Do you partake in post-exercise protein shakes?


I was really late to the protein shake party (as I am with most things), often scoffing at those who got out the child’s sippy cup full of strawberry flavoured gloop. The boyfriend (long-time weight lifter) first introduced them to me and I reluctantly joined the band wagon. I quickly noticed that I had fewer occurrences of delayed-onsite muscle soreness (DOMS) and now gulping down a cheeky post-exercise protein shake has become something of a religion for me.

But what’s the science behind protein post exercise?

I was lucky enough to work on a really interesting nutrition project last month culminating in a meeting in Hong Kong where I was surrounded by dieticians, nutritionists and geriatricians (doctors specialising in managing elderly patients, who often have nutritional deficits) and one of the key points raised was the importance of consuming protein within 20 minutes of exercise. During this time, your muscle is more able to absorb protein (specifically amino acids) – the building blocks needed for both repair and growth. Providing your body with protein post exercise helps the muscle fibers torn down during resistance training or endurance work to rebuild themselves.

Does it matter in what form the protein comes in?

The protein can come from whole food sources, such as eggs, milk, meat, soy or nuts, but most people opt for protein shakes purely for convenience. I always choose whey (milk) protein-derived protein powder as it’s easier for the muscles to absorb than casein (another protein found in milk).


Which protein powders?

I tend to go for diet/low carb powders to minimise my calorie intake.

My current favourites are:

My Protein Impact Diet Whey in chocolate mint. I mix this half milk/half water and drink within 20 minutes after run. The taste reminds me of my youth – it tastes very much like melted mint Vienetta!

Nutritional Information:

Per 58g:
Energy: 817.8 (KJ)
Energy: 199.6 (Kcal)
Protein: 31.6 (g)
Carbohydrate: 8.4 (g)
Fat: 3.8 (g)
Fibre: 4.1 (g)

Also provides per 58g:
Green Tea Extract: 230mg
Acetyl L Carnitine (ALCAR): 290mg
Vitamin C: 50mg
Glutamine: 1000mg

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey in double chocolate, again this is a low carb option and is great for using to make protein brownies as it’s very rich tasting.

Nutritional information:

Each serving contains 24g of premium whey protein and 5.5g branched chain amino acids, but just 1g of fat, 1g of sugar and 3g of carbs.

Buying a whole container of protein powder can be expensive (£20+) so it might be worth buying small taster sachets to try out first. I have strawberry and vanilla sachets to try – I’ll let you know what they taste like!

Do you drink protein shakes? If so, which ones do you recommend and why?


London to Paris bike ride 2014 for Anxiety UK


It’s been nearly 2 years since I last did a big charity event so I thought it was about time I did another one. This time it’s all about cycling. I just bought a bike so I might as well get some use out of it right?! I chose the London to Paris cycle ride as it will certainly be sufficiently challenging for me – I am the most wobbly and unconfident cyclist so this is not going to be easy for me by any stretch of the imagination, but it should be fun.

Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I suffer with anxiety disorder hence why I’ve chosen to support Anxiety UK. I’m hoping that doing something like this will raise awareness about it and show people that you can have a mental health disorder and still be successful, happy and healthy.

Anxiety UK help support those living with anxiety disorders by providing information, support and understanding via an extensive range of services, including 1:1 therapy.

What I would love is to gather together a team of people with twitter accounts and blogs who can help spread the word so that we can fundraise as a team, get together to train and support each other, even if virtually.

More about the event

Date: 14 to 18 May 2014

Duration: 5 days

Organisers: The fabulous Discover Adventure, a great UK company who I’ve used before, organise the trip.

Pricing: You can choose two payment routes (both require a £149 deposit): you can either choose the fundraising option where you raise all the money for the trip (£1300) or you pay for the tour yourself (£650) and raise money for the charity separately (please aim to raise at least £500).

Itinerary: More information on the itinerary can be found here.

What’s included? All accommodation is included, as well as transport (by ferry and Eurostar) and all meals during the trip (except three meals – available in full itinerary). It also includes full trip support of experienced Discover Adventure leaders, drivers and mechanics.

What’s not included? It does not include personal travel insurance, three meals as specified above, transport around Paris on Day 5, a bicycle, drinks, extra food, personal items or entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit.

Want to join in? So – if you would also like to join in drop me a line here and I’ll send you some information and a booking form. Alternatively, please feel free to book directly with Discover Adventure (they have lots of space) and let me know when you have done so.


TED lectures


[Image source:]

My love of TED lectures is almost as great as my obsession with Wikipedia and ImDb (I’m one of those geeky types who can spend hours trawling through information)! For those of you who haven’t heard of them, they are a series of short videos on pretty much any topic you can imagine, including sports, science, and politics etc.

If you are vaguely interested in a subject and want to learn a little bit more about it, I implore you to check out the TED website here.

One of my favourite TED lectures is by the author of Born to Run – Christopher McDougall.

There are also some great psychology videos, including this fantastic one on the power of introverts, which, being an introvert myself, I can completely relate to.



Finding my blogging mojo


I’m totally having a ‘moment’ with my blog – where do I go from here? I mean, I feel like I’ve read the same stuff that I’m spouting a million times over (not that I’m suggesting people have copied things, it’s just the law of averages). There are 100s of other running-/fitness-related blogs – what makes mine so special? Should I even bother? Am I boring you? The answer is: I don’t know and I’d love to find out.


I started this journey back in 2011 and I feel like I’ve got somewhere, but I haven’t. I’m kind of there, but I’m not. Maybe the fact that I am fantastic at being ridiculously average is what people want to read about? The fact that average Jane can turn her life around and that there’s hope for everyone.

What I think I want to do with my blog is for it to be less infomercial, that’s what Runner’s World do – and more about me and my struggles. I really want to inspire people and make them realise that I don’t find anything easy and that every victory, no matter how small, is important.

So I ask you, what makes a good fitness blog? What would you like to see more of/less of? Why do you come here in the first place?



Half marathon training update


So for the last couple of weeks I’ve been focussing on training for the Oxford Half Marathon on 13th October. The holy grail for me is to achieve a sub 2-hour half marathon. Last year I ran in 2 half marathons – the Brighton half and the Eastbourne half. My fastest time was 2 hour 10 – I would absolutely love to beat that!

So the week before last I managed to get in 26 miles of training, including 2 new PBs (5k and 10k), a slow 8 miler and a speed session.  Last week I only managed a 10-mile run as I was actually on a work trip to Hong Kong (hence the picture) and had no time to train. So what are my plans for this week?

Monday: 5k run (26.22). Helped me sleep like a log and get over my jet lag! 🙂

Tuesday: Speed training session

Wednesday: Pilates and cycling

Thursday: Cycling and running club

Friday: Pilates class in the morning and a 15k run at race pace (5.3k/min)

Saturday: Park run – aiming for a fast one

Sunday: Rest

I’m running the Oxford half marathon for Helen and Douglas House with Ewan who is running 13 races for the charity. You can sponsor him here. You can read more here.



My yoga post-run leg stretches

Now that I am running more and asking more and more of my leg muscles, joints and ligaments, I feel as though I need a decent post-run stretch. The usual standing stretches just don’t cut the mustard anymore – they are not deep enough for me. Here are some of the stretches I use now:

1) Calf muscles


I defy anyone to find a deeper calf stretch than the downward facing dog. Have your hands shoulder width apart in front of you and form a pyramid. Imagine that someone is lifting your pelvis. At the same time, try to get your feet flat on the floor (it’s very difficult to do this, so don’t worry if you can’t at all!). You should feel an amazing stretch down the back of your calf muscles.

2) Hip flexors

From downward facing dog, throw your right leg back and step forward so that your foot lands between your hands (take as many steps forward as you need to get your leg level with your shoulder). Straighten your back and put your hands on your hips. Feel the stretch on your hip flexors.






3) Quads (front of thighs)


This quite a difficult one, but it gives you an amazing quad and hip flexor stretch. Grab you back foot and pull and lean forward. To protect the knee, lean forward more so that the knee is off the ground.

4) Hamstring 


From step 2, lean back and bring you front foot up, lean forward to extend the stretch.

Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 on the opposite leg.

5) Glutes (buttocks)




This is called the half pigeon and it’s one of my favourite yoga stretches. From downward facing dog, bring your right leg forward and place your right knee behind your right hand. Rest your back leg on the floor (toe pointed and resting on the floor). Once you have warmed up, lean forward and place your arms out flat in front of you (almost so that you are lying down into the stretch). Repeat for the opposite leg.



I try to do these stretches daily and after every run (never immediately before a run though).

And here’s a random cat picture just because…