Beating Treadmill Boredom with RunSocial

I haven’t run on a treadmill for years. I don’t know about you but I can’t stand the monotony and boredom, I love running outside and all the rewards that it brings, I just feel like I lose the love if I have to take my running indoors.

I can see the benefits of using a treadmill, perhaps during inclement weather, during winter if you don’t feel safe going out in the dark, if you are travelling and don’t feel safe running, or if you really want to nail a speed workout and like me are rubbish at judging pace outdoors. I’ve found the only thing that makes me stay on a treadmill in the past is doing an interval workout as having to focus on changing the treadmill speed and incline keep my mind occupied. I didn’t think there was any way I could make treadmill running more interesting, but what if there was a way I could bring my love of the outdoors and it’s spectacular scenery indoors? Well that’s where RunSocial comes in.

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RunSocial is the only app in the world that combines social running with incredible HD videos of spectacular running routes to spice up your indoor training. You can explore new running routes with friends/groups, wherever you are in the world. The videos are virtual world environments where you can run alongside others in real time on 13 different routes, from the streets of the London marathon to the stunning Swiss Alps, or several American national parks which have taken my fancy. The app gives real-time data from other runners, and you can share progress and encouragement on social media channels. You can even participate in global marathon events individually or as a team- not sure I’m quite hardcore enough to run a marathon on a treadmill, but I can definitely see me being on one for longer with RunSocial.

RunSocial’s CEO and co-founder Marc Hardy said: “Our mission is to help make fitness more fun.” This is definitely something I can get on board with. For me that’s what exercise is all about, if you aren’t enjoying it then why are you doing it?

You can download the app from the Apple App Store, and it’s compatible with iPad Air, iPad mini and iPhones with the latest OS. All routes, along with free demos, are available for download within the app.

Run Social have kindly given me a code (poweredbypbRS12) to share so you can download a free route in the app. To get your free route simply download the RunSocial app, go to the website and create your free account and enter the promo code, then log into your account on the app, go to the Swiss Alps route and select Run Sample, and you will shortly be running in the Swiss Alps-I might see you there! I haven’t had a chance to try the route out yet as I’ve been suffering with a knee injury, so hopefully I will be able to give it a go soon.

Win Your Dream Running Trip With RunSocial

RunSocial are also running an exciting competition to win your dream running trip and experience a RunSocial route in person. The competition closes on Monday 7 September 2015 and the winner of the main prize and runner-up prize winners will be selected and announced by Monday 14 September 2015. For the full Terms and Conditions click here.

 

Disclaimer: I was provided with a code to try out the RunSocial app, all opinions are my own.

The Best Plant Based Sources of Calcium

Day to day one of the biggest concerns I hear from people thinking about going plant based, or who are already eating that way is: How am I going to get my calcium if I give up dairy?

IMG_3360I occasionally track a days intake to see where my nutrition is at, and if I’m hitting my nutrient targets- anybody eating a plant based diet should do this once in a while, as it can show you where you might need to boost things a little, and confirm that you are getting enough of other things. If I don’t plan my diet well I always seem to be lower in calcium. I don’t believe anybody should make a flippant decision to eat a certain diet as you have to really plan it properly otherwise you are likely to fall down on certain nutrients- actually I guess that’s true of any diet really, if you don’t focus on nutrient density you are likely to not be getting enough of these vital nutrients.

Anyway, back to Calcium. There are plenty of amazing plant based sources of calcium. The WHO recommends 1000mg of calcium daily. The China Study highlighted that in cultures where there is little to no dairy consumption, and calcium intakes come purely from plant based sources there is hardly any incidence of osteoporosis. It is ironic that countries with the highest dairy and animal protein intake actually have the highest rates of osteoporosis. High animal protein intake causes the body to be acidic, and to neutralize the acidity calcium is leached from the bones. If you are interested I would definitely check out the China Study as it inspired my switch to Veganism five years ago.

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Calcium is incredibly important for bone health (as is weight bearing exercise!), it’s also vital for muscle contraction, heart health and neurological function. Calcium can be excreted at a higher rate due to high animal protein diets, smoking, caffeine, and high sodium levels, so avoid these factors if you are concerned about calcium levels. It’s also important especially for bone health to get enough Vitamin D, as it helps us absorb the calcium in the foods we eat, magnesium, vitamin K, manganese and boron are also vital.

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There are many good plant based sources of calcium including:
Leafy Greens: Kale, Spinach, Collard greens, Swiss chard, broccoli
Plant Proteins: Tofu, Tempeh, Chickpeas, White beans
Grains: Quinoa, Amaranth, Corn, Wheat, Brown Rice
Nuts/Seeds: Sesame Seeds, Tahini, Chia Seeds, Almonds
Other Sources: Seaweed, Blackstrap Molasses, Oranges, Figs, Baobab.
There are also an array of fortified products like alternative milks and cereals.

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There is plenty of choice, so you can mix up your sources, and as long as you are having 3-4 servings of calcium rich foods a day you should be hitting your required daily intake, plus if you are getting your calcium from these sources you are also bound to be getting an array of other important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and of course phytonutrients.

Fitness First: 1 Year to Rio

A few weeks ago I was invited down to a blogger event with Fitness First and Team GB to celebrate one year to go until the Rio Olympics-Can you believe it’s been 3 years since London 2012?! We were living in Dublin at the time, but made the trip over to watch the hockey, basketball and beach volleyball, it was so much fun. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the event as I had to work, but Mary and Anna have shared their experiences.

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04:  Members of the EIS staff take Fitness First customers through their paces at the announcement to launch Fitness First as the official new fitness partner of Team GB, at Fitness First Bishopsgate, on August 4, 2015 in London, England.

To launch the countdown to Rio, Fitness First-who are Team GB’s first ever official fitness partner-have designed a brand new sport profiler tool to help people find new sports to try out and receive Olympic level training advice from Team GB. The tool matches you up to a sport you are most suited to based on speed, stamina, strength, power and agility.

In Britain we tend to stick to our favourite four sports: swimming, running, cycling and of course football, which means we miss out on taking part in a great deal of other sports- including the rest of the 28 that feature in the Olympics. This could mean there is lots of untapped potential out there as people aren’t trying sports they may be very suited for.

The fitness profiler may have you thinking about trying a sport you might have otherwise not considered, you can also download unique training plans devised by the Team GB and Fitness First trainers and get a free pass to try out your local Fitness First.

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I did the profiler and it came back with football, which is funny as I used to play a lot of football when I was younger and during my school years. Maybe I missed my true calling ha. There are some really good training plans on the website, whatever your sport or goals.

 

Disclaimer: I was sent some free passes to try out my local fitness first in exchange for featuring the sport profiler.

Running right now.

Things have been quiet on the blog front, having a puppy has absolutely taken over every aspect of my life, so I barely have time to do anything let alone blog! It’s exhausting, but so much fun at the same time. For now a lot of stuff-including running- is firmly on the back-burner.

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I took a solid 3 weeks off any activity at all post race to the stones, a break was long needed, and although I probably could have run during this time, I wanted to ensure I gave my body enough time to repair and recover post race, and just to mentally take some time away from running if anything else.

My first run back was an enjoyable 4 miler with Rhianon around Regent’s park, I don’t get out that way very often any more, so it was nice to run somewhere a bit different, and my legs and head felt glad to be getting back to running. Since then I’ve run 2-3 times a week, just a few short run commutes, as well as a parkrun. The max I have been running is 4 miles, and most of the stuff has been very short, and fairly speedy (for me). I haven’t got much time to run right now, so I’m trying to fit it in as and when I can, and making it count when I do. parkrun on Saturday was really bloody hard, I haven’t been since Jan 1st as I work most Saturdays and when I don’t work I usually have something on so can’t make it, but I made the short trip over to Southwark parkrun to see what stage the legs were at. It was a very hot day-30 degrees in London-and even early on it was tough going in the heat/humidity, the course is a flat fast 3 laps, and they passed by pretty quickly, although the final lap had me hanging on and trying not to vomit. I was a bit dissappointed with the 24.30 effort, but considering my mileage for the last 6 weeks has been 30 miles total, to only be 20 odd seconds off my pb was not bad. It confirmed to me that if I actually put some work in, and get back into decent racing shape I can go a lot quicker. The last lap had me realising why I love endurance stuff though as it was a total sufferfest.

The legs have felt really good since having a bit of time off, although I’m not sure there is much endurance in them and haven’t really tried to push them on that front. I’ve signed up to the SDW50 next year, so have a whole winter of training and long distance running ahead. Right now I want to make the most of enjoying some shorter stuff and getting some speed back in the legs which had been used to more of a slow plod for most of the year. I just don’t have time to fit much training in right now as the puppy is taking up all my free time-it’s like having a baby. There are also no races at all that are really tempting or exciting me- race fatigue much?

As well as having little time to train, I’ve had no time or energy to cook so there has been a lot of eating out, and not much nutrient density in these parts, this has left me not feeling my best, so I need to figure a solution for this- anyone want to come cook me healthy meals?! I don’t even have time to do any batch cooking right now either! Solutions- please!

Outside of running I’ve been getting in some resistance workouts with the Kayla Itsine’s bikini body guide- I know awful name right- but the workouts are great, and actually 30 mins a day is something I can fit in right now while the puppy is sleeping. I’ve been doing 3 sessions for the last 2 weeks alongside my short runs, and it’s been challenging to say the least. The first session was a bit of an eye opener- 1. I had lost a lot of fitness, 2. Running fitness does not translate well to other sports/activity’s. I was an absolute sweaty cursing mess and that 1st session was still the toughest one I’ve done. It’s nice to get back to doing a lot of bodyweight stuff, and focusing a lot more on core work, which I’d probably neglected a lot this year- I’m planning on continuing with these workouts, and hoping they will set me up with a relatively good base fitness before I start my winter training.

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Right now I go through days of wishing I was training for an autumn marathon, missing the long training runs, but then reality strikes and I realise I’m exhausted enough by the puppy I wouldn’t have time or energy for it right now, and I’m ok with that, after all I get puppy snuggles which I need to make the most of while I can. Priorities have changed, life has changed. It’s been a bit of a shock to the system, and I think things will settle down eventually, but life is a bit manic right now. Running is firmly on the back-seat right now- but I hope that when I return to it properly in the winter, it will be with fresh legs, mind and perspective.

Ultra Recovery

I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since Race to the Stones. Yesterday I went for my first run (or any sort of activity) since race day, as I took a long break to let everything recover properly. I’ve solidly trained this year from my run streak in Dec/Jan, to marathon training until March and then RTTS from April onwards, with just the odd week off here and there, I knew (and I felt) I was in need of some time out.

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Credit to Rhianon

The first 7-10 days after the race I was still in such a happy bubble, the endorphins were still there, I was feeling pretty good, I could of probably even attempted a run, but I knew it was a false state of feeling good, and so decided to just rest. After the initial amazing high, I had a few days where I just absolutely crashed, I felt extremely drained, and a little bit of the ultra blues set in. I then came down with the flu which has been doing the rounds in my work, so that laid me up for a bit longer- not a bad thing as it ensured I would be adequately rested before attempting to get back to running.

Post race, I’ve kept an eye on my resting heart rate, for the last few weeks of training and first week or two post race, it was very high for me (mid 50’s-60) which reflected the impact the race had had on my body and perhaps that I was on the verge of burn out. I’ve been waiting for it to drop back to my normal range (low 40’s), before starting back to any kind of activity.

I think it’s important to remember that while your legs may feel good enough to run again post race, there are many other bodily systems that are effected which may be easy to forget about or ignore-things like endocrine system, adrenal health, thyroid- these things can take months to recover from such an event, so for me personally I didn’t feel comfortable jumping straight back into running although I felt like I could have done so . I like to think I am now pretty in tune with my body, and I know it’s not been happy with me for the last few months, the signs have been there that I needed this break, and I’m hoping it will have really helped to reset a lot of bodily systems that were put under immense strain during training and the race.

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I haven’t really missed running all that much over the last few weeks, so a break was definitely needed. Usually I’m getting antsy and climbing the walls when I can’t run, but I think I’ve put things in perspective this time and realised that it’s only 3 weeks, out of hopefully a long future of opportunities to run. I also got a puppy last weekend, so I have had absolutely no opportunity to run at all over the last week, I’ve barely had time to cook/eat/work to be honest! We’ve been sharing the puppy load, but it puts everything in it’s place, and things become perhaps less vitally important than they once were.

Not that running is no longer important to me, it’s just it’s no longer the be all and end all of my day, and not going for a run no longer affects my mood, and day which is not a healthy relationship to have anyway. I’ve been training solidly for a few years, and actually as much as I love it, it’s nice to loosen the grip every once in a while, relax and have time to do everything I haven’t been able to do for months on end.

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I’m hoping to return recovered, refreshed and ready to run. I’ve got nothing on the agenda to train for-I actually turned down a Berlin marathon bib, who am I?!-so I’m just going to head out when I want, to run as far as I want, wherever I want. Listening to my body, enjoying my running again, and enjoying being back outside, but also remembering to keep everything in balance.