Not doing MAF

About this time last year I started to experiment with the maffetone method. That is running to a heartrate of (180 – age) and eating a diet with low carbs and low refined foods. The diet also emphasises a low stress lifestyle which is somewhat harder to achieve.

I found that I lost 10lb in weight and 4% body fat, and I was able to run fairly consistently through the year, averaging a mile a day.

Over the last couple of months though it’s all gone awry.

I blame my sons birthday and the quest to make the perfect ginger cake. In the month of March I made about 4 or 5 ginger cakes trying to get it just right and probably ate most of them. Since then the floodgates have opened and I have eaten quite a bit of cake and bread. Not huge amounts, but sometimes having a bagel for breakfast, pasta for dinner or a piece of cake when out for coffee with friends. And I have piled the weight back on, 5lb in 2 months.

Now that I’m back on the carbs, I’m finding it hard to drop them again.

I also had a dip in the running, but I’m picking that up again now. Ive stopped looking at my HRM and started just running as I feel.

I ‘m enjoying the running more.

I don’t think that my running improved with MAF. I used to run at a 12min/mile pace, not fast by any account, but with MAF to keep my HR down it was about 15-16mins per mile. I suspect that I really needed to do more miles to get the benefit and run faster at that HR but although I tried, I struggled to fit in more than 4hrs per week.

Now I’m back to running by feel, I can’t do a 12min mile, not even downhill!  Maffetone says that running at tempo, which is what most people do naturally left to run to feel, releases cortisol and gives you carbohydrate cravings as you aren’t fat burning when you run.

So what to do now?

So far I’m enjoying my early morning runs. It does seem to be the best way to fit it into the day, and just 30minutes every morning has doubled my weekly mileage.

Can I and will I run off the weight gain? I know, because I read a lot that the evidence suggests running alone will not help to lose weight, it has to be combined with diet.


See the willow tree in the foreground? Almost completely up rooted but new growth on the branches!

Will the low carb diet work along side running to feel? will the running make me hungry, craving carbs, or will the low carb diet mean that I don’t have the energy/ motivation to run?

one way to find out is to give it a try. So for this week only, low carb, run to feel, 30 minutes every morning.

FYI my version of low carb includes lots of veggies, except potatoes, so it isn’t an unhealthy ‘packed with saturated fats and meat’ diet. Though I do get through a lot of cheese and Greek yoghurt!

Posted in balance, change, fitness, habits, healthy diet, heartrate, low intensity, maffetone methid, middle aged women, Motivation, Nutrition, running, slow run, Stress, time management, training plan, weight loss, work life balence, working mum | 16 Comments

21.4.17#spotted the bunny!

So, this is getting to be a habit!

Yesterday I didn’t run, I made an active choice to have a rest day.

Today, out again at 6:15. Events are conspiring to make me run, dry weather, waking up early (weight gain!)

more sheep on the road this morning. I guess nighttime belongs to the animals in the countryside. We humans think that we are in charge, fencing them off into fields. By day they play along, staying in the field behaving like dumb animals. By night, those who wish to slip out through gaps in the hedge and live it up on the grass verges and tarmac, wandering where they please. Then when the human world wakes up, back in they go. Here’s the evidence – a well used sheep hole.


The woolly bits give it away eh Holmes?

It was a good day for spotting, lots of snails! #spotted the snailIMG_0926i saw a rabbit too, but as always it was too quick for me to catch on camera.

Back home for breakfast and sitting quietly gazing out of the window, what did I see?


happy running!

Posted in balance, fitness, fun, habits, middle aged women, Motivation, positive mental attitude, running, slow run, time management, work life balence, working mum | 20 Comments


Did it again

6am run

didnt take my phone so I didn’t get a picture of the bunnies on the road.

Heres one from yesterday instead for the wildflower collection!IMG_0886.JPG

Happy running peeps!

Posted in running | 10 Comments

New habits?

Habits are hard to change.

I’ve been struggling to become a consistent runner for 4 years now. Sometimes I think that I’m getting there, sometimes I’m sure that I’m not!

There are lots of books I’ve read, techniques that I’ve tried. Essentially it boils down to time management and motivation. Sometimes I’m motivated but don’t have the time, sometimes the other way.

The other issue with time management is that sometimes you have the time, but it isn’t the right time. I’m a morning person. I have energy in the morning, I like to get things done. In the evening, bitter experience has shown me that if I do anything stimulating ( like exam revision, academic work or as it turns out running) I won’t be able to sleep, so all that stuff has to be out of the way by 8pm, unless I’m planning to pull an ‘all nighter’. All nighters are fine for students when you can coast the next day, but not good for middle aged surgeons,

So what to do? I dont normally get home until 7:30 which doesn’t give me much time to get a run in before that 8pm deadline ( and cook and eat). But mornings are busy!! So 4 yrs in it finally clicks. Instead of wasting all that high quality morning energy on mindless stuff like making lunch, deciding what to wear, packing my bag, I could do that in the evening. I can’t see that it would keep me awake? All those little minutes should add up to enough to do a 30minute run in the morning.

so tonight,

1 healthy lunch is in tupperware in the fridge

2 weather app checked

3 appropriate work clothes set out

4 appropriate run kit set out

5 shower prepped with toiletries and towels

6 phone charged and alarm set

And then…….

A bad nights sleep! I woke up at 2:30 and was awake for at least 2 hrs. Maybe it was the anticipation of the early morning run.

Anyhow, the sun was up and it was a cool, clear, dry, bright morning. So I JFDI. Yes it is worth getting kit out the night before- I can see how making all those little decisions normally slows you down.

IMG_0921Morning sun on the hills north west

The sheep were up early too. I met a lamb on the road, who tried to run through a wire fence and got stuck. I lifted it over the fence (either it wasnt that heavy or I’m getting stronger!). Two minutes later I met this fine lass;

IMG_0922I let her do as she pleased! We passed on the road, then when I came back I could see her trotting up ahead. She found her gap in the hedge and went back in the field. I’m not sure that the lamb I lifted over the fence was put back in the same field he came out of. I hope that he’s ok and not missing his mum. ((Guilt😱)). He looked big enough to eat grass though.

So all said, a good run in the bag before work 😊

Posted in running | 23 Comments


It wasn’t early when I got out this morning – it was a bank holiday after all- but it was first thing! It was almost a run, I had to keep stopping to take pictures of sheep!

for all the #spottedthesheep fans!

I have some lovely video footage of all the sheep flocking around the farmer on his quad bike (with sound, very noisy!)

I was grateful that it wasn’t raining!

Posted in fitness, fun, habits, hills, middle aged women, Motivation, running, slow run, work life balence, working mum | 11 Comments

Wet weekend.

Bank holiday weekend means only one think in NW England  -rain.

You can’t see the hills for the clouds/rain!

The plan for today was to go to Manchester for dim sum in China town, drop the boys at Old Trafford for the United match then shopping for me at the Trafford centre. Fortunately I googled it first thing and found out that the shops are shut: so instead of wandering around an empty mall for 90 minutes, a change of plan for me – a day at home instead. I had dressed in my running gear ready to run before we left but procrastination  set in. I  had lazy cups of tea in bed, read, wrote my journal, texted some friends (I need to make more of an effort to keep in touch since my Facebook account got hacked and I deleted it) did some laundry, some housework, read all your blogs, cooked lunch and then another cup of tea.

Only then did I realise that it has been a week since my last run. How have I slipped into such bad habits?

Anyway, I shifted myself, put my cagoule on and got out. A pootle around Whalley, 4.5 miles. Nice and quiet being a bank holiday. Went through the churchyard where there’s an old Saxon cross.


I have definitely slipped into some bad habits. Not enough running, a few slices of cake/chocolate have been finding their way into my diet and suddenly I’m hungry a lot. I’ve been gaining weight. On the plus side I’m sleeping well and cheerful, but I’d quite like to stay slim.

Can I outrun the cake? Or does it have to go? Can I increase my running? I think it’s time. The sun is up in the morning and so should I be.

The wi fi here is terrible, I’m doing my blog on my phone because Sunday’s are particularly bad. I think everyone in the village is using it and as we are further away from the junction box or whatever it is so slow by the time it gets to us. The point is, sorry for my lack of blogging! I used to love reading everyone’s blogs with my morning cup of tea, but now just trying to post a comment is a major rigmarole. But maybe it’s a sign, a sign that instead of blogging of checking Facebook at 6am I should be RUNNING!!!!!

To put it in the words of George Bernard Shaw (well it was in ‘my fair lady’ if not actually in Pygmalion) I need to ‘shift my bleeding arse’ and get out of bed in the morning.

Once I’m out I love it, and there’s much less traffic at 6am. Time to join SRG and the sunrise crowd.

any top tips for how to get an inherently lazy person to get out of bed in the morning instead of snuggling with a cup of tea?


Posted in running | 21 Comments

New route 8.4.17

I’d thought about parkrun, but why drive all that way to run when you can run from home? It was a beautiful day so I started with a downhill all the way run into whalley – about a mile.


I ran through the village, where people were sitting outside cafe’s having breakfast. In the north of England! Who would believe it!!

Quickly reaching the other end, I set my sight on my way back over the river. The small iron bridge that you can see just behind the viaduct.


Did I mention that there was a bit of uphill through the village – more downhill to come but we know that that means one thing for sure (on a circular route). Once over the river and back into the village through one of the ancient gateways to whalley abbey.


Then I had the choice of going back up the 1 mile hill, or a longer less steep route. Because I don’t like the windy narrow road with lots of blind corners, which would be busier now, I chose the long route for safety reasons. I thought I would just take it easy, so I did with a fair bit of walking.

All in all 4.5 miles. A nice route and one I will do again, or even adapt/enlarge!

Posted in fitness, fun, middle aged women, parkrun, running, sightseing, slow run, work life balence | 9 Comments

Wednesday 5th April


On Wednesday morning I woke up early  and decided to go for a run to the castle(I’m on leave this week). That’s the castle keep on the horizon. It was cloudy but the rain stayed away.


Ther are steps going all the way to the top.  It was early so the castle cafe was shut (and no one collecting admission tickets😱)


I made it. Then I went into town for a coffee.  Passing the witches stone on the way down. A memorial to the women who were sentenced to death through hysterical prejudice .

IMG_0816.JPGIn town I read the paper from the day before. I saw an article that amused me and I know that ther are a couple of you out there who will share my amusement.  (British eccentricity)


Then I ran home again. Just over 7 miles. A good run😊 I ignored my HRM and did what I felt like – it felt good😊

Posted in running | 28 Comments

April 2nd 2017


I feel like the running hasn’t been going that well recently. I know that I haven’t been getting the miles in.  My stats suggest  that I haven’t done well mileage wise over the last couple of months.


However I just found out that my running app compares your stats with other users. So back in January I was doing more miles than 70% of users but my running pace was in the bottom 3%.

Now I’m running less, mileage at 50% but pace up to 10%

Does it matter? No not really I’m just concerned with my own results! Anyhow today was beautiful weatherwise so I went out for a 5k shuffle.

Met the new neighbours

Lots of little lambies, very cute. Big house just outside the village, no one has moved in yet but it’s the source of much gossip. Built as a private residence, from scratch (Marvelous stuff, apparently you can make meals from it too!). It’s certainly very impressive and is said to have cost £17m. I wonder if people will actually live there?


Posted in running | 17 Comments

Not my usual run.

So the running hasn’t gone so well this week. After a great parkrun on Saturday I have just been too lazy to run all week. But sometimes stuff is just meant to be.

yesterday my car broke down on the way to work. The recovery service were there by 8am, yay! The man lifted the bonnet and sprayed lots of bits with something. No joy. He plugged in a computer and after an assessment got a big hammer out. I looked the other way. Then he told be that it couldn’t fixed by the roadside and called a truck to take it to a garage. The truck would be there by 10am.

I made a few phone calls texts and so on to sort out work. I was supposed to be operating that morning but fortunately my colleagues rallied round and managed to get all that sorted out. Now the battery on my phone was going flat.

By 10am I needed to pee. I was eargerly anticipating the arrival of the truck and transport to the garage where there would be loos.

By 10:30 there was no sign of the truck and I was getting desperate. There was no suitable cover for an al fresco emergency relief episode, so I decided to abandon the car and walk into the nearest village to look for a loo.

About 2 miles of wiggly walk later I came to the garage.

Just as I got there my phone rang – the truck man saying that he was by my car. ‘ you will have to wait ‘ I growled in my ‘spawn of the devil’ voice.

I enquired in the shop about a loo-  ‘outside and round the corner’ they said.

Sign on the door – ‘do not use, out of order’.

I went back into the shop . ‘Please can I use your staff loo?’ I asked politely.

‘No’ they said. ‘It’s against the rules -health and safey’

Reader,  what would you do?

Me, pride and dignity went out of the window ( don’t worry, as a middle aged woman you get practice y’know childbirth, gynae stuff).

Reader I begged. I explained my concern about peeing my pants. I said that if there had been a hedge I would have pee’d behind it.

The shop keepers were youngish Asian men. I could see the fear in their eyes. After all, what could be more fearful than a middle aged woman about to pee in your shop or even worse, if not quite so much fluid, burst into tears?

‘but you might sue us! ‘ they said

I promised not to sue and they let me use the loo. (Thank you youngish Asian men😁)

After that I ran back to my car. Yes I ran, in my little orange ballet flats clutching my over full hand bag.

So I did get a run in on Thursday after all😊


Posted in fitness, habits, middle aged women, Motivation, parkrun, running, time management, Uncategorized, work life balence | 26 Comments