Mindfulness: Falling for fall?

Summer has always been my favourite season, and so when Autumn arrives it can be easy to feel despondent. Whilst social media gets excited for crisp leaves, warm jumpers and Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but I often struggle slightly- I think that’s the thing with the British Summer- blink and you’ll miss it.  That’s why it can often be quite startling when Autumn comes around.

That being said, the colder months are generally much better for me than they used to be, and I think that has a lot to do with running all year-round. Spending more time in nature, getting that endorphin fix, and trying to run during the limited daylight hours- without any of this, I’d be lost. So whilst I’m not overly excited about the end of Summer, things are looking up. And here are the things I’m looking forward to:

 

  • Blanket scarves. These are basically a socially-acceptable blanket that you’ll always have to hand during the winter months. I can even get away with wrapping myself up in mine when I’m at the office.

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  • Chai tea. I feel about chai tea the way many people feel about the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’m in love with it. Cannot get enough. I love super sweet chai tea when you’re stuck inside on a super grey and rainy day. Preferably wrapped in a big blanket scarf.

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  • Bonfire Night! This is my favourite “holiday” of the year. We Brits snuggle up, watch fireworks and build huge bonfires, in commemoration of the Gunpowder Plot- an attack on the Houses of Parliament that was foiled at the last minute. It’s such a community event, and I absolutely adore it.

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  • Crisp mornings. Whilst Autumn/Winter in the UK is generally grey and foggy, every once in a while we get a gorgeous crisp sunny morning. These are the best to be out running in.

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So there you have it. I’m not 100% on board for the colder months, but I’m a damn sight more positive than I would have been this time two years ago!

 

What’s your favourite thing about the colder months? Please, give me tips on how to survive!

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

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5 tips for anxious people

I’m having a bit of a rough time with my mood right now. I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety for a while now, and whilst I’ve generally got everything under control, it comes in peaks and troughs sometimes. Sometimes you can find a cause, and sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason for it, and the latter is the most frustrating.

 

However I have a few things that help, and I thought I’d share them with you today- just for the next time you’re having a bit of an off day, or you’ve lost your mojo.

 

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1) A big, cosy jumper. For me, this is my University of Cambridge sweatshirt. It’s grey and probably has a few stains down it at any given time, but I love it nonetheless. There’s a story behind it: having finished my finals, a year of stress had culminated in a week of partying- and I was exhausted. So my friend Ben gave me his Cambridge sweatshirt, and let me sleep in his room for a week. We would burn relaxing candles, read our books, and get some well earned sleep. I have fond memories of those times, and wearing this sweatshirt helps me feel comforted.

 

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2) A candle. It’s no surprise that aromatherapy is really effective when it comes to stress relief, but I didn’t realise how much until I found myself without a candle. I just spent some gift vouchers on a gorgeous one by This Works – Lavender and Vertivert – and it soothes me so much. I think it’s a similar fragrance to the one my yoga instructor diffuses around the room during savasanah- it’s relaxing and slightly minty too.

 

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3) A quilt. My Granny made all her grandchildren quilts when they were born, and as a 21st birthday present, she made me an adult-sized one, and even embroidered my initials onto it. It has huge sentimental value, but also serves a really great purpose: it’s really heavy. I recently discovered that one way to treat anxiety is by the use of pressure, which suppresses the central nervous system, stopping it from going into overdrive. That’s one of the many reasons hugs help make us feel better. Anyway, the blanket is really heavy, and I can just crawl up under it when I’m feeling a bit shit.

 

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4) Tea. I love a cup of tea before bedtime, especially when it’s cold out and I’m feeling rough. There’s something so soothing about it, as well as the fact that making a cup of tea requires taking a moment out from your regular day.
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5) A notebook. Throughout my struggles with anxiety and depression I’ve been advised to journal, but it’s not until I started my training journal that I appreciated the value of getting things out on paper and out of my head. I don’t think I’ve ever written a longform entry in a journal about my emotions, but sometimes writing down a list of things that you’re worried about can be overwhelmingly helpful. I like to divide them up into Can change and Can’t change. Each has their upside.

 

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Do you struggle with any of these issues? How do you pick yourself up?

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

Monday Motivation: A Life Outside of Running

Morning! This week’s motivation is courtesy of Ashley Higginson and Saucony. Ashley is a steeplechase runner who almost gave up on her sport completely. In the end, it turned out to be finding a life outside of running, and a sense of balance, that rekindled her fire.

 

 

This speaks to me a lot. Recently I’ve been thinking a lot about something Lauren Fleshman said in a recent Running On Om episode- that running was the kindling for a lot of the joy in her life- but that’s scary and, at times, limiting- especially when injury comes your way. I think recently I’ve become increasingly consumed by running, and I’ve started to realise I don’t want to define myself solely as a runner. Anyways, tangent over.

 

What’s motivating you this week?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

August Favourites

The focus of this month has been intense training complemented by real recovery. I’ve been working my little butt off, and therefore taking time to rest and recover has been precious to me. Without further ado, here are my favourites for August!

 

Nike Pro Compression Sports Bras

I’ve never been to fussy about sports bras, but I really do love the Nike Pro Compression ones. They offer a good level of support (for a flat-chested chica like myself) and they’re pretty enough that you can wear them on their own if you fancy joining the #sportsbrasquad.

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Plus I can pretend these are my girls

TREK Peanut Power Energy Bars

I like these after a training session, when I’m not going home straight away to eat. TREK Bars are cold-pressed, all natural whole food bars, and the macros are really great on them. The Peanut Power one is my favourite!

Compressport Socks

As always, my calves are pretty much screwed. I run with a forefoot strike, which puts a lot of strain on my lower legs and has led to injury in the past. I’ve recently rediscovered my love for my Compressport long compression socks, which I sleep in. (Aside: I bought a bright red pair that were on sale…and I’ve never worn them outside the house! Maybe a plainer pair next time.)

Chocolate stevia

These stevia drops are available online and from Wholefoods, and have really worked wonders for my coffee game. I love love love them. They’re zero calorie and all natural. You can even put a few drops in almond milk for a healthy take on chocolate milk goodness!

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Zinc Oxide Tape

Public Service Announcement: Use Zinc Oxide tape on your feet! A friend of mine is in the army, and he gave me this tip- with all the walking they do, they know how to take care of their feet. Zinc Oxide tape is incredibly low-friction, meaning that if you tape your toes, for instance, the tape isn’t going to rub the toe next to it. It’s very cheap, and you can pick it up at your local drugstore. As someone who always has horrific blisters on their toes, this was a game changer.

Green Chai Tea

I’ve been trying (and mostly failing) to drink less coffee. The Green Chai from Yogi Tea is really scrumptious, and you can have it with or without milk. And as an added bonus, each teabag comes with a little motivational message, which I think is really sweet.

 

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Epsom Salt Baths

As part of my recovery, I’ve been alternating between hot and cold baths. Adding Epsom Salts to a super hot bath really helps relax my muscles, and I can feel all the tightness coming undone. My favourites are the Radox Muscle Soak salts, which are only £1 per pack.

 

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Believe Achieve Training Journal

Keeping a training journal has been really transformational for me, and I highly recommend this one from Pro Runners Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas. It focuses on a holistic training approach, including nutrition, mental strength and the power of the team. I’ll write a full review on it soon, but spoiler alert: it’s amazing.

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That’s it from me- it’s been all training and very little else for me in August!

What have your favourites been this month?

 

Lots of love,

 

Pippa

This Saturday: I am Team GB!

As the Olympics drew to a close last week, I personally shed a small tear.

After all, the Olympics are the ultimate sporting event, and this year I’ve found myself obsessively checking social media, and rushing home to watch the coverage live. I find the Olympic Games immensely inspirational, and they always give me a much-needed kick up the backside to put down the popcorn, get off the sofa, and get outside for a run. Whilst the end of the Games may be a sad occasion for some, British broadcaster ITV has the perfect solution to the post-Olympic slump; all seven ITV channels will be shut down for one hour following the end of the Games. Instead of normal programming, the display will read: “We’ve gone running, why don’t you join us?”

 

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This initiative is part of the I Am Team GB project, which aims to both welcome home Olympic athletes, whilst proving that “you don’t have to be an Olympian to be part of Team GB,” in the words of Olympic Medallist Greg Rutherford. It aims to be the nation’s biggest sports day, with sports clubs opening their doors and hosting events all across the country. Whilst some may be sceptical- after all, what good can one hour do – I welcome the move. The Olympic Games can be the perfect catalyst to get people involved in sport, but to be honest, we may not do it of our own accord. And with obesity levels rising in the UK, especially amongst children, maybe we all need a collective kick up the backside. So on August 27th, I implore you: put down the popcorn, get off the sofa, and get outside for a run!

Will you be getting out and involved in #iamteamgb ?

Lots of love,

Pippa