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    Fitness

    4 Must-See Fitness Documentaries on Netflix

    So I’ve got to admit that I have actually cancelled my Netflix. For now. It’s almost Game of Thrones time and well, I needed Now TV for that. Can’t be wasting money on both! (I’m sure I’ll be back Netflix, don’t cry too much without me.)

    FitnessDocumentaries

    The Barkley Marathons

    The people who do this are CRAZY and watching it both inspires me yet horrifies me haha. The Barkley Marathons are strange. It’s an ultramarathon race with a distance of approximately 100 miles. You basically have to find your way around and collect a specific page from a book to prove you hit each checkpoint. Each lap is 20 miles and you change directions on laps 3 and 4. On the last lap, each runner has to alternate direction. So the first to start the last lap may go clockwise. The next person goes anti-clockwise, the next clockwise and so on. If there’s even that many to finish!

    It’s just such a strange race and the documentary is great. I would recommend this one 100 times over.

    Finding Traction

    Another ultra race, though this time just focusing on one person. Nikki Kimball is attempting to become the fastest person in history to run the 273 mile Long Trail in America. We basically follow her journey right from the beginning, seeing the training and the record attempt. This documentary gives a real intimate insight into the struggles of pushing your body to the extremes. This is a raw documentary. It shows true spirit and I found it really inspiring. I won’t be doing an ultra any time soon but you know, never say never…

    From Fat To Finish Line

    Do you ever just watch random documentaries and cry with happiness for the people in it? This happens to me regularly… And From Fat To Finish Line definitely appeared in that category. This film focuses on 12 runners, spread throughout the US as they train towards running the 200 mile Ragnar Relay race as a team. I say runners, but they weren’t all runners before it. These people were all strangers, and their one thing in common was that they all wanted to lose around 100lbs. As they train and then complete the race together you see them become a family. Oh it was great. I cried many tears at this one!

    Fittest on Earth 2015

    Ever heard of CrossFit? That’s what this documentary focuses on, showing the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games. This is a 5 day, 13 event test to find the fittest male and female. We follow some of the top athletes who qualified and competed, and it just shows some of the background to this kind of event. These tests look damn hard, and it kind of makes you want to try CrossFit yet stay far, far away at the same time. These people are super fit.

    Have you got any favourites?

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    Fitness

    Race Recap: 5 Mile Wigan Bike Ride

    So far this year (minus January) I’ve done a race each month. Since I’m away so much throughout July I was struggling to find a race that I could run on the few weekends I had free! That’s when I realised that the Wigan Bike Ride was happening right at the beginning of the month, and was something I could do!

    50-Milers

    The Wigan Bike Ride is a new event for this year, with it mainly being a 50 mile ride. I didn’t do the 50 miles simply because I rarely cycle, and just didn’t have time to train for that. Instead I stuck to the 5 mile family ride, and yes, did it alone. My dad was actually going to join me, but he works nights and was unfortunately working the Saturday night and so only got home 7am Sunday morning.

    The event has been created as part of the Joining Jack charity, aiming to raise money for research into finding a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Jack is the son of an ex-rugby player, and a Wigan one at that, so this charity is probably the biggest we’ve got in the town in relation to sporting events. They also do the Wigan 10k and the Wigan Half Marathon (which was also new this year!) and I love that we’ve started to get a lot more sporting events in my home town and using them to raise money for goodness.

    The family ride was open to anyone aged 5 and above, so there was a great mixture of people taking part. A lot of families with young kids and even grandparents. I saw a little one on stabilisers – how’s that for determination eh? Have to say, I didn’t really see many around my age! Not even doing the 50 miler. It was great anyway to see so many young kids out on their bikes, enjoying the sunshine and getting fresh air. They seemed to be really loving it out there. Even if quite a few did race past me…

    JJ-Bike-Ride

    We were on closed roads so it was absolutely safe for the younger ones and it also made me feel a little more comfortable! I’ve discovered that I really do love cycling, but riding on roads with cars just worries me. I mean I know the road rules so I’m sure I’d be fine but it’s just always that thought there. I do need to just suck it up and get out there a bit more though I think. I’d love to try the 50 mile ride next year as I’m sure this event will return, so watch this space… Maybe cycling will start to appear!

    Waiting-To-Start

    Overall a great event and with 670 riders, I think it was, a great turn out for the first one. I believe the majority of those did the 50 miles too! I could definitely have done more than the 5 miles, but I wouldn’t have managed the full 50 due to the lack of training. I’m glad I took part though, and that’s another sporting race/event to tick of for 2017! Number 6 done.

    Done anything like this before? Any tips for road cycling?

    Finished

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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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    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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    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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    Fitness

    Great Manchester Run Recap; Standing Together

    The Great Manchester Run. An incredible event, and one I always love doing/watching. Thousands travel to Manchester for it, and of course we have the elites races to start the day off. This year was a little different. We weren’t 100% sure it would go on thanks to what happened on the 22nd, that awful tragedy. But it did, and oh boy did we turn out.

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    Arriving in Manchester

    I really didn’t know what to expect for the day if I’m honest. Would it be quiet, and eerie? Would I feel scared or unsafe? Would the atmosphere just be completely different to usual?

    Well, for one, not once did I feel safe in the streets of Manchester. We did have armed police dotted around everywhere and I don’t know what it was exactly, but it just felt good. Emotional, but for all the right reasons.

    It definitely wasn’t quiet, that’s for sure! When we first arrived the finish line area was pretty quiet as everyone was congregation near the charity village and starting line areas. The support as I was waiting in the starting pen was phenomenal. So many people around the edges cheering us on. By the time I got to the finish, everyone was there instead.

    Every wave had a minutes silence for those who sadly lost their lives in the bombing attack, and Tony Walsh read out a poem. I’ve never had a poem touch me so strongly, and I had tears in my eyes listening to this just before starting. It isn’t a new one, but it was definitely very fitting for this year’s race. I’ve embedded it below, please listen!

    Congestion and Trying to Run

    I don’t know whether it’s the wave I was in (I was in blue with the 3000 Manchester University purple wave…) but it was SO busy. I felt like I constantly had around 20 people super close to me, and had to keep weaving in and out. Like to be honest, it isn’t the end of the world. I was hoping for a PB in this race but I wasn’t taking it super seriously. I was just happy that it did go ahead and we all turned up.

    Thank God For Shower Tunnels

    But oh damn, it was tough. We didn’t have any sunshine, but I think it was around 17 degrees so you know, it was warm. The air was still pretty humid too so all that makes for a tougher run. Thankfully there were two shower tunnels on the route… Freezing cold water spraying down in a mist to cool you down. Genius idea.

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    Getting to the Finish

    One of the best things about the Great Manchester Run is the support you get on course. So many people turn out. The last kilometre just before you get to the corner of Deansgate has to be one of my favourite parts ever, I mean for one it’s downhill… Thanks to the named bibs though, you get random strangers calling out your name and cheering you on. Hearing that is such a good push. It’s crazy how different the support feels when they are personally calling you by name.

    Not gonna lie though, that finish was hard. I hadn’t run as well as I have in previous races, but I pushed myself to the end and thankfully still managed a sub-60. There are a few photographers right near the finish and I remember seeing them and thinking right, good finish photo, smile, smile. I really thought I was smiling – turns out I wasn’t and I look like I want to cry haha.

    The Results

    So yeah, I finished in 59:58. Not a PB, but the second fastest I’ve run a 10km so I am pleased. The day as a whole was just incredible and I’m amazed at just how many spectators turned up to watch and support us. Manchester is great, and this is a run that’ll always be high on my list. Ever done it?

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

    Next challenge – a Race for Life 5k run. Tomorrow in fact!

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    5 Ways To Find Running Inspiration And Get Motivated

    They always say the hardest bit about getting fit or keeping to a new routine is finding the motivation, and keeping it up. Once you’re in a routine it’s easy, but yeah, just getting to the point can be difficult.

    5 Ways To Find Running Inspiration And Get Motivated

    Read Running Magazines

    One of the easiest ways to get inspiration I think. I have a subscription to Women’s Running, but I also buy Runner’s World on occasion. I think Women’s Running especially is getting better and better. There are so many stories from ‘real’ people, articles written by runners who are either just running for themselves or running to train for something. There’s tips and advice, with training plans and nutrition advice. The good thing about running magazines now is that they definitely don’t feel preachy or like they are advocating bad health decisions to get ‘beach ready’ or to ‘lose that tum’. It’s very much about your health, strength and just training to get better.

    Join In Twitter Chats – UKRunChat

    I’m sure there’s plenty more, but UKRunChat is the main one I know of and use. People of all ages, fitness and distance use this chat and it’s always great to get involved. Need a few questions answering? This is my go to. So many seasoned runners there to help, and it’s true, the running community really is a helpful one.

    Find Other Runners On Instagram

    If you didn’t know already, I have a separate account that focuses a lot more on fitness (@runliftkt sneaky promo haha) and that’s where I get all my inspiration. I follow quite a few runners on there, including @thisgirlcanrunfar, @shoulder_runner, @thewelshrunner and @emajoyc to name a few! But yeah, it’s always good to just see other people training, and the park run hashtag has a lot of inspirational people.

    5 Ways To Find Running Inspiration And Get Motivated

    Listen To Podcasts

    This is one that I don’t do a lot of admittedly, but it’s quite often my commute home entertainment. (Radio X with Chris Moyles is my go-to morning entertainment ha!) But yeah, these are a few I do listen to and they’re usually either sharing stories from races, personal journeys through interviews, running/health tips or just random chatter. I don’t listen to every podcast from the ones that I follow, but just look at the description and see what’s going on.

    Watch Fitness Vloggers

    I’m adding this in because I know it can be super helpful. I tend to just find random vlogs (like all the London Marathon ones!) and watch them rather than following anyone in particular. If you have any recommendations, let me know! As a general fitness vlogger, I do love NaturallyStefanie who really focuses on lifting! But yeah, search running and I’m sure you’ll find loads.

    Any other things for motivation or inspiration?

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