Tips for walking to work

Hola! So, as I wrote last time, I’m now in a new job! Most days, I walk to work and very often walk back too (childcare pick up allowing…) This is fine, except it’s just short of 3 miles each way. I like to walk- I like to see the seasons changing and stomp out any tension. Plus, I had to decide whether I was willing to pay gym fees or after school club fees and, as it’s generally frowned upon to to send your kid to the pub for a few hours after school, my money goes on having him looked after.

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(5)

I am very much dressed for the weather here, although I look miserable.

I’ve been walking to work since I was temping in September and I do really love it- but there are a few things that have made my life easier and more comfortable, which is super important when you’re walking so much everyday.

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(2)

  • Breakfast- I will usually have a cup of tea and a smoothie made of Adagio’s Chocolate Matcha, banana and oat milk. This is good, because a) it means I have a banana before I’ve even woken up properly and b) I like to think that the matcha does me *some* good. It doesn’t have an overly chocolatey taste, but gives it a nice sweetness- just enough for the morning. I might also try and have something like toast or I’ll take something like oatcakes to eat at work, especially as the walk can make me really hungry. I also like using oat milk because it gives the smoothie a bit of a porridgey flavour and a bit of a fibre hit, which is obviously good (I think.)

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(1)

  • What I wear on my feet is very important, especially on a long walk. I will wear Doc Martens if the weather is bad, but they’re heavy. My go-to boots and shoes are Sketchers- they have memory foam and are lightweight, meaning I feel lighter on my feet and my legs don’t ache at the end of the day. (Benn bought me some Sketchers slippers for Christmas too. My feet feel permanently heavenly- and my posture is good as a result, too.)
  • I’d also recommend a good backpack- I hate my arms being restricted! I currently use one I picked up ages ago from the Ollie and Nic sale, but I’m on the hunt for something bigger- along the the lines of the Jansport bag I coveted at school but never got.

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(3) The biggest things that have made the most difference to my walking commute though, are the following:

  • A good antiperspirant- no-one wants to be stinky! I experimented with different brands and found that this one is the best. Also, there’s no point wearing fancy perfume when you’re walking. I’ve resorted to bodysprays and lament the fact that Impuse no longer make Zen and/or O2 scents. Considering a Twitter campaign.
  • Keep Cup– I bought mine in November and I use it mostly on cold days, when I need warming up. With Pret and Costa offering money off hot drinks, and concern about the environment, this is just a bit of a no-brainer for me. Fun fact: as a result of taking this into work, I have caused six other people to buy one. Am awaiting my commission.
  • Bluetooth headphones and Spotify- I used to have rubbish headphones and a rubbish phone. It took ages to listen to anything and I spent a long time trying to get anything to work. My in-laws bought me a great pair of headphones and I treated myself to Spotify Premium and it has honestly improved my commute no end. I have podcasts and playlists and I can honestly say that I look forward to my walk to work every day. I don’t think I’ve ever said that before.

Screenshot-2018-1-23 Instagram post by Steph • Dec 12, 2017 at 8 14am UTC(4)

*All of these products are here because I love them- there are no affiliate links on this post. I was sent the matcha to review, but will be purchasing this once my sample runs out!

 

 

 

Pre-Christmas De-Stress

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I am so. tired. There comes a point in every autumn term when I am completely at the end of my tether and desperately trying not to succumb to whatever germs are doing the rounds at work and-since D started in September-nursery. *Touch wood* I’m doing OK at the minute (having fought off a three week long cough and cold and other signs of being run down), with the exception of losing my voice.

I had a bit of an epiphany the other day. I was running Park Run for the first time in ages and I managed to get 2k done in 14 minutes. But then the route changed and it got to the hilly bit. I’d already felt tired and miserable and then, all of a sudden, I just felt my body and brain go “no.” I realised that, in that moment, I couldn’t do another 3k. And I walked away.

Now, this is generally frowned upon in running circles. Why didn’t I finish? Why am I not going back on Saturday? Am I not disappointed with myself? The answer is- no. Something in my body just realised it was very tired and, had I carried on, I probably wouldn’t have done myself any favours. I’m convinced that sometimes it’s best to listen to those voices.

I made a couple of decisions there and then- 1) I hated Park Run and will go back to my little ambles around where I live a few times a week and 2) I would make sure that, in the run up to Christmas, I would be kind to myself. I’m going to rest, have lots of early nights, get some nice stuff from Lush and read. Once I leave work on Friday, I’m not going to think about doing any work until after the festivities I’m going to have a proper break- or at least, as much as you can do when you have a three year old and it’s Christmas!

My complicated, love/hate relationship with running

Running. I mainly do it because I feel I have to do SOMETHING, even though my natural state would be slobbing out on the sofa, surrounded by crisp packets and Diet Coke cans whilst watching RuPaul’s Drag Race on Netflix (and I’m planning a Drag Race post soon. Bet you can’t wait, huh?)

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Anyway, I’m getting better and there are things I like about going for a run (which I never thought I’d say):

  • I definitely like feeling the relief-and occasional smugness- I feel after I’ve done a run. I’m not going to lie.
  • I like my running kit. I have bright pink Brooks trainers, my favourite leggings come from Tesco and I invariably wear a Tee Fury shirt (mostly Powerpuff Girls or Mario vs Sonic, but Doctor Who does make an appearance occasionally.)
  • I like meeting friendly dogs and nodding/smiling at other runners.
  • I’m still massively enamoured with Zombies, Run! I’m now a premium member.
How I feel after a good run.

How I feel after a good run.

I have quite a few things I hate though:

  • I never look good running. I don’t particularly care, but I do cringe when people say to me ‘Oh, I saw you running!’ Ugh.

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  • I hate how expensive decent kit can be- especially sports bras.
  • Why do people- mainly men, but not exclusively- feel like they can make comments about me when I run past? I KNOW I’m not built like that supermodel who was recently pictured pushing her pram. I’ve been told in the past that I’m ‘not built for running.’ I KNOW. And yet, weirdly, I still do it. But thanks for your unsolicited advice. I’ll be sure to look for your fitness DVD, Liam Gallagher Lookalike Monkey Man.
  • I also dislike running when it’s too hot. Or too cold.

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Despite all this, I’ll keep at it. I’m starting to see improvements again after neglecting my running for a couple of weeks.

I did Park Run!

So yesterday, I did something that Benn has been nagging me to do for about a year- I went and ran the Hove Park park run. I made sure I had all the right kit on (I’m quite particular about what I wear when I run, even down to the socks) and I downloaded the 5k race mission on my Zombies Run app.

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Not going to lie, I’m more of a Garfield in this situation

It was a hot morning. I ran. I kept hearing a voice in my head that told me I hated running, that I couldn’t do it- why didn’t I just stop? I was nearly sick twice. It was hot and I didn’t have any water. I desperately needed the loo. But I pushed on. I did it.

I came 399th out of 416 people and I had a time of 35:35- my quickest ever run, with my quickest ever kilometer of 6.34 minutes (I average about 7.18 on a quick day. Benn does the whole course in about 17 minutes.)

I’m proud of myself, even though I bloody hated it. I’ll probably do it again in a couple of weeks (I have the Labour Party leader hustings next weekend, so won’t be able to make it) I do, however, have to purchase myself a bumbag (A BUMBAG! OH THE HUMANITY!) and a cap, so that I can carry my water bottle, phone and avoid nose sunburn.

Today I did Zumba for the first time…

I am slightly dying and starting to feel aches develop in places where I didn’t actually realise there were muscles.

Fittingly, Sali Hughes has an article on the newly launched (and EXCELLENT) website The Pool discussing why we’re all in pursuit of enjoyable exercise and whether it ever actually is.

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So how did my zumba debut go?

Well, when the instructor introduces herself as “oh, I do probably the most aerobic zumba class in Brighton”, the natural reaction is to laugh nervously, yes? That’s what I did anyway. I was also reassured that I probably wouldn’t get the choreography in the first lesson. But I had paid my fiver and as a Yorkshire woman, I was not about to let that money go to waste.

“Get”? I spent quite a bit of the class fudging my moves and, when I couldn’t work out what the bloody hell was happening, I sort of jogged embarrassingly like a third rate pub footballer on the touchline hoping to get a shot at playing in a Sunday league game. Also, my trainers were too heavy, which made Benn think I was mad when I told him. I liked that I could do some of the lunge-y moves (thanks, Davina!) and some of the hand movements were reminiscent of the Bollywood workout video I did as a teenager and I was proud of myself for being able to do those whilst moving other bits, too. After forty minutes of trying to avoid looking at myself in the mirror- I’m a realist, not a sadist; I didn’t need to see how badly I was doing, no matter how awesome my Powerpuff Girls t-shirt was- the lesson was over and I could hobble the five minutes it took to get home.

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Two hours after I got back, fed, watered and showered to within an inch of my life,  how do I feel now? Well, the SOLES of my feet ache, my collarbone aches, I’m pathetically coughing in the manner of stereotypical Victorian street urchins as portrayed on The Simpsons and I’m pretty sure I’ll be walking like a cardboard cut-out tomorrow. However, I am wide awake, despite D throwing a tantrum at 3am because I wouldn’t read him a story and I feel justified in eating chocolate.

So yes, I’ll be sore tomorrow, but I’m going back next week. I have to. I already paid my fiver.

This Girl Can- and so can you.

I am rubbish at sport. I hated it in school, but now I’m older I try, I’m keen- at the moment I manage to get out for a run once a week and I do yoga 3-4 times a week (still plodding with that), but I’m not ‘sporty’. I’ve been told before that I’m ‘not built for running’. I’ve had catcalls and insults thrown at me while I run. In short, it’s easy to lose hope and confidence in my ability to exercise.

That’s where This Girl Can comes in.

The campaign came about after a study by Sport England found that women were more likely to be inactive than men, but that most would like be more active. One of the main things holding them back was self-consciousness about being judged.

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To anyone thinking about starting running or another form of exercise, let me encourage you. I’m a size 16, I’m a slow runner and a hopeless yogi, but I like how I feel once I’ve done something. Once the weather gets better, I’ll do more, even if it does mean I’ll get sweaty and go the colour of a strawberry/tomato hybrid.

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It’s better that I do something- I feel better mentally as well as physically after a run, even if I spend a lot of the run feeling like I’d quite like to die (this happens quite a lot. I’m not Paula Radcliffe.) There’s a sense of achievement. I’ll keep going. I’m even looking into getting new trainers.

Also, I’d like to highlight a list on BuzzFeed- proof that yogis come in all shapes and sizes. I found it really inspiring.

What I want to say is- if I can do it, anyone can.

Oh, hai 2015

Do you have any rituals you do on New Year’s Day? I take down the tree, order some new seeds for the garden and have a good tidy up. It makes me feel like I’m ushering out the old year and letting the new one in with a cheery, productive welcome. This year, I’ll be pleased to bring a new year into the house.

Let’s face it, 2014 wasn’t a great year in general, was it?

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I mean, I started the year with such high hopes, only to have all of them dashed. So this new year, I’m keeping it simple. Rather than setting resolutions- which we all know I won’t bloody stick to anyway- I’m going to have a few ideas as to what I would like to achieve and then see whether they’re manageable or need adjusting.

Fitness

2014 was the year I started running. Although I’m not a running junkie like Benn (who does 5k in less than 17 minutes- huh), I do like being able to eat whatever I like- within reason- and not care about it. However, I DO NOT like running in the cold and dark. So I have a few tricks up my sleeve: a combination of dance, yoga and… Davina McCall. I’m going to alternate them with running so that I don’t get bored. It will be interesting to see how I manage by February… At the moment, I’m tempted by 30 Days of Yoga with Adrienne, but knowing me it’ll end up being Three and a Half Days of Yoga Over The Course of a Month. We’ll see.

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Crafting

I’d like to make more stuff this year- especially for me, as the bulk of the items I made in 2014 were gifts. I might even try my hands at something new. And I WILL get back on the sewing machine. Probably around the time of Sewing Bee being back on. Again.

Image: digitalspy.co.uk

Money

I’d like to save some money this year; having the kitchen ceiling fall in the other day (really) made me realise I should really have some contingency money and also, if nothing else, I’d like to offset some of the cost of Christmas or save up for a holiday or something. Or maybe just a FitBit. Let’s not aim too high.

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Blogging and writing

I’ll keep going my own merry way with the blog, although I think I’ll include more experience posts as opposed to being just review post heavy. But again, we’ll see how it all evolves.

In the meantime, HAPPY NEW YEAR!