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 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 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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LVB’s London Marathon Training 2017 – Week 5

Distance clocked this week: 33 miles. 5 runs. I’ve been mixing up running in the mornings with some cross training in the evening to ensure I get my miles in.

Long run: 14 miles. This week, on a particularly chilly day, I completed the Gayton 10k run then ran 8 miles home. The race was in a super pretty countryside setting  with some of those hills I love so much. The 8 mile run home was also really enjoyable as it took me through some gorgeous villages and had some great views.

Nutrition: Salads, soups and smoothies as well as tons of fruit and veggies with the odd treat thrown in there as always. Also, rediscovered my love for quinoa, which is a powerhouse of protein.

What am I listening to? Another running podcast that I’ve recently discovered is Dirt in Your Skirt. Host Margaret Schlachter talks to some amazing female athletes, runners and adventurers. Incredibly inspiring.

Cross Training: This week, as well as continuing with my strength training, I went to a Body Balance class (mix of yoga and pilates) and a Spin class.

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Lessons Learnt : Races really are fun! By including a 10k race in my long run, it helped the time go by and also made it more enjoyable to not have to worry about the route and run with others. I also got one of my best 10k times, even though I wasn’t focusing on my pace at all. Hopefully, this shows that my cross training and Run club are paying off.

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

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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LVB’s London Marathon Training 2017 – Week 4

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Distance clocked this week: 30 miles. 5 runs.  Tough run with the running club as the pace was faster than I’m used to. It felt good to push myself and see that I could keep up but my hamstring wasn’t best pleased.

Long run: 12.5 miles. Quite possibly one of the worst runs I’ve ever had. Got lost,  had to manoeuvre around multiple icy puddles, climbed over fences, clambered up steep hills  and ended up in the middle of a driving range. Throw in some rain and sleet and it was not the happiest of times. Still, looking back, it was kind of fun.

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Nutrition: I’ve done pretty well this week with my nutrition. Breakfasts have been smoothies or porridge, lunches have been mainly salads and dinners vegetable stew, lentils and a rather delicious buddha bowl.

What am I listening to? Happier Podcast based on Gretchen Ruben’s wonderful book The Happiness Project. It focuses on how to know yourself better and everyday ways of enhancing your life.

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Cross Training: Continuing with strength training at the gym, adding in some bike and rowing which I’ve really enjoyed.

Lessons Learnt : Check the route before going out on long runs. Also, I am capable of more than I think as I can push myself to a faster pace when around others. Predictable!

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

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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LVB’s London Marathon Training 2017 – Week 2

 

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Distance clocked this week:  29 miles. 5 runs. My  recovery run the day after my 12 miles was only 4.5 miles but I found it a little more challenging than anticipated as my legs were pretty tired. However, I need to get used to running on tired legs so I embraced the feeling. I have also been trying to up my pace a little on my shorter runs.

Long run: 12 miles. It was incredibly rainy and muddy. The last 4 miles weren’t the best as I was thoroughly soaked by this time but still felt good and no problems with my pesky hamstring.

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Nutrition: This is the first week I have really started to focus on my nutrition again and making more healthy choices, although I’m pretty good at having a balanced diet, it’s more the reigning back of the cake that I need to work on. So, more salads and veg for me. The night before my long run I had a jacket potato, beans and salad. The morning of, I had chocolate porridge. I refuelled with a big salad for lunch and Pesto Pasta and veg for dinner.

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What am I listening to? The Ginger Runner podcast – in particular the episode interviewing Ben Gibbard (from Death Cab For Cutie, no less) about his first 100 mile race. Say what?

Cross Training: Adding in to my post run routine, some press ups, crunches, lunges and squat jumps.

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Lessons Learnt : Take water if running for more than 10 miles. I usually would but this time I couldn’t find my water belt so was rather parched by the time I got back. Not recommended.

You can find my week 1 post here.

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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Favourite vegan and health apps

There are some great apps to help you on your healthy journey. Here’s a pick of some of my favourites divided into Exercise, Health and Veganism.

Exercise 

Walk Jog Run

WalkJogRun

I use this app for finding running routes near me and if really did help me to increase the distances that I run. Shows hill climb gradients so you can avoid those particularly hilly routes or tackle them head on! Easy to follow, just don’t get caught out in the middle of the woods with no signal!

http://www.walkjogrun.net

Map by Run

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Loads of features here but I mostly use this to record all of my runs and examine my pace per mile and other stats. I love the weekly round up email detailing your week’s activities and total distance ran.

Nike Training

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A library of workouts from athletes and trainers which focus on the type of training you would like to do. You can keep track of your activities and even share them with friends if you’re feeling competitive.

Health

Dr Greger’s Daily Dozen

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Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen (the brain behind Nutritionfacts.org) allows you to record the essential foods he recommends you try to incorporate into your daily diet. Based on his book ‘How Not to Die’.

Sleep Cycle

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If you have trouble getting up in the morning, this app may be for you. It measures your sleep cycle and wakes you sometime during a 30-minute window before your alarm when you’re in the lightest sleep state ensuring you feel naturally rested.

 

Headspace

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Billed as the ‘gym membership for the mind’ , Headspace is a meditation app that suggests just 10 minutes a day can help improve concentration, happiness and relieve stress. It’s extremely accessible for the beginner and easy to follow. I can highly recommend.

Veganism

Cruelty Free beauty

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This handy guide allows you to check which cosmetic, personal care and household product companies are cruelty-free. These companies have all been given the Leaping Bunny certification so you can be assured that no new animal testing is used.

Barnivore 

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Barnivore is an online directory of vegan and vegetarian beer, wine, and liquor. You may not know but when filtering the drinks prior to bottling, companies can use things like isinglass (from fish bladder), gelatine and egg whites. This app is great to discover which brands are cruelty free when out and about.

Do you have any favourite apps?

Thanks for reading.

London Vegan Bird

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