2017: In Review

I’m aware I’ve been very quiet on here of late but hopefully that’s about to change as I really want to get back into the LVB blog life again.

To ease myself in and remind me of what a pretty good year I’ve had, here are some of my highlights from 2017.

Moving back to Shire

2017 saw me moving into my own place in the town where I grew up. Something I never thought I would do but I now know in my heart it was right thing. Being back in the countryside, near my friends and family is where I’m meant to be right now.

London marathon

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My second marathon and it was a toughy. In hindsight, I definitely over trained for this one, rocking up to the line with 3 20 milers, a 21 and a 22 under my belt. By the time April had swung round I had most definitely lost my running mojo. Still, the atmosphere pulled me round and the celebratory Wagamama with my friends was nearly worth it.

Lake District and Lakeland Trails

One of my favourite races last year, the Coniston Half Marathon made me fall back in love with running. It was a challenging and hilly course but so beautiful and spending the weekend with friends made it all the more wonderful.

Northampton Half Marathon

Sometimes, not often for me, you get those races where everything falls in to place. Having been ill the night before, my hopes of a sub 2 hour were left by the wayside but my friends who also happened to be Northampton Half pacers had other ideas. Running with my Run Club was so special and I enjoyed every moment. I finally got that elusive sub 2 finish to top off the day. Oh and that’s me in the middle of my gorgeous friends who also smashed it that day!

Florida

One of my favourite places in the world, I was lucky to tag on to a family holiday and visit Indian Shores in Florida again this year. Running on the beach everyday was a definite highlight and it was great to see how many more vegan options/places.

So many events, races and activities planned for 2018 so stayed tuned.

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LVB’s Favourite Vegan Energy Gels and Fuel

As  you may know, I’m currently training for my 2nd marathon and I’ve therefore been experimenting with nutrition and fuelling whilst on my long runs for extra energy and that much needed boost when the going starts getting tough.  Here are some of my favourite ways to fuel up.

Clif Bloks

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From the genius that brought us the amazing and vegan friendly Clif Bars, these energy chews are easy to consume on the go as they basically melt in your mouth and they taste just like sweets. I love the Strawberry flavour.

SIS Science in Sport

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Probably my favourite gel as the slightly watery consistency makes them super palatable and easy on the stomach. They come in tons of flavours but my favourites are the Blackcurrant and Coffee.

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I tend to go for the Salted Caramel flavour towards the end of a really long run as a final sugary boost.  Not for everyone as the consistency is rather thick but definitely for those of you with a sweet tooth (like me),

Hi-5

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High5 energy gels are no trouble to open (very important whilst running along), also light on your stomach and surprisingly tasty. Try the Raspberry variety.

Romney’s Kendal Mint Cake

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A late discovery for me but a great one.  This mint cake tastes just like the inside fondant of an After Eight. It’s perfect for when you are tired of gels and want something a little more substantial.

So those are some of my favourite products to fuel me for my longer runs but it really is a question of trying what’s right for you.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

I am raising money for Kidsaid. If you would kindly like to sponsor me, you can find my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/londonveganbird.

 

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LVB Marathon Training Diary – week 14

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Distance clocked this week: 33 miles. 4 runs. Had some great runs with the club, getting out into the fields and off road for some beautiful views. My shorter runs on my own were tougher this week due to general tiredness.

Long run: 19 miles. A long run with my club and it was an absolutely glorious day. We took it easy and had a thoroughly lovely time. Even though I had 21 miles planned, I was happy with the 19 as the majority of it was on trails which meant that some of the terrain was quite tough. Muddy puddles included.

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Nutrition: A good week for nutrition by reducing my sugar intake.

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What am I listening to? Book podcasts. Back in reading mode, I’ve been listening to The Readers and the Penguin podcast. Also, excitedly working on my London Marathon playlist.

Cross Training: I added in an extra gym session this week focusing on strength exercises and really enjoyed it. Would like to add in more classes especially as tapering is imminent.

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Lessons Learnt: It’s ok to be a bit more relaxed with my training schedule and not worry too much about ticking off the exact mileage as long as I’m progressing. I skipped a run the day after my long run as I listened to my body which was telling me to rest.

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LVB’s Marathon Training Diary – week 12

Distance clocked this week: 35 miles. 5 runs. I’ve felt a little lacklustre this week but have still had some good runs. I’m definitely enjoying the more social aspect when I run with others.

Long run: 18 miles. A truly lovely run. I ran 14 miles with 2 of my run club friends which was just a delight. We had a beautiful route too taking in some great countryside views which I did not capture on camera so please enjoy this photo of a muddy path instead.

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Nutrition: I’ve kept is simple this week with wraps for lunch and chilli’s , salads and rice and beans for dinner. Also, rediscovering my love for quinoa. It’s meant I’ve had lots of energy for my morning runs.

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What am I listening to? I may be a few years behind, considering this show started in the 1940s, but I am absolutely loving Desert Island Discs which are available as a podcast. Kirsty Young interviews various celebrity guests including Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards and Tom Hanks, who choose the eight records they would take with them to a desert island. They’re all about 35 minutes long so they’re perfect entertainment for my week day runs.

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Cross Training: I’ve been adding in some at home workouts using weights and focusing on arms and core and also went back to Spin class which I find is great for strengthening my hamstrings.

Lessons Learnt: Running with friends really does help pass the time and taking in beautiful routes makes me appreciate living where I do.

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LVB Marathon Training Diary – week 11

Distance clocked this week: 39 miles. 5 runs. Some great runs this week. My hamstring was feeling quite tight at the beginning of the week but I eventually got my groove back with some short and speedier runs.

Long run: 20 miles. Something different for this week’s long run as I took part in the MK Festival of Running and chose to do the 20 miler. It was a great atmosphere as the event also included a 5k, 10k and Half Marathon options. The run itself wasn’t the most exciting route but mostly flat and enjoyable. I found a lovely running buddy the whole way round which meant the time flew by.

IMG_6950Nutrition: Still trying to keep it clean with healthy meal choices and attempting to curb my super sweet tooth with better options such as dates, fruit and nuts. My new fave lunch has got to be this multigrain wrap with hummus, veg and olives (a tip from the great vegan ultra runner, Scott Jurek).

IMG_6914What am I listening to? Another week, another new podcast discovery. I’m loving Ted Radio Hour from the people who bring us those amazing Ted Talks. Check it out here.

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Cross Training: Not as much as I’d like this week, but a few gym sessions and some at home workouts focusing on my core and stretching out my problem areas.

IMG_6993Lessons Learnt: Unfortunately, I experienced quite a few stitches on my 20 mile run. I’m not sure if these were due to nutrition choices or going out a little faster than normal to begin with so I’ll keep experimenting on my next long runs.

Trek Protein Energy Chunks Review

My review of the new Trek Protein Energy Chunks, from the company that have brought us our favourite afternoon slump pick me up, Nakd bars. These Trek energy chunks are great for pre and post exercise. Each bag contains 12g of protein and wholefood ingredients to give you a sustained energy boost that won’t cause a sugar spike! They currently come in 3 flavours.

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Toffee Triumph 

img_6670The Toffee flavour really is a trumph. Tastes like a treat as it has a rather buttery flavour. Made with dates, cashews, soya protein crunches (that give all these chunks that lovely crunch), raisins and oats.

Cocoa Peanut

img_6671This Cocoa and Peanut combination is great. I would say more peanut than cocoa but that’s no bad thing. The main ingredients are dates, peanuts , cocoa and peanut butter.

Cranberry Kick

img_6674Also a really lovely taste. These seem a little sweeter than the other varieties with a nice hint of fruit. Dates, soya crunchies, apple juice concentrate , almonds and cranberries are included in this yummy snack.

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Have you tried these yet? What did you think?

I am running the London marathon this year for Kidsaid. If you would kindly like to sponsor me, you can find my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/londonveganbird.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Vegan Protein Bars

As I’ve been upping my workouts recently, I’ve found myself increasingly hungry and often after a long run, I want to refuel quickly so have been turning to some of these bars.

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Nakd Berry Cheeky Not strictly a protein bar, but I wanted to include a lighter option that’s great for an afternoon snack. The added oats means they keep you fuller for longer too.

Trek Cocoa Chaos Definitely one of my favourites and most eaten of all the protein bars. I love that the bar can be split into 3 chunks, so I tend to eat them separately. Great before a run in the morning.

Clif Bar Coconut and Almond Butter I had to sneak this one in despite the fact these are only available online and I actually purchased these when I was in Florida last year. I love them so much that I’ve been eeking them out to make them last longer. My absolutely favourite protein bar ever, the coconut and almond butter tastes indulgent and delicious.

Cliff Bar Crunchy Peanut Butter High in calories but also so tasty. I usually pick one of these up after a long run when I need to get some calories in me quickly.

9Bar Superseeds Almond and Raspberry I actually love to sprinkle this bar over porridge especially as a bit of extra fuel and nutrition pre long run day.

I would love to know what are your favourite bars and pre and post workout snacks.

I am raising money for Kidsaid. If you would kindly like to sponsor me, you can find my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/londonveganbird.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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LVB Marathon Training Diary – Week 9

Distance clocked this week: 43 miles. 6 runs. A bit of a mixed bag this week. Some good runs including some speedy recovery runs but also some not so great runs (thanks Storm Doris).

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Long run: 20 miles. I know! A little early on the plan for a 20 miler but I managed it. Another route error for me. Course took me round some back roads and main roads which meant a little less picturesque route than usual. The last 4 miles were tough but I listened to some tunes and got it done. img_6658

Nutrition: I took a High5 Zero tablet and added to water after about 10 miles.  Washing my Lucozade gel down with it probably wasn’t the best decision but not sure if it was the gel or the combination that made me feel less than sprightly. Meals this week have been the usual veg and been snacking on nuts and raisins mainly. Also, highly recommend corn cakes with almond butter.

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What am I listening to?  This week’s podcast discoveries were the Ali on the Run show and the wonderful Run Selfie Repeat.

Cross Training: I added in an extra strength training session and also had a Spin class, something that I incorporated a lot of last year when I was training for my first marathon and seemed to really help my hamstring so let’s hope it has the same affect.

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Lessons Learnt : See above re. gel/electrolyte sports drink combination. Think I’ll stick to water for now.

You can find my previous week’s training diary here.

I am raising money for Kidsaid. If you would kindly like to sponsor me, you can find my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/londonveganbird.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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LVB’s Marathon Training Diary – Week 8

img_6532Distance clocked this week: 35 miles. 5 runs. Let me tell you, even when you think you’re strong and you’re smashing out the long runs every week, short runs can be tough. 2 days after my epic almost 18 miler, I was just not feeling it. Freezing winds, muddy trails and my hat blowing off. But I did it and that’s the most important thing. Keep pushing on guys.

Long run: 17.7 miles. I had actually planned on a 15 mile run but the route that I followed was a little further than I realised so ended up at 17.7. I opened my door to snow so felt very pleased with myself for braving not my favourite conditions. I did 3 or 4 miles along a very muddy canal and then veered onto the road passing through country villages and fairly busy country lanes. Half way in, it got a bit quieter and by the 10 mile mark, my legs were starting to feel a bit tired from all the hills I’d already tackled. I plodded on, took in  a gel and that gave me a little lift to push on. I finished tired but happy to have ran for longer than planned with no hamstring niggles.

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Nutrition: I purchased the vegan SIS nutrition pack, which includes gels, pre and post recovery powders and bars. On this run, I had an electrolyte pack in my water and a gel. When I got home, I had the chocolate recovery powder. I seemed to have a speedier than usual recovery so fingers crossed this routine is working.

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What am I listening to?  Mostly old episodes of The Ginger Runner with some Little Big Town for some added motivation for the last few miles (they’re an American country pop band).

Cross Training: The now usual strength training. Would love to fit a bit more strength work in too so that’s something I’m going to work on next week.

Lessons Learnt : Switching from podcasts to music for the 3 miles or so really did give me an extra push when it got tough.

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You can find my previous week’s training diary here.

I am raising money for Kidsaid. If you would kindly like to sponsor me, you can find my Virgin Money Giving page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/londonveganbird.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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LVB’s London Marathon Training – Week 6

Distance clocked this week: 34 miles. 5 runs. Some great runs this week as I’ve been trying to up my speed a little and have been enjoying the challenge.  I’m also happy to report that even after a long day in London on Saturday at Meet the Experts (see below), I managed to squeeze in a little 3 miler in the dark when I got home.

Long run: 15.5 miles. This was one of those great runs when mentally and physically I was in a great place and everything came together. I followed a route from a  few weeks ago that I had previously really enjoyed but unfortunately, the road was closed to I ended up turning round half way instead. I was planing on doing 14 miles, but was enjoying it so much and felt really strong, so I decided to add on another mile and in the end actually finished at 15.5.

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Nutrition: Post long run I decided to try my own version of a protein shake – oat milk, peanut butter and cocoa powder. It went down very well indeed. For the rest of the week, I concentrated on greens and beans making sure I had one form or another every day.

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Wholemeal pasta with greens, beans and Violife cheese

What am I listening to? Another rediscovery of mine is the No Meat Athlete podcast. A great mix of interviews, motivation and tips for vegan athletes.

Cross Training: Strength training focusing on core and arms. Body Balance class was also great for stretching and focusing on balance and flexibility.

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Lessons Learnt : I attended the Meet the Experts event in London for those running the London marathon which included speakers talking about nutrition, pacing and other top tips for training and to use on the day.  This week, I’ve focused more on my pace and it’s something I want to do more of going forward.

You can find my previous week’s training diary here.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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