September 27, 2017

5 tips to get the most out of your running

Preparation is, arguably, more important than the running itself. With poor prep you can kiss a decent run goodbye. Here are my 5 tips that I stick to when running, most of the time anyway.
  • Green vegetables full of antioxidantsEat well and drink well - It is crucial to have a balanced diet with plenty of energy and protein to repair cells and muscles. Eat lots of green vegetables and fruit with antioxidants and vitamin C so that you can keep your immune system going at full pelt. Prunes, raisins, blackberries and blueberries are full of antioxidants. My advice would be to try and eat clean so avoid processed foods; they are hard for your system to metabolise so keep it simple. Also drink lots of water!
  • Get plenty of sleep – If I don’t get at least 8 hours a night I am exhausted for my run the next day; your body needs this down time to repair itself so get enough sleep.
  • Balance your commitments – Make time for your run and don’t relent on it (as much as possible). My running is really important to me in terms of my health and so I won’t compromise on that. I set a specific time for it and stick to it.
  • Have a goal – Have an aim and something to work towards. This might be a 10k race or marathon or it might be lose 5kg. You also might want to improve your times; whatever it is have that goal in mind and a timeframe to hit it.
  • Be positive – Be positive, be focused and keep that state of mind. When it is dark and miserable outside it is easy to put that run off. Keep positive and think how great you’ll feel at the end of it. Also if you have a bad run shrug it off and get back on the horse the next day. Look at running, and the rest of life, sunny side up!

 

 

The trials and tribulations of runners nipples

On running and finishing races one of the most common sights I see is blood on men’s t shirts. I see it every race without fail. So what is this, why does it happen and how can we prevent it?

Being a lady, and not facing this issue, I have consulted with many of my male running companions on this subject to really understand what happens to these guys. So blood on t shirts is widely described as runners nipples. Effectively during a run a t-shirt or singlet can chafe and overtime cause bleeding. Ladies are normally wearing close fitting bras so this isn’t usually an issue.  I have seen cases where there is a huge amount of blood so it’s a real problem and the male runners I have spoken to try lots of things to prevent it.

No fixes are full proof and these all meet with mixed results but here are a few solutions:

  • vaseline to prevent chafingVaseline – that old favourite! This is used generally for chafing and is a great barrier. However it might not last a marathon!
  • Plasters – guys use plasters to prevent the problem but they can slide off or stick firm so you get a wax into the bargain, when you rip them off.
  • Body glide – triathletes use this a lot to help get wetsuits on and off; another great barrier/ anti chafing gel
  • Nipple daisies – these are awesome and designed for ladies but cover your nipples perfectly. You can buy online from ebay which also saves a bit of embarrassment.
  • Take your top off – many fellas run without tops. Great if you live up north (Australia) but in Tassie in June not such a good option. However if you have a physique similar to Djokovic I actively encourage this anytime of the year
  • Wear skins – some men I have spoken to have managed to get round the problem by wearing a really close fitting top.

Does anyone have any other great suggestions? If so please do get them down here.

The Lunchtime Run

Running at lunch or middle of the dayThe lunchtime run is one of my favourite things, especially in Winter, and here are my reasons why you should give it a go.

  • You have limited time so you work hard and there is no wasting time or dilly dallying
  • It’s a great way to break up the day
  • It gives you great energy for the afternoon and helps prevent that post lunch lethargy
  • In Winter you get to see daylight, otherwise my morning and evening runs are in the dark
  • Set up running groups with people from work and set challenges

But if you are running at lunch here is what I think you need:

  • Showers – for everyone’s benefit make sure you have something to make you smell a little more pleasant in the afternoon
  • Flexibility – in my job sometimes I can’t always do midday every day so be flexible
  • Good running routes – this, of course, depends on where you work but try and find something relatively green and traffic free if you can
  • Well planned running routes – with only a short time to run don’t bite off more than you can chew, or get lost, which is what happened to me once. 20km and a couple of hours later I returned to work! Use it as an opportunity to do some interval training
  • Good communication – the number of people I see continuing to sweat profusely at their desk whilst their work mates look on baffled! Don’t chance that they might call an ambulance; let them know you’ve been on a run

Enjoy that lunchtime run and chase that carrot!

Need some legwork?

If you want some leg work I have found just the place in Perth, Kings Park!

Running in Kings Park, Perth

The great running paths in Kings Park, Perth

Perth is a stunning city, in my opinion, and it has some great running. I was there in July and it was 21 degrees!. Kings Park is situated overlooking the city and is beautiful and big. You can do a great 10k run in there along with plenty of smaller runs. The botanical garden is fantastic and the views amazing. At sunset you can literally just keep on running. But the real highlight for me is Jacob’s Ladder.

Jacob's Ladder, Perth

Jacob's Ladder - great for the legs

Jacob’s ladder is a manmade staircase situated on Cliff Street linking the street below to the mount, and park. Apparently there are 221 steps but I am sure I counted 241; I was fairly delirious towards the end though. I think it is a bit of an institution amongst the locals as there were plenty of runners and walkers in the morning and evening. What most people seem to do is run up and down it several times. I’d just done a 10k run so I did it twice and was bushed. But what great exercise! I have also walked up the 1000 steps in the Dandenongs and it is similar although less busy.

This is fantastic fat burning exercise because you are working your big muscle groups hard. Your quads, glutes and hamstrings are feeling that burn, particularly the quads. Working these guys hard will keep you burning fat for hours after and is great exercise for toning up this area and giving you a great bum. Treat this as interval training and run up 30 or 40 then ease off for 30 seconds then go again. Do what your body can handle.

If steps really aren’t your thing the park has some beautiful runs. One is called the Law run which is a short 2.5km circuit and takes in some of the flora and fauna. There is also a treetop walkway which really does give you a bird’s eye view of the city.

For more info on King’s Park go to www.bgpa.wa.gov.au/kings-park

 

 

 

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!

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...]

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...]

Run Melbourne – the training starts

Run Melbourne is a fantastic run that is taking place on Sunday July 15th through the streets of Australia’s food capital….. Melbourne.

There is a 5km, 10km and half marathon course; last year I completed the half marathon and it was a great event, well organised, plenty of water and a good route. It was still hard work though!

I’ll be doing this year’s half marathon again and for the next few weeks we’ll profile someone different whether they be an experienced runner, a first timer, after a PB or simply want to get round. We’ll keep track of their training and see how they actually did when the race is done!

So this week it’s Julie, also known as Chief Bunny!

Julie, runs lots but wants to get quicker

Chief Bunny

I haven’t run a half marathon for a while so this is my journey back into it. I’m really after doing a 1hr 50 time so I need to start revving up my training. At the moment I focus on 4 or 5 runs a week and some of those will incorporate interval training.

Three months out from the race I’ve started to get a bit more serious about my training; I have a plan which incorporates shorter runs during the week and longer runs on the weekend. I also make sure I keep the interval training going but I’m more planned about it. In addition I try and get some shorter races in so I have the Mother Day Classic planned for May 13th and a 10km race around Albert Park in June. I find it helps you pace yourself and get used to race conditions again (I am always quite nervous before a race and my experience is that your stomach can play havoc with you).

Following on from Run Melbourne I’ll be running the Melbourne marathon in October so then the really tough work begins!

Top tip: if you are using gels or sports drink incorporate in your training; don’t use what’s provided on the day. Your stomach won’t thank you for it!

So if you want to get involved log on to www.runmelbourne.com.au and enter today.

Next week we’ll be talking to Pete, a triathlete, runner and soon to be Iron Man contender!