Thursday, 31 October 2013

Half Marathon Training: Intro and Plan

I got snapped at park run! There is no way to look attractive while running...

Before we start, let's back it up.
Remember back in May when I signed up for my first 10K, having never run before?
Remember when I started Couch to 5K and the struggles of runs lasting three, four, five minutes?
Remember seven weeks later when I ran my first 5K?
And 6 weeks after that when I ran my first 10K?
Let's just talk about that for a minute, shall we?
I never, ever in my life thought I'd be training for a half marathon. I never thought I would ever consider running for 13 miles.
But here I am.
And here's how I've gotten here and what I have to come.

Why a half marathon?
My goal was always a 10K. 5K didn't seen far enough (however it did when I first starting running!), but 10K felt like a real challenge. Something that I really wasn't sure if I could do. And that's what a challenge is, isn't it? Not being sure if you can really do this terrifying, amazing, exciting thing you want to do? So before I'd even started running, I signed up for a 10K. That way I knew I had to do it.
But then back in September, a few weeks after my first 5K, I realised I was progressing much more quickly than I expected and was planning a November 10K. Then I found one a few days later in my town and knew I had to try it. I did my first 10K in 1 hour 10 minutes.
So at this point, 8 months before my intended 10K, I'd already hit my goal. What was next?
Well initially, it was just to keep running 10Ks, to keep going faster and leave it at 10K. I genuinely never considered running further.
But then one of my friends asked me if I was going to do the Wilsmlow Half Marathon. At first, I laughed it off. No way was I going to run 13.1 miles. 6.2 miles was more than enough! But then I felt the pressure of the limited places (the Wilmslow half only has 4000 places and it's encouraged to apply as soon as possible), and the safety blanket of the fact that it was 6 months away. So I signed up.

The Plan
There are thousands of half marathon training plans out there, but I had a couple of criteria I needed mine to fit:
1) Week day runs short enough to fit in before work (eg. 5 miles or below)
2) Park Run must count as one of my runs each week
3) Little focus on speedwork and main focus on distance, at least to begin with.
The Half Marathon plan I chose is based on Hal Higdon's Novice 2 training plan. The only changes I made were the days of the runs- 3 mile runs for Tuesdays and Park run, long runs on a Sunday and 3-5 mile runs on a Thursday morning, with Wednesday for strength. My rest days are Monday (after my long run) and Friday (before my fast 5K Park run and Sunday long run). 
I did initially have only one rest day and two DVD days but I realised how important rest days are and I love my rest days! I don't stick to  my schedule religiously, mainly because I have 6 months to train and also because running isn't my life, but I always try to do my long run on a Sunday (more on long runs in my next post!), and if I can't, I repeat that week. 
Because this is a 11 week programme and I have until March, I'm in no rush to complete it. My aim is to try to have this programme done to 12 miles (I don't want to run 13.1 til the race) by Christmas, and then start Insanity interspersed with long runs and park runs for a few weeks before getting back fully into my training before the race.

I'm hoping to keep this as a little mini-series as I experience the trials and tribulations of training for a half marathon. Next time I'm going to talk about the dreaded long run!

Charlotte x

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Accessories Maketh The Outfit

I have been really, majorly uninspired lately, in almost every aspect of my life. I've been cooking all the same food, wearing all the same clothes and sticking to the same boring routine of early nights and early morning workouts. This is the first new set of outfit photos I've taken for weeks. Work outfits have become whichever dress is the nearest to pull out of my wardrobe, and at the weekend I've just been throwing on jeans and a jumper and rushing on with my day. Which was pretty much where this outfit came from. I started out fully inspired, pulling dozens of items out of my wardrobe to come up with new combinations, but once three or four didn't work, I got bored and went for my old faithful jeans and a denim shirt. This was my go-to outfit while I was travelling across America last year because it's lazy and comfy. I was just going to throw on my cowboy boots and leave it there when I spotted these leopard flats across the room. And then decided to add my leather jacket and big tartan scarf. And my new tartan bag. And before I knew it, the outfit was transformed. I'm really not great at accessorizing- I've been called out a few times on wearing the same necklace in all my outfit posts for months on end- but I'm glad that I turned a simple jeans-and-chambray-shirt combo into an outfit I really like!
denim shirt- Forever 21
jeans- Topshop
leather jacket- H&M
tartan scarf- ASOS
leopard flats- Miss KG via House of Fraser
satchel- Select Fashion (it's still available!)
I feel like we need to talk about my bag for a second. Isn't it amazing? I'd fallen in love with a tartan Cambridge Satchel on ASOS but I wasn't going to splash £80 on it (as with other accessories, I'm not really a bag girl- I have about 3 that I just rotate) so I just casually searched "tartan satchel" on Shopstyle and this baby popped up for £12 and I couldn't resist! I've told myself this is my last A/W 13 purchase. I've got everything I need now and I'm ready to write my Autumn Winter essentials post as soon as possible. I'm also thinking of trying a "no-shopping-November". I've bought way too much stuff this month and I need a bit of a detox! Plus since Phil and I have been dating I've been enjoying spending money on going out and doing things (even though he never lets me pay!). I'm booking us tickets to go see Sweeney Todd at the Exchange Theatre in Manchester in a couple of weeks and I'm so excited. I'd rather spend money on things like that rather than a new jumper or another pair of shoes! Plus I'm celebrating the fact that I'm dating a guy who agrees to come see a musical with me! I'm also saving up for one last holiday before the end of our financial year- Shaunagh and I are looking at going to Prague in Februrary.
Right well I'm down to one last set of outfit photos so I hope my inspiration comes back soon! I have a couple of non-outfit photos planned over the next few weeks though- I'm working on the Winter essentials post I mentioned, a post about my half marathon training and a few people have asked me to write about my running kit so I'm going to write about that too! 

Hope you're having a lovely week! I'm in for a quiet one tonight, but I did meet the Chuckle Brothers today!

Charlotte x

Friday, 18 October 2013

Nude, Blue and Wednesday Night Cocktails

As I'm sure you can tell from the skin coloured tights and nude blazer, these photos are not exactly recent. I think I actually took them before I went on holiday in September-eek! These are actually the last of my "summer" outfit photos (I do have some even older photos to post but they're not quite as summery) so from here on out we're all wintery from here! I've somewhat reluctantly worn my coat for the last few days, but I think I'm ready to embrace the new season. I've bought all my A/W pieces (just waiting for an exchange on a coat that arrived today and was too big), and I'm working on a post on autumn winter essentials to fully throw myself into the new season. I haven't bought many pieces for the new season, mainly because I'm trying to buy "classic" pieces and also because I already have waaaaayyy too many jumpers and coats!
dress- Oasis
nude blazer- Zara
heels- New Look
necklace- Zalando
Wow it's been a busy week! I went out on Saturday night for my friend Jenny's birthday and didn't get in til 3.45am Sunday morning! My planned 6 mile run didn't really happen. Then Sunday afternoon we headed up to Harrogate to have afternoon tea with my Auntie and Uncle and their new guide dog puppy, Yuppi! It was an absolutely lovely afternoon and a lovely weekend, even though I was even more tired on Monday than I was on Friday! On Tuesday I went to, ahem, go and see Blue. Okay, context. If you knew me when I was 13 you'll know I was absolutely obsessed with Blue. Like seriously. I wrote a letter to Lee Ryan once and he wrote back, and one time I met Simon and I was hyperventilating so much I didn't even say a word to him! Anyway, I had an absolutely great time and they were seriously brilliant. Seriously. Everytime they said "we're going to play a song from our new album now" I groaned because I wanted to hear all the old stuff, but every new song they played was great! Anyway, although I was exhausted all day Wednesday I went out with Phil to Kosmonaut in the Northern Quarter and we had cheeky mid week cocktails and some good food. It was just a shame I asked him to get me back to the station by 9.30pm because I was so tired! Thankfully it's finally Friday and I have a quiet weekend planned involving lots of running and relaxing, and perhaps a trip to the cinema to see Captain Phillips on Sunday. I am so ready for a break!
I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Charlotte x

Sunday, 13 October 2013

(Very late) September in Photos

Eeek this is super-duper late but I've just had such a busy week! I was away for a week and a bit in September and didn't take my phone off Airplane mode for a week, but I think it's fair to say I still took plenty of photos! Here's what I got up to last month...
1. Charlotte rock
My colleague Kris went to Blackpool and brought me back some rock with my name on. Yay.
2. Polar Ft4
I looooove my Polar! I've wanted one for ages and finally chose the FT4 (over the FT7 which was a bit more expensive and didn't have any additional features I needed). I love it for pacing on my long runs and it's also great to know how many calories my workout has burned. This was after levels 1 and 2 of the 30 Day Shred which was a bit disappointing! I'm amazed how many calories running burns. No wonder I'm always hungry!
3. My first proper running injury
I have problems with my right leg from time to time and at the start of the month I pulled something in my thigh. I stretched and iced it and took a few (reluctant) days of from running, and was extra careful on my next few runs.
4. Recreation of Spanish breakfast
We had boiled eggs, fresh tomatoes and toast every morning in Spain, sat on the balcony. It wasn't quite the same on a rainy Tuesday in Stockport!
5. Afternoon snacks
6. Giant baked egg breakfast after one of my long runs.
7. Bridemaid portrait
Circa 1996
8. Winter= red lips and tartam
9. Shopping picks
HMV 2 for £10 will always stress me out #firstworldprobs
10. Saturday night dinner face
11-12. Stockport 10K
I've talked about this experience here, but it was seriously one of the proudest moments of my life crossing that finish line!
13. Post 10K cheese. With side of jacket potato and beans
My thought process was "I just ran 6 miles. ALL THE CHEESE."
14. Sunday afternoon film
I'm not even a little bit ashamed of how much I love this film. It is one of my absolute favourites. I have a few of the songs on my running playlist and seriously, sometimes they're the only thing that gets me through.
15. Half marathon sign up.
Yeah. So after completing the Stockport 10K (bearing in mine my 10K goal wasn't intended to be completed until next May), I was ready for another challenge. I initially dismissed the idea of doing a half marathon, but my friend Sarah was doing it and I knew places filled very quickly. So I bit the bullet. EEK.
16. Benefit Stay Flawless primer
This was my face at 6pm after applying this under my foundation at 7am. I added a little powder around 3pm but no more foundation. I was seriously impressed. I know a lot of people don't like this product, but it is all about technique. Primer cheek, foundation cheek, primer forehead, foundation forehead etc. A stiff brush is also best to use. I think it's great!
I will never stop loving the University of Birmingham. Seeing these posters round Piccadilly always made me smile.
18. This is what my evenings look like 90% of the time.
19. Putting chocolate chips in my protein pancakes cause I felt racy
20. Another running injury
Same leg, same frozen chips, different muscle.
21. British Fashion Blogger Top Trumps cards
How cool are these? They were produced by the awesome people at Stylefruits and feature dozens of brilliant British bloggers, so I was so honoured to be asked to get involved. Now who wants to play?
22. More DVDs
After Hairspray, I had to buy Grease (I only have it on video!). And don't tell me I have to justify anything with Zac Efron in? Please.
23. Homemade portabello mushroom burgers
Did I mention I love my George Foreman?
24. Curry night with Mum.
25. Another Park Run PB!
Okay, context on this one. I woke up feeling rubbish at 5am and spent the morning downing Lemsip. I didn't want to run and really didn't think I would get a PB. I'd seen on Twitter the night before that if you got a park run PB that morning you'd be entered into a draw for a pair of Adidas trainers, and I really wanted to see if I could make the cut. But I didn't think I could do it. After a motivational tweet from Adidas I bloody did it! I know I'm still not fast but I've come so far over the last few months.
26. Brilliant DM typo
27. My Auntie and Uncle's 25th Wedding Anniversary cake
When my cousin Rob was getting married 3 years ago, he really struggled to find cake toppers that he liked and that weren't incredibly expensive, so he decided to make his own of him and his wife, Sarah. Since then he's made loads of cake toppers for family and friends and he made these for our Auntie and Uncle's wedding anniversary. His attention to detail is amazing- my uncle's shirt has the Stockport County crest on, and he has a grey parrot like his African grey, Charlie, in his backpack.
28. Early morning cooking
After my Uncle's party I woke up 3 hours earlier than expected and instead of going back to sleep, I did the natural thing and...made a quinoa casserole.
29. Uniorns, denim and bling
30. Homeland Season 1
Borrowed of my friend Shaunagh to try to fill the Breaking-Bad-shaped hole in my life. Speaking of which...
31. Breaking Bad finale
Honest truth? It took me about a week to accept that it was over. I loved the finale and truly believe it is the greatest TV show ever made. It was just brilliant. I can't wait to watch it again from the start (when I've finished mourning).
32. Miss KG Leopard Flats
I snagged these in the sale at House of Fraser for £20! Bargain!
33. New running jacket
I've been building up my winter running collection- post coming on this soon- and this was my first purchase. It's super-lightweight and I love it. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Don't stop calling, you're the reason I love losing sleep

I wore this outfit last week when I must have been feeling particularly racy. Mixed prints for work? I know right. I wasn't 100% sure at first if this outfit worked, but I think with the small polka dots I can get away with it. When mixing prints, especially in this case as it was for work, I always go for one "big" print and one small, or "neutral" print. By neutral print I mean black and white polka dots, black and white stripes or leopard print- a print that goes with everything. And big prints refers to any print that is, well, big or bold, such as a large floral print or tartan. And you can definitely wear mixed prints to work if you make sure they balance. I've been planning a "how to dress for work" post for months now but I keep adding new things to the list! I've been at my job almost a year now (!) so maybe I'll write it eventually to coincide with that. Oh and I don't have to justify a tartan pencil skirt now do I?
tartan pencil skirt- Dorothy Perkins
polka dot blouse- New Look
necklace- Zalando
boots- c/o Clothing at Tesco
This feels like the first time I've had to sit down and relax since before the weekend. This weekend was busy! Friday night I had a date, then Saturday started out with another parkrun PB (32 minutes, 28 seconds- beating my previous weeks' time by 45 seconds!) and then a train journey straight down to Birmingham. I had a lovely time with my girlfriends catching up but we really are getting too old for clubbing now! We were all exhausted by 1.30am and left the club at 2. After going to bed at 3 I still woke up at 9am! These days we all much prefer having time to really talk and catch up when we see each other, and club nights just don't give us the opportunity to do that. On Sunday I came back home and somehow managed to drag myself out for a 5 mile run in the afternoon, and it was lovely. I've needed a great run for a few weeks now and it was one of those runs that made me think "yes! This is why I love running!" I went to my friend Shaunagh's for dinner last night and talked her into doing couch to 5K and I don't think people believe how unbelievably bad I was at running when I started and how much I hated it. If you've just started the programme or are thinking of starting it, seriously, just give it a go. I never thought I'd be the person to say "oh I had a lovely 5 mile run" but it really is a bug. Running is such an addiction (seriously, who am I?!). Even more weird is that over the last few weeks, all the clothes I've bought have been for running. Leggings, winter wicking tops, a waterproof jacket, gloves, headband, socks... I can't believe I'm getting excited about buying running socks!
Anyway I have a bazillion things to do tonight so I'd better be off. I'm off out tomorrow night on a second date!

Have a lovely evening!

Charlotte x

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Tartan Pinafore

This pinafore is just about straddling the line of what is appropriate to wear at work. It's a bit too short, and a bit too "little girl's tea party" but oh I love it so much. I first saw it posted on the Lavish Alice instagram and just absolutely fell in love with it. When I first tried it on I had a bit of a dither over whether to keep it or not, but then I decided I just loved it too much to send it back. I mean, come on, it's tartan. I'm looking forward to finding some creative ways to wear it for the weekend. Maybe over a tshirt with a leather jacket, or under a jumper with boots as a skirt? I don't have a lot of experience with pinafores, not since I was 5 anyway, so it's definitely going to be a bit of a challenge to style.
tartan pinafore- Lavish Alice (it's still in stock!)
white shirt- New Look
necklace- Zalando
boots- c/o Clothing at Tesco
I am sooooo glad this week is nearly over! I'm going down to Birmingham on Saturday for Steph's birthday and I haven't seen my full group of friends since May. I am so excited. It's kind of the end of an era though, as Steph is moving back home from Birmingham after being our base there for five years. However the good news is her home town is 15 minutes away from mine so I cannot wait to have her back in my life full-time. Because we lived together at uni and near each other at home, we never went more than a fortnight without seeing each other for about a year and a half before I went on my year abroad. I'm excited to have her back for dinner dates, sleepovers and frozen yoghurt trips. I also have a date tomorrow which is a bit unusual for me, but I'm really looking forward to it!
Anyway, I'm babysitting my Dad tonight because my Mum's away so I think we're in for a film night. 
Have a lovely evening!
Charlotte x

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

How to Become a Morning Exerciser

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.
This post has been weeks, months in the making, for one simple reason. I wanted to make sure this was something I actually stuck to before I went swanning around trying to give advice.
But it's been over two months now and this is well a truly a habit.
I have become a morning exerciser.
One of those truly insufferable over-achievers who gets up at 5am to go for a run in the dark.
Who bounce into the office at 9am after being awake for 4 hours and fresh from a workout.
Yep, that's me.
I always thought those people were crazy.
I mean, why get up earlier than necessary? Why exercise at a time when thinking straight is difficult enough, let alone physical exertion?
But after weeks struggling to balance my ever-lengthening runs with unexpected late nights at work and sacrificing evenings spent with friends to get my workouts in, I decided I couldn't be running after work anymore.
So one evening, I set my alarm for 5.30am and vowed to get up and run before work.
And I never stopped.
It's not always been easy, but it's really worked for me. It means I can get my workout done in the morning without it hanging over me all day. I have time to socialise in the evenings without having to plan my social life around the nights I'm running, or skip my workouts altogether. It means I can keep my exercise routine up without sacrificing any more of my time. Because let's face it, what else would I be doing at 5am?
But like I said, it hasn't always been easy. I spent at least a week googling "how to become a morning exerciser" before I bit the bullet and even now I have some mornings where I turn my alarm off and go back to bed, but for the most part, it works for me and I know a lot of people are curious about making it work for them too.
Now, first up, this isn't for everyone and I totally get that. I've actually done the morning exercise thing before, when I lived in Minnesota and the university gym was free, but it was purely for convenience and I really didn't love it. I am also a real morning person. Going to bed at 9, 9.30pm so I can get up for my workouts is not a big thing for me. 
But I really think it is worth giving it a shot. I never thought I would be one of these people who gets up at 5am, but I also never thought I'd be running a half marathon in six months time. So give it a go, you might surprise yourself.

I've decided to split this guide into two sections
1) Why it's a great idea to workout in the morning
2) How I work out in the morning
This post is made up of all my own experiences, but also based on some things that I read when I researched the idea of working out in the morning in the first place. Most of the stuff that I read about I implemented and I'm so glad I didn't go into this blindly.
So, first up, why should you be getting up at ridiculous am to workout?

I'm not going to bore you with the health benefits of a morning workout, but believe me, there are tonnes, including extra cardiovascular impact, a metabolism boost and extra energy throughout the day. For me, it was all about convenience.
If you workout in the morning, it's pretty much the first thing you do. It's pretty unlikely that something is going to come up to interrupt you at 5am, right? But at 7pm, all kinds of things can ruin your routine, from traffic on the way home, to having to work late, to a meeting or a dinner. We all know how easy it is to skip a workout because of having a busy day! Doing in the morning leaves you with fewer excuses! I got sick of feeling guilty about missing my workouts when I wanted to do something with friends or if I was just too busy. Now I workout in the morning, it's done before I'd even be out of bed normally!
Other benefits are that it's quiet. I run before 6am two or three times a week, and I love that there are barely any cars on the road and no people around. I don't have to stop at crossings to let cars go past, or dodge around pedestrians. It's just me and the dark and it's perfect. One of my favourite things about running is the beautiful alone time it gives me. It's even better at 5am without car horns and screaming children.
It's also much cooler, which is perfect if you live somewhere warm. The summer here got very hot for a few weeks and I was close to passing out running in the evening heat. Running in the morning meant it was cool and refreshing and perfect for running.
Finally, running in the morning is ideal if you're trying to lose weight and watching your calories. If you wear a HRM you can know exactly how many calories you have burned and how many you have to play with for the rest of the day!

Now this is the one I get asked a lot. As a natural Type A personality, I have a lot of plans and organisation that make running in the morning a lot easier to me. Now you totally don't have to follow any of my ideas, but this is what works for me. I've tried to categorise these tips into sections to make it easier to follow.

The Night before
1) Get as much stuff ready as you can
I like to put a lucozade in the fridge for when I get back, make my lunch for work so I don't have to rush doing it after my run and get my water bottle, headphones, iPhone case and HRM all ready to go for the morning.
2) Sleep in your running clothes
Okay, I know this is weird, but it works for me. Sleeping in my running stuff just gives me one less thing to do in the morning. Especially on cold mornings! I just jump out of bed, put my dressing gown on (I keep it on before I go for a run and put it straight on when I get back) and all I need to do is grab my trainers. Some people have asked if it's uncomfortable to sleep in a sports bra. I don't have any issues with it and my sports bra is from Primark so if you have a better one it should be more comfortable!
3) Set your alarm and put your phone on the other side of the room
That way you have to get up and turn it off. Give yourself plenty of time when setting your alarm. I give myself up to 30 minutes of pre-run time to brush my teeth, put my contacts in and have something to eat and drink, and allow myself at least an hour to run, even if my run should only take 35-40 minutes (obviously it depends on how far I'm running). I hate to rush so I give myself as much time as I can so I don't make myself late. This can take a bit of trial and error. When I first started I wasn't running as far so I set my alarm for 5.30am but I slowly edged it back 10 minutes at a time until I settled on 5am. 5am gives me loads of time to get up, run, get back and still be ready for work on time.
4) Get an early night
I know this seems obvious, but if you're getting up an hour and a half, two hours earlier than usual, you need to make that time up. I really, really notice a difference if I let myself stay up til 10.30, 11pm compared to when I go to bed at 9.30, 10pm. I know it sucks but you need to make that sleep time up, especially if you're exercising first thing. You need that energy! If you can try to get into a routine of the same bed time and wake up time, your body clock will really thank you. I often find myself waking up at 5am on weekends!

I have a bit of time I like to call "pre-workout" where I just have a bit of a relax before I run. This works for me, but some people would probably rather just get up and go. I like to have some time to eat my toast, drink my water and read some blogs before I go for a run. I usually give myself about 20 minutes. The most important thing to do in this time is...

5) Eat something before you go
Seriously, just something. I drink quite a bit of water to quell the morning thirst and I have half a piece of toast with peanut butter. It's just enough to keep me going without making me feel sick. If I don't eat something I do find myself getting very tired and sometimes very dizzy. Don't forget you've just gone 8 hours or so without eating! Your body needs some fuel. Don't worry, you can have a proper breakfast when you get back (I'm getting to that).

During the workout
I have two kinds of workouts that I do in the morning, running or a workout DVD. Obviously some things apply to running that don't apply to workout DVDs, and for this section I'm going to mainly talk about running, because it's a little different than being in your own house!

6) Have a set route planned out
If you're doing a weekend long run and you have all the time in the world, you have time to get lost. If you know you have to be back to get ready and go to work, you can't waste any time. Make sure you know where you're going, how long it will take and how long it will take to get back. Don't make yourself late.

7) Don't worry if it's harder than usual
Stupidly, I only realised this week that I run much more slowly in the mornings. My Park Run and weekend run times had been getting better and better, but my morning run times were much slower. I'd put it down to the competitive nature of Park Run, but couldn't account for minute-faster miles on Sundays. But then I realised it's just much harder in the morning! Your body hasn't had as much time to wake up and warm up, so don't be afraid to run a little slower or workout at a slightly lesser intensity. You will get used to it, but listen to your body and don't push yourself too hard. You've got a full day ahead of you- don't wear yourself out before 7am!

8) Make sure you properly warm up and cool down. And stretch
Obviously this is a given, but it's even more important on cold mornings and when you haven't done more moving around throughout the day yet. I give myself five minutes at the beginning and end of my runs to just walk. And of course, stretch.

9) Find a routine that you like
I'm training for a half marathon at the moment (more on that soon!) and it involves three short runs per week, one long run and one cross-training day. I have it all laid out on a little chart with every day on so I know exactly what kind of workout I'm doing each day. This gives me the push to get out of bed every morning, knowing I need to keep schedule! I break my weekday workouts up with rest days and workout DVDs too so it doesn't get boring.

10) Enjoy it!
When I'm on a morning run, I really enjoy the quiet and the thought of coming home to a hot shower and a cold lucozade! I also say "morning!" to the same old man I see buying his paper every day and I love seeing other runners in the early morning. It's like being in a club! Get a great playlist going and just enjoy the quiet and the time before the rest of the world is awesome.

Safety bits
Just some bits I've picked up on safety when running outside in the morning (less relevant to workout DVDs here!)

11) A hi-vis vest is a great investment
It's starting to be very, very dark when I go out for a run, and even though there aren't many cars around, if there are any, they won't be expecting joggers at 5am. I borrowed one from my dad and I always make sure I wear it on morning runs.

12) Stick to main roads
It's just good common sense. Don't go running down alleys or in parks in the dark. Just stay safe.

13) Get warm straight afterwards
Like I said before, I run straight into the arms of my fluffy leopard-print dressing gown before I get in the shower. If you've been out in the cold you're going to need some time to get warm again.

14) Don't wrap up too warmly
I've lost count of the numbers of days I've felt like an idiot going out at 5am in shorts and a tshirt in the middle of autumn, but after a few minutes I always warm up and am so glad I didn't wear anything warmer! Dress for your body temperature to increase by 10 degrees.

15) Have a good breakfast afterwards!
You need to refuel after that workout, so save time for a proper breakfast of carbs and protein. I like to have something like protein pancakes or eggs for protein, and sometimes a bagel or a banana for a carb fix. 

And finally...

16) Think of it as a long-term habit
There are days when I miss days. Multiple days. But I know that this is a long-term thing for me, so missing a day or two cause I'm tired or busy or sick doesn't mean I've given up. This is a routine for me now. With my new half marathon training I have rest days on Mondays and Fridays and not getting up at 5am is bizarre, and honestly? I miss it. I like getting up before everyone else and getting out there. I like having my evenings back. I like having time to socialise in the evenings, or just veg out and watch Netflix! I love my morning workouts and I know it's something that I want to stick with for a long time. 
If it is something you are considering, just give it a go. It does mean you are a bit more tired in the evenings, but it's amazing knowing you've already accomplished something before most people are even out of bed!

Please let me know if you have any more questions. There's a good chance I will keep adding to this post over the next few months as I get more and more into morning running, so I'd love to answer any questions you guys have.

Charlotte x