Despite being a non-runner, Charlotte Watson signed up to the London Marathon in memory of one of her best friends and launched her blog, The Runner Beans, to document every step of the journey.
While, using her platform to encourage people to take on a healthier lifestyle, Charlotte herself hasn’t stopped running and has gone on to complete the New York, Paris and Berlin marathons, which are all covered on the blog.
We spoke to the avid fitness blogger to find out her top tips for those who are considering getting fit or training for a run…
Firstly, what made you decide to start your blog?
I started writing my blog to document my training for the London Marathon back in 2011- it was mainly a tactic to get friends and family to sponsor me by showing them how much work I was putting in!
When did you first start getting into running?
Believe it or not, I started running AFTER signing myself up to run the London Marathon in memory of one of my best friends. I couldn't run for more than 10minutes at the time, and had to do that awkward 'I'm pretending to stretch against this postbox but really I am dying' move. I built it up very, very slowly from there, running a little more each time until I built up to 26.2 miles!
What is your favourite kind of workout?
I obviously love running, but I do love workouts that are high intensity, which have you sweating and that mix between weights and cardio. It's part of the reason I love Project Fit and Barry's Bootcamp - you definitely work up a sweat!
What words of encouragement would you give to somebody who is considering getting fit/begin training for a run?
There is something out there for everyone, whether it's running, zumba, tennis or swimming. You probably won't like all exercise but keep trying new things until you find something you love. It's so much easier to workout when you enjoy it!
What advice would you give to somebody who is about to participate in a run?
Settle into your own rhythm, it doesn't matter how fast or slow you are - finish strong and finish proud of your achievement!
What’s your day-to-day routine like?
I try to get my workout done first thing in the morning before work, that way I don't have it hanging over me all day and there's no excuses, such as work running late. Additionally, I tend to make healthier food choices on days when I've done something active first thing.
My typical day therefore would start with a workout, such as a gym class or run, then grab a coffee and have breakfast at my desk (porridge or yogurt with fruit and granola). I'll try to get out of the building at lunch, even if it's just to buy a juice or salad.
I am studying at the moment so three evenings a week are dedicated to biology and chemistry, as I aim to study Dietetics at university in the next year or so. The other evenings revolve around meeting friends, cooking something healthy with my boyfriend or attending a blog event. Weekends are for long runs, lazy brunches and yoga classes!
What tips would you give to somebody who has no experience in running/aren't natural runners?
Remember that everyone starts somewhere, whether you start at 12min miles or 7 min miles. The important thing is to start and know that it will get easier. The more you run, the easier and more enjoyable it becomes - I promise!
What's the ideal diet for somebody training to take part in a run?
I would recommend a balanced diet of protein, fats and carbs. Also, try to eat plenty of fruits and veg, healthy fats and think about increasing your protein intake. It is important not to think that just because you're running lots, doesn’t mean you can just eat crap. I actually put on weight when I trained for my first marathon as I made silly choices on food when I was hungry after my long runs. A packet of chocolate fingers is never a good idea.
What do you eat when you're training and what do you eat around a big run?
I stick to real, whole foods and stay away from overly processed products but other than that I follow the 80:20 rule! I usually eat a banana and either porridge or peanut butter on toast before a run, and refuel with a jacket sweet potato and chilli or eggs and avocado on toast after a run. A Bloody Mary goes down well too!
What do you hope people will take with them from your blog?
That balance is achievable. You can fit exercise into your life and you don't have to give up cakes, gin and carbs to be healthy. I'd love people to realise that getting fit and eating well can be a fun and enjoyable process and will make you feel great! Everyone has the ability - they just have to start.
What does the future hold for your blog?
I'm hoping to grow my blog going forward, sharing more healthy recipes and workouts that fit into your day. A project that I'm currently working on is staying fit while you travel which I'm hoping will take off this year!