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    Fitness, Reviews

    Running With A Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Watch

    I got the Garmin Forerunner 230 last Christmas, and as we’re 6 months down the line, I guess it’s time to share my thoughts. Right? I actually intended to review it much sooner, but just never got round to it!

    Running With A Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Watch

    Now when I got my first running watch (the Garmin Forerunner 10 way back in 2013!) I just chose the cheapest option that had the GPS tracking and things that I wanted. I’ve since had a Fitbit Flex and a Withings Activite, but I still used my Garmin for all running tracking because general activity trackers just don’t do that.

    Forerunner 230 Tracking Capabilities

    The Garmin Forerunner 230 is a good mixture of everything. It tracks my running distance/time/calories/pace etc (and also does indoor running without GPS, and cycling) and also tracks my steps for the day. You can actually turn this activity tracking option off, and it will save even more battery. One thing that I really like is that your daily step count changes. It basically sees what you’re doing, and sets a target that fits to your average but still giving a little push. In all honestly, my target has been horrendous lately, and staying around 5000 because I often struggle to even get over 3000! That’s something I’m trying to work on…

    Now the battery – I think it’s good. If you’re using the regular clock face, daily activity tracking and running 3x per week it can definitely last a few weeks before needing charging. I’ve recently changed clock face to one of the user downloads and I’ve noticed that the battery drains a lot quicker using this. This clock face includes a countdown timer (like you can see in the top photo), so it’s understandable that it uses more battery. I love it, so I can deal with that. Overall, the battery is way better than I imagined it would be on this kind of tracking watch.

    Running With A Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Watch

    One of the cool things about it is the apps. There are a couple built in, like the weather and if your phone is linked up you can see a calendar and notifications too. You can’t actually do anything with them on the watch, but it’s still cool. I don’t generally use this function though. Through the Connect app, you can browse other widgets/apps to download, and I believe these are user generated and designed. I have a little kitty one that reacts to my step count, and I have a weather one that tells me how likely it is to rain in the next 30 minutes. Perfect for runners, right?!

    The Design And Feel

    As for the look and design, it is quite a big watch. I have small wrists, and the face pretty much covers them but honestly I don’t mind. At work I’ve had quite a few compliments from customers actually who’ve spotted it and said it was fancy! I chose the purple design pretty much for the white clock bit. I believe you can buy different straps, which I may look into soon. As it is that plastic-y kind of material, it has started to look a little grubby.

    Running With A Garmin Forerunner 230 GPS Watch

    At the time I couldn’t really afford the 235 which included a heart rate monitor on the watch itself, but the 230 can still be linked up with a heart rate monitor that you wear around your chest. I don’t have that so can’t comment on it’s reliability, but I’m sure it’s the same with any.

    Overall, I’m super happy with the Garmin Forerunner 230 and I’m glad I finally upgraded from the Forerunner 10! This one includes so much more than just GPS running, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this watch is a useful tool for tracking runs. I would recommend Garmin watches to anyone, as I’ve had good experiences myself, though I have never tried another brand of running watch.

    What do you use? GPS tracking or solely an activity tracker?

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    Lifestyle, Tips & Tricks

    How To Create Goals & Stick To Them

    Some people will start the new year with a list of goals (me) yet some hate it. Some will do monthly goals. Some hate it. If you know me just the slightest, you’ll know I like goals. I figured I’d give the reasons why I like them in all aspects of life.

    Pros-of-Goal-Setting

    Sometimes I think the problem with goals is that they’re given too much weight. Like, they become a fixation and for those who don’t meet those goals, or set them too high get hit with failure and that ultimately just makes things worse. Don’t get me wrong, I have done that before. Plenty of times. But right now, I feel like I’m in a good place with what I want in life and what I’m doing to get to that point. You’ve got to have a good balance.

    How To Create Goals That Don’t Set You Up For Failure

    Looking at the words themselves, a goal really is just a general outcome that you want. Anyone can just say “Oh I want to do such a thing” and there we have it, a goal. The next part is the one that ensures you can reach that goal, and it’s thinking about the steps you need to take to reach it. Quite often it takes more than one thing or change to hit that goal. These become your objectives, or steps as I prefer to call them, and I think people forget about this bit.

    So for example, my main life goal at the moment is to be travelling by the end of 2018. To get to that goal, the main step I’ve started working on at the moment is putting money aside in my savings. Once I get closer to the time, I’ll also have to start looking at getting a visa, possibly getting jabs, checking airlines, hostels, places and the like. These are all separate steps that will help me hit that main goal and without them I wouldn’t get there.

    For fitness, ultimately my goal is to get stronger and run a PB half marathon time. I need to consider all the things that will help me do this, and this includes adding more strength training, adding more running mileage and of course, cleaning up my diet. Again, all separate steps that will get me to that ultimate goal.

    Basically, when setting a goal you need to be thinking about the wider picture. How can you hit that goal? What is it that you actually need to work on? As you can see, just saying ‘I want to travel’ doesn’t really help you at all if you don’t know what you need to do.

    Why Having Goals Helps Me To Achieve

    There’s a couple of reasons really why I like to set goals, but mostly it’s because I am someone who needs a plan. Organisation. I like writing down what I want to do and how I can do it. And then also because I like a challenge. Can’t help it.

    You’ll find a lot of people just plodding on in life. Doing what they have to, to get by, and not completely happy but also not doing anything about it. I don’t want that for myself. How many people do you know who just hate their job? I know quite a few… and whilst I myself don’t hate my jobs, I know it’s not what I want to be doing in the long-term. I have dreams of where I want to be, and I want to take those steps to hit them. Those regrets, what would have been, if I’d just tried to… Nope, not me.

    Like I know that I will completely regret not trying to get out and travel. Even just for a month. I don’t want to be settled down mid-thirties with kids thinking, why didn’t I just take that chance I had? Don’t get me wrong, I want to start a family. I’d love to have kids. But I’m not ready for that yet. And this isn’t a negative push at those who do settle down young – that’s perfectly fine if it’s what you want to do.

    Which brings me to my next point. We all have different goals and dreams in life. You might look at me and think, she wants to run another half marathon, maybe even a marathon? No thanks! And that’s perfectly okay. You do you, and figure out what makes you happy. After all, isn’t that what we’re all aiming for?

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    What You Should Do Next To Start Achieving Goals

    So think about what you want to achieve in the next year. Is it fitness related? Job related? Blog related? Maybe even family/friend related? Whatever it is, start jotting it down.

    My favourite thing to do is to create a mind map. I find that it’s easier to do separate ones for each area of life because then you can get really detailed if needed. For example mine would include, a general life one, a fitness one, a blog one and a travel one. This doesn’t have to be neat (hey you can always re-do it neatly if you want this as a visual once you’ve decided on things!) and is basically just a brainstorm of what you want to achieve. It can be for the next year, the next 5 or even longer.

    Once all those thoughts are written down, you can start to sort through what you want to do and figure out which bits are the main goals, and which bits are the steps that you need to take. For me, actually writing down these things allows me to properly understand them and to see which goals are easier and which will take more time. That’s one of the hardest things, time. You just can’t expect results over night, but by working consistently you will get there.

    So Go Out And Hit Those Goals

    Yep. I hope this has helped you to at least have a better view on goals, and how to set yourself up for success instead of failure. So many people make new years resolutions and never stick to them… Now’s your chance to revisit those things you want to do for yourself and really smash them.

    What Tips Do You Have For Me?

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    Lifestyle

    My Top 3 Radio Stations

    RadioStations

    I’m not actually that much of a music person. I mean I like it, obviously, and I have some favourites, obviously, but music isn’t generally my first choice of things to do. Like, on a commute I’m more likely to read a book or listen to an audio/podcast over music. When I run, I’ll listen to an audiobook/podcast or just run without if it’s just a short run. At the gym, I just don’t bother with music because whatever is playing in there is usually pretty loud. At home I won’t be sat listening to music whilst blogging, I’ll be catching up on youtube or a tv series.

    So yeah, I really don’t listen to it much. The main times are when I’m in my car (actually a lot of the time) or when I’m at work in the office. Here’s what I choose.

    Radio X

    This one is my car go-to. I’ve either got Radio X on or my Best of Mcfly CD. Pick your lesser evil haha. On a Wednesday/Thursday I drive to Manchester for work and it usually takes me around an hour each way. The Chris Moyles breakfast show is what keeps me company on the way in, and I love it. Plenty of random chatter and silly games give me something to laugh about as I’m heading into work. I really like the Before/After game, even though I’m absolutely terrible and whilst I usually know the songs, I never know any dates for when they were released. I think Chris Moyles is a marmite kind of guy, people either seem to love him or hate him. I love him.

    I also prefer the music on Radio X to all the chart hits on Radio 1, Key 103, Capital and the like. They play more older stuff and not as screechy and poppy. Not a fan of that!

    Absolute 00s

    Just simply because there’s absolute bangers to be heard on here. Absolute also have a 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s station if those take your fancy, but I quite like the 00s one because it’s more my ‘era’ from when I listened to music in my teens. I can’t be the only one who just prefers the older music much more than what’s in the charts at the moment, right?

    In one morning I heard: Fall Out Boy – This Ain’t A Scene It’s An Arms Race, Jason Mraz – I’m Yours, Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc., Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch, My Chemical Romance – Welcome to the Black Parade, Outkast – Hey Ya!, Avril Lavigne – Sk8er Boi, Usher – Yeah, Black Eyed Peas – I Gotta Feeling, Maroon 5 – This Love. See what I mean?!

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    This is the usual station on in my office at work, and at first I was like what is this bore… But it can actually be quite interesting depending on what their topics are each day. I’ve found myself switching it on even when I’m in on my own! They mostly talk about what’s happening in the news so it really can vary and it’s a mixture of serious and the more informal chats. Have to say I’ve learned a lot listening to this kind of thing!

    What do you listen to?

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    Fitness

    Setting A New Running Challenge

    My last ‘major’ challenge was the Wigan Half Marathon back in March. It was tough, but I finished it and was super proud of myself. First half marathon and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it! Now it’s time for another…

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    My next big challenge is another half marathon – the English Half Marathon in Warrington, September 17th. Not only that, but also the 5km race on Friday 15th, and (if I can walk) the mile that takes place after the half/10km races. Yep. Three races within one weekend. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a challenge… and medals. There’s a double medal if you do two races, and a special triple crown medal if you do three, as well as the usual race ones. So yeah, five medals in total, and they are all incredible. See for yourself.

    How I’m Preparing Myself For This Challenge

    I have 13 weeks to train for this. Plenty of time, right? Now I’d like to say I’d just run all the time, but I know realistically that won’t happen. I am of course going to be running, and my Mondays or Tuesdays (depending on work) will generally be the long run days to get my mileage back up.

    However, if the Wigan half taught me one thing, it’s that I need to work on my muscles to correct imbalances and weaknesses. My body felt awful afterwards, and especially my inner thighs. The massage I had afterwards was the most painful thing I’ve ever had done to me. Actually thought I was going to pass out…

    I’ve been going to the gym and doing strength training in the past few months, but it’s time to properly get back into a routine. The plan of action is to follow a 12 week plan that I found on BodyBuilding, which includes a fully rounded strength routine with two targeted cardio days. I’ll most likely be running as my warm up for each session too, so that’s more time on my feet. I may end up with 3/4 runs per week depending on how I feel, but the basic routine will be two targeted running days.

    The thing is, I don’t generally have problem with my breathing/stamina when running long distances. It’s usually the soreness and dead legs that stop me! I’m hoping that focusing on making my body stronger will help with the running, as well as give my body a better base for fitness.

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    Tracking The Fitness

    You’ll hopefully be getting monthly updates on here to see my progress and how I’m getting on. I don’t want to overload the blog with boring fitness updates, but I know that some of you do find this stuff interesting. Even better, let me know what kind of fitness things you’d like to see and I’ll try to add them!

    I’m using an app to track which workouts I complete, and I’ll probably tick them off on my calendar in my Filofax too – it’s an easier visual to see how I’m doing. The before photos have been taken, though I haven’t actually taken measurements yet so I will do that too. I just want to make it clear now that my goal is not to lose weight. Losing body fat and getting leaner would be great, but overall weight loss isn’t the goal. My goal is to get stronger and fitter, so I really am going to be using my body as a measurement, seeing how I feel and how I’m improving on weights. In all honesty, I could probably do with a bit of extra weight on anyway!

    I will be attempting to update daily on instagram over at my fitness account @runliftkt if you want to follow there. Shameless plug, I know. I only follow back fitness accounts on there, but if I love your feed you’ll likely get a follow from my main account instead ;)

    So what about you, any new challenges coming up?

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    Travel

    The Travel Itch: My Dream Travel Destinations

    I have the travel itch. The wanderlust. The need to just get out and explore new places, different countries, different worlds.

    Travel-Itch

    I’ve been quite lucky in that I have already been to a few different countries in my short (getting old) lifetime so far. We would go on a holiday abroad almost every year when I was a child, or so it felt. My mum is the queen of finding last minute or cheap holidays. Once we booked at 6pm and got on the flight at 6am the next morning. Yep. Now that’s last minute! Brothers passport had turned up that morning and my mum and dad were running out of their summer holiday time off – had to be done, apparently.

    These holidays were mostly Spain, but still I’ve been to a few different areas. Most with family, some with college/university friends. Other places I’ve been include Jersey, Lanzarote, Malta, Turkey, Tunisia, France ( Paris – for Disneyland and for an art trip), Italy (Venice and a brief trip to Verona) and Finland. Mostly European, which is great and all (and I’d love to visit more) but I want to venture out further. Don’t we all?

    Dream Travel Destinations

    + East Coast of Australia +

    This is number one on the list, and something I’m currently saving for with the hopes of setting off late 2018. Even if it doesn’t happen then, it will happen. Watch this space. Australia had been a dream travel destination since I was a little kid though. As soon as I discovered the Great Barrier Reef I wanted to visit, and it helps of course that the country looks beautiful and actually has sunshine. I just know I’ll regret it if I don’t visit Australia at least once in my lifetime.

    Inspirations: Byron Bay Guide, East Coast Trip & Where’s Mollie

    + Bali +

    If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a sun worshipper. I just love me some hot weather. I don’t really know why or when I became aware of Bali as a place to travel to, but I see photos on instagram and on blogs and it just looks so pretty. I’m easy to please.

    Inspirations: Solo Female Travellers Guide & 10 Things To Do in Bali,

    + Canada +

    Banff, Lake Louise, The Rockies, Niagra Falls… Need I say more? Seriously though, Canada looks like a beautiful place. I’d love to just spend my days hiking around all the nature parks and enjoying the quiet. Camping, running, cycling, swimming in rivers etc. It seems like the perfect place for that kind of trip.

    Inspirations: 10 Things To Do in Banff & First Time Visitor To Canada?

    + Iceland +

    My main reason for wanting to visit Iceland is to see the Northern Lights. You can see them from a few places obviously, but Iceland is the main one I guess. I mean like I said, I like hot weather. Iceland doesn’t tick that box at all (though apparently it isn’t as cold as you’d think?) but it’s still somewhere I’d love to visit. I can easily wrap up in plenty of layers!

    Inspirations: Road Trip in 14 Days & 10 Reasons to Visit in Winter & Golden Circle Tour

    Wanderlust

    Where would you visit, given the chance? Would love to know!

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    Fitness

    Race For Life Pennington Flash Recap

    I’ve missed the last couple of Race For Life events thanks to university and just not being in the right place at the right time. I wanted to do a Pretty Muddy, but it just couldn’t happen. I’m glad I got to this one instead!

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    Why I Love The Race For Life

    Cancer is a big thing. They say that almost everyone will have been affected by cancer at some point in their life, whether that’s through themselves getting it, a loved one, a friend, or even just an acquaintance. It sucks, it really does.

    We’ve lost all four grandparents to some form of cancer. I’ve known a few people outside of the family to be touched with this awful disease. Most recently it was my mum. She knew something was up, went to the doctors and thankfully she was given scans quite quickly, and was having an operation to remove the tumour just weeks later. That probably all happened within a month. Luckily she’d caught it at the very early stage 1, and doesn’t need any further treatment. So many others don’t get that lucky.

    I’ve done the race 4 times now I think, and I’ve volunteered once (with my mum of course!) so I know what to expect when there. But even so, you do feel super emotional. Just reading everyone’s messages on their backs always has me! Research for this kind of thing is always important, and Cancer Research are one of the biggest Cancer charities out of many others. They’re all doing good work, and it’s great to come to an event like this and see how people are raising money, raising awareness and telling their stories.

    Finish

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    Completing the Race for Life 5k

    This time I made sure I was right at the front. I usually get stuck behind all the joggers/walkers, and whilst I know it isn’t a serious race, I just struggle to even walk slow so you know, not a great place to get stuck. We set off SO quickly, I don’t know how they all kept it up. I definitely couldn’t!

    It was a weird one actually because my race was quite quiet with me being more towards the front of the pack. I did run alongside a lovely lady at one point when we were definitely both struggling. She was telling me how she’d been swimming in the flash the day before! The weather couldn’t make it’s mind up and the sun appeared and disappeared constantly. It was hot out, and I’d have been grateful for a little bit of rain to be honest!

    Now it’s supposed to be a 5km run, but my Garmin only measured 4.6km. Did it lose signal or was it just short? Probably short but hey ho, it doesn’t matter does it? My time therefore was 27:13 and not really accurate of a 5km at all considering I haven’t managed under 29 yet! Oh and look at me being all nonchalant on the starting line haha. Furthest on the left if you couldn’t tell ;)

    You can see the full overview of my run stats on Strava here!

    Next up I’ve got a 5 mile bike ride. Something different! Ever done a race for life before?

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    Lifestyle, United Kingdom

    Hiking Up To Rivington Pike

    “To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give, to roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to live.”
    Hans Christian Andersen

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    It’s eerily quiet, the only sound being the occasional bird chatter, leaves rustling in the breeze and twigs crunching under your feet. It’s moments like this when you can get fully lost in your own thoughts and take some much needed ‘me’ time.

    When I was at university I used to explore so many different places. I’d always be heading out with my camera to see what I could find. I miss that. I mean, I now have a car and I’ve gone to far less new places than I did when I had to rely on my legs, bike or train! Last month I decided to make the effort to go out for more walks. And that I did!

    Rivington Pike (or Winter Hill) is pretty close to me and only a half an hour drive away. In fact I can see the signal mast from my house – especially so when it’s night time and the bright red lights are turned on! This is a pretty popular walk for people of all ages and interests: families, dog walkers; cyclists, runners, hikers, ramblers and more. It’s super pretty and has plenty of things to discover and find on the way up, depending on which route you take!

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    Japanese Gardens & Old Buildings

    The best thing about this area is all the random little bridges, buildings and walls. The gardens were designed by Thomas Mawson between 1905-1922. It included the wooded area with a network of footpaths and terraces with a man-made ravine, various bridges and the Japanese garden and lake. (Which you can see a little of above!)

    A lot of the old buildings now are very much decayed and broken, replaced by woodland and overgrown greenery but you can see the history there nevertheless. The lake is beautiful, and has a couple of mini waterfalls too. You can see a bit of it in the photo above. The perfect place for a relaxing rest before/after the climb to the top!

    These are my absolute favourite kinds of things to explore. I love finding random paths and bridges and buildings hidden in the trees. It just feels like you’re finding another world because it’s completely different to usual city life.

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    Reaching The Pike

    Once you’ve passed all that wilderness, you’re met with the amazing views. On a good weather day (admittedly few and far in between) you can see for miles as soon as you’ve gotten out into the open space. You can even see the Isle of Man on a really good day at around 93 miles away if you know what you’re looking for. Yeah, I didn’t. Not great with that kind of thing.

    Easier things to spot include the Macron Stadium – Reebok for those of us still not used to the ‘new’ name – and the Blackpool Tower in the far distance. Spotting the Blackpool Tower all the way from here feels quite impressive actually.

    What I haven’t mentioned so far is that when you do spot the pike you also spot a horrible looking set of stairs, and boy are they tiring on the legs after all the hill walking you’ve already done! When I was there last with my boyfriend, we were just sat at the top enjoying the view whilst two runners had a little competition in the form of hill repeats. Crazy, crazy people. Not gonna lie though, I was pretty chuffed for the girl who kept beating the guy she was with!

    Doing things like this just really reminds me how comfortable I feel being outside, and how much I need to be active in my daily life.

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    Any interesting walks near you?

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