Moving House

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Well, not really moving house BUT I am making the switch back to my old blog… I love my fellow Maidens and the whole idea of The Iron Maidens but I’m just not sure that sharing a blog actually works, I feel like it results in a bit of a lack of identity and can just be a bit confusing in general for readers. So, after a few emails from old Oat Couture readers and friends, I think I’m going to focus more energy into my own thing! Feel free to head on over and have a read, follow along if you like! You can expect lots of swim, bike, run! Lots of good eats and way too many disgustingly cute pictures of my fur-babies!

(You can find me here.)

Watch this space to find out what the other Maidens are going to be getting up to! I know Sarah wants to focus more on foooooood, glorious food! All the healthy stuff of course! And I’m sure Nina will be doing more of the training schtuff!

Thanks so much for all the support, until now! We really appreciate it! You are all pretty fu$@#!g awesome, keep that shit up! 😉

Lots of love, Hayley xx

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Core Work // The Scorpion Push Up

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Thinking about strength and core work today. I must admit it has kind of slipped off my radar recently, what with all the swim, bike, run that’s been going on. I ended my gym membership a while ago to save pennies and although I do a few bits at home, push ups etc, etc… it has been sporadic at best and I haven’t been near a bar or sandbag in months! :/

So, today I just wanted to (re)share an old favourite of mine… The Scorpion Push Up. These photos were taken back when I was in Cyprus, post 90 minute Muay Thai sweat-fest! (It really was a sweat-fest considering the distinct lack of air conditioning… made us tougher, apparently! Errr…)

Position 1 // Your starting point…

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Position 2 // Go down into your pushup… this can be done elbows wide or elbows stuck to your body, however you prefer to pushup!

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Position 3 // As you push back up you want to swing your foot, we’ll say your right foot, over and behind your left foot, like so…

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Position 4 // Whilst at the same time twisting your body round into a side plank with your right arm pointing straight up in the air. Something like this…

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Hold for a few seconds before releasing and coming back into your starting position…

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You can now repeat but leading with the opposite foot, twisting to the opposite side.

Now, repeat as many times as you can on each side! Voilaaa!

After being full of cold all week I’m taking my 90 minute run indoors today, it’s treadmill time! Gawd knows how I’m going to keep myself entertained for 90 minutes on that damned hamster wheel but I think it’s more sensible than exposing myself to the cold and pollution so, it will have to do! Wish me luck! 🙂

Have an awesome weekend, people! Let me know if you try out the pushup!

Lots of love, Hayley xx

Jon Bond // My fitness story

I have been wanting to start this little series for a while now, too many times have I heard silly excuses about why people can’t be healthy and get fit so I wanted to share with you a few people, friends actually, who have overcome things to be stronger, healthier and fitter than ever. People who are doing things that they were told they could never do or even just doing things that no one expected them to do! These people definitely inspire me and I hope they will inspire you too!

I have had this post, that Jon wrote for me, for absolutely aaaages!! (Sorry, love!) I have known Jon for years now, when I come to think of it! (Oh my god why are the years going so fast?!) He used to train me on a regular basis and was pretty much my first introduction to kickboxing which then fuelled my love for Muay Thai! Thanks, mate!! 🙂 Absolutely lovely bloke and I have loved watching his life unfold over the past few years, especially with regards to his personal and professional growth within the field of fitness. He’s not afraid to try new things and push boundaries and I recognise that as one of the best qualities a person can have!

Anyhoo, I’ll stop waffling! Over to you, Jon!

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I’ve been wracking my brains trying to work out how to write this because I don’t know about you guys, but most fitness journeys aren’t always that interesting! I can’t watch all those fitness and fat loss programmes, all telling you the same old story! As for all the facebook posts written by many of my fitness colleagues… well, its probably best I don’t even go there! However, Hayley asked me to share and so, here I am. My journey into fitness and sport has pretty much been my entire life, I guess! It all started growing up in the 80’s, that era more than any other I think is responsible for the big business health industry we work in today, my TV and film hero’s were Arnie, Stallone… I even loved the Hulk! In fact I think at one point I would have preferred to be green and massive than small and normal! Growing up I did karate & boxing although the karate didn’t last long! I loved the freedom of movement and self expression boxing gave me whereas I hated all the rituals of martial arts, I always was a bit of a rebel!

Sadly my Dad died of cancer when I was 12 so I no longer had his early influence to guide me, my Mum did her absolute best but had more than enough on her plate bringing me and my brother up so, without my Dad there, pushing and guiding me with regards to sport, just wasn’t really an option.

My first introduction to a good old, spit and sawdust weights gym was aged 14 with my next door neighbour. He was a black belt in karate and after watching me constantly running around the neighborhood and boxing in the back garden, he offered to take me to his gym and show me the ropes. I loved it! The clanging of the weights, the banter of the guys who just all seemed absolutely huge to me, exactly like my childhood idols! All the posters strewn about of the famous body builders of the past… brilliant! For the next few years I continued to box but spent much more time in the weights section! I was a bit of a loner so it was perfect for me, I could go when I wanted and do what I wanted! As I moved into my late teens I was still hitting the gym but also started partying quite a lot with friends so the boxing took a back seat. By the time I left school the boxing had pretty much stopped all together.

Post school I decided to become a mechanic, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do but my dad had built Coaches for a living so I was brought up virtually living in the garage, covered in oil, whilst my dad messed around with the car or his motorbike. It seemed like an ok career, in that it gave me enough money to go out and to go to the gym, despite dropping off the boxing circuit, weights still featured heavily in my life. As most young lads, on their first full time wage, I thought life was pretty good! I never had overly high expectations and barely looked beyond the next payday, much like any other 20 year old. Then came the day I’ll never forget, during work one day I noticed an ache in one of my testicles. It got progressively worse during the day and slowly stared to swell to the size of a tennis ball. I went home and got into bed hoping I would wake up and it would be back to normal, only it didn’t. In fact it was more painful than ever. I had to go to the doctors who sent me straight to the hospital for tests, I already knew what was wrong but you’re never really prepared to hear those dreaded words ‘You have cancer’. Fortunately, thanks to the pain and swelling acting as a red flag, it had been caught early so the survival rate was high. The operation was a bit of a blur and I walked around like John Wayne for the next couple of weeks! I also needed 6 weeks of Chemo but then after that had been completed, I was told that it had pretty much gone and I could go back to life as normal, which for me meant ignoring it, acting like it had ever happened and for about 6 months or so, hitting the self destruct button like crazy. I turned into a different person and was drinking a lot and taking drugs, I didn’t really recognise myself anymore. I just wanted to forget it ever happened, self pity I suppose, something I’m not very proud of. Anyway, during all of this I was still going to the gym and still working full time as a mechanic but, I hated my job. Surprisingly it was a conversation with my mum about my future which triggered the idea of being a gym instructor, she said fairly casually one day, ‘you’ve always gone to the gym, could you not get a job doing that?’ Genius! I’d never even considered that I could turn my passion into a job! I booked on the next YMCA gym instructor course and by some stroke of luck (Editors note – I would call that fate! ;)) the gym where it was held, offered me a job whilst I completed the training. I spent the next 10 years or so studying everything I could get my hands on to do with physical fitness and nutrition. I went from gym instructor, to fitness manager, to operations manager, to club manager… you name it, in a health club, I’ve done it! I taught body pump, spin even aqua aerobics (although I don’t like to talk about that! Dark times… Haha!)! When I was 29 after realising that there was nowhere else to go career wise and that there was nothing really for me in Blackpool anymore, I decided to get out. I ended up getting a much coveted job as a personal trainer at LA Fitness, which at that time was a privilege (honest!)! It was here that I met my girlfriend Andrea Everimgham, an amazing personal trainer, class instructor and yoga teacher, to this day she is probably one of the most influential people in my life and career. I also started to get that urge to fight again – new start new city! I was actually looking for a boxing gym when I came across Straight Blast Gym owner Karl Tamswell, he pretty much changed my life, particularly my attitude towards training and the more mental side of it all. My first session there he tied my arms behind my back and told me to grapple with out the use of my attributes, I thought he was mad! I also thought I must be a bit mad, allowing myself to be tied up in a gym with people didn’t know and asked to fight. However, there is always a method to Karl’s madness and he is one of the best all round coaches in the mixed martial arts business. From that day on I was hooked on MMA! At first I just trained to learn the sport but Karl knew I was a strength & conditioning coach, so as I gained his trust he started to let me train the fighters. I’ve been working with Karl for nearly 8 years now and I am now one of the MMA coaches and also the strength and conditioning coach to the professional fighters at the gym.

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I still get beat up on a daily basis but I’m learning all the time, wouldn’t have it any other way!

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This is where my fitness journey branches off, yet again… My girlfriend and I, opened up a Yoga studio. Wanting to be the absolute best at everything I do, I went on the 300 hr Jivamukti Yoga teacher training in New York, which was full on to say the least!

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I had the distinct feeling that the majority of people on this peaceful yoga course didn’t know what to make of me, this muscly, stiff, tattooed MMA fighter. However, never judge a book by its cover!

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The guys on that course probably showed me more unconditional love than I’ve ever had in my whole life.

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They supported me every day and in return I gave them lots of laughs! It was an amazing experience, one that even helped me turn Vegan! If you’ve ever considered trying a plant based diet, go for it! I can honestly say that its the best I’ve ever felt! I’ve been vegan for the last 9 months and feel fitter and stronger than ever! I have travelled the world learning and training from Muay Thai in Thailand to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in… wait for it… Brazil! 😉 I have trained in the world famous wildcard boxing gym with Freddie Roach to the world famous Gold’s gym on Venice Beach.

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The last 20 years have been nothing if not eventful, the crazy thing is, I still feel I have so much to learn and now as I move into my 40’s and into 2014, my main focuses, professionally, are coaching (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Yoga) and personally, bringing balance to all aspects of my life. I would definitely like to complete an Ironman… I may in fact currently be working towards Ironman Lanzarote but, that’s another story for another day!

If I can offer one piece of advice to people new to the fitness game, it would be to never lose your passion for what you do and never, ever stop learning! If you can master these two things then you will be successful.

Right, I hope I haven’t bored you to much with my story! Here’s to the next 10 years!

Kind regards

Jon Bond (Just a normal guy, doing his thing)

Sometimes, it’s ok to not be ok!

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(Photo by my lovely & talented friend, Rory)

So today I want to get real up in hurrr. (I actually began writing this post last week but then I got busy and felt guilty devoting my minimal free time to blogging, so it just sat here, almost finished, in my draft folder… until today when I read yet another brilliantly honest post from the lovely Krysten that inspired me to dig it out and post it up!)

My message? It’s OK, for whatever reason, to not always have your shit together! I know this but was completely unaware that I hadn’t exactly been portraying it. It was only whilst getting sent home from uni one day last week with a vision robbing, stress induced, beast of a migraine that a friend said to me, ‘it’s ok you know, you don’t need to have your shit together all of the time’. In my head I thought ‘eh? I barely have my shit together any of the time! Ha’ but if I have been parading around like I’m having an easy ride of it, living my life permanently in a sunny spot, then I’m sorry.

I’ve actually just realised something and that is that whilst I do consider myself an honest person (sometimes a little TOO honest! Ha!) and I would NEVER get up on this blog platform of mine and wax on about how great things are when they’re not, when I am feeling bad or super stressed, I just don’t blog. And I guess that’s just as damaging because it’s still only giving air time to the good stuff! Food for thought, for sure…

I do tend to have an eternally optimistic attitude and I can ALWAYS find something to be thankful for. The fact that myself, my friends and my family all have our health, is the most important thing, anything else is of secondary importance! I also believe in, 99% of the time, keeping things light and positive on social media platforms, and in any social situation really (unless I’m having a good old ‘set the world to rights’ chat with my best)! We all know that one person, or group of people, who just continually moan, right?! It just gets tedious, and it’s never about anything truly important. That being said I also like to keep things honest and life isn’t always full of the good stuff / instagram worthy / inspirational or motivational… sometimes it’s just a bit of a slog! I have coursework deadlines, relationship issues, work schedules, stresses, worries and bills mounting up, just like everyone else. Being a 20 something girl, living in London and trying to pay my way through uni whilst still making sure that myself and the dog dizzles have enough food to eat, is enough to give myself plenty of premature grey hairs, let me tell you!! Ha! It doesn’t help that I, like many of you out there, place an extreme amount of pressure on myself to succeed. I go to uni everyday and I’m surrounded by people who are exactly the same, which can be a blessing and a curse! It’s kind of a running joke between our tutors and us because when we’re nitpicking about something on a test they throw their hands up in the air and say ‘well, did you all really expect to get 100%?’ and we all respond, totally deadpan, ‘yes!’, it pretty much sums us up. It’s exactly the same with my athletic endeavours, I so badly want to be the best that I can be but unfortunately I can’t devote my entire day to 6 hour rides or 3 sessions with nothing but rest and refuelling in between. It’s about doing what you can and making the best of what you have at your disposal. If that’s a spare hour at some ungodly time in the morning, then use it! If it’s nothing because you’re totally wiped after working a 12 hour shift then that’s fine too! It doesn’t mean that you should beat yourself up or feel any less awesome! It’s just real life!

I guess what I’m saying is that we all just need to give ourselves a big.fat.break and just ask for help if we need it, it is not a sign of weakness! We’re not here to impress anyone, that’s certainly not why I started blogging!! If I learnt anything from almost two years blogging over at Oat Couture it’s that this is a wonderful, supportive and giving community, if only you let it be. So, to hell with the Stepford Wives-esque routine and hoo rahhh to being a little more honest!

Life can be ugly at times, but that doesn’t make it any less of a gift! You’ll be surprised at just how many people are going through similar things to you and can offer words of advice, encouragement and if you’re lucky enough to live close to your blog/real life friends, a tonne of wine fun times – cause let’s face it we can always do to drink laugh a little more! 😉

Lots of love, Hayley

I’m officially a DUATHLETE!

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I did it! I crossed the finish line for the very first time last Sunday and I loved every second of it! Well, nearly every second… The one where my legs didn’t feel like they belonged to me was pretty rough… oh and after having a fairly decent run, watching girls on skinny, light as a feather racing machines, all tucked up onto their tri bars whizzing past me and auld Meatball… that sucked a little as well! But, apart from that it was brilliant!

I was waiting and hoping that I would have some more hilariously embarrassing race photos to share with this post, hence why it has taken me a week to get it out. However, after scouting around a bit today, all I can find is the photo above that was taken just after we set off! In case you can’t spot me, I’m the idiot in all black, fairly near the front / middle, wearing an oh so attractive skull cap cos’ it’s all I had to ensure my ears didn’t fall off from frostbite… it was THAT cold! ;P I know there was a couple of photographers out there because I kept hearing them clicking away at various points around the course so I will keep my eye out!

The race was well organised, the crowd was friendly and the marshals kept the energy light, helping to calm any pre race jitters! Thank you Hillingdon Triathletes, you were awesome!

A little race recap for you…

After going for my usual 234,000 wee breaks, checking that my number was on the right way up / around and my shoe laces were tied extra tight, it was time for warm up. I went for a bit of a jog, did a few drills and then a few quick changes of pace, just to make sure my legs were awake. I made the mistake of doing a brick the other week without warming up properly (I know, I know but I actually just forgot! I had planned to warm up but as soon as I got out the door I just bolted!) and it was miserable! My legs felt like lumps of wood! So I wasn’t making the same mistake twice! Especially not in 5 degrees… Brrrrr!

When it came to lining up at the start line I actually wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be, I just wanted to get going! The horn blasted and we all set off, I looked at my watch and we were hitting a 6:30min/mile pace… a little too fast for me but then I wasn’t sure what I would be capable of under race conditions so I stuck with it until the group slowed down naturally to about 7:00 / 7:30 min/mile. The leader had shot off and I hadn’t a hope in hell of catching her but I did climb my way up the pack a little. I felt really good and was in a pretty good position. I know I could have pushed harder on that run but I just wasn’t sure how much energy I should use up, so early on… race experience can only come with time though and these are all things I will tweak for next time!

Then came T1 and the bike. I’m not gonna lie, it felt like hard work, it definitely undid a bit of the work I did on the run. To remedy this I plan on putting a lot more training in on the bike. Also, and it’s no excuse for lack of training, but I can totally see the benefit of lighter road / tri bikes. I just couldn’t seem to move us along fast enough! I stripped Meatball of his lock and his tyre pump but then (like an idiot) forgot about the full water bottle so made it a completely pointless act! Ha! Maybe I could do to lose a few pounds too, I think we have gotten comfortable in our relationship! Haha! I will also put it down to a lack of preparation as although I have biked more than 10 miles on many occasions, I have never time trialled it so I was a little naive in my hoping for a time of around 30 minutes… 34:37 was my actual time. Bummer.

Now to T2 and the final run… Well… haha! I nearly skidded into a couple of Marshals after braking a bit too late coming into transition, it was a little wet out and there was a good couple of seconds where I though s*$t!! I’m not gonna stop here! Haha! Luckily I did and I got off the bike and realised that stopping was the very least of my worries! ‘Legs? Hello?? You need to move forwards now, please…’ ‘LEGS!!!’ Haha! Somehow I did manage to move forward but honestly, I felt pretty crap around that second run. I felt like I was running on fumes. I had porridge for breakfast AND a nakd bar a little later so I know my glycogen stores can’t have been depleted but it sure felt like they were! After vowing that no one, I repeat no one was going to overtake me on that last run, I got it together and aimed to finish strong! Annoyingly I started to feel better / more normal coming into the last turn. Perhaps because I knew the end was nearing?! Who knows… I guess I’ll have to try a longer distance to test that theory out! 😉

My breakfast – good old overnight oats for the win! Consumed at 5:30am whilst sat in a freezing cold b&b wearing ALL my clothes! Ha!

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So, after looking at my times I’m surprised and really pleased that my splits are consistent, the first 2 miles were at 7:10 and the last mile was 7:11! Pretty pleased with that after years of swearing up and down that ‘I’m just not a runner!!’. I would have liked to have gotten faster at the end but that’s just me being me! I haven’t had the solid block of training that I would have liked and it is all a learning curve. It might sound ridiculous but I’m beyond happy just to be learning things about myself and multisport in general and I have always said that it’s progress, not perfection I’m after! Anyway, I have definitely taken away a few key points that I need to focus on to get stronger. I am planning on smashing todays time to smithereens when they have their next duathlon on the same track, I think in March. Watch out Hillingdon!!! 😉

My goals after todays experience;

  • Bring my (short) run pace down to be consistently 6:50 / 7:00 – (I’m normally around 7:20) I plan on doing this by starting small, adding short intervals of running faster, getting my legs used to spinning a little quicker. Then, I will increase the intervals time wise, slowly but surely until 6:50 is my happy pace! I feel confident that this is doable. I think. Ha!
  • Aim to keep my (long) run pace holding steady at 8:00 / 8:30 – I’m probably around 8:30 / 9:00 at the moment but I’m not as fussed about making this goal too specific right now as I feel that as long as I am getting the longer runs (7+ miles) in and simultaneously working hard on speed work then this will fall into place naturally and the two numbers will meet somewhere in the middle. I can’t tell you how I excited to get out there and do some longer runs! Since the ankle incident I have been babying myself a little but no longer! Now, I mean business! 😉
  • GET STRONGER ON THE BIKE  I plan to do this by, quite simply, riding more! That is all.
  • Fuelling – Play around with my breakfast, pre race meal – I think my breakfasts are too small, strange because all my other meals are on the large side!

I think that’s it! Any of you have any race strategy tips? Or any funny memories from your first race?

Lots of love, Hayley

Swimming lessons, new trisuits and feeling a tad underprepared…

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Helloooo…

Before I begin I just want to wish my lovely friend Rikke. a very happy birthday! I so wish I could be celebrating with you love! Sending lots of birthday love to Antibes! xxx

Now, is it really Sunday, already?! November is cuuhhhraaazy busy and overwhelming for me and I’m scared to even blink in case I lose a week and find myself ever further behind on my ever growing to do list! Although I’m 5 weeks in I’m only just finding my rhythm with uni work, there has been a distinct lack of motivation. I had to ship myself off to the British library today in the hopes that a change of scenery might light a fire up under me and inspire me to at least make a start on the mountains of work I have to complete. The good news is, it did actually work! Woo hoo! Let’s hope the momentum continues! 😉

In other news I had my first swimming ‘lesson’ the other day with the guys at swimfortri! I was HORRIFIC and it’s completely my own fault! I haven’t been in the pool nearly as much as I should have been and oh man did it show!! I am learning from my mistakes though and will be swimming tomorrow and Wednesday before my 2nd lesson on Thursday! I am DETERMINED to be a decent swimmer, it’s just going to take a little more work that I originally realised! Actually, if I spent half as much time swimming as I do bitching about my local pools crappy opening times then I would be Dara Torres in no time! Ha!

Onto the exciting stuff I HAVE A TRISUIT (see photo above!) and not just any trisuit but a totally BADASS Orca Compression suit! I LOVE it!!! It was a surprise gift from the lovely Luke and it absolutely made my week! So thoughtful! I wanted to get used to it before my race on the 10th so I took it for a spin yesterday on a quick brick and it felt fabulous! (The trisuit NOT the brick!)

As for my upcoming duathlon, I’m not gonna lie, it’s been a little source of stress for me. Being the typical type A personality I am, I like to (over)prepare for everything and after twisting my ankle last month I haven’t been able to train and prepare quite how I would have liked to. This has been a bit of a learning curve for me in that I can’t control everything and things are going to happen that wedge a spanner in the works, whether I like it or not! The important thing is a, how I deal with them and b, that I remember why I’m doing this and that at the end of the day, it’s my 1st ever race! It should be fun and gain me valuable experience, I’m not expecting to win the damn thing, or even place!! As soon as I really accepted this, the nerves kinda disappeared and now I’m just eager for the day to arrive and to get cracking! 😉 I know I’ll have my fellow maidens there to cheer me on and I’m already looking forward to the post race meal! 😉

So in short, I am determined to make November, with all its challenges, a great month! It will be lots of work but come December 1st, I want to look back and know that I gave it my all and learnt a thing or two in the process! Let’s do thisssss!! 

Lots of love, Hayley

P.s We already started November off with a bang, literally! At the fireworks display down at Ally Pally! We snuck in a flask of hot mulled wine and sat and watched the display! I get that when you’ve seen one firework, you’ve seen them all but along with the view of London at night it was pretty impressive and fuelled by the mulled wine and abundance of winter woolies it actually felt kinda festive! 🙂

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Bike Run Brick x 3

Oh haiii!

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(Me post shower, post meal but pre everything grooming / beautifying! This one is for you, Corey! Ha! I do solemnly swear to post more pictures! You have my word! Along with the everyday pictures, a few gems such as this one will get sneaked in from time to time, of course…

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What? Totally normal! Ha! – Photo credit to the, oh so talented, Rory!)

Anyhoo, I woke up today feeling all chirpy and confident after yesterdays ride so, being the masochist that I am, I decided on a godawful lung-buster of a lovely little brick session for my workout of the day.

  1. 10 mins bike
  2. 1 mile run
  3. 10 mins bike
  4. 1 mile run
  5. 10 mins bike
  6. 1 mile run

I set my bike up on the turbo and then ran a little mile loop from my front door. I’ve used the same loop a few times so I know that it’s exactly a mile which was handy as I couldn’t figure out how to (quickly) switch my garmin from indoors to outdoors whilst keeping it on auto multisport mode. I also wanted to keep it as ‘race’ like as possible so didn’t want to hang around waving my wrist in the air trying to get a signal!

I was aiming for my run splits to look something like 7:40 / 7:30 / 7:20 so I’m pretty chuffed with how I actually did;

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So, from right to left… 7:21 / 7:23 / 7:09

I would have loved negative splits all the way through but as long as I’m faster at the end than I am at the beginning, then I’m a happy, happy camper! 🙂

I realise that it’s saying that I ran 0.00 miles but I can assure you I ran whole miles! I made sure I ‘lapped’ it at exactly the same points so it should be pretty accurate! I started with a 15:05 (I must have been daydreaming with those extra 5 seconds!) minute warm up on the bike + a few dynamic stretches. Then the main body of the workout took me 57 minutes and 36 seconds, according to my garmin. A breakdown of the whole thing, looks like this;

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(Minor niggle – Any Garmin Connect users out there that know how to merge activities? It would be nice to see all the data together, as one whole workout.)

Oooh I also walked up and down my street after that third and final run, to cool down. I then finished with some stretching, my usual ice bath and a slap up dinner of homemade lasagna, 1/2 a sweet potato and loads of steamed kale & carrots topped with way too much (sorry I’m not sorry!) goats cheese!

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And now I’m sat feeling pretty content, getting through some work ready for uni tomorrow…

How did you get your sweat on today? Anyone out there a fan of brick workouts?

Lots of love, Hayley