout the season for them to work effectively, not just when your nose starts twitching!

3)      Some eye drops can be used ahead of time to help reduce symptoms, so it is never too early to start a protection routine

4)      Remember that your sunglasses can help too so include them in your prevention plans – they act as physical guard against pollen exposure around the sensitive eye area and are an easy way to stay protected!

My mum suffers from hay fever symptoms far worse than I do and has been a regular user of the eyedrops pictured above before I was even sent this kit. She also dons her sunglasses when she ventures outdoors to help keep allergens away from her eyes.

I also keep a packet of tissues in my bag at all times too! Great for drying your eyes or blowing your nose when you're out and about! I'm determined not to let hay fever get the better of me or stop me from training outdoors while the weather is good!

Have you got any hay fever survival tips of your own?! 


Elle :) 

p.s Thanks to Boots for providing me with the products to test - rest assured all opinions are my own!

19.5.15

NEW Hiplok Gold & The Art of Bike Security


Sometimes I feel like being a cyclist in London comes with having your bike stolen. Hopefully after the first time you don't let it happen again. That's my plan. 

After my bike was stolen in September 2014 I resorted to only taking my bike to places that would allow me to take it in with me. Carrying my D lock was cumbersome and I remember when I borrowed a friends very heavy chain lock it basically wore a hole in my leggings! 

Then I discovered Hiplok. I paid them a visit at their Spin LDN stand a couple weeks ago to say hi and check out their product line. I picked up one of their postcards which contained the awesome graphics above showing you ways to secure your bike and how NOT to. It's an easy mistake to make when you're in a rush and the consequences are harsh. 

I've been using their new (Sold Secure) GOLD which launched this March, 2015. 




So far since moving back to Essex, I've been using my bike for trips to the Post Office - it's about 2km each way and just much quicker on a bike. The Hiplok has been handy to (not) carry by wearing it around my waist. When it's on, you barely notice that it's there ...and at 2.4kg that's not bad! 

For those that love to know all the technical specifications it's a 10mm hardened steel chain with a removable 600d outer sleeve which has a reflective chevron detail. The fastening (buckle) is a 12mm hardened steel shackle and steel lock body with a brass mechanism all in an impact resistant, super tough nylon case. Your lock comes with 3 keys included which are key coded and replaceable. 

It was a perfect fit for me; my waist I think is about 26 -28 inches depending which part you measure! The Hiplok GOLD fits a minimum waist of 24" and maximum of 44" making it pretty versatile. The size of it is perfect for locking my frame and back wheel together to the bike stand / post / something* (*delete as appropriate). I'm not one for taking off my front wheel though so I would defo invest in one of their smaller D locks to lock the front wheel to the frame (more on that soon hopefully).



I had my triathlon this weekend too and travelled over by train to the race so being able to wear my Hiplok (see images above) meant more space in my bag for kit and also meant I could stop for food after without having to worry about being able to keep my bike with me indoors!

Have YOU had a bike stolen? Any insider tips on locking your bike up?


Elle :) 

18.5.15

Guest Post: Raw Banoffee 'Cheesecake' Pie

A wee while ago, Elle took me on a dinner date to a gorgeous veggie/raw/healthy pop-up place called Redemption. It was incredible. Our desert was probably the best part: a raw, vegan, lemony cheesecake. It quickly became clear we needed access to the stuff more frequently in our lives, so I agreed wholeheartedly to create it. 

I was planning to make it just like the Redemption one: nutty base layer, creamy, lemony top layer. Simple. Then, one day, I had too many ripe bananas, and so THIS happened...!!


Raw Banoffee 'Cheesecake' Pie



(Gluten free, diary-free, refined sugar free, can-be-paleo, raw, really easy, goddamn tasty...)


Ingredients:



Base:

1 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/2 cup gluten-free oats (switch for another 1/2 cup nuts for paleo)
1/3 cup dates
1 tbsp coconut oil

Toffee-caramel layer:

2 cups dates
1tbsp coconut oil
1-2tbsp maple syrup
Pinch sea/Himalayan salt

Banana cheesecake layer:


3 cups raw cashew nuts
3 medium ripe bananas
Juice 1 lemon
2tbsp maple syrup/raw honey
Cacao nibs


Method:


1. Soak the dates and cashews, (separately!): put the dates in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave to sit. Put the cashews in a pan of boiling water and let it sit at a rolling simmer whilst you make the base. 

2. The base: blitz everything together in a food processor (I used the grinding blade in my nutribullet) until you get a crumbly, damp-sand kind of consistency. Press this into the base of 6 ramekins or a single 15cm(ish) pie dish.



3. Turn the heat off under the cashew nuts, drain the water and leave to cool.

4. The caramel: drain the water from the dates - they should have softened.  Blend them up with the coconut oil and salt, adding a little maple syrup (and maybe a tbsp or two of boiled water) to create a smooth caramel-like paste. Layer this over the biscuit base and put the ramekins/ dish in the fridge to set whilst you make the cheesecake layer.



5. Blend all of the banana 'cheesecake' ingredients together, adding a tbsp or two of hot water to smooth the mix if necessary (careful, you don't want it to become runny; it should be the consistency of cheesecake!).



6. Layer this mixture over the caramel and sprinkle with cacao nibs. Leave to set in the fridge for at least 30 mins (or freezer for 10 if you're feeling impatient), then get your teeth into it!! 

7. WAAAAAHHH! It's all gone?! Go back to step 1.

Kate :) 



As a singer, yoga teacher and lover of all things tasty, I'm constantly reviewing my connection with my body - and, by extension, the food I eat. I got into cooking in my early teens, when creating the perfect brownie was the biggest life problem I faced. Now, after digestive problems, sugar crashes and migraines have led me to a largely sugar-,grain-, and dairy-free existence, my love of cooking is driven by the search for food that is satisfying and nourishing. And just so you know, I consider eating almond butter from the jar (daily) both satisfying and nourishing..."

Follow Kate on Instagram: @misskatelister or check out her band at www.thefoobirds.co.uk 

15.5.15

Vitality Run Hackney 2015 Half Marathon #MyMoments

The day finally arrived. The day of my third Half Marathon for 2015. A day I actually hadn't trained for.

This is how the event went for me. 

I started this race knowing I wasn't going to run a PB. I couldn't guarantee I wasn't going run a personal worst either but either way I actually didn't mind. I decided that this month would be all about the experience. It'd be the second time I ran this route but the first time I'd take the time to soak it all in and enjoy it.

Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon

Sunday 10th May, 2015


Start Location: Hackney Marshes, East London

Start Time: 9am

The Start: As usual the start was arranged by times. I think we ended up starting with the 1:45 pace group to just get away and start strong.

The Route: The route was highly anticipated; changes had been made following feedback from 2014 about the section going through the Olympic Park. I still don't know this part of East London very well but places were recognisable from last year and the route was pretty flat which was a relief.


I saw my first marshalling buddy at around Mile 3 - Becca - which was a great boost already! I overheard someone running saying how it's like a game of Where's Wally! I used to love that game and I'm pretty good at spotting people in crowds! At this point I was still running with Bethan; our pace was around the 6min/km mark which I knew already was too fast for me, today. It was hotter than expected - the same issue that plagued the 2014 race - but this year I hadn't dressed for the heat!

I ran with Bethan up to the half way point then I had to give in and go slower. I also had to take off my long sleeved top which was too warm for the day and length of time I'd be running. Huge shout out to all the marshals who were encouraging the runners along the route! Thanks especially to more marshalling buddies, Nkeiruka, Nneka and Ogechi!


The Olympic Park section of the route (approx mile 10.5 - 12.5) was such a vast improvement on last year.  After running past the enthusiasm, cheers and support created by Run Dem Crew at mile 10 it was a pleasure to enter the Olympic Park. We ran through more of the park this year, it was flatter and there was no soul destroying moment when you passed the 12 mile marker when you were just at mile 10 going uphill. The last 0.5 miles were the same as last year so I knew what to expect.

The Crowd & Atmosphere: The streets were lined with people and local residents were out in force cheering all the runners on! It was so nice to see everyone getting involved! The addition of names to race bibs was a great idea - it meant even strangers could, and did, shout out to you with their support!

The runners themselves were a mixed bag. I passed friends chatting and catching up, friends talking about pace and then couples arguing about how encouraging they were or weren't being. Maybe this is how every race is, I've just never noticed!


With multiple bands along the route too, I took the opportunity to walk past most of them so I could enjoy what they were doing for just a few seconds longer.

The Drinks: There were plenty of drink stations along the course and lucky for me they all came at the point when I really needed a drink. There was one station however, that just had Lucozade so if you wanted water you had to run another 2 miles. I'm all for Lucozade, but a mixed station would've been more suitable. After the Lucozade station, I felt like I was running on a nightclub floor! It was soooooo sticky from the sugar in the drinks!

The Loo Situation: Plenty were at the start line and I didn't have to queue before I started the race (this was just 10 minutes before the 9am start time!). I didn't need the loo during the race (I never do, but I do think on this occasion I was dehydrated) so I don't know if there were queues on the course.

The Finish: The crowds were amazing as I turned the corner heading to the finish. I took a few moments to have a walk, take it in and catch my breath just before the home straight so I could give my all to my sprint finish!

It did then take me a long time to get my bag back. My bag drop seemed to be the only one with a ridiculous queue and whilst other bag volunteers stood there doing nothing we just waited...

The Medal: After a short walk through the finishers funnel, we were presented with our medals, a goody bag, banana, water and t-shirt! Hooray! A t-shirt this year! ...oh and the Half Marathon medal is bigger than the 5km medal! It was great to see Run Hackney had taken more feedback on board and put the date of the race and distance on the medal :) It's the little things!


The Statistics: Here are my race deets from the website!



I read a quote recently that "time is the most boring part of running". Here, Here! I enjoyed the route, seeing friends running, seeing friends marshalling, seeing friends and strangers complete their first ever half marathon, the crowds and support and the beautiful weather!

Would I run this race again?! YES! I'm in for 2016! Are you?! 

Elle :) 

p.s And Thanks to Vitality Run Hackney for my place. All opinions are my own :) some photos though are not - credit to Anthony Upton via Run Hackney

Those interested in registering for the 2016 Vitality Run Hackney can register their interest at www.runhackney.com .


 www.runhackney.com  |  @RunHackney  |  facebook.com/runhackney

14.5.15

#GetSpeedoFit Challenge 2015

Swimming has been my biggest challenge this year and I'm even more excited to join forces with Speedo and Women's Health UK to take part in the #GetSpeedoFit Challenge for 2015!

I'm one of four Challengers - meet Amy, David and Alex - who will be on this 6 week journey with me where I will build confidence, endurance and improve my technique


In preparation for our challenge, we headed over to University of Bath for our pre challenge fitness testing. They were thorough; everything from VO2 max,  to resting blood samples. The data produced will allow me to see my progress from here onwards as I undertake the challenge.



Since I have learnt to swim, I've seen how swimming can support my fitness goals. It's one of the most effective forms of exercise; being low impact also means I can jump in the pool on the days I can't take a heavy gym training session. Anyway, 30 minutes of swimming is supposed to provide the same benefits as one hour of training on land.

For the six weeks, I'll be having weekly lessons with Speedo Swim Coach Dan Bullock, plus sessions on my own working on swimming fitness and technique... oh and a side of banter with my challenge mates!


You can follow my journey here on the blog, via Instagram or Twitter (check out the #getspeedofit hashtag) and also in Women's Health UK magazine (the June issue is on shelves now!).

If you fancy taking on the challenge with me, head over to the hub where you can find all the resources that you will ever need - www.getspeedofit.co.uk

Lets #getspeedofit together! 


Elle :) 

12.5.15

How To Get Into Triathlon

I'm about to tackle my first ever triathlon and thought to myself, what would I say to someone who is interested in taking on a triathlon but just not sure?! So I've put together a few things which I think you need to know before you sign up...


There's a distance for everyone ...including the new Starter Sprint distance which I am completing as part of the Castle Triathlon Series in Hever Castle this September. It's a 200m swim, 15km bike ride and 2km run. It's doable and gives you a taste for the longer events. I know I'm doing things a little backwards but I figured it's enough time to encourage a few of you to do it with me!

So what if you're not a strong swimmer / cyclist / runner* (delete as appropriate) ...well, you know I didn't even know how to swim properly a few months ago?! Everyone has their weakness so you just focus your training to suit your needs. I've spent most of my time in the pool, kept my legs ticking over at races and run club, and hope I remember how to ride a bike by race day!


You don't need posh kit ...yup. You can hire a wetsuit. You can hire a bike. Borrow a mates bike even (Still got mad love for Freya who lent me her bike when mine was stolen before my duathlon!). You've got trainers lurking around right?! The rest is all optional. And if you get hooked on triathlon you can treat yourself and invest in the things that just make life a little easier!

You can swim, cycle and run in one event ...because you trained for it using BRICK sessions. You don't need to do all three in your training but practicing the bike to run transition, even if in a gym will get your body used to the change in motion.


There are clubs with lots of crazy people who love this stuff ...and will support you on your journey if you can't find a friend to rope in! You might even make more friends! Being surrounded by people who have experience in triathlon will inspire you and also fill you with invaluable knowledge too!

Everything you need to know ...and everything you might not even wanna know can be found in Tricurious: Surviving the Deep End, Getting into Gear and Racing to Triathlon Success. I read this book from cover to cover, laughing out loud whilst underlining the nuggets of information I may need to refer to before race day.

So what is standing between you and your first triathlon?! 

Elle :) 

11.5.15

Vitality Run Hackney 5km #MyMoments

In it's second year, this weekend is the new home for the Vitality Run Hackney Half Marathon and the 5km which takes place the day before.

Vitality Run Hackney 5km 
Saturday 9th May 2015, 3.00pm 



The 5km is billed as a community event, to get those involved in the weekend who don't quite feel ready for 21km yet. It's also free which makes it accessible to everyone and you still get the same race experience with a medal, water etc.

I was umming, and ahhhhing about this event when the day came. I went into town for the Spin LDN show then did a bit of walking around to get some pictures for a project which made me run a little behind schedule. I figured if I got to the station in time, I'd go run, if not, I'd stay on the train and go home. I made it.

The Start: I did have to rush a little, but there were no queues or crowds; everyone was busy getting warmed up and then settling into the staring pen. I quickly joined the back of the starting pen after dropping my bag off and a quick loo stop.

I got my TomTom ready and before I knew it, it was 3pm and we were off.

The Route: All set in Hackney Marshes so this was a novelty for me! It did mean that half the course was on the pavement and half on grass (not my favourite). Overall, it was a great route though, even if a little narrow (this could have been resolved by starting us in two little waves). I enjoyed looking into the distance to see where I would be running!


The Crowd: Not a lot of people were out cheering but those that were were appreciated! The marshals were great too giving us updates (even if not always accurate) on where we were on the route and how far was left. There was a lovely crowd at the finish line though who all got to see me pretend to sprint finish (that was for you Bethan and in the name of being honest, I actually walked a short bit before the bend to the finish line so I could muster up the energy!)


The Atmosphere: It was a great event, and the perfect day for running with spells of sunshine and a cooling wind. Everyone on the course was friendly with most chatting away (or was that just me?!). There were lots of friendly faces I knew which made it so much more fun getting to catch up briefly!

The Medal: The main reason I was motivated to run and it was definitely worth it! I'm now looking forward to my medal tomorrow even more which I hope is different to today (that was some of the feedback from 2014).


So my legs got their shakeout run; 5km in under 30 minutes. I think I went a bit wild! But I was in it for the EXPERIENCE and the same will be said for the half marathon even though it will hurt more! 

So, catch me at the finish line! 

Elle :) 

9.5.15

Elle About Town: Gym, Swim & Spin

In this one week just gone, I've been able to amalgamate training and being out and about! They sounded so great together I put them in one post for you!

Gym


I headed over to PureGym Oval on Wednesday evening to see what they were all about. It was recently announced that PureGym are the biggest gym operator in the UK with 91 gyms and 500,000 members!

PureGym offers people affordable membership between £10.99 and £24.99 (London) a month.  The gyms are also open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and provide members with 50 free classes a week. All memberships are on a rolling month by month contract too! 

They told me that 30% of the PureGym members have not been a member of a gym before- so I went along to see what it was about PureGym that has gotten everyone hooked! 

Firstly, their gyms are unstaffed so every member has a unique pin code to allow them access into the building via a space ship like door! The space was pretty big and everything you needed was on hand via vending machines (drinks, snacks, padlocks, towels etc). The changing facilities are also accessible via your pin code where you can find lockers, showers and toilets. 



There were numerous different areas with cardio machines, resistance machines and free weights. My friend and I set up camp in the free weights area with mats to do a core challenge workout. It was a weekday evening, and the gym was buzzing with people and classes going on. There were also lots of Personal Trainers delivering sessions with clients. Everyone seemed to be just going about their workout so thats what we did too! 

Would I go back!?! If I had a session that I needed to do with equipment, and it needed space I definitely would as their day pass rates are pretty reasonable. Unfortunately they don't have a location near me, but I've heard on the grapevine that they secured their first central London location which I can only guess will be opening within the next year! So keep your eyes peeled for more information!

Swim 


Then on Thursday evening, I headed over to the Serpentine in London's Hyde Park for my first ever open water session with Swim For Tri.


Yes, before you ask, it was cold. Just 12 degrees in the water, but it was a massive win for me! I hate cold water and at one point I thought I'd made a wasted journey as I just didn't know how I was going to get in! But I did! And I stayed in till the end of the session!

I used the freestyle option on my TomTom Cardio to record my session and it reckons I swam 1.17km. Somehow, I don't think I swam that much but I'll go with it! The map also makes me think I need to work on swimming in a straight line!


Spin 


Saturday morning will see me checking out Spin LDN which sells itself as the Urban Cycle Show. I'm looking forward to catching up with some brands I love, meeting new people and generally pretending to be a cyclist!

Then I'll be off running the Hackney 5km as a warm up for Hackney Half which is happening on Sunday! Wish me luck for all this running and keep an eye out for my posts sharing #MyMoments from the events!

Have a great weekend! 

Elle :) 
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