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.


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.)?

Ice bucket challenge and fitness trackers

Winter is coming. It definitely feels like it anyway. Blimmin’ freezing, intermittent rain, darker evenings, darker mornings.

Perfect timing for my ice bucket challenge one evening after work after being nominated by my lovely husband. I sat outside and I was so cold before it had even begun. We’ve both donated to the Motor Neurone Disease Association (find out how to donate HERE – or text ICED55 to 70070 ).

Ice Bucket Challenge It was absolutely freezing and one of the worst experience I’ve had in a while. But I’m glad I did it. I squealed like a girl and ran inside straight away.

I think these challenges are brilliant for raising so much money and awareness for MND, ALS (the US version of the charity) and other charities too. Though I agree that millions of people (myself included) throwing perfectly good drinking water over their heads is a bit of kick in the teeth to the water charities trying to get sustainable and clean sources of water to developing countries. I think Matt Damon’s ice bucket challenge was a good example of raising awareness of this and watching it made me feel bad afterwards. Perhaps I should have run into the sea like I’ve seen quite a few people do? Either way, money is being raised and that’s something at least.

I am trying not to panic too much about the marathon at the moment. I’m living in a little bubble of apathy. I have about 4.5 weeks to go. The furthest I’ve run is 13.1 miles. I’ve run this quite a few times and feel good in terms of endurance. I only ran a few 13 milers (and one 15 miler weeks and weeks) before the Paris marathon. My concern though is that I’m banking too much on how good my experience was for Paris…surely I can’t be that lucky again right?

I can’t run for 10 days (well less than that now) and honestly I don’t even know what to think. If I dwell on this too much I get very sad. Why does running hate me so? Maybe I should have had a long time off after Paris? Probably. But I can’t dwell on what I should have done at the moment. I can’t dwell on it at all otherwise I will get very down – and I sound like such a broken record I’m sure. One thing for certain is 2014 has been an epically bad year of running for me so far.

I’m keeping my fitness up by cycling, using the dreaded cross trainer in our gym at work at lunchtime and have just purchased a floatation belt for…aqua running. I have no idea how that’s going to pan out but I plan to find out at the weekend. My physio said it’s a great idea as it’s still running but without the impact. I can run as much as like in the pool with no ill effects on my shin. Hurrah. I’ve also bought a waterproof iPod holder because I’m pretty sure it’s going to be about as exciting as watching paint dry. And I’m under no illusion that it won’t be hard work either.

On a more exciting note…Ben and me bit the bullet and bought the Garmin fitness tracker the Vivofit.

Garmin Vivofits

We originally had the Fitbits but Ben’s started to play up and there were different things about it that we disliked. For example, you can’t see how many steps you’ve actually done without looking at your phone (though there are lights that give you some indication of how close to your goal you are). You can change your goal but it’s a manual process. Normally it’s 10,000 steps. It does track sleep and it has a nice little vibrate on it for an alarm that you can set.

The Garmin is just so much more superior though. It actually has the time on it, the date, how many steps you’ve done, how that equates to miles, how close or over your goal you are and how many calories you’ve burnt (which I guess is taken from your personal data and steps). It auto updates your goal so if 10,000 is easy for you it bumps it up, or bumps it down if you’re  not hitting your goal. You don’t have to charge it every week which was so annoying about the Fitbit. The battery for the Vivofit lasts a year and then you buy another battery. I also use a Garmin watch to track my runs so it uses the same Garmin Connect app which is nice.


And it tracks your sleep as well.


All very interesting. I love stuff like this as it honestly encourages me to walk and move more. As I can’t run I’m very conscious of the activity I do and take Alfie for longer walks and move more at work.

I’d really recommend the Vivofits if that’s your thing. I’m a data geek so it really appeals to me! I could hook my HR monitor up to it as well (more data!) but I’m still nursing my sore chest (least that will heal nicely before I ravage it again running!)

Have you done the ice bucket challenge? What are your thoughts?

Have you ever done aqua running? Any tips?

Do you own or want a fitness tracker?

The little things

Hello Friday! Wow where did this week go? It went crazily fast. Not that I’m complaining.

I thought I’d do a post on some random thoughts and occurrences of late. It’s the little things in life that keep things interesting!

1. It’s a well known fact that cake on a Friday doesn’t count (FYI this was last Friday’s cake – I didn’t eat cake that went off yesterday. Would I refuse a one-day-stale piece of cake though over no cake? I’d rather not answer that…). Cake is an indulgence I need every week. Without fail.


2. Mini trolleys are AMAZING. This is a tiny trolley from M&S, almost like a basket with wheels which makes me feel like I’m six again. Anyone from the UK: do you remember when they used to do trolleys for children?? So the kids could push a little trolley with their parents as well. I wonder why they disappeared…Oh yes, that’s right because who ever decided to allow young children to push trolleys around a busy supermarket is CRAZY. Hello ankle pain.


 3. I can destroy half a melon easily in under 10 minutes. Like a boss. In fact, I have to finish Ben’s off as he is so rubbish at getting all the melon flesh. Take no prisoners.


4. This display on my Garmin annoys me SO MUCH.


The loading bar is full therefore it should be done, right? Oh no. It stays with that full bar for minutes afterwards. While I am stood in the cold just waiting to run. Garmin, stop lying to me!!

5. Why do people leave the teabags in their drinks? Maybe this is a British thing (or a specifically Anna thing) but whenever I see TV programmes (I must say, usually US programmes) and someone is drinking a tea they always leave the teabag in so the little piece of string hangs down the side. It baffles me because doesn’t this over-steep the tea?? Doesn’t the teabag hit your mouth when you drink? It really freaks me out.IMG_4287

Yes, this is not my usual mug. This is my back-up Scooby mug.

6. One of our knives broke the other day when I was chopping vegetables. The knife blade literally pinged past me and hit the wall behind me. It was like the vegetables were fighting back. It would have been funny if I hadn’t been in shock.


7. This photo makes me feel a little sad inside:


He looks so helpless and upset at having being bathed. It needed to happen though. He was getting to one stinky pooch.

8. However this photo brings me right back up to a significantly happy level:


Sea salt Green and Blacks! On offer! Still expensive though. And definitely beaten to the punch by Lindt.

Well, I hope you guys have a great weekend. Ben and me are running a 5k Parkrun tomorrow so I’m quite excited but also nervous. I hate 5ks, they’re just so fast and painful…but we’ll see how it goes! We might be running a 10k run through Moors Valley Country Park on Sunday depending how we feel. I will be taking that one easy if we do go for it. I’m going to take it more of as a nice trail run then a proper race I think as I think I’ll be shattered after tomorrow!

What’s been making you happy this week?

What are your little things in life that keep things interesting for you? Wow there’s a vague question for you Winking smile

Teabags: in or out?

Creamy dreamy WIAW

Happy What I Ate Wednesday, people! It’s that time again.


I think that most people are intrigued about what other people eat. I mean obviously WIAW is clear evidence – it has a huge following. But I’m pretty sure that even people who don’t have as keen an interest in food and fitness have a bit of curiosity.

Everyone eats. But everyone eats different foods, different amounts, at different times and even for different reasons (we can try and convince ourselves that chocolate is a good sustaining fuel but really who are we kidding??). And I think people are nosey and like to know what their neighbour is doing. Whether to compare, trade notes, or just curiosity for curiosity’s sake. And I’m a great believe in food bringing people together.

Sorry random tangent!

Riiiight, on to the good stuff. I’ll share Saturday’s eats just because it was so darn tasty.

As I mentioned in the last post I did a really scenic 7 mile trail run in the snow. I never eat breakfast before a morning run. I know I probably should but I like my sleep and I don’t want to get up earlier than I have to. Plus I love getting back from a run and really enjoying my breakfast. Yes I could just have a snack beforehand but honestly, I literally wake up, walk Alfie and then run – pretty much 20 minutes from waking up I’m outta that door. I can’t run if I’m digesting.

But anyway, so I finished the run and decided it was that time again. PANCAKE TIME. It has been too long! I used THIS recipe but also added 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree to get some really beasty, chunky pancakes.


Yep, I am not ashamed to say I wolfed all those bad boys down no problemo.


With a side of PB2 which I intermittently smeared over them. Oh it was divine! Oh pancakes how I missed you.

So then after some housework and mooching about we had lunch. I’ve been really loving my soups lately. And as we actually didn’t have that much food in the cupboard since the snow prevented our weekly shop, chicken soup was the perfect choice to just kind of throw the dregs of the freezer together and hope for the best (really selling this aren’t I?).


Basically chicken with a lot of frozen veg as we had nothing fresh, apart from a couple of lonely onions. But it was goooood. Especially with the cold weather. I also had a side of (unpictured) roasted butternut squash. I have tried putting the squash in the soup while it cooks but it’s just not as good as roasting it and then dipping it in the soup – is that weird?

Hmm I’m sure I did some fanscinatingly interesting activities on Sunday but I can’t quite remember them…maybe watched some reality rubbish TV, read a magazine…took Alfie for a walk in the snow…usual Sunday leisure activities post-household chores are complete.

Then dinner! I have found my latest favourite recipe. And unfortunately cannot recreate it until I get more pumpkin puree *sobs uncontrollably*. But apparently Waitrose sells it and my parents shop there quite a lot so I might put in an order to them Smile


OK I realise it doesn’t actually look that appetising. However, it tasted amazing. I didn’t use a recipe, I just kind of threw some bits and pieces together due to lack of alternate options. Ben refuses to eat pumpkin (can I get a collective, whhaaaaat??) so he had a corned beef sandwich…enough said.

Creamy Pumpkin Pineapple Chicken (serves 1)

  • 1 tsp. oil of choice
  • Clove of garlic, diced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 small tin of pineapple and 2 tbs. of pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin (I roughly estimated this, I probably used a bit more to be honest) 
  • Big dollop of light Philadelphia
  • 1 tsp. paprika

– Fry the onion in a little oil until golden, add garlic and fry for another minute before adding chicken.

– Add the pineapple, juice and pumpkin.

– When heated through add the Philadelphia and paprika.

– When all combined and heated through feel free to add some random veggies to bulk it up a bit (that’s what I did!)

It was creamy, dreamy and I didn’t want it to end! The hint of sweetness from the pineapple really complimented the creaminess of the sauce. Seriously, this needs to be in your life. I am devastated that I have no more pumpkin.

I have to say that Philadelphia is my saviour for meals. It can liven up anything. The other night when I had fish I didn’t have anything apart from vegetables to accompany it. Now I’m not much a carb fan. You can take your rice and pasta and, to some extent, bread. I’d much rather have some more protein or fat, like cheese. So I roasted up some butternut squash and added a dollop of Philadelphia and blended it all together.


I had the fish with a herby/spicey sprinkle, veg and roasted creamy, dreamy butternut squash.


It rocked my world. It rocked my taste buds! Really delicious. And really easy.

In the evening we treated ourselves to some ever so yummy but probably not healthy at all Krusher dessert.


It’s basically angel delight. You mix the powder with milk (I used almond milk) and then put it in the fridge for 5 minutes and it goes all airy and thick. Then you sprinkle chocolate sprinkles on it and voila. Done. Creamy and dreamy Winking smile

On Sunday we did a task that has really been too long not done. Bathing Alfie. Oh he was not impressed. He literally stood in our bath with a look of absolute indignation on his furry face. He didn’t even try to escape for the futility of his situation, but just shot daggers at Ben and me. But afterwards he smelt so clean and lovely and he was so fluffy!


He still needs a haircut though…

On a fitness-related note. I’ve been trying to get the runs in early this week as I’m off to Derby on later today until Friday for work and though I know the hotel has a gym I can’t guarantee I’ll be bothered get there. So I ran 6 miles on Monday.


It was a good run but my route was all over the place trying to find a safe place to run without a) falling over in the snow and b) getting hit by cars. I’ve found I have to run on the road to guarantee that I won’t hit any ice but then I can’t guarantee I won’t get hit by cars!! Nightmare.

Then yesterday I ran 4 miles with intervals spread through it.


So I’m pleased I’ve banked some runs in early. Today I’m off out at lunch with the guys from work but I’m seeing this as more of a recovery run than an intensely fast run.

Now please don’t judge me. I’ve had my Garmin a while now. Until recently, I haven’t ever connected it to my laptop…I  know, that’s terrible isn’t it? I finally did it on Monday after getting hassle from the people at work for being such a technical dunce and seriously what have I been missing?? Full stats of every run, splits, maps, times, average paces, fastest paces, PBs. Oh wow!! You could waste hours analysing your runs. I haven’t. Yet…

Annnd lastly, here’s what I’m wearing today!


Yay new jumper from Next!

That’s all I’ve got! Have a lovely day Smile

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this week?

What do you prefer, carbs or protein? A warm crusty piece of bread or a lovely roast chicken?

WIAW – #3

Beware, I’m about to have a bit of a rant. Apologies in advance.

It’s so lovely and warm. The sun is shining. It’s amazing. Everyone is so much more happy. I get to work. I AM FREEZING. Apparently there is the need to crank up the air con to MAX and turn it into winter into our office. I look longingly out of the window at the beautiful sunshine and gentle warm breeze swaying the trees. And I’m sat with my cardigan on and jeans shivering. Shivering. I walk out of work in the evening (even at 6pm) and the heat hits me. My car is roasting. And yet I’ve spent 95% of the day shivering. Now I know I don’t have a huge amount of insulation going to provide some benefit against this, but that is not the point. It’s finally summer and I’m still cold.

OK, I’m done. Whew. I feel better now.

Sooo, WIAW. It’s that time of the week where I ‘enlighten’ you the fascinating (mildly interesting?) meals that I’ve had today (well, Tuesday). As always, hosted by Jenn from Peas and Crayons.


So for breakfast:

25.07 breakfast

Yep, that is green porridge. I added half a teaspoon of wheatgrass to my oats before cooking them. It didn’t impact the taste at all which was nice. I’m really into my wheatgrass at the moment and want to get it in where I can. I might make a green smoothie sometime this week to take to work and put in the fridge. I’m just concerned that they might think I’m a bit strange with my bright green smoothie…

Does anyone else get worried about what people think of what you eat? I eat quite healthily and get a few comments about my lunch or snacks and it really bothers me. I hate people looking at my food and judging me. I know I shouldn’t care but it makes me nervous eating around other people (except for close family and friends who know me well enough). I hate feeling like I have to justify what I’m eating. There are always the questions about why I eat so healthily and how I don’t need to eat all that salad, I’m skinny enough. I’m not eating it to get skinny I’m eating it to keep healthy and because I enjoy it! I eat rubbish as well but not all the time. I’m very conscious of what I put into my body and I like to feel good about myself.

Anyway, for lunch I had some quorn chilli that I’d made the other night and took some in to work with me [Check me out being a bit more adventurous with meals!]:

24.07 Lunch

This is an appalling photo, sorry. I was trying to take a photo on the sly so my work colleges didn’t think I was crazy. They’re not from the “take a photo of your food” era. This lunch was really yummy. A bit of quorn, a handful of haricot beans, chopped bell pepper, chopped courgette, diced onion, bit of garlic, chilli, mixed herbs and a tin of chopped tomatoes. This made two very yummy portions. Very easy ‘bung it all in a saucepan’ meal.

Dinner was even better:


Goat’s cheese, chicken, chopped pear, tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and pecan nuts with a balsamic dressing. I am loving salads at the moment. And I’m loving goat’s cheese. And surprisingly so is Ben. Another win!

Throughout the day I munched on some apples (obviously), a banana, Snack a Jacks (I am literally addicted to these) and a home-made jelly. No pictures as these are fairly dull. Well, maybe one photo:


Ahh, perfection.

Here’s what I wore (yay summer outfit!):

25.07 outfit

OOTD (outfit of the day): top is from Forever 21, jeans are soo old (from Topshop) and necklace from Accessorize. Can’t remember about the bracelets – probably Accessorize knowing me.

And for my fitness… I did my usual 5miles in the morning. I’m pleased with how it went. It was a nice cool temperature to run:

24.07 Run

Not sure why my Garmin showed a different view today. I only recently jumped on the Garmin band wagon last month so I’m still getting used to it, and to be honest I’m not sure how to navigate through it. I just jab random buttons and hope for the best. I could read the manual. That would be the most sensible approach. But that’s an effort really, isn’t it?

Hope you’re all having a great WIAW. I love noseying (sp?) on people’s meals Smile