The end of December is usually the end of a month of eating, drinking and spending, so most people turn their thoughts to plans for the new year. I gave up on keeping any New Year’s Resolutions based around weight loss a long time ago. In fact, it wasn’t until 2014 that I successfully met a New Year’s Resolutions goal at all. I promised to cut down on the amount of ready meals that I ate. In one year, I went from about one per week to three in a year. Not bad going! Since then, I’ve always set realistic goals and my success rate has definitely improved.

So what realistic goals am I setting for 2018?

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In January, it seems like the whole world is trying to get fit. Diet adverts shine down on us from every angle, from TV to the tube demanding that we shed the festive weight.

If you’re like me, you probably over-indulged at Christmas. That’s what it’s all about, right? Though I don’t believe that every calorie I consumed in December needs to be sweated out of me in January. It’s going to be a challenge to get back into my pre-Christmas routine, but I’m confident that with a bit of motivation I can get back into my normal eating habits and exercise routine before the month is out.

A bit of shared motivation is all we need to make it, right?

Just over a year ago, I found the motivation to start running. Mostly, it was the pair of discount running trainers that I’d bought in Florida staring at my accusatorily from the cupboard that made me finally lace them up. I downloaded a Couch to 5km app and headed out. The voice in the app helped me along by telling me when to start running and when to switch back into a walking pace. If you could call it running. It was more of a light jog and then being unable to breathe while stumbling along.

They always say that the first step is the hardest, and they were definitely right in my case.

As I lay on the sofa after that first run, sweating and trying to catch my breath, I felt it. A huge sense of accomplishment washed over me. I had done it. I had run, even if it was only for 45 seconds at a time, and had completed the first workout of a proper running program. I felt alive. I felt proud. And I felt like I could do it again – once I’d cooled off.

The next eight weeks involved me slowly getting better at running, following all of the commands on the app. Some weeks I had to repeat the training as I couldn’t face another week harder routines. Before long I was telling everyone that would listen that I ran for eight minutes straight. Eight whole minutes. Without even stopping! It was a revelation.

I was so surprised because I always thought that I was never designed to be a runner. I was one of those people who simply couldn’t do it, or so I told myself. Probably because lots of bits wobbled when I tried to go at a faster speed and I didn’t like the feeling of having a red and puffy face when I was out of breath.

I didn’t mind that face so much when it got me over the finish line of a half marathon. From 45 seconds of running to 2 hours and 27 minutes, completing my first half marathon around a year and a half later. I would never have believed it if you’d told me back then, but now I have the medal to prove it.

What does this all mean?

If I can do it, then you definitely can. The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, after all, and that first one outside your front door is definitely the hardest. I thought that people would stop and stare at me. Now I tell myself that they’re staring because they wish they had the motivation to run as well.

My foray into the world of running has made me healthier than ever. It gives me mental balance and means that the only person I’m ever competing against is myself. And there’s no-one I enjoy beating more.

If you’re thinking of giving running a go, or already enjoy it, then I thought you might like to get some inspiration from my running playlist. I know every song on here inside out and it always pushes me to keep running for those extra few minutes.


How do you like to stay fit? Will you be doing anything new this January?

lisamae signoff

I can’t walk.


Because I only went a ran a half marathon this morning! Yes, I actually managed to do 13 solid miles of running through the streets of Ealing, West London. It was my first half marathon ever and, amazingly, I didn’t die and I made it round in 2:27:06. My body is paying the price now; my knees are absolutely killing and I dread to think what they will be like tomorrow. I think I’ll avoid that thought for now and think about how great the race was instead.

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As you may have already realised, I love musicals, and since I live in London I have access to some of the world’s best shows right on my doorstep. Last night I was lucky enough to have amazing seats to see Kinky Boots in the Adelphi Theatre. I’d heard great things about it, and my expectations were definitely met and then surpassed. The name has put off a few people I know, but it’s a lot more than some fabulous drag queens. This show might just have the biggest heart in the West End.

Some of my other decisions have been more questionable this week. After the relative success of my first ever race when I did a 10k in May, I’ve decided to step up my game. There’s nothing like a ridiculous challenge to motivate me, and this is definitely one of them. The next few months are going to be tough.

Read on to find out what I’ve gone and done this time…

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Training for a race is hard, and running one can be just as tough. I discovered this, and a lot more, when I ran my first ever race. Having skipped the 5km event, I went straight into a 10km race around Regents Park in London. My training had gone fairly well, minus a week off because of shin splints, and I felt as prepared for the event as I ever realistically would be.

Yet there was still lots that I wasn’t ready for. Entering yourself into a race can be daunting, so here are my top tips for your first running event. If you’re feeling daunted, it’s worth remembering that you’re pretty amazing for even signing up to get involved in this madness. Let’s go.

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