Yoga All Day: The OM Yoga Show

I was lucky enough to get tickets to the OM Yoga show this weekend, courtesy of Tapped Birch Water. I already stalk them on social media as well as fangirling over their water, so I was absolutely thrilled to find out I had tickets!

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So let’s get to it: OM Yoga Show is an expo and festival covering all things yoga, mindfulness and wellbeing. Based in Ally Pally, it’s a bit of a trek to get to for a South-Londoner like myself, but well worth the effort. There are products to try, open (free) yoga classes all day, and additional workshops you could sign up to in advance. And so I ate my body weight in free samples and did as much yoga as I could manage, but sadly did not get my aura photographed or my chakra cleansed! Here are some of the highlights:

Open Rocket Class with Yogangsters

This was my first open class, which I somehow stumbled into, and even managed to get a mat right at the front! It was a half-hour class taught by Leon London, and was a great introduction to Rocket Yoga, with a relaxed vibe and some challenging postures.

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Open “Funky Vinyasa” Class with Kathy Ray

This has to be hands down one of the most bonkers classes I’ve done to date. Kathy was clearly inspired by her experience as a dancer for this vinyasa flow, with both club tunes and deep chill vibes playing over the sound system whilst we moved through an incredibly fast-paced yoga flow. It perhaps wouldn’t have been best for a beginner, but everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, myself included!

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Rocket Yoga Workshop with Marcus Veda

I signed up to this class on the advice of my friend, colleague and all-round fantastic yogi, so I had high expectations! Needless to say Marcus delivered, with a combination of challenging yoga poses and ujyayi breath, all tied together with the rebellious spirit and great sense of humour that Rocket is all about. Marcus’s past life as a DJ came into its own, as the music was paired to the ideal tempo of breathing- all you had to think about was breathing to the music.

I’m not going to lie, I was not prepared for my second Rocket class of the day, especially considering how many miles my legs still have in them from marathon training. I struggled with some of the more intense standing postures, as well as anything that required upper body strength. It’s a goal of mine to get stronger though, and that only happens when you challenge yourself.

We rounded off the class with a pranayama practice followed by meditation and savasanah. I really enjoyed the workshop, but I was completely knackered afterwards, and headed straight to the food tent for some gorgeous vegan eats.

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I stole this because I was too busy sweating to take photos!

After three yoga classes I was pretty much done, but somehow managed to have another wander around, buying more products I probably didn’t need. Whilst I absolutely loved the show, all the classes, and the positive vibes, it was still pretty hectic and by the end of the day I was craving some downtime to just chill, eat and drink some of the many tea samples I picked up! But it certainly reinvigorated my passion for yoga and the need to incorporate a regular practice into my life. How I’ll do that? Well the verdict is still out, but I’ll keep you posted!

Do you have a regular yoga practice? How do you incorporate it into your life?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

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Podcast of the Month: Running Commentary

I recently discovered a brand new podcast to listen to on my run and, most importantly, my morning commute. Running Commentary is a really simple concept- stand-up comics Rob Deering and Paul Tonkinson record the conversations they have on their runs around London. These conversations include: life, comedy, and running. But mainly running.

 

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What I love is the informal nature of their conversations; they’re completely unedited, and also you can hear their breathing as they run and chat simultaneously, which gives you a sense of camaraderie when you’re out trotting round London on your own. There are also random interjections, such as “ooh look at that bird, what the hell is that?” and “we’re just running past a large, unaccompanied dog…does that dog belong to anyone?” These perfectly reflect the conversations I have with friends whilst running: a mix of the deep and meaningful, combined with the completely frivolous- the only difference being that we’re not recording ourselves.

They also come up with occasional pearls of wisdom that aren’t shrouded in pseudo-spiritual nonsense- here are some of my favourites from a recent listen:

  • “Those lie-downs at the end of a marathon. That’s sacred time, isn’t it. Just like, ‘I think I’m gonna lie down here. I’m just gonna lie down here. Just here on this bit of pavement, it looks really cosy. I’ll just wait for my family to collect me.’”
  • “I’m not religious, but I do think that running is a spiritual thing for me. A spiritual get-out on a week-by-week basis.”
  • On race photos: “I always say if you wanna see what you’re gonna look like it 20 years time, just take a look at 40k”
  • “It can get very surreal, can’t it, when people start running past you in fancy dress (during a marathon).”
  • “It’s quite an episodic run on a Sunday, isn’t it, cos there’s so much going on.”
  • “The fundamental thing with running is-you get away from your brain.”
  • “In life, you wanna unlock. But you can’t make the decision to unlock can you, it’s just gotta happen. But running makes that happen. Cos it makes you switch off.”

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I highly recommend giving them a listen- they’re very unstructured and personable, which is exactly what I love. They’ve even recently started to take other runners on their jaunts, including ultra runner and Guinness World Record holder Susie Chan, who shared her experiences running the Andes to the Amazon Jungle Ultra and setting a treadmill World Record this year. Girl crush alert! So yeah, give these chaps a listen!

Any podcasts you recommend, running or non-running related?

Lots of love,

Pippa

Cross Training Focus: Yoga @ Another Space

Having done a 13.1 mile run last weekend, plus speedwork the following Tuesday, my body and soul was in need of some love. And so I headed off to my new favourite studio, Another Space for a yoga class. As I mentioned previously, I got a few free classes through work, I’m a bit in love. It’s legit fancy with proper Cowshed toiletries and fluffy towels in the changing rooms. Swoon.

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Speedwork feels

Like I said: yoga time!

I have to say I was really impressed by the yoga at Another Space. Firstly, the studio itself; mats were already set up, each accompanied by a yoga block, belt and towel, in an OCD-porn way that satisfied my inner neat-freak. And I have to mention the yoga mats- they were really great quality, and for once I didn’t spend the majority of my class slipping and sliding around. It made a huge difference to actually be able to remain in the poses and clear my mind, as opposed to constantly worrying about a face-palm situation.

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The instructor may have been my favourite yoga practitioner to date. An Irish guy called Chris, he was bearded, muscular, and looked more like a rugby player than your typical yogi. He was absolutely fantastic- just the right amount of zen for me- and definitely pushed us by making us hold the poses for longer than you usually would in a vinyasa-style class. I found myself able to open up and get a lot more from the poses than in previous classes, and even managed some really satisfying binds.

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Do you have those exercises classes where you really have to psyche yourself up to do them? This isn’t one of those at all. It was really strenuous on my upper and lower body, but yet it didn’t feel like a lot of effort psychologically- I felt very calm throughout, not rushed or constantly comparing myself to other yogis in the class. DDogBeach.png

And the next day, I could feel- specifically in my legs and shoulders. But this time it was in a good way, like I could feel myself getting stronger and my muscles growing. So it was a good kind of pain!

What’s your favourite way to cross train? 

Any specific yoga pose you love for those post-run pains?

Lots of love,

Pippa

Mindfulness: My Training Principles

Last night, feeling particularly inspired after a yoga class, nourishing dinner and catch-up with a friend, I found myself with some time to properly reflect on some principles I want to train by in the next few months. With quite a busy schedule of races and training ahead, I want to be careful to avoid burnout. During my training for Manchester Marathon at the start of the year, I was doing way too much, prioritizing all the wrong things, and it ended up costing me dearly both in terms of injury and professional accomplishment.

 

 

So without further ado, here we go:

Run Less, with More Focus

Whilst I haven’t read the book in its entirety (yet), I want to focus on the approach set out by Run Less, Run Faster for the next few months. As much as I love love love to run junk miles, and regularly run 4 or 5 times a week when not training for a specific goal; my body can only take 3 structured (i.e. intense) training sessions a week. I’ll be keeping it simple, and supplementing the following with cross-training:

  1. Long run
  2. Tempo run
  3. Intervals

Focus on Balance

In my brand new Believe, Achieve Training Journal, there’s a section on balance, and it talks about your “training wheel” being made up of the following spokes:

  • Physical training
  • Mental training
  • Nutrition
  • Recovery
  • Life Balance
  • Competition
  • Community

“Put too much emphasis on one spoke or ignore another, and your wheel becomes weak and collapses beneath you.” Wise words to live by.

Focus on Rest and Recovery

I am absolutely terrible at allowing my body to recover, and last training season I was burning the candle at both ends, which led to burnout, both physical, and more importantly, mental. I was really unable to focus on my work, and it wasn’t a good time at all.

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Focus on not getting fired

Okay, a slight exaggeration. But I want to focus on being able to deliver 110% in my current role, and take on more responsibility whenever possible. I cannot slump in my chair and let the brain fog take over.

Plenty of Race Prep ahead of the big event

The big event being, of course, the marathon. I want to get as much experience racing as I can, without overly interfering with my long runs. I currently have a good few in the diary, and seeing that I love racing so much, it’s hardly a sacrifice to add a few more when they come up (and believe me, they always come up)! Specifically I want to use 10k races as tempo runs, and do some half marathons as a way of getting over this weird mental block I have about 13.1.

 

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Good Food

This is entirely obvious, but something I really skimped on at the start of the year. I have a troubled history with food and dieting, and so it’s always a focus of mine to get better. My motto: Eat More Bananas- which is basically a shorthand way of saying “eat more real foods”. I also want to focus on eating fewer nothing foods- things like popcorn and rice cakes, which essentially keep you full but don’t really provide you with anything nutritionally. I’m certainly not swearing them off or restricting, but trying not to reach for a bag of popcorn whenever I get hungry.

 

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And yes, that includes treat food!

 

Have Clear Red Alerts

These are my signs that I absolutely have to cut back on training. I know people say listen to your body, but when you have a slightly obsessive personality like I do, it’s hard to do this without having an objective list of things.

  • Brain Fog
  • Any Work Fuckups or Close Calls
  • Monumental Life Fuckups
  • Heightened Emotions
  • Sickness or injury

 

These principles will hopefully stand me in good stead for lovely, successful and not too stressful training in the months to come.

 

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If you had to set a training principle for the next week, what would it be?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

 

Running and Racing

Whilst I love to run for fun, I also absolutely love racing, especially when it’s with my City Athletics crew. There’s something so fun about having a road trip to a random location, racing your heart out, and then going to the pub afterwards. So without further ado, here are my race plans for the tail-end of the year.

 

The Big, Scary, Audacious Goal…
 

 

…is the Budapest Marathon on 8th October. I’m not going to lie, I’m in it mainly for the holiday, but i also desperately need to avenge the horrific race day I had the first time I tried my hand at the marathon distance in April. After much umming and ahhing, I decided to just go ahead with it… I mean, I’d booked the flights months ago, so there’s that too!

 

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A Trip to Scandinavia
 

 

Courtesy of the Reykjavik Half Marathon, on 20th August. I had a lot of annual leave left over by the time it got to June, and so I panicked, and tagged along with what started off as a small runners’ jaunt, and has since gotten a lot bigger. I have no idea what to expect of Reykjavik, but I’m very excited for the hot springs which, I can imagine, are absolute heaven after a long race. As a side note, I’ve never actually raced a half marathon before, and I have a weird mental block about the distance. So this should be interesting!

 

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Where the ‘El 
 

 

is Elmore? I have absolutely no idea, but as per usual, I signed up to the race pretty much as soon as it got posted on the City Runners Facebook group. It’s a 7-miler and forms part of the Surrey Road League, so it must be in Surrey somewhere. And as usual, I’ll probably have the night-before-the-race panic when I realise quite how early I have to get up to make it to the start line on time. Oh well, there’s always coffee.

 

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‘Ello Elmbridge
 

 

Again, another leg of the Surrey Road League…so Surrey I guess? This is a 10k, which I think still remains my favourite distance to race. It’s also a great indicator of fitness and helps me to keep track on where I’m at, and if I’m making any progress. That being said, there’s a risk I’ll pile the pressure on- so that’s something to be wary of. But still, a day out with the runner crew!

 

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What’s your running schedule looking like? Anyone been to Iceland or Budapest? Send me your tips! 

 

Lots of love

 

Pippa