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Exercise Vs Healthy Diet

29 Jul

Hope you had a great weekend.

Healthy Eating

Image taken from free stock site stock.xchng id 1419869 – credit to zomb_kille

I was talking to a good friend last week and we got to talking about exercise and diet. I know a lot of people who rely on their training to keep them trim and if they weren’t training they would be much larger than they are because their diet isn’t good.

I guess this was me when I first started running 11/12 years ago. I figured running was great because I could eat what I wanted and still lose weight. In fact when I was training for the London Marathon I was in Health and Fitness Magazine as the girl who could eat what she wanted and lose weight! I had to keep a food diary and they published it and then talked about the fact that i was training so hard it didn’t matter how much or what I was eating etc etc. At the time I was proud to have this label but when I think back now to what I was eating it was shocking and I was lucky I was motivated to train!

Food has always been one of those areas that I have had a love hate relationship with but I guess as I get older I am realising just how much it can affect my lifestyle and the way I feel.  Recently I have had to cut gluten out of my diet as well as dairy as much as possible and it has amazed me how hard it is and also how much rubbish there is on the market to try and replace much loved gluten and dairy items such as bread – and it’s been a real fight to remain healthy and not fall for all the yummy looking replacements out there full of junk. Not training as much as I would usually has also meant to really keep an eye on my eating which is finally paying off as thankfully I haven’t gained weight whilst reducing training in fact I have lost weight :-)

I am no nutritionist or personal trainer but it’s not rocket science – you are what you eat!  Eating and living unhealthily is not great –  and just because you can still run/swim/ride/whatever well it doesn’t mean you are healthy and living a healthy lifestyle – it means you are fit not healthy.  A lot of health experts say diet counts for 80% exercise 20% which I am definitely in agreement with. Why exercise when you then finish and have a doughnut or cigarette! What’s the point of all that hard work you just put in?!?

That’s my rambling for the day over :-)

 

 

Welcome to the world of Ultra Running

13 Jul

Imagine the sense of exhilaration you’ll experience at the end of race that’s even longer than a standard marathon. Intrigued? Welcome to the world of ‘ultra running’.

I have a few friends that are ultra runners and I have often had people ask me what’s involved and what it’s all about so today’s post should help answer a few of those questions.

If you’ve never heard of ‘ultra running’ before, the term basically covers all types of competitive running longer than the 42 kilometres of a typical marathon. They can also take place on any surface – including roads, dirt tracks and mountain trails.

In Australia, the UK and US, 50 mile (80km+)  routes are becoming increasingly popular, as are trails that take in rough terrain and woodland to really push runners to their physical limits.

While in many respects this could be considered the next step up from a marathon, taking up ultra running doesn’t necessarily require you to double your training schedule. Speaking to Men’s Health magazine, record breaking ultra runner William Sichel said it’s not necessarily increasing your training that’s crucial to succeeding in ultra running; rather it’s about adapting your running style, by incorporating walking breaks.

If anything, the only difference you’ll notice between traditional marathon running and ultra running is the speed at which you wear your running shoes out! It goes without saying that the more kilometres your rack up, the quicker you’ll need to replace your footwear.  Stringer Sports is a favourite Australian source for running shoes at the moment – in a lot of the stores they are too expensive and I end up having to order from the US but their prices are reasonable. And, for any UK readers, take a look at the selection of running shoes from Millet Sports and opt for a design that incorporates gel and foam into the design for optimum comfort when you’re covering long distances.

Ultra running shoes

Even though your training schedule won’t need to be expanded, you’ll notice that ultra running takes more of a toll on your body and recovery time is longer. If you’re feeling the strain of your exertion and you’re struggling to recover after a spot of ultra running, check out these top recovery tips from Runners World.

Ultra-running is about discovering your bodies limits; and pushing past them to achieve and endure more. If you’re an experienced and accomplished marathon runner, why not take the next step with ultra running and put your body to the test?

Interested in racing in Australia? See a list of Ultra races here.

I am not sure I am ready to yet but who know’s one day…….

Have a great weekend and happy running :-)

Secret running :-)

9 Jul

How is your training going?

I haven’t posted in a while as has life has been so chaotic with work. My working days have been spreading into time when I should still be in bed and long into the night. It’s all good but it’s meant that I haven’t been able to train too much.

Run Stop Shop

The weekend just gone was the Gold Coast Marathon, Half Marathon etc and I knew a lot of people who ran it including a number of friends that ran their first ever marathons. They had a tough day as it was quite warm and it’s hard when you have been training in the cold and then suddenly you get a much warmer day for the race. I have had that happen a few times and it’s hard work. But they did really well and finished which is awesome.

I was quite hyped up after reading about lots of different peoples experiences on Saturday and Sunday so was a bit naughty as I am not meant to be pushing myself too much at the moment and I went for a secret run! I probably pushed myself too hard and it hurt but oh boy did it feel good to be out running and feeling that great sense of working hard :-) Can’t wait until I can start my proper training again and my friend and I were just discussing today our plans to lead up to the New York Marathon on 2015. I am so excited I can’t wait to start building back up to those long long runs.

In the meantime I am taking it a bit easier, doing lots of toning to keep everything trim and enjoying the rest before the hard work begins again :-)

On another note if you have been reading for a little while you’ll remember that Run Stop Shop was looking to name the top running blog in Australia from their point of view. Thanks to those of you that voted I came 4th :-) I didn’t even expect to get ranked so it was a nice surprise and encouraging.

Have a great day and happy running :-)

 

Orange’d out!

21 Jun

Wow it’s been a busy week or so. I was planning to write a bit more than I have in the last couple of weeks but time has not been on my side.

I did manage to complete the 10 days of the #goOrange challenge but I forgot to take a photo of the last Orange day – oops! See photo – I wasn’t that adventurous but I tried!

I’m a little bit orange’d out though to be honest. It was a fun challenge but I think I will have a break from them for a little while.

Image

Hope your training week has been good. I did a PT session with my lovely friend earlier in the week and she smashed my arms! I am still aching now and struggling even to lift my hand bag – how much of a sook am I!! It’s amazing how a few kettle bell sessions and push ups can hurt!

Anyway thinking of all of you training and racing this weekend. My friends are riding the Brisbane to Gold Coast 100k bike ride – I wish them the best of luck and am actually thankful on this occasion I won’t be riding as it’s cold brrrr!

Happy Running :-)

Turning a corner – Tips for finding motivation when not being able to train

1 Jun

I posted a while ago that I was frustrated at not being able to run at the moment due to some medical issues. It’s really hard when you are used to doing something you love (I have been running for 11+ years) and are told to stop.

I have gone through a number of psychological emotions and feel like I am finally getting used to the idea.

Initially being told to not run for a while made me rebellious and determined to train as usual – not the best option especially when medical bills start coming in. And then I went through the depressed state of realising that I wasn’t meant to be training and admitting to myself that I should stop training – I felt quite isolated from running friends and suddenly went from seeing lots of people to hardly any at all. I also felt depressed seeing when other people were going running and I wasn’t able to. Then I felt miserable and I didn’t want to see running friends because I was fed up at not being able to run and wanted to stop all the questions around why I wasn’t training.

It's hard when we are unable to train but keeping positive and upbeat is the key.

It’s hard when we are unable to train but keeping positive and upbeat is the key.

And then I turned a corner.

I decided enough was enough with the pity party. It isn’t going to be forever that  I can’t train much, just the situation I have found myself in right now.

Here are  a few tips for keeping positive and motivated when you can’t train.

Encourage friends – become the encourager

If you are in the same situation and not being able to train I urge you not to isolate yourself but to become the encourager.

I have made it my mission to keep in touch with friends and to encourage them in their training. It’s great to see how well some of the people I have been running with for a while are now doing – that’s the great thing about running – keep doing it and you will see progress.

Volunteer

Volunteering is a great way to keep connected with the sport you love even if you can’t do it.

I decided to volunteer with an established running group and went along for the first time today and it was great.

I was the run ‘photographer’ which was perfect me being an avid photographer and I photographed people as they started and finished the race – it was great fun being a spectator for a change and seeing how hard people were working and cheering them on to finish. I found even though I wasn’t able to be one of the runners that I felt every bit as involved and I will be doing it on a regular basis as well as hopefully soon taking part in the run itself.

Plan for when you can train 

I am already planning my races for when  I can train again and have the New York full Marathon, Sydney Half, Melbourne Half and Gold Coast full Marathon in mind for 2014/15 and I am seeing my not training hard now as rest time as I know once I am fully training again it’s going to be a lot of work to get back to where I was and some – but it is giving me  real motivation to know what’s around the corner.

Stay positive

It’s very easy to fall into that trap of being negative and ‘woe is me’ because something isn’t going your way but it’s a lot healthier to stay focussed, positive and surrounding yourself with positive people. The negative ones have to go especially when you are going through things you need friends to support you with, and keep those positive affirmations up.  I have a few awesome friends who have been there for me and who I can chat to about all sorts of things, and helps keep me going.

Do what you can within your limits

Walking, weights and my XBox 360 have become my friend of late. I walk with my lovely friend 4+ times a week and we drag our dogs out, and then I have a few fitness games on the XBox which are surprisingly effective that I have been doing as well. I am also able to still do weights within reason so I am trying to keep my fitness up as much as I can so when it is time to go back to training it won’t be from zero. Depending on why you can’t train have a think about what is within your ability and go for it.

Plan to treat yourself to stay focussed

I know for me, when I am able to train again I have money aside to buy a new road bike and also new running kit to celebrate being able to train again. Figured there was no point right now buying the bike until I can actually use it but it’s good to have something to look forward to to motivate and keep you even more focussed when training starts again.

Stay on track with eating 

The first thing I did when I was told I couldn’t run for a while was turn to Ice Cream and snacks in feeling miserable. I soon found that – that came with consequences – 3kg of them! I have got most of the weight back off now but it was scary how easy it was to become a different person eating wise just because I couldn’t train and felt down. Gaining weight and feeling miserable about it go hand in hand so I have tried to stay focussed and continue as normal with my healthy eating.

Most of all though – remember you are not alone. Lots of people are unable to train and it all comes down to how you choose to deal with it. It is hard and frustrating – but hang in there and try and stay positive.  

Hope these tips help. If you have any others feel free to share in the comments box below.

Happy weekend and happy training!

Brrr it’s cold for training in Brissie

28 May

I’m sat looking out of the window in my office watching the rain pouring down quite thankful I am sick at the moment! I have friends that I call ‘all weather nuts! (sorry Shaun!) who will train come rain, hail or shine! Me on the other hand if it was raining before my trainers touched the outside then it would either be a lie in or an indoor training session. I’m a delicate flower and don’t welcome the prospect of being sick all in the name of a training session :-) I can hear some of you saying ‘Suck it up Princess!’ – sorry I am a sook!

It’s gotten very cold in Brisbane the last few days and as a result a lot of people I’ve spoken too have gotten sick – and I came down with something a few days ago and currently still sound like a female version of Barry White – so haven’t done anything remotely exercise orientated in the last few days! Still not able to run at the moment but being sick and not even being able to do weights or walk the dog has driven me stir crazy!

Hope you have had a better training week than I have and haven’t succumbed to sickness. Will write more soon when my brain doesn’t feel like it is full of candy floss!

Happy Running :-)

Training for a Half Marathon – Part 2 – Race Day Tips from champion Aussie marathon runner Liam Adams

18 May

What a lovely fresh weekend it has been. Very cold in the mornings these days. I had to be up early this morning and really didn’t want to a) get up in the dark and b) get out of bed until the air con (heating) was on – what a sook I am. Remembering the days in the UK when I used to run in the snow I really have become a lightweight!

Following on from the post I posted a couple of days ago with some running tips from Aussie champion runner Liam Adams – I have the rest of the interview to share today. I figured it was a bit long to post all in one go – and this one is concentrated on race day so the questions split nicely.

Tomorrow is the Sydney Half Marathon which I am intending on running next year and it just so happens Liam is running in tomorrow’s race so I want to wish him the very best of luck and everyone else running too :-)

Race day tips:

Image taken from moonee-valley-leader.whereilive.com.au

Liam Adams – Image taken from moonee-valley-leader.whereilive.com.au

I don’t know about you but the last few races I have run I got very nervous and stressed before race day, and then on the day my poor husband has had to put up with my almost OCD tendancies to get to the race start! I have written a few posts about race preparation previously but Liam has given me some great tips to share with you all. Hope you find them useful.

1) Pre race food intake

Before race day, you should already know how well your body handles food before a session and/or race. Most Half Marathon races are in the early hours of the morning so you should have a little plan or routine in place. For myself, I find that if I eat within 3 hours of the race I run the risk of not feeling to well whilst racing or getting stitch. I tend to eat a large high-carb meal the night before the race in an attempt to satisfy my appetite for before the race & be well fuelled for the race. If you need a snack or have a meal before your race than maybe wake up during the night/morning, have a snack and go back to sleep for a couple more hours. Work out your best routine before the day so that it all goes to plan on race day.

2) Pre race hydration

You should start hydrating well before race day. Start at least a couple of days out from your race and maintain hydration until the end of the race. If you try to just hydrate in the last 24hours leading into the race, you can’t completely hydrate in that time and adapt to having that much water entering the body.

Zoe’s tip – to find out how well hydrated you are do the pee test! If your pee is brown you are seriously dehydrated – if light and clear – all good :-)

3) Wear appropriate clothing

Wear clothing that you will feel comfortable in for the whole duration of your run/race. Some people get caught up with how cold it is before a race and decide to run in their long sleeve or long tights. This is usually a decision that is regretted before the halfway mark. Your core temperature naturally warms up as the race goes on and the decision to over dress could lead to the body overheating.  I find that the lightest most breathable material singlet is the best gear to wear whilst racing.

Zoe’s tip - I use a black bin bag and rip two holes in it and one for my head of course so I can wear it in the line up – and then discard as the race starts

4) During race hydration & Snacks

For optimal performance of the cardiovascular system, it is important to try and stay hydrated for the whole duration of your race. This might mean taking on water whilst running which can be a hard thing to do when exhausted. Practice taking on some water in lead in races or sessions and see how well the body handles it.

As for snacks during the race, many people use energy gels. These also takes quite some getting used to so practice using gels at the later stages of your long runs.

5) Pace yourself

Many people use Energy Gels such as these BodyScience ones in races.

Many people use Energy Gels such as these BodyScience ones in races.

If you go out too hard at the start it can be quite a battle to get to the finish line. Ultimately the best way to run a Half Marathon is to run even splits the whole way but you can also run quite well going through the halfway mark just outside your goal target.

Tips to pace yourself:

  • It’s better to be slightly off pace and come home strong than going out to hard and blowing up.
  • Be controlled and relaxed at the start. It might feel ridiculously easy at the start but you will slowly start to notice that the pace starts to get hard as the race goes on.
  • Have the split times that you want to run on your hand and check to see if you are on pace when you run past the split markers.

6) Prepare to battle the mind

Your mind can be quite the limiting factor when it comes to the later stages of a race. You’ve always got to positively reinforce yourself that you are running well, that you’re strong enough to push harder, or that you strong enough to maintain the pace. When you start having negative thoughts and doubting yourself, then you start giving into the physical exhaustion and won’t run anywhere near your maximal potential for that race.

Tactics to draw attention away from physical exhaustions and those negative thoughts

  • Try to correct form and run more efficiently. Technique usually goes out the window towards the end of the race so if you can hold good form then you will run more efficiently but the thought process in correcting form will also distract yourself from the physical pain that you feel. You can take off a lot of time by using this technique.
  • Set mini in race goals/targets, concentrate on catching the next person then the person after that
  • Concentrate on the support from spectators, remember a race/session that you finished strong in and convince yourself that you are going to do the same etc.

7) Celebrate and reward yourself

A lot of runners enjoy just getting that satisfying feeling also known as the ‘runners high’ after completing the half marathon, but why not also reward yourself with a massage or treats that you have deprived yourself from in the lead up to your race. For most, a half marathon is a distance that is quite deserving of a reward or celebration.

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