July 25, 2017

My ten favourite running tracks

I love running with music and I do like my upbeat dance music or as my Dad used to call it ‘beep bop di beep bop’. I love changing the music I listen to and here are ten of my favourite running tracks…at the moment anyway.

  1. Rock, Dust Light Star – Jamiroquai
  2. Yeke Yeke – More Kante.  An awesome dance hit from 1993 which takes me back to my youth.
  3. Connected  - Stereo MC’s
  4. Rock That Body – Black Eyed Peas
  5. Emergency on Planet Earth – Jamiroquai
  6. Let Me Entertain You – Robbie Williams
  7. Wide Open Space – Mansun
  8. A Kind of Magic – Queen
  9. Peace – Sabrina Johnston. Another 90’s favourite
  10. Suicide Blond – INXS

Any other recommendations out there?

 

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!

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

 

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?

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?

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.

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