July 25, 2017

I can’t run any faster!

Know that feeling? For years I’ve run pretty similar times, decent times, but I didn’t get any quicker. Now I am actually ok with that but I would like to shave a few minutes off my 10k and more than a few off my marathon time. If this sounds familiar what can you do?

Two things that I think are vital in contributing towards this are weight and intervals. I hate to admit it but if there is less of you to carry around you are going to feel lighter and go a bit quicker. So diet is a big contributor and you need to manage your diet well. But intervals are also really important and, as we will discover, these help weight too – yay!

So this blog focuses on interval training. Often when we run we’ll run the same distance each week at the same pace but we might run for a bit longer when race training. This is great and there is nothing wrong with that. However your body gets used to that pace and it has to work less hard to keep that pace so over time you plateau. So you need to work your body harder. Interval training is a great way to push yourself. [Read more...]

Beach running in Elwood

One of my favourite runs is a traffic free, flat run in Elwood, Victoria.

Elwood is situated between St Kilda and Brighton and a hidden gem, in my opinion. There is a car park just south of Point Ormond and that is where this run starts from. The run I describe here is 10km there and back but you can run any distance along the beach path. The beauty of this run is that there’s no traffic other than other runners and the occasional stroller.

Running along beach run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting from the car park at Point Ormond run south, keeping the beach on your right hand side. After about 5 minutes you’ll pass Sails on the Bay and Elwood Sailing Club (watch out for the little nippers in dinghies). Just as a quick note Sails on the Bay does some fantastic food and dinner here is wonderful. Keep running and you’ll see some majestic houses on the left. Three km from starting you’ll hit Middle Brighton Baths; there’s a great outdoor ‘pool’ here (the sea), there’s also a good café and restaurant. Keep going for another km along the beautiful wide beach just south of Middle Brighton; this is very popular with kite boarders. When you reach the toilets at the end of the beach you could turn round and that makes a good 8km run. However you can keep going along the bike path and you’ll pass the brightly coloured beach huts of Brighton. At the 5km mark turn around and head back.

Running along Elwood beach

If you are feeling particularly energetic at the end of the run Point Ormond is ideal for some hill sprints. Run as quick as you can up the hill to the top and recovery run down giving yourself a good minute break. Do 3 to 5 times. Once done take in the wonderful views of Melbourne and Port Philip from the top of Point Ormond.

You can view the run on this link http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/83627163

Let us know of any other good beach runs; we’d love to hear about them and try them out.

Music or no music?

A few weeks ago a jogger tragically died in Victoria, when he was clipped by a train whilst out running. It was drizzly and dark and the man may have thought he had more space than he actually did but he was also wearing headphones. So that raises the question: music or no music?

Running with or without music

Many races and marathons now actually ban, or certainly discourage, the use of music during a race. Their reasons are that it annoys other runners and also that you aren’t quite as aware of your surroundings as if you were music free.

I will often run with music and I find it keeps me motivated during long runs. I have used music whilst running for years and have suffered through the times of mini discs and the very large iPods that would get stuck because they were being jolted too much – than goodness for the shuffle! But I am generally very aware that my hearing is limited when music is playing; I don’t have it so loud that I can’t hear anything else, especially traffic. Even on walking paths you can get bikes which you really can’t hear very well so keep your wits about you.

I will regularly run without music though. I’ll often do this on shorter runs or during interval training. The great thing about it is that you can tune into yourself, listen to your breathing and focus on your steps. I find that you will often pay a bit more attention to your technique and style. Also take advantage of parks, the beach and the bush and listen to all that’s around you.

Pros

  • Keeps you motivated, especially during long runs
  • You can tune in to your own world
  • Develop a playlist to suit your training

Cons

  • You tune out of what’s around you – can be unsafe with traffic etc.
  • If you train with it you’ll often need to race with it
  • You can go through headphones; they break quickly in my experience
  • You can forget to focus on your technique and breathing

I do think music is a personal thing and on a 1, 2 or 3 hour run often you’ll need a bit of a motivator. But with or without it, be mindful of where you are running, who else is around and the environment you’re in. Try it with and without and see how you go.

What are your thoughts on music whilst you run?

The Grand Prix Run

One of my favourite runs is around Albert Park in Melbourne.

This is a beautiful run with no traffic, no roads and lots to look at. It also helps that I am a massive Grand Prix fan and it reminds me of it every time I run there.

Albert Park Lake; the perfect running spot

Stunning view of the city from Albert Park lake

Albert Park actually hosts quite a few fun runs so keep an eye out for them. There’s one for MS on the 3rd June 2012 and Start to Finish host Emma and Tom’s Christmas Run in December each year. It’s perfect for a 5km or 10km run depending on how you are feeling. It’s as flat as a pancake so also really good for interval training.

Depending on where you live or are parked you can start anywhere. There is lots of parking at MSAC (Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre) on Aughtie Drive but there is meter parking all around the park. Look out for the birds when you are running, these include the majestic black Canadian Geese, probably my favourite bird.

Albert Park run

In the summer I would recommend avoiding dawn and dusk due to the mossies and flys; there are tons of them and I’ve come back from a run covered in bites and fully fed from all the flies and gnats I’ve swallowed.

A link to the run is below. For a 5km run do one circuit and for 10k do two!

http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/91881357/?open_ive_done=1&new_route=1

Enjoy the run!

All your race results in one place!

One of my outright favourite running websites is Athlinks. Athlinks is an awesome website which holds all of your race results in one place and it’s a great site to get your geek on.

athlinks race homepage

Athlinks pulls race results from high and low profile races all over the world so you can access them in one place. I have race results from ten years ago stored in the database! It doesn’t seem to capture all races as my London marathon races seem to have been missed; however you can add ‘unofficial’ race results yourself.  You can see gender, age and overall position per race along with pace and any other data they can pull. Pace is probably the most interesting one to look at.

[Read more...]

Run Melbourne – First Timer!

This week we are talking to Andrea.

Running your first 10k

Andrea is a bit of a newbie to running. However Andrea does enjoy yoga, bike riding, keeping fit and is a big fan of eating healthily. Andrea also has a personal trainer to help her build her strength; she tends to focus on resistance and weight training. This will be Andrea’s first Run Melbourne 10km having run her first 4km run in February this year. Last year she took the 5km Run Melbourne race on but did walk quite a lot of it. This year she’s serious about it!

Andrea is keen to run this year’s race in under 70 minutes. Well really she is keen to run the whole thing so a time is a bonus.

Her current training plan focuses on getting out there and running. For Andrea the real barrier to running is time, motivation and self talk. Andrea plans to do three short twenty minute runs a week and combine that with yoga and cycling to and from work.

We’ll keep track of how Andrea is doing up to race day.

Top tip: Don’t talk yourself out of training; get out there and be positive.

Enter Run Melbourne here

Ten reasons I run

We all have different passions, hobbies and things we love. I’ve run for 18 years in one way or another and still love it now as much as the day I started. So why do I run?

  • The feeling after a great run; there’s nothing like it. I feel alive and pumped and de-stressed; running is a great time for thinking or zoning out
  • Fitness – no doubt about it; you burn about 600 calories in a 10km run (depending on speed, weight etc.)
  • Strength – after I have done an interval session I feel strong and I am training my heart to work harder
  • The itch/ buzz I feel  edgy if I miss my run; I need to go and smash out some km’s
  • Legs – yes you might have slightly larger calves and quads but boy are they toned! And as for your butt!

chocolate - great running food

  • Metabolism – again interval sessions help with this but you can increase your metabolism for 4 to 6 hours following a run. That means I can eat…chocolate, and experts say it’s good for you (ok dark chocolate and perhaps not a whole 200g bar in one sitting)
  •  Flexibility. I can run when I want and where I want; no gyms needed. Just put on your kit and you’re away
  • Bragging rights – I have pub and dinner party stories from my marathons. Endless stories!
  • Technical stuff. I can spend money on heart rate monitors, download my times and be a little bit geeky
  • Lycra and running kit – running means I get to laze about in my running kit a lot which is wonderfully comfortable
  • Ok so this is my 11th point but it’s a really important one. Races and fun runs. They are brilliant and motivating. You get to see other runners and push yourself; if you’re lucky you also get a goody bag and shiny medal at the end!

What other reasons do people have for running?

Run Melbourne – another contender

This week we are talking to Pete, a keen triathlete. Pete is a pretty good swimmer and as such has developed his running so that he can compete in triathlons. Next year he is aiming to complete Ironman Melbourne. So we think Pete’s pretty good despite his protests.

Suffering a lack of aerodynamics with a mo in tow

Pete (on the right) ran this year’s Run 4 the kids in an excellent time of  61 minutes. Over the last year he has improved his average pace by over 30 seconds per km. Pete puts this down to, losing weight,  changing his training slightly, incorporating some interval training and also having a coach to help him focus on his goals and targets on a wek to week basis.

The target this year for Pete is to beat his PB of 1hr 34min and go as close to 1hr 30min as possible. But the real goal is the Melbourne marathon in October and the Iron Man race next March.

 

Pete’s training plan up to the race consists of 3-4 runs per week (as well as swimming and riding). An average week consists of an interval session (10-12km), 1 or 2 easy runs (7-10km) and a long run currently around 100 minutes (17-20+km)

Top tip: Don’t get ahead of yourself; build up slowly to avoid injuries. 

Enter Run Melbourne here.

 

 

To warm up or not to warm up….

You could ask 100 people if they warm up before they run and I am sure it would be fairly split as to whether people do or don’t.

Some people just dive straight into running and others do a bit of a warm up before they do.

I would always recommend warming up for five minutes before you launch into a full blown run. So why do we warm up and what’s a good way to warm up quickly?

5 reasons to warm up

  • warm the muscles up gradually to prevent injury
  • reduce muscle stiffness
  • more efficient blood flow and oxygen use when the muscles are warmed up
  • get the heart rate up gradually
  • prepares you mentally for exercise

The best way to warm up

Dynamic stretching is the best way, in my opinion, to warm up. This should be sport specific so focused on running. Dynamic stretching is a controlled movement which improves the range of motion and warms up muscles and raises the heart rate. This differs to static stretching which aims to hold a muscle in an elongated position for a period of time; this is perfect to cool down but isn’t shown to have good effects on a warm up; in fact some studies show it can cause injury.

[Read more...]