Tag Archives: nuun

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!

Nuun

Nuun

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?

How do you hydrate?

23 Nov

Ever since I was small, my favourite drink has been water. I’ve never been particularly partial to juice/squash/cordial, and would almost always prefer to drink water. However, when it’s cold or I’m starting to get hungry, I can be persuaded to have a hot chocolate. I also quite like jasmine tea and don’t mind Earl Grey tea, but I never drink coffee. I just can’t stand the smell of it. I’ve tried it many times over the years, but I just can’t see its appeal.

However, when I’m racing and training, I think it can be sensible to use electrolyte drinks. My best ever race result is when I completed Reading Half Marathon in 2012 – my finish time was 1:52:19, which was a PB of nearly 25 minutes! Before that race, I was given a free bottle of cherry lucozade sport which I drank about 40 minutes before the race started. I ran better than I had ever run before and I think the drink before the start may have had something to do with it.

When I’m cycling, I often struggle to replace fluids as I’m terrible at drinking whilst moving, but I’ve been practising all summer and now have enough control over my bike to drink whilst moving.

I’ve never bought any electrolyte tabs, but have a small stash of high five zero electrolyte tabs that I’ve received in goody bags at various cycling events. I’ve used them because I have them, rather than because I like them. To be  honest, the pink grapefruit flavour is OK, but I don’t like any of the others. If a brand bought out a lime cordial flavoured electrolyte tab, I might like that, but generally the citrus ones are not my favourite.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, the lovely people at nuun (pronounced ‘noon’) asked me if I’d like to try their product, and I leapt at the opportunity.

I was so excited when I got this parcel in the post:

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Inside there was a bike bottle and three tubes:

  • Tropical
  • Tri-berry
  • Kona cola (caffeine-enhanced)

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If you’ve been following my instagram account, you’ll have seen plenty of images from the last few weeks when I was trying them out.

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21st September

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24th September 10km run

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28th September HOWSC triathlon preparation

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26th October bike ride preparation

I also took the three tubes with me to the Embrace camps in Portugal. The tubes make the product easy to carry and they don’t take up a lot of room. It was also the perfect opportunity for me to try something new as I knew that I would be putting a lot of miles in.

So, what are my thoughts on each flavour?

Tri-berry

TASTERS NOTES: “enjoy a balance between fruitiness and lightning-fast absorption. with its soft red/pink color, sweet nose, multilayered berry fruit and cherry flavour, tri-berry is the ideal choice for all of your distances”

Apparently this is nuun’s best-selling flavour. It’s possible to smell the berries and it has quite a sharp tang to it, whilst also being quite sweet. I found it tasty, but I think I would have preferred it if it had a stronger flavour of cherry. That being said, I like it quite a lot and am likely to buy it again in future. I drank a bottle of it after my recent half marathon and it definitely made a difference to my afternoon. I frequently end up dehydrated after long runs, which then gives me a headache, but drinking this helped to stave off the nasty after-effects of a long hard run.

Tropical

TASTERS NOTES: 
blending mango, pineapple, and coconut flavours into a taste that is best enjoyed in a hammock on a sandy beach, this complex blend highlights each flavour in gentle, lapping waves that will take your taste buds on a refreshing trip and leave you in a sunny mood while you’re out on the go”

I think this may be a new flavour as there are not currently any reviews on the UK nuun website. The description makes it sound perfect for me – like pina colada with some of my favourite fruit (mango) added.

When I tried this, I found it difficult to distinguish between the different fruits. I could instantly detect the pineapple, but the flavour of the mango and the coconut didn’t come through for me. I thought this was pleasant enough, but it’s not a flavour that I’ll be rushing out to buy more of. There wasn’t quite enough aroma of coconut to make it appetising. In terms of doing its job, I think it did help me to keep myself fully hydrated.

Kona cola

TASTERS NOTES: “remarkably quenching yet ‘deceptively complex’ is how a member of the montrail ultra-running team described this flavour. elements of cinnamon, vanilla, clove and a gentle hint of ginger join an underlying cola theme to complete a flavour profile that is simply stunning. try at altitude on a tough trail or climb, or as a general hydrating pick-me-up”

This comes out as the clear winner for me. I’m not sure whether it’s because it has caffeine in it. When I’m getting towards the end of a long run, I quite often fantasise about stopping at the nearest pub for a class of ice-cold coke, and the flat coke that was served at Challenge Weymouth tasted like nectar from the gods. I liked the flavour of the Kona cola tabs, as it actually tastes like real cola. My husband agreed that the flavour was pleasant, but it was a little too sweet for him.

I found this one the easiest to drink. I finished every bottle that I made of it when I was out on long bike rides… I quite often return home with partially filled drink bottles, so this is a positive result for me.

As a final aside, I like the name… it contains that tiny element of fantasy that one day I might compete at Kona 😉

If you are interested in learning more about nuun, check them out:

UK website: http://www.nuun.co.uk/

USA website: http://www.nuun.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/nuun (UK) or  https://twitter.com/nuunhydration (USA)

Instagram: http://instagram.com/nuunhydration

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nuununitedkingdom (UK) https://www.facebook.com/nuunhydration (USA)

What’s your favourite electrolyte drink?

Embrace Sports 08/10/14 Track and monument coastal run.

8 Oct

Wednesday 8th October

I was quite excited about what was planned for Wednesday morning as I enjoy track sessions. It had been raining heavily, but by the time we arrived at the track, the sun had come out and it was starting to dry up.

Neil briefed all of us about what the session was going to be.

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Then we did a group warm up of four laps of the track (1600m). I was a little frustrated as my legs felt really sluggish and I only managed to average 6:18/km, which I didn’t feel was a good start to the session.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. I love this picture… although it’s not possible to see my pair of bottles with nuun in one and water in the other!

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After we did the warm up, we were divided into ability groups for the main speedwork session. The plan was to do 400m, have a 60s recovery and then do 200m with a longer walking recovery (back to the start) – six times! I was confident that I could do the distance (how hard could it be to run 3.6km after a 1.6km warm up?) even with 1.2km of walking, but I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to pick the pace up.

As usual, I started off far too quickly. My average pace for the first 400m + 200m was 4:01/km. I think I managed the first 400m 12-15 seconds faster than any track session I’ve done recently, which I knew would make the last laps difficult.

 

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My times for each of the sets were:

1.  2:27

2. 2:38

3. 2:44

4. 2:43

5. 2:47

6. 2:43

Overall, I don’t think that’s too bad… I now just need to do lots more speed sessions in the hope that I can finally achieve a 5km PB!

When we’d finished the session, there was a chance for the obligatory group photo.

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Then we all headed back to rehydrate.

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It had been a tough session, but everyone seemed to be happy with how they’d done.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Both Rachels did brilliantly on the track.

When we got back to the Big Brother house Giramar apartments, the virtuous members of the group did some stretching and foam rolling.

Ruth hadn’t used a foam roller before, so Jan kindly gave her some tips…

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Some members of the group also opted for an icebath/some volley ball, but I have no idea what Coach Alan decided to do…

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…he seemed to be enjoying himself!

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George and Ed didn’t feel that they needed wetsuits for their swim.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. An action shot of Stu!

Afterwards, I was treated to a modelling masterclass, where Ed demonstrated his ‘blue steel‘:

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The first step is the smoulder…

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…then there’s the gaze into the distance…

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…before dissolving into giggles!

The evening recovery run was one that Stuart and I had done before – the monument run. However, on the previous running holiday that I did with Embrace Sports, we started at Praia de Porto de Mos and did a 10km run out to the monument and back as a main running session. This time, the plan was to run out for 12.5 minutes and then back again.

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I took it quite seriously on the way out, but have to admit that I got distracted by the crazy photographers on the way back. I ran until I’d got back to Sam and Lou and then I stopped for a drink!

 

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After all of that hard work, the evening’s feast was a barbeque. Neil slaved in front of the hot coals and Alan had made lovely falafel burgers for the vegetarians 🙂

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Embrace Sports 07/10/14 Hell on the hills.

7 Oct

Tuesday 7th October

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Tuesday morning meant ‘hell on the hills’. 9.6km isn’t a long run, but when you realise that all of it was either uphill or downhill then you know what a challenge that is. Fortunately, it was a bit overcast, so it wasn’t as hot as it had been on some other days. I’ve done this session before, but my last attempt at running the first hill was as part of a duathlon last year. It didn’t go well, so I was a bit nervous.

Some of the other runners had quite a few beers the previous evening, so they weren’t feeling on top form, whereas I was feeling good, so I hoped that it would all go well for me. My first boost came when I managed to pass a few people on the downhill. I knew that I wouldn’t stay ahead of them, but it made me feel positive.

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© Coach Andy leading the way. Not bad for a V50 😉

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Dan.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Amie impressed everyone with her speed and tenacity.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Jen.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Rachel.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Ed was doing well, despite his hangover.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Keith.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Rachel.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Jan.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Holly was injured and unable to run, so she was challenged to cycle the hills.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. George had managed to shake off her Bristolian pursuer…

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. But Darren wasn’t going to give up without a fight.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Anna.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Neil.

When I was running up the first hill, I saw Kat on her way down. She is such a hugely inspirational athlete (and also a fellow Team SOS brand ambassador). On my way back towards the starting point, I could see Graeme cheering people on. He is one of the key influences who started me on this journey, so I was really happy to see him.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. I wasn’t trying to avoid the camera – I was getting rid of my sunglasses!

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Super Kat!

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Pamela.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Bernadette.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Ruth.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Anna in pursuit of Nadine.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Sally.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Sam.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Stu did really well 🙂

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Paul.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Holly.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Jen.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Lou.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Super-speedy Gaby.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. It was really great to see Graeme fresh from Ironman Barcelona.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Marcus.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Nico.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. I think this is a great photo of Ian – he looked so focussed, every time that we passed each other.

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I completed the event in 1:01:21, so I’ve got a great target for next time – I want to finish in under an hour 🙂 My average pace was 6:26/km, so I think I should be able to do better than that!

My Garmin stats.

My Garmin stats.

After we had finished running, we headed down to Praia de Porto de Mos, the nearby beach, where we took over the cafe.

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Some of the others were interested in getting daiquiris, but Amie, Stuart and I were more interested in sampling the local pastel de nata (custard tarts).

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I ordered a fruit juice, and managed to finish off all of my nuun before the juice arrived.

In the evening, we went to Vlad’s restaurant, Atalaia. Stu and I have been here before with Embrace Sports, so we knew what to expect: huge amounts of food. I ordered the vegetarian pasta and was quite relieved that the portion size wasn’t as large as on some previous visits!

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Caroline and Jen.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Pamela, Paula and Marcus.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Our super-smiley flat-mate, Rachel.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. Holly, Anna, Marcus and Gaby.

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© Embrace Sports, 2014. The girls loved posing for the camera!

When we got back to our apartment, I was amused to get the following notification from RunKeeper:

New PB for running 7th October

That’s what happens when you record each rep as a separate run! 🙂

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