Tag Archives: goals

parkrun Challenges

24 Oct

I love attending parkrun every week, so I’ve decided to set myself a number of parkrun related challenges for the next year. Most of them are teeny tiny goals, but I thought they might add some fun.

parkrun volunteer

  • Achieve my 250 club (17 parkruns to go)
  • Qualify for a cow cowl (I need to do 1 more UK parkrun) Cow cowl
  • Do an international parkrun (this might not happen)
  • Get an overall PB (<23:40)
  • Achieve PBs in 5 locations
  • Do all of the parkruns in Cornwall (Trelissick and the new Eden Project ones to go)
  • Do all of the parkruns in Hampshire (7 to go)
    • Alice Holt – done
    • Andover – done
    • Basingstoke – done
    • Brockenhurst – done
    • Eastleigh – done
    • Fareham – done
    • Havant
    • Lee-on-the-Solent – done
    • Lymington Woodside
    • Medina I.O.W
    • Netley Abbey – done
    • Portsmouth Lakeside
    • Queen Elizabeth
    • Rushmoor
    • Southampton – done
    • Southsea
    • Whiteley – done
    • Winchester – done
  • Do other near-by parkruns:
    • Blandford
    • Moors Valley
    • Poole
    • Salisbury
    • Upton House
    • Weymouth
  • Encourage 3 friends to do a parkrun
  • Support my mum to get a parkrun PB

Do you do parkrun? What’s your next parkrun goal?

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Festive parkruns and my first goal of 2016

2 Jan


It’s been a busy festive season and I haven’t been too bothered about training regularly, but I have fitted in quite a few parkruns.

My first parkrun of the holidays was at Southampton on Christmas Day. I took it as an opportunity to wear my new SOAS top (even if it is really a cycling jersey):


At the event, I met up with my friend, Teri, and ran with her and her children. They were all in festive fancy dress, which was really cute, but didn’t help us to go quickly. Teri’s daughter wanted to go under 30 minutes, so she completely smashed that goal.

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Getting up for Boxing Day parkrun was a little tougher, but I surprised myself by doing OK. It wasn’t a super quick time, but it was one of my better runs of 2015!

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My first run of 2016 was at Queen Victoria Country Park, which is a stunning location. I could have gone to Eastleigh parkrun, but that’s a muddy cross country location and my memory of Netley Abbey was that it was mainly on gravel and tarmac paths with a short finish section on grass. I didn’t realise that the course has changed since I was last there…

It was great to see some of my friends at Netley Abbey, including Sharon and Loraine, who I haven’t seen for a long time. I also saw my work buddy and Thunder Run team-mate, Rikki, who ran with me for a short while.

I was also delighted to see my friend, Paul – he’s a fellow runner and a brilliant photographer. It’s thanks to Paul that this blog post has so many pictures.

The course at Netley Abbey is three loops, with much of it being on a very muddy path. At first I tried to dodge the puddles, but I quickly realised that it was impossible and that I might as well plough through them.

I played a bit of a cat-and-mouse game with the chap in the blue t-shirt. We kept passing each other on the hills, but he had a superior sprint finish, whereas I wanted to save some energy for later in the day!

Although I didn’t run very quickly, it was nice to get a PB for this course.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 16.55.54

My second parkrun of the day was at Southampton, so I had a quick chat with my friends at Netley Abbey and then hopped back into my car.

Yet again, I met up with my friend Teri, who was chaperoning a mini Saints squad – her two children and her friend’s son, all dressed in their football kit. It’s great to see three children all under the age of 10 who are so excited about running. The only negative is that they are so enthusiastic that they don’t always look where they are going and tend to weave around on the path a bit, so it kept us on our toes!!!

After setting a PB on Christmas Day, the children amazed us by running even harder and setting new PBs.

parkrun finish

© Southampton Daily Echo

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Although my finish time was slower than at Netley Abbey, my Garmin stats showed that I had run  significantly faster at this event (I clearly didn’t follow the racing line!)

My last parkrun of the festive season was this morning at Southampton parkrun.

I spent much of yesterday feeling ill and sorry for myself, and was feeling fatigued this morning, which wasn’t a great start. I started with Teri, but it was tough going, so I let her go on the first hill and just tried to maintain an even pace without looking at my watch.

I chatted to lots of people on the way around and managed to spur on a couple of people who had stopped, which made it feel like a worthwile run.

In the last 400m, I was passed by lots of people but my breathing wasn’t good, so I kept at a steady pace. After I finshed and looked at my watch, I felt annoyed with myself for not pushing a tiny bit at the end:

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So, my first two parkruns at Southampton have been 28:11 and 27:03. My goal for my next parkrun is 26:XX so I’ll need to run 5:12-5:23/km.

It’s going to take a bit of effort, but I’m back at work this week, so my training schedule will be getting back on track. I’ll be swimming on Monday, doing some running on Wednesday lunchtime, coaching on Wednesday evening and doing a stretching session on Thursday with Liz. It’s not a full schedule, but I’m excited to get started.

What’s your first short-term goal of 2016?


What are your goals and dreams?

29 Dec

I think the name of my blog clearly explains my goal:

Fat Girl to Ironman

I am planning to complete an iron distance triathlon… and am still hoping to lose a few more pounds along the way.


I also have many dreams – they’re not quite goals yet as I haven’t planned how I am going to achieve them.

  • I want to continue to inspire other people to lead fit and healthy lives.
  • I want to remain part of the SOAS Team as it’s an empowering group of women (and the tagline ‘Fashion. Fit. Function.’ is a really accurate description as they’re gorgeous, cut to fit real women and really comfortable).
  • I want to improve my bike skills and cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats.
  • I’d love to travel the world with my wonderful husband

What are your goals and dreams?

Revisiting my goals for 2015

17 Dec

At the end of December 2014, I set out my goals for 2015, so I thought it was time for me to revisit them.

Goal 1:


I am going to eat healthy food for 20/21 meals and assess my progress at the end of 100 days (14th April). I hope that I will lose 14lbs (6.5kg) in that time. I will record my progress on Give It 100.

I didn’t manage to achieve this goal. GiveIt100 has now closed – not that that affected my progress. I did work hard at eating healthily, but I think that this will always be a struggle for me. I have changed my goal from weightloss to fatloss this year, and had some success. When I was focused, I lost 9% body fat in as many weeks!

Goal 2:


I am going to work hard on my speed between now and 26th April by attending Thursday night track sessions. I will also run on Monday evenings. My aim is to complete Southampton HM in under 1:55, with under 1:52:19 as my ultimate goal, as that would be a PB/PR.

I did attend regular track sessions with Southampton Tri Club. I really love track running and think that it’s good to incorporate speed work into your training, even if you’re training for long distance events. I also ran on most Monday evenings until April. Unfortunately, I wasn’t well when I toed the line, and had also not managed to train for three weeks before the race as I was cycling across Japan, so I was delighted to finish in 1:55:14. Not quite on my goal, but I think that’s close enough.

Goal 3:

Ironman Dublin logo

I want to achieve a PB/PR at Ironman Dublin 70.3 on 9th August. I completed Weymouth Half in 7:24. I think that a time of under 7 hours is possible if I work hard on all three disciplines. I will train for 14 weeks from 3rd May.

I smashed this goal! I finished in 6:45:38, taking over 40 minutes off my previous half iron PB!

Goal 4:


I want to complete the Scilly Swim Challenge on 5th September. To do this, I will need to go open water swimming at least once a week between June and September. I will speak to my coach about how to train for an endurance swimming event such as this.

I was fished out of one leg (where most swimmers were ‘rescued’), but I did the rest of it, so that counts as a success 🙂

I’ve been a bit down on myself recently, but looking back, I can see that I did really well with some tough goals. Also, although I’ve always run a lot of races, but this year has been crazy:

  • 14 x 5ks
  • 3 x 10k
  • 2 x 10 miles
  • 3 x half marathons
  • 5 x sportives
  • 1 x duathlon
  • 2 x aquathlon
  • 2 x sprint tri
  • 2 x Olympic triathlon
  • 2 x 3km swim
  • 1 x 3.8km swim
  • 1 x 5km swim
  • 1 x paired 12 hour relay
  • 1 x team 24 hour relay
  • 17.5km swim.
  • 3 weeks cycling across Japan
  • 4 days leading a charity bike ride 400 miles from the Lake District to London.

A positive was that I won my Tri Club’s Merit Table, where points are scored by completing events, but a serious downside has been getting motivation to get back out there and train. Next year, I’m going to be more selective about the races I do!!!

How did you do this year? What are your goals for 2016?

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Your six step party season pre-tox plan

30 Nov

December is creeping ever closer, which means party season is nearly upon us. Cue late nights, boozy shenanigans and that seasonal ‘fitness amnesia’ that seems to strike without fail year on year.

But not this time; this time, I’m here to help you fight the cause of festive fatigue, rather than treating the symptoms after a month of overindulgence. Simply follow this six-step plan to stay feeling festively fresh, no matter what Christmas throws at you.


  1. Set realistic goals

Let’s be honest; you’re probably going to be rushed off your feet this holiday season, and setting yourself unrealistic goals that are doomed to fail won’t help you feel any less stressed. Instead of biting off more than you can chew, be realistic about what you can achieve. Instead of focusing on losing weight, set goals based on your health, and focus on quality rather than quantity when it comes to fitness. In this way you leave time and flexibility to properly enjoy the holiday season without feeling guilty. Consider how many times a week you will be able to fit in exercise sessions, and add them to your diary now.


  1. Focus on fitness

According to Total Fitness, gym attendance drops by around 30 per cent in the lead up to Christmas – so if you’re guilty of taking your eye off the ball, you’re not alone.

Offset these fewer trips to the gym by focusing on higher-intensity workouts when you do go. Not only will you reduce the time you spend in the gym during this busy period, but you’ll also cut down on body fat before you start eating more food and kick-start your metabolism.


  1. Stay hydrated

As anyone who has experienced the torment of a Christmas party morning-after hangover will tell you, drinking alcohol leads to dehydration, which in turn causes tiredness, headaches and nausea. Not the best motivator to start your day!

Staying hydrated is as simple as making sure you spend the day occasionally sipping on some H2O, or upping your game by adding some electrolytes to the mix.

For this, I’m loving nuun – light and refreshing sugar-free hydration tabs which you simply drop into a bottle of water to get a great taste AND stock up on the essential electrolytes you lose during everyday activity. One nuun tube has enough tabs to make twelve 16oz (500ml) hydration drinks. It’s sturdy, waterproof and easily fits into a gym bag, bike jersey, handbag, or pocket, and you can buy it online! Sorted.


  1. Eat mindfully

In the run up to the Christmas period, pre-toxing your diet can be vital to continued health and fitness. It can be tempting to skip meals, making room for all the extra calories you might be taking on when eating party food and drinking alcohol. Bad idea – skipping meals interrupts your blood sugar levels, meaning you’ll feel lethargic and sluggish, and then end up eating more later to compensate for your hunger.

The easiest and most effective way to eat mindfully and healthily during this period is to eat regularly, choosing balanced meals and grazing on regular, healthy snacks. Include plenty of vegetables, raw salads, wholegrains and immune-boosting goodies such as nuts and berries. Add in some probiotics to help boost your gut function.

If you’ve got the time to cook some soup, it’s a great option for a speedy lunch or as a quick meal to fill you up before going to a buffet.

Remember, be realistic; commit to looking after your health, not obsessing your about your jeans size.


  1. Cut down on caffeine and alcohol

Don’t panic; I’m not suggesting you avoid alcohol and caffeine altogether (where’s the fun in that?!). What I am suggesting is that you limit your daily intake.

Ingesting too much caffeine or alcohol can be counter-productive to a pre-tox, because it increases anxiety and disrupts sleep patterns, leading to a vicious cycle of restless sleep, where you then end up relying on caffeine to help with daytime fatigue, and then going out and drinking more alcohol at the plethora of office parties and Christmas socials happening in the coming month.

Set yourself the rule of no caffeine after 3pm every day. Caffeine may help keep you alert, but studies show that it puts a strain on your liver – an organ which is going to be working overtime anyway this holiday season…


  1. Get enough sleep

Long days at work, long evenings spent present shopping and long nights festively socialising are pretty much unavoidable around Christmas.

But making sure you get enough shut eye is crucial to your fitness and wellbeing – sleep loss is associated with weightgain, bad emotional regulation, weakened immunity and, of course, the inability to party endlessly in style. So do yourself a favour and make sure you’re getting at least 7 good hours of sleep a night.

Not sure if you’re getting the full amount of sleep you need? There are some really nifty sleep-monitoring apps out there – for example, Sleep Cycle (£0.69) is an app (Android and iOS) that also watches your sleep habits from your nightstand in order to help wake you up at the best possible time of the morning within a set period, so you won’t be late for work!

Monday Morning Motivation: The power of running

10 Aug

This advert from Fleet Feet Sports really conveys the power of running:

“We run for different reasons. We have different goals. We come from different places. Yet, we are all on the same road – one without a finish line. Where personal achievement, performance, and connection run together.”

The Power Of Running: Real Talk from Fleet Feet Sports on Vimeo.

New Year’s Resolutions – is it worth making any?

27 Dec

In 2015, I will be:

  • spending more time with my family (whilst also making new friends and expanding my social circle)
  • rekindling my passion for an old hobby (and trying my hand at something new)
  • shifting that extra stone/14lbs/6kg and not giving into any unhealthy temptations whatsoever.

Yeah, right.

With an estimated 14.5 million adults making New Year’s resolutions that focus on fitness and health, self-improvement (or, at least, the desire for self-improvement) is a national hobby here in the UK. Yet very few of us – some estimates say only around 8% – achieve their New Year’s resolutions. If this is the case, and if the true definition of madness is ‘repeating the same action, over and over, hoping for a different result’, then this year we have to mix it up a little if we’re going to achieve our goals.

I’ve got some huge goals and A races for 2015, but I’ve also planned some fun events and less important races to help keep me motivated (whilst never taking my eye off the ultimate goal of completing an Ironman!)

Get fit and have fun for a good cause

Sometime, it’s helpful to have a little extrinsic motivation to keep you going. It might be that you agree to do something with friends, or perhaps the thought of raising money for charity will spur you on. Several friends have told me how they managed to while away the time whilst running marathons by calculating how much each step/km/mile was worth to their chosen charity in terms of sponsorship.

If the thought of losing the pounds by spending endless hours on a dreadmill makes you worry about losing your mind, then how about the idea of getting your mates together to take part in a Human Race Macmillan Cycletta? These women-only bike rides are set in stunning, family friendly host venues. There is also a range of distance on offer from 50-150km. There are five events around the country featuring spectacular routes between 50km and 150km, taking place in Bedfordshire, Surrey, the New Forest, Cheshire and Scotland.

If you’re not female, or want to take part in a mixed-gender event, why not search for a local sportive? Alternatively, if you visit the website of a charity that you’d like to support, they may have places on events you’d like to enter or might host their own events. If you’re worried that you’re not fit enough to do an event yet, perhaps you could volunteer so that yu witness the wide range of ages, sizes and abilities who participate in most sporting events.

Pick up an old hobby, lose weight and make new friends

Rekindle your high school love of netball, volleyball and dodgeball, or try something completely new like boxfit or Insanity classes with social sports clubs such as GO Mammoth, the UK’s largest social sports and fitness club. These kind of clubs exist simply to make your life more fun and social, without the seriousness and commitment involved in joining a specialist sports club or gym.

If you’re in North American, you might be able to join November Project: http://november-project.com/ It’s a fantastic FREE fitness movement. If you’ve been to  session, please share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you’d like to take part in a free timed 5k run every Saturday morning, then have a look to see whether parkrun is in your country yet, and if so, where the nearest locations are: http://www.parkrun.com/countries/

Try something new with old friends

Why not kill two birds with one very muddy stone – have fun with your friends AND try something new by taking part in a muddy obstacle course run! Bonus if you raise money for charity whilst doing it. Such events have rocketed in popularity during 2014, and look to be even bigger and better in 2015.

I absolutely HATE mud (and will be looking after my ‘new’ eyes), so am unlikely to do an obstacle race in 2015, but I have set myself the challenge of continuing with something new: crossfit. I’m now going to sessions offered by my Uni tri club (SUTRI) every Monday and hope to continue doing so in 2015.

Eat healthy & stay motivated

healthy heart

The problem with deciding to completely overhaul a lifestyle is that it can often be a case of biting off more than you can chew. So, when making dietary changes, start small. Set a few realistic goals – in the long run, the boost of actually sticking to them will up your confidence and self-esteem, helping you to make even better changes.

Gradually switching to a healthy eating style (not dieting!) such as clean eating can make a massive difference to your wellbeing without being overwhelming.

My sister and her fiance bought Stuart and I a Nutribullet blender for Christmas, so we’re hoping to drink lots of heathy smoothies in 2015… and I am planning to lose at least 15lbs, but more on that in another post!

Cut down on alcohol & fizzy drinks. Stay hydrated!



This challenge isn’t so hard for me. I very rarely drink alcohol and try not to drink coke too often. I drink water almost all of the time. Did you know that a big bottle of a juice-based drink can contain 300 calories – and those calories add up. Instead, think about switching to something like nuun, light and refreshing sugar-free hydration tabs which you simply drop into a bottle of water to get a great taste AND stock up on the essential electrolytes you lose during everyday activity. One nuun tube has enough tabs to make twelve 16oz (500ml) hydration drinks. It’s sturdy, waterproof and easily fits into a gym bag, bike jersey, purse, or pocket! Sorted.

So – there are some of my basic thoughts about New Year’s Resolutions… but as I mentioned, I have some very clear goals that I will be sharing in the next couple of weeks.

What are your goals, plans and dreams for 2015?

Monday Morning Motivation – 101 questions to ask yourself

13 Oct

Do you reflect on your hopes and aspirations? Do you know how to ask yourself the right questions. This manifesto will help you to clarify your goals:

The Self-Reflection Manifesto

Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.
Are you going to make any small (or large) changes to your life today?


18 months into my 5 year challenge… what have I achieved?

23 Sep

18 months ago, I laid out my plans: http://fatgirltoironman.co.uk/2013/03/28/failure-to-plan-is-like-planning-to-fail/

A year ago, I reported back on my progress:  http://fatgirltoironman.co.uk/2013/09/10/where-am-i-now-assessing-my-progress/

So it’s now time to check up on whether I’ve made any progress in the last year. Here’s a recap of my goals.

Year Swimming Cycling Running Triathlon
2013 800m swim 42k cycletta or 82k Marathon Novice – Newbury
2014 1600m swim 63 mile sportive (IoW) Marathon Sprint
2015 2k swim 86 mile sportive Marathon Olympic
2016 3k swim 100 mile sportive Marathon Half Ironman
2017 4k swim 127 mile sportive (Chichester) Marathon Half Ironman
2018 2.4 miles/3.9k 112miles/180k 26.2 miles Ironman

Swimming – goal: 1600m – surpassed!

I feel like I’ve made significant progress over the last six weeks to two months. Back in April, I did a 400m time trial and managed to swim it in 9:30. I would love to repeat this now as I’m confident that I could beat that time. Coach Peter has timed me doing 25m in 25, which is a massive improvement and several people have commented that they think I’m getting faster. I wouldn’t say that my technique is good yet, but I’m finally getting to grips with breathing. I’ve persevered and with the help of Huw (and the stress of sea swimming), I’m now starting to believe that I might one day be able to swim 3.8k in 2:20. In June, I managed to swim 1.54 miles in 1:23 at the Big Cove swim.

Cycling – goal: 63 mile sportive – achieved!

In April, I completed the Wiggle Spring Sportive (100.74km) and at the end of August I cycled 100km in Cornwall with Stuart and Donna. When I set my goals, I had a specific sportive in mind. I did not do a 63 mile sportive on IoW, but I am confident that I can cycle the distance having done the other 100km rides, so I am going to count that as a success… especially as teh Cornish ride was at least as hilly as the IoW!

Running – goal: marathon – achieved!

In April, I ran Brighton Marathon. My time was a little disappointing (4:39:44), but I was unwell and had not trained to my full potential, so this is far better than I expected.

Triathlon – goal: sprint – surpassed!

This is the one goal that I leapt ahead on. I completed a sprint triathlon back in April (Good Fri Tri) as well as Eastleigh Open Water (sprint) Tri in June. I did two Olympic distance triathlons in Weymouth this summer (GU Classic in July and Weymouth Classic in August) and then I soared past my goal to finish Weymouth Half last week.

I think it is probably time for me to revise my original goals. Obviously, an ironman is still my ultimate goal, but I think the swimming targets are a little soft. I regularly swim over 2k in an hour and my longest swim this year was 2.67km. I am considering entering a 5km lake swim next year, although I may find it a little boring. I need to persevere with cycling, but I think that with some good mileage over winter and a new-found friend in my turbo trainer, I should be able to complete a 100 mile event next year. My running aim is the one that is most challenging. I’m not sure that I have the motivation/desire to run a marathon whilst I’m struggling so badly with my breathing. I really want to focus on my speed and achieve a 5k PB and get a great time (ideally a PB) at Southampton Half Marathon in April, so I may choose not to focus on doing a marathon next year.

The area where I still feel that I am failing is my nutrition and weightloss. I am an emotional eater and this year has been a rollercoaster for me. I am also struggling with having a huge workload, which means that by the time I’ve finished training, I’m too tired to spend a lot of time preparing food. I know that unless something changes, I will never be successful in this area, so I’m going to spend a bit of time planning ahead and preparing to try to get me back on track.

I want to do another half iron triathlon next year. I loved Challenge Weymouth, so I may enter the event again and aim for a PB, or I may do Ironman 70.3 in Dublin. As soon as I’ve made a decision, I’ll share it here!

Monday Morning Motivation – what are you doing to reach your goals?

28 Jul


What are your goals? How can you reach or surpass them?