ready to run | week of health & fitness


For today’s post I thought I’d borrow something from Australian Women’s Health magazine Running Guide from their July 2013 issue.

Before I started 12WBT I couldn’t run 500m let alone 5kms. Although I now scale back and forth with the length and frequency of my runs, for some people running is an exercise that comes naturally and for others it can be really daunting. My friend and work colleague Phil is an insanely good runner. He naturally balances his eating with his exercise and has a runners body to prove it. This is a man who regularly knocks out 10kms in his lunch break in 50 minutes! My ultimate goal is to go running with him one day!

*********all text below from WFH mag*********

Haven’t run since high-school athletics? No sweat. (OK, well a little.) This workout plan designed by coach Jenny Hadfield, co-author of Running for Mortals, will help you build from a walk to a run. By the end, you’ll be able to run 30 minutes without stopping – and you’ll be showing off a rock-hard body under your shorts. Whether your goal is to run 5km or 10km, or drop some extra kilos, in one month you’ll be well on your way.

Your Plan: Run 30 minutes in 4 weeks

For all weeks:

  • Warm Up: 3 minutes. Start easy, progress to a power walk
  • Cool Down: 3 minutes. Gradually dial your pace down to an easy walk.
  • Frequency: Perform running workouts 3-4 times a week, every other day.
  • Cross Training: Add a total-body strength-training workout, and either yoga or pilates on 2 of your days off.

Week 1 – Get Outfitted

The two most important items of gear a runner needs are a supportive, high-impact sports bra and running shoes. Both can be found at your local running specialty store. Make sure they fit well: a poorly fitted bra can reduce breathing capacity and make your run feel more difficult. The wrong shoes can give you shin splints, knee pain and a host of other issues. Get fitted by the experts for these items.

Week 1 Runs

  • Warm-up
  • Run 2 minutes, walk 2 minutes
  • Repeat 7 times (28 minutes in total)
  • Cool down

Finish with Flexibility

Just 5 minutes of stretching and muscle-release exercises after your run is enough to maintain a healthy range of motion in your joints – and prevent tight muscles, which can lead to inefficient form and injuries. Use a foam roller to loosen up your shoulders, hamstrings, quads, calves and iliotibial bands (outer thigh). Also take a minute to stretch your chest and your hip flexors.

Week 2 – Monitor Your Breathing

Your running pace or speed ca vary every day because it’s based on a lot of variables: how you slept, food intake, stress, your (female) menstrual cycle, whether you went out last night…you get the idea. The easiest way to run at the perfect pace every day is to run by the sound of your breath. Take the talk test: if you can’t say the words to Happy Birthday out loud 4 times without gasping for air, slow it down. You should be able to hold a conversation while you run. Being out of breath and not being able to talk means that your running pace is too fast.

Week 2 Runs

  • Warm-up
  • Run 3 minutes, walk 1 minute
  • Repeat 7 times (28 minutes total)
  • Cool down

Think About Your Form

It’s normal to feel awkward during the first few weeks of running, even if you’ve run in the past and are starting up again. Begin every running segment on the right foot by thinking about good running form:

  • Head is balanced over your shoulders and focused forward, not down towards the pavement.
  • Shoulders are relaxed to allow your lungs to expand.
  • Arms are bent at the elbow about 90 degrees and swinging like a pendulum from your shoulders (elbows close to your body).
  • Hands are relaxed and not crossing over your belly button as your arms swing.
  • Hips are under your shoulders and stabilising your legs as they move under your body.
  • Feet are landing with short, light, quick strides under your hips.

Week 3 – Find The Fun

The best way to guarantee running success is to finish with a high-five moment. When you finish your workout feeling as if you can go just a little further, you feel a sense of pride, happiness and success – all of which lead to wanting to do it again and again. Running habits are created as a result of happy running moments, so try to keep it fun, rather than pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion.

Week 3 Runs

  • Warm-up
  • Run 4 minutes, walk 1 minute
  • Repeat 6 times (30 minutes total)
  • Cool down

Work On Your Stride

A common mistake that many runners make is covering too much ground with every step. That’s a bit like climbing stairs two or three at a time – it takes a lot more energy and the impact on your body is much greater. Aim for short, quick strides and a turnover rate (the number of steps you take in  1 minute) of 180. To figure out your turnover, count the number of times your left food hits the ground in 1 minute and multiply by 2. To increase your turnover, match your stride to music that’s about 180 beats per minute.  You can download mixes at this speed, and others, at

Week 4 – Learn To Listen To Your Body

If you start to feel aches and pains that don’t go away after a few days, it’s time for active recover with lower-impact activities like cycling, swimming and the cross trainer. In most cases, minor aches will heal with a few days of TLC. Aches may also be a sign you’re pushing too hard. Ease up a bit, and you’ll continue to improve without injury.

Week 4 Runs

  • Warm-up
  • Run 5 minutes, walk 30 seconds
  • Repeat 6 times (33 minutes in total)
  • Cool down

Ebb And Flow

Running is like life: there will be rockin’ fun workouts and also runs that humble you. You’ll make the most gains when you run based on how you feel on any given day. On days when you feel great, take advantage of the opportunity to push a little harder or run a little longer. That way, when rough days come along you can ease back on the throttle and still make progress.

Week 5 And Beyond

Building your running regimen by adding 3-5 minutes to your workout time and decreasing your walking time every 1-2 weeks until you reach your goal.


a week of health & fitness!!!


get ready for it!

a whole week of health & fitness posts

something to motivate and inspire you (and me)
and get us both moving!

it’s winter here in Sydney and I’m starting to use that snooze button a little longer than usual. lucky I have Harley who helps get me out of bed while it’s still dark but I’m always on the lookout for inspiration.

whether it’s scrolling Pinterest, reading fellow bloggers food & exercise posts or dog-earring fitness magazines, I thought I’d dedicate an entire week to motivating us all to eat a little better and exercise a little more!

watch out for the first post Monday 17th June

12WBT round three | blogging challenge #two

The second topic in the 12WBT blogging challenge (created by Courage2Start) is A Picture of Health.

Question: To me, what is a picture of health?


Strong. Not skinny. That is my picture of health.

Maria Sharapova for Nike Women

I also think that by defining what is NOT my picture of health helps draw a picture of what I do consider ideal.

Yep, it’s not good….Skinny. No muscle tone. A woman who looks like she’s about to fall over. A women who couldn’t sustain a bear-hug, or a climb a tree, who only eats three grapes all day, or a girl who can’t open her own jars. This is NOT my idea of health!

this is NOT my picture of health
also NOT my picture of health
food? whats that?

That said, the opposite is also true….overly muscly or obese…

um, no thanks
where's their undies?

My view to health perfection isn’t just about the physical

  • Fitness is key; being able to run 5kms without stopping, having a strong core, being about to walk up a steep hill while bush-walking without having to stop half-way to rest to get your breath back, and feeling strong during a killer Pump class!  
  • Nutrition is essential; taking care of what you put in your body by eating good, natural food with little processed products.
  • Happiness is also high on my health list. Living in the moment, laughing, feeling apart of a family/group of friends/community.
  • Commitment; setting out to achieve something, whether its a hundred push-ups or a half-marathon, and nailing it. There is no better feeling than achieving your goals!
and of course
  • Looking hot with or without your clothes! These women are my inspiration!
Doutzen Kroes
abs of steel!
12WBT fearless leader Mish Bridges
lean machine!
So that, my friends, is my picture of health!

game on.

Today my official training program with 12WBT starts!

my trainer - Michelle Bridges

I recently wrote about the program and my goals here.

Apart from a slight feeling of trepidation, I am pumped. I am excited. And full of determination. I will achieve my goals. I will become a better version of myself.

This is what I’ve been up to during the last month of pre-season task challenges:

  1. “Introduce Yourself”: On the 12WBT forum I wrote a brief blurb on my background and what I want to achieve over the course of the next 12 weeks. I also read quite a few from other people, commented to provide support and also start getting to know others out there doing the challenge! I also joined Twitter!
  2. “Get Real”: this task was about admitting all my excuses for not exercising or eating well. Internal, External inside my control and outside of my control. Its about deciding that there are no more excuses and putting into place contingency plans for when excuses pop up (like ‘Im too tired to work out’ or ‘Im too busy’). I am not as busy as the Prime Minister and John Howard used to work out every single day and still run the country! I like Mich’s mantra to just go into “robot mode” and JFDI (just fucking do it)! Ive now thought through all of my self-sabotage. I am important and Im going to get it done.
  3. “Set Your Goals”: lose 12kgs in the next 3 months. run 1km without stopping. look better in my clothes. eat healthy & smaller meals.
  4. “Gear Up”: bought new workout leggings, new Brooks runners, a Polar FT60 heart rate monitor, new iPod (with the inscription “Strong.Fit.Proud.Happy.Melly.”)
  5. “Say It Out Loud”: writing down my goals. verbalising them to my family and friends and writing it on my blog. Saying it out loud so that I am now accountable for my goals. I am as good as my word.
  6. “Kitchen Make Over”: getting rid of all the processed food, junk food and stuff that will not help me get to my goals. 

    binning all the bad food
  7. Organize & Diarize”: I have planned all my workouts for the first 4 weeks. I am setting up a routine so that it will become habit. Ive also minimised all my social engagements so that I can give myself a really good start without external pressures. 
  8. “Measure Up”: all my body measurements and weight are now tracked and Ive taken my “before” photo. I won’t be publishing these online anytime soon for fear that the world will open up and swallow me whole in mortifying embarrassment!!! 
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but something I’ve become obsessed with is Twitter. I joined in August and originally I was just following a few people I know IRL but mostly celebrities. But let me tell you that the 12WBT Twitter family is HUGE! And I’ve mostly ditched all the celebrities and am now following (& being followed) by other people doing the 12WBT program. One of my tweep friends has had amazing success with 12WBT. Her name is Angela/@BellaXthree – she has a blog “From F**cked to Fab“. Her transformation since June 2010 will leave you gob-smacked. You seriously need to look at her blog to see for yourself. Reading her words is inspiring. She writes with intelligence, honesty and humor. I just connect with what she’s talking about and how she feels. A few things that she’s written just struck a chord with me and deserve mention; 
“No living on the sidelines”
“Constantly testing your limits and pushing through fear is how we realise our potential.”

It’s made me think about what my own mantra for the next 12 weeks will be. I’ve decided on this “You can have results or excuses. Not both.”

I also like “Eat clean. Train Mean.” which seems to be a personal mantra of a lot of Personal Trainers and other 12WBTers out there!

I completed the first of my fitness tests yesterday which provides my starting benchmark for the program. I will be doing the exact repeat of this fitness test at weeks 4, 8 and 12. My results were:

Distance run 1km; 8:17 min
Sit-ups; level 3 of 5
Push-ups in 1 min; 28
Wall-sit; 1:15 min
Sit&Reach: +13cm 

It can all only get better! I’m excited to see how far I can go and how much I can improve!

My next update will be Monday next week. Til then… 

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