Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Update: Stress, stress and more stress

Well after a lovely two weeks of holiday, the stress immediately began to pile on once I arrived back in London.

So I have a lot of junk left to unpack
Firstly there seemed to be an endless list of problems with moving into our new flat - everything from rejected offers to missing paperwork - not to mention the stress of actually moving into the place. I still can't quite believe how difficult the whole process was, but all's well that ends well and I'm now installed in my lovely new place (which is at the top of a hill, so no more avoiding hills when I run!).

Add that whole nightmare to my fast-approaching MA dissertation deadline and night-shifting at work and things have been absolutely crazy. In fact another holiday to chill out again would be perfect right now. Oh well...

The obligatory legs/pool shot from holiday. This is what I try to envision as I'm slaving away on my dissertation.

But looking on the bright side my dissertation will be handed in (in whatever state it may be) by the end of the month and then I can at least take a bit of a breather.

My running has really suffered because I've been so busy and I've only been managing about one or two a week (I ideally like to aim for a minimum of 3, preferably 4). It actually seems pretty silly, since I always find I feel less stressed when I've been for a run! With my first 10k fast approaching I know that as soon as my dissertation is in I need to really get myself into gear with training.

I'm actually really looking forward to finding some routes in my new area and making some good progress in preparation for my 10k.

So onward and upwards, wish me luck with the dissertation and see you on the other side!

Harris x

Thursday, 12 September 2013

See Harris Inspired: Ellie Goulding

Well here's a post I never thought I'd write.

Don't get me wrong, she's definitely got some good tracks out there, but I couldn't ever say I've been a big Ellie Goulding fan. I'm actually a little ashamed to admit that I'd sort of lumped her into the 'poppy young girls that I don't really want to listen to' group.

Ellie, just wanna say I'm sorry for refusing to listen to you...
That was until I found out that Ellie is actually a kind of hardcore runner. After reading this interview with her on The Fader, I found out that she ran the Nike Women's Half Marathon (she actually re-scheduled a couple of her tour dates so she could do it) and she's actually pretty awesome.

Apparently Ellie always tries to find the time to run, even when she's on tour. And to think I try and get out of a run when I've had to stay late at the office!  I can only imagine how insanely tired touring and performing must be, so this girl is seriously inspirational!

Also check her out in this video for Nike+.

Wish I looked like this when I run...

She's taken part in loads of races, from Nike+'s Run To The Beat to the Great North Run - maybe I'll spot her somewhere along the way?

I'll even admit that after giving her album 'Halcyon' a proper listen, I definitely stuck a couple of tracks on my running playlist - cheers Ellie!

Harris x

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Update: In between trips

I arrived back from Ireland in the early hours of yesterday morning. It was a mercifully smooth crossing and although we were all shattered by the time we got home, we all agreed that it was a lovely trip.

Not 100% sure this helped my running...
Firstly I have to admit that I decided against the running on holiday - mainly because it was a choice between a pair of heels or a pair of trainers in the suitcase - and as far as my Ireland trip went, it was definitely the right choice. I barely had a moment spare between visiting relatives and other activities (mainly centred around stuffing my face silly and a wee drink of Guinness).

The view from my hotel window (very Downton!)
So yesterday I thought I would try and cram a quick run in between unpacking from Ireland, sorting out paperwork for my new flat and re-packing for Portugal.

It was disappointing to say the least. I could practically feel all those Irish scones jiggling around as I ran and I only managed 4.5k. Even that felt like a struggle and I was almost out of breath for most of the run.

I know we all have good days and bad days, but I couldn't help but feel pretty disappointed at how hard I found yesterday's run.

I wasn't expecting to struggle quite so much with this run
I'm just going to enjoy this week in the sun now and make sure that I get properly back on the running when I'm back. The November 10k is starting to loom in my mind and I need to really get myself in gear and get training.

I'm also looking forward to finding some new routes around the area that I'll be moving too - I'll be in reachable distance of Putney Heath, Richmond Park and Wandsworth Common so am wondering if I can find some nice routes around there.

Harris x

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

My Couch To 5k experience

So if you've read some of my earlier posts, you'll know that I first properly got in to running through the NHS C25K plan. I know a lot of people are interested in the C25K plan and so I thought I'd just give my tuppence on the whole thing.

I chose to use the NHS' C25K for several rather boring reasons. Firstly I was a skint student and couldn't afford to buy any other programme (sadly though my student status has changed, the skint remains). Also I was SO unfit that I thought that at least the NHS should know how to create an exercise programme that wouldn't make me keel over and die (this seemed like a very real risk).

So how did I find it? To be honest, it seems like my experience was a pretty typical one: some weeks were pleasantly easy, while others made me want to jump in the Thames. The first 20 minute run felt absolutely insurmountable when I set off and, although definitely a toughie, I really did surprise myself with my progress. For me, the key was simply trusting in the plan to help me improve - even though sometimes at the beginning of a run I was sceptical about whether I would finish, I always did. Sometimes barely. But still.

I'd be interested to try some other C25K plans to see how they measure up - since I've only tried one I guess I can't reaaaally consider myself an expert! But here are some pros and cons for you to weigh up:

  • There is absolutely no denying that my fitness drastically improved. Yes it was hard, but by the end of the programme I was able to run for half an hour, however slowly. This would've been an absolute pipe dream before I started.
  • It's a good mix of music and talking - Laura chips in occasionally with updates on time and the odd helpful tip, but you also get plenty of (occasionally slightly questionable) music.
  • I didn't die (despite sometimes feeling pretty close).
  • I wasn't actually running 5k by the end of it. I do completely understand the programme's emphasis on running for time rather than distance, but since I knew that the Race For Life was going to be 5k, I was actually left a little scared despite having 'graduated' from the C25K plan.
  • The music is often a little but rubbish. In fairness I am a bit of a music snob, but sometimes it really was awful. Having said that, I guess it did spur me on because all I could think was "what the hell is this?!" instead of  "I'm tiiiired".
Thanks Laura!
Despite the cons of the programme, I would definitely recommend the NHS C25K (and indeed any C25K) to anyone like me who is a total beginner to running and is terrified at the though of running for more than 3 minutes. Simply setting off to run for half an hour without any guidance as a total beginner is asking for trouble (as I had found previously) and so this was a great way to build up gradually.

Have you tried a C25K plan? What did you think?

Harris x