What’s possible in a weekend? We’re often asked how we manage to fit exercise into our busy lives. We approach it a different way – exercise is what we like to do, not something we add in so we often shuffle other things aside to fit fitness into our lives. Neutrogena challenged us to complete the distance of the Three Peaks – 24.5 miles – in 48 hours, to test the effectiveness of their Norwegian Formula Deep Moisture Body Lotion.
As we didn’t have any races or major excursions planned, we hadn’t cleared the decks for fitness so we had to fit the distance in around all our other tasks, to-dos and obligations. Here’s how we fit it all in, without compromising on the rest of our lives getting into trouble with our friends and family!
Saturday 9:00 – 1 hour in to the Challenge
3.1 mile run, Bibi
Strategy – Make exercise a habit
I love parkrun but it was the last thing I wanted to do when I woke up on Saturday morning. Life has been hectic recently – I got married just a few months ago, have been on honeymoon in Japan and working away a lot – and I was feeling really snuggly finally back in my own bed. Part of me really wanted to stay there but I’d agreed to meet a friend at the start line so I bundled myself sleepily out of the house. Twenty minutes later, I was running (along with 300 other people who’d managed to drag themselves out of bed!) and having a great catch up with a friend I hadn’t seen for ages. By 9.30a.m., I had somehow managed a new personal best 5k time for the year and had a great sense of accomplishment to carry with me through the day. I don’t always feel like a run on a Saturday morning, but I am always glad that I did – my breakfast tastes incredible once I’m home, often back in my pajamas for the rest of the morning.
Saturday 17:00 – 9 hours in to the Challenge
90 minute bouldering session, Bibi
Strategy – Imagine exercise as social activity
I often go bouldering with my husband – I’m still getting used to calling him that. For us, it’s a perfect couple’s activity and a good way to socialise together. At the climbing wall, we get to hang out (or maybe I should say hang on?) and both get a good workout. Plus it can be done indoors, which can be a bonus if the weather’s grim.
While we each work on our own climbs and coach each other on tricky problems (for anyone who doesn’t climb, each route is called a problem, which sounds a bit silly but makes perfect sense when you’re up there with your limbs all facing in different directions). The climbing wall is also a great neutral territory to talk about what’s been happening in our week. On this climb, there was a new overhang route that I kept falling off – flat on my back onto the crash mats, in a puff of climbers chalk – but I kept on going until my hands were red and starting to get sore. I love the feeling of gradually mastering a problem and usually feel like I’ve conquered a mountain when my bouldering session is done.
Saturday 19:00 – 11 hours in to the Challenge
8 mile run, Janey
Strategy – Turn off your TV
Mum doesn’t have a TV, and if you consider that the average adult in the UK watches 3 hours 52 minutes of TV a day, you can see how ditching it gives her more time for fun activities. I find that this often means time I consider ‘dead time’, say between 8 and 9pm, is still active for her – heading out to meet friends, going to yoga classes and arranging ad hoc runs with her group. On Saturday, she ran 8 miles along the canal near her home in the early-evening sunlight. She’s in training for a marathon at the moment, so she kept her eye on her GPS watch and ran at race pace. As she’s just getting her mileage back up from when she had sciatica last year, and had been completely unable to run, every run where she feels she achieved more than last time is a complete blessing. She called me, thrilled with the run, when she got home. By that time I’d showered off the climbers’ chalk and was having a glass of wine on the deck in my garden!
Sunday 9:00 – 25 hours in to the Challenge
10 Mile trail run, Bibi
Strategy – Set your alarm earlier
I set my alarm for 7a.m., got up and ate toast and jam, then went back to bed to read while it settled in my stomach. The weather forecast was for a really warm day so I knew I had to get out early to avoid the heat so I set off about 8.30a.m. The morning started out misty, with hardly anybody about, but by the time I looped back, the trail was full of dog walkers and the sun was beginning to really beat down. I had started the run in gloves and a buff, but they were securely tucked away by the end of the run. Like Mum, I’m just getting my mileage up for marathon training, and this was the first time I’d got into double digits since last year, so I felt really proud of what I managed to achieve by 11a.m. It also made my veggie Sunday roast taste extra special somehow…
Sunday 18:00 – 34 hours in to the Challenge
6.5 mile run, Janey
Strategy – Exercise with friends
After her run yesterday, Mum hadn’t been planning on another run on Sunday. But after enjoying a lovely day out in the sunshine, she received a message from a friend who was heading out for a relaxed run. What nicer way to bookend the weekend – rather than letting Sunday peter out into that ‘back to school’ kind of feeling, Mum seized the moment and went out with her friend for a catch up and to shake her legs out. The weather had cooled down by then, the perfect temperature for a steady run round the park.
Lots of exercise means lots of showers but Neutrogena held up to the Challenge well and we were still silky smooth at the end of it all and my sore climbing hands were soothed too. Between us, we ran 27.7 miles and exercised for nearly seven hours over the weekend, but it never felt like a stretch or difficult to fit into our lives. We also had a full weekend of activity including eating out, going to the cinema, laundry, shopping for garden furniture, watching a football match, making home brew and going to the pub. You can pack a lot in to 48 hours with a bit of planning!
What can you fit in to a 48 hour challenge?