Fuelling with gin


I’m now into week 5 of my programme – that’s scary!  11 weeks to go….

I finished off last week with my icy hill runs and then a long run on Saturday morning into Bath to collect the car (again!).  This time I had been to a Gin tasting the evening before.  Not my usual preparation for a long run it must be said.

I had 90 minutes on the schedule so thought that would be a good way to clear the head the next day.

I went to the tasting with three friends and it was great fun.  I have never done a spirits tasting before and found it fascinating.


Not your average Friday night out

We tasted 10 different gins including many I’ve never heard of.

We tried:

Seagram Reserve


Beefeater 24


Bombay Sapphire

Plymouth Gin

Hoxton Gin


Chase Williams Gin


There were some that I really wasn’t keen on. The Hoxton Gin (which had coconut and grapefruit in it) wouldn’t be my top choice for a gin & tonic, but I can imagine it would make a good base for a cocktail. It smelled like a Pina Colada!

G’Vine gin was slightly different because it was made from grape spirit and had almost a cognac flavour about it.

I did like the Chase gin which was made from apple spirit but my two favourites were Hendrick’s and Tanqueray.  The Seagram was nice if a little masculine (whisky like?) and it looked like something they would definitely have been drinking in Mad Men.

We nosed them all neat, then tried them with water.  I was well aware that I was running in the morning so I only took a tiny sip of each. Then we were able to try them with tonic after the tasting so I had a delicious Tanqueray with Fevertree tonic.  Yum.

Saturday brought a beautiful morning for running – cold with lovely blue sky, perfect to blow away the cobwebs.  The pavements around Bath were still very icy so we had to go slowly in some parts, but all in all a good run of around 8.5 miles.

I missed my training today due to a poorly little girl at home, so am hoping to sneak it in tomorrow morning after dropping the boy at judo before school.

And this weekend I’m excited to be running the Longleat 10k and pleased because I’ve managed to persuade my lovely daughters to come and cheer me on as I’ll be all on my own 🙂


The Dreadmill

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Today’s run was a 3 x 10 minute threshold run.  We had another light smattering of snow last night on top of the already icy lanes so I decided running fast on a slippery surface was not advisable so I took myself off to the gym today.

I really don’t enjoy running on the treadmill although it must be said it does have its advantages:

– for an interval session like this it’s good because you maintain a constant speed, rather than slowing down towards the end as I’m sure I do when running outside

– it must be kinder on the joints

– you can let your mind wander without the running the risk of slowing down


– I find the lack of variety of the surface makes different muscles tired

– I find myself constantly watching the clock as it’s right in front of you (I know you can cover it up) as opposed to looking at a watch

– it is very boring looking at the same view!

Plus I had forgotten my headphones 😦

Anyway, run done. No injuries.  And home for a lovely bowl of home-made tomato and lentil soup. Yum!



Intermittent Fasting


I’ve been following the principle of intermittent fasting for a while now and I find it really effective when I do it properly.  I think I do a bit too much of the intermittent and not enough of the fasting though…

The 5:2 method seems to be the most popular at the moment.  What I never seem to manage is the two days of fasting; I somehow can’t seem to contemplate fasting on a running day, and as that is roughly every other day, it doesn’t leave me much scope.

There seem to be many different variations.  The Horizon programme last summer highlighted the effectiveness of this way of eating – not just for losing weight but for greater health benefits and also for it’s anti-ageing benefits too.  I had already discovered Brad Pilon’s Eat stop Eat programme.  Brad advocates intermittent fasting following a 24-hour fast from the time of your last meal – i.e. if you eat supper at 7.00pm you don’t eat again until 7pm the next day.  I can cope with that as you’re asleep for the most part of it.

The Horizon programme advocates eating around 500 calories on fast days.  I personally find the former method easier psychologically because if I have decided not to eat at all, that’s easier than limiting what I do eat.

I need to move it on a bit to try exercising in the mix after reading this post by Trainer George.

Does anyone else have any experience about what works best?  I’d be really interested to know more about fasting and exercising.  I do most of my long runs on an almost empty stomach.  We try and go off early on a Saturday morning and I’m not inclined to get up even earlier to eat beforehand (I need to allow a good 90 minutes after eating before a long run otherwise I get a stitch and feel sick).  So I sometimes have an Actimel and if it’s a longish distance (9+ miles) I will take an energy drink or some squash.  But then I’m ravenous when I come home.

Food writer Fiona Beckett has been posting some lovely looking recipes on her blog that are good for eating on the 500 calorie days if you’re following that method.

Please let me know what you think in the comments!

A snowy run!


Not one to let the weather defeat me I decided to brave a run this morning.  Not least because the Evil Man* said that I would have to run 4 times next week if I missed today’s run so I figured it would be much easier to get it over and done with.  I knew that any of my usual country routes would be too icy so I decided to stick to the main road that had been gritted.  It’s not a nice run and one I would never have chosen unless I had to run into Bath for some reason, and was a there-and-back route – my least favourite.  And to top it all, very hilly!

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Too many hills for my liking!

Looking very pretty

Looking very pretty


There were virtually no cars which was great.

Great view. Until I realised I live over the other side of that massive hill....

Great view. Until I realised I live over the other side of that massive hill….


I had 75 minutes on the schedule but I only managed 67, even though I did add on a bit when I got back home to make it a bit further. But in the end I was too cold and just wanted to get home for some breakfast! Very slow because of the hills – an average pace of 10.56, pathetic (but on the flatter bits I was doing more like 9 minute miles)

The view from the top.  The building you can just about see is where my office is

The view from the top. The building you can just about see is where my office is


* Evil Man =  George Anderson, creator of the training programme I’m following.  So far I think it’s brilliant, and there’s even a Facebook group where you can speak to other runners following the same plan.













Week 3 nearly complete


Well I say nearly, but the biggest part is yet to come – the long run tomorrow.  I’m a little worried I won’t be able to do it because of the snow that we’ve had today.


The slopes of Wellow

This week the time for the threshold and the hill runs was back down to 3 x 8 minutes (compared with 10 minutes last week) which felt much easier – I’m not sure whether this was because my fitness is improving or because the two minutes make a big difference. (I have to admit that last week the sessions of 10 minutes felt a lot longer!).

So the snow today meant a snow day – no school!  The morning was spent sledging (for the kids) while we stood around getting freezing feet.  Back home for some work and then a meet up in the pub for lunch – the perfect way to spend a Friday.


It’s been a long day…

I’m now sitting in front of a lovely warm fire feeling very cosy.

I have 75 minute run on the schedule for tomorrow (my programme is defined by time rather than distance which is rather a different approach for me).  Not sure if I will be able to make it out because of the snow, but I’m going to give it a go. I think it might be a bit icy so I’m going to try a flatter route than the normal hilly route as I think that will be slightly less risky.  Will let you know how it goes….


A week of new learnings

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Well it’s been an eventful first week back in the routine.  The 6.30am alarm call on Monday morning was as painful as expected after two weeks of lie-ins and lazy days.

I completed my second full week of training: 1 threshold run – 3 x 10 minutes of running at 80-85% effort; 3 x 10 minutes of the dreaded hills and a 60 minute long run on Saturday.  And thanks to the trainer running the programme I have learned three new things that have helped my running.  They are only simple things but it definitely makes a big difference to how I train.

1. Posture

I’ve always thought that it’s important to stay as upright as possible while running but apparently leaning slightly forward at the hips is best. And I agree that it seems to help up the pace a little.

2. Hills work

Proving the ‘no pain no gain’ theory, the hill training is definitely having a speedy impact on my fitness levels (and also on the size of my calf muscles!)

3. Breathing

Now I know it seems obvious but having read this blog post by Trainer George Anderson who devised the programme I follow, I have something else to focus on.  It is amazing how much difference it makes if you get to a point in a run where you feel out of breath and not coping well – just focusing on the rhythm he suggests brings it all back under control.

Apart from running….

The week has been fairly busy getting back into the swing of work but ended with a great day – a mini school reunion with 16 old school friends at Soho House in London. We had a fantastic day of laughter, memories and catching up on each other’s news. I had gone with the intention of returning home on the 4.00 train.. but finally managed to get on one at 8.45pm and had to get a taxi home, leavening my car at the station.

So this week’s long run was a run into Bath to collect the car on Saturday morning.  Jess’ programme called for 6-7 miles and mine 60 minutes.  i mapped a nice route into Bath which came out at 7 miles so we set off in the pouring rain and freezing wind and reached the car in 1hr 6 mins and 6.5 miles.  When I set off I was really regretting the decision to stay later and drink more wine, but we had a great run which I really enjoyed and felt great for having done it.

And I wouldn’t have missed my extended time with my old mates for anything.

15 weeks to go

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That sounds daunting.  I had an email from VLM reminding me of this fact.  I suspect these will be regular and more daunting as we go on.

On the plus side, I have nearly completed by first week of training and have stuck to my programme to the letter. I only have to run for 60 minutes tomorrow for my long run so that’s nice and easy.  I have completed my hill sessions which didn’t seem quite as bad this time. My mind wandered so much during the second 8 minute session that I was taken by surprise when the timer went to say I had completed it!

On the food front, I have tried to be a bit more sensible this week and have almost been Elimination Diet compliant which I know is the thing that works for me.  I said I was going to do Dax’s Jumpstart january but it’s a bit difficult because the kids are still at home this week and I don’t feel like I’m properly back into my routine.  From Monday it will be much easier as I’ll be back in the office.

I haven’t had a drink since New Year’s Day (but it is only the 4th!).  It’s now Friday night and I’m toying with the idea of a glass of wine but trying not to think about it too much as I don’t really want one – it’s just habit.

I have got Lorraine Pascale’s Peri Peri chicken in the oven which I’m really looking forward to…. Last night we had her Duvet Day Chicken noodle soup which was totally delicious, even more so because it was cooked by my darling daughter.

Her picture not mine ;)

Her picture not mine 😉


Both recipes from this lovely book.

Looking forward to week 2 of training….