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PLEASE WAIT, LOADING

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17/Sep/2020

I remember when I was a kid, one of the biggest goals I had was to be able to do the splits. It took slipping on wet grass to get me down, but I did it! My right side has always been more flexy than my left. Splits on the left require alcohol. #PartyTrickExclusive
The splits are becoming a birthday tradition for me now. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a party trick now…how lame that I didn’t land up on Broadway!?
When it came to running I used to do the good ol’ “static” stretches, focusing a lot on my hamstrings. Touching toes, stretching out the quads by pulling my foot back to reach my bum, bringing my arms across my body and holding it for 10 seconds on each side. All the official-looking people do this, so it must be the right thing to do.
Stretching this way before a run is not actually great for us. Stretching “cold” muscles before warming up can cause injury and injury = the worst ever. In addition to the chance of injury, it can actually cause a loss of strength and it decreases performance in running and jumping. The understanding behind this is not so clear, however with tests using a thingum called a dynamometer, they have been able to measure the validity of this statement, and thus it is true “because I say so”, not so much because “I understand why”.
A few years ago I attended a dance workshop and they worked on our flexibility slowly. It was a combination of massage, relaxation through a form of meditation, muscle contraction and then release. The instructor had us at “listen to my voice”, lying there on our yoga mats (mental relaxation). We then rolled around on tennis balls (massage). The final element was pairing us up and having the one girl “fight” against her partner for a couple of seconds (creating muscle contraction) and then releasing and allowing the partner to push the leg back a little further each time until we were full on Elasti-girls. The reason why I bring this up is because I finally understand that this is now absolutely a thing. Studies have shown that muscle contraction is able to improve performance, and there is an assumption that there is some neuro stuff getting involved there too.
A moment of serious-ness:
It has been recommended that when completing static stretches, holding a stretch anywhere between 15-30 seconds is the most productive, as well as repeating each stretch 2-4 times.
Static stretching increases range of motion for us, and so it is absolutely vital to incorporate it into any routine, however it has its place in a particular place and when it comes to a warm up before running, it can quite frankly just be avoided. Static stretching should be done when you are already warmed up. So save it for post-work out. Do not omit it!
Now, allow me to introduce you to the kind of stretching one should indeed be completing before a run. It’s called dynamic stretching. *And the crowd goes WILD! Dynamic stretching allows you to warm up without stretching out too much. It contains movements with a lot of movement, rather than holding positions for a long time. It helps you with loosening and warming up simultaneously.
Here are a couple of examples of dynamic stretching, however I will share videos with you soon!:
Leg swings:
You’ll want to get your balance for this. If you’re in the parking lot at Hobart then perhaps hold on to a car 😉
Simply stand on one leg and swing the other leg forwards and backwards.
Lateral lunges:
With your body and legs facing forward, open your legs wider than usual and then lunge to the side keeping your feet facing forward.
High knees:
This one is pretty well known and self explanatory.
So, the next time you see an athletic human warming up with static stretches, just giggle on the inside and know that you know better than that!
Here are a couple of static stretches which you can use to cool down from an activity.

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17/Sep/2020

We all have a reason for venturing down this journey. Mine was a bit out of the norm – avoidance of final exams. Things have changed over the years and I no longer run to avoid aspects of my life, I run because it brings me copious amounts of joy and it challenges me. It’s also created a community for me – runners are the best kinds of people. You’ll hear me say that a lot.
 
I had grown up with my dad being the runner of the family, and so I had stood on the sidelines of many Comrades Marathons, however, this had very little influence on my decision to begin. A community group had started hosting weekly runs on a Tuesday and Thursday evening, and a close friend of mine started getting into things around the same time as me. These two things made it more accessible.
 
Anyway…I had a pair of running pants and some tops that I thought were suitable, along with my mom’s ancient Nike’s and my standard underwire bras – COOL! Let’s hit the road, shall we?
 
So, this is it…the things I wish I knew when I first started running:
 
  1. The right gear is imperative
You know I mentioned how kitted out and ready I was? Well…nope. I would soon learn that running with a normal bra hurt, wearing cotton fabric clothing was uncomfortable, hot, and it would never smell the same again, and last but not least, my mom definitely needed new shoes.
 
As with any hobby, it helps to have the correct equipment. Fabric that breathes well, anti-chafe, and supportive underwear and shoes which are fitted perfectly to your needs.
  • Shoes: REMEMBER! You can’t rely on another person’s experience with a pair of shoes for you to make your choice! Shoes are extremely particular so take the time to visit a specialist store, like The Sweat Shop, to ensure you get the perfect fit.
  • Shorts: Esjays make the most beautiful running clothing. I love their pants the most because of the ample pocket space (key pocket and two large side pockets), the double lining, and the silicone strip around the waistband. Other brands to look out for: Bean Bag the Brand and Funky Pants. Bean Bag the Brand tend to be great for pear-shaped bodies and just as a heads up, Funky Pants tend to have a thin waistband which isn’t everyone’s favourite.
  • Sports bras: You need to look after the ladies! Shock Absorber makes a brilliant bra that is great for women with a cup size C and up. A-B cup sizes can get away with compression bras, however, for larger busted ladies you will need the extra support.
  • Underwear: Runderwear is wonderful for underwear. I personally run in their g-string.
  • Socks: When it comes to socks, I am a lover of Versus. They have the best designs and I don’t experience any blisters with them. There are many ladies in my group who tend to favour Falke or Balega, so if Versus give you blisters, try an alternative brand
  • Earphones: From a safety/security perspective in South Africa, if you’re running alone I wouldn’t recommend this. However, if you’re looking for something that won’t fall out of your ears and has a considerably high sound quality, then be sure to check out Plantronics
 
2. Don’t expect the beginning to be easy
 
Were you surprised when the BBG program by Kayla Itsines sucked at first? Were you surprised when your butt bone hurt when you tried cycling again for the first time in years? Was it a shock when you lifted some heavy weights or tried out booty bands and the day after it felt like your groin may FALL OFF! How a groin would fall off I don’t know – but that feeling is REAL! 
Running takes time to adjust to, and like with anything you feel passionate about, there will eventually be a point where you click and it all becomes more enjoyable. Just like that time when you used to drink Four Cousins Rose because red wine was not palatable. See! Even that took time!
 
3. Running is the best way to make friends
 
Thanks to communities popping up all over the place, such as CMIYC and Park Run, it has become more accessible to join a running group without it necessarily attracting an intimidating athletic type of person. This is great for people like you and me because everyone starts somewhere. Runners are crazy levels of supportive. If you stop to walk on a Park Run route, you can bet your bottom dollar that someone will encourage you to keep going as they pass you. They will emit all the positive vibes you need to keep on pushing.
 
4. Form and strength are important
 
Weight training? Pfft! That’s for men! Isn’t it?
 
NO!
 
Running is a high impact sport, which means your form and your strength can either make or break you. Cross-training is an imperative component of building a strong and injury-free runner.
Your running form is a topic which I will go into in more depth within the program, but there are some pointers which I will give you so that we start you off with the right habits in place.
 
5. There’s more to running than running
 
Intervals, fartleks, strides, hill repeats, and suicides. These are all a few variations to just going for a run, and each of them. Case in point. Each one of these types of running adds an extra component to your training which will only improve your overall performance.
 
6. Walking is just fine
 
Taking a break to catch your breath is honestly just fine. I remember when I first started running, I was so adamant about achieving 5km without stopping, but the thing is as you increase your distance, even with walking, you can build a stronger 5km or whatever distance it may be.
 
And that is pretty much that. I think that running is commonly perceived as something which is going to be simple to grasp because it is something we have most likely all been doing since we could walk. At school, I remember being forced into athletics days to get extra PT marks for the subject. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that it is going to be simple. You’re going to have to win some and lose some with regards to gear, you’re going to have to learn about your body as you go and you’re most likely going to hurt in the beginning. But! This is why I am here.
 
If you still feel hesitant about beginning your journey then just reach out to me and let’s chat!
This was my first 10km race and those clothes were amongst my first running purchases. Don’t get me wrong – you can find decent running clothing at Mr. P Sport, but these shorts and shirt were not great. At this stage, I also wore a pair of Adidas shoes in a size 6 which was way too small.
This was my first 21.1km race. Those shoes lead to such bad injuries for me and those shorts wouldn’t stop riding up – I chafed really nicely between my thighs.
I then discovered Esjays, and now these are my shorts/ 3/4’s and longs of choice.
Versus socks are our fave!
Matt wears Asics and I wear New Balance shoes.
My Cape Storm stash belt is great for holding my phone, keys, and tissues.
Check out Garmin for your wearables, a.k.a., fitness watch.

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17/Sep/2020

Disclaimer: If you’re not comfortable with discussing bodily functions then move along.
 
You know all those memes about coffee and poop? You definitely do! Stop lying! Here’s one: “I don’t always have a Starbucks coffee, but when I do, I immediately have to poop.”
 
While running a 21km road race in 2019, I was shocked by something that I saw. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt more terrible for someone in my life.
 
We were nearing the end of the race and I had plateaued with one lady and she suddenly trailed off to the pavement. She rushed to pull down her pants and assume a squat position. I thought she desperately needed to pee but obviously I didn’t stop to stare. I continued running. I had my earphones in (I know you’re not meant to), and even over the beats of Kanye West, I blatantly heard her sh*t herself. She couldn’t even make it up a side road – that is obviously how badly she just needed to “go”.
 
After googling this topic, it’s very obvious that this is something that many runners tend to have problems with at some point in their running “career”. I have also had a few of the girls in the group share their TMI information with me, but I’m a runner, so bring it on! With many more of you taking on longer distances at the moment, I thought now would be a good time for us to dive into why this happens and what we can do to avoid it.
 
Why is this something that happens?
 
1. Blood flow being redirected
2. Pre-race/pre-run anxiety
3. Hormones
4. Diet
 
1. Basically, when you’re running, your body diverts the blood that would usually be within your digestive tract and shifts it to the spots we need it most in order to smash out a run that everyone will give us “kudos” for. Due to this happening, the food takes a longer amount of time to digest, which means that whilst we are pounding the ground, our tummies are taking quite a knock with all that food left in them. This in turn, leads to an upset stomach. It can present itself through reflux, vomiting, or the other end. #Awks for when you’re that lady in the first story I mentioned.
 
2. The connection between our mental health and our guts is not something to be doubted. Anxiety without running can already cause stomach issues for plenty of people, so adding anxiety to the mix of a race can lead to runners tummy too.
 
3. Cortisol is a stress hormone which can be released after high endurance exercise. This can lead to the feeling of needing to “go.”
 
4. This topic will be addressed more below as I outline the foods which you should steer clear of when working towards a long run, however just know that there are certain foods which can increase the chances of this happening to you.
 
Things we can do to prevent this:
 
Before a longer run, keep the high fat foods at bay. Fat tends to take much longer to digest, and so rather than a steak, opt for the chicken. Things like whole wheat toast, oats or bananas are also good options pre-race.
 
Stay hydrated ahead of the race. Water water water!
 
Unless if you know your stomach well, coffee before a run is an absolute no no. It acts as a natural laxative for most people and so this seriously is one to not take on.
 
If you’re curious about running with the gels and sweets that people speak of, perhaps test them out in our CMIYC runs so that you can see how your body reacts – you know we won’t judge if you need to stop at a petrol station en route.
 
Dried fruit and bulky veg is also not the greatest idea for a race due to their high fibre content.
 
The more I read about gastrointestinal issues, the more frustrated I become. Scientists are exploring more about the gut-mind relationship and the impact that our bodies “second brain” may have on us. I don’t even mean constipation or diarrhoea. I am talking about things you’d not even think of as a contributing factor to your gut. Things like mood swings and depression to anxiety and stress. Stress free living is definitely the way to go – now is the time where we all just disappear to the beach for a while!
 
As fascinating as microbiome and gut health topics are, it would be great if we could just eat and poop as we’d like, when we’d like, but seeing as that’s definitely not the case, I think that when taking on longer distances, give this article a think and perhaps do a little more reading yourself, because I don’t know about you, but I sure as shit (pun intended) don’t ever want to be that person from the beginning of this post. 😀



WHAT DO YOU RUN FOR?





WHAT DO YOU RUN FOR?



Copyright by Running for Cake 2020. All rights reserved.



Copyright by Running for Cake 2020. All rights reserved.