July 25, 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 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!

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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5 simple post run stretches

Stretching is one of those subjects that people have different views on. Some people advocate stretching and others get away with never stretching. I guarantee the latter can’t touch their toes anymore though!

Stretching is important for a few reasons:

  • Increases range of motion and flexibility
  • Lengthens muscles after they are shortened during exercise
  • Decreases muscle soreness and reduces risk of iinjury
  • Decreases muscle tension
  • Improves circulation

When you are running you are predominantly using your glutes, hamstrings, quads, hip flexors and calf muscles; however you are also using your core, biceps and upper body to a lesser extent so you need to stretch these muscles out too.

5 simple stretches to do post run are below. These are designed to be easy to remember and stretch mostly the legs, glutes and back.

 

Calf stretch against wall

This exercise stretches the calf muscle (gastrocnemius to be exact) and also the Achilles.

  • Stand arms length from the wall
  • Front foot should be slightly bent and back leg straight
  • Press hips forward until stretch is felt in the back leg
  • Hold for 30 secs and repeat
Calf stretch
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Your First Few Weeks

start runningSo you’ve got your runners, you have the gear and you’re ready to go. You hit the streets running, go for ten, maybe even twenty minutes with some walking, get home, pull up sore the next day and that’s it until the next time you’re on a get fit regime. Sound familiar?

Hopefully Run Rabbit will be able to help you through this.

In the  Getting Started blog, I mention a plan is needed which you can stick to. Here is a general plan aimed at those who haven’t run much before or haven’t run in a while but have some fitness from walking or the gym. If you have run recently perhaps skip to week 4. This plan is based on the walk/ run technique. I started off running this way 18 years ago and, if I ever have a break due to injury or eating too much Christmas pudding, I always go back to this method. It works and it motivates you to keep going!

Week 1

  • Walk for 3 minutes, jog steadily for 1 minute. Repeat 4 times. Do this session three times this week, ideally every other day so that you give your legs a rest.

Week 2

  • Walk for 4 minutes, jog for 2 minutes. Repeat 4 times. Do this session three times this week.

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How do I start running?

TestMaybe you have grand plans of running a marathon; perhaps you want to lose a few pounds or do you just want to get a bit fitter? Whatever your motivation to run you first need to put one foot in front of the other and start small.

So here’s Run Rabbit’s advice before you even set foot outside the door.

 

 

  •  What’s the carrot? What are you actually trying to achieve? Write down the goal and stick it on the fridge, tell people about it and chase it. Make it measurable; e.g. I want to run 5km non stop within 4 weeks or I want to run 10km in under 60 minutes within 2 months.

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