Thursday, 23 July 2020

New to running or want to start - What do you need to know

Hello.  If you are expecting expert advice this is not the running guide for you.  If you would like a few pointers from a slightly overweight 40+ mum of two then read on.

Running seems to be the new thing (along with paddle boarding) as a positive consequence of lockdown.

I have ran/jogged/walked on & off for years and have had many failed attempts at the C25K programme.

In September 2019 I joined a running/jogging club called Abington Park Joggers and loved it.

I am by no means a natural and still get terribly out of breathe & very red faced but my new motto is anything is better than nothing.  I'm a slow runner & at times it has been discouraging & that is why I'm writing this post.

A 8 minute mile or a 12 minute mile is still a mile.  Walk, jog, run, sprint.  It is still running.  It still counts!

Since March my running club has been unable to meet but I made myself go out alone and keep trying.  For me in lockdown it 100% helped my mental health. It was the only time I was alone.  I loved being outside.  It was quiet.  It helped combat the increased baking & eating!

Some of my running club has exceled in lockdown but I have definitely found it tougher.  I can't complete a 5K without walking anymore but do you know what it doesn't matter.

If you took up running in lockdown carry on.  If you want to start do it.

My basic pointers are - 

  • The One You Couch to 5K app is fab.  I like lovely Laura. Week 1 is 60 seconds running with 9 seconds recovery walk x 8. Week 2 90 seconds running x 6. Week 3 90 seconds & then 3 minutes running x 2.  As you can see it builds up gradually & each step as built it rest walks.
  • You do not need fancy trainers that cost £130.  Just some supportive running trainers are fine.  Mine are Nike & were £55.
  • Ditto you do not need fancy running tights (leggings to you & me).  I have a variety but prefer Nike and Primark. The Primark ones are the comfiest (good high waist) and my Nike full length have a secret pocket at the back for my key & great for colder months as have a slight lining.
  • Strava is a fab app for recording routes, times, distances etc.  It's free although you can pay to upgrade if you want super fancy data.
  • Map my run is also good but I swopped to Strava as it links to my Fitbit.
  • You do not need fancy headphones.  I use my daughters Smiggle ones.
  • Do get a head or chest torch for darker evenings.  I got a cheap one from Ebay £8.20.  I prefer a chest torch.
  • Join a running club if you need extra motivation. There are loads but mine is Abington Park Joggers & they meet on Wednesdays.
  • Just go.  I know sometimes you really won't want to but go.  
  • If you stop, sit, walk, turn around & go home it still counts.  You moved.
Unironed t-shirt, smiggle headphones but still running

Just for some guidance as I struggled to find times & everyone else seemed amazing.  Here is some of my data.
  • I have done 3 official park runs and my times were 37.03, 36.38 and 36.28
  • In March my average pace was 12.31 per mile 
  • By best this year was 10.34 per mile
  • My best 5K is 35.39. My aim is to get under 35 minutes but I'm putting zero pressure on myself.
  • My runs currently consist of 2 ish miles running 1 ish mile walking & that's fine.  
I hope this helps, inspires or just gives some information for any new runners.

Let me know how you get on.

Emma xx

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Walks & Open Spaces in Northamptonshire

For years I have focused on parks with play equipment as my children love a swing & zip wire! However with coronavirus and lockdown play areas have become out of bounds & many people have stayed closer to home. As we are now able to drive & lockdown is easing I thought I'd share some walks & open spaces in Northamptonshire.

I've been trying to find lesser known quieter spots for our family walks & much needed PlayStation/YouTube breaks.  Often these lesser known places have no cafes/toilets etc so are not recommended for lengthy stays.  Obviously the country parks are great & we all know & love Sywell, Brixworth, and Irchester etc (and they have toilets!) but I've tried to focus elsewhere as there have been reports these places have been very busy.

Northampton Washlands (behind Riverside) is a vast open space with the River Nene flowing along side it.  There's a small marina and often horses, sheep and ducks/swans/geese.

River Nene (Brackmills) further up from the washlands you can walk along the Nene.  We walked in a loop going past Northampton Active.  You can walk all the way to Midsummer Meadow but the 9 year old wasn't quite up to that!

Upton Country Park can be busy but is a big space and the lesser known area away from the car park/football pitch is much quieter. There are currently sheep in one of the fields and is flat & perfect for buggies and bikes. There is a car park available.

Brampton Valley Way. This is a 14 mile stretch taking you all the way to Market Harborough.  We have only visited a small section but loved it.  I can recommend Draughton Crossing car park to Kelmarsh Tunnels.  Last year we also walked from The Windhover for a couple of miles & then had a break at The Brampton Halt which will be open again later in the summer (hopefully!) Several free car parks are dotted long the walk.  

Bradlaugh Fields which is not really so unknown anymore but depending on the day/time can be very quiet. 

Irthingborough Lakes is a lovely quiet spot & you can walk all the way to Rushden Lakes quite easily and grab a takeaway drink & sit on the boardwalk before your return journey (top tip from my sister).

Harlestone Firs is one of my personal favourites grower in popularity you can still easily find pockets of complete solitude and perfect on a hot day as lots of shade from the trees. Free parking is opposite.

Villages we have some beautiful villages in Northamptonshire which are perfect for a stroll away from the hustle and bustle. We visited one yesterday and found a stream for the kids to paddle in & very few people.

A few of these places do not have specific car parks so take care parking, make sure you read the signs and don't obstruct roads/paths etc.

Have fun, take care & stay safe in this crazy new world.

Emma xxx


Saturday, 2 May 2020

Binge Watch List

Binge Watch list
Since most of us have a lot of time on our hands at the moment I thought I'd share some of the things I've been binge watching.  I'm not normally a massive TV person & stick to my Holby City, Call the Midwife, Great British Bake off, Strictly etc but these a regular weekly shows on at certain times of the year.  In the last 6 weeks however I have really got into boxsets and these are my recommendations.

Manifest (Sky)
Flight 828 reappears 5 years after disappearing & many of the passengers start to hear voices & see things. 2 series so far & there will be a third.  16 in the 1st series and 13 in the 2nd.  About 50 mins each. 
Good, different to my usual thing, slightly repetitive "Have you had a calling?", easy to watch.

After Life (Netflix)
Tony had a perfect life until Lisa (his wife) dies. A dark comedy with loads of touching moments. You'll laugh & cry. 2 series both 6 episodes each and 25 to 30 mins.
I had never heard of it but saw a Netflix advert & gave it a whirl. Loved it & watched the whole thing in a week. Does mention suicide & cancer so not for everyone but so well done. Ricky Gervais at his best.

Back to Life (iPlayer)
36 year old Miri is starting life again after an 18 year prison sentence. Only 1 series and 6 episodes 25-30 mins each.
Found this via Graham Norton & loved it. Quirky, funny with some touching moments.

Save Me & Save Me Too (Sky)
Teenage Jody goes missing & her family go to extreme lengths to find her. 2 Series and 6 episodes each abour an hour each.
Lennie James is an amazing actor as Nelly (Jody's biological dad). Dark, gripping and a great cast.

I haven't binge watched these as up to date but Ru Paul's Drag Race (Netlix) about 100 episodes if you go back to the beginning and Killing Eve (iPLayer) series 3 has just started on BBC1 are both a great watch too.