Health & Fitness

startchute

Image: electricrunaus.com.au

Task #23 of my 101 Things in 1001 Days project: Run a 5K fun run

The last time I put on my running shoes was sometime in 2012.  I’ve been itching to get back into running for a while now, but whenever the urge strikes I’ve always managed to blame my asthma or my dodgy knee for putting it off until ‘next week’.  A couple of weeks ago I went to the physio about my knee and she laughed when I said I was signed up for last night’s fun run.  “Well, that’s not going to happen is it?”, she said.

The thing is, I was determined to run this 5K whether or not my knee was busted, even if I hadn’t done any training.  When I put on those shoes for the first time yesterday I didn’t know whether I was even capable of running around the block, but I decided that I was going to give it my best shot and if it was all too hard I’d walk the rest of the way.

Tim and I signed up for the Electric Run months ago and it looked like so much fun that there was no way I was pulling out!

 

Tim and I started the race together, but after the first kilometre I told him to go on without me so that I could set my own pace.  My knee was in good shape most of the way so I was able to enjoy the light shows on the course and all the amazing costumes.  There were stacks of volunteers along the side of the track yelling encouragement and giving high-fives, so it was pretty much impossible to be sad!  Besides, I had light-up shoelaces.

tim shuttershades glasses
crowd finish laces
scarletwords scarletwords2 scarletwords4

panorama

It wasn’t all that long ago that I was running 5K three days per week, but for some reason this particular task totally psyched me out and I wondered if I’d be able to make it past the halfway point.  According to RunKeeper I actually ran a fair bit further than 5K last night (perhaps it was from weaving in and around all the walkers?) and only walked for 60 seconds of the whole course when I reached the top of a huge hill.  I lost count of the number of people I overtook so I’m pretty happy with how I went.

So basically I am a dummy for not starting my training months ago, and a dummy for letting this race worry me in the lead-up to last night.  I finished 10 minutes behind Tim but I still finished!  Maybe I’ll put the Colour Run on my next 101/1001 list?

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Nightrunning

by Elizabeth on June 19, 2012 · 1 comment

in Health & Fitness, Running

I have a confession to make.

Earlier this year I made a big decision to improve my health.  The motivation came from a pretty dark place (too fat, bad skin, feeling old and tired) but I decided to harness it anyway and channel it into something positive.  I completely overhauled the way I was eating, I went back to running a few times per week, and 12 weeks later I was lighter and feeling great.

Six weeks ago, for reasons I can’t fully explain, I stopped running.

I think about running every day.  Every day.  I think about how good it feels to provoke my lungs into war for half an hour or more (and win!), and to be able to breathe deeper than ever when I’ve recovered.  I think about the freedom that comes from powering my journey with my own two legs, and the satisfaction of running 1km further than I’ve ever run before.  I think about the delicious dull ache in my muscles the next day, and how they nag at me until I use them some more.  It’s addictive.

So it makes no sense that I stopped.  And when the running stopped, my eating began to change as well.  I kept eating all of the right food, but I started eating other stuff too.  Sugar.  Salt and sugar and peanut butter! and more chocolate than any one person should consume in one sitting.  It wasn’t satisfying (except for the peanut butter; that’s my crack cocaine) but it patched a hole where running used to be.  At least for a little while.

 

Last week a guy I work with mentioned that I was looking fit and he asked me how I was doing it.  I told him about my running and we got talking for a while.  Running is a major part of his life and he was full of advice about where to run and how to hit my next distance goal.

It was during this conversation that I realised exactly how long it had been since my last run.  I heard myself as I told him all of the reasons why I can’t run at the moment – too cold, days too short, not safe after dark, I’m a girl! and it hit me that I was being really, really stupid.

Bigtime stupid.

 Whether you think you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right – Henry Ford

 

The fact is, it is harder for me to find time to run at the moment.  I already have to get up at 5.30am to make it to work on time, so I can’t run in the mornings.  I don’t get home until after 5pm at the absolute earliest, and with these short wintery days there’s not much daylight left by then.  I can run close to work, but I’d worry about my safety when it came time to get back to my car in the dark.  There’s very little street lighting near home, so that’s not possible either.

Except, that’s a load of crap isn’t it?

I can’t do this, but I’m doing it anyway.  That was my mantra last night.

 

Yesterday I read Melissa’s excellent post Breaking up with myself.  She wrote about the falling into a slump of sickness and laziness and fatty food, and then she said she was going to fix it.  It was such a simple message, but it reached me at the right time.  Why the hell was I wasting time on this annoying, lame version of me anyway?

So when I got home from work yesterday it was late, and already dark.  I changed into my running gear, strapped on my shoes and plugged myself into my iphone.  I played my most tried and tested running playlist and turned on the GPS.  And then I made myself a promise.

See how it goes.  You can turn around if this doesn’t work. 

So I ran.  4km later I stopped, and I came home feeling like a million bucks.

 

The hardest part of running is not the running.  I learned that really early on when I tackled Couch to 5K, but for some reason I need to be reminded of this constantly!  If I can just get my shoes on, shut the door behind me and run, the rest of it takes care of itself.  I’ve never once stopped after ten minutes because I don’t feel like it anymore.

Running at night is different, and it involves some risks that I don’t have to worry about during the long days of Summer.  But running at night is not impossible if you choose your path well, tell somebody where you’re going and keep your eyes open.  As long as you can see where your foot will land, you won’t be injured. 

And the best defence against the cold is to run faster. 

 

So, that’s that.  The lazy, lame Winter edition of Elizabeth has packed her bags and called herself a cab.  She’s probably looking for a housemate, so if you’ve got a big TV and a cheese platter she might give you a call. 

But take it from me, she’s trouble.

Forget about that chick.  Come for a run with me.

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Feel good Friday!

by Elizabeth on May 11, 2012 · 2 comments

in Feel good Friday, Health & Fitness

Feel Good Friday is a small collection of the inspiring stuff I’ve discovered around the web.  It’s all about good health, happiness and the stuff that makes us feel good!  Please leave me a comment if you have a great article or blog post to share in next week’s round-up.

 

Melbourne seems to have skipped Autumn and jumped straight to Winter, and a bunch of my colleagues have succumbed to colds & flus already.  So I was pretty amused to come across Blackmore’s useful article about the colour of your snot!  I wonder if I should put this next to the coffee machine in the staff room…

I love Pip’s Eleven uber-healthy noodle recipes!  We love Pip, we do.

A garlic ingredient is 100 times more powerful than two popular antibiotics at fighting one of the leading causes of food poisoning, say scientists.  The compound, diallyl sulphide, is able to pierce a protective “biofilm” employed by the food bug that makes it hard to destroy.  Plus, fewer vampires.

Eating well by keeping good ingredients in the house.  Without planning ahead it’s too easy to reach for something naughty!

Should you immunise your children?  It’s a contentious topic, and I thought this article explained both sides of the debate pretty well (though it does take a side).  For me it all comes down to risk assessment; I’m more concerned about the damage caused by preventable illnesses than the claims about vaccines.  What do you think?

 

Source

 

Do you run “naked”?  My iPhone is my soundtrack, but also a really good motivational tool.  I use it to track my pace and distance (and even the location of the nearest zombie horde!) and that data helps me know whether I’m on track to meet my goals.  However, I see the appeal of ditching the gear and simply running for running’s sake.

10 ways to lunge, by Fitnessista

I’ve discovered a few new health & fitness blogs lately, and been loving them!  Check out the inspirational Andie Mitchell from Can You Stay for Dinner and add Fitsugar to your RSS reader too.  So much great stuff there.

 

Something to make you smile: Jon Hamm offers advice to teenage girls about love, fashion and dating.  And he looks incredibly freaked out by the entire experience, which somehow makes it even more awesome!

 

Image source: beachboysbeauty.tumblr.com

It’s been a long week, and this weekend all about suiting ourselves.  We have a breakfast date with our  lovely soon-to-be-married friends (eek, I only have one week to find a dress!) and aside from that I’m just itching to draw and paint.  I’m super happy about the cold and rainy forecast too, so as an apology to my Summer-loving friends I offer you the picture above.

Have a happy, happy weekend.  I’m SO ready for this one!

 

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Feel good Friday

by Elizabeth on April 27, 2012 · 0 comments

in Feel good Friday, Food, Health & Fitness

Feel Good Friday is a small collection of the inspiring stuff I’ve discovered around the web.  It’s all about good health, happiness and the stuff that makes us feel good!  Please leave me a comment if you have a great article or blog post to share in next week’s round-up.

First of all, a link from my friend Ralf (hi Ralf!) about “Ego Depletion”.  Turns out willpower is not just a metaphor, it’s actually a finite resource.  This is a really worthwhile read and made me think.

A great deal of your thoughts and behaviors are automatic and unconscious. Blinking and breathing, for example, need no help from the conscious part of you. Much of your behavior, like driving to work or toweling off after a shower, just happens while your conscious mind drifts off to think about Game of Thrones or how you’ll approach your boss for a raise. If you touch a stove you recoil without thought. Your desire to avoid dark alleys and approach embraces occurs without your input. When moved by a song or a painting or a kitten, the emotional rush comes without volition. Much of your mental life is simply not under your conscious control, and Baumeister’s research suggests once you take the helm every act of volition diminishes the next

It is as if the mind is a terribly designed airplane. As long as the plane flies in a straight line, it burns very little fuel, but as soon as the pilot takes over in any way, to dive or bank or climb, the plane burns fuel at an alarming rate making it more difficult to steer in the future. At some point, you must return the plane to autopilot until it can refuel or else it crashes.

Read the rest of the article here.

 

This is why chocolate is my favourite vegetable!

15 Things you should give up to be happy.  These are the things we should try to quit for a happy and stress-free life:  from needing to be “right”, to living your life to others’ expectations.

This week I learned of a new hazard related to smoking: Third-hand smoke.  Researchers have warned that toxins from cigarette smoke remain in the environment and build up over time.  Like we needed more to worry about!

The chemistry of tea.

What if bone health has more to do with our Vitamin D intake than calcium and dairy?  This study suggests that calcium may only be part of the picture.

Much Too Complex Carbohydrates by Rick London.

 

And so ends another week!

I’ve been feeling pretty stretched lately, and after a couple of weeks of trying to ignore the problem (and eventually admitting that it’s not going away) I’ve spent a little bit of time trying to figure out why.  Turns out I’m not really doing anything more than usual, I’m just making terrible use of my time!

My suitcase isn’t unpacked from our trip to Apollo Bay two weeks ago.  My laundry is being stored on top of my suitcase instead of being put away.  The whole house needs a vacuum and my bathtub needs a scrub.  We also have a car load of stuff to donate, and we keep shifting it all from the car to the laundry because we can’t organise ourselves to drop it all off!  Ridiculous, right?

So this weekend I have two goals:  sort my house out (if I crank up some music this will take 2 hours, max) and see The Avengers.  Probably in that order, so that I don’t go rewarding myself prematurely.

Hopefully by getting these jobs out of the way my brain will have a little more space for the stuff that really matters – like drawing or painting or tackling one of the 91 uncompleted things from my 101 list!  I haven’t really made any ground so far this month, so it’s time to get serious again.

What have you got planned for your weekend?  If you’re in Melbourne it’s going to be a chilly one, so find a good book and remember to pick up marshmallows for your hot chocolate!

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Feel good Friday

by Elizabeth on April 20, 2012 · 1 comment

in Feel good Friday, Health & Fitness

 

Feel Good Friday is a small collection of the inspiring stuff I’ve discovered around the web.  It’s all about good health, happiness and the stuff that makes us feel good!  Please leave me a comment if you have a great article or blog post to share in next week’s round-up.

Some clever cookie has put together a great guide to improving your posture to reduce back pain (and look hot!).

  • As somebody who resisted organised exercise throughout my twenties, Learning to love exercise is an article I related to!
  • The debate about the addition of permeate to our milk heated up this week, when it was revealed that the major Australian brands add up to 16% of this cheese waste product to fresh milk.  Nobody is really suggesting that it’s harmful, but I do question whether milk manufacturers should be messing with our food without disclosing it on the label.  What’s your take on it?
  • Former palliative carer Bronnie Ware wrote a wonderful article (and then a book) called Regrets of the dying.  It’s attracted a lot of attention lately and is well worth reading.  Most of us are lucky enough to have the time to do something about these deathbed regrets now, but will we?
  • If you start the day with a flat belly but feel bloated by bedtime, there’s a good chance you’re a woman (you lucky thing!)
  • Loving Angela’s tips for using lemons – especially the lemon sugar hand scrub!  Plenty of great information about the many health benefits of lemons and limes at WHFoods.org as well.
  • A reader called Annelies (hi Annelies!) emailed me about a great little running app called Endomondo.  It tracks your distances and pace in real time, and seems to be publishable as a widget on your site too!  There’s lots of community support and competitions to keep you motivated too.  I’ll be checking it out over the weekend.
  • 10 foods for a healthy, beautiful smile, and how to eat to reverse tooth decay.  There’s some conflicting information in these articles, but they both show that diet plays a big role in the health of our teeth.

 

someecards.com - I'm excited for the plans I made this weekend that I'm going to break once I remember I don't like having plans

I think I speak for all of us when I say… TGIF, baby! It’s been a reaaaaaally long week over here at Casa Scarlet, and although we’ve had a fun time we are BEAT.  Somehow I’ve managed to limp along until the end of the week, and I’m so excited about getting home after work today and getting into Tim’s track pants.

I’m planning to spend a couple of hours restoring our house to some sort of order, and then there will be as much resto relaxo as I can muster!

I’ve thought about this place heaps over the past week, and I hope you weren’t lonely during the radio silence.  I’ll be making it all up to you in a day or two with lots of photos of our trip to Apollo Bay & The Twelve Apostles last week.

Happy Friday (and happy WEEKEND!)

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Feel good Friday!

by Elizabeth on April 13, 2012 · 0 comments

in Feel good Friday, Health & Fitness

 

Feel Good Friday is a small collection of the inspiring stuff I’ve discovered around the web.  It’s all about good health, happiness and the stuff that makes us feel good!  Please leave me a comment if you have a great article or blog post to share in next week’s round-up.

 

A few minutes at Cyanide & Happiness will make you feel good – guaranteed!

 

Yikes!  I haven’t posted all that much since my last Feel Good Friday have I?  I was blessed with a beautiful five-day weekend over Easter and it was wonderful to relax without a whole lot of screen time.

The Easter bunny was especially good to me this year, and now that it’s all over I’m looking forward to a week of cleaner eating and getting my blood pumping.  Here are the best links I’ve found in my online travels this week – enjoy!

 

A little proof that making something fun can affect behaviour for the better.  Great idea!

  • And finally, try working this exercise from shape.com into your routine this week.  I don’t want to brag or anything, but I can do at least one rep in a row!  haha…

The two point plank (via shape.com)

Assume a push up position, making sure your body forms a straight line from your shoulders down to your toes. Raise your right hand and left leg out to form a straight line with your body, hold for two counts, then return to plank position and repeat with the other arm and leg. That’s one rep.  For best results, do 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps several times per week.

Hope you have a very happy Friday, and an excellent weekend!  As you’re reading this post I’ll be driving down the coast toward Apollo Bay where we’ll be staying for the next couple of nights.  We’ll be hanging out with my brother and his girl, catching up with friends, gazing at the stars and snuggling up with our pup.  I can’t wait!

Do you have plans?

Make sure you do something that makes you feel good!

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Feel good Friday

by Elizabeth on April 6, 2012 · 0 comments

in Feel good Friday, Food, Health & Fitness

Feel Good Friday is a small collection of the inspiring stuff I’ve discovered around the web.  It’s all about good health, happiness and the stuff that makes us feel good!  Please leave me a comment if you have a great article or blog post to share in next week’s round-up.

 

I’ve discovered that quinoa divides people into two groups: those that love it, and those that haven’t tried it yet.  Here are 12 things you should know about quinoa!

An excellent summary of the pros and cons of the paleolithic diet which has become so popular.  It’s not for me, but it seems to work for a lot of people.

20 quick and healthy snack ideas (looove apple and peanut butter together, but watch your portion sizes!)

I loved Sarai’s post about cultivating friendships.

40 ways to unwind and relax.  Perfect timing for the long weekend, right?

We all know we should be eating fish, but it’s hard to know which ones we’re supposed to be choosing for ourselves and for the planet.  Here are 6 of the healthiest fish (and 6 fish to avoid, but that part of the article is very US-centric)

Whistle while you work?  An interesting article about RMIT University’s instruction to its staff to be enthusiastic and positive in the workplace, despite obviously trying times for its workers.  Is it a good idea to insist upon positivity on the job?

At an individual level, the power of positivity can’t be denied.  These 21 ways to define a positive attitude made me think about how I can develop my attitude and be a better version of myself.

More on the topic of happiness: a study has shown that people aren’t at their happiest until they reach the age of 33.  (I’m really looking forward to my next birthday now!)

31 ways to brighten your day!

 

Here’s a guaranteed way to put a smile on your face.  Barry Morgan, from the World of Organs!

Don’t forget to get the t-shirt!

Don’t forget to tell them Barry sent you
Barry Morgan – World famous in Adelaide

 

Happy Easter long weekend, everybody!  I’m planning a MAJOR de-cluttering exercise here this weekend, but I plan to fit in some drawing and running as well.  Maybe also some top secret work on a Top Secret Project.

Hope your Friday’s good!

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Feel good Friday

by Elizabeth on March 30, 2012 · 1 comment

in Feel good Friday, Health & Fitness, Running, Videos

Feel Good Friday is a small collection of the inspiring stuff I’ve discovered around the web.  It’s all about good health, happiness and the stuff that makes us feel good!  Please leave me a comment if you have a great article or blog post to share in next week’s round-up.

 

Cooking Light has identified 42 of the most common cooking mistakes.  Heaps of great advice here!

Earlier this year I was briefly interested in the concept of barefoot running, although I wasn’t ready to take the plunge myself.  The more I’ve read on this topic, the less I believe that barefoot running is a good idea for most people.  Have you tried it?  What do you think?

Last weekend I had a horrible head cold that was threatening to move to my lungs, but I was also due for a run.  This article helped me decide what to do: should you run when you’re sick?  (In my case, probably not – but I took a short run anyway!)

Speaking of colds, I was happy to read this list of 7 healing foods to fight colds & flu.  Now I know why garlic does such a good job at clearing out the germs!

Do you have a green thumb?  I love keeping plants on my desk at work.  They break up the sterile environment, encourage conversation (“This is my fern, Laverne!”) and they also mop up some of the nasties that end up in our air.  As long as you have a natural light source or a desk lamp there’s a plant that will grow in your workspace.

I really enjoyed nutritionist Kathryn Elliott’s article about the danger of over-sentimentalising butter, and what the manufacturing process really looks like in Australia.  Worth a read.

Did you hear the good news this week that chocolate lovers weigh less?  There are all sorts of theories that discuss the whys, so my advice is to make sure you have plenty of chocolate within reach before you begin your research!

I received an email this week about MoodGYM – an innovative, interactive web program designed to prevent depression. It consists of five modules, an interactive game, anxiety and depression assessments, downloadable relaxation audio, a workbook and feedback assessment.  It looks like fantastic interactive resource which uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) techniques to explore negative emotions – and it’s free!

 

And finally…

Jo Goddard came up with 4 foolproof ways to make a baby laugh. If you can watch this video without grinning like an idiot please consult a cardiologist immediately.

 

Happy Friday!

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Feel Good Friday

by Elizabeth on March 23, 2012 · 0 comments

in C25K, Feel good Friday, Health & Fitness, Running

Feel Good Friday is a small collection of the inspiring stuff I’ve discovered around the web.  It’s all about good health, happiness and the stuff that makes us feel good!  Please leave me a comment if you have a great article or blog post to share in next week’s round-up.

 

A big thanks to Kate for reminding me about this gem: women laughing alone with salad!

Simple tips and reminders about living in the now from Tiny Buddha.

Top 25 healthy fruits.  Most of my favourites are on that list.

Confessions of a personal trainer.

Biochemically speaking, your spin class looks an awful lot like a heart attack.  A small study has revealed that an hour-long session triggers the same chemical indications in the body as a heart attack.  (So I guess it’s not a coincidence that I think I’m about to die every time I try a spin class?)

Good news everybody!  We should all be eating chocolate cake for breakfast to help us lose weight.  (Pleasepleaseplease let this study be true?!)

Evidence is building that meditation strengthens your brain.

Here are 3 superfoods for a long life.

Reasons why you shouldn’t have more that 364 Facebook friends.  They forgot to add: Because you’ll never get anything important done!

Can’t function without your morning coffee?  Me too!  See how well you do at the caffeine quiz.

If you’re tacking Couch to 5K with an iPhone, this is the app you need.  Tim’s been using it to get back into running, and after watching the  introduction video I’m a little jealous that it wasn’t around when I went through it!  All the information you need is presented beautifully, and it guides you through your workout with audio prompts.  Very cool.

Speaking of C25K, make sure you’ve got the printable chart to track your progress!  Nothing feels better than crossing off each run as you complete it.  This post also has a bunch of tips for new runners that I wish I’d known when I got started, such as where to keep your key and how to strap down “the girls”.  I am such a fan of this program, and you can probably tell by the way that I never shut up about it.  Sorry!

I found these great DIY hair treatment remedies at Marie Claire this week.  I’m looking forward to trying one of these over the weekend.

 

 

 

I’ve been meaning to spread the word about Active Feet for a while now.  I went there after suffering through two pairs of painful running shoes – blood, blisters, the works.  They assessed my feet and running style on a treadmill before recommending the shoes I wear now – Asics GT 2170.  It’s been 6 weeks and not a single blister!  This place is owned and run by podiatrists and I recommend them for anyone Melbourne runners who need new shoes.  Plus, they’ll let you try them for 30 days and return them if they suck.  (Do I need to say that this isn’t a sponsored post?)

Oh, and there’s plenty of good advice over here about buying new trainers, too.

 

Happy Friday, everyone!  I’m looking forward to putting it behind me as fast as possible so that I can get on with my weekend.  Is it just me, or did this week have an extra day?

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Feel good Friday

by Elizabeth on March 16, 2012 · 2 comments

in Feel good Friday, Food, Health & Fitness

Feel Good Friday is a small collection of the inspiring stuff I’ve discovered around the web.  It’s all about good health, happiness and the stuff that makes us feel good!  Please leave me a comment if you have a great article or blog post to share in next week’s round-up.

 

5 ways to find happiness in nature from Tiny Buddha

Give brussels sprouts a second chance!  This recipe looks amazing, and until reading this article I had no idea that these cute little guys are such a great cancer-fighting food.

Speaking of vegetables, my lovely friend Marieke shared these tips for cooking and storing a week’s worth of veggies in a single afternoon.

 

Another gem from Marieke: 101 Cookbooks by Heidi Swanson.  Lots of great vegetarian, whole food recipes with gorgeous photography and food styling.  I especially love the way that the posts are categorised – it’s an excellent resource for people who care about food and eating.

Strength training for beginners – not only is this excellent advice, but it’s funny too!

Studies have shown that people work out longer and harder when they have company.  Here are some ideas for workouts for couples.

Lots of good information about nature’s perfect powersnack – nuts.

Last week I reconnected with an old schoolmate of mine (thanks, Twitter!), and we discovered that we’re both bloggers!  Kate had a dig around my list of 101 Things in 1001 Days and she told me that it inspired her to refocus her goals.  Amongst other things, her brand new blog House of Goals is full of stories about her running journey, including the training she did for her marathon last year.  (That’s right, I said marathon.  Way to put my 5km to shame, Kate!)

 

And finally… this video by Mikhael Paskalev is bound to leave you feeling good this Friday!

 

Happy weekend, everybody.  Tomorrow is my birthday, so my weekend is looking pretty good already!

Hope you find time to do something that makes you feel good.

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If you’re anything like me, you are a genius procrastinator.  At any given moment I can produce two dozen reasons for why I can’t work out today.  Some of them are even true.

So that’s why I’ve decided to print out this handy chart from Cranky Fitness and stick it up where I’ll be forced to read it daily.  Like  the fridge door, for example.

(Spoiler alert: if your leg has fallen off, it’s totally ok to skip a day of training.)

 

 

Excuse me, please.  I’d better go put my runners on.

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Feel good Friday

by Elizabeth on March 9, 2012 · 0 comments

in Feel good Friday, Health & Fitness

Feel Good Friday is a small collection of the inspiring stuff I’ve discovered around the web.  It’s all about good health, happiness and the stuff that makes us feel good!  Please leave me a comment if you have a great article or blog post to share in next week’s round-up.

The biggest diet and exercise mistake you can make.  Been there!

The talented couple behind Sprouted Kitchen are getting ready to launch their new book.  In the meantime, go and drool at the delicious whole food recipes and excellent food styling & photography.

The best healthy foods on a budget.  This list is very USA-centric, but there’s still plenty of  good advice for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere.

One great reason to smile is this cute blog, 1000 Reasons to Smile.

Nine ways to become a morning person.  I’m a mostly-reformed night owl, and it wasn’t an easy transition.  However, it can be done!

C. Jane’s article To My Over-Eater really resonated with me.  It’s about trusting your body to tell you when it is hungry, and when it is simply lonely, bored, anxious etc.

This week I discovered heaps of free resources available through The Happiness Institute.  I especially liked this article by Dr Timothy Sharp [PDF] – 20 simple tips to be happy now.

I loved this article by The Organic Geek, full of advice for new runners.  I found myself nodding as I read this!  If you are learning to run with Couch to 5K (especially if you are my awesome little cousin named Trisha) you should definitely read this one.

How to do the perfect plank exercise.  It’s better for your core than sit-ups, and it just takes a minute! It’s also much harder than it looks, but so worth it.

 

Source: Daily Mail


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Feel Good Friday

by Elizabeth on March 2, 2012 · 2 comments

in Cool stuff, Health & Fitness

2012 is MY year, but I don’t mind sharing it with you! 

This year I’m actively concentrating on improving myself – physically, creatively, mentally and socially.  I’m taking big challenges (such as 12WBT), embarking on my latest 101 Things in 1001 Days list, and doing whatever I can to set healthy habits to build upon.

I’m a couple of months in, and feeling GOOD.

Each Friday I’ll be bringing you some of the best advice that I’ve discovered on the web.  It’s going to cover everything from food & fitness to positive thinking and anything else that will bring a smile to your face.  I hope you enjoy this new weekly feature.

 

From A to Zucchini: how to properly store produce.  I learned some excellent tips here, and the article comes with a handy printable chart!

It’s not too late to change your habits!  Here’s how to start.

This article has convinced me to stop buying “baby” carrots.  I had no idea!

Sarah wrote an excellent post about friendships, and how to know when your relationships have become bad for you.  This should be required reading for anybody who feels like they have to hold back.

Sugar-free me:  Danielle wrote this excellent post about cutting excess sugar from her diet, and the benefits she’s noticed.  Inspiring!

Seven tips for getting yourself to bed on time.

What’s your dietry low hanging fruit?  These are eating habits that are easy to change.

Things to worry about: a letter from F Scott Fitzgerald to his 11 year old daughter Scottie.

Expand your praisecabulary: 50 ways to say “You’re AWESOME”

The great muffin makeover: how to build “better for you” muffins

 

The Seil bag is still a prototype, but what a great idea!  A wireless controller on your bike’s handlebars lets vehicles know when you’re turning or stopping.  As a driver who shares my lane with cyclists each morning, I think it’s a great idea.   (via A Cup of Jo)

 

Have you read something this week that belongs on my list?  Have you written something about health, happiness or good habits?  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great weekend x

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C25K… v2!

by Elizabeth on September 13, 2011 · 14 comments

in C25K, Health & Fitness

Remember when I used to be fit and strong, and running 5k a few times per week?

You probably saw me zipping around the streets of your suburb, only you wouldn’t have recognised me because I was travelling at the speed of light.  Perhaps you managed to catch a glimpse of the sparks flying off my shoes in your peripheral vision.

Well, perhaps not.  But two years ago I was running 5k with relative ease and I miss that.

 

(Original source unknown)

 

So it’s time to hit that pavement once more!  Couch to 5K was the secret to my success a couple of years ago, and judging by all of the traffic I get from your C25K google searches there are a lot of people out there who are on the same journey.  Especially that pesky Week 5 that scares the daylights out of us all!

This afternoon I went for my first run in a long time – probably my first this year!  I strapped on my shoes, strapped in my “girls”, and plugged in my trusty Couch to 5K iPhone app.  It certainly felt like my first run in a long time, but it felt good.

The Couch to 5K program worked brilliantly for me in the past, even though I started with a fitness level of zero.  By the end of the 9 weeks I was running (and I mean running!) the distance with confidence.  It taught me all about the power of mind over matter, too – it’s incredible how much further you can run when you know that you could make it to that tree/lamp post/intersection two days ago.

This time I made a cute chart to help me along.  You can have it too – just click on the image below to open up a high-res version in a new window.  You might notice that I have removed all references to distances, because how do you track that anyway?  The time-based program is the only way to go, especially if you’re using an iPhone / Android app or podcast to alert you when it’s time to run and walk.

 

 

While I was running this afternoon I thought about the tips that have stayed with me from the last time I did this program.  I thought I’d share them here for anybody who is considering C25K, or running in general:

 

10 TIPS FOR C25K SUCCESS

1.  SHOES.  Over the next 9 weeks your shoes will be your best friend, or your worst enemy.  Do not put up with shoes that give you blisters.

2.  BREATHE!  Feeling good?  Great!  Breathe.  Getting cramps in your side?  You’re not breathing!  Feeling tired?  Breathe more!  Breathe from your belly, not your chest.  This is the best way to avoid cramps and keep good posture.  This will make for easier runs, fewer injuries, and the occasional honk from a passing car.  On a good day.

3.  LADIES, keep those boobs on a short leash.  There’s nothing more uncomfortable than feeling them land half a second later than your feet.  I wear two sports bras when I run.

4.  DITCH THE GEAR.  Try not to carry anything, it will distract you.  Pin your house key to the inside of a baseball cap, put your phone/ipod somewhere secure.  I always put my phone in an ipod sock and let them hitch a ride in my cleavage (see tip #3).  I run the headphone cord under my shirt (good for getting rid of tangles) and my hands are free!  Relaxed hands are a sign that your breathing and posture are under control.  And don’t carry water with you, nobody died of dehydration in 30 minutes.

5.  TUNES!  There is no way to do this thing without a kickass soundtrack.  My running music of choice is Streetlight Manifesto – Everything Goes Numb and now I can’t really listen to that album without feeling really itchy for a run!  Anything upbeat and energetic will do the trick, but be warned – the tiniest things can annoy you when you’re feeling fatigued so this is not the time to find out whether Nickelback is for you.

6.  ASTHMATIC?  Me too!  It sucks, but it’s fine.  Make sure you prep your lungs half an hour ahead of time, and always take your inhaler with you.  Stop when you need to, keep going when you don’t.  And see tip #2.

7.  REPEAT.  If you feel like you’re not ready to move on to the next week, it’s totally fine to repeat the week you’re on.  Anything you do will strengthen the foundation of the fitness that you’re building.  The next week’s program will be ready when you are.

8.  WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?  I get far more satisfaction from running all the way around a small park than running half way around a big one.  Also, I am more inclined to put on my runners if I’ve promised myself a pedicure when I get home.  Basically, I am like a four year old child who is bribing herself with narcissistic pleasures.  Work with yourself, not against!

9.  MIX IT UP.  Vary your route as often as you can.  I can’t run on a treadmill because it hurts my shins, but mostly because I get extremely bored!  It’s also much easier to trick your body into keeping going when you’re not measuring your run by the last one you did.

10.  DENY, DENY, DENY.  This might be the most important tip of all: DO NOT look at your watch!  I can guarantee that you will always feel revolting after seeing how much longer you have to go, as we naturally estimate we’ve been running longer than we really have.  Let the app or the podcast beep when it’s time to change, and don’t be tempted to peek at the time.  It’s just not worth the damage that it does to your state of mind.

 So.  Who’s with me?  Join me on this adventure and I will happily be your cheer squad.  I’ll write about my progress as I go – the good, the bad, and the downright ugly!

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Ah, fresh starts. Aren’t they great?

Here are a few little habits I’d like to improve upon in the month of March.

01. Make the bed every morning
02. Put away my clothes once a day
03. Walk the dog 5 days/week
04. Stop eating as though it’s still Christmas
05. Go for a run twice/week
06. Write something in my journal every day
07. Focus on one room of my house at a time, and completely unpack it
08. Take some photos of my pretty new home
09. Make a nice, big dent in my 101 list
10. By the end of this month, cease being in my twenties

That last one isn’t exactly negotiable, but the others may take a little bit of concentration!

I must say, life is treating me well right now. Our new house is finally starting to feel like home, and we’re gradually finding solutions to all its little problems “quirks”. Like the fact that it has no pantry, and no cabinet in the bathroom, and…

… it turns out that it’s all fine, and nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a bit of clever shelving. Our new home has got so much style and charm, and although it has one less bedroom than the last place it manages to look very spacious. We have incredible sunset views every afternoon, a constant breeze and brand new paint and carpet. As much as I loved our previous house, it’s nice to not have cracks in the ceiling that actually let through sunlight!

On top of all of that, several people have answered my call for butt-kicking me into finishing my 101 Thing in 1001 Days list! My friend Sally deserves extra credit for planning a 10-day visit in which we’ll visit the Great Ocean Rd, do the Neighbours tour, see fairy penguins at Philip Island and maybe even fit in a ghost tour. She’s already orchestrated the Yarra river cruise and taught me sign language, and I owe her a great deal of credit for encouraging me throughout my silly self-imposed challenge.

And later this month I’ll be waving goodbye to my twenties. The big Three-Oh seems to big a big deal for some people, but for some reason I’m not all that excited about it! I’m not dreading it either, I guess I just don’t see it as much of a landmark occasion. My new “chapter” began when I moved to Melbourne I think, perhaps it’s just too soon for another one.

Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind about this during the next two weeks. My family has begun to make a bit of a fuss of me, so perhaps it will rub off!

So, there’s lots to look forward to in March, and beyond. My favourite seasons are approaching, my favourite boy is close enough to snuggle, and work has been very rewarding. Life feels so much better when you’re in the driver’s seat, zipping through the traffic and singing along to the radio!

Have a lovely March. I know I will!

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