The Ways To Walk Harder

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Whether you commute on foot, like a stroll in the park or are a serious hiker, I’ve got a few tips for you to push your walk harder…

  1. Walk like you’re on a cross-trainer by swinging your arms. This will make your walk more energetic and boost your heart rate by around 5 beats per minute, which will get you into the fat burning zone.
  2. Don’t stick to the paths; go through the grass or sand. The drag factor will mean that your body is working harder.
  3. Try to walk tall; keep your head up and back as straight as possible when walking so you have perfect posture.
  4. Take the stairs one at a time, so you burn more calories. Research has found that ascending five flights of stairs one at a time will burn 302 calories on average, while taking them in twos burns just 260 calories.
  5. If you walk the same roads to work every day cross the road! This will give you a fresh perspective on the same sights.
  6. There are bound to be roads within minutes of your home that you’ve never set foot on. Make it your mission to walk a different never-ventured-down path once a week.
  7. Meditate on the go. The repetitive side of walking makes it a brilliant time for meditating.
  8. Get lost. Take the wrong road, discover new paths and do it all as fast as you can. A fast but long walk will boost your cardio and have added fat-loss benefits, without taking any extra time.
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Recipe: Tom Yum Soup

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Time to share the recipe for one of my favourite dishes Tom Yum Soup. I discovered this on a trip to Thailand and have to admit that I ate it nearly every day during my two week holiday. It is packed with delicious flavours and spices and it is brilliant for boosting your metabolism.

To start this dish pour 600ml of water into a pan and add 50g of Tom Yum paste, 100g button mushrooms, 2 kaffir lime leaves, 1 crushed stick of lemongrass, fresh ginger to taste and bring it to the boil.

Simmer for 5 minutes; then add in prawns (and any other seafood you fancy) and leave to cook for a further 5 minutes.

Add a dash of fish sauce and a 1tbsp of brown sugar and lime juice to taste.

Divide between two bowls and enjoy with coriander on top. Not bad for just 250 calories!

Join the running club

The festivities are over and it’s time to get back into the running club! You may not be a keen runner, yet; and full marathon is not for everyone but sometimes the best plan is to start small and work your way up to the big thing. Running is great because you don’t have to hit a certain number of qualifications to join the club. One mile, 5ks, or marathons–no matter the distance you’re still getting out there and getting some exercise! Don’t run before you can walk, simply set out a realistic goal and try to improving on your stamina until you can achieve your goal.

So, where do you start? Look at your current mileage and take it up by about 10%. Your goal has to be realistic – if you don’t have time to run 20 miles every week don’t set this as a target. You’ll end up getting discouraged before the end of January.

What you eat throughout the day plays a big part in how your running goes. Something with too much fiber or fat could really cut a long run short, as could heading out on an empty stomach. Keep tabs on what you’re eating throughout the week and plan your meals so that they help and don’t hurt your run. Three to four hours before your run, have a meal with carbs and small amounts of protein. Follow that up with a carbohydrate-rich snack 30-60 minutes prior to tying on your running shoes and heading out the door. For carbs, think about a slice of whole grain bread with jam or fruit.

Get your friends on board. It’s more fun to have someone with you to help you reach your goal. It’ll make you accountable to the decisions you’re making and if you’re tempted to skip a run or give up altogether, they can encourage to keep on going.

It is true that running will require sacrifice but trust me it will be worth it! There are times that you will have to get out of bed a little earlier or get home from work later. You may think you’ll find more time and motivation once the weather gets better and the days get longer, but start as you mean to go on from January. And share all of the bad weather running stories with me here so we can see who’s had the worse…

Happy New Year!

It’s been a while but I’m back and ready to start some serious running for 2015. Ok, let’s start with the good old new year’s resolutions:

1. Avoid chocolate
2. Leave caffeine in 2014

I have never stopped running but I’ve been doing lots of little runs recently, three miles here four miles there. I need to get back into serious long distance mileage. It’s important to start small so January will be all about perfecting my 5 mile run. That’s not even an hour of running so it should be an easy one.

By March/April time it will be time to start on my 10 mile runs but I am keen to introduce a lot more strength exercises into my fitness regime too. I’m normally very lazy when it comes to strength exercises, as I don’t like pumping iron at all but I’m going to push myself this year to try it more – I might surprise myself!

I’m ideally looking for a half-marathon for September. That’ll give me the summer to enjoy training in the heat and it’ll mean that I have a good head start on health ahead of autumn.

Oh and the chocolate and caffeine resolutions, I’ll try and stay away from the whole year but I do love them even if I know it is bad.

What are your plans for next year? Do you have any resolutions that you know will be hard but you’ve just got to try?

How to stay motivated in cold weather 

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My best advice to get you out of the door on a cold winter’s day is that you should organise to run with someone else. You won’t want to let someone else down and your safer on a cold night or early morning in pairs.
If your friends aren’t into running you can always join a local running club or group. Check the UK Athletics website for running clubs or the Run in England website for local groups.
Another good way to avoid getting bored is to vary your route. Even running the same route in the opposite direction will add variety to your run.
But my best motivator is to have a goal to gradually work towards. A early spring marathon is a good start or The Couch to 5K plan is perfect for beginners. You could enter yourself into a 5K race in 12 weeks’ time, for example, or simply aim to run non-stop for 20 minutes.
It’ll all be worth it when your trimmer and fitter come Spring!

Running In Cold Weather

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Hands up if you just want to hibernate in the winter? Me too! The last thing I want to do is lace up my trainers and head outside. But it’s important not to let the cold weather get in the way of training program, especially if you’re planning a marathon next spring.

It’s important to dress sensibly and enjoy every run as normal. Ideally opt for layers so you can peel them off as you begin to warm up. For instance place a lightweight vest under a fleece and add a waterproof jacket over the top. You can always remove the fleece when you start to feel warmer.

Gloves and a hat are a must as it gets colder to stop you losing heat from your head and hands. And make sure you have a few bright bits in the mix, like a neon jacket, so you make sure you’re visible to others as it gets darker.

If the weather is particularly bad and the pavement is icy, it’s best not to run outside at all. It is not worth the risk of injury. If you can head to the gym or do another activity, personal I rate the Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred as it keeps you fit and can be done indoors in just 20 minutes.

I’m often bad at taking my own advice here but if you’re not feeling well then don’t run. Running on a severe cold or fever can lead to a virus affecting your heart, which can be dangerous. Be cautious when trying to soldier on with a hard run if you are not feeling 100% it could result in you feeling unwell for a longer period of time.

But most important remember to keep enjoying it. If you have to go for  fewer runs and use this period as a chance to learn a new sport, just don’t give up all together.

Acne Solutions 

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Spots are a pain to deal with no matter how bad you get them. Everyone wants clear, picture perfect skin but it isn’t always that easy. Good cleansers, toners and moisturisers can be expensive so it is worth try a few at home remedies to see if you can get them working for your skin.

 

It is true to say that home remedies aren’t as glamorous as industry cosmetics, and there is nothing beautiful about putting lemon juice, apple cider vinegar or crushed garlic on your skin. They all smell a little funny and tend to be messy to apply. Lemon juice has a drying effect that can calm problem areas and apple cider vinegar is packed with lactic acid that can soften skin – it’s a great alternative toner. Garlic can be the real winner for your skin though, with zinc and calcium properties it acts as an antibiotic and cleans the skin. It’s great for a weekly treat for your face (disclaimer: the smell might linger for a few days!).
 
 
An old favourite is honey – used for many at home remedies – but have tried it with cinnamon? Honey is antibacterial, hence why we use it for sore throats, so it can kill the bacteria that causes acne. Cinnamon is anti inflammatory so when paired together you can soothe and repair your skin.
 
 
Two surprising at home antidotes are tomatoes and potatoes. Tomatoes are great for your skin and the natural acidity in them can dry your acne out. You could mash them up to create a face mask or slice then up and place them on your face – although it is a task try to get the slices to stay in place! Potatoes are high in vitamin C (which repairs your skin from the sun) and vitamin B (which is great for skin regeneration). Shred a potato up and wear it as a mask to prevent wrinkles (you could even add a dash of honey into the mix to glue it all together and heal your skin).
 
 
Finally, the most soothing of the bunch CUCUMBER! It’s perfect for hydrating as cucumber is 95% water. It will remove dead cell and clear pores. Grind it up with water and use as a face wash to moisturise your face.
 
 
Not all of these treatments will work for everyone and let’s face it you won’t want to try them all. But I find some of them a real treat for my skin and enjoy making them for a little at home pampering session every now and then.
 
Do you have any beauty remedies for acne that you can share?
 

CHRISTMAS 10K RUNS

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Edwinstowe Christmas 10k Trail Race

This undulating rural trail run in Mansfield near Nottingham is the perfect 10K race to kick off the silly season.

Enter here

Full Monty Cute 10

This chilly winter run in Stoke Sub Hamdon near Yeovil is a steep hilly course with 10 monster hills. It’s muddy and hilly and mad but the views are rumoured to be fantastic and you’ll certainly burn off all that Christmas dinner.

Enter here

Greenwich Park 10K

Open to runners of all abilities, this traffic-free run through one of London’s Royal Parks is chip timed, with great goodies at the finish line, so get in the festive spirit early and enter today.

Enter here

Regents Park Grand Prix 10K Winter Series

The perfect setting for a fast, flat and traffic-free Sunday morning 10K in the festive season, this flat race covers an accurately measured route within the park and is suitable for runners of all abilities.

Enter here

Believe & Achieve RNLI 10K Santa Run

Join hundreds of Santa’s on 14th December and help raise money for the RNLI in the process. Anyone can take part, including dogs and all adults receive a free santa suit to kickstart the festive season.

Enter here

Capital Runners Richmond Park Christmas 10K

The perfect setting for a pacy, traffic-free Sunday morning 10K, this undulating course covers the tracks, trails and footpaths within the park and is suitable for runners of all abilities.

Enter here

Love Lija

Have you heard of Lija? I hadn’t either until late last year and now I am head-over-heels (or should that be trainers?) about the Canadian sportswear brand.

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Lija is a Canandian brand that was created by Linda Hipp as a fusion of performance apparel and modern, innovative style. The brand draws inspiration from current fashion trends and integrates the performance and functionality that women need to perform at their best. Combining technical features with feminine silhouettes, luxury fabrics, intricate design details and beautiful colour palettes, results in original and unique pieces.

Hipp explains:  “It’s always been my goal to create fashionable athletic clothing that allows creative, independent women to look feminine and express their unique style while feeling comfortable and confident.”

For LIJA’s SS14 Collections the company has focused on Studio, Run and Tennis; three beautiful colour stories filled with inspirational silhouettes that will help women to push the limits in style without having to compromise on functionality. I personally love the run collection with its bright aqua tones and mesh netting that runs down the legs to let in any gentle breezes (I’m sure it has a technical purpose too). I recommend that you check out the collection for AW14 to give your training a fashionable edge!

For the love of Running

A short note on running…

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I joined a gym earlier this year and now I feel like I can’t run because I have to swim or attempt to lift weights at the gym to get my money’s worth! The problem is that I don’t put as much effort at the gym as I’m always very aware that there are a lot of people around me. And I can’t stand using gym equipment when it is packed with men as I begin to feel that I’m getting in the way of someone else’s workout.

This got me thinking…running is the ideal sport…. I can run anywhere at any time (as long as I have my kit), fit short runs in when I’m short or time and long runs in when I want to have a solid workout. The best thing about it is that I can enjoy my own thoughts when I run without being interrupted by anyone else and if I am running outside I don’t have to worry about getting off a machine for someone to get on.

I’m not going to cancel my gym membership because I need to have rest days from running and swimming is the ideal bridge for these days, but I am going to run when I want a feel a like less guilty about not going to the gym.

Do you have a gym membership? How does it impact your running? And how do you cope with all of the guys pumping iron at the weight stations?