|December 24, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
HAPPY CHRISTMAS EVE friends!! I am feeling so Christmassy right now! I did some panic shopping yesterday since I hadn’t bought a single present or card for my family at that point…! Procrastination is a talent of mine;) By some miracle I managed to get it all done, so now all that’s left to do is the wrapping and preparing tomorrow’s lunch! Here’s a sneak preview of the dessert I’m planning on making and veganising…
obviously my version will look that perfect too… (photo source)
This past week has been insanely busy, but in the best way! I’ve been out every night since last Monday, so now I am completely SHATTERED and relying on caffeine to keep me awake! After a stressful last couple of months, being able to completely relax and go out with friends is so great!
at Ping Pong in London. a stranger said in passing that we looked like sisters! not quite sure how they came to that conclusion…!
evening at a Mexican bar/restaurant…love the free sombrero
lots of cocktail times:)
Every Christmas some friends and I go to a carol service and then come back to mine to eat Christmassy food and watch Love Actually. It’s one of my favourite traditions, and Love Actually will never get old, no matter how many times I see it!
I’ve been to a record five carol services this week too! I’ve played in or been a singer in four of them, and yesterday’s was the first one I’d been an audience participant for, which was nice. Nothing makes me feel more Christmassy than carols:
My Christmas Eve morning started off bright and early with a team training session. It was the most fun session EVER, done relay-style with crackers instead of batons and whilst wearing santa hats:)
We sang Christmas songs on our warm-up (admittedly by “we” I mean I did…on my own…), exchanged cards and gave out our Secret Santa presents. Our coach also got us all presents bless him, and I can’t wait to open it tomorrow!
When I got home I stretched and foam rolled whilst watching Love Actually…again! I know that movie word for word.
I’m off to the gym now to get in a bit of cross-training, and then home to get started on making the vegetarian/vegan offerings for tomorrow!
What are your Christmas Day plans? Morning run, church and Christmas lunch with all the family!
What are you having for your Christmas meal? I’m making two main courses and a dessert to contribute to the meal, all of which are vegan of course! I’ve never made them before so I’m hoping they aren’t a complete disaster!
Are you getting in a run/exercise tomorrow, or resting? I can’t imagine starting my Christmas morning without doing the thing I love most! I’ll be getting in a few easy miles before presents and church:)
Have a GREAT Christmas everyone!! <3
|December 22, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
I promised I’d write a post about my winter running/base building plans and the conditioning I do. I also said I’d post this a few days ago…oops
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term base building, I’ll briefly go into what it’s all about. The base building phase allows athletes to build a strong aerobic base through high(er) mileage, which later on in the training cycle allows for more specific work to be done and for the athlete to be able to better absorb that training. Most athletes have two base building periods in a year- one in the summer and one in the winter. This is usually 6-12 weeks of building up the mileage which prepares the body to prepare for the next phase of harder, faster running. Usually 90% of the base mileage is easy aerobic running, with the other 10% quality sessions (hills, tempo runs, fartlek, etc.) to rev up the aerobic system and stimulate the fast-twitch muscle fibres. A weekly long run is also a crucial part of base building as it increases endurance and strengthens the muscles, bones, and connective tissues. I personally also incorporate hill sprints and strides every other day into my base building plan too, as this also strengthens the body and stimulates your fast-twitch fibres.
* First, volume is key. How much varies tremendously, so be your own guide. If you’ve never run more than 60 or 70 miles a week, shooting for 100 is probably irresponsible, even if that volume worked for Bob Kennedy back in 1996. It’s much more important to gradually adapt your body to a new mileage maximum.
* Second, don’t neglect hard running, unless you’re at altitude or have another stimulus that wears your body down. For some, that stimulus could even be heat. Ideally, however, a good base includes a moderate amount of hard running. It can take the form of threshold work, or hill and fartlek work, or a mix. Either way, because these workouts are not the focus of the segment, they shouldn’t be all-out efforts. Also remember that this isn’t the best time of year to race, but if you do, don’t expect much — a proper base phase should leave you pretty tired.
* Shoot for a weekly long run, and try for a solid pace on most of your other runs. Kennedy liked progression runs, and Culpepper found that with the absence of structured workouts, easy mileage didn’t get the job done. “You either have to run a lot, or you have to run somewhat briskly. You can’t just run as easily as you want every single day,” Culpepper says.
* Lastly, incorporate strides after a couple of easy runs each week. Older athletes will especially benefit from these quick, short bursts of speed. “I’m a masters runner now,” Spangler says, “and they say that as a masters runner, you tend to keep your aerobic fitness pretty well, but you lose your speed and your power as you get older.” Even in his no-workout phase, Culpepper did strides, and sometimes very short hills for an extra pop.
I started off my base training at around 30 miles per week (I’m building slowly back up after a break due to illness) and will build to around/just below 60 miles. This means the odd double run and some lovely early starts
I normally get up at 8am, so 6.30am is pretty painful for me!
I am also now doing strength and conditioning work twice a week. On Mondays I do a conditioning session with my team straight after an easy run, and later in the week I do a circuits session in the evening after a morning run. Our team conditioning involves hurdle drills for mobility, some plyometrics, and a circuit session.
conditioning with the team…I’m in the yellow shoes:)
I personally love circuit training, and I think it is arguably the best form of strength+conditioning training for runners. Here are a few reasons why circuit training is so great:
- Improves mobility, strength, speed and stamina
- Easily structured to provide a whole body conditioning session
- A wide range of exercises to select from
- Can be adjusted to suit age, fitness, specific needs of athlete, etc.
- Variation in exercises prevents boredom
- Keeps heart rate high throughout, so increases fitness
- Exercises are running-specific, so directly benefit your running
My coach sent me a number of circuit workouts that I can do in my own time. Depending on the circuit I’m doing and how much time I have, I typically do each exercise for 30-45 seconds, moving straight on to next exercise, and then repeat the circuit once or twice after a couple of minutes rest. Below is my favourite of the circuits my coach sent me. I typically do each exercise in this circuit for 30 seconds, going through each exercise in the group before moving on to the next group, and then take a two minute break before repeating the whole circuit. Doing this circuit twice in this style takes 40 minutes.
click on the image to enlarge
Plus, have I mentioned how much FUN circuit training is?!
clearly having the time of my life with that medicine ball…
Whilst we’re on the subject of running, the lovely people at Brooks sent me some PureProject shoes! These are the PureConnects, and in a lovely bright colour (fluorescent green) to go with my other running shoes which are neon pink and fluorescent orange. Go bright or go home I say.
It’s now 2.30am here so I’d better hit the sack since I have to be up bright early for my long run tomorrow! Dragging my butt out of bed for that tomorrow morning after only a few hours sleep is going to be fun haha!
Have you ever incorporated a period of base training into your training? Most people don’t, but it’s something that would benefit almost every runner when building up to a race!
What is your favourite form of strength training? I used to love BodyPump, but it clashed with my training sessions and also my coach didn’t advocate it, but I’ve really grown to love circuit training!
What running shoes do you run in? I do most of my runs in the Saucony Kinvaras (I’m on my third pair now!) but I love rotating in other shoes to some of my runs, so the Brooks will be a nice addition
Have a great weekend everyone!! <3
|December 16, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
Hey friends!! How is it now only NINE days til Christmas?! I’ve barely started my Christmas shopping! Amazon, I’m heading your way…
Over the last week I have been working my butt off for exams and for essay deadlines, but thank heavens I am now DONE and can relax now! To all of us students who have had a stressful couple of weeks, I salute you!! There have been way too many late nights spent writing essays, fuelled by my beloved bourbon biscuits:
One thing that NEVER fails to get me through stressful times is my running! Winter running is in full flow, and I am LOVING it. It is the beginning of my base training, and I’m building back up from a period of illness, so I’m focusing on easy miles and strength and conditioning work.
This is one of my all-time favourite running quotes, from one of my favourite athletes and it sums up part of the reason why I love running so much:
It has been a cold couple of weeks, and cold running is so much more fun than running in the heat! I tend to run outside in all weathers except when the roads are icy, and then I hit the treadmill. Two years ago I twisted my ankle running on the ice, so since then I am pretty paranoid about it! And call me crazy, but I LOVE running in the snow:)
A few of you asked if I could talk more about my winter running plans/base building and what I do for strength and conditioning, so I’ll be doing a post on that tomorrow
This weekend has been absolutely FAB. In photos:
shopping in Oxford Street and sharing a Christmas meal with the bestie
busking in a shopping centre for five LONG hours, and raising over £1000!
celebrating Wine Friday with Catherine
runs at sunrise:)
What was the highlight of your weekend? I had the most perfect run on Saturday morning watching the sun rise in the woods…it made me so happy!!
What do you prefer, running in the heat or running in the cold? Cold all the way! I remember how hot I got running in Hawaii and in the south of France, and I much prefer running in the cold!
Have you done all your Christmas shopping yet? I’ve got most of my presents for friends, but I haven’t even started on family yet! Every year I leave it last minute and regret it!
Have a great week everyone!! <3
|December 2, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
Hey guys! Thank you so much for the lovely comments and emails in response to my last email! I LOVE YOU ALL. Here’s a little recap of the last few days:
Recently I’ve had lots of frosty morning runs…
…and lots of freezing, dark evening runs, layered up with my favourite armwarmers, gloves, and a super-cool fluorescent vest I’m not a fan of running in tights though, so I suffer it out in shorts practically all year round! My legs are always numb for ages after I get back!
On Thursday night my friends and I drove out to Bluewater, one of the biggest shopping malls in Europe, for some Christmas shopping. They put Christmas lights all over the trees in the car park and it looked so Christmassy!
After a few hours of shopping, we sat down to eat at Leon, a healthy fast food chain, and one of my favourite eating places. I got my beloved baked fries alongside hummus and flatbread.
Earlier this year, I won a Jack Petchey Achievement Award for my running, and on Friday it was the ceremony. I had to go straight to the ceremony from training, so I had to change in the car and didn’t have time to shower beforehand! Classy as ever
Afterwards I headed out to the pub to celebrate with a friend. We chatted and laughed for hours then headed home at closing time.
On Saturday we headed to our friend Becky’s birthday party. There was a DJ and lots of dancing, and a photo booth which we took full advantage of!
Also London looked BEAUTIFUL yesterday evening!! I love this city <3
After hours of dancing in heels last night, this morning’s long run was so painful!! My legs and feet were really sore, so the 10 miles felt long and slow! I ran on the trails for half of it, and slipped and fell in the mud a couple of times, as always!
Nothing that a few hours of chilling in compression socks and watching Grey’s Anatomy couldn’t fix though
We also put up the Christmas tree and all the lights today whilst blasting out the Christmas music! Now I REALLY feel Christmassy!!
What was the highlight of your weekend?
Did anyone else put up their Christmas tree and decorations this weekend? Our family tradition is to put them up the first week of December.
Do you have a staple item of winter running clothing? I love my armwarmers, because I have a thing against long-sleeved running shirts, and I always wear a peaked cap to keep the rain/snow off my face
Hope you all had a great weekend! <3
|November 26, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
I’m back…again! So many times over the past few weeks I have sat down to write a blog post but have been unable to write anything. Truth be told, some not-so-great things have happened over the last few weeks so I haven’t really felt like sitting down at my computer and talking about it. I’ve spent too much time in the hospital recently, both for myself and for my best friend. But for now, I’m just going to put all that aside and just be truly thankful for all the AMAZING things I have in my life. Because although I’ve had a lot of struggles over the last few weeks, I’ve also had a lot of happiness, and in many ways, things have never been better!
I am thankful for my health. I have taken it too much for granted in the past but I am determined that I never will again!! After weeks of illness I have never been more grateful for feeling good!
I am thankful for my best friend and that she’s still with me today <3 We’ve been besties since we were five years old, and thirteen years later we’re as close as ever!
I am thankful for my music. Aside from being my only source of income, it is one of the loves of my life, and only until fairly recently I was planning to spend the next few years of my life at music college! I first picked up a violin at the age of five, switched to viola at age ten, and never looked back. Seven music tours, 25 music exams on four different instruments and hundreds of concerts later, I couldn’t be more grateful for having music in my life!
In the last few weeks, I have played in the orchestra in a production of Les Miserables (my favourite musical!), played at two weddings and performed for a Chinese delegation at the Foreign Office. Things are busy, but I love it and wouldn’t have it any other way
I am thankful for running. I’m sure none of you saw this one coming Running has brought me so much that I find it hard to even put into words.Running makes me feel EXTRAORDINARY, and every run reminds me of how far I’ve come. And last week I got my selection letter to once again represent my county (region) at Nationals in March! It was one of the best experiences of my life last year and I can’t wait to do it all over again in a few months
My coach and running team are absolutely fantastic and I’m so grateful for their constant guidance and support! Training with speedy people improves the standard of the whole group, which is clearly why we are such WINNERS
Plus I am definitely a fan of our new strength + conditioning sessions…
clearly having far too much fun with that medicine ball
My winter base-building begins THIS WEEK so I’m excited to start ramping up the mileage in preparation for the big races coming up in the new year!!
I’m thankful for the London School of Economics and their awesome free public lectures. Having the third best university in the country put on free public lectures and debates in the evening with some of the best speakers in the world is just awesome. If you live in or near London and are interested in politics/history/economics, then I couldn’t recommend them more! I’m currently planning on studying history and politics in university, so these events are my idea of heaven
The ticket on the left was for a fantastic public debate on the future of America post-elections, and the photo on the right is from a lecture on Soviet totalitarianism in the Stalin/Khrushchev era. Both were so great!
I’m thankful for Grey’s Anatomy. In the weeks I was ill, I went through six seasons of it. Yes, six whole seasons in just a few weeks! I can’t wait to watch the next couple of seasons, but at a more reasonable pace this time
I’m thankful that it’s LESS THAN A MONTH TILL CHRISTMAS!! This is my absolute favourite time of year, especially since my family from America fly over so we’re all together for Christmas and the New Year! I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!
Christmas Day 2011!
I’m thankful for YOU GUYS. I always love reading your comments and emails, and I love having such supportive readers! I know a lot of you have asked me to do a vlog, so if you have any specific requests, just ask me in the comments
What is one thing you are thankful for?
What is your current favourite TV show? Right now it’s Grey’s Anatomy, but I also love the Big Bang Theory and Downton Abbey (although don’t get me started on how disappointing Season 3 was!!)
What is your favourite thing about Christmas? Definitely my family coming here! I also love Christmas music and will be playing it non-stop from now until December 26th
Love you all, hope you had a great start to the week!! <3
|October 4, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
Moving really hurts right now thanks to some major DOMS. Yesterday I had a run with the team, then a circuit session, then another short run to finish. For someone who hasn’t done any strength training for months (I was banned because of my back issues), it was a serious challenge! And then 20 long hill sprints as today’s session was the final nail in the coffin. I don’t think I’ll be leaving my bed tomorrow
I raced for the first time this season last week, and it was my first time racing as a senior too! Our team hit up the Southern Road Relays, and in two weeks we’re off to the National Road Relays!!
Running aside, I’ve been spending too many hours in the library going crazy on caffeine. One essay = three cups of coffee. It’s a good thing my parents got me a Costa giftcard for my birthday or I’d be broke right now!
looking crazy after five hours of essay writing and far too much caffeine…
This week has also been a bit tough for me because yesterday was the anniversary of the death of a loved one, so more than ever I needed the people I love, and as always, they brought a smile to my face all week long
I’ve got a great weekend planned too! On Saturday I’ve got my first XC race of the season, and I’m aiming for a top three finish! Then in the evening I’m going hitting up London with my best friend, and Sunday another race! It’s gonna be a fun weekend!! ALSO I’m planning on doing my first vlog (by popular demand on Formspring!) in my next post, just a heads up
And I’ve just realised that there are far too many photos of me in this narcissistic post, so here’s a photo of Questa (my aunt’s guide dog puppy) to balance things out a bit. She’s twelve weeks old now, and has grown so much!!
Do you do regular strength training? What kind? I will be doing a twice-weekly circuits session with my team this season! I used to do BodyPump a lot, but it no longer fit in with my schedule and my coach advised against it and suggested running-specific circuits instead.
Have you got any races lined up? I’ve got a race or two every weekend for the foreseeable future, and I can’t wait! I love racing! I know its now half-marathon/marathon season too, so I know a lot of people are training for those right now!
Love you all, have a great weekend! <3
|September 26, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
Sorry for going AWOL again, but I’ve just come back from an amazing time staying in the beautiful city of Oxford!
I stayed at the University for a History conference, which was fantastic! The lectures and lecturers were so amazing, the food was great, and I got to experience it all with some of the people I love most!
Our accommodation and lectures were all at Hertford College, which was lovely but it SO cold inside the building! I kept waking up in the night because my room was so cold!!
I got to look around the amazing Bodleian Library with all its 11 million books. Incidentally, it was the library used in the Harry Potter films! Apparently the crew took it over for three days for filming which really riled the academics!
I also went ice skating for the first time!! We saw there was an ice rink nearby, so we hit up the twilight session! I fell on my butt twice (and sitting down is literally a pain in the…) but I was a lot better at skating by the end! I’ll be a figure skater in no time
And of course, I got to explore the city in the best way…through running! My running bud Jessy and I had such a great time finding new places to run and nothing is better than running in a beautiful city with a good friend for company
Sidenote: those beautiful shoes I am sporting above are my NEW SAUCONY KINVARAS. I am in love with them. I had racked up about 700 miles on my old Kinvaras so it was definitely time for new ones!!
I also dropped my Garmin out of my third storey window this morning and it somehow survived without a scratch! I put it out on my windowsill to get signal and then dropped it out when I tried to pick it up! It is a miracle watch. And I really need to insure all my possessions because I am such a klutz.
Too many early starts and late nights this trip meant that I’ve been averaging three trips to Starbucks a day to keep myself away. I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve spent on coffee in the past week!!
Anyways, I have a life update, a review, and a RACE RECAP from my first race of the season(!!) to post this week, so I’ll be around more from now on
Have you ever been to Oxford? I’ve been a couple of times for brief visits before. My cousin is at her fourth year of uni there so I’ve been on day trips to Oxford to meet up with her.
What is your favourite city in the world? Oxford is up there, but it’s not quite my favourite…yet I think mine are currently San Francisco, Honolulu and Barcelona.
Are you a coffee fan? How do you take yours? I like my coffee black usually, especially in the mornings, but I like soy lattes too!
Hope you’re having a great week! <3
|September 10, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
It has been a long, crazy week, but one of the best ones of my life. I don’t think I’ve gotten more than 5 hours sleep at any time this week, and I’ve probably eaten twice my bodyweight in cake
vegan chocolate fudge cake from Whole Foods…so so good!!
My 18th birthday began as most people’s do…with an 18km run It was the perfect way to start the day. I joked last year about running 18 miles on my birthday, but I decided that if I wanted to live to see the end of the day, running 18km might be safer haha!
I spent the day with my beautiful friend Gabby. We’ve been best friends for fourteen years, so spending this day was her was extra special:)
Judging from our text conversation the day before my birthday, she agrees that my mental age hasn’t quite caught up with me yet…
The rest of the week was spent celebrating! P.S. please excuse all the creepy flash eyes in all the coming photos…
On Monday I had a birthday dinner out with two of my closest friends. We drove to our favourite Indian restaurant where we have weekly dinner dates and the manager (who we know pretty well) came out and presented us with a bottle of champagne on the house as his “present”!
I had a last concert with my musical friends, all of whom are going off to music college this week! I will miss them so much, but thankfully both the Royal College of Music and the Royal Academy of Music aren’t far from where I live so they can’t get rid of me that easily
Also I HAVE to share with you this present from my friend Rachel, which my fellow Big Bang Theory fans will appreciate…
I am never taking this off. Maybe I’ll remove the manic expression though…
And in running-related news, I had my first session back with my team on Thursday! My running club train all year round, so we don’t take summer/Christmas off as a lot of teams do. But I’ve been on holiday or had back problems for the best part of two months so I haven’t trained with them since the beginning of July! It was so great to see everyone again and MAN ALIVE was that a painful track session! Having not done any speedwork since I left, running a couple of sets of 600m-500m-400m-300m with short recoveries was a definite shock to my system! I was running the 600s in around 1.55, which is a lot slower than I normally do! The speed will come back quickly though I know Boy was I sore the next day!! I’d missed that soreness, and I’d missed my post-session chocolate milk!
I also was FINALLY given my medal from the LYG cross country race back in November! After the race, there was a big mix up with the medals so no-one was given any! We still had a presentation and were given our certificates on the podium, and were promised that our medals would be sent to us. This was my best race and my favourite one from last year, so it was nice to finally get my medal, even if it is ten months late…
I was also handed my sheet of cross country fixtures for the upcoming season…which has no less than 21 races!! It’s going to be a fun year for sure!
A big THANK YOU to all of you for the birthday wishes and love and support in general! I hope you’ve all had a great week! <3
|September 2, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
HELLO! I’m finally back home, and I finally have internet again! I reached my limit of mobile internet halfway through the holiday, so I couldn’t post any more updates! So here’s a quick recap…
Running here has been amazing. I don’t think I really talked about this properly on the blog before what with all my travelling and stuff but I basically had to take the best part of the last month off running because of a back problem. It was frustrating, as it was just a freak injury and I couldn’t even really cross-train because most movement hurt my back! So I’ve been slowly building back into running over the past few weeks, and doing one or two double-runs a week as well. I’m just so happy to be back running though, and in such a beautiful place too!
I’m not quite sure what caught my attention in that last photo, but whatever it was clearly made me very happy! Maybe there was someone handing out free cookies.
The runs were TOUGH. I will never again complain about the hills back home. Fell running is no joke!!
Runs turned into mini adventures, with lots of dodging traffic, sheep, horses, hikers, and even running through a ford once. And by running, I mean wading through 2 feet of water. Having wet feet on a run is also something I will never again complain about! It also rained on all of my runs except one, so it’s a good thing I love running in the rain! One of my rain-running essentials is a peaked cap, because it keeps the rain off your face nicely:)
P.S. I don’t listen to music when I run, I just was trying to wake myself up with some tunes in this photo!
I also did a long hike every day with family or friends, and the views from the runs and hikes were incredible!
Every evening I would come in exhausted and crash on the couch to watch a Big Bang Theory marathon whilst rocking the compression socks and sweats look
The food was also amazing!! So many shops served vegan (as well as GF, DF, etc.) treats, and my favourite as I’ve already mentioned was the Lakeland Pedlar in Keswick. I think in total I had four slices of their vegan chocolate fudge cake during my stay! So worth it:)
vegan carrot cake
gnocchi with tomato+mushroom sauce
spaghetti pomodoro from an Italian restaurant
These are the only food photos I snapped on my phone, and despite appearances I did actually eat food that wasn’t entirely carbs
Also TOMORROW September 2nd is the second best day of the year (after Christmas) in my opinion and I am very very excited for it!! If you can’t guess, you’ll see why in tomorrow’s post
Have a great weekend friends!! <3
|August 20, 2012||Posted by Sweet Tooth Runner under Uncategorized|
*Sorry about the dodgy formatting, I’m still blogging from my phone! Also the Internet connection where I’m staying is really bad which is making responding difficult, but I promise I read and appreciate each and every comment and email:)*
I had THE MOST PERFECT morning run ever today. I’m not the biggest morning person normally, but this view just made me so happy:)
Six glorious miles through the wooded trail alongside the lake, and I didn’t see another soul the entire time!
Since my normal run-view back home
is of endless roads and houses, this is perfection:)
I made myself a proper lunch today, which was a butternut squash nut roast (delicious!!), with new potatoes and baby spinach:
After a two hour hike up a mountain…
…I headed into town and stumbled across an AMAZING vegetarian cafe called The Lakeland Pedlar
I left with two bags full of food, including the most DELICIOUS hummus and falafel wrap that i’ve ever had!
Aaaaaand…vegan chocolate fudge cake!!
The cake was perfect, and I think I’m going to go back here every day and have a slice or ten;)
I’m off to have a nap before my evening run. All this activity is making me tired:)
Where is the best place you’ve ever run?
I loved running in Hawaii too, but it was so hot, even early in the morning!
Have a great week friends! <3