Morning run in Spain

Running in Spain and a big victory

It’s been a while since I joined the Weekly rundown link-up. I was crazy busy the first week of March, then I enjoyed a week in Spain, and last weekend our fibre broadband was somehow disconnected during the rally that this year passed by our house so I didn’t have an internet connection until Sunday night.

The Weekly rundown is hosted by Kim and Deborah and it is to share your week of fitness activities. To me it’s a good way to document my training and fitness journey and I enjoy reading about what the other bloggers have been up to, and taking inspiration from them.

A super short recap of fitness & running in Spain

I sticked to my plan of keeping up some kind of fitness routine while we were in Spain, particularly running. And having this down the road, going for a morning run was an easy choice!

I went running on the Thursday, Saturday and Monday. I did the usual walk & run intervals, all about 4 km in total. I usually went out around 8 am, when the sun was up and I could enjoy a temperature of 18-20C. Totally my cup of tea!

On the Friday, we did a simple strength training session on the patio, mostly bodyweight for me with my plank variations, squats, lunges and pushups, but since my in-laws also have some dumbbells, I could do lateral raises with 5 kg dumbbells, the same as I lift in the gym. It was good to get at least one targeted shoulder exercise done.

Back in Ireland

The first week back in Ireland was St Patrick’s week. We came home on the Tuesday which is our normal gym day, and St Patrick’s day was on the Friday, also our gym day, so we had booked a training session on the Wednesday to get some proper strength training done that week.

I didn’t feel great – stiff and achy in my legs, but I did a great session! I did my most confident sumo squats ever, my best chest presses in a long time, and finally managed the overhead shoulder press with the barbell. I tried this a few months ago and couldn’t do them at all. Now I could only do a few proper reps, and a few more halfway up, but I could do them! That’s nice progress that makes me happy!

Yes, I know that St Patrick’s day is long gone. But I still hope you had a good day!

Friday was St Patrick’s day, and we enjoyed parades, followed by music sessions and good chats in the pub.

Saturday was all about the West Cork Rally. This year it would take place in our area and most roads, including just outside our house, would be closed from lunchtime, so I went out for some run & walk intervals in the morning. In the afternoon I braved the wind and found a hiding place in the garden to take some photos of the rally. My first hiding place felt extremely unsafe, in the corner of the garden, facing the road just after the bend – I felt like I was going to die all the time! I later moved to behind one of the gate posts where I enjoyed myself with the camera for a long time. I’ve never done this kind of photography before but it was so much fun! Perhaps I should try more sports & action photography when I get the opportunity.

On the Sunday, I did my usual at-home strength training with planks, leg raises, exercises for lower legs, step-ups, reverse leg lifts, and I did a few sets of Bulgarian split squats without weights.

My left leg has always been troublesome with Bulgarian split squats. Now they seemed to work a lot better all of a sudden! I think I know why – in recent weeks I’ve been doing a balance/stability exercise, you simply stand on one leg, and if you lose balance, you stabilise with your ankle only. I’ve been doing this while working, while brushing my teeth, even when we were waiting for the St Patrick’s day parade! I can’t see that I’ve done anything else that would have made a difference to my Bulgarian split squats. Now it’ll be interesting to see how they work in the gym with some dumbbells in my hands.


The weather wasn’t particularly charming, but Monday means running unless I’m sick or injured, so off I went. And it was mild and nice! Of course sunshine is more inspiring than this, but mild weather makes me happy. When I went out it was a pleasant 11C (51F). I’ve removed the third layer now!

Wind, fog and drizzle.. but nice and mild

My body was achy all over after my Sunday workout. But I warmed up and did 3,18 km walk & run intervals, by now I think I’m back to about 50% running. Fingers crossed it’ll continue to go well!

When I was in Spain I tried running barefoot on the beach, carefully of course and where the ground was even, near the water where it was soft enough but not too soft. Then I finally “got” how I should modify my running technique. My husband had filmed me running some day before, and I thought my technique looked awkward, like I was moving more up and down than forward. When I ran on the beach and sort of had to “dig” my toes into the sand to push off the next step, I understood what I should be doing. After that I’ve been trying to run with the same kind of technique on the road, and so far it feels very good.

Tuesday – gym day

Well, my friends. That was quite the gym session! All weights, except for chest press and shoulders, were increased. Some were increased a LOT. But heavy lifting is good for the soul!

  • Squats, barbell 37,5 kgs
  • Deadlifts with hex bar, 43 kgs
  • Inclined chest press, 9 kg dumbbells
  • Dumbbell row, 15 kgs
  • Flyes, 8 kg dumbbells
  • Tricep pullovers, 7 kg dumbbells
  • Lateral raise, 5 kg dumbbells
  • Upright row, barbell 17,5 kgs

My legs were shaky during the first squat set, but from the second set I was back to normal, and was happy with my performance throughout the session. I nearly didn’t believe it when I saw the weight of the deadlifts! I feel sort of proud, lol.

Wednesday – rest day

The DOMS! 🤪
I took the day off from any form of training, and had a lovely productive work day, followed by a camera club meeting.

Thursday – a good morning run

The weather has been ridiculous this week with strong winds, heavy rain, spot flooding, mixed with lovely sunshine. I guess it’s normal March weather. When I checked the weather forecast for Thursday morning, I thought that perhaps I’ll hop on the rowing machine instead of going out. But then… why not “do a Goggins”. If I want to become a runner.. I need to run, Thursday is running day, and the weather is irrelevant (except maybe Atlantic storms). I went out about 8.30 am and it was very windy but otherwise not too bad. I did a shorter distance of running and walking, about 3 km. About midway, the heaven opened up but it was a very short shower and we were soon back to this. And seeing that most of the US running bloggers still deal with snow storms, I’m grateful!

I’m beginning to feel more confident with running again, I feel stronger, and good with my new technique. But this time I’ll continue being clever, and ramp it up slowly no matter how good I feel. My plan is to keep these short distances but slowly increase how much of it I run instead of walk.

In my last post I talked about running apps for interval training. I tried Runkeeper just before going to Spain, and it was the best one I had tried. However, I realised that I focused so much on listening to the app that it took all the joy away from my runs. I focused less on my technique and the enjoyment of running, so I decided to ditch it and do my own intervals – either “running from this house until I’ve passed that odd tree” kind of thing or by counting. I’ve mostly used landmarks of sorts and it’s working very well so far.

Friday – gym day, and I conquered my nemesis

Some of you may remember that I’ve really struggled with Bulgarian split squats and been enormously frustrated over them. I could do them somewhat without weights, but in the gym I’ve mostly failed, especially with my left leg. Balance issues, strength issues, or both. Today my trainer had me do them with a barbell. Honestly I didn’t know what to expect. I could do them without weights at home last week, but with a barbell? I can barely do proper lunges with a barbell!

But, they worked – and not only that, I felt confident doing them. This is a BIG deal for me. Join me in a big celebration! I’ll continue my daily stand-on-one-leg exercise, and will also add daily “standard” single leg squats to keep up the good work. And I have a lot more single leg stability to work on.

This is today’s gym session:

  • Bulgarian squats with barbell, 15 kgs – SUCCESS!
  • Deadlift, barbell 30 kgs
  • Tricep pullovers, dumbbells 12,5 kgs
  • “Parachutes” on mat
  • Push-ups
  • Inclined flyes, 8 kg dumbbells
  • Standing, overhead shoulder press, 5 kg dumbbells
  • Shoulder front raise, 4 kgs dumbbells


I was quite happy to not have stayed in the pub because I had enough effects of the Friday night event as it was! But I strolled around sports shops (you know how you always need one more running top?) and eventually found a bought pair of simple sneakers before taking the bus home. My Fitbit recorded a long walk but to me it was a rest day and I spent the afternoon and evening working on a better whiskey blog logo (FYI, it’s not ready yet but the blog is here if anyone is interested).


Sundays are for light strength training, mobility and more. Now I’ve moved over from the total core focus to do more hip mobility, and lower leg & foot strength. I’ve also been making some videos for my mother-in-law who needs simple exercises for hip (and general) mobility and tips on lighter strength exercises. She’s 72 and in good form but has had some problems lately after she fell on the ice outside their house in Sweden. When we were in Spain I told her to see a PT which she did, and now she needs to move and get back on track. I’m happy to help although I’m definitely no top video maker!

I hope you are all doing well and I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s posts! This was a long-winding post and I’m sorry about that but I really wanted to mention something about our trip to Spain!

What was your fitness/training/running highlight of the week? Mine of course was my Bulgarian split squats!


34 responses to “Running in Spain and a big victory”

  1. Deborah Brooks avatar

    You have had a busy few weeks! Your Spain trip looks great. Running while traveling is my favorite. Way to go on your squats! Celebrating St Patrick’s day in Ireland must be a blast

    1. Susanne avatar

      As far as I’ve understood, St Patrick’s day is actually celebrated more in other countries where’s there’s a strong Irish population like the US and Australia! But the St Patrick festival in Dublin is huge. I’ve only been there just after Paddy’s day. Down here it’s good fun though, with a wild music session that can go on from 3 pm until almost midnight!
      I totally agree about running while travelling! I’ll never travel without my running shoes again.

  2. Darlene S Cardillo avatar

    Love that first pic!!! Running while on a trip is the best!

    That quote is perfect: If you want to be a runner you’ve got to run. Happy to hear things are going better.

    My highlight is that my broken foot has healed and I can run. Slow and short but making progress already.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I was delighted that your foot was already healed and that your doctor was so relaxed about it – “just don’t break your foot again”. I loved it! Yes, I can imagine you need to ease back into it a bit. But at least you can run! And I’m so happy to be making progress again myself. Fingers crossed for continued progress.

  3. Coco avatar

    It sounds like you had a lovely time in Spain. I am afraid to run on the beach because it wrecks my calves and makes me worry about PF. Maybe if I had a flat beach with enough hard sand ….

    How cool (but inconvenient) that the rally went by your house. I bet taking photos at the bend was thrilling!

    1. Susanne avatar

      It’s really difficult to run on the beach. I only ran where the sand was hard enough but still soft enough to run safely barefoot. I don’t think I would be able to run in dry soft sand, that’s really hard work and I’d worry about spraining my ankle. It was interesting to try it though and it certainly helped my overall running technique.
      The rally was wild! I felt I was dying all the time sitting there in the corner! But it was good fun. This was the first time since we moved here that the rally passes by our house.

  4. Marcia avatar

    Spain sounds so good about now as it’s still feels like winter here in the Chicago area. Glad you were able to keep up with your workouts while you were there. Nice job on the split squats and it sounds like the balance thing you’re doing is paying off!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, I was surprised myself that they worked so well! It really boosted my self-confidence being able to do them.
      It was lovely having a good place to run when I was in Spain, and also getting some strength training done. I miss running in that kind of nice temperature!

  5. Chocolaterunsjudy avatar

    Between you & Renee, I’m jealous of all the time in beautiful Spain! Except for my husband’s uncle’s funeral (which obviously doesn’t count) it’s been almost half a year since we’ve been anywhere.

    Moving on. 🙂 I love to run on the beach barefoot! Unfortunately I don’t live anywhere near a beach and I rarely get the opportunity.

    Nice job on the split squats! And good for you helping out your MIL. There seems like a lot of people in that same place with their parents (my mother is obviously much, much older).

    1. Susanne avatar

      It was very pleasant to run on the beach, but a bit scary after my injuries. But it felt good and helped me improve my technique, and now my running generally feels much better. I might try some beach running this summer at one of the local beaches. Not as pleasant as Spain obviously, but still…

  6. Wendy avatar

    You are the third European friend on social media who traveled to Spain for vacation this week. I feel as if I need to go there! It looks like you had a great time. I’m glad running on the beach helped you with your form. Running in the pool has helped me with mine. We have to find what works, right?

    Bulgarian split squats have always been awkward for me. I also struggle with Romanian deadlifts. It’s got to be that one-legged thing. Something to focus on, I guess!

    1. Susanne avatar

      That’s interesting Wendy – but Spain is one of the few places in Europe that offers some nice weather at this time of the year so I’m not surprised! Perhaps you should go to escape the snow!
      I’ve never done single-leg Romanian deadlifts. That sounds really difficult! I’ve just started doing other single-leg squats and they are hard enough!

  7. Michelle avatar

    Your time in Spain sounds lovely – definitely a country I’ve wanted to visit.

    Great job with those squats!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Michelle! Spain can be a good place to visit – weather-wise at the very least. I was at the eastern coast but it’s a large country with a lot of different landscapes and there’s a lot to see. I’d like to see more of the mountain areas myself.

  8. Jenny avatar

    Welcome back! I was wondering what you’d been up to. I’m glad to hear your running is going well! And congrats on the BSS’s. One of the things I love about those is I feel like they incorporate balance as well as strength. I do them holding dumbbells- for some reason I feel like the balance would be harder with a barbell. I should try it!
    Sounds like you’ve had a lot of fun these past few weeks!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you, Jenny, I’ve had a lovely month of March!
      The Bulgarian squats definitely require both strength and balance, and that’s what makes them so hard! I’ve always been able to do them better (but still poorly) with dumbbells so it was such a great feeling to master them with the barbell. It’s an excellent exercise and for me it’s been a mental exercise too, to focus, switch off the brain, etc because with balance exercises I always tend to think too much.

  9. Kimberly Hatting avatar

    Sounds like a fabulous time in Spain! Huge congrats on your recent successes with running and strength-training! I got in the habit of doing standing leg lifts when I was recovering from emergency knee surgery a few years ago. I had to keep the healing leg as straight as possible while the suture seam healed, and leg lifts were something that worked. That said, all the balancing on one leg gave me a lot of ankle-strengthening and it improved my balance a lot.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks, Kim! I’m very impressed with the effect of standing on one leg! I’ll never underestimate those seemingly simple exercises again.

  10. Cari avatar

    Beach makes it so much easier to want to run all the days. Isn’t it amzing how the little things make a difference? Whether a change of scenery or light balance work

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, I had to hold myself back to not go running every day! That said, I could have gone for walks instead. But we walked a LOT there also without morning walks. Totally agree about the little things!

  11. Kimberly G avatar

    Travelling to Spain is on my bucket list and I hope to get there one day. So glad to hear that your running is going well too.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I hope you’ll get there! It’s never been on my bucket list but I enjoyed my time there, particularly seeing my in-laws and spending some time with them, and having some nice weather.

  12. Jessie avatar

    Spain sounds lovely! I enjoy running on holiday, its such a great way to explore. After most trips, my husband and I will chat about highlights and they often involve a run!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, and I’d love to actually plan a holiday exclusively around running (or walking/hiking) too. You two must have many great holiday run memories!

  13. Jenn avatar

    What a busy week!

    Congratulations on the split squats! That’s such a victory!

    Love your photography! How fun! And Spain looks amazing!

    1. Susanne avatar

      All of it was great! Spain, photographing the rally, but most of all the split squats. 😀

  14. Debbie avatar

    What a lovely trip you had to Spain and I agree, what a beautiful place to run! Yay on mastering the Bulgarian split squats. Having good balance is important in so many aspects of life.

    We were in Charleston, SC on St. Patrick’s Day and we attended the parade there, our first St. Patrick’s Day parade since Denver, CO in 1984.

    I agree, you should try more action and sports photography! Those pictures are great!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Debbie! I totally agree about having good balance! I’m going to continue working on that. Good to hear you enjoyed a parade on St Patrick’s day!
      I’ll see what opportunities I’ll find for sports photography. One of the photographers in my camera club is a lot into that so he should be able to give me some ideas.

  15. Shathiso avatar

    Those rally car photos you took are such good quality – the colour, the angle, the details! Well done!
    What a busy couple of weeks and so glad you’ve been able to get so much running and fitness work done in between (even on those not-so-nice weather days!)

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you so much for saying this about my photos! I’ve been in an all-time-low with photography lately but really enjoyed taking these, and your comment gave some well-needed inspiration boost. Yes, I’ve managed to make fitness activities quite much a priority these days.

  16. Lisa @ TechChick Adventures avatar

    I love the whiskey logo! That rally would have been very exciting to see … so close to your house! Good job on getting those runs in, along with all of your workouts.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I really enjoyed the rally! I sort of hope it will pass by here next year again… but perhaps they don’t need to tear down the internet cables again, lol.

  17. Anne avatar

    Oh, go you! Your balance, your strength, your confidence – it’s so wonderful to see all of the positives happening. I hope the weather continues to improve, too! St. Patrick’s day sounds like it was a bit of fun, and the rally sounds…interesting? Was it super-loud? I can’t imagine it wasn’t, right there in front of your house. Such a unique experience!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Except now I have a new injury and I’ll have to start over from scratch (probably not with strength, though). At least now I know what to do to get back to where I was.
      The rally was crazy! Lots of fun and after a few hours we were a bit fed up with the sound. But a cool experience.

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