Today, the 7th of April, is exactly three months until my next big running challenge and my toughest marathon to date. The new Trail Verbier St Bernard  marathon race takes place on Saturday 7th July between Liddes and Verbier, high in the Swiss Alps.

With four ascents (the largest two of which are at the beginning and the end) and four descents, this marathon climbs 3,570m over the course of the 43.21km route.

Back in 2014, I took part in the baby race of this series, a 2,500m ascent over 30km. Even the baby was a challenging experience (read all about the “Trails and Tribulations” here!), with the obvious key take-out being the need to build more endurance in the legs to tackle those mountains.

I’m quite used to building up the mileage to tackle a distance race around London but how do you train for such a series of climbs in a relatively flat area?

Over the last two years I have found balancing my running with HIIT workouts to be a great way to not only improve my speed but also my strength and endurance – seemingly the perfect complement to an outdoor running programme – and hopefully the answer to this quandary (coupled with as much hill training as I can pack in around Richmond and the surrounding areas).

With 13 weeks to go, I’m now a couple of months into my training programme. But as regulars to running will I’m sure sympathise, getting hill ready is currently the least of my worries, as I’ve recently sustained an injury to my ankle! I started physio this week and the problem is actually with my hips and glutes which are not strong enough (particularly on my right side), so my lower leg and ankle are having to compensate. I’m now tasked with a number of exercises which coupled with regular foam-rollering should hopefully see me able to build up the mileage more significantly over the coming weeks.

While I work through my physio exercises to improve my hip strength and technique, I’ll continue to complement my running with a couple of HIIT workouts a week focused on building more endurance in my quads, glutes and arms, to hopefully help propel me up those mountains come July!

There are a few morals to this story but the main one for me is accepting that nothing ever goes quite to plan when training for a marathon – in fact – when aiming for any goal in life… What’s important is how you respond to inevitable challenges along the way. Keep the faith that every mountain top is within reach if you just keep on climbing.

Wishing all those taking part in the Paris Marathon (a favourite) and other Spring marathons this weekend, all the very best! Enjoy, and relish every mountainous moment.

Happy Sunday!

I’ve blogged before about #MysteryNight, which my friend Luci and I take it in turns to organise, every month. The ‘activity’ remains a mystery until the day when we send each other 3 clues on Twitter.

I’ve just booked November’s Mystery Night for next weekend and thought I’d quickly cover off the last 5 Mystery Nights we’ve been on…

  1. June  Luci booked us tickets for the Best of The Comedy Store at the Udderbelly Festival on the Southbank. You can never go wrong with The Comedy Store, nor the big upside down purple cow! photo 4-5
  2. July – I organised for us to go up The Shard and afterwards for drinks at House of Peroni. The view is incredible at almost twice the height of any other viewing platform in London. We then enjoyed Peroni cocktails at 41 Portland Place. The House is back open until the end of November. photo 3-6
  3. August – Luci arranged for us to go the races at Sandown Park. I can’t actually believe it but I’ve never been to the races before! We had a flutter, enjoyed the horse racing with Pimm’s in the sun and then went for drinks and something to eat at Layla in Esher. photo 1-6
  4. September – I then took us back to the Southbank Centre for a sensational night of singing, cabaret, dancing, comedy and burlesque with Miss Tempest Rose and the House of BurlesqueIMG_6339
  5. October – And last month Luci raised the stakes by organising for us to climb over the O2. An incredible experience for those wanting to do something a bit different in London. photo 2-5

Hopefully this gives you some fun ideas of different things to do in and around London and if you need any more inspiration, then read about our first 5 Mystery Night activities of the year here.

Looking forward to this Saturday’s #MysteryNight, but can Luci guess where we’re going?

G x

Hello & welcome to #WellbeingWednesday. It’s been a while since I last blogged, as I’ve been so busy with work & play!

I felt inspired to write today’s blog having just read a great article by Sali Hughes, Beauty Editor in today’s edition of the daily Emerald Street email by Stylist.

The article is largely about the beauty or not of tattoos… Sali rightly points out that the beauty of tattoos is surely in the eye of the beholder & why should it bother people so much, what others choose to adorn their bodies with?

Tattoos for me are both superficial & significant. I like them for simply how pretty or stylish they are but also for what they mean to me, about my character or a certain time in my life. I have 3 – a blue flower on my lower back, a symbolic representation of my star sign (Scorpio) on my hip & the letter ‘G’ on my wrist…

I do think there are some shockers out there e.g. Tulisa’s Lucky You tattoo, but as a general lover of tattoos, I thought I’d dedicate today’s #5aday to my top 5 celebrity tattoos.

  1. Sienna Miller’s swallow on her wrist Sienna-Miller-tattoo-134955_L
  2. Victoria Beckham’s DB on her wrist victoria-beckham-tattoo-on-her-hand
  3. Lana Del Rey’s paradise on her hand Del-Reys-Paradise-Tattoo-Design
  4. Adele’s A behind her ear adele-new-tattoo-grammys
  5. Cara Delevigne’s initials on her hand o-CARA-DELEVINGNE-TATTOO-570

So, what camp are you in? Tattoo or not Tattoo?

G x

By Sarah Mayo

Welcome to #SaturdayShopping! I recently walked past Joy in Richmond & spotted a gorgeous strappy neon pink Louche top in the window. 2 minutes later, I was walking out with said top in hand. This is my idea of the perfect spontaneous shopping scenario!

The colour neon reflects off us to give that extra glow, which is perfect when going out for drinks on a gorgeous evening this summer. So, today’s #5aday is my wishlist of 5 neon accessories to add a splash of colour & a natural glow for a night out…

  1. Oliver Bonas Neon Orange Triangle Stud – Ear candy @ £12. Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 22.54.06
  2. Accessorize Cala D’or Embellished Collar Necklace with neon highlights – Neck candy @ £19. Screen shot 2013-06-08 at 11.13.55
  3. Zara Bright Coral Neon Box Clutch – Hand candy @ £19.99.Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 22.56.15
  4. Nails Inc Nude & Neon Collection – Nail candy @ £22. Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 22.57.26
  5. Selfridges McQ Alexander MxQueen Mini Razor Wrap Bracelet in Orange – Arm candy @ £60.
    Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 23.00.09

5 ways to add a splash of colour to a summer outfit but which is the flashiest fluoro in today’s #GTopSpot?

Screen shot 2013-06-07 at 22.56.15

Today’s #SaturdayShopping #GTopSpot goes to #3 Zara Bright Coral Neon Box Clutch – Bag it while you can!

G x

By Sarah Mayo

Hello & welcome to #ThursdayFriday!

Every month, one of my best friends Luci & I take it in turns to organise a ‘Mystery Night’ for each other… This way we make an effort to do different things each month. The theme remains a secret until the day, when we send clues via twitter.

So, today’s #ThursdayFriday #5aday looks back at the last 5 months & the 5 mystery activities we’ve experienced so far in 2013…

  1. Pasta-making – In January, I took Luci to Jamie Oliver’s Recipease in Notting Hill to learn how to make pukka pasta. photo-49
  2. Pole-dancing – In February, Luci organised a private pole-dancing lesson for us through The Pole Studio. Exercise not seduction! photo-48
  3. Pop-up dining – In March, we both had a mystery experience as I booked us into Gingerline for a clandestine dining experience! photo-51
  4. Palladium – In April, Luci took me to the London Palladium’s A Chorus Line after tapas & drinks on Aqua’s rooftop terrace oppositephoto-50
  5. Polo – Last month, we went to the O2 to be entertained by The Gaucho International Polo followed by a fun impromptu After Party (on a school night!). photo-52

Perhaps these 5 fun activities will inspire you to get out there & do something different each month?

Now it’s June, & Luci’s turn to organise our Mystery Night. Over to you Luci! Can we continue the ‘P’ theme for the rest of the year?!

G x

By Sarah Mayo

Hello & welcome to #BookClubMonday. While today’s blog is still all about reading, it’s more of the blog variety rather than books…

Today’s #5aday features 5 #blogs that I recommend following – talking food, fashion, fitness and more… Welcome to #BlogClubMonday!

  1. Fitness & Wellbeing from Fit Chick Tori. Follow her blog here for inspiration about running & life. Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 12.29.35
  2. Relationships from The diary of West London Girl. Follow her blog here for amusing anecdotes about relationships. Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 12.29.56
  3. Food from We Love Food It’s All We Eat. Follow this couple’s blog here for great reviews on restaurants in London & beyond. Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 12.30.26
  4. Bars from Hot Bar Chick. Follow her blog here for best guide to drinking in London (& elsewhere). Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 12.30.38
  5. Fashion & Lifestyle from Alex Loves. Follow her blog here for super cool styling advice & inspiration. Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 12.31.11

5 brilliant blogs covering different themes but which is the most blog-tastic in today’s #BlogClubMonday #GTopSpot?

Today’s #BlogClubMonday #GTopSpot goes to #5 Alex Loves – for down-to-earth fashion & lifestyle insight! G x

Screen shot 2013-05-13 at 12.31.11

By Sarah Mayo