RUNching and the Office Space Race

My job takes me all over the place – some days I am in our head office, some days I work from home, and generally once or twice a week I am travelling. It means I don’t really get the opportunity to RUNch (run at lunch) as much as I used to enjoy.

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Last week I worked from Central London (hardly ever happens these days!) which meant I was able to take part in the “Office Space Race”. Set by leading office space provider Flexioffices, the Office Space Race had us bolting around a set course in Shoreditch as fast as we could (and past a few of their office locations). I haven’t spent much time in Shoreditch at all – so when my workday in London aligned with being asked to run the route by Flexioffices, I thought it was a pretty good opportunity to check out the area in the way I know best – bolting around on two feet!

Sometimes bothering to sync a Garmin just wastes too much time! 

When it was time for my lunch break, I quickly got changed and got outside. The key to a good RUNch is to be as prepared as possible – get your kit on quick smart, and don’t faff around with technology! Sometimes it can be hard to escape the confines of the desk (or, more so in my current case, that pesky flashing red blackberry light which drives me mental!) but taking a bit of a break to get a quick sweat on, and some endorphins flowing really makes the afternoon a lot more productive!

According to a recent study by Bristol University, exercising at lunch really does make you work better! 200 people were recently questioned after spending 45mins working up a sweat in the middle of the day and there were some telling results:

– 72% reported improvements in time management on exercise days compared to non-exercise days
– 79% said mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised
– 74% said they managed their workload better

Flexioffice Space Race

Your RUNch doesn’t have to be a full 45minutes either – even just 15minutes outside can make the world of difference. I ran the route set by Flexioffices in 14minutes – a bit slower that I would have expected had I been at my usual pace, but considering a few obstacles, I was pretty happy with that!

A few tips for your RUNch:

Flexioffice Space Race

– check the map before you head out. I like to use mapmyrun.com to plot a route and plan how far I am going. Write the key streets/ turns on a peice of paper or your hand – or, if you get lost (like me!) keep an eye out for the helpful maps on bus stops, outside tube stations, or by Barclays Bike Hire stations.

– Keep a quick change kit in your desk drawer. Taking a full shower honestly isn’t necessary if you run less than 5k (my personal view anyway – you might be a sweaty beast though!). A spray of deodorant, a couple of facewipes and a fair amount of dry shampoo can have you back at your desk in a matter of minutes

Flexioffice Space Race

– Stay aware of your surroundings. Cars, other pedestrians, and roadworks were all hazards that I came across on my little jaunt around Shoreditch! If you listen to music, keep it down low, and be prepared to slow down/ side step a bit more. Don’t step out on to the road to cross without checking for rogue taxi’s or bikes – these guys seem to come out of nowhere!

Flexioffice Space Race

– Similarly – LOOK AROUND YOU and take it all in! I knew I couldn’t bolt it around Shoreditch due to the pedestrians and traffic, so instead I took it at a leisurely pace, trying to notice all sorts around me. There was some pretty cool street art and graffiti, some wonderful old buildings, and some “aww London” views of the Gherkin that I caught along the way. I never would have noticed these things if I had my head down concentrating on my feet and my pace.

Flexioffice Space RaceSweet Olympics inspired graffiti I found along my way 

I thoroughly enjoyed exploring a new area of London – and I’ll admit, without the incentive of the Flexioffice Office Space Race, I might not have bothered packing my kit that day. I’m really glad I did – I was MUCH more productive that afternoon!

Flexioffice Space Race

Do you exercise in your lunch break? Does your employer encourage it or hinder it?

Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Flexioffices, however all sweat was my own.

London Marathon 2015 – It’s On

I’m quite speechless right now (unusual for me).

Last night I received the below tweet from Adidas UK. I didn’t want to count my chickens too soon – but could it mean what I think it meant? I had to wait an agonising 15minutes before I got the reply…yes, I wasn’t dreaming things, I had WON an entry into the London Marathon.

London Marathon

Let me rewind. A few weeks back when I was being all sad and disappointed and throwing my “Sorry” mag around the room, I made it pretty clear on social media that I wasn’t giving up. I’ve had numerous friends message me with charity options, and various competitions that I could enter to try and win an entry. I knew the charity route wasn’t feasible for me, so I threw all my efforts into entering every competition I could find.

London Marathon Rejection

Turns out, it actually paid off! Adidas asked people to tweet their reasons for wanting to  run VMLM15 with the hashtag #adidas26rs – the name of their marathon club. Last night they selected my tweets as the winner of this month’s prize.

I’m OVER THE MOON!

My top 3 reasons for wanting to run London Marathon are:

1) To Say Goodbye

We actually pack up our flat and ship our belongings back to New Zealand in February – before heading home for our wedding in March. However, we have planned our Epic Adventure honeymoon around returning to London in April for 5 days – yup, you guessed it – for the marathon weekend. That weekend will be my last time in London for quite a few years, and it will mark the end of 3 years of living here. What better way to say goodbye, than to run THE MARATHON?

2) To Say Thank You

London is the place I found my feet – both literally and metaphorically – and running the Marathon is my way of saying thank you for those life lessons.

Team Naturally Run

I wasn’t really a runner when I moved here. I’d pottered around the bays at home a couple of times, and I could get up to 5k on the treadmill – but I wasn’t into running for the fun of it, more just as something to do for weight loss. I arrived in London, started this blog, and ran my first half marathon a few short months later. I found my runners feet and haven’t looked back.

Marathon Training

On the other side, running helped me back up when I had fallen so far down. Moving to this city cut my legs out from underneath me – months and months of unemployment and interview rejections (46 job interviews!) knocked every ounce of self confidence out of me. I finally got a job as an office bitch, but I was made redundant a month later. The only thing that kept me from buying a plane ticket out of here was running. I ran and I ran and I ran. I ran that very first half marathon and I started to believe in myself that maybe I wasn’t worthless after all. Running helped me mentally cope with my situation and stress, and rebuild confidence in myself.

Team Naturally Run

3) To Be Victorious

I want to leave London on a high. Running past the famous and historic sights and sounds of this city gives me a massive runners buzz, I get that “I love London” moment when I am running along the riverbank – which I don’t get at any other time. Wandering the streets of London usually leaves me in a frazzled stressed grumpy state – but running those same streets? I’m flying, and my chest feels full to bursting with the beauty of this city.

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Running those streets, the river, past those sights – seeing friends I have made through running run beside me, or cheer on the sidelines – I know I will almost explode with my love for THIS London. My version of London.

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Running the London Marathon is going to be my victory run, my “I survived” glory moment, my lasting memory to take with me – it’s me kissing the streets goodbye with every inch of my body – from the blistered soles of my feet, to the drip of sweat off my exhausted forehead.

Thank you Adidas for making my dream a reality. London Marathon – it’s on. 

UK’s Running Club of the Year

Decathlon Running Club of the Year

A few days ago Laura found a lovely competition which she suggested Team Naturally Run enter – the Decathlon UK Running Club of the Year.

Decathlon is looking for nominations across the UK for the grand title of Running Club of the Year, with the winners nabbing a £500 spending spree in store. While the prize would be nice, ultimately it’s the recognition of us as a “club” or a “team” which will be the true icing on the cake.

Team Naturally Run - Nike We Own The Night

The idea for Team Naturally Run actually came from working with Nike in 2013 to promote their new 10k – We Own The Night. I agreed to try and encourage as many ladies to take part as possible – and decided to create an online “team” – blogging about training tips and encouragement, and featuring two team members a week so the girls could get to virtually know each other. We created a facebook group, and even held a Train to Run session in Regent’s Park – the first time many of us met face to face.

Team Naturally Run - Nike We Own The Night Training

On the night of the race I met so many of the girls – and together we celebrated the achievement of running that race. Some were seasoned marathoners, some had never owned a pair of running shoes before. One thing that came across was how friendly this group of girls were – how open to sharing and encouraging each other they were, and how many friendships started bubbling from it.

Team Naturally Run after

Instead of the race being the end of the story, it was only the start. We decided to keep the facebook group going, and it grew and grew – as more ladies joined us along the way. Currently we have near to 110 active members, and it’s grown to be MORE than just running.

Spitfire Scramble

We share questions and answers, races, discounts, cycling, yoga and general fitness classes and opportunities – and most importantly, the group offers a way of socialising with others who have similar interests. For me personally, the team has become my main friendship group. It can be quite hard making new friends in a new city (something I have blogged about here), and running can often be a solo sport. Having this team means I am never short of a run (and brunch) buddy!

Geneva Marathon Weekend

From its early beginnings Team Naturally Run (or TNR) has now taken on friendly parkruns and fun races, 10k’s, half marathons, marathons, 24 hour races, the trails, Relay events – and even a RACEcation together! If we aren’t competing together – then we are cheering for each other – whether its online or in person. It’s nice to know you’ve got this fab group of girls to turn to for support, encouragement and advice.

Decathlon Running Club of the Year

If you are part of Team Naturally Run, then I’d love for you to nominate us by answering a few questions here. 

If you are a mid 20’s – 30’s London chick and want to be a part of Team Naturally Run – just get in touch! We are super inclusive and welcome new active members with wide open arms. At one time, none of us knew each other, and now I would say I have 110+ new fab friends.

The Decathlon UK Running Club of the Year nominations close on 14th November and clubs that are shortlisted will be announced soon after. Fingers crossed and stay tuned!

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