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Eating healthily and trying MYHK

15 Jun MYHK pea risotto

I’ve been working hard to eat healthily this year. I’m fortunate enough to be supported by The Athlete’s Palate, but it’s still hard for me. I expected to have an increased appetite whilst marathon training (especially as a breastfeeding mum), but I’d forgotten that that hunger sometimes lingers after the race. I’ve also been struggling with my appetite because I’m so tired. My baby looks like my husband, but she definitely has some of my personality traits. I’m sure I’ll be glad that she is extremely determined at some stage, but right now, I’d love it if M would sleep. She just wants to run around all the time. She might only be 7 months old, but she can already walk a bit (and can run when she holds my fingers!)

To make my life as easy as possible, I always make sure that I plan my meals in advance. This ensures that I have the necessary ingredients at home and that I don’t have to make meal decisions when I’m hungry. I also prepare my breakfast the night before, so that when I get up it’s easy for me to finish making it. In the evening, Stuart usually looks after M whilst I make our dinner – this gives them a chance to play and gives me a break as I enjoy being in the kitchen. However, I find lunch the most challenging meal as M needs lots of attention. Sometimes I choose to have a salad that i can prepare the night before, but at other times, I just need something quick, easy and filling. I try not to resort to ready meals as most of them are bland and unhealthy. Lots of supermarkets have ‘healthy’ ranges, but they are often uninspiring or there aren’t many vegetarian options.

I was given the chance to try three new ready meals by MYHK (my healthy kitchen), which sounded like a perfect solution for my problem. The meals are all under 500 calories with no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives. They include fresh ingredients and have other (specified) nutritional benefits.

The three meals that I was sent to try were:

  • Chicken Paella
  • Prawn Katsu
  • Pea, Mint and Rocket Risotto

I’ve been a vegetarian virtually all of my life, so I recruited my husband to try two of the dishes. (The other flavours that are available are: Moroccan Prawn, Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Risotto and Oriental Chicken).

Chicken Paella

The special advantage of this meal is that it’s low in fat and high in protein and fibre.

MYHK chicken paella

I’m definitely not a food blogger and neither is my husband – we completely failed to take a photo of this, so here’s one that we’ve ‘borrowed’ from the MYHK website.

Stuart says: “Paella wouldn’t usually be something I’d choose but I enjoyed this one. The chicken was a step up from the majority of ready meals and was good solid pieces and nicely flavoured. The chorizo was less oily than some and was a nice addition. I would have preferred a slightly stronger flavour but the meal wasn’t bland.  It did feel like the meal was balanced and the ingredients went well together. The portion size is broadly equivalent to most common supermarket ready meals and I would have preferred a slightly larger size (particularly if I were undertaking a higher training load).”

 

Prawn Katsu

The special advantage of this meal is that it’s high in protein and low in saturated fat and sugar.

Stuart says: “This was my favourite out of the two. I enjoy a curry and this includes katsu which I’ve eaten in Japan. The split of sauce to the ingredients worked really well with this meal as the rice didn’t get soggy when being microwaved but was easy to eat and mix together. The prawns were reasonable quality and a bit more generous than seen in some other meals. The sauce was really nice albeit the pickled carrot packs a punch and it was spicier than I expected – I don’t mind relatively hot food but I know Tamsyn would have really struggled with a vegetarian version. The lighter jasmin rice helped balance the heat but I could see some people getting put off. As with the paella I would have preferred a slightly larger size although this would be filling compared to the usual ready meals seen.”

 

MYHK prawn

 

Pea, mint and rocket risotto (vegetarian)

The special advantage of this meal is that it’s 1 of your 5 a day, and it’s also low in sugar and saturated fat.

MYHK pea risotto MYHK pea risotto close up

Risotto is one of my favourite meals, but I’ve never made it at home. There are several reasons for this – firstly, my favourite risotto is mushroom risotto and Stu hates mushrooms, but secondly, I believe that risotto can be time consuming to make as you need to stir it continuously.

This risotto isn’t just made with Arborio rice, but also with quinoa. I liked this as it gave it a slightly different flavour as well as increasing its nutritional value.

As soon as I opened the packaging, I could smell the peas and mint – they were really aromatic and got my taste buds watering.

The risotto was topped with rocket (arugula). This is quite a bitter leaf, but paired with the creamy onion sauce, I thought it balanced nicely. Another interesting touch to cut through the creaminess was the addition of some pickled red cabbage. I adore red cabbage and would never have thought of pairing it with risotto before.

Overall, I really liked this meal. It was a reasonable size for a ready meal (although I’d have preferred a slightly larger portion with a few more calories) and looked appetising as well as tasting good. The price is more than a lot of ready meals, but comparable with the types of things I like, such as Bol ready meals.

 

These meals are currently available from Waitrose and Ocado with an RRP of £3.95.

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A review of SportArt Compression products

2 Mar

I’ve been trying out a range of exciting new products recently, including three items from SportART:

  • Compress socks
  • Calf guards
  • Insoles

SportART is a relatively new company set up by a pair of Ironman triathletes. The first product they developed was insoles. They came up with a technique to analyse human feet and develop ‘sports-anatomical insoles for different arch types’. These insolves are significantly cheaper custom-made insoles.

I put the insoles into an old pair of trainers that I have. I’m terrible at keeping records, so I’m not sure when I bought the shoes or how many miles I’ve done in them. (I don’t log into Strava often enough to make use of the tools here that can tell  me how many mild I’ve done in a particular pair of shoes).

I couldn’t feel the insoles after putting them into my shoes, but that was good as it showed me that they fitted. I had wondered whether I would need to cut them to fit my shoes, but they were perfect out of the box. I’ve only tried custom mounded insoles once before, when I first went to sweatshop. I only found out their price after having them added to shoes, and I had to turn them down as they were so expensive.

I rotate through using several pairs of trainers, so have been wearing the insoles for over a month now. They have reinvigorated an older pair of shoes and have provided my feet with good support on long training runs, so if you are struggling with foot pain or need greater support, you might want to try a pair.

SportART compression garments were developed by a CompresSport Developer. I’ve tried CompresSport calf guards before, so I was interested to be able to try out these products to see how they compare.

The socks are made of a soft, thick fabric, but they weren’t too difficult to put on. I had measured myself carefully, but as with all ‘knee-high’ running socks, they were slightly too long for me. I’m 5′ 5″ tall (1m 66cm) and believe that I woul need to have calves that are an inch/2cm+ taller for these not to turn over at the top.

The socks come in a choice of two colours: white or black. I tend to avoid white because of the challenges of keeping white clothes looking clean, but these have washed well and remained white.

The socks were comfortable to run in and provided a moderate level of compression, however, I found the toe box rather oddly-shaped so I had to adjust them on longer runs. (You can see where my toes are in the picture below – my little toes are not in the narrow toe panel).

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The final product that I tried  was a pair of compression calf guards (paired with black socks in the images above and below). This was my favourite product and one that I would strongly recommend and would buy in future. The fabric felt soft and smooth and gave a good level of compression.

Badger Farm CC6 2017

Have you tried any compression garments or specialist insoles? Which brands do you like? Have you tried any SportART products?

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Brug review

1 Mar

Brug

I’ve been fortunate enough to test a Kickstarter project recently: Brug by Wunderlife… An innovative bag/rug combo. This is a really interesting product that I think will appeal to a wide range of people.
The brug can fold up really small (about the size of a 2 pint carton of milk). Which means that it could easily be packed in a suitcase for holiday use, or stored in the boot of your car. (The picture above shows the brug folded up). I unfolded it and for a few seconds was uncertain what to do with the cords and zips before working out how to zip it into a roomy holdall.

Unfolded brug

If I’d spent 20 seconds watching this video first, it might have been helpful:

 

The Brug also spreads out to a large square rug (150x150cm). I can see so many uses for this product including beach visits, open water swimming, outdoor exercise (like yoga and other things that require lying on the ground) and so on. Unfortunately, the weather hasn’t been kind so I haven’t been able to use it in as many ways as I’d like, yet.

I first used the brug when visiting a friend. We planned to have a picnic, and it would be ideal for that… However, terrible weather spoilt our fun. It didn’t mean the brug went unused, though. I had gathered up a few of M’s toys in it before visiting my friend. her house has hard floors, so I just opened the brug up, and then popped Baby M on it. It won’t be long before M starts weaning and I can imagine using it again then when visiting friends as we all know how young children love to throw food on the floor! It’s machine washable, so getting it clean again, won’t be a problem.
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The next day, the weather was significantly better. It was bright and sunny in my garden, so I decided to fit some gardening in. M is too little to be left unsupervised and she can’t walk or crawl yet, so she has to go everywhere with me. I laid the brug out on the grass and left her there playing and napping whilst I tidied around her.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wunderlife/the-brug-from-wunderlife-the-packable-multi-use-ba/widget/video.html

I’m a little slow off the mark as the Kickstarter campaign went live yesterday (Tuesday 28th February) at 10.30am. Getting involved in the Kickstarter essentially means that you pre-order the Brug. I’m really in favour of Kickstarter campaigns as they reward early adopters. ‘Early bird’ backers (i.e those that pledge by 4th March) will receive the Brug at 40% discount on the retail price – £38 instead of £63, which is a fantastic saving. There’s a blogpost that explains more about the Kickstarter campaign.

What do you think? Is this a product that you would use?

 

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Work less, run more

12 Feb

… that’s one of the slogans of a new brand on the fitness scene: Season’s Trail. It’s an online running brand that allows you to purchase complete coordinated running outfits (and we all know that I love to wear matching outfits!)

It’s a similar model to Fabletics, but has a couple of advantages:

  • for men and women are available
  • you do not have to sign up for a costly monthly subscription (this isn’t made clear in most adverts for Fabletics adverts… buying one cheap outfit signs you up to a monthly subscription that it’s hard to get out of. I love having new clothes, but there’s no way that I can justify buying a new running outfit each month).

Placing a complete order with Season’s Trail buys you four items of clothing:

  • tights
  • base layer (long or short-sleeved)
  • outer layer (jacket/zip top/hoodie)
  • sports bra (women) OR shorts (men)

The cost of this set is £100, which seems like good value for money, especially as there’s free next day delivery. I think this would particularly appeal to new runners, and anyone who’s time pressed or wants to treat themselves. It’s also possible to buy individual items of clothing and accessories.

At the moment, the items are available in a range of plain colours and a choice of styles, but some people may prefer more colourful/patterned items of clothing. However, the items are well-designed and are suitable for outdoor running, including trail running. It’s not a brand that’s focussed on gym-goers or yogis.

A really neat feature of the website is the outfit builder. You choose which version of each of the four items you want and can then view it on an online model. This allows you to decide which items coordinate best with each other.

The items that I chose were:

  • High support sports bra.
  • Ladies dark grey tights
  • Ladies grey long sleeve base layer
  • Ladies grey running hoodie

I was so excited when my kit arrived in a lovely branded box:

Seasons Trail box

It arrived not long before I was due to go out, so I immediately went and changed.

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My first trial of the clothing was a 5k buggy run followed by a buggy fit class and then a run home. It was a good test as I think I experienced all 4 seasons in that 2 hour slot. Although I got rained on a lot, I felt warm and comfortable and did not experience any chafing. The only problem that I had was that the sports bra was not supportive enough for me.

I then tried the outfit again (minus the sports bra) for a parkrun and a long run (17 miles). One problem that I often have with running tights is that they fall down – that did not happen with these tights, even on the long run. I didn’t wear the hoodie for the long run as the weather was too warm, but it was comfortable to put on when I had finished.

I thought I’d sum up my thoughts on each piece of clothing…

Season's Trail sports bra

Seasons Trail sports bra

Pros:

  • Attractive design
  • Option of padding or not
  • Coordinates well with other pieces
  • Mesh for ventilation/style

Cons:

  • Just not supportive enough for me to run in

I really wanted to like this crop top and think that I would probably have been able to run in it before having a baby, so it would probably work for flatter-chested ladies than me (or for people who are happy to wear it as a crop top over a bra). I think this is one of the biggest challenges that the company will need to tackle as getting the right sports bra is a very individual thing. I think I’d prefer shorts to a sports bra as I’m very choosy about what works for me.

Season's Trail dark grey tights

Pros:

  • Nice thick fabric, so they were supportive and not see through
  • Very comfortable waistband
  • Quite high rise (some might see this as a disadvantage, but it made them comfortable for long-distance running)

Cons:

  • A little long for me. (This wasn’t a real disadvantage – I’m short and so full-length tights are usually too long)
  • Would be better with some reflective bits for night-time running
  • There is a pocket, but it is open at the top, so I would be too nervous to put a key or £5 note in it, but it’s fine for an inhaler

Season's trail long sleeve grey base layer

Pros:

  • Lovely design – the stripes don’t really show in the images
  • The contrasting pink bits make it coordinate well with other pieces
  • Smooth flat seams make it comfortable to wear
  • Thumb holes make it suitable for winter wear

Cons:

  • No laundry instructions in English (I chucked it in on a 30 degree wash with other sports kit and it survived!)
  • There was a hole on thumb seam. This was a shame as the kit felt like it was good quality and well-made.

This was my favourite piece out of the four because it is really flattering on and very comfortable to wear. If it were available in other colours, I would definitely buy it again. (Jade green would appeal to me!)

Season's Trail grey running hoodie

Pros:

  • Lightweight but cosy
  • Thumb holes to keep hands warm
  • Two zip pockets each with a secure inner pocket for iPod, keys or money
  • Adjustable hood
  • Nice length
  • Coordinates well with other pieces
  • Reflective strips on the arms

I genuinely couldn’t find any disadvantages of this item of clothing.

Future plans for Season’s Trail include branching into clothing for hiking and cycling, which would be good.

If you like the sound of Season’s Trail, why not treat yourself. A 20% discount code is currently available: TRAILRUN

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Cold and slow

21 Jan

I’ve succumbed to the lurgy and have had a heavy cold for a couple of days, which is incredibly frustrating. It has affected my sleep and makes me want to just hibernate.

This morning, Stu ran to Royal Victoria Country Park and I drove to meet him there. We’d chosen to go to Netley Abbey parkrun as it was our friend Dave’s 250th parkrun.

When I arrived, I set up M’s running buggy and then went over to congratulate Dave for reaching his milestone. He was chatting to one of my running heroes, Iwan Thomas. Iwan was there with his adorable French bulldog, Frank… I was so tempted to take a photo because he is the cutest pup (and Iwan’s not too bad either!)

Stu was feeling achy when he got there as 12km is the furthest he’s run since he was doing Ironman training last year, so he said he look after Morgelyn and I could run. I wasn’t wearing what I would usually wear to run in, but as the temperature was -4ºC (39ºF) when I left home, it was probably just as well that I had some extra layers on.

As I wasn’t feeling well, I agreed that I would join Kim and Vicky for a social run. Kim was looking very glamorous all in black, and she was sensibly wearing sunglasses. I hadn’t thought about wearing mine and was blinded for half of the run.

It was a route that I’d not run on before, so perhaps my result could be considered a PB, but I know it was slower than I would usually do.

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I’ve been feeling jealous of all of the beautiful leggings on Instagram recently, so I splashed out at Decathlon this week. I had a £5 voucher to be used by the end of the month, so I went in for a browse and after spending a further £8, I came out with some very jazzy leggings. For the price, I was impressed with the quality – they are quite thick and have a lovely flat waistband that is quite high. My only gripes are that they are designed for people who are taller than me, so they are quite long… and perhaps I could have worn a smaller size as they started falling down. However, if I had worn a smaller size, I think they would have stretched too much and the white lining would have shown.img_1633img_1634img_1635img_1636img_1637img_1638

Tomorrow, I had been hoping for a lie in, but we’re marshalling at the CC6, so there’s no rest for the wicked. I’m then scheduled to go out for a short run with Lou, but I think I should see how I’m feeling. At least I’ve got a lie in to look forward to on Monday, when everyone else is heading off to work!

How are you getting your fitness fix this weekend?

 

Big round up

9 Jan

It feels like ages since I’ve had a chance to blog. Christmas was hectic and baby M takes up an awful lot of time (who knew it was possible to sit doing nothing but watch a baby for hours!)

On Christmas Eve, Stuart, M and I were in Cornwall. I had found out that there was a new parkrun at Trelissick, near to Feock, but the inclement weather conditions meant that it might be very challenging with a buggy, so we decided to try to alternative route at Penrose parkrun. We’ve only done it out on the coastal past previously, but it’s currently on a flat tarmac path, which seemed like a more sensible option for the buggy.

It was Stu’s turn to walk with the buggy, so I put on my festive SOAS cycling jersey and some shorts. I persuaded Stu to take his festive antlers with him. Initially he was undecided about wearing them, but when he saw that everyone else was in fancy dress, he put them on:

Christmas Eve at Penrose parkrun

The event was heaving in comparison with when we have visited previously – there were 335 runners, which was over 200 more than in most weeks. Unfortunately, this meant that it was a slow start. I was hoping that the relatively flat course would make it easy for me to beat my post baby PB of 28:15. The course was also far muddier than I had expected. It took me almost two minutes before I could start jogging and even then I had to weave around people.

I finally managed to get moving more quickly. I could hear the man in the inflatable turkey suit just behind me, so I tried to pick up the pace. The course is currently an out and back, with an incline up to the turn around point. As we hit the incline ‘turkey man’ passed me. I was able to overtake on the way back down, but it wasn’t long before he sped past me again – oh well, never mind. I was also keeping an eye out for Stu and M. They were doing very well and were ahead of quite a few others.

The return leg was much easier as the crowd had thinned out. I could see the finish, but it involved going around a muddy corner and across a patch of grass.

Christmas Eve parkrun 2016

It wasn’t a PBPB, but I felt quite pleased anyway. I was 53/147 female runners and 6/24 in my Age Group.

After I’d caught my breath, I jogged back to meet Stu and M. They managed to beat 24 other parkrunners, which is a great result as they walked the entire event.

Stu and I had hoped to get out and about a bit at Christmas, but Stu came down with a heavy cold and we had so many relatives to visit that it was nigh on impossible to fit in any running, although we did go on a long walk to buy pasties 🙂

By New Year’s Eve, we were back in Southampton, which meant that we were able to take part in Southampton parkrun. It was Stu’s turn to run, so I got to walk with M’s buggy. My friend, Caro, caught up with us partway around, so I had a lovely social walk, and also managed to get a walking PB 🙂

New Year's Eve parkrun

I then had a dilemma. New Year’s Day was an extra parkrun day, so I knew that I could do either Netley or Eastleigh parkrun at 9am before doing Southampton parkrun at 10:30am. However, my next parkrun was a (minor) milestone: #200. In the end, Stu, M and I went out for a party on New Year’s Eve and then decided to have a lie in, so that I was able to do my 200th run at Southampton.

At the start, I met up with my friend, Pete, who agreed to run with me. Pete’s a stronger runner, but he’d had a very late night, so didn’t want to push himself too much.

During the first lap, we saw our friend, Kirsty, so she stopped and chatted to use for a while before heading off – she was in the middle of a long run.

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My photographer friend, Paul was out on the course, so all of the photos from my 200th parkrun were taken by Paul A. Hammon 🙂

I had decided to wear my parkrun 100 t-shirt, but it was a mistake as it was far too hot to wear black!!! I was also wearing my Hoka One Ones – I like them a lot more than I thought I would!

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Stuart race walking with baby M.

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Pete and I had been chatting a lot during the first lap, but the second lap felt harder. I had said to Pete before the start that I wanted a PBPB of under 28 minutes, but I started to wonder whether it would be possible.

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I was so pleased when we crossed the line in a time of 27:54 – a PBPB!

parkrun 01 January 2017

I was 80/218 females and 19/47 in my age group.

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This weekend was also a busy weekend. On Saturday, I walked Southampton parkrun with M. It was a busy event with its second highest ever attendance of 884.

I decided to wear some new kit. I’ve been sent some fantastic compression socks and insoles by SportArt, so I’ll be blogging about them soon.

Sport Art compression socks

I also wore a top from Craft that I received just before Christmas:

Craft base layer

Again, I’ll be writing a review of it as soon as I have the opportunity.

I also took the opportunity to try out a new gadget – a phone holder for my buggy – so I decided to play Pokemon Go whilst walking. This meant that I didn’t set a new walking PB, but I wasn’t far off.

parkrun 7th January 2017

Yesterday, I took part in my first cross-country race of 2017. It was also my first race since having baby M. It was the 5th race in the CC6 series and I was looking forward to running with clubmates from Southampton Tri Club, although I was a little worried that I might struggle to complete 5 miles as I’ve not run that far for a very long time.

Badger Farm CC6 group photo

It was quite a busy race, so I tried not to start too close to the front. It was also rather damp and misty, but warmer than the photos suggest.

Start of Badger Farm CC6
Stuart had agreed to look after M, so I was able to borrow his STC vest. I need to buy my own soon! I was also trying out some compression calf guards from Sport Art – I’ll be blogging more about them later.

The course was different from in previous years, which were usually two laps. I much preferred the new route, but there were some long uphill stretches as well as some steep parts. I loved the downhills, but they tended to be very muddy and a lot of other runners were wearing inadequate shoes, which slowed them down.

Badger Farm CC6 2017

In this league, only 3 women are needed to score as a team, however all abilities are welcome. I assumed that I was one of the last runners for my team, and I was correct… however, I hadn’t realised that Claire was just behind me until she over took me in the final 500m. I finished in 57th place out of 80, so there’s definitely some work to be done on my running, but I was pleased to complete the distance and to see lots of friends from STC, Lordshill and various other running clubs.

Post CC6 Badger Farm

I’ve not talked about New Year’s Resolutions because I’ve not come up with anything solid this year… however, I’ve got some exciting plans afoot regarding my nutrition, so I’ll be sharing more about them in the coming weeks. I’m also still deciding on my A races for 2016 as I need to know how much free time I have for training and I want to be fair to Stuart.I may take part in some races as a pacer as I really enjoyed it last year.

I’m hoping to get back to swimming soon and went out on my first post baby bike ride recently, with my friend Kim. Later this week, I’m going to be going to a free fitness class: Buggy Mums. I’ve no idea what to expect, so I’ll be reporting back on it.

What have you been up to recently? Have you set yourself any big goals for 2017?

 

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Fast Fuel – eating for success… and a giveaway

11 Oct

Even if you’ve not been following my blog for long, you’ll know that nutrition is important to me. I’ve successfully managed to lose weight by eating a healthy balanced diet and have only put on 7-8lbs by Week 39 of pregnancy by eating well, so I’m always interested in learning more about nutrition.

Training FoodAs we saw in Rio, the world’s greatest athletes have an entourage of professionals behind them to ensure they’re properly prepared for the games. Elite sports nutritionist and author of Amazon’s #1 best-selling book in the fitness training section, Training Food, Renee McGregor is one of the people who works with Olympic and Paralympic athletes to get them fully fuelled for the big games. Renee is a hugely respected registered dietician and sports nutritionist who works with both amateur athletes and those at the very elite levels of competition. She is a performance and clinical Dietician/Nutritionist, accredited by the Health Professions Council, and The Sports, Exercise and Nutrition Register, and is a member of The British Dietetic Association, and The Sports Nutrition Group. Renee works with individual athletes, and runs workshops for coaches and squads, alongside guest lecturing on sports performance at The University of Bath and appearing at sports conferences.

This month Nourish Books is publishing two new books by Renee to help everyone, from amateur athletes to those standing on the Olympic podium, to properly fuel their fitness:

I’m really excited to have been sent an advance copy of each of the books for review. As you may be aware, I adhere to a vegetarian diet, but I appreciate that this isn’t for everyone (and I think my own life might be easier if I could bring myself to eat meat/fish!)

Food for Running Success

Fast Fuel - Food for Running SuccessThe first half of this book focussing on giving the reader information about how to fuel properly with chapter on the basics, training and fine-tuning; the second half of the book features recipes that are divided into five sections:

  • breakfasts
  • light meals
  • main meals
  • snacks and portables
  • desserts

There is a single recipe on each page and each recipe includes nutrition information per portion as well as information about the number of servings, preparation time and cooking time. This information is essential for any time-pressed athlete. I think my only criticism would be that there are no photos of the food, which is what I like to see in a recipe book!

In the first section of the book, there are sample menus made out of the recipes that have been included, so it is easy for a runner to put together a nutrition plan using the information. The advice that is given is clear and practical, but I was reassured that it was backed up by science. Some of the recipes have clearly been developed by someone with similar tastes to mine, such as the Black Forest Porridge. I also particularly liked the rosemary and paprika vegetable and bean hot pot… so much so that I ate it before thinking about taking a photo – oops!

Food for Triathlon Success

fast Fuel - Food for Triathlon SuccessThis book follows a similar structure to Food for Running Success, so I won’t explain it here. Also, many of the recipes are the same, so it’s probably best to decide whether you are predminantly a runner or a triathlete, rather than investing in both editions. My favourite recipe so far in this book is the Tofu Pad Thai. I have to admit that I modified it slightly (coriander is the food of the devil), but I’m sure most people would love the recipe exactly as it is.

Both books include a detailed bibliography, so if you want to read more about the research behind the recipes, it’s easy to follow it up.

Overall, I’ve really enjoyed reading these books and intend to try out many of the recipes over the next few months. There are sound scientific principles behind all of the recipes, which are explained in an accessible way. Also, although the benefits of specific foods are explained, Renee does not advise faddy eating or cutting out entire food groups.

 

Giveaway

I have one copy of each of Renee’s new books to giveaway to UK residents.

Fast Fuel giveaway Terms and Conditions

These books are for anyone and everyone with an interest in fitness and in keeping their bodies properly going, so if that sounds like you, why not enter?

 


Update:

The books were won by Michelle Dorrington and Norbert-Daniel Acatrinei. I hope they enjoy them 🙂

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What are your favourite goggles?

4 Oct

I’d really hoped to go running with a friend yesterday afternoon, but after a day of rushing around and trying to get my house organised,  I felt quite tired. I still prefer to run than to swim, but I knew that I should go swimming as I haven’t made it to the pool much recently.

As a child, I didn’t mind being in the water, but I really hated having to wear goggles and a swimming hat for school swimming lessons. At least they were optional when I went to the beach with my family.

Bryony and Tamsyn at the beach

That’s my sister on the left and me (in the bikini) on the right.

I have a strong memory of seeing prescription goggles for the first time ever when I was at the opticians as a 10-year-old. Unfortunately, I looked at the price tag and they seemed incredibly expensive, so I never even asked whether I could have some.

When I decided that I wanted to take part in triathlons, my eyesight had deteriorated so much that I knew I had to buy prescription goggles. Fortunately, the price had come down a lot and I was able to buy suitable pairs for under £20.

After I had my eyes lasered, I had no idea what goggles to buy, so my husband gave me a pair of polarising goggles like his, so that I could wear them for open water swimming. I’ve been very happy wearing them and have never had any problems, but when Joci gave me the chance to try their Free Swim Swimming Goggles, I leapt at the opportunity.

Joci goggles

The company claims that they are “a pair of swim goggles that fits kids and adults really well and are ideal for training.” This is a bold claim, but since they were launched in May 2016, they have risen to be in the top 1% of goggles sales on Amazon, which is quite impressive.

I wanted to assess the following areas:

  • fit
  • fogging
  • tint
  • visibility

Joci goggles

I ate dinner fairly early and after resting on the sofa for an hour or so, I managed to muster up the energy to go swimming. As I said to Stu, if I made it as far as the pool, I knew that I would make it through the session.

As it’s the start of the month, the queue to enter the swimming pool was really long – everyone needed to pick up new parking permits, so although we’d allowed plenty of time, it was still a bit of a rush to get to the poolside on time. This meant that I didn’t have any time to spend faffing around with checking that the new goggles had been adjusted to my size – fortunately, they didn’t need any adjustments. The goggles are a single moulded piece, so there is no nose piece that can be adjusted, but the elastic strap can be adjusted.

The user guide advised getting the goggles wet before wearing them, so I splashed them in the pool before putting them on. I’ve quite a small head and narrow face, so was pleased to find that the goggles fitted me well. They have a slight tint, which was sufficient for indoor pool swimming. I could see clearly, although I did wonder whether there was some slight distortion – I’m sure I can normally see my coach’s face clearly from the far end of the pool, but I couldn’t last night. However, I have also been warned that my vision may change temporarily during pregnancy, so that might be the reason. I did find that I had a wide field of vision… and the coach complimented me on my head position during this swim, which may have been helped by how much I was able to see. (I have a tendency to lift my head).

The best part of wearing these goggles was that they did not leak and did not fog up at all during the whole swimming session. I intend to wear the goggles repeatedly over the next few weeks (well, for as long as I’m able to keep swimming) to see whether there is any deterioration.

As for the swim set, it was great to do a mix of drills and speedwork with Huw. There were four of us in the lane, and with the exception of the kicking drills, I was firmly at the back… but I managed to hang on. One part of the session was several x 100m off 2:20. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but I managed to keep within the 2:20, which was a confidence booster. I had a few breaks (I did 4x25m at maximum speed when the others did 6×25 as I didn’t want to get out of breath), but completed the vast majority of the session 🙂

What are your favourite goggles and why?

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Are you feeling lucky? Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces review and giveaway

8 Aug

I’ve been lucky enough to have some Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces to try recently.

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces

They come in a wide range of colours, but this pair especially appealed to me as they match my favourite trainers… which match my Team SOAS kit.

My favourite Brooks with elastic laces

I have tried various elastic lace systems in the past, but the first pair that I bought were very cheap and were so stretchy that my shoes kept slipping off. The next pair that I tried were OK for a while, but I found that if I ran for longer distances (over 10k), my feet started to swell and my shoes became too tight, so I’ve been searching for a perfect replacement for a little while.

There are lots of benefits to using Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces:

  • You never have to stop to tie your shoelaces. This is an essential time-saving element in triathlon as no-one wants to waste precious seconds in T2 (the bike to run transition), but it can also be the difference between getting a PB or not in a running race. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve seen someone have to stop during parkrun (or a race) to retie their laces… or worse yet, trying to struggle on with their laces untied, whilst I’m panicking that they’re going to trip and fall! This can also be a huge benefit if you have a child who hasn’t yet learnt to tie their shoe-laces or an elderly relative who struggles with fastening their shoes.
  • They’re really quick and easy to put into your shoes. I had put one pair in an ordinary pair of trainers, but I wanted to wear my blue/turquoise shoes for my aquathlon. I completely forgot to lace them before going to the event. Luckily, I was able to lace up both shoes in just a few minutes after I had arrived at the race venue.
  • They’re easy to adjust. Pressing the ergonomic lock button releases the laces, so you can easily make your shoes looser or tighter.
  • They’re really comfortable. As a runner who’s currently 7.5 months pregnant, I know what it’s like to have feet that swell at random. These laces are extremely comfortable and I know there’s no risk of getting hotspots and sore patches where my laces have been too tight.

This short video shoes just how easy Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces are to install:

My partner, Stu, is just a couple of weeks out from his first Ironman, so he has been looking for the perfect laces. He chose to add a pair of the laces in white to his Brooks shoes that he uses for distance running:

Close up of Phoenix fit UK elastic lace

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces in Stuart's shoes

Phoenix fit UK elastic laces in Stuart’s shoes

Since putting the laces into his shoes, Stuart has worn them for quite a few long (10 miles+) training runs. I managed to get a couple of pictures of Stu out running with those shoes on:

Stuart running 1

Stuart running 2

Stuart running

Stuart is a very different runner from me – he’s got good technique and can comfortably ‘jog’ a hilly marathon in under 3:25. I asked him what he thought of the laces, and this is how he responded:

“I think they give a more consistent tightness than standard elastic laces. I will definitely be wearing them for triathlons in future. They were quite easy to install, although I found putting the ends on quite fiddly… but that’s a one-off job, so it didn’t bother me”

Close up of Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces toggles

Close up of Phoenix Fit UK elastic laces toggles

So, what do you think? For me it’s free speed for my next triathlon 🙂

 

Giveaway

I’m hosting a Phoenix fit UK elastic laces giveaway, so please enter for a chance to get your hands on “the ultra tough elastic lace system.”

I have three pairs of laces to give away – the winners will be able to choose from the following colours (depending on availability).

colour choices

The giveaway runs from 12:00am on Monday August 8th 2016 to 12:00am on Monday August 22nd. Full terms and conditions are available at the link below:

Fat Girl to Ironman ‘Phoenix Fit UK Competition’ TERMS and CONDITIONS

No purchase necessary. Entrants muct be resident in United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter and announced on this blog by Wednesday August 24th.

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Have you heard of OOFOs?

4 Aug

At the beginning of July, I was sent a pair of OOFOS to try out.

seafoamgreenooriginal

Oofos logo

I’d not heard of them before, but OOFOS are described as ‘footwear recovery specialists’. I was initially sceptical about the product, but after reading that OOFOS recovery footwear was awarded ‘Gear of the Year 2015’ by Runner’s World USA I thought there might be something to them.

Other versions of OOFOS are available, including the OOlala Slide:

oolalaslide

I was tempted to try the slides as I don’t often wear flip-flops and I figured that (as long as I didn’t have to appear in public wearing socks and sandals), I could wear them with compression socks at home after events, but I thought I’d be bold and push my comfort zone!

I had a good look at all of the options available to women in the UK and although black seemed like a sensible colour, I fancied something more exciting, so I went for seafoam green.

Women's OOFOS

According to the website, all of the shoes feature recovery benefits as the soles absorb 37% more impact than ordinary shoes and the footbeds are designed to cradle your arches.

Initially, I tried out the OOFOS when I went open water swimming as I prefer to wear flip-flops lakeside. For many years, I refused to wear any kind of open-toed shoes as I have partial syndactyly (webbed feet). As I never wore flip-flops when I was a child, my feet have never toughened up and I find many pairs of flip-flops uncomfortable. The soft foamy material didn’t aggravate my feet. Another advantage of these shoes is that they are moulded from a single piece of foam. This meant that although they got muddy by the lake, it was easy for me to rinse them off in the shower.

However, trying out the shoes after open water swimming didn’t really give me a chance to find out whether they would help with recovery as swimming isn’t exactly a load-bearing sport! A couple of weeks ago, I had the perfect opportunity to really test my OOFOS. I took part in Thunder Run a 24 hour relay race. As part of the event, I ran 4 x 10k, which would be challenging enough for most people, but I had the added challenge of being 7 month pregnant. By the end of the event, I felt really tired and my feet and ankles were in pain. As soon as I could, I removed my trainers and put on my OOFOS. We walked around for a bit and then had a long drive home. My feet and ankles still felt achy when I went to bed, but I was amazed to find that the next day I didn’t feel any pain at all. In previous years, I’ve run 40-50k and have spent the next day or two hobbling around. I was especially surprised as I hadn’t really trained adequately for this event!

The soles of the shoes seem to have a gentle roll to them that feel natural and comfortable when you walk. Several of the other ladies at Thunder Run tried on my OOFOS and they al commented on how surprisingly comfortable they are.

I’ll be honest that I didn’t expect to like these shoes, but I’m a convert – I LOVE THEM! 🙂

OOFOS are available from specialist running retailers across the UK and direct from www.oofos.co.uk.

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