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!

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

 

 

 

What makes a great running event?

I have run hundreds of races and there are some great ones and not so great ones. So what makes for a great race? Here are my ten pointers.

Organising running races

  • Have plenty of loos – queuing for four toilets is timewasting, smelly and annoying. It’s more annoying when you get there and there is no loo roll.
  • Have enough drink stations. Seriously race organisers listen up. Waiting 5km for a cup of water on a 35 degree day is not good enough.
  • Don’t start too many people at once – either start in waves or restrict it based on the funnel of the start. People falling over each other is not a good look.
  • Have showbags – people love show bags and suppliers love supporting these things. It’s a win win.
  • Have a medal. Not enough runs now give out medals; it is a sense of achievement so please give us a medal no matter how crappy it is.
  • Make a clear exit route at the end so knackered people know where to go and what to do; by that point you are slightly delirious so it needs to be easy. The Mother’s Day Classic do a great job of this.
  • Bag drop off. Offer it and make it easy to drop off and pick up. Put all bags in sections and get one person to man each section, e.g. 1-200, 201-400. Sound simple? That is because it is; but it is amazing how many organisers get it so wrong.
  • Have chip timing – you’ll get the serious runners entering and everyone likes to download a certificate with their time on.
  • Offer clear instructions on the course, chip timing, results, bag drop off etc. online and in a leaflet sent out to participants.
  • Plan the course so it is traffic free, iconic (that will get people wanting to run it), easy for spectators to access and not too hilly.

I could keep going on but I need to restrict this to ten. Any other thoughts on what other people think makes a great race or any recommended races out there?

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.