Posted in Fitness

Workout Wednesday: Morning Runs

Tips for morning runs!

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A runner has contributed to Runner’s World Australia and New Zealand on some tips which works for him.

  • Prepare the night before – plan running route and put out workout clothes.
  • Be familiar with your Number 2 habits – you don’t want to literally and figuratively shit yourself when you’re running.
  • Chasing sunrise has a calming effect for the mind and soul.
  • You do not feel guilty even if you miss gym.

From a personal perspective, I do agree with all those stated above. I usually like to plan my running route before I run and I put out my workout clothes too before I sleep. I do love running in the morning, like when I was in Brisbane 2 months ago, I woke up early to go for a run and of course these views are amazing.

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Whether you are studying or working, we often got carried away and sometimes it is hard for us to hit the gym. However, if you have done your morning runs, you will feel less guilty for the rest of the day, even if you have to miss the gym.

Posted in Fitness

Workout Wednesday: Start Hard Finish Easy

Maximise your joy of running

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Research suggests that you may enjoy running more if you get through the tough part early.

Everyday Run

Walk for 10 minutes to warm up. Then, run for five minutes (or as long as you can without stopping) and walk for one minute. Decrease the running interval by one minute each time – so if you start at five minutes, you’re running for four, three, two, and then one minute, with one-minute walk breaks in between. End with a five- to 10-minute walk to cool down.

Interval Workouts

Warm up with 10 minutes of jogging, then run the following repeats with one-minute jogging recoveries: 1600 m, 1200 m, 1000 m, 800 m, 400 m. Cool down for five to 10 minutes. If you haven’t done speed work lately, keep all reps at about 10K pace (where you could speak a few words, but not full sentences); if you’re more advanced, start there and gradually speed up, ending closer to your 1600m, or mile, race pace.

Tempo Runs

After a 10-minute warmup, run at a tempo pace – one you could sustain for only about an hour – for three to six kilometres (or a distance slightly shorter than the longest you’ve run that pace earlier in training). Finish the last part of the hard effort on a slight downhill so maintaining the pace seems less difficult.

 

Posted in Fitness

Workout Wednesday: HBF Run for a Reason 2017

#BeTheReason

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Last month I did HBF Run for a Reason and I was completely stoked with my performance. On my Runtastic app, not only I realised I ran for a longer distance this year (4.09km in 2016 and 4.24km in 2017), my time has also decreased. This came as a total surprise for me. One, I have run less between 2016 and 2017 but certainly I have worked out more. Two, I feel like I have not been eating well.

However, I am still really proud of myself on what I have achieved. Between now and next year, I need to try to run more, exercise more, eat well to improve my running and decrease my time.

Posted in Fitness

Fitness Friday: Adding Speed Workouts

Incorporate speed workouts into your routine!

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Here are some tips on how you can improve your running speed and pace, hence reducing your time.

  • Warm up is essential. It prepares your body for the upcoming workout.
  • Add surges to your run. After you are warmed up and loose about 1 or 2 km in, push your run pace for 30 seconds – you should feel like you’re running as hard as you would. Then return to a slower pace for three to four minutes of recovery. Repeat that hard, 30-second run sequence with recovery baked in until you hit your total running distance, say 6 km.
  • Negative split run. This refers to running faster as the run progresses. It sounds difficult but it will pay off.
Posted in Articles, Feelings, Fitness, Life, Travel

Reflection: A Moment of Silence in the Sky

Moment to myself to reflect!

There is something very emotional or at least thought provoking as you watch the last ray of sunlight gradually gives way to darkness. From the comfort of my seat approximately thousands feet above ground, I watch the beautiful shades of red and orange slowly fade into darkness, as the day comes to an end. Sometimes I wonder if it is a blessing or a curse being disconnected from the rest of the world when I am on a plane. It is a curse for someone like me who spend most of my time glued to my MacBook, iPad or iPhone with Internet connectivity where information is endless and social media notifications keep me occupied. It is a blessing in a disguise, in some way, it gives me the moment to reflect upon life in general and perhaps an opportunity for some technology detox. My work surrounds digital marketing and social media where Internet is parts and parcel of my life. My life depends greatly on the Internet. The Internet to me in some way is like water to fish.

Flight from Brisbane to Perth takes approximately over five hours. It could be torture for someone like me. After a whirlwind trip with The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) to attend a conference in Brisbane, I pack not only my luggage with me but also a wide range of emotions to process. Perhaps this five-hour flight is just the thing that I need – to unpack and process these emotions before I am ready to start my Monday after an eventful weekend.

It has been my third conference with the Institution but with every conference I walk away with bags of emotions. This conference has fuelled me with enthusiasm and motivation. Having seated in a room filled with like-minded driven individuals for two days, it has given me the motivation to march forward. Like-minded passionate individuals have always been able to give me an adrenaline rush to get back home and share with others what I learn. I am beyond eager to share with my mates all the great things that are happening across the Australia New Zealand region. I feel so happy to be in these conferences, having reunited with familiar faces. One of the highlights of all these travels is to reconnect with familiar faces and to forge new bond. I am forever grateful of the opportunity the IET has provided me with. It broadens my network and social circle. Having friends from all around this region is such a cool thing, don’t you reckon? It is always great to catch up with old mates and to see what everyone is up to.

Brisbane is a city where I have not been before. I live for the quote “Make an effort to travel to a place that you have never been before once a year.” Across social medias, we see people showing off their travel snaps and stories. It is only human nature to feel slightly jealous and the urge to hop on the popular culture bandwagon to fit in the norm. However, are we that desperate to hop onto that bandwagon that we lose our rationale? This could be another topic of discussion some other day. What I wanted to say is that I feel extremely privileged to be flown to places I have never been before and the deal becomes sweeter when it is an all-expenses paid trip. Of course I have done a lot of work prior to this conference but I still feel extremely privileged. I reflect upon all the opportunities that I have. Firstly I am forever indebted to my parents who worked hard, saved every single penny to move our family to Australia. Australians take pride in the value of fair go for all regardless of who you are. If you ask me 10 years ago, do I see myself as a migrant in a Western country who adapts well and functions in the country, and has all these wonderful travel opportunities? I will call that out as a joke. Without my parents’ support I will never get to where I am today. My parents have first given me the good head start and the rest undeniably is through diligent work and perseverance. This ties back to what my dear grandmother has taught me growing up. Hard work and perseverance bring you far. My grandmother was the most hardworking individual I have ever known. She saw through hardships and odds such as World War 2, economy destabilisation and much more. In many ways that has shaped me to put in effort and above all, to be grateful of everything that I have today.

Today as I take the last glimpse of the breathtaking Brisbane city skyline, emerging skyscrapers along Brisbane river, I feel sad to leave this beautiful city. On the first day of arrival, I leisurely strolled along South Bank and in many ways it does have a vibe similar to that of Perth. People jogging along the river foreshore, tourists with their cameras or iPhones snapping the picturesque views and cool breeze with warm sunshine, these ingredients make the perfect love potion for people to fall in love with the city. I took my time to take in all the views and snapped photos for my Instagram. I had not explore the city in great depth as I believe Brisbane still have a lot to offer. However I know I am here for work so I am contented that I have the chance to walk around the central business district and South Bank area. Brisbane has definitely its own charm and it is a city I would visit over and over again.

They say travel can change one’s perspective. I could not agree more. This business trip has not only given me the privilege to visit a place I have never been before, it taught me a lot of things which makes me feel that in many way I am very lucky and sheltered. It gives me the urge to step up and grow. It has also let me grow closer to these people whom I feel extremely lucky to call friends. The experience which we share together is forever irreplaceable and it would not be something easily forgotten. It is a shame that my trip to Brisbane is such a short one but I decided against the idea to extend my stay in Brisbane. I recalled the last time in Sydney, having to return to the same hotel where we had eventful days and nights together, suddenly the hotel seemed so empty after everyone left. I loathe the feeling of emptiness from within. This time I decided to avoid the feeling by heading home the same time as most people. Whilst it is always sad when a trip comes to an end, I would much rather be home soon in the comfort of my own bed. Home, it is forever irreplaceable and now as an adult, I finally understand the saying home is where the heart is. I gladly say that I cannot wait to be home.

As I lift my head and look outside the window, darkness has completely engulfed the light. Whilst to many this is just another flight transporting passengers safely from one city to another it signifies more to me. For one, I am filled with sense of gratefulness. I feel so motivated and recharged, ready for new challenges ahead. Another thing is I realised that I am flying home – yes even though it has been nearly a decade, sometimes it is still surreal to think about that I have called Perth my home.

Posted in Fitness

Workout Wednesday: Running on Treadmill

Maximise your workout

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A lot of people think that running on treadmill is a waste of time. The truth is running outdoor is definitely more challenging than running on the treadmill. However, treadmill runs or workouts are absolutely not a waste of time. In fact, they offer a very effective training alternative for a variety of reasons, especially when running on the road is not an option.

Here’s how to use the treadmill to your advantage:

1. Simply add a one to two per cent incline. This slight incline will better mimic the energy demands necessary for an outdoor run. For a hill run, add more incline.

2. Since the treadmill belt assists with leg turnover, use this to help you increase your turnover by setting a faster pace on the treadmill. By speeding up for small increments of time, you can do speed workouts and develop faster leg turnover.

3. With run paces on the treadmill and the road not being equal, run by perceived exertion. If you need an easy run, go by feel, and keep it simple regardless of what the pace or mile per hour on the treadmill may say. Likewise, if you need a hard workout, go by feel rather than pace.

And here is one of my favourite treadmill workouts:

  • Begin with a 5 to 10 minute warmup and put a one per cent incline on the treadmill.
  • Start with an easy effort for 5 minutes.
  • Bump up to a medium effort for 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Increase to a hard effort for 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Repeat this sequence as often as desired for time or mileage.
Posted in Fitness

Fitness Friday: Running and Knees

The popular belief may not be true

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Adapted from WAToday.

Knee injuries are common across runners. In fact 79% of runners are injured in a given year. This leads to a popular belief that running is bad for our knees. However, a new study suggests otherwise. Running reduces inflammation markers and keeps the joints lubricated.

Here are what researchers and experts have to say about running and knees:

Bringham University Research

Regular exercise protects against degenerative joint disorders, yet the mechanisms that underlie these benefits are poorly understood.

Prof. Robert Hyldahl

A moderate amount of running is “not likely to harm healthy knees and probably offer protection”.

Dr Dominic Thewlis, University of South Australia

Based upon some of the other research [as well as this study] it shows running is not going to cause the damage as we may have once thought.

I believe the key message here is that run in moderation. Do not go full on running like a 10km every day. When there are days you need to literally take a step back, do so and give your body the chance to rest and recover.

Posted in Fitness

Workout Wednesday: 5 Not To Do Before Running

Avoid these before you run!

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#1: Avoid static stretching. Static stretching before a run lead to slower starts and a greater perceived effort. A dynamic warmup refers to moving your muscles through a wide range of motion that simulates the running movement.

#2: Avoid a big meal before run. The digestive process slows down while we run and is unable to operate as usual because the normal blood flow to our gastro-intestinal (GI) system is diverted during exercise.

#3: Avoid over or under-hydrating. Sipping water throughout the day is best to stay hydrated without overdoing it. Avoiding caffeinated or energy drinks may be in your best interest, too, because caffeine can give you an elevated heart rate. Drinks containing too much sugar can spike blood sugar levels, which may give you a temporary surge of energy that is followed by a big crash when levels plummet.

#4: Not using the bathroom. This is quite a trivial one but you don’t want emergency to interrupt your run. Stop drinking fluids about 30 minutes before your run and always make one last bathroom stop before heading out.

#5: Not listening to your body. Learn to listen to your body. If you are feeling achy or tired, take a day off.

Posted in Fitness

Fitness Friday: Beating the Heat

This article is adapted from Runners World Australia and New Zealand.

Conquering dehydration, fatigue & sunburn

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In a truly Aussie fashion, many parts of the country could reach soaring temperatures of beyond 40 degree Celsius. With hot days ahead of us for the next four weeks, how can we continue to train outdoors while beating the heat?

#1: Keep run shorts. For example, if you usually run 10km a week, why not break it down into shorter run, say 2-3km each run instead of one 10km run? By reducing the distance, you do not have to carry a water bottle around. Just make sure you have chilled coconut water waiting for you in the fridge!

#2: Cold showers. Take a cold shower after each run. Cold shower will help to cool your body down quickly and help you get ready for work minus the smelly sweat.

#3: Lightweight clothing. Put on lightweight clothing when you go for run. If you wear cotton t-shirt, chances is that after a few kilometres the cotton will absorb all your sweat and it will slow you down as you will be carrying the extra weight.

Posted in Fitness

Workout Wednesday: Workout at Home

With holiday season well over, it is time to start working out again. Sometimes I prefer to workout from home simply because it saves me time to drive back and forth from the gym. Whenever I work out at home, I always make sure I have the following items with me. Shop my favourite home workout essentials:

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Adidas Running T-Shirt ($35)

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K-Mart Yoga Floor Mat ($6)

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Bonds Running Shorts ($50)

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Apple iPod touch 16GB ($279)

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Apple Earpods. ($45)

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Cocobella Coconut Water 1L ($5)

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Adidas Breeze 101 Running Shoes ($90)