September 27, 2017

My headphones keep falling out!

I am a big music lover when running and so its crucial that I can hear my tunes clearly and that the headphones aren’t fiddly. So what headphones do I like and what beats the Run Rabbit durability test. Here are three I’ve tried out recently.

Sennheiser PMX80

Sennheiser PMX 80 Headphone for runningThese have been my favourite headphones for about 5 years until they stopped making them. Bad Sennheiser. What is great about them? They are lightweight, snug in the ear, don’t move and therefore you can do a marathon in them (yes I’ve done 5 with them) and they have decent sound quality. Also the lead doesn’t really bother me as I put it down my running top. What’s not so great? They aren’t that waterproof and therefore you go through them. I probably go through three pairs a year. The big problem is that Sennheiser have stopped making them so they are really hard to get hold of. Sennheiser have brought out another model which is the PMX 680. These are similar but they come with a voice control button on the cable which is heavy, relative to the cable, and therefore annoying whilst running. So now I don’t shop Sennheiser. When available these cost approximately $90.

 

Panasonic clip on ear headphones

Panasonic clip on ear headphones for runningI reckon I have an odd right ear as these things just won’t stay in when running. I ended up taking them out because they were so annoying. They are light and the sound is ok but if they are fiddly you aren’t going to use them so it’s a big no no for me. Having said that I do know people who use the clip on ear headphones and cope pretty well. If they do stay on your ear they are probably pretty good and relatively cheap at around $20-$30.

 

 

 

Philips neckband sports headphones

Philips neckband sports headphones for runningI bought these after searching endlessly for a Sennheiser alternative. So far, so good. Good points – they stay in my ears, give me decent sound, are comfortable, haven’t broken yet and are still being made. The only bad point I can think of is that they have a bud which sits in the ear. When you sweat a vacuum is created in your ear, due to the bud, which feels a little disconcerting. But overall the best option for me on the market right now. These are priced pretty well too. You can pick them up on ebay for about $35 but watch the shipping costs. We still struggle with few aussie retailers selling them.

 

So my verdict is a neckband and Philips currently gets my vote. Any others than anyone recommends?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To bounce or not to bounce…

One of the most important things us ladies need to worry about when running is the ‘bounce’ factor. There’s nothing worse than running with an ill-fitting, or poorly supporting, sports bra. For the last few years I’ve stuck with the same brand, Sport Jock, but recently Shock Absorber have been promoting a new super duper sports bra that reduces bounce by 78%, so I decided to give it a road test!

Running sports bras Sportjock and Shock Absorber

Sport Jock vs Shock Absorber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nature, or rather genetics, has been generous to me in the bounce department so I need a good sports bra. There’s no way I’m running 42km unsupported. After trying lots of different sports bras I landed on Sport Jock. Sport Jock is an American brand and is awesome. The bra is effectively a cropped top and has many redeeming features. I find it to be fantastically comfortable, really supportive and it doesn’t chafe. You could easily wear it on its own if you chose to (or have abs like Madonna) but I normally wear it with a singlet or t-shirt. The other great feature is that it comes in many colours.

So the Shock Absorber bra had a tough road ahead. The bra is called the Ultimate Run bra so we’ll see how it goes.

Fit and Comfort

It is a bit more fiddly than the Sports Jock in that you have bits to adjust and a bra fastening at the back. However the fit is good and it’s pretty comfortable. My heart rate monitor did sit a little lower with this bra but it still worked perfectly.

Design

The Shock Absorber bra comes in three colours: black, white and blue so not a huge variety but the blue is quite fun and different. You could wear this just on its own as a cropped top.

Chafing

No chafing at all and this has been road tested on a 20km run. The Sports Jock is similar with no chafing problems.

Bounce factor

The Shock Absorber bra claims to reduce bounce by 78% and I certainly didn’t bounce a lot but 78%? Perhaps yes but I’ve no idea how you measure that! I’m sure there would be a few volunteers out there who would have been keen to help Shock Absorber measure it.  The Sport Jock is also very good at the bounce factor and I didn’t notice a massive difference between the two although the Shock Absorber perhaps did just edge it.

Washability and wearability

This is an important factor for runners as you wash your kit a lot. If it doesn’t wash well, or requires special washing instructions, you won’t buy another. I have washed this bra a few times and tumble dried it and it comes out fine. The Sport Jock washed incredibly well and I have had a couple for years that I still wear.

Price

Both similarly priced the Shock Absorber bra is $42 on Wiggle compared to the Sport Jock priced between $36 and $39. Pretty good value in my opinion.

So my verdict…it’s a great bra and I’ll wear this running so give it a go. As for whether it’s the Ultimate running bra it’s definitely up there but see how you go ladies.

It’s difficult to buy decent running bras in Oz so I recommend Wiggle. Buy Shock Absorber here and Sport Jock here

 

Carbo loading – what is it and should we be doing it?

Carbohydrate loading is very popular amongst runners and is a phrase used often. But what does it mean and why do we do it? And actually should we be doing it at all?

Carbohydrate loading is an important part of long distance training

During exercise we use the glycogen stores in our muscles. During endurance training, i.e. marathons and exercise over 90 minutes, we deplete these stores so we need to optimise the stores so they last as long as possible.  During exercise for less than that the stores in our muscles are sufficient.

Carbo loading allows us to increase the glycogen in our muscles by approximately 50% so that we can perform at our optimum rate for longer. Marathoners are often known to ‘hit the wall’ about 10km before the end of the race. This is essentially the glycogen stores running out.

So how do we carbo load? About a week before race day start to eat more carbohydrate rich food then 4 days out eat plenty for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. This is where pasta comes in really useful. At the same time you want to taper off exercise so your body can store the carbohydrates as glycogen and you don’t use it up. In reality this means eating cereal, bananas, bread, pasta and potatoes. So great news – you can eat carbs! No Atkins diet here.

On race day your glycogen stores should be optimised to go into your race so you can perform your best.

Hot tips:

  • Remember to taper your training up to race day otherwise you won’t see the benefit of the carbo loading
  • I find carbo loading can make you feel gluggy and lethargic. If you aren’t used to eating a lot of carbs alter your diet to incorporate more carbs prior to race week. If you are doing long training runs you’ll need to do that anyway.
  • Make sure you have a fuelling plan during the race so you can keep hold on to those glycogen stores.

Good luck!

MS Walk and Run – how was it for you?

Last Sunday Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra held fun runs to raise money for MS. People round the country were running or walking 5km or 10km for this cause. So how was it and how did we do?

Run Rabbit at MS Fun Run

Before the race!

My boyfriend and I gave the Melbourne run a go. It was a pretty chilly ten degree morning and the run was around Albert Park, an awesome running track. It’s flat with a great outlook, what more could you want!

The race started at 9am and we got there by 8.45am. We were positioned at the start line when I decided I needed the loo; it’s always that moment of deliberation for a runner. With these events there are never enough loos, never enough loo roll and always a massive queue.  But MS you didn’t do too badly.

And they’re off! It was amazing to have so much red around and lots of people running for MS; it made for a great atmosphere. But it was a bit of a crazy start. The 5km and 10km start all happened at once and people were tripping up and sliding around in the mud; now that didn’t make for a pleasant start and it took a good few kms for it to thin out a bit. After that it was fine. The course itself was great, flat and lots of people pointing to where to go so that was excellent. There were also plenty of people clapping and cheering at the half way mark.

Luckily for us the weather held out and it was cold enough to be great running weather but we missed the rain; unfortunately the walkers didn’t.

My pace was all over the place mostly due to the amount of people on the course; it’s quite tricky to get a good rhythm but I kept around about a 5minute per km pace which I was happy with.  My heart rate at one point reached 183bpm which given I have a resting HR of 41bpm was definitely too high so I scaled it back and maintained a HR of about 170bpm.

MS did well on the water, there was plenty round the two lap course.

Finishing the MS fun run

A lot of sore bodies at the finish!

I got across the line in 50 mins 20secs which is not as quick as I would have liked but a perfectly respectable time. Unfortunately my boyfriend beat me by a minute – typical! Back to interval training.

But what did I really miss – the show bag. I love a good show bag at the end of a race; it’s that treat for finishing. I, instead, treated myself to smoked salmon and eggs at Blue Tongue in Elwood. Yum!

For all the results and more info click here.

Yummy gnocchi – great pre race meal

Carbo loading is fairly commonplace before a big running race and pasta is a favourite amongst runners.

Here is a delicious alternative, gnocchi with mushrooms and truffle oil.

Pre race carbo load with gnocchi

I recommend making the gnocchi from scratch because it takes so delicious and you can make lots thereby giving you plenty of quick meals in the future. This recipe should make enough for 4 people.

To make the gnocchi you’ll need…

  • 500g desiree potatoes
  • 125g stong 000 flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg
  1.  Bake the potatoes for about an hour and a half until soft for mashing – let cool for a short while
  2. Use a mouli, sieve or potato ricer rice all the potatoes into a bowl and mix through with your fingers
  3. Add the egg yolks to the potato and mix with your fingers
  4. Add the flour gradually and mix with your fingers until you have a dough which isn’t too soft to the touch but is malleable
  5. Divide the dough into 4 and roll each into a thin roll on a floured surface
  6. Cut each roll into small pieces and take each piece and roll between both hands to create an oval shape
  7. Place the gnocchi pieces in salted boiling water (with some oil) and cook until they float to the surface.
  8. This step is really important to ensure awesome gnocchi.  Immediately remove the gnocchi pieces and place them in iced cold water; this prevents them cooking any further. When they are cool to the touch remove from the water – don’t leave in too long or they absorb too much water.  [Read more...]