The Diminishing Vegan

Veganism and Weight Loss

Category: Exercise

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 – Completed

 

I thought I should do an update about the Great Scottish Run 10k 2017, now the day itself has passed. The morning of Sunday the 1st of October was, as we say in Scotland dreich. I had been keeping an eye on the weather on the BBC website and it had went from sunny, to heavy rain to light rain the night before. Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 - Train

I was in the pink wave (the slowest) and my start time was 10.05. This was my first official race so I didn’t really know what to expect. My husband and kids were coming along to support me so we drove to Paisley and parked there, knowing the main streets of Glasgow were shut for the race we decided to get the train in. A lot of other people also had this idea and the train was completely packed, standing room only and not much at that.

We arrivGreat Scottish Run 10k 2017 - Start Lineed before any of the 10k runners went and I watched as the white wave and professional runners took off. Then I went off on my own to find my start place. Although I knew the numbers of people that took part, I’m not sure I really appreciated how many people that is, afterwards I found out nearly 9000 people took part in the 10k over three waves. This was my view from the start line, I was around 2/3 of the way back, as you can see from the picture there is a lot of people waiting to go!

My runner friend who was supposed to be taking part with me unfortunately had to drop out due to a badly timed health issue so I was there at the start on my own.

The official start time was 10.05 but according to my timing chip I didn’t cross the start line until 10.12.

I had been warned about the long, pretty hard hill at the start and had decided that there would be no walking in this 10k, I had trained enough to run it and would have been disappointed to have walked at any point, in fact this was my only aim for the whole event, I didn’t mind how long it took, I just wanted to keep running. I was also mindful of taking off at a pace that was far outwith my own comfortable pace and when I started running I was overtaken…a lot! I thought I would feel embarrassed about this but I didn’t care at all. I also overtook a lot of people, and as soon as we hit that hill a lot of people started walking, I was surprised at the amount of people walking so early. I dragged myself up it, huffing and puffing, but the relief when I reached the top and started the descent was great, and that was almost 1k in.

According to my Strava I was going at a faster pace than I usually did so I slowed myself down a little and just kept going. It was actually a pretty easy run for me, I had done 10k twice already so knew I could do it. Being surrounded by so many people really carries you on too. Once the initial embarrassment was out of the way I really enjoyed the whole thing. I occasionally took my headphones out to hear the music along the way but really my playlist is so ingrained in with running I needed it.

 

 

By the time I hit the 5k and halfway mark I was going at a slightly faster than normal comfortable pace and I felt sure I was going to finish without stopping so relaxed a little.

At 7k there was an absolutely huge downpour, so much rain I couldn’t even see briefly. While this sounds awful, I was roasting so I didn’t mind that much. Along the way I had seen my friend who had dropped out (and high fived him) and my husband and children twice.

I did have some GPS issues, I started the run before the start line then paused it, restarting closer to the line. Not being down with the ways of Strava I didn’t consider that it would start GPS and timing straight away, giving me a very slow 1st km, then adding more on at the end.

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 Strava

My heart rate was pretty steady throughout the whole run. You can see the starting hill with the elevation changes, there was another very steep little hill about a third of the way through.

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 Fitbit

My finish time was 1 hour 23 minutes 53 seconds, which is also my fastest ever 10k time by around 4 minutes, not bad! I did it! I ticked “Running a 10k Race” off of my New Years Resolution list. I still have a few things left on there but that was the big one for me this year. Never did I think it was possible. Not only was it possible, it was enjoyable.

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 - Completed

Great Scottish Run 10k 2017 Medal

I may be a glutton for punishment but I think I’ve decided to try the half marathon next year. That gives me plenty of time to lose more weight and increase my distance. Anyone else out there made the jump from 10k to half marathon have any advice?

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. You can also now find my on Strava to follow my slow (hopefully getting faster) runs. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

 

Great Scottish Run 10k

Firstly, if anyone reads my blog you have my sincerest apologies for having disappeared for the last couple of months. I have majorly struggled with time management, which in turn stresses me out, which then leads to more time management issues, it’s a circle I struggle to get out of. My whole social media interaction has been less recently, business, but in part because of the main reason for this post, I’m currently in training for the Great Scottish Run 10k.

Way back in January I made some new years resolutions and set a word for the year, simplify. My new years resolution were –

  • Simplify my diet, more plants, less processed, do this by following a simpler meal plan
  • Simplify my home and routines, get rid of 2017 things
  • Run a 10k race
  • Simplify waste, more recycling, thoughtful purchases

I would say this year I’ve done not too badly, I’ve continue to get rid of things from my home (although I will need a big push soon to reach 2017), my diet could be a little more simple, I’m still recycling but would like to do more, but one of these, possibly the hardest, I am about to put to rest. On the 1st October I’m taking part in the Great Scottish Run 10k race. Last time I was posting about running I couldn’t even do 5k. I finally completed couch to 5 k on the 29th July and promptly signed up for the 10k race on the 30th of July. Nothing like throwing yourself in the deep end!

For most of my 5k training quite honestly I struggled. I started the program three times this year, and dropped out around week 6 twice (this year, I’ve attempted couch to 5 k 5 times now). But I was determined, I knew I had committed to 10k and can’t really do that unless I can do 5 (obviously!) so I dragged myself out and it was third time lucky. And by week 7 of 9 (shout out to fellow star trek lovers) , it began to feel more comfortable. My breathing felt more in control, I could even think about things other than pain and regret of why I was doing this. I completed the program believing I could do 10k. So I signed up and jumped straight into 5k to 10k training.

This went pretty successfully, but I found I was outstripping what the program said, when I added in intervals the whole thing was harder so I just kept running. I was doing about 7 – 8 k within a week or two of the 5k. Then one day I woke up after a night of hallucinations with a temperature and a painful swollen foot. A trip to the doctor later and I discovered I had cellulitis, a nasty deep tissue infection that can turn septic quickly. After a couple of days narrowly avoiding hospital admittance, and two weeks of strong antibiotics my foot began to look normal. I had missed two and a half weeks of training however so my first run I only did 3k, and on my second run I went out with the intention of doing 5 but I felt good, and did 8.5, the most I’d ever done.

Since then I have ran a mix of 5 – 10k (Yes, I’ve actually already ran 10k!). It’s painful, but I can do it.

I do want to caveat all of this with the fact that I am very slow, very very slow. 8 – 9 minutes a km slow. However, I am still obese, so ya know, I’m not that fussed about speed at the moment, just doing it is my aim. The slowest pace that you are allowed to run as part of the race (and not on the pavement) is 12 minutes a km, so I’m well within that.

Great Scottish Run 10k Route

This is the route of the 10k, the main worry I have is about hills. I have done very little hill running although have now taken some of my runs to the very large hill behind my house, I’m hoping I’ve not left it too late. I think the crowds and atmosphere though will pull me through.

My plans for the day, arrive early, make sure my phone is charged, put on my headphones and run. As long as I make it to the end without stopping I will be happy. Ideally I want no walking, which I think I can do.

After the 10k, who knows? I think I need to focus on losing more weight before taking running much further than the 10, but I do enjoy it and have my eye on the half marathon next year. I’ve also started swimming and while being slow I’m fairly strong, maybe I’ll take up cycling and do a triathlon by the time I’m 40!

Remember you can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitterMy Fitness Pal and Fitbit. You can also now find my on Strava to follow my slow (hopefully getting faster) runs. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Running Update – May 2017

Well, I had intended to be doing this running update about three months ago. In my usual style however I missed a couple of planned runs, stopped going to the gym and before you know it had stopped running again.

I was serious way back in January when I said I wanted to run a 10k this year however, and I often have the nagging thought that time is slipping by and I am no closer to one of my major goals for this year. So around a month ago I decided to take a long hard look at my schedule and see where I could fit in running. I know that if I don’t get it in a workable schedule I just won’t keep it up, I feel this is an important step for anyone who is looking to start a new habit. If you are like me and you are not a fan of doing things in the evenings, there is no point planning to go running when you get in from work at 6 pm.

Looking at my schedule, and knowing I wanted to fit in at least three runs a week, this means that I have to run on work days, there is no way around this. When though? I leave the house pretty early and I’m not back until pretty late, at which point dinner making and cleaning takes over. The only time available to me for running is in the morning.

I already get up at 4:45 am, but  I often make lunches in the mornings, so I decided to move this to the night before, on running mornings bump my alarm clock time forward to 4:30 am, with an aim to be out and running by 5. Honestly, if you had told me about a year and a half ago I would be getting up at 4:30 am with not much bother I wouldn’t have believed you.

So how is it going? Fine. Better than fine in fact. I started at week 3 of the couch to 5 k and tomorrow I’m onto week 5. After my run I still need to take my dog out which means some mornings before I even get to work I’m hitting over 8000 steps, not bad for such an early start. Am I little more tired a work? A tiny bit, but really not much. I will have an extra coffee if I need it but so far so good. How will it work as the runs get longer? I may need to get out even earlier to run, but pushing it back 10 minutes at a time makes for less of a stark shock at getting up so early.

I’m feeling good, in the last two weeks I’ve lost 3 pounds which I am putting down to running, time restricted eating/intermittent fasting and generally mostly adhering to a plant based diet. On top of some movement on the scales I’m really beginning to see the difference in my body and clothes so I’m excited for the next few weeks and months!

Remember you can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, My Fitness Pal and Fitbit. Add me on any or all, I love new friends on all social media for support 🙂

Couch to 5k | Weight Loss Apps

Couch to 5k is something that I have taken up since New Year, since one of my resolutions is to run a 10k, I need to begin somewhere! Before Christmas I was running for 30 minutes at once without stopping, but I was struggling to even add a minute onto this, and it wiped me out for days at a time, so when I missed the gym for a couple of weeks over Christmas, going back to this just seemed like too much. At this point I decided that I would give the popular plan Couch to 5K another try.

I have started it before, my furthest attempt was last year, when I was using the Zombies Run 5k App. I’m a big fan of the main Zombies Run App (So much so I did a post about it here), and the 5k version just didn’t cut it for me. Technologically it isn’t as good, it doesn’t interrupt google play music to play the story or prompts so I would be having to listen so hard to try to hear it or not listen to music, that was distracting and just put me off. Additionally, the story was so far back compared to where I am in Zombies Run!,  I made it to week four then just quit.

I had a look on the google play store and went with the highest rated Couch to 5K app, there are many available, but the one I am reviewing is Run Double Couch to 5k.

Couch to 5k Start ScreenCouch to 5k Plans

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interface is fairly simple, with coloured buttons, but how much flash do you really need for a basic running app, I’m happy with it. The app is free, but you are limited to three weeks of free couch to 5k runs and some free fun runs (this is from memory, their website doesn’t specifically mention costs). At this point you can upgrade the app to the paid version, again from memory I believe that there are two purchase options, the 5k pack at £1.99 and the 10k pack also at £1.99, so under £4 for the whole app. As I am interested in eventually running a 10k I purchased both.

Couch to 5k progressCouch to 5k Runs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have the option of running with GPS if outside, or timed if inside. If I had one criticism it would be to change the length of time, as I really think I am running significantly slower than expected, and at the end I worry I may be running less than 5 k. Sometimes if I still have some time left on Zombies run I will run for another few minutes just to get in the practise. All of your previous runs are available to see, as are the upcoming runs. It syncs with Facebook and My Fitness Pal which is great for a My Fitness Pal addict like myself. Calories burned are ridiculously high as usual but the fact it is added is great. I use this app with Zombies Run and Google Play Music and it works fine with both, I start google play music first, then zombies run which will interrupt the music, then lastly I start this, this doesn’t interrupt, it just speaks over it to tell me time and run number, you can set what feedback you want to hear within the app. I find these three working together (with my fitbit!) really cover all bases and work together well.

Overall it’s a good app, my only concerns are around the timing but as I near the end of the plan I will gauge  how well I am doing via distance on the treadmill. Once I’ve finished the 5k plan I’ll move onto the 10k plan, that seems a long way away yet but I’m committed. You can see other review of my fitness pal and fitbit here and remember to follow me on facebook, twitter and instagram.

Zombies Run | Weight Loss Apps

Zombies Run! is an app that I have been using now for over a year. It’s main aim  is the gamaification of exercise, specifically, but not limited to running.

Zombies Run is a story, a funny, emotional, surprising, and very enjoyable story. You take the role of the voiceless runner 5, one of a group of people who carry out tasks for your township, Abel. It’s the zombie apocalypse,  and with very little transport, some of the most important people are the runners, who risk life and limb to carry out tasks, investigate, travel to other townships, pretty much anything you can imagine.

One of the best points of this game is the story telling, there is quality there, there are ongoing characters, one of the main ones being Sam Yao, your operator (the person who speaks to you and controls your runs over headset). Janine De Luca, the military head of Abel Township, Maxine Myers, the doctor of Abel and many more. The story is very entertaining, it is ongoing, spans over 5 seasons with many hours of content.

Zombies Run Abel Township

In addition to the story, there is also a game within the game, the building of abel township, it is a little like the sims, but you earn materials to rebuild with by carrying out the missions. Although this is a neat little addition, nothing much really happens in it other thaZombies Run Mission Logn a drive to keep adding more buildings/people/get contentment as high as possible. They still regularly update the app though so may do something more here.

You can view stats of all of your past missions, as you can see I have played the game for quite a long time now! Unfortunately, for most of that I have been walking, running is something I am only recently beginning to take seriously, however, it is also fine to walk it, I have spent many many an hour (or day when it’s all added up) out speed walking with the dog listening to zombies run.

Zombies Run Previous Missions Zombies Run Mission Types

There are different types of mission available also, not just in the direct story. You can take part in air drops which means you specify a location on your map that you want to go to, and the mission will use your GPS to track when you get there, and build itself around your location. There are supply missions which get you materials to help build Abel, but you don’t need to continue the story for example.

Each mission you do is logged and stored. You can choose how to track your mission before you start, if you are outside this could be using gps, but there is also a treadmill step counter mode and a constant speed mode which simulates running if you were using a rowing machine for example. You can also allow chases, which occur at random intervals and require you to speed up for a certain amount of time, if caught you lose materials.

Zombies Run Stats

Fairly recently the makers have also added additional global races, these cost extra money to enter however you receive memorabilia from the game, medals, certificates, even T-shirts, and you get your name on the global leaderboards. These races are usually 5k or 10k, and you have to take part within a certain time frame to be ranked. I took part in the first one but as I was walking I was away down the list, I would definitely take part in another. I wear my zombies run t-shirt proudly to the gym, and use zombies run alongside couch to 5k for my treadmill runs. Zombies run integrates seamlessly with google play music (what I use for music), but many other music apps, it will interrupt and pause your music to play the next part of the story. You can also set it so that it only comes on inbetween songs, there is a lot of settings for you to choose from.

Overall, Zombies Run is a fun app if you are looking for something a little different to motivate your exercise. It costs £2.30 per month to subscribe and I definitely think if you are using it regularly it is worth every penny. It’s easy to subscribe and unsubscribe as and when you are using it too, so you can use it for a while, drop out, come back etc, all of your progress is saved and it’s straight forward to pick it up. It is available for Android and App here, they also have books, a board game and other cool things available for fans. Additionally, they have a 5k training app, this is a separate app from the main game so I’m not covering that here, but it may be worth checking out.

Fitbit | Weight Loss Apps

The second app I’m speaking about really is more a tool and an app, it’s fitbit and their associated application and website. I currently own a charge 2, have previously owned a charge HR, one, and a zip. This has been over a number of years, since 2011 also, and at one point I kept accidentally washing them!

The fitbit’s first and foremost capability is that of a pedometer, for the charge 2 you wear it on your wrist and it tracks your steps. On top of that it also tracks stairs climbed (although I find this pretty inaccurate, especially on windy days), active minutes (where you are moving more than just a gentle walk) and it prompts you to do 250 steps per hour to remain active throughout the day.

There are two different dashboards depending on whether you are using the mobile app or the website, however they both show the same information. The website dashboard is completely customisable, you can drag around tiles to order the information you want to see, or remove and add things as you like.fitbit mobile dashboard

fitbit website dashboard

 

 

 

 

Additionally, the charge 2 also tracks your heart rate using a little sensor which is against your upper wrist. This keeps track of your resting heart rate, and exercise heart rate. When you are completing exercise that is more than walking, you can set it into exercise mode. There are a number of modes for different types, for example run allows the charge to use your phones gps to track where your run was, there is also elliptical, treadmill, weights etc, that are better set up as opposed to the standard fitbit measurements.

fitbit heart rate

The charge 2 also tracks your sleep, it can sense when you have went to sleep, when you move around, and when you wake up. You set the time goals for this but this is a great feature. You can see your sleep on a weekly basis and also look at individual nights.

fitbit sleepfitbit more sleep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The integration with my fitness pal is very good as well, your steps are passed over as are your calories burned, although I do find these on the high side. These are added to your diary as a fitbit adjustment, you can also allow negative adjustments so if you’ve had a day you’ve not moved from the couch then fitbit will take away calories.

I actually really like my fitbit and do find that it motivates me to walk more, I park further away from shops, walk to them rather than drive, if I’m close to my active hourly goal I will get up and walk around just to hit it. I like tracking my sleep, as I get up so early I find I often struggle with getting “enough” sleep, but have found with time and monitoring that I function perfectly well on less than the recommended 8 hours, in fact I can’t remember the last time I got anywhere near that, 6 and a half  to seven is sufficient for me, but without the long term tracking I may have worried about this more.

You can add friends to your fitbit friends list, then you can participate in challenges, these could be the workweek challenge, or weekend challenges, or just one day challenges. These are good for motivation, they also added other challenges that take you on a journey through other places, seeing landmarks, having to walk a certain distance. I’ve only tried one of these and it was interesting, but not necessary.

The charge 2 charges by connecting it to a USB cable with special connection which they give you when you purchase it. The battery lasts around 5 days, and it will give you a warning notification on your phone around a day before it needs charged. Charging only takes around an hour which is pretty quick.

There is also a guided breathing exercise on the charge, for 2 minutes and 5. I love meditation but sometimes don’t have the time, this little exercise is good as it vibrates when you breathe in and out, so you can shut your eyes, get comfortable and breathe along with it. It’s a nice little touch.

You can also receive notifications from your phone, for example when I am receiving a call my fitbit vibrates and the number of the caller flashes on the screen. Also when I get a text message the sender name and first bit of the message scrolls across the screen, again, a nice touch.

Overall, whether you get a fitbit or not comes down to whether you like tracking. I absolutely love tracking my life, activity, food, sleep, thoughts, progress. I’m not sure why I love it so much but the fitbit really enables me to do this with lots of information. I can’t really imagine life without my fitbit and imagine I will always have one. There are fancier models than the one I have, they use gps more, look more like watches, however, for me the charge 2 is the perfect level of functionality and price. My fitbit cost £120,  but it really was £120 well spent, some of the more expensive models are up to £160, and you can get a zip (which really is just a pedometer with access to the app/website) for £45. There are other pedometers but the amount of value that is given by the app, integration and the functionality as a whole definitely makes me recommend it.

My Fitness Pal | Weight Loss Apps

As part of my weight loss apps series, the first app (and website) I’m going to cover is My Fitness Pal. My Fitness Pal is a free app for android, apple and windows, all you need to provide to sign up is an email address and a password, this makes you an account with a username.

my fitness pal pic

My Fitness Pal has been around for a number of years, according to wikipedia it started in 2005, and in 2015 had 80 million users. I became a member in November 2011, so just over 6 years ago. It’s highly unusual for me to use an app for that long unless I really love it, and I really do love my fitness pal.

In it’s simplest form, my fitness pal is a food tracking application, allowing you to track calories in vs calories out. When you sign up you set a number of goals, give it your personal information, and it gives you a target calorie amount to aim for. Then, when you eat or drink, you search for the food in the database and add it to your diary. When you have finished your day, you press complete and your diary is logged. You diary, weight, everything can be set to public or private depending on what you prefer.

My fitness pal is a lot more than just a food tracking app, you can add exercise, link it with other applications and devices for more accurate tracking, it has it’s own feed, where you can see you and your friends updates, there is a busy online community of forums and groups, it has a blog facility, you track your weight over the years, it really is a special app, made even more special being that it is free. They have recently introduced a premium version, but even with my high levels of use I haven’t subscribed, and don’t think it’s necessary at the moment, however I may in the future.

For food, you can set targets for your macro’s and nutrients, it really is very customisable, I have changed my aims to 60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat, and I find this achievable following a vegan diet. I am also aiming to lose 2 pounds a week (when my body agrees!) and using my height/weight/age and activity level, my fitness pal suggests around 1320 calories per day. Additionally, I have my fitbit linked to my fitness pal, so it also keeps track of my steps, and estimated calories burned. If I had one criticism it is that the calories burned is always, and I mean always overestimated, but I’m used to this now. It is a hot topic of debate whether to eat back any exercise calories, as any you gain via exercise are added to your total. Due to the overestimation, most people on the forums suggest eating around 50% of your calories back, I only eat any back if I’ve had a really active day.

I love the support of my fitness pal, I have real life friends on there, people who I’ve never met who we have supported each other for years, many people who are just serious about weight loss. (You can find me here, feel free to send me a friends request!). It’s a great feeling when you log a weight loss and your friends like and comment to see congratulations. You also get streaks for logging in, as you can see from the below picture I’m currently on a 410 day streak, my longest ever. my fitness pal feed

The food database of my fitness pal is also comprehensive, initially, years ago a lot of the foods were American, but over the years more and more people have been adding food (myself included) and pretty much everything is on there, the only thing I would say is to keep an eye on the nutrients, sometimes entries don’t have iron/calcium etc, I will go for a different version that has similar calories if it has the nutrients.

my fitness pal diary

Calorie counting can become addictive, and of course focusing on it too much isn’t necessarily advisable, however, by logging everything in my fitness pal it allows for you to see exactly what you are eating, and when. You can customise meals, add recipes, it is very comprehensive and I would recommend it to anyone wishing to track their food, exercise and ultimately lose weight.

The app and the website are a little different, the app allows for you to see your full weight loss history since joining, whereas the website only allows for the previous year, here is mine, a bit of a rollercoaster!

my fitness pal weight

To end this post, if it’s not clear whether I would recommend using my fitness pal, the answer is a resounding yes. I love the app, love the food database, love the linking with other apps and devices, love the social aspect of it, I really just think it’s great. Over the years it has continue to mature, they have continued to add more features and I think it will just continue to grow. I’m looking forward to being there to see it.

Running Update 1 | 5k Training

Since it’s a month since I posted my running aspirations post, I’ve decided to share an update. I will try to do this monthly to keep me accountable to the training. Sadly, the last month has not been good for my running goals, as I posted a few weeks ago I made the New Years Resolution to run a 10k this year, but when I posted that I’d not been at the gym for a week or so, and didn’t go back until Sunday of last week (8th January).

While I was previously running for 35 minutes non stop, after a few weeks off this just felt like too much for me, and was even putting me off going back. So I decided to take a more structured approach and I’m back on the couch to 5k. I’m using the run double couch to 5k app, I believe to unlock everything it was £1.99, although that’s not necessary to begin with, it gives you a free amount of runs first. It seems quite comprehensive and goes all the way up to half marathon training.

I’ve completed week 1 this week on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday at the gym, and will continue to go on these days. I actually found week 1 totally fine, but you are actually only running for a minute at a time. I have been putting the treadmill at a faster speed than I was previously, I would like to get my pace up a little, I felt as if I was stumbling along rather than running.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the plan, it is nine weeks long, so hopefully by the end of that I will be looking to move onto the 5k to 10k plan and making one of my New Years Resolutions come true!

You can follow me on instagram, twitter, facebook, myfitnesspal and fitbit if you would like to keep up with my journey.

Running Aspirations | Exercise

Fairly recently I decided to take a step back towards exercise. My weight loss has been sooo slow, I’m not sure if my body is just reluctant to lose more weight, I have struggled at the three stone mark previously, never really breaking through it. Alongside joining slimming world, I have also signed up for a gym membership at the gym local to me, it’s a small gym but has all of the equipment that is required for me. Although I will eventually be taking on weights, at the moment I am really focusing on burning calories, and cardio. And I have a secret aspiration, I want to take up running, specifically running long distances.

I am slightly confused why running is something I would like to do, I hated running when I was at school, going so far as to stop with my friends and take shortcuts to avoid having to run the whole distance. When me and my now husband first got together we were both rather thinner, and he loved running. We occasionally went out running together, I remember the first time I ran a mile without stopping, I was so happy with myself. At that moment I thought wow, I could be a runner! Sadly, I put on weight massively over the years, and while I have been out for an occasional jog, I’ve never progressed.

Around a year ago I started using the app Zombies Run, I love this, but I was walking it, I have now nearly completed up to season four, all walking my dog. I have dipped my toe in the water with couch to 5k a couple of times but never completed the plan, the embarrassment of running outside and the willpower required to go out no matter the weather is just too much for me. My gym however has lots of treadmills, so this is where I find myself mainly when I go there.

Why do I want to be a runner? I’m not 100% sure, I’ve mentioned before but I listen to podcasts by Rich Roll, and No Meat Athlete and I find both of these highly inspirational. I have dreams of stepping out of the door and being able to run (or jog slowish) for hours. There is something about the freedom of it that just appeals to me.

My problems with running:

  • I’m very overweight – an obvious problem, when you’re lugging around all the extra weight any form of cardio exercise becomes harder. I am trying to help that issue though!
  • The where and when – I’m running at the gym currently, that is good, but it means actually going to the gym. I have limited time to do this but I do try to fit it into my schedule three times a week. I need to go in the mornings which leads onto the next issue…
  • The energy expended – After a run I am often completely wiped out. Running at this weight is tiring. Being wiped out isn’t great for the rest of the day.
  • Mental weakness – I’m not sure if everyone suffers with the same mental weakness when running, it something I really should research into further. Half of the time I’m running I’m thinking don’t stop, the other half I’m thinking stop. I wish I could get that split down a little. I try to focus on how many minutes I have left, constantly repeating that to myself, 35, 35 35, 35…34, 34, 34 etc
  • Speed – I’m really really slow. I am only 5 foot 2 but I’m lucky if I’m jogging at 6 km/h. I would like to build that up.

Currently I can run for around 35 minutes at 6km/h, doing just over 3km. My first aim is to get this up to 5k at around 50 minutes. I have joined a local parkrun but don’t want to go until I know I can run 5k. I try to add 5 minutes on occasionally to my time, every 3 or 4 visits, but man it is a struggle! I need to work on my mental strategy, when you’re telling yourself that this run is killing you it can’t be good for your physical capabilities!

My running plans for the next month :

  • Rather than adding on 5 minutes (which seems like a very long time!) I will add on 2, every visit or two.
  • I will keep going 3 times a week.
  • I will research mental strategies and what is the best thing to think.
  • I will attempt to lengthen my stride. I always feel small and tight when running, and I guess I should really feel the opposite of that,

I will post about this again in a month, 11th January, with the aim of being able to run 5k in just under an hour. I would really like to join the vegan runners club, but feel I’m a bad example at the moment, so once I can do 5k I’m going to do that.

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