Now that the London Marathon has put me out of my misery for the third time, I feel like I can get on with my life and properly plan my winter training playtime.

I LOVE autumn and winter training. I love it when the seasons change and the air gets crisp, I love it when the trees coat the ground in a crunchy blanket of orange and red. I love wrapping up warm in my winter running gear and braving the elements up on the Downs.

These are the best seasons to run in, no doubt about it.

Just look at that sunset. I didn’t have to stay up past 10 for that badboy, that was 6:30 last week. Autumn rocks. Fact.

FitBits | Brighton beach sunset | copyright Tess Agnew

I decided to make 2016 a marathon-free year after my strong finish at Brighton this April, but entered the London ballot anyway because, well, it’s basically the law. And if I had got in, I would’ve jumped at the chance to run it, obvs.

But, not getting in is fine. Now that I can keep my no-marathon promise I can start working towards what I want to achieve in the next few months, which I can basically sum up in three words: lean, fast, strong. 

I want to get my body fat down, get my running nice and fast, and my body fit and strong.

Strong body

I’ve reinstated my #gymwanker status with gusto and am back at the gym for strength training two or three times a week; one of those sessions training with Amy, at Love Life Fitness.

She’s been putting me through my paces with some right beasty pre-work sessions, and it’s great to be making muscles again. 

Concentrating on my swimming over the summer meant I neglected weight training and as a result have replaced 2.5kg of muscle mass with chub. That might not sound like a lot, but I can feel it and I don’t like it.

FitBits | ThisGirlCan Tess Agnew

My body fat percentage is 34%, which is just ridiculous for someone my size. Time to change. I want to get strong again and lose some of this fat I’ve been carrying around so I can smash some PBs this autumn and winter and go into next year ready to smash some more.

I’ve never actually got it below 30% because I always lose my way a bit but without a marathon to train for and long runs to fuel (and refuel from), I’m excited to regain a bit of focus and try to be consistent for once.

FitBits | body fat analysis Brighton

I get my body composition analysed by Rachel at in Brighton – she’s given me the initial goal of getting it down to 28%, and then we’ll go from there. Put the cakes down Tess. Except on Fridays, cake’s always allowed on Fridays. (80/20 til I die). 

Weekly training for the next few months will include:
– BTRS Trail series Sunday runs (challenging courses of five, 7.5, 10 and 16 miles through Brighton’s trails and clifftop roads)
– Arena80 track sessions. Gonna finally join a run club and get to regular track sessions.
– Minimum three gym sessions per week (one with Amy)
– Two BTRS coached swim sessions (really looking forward to this)
Sweaty Betty yoga class each week
– Long winter rides and turbo sessions
– Boxing bootcamp and climbing with hubs when we can fit it in! 

FitBits | Brighton Gym
True story…


For me, October onwards marks the start of ‘running season’, when all the good races come out to play and I get to dance around the roads of Sussex like a lunatic.

Coming up in the next few weeks:

Color Run Brighton – 10th Oct
Bright10 (10miler)   – 18th Oct
Brooks 10k              – 15th Nov (PB attempt)
Brighton Half           – 28th Feb (PB attempt)

I’m not gonna race all of these. Obviously, the Color Run is there to be enjoyed no matter what the time, and the Bright10 is gonna have to be at a comfy pace, whatever that may be – it’s been a while since I’ve ran that far so just hoping to finish well.

Brooks is the annual 10k PB attempt so I’ll race the shit out of that one, obvs, as I will for the half 🙂

Brooks 10k target – 4mins 15s to shave off!


Strong mind 

As well as training my body I’ll be focusing on building a stronger, more focused mind. I’ve been taking part in the latest #BrainBoost campaign with Weight Watchers, and have been given some life hacks to improve my working memory and cognitive flexibility, which you can read about in this post.

Basically the idea is that by training our brains to develop core skills, we can be productive and focused for longer, helping to make better food choices later in the day as well as first thing in the morning.

Find out what type of eater you are and get your life hacks to train your brain on the BrainBoost website.

FitBits | Weight Watchers Brain Boost
At the #BrainBoost event last month, using the mindfulness app. Pretty impossible to shut off in a room full of people! 

I’ve been adding up my shopping over the past couple of weeks and this week I very nearly got it bang on, only a few pence out. It’s still really hard to keep track of everything as I go around, especially as I can’t at least write it down, but I’m a little feeling more focused and productive so it must be doing me some good.

What I haven’t been so great at is practicing daily meditation and switching off from technology every night before bed. I’m still taking my phone to bed and am online right up until the light goes out, so definitely some work to do there. I need to get to bed earlier too, (heard that before haven’t we!)

Funny how the hardest thing for me to ‘fit in’ is time out and sleep!

*Disclaimer: I was approached by Weight Watchers to take part in the Brain Boost campaign and have been compensated to write about my experience. All words, thoughts, confessions of crap maths and inability to chill the feck out are my own.


What are your autumn and winter training goals? How do you make time to balance sleep, rest and time out – from technology, and training?

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