A majority of people take up the activity of running to not only get fit, but to lose weight. After all, running burns calories faster than any other sport. So after a few weeks of running and the scales aren’t changing…you may ask yourself, “What am I doing wrong??” Here are a few things to consider:

Running Too Slow- Most distance runners smartly follow a training plan that has them running at “easy paced” or L.S.D. (Long Slow Distances) all the time. These are great for building up endurance, and with minimum stress on the body; however, what it doesn’t do is burn a lot of calories. If your main reason for running is to lose weight you will need to add a few faster paced runs in to your weekly routine.

The best way to gauge whether or not a run is fast enough is by using the talk-test. If you can talk while running…you aren’t running fast enough. Adding even 5 to 10 minutes of fast running into each workout can boost your calorie burn. I advise that you seek help on how to add speed days to your training, as to avoid any sort of injury. Best to progressively build up your faster runs and train smart.

 

Overtraining- Another common tendency among runners is to run a lot…sometimes everyday! If weight loss is your goal, you may be inclined take this even further. What you may be setting yourself up for is an injury, if you get injured you can’t run at all. Not only are you not burning any calories while you’re injured, you’re probably feeling frustrated and depressed about it, which can lead to emotional eating and drinking.

It’s much safer to run slower and shorter and to give yourself a day or rest in between. Neither weight loss nor improvements in running performance will happen overnight, be patient.

 

Doing the Same Run…Always- Any time we try a new activity, our bodies have to work a little harder to get it done. However, once we’ve built up the muscle memory, we actually become more efficient and use less energy. The best way to overcome this is to change your running routine. Add tempos runs, Intervals, Hills and give your VO2Max a little push. I advised 2 days of speed work per week. You can also spice up your runs and head out to the trails, not only great for leg and hip strength, but it’s always fun to explore somewhere new.

Skipping Strength Training- A lot of runners tend to only “run”; they don’t understand the importance of strength training. While running is a great way to burn calories, it is not a great way to build lean muscles. For that, you will need to do strength training at least once a week. You can save time by performing compound, multi-joint exercises, which work multiple muscle groups at one time. Some examples include: Squats, Pull-ups, Lunges, Bench Presses and Push-ups.

Eating Too Much- This is one of the biggest culprits! All of those other things I’ve talked about today—the pace you run at, avoiding injury, mixing up your training runs, strength training—they just don’t matter if you overeat.

Humans tend to be reward-driven creatures. For example, it takes 30 minutes for an average runner to burn 300 calories, 100 calories for every 10 minutes, running at an easy-medium paced run. It takes that same runner just 30 seconds to consume 300 calories!! The trouble is, most of us either don’t bother to pay attention to the calories in/calories out equation, or we do it poorly. The best way to keep track of what you are consuming is by keeping a food log for a few weeks. See exactly how quickly and easily the calories you eat and drink add up, and undo your hard work out on the roads, trails or treadmill.

 

So keep running, mix up your workouts, lift weights, mind your diet, and learn to curve those reward-seeking thoughts. You’ll be much lighter if you do!

HAPPY RUNNING

Time To Ice It

One of the best ways to treat a muscle, or muscles groups, that have been overused (i.e. after a very long run, half or full marathon), or if you are rehabilitating an injury, is to use cold therapy.

Icing is usually done as a preventive measure to avoid any problems or niggles. With any run longer than around 2 hours, I suggest following the R.I.C.E. Principles: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Remember that all 4 principles are equally important and should be used together.

Today I’m just going to talk about the icing process

There are four stages involved in the icing process and it usually takes around 15-20 minutes – Cold, burning, aching and finally numbing. The numbing process needs to take place in order for the full benefits of icing to be reached. Once you’ve hit the numbing stage, take away the ice. Cold Therapy works by reducing the amount of swelling, tissue damage, muscle spasms, inflammation and pain.

Do not apply ice packs directly to the skin; place a thin towel, hand towel or even a t-shirt in between your skin and the ice pack. If you around home frozen vegetables work great, or you can make your own ice pack (See below).

An even better way of icing after a longer run, or after running an event, is to head to the beach, lake or river and go for a dip. Ensure you get in to at least your waist and stay in the water for a good 15-20 minutes.

The most effective way to ice is to start with 15-20 minutes ON, 10 minutes OFF, and then reapply for another 15-20 Minutes. Don’t be afraid of icing too much. As long and you follow the rules of icing (15-20 minutes ON, 10 minutes OFF and then reapply), you can ice over and over again.

Homemake Ice Packs

Home made ice packs can be made by combining 3 parts water, and 1 part rubbing alcohol. In a heavy duty ziplock bag, suitable for freezers, add the water and rubbing alcohol together and freeze. You should have a hard slushy-like ice pack. Too hard, add a little more rubbing alcohol. Too soft, a little more water.

Happy Running 

What Exactly are Electrolytes?

Have ever cramped in a marathon, run on a very hot summers day, sweat to the point of getting salt crystals on your face after a run, or had a horrible headache after your longer run? If you have answered yes to any of these, you definitely have required electrolytes.

I read an article recently that discussed the difference between hydration and electrolytes. Think of your body as a washing machine. The water is used to keep your washing machine working, however, the soap is used to get your clothes clean. The soap, your electrolytes, is necessary for numberous functions in your body. From digestion, maintaining cardiac and nervous systems, to assisting with muscle contraction and the transmission of nerve impulses. Needless to say, runners need electrolytes.

Some symptoms of an electrolyte imbalance are:
Muscle spasms, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, constipation, dark urine, decreased urine output, dry mouth and foul breath, dry skin, muscle weakness or stiff and achy joints.

Electrolytes are sodium (Na+), potassium (K+), calcium (Ca 2+), magnesium, (Mg 2+), chloride (Cl-), phosphate (PO4 2-), bicarbonate (HCO3-), and sulfate (SO4 2-).
However, the most important electrolytes that a runner needs are: Sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium. These are the four major electrolytes that maintain the body’s fluid balance. As you build mileage and run longer than 90 minutes, nutritional supplements and electrolytes will become an important part of your training.

It is very hard to determine exactly how many electrolytes you will to replace after a long run. The problem is that each individual loses electrolytes differently. Electrolytes lost per workout even change with each individual, depending on their diet the day before, the level of humidity, the duration of exercise and their fitness levels.

The best way for you to determine how many electrolytes you need to replace after each work out requires some self-experimentation. There are numerous electrolyte supplements out there. Remember with these supplements, you aren’t after the calories…you are just after the electrolytes. A few of the brands I have used are Nuun and Elete Drops, both highly recommended.

Happy Running and I hope you find an Electrolyte Suppliment that works for you.

I was asked recently, “So what exactly makes a successful runner?”. I believe there are a number of different factors to consider before answering this questions. I find it very fascinating to talk to fellow runner, to find out the reason why they run. Here are few of the of the basic elements I believe make “A Successful Runner”

  1. Desire- The motivation you have within yourself that drives you. Why do you run? Is it the competition, beating your PB, to stay fit, to lose weight, to socialize, to clear your mind from work. There is always an answer to the question, Why? That is your desire.
  2. Staying Positive- All training runs aren’t meant to go well. Even the most elite runners have off days. A successful runner has to accept that with the good training days comes the bad. A successful runner must stay positive even on bad training days. The seed of doubt is very powerful. Once you allow that seed to enter your mind, it can completely take over your training and your race day.
  3. Ability- People believe that in order to be a runner one must be lean or even a little bit muscular, of medium height or a little taller, based on heart size and cardiac output with a high VO2 Max. However, in the last few years my perception of what makes a good runner in terms of Ability has changed, greatly. I believe that tall, short, lean, muscular, over weight, terminally ill, mental health issues, degenerative illnesses, Amputee. Every single human being has the ability to be a successful runner if the desire is truly there.
  4. Support- I know from personal experience the importance of having a supportive family and supportive friends. I’m sure if I surrounded myself by people who didn’t believe in me or questioned my abilities, my training and goals would suffer. I believe in surrounding myself with people who bring out the best in me, my “Circle of Influence”. They never bring me down, stop me from running or question why I’m doing yet another race. They fully support me, and my desire to be a runner.
  5. Direction- Sometimes a coach, a teacher or even a training plan is enough to help a runner moving in the right motion. For this example I will use the direction from a coach. Perhaps you enjoy running, don’t want to take on any long distances, but want to push yourself. A positive coach will look at your lifestyle, help you set goals, and work with your to achieve those goals. When choosing a coach ensure they are looking after your needs as a runner, and not the other way around. They have your best interests in mind. It is important that a coach is always there for you and treats you first as a person, then as a runner.

HAPPY RUNNING!

Stretching your Calf Muscles

The foot and ankle are is a very common site for running soreness and pain- remember, it is the area that absorbs that 1st impact with the ground. Flexible, supple, elastic calf muscles can soften the shock and can help prevent injuries such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.

Here are a few stretches that every runner could do after every run. Remember, Dynamic stretches before, static after. Hold two seconds; repeat 10 times on each leg.

 Ocnemius (outer calf): Sit with both legs straight. Loop a rope around the ball of one foot and grasp each end of the rope. Flex your foot back toward your ankle and point your toes toward your knee.

Soleus (inner calf): Sit with one leg straight and the other bent. Grasp the bottom of the foot on the bent leg. Keeping your heel on the ground, pull your foot toward your body as far as you can.  Be gentle and don’t pull too far too quickly.

 Achilles Tendon (attaches heel to calf): Sit with one leg straight and one bent. Bring your heel close to your buttocks. Keeping your heel on the ground, pull your foot toward your body and hold.

Happy Running

Running Events, 2016
With 2015 almost finished, it is time to start planning next year’s running goals. I’ve put together a list of some of the best runs, road and off-road, for the early part of 2016. Any other recommendations that you have, please let me know! Sometimes there are smaller runs out there that aren’t as popular, but definitely worth doing.

Hutt River Trail- Jan 23rd
“The Hutt River Trail Events is an annual 60K Ultra Marathon starting in the Wairarapa, a 42K Marathon from Kaitoke, a 21K Half Marathon from Trentham and a 10K starting from McEwan Park, Petone, with all events ending at McEwan Park, Petone.
These are off-road events, over a variety of surfaces including: bush tracks, grass, gravel and sealed footpaths, and some unsealed vehicle tracks. All of the course is shared with other users, such as runners, walkers, trampers, cyclists and motor vehicles in places. Unusual features include: tunnels, stiles, gateways and zigzags, and one flight of steps.”

The Coast to Coast- February 12th
“The Coast to Coast Mountain Run covers the 33km mountain run leg of the Speight’s Coast to Coast multi sport event.
The competitors in the Mountain Run will register at Aickens Corner and start as the first cyclist in the two day event enters the Aickens transition. They will then complete the normal mountain run course of 33kms over Goat Pass and finish at Klondyke Corner in the Arthurs Pass National Park.”

Buller Gore – February 13th
“The Buller Gorge Marathon has the Full Marathon along with Half Marathon and 4 Person Marathon Team Relay running events.
The marathon course commences at Hawks Crag and heads up the gorge to a turning point near Berlin’s Hotel, then back down the scenic, undulating Buller Gorge Highway to a finish at Victoria Square, Westport.
The half-marathon is a one-way run starting near the Ohika-iti River Bridge and also finishes at Victoria Square.”

Taupo- Great Lake Relay- February 20th
“The annual Great Lake Relay is an annual team relay event where 10 to 18 members run or walk the 155kms around Lake Taupo; a shorter team relay event for teams of 5 to 8 covering 67.5km; and a solo 67.5km event.”

The Hillary- February 27th
The Hillary is an 80km, 34km and 16km trail run following the Hillary Trail through Auckland’s Waitakere Ranges. The 80km event starts from the Arataki Visitors Center on Scenic Drive; the 34km from Piha; and the 16km from Bethells Beach. All events finish at Muriwai.
The Full Hillary trail follows a variety of terrain and scenery.
Stunning views throughout the trail, rugged West coast beaches, magnificent native bush including the hundreds of year old native Kauri trees. Past large waterfalls and sand dunes, along cliff tops or through marshlands – there is something for everyone.”

Motatapu- March 5th
“Motatapu is an annual event including the Icebreaker Off Road Marathon, 15km arrowtown.com Miner’s Trail Run and 51km Torpedo7 Sport Team Adventure Run and Solo Adventure Run.
The 42km Off Road Marathon and 51km Adventure Run start at Glendhu Bay, near Lake Wanaka and finish in Arrowtown. The 15km Miner’s Run starts and ends in Arrowtown, following a trail mountain loop.”

The Dual- March 19th
The Partners Life DUAL is an annual running, mountain biking and triathlon event that traverses the islands of Motutapu and Rangitoto in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf.
There are 42km marathon, 21km half marathon, 10km and 6km running or walking events.

Coatesville Classic- March 20th
“The Mizuno Coatesville Classic is an annual half marathon and 8km running and walking event, 4km downhill dash and a kids 2km dash. The rural Coatesville Classic course treats you to spectacular views, from Sky Tower on one side to the Waitakeres on the other, and the road is closed for the event.”

The Huntly Half- March 20th
“The Huntly Half Marathon, 10km fun run/walk, 5km fun run/walk and kids 2km events is a well-established event on the running calendar and has a strong fan base, attracting approximately 3000 walkers and runners from Auckland, the Waikato and central North Island.
There is a new course for 2016, starting from Riverview Rd Reserve. This new course is one that is expected to be fast. It features a virtually flat single out & back route that follows the mighty Waikato River on completely on sealed roads. This course will only be used for the Half Marathon participants and no other event distances.”

The Ohope Express- March 26th
“The Ohope Express is a running and walking event that incorporates three distances – 5km & 10km fun runs and a 21.1km half marathon. The picturesque course is all on-road, is as flat as a pancake and for those seeking a personal best – it’s highly likely!”

It is a great time to sit down and start looking through the New Zealand Running Calendar. I heard a saying one time that I think of very often and I share it with all my clients, “It is easier to stay fit than it is to get fit”.
HAPPY RUNNING

Happy Running Feet
I’ve recently become quite interested in running and my feet. I purchased a book a few weeks back called “Fix Your Feet”. Although it is a Christmas present and I had to wrap it and put it under the tree, I pulled a cheeky and took a quick glance at the 1st page. “Treat your feet as you would have yourself be treated”. And so my interest into the world of runners and their feet has been sparked.

Our feet have the absolute power to make running comfortable…or miserable. Our feet ache, blister, sweat, crack, peel, itch and smell. However, our feet are essential. So why do runners not look after their feet properly? We stretch, eat carbs and protein, strength out muscles, but yet little care is given to our feet.

Now is the time to start acknowledging the importance of our feet.

Shoes- Proper shoes are vital to happy feet. Not just a brand, but also the fit. Heading to a store like Shoe Science, where the lovely people will get you in the right fit! The last thing you need are shoes that are too small, causing toenails to turn black and fall off. Tight shoes which cause blisters. Too narrow…corns or calluses. Your feet will be incredibly happy in a shoe that fits them properly!

Replace shoes regularly- Depending on the type of terrain you are running on will determine the average life of the shoe. You will get more kms on treadmill running than you would on trail running. A average road shoe will last you around 600-800km. Once again, if you are questions the life of your shoes, it is best to take them in and talk to a shoes specialist.

Socks- Ill-fitting socks are one of the primary causes of blisters. Wet socks and cotton socks can also cause blistering. Proper running socks will be your 2nd most important running purchase. For almost 8 years now I’ve been running in Injinji toes socks, they have been brilliant. Since I’ve been hitting the trails, that include river crossings, I’ve been running in SmartWool merino socks. They have been an amazing, not a single blister!

Look after your feet- Trim your nails, keeping them nice and short. A sock getting caught on longer toenail is the biggest cause of black nails. Head to the local spa and get a pedicure. Get the pedicurist to trim your toenails (especially important before a big race), treat debilitating calluses, moisturize the skin and massage your feet. I know some podiatrists that offer pedicures, but you will pay less at a spa. However, find a well-trained pedicurist.

Practice Damage Control- It’s the old story… If you attend to a foot problem right away, be it a blister, callus or tender area, chances are good it won’t develop into something debilitating. A blister left untreated can become seriously infected and painful. Ingrown toenails and sore calluses shouldn’t be ignored, either. I will be giving your more advice on how to treat blisters and ingrown nails once I’ve finished my book.

The best tip of all…Kick off your shoes and go barefoot whenever you can!

HAPPY RUNNING

What is a Tempo Run?

 

This “comfortably hard” run is key to racing your best, at any distance.

Tempo pace is a point where you push hard, however, if you push yourself any harder you would have the stop. If you have to walk during the recovery, you’re going too hard.

A tempo run can also be described as a lactate-threshold(LT) or threshold pace. These runs aren’t meant to be easy and you definitely wouldn’t be having a conversation at this pace. If I were to ask you out of 10 how hard it was to maintain that pace (1 being a walk in the park-10 being too hard you’d have to stop), I’d be looking for a 7-8. Save the 10 out of 10 for Hill Sprints.

The reason tempo runs are so important is that they train your body to sustain your specific tempo pace over a specific distance. With any of my new runners I normally start with a 1km (5-7 minute) warm up, followed by at least 15 minutes of a challenging, but manageable pace, finishing with a 1km (5-7 minute) cool down. From there we look at increasing the distance but still holding the “comfortably hard” pace.

It doesn’t matter what if you are running a 5km, 10km, Half-Marathon or Full Marathon, adding a tempo run to your training at least 1-2 times a week will greatly improve your running performance.

 

HAPPY RUNNING

Post-Race Recovery is about healing and giving your body and mind a chance to reset and rest. There isn’t one concrete recovery plan that will work perfectly for every runner. How quickly you return to normal training depends on the length of the race you’ve just completed, your fitness level, and when you plan to race next. The best guide is really tuning in and listening to your body. Depending on length of your race, you may need 7-14 days of easy or rest days. The good news is that “rest” does not mean no running at all, but rather a break from high intensity training like Intervals, Hill Sprints or Tempos.

Here are few tips help with your recovery:

  • R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).

  • Stay away from Drugs, in particular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories drugs (NSAIDs), like Ibuprofen. Inflammation is a very important part of your body’s healing process. If you are popping pills after your race you are slowing down this process.

  • Although it is so very tempting, avoid a hot bath or the hot tub for 48 hours after the race.A great way to finish an event is to jump into the cold seawater, river or lake. The cold water will help minimize inflammation.

  • Massage therapy and foam rolling can help relieve muscle soreness and help recovery by increasing the body’s circulation.

  • Return to running with some easy paced short runs when muscle soreness has disappeared. Go by how your body feels as compared to your pace. Might even be a good idea to run without your watch.

  • One training option is follow your taper plan in reverse.

Minimal soreness is a good sign, but give it a few more days to kick in. Delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) typically follows most marathon efforts. DOMS can take up to 48-hrs to really set in. The more the soreness…the longer the recovery. A lack of soreness indicates you were well prepared for the race, so great work with your training!

HAPPY RUNNING

After all your hard training, long runs, speed sessions, early mornings and hill sprints it is now time to get ready for race-day. Here are a few tips to ensure your race-day goes as smoothly as possible and you cross that finish line strong.

1. Enjoy the Taper
For some runners, taper time can be quite difficult. Since your body and mind are so use to the KMs, cutting back and resting may feel unusual. You may even find that you are getting bored. Just keep reminding yourself that Rest is Part of your Training.

2. Avoid too much Cross-Training
Although cross training is ok during taper time, it’s best to avoid lots of it. The taper is designed to allow your body to recuperate, rebuild, and be fresh for race day. Enjoy the rest and focus on getting yourself mentally prepared for the race.

3. Stick to what you Know
This is probably one of the most important points. Everything that you are using should be tried and tested. From “Before the run” to “Fuel During the Run” to “Hydration” to “What you are Wearing”. Nothing New on Race Day!!! A great time to practice to pick one of your longest runs and pretend that it is “Race day”.

4. Fuel Up
During the last three days before an endurance run such as a marathon, a runner’s carbohydrate intake should increase to 70 to 80 percent of his/her total daily intake. It is best to stick to things you know. Rice, Pasta, Bread, Potatoes are all great options. This is one time that “White” is better. However, just because you are “Carb” loading, doesn’t mean you are “Fat” loading as well. Stay away from cookies, pastries (Pies), fried and rich creamy sauces.

5. Hydrate
Hydration can make or break your race. Here are just a few hydration tips to use.

Make sure you know how many water stops there are during the race.
Find out what sport drinks will be provided during the race and try to train with the same one, if possible.
If you are training with a hydration pack or belt, please use it during your race.
Hydration should take place at least 48-hrs before your run. Just remind yourself that once your wee is clear, you are hydrated.
Drink at least 500ml of water before 2-hrs before your race time, this will allow the water to pass through your system before you begin.
6. Enjoy the Expo, but resist the Urge
Race expos are a lot of fun and there are so many cool things to look at…and buy. However, they’re usually full of booths selling everything from shoes, gels, gear, sports bars and drinks. By all means you can get some pretty awesome gear at the expos; however, never, never, never wear anything purchased at an expo on race day. This is just a disaster waiting to happen. Take advantage of the free samples too, just don’t use them on race day. Stick to what you know.

7. Dress appropriately
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve come across is the concept of a “Sacrificial Jumper”. Head to the local Opt shop and buy a cheap, but warm jumper, should cost you about $2-$3. Take the jumper home, wash it and wear it to the start line. Keep the jumper on while you warm up during your first few KMs, then discard it. I can guarantee, will be the best $2-$3 you will ever spend.

To avoid a panicked race-day morning, lay everything out that you will be wearing in the morning. You can even pin your bib number to your top. Just make sure everything is laid out and ready to go.

8. Warm Up
You should have some sort of stretching plan that you are already doing before your runs. It is important that you take the extra time on race-day to do your warm up stretches, and even a 3-5 minute light jog. You want to be limber but not worn out before the start.

9. Don’t go out too quickly
It’s very easy to get caught up in the beginning and start your runs too quickly. Your body will be filled with adrenaline and excitement. However, you should have a plan of attack and know exactly what your race pace is meant to be. A running coach will help you out with this. Or, you can look at following a pace runner. Ignore the speedsters around you; instead, focus on your race pace or even a slightly slower pace when the starting gun sounds. Around the half way marker you can start to pick up the pace if you still have it in you.

10. Trust and Believe in your Training
Be confident and have trust in your training. Believe that you have put in the hard yards; you’ve done everything in your power to get you to the start line 100% prepared. If that annoying voice of doubt begins to creep in, tell it to “Go Away”. If you let that seed of doubt enter your mind, it can very easily take control. Just keep positive and have trust and belief that you have put the training in.

HAPPY RUNNING