Leg Love! 4 Ways to Stretch Your Legs

Leg Love for Runners!

By Rachel Grunwell – Rotorua Marathon ambassador, marathoner, coach and yoga teacher

This blog was proudly sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event. Find out more about the event on May 6, 2023. There is a distance for every level of walker or runner. Click HERE.

See a video demonstration (with tips) for these yoga poses too via instagram. Click HERE.

I recommend dynamic stretches before you run (to prepare your body for moving well so you can run well) and static stretches post-running (to bring length back to tight muscles and so you can avoid walking like the lego man)!

Stretching overall is a good injury-prevention tool.

Ps, I caution that you should never force a stretch, or bounce fast through movements. You can risk pulling a muscle. If you are tight then you can feel uncomfortable, but you should never feel pain.

Remember to breathe as you move and find joy in the movements!

#ad #yogaforrunners #mobility #rotoruamarathon #rotoruanz

Peddle your feet in downward dog.
Hold this stretch for 40 seconds to 90 seconds. Repeat 2-4 times each side.
Hold this stretch for 40 seconds to 90 seconds each side 2-4 times.
If you don’t have a yoga strap at home… just use a belt. You might have one on your dressing gown.
Only go into this stretch with 60%-70% effort. Never force the stretch. If you are shaking, then don’t go into the stretch too deep. Be kind on yourself. If you are relaxed, then you will go into the stretch with more ease (over time).
Sign up for the Red Stag Marathon, Red Stag Half Marathon, Go Media 10km, First Credit Union 5.5km event by clicking HERE

Note: Reach out to me on social media if you have any questions. I’ve run the Red Stag Rotorua Marathon 42km distance four times – including three times guiding blind runners. I’ve done the Red Stag Half Marathon and Go Media 10km event twice too. I’m an experienced runner and I’ve conquered 25 marathons. I love teaching yoga to athletes to enhance their training and performance. It’s an injury prevention tool that I am passionate to share.

I also love this iconic Rotorua event. I’ve run it with my dad, my kids, friends and their kids, and guided disabled athletes through the event too. This event is joy-filled and for real athletes like you and me, plus the elites are inspiring to watch too!

Connect with Rachel on Instagram or Facebook

6 Tips to Boost Your Corrosive Self-Talk

AD/Your Self-Talk Matters – It impacts everything from Weight-Loss, to Anxiety, Depression… to Fuelling Your Success in Sports to your Work…

– Blog By Rachel Grunwell (wellness coach, speaker, & author of Balance: Food, health + Happiness). Rachel co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats at the Polynesian Spa. Book a weekend-long retreat getaway HERE

Connect with Rachel via Instagram: @rachelgrunwell 

Negative self-talk is a trend I witness with many of my wellness coaching clients. It breaks my heart.

My clients are juggling all the balls in the air but still struggle with love for themselves. They lack self-love and often practice negative and damaging self-talk. Their inner dialogue with themselves is mean, unkind and is holding them back from their true potential.

They see themselves through a lens of “not enough”. Not pretty enough, slim enough, smart enough, fit enough, or good enough. They feel guilty about taking “me time” to uplift their health. They feel like “me time” steals time away from giving more to others.

I tell my clients: You are enough. You are worthy. You are special. You are beautiful. You deserve to be seen, heard, and loved. It’s okay to nurture yourself, your health and look after yourself. You matter too. You deserve the chance to chase after your dreams, goal-crush and be the best version of you. The only one holding you back is “you”. If you look after “you” then you can give even more back to others you love, I promise”….

I advise my clients to practice self-love if they want to be successful in this one, precious, short life. You must talk to yourself in a similar way that you’d talk to your best friend or a child. – with tenderness, compassion, kindness, understanding and love. Otherwise, you’ll stay “stuck”.

How you speak to yourself fuels how you feel on the inside. It can have a ripple effect too with others. And those beliefs that you have inside your head can influence how you behave. You need self-love for kick-ass confidence in the world and to move forwards.

If your self-talk is negative and said out loud then the impact can be even more corrosive. If you say you are stupid and then your child hears this and copies your role-modelling… it will feel devastating to hear them repeat those words about themselves.

Positive self-talk can impact on your success on uplifting your health. An example of positive self-talk might sound like: “I’m tired today and so I won’t make it out for a run today and that’s okay. Tomorrow I’ll go and move my body and keep trying my best. I deserve this healthy me-time”. This positive self-talk is more likely to lead to more positive healthy behaviours.

This is rather than saying something negative like: “I’m not going running today because I’m useless and I may as well give up now…” 

The latter sentence will likely result in future fitness inaction.

My dream is to help more women believe in themselves and so they can goal-crush. I’d like to inspire everyone to help to stop this unhealthy cycle of negative self-talk. We need to fuel a culture of self-acceptance, worthiness, self-compassion, and self-love instead. We need a nurturing self-talk revolution.

Critical to living a wholehearted, authentic and full life is loving ourselves, writes Brene Brown in her book ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’. Positive self-talk is a key to leaving dark thoughts and to living more in the light.

Being kind with our self-talk is also all about helping us to move forwards, feel resilient and live

more vibrantly alive.

Tips for more positive Self-Talk: 

1. Use a ritual daily to practice a self-love mantra that helps you to change your self-talk dialogue. For instance, one of my girlfriends Cristina tells herself out loud 

“I am beautiful” daily while she puts on her moisturiser in front of the mirror. 

While she massages in the cream, she says these kind words to herself. This is instead of things like “I shouldn’t have drunk wine last night or stayed up so late and that’s why I look tired”…

2. Embrace your imperfections – and realise this takes time and commitment. These are things that make you look beautiful and look like “you”.

3. Make a conscious choice to believe in yourself and say positive things out loud. Let kids hear you speak these kind, positive, uplifting mantras.

4. Set boundaries. Say no to things you don’t want to do – otherwise if you say “yes” you feel resentment later. A no for someone else, is a “yes” for your soul health.

5. Find something that calms your nervous system. I personally use yoga, mediation, and I savour my cup of coffee mindfully daily where I pause and feel gratitude for the upcoming day. If I feel really anxious then I reach out to uplifting friends, or go for a walk (which in my book Balance explains how this calms anxiety).

6. Take time to do things you love to do. Practice being playful. These things can boost your mood and confidence.

  • This is a sponsored post by the Polynesian Spa. Rachel is an ambassador for the spa complex where she co-leads the Mindful Moments retreats.

Go Green Expo Workshop Event in Auckland!

As an award-winning writer, qualified coach and yoga instructor, Rachel helps people to manage their weight, get fit and feel happier.

About this Event

Sick of the wu-wu health stuff and wellness white-noise that’s just so darn confusing?

Get science-backed health and happiness hacks (that are proven to work) from global experts by spending an hour in this workshop with Rachel Grunwell.

Drawing from the key principals in her book, Balance, Rachel will share the wisdom she’s learned from 30 worldwide experts to help you live healthier and happier with wisdom that actually works. Tips include nutrition hacks, psychology smarts, emotional intelligence advice, fitness motivation strategies and wellbeing wisdom that will motivate you into action. 

Rachel has been on a remarkable health journey herself. She shares how she transformed her life… and what to do to transform yours.

Book your ticket by clicking HERE

Rachel’s retreat are usually almost $500. This workshop is just $55 and includes the book Balance (retails $40) and a bonus beauty product from the New Zealand made beauty brand Linden Leaves.

Mindful Moments Retreat – book now!

PolySpa 3

Switch off from your busy life and experience two days on our Mindful Moments Retreat to bring your mind, body and spirit into balance. Surrounded by the natural elements of Rotorua and Polynesian Spa’s therapeutic alkaline and acid waters, you will be guided through yoga, mindfulness, meditation and wellness workshops.  We will also be taking time to indulge in world-renowned Polynesian Spa therapy treatments.

Mindful Moments is hosted by our highly experienced Spa and Retreat Manager Helena Keenan and inspirational Polynesian Spa Health and Wellness ambassador Rachel Grunwell.

This unique geothermal bathing and soul soothing retreat originated here at Polynesian Spa in 2016 and has established itself as a must do health and wellness experience for those wanting to unwind, relax and reset.




Saturday 11th August – Sunday 12th August

Saturday 8th September – Sunday 9th September

Saturday 10th November –  Sunday 11th November


$479.00 per person



Relaxation & Mindfulness Techniques

Mindfulness & Meditation Session

Therapy Treatment

Yoga Class hosted by Rachel Grunwell

Wellbeing Workshop

Entry to the Deluxe Lake Spa

Morning Tea


Transport to Walk Location

Premium Retreat Gift Bag




Natures Gift Mud Massage

Polynesian Spa Signature Mud Wrap

Polynesian Spa Signature Aix Mud Therapy

*Please note the Pure Source Mud Polish will be used for the AIX Therapy*


We can offer exclusive rates for The Millennium Hotel Rotorua to those joining us on a Mindful Moments Retreat for accommodation rates please contact us upon booking. Bookings will need to be made directly with the hotels reservation team and Terms and Conditions will apply to the booking, these are at the discretion of The Millennium Hotel Rotorua. 

There is also a wide selection of hotels, luxury lodges, lake-side bachs, charming motels available in Rotorua to check options click here.



Helena’s personal experience with Meditation began in 1992 developing for her a deep interest in the Wellbeing benefits of Meditation. Further studies and reading into Mindfulness Meditation created a goal to pursue formal studies in this area. Eventually the opportunity to study Mindfulness Meditation Teacher training with Dr Ian Gawler arose and in 2009 Helena completed her first training course in this field. More recently Helena has completed further studies with Ian Gawler and Ruth Gawler in Australia in the practices of Guided Imagery and Contemplation. Now settled in Rotorua, Helena brings a diverse and extensive skill-set to Polynesian Spa. 

Website: www.polynesianspa.co.nz

Facebook: PolynesianSpa

Instagram: polynesianspa


Rachel is an award-winning writer, speaker, wellness columnist & healthy recipe creator (Good magazine), qualified yoga teacher, blogger & influencer.

Website: www.inspiredhealth.co.nz

Facebook: InspiredHealthNZ

Instagram: inspiredhealthandfitness




Polynesian Spa announces homegrown ambassador

polynesian spa

Pictured: Rachel Grunwell at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa

ROTORUA, Thursday 25th January 2018:  Health and wellness expert Rachel Grunwell, who grew up in Rotorua, has been announced as the new brand ambassador for New Zealand’s leading hot spring and luxury spa experience, Polynesian Spa.

A mother of three, Rachel is a yoga and meditation teacher, wellness magazine columnist, keynote speaker, healthy recipe creator and runs the Inspired Health website and social media channels with a combined fan base of around 20,000 Kiwis.

Polynesian Spa chief executive Gert Taljaard says they selected Rachel to be their ambassador because of her influential health and wellbeing background, but also because Rotorua is very close to her heart. She was born and raised in Rotorua and even once worked with the complex as a massage therapist. 

“It’s great to have an ambassador who has had a lifetime relationship with Polynesian Spa having spent her childhood years growing up enjoying our pools and her early career working as part of our team.  Having authentic ambassadors on board is very important to us” says Taljaard.

As brand ambassador, Rachel will be inspiring people to lead a naturally healthier lifestyle by integrating the benefits of mineral bathing, spa treatments and mindful moments into their wellness regime.

“I’m excited to be part of the Polynesian Spa family. I can’t wait to share real-life and science-backed wellness wisdom to help people to be healthier and happier. I’m looking forward to being back in Rotorua more regularly and it’s great to be collaborating in an industry which I am passionate about” says Grunwell.

Ironically one of the two exclusive alkaline and acidic springs that feeds into the 28 pools that Polynesian Spa boasts onsite is named the Rachel Spring and the new ambassador has been excited to rediscover the history of the therapeutic and rejuvenating waters.

“What makes Polynesian Spa so unique is the access it has to these two wonderful springs. The alkaline spas from the Rachel Spring are hot and relaxing and leave your skin with a silky feeling while the Priest Spring relieves and rejuvenates tired muscles, aches and pains. It is very uplifting for the soul,” says Rachel.

Rachel’s first job is to assist with developing a wider range of healthier choices for the new 88Ra Café menu and will host the highly successful Mindful Moments Retreats during the year.

Mindful Moments Retreats will be held on the following dates:

Saturday 9th June – Sunday 10th June

Saturday 11th August – Sunday 12th August

Saturday 10th November –  Sunday 11th November


To find out all the details check out the Polynesian Spa website. Click HERE

Rachel Grunwell is a wellness magazine writer, yoga teacher, health blogger, healthy recipe creator for Good magazine and an ambassador for the Achilles charity which helps Kiwis with all kinds of disabilities to participate in events.

For wellness inspiration, follow Rachel via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram 


TV1 Presenter Gives the Low-Down on Fitness Progress

Greg & Rach after run

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon run ambassador, wellness blogger & magazine columnist, yoga teacher and director of InspiredHealth, which inspires Kiwis to live healthy and happy.

TV1 Presenter Gives the Low-Down on Fitness Progress
“It feels great to get back into training”.
So says TV1 presenter Greg Boyed.
He has agreed to take on the challenge to get fit for the Rotorua Marathon event on May 5 this year. I caught up with Boyed for a training run in the Waitakere Ranges to ask how he is getting on with his run programme.
He is at the beginning of his get-fit journey. He took a break from running for a while to focus on his family (including his young son). He was also kept busy with home handyman tinkering after he and his gorgeous wife bought a new house. Well, it’s an old house, but new to them. So it’s new but it’s old, but it’s old but it’s new to them… you get the picture chuckle.
Boyed got his training programme from coach John Bowden about six weeks ago. Bowden trains elite athletes (who are training for all kind of distances up to the Olympics). Bowden also trains weekend warriors like Boyed and I who are out there for personal bests and to keep fit. Boyed says he has been keeping up with his training programme, ticking off a few runs weekly. The heat hasn’t helped, but he has soldiered along.
“A lot of where I run has hills. It’s a fairly high proportion. It’s not easy, but I’m slowly making progress,” he says. “I’m actually starting to enjoy it. I’m now looking forward to the runs and I’m getting them done.”
I asked Boyed about his motivation levels currently? The beginning of a fitness journey can often be tough – for anyone.
His reply:
“What’s motivating me is not wanting to let myself – or anyone else down – at the event,” he says.
“Actually, the fear of failure is motivating me!” he quips.
Boyed and I caught up for a 10km training run out in West Auckland and he ran well. Maybe that was because I was doing all the talking! Note to self: Let the other runner talk…
We both agree it’s great to have a goal in mind like the Rotorua Marathon event to motivate fitness levels. We give the thumbs up to anyone else who takes on the challenge!
greg and rach thumbs up
If you want to join us at the event and aim for this same goal check out the Rotorua Marathon page. Click HERE. Distance options include: 5.5km fun run, quarter-marathon, 21km and full marathon.
Meanwhile, cheer on Boyed and his awesome kick-off to his fitness journey. It’s not always easy juggling family, work and fitness. So I reckon he deserves a virtual high-five.
* Go in the draw to win a pamper package for two worth almost $800 thanks to Polynesian Spa and beauty brand Antipodes. Enter via InspiredHealth’s FACEBOOK & INSTAGRAM pages!
#collab #partnership #sponsored #rotoruamarathon2018 

New Year, Better You – 4 Tips on Motivation

rotorua marathon love heart with words

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Award-winning journalist. Good Magazine columnist. Yoga teacher. Marathoner X19. Lifestyle blogger. Follow Rachel via InspiredHealth’s Facebook and Instagram.


It’s a new year and who wants to be the same?

Yeah, not me either.

It’s always great to be learning, growing and thriving. I’m not talking about perfection, rather progression.

I’m not really a New Year’s resolutions style girl; I think goals should be set and re-assessed regularly. No one should ever blindly bulldoze their way towards a goal that turns out to be the wrong elected “course” at some point along the way. It’s great to reflect on goals sometimes and change course if this serves you best.

Be attuned to the moment, always.

One of the questions I get asked regularly in my wellness work is about how to keep motivated with goals? Everyone can set goals – which is usually done at the start of a new year. But hardly anyone reaches the end desired result. Seriously, just a few percent of people are goal-crushing legends.

Here are 4 of my top tips to goal-crush and be a success:


  1. Have a solid reason “why” you want to do a goal. You can always come back to this and remind yourself on your journey. If you have no strong “why”, then there’s no real driver to work hard at the goal and you will be giving up in no time.
  2. Challenges are hard. So, get your mind-set right from the start. Suck it up, and do the hard yards. The pay-off will be worth it.
  3. Get a buddy to join you on your journey, or to at least to talk to along the way. They can be your biggest cheer-leader!
  4. Have small rewards along the way to keep you motivated and celebrate your success. I treat myself for working hard at my goals regularly (ie coffee with friends after a run, or a new piece or run-related clothing sometimes). If you only ever celebrate at the end of goals then where would the fun be in that? The end result should never be the only joyful part that you look forward to. A big factor to living a happy life is celebrating the journey, the now, this present moment. So mindfully live life with a go-get-‘em and uplifted state of mind. You got this!

10 Tips – Running From Scratch

Parents of teen lifesaver will run the Rotorua Marathon event to raise money in his memory



Article by Rachel Grunwell: Official blogger for the Rotorua Marathon. Rachel is a marathoner, Good magazine’s wellness columnist + smoothie chick & yoga teacher . Follow her via Inspired Health’s Facebook & Instagram for inspo, recipes & giveaways.

Greg and Donna Rieger – the parents of a teenager lifesaver who drowned a year ago plan to conquer 12 half-marathons in his memory. And the Rotorua Marathon event is at the top of their list for a special reason.

Hamish Rieger, aged 17, was tragically swept off the rocks near the blowhole at Moturiki (Leisure) Island in the Bay of Plenty on January 23.

Greg and Donna will celebrate Hamish’s life, and his thirst for adventure, by doing 12 half-marathons – so that’s 252km in total (and that doesn’t even count all those training miles!) They hope to raise $12,000 – $1000 for each 21km event – to fund a Spirt of Adventure scholarship fund for Mount Maunganui teenagers.

Greg says they chose the Spirit of Adventure as the recipient of their fundraising efforts because Hamish’s experience of doing this in 2015 inspired the teenager to go on a fitness-kick and to chase his ambitions to a higher level.

They hope that the donations help some other local teenagers to have that same wonderful opportunity.

Greg says how The Spirit of Adventure helped Hamish:

“He was always the kid who embraced life but he came back from the Spirit of Adventure more mature, with his heart opened, and a commitment to living life to the full every day… For that, we are forever grateful and want to give kids from his community the chance to have the same life-changing experience,” says Greg.


Pic of Hamish supplied by Jamie Troughton.

Margi Mellsop, from The Spirit of Adventure Trust, says Greg and Donna’s 12-half-marathon mission is “so inspiring” and she is so grateful the fundraising will go to The Spirit of Adventure Trust.

“We are so moved by Greg and his family’s commitment to celebrate the life of Hamish in this way. Their efforts will ensure that Hamish’s spirit of adventure will be passed to other Mount Manganui teens . What an incredible legacy they are creating,” she says.

Greg says they are yet to pinpoint all the events they will do. But the Rotorua half-marathon on May 6 is at the top of their list. It is special to him and Donna because Hamish had entered it this year, but he died before he could run it.

Instead, Greg and Donna completed that dream for Hamish in 2016, walking hand-in-hand, and shedding more tears than sweat on that journey. They did this event quietly, without media attention, as they were so grief-stricken at that time.

Greg says he barely noticed the pain of blisters and all those tough miles. His focus was instead on Hamish through every mile.

“By the end of that event my eyes were streaming,” says Greg.

Next year, Greg and Donna will repeat Hamish’s goal again. But this time, their steps will mean even more because of the public fundraiser.

Greg has already started training for the Rotorua half-marathon. He plans to run this, while Donna plans to walk. Hamish’s siblings Oliver, 22, Fergus, 20, and Eliza-Jane,15 and up to 40 family members and friends have pledged to join them too at the Rotorua Marathon event, all wearing ‘I Ride with Hame’ printed asics t-shirts.

Greg, 53, says he can’t wait to be lining up at the start-line at Rotorua’s Government Gardens for the event.

“I’m absolutely fizzing and so looking forward to doing this,” says Greg.

Greg says he has been overwhelmed with support since a story appeared in the Sunday Star-Times about the fundraiser. Three people contacted him immediately to say they wish to donate and a physio in Tauranga has also pledged to help keep Greg in good shape during the journey.

Greg has also been contacted by a surf club member to say they wish to recruit lifeguards from about three  clubs to participate in the Rotorua Marathon event – to give their support to the family.

“I’ve been blown away by the support, totally blown away. I’m pretty stoked,” says Greg.

Greg says Hamish would be proud of the fundraiser. The teenager gave back a lot to his community as a member of the Mount Maunganui lifeguard service, which the Riegers continue to be proudly involved with.

Meanwhile, the Papamoa-based dad says milestones that Hamish misses hurt the most.

This month, Greg and Donna were invited to attend the Mount Maunganui College’s 2016 graduation ceremony to accept Hamish’s graduation certificate. Greg says it was tough not seeing his son graduate, but he was incredibly honoured to  get the certificate and said it was an “emotional experience and one I will always cherish”.

The parents are expecting the milestone of January 23 to be tough too. But doing the fundraiser for Hamish’s memory will help them move through their pain and celebrate their treasured boy’s life.

  • Please support the ‘I Ride With Hame’ fundraiser with a donation: ASB 12-3011-0461607-52
  • You can enter the Rotorua Marathon event by clicking here

– An earlier version of this story was published in the Sunday Star Times & the stuff.co.nz website by Rachel Grunwell.


Top pic of Greg and Donna was supplied by marathon-photos.com

Grandad ready for 40th Rotorua Marathon

james crosswell side profile

Photo of James running the Rotorua Marathon event courtesy of Marathon-Photos.

By Rachel Grunwell

Grandad James Crosswell is about to run the Rotorua Marathon for the 40th time when the event is held on May 6, 2017.

He’ll be darn proud of this achievement and he reckons that finish-line feeling will be just as good as the first time he lapped the lake in 1973.

“Getting to that finish-line is the ultimate,” says the 67-year-old plumber from Opotiki.

“It’s amazing when I’m lining up at the start-line too and people are all nervous and ask ‘how many (Rotoura Marathon events) have you done?’ Well, people almost fall over when I tell them!”

james from the archives

Here’s a picture from the archives.

James says he aims to keep running this event until, well, he can’t run it anymore. He’s keen to catch up to the tally that his late mate Colin Smyth reached before he died aged 76 in 2015. Colin ran the event an inspirational 50 times and is a local legend for this achievement.

“God willing, if I’m able to – I’d like to beat his record,” says James.

Interestingly, Colin too was a plumber like James.

“Maybe this running business could be something to do with the trade perhaps,” quips James, who has been running since he was a teenager.

James says he runs for general health and fitness. He has lost track of the number of marathons all up he has run. It would be around the ”80” mark, he reckons. But these days he just concentrates on running the Rotorua Marathon each year.

“I love the Rotorua Marathon course because it has a bit of everything: Great terrain, some hills, water, good competitors and you only have to do one lap”.

His fastest ever marathon time was 2hr 49min in Hamilton – a course years ago which required numerous laps of one area in the Waikato.

By the way his fastest Rotorua Marathon time is 2hr 52min, but these days he is happy to do the event “around the four-hour mark” with a walk/run approach.

“I love this challenge,” he raves.

james crosswell front profile

Picture of James smiling at the finish-line. Pic is courtesy of Marathon-Photos

His wife Maureen and three daughters support his running. He is a grandad to four grandsons.

james and girls

Pictured from left to right: Sarah, James, Emma and Rebekah

James has long been a member of the Rotorua Marathon’s  ‘Survivors Club’ – a club you can enter if you have run the event 15 times, or more.

Pam Kenny, who helps run the Survivors Club, says the membership of this club currently stands at 531 (including 34 who are now deceased).

Enter the Rotorua Marathon (there are four distance options) by clicking HERE.

  • Rachel Grunwell is a marathoner (she has run 15), qualified yoga teacher (specialises in yoga-for-runners), columnist for Good magazine and the director of the lifestyle website www.inspiredhealth.co.nz Follow Inspired Health on Facebook & Instagram 

run stretch:cigna2

Dealing with Injury – what you can do

run stretch:cigna2

Dealing with Injury – what you can do

By Rachel Grunwell

Runners generally fear getting injured. The best approach is to adopt injury prevention strategies like yoga, using a foam roller, compression tights or self-massage to reduce the likelihood of injury (or see a professional masseuse if you run longer miles and can afford this).

Last year, I suffered my first running injury due to overloading. It was eye-watering painful.

I saw physiotherapist Vaughan Craddock, a director at Sports Lab who works with elite athletes and weekend warriors. Incredibly, he helped me go from hobbling (for weeks!) to running pain-free (and able to do the Chicago Marathon just a few months later). He diagnosed my problem quickly and told me what I should do to avoid aggravating the injury.

Then he gave me clear instructions on what I could do fitness-wise to maintain my base fitness. It was reassuring to have a firm plan to help me return to running. Vaughan says seeking specialist advice is ‘empowering’. I’d agree!

To avoid ever being in my (run) shoes, here are Vaughan’s tips to avoiding injury below:


Pic of Vaughan on his mountain-bike.

  • Firstly, he recommends that you listen to your body. If you’re tired, then rest. If you miss a workout, do not rush to make it up. “This is a common mistake that people make,” he says. It can be a fast-track to injury…
  • If a niggle does not clear in 2-3 days, see a specialist. Ignoring an on-going niggle can see things escalate.
  • Vaughan recommends runners reduce any ‘stresses’ in life, hydrate and eat well, get good sleep, and make sure you get enough relaxation to recharge.
  • Stretch too, says Vaughan, “because if you feel tight, then how can you expect your body to move well”.
  • Lastly, he says: “Be positive”. This can have a ‘dramatic effect’ on healing timeframes.

This column was published by Fairfax newspapers.

Column by Rachel Grunwell, Cigna Health and Wellbeing Ambassador – a mum, experienced runner, qualified yoga teacher and director of lifestyle website InspiredHealth.co.nz. Follow her personal journey to get race-ready with her family on Facebook & Instagram

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