Running is a lonely sport, or so I always though…
When I started off running outdoors I wasn’t that confident, so going it alone was fine for me. Yet now I have been doing it for years I craved something slightly different.
I recently decided to venture out on some new routes and realized they are a hell of a lot longer than I thought I was capable of. Result! So with this new found confidence I thought it’s about time I try to get out there and join some of my fellow running enthusiasts. I’ve been so surprised and excited by what is on offer locally for runners. So here’s a round-up of my first three ventures:
3 Local Running Events in Watford
Cassiobury Park, Watford
My first ever group run. On a cold, dreary Saturday morning I headed to Watford with a friend and was introduced to this great little community. Despite the fact is was seriously chilly and raining there was around 200 people there and ready to kick start their day with a jog. These events are weekly, free, and run completely by volunteers (who were all really friendly and encouraging).The course is 5k and had a range of abilities. Oh and at the end they record your time with a barcode, you get an email through telling you all your stats. Throughly impressed. In case you’re wondering, the picture below is from my second, sunnier, park run!
(photo credit Glyn Jagger)
Beer and running? You bet. Over the weekend I happened to be enjoying a beer at the Watling Street Brewery (a great bar in Watford with the brewery attached). It was there that I was made aware of a weekly run that starts and ends at the bar, with a free pint for all runners. What a great concept. Held every Wednesday, there are three routes so great for all abilities, set on a pretty trail through parks and woods.
I turned up that very Wednesday on my own. As I walked through the door I was greeted by owner, Rudi, who remembered my name and introduced me to the group, so no ice to break either. After the run everyone sets themselves along a big table to enjoy the runners high and a refreshing beer. Plates of freshly cooked steak slices are put out to nibble on, and to my relief the staff remembered I’m veggie, offering up a hearty, home made, veggie burger as an alternative. Can’t ask for much more than that!
Cassiobury Park, Watford
My first race. This 10k race is hosted annually by storage company Kelly’s at Cassiobury Park, Watford. Kelly’s put on the whole event so 100% of all donations go to charity. You can enter the race for free, although most make a donation to worthy cause Watford Mencap. It’s strange how the minute you turn up to a race rather than a social event it changes your outlook. On the day, I collected my number and was pysching myself up to keep a good pace. The course was very pretty and takes you through woodlands as well as the park. A great atmosphere with everyone cheering each other on, plus a medal at the end. I’ll be along next year for sure.
What Are You Waiting For?
I can’t quite believe it’s taken me so long to get out there and do some events. If you, like me, have been going it alone, I would definitely recommend joining a local club or park run. It is surprising just how many are out there. It’s sociable, motivation for when you can’t be bothered and other runners let you in on new events too. There’s also the fact that there is always someone faster to keep up with. It’s bound to do wonders for your PB times. Have I reeled off enough yet?
Bring on the Regents Park 10k next!Yum
If you’re like me, you’ve probably experimented with loads of different pancake recipes, but I have got to say this is the best one yet, these banana protein pancakes are healthy and filling. Just what you need to start your day right.
Do you find that with regular pancakes you munch through them only to be hungry again pretty soon after? Me too. That’s why these are packed with nutritous ingredients that will keep you going for longer. Each serving provides the good fats and protein from 2 eggs. There are oats blended in to provide some carbohydrate and 1 of your 5 a day from the banana. Oh and my extra ingredient, a sprinkle of whey protein.
Pancakes may take a little longer to prepare than a bowl of coco pops but the fact that there are only four ingredients should be enough to convince anybody. I always serve mine stacked up with some delicious fruit on top and a drizzle of maple syrup.
Also added on top is a scoop of my homemade chocolate banana ‘ice cream’ (which is healthy too and doesn’t actually have any dairy). I’ll get round to that recipe at some point.
Fast becoming one of my morning favourites, if you have fruit-phobic kids this is also a great way to trick them into eating more fruit, what with a whole banana disguised in the mix.
Banana Protein Pancake Stack
A no fuss 4 ingredient recipe for perfect pancakes, with an added protein hit.
- 1 Banana
- 2 Eggs
- 1/3 Cup Oats
- 2 tbsp Whey Protein
First of all put the oats in the blender, blend them to a fine consistency & then mix in the whey protein.
Peel and mash the banana in a bowl.
Crack the two eggs, whisk together then add in with the banana.
Add the oat mixture into the banana mixture, combine together.
Add a little oil to a frying pan and turn up to a medium heat.
Pour a little of the mixture, about 2 tbsp, into the hot pan to form a round pancake. Leave to cook for a minute or so, when starting to brown flip it over to the other side.
Once all the pancakes are cooked stack them onto a plate, top with your favourite fruits and a drizzle of maple syrup.
I needed a bit of lunch inspiration in my life, so whipped up a delicious, veggie friendly, mexican chick pea salad. Step aside pre-packaged sandwiches, this is a lunch with some flavour sensations! Inspired by my favourite Mexican restaraunt (I’m sorry guys it is a chain!) Chimichangas, their tasty insta posts are too much! I’ve been craving their naughty fried goodness for ages, so here’s my healthy alternative.
My favourite thing about this salad is that it is both filling and flavourome. The chick peas provide a good amount of protein to keep you fuller for longer. Plus, all the lime, onion & seasoning bring that zingy mexican flavour.
Great to make in a big batch, as you can do so much with it. Pair with rice, have it in a wrap, muddle it with some salad leaves or simply just have it as it comes in a big bowl. Cos c’mon, who doesn’t love mexican food?
I love to scoop this into a tupperware and bring it to the office with me, it’s so easy to prepare the night before as it just requires a bit of time to chop and mix everthing. No actual cooking. Plus there was loads left so managed to make the boyf a lunch too, result. Even though he’s not so big on chick peas..these are mexican chick peas, so even he was sold on them!
Oh and did I forget to mention, it’s really diet friendly. There’s no oil in this, theres no calorific salad dressing, just good ingredients paired well. This is what I am all about, creating food that is exciting to eat whilst still healthy. This certainly won’t feel like diet food.
Although as is always the temptation with mexican food, a little margarita to help it go down? Hmm, maybe not at lunch time!
Mexican Chick Pea Salad
A fresh tasting, veggie friendly, mexican inspired salad.
- 1 tin Chick peas
- 1 Lime
- 1 Avocado
- 1 small Red Onion
- 1 tin Sweetcorn
- Handful Cherry tomatoes
- 2 tbsp Fresh coriander
- Salt & Pepper
- Chili powder Optional
First, open up the tinned chick peas and rinse under water. Set aside in a large bowl.
Take the avocado & cherry tomatoes. Chop them into small chunks and add in with the chick peas.
Cut the red onion finely and add this to the mix.
Open up the tin of sweetcorn, tip away the water then add the kernels to the bowl. I only used a small tin of sweetcorn, so just add as much as you like if yours is a large one.
Wash and cut the coriander, then add two tsbp to the bowl of ingredients.
Cut and squeeze the lime, add the juice into the bowl.
Season the mix with salt and pepper, if you like yours spicy then time to add 1/4 tsp of the chili powder. Mix everything together and enjoy! Can be served on its own, with rice, or even in a wrap.
There’s no reason for toast to be boring these days, use some imagination and it can turn into your favourite go-to brekkie. Here’s my favourite luxury toast creation. Crunchy rye toast, loaded with peanut butter.
My Luxury Toast – Peanut Butter Crunch
I get looks from my friends as though I’ve gone mad, as this genuinely is my top breakfast. Forget a full english or a trip to the cafe. It’s gotta be properly dense rye bread, toasted on the highest setting, so it goes all crispy and a bit burnt around the edges. Then it’s ready to be slathered with peanut butter, chopped banana, a drizzle of honey & seasame seeds. Heaven. Just divine.
My love of peanut butter was only discovered a few years ago. I did a stint at being a vegan, bought a jar for protein purposes and literally had to hold back from devouring the whole thing. Needless to say my vegan month was heavily supplimented by peanutty goodness.
So just in case you want to copy this heavenly slice, all you need is:
Crunchy Peanut Butter Rye
A truly tasty combination for a super tasty breakfast.
- 1 Slice Rye Bread
- 1 Banana
- Sprinkle Seasame Seeds
Cut your rye bread in half and put it in the toaster for the highest setting (make sure it's proper dense rye, as this is the one that can take longer to toast).
Chop a banana into slices
Once the toast has popped slather on a healthy amount of peanut butter, top with the sliced bananas, drizzle on the honey and add a sprinkle of seasame seeds on top. Voila!
Jazz Up Your Toast
I find it quite easy in the morning to get breakfast down. I’m a foodie, I’m always thinking about food and little all else. But if you are part of that weird camp that can’t eat too early, maybe take a more creative approach to your breakfast and jazz it up with some of your favourite things. Avocado, ricotta, fruit compote..the list goes on.
I’d definitely recommend starting out with rye bread as your base, for many reasons as I mention in my post about the best breads for weight loss
That’s all for now, I’ve just heard the toaster pop..