FitBits - fitness for fun and wellbeing: December 2016


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

He said, she said: Brighton marathon training

FitBits | Brighton Marathon training week 1 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

I've been so gagging for this Christmas break. 

Some much-needed time to rest, reflect and recharge from a busy and funny old year (more on that later this week). Sat here full of the Christmas binge, I'm happy to have finally eased into proper chill time, although the thought of going for today's run isn't filling me with much joy.

We've been building up to the first week of marathon training with RunBrighton for the past month. I say we - I mean me and the hubs. After playing an ace game at spectating and supporting me for 2014 and 2015 Brighton Marathons, Chris has decided to give the big 26.2 a go for himself. 

And, he knows how jealous I get so is letting me run it again too... on the condition that I get him loads of support on race day and help him reach his fundraising target for Cancer Research. 

FitBits | Brighton Marathon training week 1 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
Christmas base layer is GO

So here marks the start of a new blogging series I want to run throughout marathon training. I've blogged my own journey here lots but I thought it'd be fun to give two different perspectives this year: one from a slower, third-time marathon runner looking for a 4hrs30 PB, and the other from a beginner speed demon on his first experience of distance running. 

The stats:

5k: 25:58
10k: 53:10
13.1: 2:02:24
26.2: 4:55:58

5k: 20:39
10k: 45:10 
13.1: 1:37 
26.2: tbc 

Let's have a look at how training's going so far:

She said: Week 1

FitBits | Brighton Marathon training week 1 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

Running's not comfy at all for me at the moment. I know it'll get easier with some consistent training - something I haven't really given my full attention to just yet while I've been building up to Christmas. 

Don't get me wrong, I *have* been running, just not much more than a couple of times a week, and the official 16 week training plan started last week so it's scary to think we're already in week 2. 

The RunBrighton long runs started a month ago, to build up a base before the training plan kicked off. I started off very ambitious and joined the 4hrs15 pace group for the RunBrighton long runs, but last week dropped back to the 4hrs30 group when I realised it was just that bit too fast to be easy pace. 

I'm hoping once I've got a few good weeks of consistent training under my belt, it'll all slip into place and my body will remember what it feels like to run strong. 

FitBits | Brighton Marathon training week 1 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger
At the mo I'm also in the middle of a five week block of PT sessions with Brighton PT Amy Jordan at Love Life Fitness - we're trying to build strength back up in my body since my collarbone and wrist break, and I've also been going to physio to get my legs strong for running again.  

I've got weak glutes and hamstrings, and need to work on my core and calf and hip flexibility too. Basically a shopping list of weak spots for both my PT and physio Tom at The Physio Rooms in Brighton to get stuck into!

Ask me again in a month if my body still hates me!


He said: Week 1

FitBits | Brighton Marathon training week 1 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

Right now I’m shitting a brick. I’m scared I’m going to get injured, my legs hurt, and I’m probably in the wrong pace group. But being as stubborn as I am, I’m just gonna continue until I realise otherwise. 

I don't know where I’m going with it at the moment. Maybe when I properly get into the training during the week I’ll get a better idea of my actual pace. 

Everyone always takes the piss out of me because they think that I don’t train, but I do. I just don’t follow regimented training plans, I go for a run every now and then because I enjoy it. This will be the first time I’ve ever followed a training plan. 

RunBrighton’s great - nice, friendly people. Committed, dedicated runners, especially in the groups I’ve been running in. They’re competitive, but everyone gets on and supports each other. There’s definitely an underlying air of competitiveness, especially in the 3:15 group, maybe not against each other, but instead against ourselves.  

FitBits | Brighton Marathon training week 1 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

On the first RunBrighton long run I ran in the 3:30 group at a pace of 9minute/miles, I thought this was too slow and me and one other ended up naturally speeding off doing 8:20min/mi, which turned out to be the right long run pace for the 3:15 group, so I stuck with them. 

Overall advice from a couple of other runners and a RunBrighton Ambassador was to move up a group and see how it goes, I can always drop back if I need to. But maybe my competitiveness will get the better of me. 

FitBits | Brighton Marathon training week 1 - Tess Agnew fitness blogger

Running on Christmas day was hard work getting up. We didn’t get in til 1:30am the night before and woke up at 7:30 for the 45min long run on the plan. 

After a breakfast of tea, coffee and Christmas presents, I braved a very windy Hastings seafront from Old Town to Bulverhythe. It was anything but comfy. Shin splints, bad knees, bad everything. It was the first time during running I’ve really considered not doing it. I was well off pace by at least a minute per mile. 

I'm blaming the wind and the Christmas binge, but I’m doing Dryathlon for January so let's hope my muscles appreciate it!

I really like running with Tess, we’re not running together - but we get up together, start together, and finish together. I’ve been a spectator for two years, taking my bike down to the marathon route to wave and cheer on Tess - I get the buzz every year to do it, but I always bottle out. 

This year, I’ve committed myself to run for a cause close to my heart so I can’t back out now. 

Bring it on! 


Do you run with a partner? 

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Thursday, 15 December 2016

[VIDEO] Trampolining with This Girl Can

I'm so excited! It's time to share with you my third video working with Active Sussex as This Girl Can Sussex Ambassador - and this time we went trampolining!

Not just any old trampolining either, we went down to the newly opened Sky High trampoline park in Peacehaven to have a go at BounceFit - a new high intensity, low impact MEGA FUN fitness class that had me sweating out of my eyes and laughing all the way through.

Have a looky at the video and let me know what you think!

BounceFit is on every Monday 7-8pm and Wednesday mornings 10-11am and costs £7.50 per class - a 35 minutes of 'work' and the rest of the time is yours for a free bounce!

It's literally the MOST fun I've ever had at a fitness class, (something finally tipping Zumba for the top spot), and because everything you do is on a nice soft, springy trampoline, your joints will love you and you'll go home grinning like a cat on catnip.

Where else can you so freely go back to being a child?! Come and play... you know you want to!

Watch more: Tess Tries with This Girl Can 

For those of you who don't know, I've been This Girl Can Ambassador since October 2015, working with Active Sussex to uncover all the brilliant ways to keep fit and active in Brighton and beyond.

My mountain bike accident threw a bit of a spanner in the works this year, hence not doing a video since our Synchronised Swimming one in February, but I'm back on the horse and raring to go, so keep your eyes peeled for more.

Read more about my role as Ambassador on the Active Sussex website and on my blog, and watch our other videos:

Tess Tries: Skateboarding*

Tess Tries: Synchronised Swimming*

Women's Sport Week: PT in Brighton**

*Videos produced by the lovely Laura Evans of Brighton (including this trampoline one)
**Video made by me, hence poor noise quality!


Have you tried trampolining? 
What sport would you most like to try but haven't yet?

Monday, 12 December 2016

For girls who ride: Casquette

FitBits | Casquette women's cycling magazine review | Tess Agnew fitness blogger

It's about time there was a magazine for the lesser spotted MAWIL (middle-aged woman in lycra). Actually, maybe not so middle-aged, and actually not so lesser spotted, if you're looking in the right places - the general, any-aged, woman in lycra. The GAWIL(?)

The woman (or girl), who appreciates the majesty of fully matching shorts and jersey; or gets her kicks setting off the 30mph speed camera on a wheel-wobbling 45mph downhill descent.

The woman whose quads are a force to be reckoned with, not least because of their hill-climbing skills, but also because of their exquisitely maintained tan lines during the summer.

Rule no. 7, boys and girls. Rule. No. 7.

 FitBits | Casquette women's cycling magazine review | Tess Agnew fitness blogger


Girls who ride

Finally, there's a paper-back place for her to feed her bike-shaped desires. A place where she can browse freely and relate, feeling like part of the gang.

She can flick through beautiful 'cycletography' (featuring women), gorgeous illustrations (created by women), and read captivating interviews with inspiring badass bike bitches like ex bike courier turned Transcontinental race winner, Emily Chappell, or Britain's greatest road cycling champion Nicole Cooke.

 FitBits | Casquette women's cycling magazine review | Tess Agnew fitness blogger

She can read about the phenomenon of sock doping, and perve over the Lust List and kit porn with gusto (Page 19, ladies. I NEED the starry outfit in my life right now).

So many cycling magazines are just endless catalogues of bike porn we can't afford, expeditions we'll never go on, race times we'll never achieve.

Casquette is different. It's real, and attainable, and inspiring. It makes you want to get out on your bike, whatever bike that is. It's a happy fusion of fitness, fashion and food - with a cycling angle.

It's not just a place for lusting. Its pages are filled with vital learnings:

  • How to wee in bib shorts
  • Such a thing as commuter jeans exist (literally, who knew!)
  • How to get faster on hills (page 51)
  • Why you need a bike fit
  • How to make avocado mayonnaise (page 44)
  • The proper name for a cycle cap (check the front cover)
  • New favourite cycling blog - Velo City Girl
  • New favourite brands: Queen Of The Mountains, Velo Vixen (probably a bit late to the party on that one)

 FitBits | Casquette women's cycling magazine review | Tess Agnew fitness blogger
I don't know what that is stuck to the page but I cba to take another photo #sorrynotsorry

This is a much needed breath of fresh air for women's cycling, and cycling in general. It's exactly what we need to get more women cycling.

The FREE quarterly first issue was released in Autumn (I know, it's taken me this long to read it and write this up - bad Tess), and there's a shed load more content up on for you to get stuck into.

You can get a copy straight to your door, paying only the postage online right now.

Do it. Go on.


Visit for more info & bike-shaped inspo.
And keep an eye out for the Brighton Pit Stop page, coming soon! 


What magazines do you read?

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