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?

 

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!

Yummy gnocchi – great pre race meal

Carbo loading is fairly commonplace before a big running race and pasta is a favourite amongst runners.

Here is a delicious alternative, gnocchi with mushrooms and truffle oil.

Pre race carbo load with gnocchi

I recommend making the gnocchi from scratch because it takes so delicious and you can make lots thereby giving you plenty of quick meals in the future. This recipe should make enough for 4 people.

To make the gnocchi you’ll need…

  • 500g desiree potatoes
  • 125g stong 000 flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • Salt and pepper
  • Nutmeg
  1.  Bake the potatoes for about an hour and a half until soft for mashing – let cool for a short while
  2. Use a mouli, sieve or potato ricer rice all the potatoes into a bowl and mix through with your fingers
  3. Add the egg yolks to the potato and mix with your fingers
  4. Add the flour gradually and mix with your fingers until you have a dough which isn’t too soft to the touch but is malleable
  5. Divide the dough into 4 and roll each into a thin roll on a floured surface
  6. Cut each roll into small pieces and take each piece and roll between both hands to create an oval shape
  7. Place the gnocchi pieces in salted boiling water (with some oil) and cook until they float to the surface.
  8. This step is really important to ensure awesome gnocchi.  Immediately remove the gnocchi pieces and place them in iced cold water; this prevents them cooking any further. When they are cool to the touch remove from the water – don’t leave in too long or they absorb too much water.  [Read more...]

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...]

Beach running in Elwood

One of my favourite runs is a traffic free, flat run in Elwood, Victoria.

Elwood is situated between St Kilda and Brighton and a hidden gem, in my opinion. There is a car park just south of Point Ormond and that is where this run starts from. The run I describe here is 10km there and back but you can run any distance along the beach path. The beauty of this run is that there’s no traffic other than other runners and the occasional stroller.

Running along beach run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Starting from the car park at Point Ormond run south, keeping the beach on your right hand side. After about 5 minutes you’ll pass Sails on the Bay and Elwood Sailing Club (watch out for the little nippers in dinghies). Just as a quick note Sails on the Bay does some fantastic food and dinner here is wonderful. Keep running and you’ll see some majestic houses on the left. Three km from starting you’ll hit Middle Brighton Baths; there’s a great outdoor ‘pool’ here (the sea), there’s also a good café and restaurant. Keep going for another km along the beautiful wide beach just south of Middle Brighton; this is very popular with kite boarders. When you reach the toilets at the end of the beach you could turn round and that makes a good 8km run. However you can keep going along the bike path and you’ll pass the brightly coloured beach huts of Brighton. At the 5km mark turn around and head back.

Running along Elwood beach

If you are feeling particularly energetic at the end of the run Point Ormond is ideal for some hill sprints. Run as quick as you can up the hill to the top and recovery run down giving yourself a good minute break. Do 3 to 5 times. Once done take in the wonderful views of Melbourne and Port Philip from the top of Point Ormond.

You can view the run on this link http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/83627163

Let us know of any other good beach runs; we’d love to hear about them and try them out.

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?

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.