Monday, 22 September 2014

Putting the fun into run (and a discount code for Run or Dye!)

One sure fire way to motivate yourself to work out is to involve your friends and family - and to make sure you enjoy what you do. And what better way to have fun than run a race where the idea is to get as messy as possible? The kids love it - and so do I!

And this is exactly what we got up to yesterday - on the recreation field behind our house. Wearing some old clothes we didn't mind getting 'colour-bombed', we headed off to the very first 'Colour Me Twyford' event, organised to raise funds for the local youth club. After a warm up by a local sports coach, it was googles and sunglasses on and off we went on the 3k course, running a gauntlet of helpers armed with multicoloured powder to splatter us with.

By the end we looked like a very bad attempt at an '80s tie-dye outfit - but were all wearing smiles too. The kids had a great time (it's amazing how far a child that doesn't want to walk anywhere will happily run a race without stopping!) - and so did the adults. Medals and goodie bags handed out, we headed happily home! But this isn't my only chance to 'run the rainbow'...

Monday, 15 September 2014

Six Habits of Highly Healthy People

Sometimes you look at people and wonder where it all went so right. Fit, slim, toned, defined, full of energy, healthy, happy - however you describe these people, they make having it all it look easy. What's their secret you ask? Luckily I had the good sense to get them to tell me - and then I wrote it all down. Read on...

1. Be true to yourself

'Don't buy into every article you read, trainer you hear from, or diet craze rumoured about' says vblogger Erica Lin of American Cheer Queen, since 'everyone's body is different, and everyone has different needs'. She also believes that just because something is 'healthy' doesn't mean you 'have' to eat it, and likewise 'just because your friends all swear by gluten-free or juice-cleansing doesn't mean you should do it too'. 'Ultimately' she adds, 'find what lifestyle works best for you - find something you enjoy!'. 

2. Make exercise a priority
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
'The #1 thing I have my weight loss clients do is to make their activity a priority in their day', says Susan Campbell from The Weight Loss Laboratory. 'I have them do their workout first thing in the morning before the craziness of everyday life gets in the way and decreases their chances of exercising at all' she continues. She also recommends that they schedule their activity on their calendar like it's a doctor appointment. 'They see it on the calendar and know they can't break the appointment with themselves', she explains.  

Thursday, 11 September 2014

50 ways to work out

The other Saturday morning I was up bright and early to get to my BodyStep class. Before I set off, I had to wait for my husband to return from a training session for his upcoming sprint triathlon (completed at the weekend since you ask). As he came home he saw our neighbour and a friend just setting off for a cycle around the tri course too. As I drove up to the gym, there were already plenty of people out and about running and cycling along the A4. The gym was packed too, I'd had to book a week in advance to get into this class, but since Saturday opening time is 7.30am, there were already sweaty bodies pouring out of the Spin studio and yogis looked seriously stretchy and chill. Suddenly it occurred to me that I must live in the healthiest place in the country. Here we all were - up and at it - and it wasn't even 9.30am!

50 ways to work out
Anyone want to join me?
How lucky am I - and my kids - that we live in a place that has so much to offer and so many ways to keep fit? In a couple of weeks (Sept 21st) the recreation field behind my house will play host to a family fun race called 'Colour Me Twyford' with spectators asked to cover the runners in colourful powder, the month after sees another family event with 1m fun runs for adults and kids (Oct 5th). While these are small, charity events, more serious competitors can head to the local country park, where you can find a series of 5 and 10k runs, as well as duathlons (the next one is October 12th, and I'll be there if other newbies want to join me!) and aquathlons. Other organised activities at the lakes at Dinton Pastures include sailing, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. Runners have also have a local parkrun, just three and half miles away from Twyford, with half marathons in the larger towns nearby - Reading, Maidenhead, Marlow and Henley. And for those that prefer trails, there's the Cliveden Cross Country. But if you're really up for a challenge (and like mud, and you know, being electrocuted - who doesn't?) there's the Tough Mudder event in Fawley in May.

50 ways to work out
Triumphant at the triathlon
With the Thames on our doorstep, there's also rowing, sailing and open water swimming to enjoy in the nearby towns, with loads of opportunities to enter events for all levels of abilities in both Henley and Marlow. Local villages also hold regattas, with a mix of fun and competitive races. Dorney Lake, 
which hosted the rowing and kayak events during the Olympic and Paralympic Games for London 2012, is about 13 miles away and plays host to rowing, canoeing, triathlons, duathlons, aquathlons, half marathons and other road races. Many people just pop along to cycle or run the 5k track around the lake too. If wake boarding and water skiing are more your thing, there's Liquid Leisure boat and cable park in Datchet.

Monday, 1 September 2014

'Wild' camping at Inwood

Camping with the kids is always a good idea. And if you take a gaggle of other mums and their offspring the idea just gets better. So, for the fifth year running some ladies I've known since my very first ante-natal class and I, gathered up our children and headed off to mark the end of the summer hols with a mass camping trip.

This year would be our second at Inwood Camping in Farleigh Wallop (near Basingstoke). The site combines grassy meadows and mixed woodlands, and you can choose to pitch in large open spaces or within the woods themselves, arranging your tents as you please. This freedom from many of the rules typically associated with campsites that use marked pitches and don't allow the flexibility large groups often need, is one of the reasons we returned. That and the fact you can have real campfires to toast your marshmallows on (you can hire a special grill for a decent BBQ from the site, and you can buy the wood you'll need for the fire). Us mummies get to chop the firewood and build the fire while the kids gather a bit of kindling.

The kids love having the freedom to explore the woods, building dens and playing make believe. There's many a thing to discover as you walk about the country estate - from wildlife, to the camps of previous kiddies visiting, to a few follies and a gentleman on a fine-looking mount. The mums meanwhile appreciate the fresh air, catching up with friends (and actually finishing a sentence for the first time in five weeks) and the chance to let the kids off the leash in a safe environment. Put simply it's a lovely, stress-free end to the summer.

Do you camp with your kids? And have you been with a big bunch of friends? What do you love about time spent in a tent - and what do you hate? Please share your thoughts and any recommendations in the comment box below.

Thanks for reading