Christina Hollis, personal best, running

Running Update

Look at this! It’s my personal best time for the mile, set early on Saturday morning.  I’m so happy I’m bouncing around like Tigger! Fourteen weeks ago when I started the Running Made Easy’s 60 Second Secret Plan, I could only walk, not run. Back then, it was taking me twenty minutes to walk the same measured mile, so I’ve halved my time. As this includes hopping off the pavement to dodge brambles and hopping onto the verge to avoid cars, there’s still some room for improvement.
My timed mile was part of a lovely early morning run with OH. It didn’t start out so well – we’d shared our first  bottle of wine for weeks over dinner the night before, and it hit us both surprisingly hard. We crawled out of bed with heads full of cotton wool, but the 6am chill soon woke us up. Running the whole mile with no walk-breaks meant I achieved TWO personal bests on one session.
Have you ever set yourself a challenge? How did you get on?

Christina Hollis author, running, Zest magazine

Monday Fun Run – Part 4

Wendy Beeler: photo Antarctic Photo Library

I’d now reached the stage in my running apprenticeship of running for one minute, then walking for two minutes and doing an increasing number of repetitions. I was now managing nearly half an hour of vigorous exercise per day, four times a week. This doesn’t sound like much, but only a few years ago I couldn’t walk any further than the kitchen door. A severe allergic reaction had left me with cellulitis and reactive arthritis. I’ve never been one for dashing about, preferring cake and couch and writing is a pretty sedentary occupation. I was really pleased with what ‘d achieved so far, so when my sister told me she’d started Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred system, I thought I’d give it a try. The DVD was on special offer at Amazon, so that was this week’s prize when I kept with the Running Made Easy plan from Zest magazine. It was great, though as a born couch potato I kept the remote control to hand so I could stop it for a rest when things got too frantic!Within a few days of working through the basic exercises I could keep up with the DVD, but found I didn’t have enough energy left for running. Deciding to concentrate on one thing at a time I stopped the exercises, but I’ll start them again when the days get shorter. Running in the cold and dark really doesn’t appeal to me!

Christina Hollis author, running, Targets

Monday Fun Run – Part 3

My first running sessions had been done in private, on a treadmill, well out of sight of anyone. As a reward for being brave enough to go out running on the roads, I bought myself a cheap sports watch so I would know when to alternate my minutes of running and walking. It was either that, or keep on carrying the kitchen timer! The thought of being seen running at all was embarrassing enough. For someone to spot me with the timer would have ended my running career before it started.
It was my birthday during the week, which luckily fell on a rest day. A bad reaction to an insect bite on my foot meant I could barely walk anyway, so I spent the day in the garden being waited on by my lovely family.  I made this my weekly treat – a whole day doing nothing but reading, writing and generally pottering about.
Going out for a run the next day was a bit difficult, but it was amazing how much better I felt once I made the effort and got out into the fresh air – and drizzle, which was fast becoming a fixture in my running life! 
Christina Hollis, Harlequin Mills and Boon Limited, running, The Count's Prize

Monday Fun Run – Part 3

Puffing along on a treadmill at the start of Running Made Easy‘s Sixty-Second-Secret Plan was really difficult for me. At first it was taxing physically, but soon boredom took over. Staring at the primrose coloured kitchen wall was pretty boring. Reading on the run proved tricky, although listening to the radio helped the time pass more quickly. The plan encourages you to treat yourself each time you complete a full week of exercise. My first treat was a new incubator, for hatching chicken eggs. That was a great incentive to carry me through week two, but I had to move the treadmill out into the conservatory. The kitchen wall had become just too boring, and as my sessions of running gradually got longer, I was getting too hot to exercise indoors. Finally, I got to the stage where making a fool of myself in public was preferable to running another yard on that blasted treadmill. On the Monday of my third week on the plan, I got up at 4:30am and set off to run in the woods. At that stage my only proper running gear was a sports bra, some compression leggings and a decent pair of trainers. I borrowed one of my OH’s t-shirts which was big and baggy enough to cover the lumps and bumps thrown into relief by my leggings, and carried the electronic kitchen timer to time my alternate bursts of running and brisk walking.  Luckily, I had finished my session and was back home before anyone was about to hear the peeping of my novelty alarm, but it convinced me my reward that week should be a proper sports watch!  
I’m blogging over at on Tuesday 17th July. It’s about My Perfect Man, and  a signed copy of my latest release The Count’s Prize will be awarded to a comment picked at random from the comments made on my authorsoundrelations blog that day.  I’d love you to drop by!
Christina Hollis writes Modern Romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon Ltd, when she isn’t  working in the garden, with her bees or daydreaming about resuming her abandoned Classical Studies. You can catch up with her at,on Facebook and on Twitter, where she tweets as @christinabooks.
Christina Hollis, running, Zest magazine

Monday Fun Run – Part 2

Last Monday I told how this couch potato was tipped onto her two feet by a bad health report. Fired by a vague notion of running up one of Gloucestershire’s long and unforgiving hills, I tried the NHS get fit plan and dropped out on the first day. Then my daughter found the book Running Made Easy at our local library. She borrowed it – I read it.  As a confirmed five-toed sloth I never imagined I’d read a book on moving about at speed, but I read to from cover to cover, then went out and bought my own copy. I loved the approach, and couldn’t wait to get started. I’d heartily recommend this book to anyone who, like me, didn’t even know there were books on running. I’d assumed you ran flat out from the start – that was why I flaked out a few minutes into the Couch to 5k regime.   The Running Made Easy book is much more laid back and really appealed to my need for boxes to fill in and charts to complete. If you want to go the whole way, the book is an offshoot of Zest magazine. I hadn’t heard of that either, so in case you’ve never seen it here’s a link to their latest issue: although quite honestly if I’d caught sight of that before I read the book, I wouldn’t have needed their Sixty Second Secret Plan. I would have run a mile, no incentive needed!

Running Made Easy consists of a detailed plan to get you from a state of total indolence to adrenalin junkie within the space of ten weeks. includes a mission statement which you can tailor to your own needs and desires. You read this every day, and each time you complete a day of the plan, you allow yourself one little treat. At the end of each full week you get a bigger treat and after completing the whole plan you get your heart’s desire – or at least, the bog indulgence you promised yourself when you first filled in your mission statement. My daily treats included “ten minutes watching the bees” “half an hour working on the garden” or “thirty minutes reading”. My weekly treats included “buy a book”, “go to the hairdressers” or  “eat a bear claw”.  For someone who loves cake and hates exercise as much as I do, that was a real incentive!