See it, aim for it and do it. Stretch yourself and grow!

Archive for the tag “Strength training”

Day Two…..Which Was Yesterday!

My apologies for not updating my blog yesterday. It was a very long day. I was up at 4.30am to get to the gym for a 5.30am PT client, and was there all day until 5.30pm! When I got home it was dinner time and then one last PT session until 8.30pm, at which point I was brain dead! At least I got my run in 🙂

Yesterday’s run was a tempo run. 8km with 5km at tempo of 5:40 pace. I ended up doing a 5:28 pace, too fast but what the heck. My goal is to come in under the 2hr mark for the Auckland Half marathon so I need to push myself a little. I do have a little SI niggle which I am monitoring. It’s not bad, just feel it in my butt when I am running and I am seeing the physio for it. I have had numerous niggles over the last year, I think it is a result of all the training. It has made me rethink my constant racing schedule, and I am aware now that as I get older I need to train smarter, which means more stretching and rolling and perhaps not so much of the racing! But I am committed to this race as of course I have my fundraising goal and now have had my first donation of which I am very proud

It is the first time I have raised anything for a cause, and I am sure there will be more donations to come. In case you are just joining me on this journey today, I am raising money for the Guide Dogs NZ. I decided that this time when I ran a race I would do it for a reason other than self fulfillment. You access my fundraising page here.

Today’s training is a strength session, and I am feeling less than enthusiastic. I started off with a scratchy throat last night and headache this morning. I am feeling a bit better now, so I will suck it up and do it soon. Then tomorrow I run again…..I never seem to mind that 🙂 What is it about running? Why do we get so addicted?


Almost On The Move

Two more sleeps in our old house. Then we’re on the move. On Tuesday the movers come in to pack us up and then on Wednesday they uplift all our possessions for storage. Tomorrow the cats go into the cattery (I keep referring to it as jail, and my hubby says they’re going on holiday. I think it’s more like jail as they are not vaccinated so have to stay in an isolation room). Tuesday we move into a motel for three nights and then on Friday we leave for Auckland. The last week I have spent throwing out stuff, donating stuff, organising stuff, and still I have been getting my runs in. Thank goodness for some small sanity in all the madness.

Yesterday I went for my “long” run. It really wasn’t that long, only an hour. I am doing a trim down program and this last week took me back a notch with the distances, and put me on a time and RPE scale instead. I have tried this program before and then got sidetracked by something, and ended up only doing one week. This time I am determined to see the four weeks through and so have completed week one with a rest day and a sense of a job well done. I cheated a bit as I went for a walk with my daughter today and we walked rather quickly around the Mount Maunganui base track (her speed, not mine).

This week I have done hill repeats, a tempo run, a relaxed time trial, a moderate run, a long run and two resistance sessions with moderately heavy weights and I am feeling pretty good.

QQ Cartoon Olympio - Weightlifting

Next week I have more of the same, only more reps and longer times.

While I was running yesterday I realised that this was the last long run I would be doing here, that the next one I did and all the others after that will be in Auckland. It is quite exciting to have a new area to be running in, and it will be a challenge. I can only hope to get stronger as Auckland is not very flat, so you get to do a lot more hills as part of a normal daily run. The best part of being up there will be that there are a lot more events to enter, like the Colour Run which I plan to do, and…I am still on the lookout for an Auckland Half Marathon entry…..

Up and Down and Lower Back Pain

I did a hill run this morning. It was 10km of up and down, some steep, some not so steep. I got to thinking, during one of my pelting, hurtling, downward dashes on a steep descent that often an area of niggle to strike a runner is the lower back. Often an injury occurs when running downhill. Often this injury is caused by weak core and stabilising muscles. Which made me start thinking about how important these muscles are when running.

Often people take up running and omit to do any other type of exercise. It is vitally important to work on core strength and stability in conjunction with your running programme. Through my work I have come across many people who have a weak core area from spending their days hunched over a desk, on a computer. The first thing I do is assess their core strength and programme core activation exercises to strengthen these areas. We all have a transverse abdominis (TA), and a lot of our bodies have forgotten how to use it. So our erector spinae (the long muscles next to our spine) take over and they’re not supposed to be doing that job. So it’s no wonder they get fatigued, grumpy and injured. Add to the mix some crazy downhill running and bingo! Ouch!

If you have found yourself plagued by a grumpy lower back here is a simple exercise to do. This can be done anywhere so you have no excuse. Take a big breath into your belly (it must inflate) and then exhale until you have expelled all the air. The TA will then activate at the end of the breath. This is called diaphragmatic breathing and will teach the TA to once again remember what it is supposed to do. Do this a few times, several times throughout the day.

There are many exercises that can assist with core strengthening, so once you find where your TA is and you feel stronger, you can start a progressive core strengthening programme. Always remember to take it slowly, because if your body is not used to utilising the correct muscles for a movement, the other muscles may take over. Sometimes you have to go back to the beginning and retrain them. And while you are out running and you start heading downhill, make a conscious effort to activate that TA, so you hold your core strong while you pelt, hurtle and dash down that hill!

Women, Knees and Creative Brains

I have settled into my marathon training programme well. The fitness I built up and the kms I ran training for the Colville Connection have sustained my fitness levels and it has been no problem to ramp up the weekly totals again. Last week I ran 44kms and have been feeling great this week. While I was doing my long run on Sunday I started thinking about knees (I always get ideas while I run, I figure I get creative….more on that later in the blog). I was thinking about women’s knees in particular. You see we are a bit more at risk because of the way we are built, and running can get blamed for all sorts of knee evils that it actually isn’t to blame for.

Women have a bigger Q-angle than men. That is, our hips are wider and the line that goes from our external hip to our medial knee is more pronounced. So therefore we are more at risk for our knees to track outside of the line they are supposed to track in. So it becomes even more important for us to have strong, and most importantly, well-balanced quad muscles. Often the VMO becomes weakened through lack of strength training, bad gait, bad squatting technique and imbalances in the muscles around the knees. On top of all of that, us women tend to not bend our knees when landing after jumping off a raised area, so all you women trail runners out there, watch what you do next time you land from a height, no matter how high, make sure you bend your knees to absorb some of the shock and also make sure your knees are tracking over your foot, and not collapsing inward as a lot of us do. Get your technique checked when strength training, and ask someone to watch you running so you can get feedback as to what your legs are doing. We have to take care of those knees so they can go the distance.

And so back to the creative bit…..

I am reading a book at the moment called Spark written by John J Ratey, MD and Eric Hagerman. It is all about a revolutionary new science of exercise and brain, and how they fit together. I would recommend getting your hands on a copy and having a read, it is fascinating! Apparently when we exercise we create proteins that are then able to cross the blood/brain barrier and allow more connections to be made. Amazing results have been seen in children in school, increasing their test scores in academic areas, and also with patients suffering from anxiety and depression.  Now every time I head out for my run I am thinking “I am developing my brain”, and I am chomping through the book with eager anticipation of the next great thing!

So get training, you have everything to gain!

Time To Slim Down

It’s been a week since the Colville Connection, and I have had this last week “off”. I put this in inverted commas because I haven’t done nothing exercise wise, just had a cruisier week with lots of walking, a few jogs and some strength training. I have found it quite enjoyable actually, and I think it is really important to have a week like this after an event, just to recharge the batteries, take off some of the physical and mental stress of training for an event.

My next event is the Gold Coast Half Marathon at the beginning of July. We have booked our accommodation already and online entries open on Monday. Then we need to book flights, so keeping an eye out for specials all the time. But before all of this is a month of trimming down.

Ever since the final lead up to the Auckland Marathon I have been a little heavier than I thought I ought to be for a runner. Finally in the March issue of Runner’s World magazine this thought was justified when I saw the article about your perfect running weight. According to this article I could be lighter, so Monday I start with their recommended training programme to shed those few kilos I need to make me faster and feel fitter. Combined with a healthy eating plan, I should drop about 500g a week so it will take me about 6 weeks to get to where I need to be. The training programme runs for a month and I plan to slot into the half training schedule after that to prepare for the Gold Coast.

I don’t think this will be easy as I have been quite free with my food choices and portion sizes. I feel there shall be some hungry moments in the days to come, hopefully not long lasting!

Wish me luck!

Where’s My Mojo?

Well, I have had a really busy 10 days or so. We have got to the stage in our lives when the little birds are flying the nest and the last one left on Saturday. Consequently, life in our neck of the woods has been very hectic.

I have been managing on a less energetic basis to complete most of my planned runs, and important thing as the Colville Connection is but a few weeks away. We spent a few days up there earlier on this month and I managed to run a trail that went over a hill and back. This was not the actual race route, but it certainly gave my legs a good go! On my way back up the hill (which became to feel like a mountain) I really struggled and had to walk at a few places. It made me aware that my training has not been as focussed for this race, something I have been struggling with ever since the Auckland Marathon last year.

Yesterday I did my longest run since training for the marathon. It was 2hr 15min and I went quite a hilly way. I have yet to work out how far I ran as this training schedule runs on time and not distance, and I think this may be why I am not training as hard.

During the run my knees were hurting and then I realised that i have not been doing my strength training as regularly. In fact the last time I did any was 10 days ago! So today I knuckled down and made myself do 3 strength circuits (I will probably be sore tomorrow).

We have also been away quite a lot, moving kids, having short breaks, and working around the house getting it ready to sell. All these activities are not conducive to a smooth training schedule, so hopefully next week I can get back on track. I will be home alone, no one else here, and I should be able to focus on my training properly.

Let’s see what happens…..


Today I set out for a short run before doing some strength training. I was wearing a pair of Nike Frees. I have run in these before, just not recently, rather wearing them for gym workouts and when training my clients. Half way into my run my shin started to hurt! Needless to say I could not run any further and started walking, which also hurt! So I removed my shoes and proceeded to walk/jog home bare foot…which didn’t hurt as much.

When I got home I threw the Nikes into the discard box. I shall not be wearing them again. Since I returned home I have iced my shin twice and rubbed various potions into it. It still hurts. I am not impressed…..tomorrow we go to Colville for 4 days and it is a chance to try some of the dirt roads I will be running as well as try my new shoes on those roads. I can only hope the damage to my poor shin is not bad and that by tomorrow or Thursday it will be feeling okay again.

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