Monday, 26 May 2014

Weekly Workout Recap - 19-25 May

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 7km moderate pace run, weights, air resistance
Wednesday: 1km speedwork, 45 min bike, core
Thursday: 5km tempo, core
Friday: 5km hill training
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 45 min bike

Okay, so this week wasn't as great as it should have been - and I'm a day late with my recap. Turns out house-sitting for my parents didn't leave me as much workout time as I thought it would - when you're in the middle of nowhere and it's pouring rain, running goes from a pain to being actually dangerous, since nobody would see you even with high-vis gear on. So I took Saturday off - which actually was useful since I'm trying to shuffle my rest days to be on Saturday or Sunday anyway - and biked on Sunday instead (a bit less hazardous). Don't worry, my long run happened this morning instead!

I was also a photo-taking failure - my phone managed to die at the least convenient possible times for blogging, so I've barely any. But I do have some pictures of some yummy food from the week... 

A wholemeal bagel with low-fat spread and strawberries, aka the nicest breakfast I've ever eaten, and a toasted chicken and cream cheese sandwich on wholemeal with a Pink Lady apple. (I used to be obsessed with Pink Lady apples but I've started finding them a bit too sweet.... weird.)

THIS IS THE BEST ICE CREAM YOU WILL EVER EAT. I am not joking. Half chocolate with chocolate chips, half caramel, with a 'core' of actual caramel that's about an inch across. You need this in your life, seriously.

In other news... I spotted these in Tesco and had to take a picture. 

Exciting News!

Tomorrow morning (suuuuuper early... we're leaving in six hours... sob) I'm going to PARIS! I'll be there for four days (early Tuesday to late Friday) with my boyfriend. So I won't be posting, but get ready for an epic post when I come back! I'll be running while I'm there since I've got the Flora 10k on Monday, and I'll be taking advantage of all the super cheap produce you can buy everywhere in Paris. (Don't worry, I'm sure I'll be enjoying some macarons and waffles too!) 

How do you know you're a healthy living blogger? ... your suitcase contains both running shoes and a box of Nakd bars. (I feel silly having to squish my suitcase closed not because of any of my actual clothes or anything but because the Nakd box keeps catching the zip.) 

See you all very soon! 

Friday, 23 May 2014

Water, water and more water...

The theme of today seems to be water. This morning kicked off with five kilometres of hill training in spitting rain - and it was along the river. Then myself and boyfriend walked to Tesco to pick up some lunch (if you've never had their sweet chilli chicken wrap, drop whatever you're doing and go get one right this second) and it rained on us. Plus recently I've been going crazy on the hydration front, so this is my stash right now...

The mug has tea in it - what else?! I actually drank that Deep Riverrock bottle after my run and refilled it, so this is even more ridiculous than it looks. I used to find it tough to stay hydrated but for some reason drinking water is so much easier recently and I usually go over my two-litres-a-day goal. (Don't worry, I know how much is too much! I won't go overboard with the water and screw up my sodium/electrolytes.)

I'm heading home this weekend so my workouts for the next couple of days will probably involve biking, running through the countryside, and doing weights with my teeny little weight tree (the biggest is only 4.5kg!). I promise to take a bunch of pictures to make up for my woeful lack of them so far this week...

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Summer Food & Injuries?!

It's finally starting to feel like summer! I finished my exams yesterday and there are no words for how happy that makes me. Now - at least until results come out! - I can read and run and wander around outside and make websites and do all kinds of other fun things. Fingers crossed I won't be repeating any exams in August...

It's been hot and sunny since exams finished, so I've been enjoying some nice summer food to get myself in the sunshiney mood. 

 This is one of the new salads that Tesco just brought out in their lunch range. They used to do a chicken platter which was really similar to this one, but I can't find it any more so assume it's gone? But this is the Turkey Platter. Turkey breast slices, cherry tomatoes, yellow pepper, cucumber, red onion, mixed lettuce leaves and a little pot of potato salad. This was yummy! I'm not a big onion fan so left most of that but everything else tasted great! I do wish they'd stuck with coleslaw tubs like the old platter, instead of potato salad, since the potatoes were too chunky and made it difficult to mix it with any of the other ingredients. But I still loved it! I had half a wholemeal bagel with cream cheese to bulk mine up a little.

Fruuuuuuuuuuit! My favourite thing. Does anyone else eat ten times more fruit and veg in the summer? I don't normally buy pre-cut fruit because it's so expensive compared to buying whole fruits and cutting them yourself, but these looked too good to pass up and were two for €3. So nice.

Also, a quick explanation.

A few months ago, around Christmas, I got a muscle strain in my foot. It comes down from my big toe along my inner arch to just above my heel, and took weeks to heal. I've been really careful since then to wear proper running shoes, focus on form, and take very good care of my feet generally, and it hasn't come back.

But yesterday I figured out what caused it! I have a pair of high-heeled boots I got around that time, and yesterday it was raining so I busted them back out for the first time in months. And lo and behold, the minute I took my foot out of them I could feel the same muscle straining! It must be the style of the soles or something but it hurt

I've learned how to stretch and massage that muscle, so I've been working on that. Luckily I only wore them for about two hours so it didn't really get much chance to properly be damaged, and I can't even feel pain when I walk or run, so I came off lightly! I took today pretty easy, with 45 minutes of the bike before just one kilometre of speedwork, and will hopefully wake up tomorrow with a perfectly healed foot. At least I know the cause!

Moral of the story: if you run, treat your feet like gold dust. They need to be looked after all the time, not just when you run! If any of your shoes don't make your feet feel good, chuck them immediately - it's not worth it, trust me.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 12-18 May

Monday: 4km hills on treadmill, weights
Tuesday: 5km interval speedwork, core work

Wednesday: cross-training day: 30 min bike, 10 min stair climber, Keiser air resistance 
Thursday: rest
Friday: 5km moderate pace run, weights, 45 min walk

Saturday: 10km long run

Sunday: 4km tempo run, 20 min bike, weights, core work

Is it just me or am I making really creepy eyes in that photo? Maybe it's my "I nearly died on my tempo run" face... also you NEED to try this salmon. It's the lime, chilli and ginger salmon from Aldi that you buy individually, and it is SO good. I'm not normally one for adding a lot of extra flavours to my food but I love this and it's not expensive at all.
It has been a looooooong week! It's been a really great running week and a really great exam week, but I'm so tired after it. But only one exam left - come Tuesday I'll be literally the happiest girl you've ever seen. Roll on summer!

It finally feels like summer!

It was HOT out today you guys! Hot hot hot. It was 23 degrees, which I know if you live in an actual hot place is probably chilly to you, but for us 23 is almost as good as it gets and I spent the day in a little sundress. Exam weather has arrived! (Is this a thing outside of Ireland as well? Good weather tends to start during the college exams and stick around until the end of the Leaving Cert exams in June, and then vanish so all the just-finished students miss out on it...)

Thank God for tempo shorts and loose light t-shirts or I'd have died on my long run this morning. Also thank God for having to be somewhere at 11.30 and so setting my alarm early for my run - any later and I'd have melted into a teeny puddle on the path. 10 kilometres + 23 degrees = Karen barely making it out alive :P

This is pre- and post-run, aka reasonable temperature vs almost dying. (I took the lift back up to my apartment purely so I could use the big lift mirror to take a selfie for you guys, it's bigger than any mirror I have! Why do they put such big mirrors in lifts anyway?)

(Also in case you think my tempo shorts look huge that's cos they are - I got a medium even though a small fits fine because I like having loads of room in my running clothes. I haaaaate feeling restricted so anything that isn't super stretchy has to be loose for me. Plus it's easier to do squats in looser shorts!)

I made it a full six kilometres before I realised the giant tag was still on these shorts...

And of course I just kept going and waited to get home to take it off. 

I've got a water bottle with me because I'm trying to get used to carrying one with me, so it won't feel weird on my summer races (which will likely be hot, and dodging past the water stations on huge races saves loads of time). I've been severely dehydrated before, on a hike with my Scout group when I was 16, and it was not a pleasant experience, so I'm super careful now to stay really well hydrated. Trust me, it's worth it!

Today also involved a sneaky Insomnia tea-and-brownie stop and a trip to see Godzilla - my boyfriend enjoyed it quite a bit but I hated it, it freaked me out plus I felt like they didn't focus on the so-called main character enough to give proper continuity. Just not to my taste.

Tomorrow is a gym day and also my weekly workout recap, so keep an eye out! :)

Friday, 16 May 2014

Summer evening walks

I only have one exam left!

Then nobody needs to listen to me waffling on about how hard they are anymore ;)

This week I had to shuffle my rest day around to get enough study time for this morning's exam, so it ended up on Thursday. Ugh. At least it's not Monday again! I'm trying to get it to Sunday but it's tricky to move rest days around, does anyone else think so? 

Anyway. I did a 5km moderate-pace run today - it was actually really warm outside for pretty much the first time this year, so I sped up my recovery run a bit to get used to working hard in the heat. 

This was me taking an awkward selfie in my gym bathroom mirror. Lucky nobody walked in on me... it was even more awkward since I had to stand on my toes so you could see I was wearing shorts. :/

 I just got this t-shirt during the week and I am in love with it! I have a bunch of bright fun sports bras and never really know how to show them off without just wearing a sports bra, which I don't really like doing. So this is perfect! This is two sizes too big and is a really loose thin cotton t-shirt from Penneys, and it's so nice to work out in I'll be back to get more. 

Ate one of these after the gym. Still love them! 

I went to the cinema ("The Wind Rises" - stunning, go see it!) and for a drink with a friend this evening, and since it was such a gorgeous day out I decided to walk home. It takes me a little over 45 minutes to walk home from the city centre and usually I don't really like it, but it was amazing today. Very therapeutic and a great shakeout for my running-tired legs! Plus it was pretty.

I'm in the process of trying to sort out my summer plans - I've got a bunch of possibilities in the works, but it depends on what pans out and what doesn't, so we'll see! BUT I registered for my other two summer races today and I'm so excited!

Tomorrow is long run day, hopefully, but it depends on the timing of some other plans I have so we'll see. But either way, running will happen! See you soon :)

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


So exams are hard. Like, really hard. I'm finished the exams for the classes I hated, at least, and everything left I enjoy, but it's still such hard going - the past two days I've had morning exams, which has meant studying until midnight and then getting back up at 6am to fit in a review before the exam. Not fun! Hopefully today will be a bit more chill. 

Today I hit the gym for a bit of moderately challenging speedwork...

I did an interval pattern with plenty of recovery, because I wanted to get some decent distance in too, so I needed to make it all the way to the end! The pattern went like this:

400m @ recovery pace 8.5km/h
100m @ 9.5km/h
300m @ recovery pace 8.5km/h
100m @ 9.5km/h
100m @ 10.5km/h

And repeat five times. Then I stretched, and then I literally just sat down on the gym mat and tried not to die. ...and then I did core because that's what I do. I always feel like with a 5-1o minute rest break in between I could keep going with working out for aaaaaaaaages - although I've never really wanted to test this out to extremes because I'd rather not die, thanks! 

I was thinking about positivity recently. It's easy to do runs or reps or crunches or whatever and spend the whole time thinking, "This is so hard! There's no way I can finish this... maybe I should reduce my distance/reps/whatever... I can't do this on the level I wanted to... I'm not able..." 

But that's stupid. If someone - yourself! - keeps telling you that you can't do something, it gets so much harder. So today I decided to be my own cheerleader. And the difference was astonishing. Not only did I knock out my full 5k of intervals exactly how I'd wanted, I also held a 65-second plank for the first time ever. I know it's kind of lame to not be able to do that, but it just goes to show how much you hold yourself back when you're being negative!

Food-wise I've had a lovely week so far. I've been home in the evenings to study so I've been making proper food for once (no Tupperware pasta!) 

 That one on the left was yesterday, and it looks skimpy in the picture until you realise that is a MASSIVE dinner plate and I actually ate an entire head of broccoli. It was nearing the end of its life and I didn't know when else I'd get to eat it so I just cooked all of it - I love broccoli so much. And that salmon is so messy because I cooked it in the microwave but it was probably the nicest salmon I've ever eaten in my life. 

I tried this today...

 A Nakd Cashew Cookie bar. I dropped into Holland & Barrett yesterday to get more Peanut Protein Blast Balls and ended up getting two Nakd bars too - am I the only person that always buys more than they mean to in H&B? Every single time I go there I end up getting something new to try. 

I got this one and the Cocoa Delight one, which I ate basically immediately so forgot to take pictures of :/ Which is sad because I loved it, whereas I'm not quite as keen on this one as I expected it to have a stronger nutty taste, but I found the dates a little bit overwhelming. Still amazing though! Raw fruit and nuts, completely dairy free with tiny ingredients lists - I'll definitely be going back for more flavours. If you've tried Nakd bars, let me know the best ones to get!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 5-11 May

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 6km tempo run, weight training
Wednesday: 3km hill training on treadmill, 10 min bike, core work, resistance in Keiser room 
Thursday: 5km recovery run, 10 min stair climber, weight training

Friday/Saturday: rest
Sunday: 9km long slow run, core work

I've been a sucky blogger this week and taken barely any pictures of anything. But what can I say? This week was hard. I started into my exams and had a thoroughly horrific 6 exams in 4 days,  and five of them were my five worst subjects (Wednesday's was luckily my best class and went beautifully, a nice pick-me-up after a nightmare two-exam Tuesday!). Some of them I'm crossing my fingers I'll scrape by, others I know I made it but not by a lot. One of them my class are even going to complain about to the head of the department because it was so unfairly, unmanageably long and difficult!
By the end of the week I was shattered. Tired, stressed, miserable, upset about not doing as well on some exams as I'd hoped. So I took Friday (after my second exam of the day ended at 4pm) and Saturday as total rest days - from running, studying, everything. I went to the cinema with my boyfriend (Bad Neighbours is great!), wandered around shops, had McDonalds and pizza in the space of two days, ate Oreos, and watched 16 episodes of Make It or Break It in a single day. I'm feeling a lot better now! Sometimes you just need a day or so of doing whatever you feel like and not caring about anything. 
This week will be much more chill exam-wise. I've only got four exams spread out over five days, with no two-a-day nightmares this week! They're in four classes I really like and feel I can do well in, and they're all in the morning, leaving me with 11.30am to bedtime to study, work out and de-stress. So expect to see a lot more of me! I did fairly decently workout-wise but taking Monday off really threw me, so I'm hoping to bring it up a notch this week. Expect good things! :)

Monday, 5 May 2014

Grocery haul

Today was a rest day because it was a super-stressed panic day, as I start exams tomorrow, and I really needed an evening of just laying on my bed watching TV and relaxing before a crazy week. I'd debated between a rest day today or tomorrow, but with my speed work yesterday and 3 days of hard running in a row, I figured a day off could be good. Plus I'll probably want to vent my post-exam frustration in the gym every other day. 

I normally hate taking Mondays off because I generally only take 1 rest day a week, plus 1 cross-training day, and 5 running days, so taking Monday for me usually means I commit to workouts every other day. But that's okay! My gym was closed today anyway so it would have been roads, and I just wasn't feeling it. Although for some reason now I want to go... talking about it makes me want it. I may be forced to lace up my shoes in a few minutes!

But before that, I popped by Tesco to pick up some groceries, and thought you might like to see! I'm super nosy and love looking at what other people eat, so I thought some other people might be the same. 

This is everything spread out on my desk. It looks small, but bear in mind that as a student who only does one person worth of groceries, I rarely use up and need to re-buy everything each week. Among other things I already have: wholewheat pasta, pasta sauce, wholegrain bread, green apples, brown rice, 2 chicken breasts, cream cheese, muesli, frozen veg and tuna. So this is just what I needed to pick up this week :P

Bananas, sliced turkey (I try to get the smallest amount of processing I can afford - the closer to actual deli turkey the better!), broccoli (food of the gods), and some gala apples - I went through a green apple phase recently but am back to my standard yummy reds now.

Milk - I get semi skimmed (2%) because skimmed is basically water and does nothing. Also some strawberry yogurt for eating with muesli at breakfast. And a better view of the broccoli, because the more broccoli you get - even in visual form - the better ;)

Wholemeal bagels (sooooo yummy, I tried these for the first time on Saturday and LOVED them and they'll be my new staple), some tea as I'm nearly out, and a box of Jordans Frusli bars. 

These are lovely because they're almost entirely natural ingredients - a very, very small quantity of glucose syrup for binding but mainly just fruit and oats. They taste great and are also dairy-free, which I like. They're 123 calories each, and generally a nice mid-afternoon or pre-workout pick-me-up. 

I forgot to put this on the table to take its photo with everything else but I got this too (ignore my awful, awful nails!). Caesar salad is by far my favourite but the dressing is always so high in calories - an ordinary bottle of Caesar dressing tends to have 50-70 calories per tablespoon. This bottle apparently only has 10! Ingredients-wise it's not great but for that occasional hit of Caesar salad love, I won't moan about a tablespoon or two worth of ingredients. Let's hope it tastes good!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Weekly Workout Recap: 28 April - 4 May

Monday: 3.5km slow run, core work
Tuesday: 6km run (5km roads + 1km treadmill speedwork), strength 
Wednesday: Cross-training day: 20 min bike, 5 min uphill fast walk, 15 min cross-trainer, 10 min bike, & strength/core

Thursday: rest
Friday: 8km long slow run, strength

Saturday: 4km hill training run, little bit of strength on the park machines

Sunday: 3.6km speed work - 3 x 1km speed pyramids with 200m recovery jog), 10 minutes cross-trainer intervals,  strength

So the five sets of speed pyramids didn't happen. Why? Because I thought I was going to pass out. I'm not kidding, it was touch and go for a bit there!

But I'm really proud of what I did because:

  • I've lost my sports cap bottle so I had to do all of them without drinking any water
  • I've never taken such short recovery distances between pyramids - it's always been at least 500m in between each
  • I was wearing the worst choice of top and it was really heavy and rode up around my throat so I had to keep tugging at it so I could breathe
And the goal was to push outside of my comfort zone, which I definitely did! This was hard. And afterwards I did 10 minutes of intervals on the cross-trainer as a sort of compromise - I did very short ones, 40 seconds on 10-10 and then 20 seconds on 10-14, repeat for 10 min. 

Overall I'm really, really happy with this week. The biggest thing I'm excited about is that I'm not really feeling next-day-sore or super exhausted at this volume of training - a few weeks ago, coming off a long break from injury, I'd be falling over at half this level. 

Next week my exams start (pray for me...) so hopefully that means lots of stress-busting intense runs and gym sessions. See you then! :)

How did your workouts go this week? What was your biggest success?