Motivation Monday

Dame Kelly Holme's Marathon Race Day Tips

So this is it, one week to go before the (insert expletive here) London Marathon.  Physically, I’ve pushed my body as far as it can go.  I’ve trained as regularly as humanly possible, four times a week since Christmas (not including the weeks I’ve had off).  I’ve taken care of my body so that I remain injury free (even though my knees creak like a deserted pirate ship).  I’ve been completely tee-total (apart from weekends and Friday nights).  And I’ve even been sleeping more than usual (alarm set to multi-snooze).

Dame Kelly Holmes

So at this late stage all that lies left is the mental preparation.  Which ironically is driving me, well, mental.  On a scale of 1 to bricking it I’m well into double figures.  Sometimes I can’t even visualise myself making it to the finish line, let alone in a good time. 

For inspiration I’ve been watching films such as Usain Bolt’s ‘I Am Bolt’ and Mo Farah’s 'No Easy Mile’.  This has helped somewhat.  My knees don’t creak curled up on the sofa.

Double Olympic Gold Dame Kelly Holmes

Fortunately I once met Dame Kelly Holmes too and she gave me some great little bits of advice fit for complete marathon novices. She said;

1. Pace YOURSELF

Every marathon runner lives in fear of hitting the proverbial wall but Holmes says there’s no such thing as a wall! “If you don’t over-exert yourself by starting too fast, I promise that you will not hit a wall”. She promised… so that makes it AOK. I’m going to run with an activity tracker to ensure that I am running as slow as I think I am to begin with.

Apple Watch

2. Run efficiently

When running uphill or on an incline, shorten your strides to reserve energy for when you hit the flat roads again to lengthen them. Use your arms to help propel you forward too. The better your running form the more energy you save.

Dame Kelly Holmes and AJ Odudu

3. Flex your temperament

Your body for all it's strength answers to the small squidgy ball between your ears, you need to harness the power of your mentality to crack the whip on your physicality. Holmes advises to "think of trigger words to give you a boost (i.e. You can, believe, fierce) and run with your name printed on your vest so that you can hear words of encouragement from the crowd too". 

26.2 miles is a long way no matter how trained you are and you’re going to feel sore and tired even before the moment you finish. Stretch, foam roll, ice bath and sports massages are all part of recovery.

Leg Stretch Dame Kelly Holmes

4. Eat Smart

"The night before the marathon I ate lots of small meals to fuel my muscles. I ate rice as I prefer it over pasta. On race day I ate porridge: a sustainable energy source that is also light". Lots of water is also important including electrolytes in water. And sleep. Of course you'll feel nervous but try to relax so that you feel fresh on race day. No multi-snooze button allowed.

5. Run With Pride

Remember that thousands of people across the globe would love to do the London Marathon and haven't been able to get a spot. We are lucky to have the opportunity to try. Holmes told me that "it's an incredible event that brings people together no matter their nationality, age, gender, interests, abilities and disabilities. The long, demanding run is worth it"!

Dame Kelly

I am so delighted to have met not only a running legend but a great, strong woman who reminded me that I must find the strength within. I still feel nervous but I hope on race day that I really can achieve and so can you!

Please share this blog post if you think it could help others and let me know if you have any other tips to avoid marathon induced panic attacks. Good luck!

xoxo 

Top 5 Winter Fit Tips

Winter makes most of us want to snuggle up in bed but sadly, hibernating isn't going to keep us fit. Here's how I exercise to beat the winter blues.

Nike Zip Top

1. Wrap Up Warm

I still enjoy outdoor workouts if I get the right fit kit. Lightweight windbreakers, thermal leggings and lightweight gloves that keep your paws warm without getting sweaty are the answer to all my workouts. There are even long sleeved tops that cover the palms of your hands if gloves aren't for you. 

Sit Ups

2. Workout At Home

I personally love going for a brisk winter run in the fresh, cold air but for those days when leaving the house is all too much, I stick on an exercise DVD or playlist a load of YouTube workout videos and do that for 30-60 mins 3 times a week. The benefit of exercising this way is that you can do it in the comfort of your own home. The difficulty with exercising this way is that it can always be put off until another day. I suggest scheduling it into your diary to reduce the chance of avoiding your work out. 

Outdoor winter workout

3. Get stretching

For a mood enhancing fix try yoga. It's not all about being flexible (thankfully). In fact, it helps to combat fatigue whilst strengthening your body. If (like me) you often find being in a silent room full of tree poses very dull, try a class that plays music while you flex or, if you really need an incentive to brave the cold weather, take up hot yoga. Either way, it's sure to increase your energy levels, realise some tension and strengthen and tone your entire body. Three cheers for Namaste!

Yoga

4. Make a music playlist

Let's face it, you need to be in the right frame of mind to workout. Playlist a bunch of songs that make you feel happy, strong and invincible and crank it up just before you workout. Beyonce's Run the World, M.I.A's Bring the Noize, Missy Elliot's Lose Control and the theme tune from Rocky- You're the Best NEVER fail me so...press play.

Workout Playlist

5. Workout with friends

Sign up to a workout class with a friend or few and turn it into a social event. After most of my workouts I often catch up with friends over a healthy smoothie, a post-workout protein shake or a healthy brunch. It's a great way to get fit, get chatting and eat food. What's not to love?!

AJ Odudu Fitness

So there you have it. My top tips to keep you training, even al fresco.

XOXO

Photographer: Niran Vinod

Best App To Keep You Fit & Healthy | Endomondo

Like many people, what I  expect from a personal trainer is quite a lot; tailored workouts, training plans, encouragement, support and of course results. But  all of that comes at a cost. That's why I was pleased to hear about the Endomondo app which promises all those things and more. But does it deliver? I put it to the test at the Energy Lab, London and here's what I found out.

Endomondo Founder

Getting started was easy. It took  just two minutes to download and sign up. The interface is clean and fairly straightforward. There's an enormous play button begging to be tapped and so I jumped into my running gear and gave it a whirl.

Running AJ Odudu

Before you start, the app allows you to set a goal (e.g. your first 5)k. Then it creates a plan to help you get there. It even gives you the option to make a commitment (a feature that let's you make a public declaration to achieving a goal) which is great for socialising or if you're akin to a bit of mild peer pressure. 

Endomondo App

During my run there were lots of notifications and words of encouragement and after the run there was a clear display of my statistics/results, with the option to share my activity on social media. Brilliant but there are loads of fitness apps on the market so what makes this one so unique? 

Rowing Machine

Well, for a start they have a long list of sports you can track and the calorie calculations adjust accordingly. "I wanted to make the app fun for all, regardless of their chosen sport or activity" says founder of Endomondo and former competitive horseback rider, Mette Lykke. "We're continually developing the app thanks to the daily feedback that we get from our 4 million users and I'm so inspired and motivated by their fitness journeys. This app has changed lives and will continue to do so." 

Spin class

There's also an  inbuilt audio coach that tells you how well you are doing while you're tracking and the GPS function not only tracks your regular running route but also introduces you to other routes  nearby that you may like to try, enabling you to keep your workouts varied and fun. 

Bike riding

To me however, the most impressive feature about this app is the fact that it has the ability to  consider all the factors that may affect your workout; from the weather to the altitude, duration to distance, this app even considers how hydrated you are when creating your results. What's more is that it's completely free of  charge with the option of upgrading to Premium at any time (which offers even more advanced statistics, interval training programs and is advert free).

So there you have it. One easy fitness app for the data loving, activity seeking people out there. Go forth and download. 

AJ

XOXO

Endomondo is FREE of charge.

Endomondo Premium is £3.99 per month OR £22.99 per year. 

Sign up to Endomondo by clicking here



WORKOUT WITH FRIENDS

I find that recently, the easiest way to hang out with my friends is to workout with them. We meet up, exercise for an hour before catching up over a healthy post workout breakfast or lunch before going about our business. It's the best! Here I am with my friend Tasha Green doing wall-sits...

MOTIVATION MONDAY

running...

WORKOUT WITH FRIENDS

gazing into each others eyes (she's such a babe)...

HOW TO STAY MOTIVATED AJ ODUDU

and laughing at the fact that we are totally (and intentionally) wearing matching outfits.

workout with Tasha Green

Fit dates are awesome! Get involved.

XOXO

London Marathon 2015 | Fitspiration

Yesterday it felt like the whole of London got up early and did some serious exercise to partake in the London Marathon. Over 30,000 people took to the streets of London to get their Forrest Gump on, and pound over 26 miles of ground for charity.

I woke up first thing in the morning, went for a brisk walk around the park, did some push ups, had a really healthy breakfast and given the fact that I'd a fairly heavy weekend up until that point, I was actually feeling pretty smug. After praising myself for getting out of bed early, I then headed to Westminster to go whoop and cheer for people a lot more worthy of glorification, the marathon runners.

I thought it was going to be an absolute nightmare with the blocked roads and the vast amount of people but when I got there, the atmosphere was great, people were friendly and soon enough I was at the front of the crowd, seeing the runners go by. Paula Radcliffe ran with the masses as opposed to the professionals which was a really lovely way for her to say goodbye to the sport that has given her so much and given us so much inspiration and entertainment over the years. It may have been her last race, but Paula Radcliffe will continue to inspire female runners world wide. 

I was stood at mile 25 and at first I thought, “Oh this is nice. Everyone running looks really happy considering they’ve been at it for 25 miles. They're almost making it look easy!” I could see a man dressed in nothing but a red tutu, a Ben Big with legs, Batman and Robin and I even saw Chris Evans run past. "This is delightful" I thought. Soon after, I saw a woman crying, a man limping, and people with bleeding nipples. But ya know...swings and roundabouts. Despite their clear signs of agony they were still moving forward and I was in awe.

The Marathon for me, as a spectator was, exhausting just to watch. My voice is a little husky from all the cheering I did but it was truly uplifting and extremely inspiring to see. So here is a blog post dedicated to everyone who took part in the London Marathon yesterday. The spectators, all those who donated to the fantastic charities and most importantly, the Marathon Runners paving the way for change in the world and motivating people like me to do something worth while. Well done!