Goals 2018

January Round-Up: Goals and achievements

Well I can’t believe that January is over, in some ways, it’s felt like the longest month ever… in other ways, it’s gone super fast. I thought I’d do a quick post to round up January and summarise what I have achieved this month, as part of my overall goals for 2018.


January Round-Up: Goals and achievements

In some ways, January has been a difficult month for me. At the back end of last year, my long term relationship of 13 years ended rather suddenly and I’ve been finding it all really difficult to deal with. January was therefore somewhat of a fresh start for me. I’ve moved into my own flat and I’m now living by myself for the first time ever which was kind of scary at first, but also kind of liberating.

I’m now getting used to living alone, looking after myself and focusing on what I want to achieve. I’ve always given myself multiple goals to achieve throughout the year. I find that this helps to keeps me motivated and keeps me going, which at the moment, is more important than ever.

Anywho, I wanted to list what I have achieved in January, partly to make myself feel better that I haven’t completely wasted the month moping around…!


So what goals did I achieve in January?

I have basically thrown myself into running and achieved the following…

  • Ran a 10K race (in under an hour) – Tatton Park 10k
  • Ran a 4 mile night trail run (which was VERY challenging!)
  • Joined a running club and I’ve been 3 times so far
  • Signed up to a half marathon in May
  • Signed up to loads of 10k races and running events throughout the year
  • Ran a “virtual” 10k and got a medal for that

What’s next for February?

Well, I really need to get my ass in gear and start training properly for the half marathon, as it will likely come around fast. I also need to make sure I do more strengthening exercises at the gym, such as core classes, body pump etc to support my running. I also need to start looking after myself more, eating better to support my training and cutting down on wine… boo!

What goals did you achieve in January? Let me know in the comments below!

Louise X

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Medsmart App: Review

Wow! I can’t believe that January is almost over, where has this month gone seriously?

So as part of my blog strategy for this year I want to start reviewing and recommending products and services that will benefit those of us with scoliosis and chronic pain. The other day I came across this really useful app called Medsmart, which basically reminds you to take your medications.

Now, I’m really really lucky because at the moment (touch wood) I do not need to take painkillers for my back. I manage my pain through regular exercise and only really take painkillers now and again. However, when I saw the app, I thought that some of my readers may benefit, especially if you take quite a few different painkillers for your back.

The app is free on Android and Apple and once you download and register you are greeted with your medicine cabinet (shown below)..

Medsmart

 

 

It lets you add your conditions, scan in your medicines and set reminders for when you take them. It’s really easy to use and I think if you take several medications it would be really useful. You can also set up multiple profiles and medicine cabinets which would be useful for families for example.

Anyway, just thought the app looked good and might be useful to my readers so if you are interested in trying it out, it can be downloaded for free below:

Medsmart Meds & Pill Reminder

 


Have you tried Medsmart or any other medication trackers? What did you think? What can you recommend? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Louise X

 

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Reasons to try Virtual Running

If you’re struggling to stay motivated with exercise this January you might want to try virtual running / walking events.

My first experience of a virtual running event was when I signed up to Run up to Christmas in December. I haven’t divulged much on this blog, but to be honest I have had a pretty rough time in my personal life since I got back from China in October. I injured my shoulder in China which meant I couldn’t run, and I had some other major stuff going on too – as my long term boyfriend left me and I had to find somewhere else to live quite quickly. You may have noticed the lack of posts recently, well this is why. But I’m slowly getting back on top of things 🙂

By December, my shoulder was feeling better and with everything going on I really needed a distraction from Christmas itself. So I decided to sign up to Run up to Christmas – I figured it would give me the motivation to get back into running when it was cold and dark outside and it would also keep me busy and so I didn’t have to think about Christmas.

 


What is virtual running?

The gist of it was that I had to run at least 50km between the 1st and 25th December. It cost £12 but this went towards Mind charity, plus if you completed the challenge you got a really cool medal at the end, not to mention a sense of achievement. 🙂

With it being December and having a lot going on (I moved on 22nd December), as well as some pretty bad snow half way through the month I was pretty chuffed with myself when I managed to complete the challenge. I did do a few treadmill runs when it was bad weather but these count too! I also did Park Run on Christmas day!

I really enjoyed taking part in this virtual event and what I loved about it was the sense of community and encouragement from others taking part. There was a group on Strava and a hashtag on Instagram which meant it was easy to find and chat to others taking part in the challenge. Virtual running is also good because you choose when and where you run and you can fit it around your life and commitments. You basically run/walk/cycle and record your activities on an activity tracker such as Strava or Garmin. When you’ve completed your challenge you upload your evidence and receive your well earned medal in the post.

What I have since realised is that there are LOADS of these virtual challenges. For 2018, I have signed up to one called Your Mile Challenge and my target is to run 1,000km by the end of the year. I also signed up to a virtual 10km race in January and got a cool medal for that too! Many of these virtual running challenges will also give part of the entry fee to charity so there’s a feel good factor as well 🙂

Winter 10K medal
My January 10k medal

As part of the Your Mile Challenge, you can also sign up for monthly challenges and do a certain amount of miles or km for the month. If you meet your target you get a medal. There’s also a Facebook group where people taking part share their achievements too. You can also invite your friends to join you too which makes it more competitive and keeps you going 😀

I find these virtual running challenges really help to keep me motivated and give me a reason to get out there and run – especially when it’s cold and wet. If you’re not into running you can also walk, cycle or swim to get the miles in – it doesn’t have to be running.

I thought I’d share on my blog because I didn’t realise these virtual events and communities existed until recently but they really can be excellent for motivation if you are struggling!

I’m hoping with my target of 10 10km races and a half marathon this year, that I’ll meet my 1,000km target for the year. I’m using Strava to record my progress, if you’d like to follow me you can do so here.

Why not give it a go this winter? Alternatively, you can sign up for monthly challenges, or do what I’ve done and sign up for a yearly target.

Happy virtual running / walking!

Louise 🙂 xxx

I’d be interested to know if any of my readers have tried virtual running / walking / cycling and which ones they have tried? Let me know in the comments below! P.s. These are some of my favourites so far… 

Run up to Christmas

Your Mile Challenge 

Virtual Run Challenge

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Reasons to try Virtual Running

Tatton Park 10k

Tatton Park 10K: 1st 10K of the year…

So this year I have set myself the challenge of completing at least 10 10K races (and a half marathon… eeek!).

I feel like I really need a new challenge after The Great Wall of China and this is kind of part of that. I’m also planning some other big events later this year because I love to keep pushing myself (watch this space!)

So a couple of weeks ago (Sunday, 14th January) I completed my first 10K of the year at Tatton Park in Cheshire.

It was a good way to start the year and kick start my running again. I had a few months off from running after China as I injured my shoulder. To get back into it again, I took part in a virtual running event called Run up to Christmas in December, where I committed to run 50km between 1st – 25 December.

I also started up Park Run again later in December and even went on Christmas Day!

In all honesty, I was a bit nervous about doing this 10k so soon after Christmas. Despite the running I had done in December, I hadn’t done a 10k race since July last year.

I also hadn’t been doing more than 5k-6k in my recent runs and so wasn’t sure how I’d cope with the 10k distance. To be honest, I was planning on running this 10k at a comfortable pace and using it as more of a training run for my half marathon training.

On the day, it was an early start for a Sunday with the race starting at 9am. We arrived at about 8.20am and had time to collect our bibs and visit the toilet before the start. Tatton Park is a lovely setting with a beautiful lake and we even spotted some deer on the way round!

Overall, I found it pretty tough. It was mostly a flat course too but had a couple of sneaky, gradual, evil hills!! I was surprised at myself as I managed to maintain my Park Run pace (and in some instances go a bit quicker) for the whole 10K, when usually after Park Run I feel like there’s no way I could carry on!

It’s amazing how much more you can push yourself in a race environment. I find I always run quicker during races than I do if I’m just running by myself.

In the end I managed to complete the race in 57mins 56 seconds! This is amazing for me and pretty close to my best ever 10k time. I was really proud of myself especially as I didn’t do any specific training.

Tatton Park 10k finish

So, what’s next? I really want to improve my running further. I have signed up to a few more 10K races and a half marathon and so will need to focus on training for this over the coming months. I have also joined a running club and been a few times – I’m enjoying it so far as it’s so nice to run with others and meet like minded people.

I’m planning on documenting my half marathon training on here, so if anyone has any tips – let me know in the comments below. I’m pretty nervous about it!!

Until next time!

Louise X

 

2018 goals

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Firstly, I would like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year 🙂

I cannot believe that it is 2018, seriously where is the time going? I always use this time of year to set myself some goals for the year ahead as I find it really helps to motivate me.

I also look back at the previous year and reflect on what I’ve achieved. If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that 2017 was a huge year for me. In terms of my back, it’s the year I pushed myself the most by setting myself a massive personal challenge – to raise money and awareness of scoliosis by trekking the Great Wall of China. This was without a doubt the highlight of 2017 for me and it’s made me want to keep pushing. If I can do that, what else can I achieve? I believe I (and you!) can achieve anything I set my mind to.


So what else did I achieve in 2017?

I had a quick look at the goals I set myself in 2017 to see if I achieved them, they were as follows..

    • Focus on getting STRONG – I will be doing the 30 day plank challenge throughout January. I will also continue to go to Body Pump twice a week and gradually increase the amount of weights I can lift. I am determined to be strong enough to do a push up!! (Still can’t do those!)
    • Related to the above, I’m determined to get into Pilates too.
    • I really want to do a massive personal challenge of some kind and raise some money for Scoliosis Association while I’m at it (any ideas people? Let me know in the comments!)
    • I’m thinking of signing up to a 10K race or half marathon. A half marathon might be a bit much but I like to push myself 😉

So how did I do? Well, I completed the 30 day plank challenge. I continue to go to Body Pump classes and have noticed a dramatic increase in my strength. I still haven’t taken up Pilates though, this is something I intend to do this year for sure. I completed a massive personal challenge by trekking the Great Wall of China, and I managed to raise over £1,400. I completed not one 10K race, but I managed to do 4 10k races, a 5k mud run and a 5k colour run. I also completed 17 park runs.

My other goal was to focus on and grow this blog, and I’ve managed to increase my blog visits to over 5,000 a month (from pretty much zero!) in the space of a year by writing and following my blog strategy.


My goals for 2018

RUNNING

Complete a half marathon (huge challenge for me!)

Do at least 10 10K races / running events

Improve my running speed – target 25 mins 5K by end of the year (currently around 28mins)

Join a running club

Complete  a Tough Mudder

Go to as many park runs as I can, including trying some different ones, with the aim of reaching 50 park runs

Run 1000km in 2018


FITNESS / other challenges

Focus on increasing my strength – more body pump / strength work at the gym

Start core classes at the gym

Start Pilates classes – finally

3 peaks challenge – at least climb a few more mountains as I love Snowdon

I would love to do another massive personal challenge like Machu Picchu – watch this space!!


TRAVEL

Take at least a month off for travelling – I love travelling. This is something I’ve wanted to do for years and I feel like I’m finally at a place in my life now where I can do it and achieve my dream.


PERSONAL

Get a tattoo – something related to scoliosis and my China Challenge would be good as a reminder of what I achieved.

I’m really proud of what I have achieved with my blog in 2017 and I intend on continuing to grow it further in 2018.  I have lots of ideas and will be working on a 2018 strategy over the coming weeks but if there is any content you’d like me to include, please let me know!

Just comment below or send me a quick email. I love to hear from my readers as it really does mean a lot that people actually read it! You can also complete my quick blog survey.

Also, if you or someone you know has scoliosis and you would like to share your story or write a guest post I would love to feature it on my blog, so please get in touch 🙂 I would also love to collaborate with other bloggers in 2018 too and attend some blogger networking events.

helpformyscoliosis@hotmail.co.uk

That’s all for now,

Happy New Year!

Louise X