My #h2Only Challenge: Day 10

In case you haven’t heard, I’m doing the H20nly challenge in aid of the Royal National Lifeboats Institution. (PLUG alert! Just Giving page). This means only drinking water for two whole weeks (no, mum, I’m allowed to eat as normal). To be honest, I mainly chose it for the personal challenge – and also because I was impressed by the creativity of their marketing team (geek) but as I could also raise money for a great hardworking charity that’s fantastic!

I threw myself into it without really thinking – I mean, I already don’t drink alcohol so it can’t be that hard, right? Wrong. I honestly had no idea how much I had come to depend on and look forward to… tea.

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This was my last cup on Monday 26th May!

The first couple of days were tough. I kept forgetting that I was only allowed to drink water but thankfully the RNLI had already thought of that, and had sent me a fundraising pack which included coasters with sayings like “water. straight up. ” and “make mine a water.”

In the first few days I did go a bit crazy. I even went through the motion of making a cup of tea in the morning – putting the kettle on, getting the milk out of the fridge, then… pouring myself a pint of water. Might sound weird but it worked! I’ve now gone nearly ten whole days without tea, coffee or soft drinks and I’m pretty sure I haven’t done that before.

I knew it would be good for me but I didn’t expect the affects to be so apparent or immediate. From day 1 I slept better, though I did feel tired during the day for the first few days. About a week in I realised I had way more energy – I’ve actually been sticking to my fitness plan (first time ever!) of running 4 miles every day, either to work or at lunch. Also my skin is clearer and smoother – much better than it feels even after the most luxurious spa treatment. Altogether I feel so, so much better for it!

So now I have to rethink my whole relationship with what I drink. Where before I didn’t really see it as a problem – food is usually the focus health wise anyway – I now know that what you drink has a profound effect on how you feel overall. I can only imagine (please comment if you are one of these people) what it must feel like if you had to give up booze, too.

I realise that this post is pretty self-centred when it should be about the RNLI and their fantastic work (and it really is fantastic. They actually save lives) so I apologise for that – but from the beginning I really just wanted to see if I could do it. It’s a bit like running a marathon – the challenge and achievement is the big thing that takes up most of your energy, and raising money for a charity is a great result on top of all that.

I guess the main point of this post was to say WOOOO ONLY A FEW DAYS TO GO but actually now I think of it, I’m very happy as a water-only person, and I may just try to stretch this challenge out as long as I can…

How to Perfect the Run Commute for #run2workday

Run to Work Day

It’s great to see so many people on board with today’s Run2WorkDay on twitter. I’ve been running to work for a while now, and love it, so thought I would share my experiences and tips about how to get it right – and not end up looking like a scruff for the rest of the day!

the run commute essentials

I have a high-vis running backpack (tenner from Sports Direct) which holds the following on my run commute to work:

  • Clothes for work
  • A wash bag, with the following: wet wipes, face wipes, mini body wash, mini body moisturizer, face moisturizer, underarm deodorant, & dry shampoo (never used it!)
  • Make up bag
  • Small towel

I haven’t included shoes because I keep a couple of pairs of work shoes under my desk, and wear my running trainers home.

the business of washing…

Like many workplaces, there are no showers available in the office where I work. I’ve heard that some run commuters do buy a cheap gym membership and use one of those nearby their work, but I find it much easier just to take my time with the sink technique. You’ll find your own sink technique, but my main tip is to pile your dirty running clothes on the floor around the sink, to catch all the water while you’re splashing away, and save your towel for drying yourself and also the floor afterwards. It’s easier if you can find a larger, or a disabled, loo in your workplace that you can use for 20 mins without anyone wanting it.

mistakes I’ve made

  • Forgetting make up (luckily I wasn’t far from a Boots for emergency mascara)
  • Forgetting underwear (not fun wearing running bra all day. After a 4 mile run.)
  • Forgetting headphones (actually quite liberating)
  • Forgetting inhaler (not so liberating)

things you can do to make your run commute easier

  1. Find a neglected cupboard in your place of work which you can use as your dumping ground. Ideally it would have a lock and you could just pop the keys in your running bag. On the days when you’re not running, bring in your clothes for the days you are running into work. Also keep washing stuff and make up too, to make your run even nicer.
  2. Leave yourself plenty of time. I allow myself 20 minutes after a run to get presentable, so this is factored into my run. I know how long I could take on my run, too, so I assume I’m going to be slow and work around that.

honestly it’s so worth it

I’m very lucky in that I can enjoy running along the canal and through the beautiful Regent’s Park on my way to work. It’s great to mix up the route and see new things – I often spot the lama or the giraffes over the London Zoo fences too! Very surreal.

Lama in Regents ParkI understand that not everyone will have this kind of opportunity, but that’s part of the challenge – how can you mix up your route so that you can go through green areas, urban areas and places that interest you? One option is to run part of the way then hop on a bus or train. Either way you will explore places and take in things you wouldn’t normally – so it’s not only healthy for your body, but great for your brain too!

it’s all about determination

Even when I really don’t feel like it – when it’s drizzling rain outside and a chilly breeze – I convince myself to stick to running to work… and I never regret it. Yes, you have to be quite organised, but in a way even that part is satisfying. People will be in awe of your commitment to health and fitness, and you’d be surprised at how interested and supportive people are. For a few minutes after a run I do look at myself in the mirror and think how will that ever be presentable for a day at work? .. but you’d be surprised – you cool down pretty quickly and won’t even feel ‘icky’ at all. You’ve just got to get a strong routine going with your washing and moisturizing. Tip – use a scented moisturizer. It’ll reassure you that you’re not giving off a bad smell, not that you would be anyway! Of course there’s always the option to run home instead – I just never feel like it at that time.

a distinct lack of lethargy

People often assume that running to work means you’ll be tired for the rest of the day – but it’s quite the opposite. I think I’d feel much more lethargic after a train, tube or bus journey. Running to work, like any other early birds workout, gives you energy that lasts the day!

My top tip – don’t just try it once and give up! If you do that, you’ll never try again. 🙂

Would love to hear from other run commuters, if you feel like commenting below!