Tag Archives: sleep

A week where I managed to swim, cycle and run (at last!)

11 Feb

Wow – what a week!

On Monday, I wasn’t feeling motivated to get in the pool. I think M knew that Stu was out with his friends watching the Superbowl on Sunday night, so she decided that she’d also like to be up partying. I got very little sleep and did not feel like going swimming, but I know that ‘you only regret the workouts you didn’t do’, so I agreed with myself that I would go to the pool and then see how I felt.

Don't mistake my cutness for weakness. I will terrorise you and turn this house upside down like the tiny tornado that I am.

This perfectly describes M!

When I got in the pool, I decided to do a 20 minute time trial. I swam at a steady pace and was pleased to see that I covered 850m in that time. As long as I can sustain that pace then I should meet my goal of 2.5k in an hour 🙂

Strive for progress, not perfection

This sign on the gym wall seemed perfect

On Wednesday, I was going to run with a work colleague, but we both had a lot of meetings on, so it just didn’t work out in the end.

I’m so excited to have learnt that I’ve got a place in RideLondon again this year. It should tie in nicely with the other challenges that I’ve got lined up.

RideLondon 2018

I’ve also been trying out a few new products, so there will be some reviews posted soon.

I’ve received a couple of products from New Wave Swim Buoy – a supersoft towel and a ‘launchpad’ – a neoprene mat that can be used for triathlons and on pool changing room floors.

New wave products

I’ve also been trying to squeeze in some reading around the training that I’ve been doing…

This Girl Ran Run Mummy Run book

Plus I’ve been trying out some gorgeous new leggings from GearBunch

Gearbox leggings

On Friday, I went out for a run with Rachel and her baby. It was great to have a full day to myself. Whenever I get a day without M, I start getting on top of things, but she’s been ill so often that I never seem to catch up.

Trying out my new Gearbox leggings

I ran from my house to The Common and was disappointed by my pace, but I decided to ignore it as I know I’m not as fit as I’d like to be. My training for Reading Half definitely isn’t going the way that I’d planned. This time last year, I was so much fitter. I had originally hoped to be aiming for a PB (sub 1:52:19), but now I’m desperately hoping I’ll be fit enough to run sub 2:00.

I ran around The Common with Rachel and F. We went down every side path to try to make the distance as much as possible. When we stopped, I was horrified to find that I’d only run 5.5km in 55 minutes. I’ve never been that slow before. It just didn’t seem right as I’ve walked parkrun (5km) in 40 minutes.

I then ran home. When I got back, the final distance was 12.5km, which is the longest I’ve run for many months. I had a look at my Garmin data online and was relieved to find that somehow my watch settings had changed and the distance shown was miles, not km. Phew!

I’m now starting to feel like I can get myself back on track and can at least finish Reading Half.  Have you entered yet?

reading fc comp

There is currently a fantastic competition on:

Enter Reading Half before 13 Feb to win a great hospitality package for one of Reading FC’s remaining games this season:

Prize includes:

  • VIP match seating on the North West corner
  • One course gourmet burger menu
  • Cash bar facility available
  • Matchday programme and team sheet
  • Place at a shared table
  • Matchday entertainment

I didn’t manage to get a run in this weekend as I was Run Directing at parkrun again. It’s a role that I really enjoy, but I wish that I could be in two places at once as I also love running.

If you’ve ever wondered how difficult your nearest parkrun is, you might be interested to have a look at the Run Britain Rankings. Southampton is a relatively easy run at #38 and Penrose (my local run when I go home to Cornwall) is at #340. How does your local parkrun compare?

Stu and M watching the ducks

As I wasn’t able to go running today, I figured that time on my feet would be a good compromise. I had the most amazing lie in this morning (after several nights of very poor sleep), which has helped me to feel much better. In the afternoon, Stu, M and I went for a walk down to the university and around the campus. M was fascinated by the ducks.

Overall, this week started off badly, but I managed to turn it around an am now feeling totally inspired ready for a new week 🙂

Can you change your triathlon performance in 8 hours?

15 Dec

Chances are you’ve carefully planned your training schedule to help you reach peak performance for your A race, whenever it comes in the season. You may also be working on a nutrition plan, so that you are at your optimum weight… and all whilst working and juggling family commitments (and possibly study).

For many people this means compromises.

For me, it often results in less sleep.

… and this can have a detrimental effect on my triathlon performance.

So, is it worth training hard and eating right if I neglect my recovery time and don’t sleep enough?

A recent scare story (loosely based on a report using Australia’s well-known 45 and Up public health data) suggested that sleeping more than 9 hours a night could be detrimental to health

Sleeping more than nine hours a night – combined with sitting too much during the day and a lack of exercise – can be just as bad for you as smoking and drinking alcohol.

However, what wasn’t made clear was that this just referred to people who do under 2.5 hours of exercise a week – something that is unlikely to apply to triathletes.

Are you a superstar snoozer?

Sleep & Sports (final)(1)

Infographic from: http://www.mattressnextday.co.uk/

If you want more information about sleep, you might enjoy this BBC site: Which five things ruin a good night’s sleep?

How many hours sleep do you get? How many hours do you think you need? What are your top tips for a good night’s sleep?

Your six step party season pre-tox plan

30 Nov

December is creeping ever closer, which means party season is nearly upon us. Cue late nights, boozy shenanigans and that seasonal ‘fitness amnesia’ that seems to strike without fail year on year.

But not this time; this time, I’m here to help you fight the cause of festive fatigue, rather than treating the symptoms after a month of overindulgence. Simply follow this six-step plan to stay feeling festively fresh, no matter what Christmas throws at you.

 

  1. Set realistic goals

Let’s be honest; you’re probably going to be rushed off your feet this holiday season, and setting yourself unrealistic goals that are doomed to fail won’t help you feel any less stressed. Instead of biting off more than you can chew, be realistic about what you can achieve. Instead of focusing on losing weight, set goals based on your health, and focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to fitness. In this way you leave time and flexibility to properly enjoy the holiday season without feeling guilty. Consider how many times a week you will be able to fit in exercise sessions, and add them to your diary now.

 

  1. Focus on fitness

According to Total Fitness, gym attendance drops by around 30 per cent in the lead up to Christmas – so if you’re guilty of taking your eye off the ball, you’re not alone.

Offset these fewer trips to the gym by focusing on higher-intensity workouts when you do go. Not only will you reduce the time you spend in the gym during this busy period, but you’ll also cut down on body fat before you start eating more food and kick-start your metabolism.

 

  1. Stay hydrated

As anyone who has experienced the torment of a Christmas party morning-after hangover will tell you, drinking alcohol leads to dehydration, which in turn causes tiredness, headaches and nausea. Not the best motivator to start your day!

Staying hydrated is as simple as making sure you spend the day occasionally sipping on some H2O, or upping your game by adding some electrolytes to the mix.

For this, I’m loving nuun – light and refreshing sugar-free hydration tabs which you simply drop into a bottle of water to get a great taste AND stock up on the essential electrolytes you lose during everyday activity. One nuun tube has enough tabs to make twelve 16oz (500ml) hydration drinks. It’s sturdy, waterproof and easily fits into a gym bag, bike jersey, handbag, or pocket, and you can buy it online! Sorted.

 

  1. Eat mindfully

In the run up to the Christmas period, pre-toxing your diet can be vital to continued health and fitness. It can be tempting to skip meals, making room for all the extra calories you might be taking on when eating party food and drinking alcohol. Bad idea – skipping meals interrupts your blood sugar levels, meaning you’ll feel lethargic and sluggish, and then end up eating more later to compensate for your hunger.

The easiest and most effective way to eat mindfully and healthily during this period is to eat regularly, choosing balanced meals and grazing on regular, healthy snacks. Include plenty of vegetables, raw salads, wholegrains and immune-boosting goodies such as nuts and berries. Add in some probiotics to help boost your gut function.

If you’ve got the time to cook some soup, it’s a great option for a speedy lunch or as a quick meal to fill you up before going to a buffet.

Remember, be realistic; commit to looking after your health, not obsessing your about your jeans size.

 

  1. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol

Don’t panic; I’m not suggesting you avoid alcohol and caffeine altogether (where’s the fun in that?!). What I am suggesting is that you limit your daily intake.

Ingesting too much caffeine or alcohol can be counter-productive to a pre-tox, because it increases anxiety and disrupts sleep patterns, leading to a vicious cycle of restless sleep, where you then end up relying on caffeine to help with daytime fatigue, and then going out and drinking more alcohol at the plethora of office parties and Christmas socials happening in the coming month.

Set yourself the rule of no caffeine after 3pm every day. Caffeine may help keep you alert, but studies show that it puts a strain on your liver – an organ which is going to be working overtime anyway this holiday season…

 

  1. Get enough sleep

Long days at work, long evenings spent present shopping and long nights festively socialising are pretty much unavoidable around Christmas.

But making sure you get enough shut eye is crucial to your fitness and wellbeing – sleep loss is associated with weightgain, bad emotional regulation, weakened immunity and, of course, the inability to party endlessly in style. So do yourself a favour and make sure you’re getting at least 7 good hours of sleep a night.

Not sure if you’re getting the full amount of sleep you need? There are some really nifty sleep-monitoring apps out there – for example, Sleep Cycle (£0.69) is an app (Android and iOS) that also watches your sleep habits from your nightstand in order to help wake you up at the best possible time of the morning within a set period, so you won’t be late for work!