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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

Liam Adams – Image taken from

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.

Training for a Half Marathon – top tips from champion Aussie marathon runner Liam Adams

16 May

Brrr it’s so cold this morning. Went out to exercise and it was freezing at 6am. I think winter is definitely on its way!

This weekend is the Sydney Half Marathon and I was really hoping to run it this year but because of not being able to run at the moment I didn’t enter. Am going to do it next year instead and combine the weekend with a bit of retail therapy!

Anyway, in light of the the race this weekend I thought I’d write a post around training for a half marathon. A bit late for those running this weekend but for those of you that are thinking about training for one hopefully this post will help you. I have written a few posts in the past about race preparation but I had the opportunity to be put in contact with an expert Aussabout this before a fair while ago  and I got them from an expert – marathon runner Liam Adams. Liam has won a number of running events including the Gold Coast Marathon 2012, City2Surf 2011 and the Australian Cross Country Championships 2011.  His best half marathon time was 1hr 3 mins which is awesome and a 5k in 13.31 mins – I could never dream of being that fast!!

Image taken from

Image taken from

When it comes to training for a Half Marathon Liam has shared some awesome tips. I’ve listed half today and will list the other half in the next post in a few days which will cover off the actual race day. Hope you find them useful.


1) Set and understand your goal

Set a goal at the start of your training and understand what it takes to reach your goal/target. Train and gradually build up to that goal or target.

2) Make your training social

Enjoy and make the most of the social aspect of training and running with a group. It can be one of those encouraging factors that helps you get up early out of bed, get out in that miserable weather and/or get out there when times are tough.

3) 2-3 sessions a week

Try your best to get 2-3 sessions in per week and the rest should be easier running. The most important types of runs that you should get in are tempo/threshold run, long run and either repeat efforts or fartlek work out. Any other running you do for the week should be easier so that you can absorb the benefits of your workouts.

4) Get the miles into the legs

One of the simplest ways of improving your half marathon time is by increasing your weekly mileage (kilometers per week). Of course there is factors such as work, family, ability to recover, overuse niggles or injuries, and other limiting factors that reduce your ability to do so but if you can get out there just a couple more times a week than you’ll be better off. Make sure to listen to your body and don’t over do it if your body isn’t handling it well. It might be necessary to take days off so don’t be afraid to do so.

5) Picking the tempo up

I find a great way of breaking up the monotony of a long run and making it a lot more enjoyable and satisfying is to slowly pick the pace up towards the end. You’ll be surprised how fast you can get down to and how easy it feels in actually doing so. You can gain so much strength and confidence in building up the pace towards the end of these long runs and you will definitely notice the difference come the later stages of the race.

6) Train to race not race in training

Don’t be that guy or girl who dominates every workout and then fizzles on race day. People who have the tendency to train too hard leave their races in their workouts and are too flat/exhausted when it comes to the big race.  Recovery is as important as the session. You have to make sure you get enough rest along the way through rest days and easy runs that are built in to the training plan for a reason.

7) Lead up Racing

Nothing will prepare you for the big day like racing in a smaller event. You can practice your nutrition plan, work through pre-race jitters, and learn what it feels like to run that bit harder than what you have been in training.

8) Variety

Quite often we use the same training sessions or the same running routes over and over to gauge how we are going. Yes it’s a great way to see our progression but sometimes our body gets so used to it that we could probably do these sessions in our sleep. If you feel you’re training the house down but not getting the results you need or that you are struggling to get excited about training, then maybe change up the training stimulus just a little. Also go out and explore new places to run/train at and enjoy the different training environments.

9) Pre race taper

By the time it comes around to that final week before your important race, you should have already done all the training & hard work that is going to give you the best result possible. In that final week you can’t really gain any extra fitness through training hard or doing extra miles for your key race, you can only really cause a detrimental effect on your performance.

Feeling a bit fed up of not running and a bit of a fake too

21 Apr

I’ve been trying not to broadcast the fact that I haven’t been able to run lately due to a couple of minor (or major – depending on how you look at it) health issues. Initially when the doctor said no exercise that takes my HR up over 120 I ignored her and I carried on doing a bit of running here and there and also a lot of road riding with my friends. I’ve always been stubborn like that! I know… hard to believe ;-)

But then i started thinking – I have been running for 10 nearly 11 years and this is just a short period of no running – perhaps I should listen to the doctor. So I stopped the running and continued with the riding. Then I started thinking about all the hospital bills we have been paying and how my stubbornnImageess and determination to still train could potentially push those fees out to the foreseeable future and I caved.

I found myself ashamed and feeling like a fake – I mean here I am writing a running blog but not able to run right now. I felt miserable and very sorry for myself and probably drove my close friends a bit nuts and it was only the other day that my training buddy in both riding and running said ‘why not write about it on your blog’ – the thought horrified me, but then I thought about it some more and I thought I would come clean and get it off my chest.

It’s so hard and frustrating when you have always been used to running. Sure I am no elite runner, but running is in my veins – it’s what i do and what I love – so to be told I can’t do it for a while has been agony and I have felt a whole range of emotions ranging from anger, stubborness, feelings of failure to a wide range of others – crazy eh!

So I will continue to write about running, my thoughts and experiences and I hope you will continue with me on the journey – if not I will see you on the other side when I eventually am able to run again – I can’t wait for that – but for the moment I am content with light riding, walking and weights (not too heavy – pushes my HR up!) and trying to eat sensibly.

Happy running !

Walking vs Running – can you compare?

13 Apr
© Abcdk | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

© Abcdk | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Happy weekend – how is your training going? Mine has been good this week – still doing moderate training compared to my usual high intensity training due to having to take it easy – but all good – I am training and I am thankful for that.

I have been doing a fair amount of walking lately so got to thinking – I’ve often seen a lot of books and articles talking about walking and I guess as a runner I have always overlooked it as a credible element of training but I know a lot of people that regularly walk as their exercise, and as well as eating a healthy diet they are very fit and healthy so I decided to look more into it in comparison to running.

I guess it is easier to compare another high impact exercise such as cycling more than it is to compare running with walking  as the intensities are completely different. But I tried to put together a list that might prove helpful:

Running                                                             Walking

High intensity                                                    Low to moderate intensity

Harder on the joints                                         Easier on the joints

More calories burned                                       Lower calories burned

Less time needed                                               More time needed if wanting to burn off calories

Harder to do as you get older*                       Easy to do at any age

* I put an asterix by this as one of the men I used to train with in the UK was in his mid seventies and had been running all his life and could still outsprint me so I guess I would say it may be harder to start running when you get into your twilight years but not impossible.

I’ll always be a runner as long as my joints allow. My husband isn’r a runner so we do a fair bit of walking too and I think I enjoy both for different reasons. Running more for the exercise, adrenalin and the sheer fact that I can do it (most of the time), whereas walking is nice when you have more time, and just want to chat, catch up and do something that is exercise but not too full on. During the summer my husband I when he gets home from work we’ll grab the dog and take her for a walk and catch up on our day and by the time we get home we are both wound down from our crazy days – so benefits in both I feel.

More reading

Here are a few posts I found that may be of interest looking at the benefits of running vs walking and vice versa

Runners World 

Fit Day

Natural Health Mag

Is your goal getting in the way of training?

22 Feb

I realised one of the things holding me back from my training lately is focussing on the end goal rather than all the little ones that make up achieving the big goal. I have that problem in my business sometime – have you ever found that too?

In fact sometimes I find the big goal is so crippling that I struggle with demotivation to do any of my small goals and training sessions thinking – what’s the point I’m not going to achieve the big goal so why bother!?!

I’ve started to change my attitude and focus on achieving one goal one step at a time which is far more productive :-)

My BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) in my training is to get through this year with a number of things going on and then push for the New York Marathon in a year or too and pump my training right up – I guess that’s what has been holding me back – right now one day at a time is more appropriate :-D

But it’s good to have goals though – right?

So I guess the point of my post today is i just wanted to say if you are in the same boat as me with focussing too much on the big goal try not to worry too much and take each training session one day/step at a time – if you want something enough you’ll get there :-) you just need to believe in yourself and your training!

Happy training ! Have a great day

The joys of summer training

15 Jan

Wow it has been hot the last week or so in Brisbane, thankfully today is a bit cooler, but still sticky! I’ve found myself missing the cool weather in the UK and longing for my husband to treat me to that spa and swimming pool I’ve aways dreamed of!

Training has been tough in the last week or so just trying to push myself to train in the heat. I’ve been getting up really early in order to keep as cool as possible in training, and unfortunately going to the gym doesn’t help as my gym doesn’t have AC!!

sunI’ve learned a few things in my training time when it comes to the heat which I thought I would share:

Slip slop slap

If you must run outside and in the sun at least cover up or put on sun tan lotion. I know a lot of people that won’t wear sun tan lotion because they don’t like the feeling of it on their skin, but frankly I would rather feel greasy than get skin cancer and Australia is renowned for it!

Drink plenty of water 

My friend always says I don’t drink enough water and at this time of year it’s really important to ensure you take on water before during and after training. The amount varies from expert to expert but I always go along the lines of the pee test – nice and clear means all nicely hydrated before a run, but brown and the darker the pee is not good! I remember once race I did when I pee’d afterwards it was brown like watery tea! Not good! Try and carry water around with you or choose a running route that you know has drink fountains on the way round. A camelbak can help if you are like me and not very good at running with a bottle in your hand or around your waist.

Training times 

When the heat is on like it has been the last week or so I try and train early or later on in the evening to avoid the heat and the sun. For those of you blessed with a gym with air con or home with air con I would be taking advantage right now. I’ve been doing my P90x a fair bit at home with the air con on as it is cooler than doing weights at the gym right now!

Isotonic drink 

I passed out with heat stroke a fair few years ago now and just before my friends had gotten me to drink salt water and also juice to replace the sodium and sugar that I’d lost in a mammouth 30k run I had done in the boiling heat on a very hot day in London (very unusual) but now i tend to drink isotonic drinks to help replace any sugar/salt lost in training during and after training – this for me is important especially on hot days.

Find some trees 

I tend to vary running routes when hot and find routes that are shaded and less out in the open to help me keep relatively cool.

Well here are a few things i do – how do you keep cool in the sun when training?

Happy running!



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