Want To Be A Faster, Fitter, Stronger Runner

A year ago I made the move to Queensland to escape the Melbourne winter and to complete my final preparation for the Gold Coast Marathon.

It’s been a whirlwind year of many ups and downs as life normally delivers lessons for us all to learn from. From health challenges, moving house twice, starting a new life – work and friends, completing and publishing my first book, crossing the finishing line of my first marathon and then getting injured.

Everyone has there own challenges in life right, and I’m sure you’re had your fair share of them too.

However since the Gold Coast Marathon, I had a relatively long break from running…. maybe 3-4 months off, and when I got back into it again, my distances were smaller in comparison. It was a maximum of 10km for my longer runs, and then I got injured, pulled both my Achilles.

IMG_0604Now I don’t know if you can relate to this at all, when you have a love for running and then get injured. You rest a bit and then you run again, only for the injury to flair up. This constant see-saw routine of small runs followed by injury.

Until STOP enough is enough. Total rest and NO RUNNING you get told, with your ankle taped.

NOOOOOOOOOOOO.

And then you think of the long term benefits of looking after your body, getting back into optimal shape, practising what you preach, listening to your body and intuitively being guided as to what it wants.

For me it was quite simply to be able to walk, without the feeling of a knife piercing both my Achilles.

So back to rehab.

And it got me thinking how many runners out there have over time got injured, and if they maintained a core foundation of strength and flexibility they probably would have prevented injury.

So I’m devising a program that will make you a faster, fitter, stronger runner which contains full body strength and flexibility exercises to prevent injuries as well as  re-hab exercises if you are injured.

Interested, send me an email.

And remember

Wish It … Dream It … Do It!

Sue xo

What Eddie The Eagle Taught Me

I watched the film “Eddie The Eagle” this weekend have you seen it? If not I highly recommend it.

I remember growing up as a kid, glued to the telly when the Olympics came on. It didn’t matter if it was the Summer or Winter Olympics I was there on the sofa, front row viewing. I found all the athletes inspiring with their focus, commitment, wanting to be their best, to break PB for themselves and their countries, going after their dream of being an Olympian and to stand on the podium and receive a medal.

I remember “Eddie The Eagle” came from nowhere. He was the guy that was kicked off every sports team, he was the kid that everyone made fun of and talked down to. And in the same breath he had hope and a dream of being an Olympian one day, representing his country and doing his best.

There was no fear, no ‘I’m not good enough’ thinking.

Instead this was replaced with guts, determination, persistence, commitment to his dream, follow through, being outcomes focused and realising his Olympian dream.

So next time you want to quit on your dreams, think of Eddie, and keep going.

And remember

Wish it …. Dream it … Do it!

Sue xo

10 Cross Training Ideas For Runners

Ok so you need a break from pounding the bitumin and pavements.

I hear you. Many a time I’ve been in the midst of a running training program and looking to mix up my cardio a bit.

Recently since I’ve moved up to Queensland, I’ve taken up more bush walking, swimming in the ocean, yoga and yesterday I did a hula hooping dance class which was so much fun.

So whether you want a break from your running, are injured, or just want to introduce a cardio workout which is less impactful on your body, then here are my top tips.

1. Swimming

By far the best all over non-weight bearing exercise. A great tip if you’re recovering from an injury, is to do water running. Basically this is running in deep water wearing a bouyancy belt. For a video on water running click here

2. Dancing

A great social cardio exercise that you can do on your own or with a partner. There are endless styles of dance from latin, salsa to disco. There’s sure to be a new style for you to sample, check out what’s going on in your town.

3. Bush Walking

Walking is a great low impact exercise that can be social if you do it in groups, and is great if you like discovering new countryside too.

4. Cycling

Along with swimming, cycling is probably the preferred cardio exercise for runners. Again it’s very versatile as you can join a gym and do a ‘spin’ class, or you can venture outside on the road or on the county trails if you have a mountain bike.

5. Hula Hoop Dancing 

I’ve rediscovered my youth with this one, as I experienced a 2 hr workshop yesterday and loved it. This is a perfect activity to improve your motor skills and body mind co-ordination. For some inspiration check out this clip here. 

6. Rollerblading

This is a fun outdoor activity popular in inner city parks and along esplanades.

7. Yoga

There are so many different yoga types from hatha to inyengar and bikram. Yoga helps to improve your flexibility and conditioning, which are both important for runners.

8. Pilates

Pilates helps to create a stronger, more flexible spine and core. This is essential for runners as posture is a critical element to successful running and staying injury free. It also helps to support and strengthen all the muscles in your torso, hips, shoulders and pelvis.

9. Zumba

This is a great all round cardio exercise as well as strengthening your hip stabilising muscles that are used for your running.

10. Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)

This is a perfect exercise for stability, balance and strength. It can be done on a lake, river or on the open water in waves. Rest assured, you’ll still be getting a good workout in your legs as you keep afloat.

What Would You Do If You Were Blind?

This week I heard about an amazing surfer which just blew my mind.

To surf the Hawaiian break Pipeline is one thing, and a pretty incredible feat in itself. And for someone to surf it who’s been blind from birth, well that just takes it to a whole new level doesn’t it.

Derek Rabello. Photo: James Brickwood

Derek Rabello. Photo: James Brickwood

Introducing Derek Rabello from Brazil who was born with glaucoma, and has never viewed his blindness as a barrier to the ocean.

His fathers and uncles were passionate surfers and he just wanted to do the same.

He started surfing at 17, and 6 years on he’s on the professional surfing circuit, surfing with the world’s best.

So why am I sharing this story on a ‘running blog’. Basically because of the amazing strength of character, passion, persistence, strength, faith, trust and commitment to his dreams that Derek has clearly demonstrated on a daily basis.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in our own dramas of everyday life, and listen to ‘your negative self talk’ that shoots you down and talks you out of your dreams. And then you hear of amazing success stories of the human spirit, that washes your ‘imaginary dramas’ into insignificance.

In a recent Australian interview he said, “You have to believe in yourself. Go chase your dreams and you can do it if you want.”

A great reminder for us all.

Wish It … Dream It … Do It

Sue xo

Stretching On The Go

Sometimes it’s easy to go about our day, not taking any notice of our bodies. Most people now sit for extended periods of time – in the car, at work, watching TV, sitting at a computer etc etc.

Even though we might exercise for 30 mins to 1hr a day, it’s great to stretch and extend the body at regular intervals throughout the day to maintain and improve flexibility, muscle suppleness, blood flow and clarity of mind. As well as preventing stiffness, imbalances and injuries.

Here are some quick stretches you can incorporate daily on the way to work (if you travel by bus or train) as well as some exercises to do in the office/home.

Stretches On The Train Or Bus

Calf Stretch (Vertical Pole)

-       Stand near a pole on the train or bus

-       Place your toes of your right foot on the pole, whilst keeping your heel on the floor

-       Push your hips forward

-       Hold for 30 seconds before swapping to the otherside

Chest Stretch (Vertical Pole)

-       Place your right forearm and hand against the pole ensuring that your elbow is in line with your shoulder

-       Step forwards slightly until you can feel a stretch around the front of your shoulder and chest

-       Hold for 30 seconds before changing to the otherside

Shoulder Stretch (Horizontal Pole)

-       Hold the pole above your head

-       Step forwards until you can feel a slight stretch in your shoulders and back

-       Hold for 30 seconds

N.B. Ease into these stretches, as you might not have done a warm up. Ensure you are balanced on the train/bus before and during these stretches, just in case the vehicle suddenly moves in a different direction or stops suddenly.

Stretches At Your Desk Or At Home On The Couch

It’s great to stretch your legs and walk away from your desk every hour, ideally every 30 minutes. If you have to sit for longer periods at a time without getting up for a stretch, then ensure you do the following exercises throughout the day.

Head Roll

-       Slowly lower your head down, then up, before slowly turning your head to the left and right, keeping the rest of your body straight and aligned in your chair

-       Slowly bring your head down before rotating it slowly anti-clockwise

-       Slowly repeat your head roll in a clockwise direction

Arms Stretch

-       Clasp your hands in front of you, stretch your arms upwards with your palms facing the ceiling and hold for 20-30 seconds

-       With your hands still clasped, lean over to the right side and hold for 10 seconds, before leaning over to the left hand side

-       Clasp your hands behind you, stretch your arms away from your back, slightly leaning your body forward. Hold for 20-30 seconds

Shoulder Shrugs

-       Lift your shoulders up to your ears and drop to their natural position. Repeat 5 times

-       Lift your shoulders up and rotate backwards 3 times.

-       Lift your shoulders up and rotate forwards 3 times.

Tip Toes

-       Place your feet on the floor in front of you ensuring that your knee is at a 90 degree angle to your legs

-       Lift both heels off the floor so that the weight is on the balls of your feet.

-       Repeat 10 times

Feet Rotation 

-       Stretch out your feet in front of you and slowly rotate your feet at the ankles in a clockwise direction 5 times

-       Rotate your feet in an anti-clockwise direction 5 times

How Functional Training Can Improve Your Running Performance

I really look differently at running and performance these days.

It’s not just about the runs – sprints, hills, tempo and long runs. It’s really a case of holistically getting in touch with your body-mind-spirit, and working in sync in perfect harmony with each other.

So that said this week, I started back up with Adam, my personal trainer, in his new studio. It was actually great fun to be back doing circuit training of functional exercises again, strengthening my running muscles, as well as having a full body conditioning workout too.

Functional exercises are great for women as we tend to live very busy lives and are more prone to muscle strains and injuries than men. That said functional exercises help you develop and stabilise your body, especially your core giving you better balance, stability and posture.

The exercises focus on a number of muscle groups ensuring that they all work together, as opposed to just focusing on one muscle in isolation of the rest of the body. So they are perfect for runners.

Check out the videos below, to see Adam put me through my paces, with a bit of fun and laughter thrown in. You’ll be able to incorporate them into your weekly program too.

Let me know how you go :)

Studies Find Sugar Is More Addictive Than Cocaine

Now I know that’s a pretty strong and bold statement, and you might want to disagree and hold onto the fight and protect your beloved chocolate, or favourite dessert.

I know I certainly was in this camp. Friends joked that I was a ‘chocaholic’. Absolutely not a shadow of a doubt there, I could quite easily polish off a family sized bar of chocolate with a friend, multiple Easter eggs, or a whole packet of chocolate hob-nobs dunked in tea of course.

Yes I knew all about the lack of ‘nutritional value’ in what I was eating. BUT I still did it, why

- Because I felt I could

- That it ‘met’ a need or an escapism

- I’ve had a crap day

- A good day

- I’ve worked hard in the gym

- whatever the reason was at the time.

I didn’t for one second realise that it had a ‘hold on me’, that it was effecting my moods greatly, that I was being brainwashed and believing what the big food companies said with their marketing slogans ‘A chocolate bar you can eat between meals without ruining your appetite’ OR ‘Makes you work, rest and play’

I don’t know if you can relate to any of this at all!!

Sugar v Cocaine brainscan

However let’s look at the study - ”Several studies really do suggest that highly-palatable, highly-processed foods can produce behaviours and changes in the brain that one would use to diagnose an addiction, like drugs and alcohol,” Dr. Nicole Avena of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says.

Cardiologist Dr. James O’Keefe said sugar contributes to cardiovascular disease, as well as liver disease, hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, obesity and Alzheimer’s disease.

“When we eat wheat flour and sugar in processed foods, spikes our sugar, then insulin. Those are the hormonal disturbances that make you store belly fat, and then you are hungry for more sweets and starchy junk food,” O’Keefe said

“When you kick the sugar addiction, blood pressure comes down, diabetes goes away, obesity goes away, complexion clears up, mood clears up, sleep improves. It is really, really striking,” O’Keefe

And this is what happened to me too. Some of you might know that in November last year, I had a huge health ‘wake up’ call, when I was diagnosed with MS. On doing my own research, I realised how much food can have an impact on our health for better or for worse. I’ve now, completely cleaned up my diet to a gluten, diary and sugar free diet 90% of the time.

Yes I still have a few ‘MS symptoms’ mainly temperature changes in my body, although I can truly say that changes in my diet has started to heal me on the inside out.

It has also balanced my moods, enabled me to sleep better, stabilised my weight, reduced PMS, eliminated a bloated stomach, no longer have mid morning or afternoon ‘sugar’ cravings, improved concentration and focus, no more ‘brain fog’ for me.

Now I know that a gluten, diary and sugar free diet isn’t for everyone, as everyone is unique and individual.

What I would suggest though is to become aware and be really honest with yourself about :-

- WHAT YOU EAT

- WHY YOU EAT IT

- HOW DOES IT MAKE YOU FEEL

How To Get The Most Out Of The Mill?

Cher treadmillWhether you love it or hate it, running on the treadmill sure does have its benefits – mainly consistent training in adverse weather conditions, helping you put an end to the winter blues or an alternative to those blistering Aussie hot summers.

Done right, running on the treadmill helps maintain and improve your fitness. So get playful with your programs and mix it up.

Simulate Your Race

Some treadmills have pre programs of famous races, so you can run on the exact topography but indoors. You can use these maps or manually create your own. So if your favourite route has a killer hill at the 5km mark, hit the ‘up’ incline button when you reach that point.

Mix It Up

Unpredictable incline and speed change provides a complete workout as you’ll be using different muscles. You can either choose a predetermined program or do it manually by alternating between speed and incline. Remember to build up slowly and return to a brisk walking pace if you need a break before you go again.

Speed Intervals

Compared to doing a speed session at the track, running on the treadmill is perfect, as the speed per rep is the same, until the belt slows down.

Sample workout – 3 x 3 mins at 10 secs faster than your normal 5km pace. Jog for 2 mins in between each set.

Set and Forget Tempo Running

When you’re starting out with your running, or getting used to a new pace, it’s sometimes tricky to keep a consistent pace. Tending to run too fast or too slow, unless of course you’re wearing a sports watch like a Garmin to keep you on track.

So just use the treadmill to your advantage, set the pace and just run baby.

Hill Repeats

Set the gradient of your own hills and save your quads from running downhill by returning the belt to a flat position for your recovery before you go again.

Sample workout – 1 min run up a 4% incline with 2 mons jogging in between. Build up to  10 repeats at a 6% incline.

Treadmill Etiquette

1. Adjust As You Go

There are no hard and fast rules for equating wind resistance to incline percentages. So just be honest with yourself with each run. Listen to your body and adjust the speed and incline according to your needs and goals

2. Shorten Your Stride

The constantly moving belt and extra cushioning leads most people to adapt a shorter stride on the treadmill. again listen to your own body and needs and adjust accordingly.

3. Keep Up Your Fluids

As you’re running inside, and dependant on the ventilation of the room you’re running in, you might dehydrate more than usual. So have your water bottle handy in the front treadmill pocket ready to sip on every 10-15 mins.

 

You Are What You Eat Think And Drink

As my running distances have increased over time, I’ve developed a different relationship with food and drink.

I treat it more as fuel – to recharge/refuel my energy after a run allowing my body to utilise the nutrients to recover and repair. As well as stocking up on nutritious ‘fuel’ to energise me throughout the day.

I know a number of my running friends are the same. Are you too?

If you’re reading this, as a runner, then you probably are, right.

So to live a full life, it’s great to look at what energies you from a mind – body – soul perspective.

Mind – be expansive by being curious and a lifelong learner. Ensure that quality information is going in. Read books, listen to podcasts, audios, watch video – Ted X talks etc. on topics that interest you, areas in your life you want to master etc.

Body – exercise daily to feel energised to pump the oxygen around your body, whatever it is for you – yoga, walking, running, swimming, team sport etc. As well as ‘fuelling’ your body with amazing food.

Soul – what brings you joy and lights you up from the inside out. It could be a walk in nature, running, playing with your kids or animals, dancing all night, meditating.

So what can you do more of and/or introduce in your life that will fill you with energy to live your life fuller.

(Written as part of Natalie Sisson’s 15 Day Freedom Blog Challenge – Day 13)

You Can’t Hire Someone Else To Do Your Push-Ups For You

Wise words indeed by Jim Rohn.

Agreed if you truly want transformational change within yourself, YOU and only you have to put in the work to make it happen.

You just won’t suddenly wake up one morning at your ideal weight, or feeling fit and alive, if you haven’t set yourself up for success, incrementally every day, by exercising your mind and body and eating nutritious food every single day.

However we all tend to do stuff in our lives – personal and business, that are really probably mundane, simple tasks that don’t excite us, we might find frustrating and if we outsourced them to someone else, it would free our time up to do the stuff we really wanted to do, were passionate about and spent time with people we really wanted to hang out with.

Wouldn’t that be cool if everyone, just lived the life they were supposed to live, without living by other people’s rules or ‘shoulds’

This was a cool question that was posed in Day 10 of Natalie Sisson’s – 15 Day Blog Challenge, what can you outsource in your business and commit to doing it within the next 2 days.

For me the 2 immediate things that come to mind are:-

1. Outsource some website techy stuff that’s been on my to do list forever

2. Organise a weekly box of fresh organic fruit & veggies to be delivered to my home.

This will free up so much of my time and energy to be able to focus on the things I really want in my life.

So a couple of questions for you -

1. What current activities no longer excite, drain your energy or take up too much time?

e.g. Is it cleaning, ironing, shopping, picking up the kids from school/after school activities, mundane activities at work – could you delegate them

2. Out of these activities, what can you outsource?

I challenge you to commit to one small change and take action in the next 48 hours to outsource this task, to free up some time and energy for you.

Because YOU are worth it.

And remember

Wish It … Dream It … Do It!

Sue xo