Anti-Inflammatories and Running

anti inflammatories and running

Why does inflammation get such a bad wrap?

Inflammation. At its worst, it can stop you in your tracks. But if your tendency is to reach for the Voltaren at the first slight twinge or sign of inflammation, you might like to consider what purpose inflammation actually serves…

And you also might like to consider that Volaren, Ibiprofen and other Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can limit the benefits you gain from training!!

Sometimes it’s tempting for runners with a niggling injury to take anti-inflammatories to get them through their key long runs leading up to a race, but studies have shown that this can be counter-productive.

What Role Does Inflammation Play?

Inflammation is a protective mechanism your body uses to remove harmful stimuli and start the healing process. After a hard workout, specific cells are activated to increase blood flow to the muscles used in the workout. This increased blood flow also occurs in the initial stages of an acute injury. It produces swelling and stimulates the nerves that cause pain.

Inflammation is the beginning of the healing process, and it’s super important for recovering not only from injury, but from normal bouts of training as well. Without inflammation, your recovery from each bout of exercise (or from injury) would be much slower.

But what about R.I.C.E? Isn’t the idea to reduce inflammation?

Good point. The standard procedure for injuries which provoke the inflammatory response, such as a sprained ankle, is Rest, Ice Compression and Elevation. The R.I.C.E protocol is designed to REDUCE inflammation, so if inflammation isn’t bad, and it’s the body’s natural response to injury, why do we want to reduce it?

Firstly, we need to understand that the inflammatory response is non-specific. Incredible as our bodies are, we don’t seem to have evolved to be able to differentiate between the response needed to cope with a potentially deadly pathogen such as a bacteria or virus entering the body, and the response needed to help a sprained ankle to heal.  The overriding function of the body is to keep itself alive. This takes precedence over all else. If a massive inflammatory response is required to neutralise potentially deadly pathogens, from the point of view of survival, it’s of little consequence that your ankle might lose some functionality due to inflammatory overkill after injury. Better to have slight loss of function of the ankle, than be dead.

One of the things inflammation does is put up a barrier around the area of infection or injury– whether that is around a sprained ankle, or around an area where a pathogen has set up house inside the body. This slows the passage of pathogens or toxic products into the surrounding healthy tissue. In the case of a sprained ankle, too much inflammation can actually inhibit the repair of the tissue. Too much swelling in the injured area might make it difficult for blood to diffuse into the cells, resulting in a lack of oxygen and further damage, so reducing the inflammation makes sense. One of the other things ice will do is slow the metabolic rate of the cells in the area, which temporarily decreases the cell’s requirements for oxygen.

Why exercise produces inflammation

When you run (or perform any other form of exercise) you create small micro tears in your muscles. The higher the intensity of the workout, the more forcefully you are contracting your muscles, and therefore the more damage you cause.

The micro-tears cause your body to set up an inflammatory response. Substances such as blood, oxygen and nutrients are shunted to the damaged area for the healing process to begin. This micro damage is not enough for the body to over-do the inflammatory response, but it can be enough to cause pain and discomfort.

When you should NOT take anti-inflammatories, and why. 

If you’re interested in getting your body into the best shape possible, you shouldn’t take NSAIDs in the following circumstances:

  • To reduce the pain of a current injury to get you through a long run
  • During a race
  • Prophylactically – that is to prevent the anticipated pain of a sporting endeavour, or to prevent injury

NSAIDs can reduce the training effect

If you’ve got a niggling ITB, or a bout of bursitis for example, something that’s not too bad, but there all the same, it’s very tempting to pop a pill to get you through your scheduled long runs. You fear not getting in the mileage you’d intended will affect you poorly on race day. And it might…

But washing down a couple of anti-inflammatories with your pre-run hydration isnt’ the answer. A 2010 study by Japanese scientists showed that whilst anti-inflammatory drugs will indeed facilitate a longer distance run, the taking of the drug cancelled out the training effect that could be achieved from the longer distance. If you run with NSAIDs coursing through your veins, the training adaptation you could expect from that run will be diminished.

In other words, by taking the drug to enable you to run further, your body is not able to make use of the longer distance you run. You’re wasting your time. You’d be better off running within your pain threshold and gaining the training benefits from that. A longer run on NSAIDs will not see you get as fit as if you were running without NSAIDs, so you may as well run for less time and enjoy the training benefit.

Taking NSAIDS for long periods of time can have adverse effects on your gastrointestinal and cardiovascular system. These adverse effects become more pronounced with longer duration of use. Taking NSAIDS before physical activity can mask pain and cause an injury to get worse, or mask the pain of a developing injury. Anti-inflammatories may also impede the synthesis of collagen, that gives strength to tissue. Some of the chemical substances naturally occurring in the body which NSAIDS inhibit are important in the response and adaptation of muscles and other connective tissue to loads placed upon them. Taking NSAIDS can reduce the strength gains from training.

Taking NSAIDs may not reduce your perception of pain

Using NSAIDS prior to a race to prevent the pain of racing has been shown to be ineffective. This study on athletes competing in a 160k endurance run showed the ibuprofen use did not alter muscle damage or soreness. That’s right, taking anti-inflammatory drugs before the race made no difference to the athlete’s perception of pain. The perceived exertion of ibuprofen users and non-users was very similar. On the Borg scale, the control group rated their exertion slightly lower than the anti-inflammatory group (14.5 vs 14.6), and interestingly, and interestingly, Ibiprofen use was related to increased endotoxemia and inflammation.

When is it good to take anti-inflammatory drugs?

During the initial stages of an acute injury (like a muscle strain, sprained ankle, or sudden onset of an inflammatory conditions such as tendonitis or bursitis), NSAIDS are likely to facilitate healing. Taking NSAIDS for the first 2-3 days is appropriate, but after that, you may be better off letting the body’s own natural healing take over.

There are of course other circumstances when NSAIDs are necessary, but that’s best left up to your medical practitioner to decide

To Cool Down or Not To Cool Down?

Should you cool down after running?

Should you cool down after running?  That is  a very good question…and one which has not been satisfactorily answered to date!

Traditionally, the cool down has included some two to twenty minutes of running (or run/walking) at an intensity much lower than the main part of the workout, as well as some stretching of the main muscles groups used.

It’s an established “fact” that the cool down is an important part of your training session. Cooling down, the narrative goes, will help you to recover quickly and get your body ready for your next bout of exercise.


It turns out, there’s not a great deal of evidence to support this. In fact, there’s been very little scientific research done on the topic at all.

What a traditional cool down after running will do for you.

  • Speed up the rate at which lactate is cleared from the bloodstream. (Note it is lactate which is produced during exercise, not lactic acid)
  • Reduce the risk of dizziness and fainting
  • Help to prevent that post-exercise chill
  • Give you a feel-good factor whilst you’re stretching – it always feels kinds of nice to stretch those muscles
  • Put a mental punctuation mark at the end of your session, separating it from the rest of your day, and mentally signal you’re ready to get back to the daily grind!

What a traditional cool down most likely won’t do for you

  • Relieve muscle tightness
  • Relieve muscle soreness
  • Improve your performance in a subsequent bout over the next few days, unless it is on the same day.

Let me explain…

Lactate Clearance

Cool downs have been proven to clear lactate from the bloodstream more quickly than stopping moving completely after a run. This has, until fairly recently, been assumed to be a good thing, as lactate (or more commonly incorrectly referred to as lactic acid) has been blamed for the muscle burn you feel when you’re fatigued, as well as the post exercise soreness you might feel a day or two later. It’s now known that it’s not lactate, but hydrogen ions which cause that dreadful muscle pain and weakness whilst you’re exercising at a high intensity.

Whilst a cool down might clear blood lactate more quickly, that’s not going to have an impact on how you feel. It’s also only going to speed the process up by 30 minutes or so. Lactate will clear from your bloodstream within about an hour post exercise anyway. There’s also no evidence to suggest that clearing lactate more quickly after a run will aid in recovery or performance except in specific circumstances (more on that later).

Muscle trauma is the real cause of post exercise pain

Post exercise soreness is not caused by lactate. It is more likely due to the micro tears to your muscles which are caused by working out. These microtears are not something you should be alarmed about. They are how your body adapts and rebuilds to become stronger.

And there’s doubt as to whether a cool down and stretch actually relieves muscle tightness. Studies amongst soccer players found that cooling down after training had no impact on their performance, flexibility or muscles soreness the next day after training.

If you’re looking at reducing delayed onset muscles soreness, a good warm up is the way to go. A study published in the Australian Journal of Physiotherapy showed that you can decreased delayed onset muscle soreness by warming up, but not by cooling down.

Cooling Down can help you perform better in a subsequent same-day exercise bout

One study amongst cyclists did show that using a cool down after a 30 minute time trial gave a performance advantage in a subsequent time trial on the same day over the control group who did no cool down. It seems if you’re planning on competing twice in one day, or doing two quality workouts in one day, then cooling down might be useful.

Preventing Dizziness

One thing a post run cool down will do for you is help to prevent blood pooling in your legs. When you exercise, a lot of oxygen rich blood is shunted to the working muscles to transport oxygen and other nutrients needed for energy production and muscle contraction and relaxation.  If you stop still after you finish running, you run the risk of blood pooling in your lower legs, and possible dizziness or even fainting.

If you’re a particularly fit athlete, this could be more of a problem. Your heart rate will return to normal pretty quickly once you’re at rest, meaning it will be pumping less blood back up out of your legs.

Exercising for several minutes at a very low intensity at the end of your workout will mean your heart rate will remain elevated for longer, hence deoxygenated blood will be pumped out of your legs and back to the heart more quicly. The muscular contractions in your legs will also help to get that excess blood back out of your legs to where it should be.

It’s unusual for anyone to stop completely still after a run or a race. Most race finishes are set up so that you keep shuffling through the drinks stations etc for a couple of minutes. You might have a little sit-down after that, but then there’s finding your friends, getting home, going for coffee, so you’re really still moving at a low intensity for quite some time after a race. Same with finishing a run. How often do you have the luxury of putting your feet up and flicking through a magazine when you finish a run? Me… pretty much never. I’m often straight in from a run, getting dinner ready, doing the washing, getting kids out the door…

Post Run Chill

During a race the body is working hard to cool itself. This built in cooling system keeps up for some time after the race, even though you’ve stopped running and are not generating extra heat any more. The more gradual drop in body temperature a cool down encourages will help to prevent the chills.

Not cooling down might help to replenish glycogen stores

Lactate is used by the body in a number of different ways, one of which is to fuel your working muscles. Through a series of biochemical processes, lactate is converted to glycogen, which is one of the main sources of energy for muscles. When you finish a workout, particularly one which will have depleted your muscle glycogen stores, you should be trying to refuel your muscles as quickly as possible. One study amongst cyclists came to the conclusion that when the cyclists simply stopped exercising, lactate was turned back into glycogen and stored in the muscles, but when they cooled down, some of the glycogen was used up by the working muscles. It’s possible, that from the point of view of recovery and readiness for the next bout of exercise, cooling down might be detrimental.  Of course, you could counteract this by fuelling well after exercise with a good carbohydrate and protein feed. *********link this to the milkshake thing if indeed there is one on our website -might be in a recovery thing

Why a 10 minute run and a bit of a stretch might still be a good idea

Even though there’s no evidence to show that a traditional cool down actually does all that it’s supposed to do, there might be a couple of good reasons to cool down with a lower intensity run. These reasons have far more to do with training adaptations than recovery or preventing muscles soreness.

In a high intensity workout, the body will produce a lot of lactate. At some point, it will be producing more than it can readily use. By running after the main part of your session is over,  when you have a high level of lactate in your bloodstream, you’ll likely be teaching your body to use lactate more efficient.

Likewise, you could use a slow 15 minute run after a heavy workout to practice maintaining good form when you’re tired. You’ll teach yourself to run more efficiently when you’re tired, so don’t slump and shuffle through your next cool down. Be mindful of what you are doing.


So the good news is, if you really hate cooling down, you’re probably not going to be doing yourself too much harm if you don’t do it, but it’s a very individual thing. If you’re one of those people who swear their muscles ache if they don’t cool down after a run, then keep doing it. It’s not likely to do you any harm.

Mindless Running

mindless running

mindless runningThere’s a lot to be said for running mindlessly. There are times when you want to be able to put your shoes on, get out the door and just run, without having to think about anything in particular. There’s definitely a place for mindless running in your training program.


I had a mindless run the other morning. Didn’t really want to do it, but I knew twenty minutes wasn’t going to kill me, so I laced up the running shoes. It certainly wasn’t the day to be thinking about and experimenting with form though. It was a day to just let thoughts float in and out of my head, until I got into a space where my mind was clear. And that’s exactly how it went. After 18 minutes, I forgot how much I didn’t want to do it and started enjoying my run. So, I got a whole two minutes of enjoyment, but a whole day’s satisfaction for having done it, and a far more productive day to boot.


But….. if this is the way you run all the time, you’re missing out on the opportunity to maximise your training time. Whether your goal is to run faster, run further, run injury free, or some combination of those, you can’t spend all your time in la-la land and hope to improve to your full potential.


Tips For Running Mindfully


  1. Pick one thing about your running which you would like to improve – it might be running up hill or running down hill, it might be trying not to overstride, it might be running at an even pace for your whole run, negative splitting your run, running at a very slow pace over a longer distance. There are heaps of things you can pick to concentrate on, but make sure you choose only one for that run, and be sure on what you want to achieve. Work on that one thing for a few weeks, until you feel you’ve nailed it.
  2. Be patient. You’re not going to change your running overnight, but with frequent attention to detail, it will happen.
  3. Experiment a little. Drawing on the knowledge and experience of others is a great starting point, but you need to work from this starting point to develop a technique that suits you.  Only you can know what it feels like to be running in your shoes. Yes, take my ideas on board (and those of others) but check it all out for yourself.
  4. Focus for short periods of time during your run. Don’t try to think about what you’re doing every single stride, or you’ll be mentally fatigued by the end of it. The exception here is when you’re pace is the focus –either racing, time trialling, or being sure you’re running easy.
  5. Try running without gadgets. Run on how you feel from time to time, and when you do use a gadget, for pacing for example, be mindful of how you feel  at that pace. Make a note of that in your training diary, so you can compare different training runs. Your records will be far more meaningful if you can compare how you felt on your runs. You might run a 55 min 10 km in a training run and feel like you could go on forever, whereas you might do the same run 6 weeks later in the same time, but feel like you’ve been hit by a bus at the end of it. This can give much more info about the effectiveness of your training program than your times alone.
  6. Throw mindless running into the mix. Don’t be hell bent on always fixing and improving. Take some time to just get out there and let your thoughts drift off. Afterall, part of why we run is for the sheer joy of movement, and the mental lift we get as a result.

I’d love to hear about the types of things you focus on when you’re running, or whether you do at all.





Sydney Running Festival: Why the marathon starts so late

heatThe Sydney Running Festival is on again this weekend, and again the  Marathon will start a good hour or so after the half marathon. I’ve often pondered why.  In recent years we’ve had a 31 degree day (2011) and a 26 degree day (2009) for the race. This year, we have a forecast of 24 degrees, so not too hot (unless you happen to be finishing a marathon at midday). Add to this the fact that it is only early spring in Sydney and most runners will not have had a chance to acclimatise to the warmer temperatures, you have to ask the question, “why start the marathon at 7:20am, yet the half at 6:15?”


So, I did ask the question of race organisers (who I might add are always really helpful with any queries I’ve had over the years). This was the answer I received from Erin Jeffries, teams organiser.


“We start the Half Marathon at 6.15am which allows the entire field to flow onto the second half of the course (where the Marathon course meets it) before the Marathon even starts. This method then allows the Half Marathon field to almost completely finish before the lead Marathon runners get back to the 31km point (Phillip Street, Sydney) where they meet the Half Marathon course.

 If we set the marathon off at 6.15am, the main pack of runners will be back into the city from about 8am – 10am with a solid and steady stream of runners. If we then start the half at 7.15am, the lead runners will hit Phillip Street where the marathon and half meet and continue on the same course at nearly the exact same time. This would be followed by a very large pack that would run right into each other and cause serious safety problems.

Not to mention not having a clear run for the leaders, lead vehicles, and general confusion for our entrants etc. Unless we ran the half on a completely different course this timing unfortunately wouldn’t work.

 I hope this makes sense. It is a really complex strategy and to date we haven’t been able to find an alternative. Of course we understand the runners perspective but safety is at our utmost concern.”


Is it just me, or can you see the irony in sending people out running for hours and hours in very hot conditions to keep them safe?

Just for the record, over the last four years, of the runners who have finished the marathon, 30% have taken longer than 4 hrs 30 mins.

That is 30% of the field are still running at close to midday and beyond.


How many marathoners will still be at it come midday?

  • In 2009 32% were still running 4hrs 30mins into the race,
  • 2010 25%,
  • 2011 39%
  • and 2012 26%

Like many things, it probably comes down to cost as much as anything else. I’m guessing the more road closures, the greater the cost, so sharing parts of the course between the half and full marathon on the same course is a cost effective answer.

City to Surf 2013

Congratulations to our Open Women’s Team on placing fifth in the 2013 City to Surf. 

Great to see a big contingent of “Hooked on Healthers” at the City to Surf this year, both as runners and also as volunteers manning the drinks stations with the scouts and other volunteer groups.


Our women’s open team placed 5th with an overall time of  3 hrs, 45 mins and 7 secs. This in spite of Jane Raftesath running in odd shoes. Somehow the last minute shoe lace change left her wearing one old shoe and one new shoe to the start line!


Tara McNamara (Sat 6:45am Frenchs Forest) had a great City to Surf. This is how she saw the race


I had 3 goals for the race this year..

1) run up heartbreak hill

2) run the whole 14 kms

3) run in under 90 mins

I managed all three!!! I felt good through the race (after my normal warm up 3kms and dodging the people in the early stages helped me stay …calm and not try go too fast – the hill was great – head down, feet moving, looking at the next corner and all of a sudden it was over!
The most frustrating section was the the last km – then having to dodge people did bother me – I stopped looking at my watch cause i knew I was close to getting under 90 mins and tried not to yell at people to get out of my way and, as much as possible with the crowds, I ran as fast as I could.

Smiling as I crossed the line and finally looking at my watch…. 87mins!

Happy with it all, I met some work colleagues and drank a lot of water before joining the queue for the bus home.

Thanks so much for making me a better runner


Here are all our results.

Tara McNamara: 87:47

Courtney Heyden: 73:53

Petra Thallmayer: 89:12

Jane Raftesath: 72:26

Sam Evans: 72:26

Sam O’Connor: 104:41 – fastest walker in the north

Pamela Martin: 116:44

Leanne Forster: 89:50

Susanne Lewis: 82:38 – 292nd in category

Bernice Woodbury: 82:33

Trish Pavely: 80:14

Dave Spencer: 67:59

Megan Mouradian: 71:47

Cathy Stockwell: 83:10



How much of your fun run entry fee goes to charity?

Let’s face it, it costs a bit to enter a fun run these days. You’d be hard pressed to enter a marathon for much under $100 anywhere on the eastern seaboard from Brisbane to Melbourne (the Sydney M7 is a bargain at $80), and most half marathons are around the $90 mark. The city to surf is $65 if you get in early, the shorter runs associated with the Sydney Running Festival (better known as the bridge run) will set you back $55 and $40 (early bird entry) for the 9km and 3.5km respectively.

Let’s face it, it costs a bit to enter a fun run these days. You’d be hard pressed to enter a marathon for much under $100 anywhere on the eastern seaboard from Brisbane to Melbourne (the Sydney M7 is a bargain at $80), and most half marathons are around the $90 mark. The city to surf is $65 if you get in early, the shorter runs associated with the Sydney Running Festival (better known as the bridge run) will set you back $55 and $40 (early bird entry) for the 9km and 3.5km respectively.

I often hear my runners say they don’t mind the high fees to enter fun runs, as it’s helping charity. So I thought I’d take a look at just how much of your fun run entry dollar goes to charity.

I approached the organisers of a few events via email, to get a feel for what money goes where. Here are some of the responses.


I own a  running training and coaching business and many of my runners are interested to know where their entry fees for various fun runs go to. Just wondering if you could clarify a few things for me.  Does any of the entry fee go to charity? and if so is that tied to people connected to that charity volunteering -eg the SES.

We’re also interested to know what percentage of the entry fee goes towards the actual running of the event, and what goes to the event manager? Any light you could shed on these questions would be apprectiated. thanks Kirsten Todd Hooked on Health Hooked on Running

Reply from GOLD COAST MARATHON (and half marathon, 10km, 5km and 4km and 2km kids dashes).

All entry fees go to running the event. Our organisation is a not for profit organisation and as such we seek commercial sponsorship and government funding to heavily subsides our entry fees. As a consequence, we do not have the surplus to be able to designate any of the entry fee towards Charity. (My emphasis)

 We are however heavily involved in promoting Charity Organisations such as Cancer Council Queensland and enlisting Every Day Heroes. To date we have managed to raise over half a million dollars for Charity.

Reply from FAIRFAX EVENTS regarding City to Surf
(they also run SMH Half Marathon, Australian Running Festival which includes the Canberra Marathon, Cole Classic Swim, Sun Run, Run4Fun). 

It took a few goes to get any real information from them at all, and that was simply that they couldn’t give me any information!

Across all events run by Fairfax Media, In return for your entry fee into our events, you will receive a range of items depending on the event:

– A chest bib and timing tag (attached to the back of the bib)
– A finisher’s medal
– Public transport to and from the event, on event day
– Baggage transport from start to finish line
– Gatorade and water during and immediately after the race
– The Sun-Herald newspaper (on race day, whilst stocks last)
– Entertainment along the course and at the finish line
– Downloadable certificate

An event as large as the events that we coordinate, is very expensive to organise and execute each year. Without the support of there partners and over 3,000 volunteers it would not be possible to run such a large community event.

Representatives from various community organisations all over Sydney such as Rotary and Lions Clubs, Scouts and Girl Guides, various sporting groups, volunteer bush fire brigades, State Emergency Services, St John Ambulance and school groups help out on the day. Each of these organisations receives a per volunteer donation in appreciation for their assistance. 

Hi Zane

I did read all of this on the city to surf website, but thanks for sending it through again. So can I clarify, that any money from entry fees that goes to charity goes to organisations who supply volunteers for the event, and any profits from the event goes to Fairfax media, or I guess Fairfax events?


Thank you for your email. Entrants do have the opportunity to fundraise for a chosen charity or make a one off donation during the registration process. Volunteer groups do receive a donation per person for their efforts throughout event day

Thanks once again. We were already pretty clear on that. What is of interest to us is whether or not these events are a profit making venture for Fairfax media or Fairfax events.


Thank you for your email. I’m afraid we won’t be able to disclose this information to you. If you do have any other questions that we might be able to help with feel free to get in contact. 

I don’t know about you, but I’ve taken that to mean that Fairfax Events might well turn a profit from these events, and there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love these fun runs. They are a great community event, they get people off their bums so they feel better physically and emotionally, and a lot of money is mobilised for charity because these events exist.

But know this: For most of the larger fun run events, little or none of your actual entry fee goes to charity, unless a donation is being made on a per volunteer basis to charitable organisations such as scouts, SES, surf lifesaving etc, who provide manpower on the day. If you want all your training and your run on the day to help a charity, you need to donate to your chosen charity during the entry process, or actively raise funds by seeking sponsorship for your run, or by some other kind of fun raising.

Or……….. you could enter some of the smaller local events, which tend to cost less. A fair chunk of your entry fee can be donated to charity, due to the volunteer of the event organisers. 

I asked a similar question of some local event organisers. Here are their responses:


Hello Kirsten,

The Roseville Chase Rotary Fun Run is organised primarily as a Community event to encourage good health and provide an opportunity for local family to participate in a community event.  Our event caters for serious runner and of leisurely walkers.

 Regarding the the Registration fees, approximately half the fees collected are used in expenses associated with the event.  The other 50% all goes to support local , National and International causes and project that our Rotary Club is directly supporting or that Rotary International is supporting. 

 Rotary does not use any of the charity funds it raises on administration, marketing or promotional costs.

 If you require more information go to


I received a really helpful two page document from the organisers of the mimimos (thanks to Cherelle Martin). The mimimos is 100% run by volunteers, so no salaries need to be paid from your entry fees. Mosman Public School has been running the Minimos for 30 years now, so they are pretty efficient at it. It’s always a really well run event which I can highly recommend.

Here are some interesting facts about the Mini-Mos

  • The break even point where the fun run costs are covered is roughly 1600-1800 entrants. Entries vary from year to year,  so it’s not possible to say exactly how much of your individual entry fee goes directly to the school.
  • At $45 for 10km, $35 for 5km, and $22.50 for 2 km, entry fees compare favourably to larger events
  • As well as raising money for the school, the fun run provides a platform for raising funds for other charities. Like most runs theses days, participants can set up individual sponsorship pages and can make a donation online during the registration process. Other initiatives also raise funds for charities such as the Tony Abbott Challenge and items provided by high profile Minimos ambassadors for auction.
  • In 2013, the Mini-Mos Fun Run raised nearly $50,000 for the school and $30, 000 for charity

Just wanted to set the record straight. 

6 Ways To Get Faster, without upping your training

fast runner on roadMost of us would like to be able to run just that little bit faster. Improve on that 10k PB, even if it’s only by the smallest amount. Or maybe you’re trying to maintain the times you did when you were a bit younger? It’s not so easy once you hit 40 is it? Whatever your situation, there are plenty of simple things you can do to shave more than just a few seconds off your time. Here are six of them.

1. Extend your sleep time.

We all know that chronic sleep deprivation causes you to function below par. For those of you with children, think back to when they were babies, and the permanent daze you were in. (Maybe you going through that now).

Sleep experts reckon seven to nine hours of sleep per night for adults is the right amount, whilst teens should be getting nine to ten hours a night. If you’re falling asleep before your head hits the pillow, and have to wake up to an alarm every morning, then you’re probably not getting enough sleep. If you take about 20 mins to travel to the land of nod, and wake up without an alarm, then you’re probably getting enough -as long as that is more than 7 hours a night.

Simply getting the right amount of sleep will improve your performance, but studies have shown that by taking it a step further and extending your sleep time to 10-11 hours a night over a period of several weeks, your performance will improve measurably.

How good is that? And don’t worry if you’re the type who tosses and turns the night before a big race worrying you will sleep through your alarm! The sleep you get the night before a race doesn’t have nearly as much impact on your performance as your penultimate night’s sleep does.

2. Lighten Up

You’ll go faster if you can lose a few of those extra kgs you’re hanging onto for that famine that never comes. As a rule of thumb, for every 1% loss of body mass – primarily as body fat-there will be an approximate 1% increase in running speed. If you’re looking at weight loss as a performance booster, don’t crash diet for two weeks before a race. Instead, gradually lose a few kgs at a rate of about 500gms a week. Dramatic weight loss may adversely affect not only your performance, but your health as well.

Let’s have a look at the maths.
Current Weight = 65kgs
10km time = 50 mins ie 5mins per km, or 12kms per hour

If you lose 1% body fat
weight loss = 650 gms – that’s not a heap in anyone’s book
10km time improves by 1% ie, 50 mins x 99%=49.5

So there you have it. A 30 second PB by losing 650 gms.

3. Make sure you have lightweight new(ish shoes)

The heavier your shoes, the slower you will run (see point 2), so going for a lighter weight model makes sense.  Generally you will need to transition into lighter weight shoes over time to reduce your risk of injury.

Newer shoes could be slightly lighter as well – the older the shoe, the more chance it has to gather moisture. Buy 2 pairs of shoes you like, and keep one pair for a bit of dry weather training to wear them in, and for racing. Every little bit helps.

4. Let your body recover

Be sure to include plenty of recovery time in your training program. That means amount of time between training sessions, as well as including a recovery week every 3-5 weeks. It also means tapering before an event. As a rule of thumb, marathoners will start to taper 3 weeks out from an event, 2 weeks for half marathoners, maybe a week for 10ks, and anything shorter at least a few days to a week. That means reducing your mileage substantially, and listening to your body. If it’s telling you it’s tired, it is. Let it rest.

Other important recovery strategies are

massage – find someone who can give you a great sports massage, and also learn how to massage yourseslf
sleep – as discussed above
good nutrition – a good recovery drink after long runs which has electrolytes as well as a 3:1 or 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio. A diet rich in fruit and vegetables and unprocessed foods.

5. Good Hydration

Your performance can start to decrease when you lose as little as 1% of your body weight in fluids. That could be as little as 2 cups of fluid, depending on  your body weight. It’s such an easy thing to rectify. Find out more about hydration for running performance.

6. Attention to detail

As well as paying attention to all of the above, be prepared on race day.

Try out a few pre-race breakfast strategies before race day so see what suits you best.

Try out your nutrition strategies for the race during training. Never take gels, chomps, sports drinks etc in a race that you haven’t already tried. You could find you’re making a pit stop at the loo. High concentrations of simple carbs can cause all sorts of intestinal upsets.

If your race is in the morning, get up early to train so that you are replicating race conditions as closely as possible

Know the course (or not, depending on your personality). For me, I look to know where I’m running, where the hills will be, where the drinks stations are, etc. Others don’t seem to mind, but if you’re like me, try to run over at least part of the course in training.

Don’t delay your training session if it happens to be raining when it’s scheduled. It might be raining on race day

Bring layers of warm clothes you can discard on race day. Keep them on even after you have entered the starting area. You could be waiting quite a while till you start.

Bring toilet paper with you. Bad enough to have to use a smelly port-a-loo if you have a last minute attack of nerves before the race, but VERY bad if you find an empty toilet roll holder!



DISCLAIMER: Any information contained in this document is obtained from current and reliable sources and is solely for the purpose of interest and information.  Individuals receiving this information must exercise their independent judgment in determining its appropriateness for their particular needs. The information and training advice is general in nature and may not be suited to the recipient’s individual needs. Medical advice should always be sought when starting an exercise program. As the ordinary or otherwise use(s) of this information is outside the control of the author, no representation or warranty, expressed or implied, is made as to the effect(s) of such use(s), (including damage or injury), or the results obtained. The author expressly disclaims responsibility as to the interpretation of the views contained in this article, ordinary or otherwise. Furthermore, the author shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. The author shall not be responsible for any damages resulting from use of or reliance upon this information. Readers of this document are solely responsible for compliance with all laws and regulations applying to the use of the information, including intellectual property rights of third parties.