September 26, 2017

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

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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5 bits of kit to help you start running

Running is not a gear/ kit intense sport, however you do need a few bits and pieces. Here is a quick list of 5 items I think you need to start running….

 

Choosing the right running shoes is important

1)      Runners/ trainers/ sneakers – probably the most important item in your running wardrobe. Without them you may as well go all Zola Budd; with poor fitting ones you’ll get blisters, shin splints and sore feet. All in all it’s enough to put you off running and your budding running career will be short-lived. Get them properly fitted at a specialised running store and ideally get gait analysis done. One tip is to take an old pair of running shoes with you so they can get a look at how your foot pronates.

 

2)      Running shorts/ leggings – for me these are very important. Pick too short a short and you have Rafael Nadal’s problem; wear tracksuit bottoms and they can be too heavy. Make sure whatever you pick is comfortable and relatively lightweight. Key things to watch out for is chafing (shorty shorts can cause this), length (think about the cold winters and hot summers),  pockets (really useful for keys),  material – lycra I find fits well and washes well. My favourite brands are Nike, 2XU and Skins. I’ll talk about compression in another blog.

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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