2014: Practically Perfect in Every Way

So here we are again, at the start of another year. My email inbox is flooded with sales promotions (damn you Asos!), fitness suggestions, and the excitement of other bloggers for their New Year running goals.


I too have jumped on the New Year bandwagon, and based on what I’m planning, 2014 is shaping up to be quite a year. It includes a marathon, a sub-1:40 half, and a new dance routine. I have also signed up to Jantastic with my running club to get the year off to a perfect start.


It is exciting to reflect on your achievements over the past twelve months, both great and small, and to think about what you’d like to do with the twelve months ahead. Even thinking about it gives you a sense of achievement, and as Mary Poppins likes to say, ‘well begun is half-done’ (After watching ‘Saving Mr Banks’ last week, I re-visited my favourite childhood film and remembered why it’s so awesome).



She flies with her umbrella. Need I say more? 


2014 has been really chilled so far. For the last two weeks, I heartily embraced The Big Eat 2013, so yesterday some splits stretching eased me back into the frame of exercise. Today will be my first run since Christmas Eve, and I’ll be in some new shoes. I can’t wait! I blame driving from Durham to Birmingham to Devon and back for my lack of Christmas running (772 miles in total), but it could also have been all that chocolate and cheese I ate too.




I received some amazing presents for Christmas, which I can’t wait to try out:



Nike Free 4.0s, Sweatty Betty leggings, ‘Twin Ambitions’ by Mo, 2014 Lorna Jane Sports Diary


Thinking of last year, I pretty pleased with what I was able to do. As I mentioned last week, I hit some pretty big running goals, and here is how my splits looked at the end of the year:



Prettttty close! Just need to straighten the legs a little more, and to creep further down to the floor. It’ll happen….


This month I have a 10k run with some friends from school. I am beyond excited because:

  • I will be running with my best buddies
  • We’ll be running around the town where I spent my teens. I might take a time out and hang by the war memorial with the other 14 year olds. Except they won’t be awake at 10am on a Sunday.
  • Winter runs are ace. You have to battle hard, but you feel so fresh at the end
  • My 2014 running calendar will have kicked off!!


My plan for the next few weeks is:

  • Speed/hill work at least once a week
  • Ease my feet into the new Nikes – I’ve never run in barefoot-esque shoes before
  • Dance at least once a week and stretch twice a week
  • At least one 7k run a week, and at least one 10k+ run a week

So that should leave one rest day a week!! A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and a plan of attack helps you hit the streets. Not quite as catchy, but just as true.


Here is a view from a walk we did when visiting my Mum.



How is your New Year shaping up? Do you have plans to get out there and get running?


Friday & Freshers Fair

Happy Friday everyone!!


So, after my moan earlier on this week, it turns out that cross training is actually pretty fun: I had forgotten what else I can do as well as run. Here is how my week has looked:


  • Monday: conditioning and abs
  • Tuesday: Aerial yoga
  • Wednesday: 1 hour pole, 1 meta fit class
  • Thursday: 1 hour pole class
  • Friday: conditioning and abs


It’s been a good all-over week, and my back, arms, legs, glutes are all feeling pretty tired! At my dance studio, October is Octobutt, and everyone’s working on improving their glutes. So that will work really well with the old IT band stuff too :)


On Wednesday I went to the Durham University Fresher’s Fair. Not because I am one of those people who hangs around uni pretending they’re 10 years younger than they are, but because our dance school’s university societies were there. During my lunch break I headed down to the union and to demonstrate pole and aerial arts.


Janie and I just hanging around…..

If pole dancing has taught me one thing, it’s that you’re never too old/unfit/scared to do things that will amaze you. When I started, I never thought I would be able to do the splits, deadlift myself upside down, or even just feel comfortable in my own body. Before, I was a little caught up in the way the media portrays things. Lose that Winter weight now! 10 diet secrets you NEED to know! How to get that golden tan!


Instead of helping you feel comfortable, all this does is encourage you to think of your body as something that deliberately works against you, and which needs to be controlled. Now, my bod and I are a team, and we work together to do the things I want to do, and knowing that is the nicest feeling.


Now, I’m no expert, but if anyone is feeling down about their bodies, I would definitely recommend going and doing some exercise. Hopefully even a short walk around the block will remind you that you and your body work together. And then you can start to gradually increase it and maybe even find yourself doing something that will amaze you.


And finally, here’s what I’m loving this Friday!

  • Breaking Bad. Along with the rest of the universe. I have had a huge love/hate thing with this show: just when I begin to like it, everyone starts to be all mean to each other again. We have two episode left, and I do think that it’s had the best end of show climax I’ve ever seen though….. HOW WILL IT END?????????? (Don’t tell me)
  • ‘Atlas’ by Coldplay: Coldplay’s new song is perfect for Autumn. It’s moody, atmospheric and slow, great for those grey mornings.
  • 8 minute abs.  I heard about this from one of my fave bloggers, and during Abs August, I gave it a try. It’s so quick, but it’s painful and you see results very quickly. But it HURTS!
  • Nike and Run to the Beat: They came under some fire after the way their race was organised. As a goodwill gesture, they refunded £10 to every participant, and a t-shirt and apology note arrived in the post as a surprise too. Nice to see they acknowledged their errors, and thanks for another great shirt!
  • Radio 1 Live Lounge: September was Even More Music Month at Radio 1, and they had someone in the live lounge every day. It was ace. Here’s the most watched video on youtube from all the live lounges that month: Bastille, covering Party by Miley.


 Thanks Nike!!

I hope you all have a good weekend! Any interesting plans? We are running a 10k trail, so fingers crossed it’s not raining (too) hard!


Ellie B

Please don’t say I am injured already!

I did a long run whilst down in Dunsborough this weekend. Up at 6am but a pal wanted to join me for the first 3km so we didn’t get going until she was ready at 7! Oh well. We got to see the sunrise which was beautiful. And more importantly I could read the directions on my hand. I spent about 20 minutes trying to find the straightest line near the house! It was torrential rain when I got back….beautiful to look at from the balcony. Not so pretty from the hilly roads.


It was meant to be 21km @ Medium Run Pace (MRP) with a 13km shift @ Marathon Pace (MP). I was going to run for 6km at around 5.00 m/km then take it down to 4.48 for 13km and then slow down for the last 2km. Yeah, that didn’t happen. About 5km in I realised I had picked the hilliest road to run along – I was so focused on picking a straight road I wouldn’t get lost on, I never thought about elevation. Importance of Directions > Elevation Stats. If there is a chance to get lost I will. It has become so bad when I run with my group, that if we are unsure they ask which way I think and then we go the opposite! You can see from my splits below it wasn’t as consistent as I would like but I did my best with the hills! That last one killed me! It was so tough.



I got back to the amazing house we were staying in at around 9.05 and the yoga teacher we had booked arrived at 9.15. So it was like a 90 minute stretch out after which I certainly needed. I am next to useless at stretching. I can run for 3 hours but god forbid I take the time to stretch out for 15 minutes after. Hence why I am going to the physio later! Last year when I did my marathon I had to get a cortisone injection 9 days out from the marathon after suffering some knee pain. It turns out stretching, correct shoes and strengthening exercises are good habits. Good habits that I do not indulge in. I have started feeling the beginnings of twinges so I booked an appointment with a physio for this afternoon – want to really start focusing on strengthening my core and legs. Apparently pains in knees are often related to weak muscles in your hips etc…..so if you strengthen those it helps out.


And wearing correct shoes. I went to a podiatrist who is in our run club and he likened the support I get from my current shoes to being as effective as “hessian sacks” and he was “astounded I was still running”. He recommended Lunar Glide and Lunar Free – I like to run in Nikes despite them being the laughing stock of runners. I find them really comfortable, good price and fun colours. Which is obviously the most important criteria. I ordered these last week – pretty tame colours for me to be honest.


Because I have been feeling twinges I decided to step back the training this week and took a break until today. The legs felt good but I got a mild asthma attack! I can’t catch a break. 😉 I have 23km this Saturday so fingers crossed I’ll feel back to normal then.

Catch you soon.

Gilly P