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

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.

The Magic Happens Outside Your Comfort Zone

Picture this….. It’s 5.30am on a Sunday, you’ve woken up naturally to the sound of the dawn chorus, meditated and now you have your runners laced up, ready to set off for a run.

That was me this morning …. ‘Are you crazy!’ part of me was saying……’what happened to the Sunday lie in, like ‘normal people’ cos hey it’s not as if you’re training for anything….’

But here’s the thing, it gets crazy hot in Queensland if you exercise later in the day, and I love nothing more than finishing my exercise by 8am in the morning feeling energised with the whole day ahead of me still.

Are you the same?

My intention was only to run about 10km (5km out and back from home) as I felt I was still ‘building up’ the mileage back in my legs, after an extended break last year.

So I set off after I drank a glass of water.

On passing the 5km mark, I made the decision to carry on going as I was feeling OK and the ocean views along the coastal path were stunning.

However as the temperature rose I started to get thirsty with no water fountains in sight, I wished I had turned back earlier. But decided to push on to the next town as I reckoned I was only about 2km from it and could get a drink there.

Yep you guessed it, it was further than I thought and at this point I was close to 9km…. and still had to get back.

And here’s the thing I learnt from this run, as the magic happens when you step outside your comfort zone.

- Where there’s a will, there’s always a way

- I discovered where the water fountains are in the next town, to coordinate water breaks on my next run

- I discovered an awesome new cafe to come back to for brekkie next week. (the waiter gave me 2 glasses of water)

- I completed 19km before breakfast with only drinking 3 glasses of water (crazy – yep maybe, worth it – you betcha)

- You can ALWAYS run another 5km

- Spectacular scenery on my run, watching the sun rise over the ocean kept me going

- Break up the run back with walking breaks

- It’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it

So wherever you are in your life and your running, I encourage you today to step outside the ‘norm’ and your comfort zone, and watch the magic unfold in your life.

I’m sure you’ll be amazed at what you tackle and achieve today outside your comfort zone. Give it a go.

And remember

Wish It … Dream It … Do It!

Sue xo

P.S. If you want support in achieving your goals – check out the FREE 21 Day ”Make it Happen Challenge” here

Stop Listening To Naysayers

An interesting scenario happened on this morning’s run. Let me set the scene, I had taken quite a bit of time off since my marathon….. months in fact, scattered with the odd small run here and there.

I’ve felt compelled recently to build up my running again, and know that as my fitness has dropped off, I’m at the build up stage again.

So today I had a distance in mind, and the route was a bit hilly. On one of the hills I was digging in, head down focussed on getting to the top.

As I passed a couple of people they said

‘That looks hard’ ….. No not at all, I replied.

‘That looks hot’ …… No not at all I replied.

Here’s the thing. Truth is it was at the end of my run and I was tired, if I listened to my little critic in my head I would have stopped, if I listened to the people and taken it on board, I would have stopped, however I was committed to my plan and finishing the run. I was so happy when I did.

On reflection it made me realise that sometimes when you’re excited about an idea, goal or dream and you share them with your family and friends, you’re sometimes not met by the same level of enthusiasm.

Instead they say….

- Well how’s that going to work

- You’re going to do what…. really

You start to feel squashed, where’s the love and support.

If your belief in your idea, goal and dream isn’t that strong it’s quite easy to be swayed by the ‘well meaning’ opinions of others.

One thing you have to remember is that when you grow and expand, sometimes it’s scary for the people around you. They love you, sure, and in the same breath they want what they feel is good for you, and that’s usually within their own comfort zone.

That’s ok, you just have to accept that they’re on a different journey to you and you might choose not to share so much of your future plans with them, maybe you need to find a new group of friends who ‘get you’ and can support you to achieve your goals.

If you feel compelled to be something, do something and have something then go for it, follow your heart and your intuition, stay strong and focussed and stop listening to the naysayers ….

AND YOU WILL GET THERE.

And remember

Wish It … Dream It …. Do It

Sue xo

When Was The Last Time You Celebrated…?

This is completely related to running or not at all, depending on your point of view!!

When was the last time you celebrated an achievement, small or large?

A lot of people tend to go through life with the ‘end in mind’ and not celebrating their small wins along the way. They think they will ‘celebrate’ when they ‘get there’. But when they do arrive at their original goal milestone, they have already set the next one, and they’re in full steam ahead.

If you recognise yourself here, or know someone who does this then take a moment and STOP, take a moment and celebrate your wins and life in general, whatever you’ve achieved large or small.

Case in point, last weekend a friend and I had a picnic to watch the the sunset. It was situated on a busy promenade at the beach. We had an amazing spread of food laid out on a tablecloth. The holiday makers that passed us by smiled and commented on the amazing trouble we had gone to and asked us what we were celebrated.

We commented ‘We’re celebrating LIFE……. because it’s Saturday …….’ People seemed bemused with our answer that it wasn’t because of a birthday, or special event.

Think back to when you were a child and you saw pleasure in the smallest of things, and were happy and celebrated your little wins and were happy with life in general as you were in awe with everyday.

Sometimes as adults we forget this, it’s time to remember again and to start finding the ‘joy in the ordinary’.

And remember

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 Much Time Off Do You Need

Okay so it’s been 2 weeks since I ran the Gold Coast Marathon, and I’ve been content since then just to rest, recover, refuel and for exercise – just walks and a bit of yoga. A very Yin existence shall we say.

Today was time though, this morning when I woke up after meditating and stretching, I felt the urge to run again. It felt really good.

People ask me how long shall I ‘have off’ after a big race. Really however long you need in order to allow your mind and body to fully rest and recover. You will know when the time is right. If you start back to early your body will react accordingly and you’ll probably be depleted of energy and might even risk injury.

So take your time, enjoy the break from your running and utilise this time to pursue other sports.

3 Ways To Train Like A Marathoner Even If You Never Do One

On my journey from only being able to run for a minute to running a marathon, I learnt that the biggest thing that got me there wasn’t the latest runners with extra cushioning, a new Garmin watch that would calculate everything you needed, the running program that would push me that one step closer to a new PB, it was MY MINDSET.

Think You Can

So here are my 3 tips to train like a marathoner even if you never do one.

Big Picture Vision

Create a vision for yourself. Have a goal that stretches you outside your comfort zone, whether it be a new distance that you’re aiming for, your 1st overseas race, or a new PB.

Then visualise that image daily, actually be in the scene of achieving it with all your senses.

- What do you see around you?

- What do you hear?

- What do you feel?

Visualisation and meditation are such powerful tools of actually creating our futures now.

Act As If

Once you have the vision and goal you’re going after, act as if you’ve already achieved it.

What I mean by that is…

- Who do you have to be to have already achieved that goal?

- What person do you need to become?

- What strengths and attributes does this person have?

For example, when I was training for my 1st half marathon, I knew the importance of ‘sprint training’ although it didn’t come naturally to me. So I would take myself off to the local athletic track once a week, and imagine that I was the greatest sprinter in the world, that I was an elite athlete showing up for their ‘sprint’ session at the track, training for my next big event. At first it felt REALLY unnatural and uncomfortable, but I stuck with it, and within weeks I enjoyed that part of my training and my speed improved as a result of showing up each week, doing the work and believing I could.

Nutrition, Rest and Recovery

This is 3 parts rolled into one. People often forget the importance of nutrition and rest in order to fully recover from their training, but really this is critical.

Learn to see food as the fuel your body needs to perform at it’s best. I use the analogy of filling up your car with dirty petrol and expecting it to get you from A to B. It wouldn’t be a smooth ride, as your car spluttered along in fits and starts, choking and stopping. Our bodies are the same, so we need to nurture them and feed them the optimum levels of nutrients to excel in life.

It’s also important to rest and achieve a good nights sleep so your body can repair itself and recover from your hard training.

As always running and training for a race, has so many similarities for other areas of our lives, so use these 3 tips when you’re embarking on a new adventure.

And remember

Wish It … Dream It … Do It!

Sue xo

How Leaving My Husband Improved My Running

The last 2 weeks have been one hell of a rollercoaster for me, and I’ve just come out the other side.

You see its been brewing since February, the little thought inside. Things haven’t been good for a while, and then I suddenly saw a different path, something that woke me up, resonated with me.

I had to leave ….. I had to move on.

In the space of 2 weeks, I left my job, put our home up for sale, packed up things into storage, left my husband, and moved interstate to Queensland.

Crazy I know right. Why would I leave everything behind?

Leave the familiar, the comfort.

Change everything at once.

The stress of it all.

What I’ve done is right up there with the 5 most stressful things in the world – death of a loved one, major illness, divorce, moving and job loss.

Now before you start thinking I’m heading for divorce ….. far from it, I love Rod with all my heart and even though we’re apart living in 2 different states in Australia, we’re very much together in our hearts.

I just needed a fresh start, to rediscover myself, to develop my business, to be in the warmth again. To not have to be in ‘survival mode’ on a daily basis to keep my body warm, but naturally to be at a core body temperature, without having to put on 5 layers of clothing on a daily basis.

Really I hear you cry, aren’t you living in Australia though, isn’t it hot there. Yep absolutely and my body has adapted over time, as well as now not seeming to tolerate sudden temperature changes, especially the cold. So I’m following the sun, and my heart, it’s time.

Plus and here’s the BIG plus, like you I love running and running in warm weather just lights me up, and with 4 weeks away to the Gold Coast Marathon, what better preparation, to actually be running in a warmer climate.

So after a bit of an adjustment period, I feel I’m getting ‘ME’ back, feeling in sync with life again, following my heart more, after all isn’t that what life is about.

NoosaBecause of this move, I had the most amazing run on Sunday, check out the views, running alongside the Noosa River and up into Noosa National Park.

So what has all this got to do with me, I hear you cry.

EVERYTHING and NOTHING depending on which side of the fence you’re on.

You see it just gets back to TIME and what you REALLY WANT in life, and if you’re settling for something else.

We all have 24 hours each day, and the older we get, time ‘seems’ to speed up. Are we really ‘living it though’ OR just being a creature of habit doing the same thing day in day out, and not in love with it.

Are you REALLY living life to the MAX.

Are you being the person you truly want to be.

Are you doing the things EVERYDAY that you care about.

Are you spending time with the people you want to everyday.

If yes great, if not then why not.

Have you instead chosen to settle for a comfortable life, that you’re OK about, have dreams and then talk yourself out of making it happen.

You see it’s all a choice, whichever side of the fence you’re on.

People say… oh one day I’ll travel, one day I’ll buy a car, lose weight, run a marathon, start a business, one day I’ll get it all together.

That’s a hell of a lotta stuff you’ve got stored up for your ‘one day life’

If it TRULY matters to you, and YOU know what truly matters to you right, then make a start today.

Step outside of your comfort zone to make that change.

Just one thing, move forward TODAY, get comfortable with the uncomfortable and start living your ‘one day life’ TODAY.

I believe in you – you can do this!

And remember

Wish It … Dream It … Do It!

Sue xo

Feeling BLAH, Suck It Up And Go For A Run

Have you ever had a morning, day or heaven forbid a whole week that you just felt BLAH.

Feeling crap for whatever reason…… lack of sleep/sleepless night, worried about work, finances, fight with your partner and /or kids, something you ate last night, or a curry that’s still repeating on you over a day later.

And you know you need to to exercise, go for a run, but really are you kidding to peel yourself out of bed for a morning run in the dark when you are having a ‘BLAH’ attack.

You’ve been there too, I thought you had.

Well this was definitely me this morning before I set out for my long run – Crap night’s sleep and still dodgy guts from a curry I had 2 nights ago. I could have quite easily whinged and moaned my way back into bed, rolling over, wishing myself to get back to sleep.

BUT really how would I have felt at the end of the day, when I looked back at my day, before I drifted off to sleep if I had chosen to do that. Hmm pretty bad on myself. And on the flip side, I’d know how good I’d feel once I got started.

So if that’s you and you have a ‘BLAH’ attack, just suck it up, lace up your runners, and get running. Trust me you will feel so much better.

Case in point, today’s run, was only going to be 20-22km, and I thought I’d be cutting that short, as the walking breaks started earlier from 5km.

REALLY, I thought, how’s this going to work. Well I could run for another 5km and then walk for a bit, and I could come back early, that would be OK, I was telling myself.

Oh man, the little voice in our heads, and how it can distract us from the bigger picture.

You see here’s the thing.

If you want the outcome, you have to put in the work.

My outcome is to run the Gold Coast Marathon in July, so putting in the kms for my long runs is just a given, it’s pretty much non negotiable. So yes, I too had to suck it up today.

And boy am I glad I did, cos today’s outcome was a 25km run. Yes I played the mind games of :-

- Just another 5km

- ‘You’re 1/2 way there, keep going’

- ‘I’m a lean, mean running machine’

- ‘I’m fit and strong’

- And a few walk breaks

But the feeling when it’s done, is 2nd to none.

So I challenge you that if you’re feeling BLAH, suck it up and go for a run anyway.

And remember

Wish It … Dream It … Do It!

Sue xo