It’s all about that pace

Another post title that almost made the cut: “your pace or mine?” Annnnyway… Generally speaking there seems to be two groups of runners in terms of pacing. Those who watch their Garmins like a hawk and those who don’t.

IMG_4235 Ahh my old Garmin. I’m now using the Garmin 220 (love it)

I’m part of the former group. I love wearing my Garmin, tracking my pace when I run, keeping to a certain target pace and then having those stats to upload for later nerding. If I don’t log it on my watch, the run didn’t happen.

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The first speed work I’ve done in a while! 40mins steady running

OK I’m joking, I’m not that extreme. I’m not adverse to going for a run without my watch, but it’s definitely not my preference.

Perhaps this is due to not trusting myself (will I run too fast? Will I run too slow?). Or perhaps it’s due to feeling like I’m not in control. If I don’t know what pace I’m running at then how do I know if I’m going too fast or not working hard enough? On my first mile I might be absolutely blasting it feeling great…because it’s my first mile. I might still have 9 to go and the wheels will undoubtedly fly off later.

Some people are so much more in tune with their pace that they can run without keeping check on their watch and they run perfectly well. Perhaps I’m one of those people, but I’ll never let myself know. When I first started running I just had an app on my phone to track my pace so I couldn’t look at it all the time. It would tell me every mile my pace (in an annoying woman’s voice) but that was it. Just once a mile. Not like now where I can look down at my watch every second and see my current pace, my average pace, the miles I’ve run and the time I’m doing it in. And I love it!

SimageStats from the Berlin marathon 

For the Berlin marathon I would literally check my watch every minute. I had a strict pace schedule I was trying to stick to. My intention was that the first 10 miles should feel relatively easy, so the temptation to run that little bit faster without realising was a risk. I needed that feedback from my watch to keep me in line. I really didn’t have the training behind me to risk anything. And I managed to do a nice negative split and felt comfortable all for but the last mile. I’m pretty sure I’ll do the same for my next marathon or any race in fact. I just like being in control.

IMG_3920 For my first half marathon I wrote my splits on my hand to make sure I kept to them

There also tends to be a bit of (and I use this word very loosely) snobbery. The idea of being a “slave to your watch” or not listening to your body. I can understand that but I don’t necessarily agree with it. Of course you can train on feel. Run a tempo run at a speed where you can’t really say more than a few words. You don’t need your watch to tell you that. Or run flat out 100% for 400m – you won’t have time to look at your watch. But even if you’re not looking at your watch at the time, how can you mark progress without this data saved from those sessions at a later date?

I’m absolutely not saying one way is better than the other – or that they’re mutually exclusive. I admire people who just go out and run without a watch and have no idea about their pace or just run on feel. But for every run? I definitely couldn’t do it. Personally for me my Garmin is there to keep me honest, track my progress (or mistakes) and it makes me happy. Perhaps it’s also my tendency to favour long distance where your pace, I strongly believe, is so important to keep under control because you’ve got a long way ahead of you. Whereas for a 5k perhaps it’s just a case of blast it like hell and hold on for as long as you can.

Sure maybe one day I’ll go out without the watch to just “run free”, but then I’ll probably just cover up my watch so I can still have a sneaky look at the stats later ;-)

What do you prefer: running with a watch or without?

Do you like ‘geeking’ out with your running stats? There’s nothing better for me than looking at my splits after a race, I’m that sad.

If you’re not a runner, do you use other trackers for your exercise (e.g. HR monitors, gym machine stats, etc.)?

Running, poo and a failed recipe

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m back running finally. I will hasten to add though: for how long, who knows! I’m still not entirely convinced I won’t remain injury-free. My shin issue is something I need to keep a beady eye on as I’m not sure it’s gone for good. But this is similar to my IT band where it needs to be managed, meaning regular single-leg squats and resistance band work. For my shin….I’m not so sure really. Compression socks and keeping the calves loose?

So last week I started with Kyle coaching after a bumpy delayed start due to my foot. We worked very closely to make sure everything was OK. He gave me lots of exercises and advice.

Peroneal Tendon Stretch And lots of stretching!

When I began running (last Tuesday) it was under the instruction to run 20 minutes easy and to stop if I felt any pain or major discomfort. The day before my foot was feeling almost fine so by Tuesday evening I was feeling happy to run. Apart from a little stiffness it was perfect. Again under Kyle’s instruction, I ran Wednesday and Thursday (all easy, gradually building up the time) and then took Friday off, parkrun on Saturday and 6 miles on Sunday. All easy paced and all with no foot discomfort. Hurrah!

I do struggle though with what I class an “easy” pace. I probably should run it slower, but if I’m only running a short distance then I think easy is a relative term… and I will admit I find it very hard to slow myself down. Whether it’s a mental thing that I feel I need to go faster or a physical thing where I just don’t realise I’m running faster, I find it tough for the shorter runs. For longer runs though I will be very strict with myself and aim for a slower pace, and for recovery runs after harder sessions.

I have no idea what’s to come though in terms of running as it’s out of my hands! Something which I find hugely scary and hugely relieving. It’s also nice to have someone I can hassle ask questions and get advice regularly and specifically for me and the concrete goals I want to achieve. The internet is great but it’s all very vague.

Away from running and onto things more amusing. I just have to share this book that Ben and me found in a little trinket shop.

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Because really these are the big issues we face ;-) First world problems and all that… It is very amusing and definitely Ben and my type of humour (we are children). There was also “How to Poo on a Date” – I mean, really?? Plan these things, people. Maybe there should be a book “How to Poo in a Portaloo” or a “A Guide to Pooing for Runners” judging by the horrific portaloo experience I had in Berlin.

Moving swiftly away from toilet humour to recent dinner adventures! I haven’t posted any recipes for ages as my food is very dull and samey, so thought I’d motivate myself by trying a new recipe every week. Now I will preface by this by saying this isn’t really a recipe more like a “don’t do what I did” kind of warning.

I saw the below recipe for sweet potato and halloumi burgers and thought it looked amazing. I knew I could win Ben over because it contained cheese and I mentioned the word “burger” so I felt confident.

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Source

I made the patties at the weekend and thought I’d freeze them so I could have a handy quick meal one day after work. This was a big mistake. I’d advise you not to freeze them! Maybe fridge them to firm them up for an hour but do not freeze. They just fall apart completely when you defrost them, which slightly devastated me.

Sweet potato halloumi burgers

I tried to flip each patty and, well, it just fell apart. So I just stirred the lot and cooked it as kind of a bubble and squeak *sighs*.  However, it tasted really good and even Ben was a fan. I’m sure as actual burgers these would be terrific but they are rather delicate!

Hopefully I’ll have better luck with other recipes but hey if it taste good that’s all that matters right??

Have you had any baking or cooking failures recently?

What kind of sense of humour do you have? I think mine is very dry and sarcastic – but also quite childish and silly.

What’s your favourite veggie burger flavours? I’m a big fan of sweet potato!

Cake not children any day

Happy Monday, we’re here again. I don’t know what happened to me over the weekend but I was shattered! I even had an hour long nap yesterday afternoon, which is crazy for me! I’m back running consistently so this is probably the case. My foot seems to be fully OK now, whew!

Friday night Ben and me decided to go out for a meal to our recent favourite find (Zippers) and we invited my parents and Ben’s mum to join. Funnily enough my mum and dad had already booked to go to there after we’d raved about it! Happy days.

I went for my salad duo which, once again, rocked my world: salad bar starter and then chicken, avocado and bacon salad.

Zippers salad

Apologies for the poor photos – it was dimly lit in the restaurant

And because it is the best chocolate fudge cake I’ve had in ages, I had it for pudding again. Consistently good – and I think I’m qualified to say that now having had it three times! I didn’t take a photo because I’ve already got two photos of it…

Needless to say I think we’re done with Zippers for a bit. We’ll be back for definite but we’ve OOT-ed it recently as you can imagine ;)

Saturday morning I finally got back to parkrun. I haven’t been for soo long due to being busy, injuries and marathons. I really missed it. I went down early to help set up and caught up with the parkrun crew. It was the Halloween special which meant people had dressed up in fancy dress for the occasion which was brilliant!

Netley Abbey parkrun Halloween Skeleton morph suit!

The costumes were brilliant, from pumpkins to zombies, morph suits to masks. I love stuff like this. Sadly all I had to offer was a black sparkly tutu and my colourful RunMummyRun compression socks but it felt fun wearing it.

IMG_8317I took parkrun nice and easy and chatted to lots of people on the way round, which I always really enjoy. Unfortunately talking so much gave me such a nasty a stitch – that’ll teach me! I got just over 25 minutes which I’m happy with for a social run wearing, as it turns out, a rather itchy tutu.

IMG_8315 Check out the costumes behind me – amazing effort with the face paint!

The rest of the day was spent just doing the chores, walking Alfie and watching some trashy television watch (*whispers* Made In Chelsea) which Ben and me embarrassingly like to watch and Gogglebox (I’m a new comer to this programme but I am fully addicted – it is HILARIOUS).

Sunday I got up and ran for 50 minutes (Kyle confusingly works in minutes not miles…this makes route planning quite hard!!) then rushed about getting ready to go to church to see my friend Louise’s baby’s Christening-but-not-Christening thing. Basically it was a “welcome to church” kind of thing for their baby, Jacob, but not an actually Christening because they want him to decide on his faith later. I won’t lie, I did not sing at all. No one wants to hear me sing especially if I don’t know any of the songs! Louise is an incredible singer though and is part of the church band so she rocked it.

After the service we headed back to Louise’s parent’s house for “nibbles”. Let’s just dissect this word for a moment…we thought crisps and snacky things, which were out on the sides when we arrived. We nibbled away and had some fizzy pop and were quite content. But Louise’s mum is just amazing at hosting these sorts of things and suddenly an hour later BOOM there was an entire buffet of food. Then after the buffet there was a pudding buffet of lemon tart, chocolate tart, meringues, jelly (all home-made!) and ice cream. Wowza. And of course cake afterwards!

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I won’t lie. I went a bit crazy having a slice of both the lemon and chocolate tart (let’s call them slithers shall we? They weren’t huge…) and a couple of slices of cake.

IMG_8324 All home-made by Louise herself. Vanilla sponge for the main cake and chocolate for the little trains and square blocks. My reputation preceded me as Louise came over after the first cutting of the cake and handed me a chocolate slice saying “I knew you’d want more”. Full sugar coma commenced afterwards (and an afternoon nap later).

Most of my school friends were there too so it was nice to catch up and have a laugh with them. Mostly taking the mic’ out of my fear of small people and how awkward I am around them. It was actually quite scary how many children were there – Louise has a HUGE family. Needless to say, it’ll be a few years yet before I have the desire to have one!!

Do you go to church? I’m not religious but don’t mind going to these sorts of things.

What are you doing for Halloween? We do nothing. Mainly hide behind our curtains and hope no small people come knocking.

Cake or dessert? I think I’d go with cake.

GoNurition Review

Today I have another review for you. This time it’s for GoNutrition products. GoNutrition is an online sports nutrition shop and have a range of high protein products to facilitate your sport goals. They kindly sent me a selection of goodies from their website for me to try so here are my thoughts.

GN Whey Protein 80 (find HERE)

Their whey protein powder contains over 19.5g protein per 25g serving and is rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s) and glutamic acid. I didn’t know too much about whey protein if I’m honest but after doing a bit of research it seems BCAA’s help stimulate protein synthesis and are therefore idea for muscle repair and growth. Basically it’s great for post-workout recovery.

image (Suitable for Diabetics, Gluten-Free, No GM, Hala and Kosher Suitable, No Artificial Colourings, Vegetarian)

  • Calories per serving: 96 kcal
  • Fat: 1.45g
  • Of which saturates: 1.1g
  • Carbohydrate: 1.2g
  • Of which sugars: 1.2g
  • Salt: 0.2g
  • Protein: 19.5g

My thoughts: There are loads of different delicious sounding flavours (maple syrup pancakes, jammie biscuit, key lime pie, etc.) available. I tried the triple chocolate flavour. You can mix the powder with water or milk, and the more you add of the powder then the more thick it is. I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan. I tried it with water first and it didn’t float my boat – I had to add more powder to stop it being watery and though the chocolate flavour was there it was still rather synthetic. Using milk made it a lot nicer though. Ben, however, really enjoyed it.

GoNutrition Whey Protein Powder I didn’t have a shaker so could only stir the mixture as much as possible

Original Protein Flapjacks (find HERE)

Again a high protein food, these flapjacks contain 18.6g protein and are made from oats so are low GI for slow-release energy. They have a chocolate-coating on one-side.

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(No GM, No Artificial Colourings, Vegetarian)

  • Energy: 310 kcal
  • Fat: 8.6g
  • Of which saturates: 4.3g
  • Carbohydrate: 38.1g
  • Of which sugars: 8.5g
  • Dietary Fibre: 2.8g
  • Salt: 0.20g
  • Protein: 18.6g

My thoughts: Nice and tasty, very soft and chewy with lovely dark chocolate chips. The ingredient list looks a bit dubious with a some chemically sounding items and “chocolate flavour coating” though. Three-hundred plus calories for a snack in my opinion is on the high side but, saying that, flapjacks tend to be quite calorific anyway because they’re energy dense. Plus if you’re doing a big gym or long run then this could be ideal to hold you over between meals (hello, runger).

GoNutrition Flapjack

Protein Balls (find HERE)

Basically they’re crispy little balls of protein flavoured with spicy sweet chilli. Each 30g bag contains 15g of protein. Hilariously on the bag they were called ‘soy puffs’ which just amused me greatly.

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 (No GM, No Artificial Colourings, Vegan, Vegetarian)

  • Energy: 124 kcal
  • Fat: 3.6g
  • Of which saturates: 0.3g
  • Carbohydrates: 7.7g
  • Of which sugar: 2.9g
  • Dietary Fibre: 0.5g
  • Salt: 0.78g
  • Protein: 15.0g

My thoughts: I actually really enjoyed these and checked the pack twice to see if I was only eating one serving because honestly there seemed a lot of, er, puffs for the calories (I’m a volume eater so this makes me happy). The flavouring was really good too, like finger-licking good. They sort of reminded me of those chickpea snacks. Very happy with these, very moreish.

GoNutrition Protein BallsA small sample of what you get 

Protein Cookie (find HERE)

This is what it says it is, a high protein cookie! A whopping 37.5g protein per cookie. To put that in perspective, there’s roughly 30g of protein in a chicken breast. 

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(No GM and No Artificial Colourings)

  • Energy: 320 kcal
  • Carbohydrates: 19.3g
  • Of which sugars: 7.2g
  • Fat: 9.9g
  • Of which saturates: 3.9g
  • Dietary Fibre: 1.7g
  • Salt: 0.5g
  • Protein: 37.5g

My thoughts: I tried the triple chocolate flavour, other options are cherry bakewell and chocolate orange. It’s a very soft cookie so it reminded me more of a brownie. There are big white chocolate chunks in it. It’s very tasty, but you know when you’re eating it it’s not quite the normal sugar-coma cookie you can buy in a bakery, but it is very satisfying and filling regardless. Again, long list of ingredients.

GoNutrition cookie

Protein Puddings (find HERE)

These are basically chocolate mousse pots containing 15g of milk protein but are low in fat and sugar. Ideal little snacks to stop you reaching for a sugary snack between meals, or good for a nice little dessert.

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(Suitable for Diabetics, Gluten-Free, No Gm, No Artificial Colourings, Vegetarian)

  • Energy: 109 kcal
  • Fat: 3.0g
  • Of which saturates: 2.0g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.0g
  • Of which sugars: 1.0g
  • Dietary Fibre: 1.1g
  • Salt: 0.45g
  • Protein: 15.0g

My thoughts: Creamy, rich and chocolaty. Again the ingredients look a bit scary with flavours and sweeteners but it is what it is being a chocolate mousse pot. I wouldn’t eat one every day but they’re great if you’re craving a chocolate pick-me-up that’ll fill you up while you wait for something more substantial.GoNutrition Protein pudding

Whew! Lots of good stuff there. If you like your snacks to pack a punch and keep you full then these are ideal. They’re not whole foods or entirely clean by any means, but they’re great to tide you over to your next meal or help increase your calories if you’re working out hard. I just wish I had more soy puffs in my life ;-)

Have you tried any GoNutrition products?

Do you aim for high protein snacks?

Do you regularly use protein powder?

A little bit of this and that

I was down to run the Great South Run on Sunday but I’ve decided not to anymore. I’m actually quite pleased about this considering how blooming windy it is at the moment! What is going on??

Ben’s obviously not running it either and we’ve been invited to a church ‘welcoming’ thing for our friend’s baby so we decided to give it a miss this year. And though my foot is feeling better I just don’t want to risk it. It’s such a faff of a race; so many people, difficult to park, crowded…and I didn’t enjoy it at all last year (I hurt my knee). Lots of people from my running club are doing it so it is a shame in that respect and it was £41 for entry!! And you can’t even transfer your bib to someone else or defer. *Grumble grumble*

Anyway, I thought I’d write a random post of bits and bobs that have been going on – a collection of titbits, if you like, that didn’t make the cut for a post of their own.

I often go for a walk every lunch time at work for about 20 minutes. Usually to the nearby  big Tesco or sometimes I mosey about a few charity shops. That might sound a bit sad but it’s a habit I’ve had since university when I was looking for cheap books or DVDs. But really any shop with this sign will pull me in regardless:

Charity shop selling cake Cake and charity, a match made in heaven :-D

Speaking of cake, Ben, our friend Nathan and I went to that lovely restaurant, Zippers, in Port Solent again. We went there a few weeks ago and I really wanted to go back because they had an amazing salad bar. Last time I went I just went for the salad bar as a starter which meant I could only visit it once (though I did pile it high to get my money’s worth). This time I decided to go for it as a main so I could keep going back as many times as I wanted (hello, I’m a salad machine).

Zippers meal There were chickpeas, feta, roasted vegetables and just a whole host of veggies. SO GOOD. I’m pretty sure they thought I was a bit strange having three monster plates of salad. But I love it! And the sweet potato fries on the side as well… and the chocolate fudge cake for pudding as it was so good last time. It’s a good job this restaurant is just that little bit too far to go back every week (unlike Nando’s).

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It really helped get me motivated for a cycle the next day as well (a thick slab of chocolate fudge cake with chocolate sauce and ice cream has a good way of doing that). And I got to wear my new cycling jacket (from Aldi!! Cheap as chips but the quality is awesome!)

IMG_8280I haven’t cycled in over 5 weeks and I optimistically thought I could keep up with the guys from the club but after about 6 miles I told them to go on as I just couldn’t keep up. They were lovely and told me to not be silly but I just felt they’d get a better ride without me and I didn’t want to feel pressured to keep up. So I pedalled off for a solo slog. I got in 23 miles in the end but bloody hell it was hard. It’s amazing how quickly you lose it when you don’t do it regularly. I was puffing and panting all the way round and going a lot slower than before. But regardless, it was a good workout. My legs afterwards felt pooped.

Annoyingly it was quite muddy and wet on the roads and having a white bike is just ridiculous.

IMG_8282 Normally I wouldn’t be precious about this sort of thing. It’s a bike, it’s going to get muddy. It’s hardly going to win awards for what it looks like. But we keep the bikes in the living room as we don’t have a garage (only a car port) so we don’t have a proper place to store them (let’s not talk about the Shed of Death), which means I do actually have to clean it. Well, it was lovely and shiny afterwards anyway.

And related to cycling (smooth segue…?) in one of my orders from Wiggle they forgot to send my Haribo with it (they always send a packet of sweets with your order) and I Tweeted about it saying I was sad I missed out. They generously said they’d send me some and a few weeks later I received a post office slip saying I needed to pay £1.20 for unpaid postage. I had no idea what was being posted but paid it anyway out of curiosity.

IMG_8264 Then the next day lo and behold I received an envelope with two packs of Haribo in from Wiggle. It was very nice of them to send it to me, but for £1.20!? They needn’t have bothered! The sweets are probably worth 10p! Oh Wiggle, what a shambles. But in fairness to them they have given me a £2 Wiggle voucher to make up for it. Well play, Wiggle. Well played.

Anyway I’ll leave it there with just one last photo…

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Alfie avidly watching the telly. He loves getting involved ;-) and as you can see, my very clean bike in the background :-D

Do you often buy things online? Are you fan of Wiggle?

Are you a fan of buffets or salad bars?

Do you look for bargains in places like charity shops or cheaper supermarkets, like Aldi or Lidl? I’m not a shopping snob, I love a bargain as long as the quality is decent.