How to find your ideal running group

The fitness landscape is awash with a wide range of Run Club options. 

But which one will get you the best results?

Some offer to coach with established training and workout plans; others are casual meetups and social clubs.  

Some break up the group based on pace and distance, while others run together.

What makes V&B Athletic’s Run Club, RUNCorps®, different?

There’s no I in Team

At the heart of RUNCorps® Run Club is inclusiveness.

We structure sessions to account for individual strengths and abilities, from those new or just returning to running right up to experienced athletes. We ensure that no one gets left behind. So no matter what your level, you’re guaranteed a source of healthy motivation to continually improve your running!

No two sessions are the same

RUNCorps Run Club sessions are constantly varied, utilising an array of different locations to keep your training fresh and exciting. We incorporate a wide variety of surfaces and training environments to ensure variety in your training. By forcing your body to adjust to the changing terrain, we make your training more effective.

Hills

These are a great way to develop speed and strength as they require extra effort to run uphill, and you don’t need to run as fast as you would on flat terrain. They’re also great for learning how to control your breathing and, more importantly, descending!

Intervals

We perform these speed sessions on a flat surface close to your threshold pace with more extended rest between sets. We use both paved surfaces and grass tracks for these sessions.

Fartlek

Swedish for “speed play”, Fartlek sessions work on speed and stamina by alternating between hard and easy running.

Tempo

Described as “comfortably hard”, these are designed to build your mental and physical endurance. Also known as lactate-threshold runs, we cover longer distances at a faster, more controlled pace.

Progression

We begin slow and easy and finish fast! Progression runs are not only fun, but they are also a great way to boost your fitness without any lasting fatigue.

Personalised Coaching

RUNCorps® Run Club coaches don’t just stand on the sidelines yelling orders. They run with you and support you through your session.

Our experienced coaches are runners themselves who can assess your technique then help you implement changes that will make you fitter, faster and stronger with specific and easy-to-follow instructions on what you need to change and why. 

Measure your success

Each new RUNCorps Run Club training cycle begins with a time trial. It’s not a race! It’s a repeatable measure of your current level of performance against the clock and provides both you and your coach with valuable information. It helps to structure your training program, demonstrate any improvements that you’ve made and provides a key source of motivation to continue improving.

Avoid the plateau

Many Run Clubs follow a similar routine of recurring sessions with regular activities, and this can lead to your results quickly starting to plateau.

The key to improving your fitness whilst reducing your risk of injury is a program structured around cycles of progressively-loaded training. RUNCorps Run Club helps avoid plateaus in training by using periodised training principles to maximise your performance and improvement whilst reducing the staleness of your activity over the long term.

Train for a specific goal

We’ll work with you to improve your overall performance and become a stronger, more capable runner, whether it’s tackling your first 5k or first half-marathon, your first ultra-marathon, right up to multi-stage endurance races. We can easily incorporate your RUNCorps® Run Club sessions into an individually tailored training program that aligns with your running goals and target races.

Become part of our team

Are you looking for a change? Book a session with ourRUNCorps® Run Club and discover what makes RUNCorps® different!

Join our community of fun, supportive and like-minded individuals who are committed to the long-term benefits that RUNCorps® Run Club helps them achieve.

V&B Athletic offers run coaching and functional fitness outdoor group training close to Leichhardt, Lilyfield, Rozelle and Balmain in Sydney, Australia. We offer group personal training, group run coaching, personal coaching and tailored training programs. 

6 common questions about ultra-running

In terms of impressing your family and friends or work colleagues, it would appear the “simple” marathon no longer holds the same prestige. Ultra-endurance and ultra-running events are an almost-impossible test of the human body and spirit, yet their number has increased tenfold over the last decade.

As endurance specialists and experienced endurance athletes, we frequently get questions about this rapidly growing sport.

Here are some of the most common questions that people contemplating ultra-running ask.

Before you contemplate whether racing 100 miles or more is actually right for you, consider this…

Ultra-running is not everyone’s cup of tea.

But if it’s something that sparks your interest, start by asking yourself these questions:

  • Why that distance? Does it have a particular significance?
  • Where will it take place?
  • What time of year will you be doing it?
  • What type of terrain? Road, trail, flat, hilly?
  • Will it be point-to-point, an out and back or a loop?
  • Is the plan to do it in one attempt or break it into stages?
  • Will you be supported (e.g. crew and/or vehicle) or self-supported (no crew)?

Your answers to these questions will not only help to define an appropriate training plan.

They may also ensure the effective execution of your event and serve as a reason to keep going when the going gets tough!

Welcome to the post-marathon age

Everybody knows somebody who’s run a marathon.

It seems that now, a genuinely impressive feat has to be something longer and more extreme. Fifty kilometres is OK… Eighty kilometres is moving in the right direction. But if you can reel off numbers in the hundreds, preferably over insanely steep terrain, a wind-blown desert or some perilous jungle – Now we’re talking bragging rights!

With more and more stories of ultra-endurance feats circulating, we hope the following may provide some food for thought to help you defy your limits.

Is it actually possible?

Most people shy at driving 180km, 200km, 250km or more. Even less would consider cycling those distances. But yes, running those distances and for extended periods of time is possible with the right mindset, appropriate preparation and sufficient training!

Will my organs start shutting down?

While organs shutting down during an event is extremely rare, surviving ultra-running ultimately comes down to appropriate training, heat management, nutrition and hydration. 

We always recommended seeking the assessment and advice of your GP or Allied Health Professional before embarking on something like this.

The human heart is exceptionally well adapted to endurance exercise. In endurance events such as 100-milers, the heart is working at well below maximal levels, which it’s good at doing, as long as you’re well trained and healthy going into the race.

However, it’s important to note that the hours of pounding lead to accumulated damage of major muscles. This, in turn, loads the liver and the kidneys. In fact, studies show that it’s common for 100-mile finishers to have abnormal kidney values since they’re working extra hard to filter residue of broken-down muscle from of the blood. However, in 99% of cases, kidney values return to normal shortly after the race. 

Please note, if your urine is cola-brown, seek medical attention immediately!

How do you deal with sleep deprivation?

No amount of preparation can prevent fatigue!

For a 24-hour race, it might not be so bad. But once you start to stretch out beyond 24 hours, you become prone to trips or falls and hallucinations. In fact, after periods greater than 24 hours without sleep, cognitive performance levels are considered the equivalent to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.1%, nearly twice the legal limit for drivers in Australia!

Training when fatigued reduces the chances that your mind will play tricks on you. We suggest training in conditions that are closest to what you will experience in the race. For example, start a few long training runs at 9 p.m. particularly after a full day at work. In the event that you do start thinking or seeing weird things, learn to slow down and take a breath.

You’ll inevitably experience something called “central fatigue”, a gradual decline in your nervous system’s ability to contract your muscles. Pairing cognitively challenging tasks with exercise while training can help to delay this decline. However, in most cases scheduling in a short nap at regular intervals beyond that 24-hour mark can help to reset the brain and ensure you can push on.

How do you avoid blisters?

As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than a cure”.

There’s a range of products available to keep blisters at bay, including powders for socks that help dry feet out as well as preventing friction. Products such as Body Glide or 3B Neat are great for those areas where chafing between skin surfaces and fabric is likely to occur. Try applying these to problem spots between your toes, along the sides of your feet, and on your heels prior to racing.

We also recommend wearing socks with individual toes, like Injinjis, for anyone prone to developing blisters between their toes. Think about having extra socks and an extra pair of shoes available, often a different make than the ones you started with. This way, if you need to change shoes, it’s less likely you’ll get the same hotspots.

What about food and nutrition?

The most common issue in ultra-endurance events are Gastrointestinal (GI). 

Endurance running disrupts your digestion. It diverts blood away from your stomach to your muscles. As a result, any solid food that you consume can sit around undigested. With the constant jostling of fluid and food, causes problems often resulting in nausea. Your best chance of thwarting GI issues during a race is to train your gut by practising your fueling plan during training.

Personally we like using a combination of liquid food (e.g. Tailwind) and solid food (e.g. Clif Bars, Bananas, Chips, Vegemite Sandwiches, etc) but this comes down to personal choice and testing during your training. 

Check out our Evolve Endurance Nutrition Program for guidance on how to fuel effectively during your event as well as during your training and recovery.

How do I train for an ultra-endurance race?

Our ELEVATE Tailored Training Programs provide personalised plans designed to meet your specific needs and goals incorporating your current training regime, training availability, work, family and social commitments. So if you’re considering ultra-endurance running for the first time or looking to improve your ultramarathon experience, get in touch!

Jase Cronshaw is co-founder and co-owner of V&B Athletic. He is an Australian endurance athlete and coach, procrastinating artist, teetotalist, and a guy who loves to run! You can find him on Instagram @coachcronshaw

Should I exercise with pain?

Should I exercise with pain? A common question we hear in the clinic, the gym and on sporting fields so let’s look into exercising with pain.

It’s always important to listen to your body and to understand the difference between a general ache versus pain, particularly with exercise. 

But what do you listen for?

The first and most important point to note is that pain is the body’s normal response to perceived danger.

It’s like having an alarm system that will go off if something nasty is detected. So while pain is a normal body reaction, it’s not when it lasts longer than 48 hours after exercise, or when that same pain somewhere in your body starts to hurt during the day, even when not exercising. 

How much is too much

You need to be honest and self-evaluate both during and after exercise.

You can easily do this by giving your pain a rating out of 10; the higher the number, the greater the pain. The following key will then help guide your response:

Am I safe to move?

Usually we ask a medical professional (Doctor or Physiotherapist) for a diagnosis, medications or advice about the best treatment.

What you want to know from them is whether you have a condition that means you should avoid exercise and movement at the moment. There are really very few of these thankfully. In fact, for most muscle, joint and nerve pains, exercise done correctly is not only safe but strongly recommended. This includes joint pain like hip and knee arthritis, and neck and back pain, including spondylosis, sciatica and disc problems. 

Understand that “Hurt doesn’t = Harm”

For most of our lives, pain is a useful thing that protects our body.

If I touch a hot stove, I feel pain and I quickly withdraw my hand. Pain is like an alarm that warns me of danger. 

Unfortunately, persistent pain is much less useful.

It is almost always well out of proportion to any damage going on in the body, and people can feel terrible pain when moving even when it is not dangerous. The alarm that is usually so useful becomes “over-protective”.

This means that if there is a particular movement you do that causes you pain, and has done for some time, it is very likely that that pain is not indicating you are doing any harm. You are sore, but safe. This is important to understand because otherwise exercise makes no sense and you will just be miserable!

Another way to think of this is like a lowering of the pain threshold. A certain part of the body, or many parts of the body, becomes over-sensitive to movement and feels more painful than it needs to be.

Will exercise help my pain?

Most people find their pain decreases with movement and exercise when they find the right thing for them, at the right ‘dose’ and once they manage to get a few weeks of it under their belt. This is not guaranteed though, it depends on a lot of factors, so remember advice and progression from a qualified Health Professional is recommended.

Get into the swing of it

When you have decided what you want to do, decide when you want to do it.

Aim for 3-4 times per week. More than that is okay if the exercise is quite easy. But if you are working hard it is often best to give your body a day off in between workouts so it has time to recover and adapt.

When you know what you want to do and when you want to do it, do it!

And for now, don’t worry about anything more than doing it. The key is to “just show up”, at the gym or in the park. Explore the movements involved in whatever you are doing. Get used to how your body feels, see how it reacts and see how your pain reacts. Enjoy moving your body again. Don’t feel you have to work yourself to exhaustion.

If you miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up. There is no value to doing this. Just try again next time

What about the pain?

The golden rule of exercise and pain is to “exercise within tolerable pain that plateaus during exercise and does not continue to rise significantly, and gradually decreases once you have finished”.

We know that pain is like an “over-sensitive alarm” and doesn’t mean you are doing damage, therefore you don’t need to avoid pain. Some pain or discomfort might be necessary to get a good workout. But, of course, you don’t want too much pain, especially if it is the kind of pain that ‘flares up’ after exercise and stops you from working and sleeping properly.

Tolerable pain is hard to quantify as it is very subjective and can be perceived differently for each person.

For some it will be mild discomfort, for others it will be more. Another way of thinking of tolerable pain is something you can cope with and feel is manageable. It should not feel frightening and you should still feel in control.

It will take some trial and error to find this level. At first, you might do too much and flare up your pain. Take time to let it ease off then try again, doing a little less. Think of a flare up as a learning process, as then you will know what is “too much” for you. As you continue to exercise, it is likely that what was once too much will become achievable.

Be ready for DOMS!

Everyone, regardless of whether they have a painful condition, is likely to feel sore the next day or two after trying something new.

This is called DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. So, if you do feel worse after your first session or two, consider that this might not be a flare-up of ‘your’ pain but normal muscle soreness that will diminish over time.

Time to push-on

Each time you push out of your comfort zone, your body adapts and gets stronger for next time.

Once you have had a few weeks in a row of “showing up” and doing exercises such as STRONGCorps, no matter how little, and you have worked out your level of tolerable pain, it is time to start pushing on to get the most benefit from your time and effort that you can.

Once you are in the habit of exercise, you might find that you end up doing the same thing each time. For example, walking the same route or lifting the same weights. Unfortunately, the body quickly adapts to this and you will stop getting as much benefit. You are just maintaining things, but not getting any fitter or stronger. To get the most from exercise, you have to keep moving out of your comfort zone, a little bit at a time, with variety being the spice of life!

Over time, the benefit adds up. To make sure you are doing this, it helps to keep track of what you are doing. You can make sure you progress over time. For example, try to walk a bit further, or do the same distance in a shorter time. If you are doing home exercise or weights at the gym, try to do a few more “repetitions” or lift heavier weights. 

What doesn’t challenge you, won’t change you!

As you start to build the exercise habit, this becomes key.

The best exercise is one that you enjoy, because you will stick to it. This is true, but it is also true that part of your exercise should be quite hard. Not all of it, but maybe just the last few minutes or the last couple of repetitions. Give yourself some tough love. Are you out of breath? Sweating? Are your muscles tired? If not, you may not be getting the benefit you want.

Another benefit of keeping track of what you are doing is that it helps you to follow your exercise programme based on what you plan to do that day, rather than based on your pain. Allowing your pain to ‘dictate’ what you do often leads back into the spiral of doing less and less.

Key points to remember

  • Get advice from an experienced physiotherapist to determine what the injury is and ensure it’s safe to continue exercising.
  • Modify training to bring it to a level that doesn’t aggravate symptoms during or after exercise.
  • Calm the pain with ice, heat, massage, taping or whatever works for you.
  • Identify the cause of the problem (training error, muscle weakness etc.) and address it.
  • Rehab with strength and conditioning work from your physio and make sure you do it!
  • Develop some strategies to reduce pain when exercising as mentioned above and practice these in training to see what works.
  • Taper well before a race or event, as generally less is more when managing an injury, give it some time to settle before and after race day.
  • And finally, plan long term, not just for the next race. Discuss with your physio how you can fully rehab the issue. This might mean a reduction in training volume and gradual build up when races have finished.

Craig Gregory is an APA Sports Physiotherapist Practice Principal at Balmain Sports Medicine. He holds a Masters Sports Physiotherapy, Bachelor of Applied Science (Physiotherapy) and Level 1, 2 & 3 APA Sports Physiotherapy. Craig can be contacted via email craig@balmainsportsmed.com.au.

The top 5 things that helped me survive my first ultra

A year ago, if you’d have told me I’d take on a 31-hour, non-stop relay event and actually enjoy it, I wouldn’t have just been surprised. I would most likely have responded with hysterical laughter.

Despite having crewed countless ultra-running endurance events, thanks to a couple of ultra-loving individuals you may know (aka the co-founders of V&B Athletic) I’d never, ever contemplated actually doing one. Until I was invited to be part of a team tackling one of the world’s craziest, no-rules races, The Speed Project (TSP).

The mission?

To run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas through Death Valley, a total of 550km, not stopping until you hit the famous “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign.

As a relative newcomer to running, having only taken it up for a milestone birthday a few years back, the entire idea filled me with terror.

Having started with 5km Park Runs, gradually followed by City2Surf, half-marathons and in July last year my first marathon, every fibre of my being wanted to scream “Hell no!” when I was ambushed at the office and asked to join Team 440 for TSP 2020.

But since life’s too short not to challenge yourself, I said yes.

And the rest is history.

For those who’ve always wanted to tackle ultra-running but never dreamed it could be possible… I’m living proof that, with the right training, it absolutely is.

So in the interests of sharing, here are the top five things that helped me get across the finish line intact, and with a huge smile on my face.

Start training early

I can’t stress this one enough. Starting well in advance of your event is the secret to success, and has so many benefits.

It means no last-minute panic, allows you to build up fitness and strength gradually. It also minimises the risk of injury from overload, and ensures you go into the event as physically and mentally prepared as possible, knowing that you’ve done all the hard work prior to race day.

When TSP 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic in March – three days before our team was due to fly out – rather than feeling defeated, I kept on training. With the entire world turned upside down, the routine and structure of a training program during lockdown was a massive sanity-saver.

Also, having the motivation and accountability of my V&B Athletic family to rely on during this time was a total game-changer. There’s no way I would have done this level of training or preparation if left to my own devices.

All I had to do was turn up, train with the group and gradually, over a period of six months – without even realising it – I got fitter, stronger and faster.

The ultimate win-win situation!

If you’re a runner, don’t just run

While it may sound counter-intuitive, the number one thing that improved my running was adding regular strength training into the mix.

While I’d always done RUNCorps Run Club on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, adding STRONGCorps Group Training three times a week took my running speed and endurance to the next level. And the proof was right there on paper in the monthly time trials.

Do I like burpees, push-ups and badger crawls. Um, no!

But once I started to see and feel the results, it became addictive and made every bit of hard work and sweat worth it.

The variety was also key. In addition to 2 running and 3 strength sessions each week, I made sure to squeeze in a social run or yoga on the weekends, coupled with plenty of foam rolling in front on the TV at night. While I was exercising 5-6 times a week, it definitely didn’t feel that way since every session was different, flew by in less than an hour and (I’ve got to admit) was actually fun thanks to the legends who lace up and show up at training each week.

Never underestimate the power of the mind

I’d always looked with awe at ultra-runners and wondered how on earth they kept going: mile after mile, with no sleep and when everything hurts.

Once race day rolled around on September 5 (thanks to The Speed Project morphing into a virtual event, TSP DIY, for the first time) the most valuable thing I learnt first-hand is how incredibly important visualisation, and the power of the mind, can be.

Luckily, I went in prepared having spoken to people who do this kind of thing regularly, including ultra-runner and endurance athlete, Samantha Gash. One of the best pieces of advice she gave me?

Yes, there will be times when you want to stop, when you don’t want to get out of the van and keep running. But remember why you signed up for this, just keep going, and put one foot in front of the other. And when things get tough, think about how good it will feel when you finally cross that finish line.

Samantha Gash

Knowing my team was relying on me to get out there, even at 2 AM, in the freezing Bondi night, meant slipping the shoes back on was so much easier.

Mantras also make a massive difference. The two that helped me the most? “I choose this” and one of Sam’s adventure racing favourites “Team before self”. Sounds slightly woo, but it works.

Eat small and often

Coming in to this event as an ultra-running rookie, one of the things I was most worried about was food.

What to eat.

When to eat it.

And how much to eat to keep your body fuelled, but not weighed down.

I knew I’d done the training. But I was concerned I’d get the crucial nutrition part of the race wrong and end up sick, or running out of steam.

Since I’ve never used gels or powders, I stuck to things I’d used before and knew my body could tolerate when running. For 31 hours and 15 minutes, I basically lived on Vegemite and avocado wraps, salt and vinegar chips, peanut butter Cliff Bars, SOS Hydration and mandarins when I felt like something sweet.

I also treated myself to one coffee on the first morning, and devoured an entire box of Oporto’s hot chips with chicken salt at midnight, thanks to an unexpected delivery from one of our epic support crew. It wasn’t scientific, but by sticking to the rule of eating and drinking something small at every break (even if I didn’t feel particularly hungry or thirsty at the time) I kept powering no problem and felt good the whole way.

Mentally break it down into bite-sized chunks

Last but not least? I broke the two nights of TSP DIY into manageable mental chunks.

I never thought about it as 31 hours and 15 minutes.

Or 62.8km, the total distance I ended up running over that time.

As a team strategy, we aimed to smash out no more than 5km at a time (or 3 laps of the 1-mile loop we ran continuously in Bondi) before tagging the next runner. Which helped enormously as an endurance first-timer. I simply took it one step, one lap and one set at a time.

And, while it sounds ridiculous, I used small incentives, like the thought of what I’d get to eat when I stopped, or the chance to sit in the shade, as motivation.

For example, some of my many mental notes to self went a little something like this:

“Only half a lap to go and, in less than 3 minutes, you’ll be sitting luxuriously in a camp chair downing a cold drink. You can do anything for 3 minutes”.

A few other valuable lessons.

Go into the race with a plan but be flexible and prepared for it to change.

Take energy from your support crew and other runners, and be sure to give the same positive vibes back.

And, most importantly of all, remember to have a good time!

What’s next?

After the TSP DIY experience, it’s safe to say I may now have the ultra-running bug. Next stop, the Stromlo Running Festival in Canberra mid-November. Then, who knows!

Jacqui Mooney is a Sydney-based editor, content director and media consultant. She’s the former editor of Women’s Health Australia and a passionate supporter of women in sport. You can find her on Instagram @jacqmooney

What is Periodisation and why is it important?

What is Periodisation?

Periodisation is the division of longer training cycles, called macrocycles, into smaller and more manageable periods, known as mesocycles.

A macrocycle is typically 6 to 12 months. A mesocycle is normally the main training target for a particular period such as anaerobic power or muscular endurance and contains 3 to 6 microcycles.

The primary goal of periodisation is to manage and coordinate all aspects of your training to reach peak performance at a certain point in time, such as a race or an event.

Periodisation can also be used to manage performance and improvement effectively over longer training periods, like summer racing season.

We use periodisation in the design of our training programs, like STRONGCorps Group Personal Training to maximise training adaptations of our athletes and prevent the onset of overtraining syndrome (OTS). We do this through planned manipulation of training variables, like load, sets, and repetitions.

Why is periodisation important?

The goal of periodisation is to maximise your performance and improvement whilst reducing your risk of injury and the staleness of your training over the long term.

  • Each mesocycle targets a specific goal or series of attributes to be developed within a designated period of time.
  • Periods of appropriate overload and recovery are designated within each mesocycle. This is done to ensure the neuromuscular system adapts maximally.
  • Alterations to training load or stress, volume, and intensity can be made, where necessary, within each mesocycle.

In summary, if programmed and utilised appropriately, periodisation can result in achieving peak performance multiple times over a series of activities such as competitive trail running or ultramarathons or optimise performance over an entire competitive season in sports such as soccer or netball.

5 myths about Run Club … Debunked!

The Run Club is gaining popularity as women, and men, are choosing to run as part of organised groups to get their exercise fix. Every Wednesday, as the sun goes down, an unlikely group gathers in Rozelle.

They come from all walks of life

One is a landscape gardener. Another works in PR. Someone else is an editor at a major magazine. A number are from the finance world. Others are engineers, teachers, musicians, accountants, veterinarians, even full-time university students.

They’re all dressed in running gear but they’re not necessarily training for anything in particular.

Nor are they there to compete.

They’ve come together because they love running with a group of inclusive, supportive, like-minded runners of all abilities.

Welcome to Rozelle Run Club

The rise of Run Clubs has proliferated over the past 10 years. They draw people in for the camaraderie and experiential thrill of running through an empty city together but it’s the type of people they draw that has changed the sport of running so profoundly.

Rozelle Run Club isn’t just about the already converted, it’s also about non-runners and people new to the sport.

Here are five common myths about Run Clubs … debunked!

Myth 1: It’ll be too hard

Rozelle Run Club sessions are a mixture of both high-intensity and moderate-intensity activity. We put the sessions together in such a way that regardless of your level of fitness (whether they’re a beginner or an advanced athlete) you’re able to run at a level that is appropriate for you.

They’re also challenging enough that you walk away from knowing you’ve had a rewarding session.

No-one is left to run on their own. We ensure sessions are inclusive regardless of your ability so that every participant knows that they are part of the team.

Myth 2: I’m too slow, it will be embarrassing

When we re-launched Rozelle Run Club in late 2017 we wanted to ensure there was a team culture that was courteous, supportive and inclusive. So we created the “4 Rules of Run Club”, although they’re more of a creed than rules…

RULE #1: WE ALWAYS TALK ABOUT RUN CLUB

We tell friends, family, work colleagues, that Rozelle Run Club is the place to be on Wednesday nights.

RULE #2: WE’RE ALWAYS COURTEOUS TO OTHERS

The path or trail is there to share, we always give way to others, two-legged and four-legged.

We’re focused on supporting the health and wellbeing within the local community and we want to be seen as respectful and courteous when people see us coming – we’re proud to be recognised as “there goes Rozelle Run Club – they’re a great bunch of people”

RULE #3: WE’RE ALWAYS SUPPORTIVE

If we see a fellow run clubber struggling, particularly our newest members, we encourage them.

Ego gets left at the door and all levels of runner are made to feel welcome regardless of their ability or fitness level. We may have some elite athletes running with us but they love being able to encourage our less experienced or less fit members.

RULE #4: WE START AS A TEAM. WE FINISH AS A TEAM.

Similar to Rule #3 every participant knows that they are part of the team and they’re never left to run on their own.

Myth 3: It will just be men

We’ve got a great mix of men and women of all abilities and experience. A picture tells a 1000 words…

Myth 4: A single session won’t affect my fitness

Some people would have you believe that you need to train 6-7 days a week to stand any chance of seeing the results you want. They’ll tell you that any less will not result in an increase in fitness but is this true?

Simply put, no it’s not.

Research shows that training as little as once a week can still induce gains in performance and aerobic capability.

Benefits if high-intensity exercise

High-intensity exercise, like sprinting or hill repeats, burns through large amounts of calories quickly and builds and strengthens muscle. Moderate-intensity anaerobic or any aerobic exercise, such as jogging, can grow the number of mitochondria (cellular power plants) in your cells, increase the volume of blood in your veins and arteries, and boost your overall cardiovascular health.

In a 2013 Runner’s World magazine article, cardiologist and researcher James O’Keefe stated, “A daily exercise habit is the single most powerful therapy for improving both the quality and quantity of your life. Getting just 30 minutes daily of moderate or vigorous physical activity can cut your risk almost in half for premature death, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, and heart attack.”

Another study found that runners had a 19 percent lower risk of death than non-runners. But the data also indicated that running has a “sweet spot” with regard to health benefits.

“The latest data from our studies and others strongly suggest that the ideal dose of daily vigorous exercise is about 30 to 60 minutes,” Dr. O’Keefe says in the article. “If you do more than 60 minutes of strenuous exercise daily, you start to lose some of the health benefits seen with lesser amounts of physical activity.”

But is just 45 minutes enough?

Exercising for just 45 minutes can increase the number of calories you burn throughout the day, through what’s known are the “afterburn effect” or EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption).

Originally referred to as an oxygen debt, this post-exercise state was first examined by A.V. Hill and H. Lupton in 1922. Further studies on the benefits and effects of EPOC have found that the intensity of an exercise also has a direct impact on the EPOC. As exercise intensity increases, so too the magnitude and duration of EPOC increases. Therefore, the higher the intensity, the greater the EPOC and the greater the caloric expenditure after exercise has been completed. We know that it generally takes anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours after a workout for your body to fully recover to a resting state, meaning you experience benefits long after your session has ended.

Myth 5: It’s expensive

All Pace Athletic’s Run Clubs are completely FREE! Just turn up and run.

Click to find out more about Rozelle Run Club

Rozelle Run Club wouldn’t be possible without the support Pace Athletic and Balmain Sports Medicine

Pace Athletic is an independent, 100% Australian owned business located in Sydney and a proud partner of V&B Athletic. As an innovative group of experienced sports shoe specialists, the team at Pace strives to help people meet their running, walking or general fitness goals and offer weekly run clubs in Rozelle, Manly, and Mosman – visit their website to find out more.

Balmain Sports Medicine – As Sydney’s largest and best equipped sports medicine centres, Balmain Sports Medicine can provide you with access to an extensive range of equipment, facilities and specialists for all your health and recovery needs. They have over 30 different practitioners who specialise in a wide range of skills and services. So no matter your injury, you’ll always have an inhouse professional to ensure you receive the best care and attention, to help you recover faster – visit their website to find out more.

City 2 Surf: Race Day Top Tips

How to enjoy one of Australia’s most popular road running events and the fifth largest running event in the world! The Sun Herald City 2 Surf.

Heartbreak Hill

A lot of people focus on the infamous section of the City 2 Surf which starts approximately 6km into the course from the Rose Bay shops and then rises about 75m over the next 2km with an average grade of approx. 3-4%, otherwise known as “Heartbreak Hill”.

In reality, it’s not the gradient that affects most runners but the fact it’s the third climb in the race. By the time you’ve reached the top, you’re past the halfway point of the course. Running is very much a mental game – if you’ve made this into a big thing in your head in the lead-up, it will impact you much more significantly on the day.

The key is to pace yourself! By shortening your stride and maintaining a fast cadence or turnover of your feet, you’ll keep the intensity to a moderate level and be able to maintain good momentum for the climb.

Halfway up it flattens out into a steady, gentle incline. Get through the first half and then pick up your speed again when you pass the Anglican church on the left. Before you know it you’re over the top and cruising!

Don’t forget to hydrate

Don’t just wing it on race day!

Being properly hydrated in the days leading up to the race means not just downing that bottle of electrolytes at the start line. As a general rule, men should aim to drink 2.5 litres of water each day and women roughly 2 litres.

Avoid consuming a huge amount of water right before the race as it will leave your stomach feeling full, bloated and nauseous. This will also prevent the need to take that mid-race toilet break.

During the race, you need to stay hydrated.

If you’re worried those drink stations will slow you down, avoid the area at the start of the station. This is where most of the crowd will head first and it becomes the most congested. Instead, skirt around the mass of people and grab a drink from the far end of the drink station.

Know your fuel

Test this as part of your training sessions to find what works best for you and decide in advance what you plan to eat before and during the race. As the golden rule states “Don’t try anything new on Race Day”.

If you’re going to use gels or energy supplements on the day make sure you train with them first and don’t change the type or the flavour you’re going to use on race day. Introducing something new on the day can upset your stomach and the last thing you want is a “gut bomb” while you’re running.

Generally, 14km doesn’t really warrant much in the way of energy gels anyway. Start the day with a good breakfast, ideally at least 2-3 hours before you expect to start running. Go for some natural yoghurt, oats and fruit or multigrain toast with banana and honey. This will give you’ll have plenty of fuel to get you across that finish line.

Stay warm on the start line

Wear old clothes that you don’t mind donating to charity.

That old jumper that’s been hiding at the back of your wardrobe? Wear it and then toss it once the gun goes off. Just be sure to get it out to the sides of your start group so people don’t trip over it!

All discarded clothing is collected and distributed to charity. So you’re staying warm and doing a good thing for those less fortunate.

Start slow and keep it steady

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and go out too hard.

Unless you are right at the front of your group, just relax! Remember you have a journey ahead of you so try starting at a steady pace.

Try and run the most direct line possible.

This can be difficult depending on what wave you start in, but try to hug the bends, cut off the corners of wide sections and avoid wasting energy on useless metres by weaving constantly through the crowd, otherwise you could end up doing a lot more than 14km! If you run at a good tempo you should notice the crowd start to thin as you progress and you can then adjust to a more direct race line.

Above all else have fun!

Don’t forget to look around and enjoy the atmosphere.

While you’re going to push yourself a little harder on race day, it’s not supposed to be torture! The course provides some amazing views of Sydney with an amazing party feel the whole way down to Bondi. Cheering spectators, balcony parties, DJs and bands line the route and fellow participants dressed in ridiculous costumes will be cheering you on!

Key POI (points of interest)

  1. When you hit the William St tunnel, take the opportunity to look back, the sight is amazing.
  2. Once in the tunnel, the noise of the footsteps and the calls from the thousands of runners is one of the highlights of the run.
  3. The band cranking out Rock Anthems on the awning of the Golden Sheaf Hotel. In past years it’s been bands such as Tim Rogers and You Am I!
  4. Look out for the blue Smurfs camped out around 4km from the start line. If you want to finish the race don’t accept the beers they might be offering you though!
  5. Cruising down to Bondi through kilometre 13 is an absolute dream and can be your fastest kilometre even if you are exhausted.

How do I train for a race like the City 2 Surf?

Our RHYTHM Running Training Plans provide 12-week programs to get you from zero all the way to half marathon distance. So if you’re considering the City 2 Surf for the first time or looking to improve your running performance, get in touch!

Jase Cronshaw is co-founder and co-owner of V&B Athletic. He is an Australian endurance athlete and coach, procrastinating artist, teetotalist, and a guy who loves to run! You can find him on Instagram @coachcronshaw

6 Nutrition Tips every runner should know

Are you a running newbie or a seasoned pro?

The right nutrition is essential to ensuring you’ll perform at your best come race day, though it is the often a forgotten part of these events.

Being able to tick the box that says you’ve run a marathon or done an ultra-endurance event is on many peoples bucket lists, and rightly so – being able to run for an extended period of time, on any type of terrain is a fantastic achievement!

Here are 6 nutrition tips to help you get your nutrition right for your next race.

Eat based on your goals

There’s been so much in the media in recent years about if you should be low carb, high fat; high carb low fat, or somewhere in between.

Best practice is about eating enough of the right nutrients to support your training, help you achieve your goals and keep you healthy.

Eating and drinking enough carbohydrate to support your training is essential; consuming carbs before and during your race allows you to race at your individual maximal sustainable pace. Not enough means you won’t be able to move as fast. Given that for the majority of people participating in endurance activity, the goal is to do the best you can (and by best I mean the fastest speed over the distance), carbs are king. This doesn’t necessarily mean high carb though; it means eating enough to support your training, which means more around training sessions and races, and less at other times.

The one caveat here is if you do happen to NOT be aiming for your maximal sustainable pace; maybe you’re pacing a friend who is less experienced, and doesn’t move as quickly as you, you’ll likely find that during the event you can get away with consuming less, as you’re moving at slower than your maximal sustainable pace.

Choose your food

Some foods are better suited at certain times than others.

For example, high GI carbohydrate which is digested quickly is better consumed either right before or during endurance activity, such as a sports drink or gel.

Lower GI or slower digested carbohydrate is better when you have more time beforehand, or the day before, such as whole grain bread, brown rice or pasta. Lower fat choices right before activity are also suggested, as higher fat choices slow digestion.

Donuts (unfortunately) do not make for a good choice!

Fasted and Fed sessions

Doing some of your training sessions fasted will help your body better adapt to using fat as fuel, as does including some sessions where you’ve eaten before. As a starting point, for your longer sessions and resistance sessions, eat something beforehand (e.g. banana, muesli and milk, toast with peanut butter and honey). For shorter sessions, do these without eating beforehand.

Timing is Key!

Eating adequate amounts before, during and after sessions is essential.

Eat something beforehand that is easily digestible that leaves you feeling comfortable. For most men, aiming for 40-60g of carbohydrate is adequate per hour during a training session or race.

Is this a lot? Potentially, and the reason it is important to test your fuel out in training sessions so you know what works for you. Aim to eat within 30 minutes of finishing the training for best recovery results, and to help manage appetite later on in the day.

YOU PLAY THE WAY YOU TRAIN

We all know not to wear new running shoes on race day; nutrition is the same.

Practice your nutrition strategies during training to help instil you with confidence in what you have planned, and to iron out any kinks in your plan. Check out our Evolve Endurance Nutrition Program for guidance on how to fuel effectively during your race as well as during your training and recovery.

Remember to Hydrate!

Drinking enough fluid day to day is essential for a number of reasons.

These daily needs significantly increase as soon as you add endurance training and events into the mix. Remember to check the colour of your urine and aim for pale yellow to colourless, and if you find you sweat a lot, also incorporate electrolyte drinks as well to help replace those lost in your sweat.

Top 3 tips to fitness success

There is a fitness success secret… but it’s not what you think

How much would you be willing to pay for a fool-proof system that creates space and time in your busy schedule for workouts and doubles your chance of fitness success?

No it isn’t found in a scoop of some hard to pronounce powdered supplement nor is it some new type of “athleisurewear” or a fancy new app.

It’s a proven method that’s guaranteed to get you out of a rut or a plateau in your training.

The secret is a workout buddy

Why? It’s simple. ACCOUNTABILITY!

Having someone else to workout with means you’ll show up and keep showing up.

Humans are social animals

We seek the company and positive reinforcement of others, especially when we are engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a result.

A 2011 study published in Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that the exercise habits of people you know have a positive influence on your exercise habits.

Workout buddies provide a powerful combination of support, motivation, and in some cases, healthy competition.

Workout buddies generally fall into one of three categories

The Dynamic Duo

These are typically friends or colleagues, who train together one-on-one and have developed a regular routine for fitness activities.

The Group Effort

This is collective of people who work out at the same pre-appointed time and place as a group, typically but not always with a trainer, such as STRONGCorps Group Training or RUNCorps Run Club.

The Coupled Pair

These are your romantic partnerships, a married couple for example, who pursue their fitness activities together and may or may not do the same workout, but they block off time and space for being active as a couple.

Find the collaboration that works for you

Get to setting a routine and begin to reap the results…

  1. Motivation to do just one more set, one more lap or one more minute.
  2. Renewed sense of commitment to get out of the house when you are feeling demotivated and uninspired.
  3. Inspiration to push past that feeling of wanting to quit!

Coach Jase Cronshaw is co-founder and co-owner of V&B Athletic. He is an Australian endurance athlete and coach, procrastinating artist, teetotalist, and a guy who loves to run! You can find him on Instagram @coachcronshaw

How to tackle your first Ultra Marathon

Pace. Gear. Nutrition.

Three causes of the most common mistakes made by aspiring endurance runners when embarking on their first ultra-marathon.

We outline how to get maximum enjoyment out of your first journey down “the long trail”.

Never try anything new on race day

If you haven’t used it and tested it during your training, leave it at home on race day. That includes clothing, footwear, gear (i.e. head torches) and nutrition.

Your shoes play a pivotal role

Planning on wearing those fancy new pair of shoes for the first time on the day of your race? Don’t. New shoes can easily give you blisters and various other lower leg pains. This can easily ruin all the hard work you’ve put in to get to the start line.

That goes for clothing, gear and nutrition too

If you haven’t used it and tested it in anger during your training, leave it at home. Avoid the temptation to sport that wonderful event t-shirt you scored in the goodie bag. Even the smallest inefficiencies in gear become amplified tenfold in an ultra-marathon. Many times we fail to use race-day gear in training. Small things, both mental and physical like chafing and unwarranted fatigue, become huge setbacks and will quickly ruin your chances of a successful ultra-marathon campaign.

Carry ALL the mandatory gear and make sure it’s good quality

It’s worth the investment and not just because it will be checked. It’s there for a reason.

During a recent ultra-marathon event, we needed to use every single piece of mandatory gear. Bad weather had closed in and with a sub-zero wind-chill factor the temperature plummetted; many competitors were caught out and ended up being treated for hypothermia as they were under-prepared. If you’re going to buy one expensive piece, consider having a good outer-most layer that keeps you warm and dry.

A quality waterproof jacket, like Kathmandu’s Zeolite v2, can mean the difference between an awesome day out or one you’d much rather forget.

Practice packing and unpacking your pack

Ideally, train with a full pack with all mandatory gear and individually bag your items in waterproof bags. Use sealable bags like Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil bags or for a cheaper option GLAD Snap Lock Bags. They need to be sealable so you can squeeze the air out of them and keep the contents dry. Bagging them individually helps with packing but also means you can access things quickly.

Label or colour code your gear. This will help you to find what you’re looking for when your brain is no longer working properly.

What about those items you’re least like to use… Most ultra-marathon events now require you to carry your lights and hi-vis vest with you from the start. Pack these at the bottom of your pack as you won’t need them until later in the event. There’s nothing wrong with packing a lighter headlamp for the day. If you have a bigger, chunkier headlamp that will be your main one at night, you can collect this during the race.

Use gaiters

You don’t need to spend $100 on them. Cloth gaiters are available if you want to be fancy otherwise mowing gaiters from Bunnings do the job just as well for a fraction of the price. You want to prevent rocks and dirt getting in your shoes. As the saying goes “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

Don’t wait for chafe, lube up early!

As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than a cure”. Lots of products available including powders for socks that help dry feet out as well as prevent friction with product such as Body Glide, Lanacane or 3B Neat for those areas where chafing between skin surfaces and fabric is likely to occur; between the buttocks, between the legs and beneath the breasts and for the gents, nipples. Also remember the shoulders where your pack may rub and the lower area of your back where older packs can rub; the newer, more modern vests like Salomon Skin and Ultimate Direction shouldn’t do this. Don’t wait for chafe, lube up early!

Use layers to manage your temperature

Most ultra-marathons start in the early hours. Use gloves early and at night when it’s getting cold. But also be careful of overheating, particularly at the start of your race – it may be cold early in the morning but unlikely to be cold enough to need your thermals on. You will heat up quickly.

With an event like Ultra Trail Australia the start can be congested for quite a while once you hit the single track, because of the number of runners in this event; it gets difficult to stop and disrobe out of your warm gear, and you’ll lose quite a few places if you need to do that in the early stages. If it’s cold, go with your waterproof jacket, buff and gloves as these can be packed away quickly and easily without the need to stop.

Wear headwear that you can adjust

A buff or neck tube is perfect as you can use it to trap heat when you’re cold or let heat out when you’re warm. You can also use it around your wrist like a sweat band to mop sweat and wipe your nose!

Mental strategies are key

Pack a change of shirt and socks for the mid-point… sure. However if everything is feeling great, socks and shoes aren’t rubbing, then consider not changing unless you absolutely need to and saving them for much later in the event. There is not much better feeling out there than a fresh pair of socks after 8 hours or so of wearing the same pair through mud, water and bush.

Nutrition

Hydrate!

Don’t just wing it on race day. Being properly hydrated in the days leading up to the race and not just downing that bottle of electrolytes at the start line is the key! At a minimum, you should aim to consume at least two to two and a half litres of water every day to ensure your body is functioning at its peak.

Before your first ultra-marathon

Ideally, you should have tested this as part of your long-distance training sessions to find what works best for you but decide in advance what you plan to eat before your event. As the golden rule states “Don’t try anything new on Race Day”.

During your first ultra-marathon

This is a very individual thing but whatever works for you, do it regularly and frequently throughout the race. You’ll begin the day feeling good and running strong, you’ll be churning through those energy stores, so avoid not beginning early enough. At the first signs of a sour stomach and we tend to shy away from eating. This is the last thing you want to do. You can’t run when you aren’t fueling and hydrating.

Check out our Evolve Endurance Nutrition Program for guidance on how to fuel effectively during your race as well as during your training and recovery,

Pace yourself!

Start slow and keep it steady

Avoid getting caught up in the excitement and going out too hard, remember you have a journey ahead of you so try starting at a steady pace.

Stay relaxed and positive

Think back to the hard work you’ve put in to get there – all you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other until you cross that finish line. Listening to music helps some to refocus when things get a little tough for others, having someone to share those dark patches with is a better way to keep their spirits up so if you fall into stride with someone, ask how they’re travelling!

Have fun!

Take a look around and enjoy the atmosphere.

Remember that you signed up for this whole crazy thing in the first place. You’re going to push yourself a little harder on race day, but it’s not supposed to be torture! You’ve put in all the hard work getting to the start line, now’s the time to enjoy the rewards that come with your first ultra-marathon!