It’s Spring! Time to get outdoors, no more treadmill for me (yes I am a fairweather runner)! So I’ve put a new running music playlist together. Some tunes are upbeat, some are on this list just because I like them!
I’m trying to increase my speed so I’m busy looking for inspiration and ideas on Pinterest at the moment; hopefully I’ll be posting something soon!
Like most people I use my phone to run my life; well it seems that way. Diary, notes, apps, work email, banking, social media, portable nanny (games apps for the kids of course); it’s all on there. So using the apps on my mobile phone for my fitness is no exception. I’ve always got my phone close to hand so using it to monitor my fitness and track my progress is a no brainer to me; plus some of the notifications I receive from the fitness apps I use act as a reminder and at times nudge me into action. For me these are the best fitness apps I’ve used so far, see what you think All the apps I mention are available on Apple or Android and I tend just to download the free version see how I go and then if I want purchase add-ons.
This running app is an all time favourite of mine. I’ve used this app for a number of years. I do use it mainly for running but have used it for Sunday morning walks or bike rides with the kids. I love a stat so this is great to monitor speed, distance, splits and I can also look at the route I have travelled. It cuts to the chase when it comes to the information I need; distance and time.
Another running app but with an element of fun. This is how I got one of my boys into running. Each run is a mission to get supplies and run back home, if you don’t keep up the pace you run the risk of being caught by the Zombies. My son loves it but then he is of that generation that has a weird fascination with Zombies! Afterall my mantra when it comes to running is ‘Run like Zombies are chasing You!’
Basically this is a calorie counter and diet tracker, I tend to use this if I’ve gone off the rails a little with my diet. I don’t essentially diet and try just to eat healthy but come the holidays I can go a bit overboard so this is great if I want to keep myself in check a little. The app itself has a 50,000 foods in it’s extensive database, relatively easy to update and you can scan barcodes on food packaging if you want more information regarding nutrition of an item. To make it work for me I have to be disciplined and remember to update it so I only tend to use it for a couple of weeks but I have friends who use it all the time and it works for them too!
I am all for getting my kids active and fit so for them (and me) this is the perfect app. I don’t use it that much now but I loaded it onto the iPad for my children. To be honest I do prompt them to use it but when they do they enjoy it and do get a sweat on. As in it’s title it’s a 7 minute workout, you can choose the number of circuits you do, swap workouts to keep it interesting, follow along with the trainer, listen to your own playlist or just focus on the virtual trainer. I think it’s a great if you are a beginner, aren’t a gym goer or strapped for time.
Ok this is not an app that I now use but it is the app that got me back into running, inspired me to get fitter and helped me overcome some of the barriers I previously had to getting back in shape after having my daughter. I have a lot to thank this app for, read my post Rebooting my Fitness; getting motivated and overcoming Barriers if you don’t believe me. Basically if you stick at it within 8 weeks you will be able to run 5km. The commitment is 3 times a week, 30 minutes per session. Simple, easy to use with a virtual coach there to motivate and instruct you to run/walk.
I have tried a lot of fitness app’s, most I have deleted very quickly but others I’ve stuck at and I now can’t do without. Whatever you want to achieve with your fitness; from just walking a bit more to HIIT sessions there is an app out there for you. For me it’s just a case of trial and error but it’s great when I do find one that works for me!
My workload has been crazy for the last few weeks and I’ve also upped my hours. Kids are also back into the swing of things at school and the usual after school activities. So it’s all taking it’s toll on what time I can squeeze out for other things. So annoyingly it’s compromised my fitness, in particular my gym visits and the time I can devote to a decent workout. Yeah quicker to go out for a run but the Gym is where I really de-stress, switch off, work on achieving some of my fitness goals and concentrate on something that is purely for me.
If time becomes a fitness barrier, take this opportunity to re-think how you train
So I’ve had to re-think how I can train, get a decent routine and still have time for everything else. Before I’ve been able to focus on one area to train at a time. Chest and back, legs, arms and shoulders. HIIT or run sessions when I’m not at the gym. Now I’m aiming for a full body workout when I go to the gym. I’ve upped my rep’s so it feels that I’m still getting a proper workout, here are no super sets involved and I’ve set a goal to gradually push my weights up. so still pushing myself, still building up my strength but doing it a little differently.
I’ve got 2 full body workout programmes, this is my first one which I will rotate with my second during the week. I’ll post that separately as I’ve not had a chance to get a graphic together for it. I’ve been through this a couple of times at my Gym (when it’s quiet) its been taking me about 40 mins which is perfect for me at the moment.
I am not a qualified Personal Trainer or Medical Professional.
All the views expressed are my own. I am an experienced runner and train regularly at the gym. All my workouts have been designed to suit my own fitness capabilities and goals but I am happy to share for those looking for inspiration, workout ideas or motivation.
Before embarking on any form of exercise or fitness programme or if you have any medical conditions or injuries please seek professional medical advice.
Ever heard of the One Mile Running Challenge? No? Let me explain how I came about this. Now I’m a huge fan of running 5km. Main reason is generally it takes no more than 30 minutes so kind of fits into daily life; well mine at least. Plus being able to get 3 runs in a week ticks a box when it comes to my commitment to staying fit.
So what next?
It got to the point where running a 5km became somewhat boring, I’d trained for 5k races. Having become fairly proficient at running a 5km I did what a lot of runners do when needing a new challenge I decided to start upping my distance. Also there seemed to be an abundance of longer distance races I could train for it I’d wanted to commit to training for such an event. So I pushed myself and my fitness by running 10km then when this became less of a challenge I went for 15km. Great you might think? To some extent probably but it also had a negative effect on my running and motivation.
Firstly all of a sudden I was having to commit up to 90 minutes per run. That was not always possible and the guilt inevitably kicked in if I didn’t or missed a gym session in order to accommodate a longer run.
I became a ‘shuffler’; apparently this happens a lot with runners that up their distances. I didn’t seem to have the spring in my running stride that I had developed when running 5km.
Overall my pace began to slow and my performance began to plateau. I might have been tired after a longer run I was never that exhausted that my heart felt like it was going to burst through my chest and my legs felt like jelly; it appeared that my body had adapted to this new distance.
Running further became somewhat boring plus I had to put more thought into route planning.
My motivation began to fade and the prospect of a run lost its appeal; even focusing on the post-run buzz was not much of a motivator anymore.
A new running challenge was required
Trawling through websites for inspiration I happened upon the idea of setting the goal of running one mile. There are many bloggers and running enthusiasts that advocated that this was a great distance to building up speed and quality of running. So I thought I would give it a go! With this new running goal I cut out the 10k & 15k runs dropped to one 5km a week and concentrated on running only a mile a couple of times a week as fast as I could! Ok so running longer distances is a challenge in itself testing endurance, stamina and sheer willpower to stick in there but running a mile can push you just as much but in different ways as I’ve found out since incorporating it into my training.
This was a new challenge for me and so increased motivation, setting a personal best based on a mile meant I had to look at training slightly differently and had to look at incorporating speed work into my running schedule.
It only takes a fraction of the time so easy to fit into a training schedule. Also if you are unable to commit to a 5km or a trip to the gym this is a great option if you still want to squeeze some exercise into a busy day.
High quality; shorter length of time but higher effort levels required. Like a HIIT workout I’m able to put in maximum effort in a short amount if time.
Running a mile at full effort meant that I ran faster; running faster increases your metabolic rate which ultimate means more calories and fat are burned.
Helped with my overall fitness in other areas of my training and doesn’t have the negative impact on my body that a 10km might have.
Helps with overall quality of my running; am still able to maintain a good stride and running form.
Able to incorporate it into a visit to the gym easily; if it’s miserable outside I simply hope onto a treadmill and that’s my cardio sorted!
There are countless health benefits including improving bone density and muscle tone, strengthening your heart and respiratory system, helping to improve muscular endurance and helping to maintain your weight.
If you are struggling with the one mile challenge or wanting to build up speed then think about doing this using intervals. Try breaking down the mile into 8 sets of sprints or 4 sets of ¼ mile (approx. 400m) and aim to run at slightly less that your normal sprint speed. Doing this will ultimately increase your overall speed. Before actually the run a mile, warm up properly perhaps perform some light stretches, a fast paced sprint will help to get your heart rate up before the mile run. When training, try not to run on 2 consecutive days have a rest or cross-train. Cross-training is any exercise other than running such as cycling, walking, swimming; ideally something you enjoy doing. By doing this you will avoid muscle fatigue and lower the risk of injury.
My tips for taking the One Mile Running Challenge
Start with recording your time of your first mile; sounds obvious but you need some form of baseline to start from.
Set yourself a time to aim for but be realistic; you can always revise this target. Focus on breaking a personal record but set it at a time that’s attainable for you and ignore what others say. I initially aimed for a 9 minute mile but I got to the stage of achieving well below that so reset my target time to an 8 minute mile.
Don’t let a bad running experience demotivate you, reflect on what didn’t go to plan but if nothing obvious just move on!
Warm-up properly; make sure you include stretches pre-run and 5 minute cool down to prevent injuries.
Adopt a good running posture; look ahead, arms pumping, run tall.
Drink lots of water.
If you go to the gym incorporate free weights into your routine and concentrate on core work, glutes, ham-strings and quads. Doing this will make you a stronger more powerful runner. I intend to blog about this at a later stage.
Don’t run everyday, if you want to workout try to do other forms of exercise.
If you can invest in good running trainers; I also wear mine at the gym so they have a dual purpose for me.
Still commit to running a 5km on a regular basis; you will find that if you keep the mile training up you will notice improvements in your general running speed.
Get a playlist together; I find upbeat music helps me set a good pace as I tend to subconsciously running to the beat.
Run to maximum exertion. It’s a short amount to time so run it to the max, like a HIIT workout it will burn fat and raise your metabolism.
If you are struggling to run a mile break it up into more manageable intervals. There are plenty of training schedules on the internet you can use with Pinterest being a great source.
Yesterday, I managed to smash my 8 minute barrier. That gave me a huge buzz! My next target will probably to make sure I can run this time consistently before aiming for sub 8 minutes.
I’d love to hear how you get on with this challenge or if you have set yourself other running challenges.
I’m a runner, regular gym goer and probably the fittest I have ever been despite having had 3 children and now being in my mid forties. However, my fitness levels were never always like this as I lacked motivation and thought there were too many barriers stopping me from leading a healthy active lifestyle. This all changed two years ago when I met up with my friend Pip in the park.
Rewind 2 Years
We were enjoying or rather rejoicing the fact it was the last week of the Summer Holidays. It was one of those play dates when you let your kids run riot and don’t pay any attention to who they are terrorising and/or annoying while you sit putting the world to rights. It’s like white noise after a while; don’t you just love parents who do that? Believe me, filtering it out is a highly evolved coping mechanism of mine.
Sat in the sunshine, I was having the usual moan about life being manic, being overweight, feeling unfit, not having the time or money to do anything about it or more importantly not having the motivation. Always the same cycle of events. Hectic day at work, hectic post school run routine trying to feed the kids, help them with homework, prepare supper, sort the kids for the next day, reading of bedtime stories, getting the kids to bed …….. Suddenly it would be about 9pm (ish) and there I am flopping in front of the TV, looking particularly glamorous in joggers and stained sweatshirt watching whatever happens to be on. Might I add normally about this time one of my kids would be likely to yell, “Mum! I haven’t done my Maths Homework and its due in tomorrow” or “Mum!!! I’ve ripped by school trousers!” You get the picture? Sound familiar?
Anyway, back to conversation with my friend, Pip. Instead of joining in with the usual moan (admit it we all love a Pity Party) she mentioned that she’d started running and now ran 5km 2 or 3 times a week. She went on to say she was contemplating taking part in an organised 5km running event and was just looking for one to enter. No! Surely not? Like me she claimed to be the busiest parent in the world!
That stopped me in my tracks. Pip was in the same boat as me; 3 children, a husband that travelled a lot and generally was always home late ( if home at all), plus holding down a job herself. Interested in this revelation, I wanted to know more. Read more