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Tips for drinking more water in general and running 

1 May

What a week it has been. It was my son’s birthday party this week, and we had over 30 people at the house including kids which was awesome but crazy! We survived and I even made the time to make my son a monster truck cake – but I have spent the rest of the long weekend recovering and haven’t even run! 

My goals I set myself that I shared in my last post are going slowly but now my son’s big day is out of the way for another year I can start to focus on things other than trucks and Blaze and the Monster Machines! 

Anyway, thanks to Nina for asking me a question on my last blog post about drinking water and did I have any tips. It prompted me to think more about it- hence this post today.

I have always struggled with drinking water. It sounds silly as it is a fundamental requirement of survival, but I am actually not good at it. As a human that’s not great, especially being a runner too. I feel looking back it has seriously affected me in both training and a number of races I have run. I have memories growing up of my aunt making me drink every time my cousins did to ensure I was drinking from a very early age.

We can’t exist without water, and when running we need more of it. I realise this hence one of my goals is to drink more. Sometimes I can go a whole day on less than 1 litre of water even when I have done a tough training session and I realise I have to change this and aim higher.

I’ve tried a few things over the years and a few things have and haven’t worked, so I thought I’d share them today. If you have any tips I would really welcome them.

My tips for drinking more water in general and for running:

Always carry water

Always have a bottle of water with you wherever you are. I use a stainless steel carrier which keeps my water cold. I just have to remember to put it in my bag!

Use a straw

One of the guys at work and who is also a runner guzzles water like there is no tomorrow, and he said the trick for him is having a water bottle that has a straw in it as he drinks more. So that’s something I have started to do and so far so good!

Set reminders

If you are a reminder focused person then set reminders in your phone or diary to remind you to drink water. I tried it and just dismissed the reminders!! But it might work for you.

2L bottle

You can buy bottles that are 1/2 litres and the idea is to fill them up and drink throughout the day. It’s a good way to see how much you have drunk. I had a Michelle Bridges one that I bought from Big W that was great for this.

Diarise/Log your intake

Apps like My Fitness Pal are great for logging food and also fluids so if you are into logging data this might work for you and be a good way to keep you drinking those fluids. 

Carry water when running

I always carry a hydration pack on the trails or wear a hydration belt when it is warm. I don’t take much water in but it is there if I need it. When it is really hot I stick my hydration pack in the fridge the night before to make sure it is nice and cool in the morning. 

Hydrate before a run 

The one thing I do try and stick to with running is hydrating as much as I am able the night before. I use the pee test as a good indicator (colour of urine – should be fairly clear) to ensure if running early in the morning that I am well hydrated. Again I am not always good at this but I try wherever possible.

These are things I have tried and I am sure you have tried others. I’m getting there slowly. 

When your body is telling you to rest…

23 Mar

It happens to us all…we work hard, train hard, and push and push – until our body finally kicks back and says STOP. That’s been me for the last 5 days – sick with flu and absolutely no training- it sucks!

I have a fairly demanding job, life and top that with trying to train hard I knew when having a few days away from work that I would cop it. I woke up on the first day and felt under the weather and went downhill from there.

Normally with running if it is in my head and not below my neck I will train, but this went straight on my chest so I stopped. You know when you get that rattle in your chest when breathing? Yep that’s been me. I have been a bit fed up but it has also been good to stop.

Still not feeling great so just waiting until my body allows me to train again, and in the mean time I have been reading and working out my next phase on training and getting my eating back on track after having a few days of not eating LCHF all the time. 

There are heaps of articles about running and sickness. A few things I have learned over the years based on my experience are:

1. If it doesn’t feel 100% right and not like a normal cold then go to the doctor and don’t train until you know things are ok and you feel better.*

2. If it is any sort of sickness that travels to your chest slow right down or stop training.

3. Enjoy the rest. It is clearly your body saying you need it.

4. Don’t stress it and panic you’ll suddenly gain a gazillion kg just because you haven’t trained for a gew days. Seriously if you rely on training that much to maintain your weight you have issues. Diet is the most important and training is secondary. 

5. Use the time to plan your goals, think about how things are going and be productive if you really can’t have a few days not concentrating on training. 

6. Feed that cold with food and water. Stay warm and hydrated. I am a shocker at drinking water but have guzzled lots the last few days.

7. Stay well. Feeling better and recovering from a cold/flu/virus is more important than going back to training sooner. Especially if you have a race coming up or when you are sick. If you do have a race and wake up feeling unwell take it easy and don’t push it (or if feeling really bad – dont run it!!) hard as it could end up far worse than just a few days off training. 

*I’m not a doctor and I always write based on my experience, so ALWAYS seek professional advice and do not take my posts as any form of that..if unwell please see a doctor.

Anyway next time I post I am hoping to be back running and feeling better! 

Slowing things down with #lchf and running

9 Aug

It’s been an interesting few weeks in life, work, and training – and I think this week things finally caught up with me. The last 7 days have been literally like running through treacle where energy and training has been concerned.

I found a few days running I literally felt like I didn’t want to get out of bed, when I woke up I felt like I had had no sleep and I generally struggled with motivation to train. Many people will argue it is because I am not having ‘enough’ carbohydrate – but I have been eating low carb high fat for a while so it would have happened sooner if that was the case. But at one point it felt debilitating and my husband even took our son out for a few hours on the weekend so that I could sleep – and sleep I did – 4 hours during the day!

I’m coming out of it now and have deduced (I’m no doctor but I do know my body) that it was all down to not enough water and just generally being run down and tired with work, training, life – I think we all have those moments. So it has been back to it today with training, and then I’m training with my friend tomorrow to pick things back up. I also treated myself to a new pair of Kayano’s this week to give me an extra spring in my step 🙂

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 9.56.05 pm

New shoes! Enough to put a spring in anyone’s step!

I think as a parent working full time sometimes we underestimate how busy our lives are – I know I do anyway – and I keep pushing to do things and have finally had to take a step back and say ‘ok – what do I have to let go of here, and who do I have to say no to?’ – running stays of course! I need it for my sanity!!

I had a think and here are some tips for if you don’t feel like training….got any other suggestions? Feel free to share in the comments 🙂

Running motivation

4 tips for when you don’t feel like training

  1. Don’t force it. 

I do find sometimes that when I feel like I need a rest and I then go to the gym I do feel better – but sometimes I know to take a rest. I think if you are feeling generally stressed and like you just need a breather then take one! The gym will still be there when you get back – but sometimes you need a rest and in not feeling like training it can be your body’s way of telling you to rest or that you aren’t firing on all 4 cylinders – alternatively if you aren’t enjoying your training just have a rest too – you don’t want to resent your running!

2. Do something different

If you find that you are tired of doing the same thing all the time and it is really becoming an effort – why not shake things up a bit and do something different? Run outside if you are a treadmill runner, or do some running drills or fartlek or what about trying out a trail run.

3. Run with someone else

I find that running with someone else has been amazing during winter as when I would have happily stayed in bed under the duvet – knowing someone is waiting for me to meet them to run has made me accountable and forced me to get up and train – I have always felt better for it – unless coming down with something.

4. Work towards a goal

Having a goal to work towards will do wonders for the motivation. I remember when I was training up for the Gold Coast Marathon last year I braved all sorts of cold and heat to get my training done – and not training wasn’t an option! I was focussed on getting to the start line 🙂

Essential Kit for the first time runner

26 Sep

Hope your week has been better than mine. My week hasn’t been so bad but from a running point of view I’m not happy right now!

My week started well but went down hill and I am now unable to run! I ran a great 5k on the treadmill earlier this week and the niggle in my knee that had started has not improved and I am now in a lot of discomfort when walking so haven’t run in about 4 days 😦

Very frustrating but I am listening to my body and am resting when I can and not training, and hoping that my knee improves soon. I feel like since I had my son a year or so ago I have been plagued with injuries, niggles and pain!

Each time I have felt I have been turning a corner with training I have ended up with an injury and most of them have not been as a direct result from running…ie when I hurt my neck a few weeks ago I literally woke up and it was there, and hen when I twinged by back I was leaning into the car to get something! I’m sure it isn’t a direct result of having a baby in fact I’m beginning to think I’m just getting old and my body isn’t doing with running as much as it used to!

Running on treadmill

Essential kit for the everyday  runner post.

On the up side I recently became a guest blogger for Azumio Inc. who are a leader in health and fitness apps – and my first blog post writing for them is live. It is all about Essential kit for the first time runner.

So if you have just started running and are unsure what kit you should invest in have a read.

Anyway a short post today but have a great week running and I hope to be running too very soon!

Tips for avoiding blisters when running

26 May

I was all set to write a post following my long run two Saturdays ago –  and then it went a bit wrong and I’ve been a bit down in the dumps ever since – so I decided rather than throw my dummy out of my pram via my blog post I would stay silent for a few days! So this is my calmer version 🙂

I was all set for my 30k run two Saturdays ago – went to bed early, got my kit ready, drove into the city all set for my run, and a quarter of the way round my foot started to hurt and a small blister had formed. I decided stupidly to push on and push through what at some points was excruciating pain and yes you’ve guessed it I made it worse.

I decided to nip it in the bud and booked in with my podiatrist who put some padding and dressings in place rather than try and treat myself – 6/7 weeks to the marathon – I figured I didn’t have time to mess around. I went back to my running, a few niggles no dramas…. then I got to my long run again last Saturday and this time it was a 32k. What do you think happened…?

Yes You’ve guessed it the blister returned with a vengeance and this time it was a whopper. How I managed to run 32k on it I will never know but I got back home and was howling in pain and out of frustration.

blister before treated - the girl that runs

This was my blister at its largest – it was a monster – at least an inch and a half big! yuk.

My friend who is a nurse came around a day or so later and popped the monster of a thing and dressed it. I was a bit of a baby – but I have to say it is getting better but I haven’t run in a few days and I am just accepting I need to rest it as there is some tissue damage underneath.

Hoping that this weekend I will be able to get back into things but I wish sometimes I would take my own advice!  But I am amazed that such a trivial thing as a blister can cause such a hassle and essentially sideline you from running! So don’t do what I did!

Anyway ignoring what i did above here are some tips for what you potentially should do if you find you have a blister. Again remember these are just my thoughts and opinions – if you have a medical issue always seek professional advice.

Tips for avoiding blisters

Double up 

Many people swear by wearing two pairs of socks saying that the friction will be between the socks rather than the sock and the skin. My foot was rubbing against my shoe so in that instance that might not be the best option but it might help with an extra layer…..

Cornflour

My Podiatrist told me to put cornflour in the bottom of my shoes which will basically help absorb any excess moisture and ultimately help avoid blisters forming.

Footwear needs to fit 

Make sure that your footwear fits correctly. If your shoes are too big they will push your foot around and rub, if they are too small they will potentially present issues also so good shoes for your feet especially when running long distances are a must and will help avoid blisters.

Cotton a no no

Again many posts by experts that I have read say to avoid cotton socks and to wear moisture wicking ones or those made of nylon. I have a wide range of socks and I haven’t always found this to prevent blisters but it does help.

Vaseline or blister spray 

Rubbing Vaseline or equivalent onto the feet is also meant to be a great way to avoid blisters and there is also a blister spray that I was given a sample of at a running expo which my Podiatrist mentioned might help me also. You can buy these from any large chemist or I would imagine a specialist running store.

Pre empt the blister and cover up

I think I tried too late but if you feel a sore area on the foot when running you could always put a plaster such as Compeed on even though you don’t yet have a blister. I think I did it too late and my blister actually expanded but I already had a blister and it was a biiiiiiiig one!

Blister

Here is my blister now after my friend popped it. There is a bit of tissue damage so I need to let it heal before running on it but it is much better.

Got a blister already?

If you are in the unfortunate position of having a blister right now I found this great post which you might find useful – it’s from 2012 but it seems to be one of the most balanced articles I could find.

Runners World are a good option too to have a look at. If you have a really bad blister then pop along to your podiatrist or local running store depending on the severity of your issue. In Brisbane we are lucky to have some specialist running stores that also have podiatrists attached to them such as InTraining. They weren’t who I went to but having a had a chat to one of their people this morning they do offer some great advice and I am considering going in to see them if this doesn’t improve!

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.

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 moonee-valley-leader.whereilive.com.au

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

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.

Tips

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.