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London Marathon – 1 Week To Go !

With only one week to go, before I take on the biggest running challenge of my life, I thought I’d share a final update …

It’s no doubt that the London marathon is one of the most iconic races in the world! To be honest, I don’t really know what to expect as I’ve never run a marathon before but as it gets closer to the big day, one thing I know is that I want to actually enjoy it! I may never run a marathon again, (never say never) so I’m just gonna do my best and take it all in. I don’t want to let other peoples expectations or pressure ruin it for me.

I’ve always been very competitive, ever since I was a child, it’s not something that I’m proud of but it’s just the way that I am. It’s not necessarily about being the best at something or winning, but anything that I do, I have to give it absolutely 100%, nothing less.
Well, one things for sure, training for a marathon is incredible humbling! This is a race that I definitely aint gonna win! It has not been easy and at times I’ve questioned if I would even be able to do it. I have never trained for an endurance event before, the last three months have been as much of a metal challenge as it has been a physical one. Doing something that you’re not naturally good at is really tough and trust me, endurance running does not feel natural for me at all!

I’ve chatted to so many people about the marathon, most people are incredibly encouraging and offer their support and advice but the big question they all want to know is . . . ‘What time are you aiming for?’
Maybe before I started training, I would have said ‘Oh, I don’t really know. Around 4 hours or less’ How naive of me! Running a sub 4 hour marathon is incredibly difficult, especially for a first timer like me.
There are so many things to consider on race day, somethings you can control but somethings that you just can’t. I know that I have worked really hard over the last three months, I’ve put the miles in, I’ve been disciplined with strength training, stretching and foam rolling, as well as making changes to my diet too. It has been a huge commitment. All I can do now, is run as best as I can on the day.
One guy asked me about my ‘goal time’ and then scoffed and replied ‘Four hours? What are you going to be walking it?! What a dumbass! Other people have said things like ‘Oh you’re mega fit, it will be easy for you’ easy? EASY! You do know that it’s 26.2 miles right? and my favourite one was ‘You look really fast’ How can someone look fast? I’m sure that it was meant to be a compliment but it kinda makes me feel under pressure to live up to other peoples ideas.
Anyway, I’m letting go of any pressure and letting go of my ego. I believe that anyone who is willing to take on a marathon is incredibly brave and I’ll be proud to cross the finish line, even if it takes me all day!

The night before the race, I will be going to bed early with a belly full of pasta. I’ve written down a list of things to remember …

  • You are brave
  • You are ready
  • You are raising a lot of cash for a great charity
  • You can do it
  • Smile, you might be on TV!
  • Remember to charge your GPS watch!

I’m raising money for Epilepsy Research UK – I really appreciate every sponsor, big or small. Here is the link to my Just Giving page

The latest …

There’s been so much going on over the last few weeks so here’s an update on what I’ve been up to lately …

I flew to Stockholm to celebrate International Women’s Day. I went to visit my friend Hannah and to lead a fitness class in her brand new studio! Hannah is a fellow adidas ambassador and we first me last September in Copenhagen. I had previously followed Hannah on Instagram (obvs). Her account, @fashionablefit is a mixture of stylish three striped workout gear, empowering messages and Hannah looking so damn sexy & strong! I was joined by my fit pals Hayley and AJ, two ladies that totally inspire me, both for different reasons. The whole trip left me feeling like a total girl boss! I still can’t believe that my life now involves casually hopping on a plane for a thirty six hour trip to Europe. All because of this blog and social media. I’ll write a separate post about my thoughts on this maybe.

I ran the North London Half Marathon! I was invited to lead a warm up for ten thousand runners at the start line of the race. Looking out to see that many people doing synchronised lunges was mental! I even got to sound the klaxon to officially start the race, before joining the crowd and taking on 13.1 miles around Wembley, and man was it tough! To say that the course was hilly would be an understatement, but I really enjoyed it. It’s worth mentioning that as well as water stations along the way, the race officials also hand out haribo! Now that’s my kinda race!

If you follow me on any social media then you will know that I’ve been training for my first marathon since January. As well of lots of training, I’ve also had to schedule time for rest, recovery and treatments to ensure that I arrive at the start line in one piece. A few weeks ago I went to the Aqua Sana Spa for a day with my friend AJ. We went for a swim and sauna before putting our running feet up to enjoy an express facial. Running outside in the elements can dry out your skin a lot, so I’m using face masks regularly and drinking lots of water too. If you’re running a marathon this year, (physically or metaphorically) I defiantly recommend that you take a little day trip to a spa. It was just what my tired legs needed.

Last week I recorded the first in a series of three podcasts. I’m mega excited about his project and I will share more info about it as soon as I get the green light. I only started listening to podcasts about a year ago and now I’m obsessed. I’ve even replaced some of my running playlists with podcasts. If I’m going out for a long run, I find it helps me to relax and I can keep a more consistent pace too. My current faves are ‘Stuff To Blow Your Mind’ – & ‘Run To The Top’ – The Ultimate Guide To Running.
I’m looking forward to recording the next two podcasts next week, watch this space.

I also spent last week teaching fitness classes at the adidas studio on Brick Lane. My class ‘Flex to The Beat’ is high energy, fun and LOUD! If you haven’t been down to the East London studio yet, what are you waiting for? There’s a weekly timetable of free classes and run clubs. Click here to find out more and sign up. I’m heading back soon to join the Wednesday evening women’s only run club. It’s perfect if you’re quite new to running, the girls are all lovely and make sure that no one gets left behind.

Schools out for the Easter holidays, so I’m taking some time off to hang out with the boys. I predict that this weeks training will be fuelled by mini eggs. 🙂 Winner!

So . . . that’s the latest!

I’m Running My First Marathon! 

In just four weeks time, I’ll be lacing up and heading to the start line of the London marathon. This is going to be a huge challenge for me, for so many reasons.

I’ve been road running for the last three years, however, I’ve always enjoyed running shorter speedy races. I’ve completed lots of 5K and 10K races but prior to taking on this epic challenge the longest run I’d ever completed was 10 miles.

I was offered a place in this years London marathon by the fab team at adidas uk. I’d never even considered running a marathon before, but I said yes without a second thought! (I was later filled with fear as I considered the reality of not only the marathon itself, but also the four month training process.)

I began training in January and so far it’s been going really well. It is definitely a bigger commitment than I first expected. It’s not just the time that you need to spend running but also the self care that supports your training. I’ve had to schedule in early nights, sports massages, foam rolling, stretching and stength training sessions too. All to ensure that I get to the start line in one piece. Road running can be bruatal on the legs and I’m currently averaging twenty four miles each week. It kind of takes over your life! Luckily, some of my closest friends are also runners, so I’ve had plenty of run chat and advice over the last few weeks.

I haven’t been able to stick to my exact training plan. I really tried to but life is unpredictable and sometimes you just have to go with the flow. I’ve tried to manage work commitments, being a Mummy and training as much as I can. I’ve also found it difficult to manage the balance between training and rest. As the mileage increased, my body felt tired and I needed longer to recover than I expected. Some days my legs felt tired and the runs felt really tough. Some days I ran thorough the wind and the rain. Some days I ran with friends, other days I tackled the miles alone.

One person that has been supporting me every step of the way is my husband Rob. He’s a little bit frustrated that he’s not running the marathon himself but I am going to run it for both of us. For the last six years Rob has been living with Epilepsy, as a result of suffering a spontaneous bleed on the brain. It has been hugely challenging and very difficult at times. Previously I had absolutely no knowledge of epilepsy and I didn’t know anyone that had the condition.

I was pregnant with our son Jude the first time Rob had a seizure, it was the middle of the night and honestly, I was terrified. In the years that followed, Rob had more seizures and he had to trial diferent medications under the guidance of a neurologist and an epilepsy nurse. (I will be forever grateful for Adele, one of life’s wonderful people.) Fortunately, Rob is currently strable on his current medication and has not had a seizure in over 18 months. Thank you God. Having epilepsy means making changes to your lifestyle, especially as a parent. Rob is the most incredible dad and as a family we have taken on this challenge together.

This afternoon I set up a just giving sponsorship page to raise money for Epilepsy Research UK. I’d love to help support this charity and to hopefully help other families that are facing the many challenges that living with epilepsy brings.

If you’d like to sponsor me, here is the link to my fund raising page. I am so grateful for every donation no matter how big or small.

You can also follow my marathon training diary over on YouTube.

It’s not long now until the big day, I’m scared but I’m going to give it everything I can on the day!

Back To Basics

As a lover of fashion and all things stylish, I often find myself standing in my bedroom, staring at my wardrobe feeling unimpressed and frustrated. First world problems, I know. Like so many women, I actually have far too many clothes, shoes, coats and bags to even fit into a wardrobe! I have different cloths for different occasions/seasons/moods etc, an eclectic mix of denim shirts, tailored trousers, pleated skirts, logo jumpers and way to many navy and striped t-shirts. Not to mention those items that I never wear but still love too much to throw out. It’s a mess!

Every so often I sort through the rails and I donate any unwanted clothes to the local clothes bank or charity shop. I can be pretty ruthless once I get going but I still end up in the same situation a few months later, and yet ‘I have nothing to wear!’

Okay so it’s Saturday morning, it’s an hour before we are supposed to be leaving the house, I’m standing in our bedroom semi nude with a pile of clothes on our bed that resembles a sale in TK MAXX. I’ve tried on six different pairs of trousers, the top that I wanted to wear is in the washing basket, I don’t have a jacket that goes with this outfit so I guess I’ll have to freeze my butt off today to achieve effortless sartorial success. Oh and I’ve brought Jude a new shirt and high tops from ZARA kids so he’s chillin and is ready to go. (outfit on point, aged 5.) Come on Mama, get it together!

Firstly I blame the Great British weather, I mean summer outfits are so easy right? Not to mention that wearing raybans just pulls any look together. Besides the weather though, the main problem that I have is too much choice. I’m tempted to detox my entire wardrobe and go for the simple chic capsule wardrobe thing that I keep reading about. Apparently if you have the right key pieces, you can mix and match your outfits, rotate a few accessories and stop wasting your money and time. I’m definitely tempted but is it really that easy? How many items can I have? I don’t really follow fashion trends so I’m not to worried about that but surly it gets a bit boring after a while. Also I like bright colours and I imagine a capsule wardrobe to be pretty minimalist and monochrome.

If I had to narrow it down to 12 items … I’d start off with

  • A black leather jacket
  • A great pair of jeans
  • A white T-shirt
  • A white shirt
  • A grey blazer
  • A bomber jacket
  • A pair of black trousers
  • A bright chunky knit jumper
  • A pair of baggy boy fit jeans
  • A logo sweatshirt
  • A maxi skirt
  • A pair of dungarees

That doesn’t include shoes, accessories, special occasion outfits and don’t even talk to me about workout kit! I can imagine it would be mega cathartic and I know Rob would be very please if our bedroom was more like an actual bedroom and less like we’re sleeping in my walk in wardrobe.

Have you ever been tempted to clear it all out and go back to basics? I think you can have up to 33 items but that includes shoes, accessories and bags too. You would be helping to save the planet as well as saving some cash. Well maybe after a shopping trip for those new basic essentials!! 🙂

F.A.Q adidas ultraBOOSTX

For the last four weeks I have been running (A LOT) in the brand new women’s running shoe, the  ultraBOOSTX. Adidas have created a shoe, specifically designed for the female athlete. It is a fusion of two of my favourite running shoes, the ultraBOOST and the pureBOOSTX.

One of the things that I love the most about running is that it can not be defined and that makes it accessible to everyone! It doesn’t matter how far you go, or how fast, if you run, then you are a runner. I have been running constantly for almost three years, this year I’m facing my biggest running challenge so far, as I will be taking on the London Marathon in April.
It’s really important for me to be running in the best shoes, especially as I am currently clocking about 24 miles each week. In an attempt to remain injury free whilst training, I have been supporting my road running with some treadmill sessions, cycling and resistance training too. I’ve been wearing the ultraBOOSTX for 90% of my training. From a technical perspective, they tick every box for me as well as the fact that the silhouette and colour way look great too.

Last month I went to the global launch event of the ultraBOOSTX in San Francisco. At the launch we were invited to test out the shoes over five different running routes as well as speaking to the shoe designer and creative team from the adidas head quarters in Germany.  (see my video of our trip to America here)

I’ve had quite a few questions on Twitter and Instagram about the ultraBOOSTX so I thought I’d share a few of my answers here –

  1. What running distance is this shoe designed for?
    Depending on your running gait, I think that it’s a personal choice for you and the amount of support needed. It has been designed to support your foot over any distance. So far the longest run I have done in them is 10 miles (90 mins). No complaints from me, my feet and legs were very happy!
  2. Do you wear them with socks?
    This one is like Marmite! I don’t wear socks with these shoes as the tight fit of the material makes the inside of the shoe almost feel like a sock. I know that some runners will gasp in horror at the thought of running without socks but maybe give it a go? YOLO
  3. Can I wear a custom insole?
    Some runners need to add an insole to their shoe for additional support, usually around the arch of the foot. The ultraBOOSTX has a floating arch that hugs the foot and so essentially negates the need for insoles. However, if you have a very specific gait that require an insole, it may not fit inside this trainer correctly. I suggest trialling the shoe before you buy a pair. (You can trial the shoe at the adidas studio in Brick Lane.)
  4. Where can I get a pair and how much do they cost?
    I recommend trying them on in store but you can also order them online. They are £129.95.
  5. What makes them different to any other running shoe?
    The main difference is that this shoe has been created specifically for us! It is not just a generic shape that is offered in different sizes. The technical fabrics and the materials used support the female foot and the way that our feet move. The science and techy stuff really does speak for itself, when you try them on you’ll understand why I am obsessed with them!

#LFW 17

So, I haven’t posted an outfit post in absolutely ages!! Lately my life has been taken over by running and run chat. [Yeah, training for a marathon will do that.] So, I was mega happy to receive an invitation to this years Charli Cohen show at London Fashion Week. It was the perfect excuse to hang out with my girl friends, go to some fun blogger events and of course pap that #ootd . . . Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
Photos by @redagencylondon
Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset
FYI I definitely didn’t need to wear these sunnies as it’s February. Come on spring, we’re all ready for you!
Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetInitially, I thought I may have gone a little OTT with the big coat, big hair + sunglasses combo, but then I thought hey it’s LFW! Too much? Never.Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetOutfit. Jumper + Trainers, adidas – Trouses, ZARA – Coat, TOPSHOP –  Sunglasses, Finay & Co – Bag, adidas by Stella McCartney

Body Confidence Talk at the Hoxton.

Last weekend I hosted a talk at the Hoxton’s Fresh + Fit Fest. If you didn’t manage to grab a ticket, then here’s what you missed…

I’ve been working in the fitness industry of almost five years now and during that time I’ve spent hours talking to women about ‘Body Confidence’. Unfortunately, it seems to me that so many women are unhappy with the way they look and that they are constantly trying to change. It’s not surprising really when you consider the conceptualisation of body image and the media’s attitude towards beauty and femininity. We are often only shown one idea of ‘beauty’. It’s tall, slim, sexy, glossy and unrealistically perfect! So, how can we even began to have body confidence, if we don’t tick all of the right boxes?

Well, here’s what I have to say about that…

  1. Firstly, you are unique! The body that you have is yours and there is no-one else who is exactly like you. There is no ‘one size fits all’. When it comes to training and diet, no one can tell you what is right for you. You know yourself better than anyone else could. Your personality, experiences and your influences all make you who you are! Embrace it! I know that I’m a chatter box that never sits still for very long, so I love group exercise, running clubs and team sports. Do things that you actually enjoy, instead of forcing yourself to do something that you think you should do. Go to yoga, lift weights, try spinning or boxing or dancing. Find whatever it is that inspires you to move your body. Respect your body, value yourself and recognise your achievements, no matter how big or small.
  2. Secondly, try not to be too self conscious. I know that can be easier said than done, but in contrast to point number one, it’s important to remember that even though you are unique and wonderful and a goddess, no one else is really paying that much attention. This is SO liberating! Let me repeat that. No one is watching you. Don’t pay for an overpriced pilates class and then hide at the back so no one can see you. What a waste of time! Get to the front, (or at least the middle) everyone else is too busy focusing on themselves to even notice that your stuck in the splits!
    Seriously though, in a busy world full of distractions, don’t sweat the small stuff. Do your own thing and do it for you. Don’t worry about who’s paying attention.
  3. Never compare yourself to anyone else. I don’t just mean your body, I’m taking about your life! It’s very easy to compare yourself to other women, friends, colleagues, or even strangers on Instagram. It’s not helpful and it’s really not relevant to your own success. Instead of comparing yourself, find women that motivate and inspire you. Support other women, lift them up and encourage them to be their best, I’m sure that they will do the same for you.
    When it comes to media, most of the bodies that we see are so well lit and edited that even the person on the poster doesn’t look like that! Remember that the next time you’re trying on jeans in a badly lit changing room okay.
  4. Confidence is a choice. Now I’ve spent a long time thinking about this idea and I’ve come to the conclusion that confidence is not something that you are born with or without, but it is something that you can learn.
    When I speak to my five year old son Jude, I use encouraging language and constantly praise him. I want Jude to feel confident and assured. We often speak about ourselves and our bodies in such a negative way. Those words have power! Show yourself some love. Think about the things that you value the most from the women in your life. Those are the same things that others see in you. The ones that love us most, really don’t care about cellulite and stretch marks, they value the person that you are. So choose to be confident, be proud of who you are and never apologise for being you.

I absolutely loved speaking at the Hoxton, thank you to everyone that brought a ticket and that shared the love on social media too. I really hope that you feel uplifted and more confident after reading this post. Please share it with your girlfriends, your sisters and your tribe and save it for a day when you need a little reminder that you are more than just your body.