ready to run | week of health & fitness

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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 rockmyrun.com.

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.

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gotta get up | week of health & fitness

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What gets you up and out the door in the morning for your early workout?

I know not everyone does their exercise in the morning, but for me if I don’t get it done before I go to work, chances are pretty slim that I’ll get it done later in the day. Exercise guru Michelle Bridges always says that it doesn’t really matter when you workout, as long as you do it, but it’s better to do it first thing in the morning before “life” gets in the way. I agree!

I get up in the morning for 2 reasons;

  1. because my love of food means I have to workout.
  2. because I have a little dog named Harley who needs to go for a run before we leave him for the day, otherwise we’d come home to a house destroyed!

I’m lucky that I live in a beautiful suburb where my morning jog is along the gorgeous Sydney harbour. I don’t take my iPod because I love the early morning quiet. It’s just a time to detox from the busy city life.

Here are my top tips to make getting up at the crack of dawn just a little bit easier:

  • go to bed early. It’s almost impossible to get up at 5.30am if you’ve only had 6 hours sleep. I make sure I’m tucked away in bed by 10.30pm. That means that the TV is off by 9.30pm!
  • layout your workout gear before going to bed. It’s way easier to fumble around in the dark (and the cold in winter) when your stuff is on the floor next to your bed.
  • prep your breakfast and lunch the night before. That way your when your workout is over, you’ve had a shower and gotten ready for work, your breakfast is easily prepared and you can grab your lunch and head out the door. On schedule!
  • have a backup plan so if it’s raining you can still workout; at the gym, with a workout DVD in your lounge room or like me, out the door in a raincoat!

Hope this helps you on your workout tomorrow!!! And I’ll leave you with a few photos of the views I enjoy on my early morning workout adventures… 

chasing pavements
chasing pavements

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nothing but fog....winter settles in around the harbour
nothing but fog….winter settles in around the harbour
before sunrise; a view of the city
before sunrise; a view of the city
after sunrise; a view of the city
after sunrise; a view of the city
welcome sailors! a cruise liner on it's way into port
welcome sailors! a cruise liner on it’s way into port

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view from Barrangaroo
view from Barrangaroo
my little workout buddy; Harley
my little workout buddy; Harley & his stick

Happy Monday!

this week | in instagram

IMG_20130224_153624 making Skinny Cow icecream into a pretty treat! IMG_20130224_154113 (1) circa 2010 @ South Coast Bawley Beach; Harley’s first trip away IMG_20130225_210054Jay, my hot Monday night date;
late dinner after seeing an FBiRadio presents ‘The Imposter’ movie IMG_20130226_221222Amber!!! Had to take this picture of Amber Valletta for Coach at the QVB on George St to send to my friend Tam. Amber & Shalom were our supermodel heros in the 90s!  20130226220559155 Feb dinner club with E & Neen at Mexico Surry HillsIMG_20130226_213321 thanks for the pretty paper stars (that I won’t be shredding) Aunty Sheela!!! IMG_20130228_070833 sunrise over beautiful Sydney during my morning jog IMG_20130228_071608 running stairs with Harley IMG_20130302_083244 little monster – Harley IMG_20130301_070652my favourite boat ‘Poppy’. I want. I will also be using this boat to escape the zombie apocalypse (hope the owners don’t live close)! 
IMG_20130227_072741 early morning boxing IMG_20130301_130116 my husband’s cool ensemble IMG_20130301_082421 this week’s Friday Flowers! Australian Natives. IMG_20130301_090040 hello friend. made by Tino @ Mano Espresso IMG_20130302_154251 a well deserved Dirty Grey Goose Martini on Friday night at Darling HarbourIMG_20130302_072608 get ready for colour & debauchery Sydney!!! Mardi Gras!!! IMG_20130302_104549 Saturday Pyrmont Grower’s Market in the rain IMG_20130302_162137 my skincare routine for the last 6 years…it’s the only skin I’ve got so I’m going to take damn good care of it! IMG_20130302_162815 my makeup ritual IMG_20130302_130653 50 shades of grey Sydney style… weekend of wet weather IMG_20130302_152750I finally hung my recently purchased artwork in our bedroom.
The three paintings are by a Swiss artist named Cristina B.
[contact via @CristinaBStudio on twitter]IMG_20130302_203534 Saturday night simple pasta for my date home alone with the couch
& Xbox Live movies!!! I will not admit to eating half a packet of skittles!!! IMG_20130303_160735 “I was going to be good Mummy but there were too many other options”!!! Harley the cavoodle
IMG_20130303_154731Sunday brunch at FFF Glebe.
Mango smoothie & pumpkin, walnut, chicken salad.

How was your week???

signature2 - melly xox

the day before

My Saturday started with a 7am airport run to drop my BFF Gracie off for her trip to Yackandandah for her sister’s 30th/engagement party.

Jay continuously makes me laugh (lucky I married him)!

No husband, I didn’t pick these from ‘the side of the road’. We don’t live on the hillsides of Switzerland!

After brekkie we caught the light-rail into the city to pick up our event packs for the Bridge Run which is part of the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival.

I haven’t actually run a full 9kms (5.6 miles) without stopping before….and I’m nursing a foot/knee injury, so I’ll take it easy and see if I can jog the whole thing! 

event pack

Nothing too special in the event pack with the exception of the Mrs May’s Trio natural bars which are to die for! In Australia you can buy them from Coles, Woolworths & IGA. From the event stand I bought a deflatable water bottle and shoe money/key/ID holder which are totes awesome!

Run start (bottom of the grass area) at Milsons Point

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the north side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (Sydney CBD in the distance)

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the Bridge is closed down from 4am-11am for the runners

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I’m excited about running tomorrow because it was one of my 12WBT 4 week goals; to do a fun run! Tick!

While we were in the city we did a bit of shopping in Pitt St Mall & had lunch in  Westfield. I blew invested my allowance at Sportsgirl, Forecast & Myer on some colour block pieces, before we had a delicious & nutritious lunch at Iku Wholefood which I am completely obsessed with!

shopping & tweeting isn’t recommended!
Cobalt Forecast Blazer, Chartreuse Sportsgirl Peplum Top & Trent Nathan Orange Enamel Cuff
Lunch – brown rice, pickled cabbage, leafy greens, white beans & Mediterranean couscous with tahini vinegarette (vegan)
It would appear I am also obsessed with Twitter…

I bought some extra brown rice & white bean salad to have with grilled chicken for dinner tonight. We’ve got a quiet night in with an early bedtime as it’s race day tomorrow!!!

Saturday 14th September 2012 sunset over Blackwattle Bay/ANZAC Bridge – view from my loungroom

Hope you’re all having a great weekend!