Stay Safe on Your Run

running in the dark

Not only do we have to contend with cold weather and rain, but the darkness that makes winter running so brutal. For most of us it’s dark when we leave the house to go to work and dark when we get home from work, so when do we squeeze our runs in?

Unless you’re able to run during the day, then unfortunately you’ll have to run dark, so here’s how to stay safe whilst you pound the pavement over the next few months.

  • Tell someone where you’re going – make sure you’ve let someone know that you’re heading out for a run, the distance, time and route so that they know where you’ll be. You could also turn on the tracking device on your phone so that someone could track you or use BSafe an app that can act as a siren, allows you to send an SOS to friends, leave a GPS trail or set a timer that will alert friends that you’re not OK if you don’t check in at a certain time (which sounds like a disaster if, like me, you always spend longer on your runs than you expect!)
  • Run a familiar route, the last thing you want to do is get lost. If possible, try to run where there are street lights and people around (although the last thing you want to be doing is running down
  • Ensure that you have ID on you- you can buy these brilliant runner ID wrist bands (a great Christmas gift for any runners you know). Also make sure to set an ICE – incase of emergency on your phone.
  • Set up your medical ID on your phone. Open the Apple Health app and tap on the Medical ID in the bottom right hand corner, Create Medical ID. At the very top, make sure ‘Show When Locked’ is turned on. Fill in your relevant information. If you don’t have any allergies then write ‘None’ rather than leaving them blank! Make sure you have at least one person registered as your emergency contact and save.
  • Be seen. Although I’m having a bit of a thing for black fitness gear at the moment, it’s important that cyclists, cars and other runners can see you. I was recently sent a whole range of reflective gear and running lights from Nathan Sports which we tested at our Be:Fit London run.  The most popular items were the small clippable strobe lights, heel lightspur  and the reflective water bottle. Thanks Nathan Sport for Firing Up Our Run! Never assume that a car has seen you, be extra vigilant and careful even if you’re kitted out in full reflective gear.

Nathan Fire up your run

  • Which brings me nicely on to the next point – safety in numbers. Join a running club or grab a group of friends and run together. We run from the Telegraph building on Tuesday evenings at 6pm.
  • Careful with your headphones and make sure your music isn’t so loud that you can’t hear anything else. It might be worth running without them at all, or keeping one ear free to ensure you can hear traffic, cyclists, pedestrians etc.
  • Run towards the traffic to increase the chances of them seeing you when crossing the road, or if there isn’t a pavement. Now is not the time for jay walking/running!
  • Don’t run the same exact route and the same time every single day. Unfortunately this might make you a target (or your house if they see you go out at the same time). Mix it up with some morning/evening runs on different routes.

How do you make sure that you stay safe when you run through winter? I end up running more with groups and doing weekend runs during the day. I’ve also been known to drag Tom out with the head torch when I wanted to run along the river but was far too scared to go alone!

Orange Theory London

Orange Theory London

If you follow the American fitness scene then you’ll probably have heard of Orange Theory, the workout class taking US by storm.

For those that haven’t heard of it, or don’t know much about it, Orange Theory is a 60 minute HIIT training class that uses a heart rate monitor to track your progress throughout the hour. You swap between treadmills, rowing machines, weights and TRX during the full body workout.

Orange Theory London

Your heart rate stats (worked out using your height, weight, age and your HR) are projected onto screens in the corner of the room so that you can monitor how hard you’re working and recovering. You’re aiming to be in the orange and red zones for each interval for maximum calorie burn.


The ‘theory’ part of Orange Theory is that you’re trying to produce “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption,” or EPOC also known as the “afterburn” effect, meaning increased metabolic rate for up to 24 hours after class – meaning you can feel fully smug sitting on the sofa and watching I’m a Celebrity knowing that you’re still burning calories.

We all started class on the treadmills, and you set the following paces for our workout

  • BASE pace = pace you could run at for an hour
  • PUSH pace = 1-2mph faster than base
  • ALL OUT SPRINT = 2mph faster than PUSH, and something you couldn’t do for more than about 1 min


You’re constantly encouraged to increase the pace if you can towards the end of a set, with the trainer counting down in 15-30 second increments so that you feel like you could increase it for just a few seconds and make it to the end rather than flying off the back of the treadmill. Unlike 1Rebel or Barry’s Bootcamp you’re not given numbers to input on the treadmills except for during the walking recovery sections, so it’s up to you to push yourself as much or as little as you like.


We spent half of the class on the treadmills, but as each session is different this wouldn’t be the case for all classes – a little like Crossfit the workouts are the same each day for every Orange Theory studio!

After 30 mins and a lot of sweating, we moved over the weights section where our trainer took us through a circuit workout including;

  • 8 Deadlifts
  • 8 Tricep extensions
  • 12 TRX squat jumps
  • 12 TRX Bicep Curl
  • 12 TRX Back Fly
  • 20 press ups
  • 20 back extensions
  • 100m row

We added an extra 100m to the row on each round.

You worked through the circuit at your own speed and using the right level of weight/modification for you. I managed to get through 3 and a bit rounds. The exercises and reps were posted on a video screen, perfect for those like me with a memory of a goldfish when it comes to workouts.

Long leggings were a mistake…

Orange Theory London

Apparently if you’re on ClassPass they will only lend you a HR monitor for your first class, after that you’ll have to buy one for £40, or bring your own. Alternatively you could wear a HR watch, or just skip that bit of info if you’re not so bothered by the numbers at the end of the workout.

I had such a great workout, I had to go straight to Waitrose afterwards to get some healthy snacks for the train as I couldn’t wait for lunch at home!

Introducing: LIJA

Introducing LIJA

I’m starting a new series on the blog, showcasing fitness brands that might be new to you, collections from old favourites, and just outfits that I love. We’re starting the series with LIJA, a Canadian fitness brand that aims to marry together style and function to produce gorgeous workout wear.

I was sent a pair of leggings and a jacket to try out; the No Fear Capri and the Blaze Jacket. I’ve worn the leggings a lot over the past few weeks, including to a Halloween spin class at Boom Cycle, on runs, to yoga and I love them. They fit perfectly (I’m wearing a size small), and you don’t have to keep pulling them up – plus they have pockets in the front for your keys/gel/money or other essentials on your run. The drawstring also ensures that you can adjust the waist for a comfortable fit.



Unfortunately the jacket didn’t fit quite so well and the small was just a bit too small on me. I loved the styling though, especially the bow details across the vents at the back. It’s very lightweight, with two pockets at the front, and a really soft chin area.



You can buy LIJA at Net-A-Porter, Amazon, House of Fraser, and at various golf shops and independent sportswear stores in the UK- for full stockists check out the website.

It’s suddenly got really cold in London this weekend, time to pull out the winter running wardrobe and find some motivation to lace up and run despite the frigid temperatures!

What are you waiting for?

Are you waiting for Monday? Perhaps next month or even January to start eating better, to begin a new running training plan or to kickstart a fitness routine? Why are you waiting, why not start now?

The last two months haven’t gone exactly as I’d hoped/planned, and with that has been eating crap, sleeping badly, skin outbreaks, a lot of caffeine, and a body and mind that does not feel at it’s best. One of the PTs at work asked me this morning where I felt I was right now on a scale of 1-10 (10 is feeling amazing with your body)- I said 5. With only 6 weeks to go until the New Year, it would be easy to put it off for the next few weeks vowing to start fresh in the New Year. But actually, I want to start 2016 feeling amazing, not crappy. 


December is typically the month that I look and feel at my worst, unsurprising however not ideal when it coincides with lots of parties, dressing up and photo opportunities. I usually look pale, tired and bloated. In an effort to combat some of these I’m making food prep and eating well a priority. When I have long days at Uni it’s easy to reach for junk snack food especially if I haven’t brought anything with me. I made these Raw Brownie Bites and enjoyed them with a cup of tea in my 4pm lecture yesterday- the perfect pick-me-up.

I’ve never been one for food prep at the start of the week, however I think it might be time to jump on that bandwagon, especially for easy packed breakfasts and lunches. I printed out a ‘Healthy Life Plan’ spreadsheet for myself to fill in where I’m working, what workout I’m doing, what I’m eating etc for the week ahead to stay on track.

This week I’m cooking;

Cauliflower, Courgetti and Pancetta in a lemon-parmesan sauce

Thai Pork and Peanut Red Thai Curry with Sweet Potato Rice

Shredded Mexican Chicken and Corn Quinoa Bowls

Kung Pao Turkey Wraps (I wrote this recipe for GH a few years ago!)

Healthy Living Planner 

runnerbeans planner

 You can see it online here – thanks Abi for helping this old technophobe!

Similarly, planning my exercise the week in advance using my Classpass app will ensure that there aren’t more rest days than planned. A new feature I’ll be sharing is ‘Fitness Friday’ where I’ll be sharing my weekly workouts. Unfortunately injury/life/work got in the way of my November Project so it will be an extended project, going into the New Year but it will happen!

If you wait for a convenient time to start something, an easier time, it will never happen. Rather than feeling overwhelmed about making a HUGE change in a few days/weeks time, instead make a small change today, then make another small change tomorrow. These little changes add up and will contribute to a big change without feeling overwhelming. Making the changes now will ensure that those ‘get fit’, ‘lose weight’ ‘eat healthier’ New Year’s Resolutions will become attainable goals.

Cosmo Blog Awards

Just a quick snap and thank you for shortlisting me for the Cosmo Blog Awards- I had such a fun evening and meet some amazing other bloggers. Shout out to Carly Rowena, the Twins in Trainers, the Blonde Ethos, Wedges & Weights, Helen, and Gymbags & Gladrags!

Raw Chocolate Brownie Bites

I have a real sweet tooth, and spending time at home working is really testing my self-control when it comes to multiple chocolate breaks. I made these delicious raw brownie bites that taste chocolatey, fudgy and amazing, plus they are full of natural goodness to ensure that my sweet treats had more nutrients than a Kit Kat!

I’ve kept my raw brownie bites in the freezer to keep them fresher for longer,and to stop me eating them all at once. They are perfect with an 11am coffee, 4pm cup of tea or as an after dinner treat.

I’ve been really struggling with the long days at uni and need to be organised with my snacks to give me energy to concentrate through my 2 hour lectures and tutorials. I’ve got a couple of these in a zip-lock to keep me going from 9-6 today before the Cosmo blog awards! I’m so excited to attend and see who wins our category!

Raw brownie bites

Raw Chocolate Brownie Bites

200g pecans

500g Medjool dates, pitted

3tbsp cacao

1tbsp almond butter

3tbsp desiccated coconut

3tbsp maple syrup


In a food processor, pulse the pecans into small pieces.

Add in the Medjool dates and pulse again before adding the remainder of the ingredients and blitzing together until the mixture clumps together.

Divide into 24 equal balls, about the size of a walnut. Freeze or refrigerate until you want to eat them! To make them look really posh, you can roll them in extra coconut or cacao to make them look like truffles.


Raw chocolate brownie bites