Monday, 15 February 2016

Staying Positive


Mindfulness is everywhere at the moment & I have to say I'm actually a fan. I'm not one to sit and meditate for 20 minutes but I do like reading about dealing with your thoughts & feelings. I've noticed recently that a lot of my motivation & discipline comes from positivity. I was constantly up and down when it came to staying positive and I got myself in a really good place only for it to fall again. Now, I attempt to stay aware of what's going on around me , taking notice of whether I’ve  had a bad week and if so  what changed in my life. This is what I found affected me being positive:

- Not surrounding myself with the best people
This is probably the biggest one for me. Surrounding myself with the friends that are honest yet constructive, that have your back even when you've done wrong, that support not compete and don't put that awful picture of you on Facebook. They share in your joy and don’t crow when you fail. They are the best type of people...

- Forgetting how far I've come
I was at my Dad's just after my birthday & my step mum was telling me that on her 20th birthday she said to her mum 'God, i'm 20 and I've done nothing with my life' ... to which her mum replied ' In 20 years, you've learnt to walk, talk, ride a bike, spell, get a job...'. I loved thinking of it like that, I know in some sense it's very deep but now it's nice to think if  I've had a bad week in the gym, for example, I can remind myself  how far I've come from my 15-year-old chubby self that thought only having 6 biscuits instead of 10 was being good.

- Letting someone's mood effect mine
You get in from a busy day and a family member is in the worst mood. They are stomping around, shouting and banging things, most probably blaming the dinner being burnt on the fact you even breathe. When this happens I tend to bite back and cause a huge argument, then spend the rest of the night in a huge grump. I learnt from a mindfulness talk at the London Health show to remember that someone being in a bad mood or having a bad day is THEIR feeling & THEIR bad day: not yours. Let them have that feeling & not you...

- Finding purpose in every day
Whether it's to eat better than the day before, do something nice for someone or simply walk the dog. Giving my day a purpose tends to help me to remember my self-worth and helps me to work harder.

- Beating myself up
Not literally giving myself a black eye, although, maybe that would stop me eating creme egg's if I got black eye every time I did! But in all seriousness, this is something I'm trying to do to. I struggle with letting it go if I've had a bad week. If someone asks me if I'm alright in the gym my response is 'i'm fat' more often than not. However, I'm trying to remember to forgive and move on, tomorrow is a new day with a new purpose & nothing is ever going to be an easy ride.


So that's what affects my positivity and although I'm far from being a constant Positive Polly, these are the things I'm definitely trying to work on. To end, I'm just going to leave you with one of my favourite quotes to have a think about.....

'The two most important days in your life is the day you were born 
& the day you find out why....' - Mark Twain






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Monday, 8 February 2016

Things I've Learnt / The Half Marathon




A half marathon is probably one of those most satisfying challenges I have ever done. If a half marathon is something you're keen on, then I don't blame you. Whether it's to give you something to focus on while getting fit or simply for a charity, you can't deny that there are so many pros for completing a half marathon.

Two down and contemplating whether to do another this year, I was looking back at when I first started running. Starting just to loose weight it quickly became a form of therapy, knowing a run would always clear my head. As anything, trying something for the first time has it's ups and downs so this post if for you first timers, my tops tips on making that 13 miles that little bit easier...


Don't expect to win...
A half marathon is a race but it tends to be for the professionals amongst us on the start line. I don't think I even got to close to halfway and the athletes had started to lap me. So, stay focused on your own goals, if it's your first, have a small goal like to simply complete it, or to make sure you run the whole way. No one expects you to win.

Pace yourself...
At the start of most half marathons, you have a huge crowd around you at the start & the crowd tends to fizzle out as you bag more miles. It's so motivating to have the crowds around you that it may make you want to go faster, try not to loose track of the distance you have to complete. Save some energy for the sprint at the finish line... that'll look cooler than dying half way round.

Rest...
A few days before, chill out, stay focused on your diet & mind and certainly don't try to bang out 7 miles the day before, you need to refuel and recharge.

Sort out shin splints...
The bane of my bloody life. Most runners experience these at one point or another, so try to get them under control before race day. I use strap tape, honestly genius stuff or you try changing your trainers. If you do get shin splints try to stop yourself from running with them it could cause serious damage if you're not careful, take a few days rest and start again when you're back in tip top condition.

Invest in decent gear...
Running for 13 miles can take a good couple of hours, that's a lot of running and the last thing you need is chaffing and clothes that don't fit properly. Invest into decent running leggings or shorts, most brands do clothing specific for running now but always train in these clothes to double check they are right for you!


Practice with sports gels...
Or at least, try them...Honestly, absolutely disgusting things.. but practise with these. I was over half way on Plymouth's half when I decided to try a new one I hadn't tried, I then spent the next kilometer gagging and nearly throwing up. There is nothing worse than a funny tummy when you've still got a few miles to go.

Have a restaurant booked after...
This is the only thing that keeps me going. A big juicy burger, shit loads of chips and of course dessert. It is literally amazing how much you can eat after a half marathon and after 13 miles you definitely deserve a treat! Enjoy it.

Have support waiting...
It's always great to have support there for you on the way round and at the finish line to celebrate with you... or to collapse on.

Foam roll and then foam roll again...
BEST THING EVER. My first half marathon I was out of the gym for nearly 2 weeks, couldn't walk for like, 5 days. However, my second I was a bit more on the ball. As soon as I got home I got out my foam roller and rolled the crap out of my legs, then jumped in the shower switching from hot to cold water, got out and repeated foam rolling every hour. The next day, I had the same ache as if I had trained legs in the gym the day before... which is bearable compared to the ache after running 13 miles and not rolling I can assure you! If you haven't foam rolled before or unsure what it is there are loads of tutorials on youtube that can help you guide you & are available on eBay fairly cheaply!





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