Wow what a great first week! 13 miles in the bag and feeling great physically and mentally! I really thought that I would be flagging but am pleasantly surprised that my legs still feel like they want to run more and more importantly that I feel in myself that I want to run more. I’ve even run in the dark for the first time and I love it! There really is something about the cool evening air, chasing your shadow only to watch it disappear until the next lamp post comes along
I would like to thank the person who created the event on Facebook, as doing this challenge has taught me a lot, and it’s only the first week. I have a target of 10k and before this challenge I was a little fixated on getting the distance and was pacing myself accordingly. Nothing wrong with that at all I know, but I now know I need to mix it up a bit with shorter faster runs.
So at the end of the first week, I have managed to get my fastest mile at 12.07 minutes only to beat the following day (12.04 minutes), learned a few things, run more miles in this week than any week since I started running a few months ago and feel much better than I thought I would. All in all I am rather chuffed with meself and looking forward to my next run
Mid-way through a recent group exercise class, the teacher lost me. She didn’t lose me because of some complicated step sequence or insanely long set of burpees; I mentally checked out because of a few words she kept saying over and over. “Come on! Get that body ready for your winter beach vacation! Think about how you want to look at those holiday parties!
You know how it is, trawling through the clutter on your Facebook news feed. Your ol’ school mate is washing her hair and the kids are doing her head in, the lady you once went to yoga with is having a lovers tiff, Evans cycles are doing a question and answer half hour and your sister in law has taken the dog to the kennels ready for her hols. It gets on your nerves, but you still troll through anyway because you’re a nosey bugger
However, yesterday I found a rather interesting post that made me sit up a little from the slouch that I had relaxed into.
“Run everyday in December”.
Why not I thought? The challenge was to run at least 1 mile everyday throughout December, I can do that. The real challenge will be to fit a run in on Christmas Day, what with the early rise for present opening, tidying that up then getting on with the cooking of Christmas dinner, helping the kids decipher their presents……that’s half the day gone! And the thought of trying to run after Christmas dinner and a glass of wine……well erm doesn’t really appeal to me.
Now don’t worry I’m not trying to talk myself out of the challenge ooooh no, just a little planning is required that is all. Even if I have to meet Father Christmas coming down the stairs I WILL get that run in
I have had this clever little watch for a few months now and thought I would review it as I found the reviews useful when I was looking around. I have been using it on my regular runs and recording my times/distances and interval timing and I have found it to be a great useful tool for keeping records, although I do have a few niggles with it.
Sooooo what does this Garmin watch actually do? Well, it’s packed with features to help with your training, some you may use, some you probably wont. Whichever you do use you do get a choice of what you want to see displayed on screen.
What does it do?
Recording your route
It also lets you know when you have beaten an old record
Now GPS watches are not cheap, but as GPS watches go this is on the bargain end of pricing. This doesn’t mean you are getting less for your money. It all depends on how into your running want to get. For me it is simply to record my distances and times to see how I am improving (although seeing the amount of calories burned is quite interesting too!). I paid £78, but prices do vary, so do look around!
*The watch is comfortable to wear and the strap feels strong and not like it will snap at the slightest pull. Splash proof, not water proof, for the price of it they could have at least made it waterproof.
*I liked that, unlike some Garmin products it is fairly easy to use and comes with some useful little instructions.
*The display was clear and more than one function could be viewed at once on the screen.
*It is easy to upload your run times, route etc onto Garmin Connect (A Garmin connect account is required) where you can view your route and all the other stats. You can also upload to Strava which I have done too.
Now I did say that I had a few niggles and it is only a few, but they are worth mentioning.
*It can sometimes be rather slow to pick up the satellites for the GPS, this is a bit of a pain when you just want to get started! At times I have had to turn the watch off and on again which seemed to help.
*The battery life is 5 hours when using it in GPS mode, that’s not a problem for me as most of my runs are about 1 hour in duration, but could be a problem for some.
*It has only happened on one occasion, but after updating the software I discovered that the watch was unable to pick up any GPS. Very annoying, but rectified by plugging the watch back into the computer and updating it again. The watch now works perfectly! Strange one, but hey ho!
Overall I am very pleased with my purchase. I seemed to have had the same few problems that some of the reviewers had mentioned when I was looking, but that will not stop me recommending it. It is a good starter GPS watch for those just starting out running.
If I could make any recommendations to Garmin to improve the watch I would say make the beep louder, because you can’t always hear it if you are using the interval mode. I would also like to see it completely waterproof.
I’ve been reading through posts I have written over the years and I realised I have been talking a lot about what I have been doing for myself, with my cycling and more recently my running. So I thought I would write about the other way I occupy my time (as well as being a Mum), my volunteering.
This is something I have been doing for the last 10 years. I have performed in various roles from listening to children read in school to helping out at a youth club for teens with special needs. I have also volunteered for Home Start and Mentor Link. The former being a charity that provides befrienders for families with children aged five and under who need support for maaaany reasons. Some families have a lot of agencies involved and need an impartial person who they know have no reason for being there other than to listen them. Some needed support taking their children to children centres because Mum hadn’t got the confidence to go by herself. I loved this role, because I could see the difference I was making week by week. I got great satisfaction out of seeing a Mum gain confidence, not just with her children but also within herself.
Very recently I started volunteering as a Mentor with Mentor Link a local charity that trains and provides mentors for children in schools. I am relishing this role, because again it’s being an impartial person, a friend to a child who has been rcognised as needing the support of a mentor. To be honest you get to play and talk, what could be more fun that?!
So why did I start volunteering?
Initially, it was to fill up my time, but very quickly I realised that it was also to utilise skills/ experiences I had acquired along way from becoming a Mum and then after having my second child who has complex special needs. I wanted to make sure that someone else would benefit from that wealth of experience. I think it’s important to share your own experiences for the benefit of others, else what it is the point in gaining them?
I think everyone should have a go at volunteering at some point in their life. You get to learn so much about people, who ordinarily you might not have met! You get to learn about how others live or have lived. Their experiences, be they poistive or not. Volunteering at Home Start certainly opened up my eyes! I met people who were completely vulnerable, lost their way, were at rock bottom, surrounded by people who were supposedly ‘friends’. When in fact they were a huge part of the problem. Every Home Start family I visited had very different needs, but there was one thing they had in common, that was the need to simply talk to someone who would listen and not judge, not look down their nose at them (I once witnessed a family support worker do this!). My visits consisted of listening, chatting and drinking tea, maybe playing with the kids whilst Mum had a rest! Not hard to do but made the world of difference to the families.
Through my volunteering I have not only met some lovely families, but also fellow volunteers. They come from all walks of life, many retired, there are those that use their volunteering experience as part of their studies, others like me simply like to help. There have been teachers, bankers, office staff, retail staff, single parents, stay at home Mums the list is endless. Whatever one’s reason for volunteering, it doesn’t matter, the point is that it isn’t about you it’s about the person you will support.
The beauty of volunteering is that more often than not it can be done to fit in with your schedule. The time it takes up can be as little as 30 minutes a week up to…….it’s up to you! And you don’t have to have specialist skills, most volunteer schemes offer some sort of training. You will probably find that you do in fact have qualities to bring to the role of volunteer, some that perhaps you didn’t even realise you had!
So why not give it a try? Start by clicking here and see where it takes you.
Thought I would do a little update on how my running is going at the mo…….
Today’s run was good, 4.62 miles in a little over an hour. Now I know some of you out there will be thinking that’s slow, and yes it probably is, but for me it’s good! Especially as I have been swimming as well the last 2 days, covering 60 lengths in total AND I carry excess weight too. But do you know what? We all have to start somewhere, I feel great and I am well on my way to achieving my first goal of 10k in February.
It’s quite something to be jogging along tree lined lanes, listening to the rhythmic scrunch and scrape of autumnal leaves under foot. Who needs to listen to music? I thought I would when I started running, but actually I don’t. There’s simply too much going on around me. That’s the beauty of living where I live, we have fields with cows in that stare at me as I pass (always a good source of amusement!), there are the gypsy’s horses who have taken ownership of land by the canal, there is the canal itself with its tranquility and boat life and the friendly folk who nod a ‘good morning’ and smile. Those who drive around everywhere tend to miss out on these little trinkets of Stourport.
All this serves to occupy my mind when it is battling with itself and when my legs feel like lead weights attached to a blancmange body! But I’m getting there.
Now I have run a good few miles in my Reebok Zigtech trainers, I think we are acquainted enough to be able to talk about my relationship with these lovely cushy trainers.
So what do I look for in a trainer?
I look for a trainer that will love, support and cushion my precious feet, whilst I pound the pavement and abuse them with my heavy heels every other day. I not only want them to cherish my feet during activity but also look good at the same time. The Zigtechs are like the best friend that goes for the loudest, brightest look just to stand out and invite comments, so if you prefer demure then you might want to look elsewhere.
So far these babies haven’t let me down. Yes, they are a little roomy around the toe area, they even let my heel slip a little, cheeky things. But those chunky, cushioned soles just keep the bounce in my step and let me run like Forrest Gump (just kidding, but you get the idea!)
Now I am no athlete and I haven’t run a marathon or scaled the trails of the local forest, but me and my Zigetchs have been at it 2/3 times a week for the last few months and we are still in a good place right now with no signs of wearing out. So if you need some support and lots of cushioning then the Zigtechs could possibly be the right trainer for you (although I do recommend that you go to a shop to be checked out properly for your running/trainer style).
The Zigtechs are by no means the lightest trainers, but I wouldn’t say that they are heavy either and if like me you are running for fun and fitness rather than competition I don’t think it will be an issue.
Of course when you are looking for trainers, your budget has a lot to do with your choice. If, like I was a few months ago, you are just starting out running and aren’t quite sure if you are going to enjoy running then these are a great choice. That is what I love about the Zigtechs, the RRP is £89.99, however, I got bought mine from Amazon for £35 (although prices can vary). So these beauties won’t break the bank or stop your heart momentarily when you get to the checkout!