11 Tips for beginner runners by Laura Scanlon

Hi Guys,

When it comes to fitness nothing happens overnight and this is especially true with running. Persistence is key and making that first commitment to wanting to be better is a great start. I started running when I was 7 years old, it is something that I thank my parents for getting me involved in. It has stood to me in many ways. Unbeknown to me back then it would be the start of a long fitness journey that I am still on 22 years later. Running can be a love/hate relationship, but once you get over the initial hurdle of where to start then it can be a journey you can take forward with you in your life.

I have compiled 11 tips for beginners and also for those who need the motivation to get back into it. 

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If I could give one piece of advice to someone who is new to running it would be........'have patience'

 

Top Tips:

  1. Invest in good running shoes - injuries from poorly supported running shoes can cause major setbacks. So get the proper advice when buying. 

  2. Always warm up - jumping jacks, jump squat, walking lunges, half burpees....just get moving before running straight into it. Light stretching is also good, hip opener exercises, quad stretches & calf stretches.

  3. Make it a habit rather than a chore - even if you only get out for a few minutes a day, all those minutes will add up to making you fitter.

  4. Go for distance rather than time - slow it down, don't stress about your pace or time, be patient. Try a 0.5 of a kilometre and slowly build from there. 

  5. Take breaks when needed - if you have only been running for a few minutes and feel you need to stop then do. Keep a nice walking pace, catch your breath and start to jog again. You should always be able to have a conversation when running, otherwise you are over exerting.

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Stretching is a vital part of  recovery.

 

 

6. Join a running club - what better motivation than having a coach tell you what to do and having a training group.

7. Keep a training diary - this is a guaranteed winner to motivate you as the weeks go by. It is like having a mini celebration each week.

8. Don't neglect other types of training - like resistance training, we all need muscle to help make us stronger while running and also to protect our bones. Also activation exercises for the glutes are essential to prevent injury. Click here to see my top glute activation exercises 

9. Remember why you started - it is very important to remember why you wanted to start in the first place. Whether it was weight loss, tone up, gain speed, gain endurance always remember that.

10. Set a goal- if you have a goal set in your mind you are more likely to be motivated to keep it, especially if it is something set in stone, like a race. Participating in a race is also a great way to meet people in the running community. Your goal can also be a smaller one like, just being able to run better and more fluid in 4 weeks time.

11. Rest days - are essential for recovery, over doing it will only slow down your progress. 

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"One run can change your day, many runs can change your life"

All running gear in images are new season OTG Active

Happy running guys, don't forget to comment if you have any questions. Or I would love to hear about your running journey to date. Be sure to check out my "Running Workouts" ebook, sign up via the pop up on my website and get it sent straight to your email.

Laura x

 

 

Staying Active Outdoors in Cape Town - with Cotton On Body by Laura Scanlon

I live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I definitely do not take it for granted. When I was asked to collaborate with Cotton On Body on their new season fleece range and what inspires me to wander through nature, I knew I could think of many outdoors activities. I have compiled my top 5 outdoors nature activities in Cape Town, dressed in the cosiest new season athleisure outfits from Cotton On Body. Cotton On Body are a brand that I have loved since moving to Cape Town. Does anyone else live in gym gear Monday to Friday? Yeah, me too ;)

All new season winter range from Cotton On Body available online and in stores now

1. Table Mountain

To this day every time I see Table Mountain it takes my breath away. In the summer months, Table Mountain looks truly magnificent against the blue backdrop of clear Cape skies but on these cloudless days the legendary white 'tablecloth' can suddenly cast over the mountain as if Mother Nature is talking to you. You really have to believe it to see it but the "tablecloth" across Table Mountain is raw natural beauty. Hiking on top of Table Mountain is a pure treat. I like to get the cable car up and down and then hike across the mountains top which is so vast in size that you forget you are 1000 feet above sea level. The views are spectacular on a cloudless day and the nature on top of the mountain includes many types of wild animals and birds.

   The white 'tablecloth' creeping in on top of Table Mountain

The white 'tablecloth' creeping in on top of Table Mountain

2. Hiking

Simply put on your trainers and get moving, my ultimate favourite is Lion's Head hike. It is a big tourist destination and is a must do when in Cape Town. The views are endless from the start to the top. There are two ways to get to the very top, one with chains to help get up a bit quicker and another where you walk and do a slight climb, but both are doable and for the novice hiker.

1st Image is a view of Lions Head & Table Mountain  - 2nd Image is the views from the top of Lions Head

3. walk/run

When i'm running along the coast line down to Camps Bay I feel so full of energy and thankful that I get to experience a city full of beautiful nature. Seapoint promenade is a wonderful area for an easy walk/run. The endless sea views and epic mountain views of Lion's Head & Table Mountain are sure to leave you feeling totally refreshed and in awe of the atlantic seaboards beauty. For me I love running on the promenade down to Camps Bay and back, the full run is aproximatley 8-10k.

New season winter range from Cotton On Body

4. Kayaking at Granger Bay

This is very much a special experience. From the spectacular views of Cape Town from the water, to the dolphins swimming right in front of your eyes and if you are lucky enough to see whales. This activity is really a must do for the adventure type. I went with a guided tour called Atlantic Outlook.

5. Signal Hill

Signal hill is right beside Lions Head and has amazing views and lookout areas of Cape Town. It is a beautiful location to have a picnic and also an epic place to watch the sunrise and sunset. There are no major hikes on Signal Hill but you can walk across to Lions Head. Don't forget your camera to take in all the natural glory around you.

 

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere
— Vincent Van Gogh

No matter what country you are in, make an effort to get out and enjoy the natural beauty around you. Fresh air is good for the soul. Oh and you can always look good doing it too ;) thanks to Cotton On Body I sure did.

Laura x

Glute Activation Exercises by Laura Scanlon

Hey guys, 

One of my favourite areas to train is the glutes and here's why.

Benefits of training the glutes

The gluteus maximus, medius and minimus do more than just add roundness to your behind. These muscles play an important role in your body's functional alignment. Strong glutes protect you from injury, improve your athletic performance within the gym, especially weight training in terms of form when performing lower body exercises. Strong glutes are also necessary to become a strong runner. The longer distances you run without strength training the glutes, the more muscle loss you get. 

Wearing leggings & sports bra from Cotton On Body

The glute muscles also stabilize your pelvis while running and walking. Also good posture and hip extension all come down to good strong glutes, so if you are thinking you just want a rounder bum, you should also be thinking of the health benefits to gain from having a stronger booty.

Activate those Glutes

So to get the glutes activated (wake them up) just stop for a second and ask your brain to clench your bum, that is basically it. It is making a connection from your brain to your muscle to get it to move. This can be done during your warm up, just lie down on a mat, bring your heels in close your your glutes and drive your hips high as you can and squeeze, hold for a couple of seconds and return to starting position, this is the glute bridge exercise. Repeat this for 8-10 reps to get the glutes fired up and ready for your workout. Use a resistance band for added resistance and activation.

Glute Training

I love training the glutes, what girl wouldn't want a more toned bum in fairness (and guys too). I love doing the glute bridge exercise, I incorporate this exercise into my fitness regime at least twice a week along with other glute targeting exercises on other days too. It is very important to commit to a programme for glute building in order to see results. Results also won't happen without commitment to healthy diet and cutting out bad choices like sugary drinks and fast food. 

Why are Glutes so Inactive?

There are many reasons for this but one of the main reasons is we sit to much. Basically if you don't use it, you lose it. So even if you are training hard in the gym, you may be then sitting at your desk for the remainder of the day. Also have you targeted the glutes while in the gym? Most people would say I don't know or I think so. Unless you are running or walking on a serious incline on the treadmill you are not actually activating the glutes. Also if you are not targeting the glutes with certain exercises they are not being isolated. Of course squatting and deadlifts are good training methods for the glutes but these are compound exercises where as in this article my main focus is isolating the glutes. 

 
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What exercises should I do?

Here are my favourite booty activating exercises. These routines alone would not be sufficient enough as a workout but are an excellent way to isolate the glute muscle and get them activated. I would suggest doing this after a good cardio session, whether a run, bike session, row or cross trainer for a minimum of 20-30 minutes. 

Use a resistance band for added activation. I am using 2X 4kg dumbbells for the last exercise.

This is a tough enough workout so ensure you have warmed up properly and stretched.

Check out my YouTube channel for lots more exercises routines. 

Enjoy,

Laura x

My Weekly Healthy Shopping List by Laura Scanlon

Hey guys, 

I know how hard it can be when you arrive in the supermarket and see hot cross buns staring back at you, but this is where willpower comes in. A shopping list is the best way to keep you on track. Have it written out physically or in your notes on your phone. Sunday or Monday is the best day of the week to do your shopping to ensure you start off healthy. Being in control of what you buy when food shopping is an important step, as the saying goes "abs are made in the kitchen". It's easy to forget the healthy choices and pick up bold treats so by writing a list and ticking them off as you go is a great way to stay on track.

Here is a healthy shopping list you can follow this week 

Fruit, Veg

  • Avocados
  • Frozen berries
  • Blueberries
  • Bananas
  • Lemons
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli 
  • Sweet potato 
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Butternut
  • Beetroot

Meat, Fish, Poultry

  • Chicken Breasts
  • Lean Minced Beef
  • Sirlion steak
  • Salmon Fillets
  • Eggs

Dairy/Non Dairy Products

  • Almond Milk (unsweetened)
  • Greek Yoghurt
  • Bio Live Yoghurt
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Low Fat Milk

Grain, Nuts, Seeds

  • Brown Rice - Microwave bags are ideal
  • Quinoa 
  • Goji Berries
  • Flax Seeds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Almonds (raw)
  • Oats
  • Macadamia Nuts

Oils, 

  • Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Low fat mayonaise 

Extras

  • Almond Butter
  • Nut Butter of choice
  • Kidney Beans
  • Honey (High Grade)
  • Herbs ie, Basil, Paprika, Spices of choice
  • Tins of Chopped Tomatoes 
  • Stevia
  • Cinnamon 
  • Over 70% Dark Chocolate
  • Dried Fruit ( snacking)
  • Tined tuna
  • Health crackers

 

Suggested Meals - How to utilise your shopping list

 

Breakfast

  • Greek yogurt with berries, chia seeds
  • Overnight Oats with berries & almond milk
  • Bio live yoghurt with banana, chia seeds, flax seeds 

Lunch

  • Omelette with spinach, cottage cheese
  • Tuna on crackers with low fat mayo & avocado
  • Quinoa salad with chicken breasts and veg
  • Snack on nuts and fruit

Dinner

  • Minced beef with tinned chopped tomatoes, kidney beans desired spices and basmati rice
  • Chicken breasts oven baked with mixed herbs and olive oil with fresh veg
  • Sirloin steak and sweet potato fries with veg
  • Salmon fillet with cottage cheese and veg
  • Warm quinoa mixed with roasted butternut & beetroot and a chicken breast (optional)

I am not a qualified nutritionist this me merely suggesting a healthy shopping list and an example of what I would buy weekly. I hope you this helps keep you on the right healthy eating track. Dont forget to to combine healthy eating with awesome high intensity workouts.

Laura x

Running Tips For Beginners by Laura Scanlon

We all have to start somewhere and there is no time like the present. I have compiled the answers to your questions about how to start running.

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Lets Talk Running

 

How do I start?

It is as simple as putting your trainers on and leaving the house. Anywhere from 10-30 minutes is great. Just start walking then jog for 1-2 minutes then back to walking again. Keep doing for the amount of time you wish. A minimum of 10 minutes initially, working up to 30 minutes. Do this 3/4 times a week until you can run for 30 minutes with no breaks. It will take time but persistence is key. A stop watch is handy but alternatively I like to use lamp post to lamp post if on the road for speed training but the same concept can be used when training to run. Walk to one lamp post then run to the next and so on for the duration of the run/walk.

Should I do other training as well as run?

Yes. Bodyweight and light weight training will really help with your running. The stronger the body is, the better you will carry yourself when running. Core exercises are extremely important, look at exercises that isolate the glutes and abdominal areas. Planks, glute bridges, light dumbbell arm exercises are a good start. These exercises can do done on the same day as you run, either before or after or alternatively on a day you do not run. 

Should I take rest days?

Yes. Rest and recovery is essential in order for your body to adapt and muscles to grow. Self-myofascial release is a term for self-massage to release muscle tightness or trigger points. This can be performed with a foam roller, lacrosse ball. By foam rolling specific muscles on your body you are able to aid in the recovery of muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Normal function means your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to perform at a moment’s notice. This is also known as active recovery, so on your "day off" don't sit around feeling stiff and sore, get up and get foam rolling. 

Do I need proper running gear?

Not necessarily, but what you do need (for women) is the correct training bra that fits well and supports. Cotton On Body have a new high impact range for bigger busted women who enjoy high intensity workouts like running. I have tried and tested this myself and the quality and support is perfect. Correct running shoes are also essential for preventing injuries.

 

Should I warm up before I run?

Yes. The body will run and feel more fluid when you have gently warmed up. Here is a warm up I like to do before I head out. 4 Rounds of the following. 

  1. High Knees on the spot X 40
  2. Kick Backs X 40
  3. Jumping Jacks X 40
  4. Air Squat X 20

Complete some light stretches after the warm up and after your run.

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Listen to Your Body!

If you start to feel aches and pains that don't go away after a few days, it's time for active recovery like we spoke about in the above post. Pushing too hard will only set you back. Ease up a bit, and you'll continue to improve without injury.

Happy running :)

Laura

 

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