Why I Run + City2Sea Giveaway

The giveaway is now closed. Winner will be announced shortly.

This post is sponsored by Nuffnang.

In my about page and bio I use for speaking events, I state that I am addicted to running – and I am!  But this is a relatively new thing for me. I have actually become fitter with each child.  I have been a regular exerciser since having kids, but the running component of my exercise up until about two years ago consisted of a jog on treadmill and would be no more than 5km. As my small business and family grew, so did the number of things I would worry and think about.  I decided to take my running from the treadmill to the pavement and run longer. This type of exercise fitted in well with my family circumstances.  My husband often works late and by choosing to run early mornings, I could set my own schedule much easier. When readers, nearly all of which are also mums, email me asking about how they can go about setting up an exercise routine with family commitments, I suggest running.  I suggest running as it is something most people can do, you don’t need any expensive equipment and you can pretty much do it any where any time.

Running for my mental health

Running - Why I run As I started to run longer, my wanting to run wasn’t just for my physical health, but also very much for my mental health.  I have often struggled to explain how running helps with managing stress and other emotions, but it certainly does. I can be very uptight prior to a run, but after time out pounding the pavement, I come back feeling so much better. I recently picked up a special running edition of Pulse, (the new weekly Health/ Science / Medicine / Fitness section in The Age on Mondays). A friend who also likes running recommended I read it.  I didn’t know The Age had this section and was keen to check it out, as I am a keen reader on health and fitness.  It had a great collection of articles and in one of them they asked the question ‘Why do you run?’ to a number of athletes. There were many responses that resonated with me, but the one that I felt really helped capture why I love running so much was from Steve Moneghetti, particularly this:

”When you start out on your run, it’s like running up a ramp. It’s takes about 15 to 20 minutes before you can fully relax and let go of all the things running through your mind. Then you enter the higher plane, or a meditative state. I’m not too sure what happens, but you enter a higher way of thinking….Towards the end of the run, you go down the ramp and enter back into the real world, having escaped it for a while … “ Source

I fit a lot into my days. Some mornings when the alarm goes off very early and I am feeling tired, I still drag myself out of bed, because I know the benefit of getting up and running is worth it. Running lets me have time to myself where I decide what I will think about.  Some mornings when I have been very busy, I think about very little other than just putting one foot in front of the other and take in the quiet of the early morning scenery. Other days I use it to plan and organize my week.  I might use the time to contemplate significant decisions and write posts in my head for the blog.

Improving my running

Running - Why I run I think running has come to this point for me as I don’t find running as hard as I used to when I first started.  I am a self-taught runner.  Other than the compulsory school cross country, I didn’t run at school and I have never had a running coach. I am however curious about how to improve my running technique, so as to make my running style as efficient and easy on my body as possible. Over the last couple of years, I have tweaked slightly the way I run and have found small changes make a huge difference not only to speed and efficiency, but also to my enjoyment. I found the running tips in the Pulse article ‘Anyone can run’ very helpful.  Last weekend on my long run I tried out the foot strike they suggested for distance runners:

For distance runners, your feet should strike the ground at the outside of your mid-foot, which will allow you to roll across the ball then push off from the big toe.

I did consciously have to think about my foot strike, but found this a really comfortable way to run and compared to my previous long run when I had felt some twinges in my left arch of my foot, I had no problems over the longer distance. They gave tips on breathing too which I will start to work on as well.

What I enjoyed about reading Pulse was the approach it takes, which is similar to the broader Forever Curious campaign The Age launched earlier this year. It is about looking beyond the headlines and shining the spotlight on everyday people, places, events and their stories. While on the surface they may seem familiar, through digging deeper and by asking more questions, The Age reveals stories that surprise, resonate and inspire – much more than what you see at first glance.

Pulse has expert articles to inform and educate and also has a blend of stories from ordinary people who offer different insights and articles that cover lesser known but inspiring and important stories. For example, I had no idea the first woman to run a marathon caused controversy. In 1967 Kathrine Switzer entered and completed the Boston Marathon.  The rules didn’t specifically state women couldn’t enter, but conventional wisdom was that they shouldn’t.  The race director attempted to physically pull Switzer from the race at the 3km mark! Thankfully she finished, in four hours 20 minutes, but believe it or not they disqualified her after the event. I have thought of this story many a time as my legs begin to feel heavy towards the end of a long run and use it to help me push it up hill on the last legs to home.

Starting running

But you don’t have to run long distance to receive benefits from running, as noted in the article Anyone can run,:

Studies have found running regulates hormones, thereby acting as an appetite suppressant, so it’s effective for weight management. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that being a weight-bearing activity, running is as good as strength training at building up bone density. And researchers suggest that because running builds stronger muscles and ligaments, it has a protective effect on these areas, too.

There are many programs and apps out there to help you get running at a pace that is right for you.  Brigid Delaney shared her journey with the Couch to 5k app.  While she is still yet to run 5km, Brigid notes (pg 3 Pulse section) the many benefits she has gained from starting running:

On the days when I ran, I slept better, my mood improved and so far this winter, I have avoided getting any colds or flu.

I am currently training for an event later this year, so will look forward to reading more tips in the Pulse section to help me improve my fitness and keep me updated with the latest in health science.

Giveaway – 2 x Entries to The Sunday Age City2Sea presented by Westpac

CtoSea_TOTR_300x150_webtile2 I find it really helps to keep motivated if you have an event to train for.  So if you are looking for an event to train for and live in Melbourne or will be here on Sunday, November 17 you should check out The Sunday Age City2Sea presented by Westpac.

The City2Sea is a 14km course from the Melbourne CBD to St Kilda. The start is located at the Arts Centre, and the course continues along St Kilda Road, around the Albert Park Lake Grand Prix track and on to a spectacular finish along Beaconsfield Parade, St Kilda.  There is also a shorter 5km course if you don’t feel up to running 14km.

  • When: Sunday, November 17
  • Event distance: 14km and 5km
  • Entry fee: Entry fee varies in price depending on how early you enter. Enter before Aug 31 and for the 14km Adult it is $45, 5km $35. You can see the full City2Sea entry fee table here.
  • More information: thecity2sea.com.au

Courtesy of The Age, I have two entries to the City2Sea to giveaway. To enter all you need to do is leave a comment below, telling me why you run. The giveaway is open to Australian residents only and will close 5:00 pm AEST on 27th August 2013. Full terms and conditions can be read here.  Good luck!