Quickie Workout #117

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- Walk up and down stairs for 2 minutes. If you are fitter, you can run up, but please walk down for safety.
1 min- Start in standing position.  Bend over and walk hands out to a plank position. Take a deep breath and then walk hands back and return to standing.
1 min- Downward dog then exhale and bring right knee into chest.  Inhale and return to downward dog. Repeat while alternating knees with each exhale.
1 min- Run in place with high knees.
1 min- Around the World lunges
1 min- Lay on your back with feet on the floor.  Raise hips into a bridge. Drop hips 3 cm and squeeze bum on the way up.
1 min- Tricep dips on a sturdy chair or low step.
1 min- Up and down plank. Start on elbows then raise your self up on palms.  Lower yourself down again. (Palm-palm-elbow-elbow)
1 min- Star jumps
1 min- Burpees
1 min- Star jumps
1 min- Alternating reverse lunges
1 min- Stand in a doorway and press arms out to the sides against the door frame.

Weekend Challenge

Friday, November 28, 2014

Let's keep it simple- give out 10 genuine hugs this weekend. Spread the love!

6 of my guilty pleasures

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Breaking news! I am human. Sure online I highlight any time I do an ounce of exercise and eat well. But don't assume I am perfect.  Think about this: when I finished university, Sex and the City was da bomb. I would watch several episodes in a row and then feel terrible about my boring single life in a mid-sized town. It took me a while to realise that the show highlights 20-25 min of awesomeness (or some sort of hilarity) out of the lives of four successful women. If I broke down my life into 20 min segments, I am sure I would find some good stuff.  Everyone does nowadays with social media and I bet you could too if you took a moment to look back.

So you can get to know me a bit better, I am going to let you in on a few of my secrets…my guilty pleasures (I hope you won't think less of me).

Twilight.  Rainy afternoon with nothing to do? Chances are you will find me on my couch under a blanket with a mud mask on and Twilight in the DVD player. I don't feel too guilty because I have bought all the films at local charity shops.  And who doesn’t love a brooding vampire?

Eating raw cookie dough and cake batter. I have a giant sweet tooth. Anything sugary I will eat (except liquorice and macaroons).  My family baked a lot growing up (mostly brownies and Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip cookies) and my mom would let me lick the spoon.  We always had ice cream in the house and my grandma would hide Kit Kats in her drawer for my brother and me.  If I had to choose one as my ultimate weakness, it would be raw cookie dough (which conveniently Ben and Jerry’s turned into an ice cream flavour. Genius!).

(If I have spare £30) Manicures. Manis are something my mom and I would do for special occasions when I was little (family weddings and proms mostly). Then in grad school, my girlfriends and I would treat ourselves every few months to a trip to the salon as a way to relax while complaining about our advisor. Once my skin allergy became worse, I found manicures were no longer allowed. It really made me sad as I like to be girly once in a while and spend time with friends. Luckily, Shellac/gel nails have been invented since. Manicures are back in the picture and I don't have to worry about them chipping as soon as I walk out of the salon. Hurray! 

Diet Coke. I have publicly admitted my struggles kicking this habit. Somehow I survived my 1st attempt at #Whole30 without caving in and therefore know it is possible to quit. It is the chance of relapse that is high.  Fizzy drinks (as they call pop/soda/coke in the UK) are against just about everything I stand for (including confusing the general public on where penguins and polar bears live). So why do I continue to jones for it?  There must be something in the secret formula I cannot resist.

Kraft Mac-n-cheese. This food has emotional attachment for me.  I grew up on it. Yes I know it is all chemicals and an unnatural color of orange. But when/if I am hung over, this is what my body craves. Any friend from home who crashes with us in London pays me in these blue boxes.

Sleeping. I feel guilty for feeling guilty about this one. Sleep is a necessity to rest, repair, and rejuvenate. However, I know many ladies in their 20s-30s who pursue what they love (blogging, writing, running, volunteering) somewhere around a full paying gig.  Sleep is what is sacrificed to make time for everything. Very rarely is there a morning these days where I don't set an alarm. My Lumie lamp wakes me up and I turn the light off and hit snooze. I should probably work on work-life balance in 2015 that prioritizes sleep over a few other guilty that didn’t make the list (ahem, Millionaire Matchmaker).
If you have a guilty pleasure, whether it is a food, drinks, or some other indulgent activity, don’t worry. We all do (no matter what their Instagram photos show). As the Happiness Personal Trainer, I encourage you to work on finding balance. Negative reinforcement (taking something away) rarely works as a training methodology. Instead, work on portion control, time limits, and simply getting more sleep.  

Now that you know my secrets, do tell me what yours are. What is your guilty pleasure?

Quickie Workout #116

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min running in place; 1 min skipping (get up high!); 1 min running with high knees (up up UP!)
1 min- Alternating side squats
1 min- Hop hop squat (nice and deep)
1 min- Alternating reverse lunges
1 min- Push/Press ups against the wall
1 min- Wall sit
1 min- Bicep curls holding tins of soup or weights if you have them
30 sec each direction- Small arms circles with tins of soup in your hands
1 min- Star jumps
1 min each leg- Arabesque pulses
1 min- Low squat pulsing down low while on your toes. Keep those heels up!
1 min- Plank

Weekend Challenge- Get SMART

Friday, November 21, 2014

SMART goal setting is one of the techniques I use with my clinic.  Each letter of SMART stands for something to help you define your goal clearly, which turns helps you meet it.

Time bound

For example, let's say your initial goal was to 'be fitter'.  What does that mean?  How can you know if you are fitter or not? When do you want to be fitter?

Let's work on it a bit.... being fitter might mean doing 30 sit ups in a minute. Or running for 30 minutes without walking.  Or play 5-a-side without needing a sub.  Or chasing the kids in the park without needing a break.  These are specific activities and some are measurable.

If you have time to train during the week then setting a goal of being able to run for 30 minutes without walking is attainable.  This training should be running or cardiovascular-related as that is relevant to your goal.

Finally, when do you want to do this by?  Next week might not be realistic, but perhaps by 24th December as that gives you 4 weeks to train and you can already run 10 minutes without needing to walk.  This is the time frame you have to work with.  You will know on 24th December if you met your goal if you trying running for 30 minutes and see how you do.

Of course you can have mini-goals within this larger one- such as run 3x/week increasing each session by 5 minutes.  Let me know if you have a goal but aren't sure how to make it SMART. I am happy to help.

Race Review: Run Hackney 5K

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hackney borough was keen to get people moving in 2014. With the huge interest in their half marathon, a free untimed 5k was add to the weekend lineup.  I was lucky enough to do both. Here are my thoughts on the 5K.

Registration process & fees: free race and registration was online. Easy-Peary

Location: Hackney Marshes was the start/finish for both the 5K and half marathon which was a bit of a challenge to get to if taking public transport. The park itself was big and the area was set up for the half marathon meaning there were a few food stands open and some health-related vendors. Tweets from the @runhackney account said there would be a bag check, but when we arrived there wasn't. Eventually they did open up the tent but you left bags at your own risk.  The ladies at the info tent were nice enough to take my bag as the race was about to start and the start line was at the opposite side of the park from the baggage tent. (Thank you ladies!)

The weather that weekend was exceptionally hot.  The park didn't boost many shady spots which made waiting around for friends to turn up and the race to stat a bit warm. Luckily Lauren was there and kept me company while we waited for Leah to arrive.
Course & bogs: I could tell on Saturday that there definitely were not enough porta-loos for the half on Sunday. Most were locked for the 5K but there were enough available for the 5K runners.  The course started in the half marathon starting gate.  We headed towards the road, passed the community center, and then along a shaded (mostly) paved path through some woods.  The path was a bit narrow at times for runners at varying speeds to keep a steady pace or chat with friends (ahem).  We came out of the woods and across the middle of the park, to wind around onto the paved path on the other side of the park. You finish back where you started, just headed in the opposite direction. Leah clocked the course at just below 5k but that might have been we were tight in the corners.  As this was untimed, the three of us were enjoying ourselves and catching up (I will say I tried in vain to finish unofficially under 30 min only to find out the course was short).
1st medal of the weekend

Atmosphere: The sunshine was out and people were excited to be running. The weather was a bit of a bummer (who'd think we'd be able to say it was too hot in London?) but it helped keep the race fun rather than competitive. It was one of the first times I ran a course with friends, which was a nice change from the endless dialogue in my head that usually occurs when running on my own.  The park wasn't too busy, which meant there weren't spectators cheering you on.  I am pretty sure we ended up running through a cricket match....

Bling/goody bags: Lovely bling and a bottle of water.  
Tips if you decide to take part next time: Get your friends involved and keep it social. No timing facilities so you don't need to worry about anything but having fun,  Hopefully it will continue to be an annual race offered free to Hackney borough residents and encourage people to take up running as a hobby.

Race Review: Inaugural Hackney Half

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hackney Borough was keen to get people moving in 2014. With the huge interest in their first ever half marathon, a free untimed 5k was add to the weekend lineup.  I was lucky enough to do both. Here is my review for the half marathon that took place on 22nd June.  Over 12,000 people took part.

Registration process & fees: Registration was online and costs £35 which is still a bargain for a flat course through London that provides a medal. No extra money to shell out for accommodation or  transport (aside from local) if you live in the Greater London area.

Location: Hackney Marshes E9 5PF. The baggage tent is huge but the queues were still long just before the race started.  I am not sure if this was because people were arriving late, couldn't find a place to park their bike (racks were for triathlon racking,which had most people confused as to how to lock up their bike.  Many many more racks needed for next year as community participation was huge), had trouble finding the venue, or the volunteers working in the tent were overwhelmed. Luckily, they let me check my Brompton.  Next year if would be great if there were meeting point signs to help people connect before and after the race.  There was a large stage on which there was a group warm-up and for after the race, there were bands.
Familiar sight of lines for the loo.

The weather that weekend was really hot.  I knew I wouldn't be getting a PB so I tried to enjoy myself instead and take in the sights.  Unfortunately, people starting fainting and puking after mile 6.

Course & bogs: The course took you through many different areas of Hackney, including by my friends' on Hackney Downs and through the Olympic Park.  There were plenty of watering stations with an amazing Dolphin pouch of water instead of a bottle. I ended up carrying one most of the way to both drink and pour on my head.  Next time the weather is that hot, I will bring my own bottle and nuun tabs. By the time I got to the Powerade stations, they were out. I was so desperate for electrolytes, I picked up a half empty bottle off the ground, threw away the cap and guzzled it down. Not my proudest moment but a necessity to survive.  I had a Haribos in my bumbag that I ate around mile 10 as I was starting to fade.

The Olympic Park was towards the end, probably miles 9-11. You had to run up a ramp and then through a newly laid out park which had little to no shade available. It was very hot so this was a breaking point for many people as they slowed down and walked.  I really commend the emergency services and volunteer marshals (like Becca and Laura) for helping out that day (and hugging me even though my shirt was soaking wet from pouring water on my head).

Atmosphere: Hackney residents were out in full force cheering us on, while others (who I expect didn't know about the race) were looking at us like we were crazy. One gentleman even was standing out with his garden hose to cool runners off as they ran by. It was a Godsend.  

Bling/goody bags: Lovely bling (same style as 5k but gold instead of silver with a different ribbon), goody bag with water, a few product samples, and info about vendors who had booths at the start/finish line.

Not enough bike racks
Tips if you decide to take part next time: Sort out transportation ahead of time as Sundays are tricky for early starts.  Also, unless the organizers provide the correct type of bike racks next year I would leave your bike at home.  Pick a specific spot to meet friends afterwards as the venue is large and the finish line area cuts through the middle of the fun.

Organizers have taken on a lot of feedback from 2014 and implemented some changes for 2015.  Registration opens today so act quickly to secure  a place for next year!

2nd race of the weekend
Thanks to the good folks at Run Hackney for the complimentary race entry.  All opinions are honest and my own.

Quickie Workout #115

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min star jumps; 1 min prisoner squats; 1 min star jumps
1 min- Lunge and then lift the knee you nearly touch to the ground up as you stand up.
1 min- Repeat on the other side.
1 min- Triceps extension over your head
1 min- Speed skater jumps
1 min- Plyometric lunges
1 min- Side plank on the right side
1 min- Plank
1 min- Side plank on the left side
1 min- Mountain climbers
1 min- Crunches
1 min- Leg lifts
1 min- Crab walk

Weekend Challenge

Friday, November 14, 2014

Let's keep it simple this weekend.  Unplug for 1 hour today, Saturday, and Sunday.  Go for a walk, grab coffee with a friend or visit your mum.  Turn the phone off, unplug the computer, and leave the iPad tucked away.


Quickie Workout #114

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min plank; 1 min bicycle ab exercise; 1 min mountain climbers
1 min- Plank with feet hopping together and apart
1 min- Push/Press ups
1 min- Walking lunges
1 min- Wall sit
1 min- Reverse walking lunges (carefully walk backwards)
1 min- Jumping jacks/Star jumps
1 min- 1 legged squat
1 min- 1 legged squat on the other leg
1 min- Calf raises
1 min- Tricep dips
1 min- Bicep curls with tins of soup, water bottles, or using resistance band
1 min- Squats

Weekend Challenge- Spread kindness

Friday, November 7, 2014

Good girl Snowy!
Recently I started volunteering with Cinnamon Trust.  This organization matched volunteers with older, disabled, or sick people to help care for their pets by walking dogs, cleaning bird cages, or playing with cats.  Originally, I signed up because I didn't have a pup of my own and wanted to get some doggy cuddles in.  But before a local match was found through Cinnamon Trust, we adopted a dog of own.  I am busy walking my own dog but I hate to turn away a neighbor who can use my help.

Snowy is a 9 year old American Eskimo dog and her owner has limited sight and mobility.  I help out an hour a week and visit with her owner for a cuppa after the walk is over.  It beings me joy to make Snowy happy (she loves running in the park) and to bring companionship to her owner.  (and selfishly, I am incorporating my marathon training with our walks- soon to be runs!)

This weekend, I challenge you to spread kindness by helping a neighbor.  Clear their path of leaves, fetch them milk from the shop, or pay for a coffee for the next person in line at the coffee shop. Take it a step further and sign up to volunteer at the local library, school, church, or animal shelter.

Little things can make a difference into a person's life. Take some time to think about how your actions affect others around and make a difference today.

It will be my first time.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Good God I signed up for a marathon. And I just booked my plane tickets.  Come hell or high water I will be in Prague on 3 May, 2015.  Fingers crossed I will also be running the Volkswagen Prague Marathon.  The route starts and finishes in Old Town while keeping the river in sight.  I have never been to Prague or run a marathon so obviously the following thoughts are going through my head.

Mental strength

(not necessarily in that order).

I am afraid.  Afraid of failing, of getting injured, of loosing my mojo, of being stressed out over training with a full-time job/dog/husband/volunteering, afraid of never trying to run 26.2 miles at once.  Many of my London friends are avid runners who now complete ultra's and 24 hour relays.  I admit I am jealous of their racing success. But I am not dedicated like they are.  These girls train and fuel like the champions that they are.  I, however, do not. Yet.

My plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis have been ok recently but that is because I haven't been running.  To avoid building up my miles too quickly, I am going to follow Hal Higdon's Novice Supreme Marathon Training Plan.  It is meant to cover 30 weeks, but I am a few weeks short.  Last night, with the dark and rain and cold, I took it as a test of my will power. I felt if I skipped my run, I would always find an excuse NOT to run.  So I put on my trainers, grabbed the dog and took to the pavement.  I also talked to my Occupational Health department at work about working with the physio in case any niggles do come up.  Being prepared will help me build my confidence as I start out.

Through crowd-sourcing on Facebook, I got some great tips on running my first marathon:
"Take your training seriously. Also take chafing seriously - vaseline is your best friend"
" If you've got supporters coming, make sure they're somewhere curb-side during 'the wall' period of the race (mile 16-21-ish). Having a friendly face there is the biggest boost."
"Jelly babies"
"Invest in good gear - especially socks (I swear by my Swiftwicks, no blisters yet!). Keep track of what you eat the day before, during runs and after long runs, and keep an eye on what agrees with you or not. I started incorporating squeeze pouches of flavored applesauce into the mix with gu's and chomps. Trust your training plan, the mental aspect is huge, and can make or break an iffy run. On race day: have your family/friends hold really bizarre mylar balloons so you can spot them easily on the course; and enjoy the race - someone told me that race day is really the victory lap for all of the miles you already put in"
"Put MOLLIE in big easy to read letters on your shirt (with duct tape even) as you will get so much energy from ppl calling your name along the run!"
"My best tip for running in general is don't do anything different on race day. Don't try a new food. Don't wear new shoes, or a new shirt, etc."
"Set a plan and stick with it, build milestones for success and celebrate those milestones, join a group who is training for the same race to keep you accountable and to enjoy the journey with. If your miss a day or 3, don't sweat it just get back on the plan. Listen to your body if it's saying sleep or rest... Then take a rest day."
"Do the long runs...miles in the bank. Try incorporating in nutrition and fluids...you will be surprised how things sit in your stomach at longer distances."
" I think I contributed my time (much better than I was hoping) to all the rest, early nights and good food I was getting leading up to it. I think focusing really hard on this for at least the 2 weeks before is good. Also I took packed meals I made with me. These pre-made, nutrition packed dinners, along with taking all the snacks I needed meant I didn't have to worry or spend anytime finding the right meal, all I needed to concentrate on was resting and my game plan. One less thing to think about and not have to worry about. Also the best advice I got was from my cousin Emily Johnston was to join a running club. The speed and hill training sessions we had twice a week were invaluable for increasing my speed. Not only I have I made lots of cool running friends, I am just not motivated to undertake this type of training on my own. Plus there are always people who are keen for long runs in the weekend, even if you only have someone for part of the run with you it's still more motivating. "
"Get a good playlist full of upbeat tunes - and, if possible, motivational messages from friends and family"
"if running in a city you live in, do your last two long training runs on the actual marathon route. For instance I ran in London and my 18m and 20m long run I did on the route itself. BUT - start 6m, or whatever, into the route so you finish at the real finish line. on the day your body will believe you have run it already! As a first time marathoner this was my best tip."
" invest in good shoes that fit. For me, that means buying a full size up from normal since feet generally swell on the long distance run. I would also say "Respect the Distance" - which is shorthand for a bunch of stuff. But mostly, it means to do the training. But it also means don't try to do too much, too fast, too soon - it'll take time to build up to it. You'll want to make sure you've built in time to rest during your training. So inevitably, when you catch a cold or need to rest an achey foot or just need a mental break from running, you can rest and give your body and mind a needed break. Finally, have fun on race day - it really is a celebration. And go out slower than you think you need to. Seriously. Slow down. You can't really bank time anyway, so bank energy for the final 5-6 miles when you'll need to be mentally tough."
"Feet and Eat! Make sure your feet are tough as leather and the blisters will stay away. Blisters were a problem in my first marathon, but with proper training they shouldn't be a problem (or you can be tough and just pretend the the blisters aren't there). Eating things like bananas or gel packs really helped me in the long races that I have done well in. Make sure you try eating during your runs in training. Don't do anything new on race day, just do what you did in your training."

The best thing one of my friends posted was The Oatmeal's Dos and Don'ts of Running a Marathon.  Pure genius.

SO this is a warning that many of my posts from now on will be about running, training, eating, dressing- all for the marathon in May.  I welcome your tips, comments, playlists, recipes, and invitations for long runs.

If you are a newbie too, check out my running/blogger friends who have a bit of advice too.  Read on if you are considering running a marathon but have mixed emotions about it:

Becs, The Style Dynamo '8 Marathons and counting: My top tips'

Lucy, Eurogirl Running 'Marathon Training- lessons learnt the hard way'

Josie, Run Josie Run 'London Marathon Race Report'

Quickie Workout #113

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Remember to go for QUALITY over quantity. If you are unclear what the exercise is I am describing, please look for a video or arrange for an in-person tutorial with me.  Please consult your doctor before engaging on any fitness regime.

Don't forget to breathe! Please email me if you want tips on how to make the quickies easier or more challenging (mollie@ptmollie.com).

Warm  up- 1 min march in place; 1 min run with high knees; 1 min skipping
1 min- Boat pose
1 min- Crap dips
1 min- Rotating side planks- every 10 sec change sides
1 min- Mountain climbers
1 min- Burpees
1 min- Plyo lunges
1 min- Push/press up against the wall or a counter
1 min- Wall sit
1 min- Calf raises
1 min each side- Side crunch
1 min- Supermans
1 min- Jumping jacks/Star jumps