A Beginners’ Guide To Heaton Parkrun, Manchester

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Working in retail it’s as rare as hens’ teeth to get a Saturday off work, so I took advantage of a rare opportunity this past weekend to go to my first Parkrun.

I wasn’t sure what to expect – I have been to non-Parkrun park runs before which were definitely amateur affairs, but the run at Heaton Park was run with utmost precision by a large team of volunteers. It was a cracking morning too, which brought out a huge field of 450 runners!

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You register on the Parkrun website to begin with, then print a barcode to take with you. At the end of the 5K race you run through the finish line into a funnel where a volunteer with a stopwatch records your time. You are given another barcode then both barcodes are scanned together, then linked to your stopwatch time. An hour or two later your time is sent to you via email or text (this past Saturday you got chocolate too, but that was a special Easter treat).

I was thrilled to find my time was 24:24, putting me the 16th female back home – and the 1st woman in aged 25-29! The organisation of the event ran like clockwork and I couldn’t believe it was all from a team of volunteers. I will be back – and I will be working hard to beat my time.

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Plyometrics In The Park | New Sweaty Betty + Adidas Kit!

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Sweaty Betty headband / Sweaty Betty tank / Adidas leggings / Nike Lunarglide 5

The past few weeks have been totally crazy for me, at work and at university – and I have finally come down with a cold. Boo to you, body! I decided to be kind to myself though and take a few days off training in the hope my body will heal in enough time for a 5K park run on Sunday.

At least this gives me chance to share photos I took a few weeks ago, when the sun was shining and my boyfriend and I did plyometrics in the park. It also gives me a chance to give you the lowdown on my recent kit purchases!

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The Sweaty Betty Athlete Workout vest was my purchase in Harrogate. I couldn’t really afford it, but how could I leave such fantastic ice-lolly colours behind?! It’s comfortable and sweat-wicking, though the issue I have with all Sweaty Betty tanks is that they are very clingy around the midsection. I get that you don’t want your top riding up during an inverted yoga pose, but I had to get a medium so that it wasn’t too tight, which means that it’s baggy up top. I can get over this slight niggle though as it’s such a fantastic print!

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My next most recent kit purchase were these snazzy Adidas leggings. I’d had a faulty pair of gym leggings I sent back which were £60. I picked these up for a mere £30 instead so had enough change for an extra PT session! These are a real showstopper and I’ve had people stop me in the gym to ask where they’re from. I don’t think they will last forever – the waistband is already a little overstretched with bobbles on the fabric here and there – but for thirty quid for a pair of fashion leggings, I really don’t mind. FYI these are a small – size down if you’re between two sizes.

Now, let’s hope this cold clears up and the sun continues to shine, so we can squat, push-up and run in the great outdoors!

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LIFE: Instafitness

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Type in #fitspo on Instagram and you will be faced with in excess of 7 million insta posts. There are lots of selfies, lots of pictures of peoples’ dogs, and a hell of a lot of pseudo-inspirational memes designed to get you off the off the couch and into the gym. So how do you sort the whey from the curds? You can stop wasting calories scrolling down your Insta feed and save them for heavy lifting days, because I’ve taken the hard work out of it for you and picked my five favourite fitness Instagram accounts.

First up, we have the girls of Roco Runs. Always in amazing kit, and running long distance in far-flung places (32km is a casual Saturday run for them) approaching the Paris Marathon, their main goal. Their fun poses are definitely their USP.

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Food and lycra: basically what it says on the tin. Delicious food and cool new workouts, based in London so the F&L girls really get the cream of the crop when it comes to innovative gym classes.

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I love the Fit Outfit concept. Based on the popular stylist’s flat lay, it shows different users’ workout outfits, usually in bright colours with snazzy trainers – and you know how I feel about a neon lycra and shoe combo. Recognise that kit from the top left, maybe..?

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The Fashercise girls are London-based fashion lovers, and are totally hot on the heels of anything new in the fitness world. I learn about designer collaborations and new lustworthy pieces of kit here before anywhere else.

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I really look forward to Massy’s Instagram posts – her energy knows no bounds and is totally infectious, whilst her fun approach to fitness is a refreshing change. Watch out for the signature dance moves at the end of each video!

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Extra bonus Insta: MINE! You can’t include an Instagram roundup without including yourself, right? Riiight?! Alright, blatant self-promotion here. I actually want to follow a load more fitness, food, health and progress accounts though so if your Instagram fits the bill please hit me up and I will follow you!

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Two Days With Myprotein | Sports Nutrition Review

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Post-spinning, work canteen selfie

Last week I lost 3lbs. Great news, right? Well.. No. Not to me, as I’d been using MyFitnessPal to maintain weight exactly. Worryingly I don’t measure my body fat percentage often enough to know whether that 3lbs was made up of fat, or whether it was muscle, organ tissue, or any of the other stuff necessary to make my body function. So – as someone who doesn’t own a heart rate monitor or FitBit – I’ve bitten the bullet and increased my food intake.

It’s tough. One: because society dictates that women should always be eating less, and despite detesting this outdated viewpoint, there is still a small part of my being screaming we can’t eat more! We’ll get fat! And two: it is surprisingly hard to figure out enough different meals and snacks that fit my macros throughout the day to both hit my calorie target and also inspire my palate.

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In step Myprotein. After receiving a pack of goodies, I decided to use them to bulk out my diet in as many interesting ways as I could over two days. On Thursday I began my day with my usual breakfast, muesli and Greek yoghurt, but with half a scoop of strawberry Impact whey protein mixed in. This stuff comes in a huge variety of flavours including unflavoured, useful for adding to all sorts; the strawberry taste made it feel like a real treat and I found myself less hungry throughout the day. Pre-evening workout I made a shake with the strawberry whey, a banana, peanut butter and almond milk, which tasted incredible but made my HIIT workout harder from sloshing around in my stomach too much! Definitely my mistake – it’s perfect for chilling out after the gym, though.

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Friday morning, pre-spinning. I attempted to make pancakes using the MyProtein mix, and it was an absolute disaster with pancakes in bits, leaving the house eating them half cooked..! I’m not the best at using the frying pan at the best of times (seriously, even my omelettes end up in pieces) so maybe 6am wasn’t the best opportunity to test these out for the first time – I cheated on my own challenge and made them again Sunday morning. This time they turned out delicious, and even my mum enjoyed them, although when completely plain they are a touch eggy they’re the perfect vessel to add berries, peanut butter or dessicated coconut to.

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Obviously the much more civilised Sunday morning attempt.

Post-spinning I had an Oats & Whey Flapjack, which again surprised me how full I felt for the rest of the morning. Over the two days I added in Chocolate Smooth whey protein shakes which taste like advent calendar chocolate; on Friday night I had a warm one which was deliciously comforting after a long week.

Okay, so I wouldn’t eat like this every day – I’d be missing out on nutrients you can only get from whole, fresh food. However, the MyProtein products certainly filled me up which is no mean feat considering my usual appetite, and I really enjoyed thinking of new ideas to add to my diet! By the end of the second day protein was 40% of my intake, so I should have benefited from some muscle growth over the two days. Usually I’d pick one of these options to add in every day to supplement my diet, and have it post-workout.

With thanks to MyProtein for providing the samples for this post – you can shop their products here and until April 30th new customers can enter code NEW10 for 10% off your order.

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What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

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This morning out on my run I had A Moment: I was suddenly overwhelmed and bewildered by the fact that my legs, heart and lungs, despite being weary and confused about the fact that I’ve dragged them about of bed to put them through THIS, could work that hard, for that long, just for me. You simply start your run, then you stop running only when it’s over.

It reminded me of Haruki Murakami’s words in What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, which attempts to explain what goes through Murakami’s mind when he runs. It’s hard to explain to a non-runner that when you’re getting in the miles you somehow think of everything but also nothing. Sometimes for a few seconds I wonder about the twinge in my leg which is promptly forgotten about; sometimes I imagine situations, like what would happen if that bird there flew into me? But most of the time I think of nothing more than my breath and putting one foot in front of the other.

The thoughts that occur to me while running are like clouds in the sky. Clouds of all different sizes. They come and they go, while the sky remains the same sky as always. The clouds are mere guests in the sky that pass away and vanish, leaving behind the sky. The sky both exists and doesn’t exist. It has substance and at the same time doesn’t. And we merely accept that vast expanse and drink it it.

Murakami, What I Talk About When
I Talk About Running 
(2008)

Then when I ran past Old Trafford, and with it being a game day and all, its fried-onion smells and chanting fan sounds. Then the moment was lost. But still. A Moment.

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A well-deserved post-workout shake; that was a really decent pace for me.

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