Tag Archives: Running

beach run report: st lucia

Julien (our coach) looked quite fit and having not run for quite a while, we were afraid of being put through our paces! However, not one to shy away from a run opportunity – especially one around the stunning island of St Lucia – we swiftly signed up to the Cap Maison hiking & running club. He kindly tailored his pace to suit us and thankfully there were many photo opportunities of the beautiful beaches and lush green hills, so we stopped for lots of breathers. We were greeted by a pack of howling dogs (Julien’s friends) as we arrived and did wonder what we had let ourselves in for but after sniffing us out, they happily ran with us (looking for prey) and paddled in the sea. We ran around the north east of the island including donkey beach and secret beach. We saw plenty of cacti too.

Run coordinates

Run coordinates

our run in pictures

the stunning views on our run – julien is in there somewhere!

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Training Review: Body Fat Test

Feared by the myth that I would get muscly and look like a man I always shy-ed away from using weights. Girls, do not be fooled into thinking lifting weights will make you big, we do not have enough testosterone in our bodies to grow big muscles like men. Around this time last year, I not only virtually gave up running, but gave it up and replaced it with weight training (shock horror!) I was oblivious of the toll pounding the pavements was having on my slight frame. Consistent long distance running can lead to stress fractures, shin splint, knee problems and loads more. On the flipside, it is a great cardiovascular exercise to burn fat. After trying out some dumbbell exercises and various assisted weight machines in the gym – I was hooked! Assisted pull ups were my favourite to begin with (I was keen to strengthen and tone my upper body). My PT gave me a plan which helped me focus on a different body part each different day of the week. This is a rough example;

  1. Back – pull ups, deadlifts, bench reverse, dumbbell pullover
  2. Arms – shoulder press, tricep dips, tricep extns, tricep pulleys
  3. Legs – squats, lunges, leg extns, hip abductor, hip thrusts

Building a little extra muscle can actually reduce the risk of injury. Strong muscles, tendons and ligaments are much more capable of withstanding stress, and the improved flexibility gained by strength training also reduces the likelihood of pulled muscles and back pain. Weight training is an excellent way of combating several symptoms we all face as we get a little older. Resistance exercise can reduce bone deterioration and build bone mass, preventing osteoporosis. Research has shown that regular resistance training can increase your Basal Metabolic Rate by up to 15% (meaning you still burn fat when you are resting VS cardiovascular exercise where you ONLY burn calories when you are exercising).

I used to think I looked good but I much prefer the way I look now; toned, strong and shapely. The first picture was taken in Topshop when I was buying those shorts and its visible that my upper body has got wider, my waist still seems small and my legs look less fatty and more toned (and I still havent worn those shorts!)

Which picture do you think looks better?

Which picture do you think looks better?

Running was an all time hobby – it gave me an opportunity to think introspectively but also gave me time to clear my head, heart and lungs and listen to my feet hitting the ground, my breathing, my music and check my watch constantly to see if I am closer to finishing (i miss checking my garmin). It’s great if you love it and are happy with it but if you aren’t happy – don’t be afraid to stop and revise your training plan. It might be the best decision you’ll ever make. I have my best friend to thank for coming into my life and teaching me so much about training and eating.

Eating is also equally as important if you are doing resistance work regularly. As you will be burning calories when you are exercising but also when you are resting too, you will inevitably feel more hungry. My appetite has increased but its all about grazing little and often. Try and aim for protein in every meal, and if your looking to lose a little weight, cut down your carb intake. If you’re working out most days, you will need a good amount of carbs pre-workout and post-workout, to give you ‘energy’ before you exercise and to replace the ‘energy’ you used during your workout. This is generally the rule with any type of exercise. Its a tricky balance to get it right but also to maintain, especially when you’re at work (in meetings, etc). I find preparing food in advance helps a great deal – so you don’t get stuck running to the nearest shop to buy whatever you fancy. Some may call me obsessive, I call it disciplined. If you get into a routine, it becomes habit. Lots of people say they dont have time and while I dont have any commitments (kids or husband) I dont see why ‘time’ should an be issue. Eating healthily doesnt take much time at all. If you are unsure about what changes to make to your diet, do some research (theres loads on the net), talk to people and make sure your changes are incremental. It will seem easier, more doable and you are more likely to stick to it, rather than completely changing everything you eat. I recently introduced eggs at breakfast, I have them everyday and they take five minutes to poach.

A food day in the life of me;

  • Breakfast – 2x choc chip weetabix with 2x poached eggs
  • Mid morning – 1x banana + handful of almonds and cranberries (on rest days, ill have a protein shake)
  • Lunch – chicken salad or tuna salad
  • Mid afternoon – bagel with(out) nutella
  • Dinner – chicken/ lamb/ fish/ with veg , halloumi + peppers and hummous
  • Post gym – protein milkshake
  • Before bed – total greek yogurt

We had body composition tests taken on the weekend courtesy of Virgin Active gym.

Our Body Fat Tests

Our Body Fat Tests

This was very exciting for me as I’ve never had one done before (Rajiv has). I knew I weighed around 55k but I had no idea my muscle mass was just under half of my body weight! I thought my body fat would be lower than 16% but pleased nonetheless with that result. We both have ‘D’ shaped bodies with ideal muscle mass and low body fat (creating a ‘D’ shaped letter on the bar graphs), although Rajiv’s muscle mass goes off the picture!!!

Have you had a body fat test done recently? Or are you thinking about changing your training/ eating? I would recommend doing all three, you’ll be surprised how far the human body can push itself.

A Spectators View of 26.2 Miles

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Sunny Cutty

4 months of training and the big day was upon us – the Virgin London Marathon. There were so many people running – 35K to be exact. The streets were lined with supporters, signs and sun! I had planned my spectator points with boy beforehand so he knew where to listen look out for me but when we arrived at cutty sark (Mile 6 – our first point) I was worried that we would miss him due to the sheer volume of spectators coupled with the small pavements. Those of you who know me, know I will find my way to the front of any crowd so I picked a spot and managed to wedge myself in front of a bike that was tied to a bike stand. I was on my tip toes scanning the runners as they passed in their hundreds. I was also trying to hold my sign up because I thought if he saw it then he might stop. But my line of thought wouldn’t have worked as when he saw my sign he said he thought it was for somebody else! – until he saw me holding it lol. Anyways after much scanning and leaning on the people in front of me and annoying people with my huge cardboard sign.

my sign!

my sign!

The people in front of me saw their runner and left, so I had front row seat! Lo and behold boy comes running up (what good timing) after screaming his name he came over to us and I gave him a big hug, squashed his cheeks and off he went (while I screamed at him to “go pee!”). First spectator point done. Unfortunately no pics of boy taken at this point as the excitement was too much!

My boy looking gloriously good at Mile 19! jellll but very proud

My boy looking gloriously good at Mile 19! jellll but very proud

Off we go to our second point – Mile 19, Canary Wharf. There was major people traffic and we were unable to get on the DLR at cutty sark so people were taking the foot tunnel (which there was also a queue for, but we jumped!) We came out by island gardens and got the DLR from there. I was hoping canary wharf would be quieter than cutty but just couldn’t picture it being quiet. Anyways we arrive and to my surprise the crowds were thin (maybe because we were under a bridge and everyone else wanted to be in the sun!) I started to hand out my jelly babies (I know how important this would be for the runners as they were over ¾ of the way there) while I waited for boy to come along and the runners were biting my arm off for them. This was mile 19 so I can imagine they were beginning to flag, if they hadn’t already flagged. we saw lots of runners stopping to stretch and I couldn’t imagine the amount of pain/cramps their bodies must be going through. We see boy and I scream again! I hug him loads this time, so proud of him, give him jelly babies and take some pics. surprised but very glad by how on form he looked. Boy was sensible and paced himself round keeping as constant and economical pace as possible.

Final stretch

Final stretch

Then, it was time for the final. Walking down the mall was amazing. The runners looked so happy, some concentrating so hard to just finish and the crowd was electric. Spectators are not allowed to stand at the finish line, so I chose to stand at the last possible point, which was 200m from the finish line. The crowds were about 7 deep here but I got lucky again with where I was standing (just after buckingham palace), as the people in front of me left so I was at the front and had full view of everyone coming round the corner. I kept my eyes peeled (less scanning as the runners had really dispersed towards the end) and eventually saw my boy come running! Again, he looked in such good form, no sweat, no pain, and smiling.

I love stats!

I love stats!

I snapped some pics and he was eager to cross the finish line. What a day! Everyone was in such high spirits and it was great seeing everyone come together, run and raise money for so many charities – kind of restores your faith in human kind. All in all a fabulous day, but advice to anyone who is going to be a spectator – take supplies with you, warm clothing, jelly babies (for the runners – you are allowed a few), a sign, lots of moral support and you need to be good with timings if you are going to a few points like I did.

What happened at mile 20?

What happened at mile 20?

Some final stats for you running geeks out there:

Distance: 26.2 miles (43 km)

Avg pace: 12:40 min/mile

More results

More results

Avg pace: 7:54 min/km

Total time: 5:39:44

Calories burnt: 2,394

I have asked boy to do a guest blog on his race so watch this space for a runners view of 26.2 miles.