7 tips for running your first 10k

7 tips for running your first 10kI took up running this year as a way to exercise with a baby. It has its benefits- its free, baby can come with you and, in the time you would spend driving to the gym, getting changed and showered and coming home, your workout is done! And it burns LOADS of calories! Since becoming a runner (I guess I can call myself a runner now, eh?!) I feel fitter, my body has changed shape (in a good way!) and I have more energy.

I started using a Couch 2 5k programme, running and walking, and gradually increasing the running each week. When I completed it, I did not want my hard work to go to waste so I set myself a challenge to ensure I kept running- I signed up for a 10k race!

As there are couch 2 5k programmes, so there are couch to 10k programmes, and bridge 2 10k programmes available on apps and podcasts etc. I spent so long umming and ahhing as to which one to use, I just kept running and made my own programme up along the way. So, here are my top 7 bridge 2 10k tips

  1. Firstly, congratulate yourself on becoming a runner. Let’s face it, going from couch potato to a regular runner takes a lot of hard work and discipline. You have built running into your routine and it is important to keep running three times a week.
  2. Continuing on the theme of celebrations- treat yourself to a new piece of kit! Did you do the couch 2 5k in your old trainers? New properly fitted trainers are a worthwhile investment. I did my whole couch 2 5k clutching my phone in my palm, so I got myself a phone arm-band… which went a little way to making me feel like a proper runner!
  3. Sign up for a race. This will keep your eye on the prize and keep you motivated! http://www.runireland.com is a great website for Irish runners.
  4. Back to the actual training… I did three runs a week; one fast half hour run, a 5k run and a long run. I had about 8 weeks before my race, so every week, I increased the distance of my long run by half a kilometre.
  5. Doing the longer runs mixes things up a bit- I ran new routes (using http://www.mapmyrun.com to plan them first) and started running in the evening, so I wasn’t under pressure for time. Changing the route and time of day keeps your running routine fresh and prevents you from getting bored!
  6. Think about your posture and form. How are your feet hitting the ground? Are is your back straight or hunched? Where are your shoulders? That was the thing I had to keep reminding myself about- they were oftentimes up round my ears. Lowering them made me feel instantly more relaxed and I enjoyed a better run.
  7. Remember, there is no such thing as a bad run. Don’t be disheartened if you had a slow run, or you feel you are not improving. You have done so well coming this far. Getting out and having an off run is far better than sitting on the sofa!

Are you a new runner? Or a seasoned one? I would love to hear your comments, questions or tips!

This post is part of Kelly’s 7 quick takes link up, hosted at This Aint the Lyceum. Head on over there for more quick takes!

7QT: Encounters, Books and Prayer

encounters books and prayer
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1. A blessed meeting
– Have you heard of the Blessed is She community? It’s a community of women online, who connect via blog and Instagram. Every day the Mass readings for the day and a short reflection by a member of the community arrive in my inbox. It sets me up for the day. Through this online community, I connected with a Blessed is She sister who also lives in Ireland, and we met for the first time at the weekend! A happy encounter and the first of many, I hope!

2. Park life– the sun has been shining this week so we have replaced indoor play with outdoor play and trips to the park. Sometimes twice a day! Little T loves the swings and the toddler slide. And watching the other kids, the dogs, and the man cutting the grass… happy days!

3. Longer runs– I’ve mentioned before I recently completed a couch to 5k programme, and I am hoping to run a 10k at the end of the month. Well, I have no official training plan, other than do a couple of 5k runs and one long run per week. The few weeks, I have started doing those longer runs (6k, 7.5k and 8k) and I love them! Changing my route really distracts me from the fact that the run is longer and running up hills I thought I could only roll down has made me appreciate how much my fitness has improved.

4. #UNIRL– #UNIRL, UN Ireland, was trending on Twitter this week. Why? Because a UN committee have said that Ireland must have a referendum on abortion to ensure women and girls in Ireland can fully realise their economic, social and cultural rights. The Committee said that the Irish Constitution appeared to “elevate the unborn to the status of a citizen” and said there was a “contradiction between” the Irish Constitutional right afforded to the unborn and the rights guaranteed by the Covenant “to a woman’s right to life and to health”.

This is being pushed further by so-called human rights organisation, Amnesty International, who fight for human rights while simultaneously denying a person’s first right- the right to life. It’s sad and disheartening to see UN agenda being played out in our small country.

walk softly5. Walk Softly and Carry a Great Bag– Teresa Tomeo, host of EWTN’s Catholic Connection, published this devotional book at the end of last year. I have been dying to get it and it finally arrived through my letterbox this week! Yey! I have only read a few of the reflections, but lets just say, I won’t be putting this book on the bookshelf, I will be carrying it round with me in my bag so I have it to hand when I have a few free minutes for some reading

6. Dawn Eden– speaker and author came to Ireland this week and I managed to catch her on her tour. She is a faith-filled, inspirational woman who has overcome a difficult start in life and is now a convert to the Catholic Church, and writes and speaks about chastity and healing wounds. She shared her testimony on EWTN’s The Journey Home. I’m looking forward to reading her new book- the Thrill of the Chaste- Catholic Edition!

7. The Sacred Heart Novena- The novena for this great feast began last Thursday, so I should have been praying the novena all week. Well, I thought about praying it every day, and desperately wanted to do it, but it didn’t quite work out… until Thursday, one week later. I did all the readings, prayers and reflections for every day in one go. I know, its not an ideal way to pray a novena, but I am learning that, as a mum, prayer time and Mass time are different!

How was your week? Post me a comment in the box, I would love to hear from you 🙂

Head over to This Aint the Lyceum for more quick takes!

7QTs: Jogging for Beginners

comes Jogging for beginnersI was never a runner. It’s hard to believe I am now, but I have just finished a Couch to 5k (C25k) plan, and can run for a full 30 minutes! This is the second time I have done this plan. (My first time was a few years ago, before my wedding, but I didn’t keep it up.) Jogging has three main attractions- it’s free, all you need to get started is a pair of runners, and it gets results! I figured it was the best way to get back into shape after having a baby- I could do it with baby in tow, at a convenient time and with minimal expense. So I started again…. Here are seven tips I have learned along the way:

  1. NHS Choices Couch to 5k

    My couck 2 5k programme

    Find a good Couch 2 5k programme You can find them online, on podcasts, apps, and in books and magazines… I used the NHS Couch 2 5k programme, which consisted of 9 weeks worth of podcasts. Laura, the narrator, told me when to walk and when to run, as well as giving tips and motivation.

As well as listening to the podcasts, I would use an app like Map My Run or Endomondo to track my progress. This is a real motivator as you can see how many calories you burn after each work out and see your distance increasing as the weeks go on.

  1. It’s just a light jog C25k programmes usually start with interval training- walking for a bit, then jogging for a bit. The girl on my podcast often said, “Remember, its just a light jog”. I found this really helpful to remember as it took the pressure off.
  1. Route It’s good to vary the route. This comes naturally as the weeks go by and you are running further. If you are running on a treadmill, why not run outside? If you are already running outside, why not try a lap of the park instead of sticking to the pavement. Sometimes I go for a short drive and run somewhere beautiful, like a nature park or the beach. Changing the scenery mixes things up. Variety is the spice of life, right?
  1. My running buddy

    Equipment The first time I did a C25k programme, I knew by week 4 – 5 that I was going to stick with the programme, so I invested in some trainers, fitted at a specialist running shop. This made the word of difference to my feet.

The second time I started the C25k, I would bring baby T along with me. I didn’t need a special buggy for the first few weeks as the running distance was short and I was slow… again, when I knew I would stick it out, I bought a second hand jogger buggy online.

  1. Take a break I began to enjoy running so much I wanted to run consecutive days. However, it is really important to give your muscles a rest and chance to recover, and avoid injury. Why not do something else with that energy? Go for a walk, or a swim…
  1. Prayer Initially, I started praying when I was looking up a big hill, praying a decade of the rosary to get me to the top! Towards the end of the C25k, I found that jogging was a good way to incorporate prayer into my routine. Now, I often pray a whole rosary during my jog. And I offer up any suffering! Its also a good way just to get some head space and think about any ideas / problems or figure out what’s for dinner!
  1. Believe in yourself I am not a natural-born runner. I will never forget the time I ran for two minutes for the first time and looked back on the distance I had covered. I had a real sense of achievement! C25k programmes are designed to build you up gradually, minute by minute, not drop you in the deep end with a 30 minute run. I trusted in the programme and believed in myself. If I had a bad run, I wouldn’t beat myself up- a bad run is better than no run. If I didn’t feel ready to move on to the next week, I would repeat the week. By recognising your progress and believing in yourself, you can do it!

I finished the Couch 2 5k plan this week and I have already set myself a new goal- a 10k run in two months. Watch this space!

Would you like to take up jogging, but have a question? Or, are you a already a runner and have a comment or tip? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks to Kelly from This Aint the Lyceum for hosting 7 Quick Takes. For more quick takes, head on over there!

7QTs: Praying, thrifting and books!

7QT: Praying Thrifting and Books Talking about family

Another week has gone by and its time for the seven quick takes on the week that was, hosted at This Aint the Lyceum!

1.parish talking about family Daily Mass: There are so many excuses not to go to daily Mass, a toddler and a to do list being two of them. I read somewhere recently that if you make time for God, He makes time for you. Well, God definitely made time for me this week. Thank you, Lord!

2. Prayer alarm: My husband and I are yet to nail couple prayer. We started a renewed effort this week, as we agreed on a set time of 7:30pm to pray together and I set a daily alarm for this time. However, the way the cookie has crumbled, we have only been together once when the alarm has gone off and at 7:30pm every other day of the week at the most inopportune times… in the middle of Pilates, while reverse hill start parking on a busy street… we must pick a new time!

3. Praying and running: Continuing on the theme of prayer, I am currently doing a couch 2 5k programme. My podcast tells me when to run and when to walk, as well as playing ‘running music’ for the duration. This week, I turned the volume of my podcast down and prayed a rosary each time I ran. Bonus extra prayer time!

4. benedict xvi mother teresa talking about familyThrifting: I went into an SVP charity shop to look for a wooden chair to upcycle. Instead (and much to my husband’s relief!) I came out with two books about Blessed Mother Teresa, and one about Pope Emeritus Benedict. €2 each, and they were three for the price of two! Win!

5. Shopping my wardrobe: When I became pregnant two years ago, I stashed away a blue Ikea bag full of clothes that I knew I wouldn’t wear for a while. Well, I retrieved said back from the attic this week. It was like going shopping, for free! And with all the running I’ve been doing, the clothes fit me better than before!

6. Essay writing: I have an essay due for my course next month and I am on a new study schedule, trying to write a few hours a night every night, instead of spending one day a week on it. So far, things have worked out well. I hope it continues…

7. extra virgin kitchen talking about familyBook loan: Another free perk this week, a friend lent me a copy of The Extra Virgin Kitchen. At the moment, I am simply savoring the recipes of the delicious wheat-free, dairy-free, sugar-free treats, before I decide what to try first.Praline cupcakes and 6am toddler cookies are top of my list!

Thanks Kelly for hosting the 7QTs link up! For more quick takes, visit http://thisaintthelyceum.org/

7QTs: Surviving My First Year of Motherhood

7qts surviving my first year of motherhood talking about family blogWhile my baby will always be my baby, she will turn one and officially become a toddler tomorrow. Where does the time go? Here are seven quick takes on a few things that have helped get me through this first year as a new mum!

  1. Spiritual Life

Since I became pregnant, I turn to Mother Mary a lot more. She’s my role model in a whole new way.  When my little one was born, taking her to Mass seemed like a big deal. It was huge. And stressful! But, we’ve never had a huge drama and have only had to leave the pew a few times! Deo Gratias! Phew!

  1. Post-natal Pilates

After pregnancy and giving birth, I wondered if my body would ever be the same. Thanks to post-natal Pilates, my body feels a lot stronger. I would definitely recommend it to any new mum!

  1. Couch 2 5k

NHS Choices Couch to 5k

My couck 2 5k programme

Baby weight falls off some women. Not me. I had to work. Very hard. I decided to do a couch 2 5k programme, because it’s easy to get up and out, and I could do it with baby. I bought a second hand jogger buggy, so I wouldn’t have to wait until my husband came home, and wouldn’t be able to use ‘it’s dark/ cold/ wet’ as an excuse. It’s worked really well and I am hoping to do my first race this summer!

  1. Not stressing

As a FTM (first time mom), there is a lot to learn, and a lot to worry about. In addition, people like to chime in with their opinions and unsolicited advice, often conflicting the books / the professionals / the internet / each other. It can be so confusing! I am learning to not worry about things to the nth degree, and am learning to trust myself!

  1. Meal planning and batch cooking

Even having a huge bowl of salad or prepared veggies in the fridge is a big help!

Even having a huge bowl of salad or prepared veggies in the fridge is a big help!

Motherhood has made me be more organised. Time is a luxury! I am learning to meal plan and have started experimenting with batch cooking. It’s definitely the way forward!

  1. Cheating

Take shortcuts! For example, if time is of the essence at meal time, don’t worry about cooking something fresh or defrosting something pronto. Use store-bought baby food. It’s not the end of the world!

  1. Groups

It took me a while to get connected to some local toddler groups. Some mums swear by them, and go to a group every day of the week. I am not one of those mums, but I do know which group is on which day, and that I can drop in whenever I like.  That works for us.

I could have made a longer, better thought-out list, but these are my quick takes! Do you have any tips for new mums? What would be top of your list?

Thanks to Kelly for hosting 7QTs! For more quick takes, hop on over to This Aint the Lyceum!