Thursday, February 13, 2020

My (training) Diary

Sometimes I have to take a step back look at just what happened to me and my life(style) over the last ten years, because I started drafting this post ‘right now my training routine is…’. It’s a whole other post to talk about how much sport, movement and exercise has not so much changed my life (although it has), but changed with my life.

ANYWAY…

I’m currently unemployed (you can read more about that little surprise right here…), and I’m also project managing what is pretty much the final phase of our current house renovation project(s), and whilst that might seem irrelevant, my daily routine is hugely impactful on how I choose to move my body and engage with exercise.

No regular commute means less cycling because at the moment riding my bike albeit a joyful way, is a way of getting around. But no long days or overrunning meetings mean I’m limited in excuses to miss Monday and Wednesday evening sessions with Adidas Runners. Trying to prevent a current niggle turning into a full blown injury means a return to the gym, and there’s a lot to be said for the lack of other people in a gym in the middle of the day.

So what does that a current week of my training look like…

MONDAY RUNDAY
Monday night is the regular slot for the Adidas Runners signature sessions- bring on the intervals, the hills, the tough sessions that I would struggle to do on my own, in a space where everyone is welcome and we all work as hard as we need to.
This running session is always the most intense of the week and it’s the one that helps me build a bit of extra power and speed. It doesn’t do any harm that it’s also a chance to catch friends.

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Credit: The Midnight Club

TUESDAY is all about the gym
Operation strong core and injury prevention is ON. I got lucky with a deal at the Gym Group (there are 3 within a 2 mile cycle of home…) making it £9.50 for a month. A typical workout looks a bit like this:
Warm up with a quick run on the treadmill to get my heart rate going
A round of body weight squats, glute bridges and shoulder openers and roll outs to get everything engaged and active.
6 x goblet squat
6 x deadlift
6 x dumbell lunges (each side)
(3 rounds)
6 x dumbell shoulder press
6 x bent over row
(3 rounds)
And a cheeky core finisher of russian twists, plank shoulder taps, deadbugs and v-sits

WEDNESDAY is ladies night…
For a little over a year, Wednesday has been my night to run with the Adidas Runners ladies. I went along at a time when I was struggling to find a good fit for me and my running and I’ve rarely looked back. These days I’m privileged enough to not just catch a couple of hours with some of the most incredible women I know, but also to support those runs as a crew runner and make sure everyone who comes along is welcomed and looked after. Epic.

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THURSDAY & FRIDAY rest and stretch and repeat
Depending on what else is going on with the house or other meetings and projects I’m looking at, the second gym session of the week happens on either Thursday or Friday and I’m making a concerted effort to spend more quality time with my foam roller and stretching on the other day. Because having a lovely, but very pointy person dig her elbow into your glutes and tell you your muscles feel like bricks, and paying £40 for the joy is a keen reminder to MAKE time to work on mobility and stretching.

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Runners NOT running!

SATURDAY is no longer about sleeping in
I’m not sure when voluntarily getting out of bed to travel into central London to go for a run became a thing I did on the weekend. Saturdays used to be about coffee in bed, brunch and slow starts. And I wouldn’t change it. Do I still groan when my alarm goes off on Saturday morning? Yes I do. Do I always leave feeling on top of the world and surrounded by powerhouse women? YES I DO! Saturdays can be anything from hill training to a steadier, slightly longer run. I’m not training for distance in 2020, so the Long Runs (yes, those capitals belong there!) of this time last year are not a factor at the moment. Oh, and brunch is still a thing. It just happens with my girls when we’re done running instead of in bed.

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SUNDAY is for SLEEPING
And decorating. Sunday is a day where I don’t tend to do any conventional ‘exercise’. Since we’re *STILL* in the midst of house reno hell, Sundays tend to be about whatever needs doing and just right now, it’s all about painting. I’m kind of fed up of having paint on my eyelashes or in my hair and have I ever told you how much I hate cutting in?!

I could keep writing about why I train even though I’m not training for anything and I’m certainly no *athlete*, but that’s a whole new post, or even a series. What I will say about training, exercise, sport or whatever you want to call your dose of movement, is make time for it. Prioritising moving my body for the sake of moving has given me a sense of self worth in a time where I previously wouldn’t have had the tools to hold myself up. Movement is powerful, own your power.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2020

You're Fired...

My name is Chloe, and I am unemployed…

Yeah, those are still tricky words for me. I normally quite like the month of January, it’s kind of like opening the fresh pages of a notebook, but unfortunately for me, I returned to work after the break and was made redundant due to a lack of investment funding. Happy New Year and all that…

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My first thought was job hunting- finding a new role to get stuck into and minimising the amount time left empty on my (now newly brushed up) CV, getting in touch with recruiters and other connections who might be able to help. What I hadn’t reckoned with, is the rollercoaster of things that would spring to mind as the first days turned into a few weeks.

So here’s a few things I’ve learned- the good, the tricky and things that might help if you’re also navigating time between jobs for whatever reason.

Not all redundancy comes with pay….
If you are still in a probationary period as I was, the company are unlikely to be obliged to pay you for any more than the actual days worked and any accrued holiday. It took me a while to work out why people might think I was glad to have been let go from my job, until I realised that most people assume that all redundancies come with a big payout and lots of paid time off.

There are a million things you could use all this new found time for…
But you might not want to do any one of them.
And that’s ok.

But it is good to have an action plan…
A wise person once said to me of another set of life issues ‘treat it like a training plan’. In that moment, I wondered why I’d never made the connection between the joy I take in laying out and scheduling a training plan for running, and how I approach most things in my life. And so it is that my planner doesn’t, at first glance, look any different to when I was working full time. It might not be planning meetings or reports filling my time as it once was, but allocating time to not just job searches, but keeping active, keeping in touch with friends, researching new opportunities and also getting some ahead on some of the house renovation jobs that have been taking up for more of the weekend than I’d like.
Ticking things off and keeping some semblance of routine to the days and weeks helps me maintain a sense of direction and purpose, and stops me dwelling too hard on less positive times.

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Self-care comes in many forms…
And for me it was creating a financial plan as well as an action plan. It might not be quite the IG-friendly image of pretty candles in a glorious bathroom (this makes me laugh a bit because my bathroom dates to 1979… no… really…) but instead it might be a case of combing through regular outgoings to see if any need trimming, re-activating a Monzo account and setting up regular payment from my main account to it, to keep a closer eye on those £5.60 a time travel charges. You can’t read a book whilst riding a bike, but cycling to/from zone 1 doesn't cost £5.60. Feeling in control of my finances whilst facing some uncertainty has been a key factor in maintaining a positive outlook at a tricky time.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch…
But there are lots of options when it comes to keeping active for free. If classes are your thing then organisations like Our Parks offer free classes in local parks, Let’s Ride by British Cycling (which includes the Breeze network for women’s only) offers free bike rides all over the country with qualified Ride Leaders, British Athletics have a number of beginner initiatives for runners and if you are based in London, there are a number of free run clubs as well as promotions on trial classes- I’ve been running with Adidas Runners London for over a year which is free, gives me a reason to leave the house and to see friends and has introduced me to other opportunities like classes and events along the way.

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2020 hasn’t started in the blaze of glory I had hoped, it’s true. It hasn’t been easy, but another wise person also reminded me that time is a gift. I’ve been able to book appointments that are normally minor scheduling miracles and often end up overdue (dental check-up, I’m looking at you….), I’ve been able to see and support friends I wouldn’t normally be able to around my office hours, and to get creative with problem solving and the opportunities in the world.

I’ve never been known for my happy sunshine smiley positivity, but I have come to appreciate over the last couple of years the power of finding silver linings and finding solutions. It’s helped me overcome a whole host of challenges, and made sure I’ve not pushed away those people I’m lucky enough to be supported by.

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