Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

What a difference a week makes- we’ve gone from dry, bright but icy and bitterly cold to the more seasonal wet, mild and stormy weather. The wind and rain has made for some interesting running this week, and some less impressive photos than of late!

Here’s how my week turned out:

Monday-

It was really mild on Monday, and I definitely wore too many layers on this run. It came as a bit of a shock to have to remove gloves and headband mid run!

Distance: 3 miles

Time: 31m 55s

Elevation: 49ft

Pace: 10.36/m

As I had managed to fit in my run at lunchtime I was able to join Jacqui’s Fitness Pilates class again, and I’m loving them. This week we were using the prickle balls, and I definitely felt the benefit during and afterwards.

Tuesday-

I had time today for a midday walk, so I headed to the West Loch again, with the aim of beating my time from the last walk out that way. I got back with less than an hour on my watch so had to go past the house and back again!🤣

Distance: 3.68m

Time: 1h 0m

Wednesday-

I timed my run incredibly well, managing to dodge the showers and even capturing one of the very few bright spells we had this week. I also managed to get a slightly longer distance in for a lunch run which was ace.

Distance: 4m

Time: 42m 50s

Elevation: 151ft

Pace: 10.42/m

Friday:

Another day, and another stormy run! I’m desperately missing my trail runs but I only had a short gap to get any outdoor exercise in, so I opted for a 30 minute relaxed run to the West Loch. I was absolutely soaked by the time I got home!

Distance: 2.75m

Time: 30m 3s

Elevation: 144ft

Pace: 10.56/m

Sunday-

It has been quite some time since I last run on a Sunday, but Saturday was an absolute howler! I also had a busy day with clarsach classes and some online support work for those, which took longer than expected. It was a good excuse to postpone my run until Sunday, and that turned out to be a good call. The morning was dry, sunny and mild, with just a hint of spring in the air. I didn’t have enough time for a longish run but I was determined to get onto a trail, so that’s what I did, for five lovely miles.

Distance: 5.25m

Time: 1h 4m 6s

Elevation: 528ft

Pace: 12.13/m

That’s now 12/14 runs for my February Accumulator, so I’m hoping to exceed the 14 runs by one or two. Let’s see how this week goes 😉

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

This week’s theme has been consistency. Consistency in many areas, and one of those areas was with my running plans. So there was no huge uptick in progress or in plans, but consistency is the key to many things, so I’m quite happy now that I reflect back on the past seven days.

Monday-

A double header! It was a lovely bright and crisp day so I ran at lunchtime to make the most of the beautiful winter light. The weather this week has by far been dry, bitterly cold and windy, that is for sure!

Distance: 4 miles

Time: 42m 45s

Elevation: 89ft

Pace: 10.41/m

I also managed to step away from my desk in time to fit in Jacqui’s Fitness Pilates class, which I’m really enjoying, so that was another hour of exercise.

Oh, and it was also ‘Medal Monday’, with my Great Run Solo January Accumulator medal arriving:

Tuesday-

A busy day at work meant I didn’t have time to stop at lunchtime, but as it’s getting slightly lighter in the evenings we are no longer heading out for a walk or run in darkness! These photos were taken from about the same spot- one was taken on my way out around the harbour and the other on my way back.

Distance: 3.54m

Wednesday-

I fancied a change of scenery on Wednesday but didn’t have time to drive to a trail. Instead I decided to do my lunch run along the Kilberry Road. It was nice to change it up a little, but I’d forgotten how much you have to stop and hop off the road to let traffic past!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 34m 2s

Elevation: 102ft

Pace: 10.57/m

Friday-

This run was bitterly cold, and I saw for myself how the harbour itself had iced up! It’s the first time since 2010 that has happened, I think. It looks more amazing in person than it does in the photos!

Distance: 3m

Time: 32m 14s

Elevation: 85ft

Pace: 10.44/m

Saturday-

I really wanted to get onto a trail for a slightly longer run, but the threat of snow in the sky meant I didn’t want to risk getting myself stuck solo on a trail. I also had some commitments today so didn’t quite have enough time for a trail either. So a run around the harbour was called for, though it was so windy I was running to stand still at times! It reminded me of mile 9 of my first Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Edinburgh when I didn’t the I’d finish because of the wind as I ran up part of Arthur’s Seat. But knowing I’d managed that, I could keep going.

Distance: 4m

Time: 44m 6s

Elevation: 249ft

Pace: 11.00/m

That makes eight runs so far for my February Accumulator, so I’m getting there!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

I write these weekly reviews largely for my own benefit- I find that it helps me to stop and review how my week has been and when it can sometimes feel like all I have done is work, the blog reminds me that I do manage to do more than just that (sometimes!). This past week is a good example- it’s been a full on, busy week work-wise, and though I’d managed to do some Clarsach practice earlier in the week and I’ve managed to squeeze in some reading every night, I did feel that my fitness had suffered a little.

But pausing to review what I’ve done shows a different perspective: I managed one of Jacqui’s live classes (still only one live, though, getting away from my desk on time remains a challenge), and I also got my February Accumulator Challenge underway with four runs.

Monday-

The first day of a new month and I was determined to kick start that with a run. The day was unusually dry but bitterly cold when I headed for my lunchtime run around the harbour.

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 32m 49s

Elevation: 112ft

Pace: 10.35/m

Tuesday-

I managed to step away from my desk on time for Fitness Pilates. This is such a good workout- low intensity but strong moves, and I definitely feel the burn!

Wednesday-

It was a stormy day, and I knew that the harbour would be incredibly windy so I squeezed in a short run to the West Loch and back.

Distance: 2.7m

Time: 30m

Elevation: 177ft

Pace: 11.06/m

Thursday-

At lunchtime we had time for a walk, and despite the driving, icy rain and strong winds we walked to West Loch and added to the distance and elevation by adding in Carrick hill.

Distance: 3.37m

Friday-

I ended the working week with another 5k around the harbour. Still raining, still bitterly cold and still very windy!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 33m 7s

Elevation: 148ft

Pace:

10.40/m

Saturday-

I woke up today to a dry and sunny morning, and so I pulled on my trainers and headed to a trail- the timber route- with an aim of 10k or so. I listened to Hamish Napier’s ‘The Woods’ instead of a podcast or audiobook and mixing it up was a great idea- the music perfectly matched the run!

There was even some snow at higher altitude, which added some fun to my run and it was the first run in some time that was gratifying and soul restoring, even with the stormy winds trying to blow me over!

Distance: 7 miles

Time: 1h 24m 16s

Elevation: 810ft

Pace: 12.01/m

I’m grateful for having space to reflect on this week- and to notice that, actually, it’s been a good week fitness wise! Here’s to next week!

Weekly Workouts

Weekly Workouts

After cranking up the mileage last week, it’s pared back a little this week, largely due to the volume of work. But I’ve still managed to get a few runs and walks in, though not as long as I had originally planned.

Monday-

I want to commit to doing more of Jacqui’s classes live. She is working so hard giving us an excellent selection of classes and I want to make the most of that so I started the week with an Evolve Fitness Pilates – Fitness Yoga session. And, wow, I felt that! It was great to feel connected back with the class and my buddies.

Tuesday –

I headed out straight after work to get a short 5k in. After Monday’s torrential rain, however, the roads were icier than ever, so I had to take it very easy and tentatively. Glad I did it, though!

Distance: 3.1m

Time: 38m 53s

Elevation: 220ft

Pace: 12.31/m

Wednesday-

I had time for a lunchtime run, so I headed out to the harbour to make the most of the daylight. It was right in the middle of a rain shower, so I was drenched by the time I got home!

Distance: 3.3m

Time: 36m 33s

Elevation: 82ft

Pace: 11.04/m

Thursday-

Another harbour walk after work. It was cold, but dry. And I forgot to take a photo!

Friday-

As @TheWelshWookie was also working from home today we went for a lunchtime walk together, heading out to the West Loch for a change, including the hill up to Carrick Cemetery. It was a much needed break away from the desk.

Saturday-

I’ve been loosely working to a plan for Kintyre Way Ultra training, but I’m not being too rigid with it as I want the flexibility of doing what feels right during this month. Despite the stormy weather with big winds and icy showers we headed to the timber route to get back on a trail again, for the first time in weeks.

It was a joy to be back – I really felt the difference of the running surface, but the weather was relentless. I dropped my LSR plan and decided instead just to keep the run short and enjoyable.

Distance: 3.31m

Time: 39m 32s

Elevation: 390ft

Pace: 11.57/s

We’ll see what the weather does this week but the plan is more of the same: have fun, chop it around a bit and do what feels right.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

In my post last week, I alluded to the fact that everyone sees themselves as the main protagonist in life. Look, I’m blogging, so doesn’t that demonstrate that principle? Assuming what I have to say is important, has value and is of interest, aren’t I?

Anyway, I digress. We do position ourselves as central to our stories, and if we are able to be empathetic we can better understand how other people see themselves. I think that when people lose hope, or lose confidence they still retain an element of this but it is diminished. And it’s our job to help them recover that.

Everyone is ‘selling’ something, promoting something or trying to get others to better understand their point of view, and earlier this year I read Don Miller’s essential read How to Build a Storybrand. This book should be on your to-read list if you haven’t gotten to it already. As a writer, Don understands the power of storytelling and this book reframes how we can use that storytelling to improve our engagement with customers and with others more widely, all people we engage with. He uses some great examples to demonstrate where this does, and doesn’t, work well.

There are clear steps to achieving this but the one step that has stuck with me above the others is that customers don’t care about your story or your brand’s story. They care about their own, and want to know how your products can help them achieve their own story arc.

I’m simplifying the message, but this small snippet has stuck with me, and over the past few months I’ve been seeing this everywhere, and watching how people and businesses position their own story in comparison to how they centre their customer’s story.

I can’t recommend this book enough. Spoiler alert: Don tells you early in the book that he will spoil movies for you as he talks you through how the basic narrative construction works. It hasn’t ruined anything for me, but I have found myself putting his framework to the test when watching films! Try it!

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Over the past week I’ve read a lot. And as a result of that I have lots and lots (and lots) in my head, bursting to develop into fully formed thoughts. But they’re not there yet. I’ve also been catching up on podcasts, covering everything from change to different mindsets to blaming people rather than systems. Whoa. Pretty full on, right?

But over and over, this past week has led me back to thinking about making mistakes and using them to grow and learn. I’ve also been thinking about what a journey to success looks like from the outside: linear, with no bumps. Yet we all know that’s just fantasy. No journey to success is without many mistakes, bumps in the road, full scale disaster, redirection, unsettling people (including yourself) and so on.

I was reminded of this Liz Wiseman quote:

For those who haven’t read Liz’ book, Multipliers, I’d highly recommend it.

I suppose being on the outside and looking at someone else’s journey is a difficult thing to do- we are all the heroes in our own lives and on our own journeys, so we have to remember to reframe that, and to recall that everyone is on their own messy, imperfect path with its own pitfalls and misdirection- and remember to be there to support each other along the way.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Downtime is so important, and I’m already at the midway point in my week’s leave. So far it has been lovely: some reading (not yet as much as I had planned), good food, running, stitching and listening to podcasts. And some wine, too. I think that’s why I haven’t read as much as I had planned: I’ve been catching up on a huge backlog of podcasts that have built up since I’m not driving a great deal.

When I was on my run on Monday, I listened to Whitney Johnson interview Molly Beck, the Podcast Whisperer, and it was fascinating! But the quote that leapt out at me was from the host, not the guest:

I just had to capture this as soon as I heard it, and I thought it was well worth sharing.

So if you need to hear it, please listen. Your effort won’t be going unnoticed.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Although I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and reading about staying curious, part of the reason that I’ve restarted my blog with a focus on my Wednesday posts rather than my running is because I’ve also been doing a deep-ish dive into becoming more comfortable with being uncomfortable, and not painting my exterior persona as being without flaws – it’s ok to just be.

And, with the trajectory we are all on this year there’s one thing I’ve been saying all too regularly: none of us has all the answers, so I’m also trying to open my horizons, share thoughts and let conversations happen. And given my penchant for unleashing my advice monster and demonstrating my ‘save it’ drama persona, I’m also trying to be more vulnerable.

A few months ago I read Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. Several of the lessons resonated with me, and I was nodding a lot as I read it. It probably helped that that first section focussed on our desire to feel safe- and given the pandemic, I think that has been borne out over the past few months.

But the book also talks about how leaders have to be honest, open and need to keep in touch with reality in order to stay authentic.

This quote is one that I keep reflecting on:

So, when was the last time we admitted to weakness, or to not having all of the answers, or allowing ourselves to be vulnerable?

Probably not often enough.

It’s a journey for many of us.

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Since sharing my thoughts about The Advice Trap two weeks ago, I’ve continued to think a lot about the way we coach and use questions, and how curiosity is such an important, but often neglected, aspect of leadership. I’ve continued on the Year of Living Brilliantly journey and I’m finding it both helpful and challenging.

Yesterday I received an email from MBS works that really struck me. It talked about the recent full moon being known in China as the Hungry Ghost Moon, and later in the email asked us to thank our hungry ghosts.

And that really resonated with me. I’d had one of those sleeps the previous night which was disturbed, and I couldn’t get back to sleep because my brain kept wandering to those times in my past where I hadn’t lived up to my own expectations. MBS says that perhaps your regrets are there to remind you of a time when you acted to betray something you stand for. So the very next time I have the opportunity, I’m going to thank that ghost, get that lesson ‘in my bones’ so that the ghost can leave me alone. Hey! I’ve got it! Thank you! Now leave!

I’ve also found my brain recalling some earlier podcasts and TED talks, and I remembered hearing Tasha Ulrich talk a couple of years ago about transitioning our questioning from Why to What. She explains that why questions have a direct correlation with negative emotions, and they draw us to our limitations.

On the other hand, what questions keep us curious (that word and emotion again!) and they can help us to create a better future. They can lead us from victimhood and into growth.

She suggests that when you are journaling, spend less time on why things happened or why they happened the way they did. She suggests that we can start this new focus on what by asking three questions of ourselves in our journal:

1. What went well today?

2. What didn’t go quite as well today?

3. How can I be smarter tomorrow?

What journaling techniques do you use to shift to a positive focus?

Are you managing to stay curious?

What are your hungry ghosts asking you?

Wednesday Wisdom

Wednesday Wisdom

Over the past five months as we have navigated through this initial pandemic emergency and transitioned into recovery (or at least I think that’s where we are), I’ve heard lots of people say they are ‘crazy-busy’ or ‘flat out’. Me included.

I’ve enjoyed working at pace, delivering results, responses and projects at speed and I think we have a lot to learn from the compressed decision making processes we have benefitted from in recent months. I’m much more comfortable than ever before with picking up the phone to people I need answers from, or challenging people to get things done quickly.

I know I’m a productivity ‘diva’, and I would have said, until a few weeks ago, that I felt my productivity is valuable to my work, my organisations and my personal values. And I do still think it is critically important. But I’ve been reflecting recently on whether I should value myself in terms of being productive. Is that worth defining myself over? What does it say about me as a person?

Right now I’m trying to determine how I get everything done that I need to, that I support and deliver on my promises to others, and on holding fast to my boundaries. Saying no does not come easily.

A big resource for me over the years has been David Allen’s epic book Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity. It helped me to crystallise how to get to a point where I get things out of my head and to stop thinking about ‘things’ and feeling overwhelmed. I think it has been a critical approach that has enabled me to cope over the years, but as these are now my intrinsic behaviours they have absolutely come to the fore in recent weeks and months. That, and managing my inboxes and social media notifications to stop the overwhelming feeling of having things I haven’t done!

I’ve read this book at least three times, and I’ve recommended it numerous times to numerous people, probably more so recently than ever before. And now I’m recommending it to you.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t get unstuck to get things done, please read this. It will made a positive difference to you, your mental health and your productivity.

Find out more about Getting Things Done here.