By Rachel Grunwell
(AD) Stress can stuff up your run performance. Too much stress can also increase your tiredness and fatigue and leave you with poor cognitive (thinking) ability. Hello fuzzy brain!
Some stress is normal in every day life. It helps you to get tasks done. But when you get overly stressed for long periods it can lead to burn out over time, poor sleep quality and put you into a real “run funk”. Stress also leads to elevated cortisol which decreases muscle mass – and muscle mass is handy to hang onto as a runner because this helps you to be strong when trying to power up hills! And the Rotorua Marathon event does have a few hills…
In simple speak, too much stress slows your run journey down. So here are some tips to manage stress…
5 Tips to Manage Stress
- Sleep well to feel at your optimum and have the energy to run well. Get 7.5 hours-8 hours nightly. Kids need more sleep and highly active individuals and athletes can benefit from even more than the standard hours of sleep. Sleep helps your with having sharper concentration, more energy, improves your memory, improves muscle regeneration, is good for your immune system and also increases your ability to manage stress! Sleep is a free recovery tool to optimise your performance. Sleep deprivation can also exhaust you faster, Getting less than eight hours’ sleep can also increase the likelihood of injury. So sleep like a baby, so you can run like a beast! ps 10pm-2am is the golden hour for sleep. So tuck up tight early on.
- Try having tart cherry juice (about 50ml) before bed to help you sleep after a hard and long training run. These berries pack a punch of antioxidant power, which supports joint mobility and helps protect your body from free radical damage. The berries also contain Vitamin A and beta carotene. There is research too that claims. the juice enhances immune system function, has a potent anti inflammatory effect and may increase melatonin levels to help people sleep well…. So it’s worth a try….
- Stretch or do yoga for 20-minutes to wind down and feel more in balance in your body and mind. While you stretch, use diaphragmatic breathing (deep belly breathing) which helps to calm your nervous system. Meditation is an element of yoga and helpful too for feeling happier. If you are new to trying meditation, then just do it for one minute. Here is a one minute meditation to try via my instagram page that’s easy, quick and I hope it helps your to unwind. Click HERE
This post was sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event, which is being held on May 7, 2022. To enter a distance (full marathon, red stag timber half marathon, Go Media 10km or 5.5km) ENTER HERE
Rachel is the Rotorua Marathon ambassador (she has run 25 marathons including the Rotorua Marathon event five times). She is a wellness expert, and qualified coach. She’s the proud author too of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness which is full of lots of running, nutrition and wellness advice.
By Rachel Grunwell
(AD) The lemon layer in this dessert is so zingy and yum and it’s made quickly and easily in an Instant Pot – using the pressure cooking function. Meanwhile, I use the Instant Pot’s dehydrate function to make the lemon garnish too.
½ cup raw almonds
½ cup coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup lemon juice fresh
3 eggs (separate egg whites from egg yolkes)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
4 tbsp butter (at room temp)
½ cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
Optional garnish – slices of fresh lemon. Mint leaves.
Method: Place all the bottom layer ingredients into a blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend. Place this evenly in the bottom of two jars.
Then to make the Middle layer…
- Whisk egg whites until fluffy. Set aside.
- Place egg yolks, sugar, butter, lemon zest and juice in another bowl and mix until smooth.
- Add the egg whites and fold into the mixture.
- Place this into a heat protected glass bowl, cover with foil.
- Place a trivet in the Instant Pot and add 1 ½ cups of water.
- Put the glass container on the trivet and close the lid until it locks shut.
- Cook for 7 minutes on high pressure.
- When finished, wait for a natural pressure release.
- Take it out and let it cool.
- Next add this middle layer mixture to the jars as high up in the jar as you like this intensely lemony zingy layer.
Slice lemon and put it in the Instant Pot. Dehydrate it for 8 hours. Pick fresh mint from the garden if you have it and this adds that wow factor if you want it. Alternatively, dehydrate some raspberries – the mix of lemon and raspberries is AMAZING. Good luck in not eating all the raspberries. They taste incredible and rich in flavour when dehydrated. They’re such an amazing snack all on their own.
This recipe was kindly sponsored by Instant Pot. Buy one now on Kitchen Nook – and if you sign up to their mailing list you can get 15% off your first purchase!
#sponsoredpost #instantpot #nzrecipe
Rachel Grunwell is a recipe creator, wellness coach, yoga + meditation teacher and author of the book Balance: Food, health _+ Happiness.
Re-Set Your Body, Mind & Soul – & Find Your “Why”
with Rachel Grunwell
There are many pieces to the puzzle with feeling healthy and happy.
Most people who yearn to improve their wellbeing often turn to the gym first.
That’s a great start. Fitness is a prescription for wellness. If we incorporate movement, it fuels our wellness. It doesn’t matter what kind of fitness activity you prefer. Move your body in a way that interests you. That way you are more likely to turn up more often. Remember any action repeated often can eventually become a “lifestyle”. If you struggle with self-motivation, get good advice form a good personal trainer. They can provide you with support and knowledge to get started. There are also some cool ways they can share to help fitness stick.
There are other important aspects to improving your wellbeing. It’s not only movement – or what I call the “body work”… The “mind work” matters even more.
I co-lead the Mindful Moments Retreats at Rtoorua’s Polynesian Spa. Here, I share wellness wisdom to inspire a healthy and happy lifefstyle. I also help to guide yoga, mindfulness and meditation sessions. It’s a chance for Kiwis to switch off from their busy life for a weekend to rejuvenate. The aim is for each person is to bring their mind, body and spirit back into balance.
Below are some wellness tips that I share with retreat-goers. Choose one or two to focus on that resonates with you to help you kick off your own health journey now.
- Ask yourself ‘why do I wish to improve my health?’
Connect to your strongest driver to help with motivation to change a habit. This is so when you have inevitable tough days – and want to give up – you can remember reason the behind “why” you do this. For example, you may choose to quit smoking. Your “why” might be so you are able to be healthier and live longer for the sake of your kids. So, thinking of your kids can be a powerful reminder when you want to abandon this health change. Realizing some days are going to be tough too is important. Pain is part of the process. So stick with the ups and downs. Remember to focus on the emotion behind the health change for your kids. Then this might overrule the emotional urge to regress.
2. Are you keen to cut back on your alcohol consumption? Then ask yourself: ‘Am I a mindful drinker?’
As a society, we are generally programmed to drink alcohol at all kinds of celebrations. We hear that it can help us de-stress. We can also drink to be social. Next time you are offered an alcoholic drink, ask yourself “why” you are saying yes. If it’s a “yes” because you want to drink it and enjoy it, then do that. Savour it. I believe in balance of all things by the way, not perfectionism. I too enjoy a glass of wine sometimes and eat chocolate.
But, if you are saying “yes” only because you are worried about offending someone, then have the courage to say “no thanks”. It’s your choice, always. There are lots of low-alcohol, or zero alcohol, options on the market these days. So opt for something else instead. Another trick is to drink a glass of water as your second drink – to help slow down alcohol consumption.
3. Consider planning healthy meals and making these ahead of time. If you are in a rush, then there’s more chance that you could eat something unhealthy on-the-run. Eat more leafy greens too at every meal to uplift your mood. You can even eat greens at breakfast in a smoothie or add some to scrambled eggs on toast. Check out my book Balance for 30 nourishing recipes. I recommend the ‘Oh Goodness Green Cleanse’ which is beautifully plant-powered.
4. Take time to unwind in a way that helps you to find that sense of “calm” in your life. We live in a hurried world which puts our bodies in fight-or-flight mode. We are stressed and anxious in this mode and it’s not ideal either for digesting food and keeping the weight off. So find your “pause button”. Read a book at night instead of looking at your mobile phone. I love to light a candle at night, drink medicinal grade tea that has calming powers like camomile. I often read some pages from a book before bed-time too to help me wind down. Lavender oil on my wrists at night is also a ritual I adore.
5. If you are an over-thinker or often get anxious, then re-learn how to manage your thoughts. Know that there are moments in every day that will be testing. This is normal. But the pressure you are under is likely almost entirely perceived. So choose to approach these tough moments with a renewed sense of calm. Know these thoughts will come, but that they too will pass. Be aware to make the distinction between what is true, and what you might be over-analysing. If there’s no firm evidence, then don’t let your mind progress to those unhealthy thoughts. I can recommend a great book around this topic called ‘Loving What Is’ by Byron Katie. This book can arm you with tools on how to alter your perspective to live a more positive and happy life.
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(AD) The Instant Pot’s pressure cooker function is epic – it’s such a time-saver. This curry only takes 35-minutes to cook using the pressure cooker function – and the meat is mouth-watering tender and delicious. When I cook this recipe on the stove it takes an hour – so almost twice as long to get the meat tender – and I have to keep an eye on it, and stir it occasionally. The other great thing about using this pressure cooker is that I can switch on the timer and walk away. It switches itself off when it’s done and then the curry stays hot in the pressure cook and it’s ready to eat for later. Enjoy this recipe!
750g rump steak (remove the fat and slice thinly)
2 tbsp oil
2 onions (skin removed, diced)
5 garlic cloves (outer layer removed, diced)
1 tsp each of turmeric, coriander, cumin and cayenne powder
½ tsp cinnamon
1 large red chilli (cut and de-seed and chop the green top off and slice up)
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger (use a knife to remove the outer layer of the ginger and then dice this up)
5 bay leaves
2 cups coconut milk
Beef stock (make it by mixing 250mls water with 3 teaspoons beef stock powder)
2 tbsp lemongrass paste
2 tbsp soy sauce1 tbsp brown sugar
Zest from 1 lime
½ tsp black pepper
Juice squeezed from 1 lime
fresh coriander to garnish
1 cup long white rice (the Duo Crisp also replaces a rice cooker. Cook the rice in two cups of water)
Method: Place the oil, onions and garlic in the inner pot. Press the sauté function and cook for three minutes. Keep stirring. Add the spices, chilli, and ginger and stir for a minute more. Now place this in a blender (I use a Vitamix) and add 1 cup of coconut milk) and blitz it so it combines to make the curry paste.
Add this now to the pressure cooker inner pot, and then add the rest of the coconut milk, the beef stock, lemongrass paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, and black pepper.
Meanwhile, on a clean chopping board, trim the fat off the meat and cut this into small strips and add to the curry liquid in the pot. Lock the pressure cooker lid next on top (ensure quick release button is set to seal position). Push the pressure cooker button on high for 35-minutes and then press start. Leave it to cook and walk away and come back when you like later. Open the lid and add the lime juice and stir. Serve onto plates, garnish with coriander, serve with white rice and a glass of water (or wine). Now savour!
This recipe was #sponsored by Instant Pot. If you are interested in buying one then check out this link HERE
Recipe by Rachel Grunwell: Wellness expert, wellness speaker, and author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness
By Rachel Grunwell
(AD – the post is sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon which is on May 8, 2021. Enter HERE)
Carb-loading or no carbs? Gels, or no gels? Thoughts around race fuelling change constantly.
But the fact remains: Fuelling well helps you run well.
Fuelling right for optimum performance is something every runner cares about – whether you are at the back of the pack, or in the lead.
I’ve got some insight and tips below from an elite runner, nutritionist, seasoned runner and I also share some tips too as a coach and multi-marathoner. Some of these tips and anecdotes blew my mind and others had me laughing out loud!
Ultimately, fuelling comes down to an individual approach. So what works for one person, might not be the ideal solution for another, So it’s important to have tried and tested a few different ideas before you race – so you can run with confidence on race day knowing what to do. Here are the thoughts on nutrition from a few different peeps. Which one do you mostly connect with?
Simon Cochrane. Based in Hamilton, Simon is an elite endurance athlete who is an official pacer for the 3-hour group racing this year’s event. He is using this year’s event to pace as a training run in the lead up to an ultra-marathon in Wellington in July. He reckons there might only be about five people racing at this hot pace and so he hopes to help them all through. Simon is a top NZ athlete. He came 3rd in the Tarawera 100km Ultra in February. He has had 5 international podium placings over the Ironman distance in his careers and has raced the World Champs in Hawaii. At the Rotorua Marathon event previously, he has placed 2nd in a half marathon (1hr 13 mins) and won the 10km event (34 mins). He is a coach too through his business, Athletic Peak Coaching. Here are his nutrition tips:
“The usual breakfast for me is eggs, toast, and a couple of coffees. That every day – whether it’s training or race day.
“There’s no need to change it up race morning, as your body knows it’s normal routine best. You can maybe just eat a little bit earlier than normal to make sure everything is digested.
“Same with during the race. Have the same nutrition plan as every long key session.
“So mainly aim to keep everything the same – no need to carb-load or eat more as you will have tapered off the run volume and be storing more energy anyway,” says Simon.
I asked Simon about his thoughts around gels?
“Haven’t had a gel in 10 years!
“I have Tailwind drink, and some real food (bars/bananas) if longer than 3hrs or so,” he says.
James Crosswell, age 71, plumber from Opotiki who is part of the Rotorua Marathon Survivors’ Club (this club includes runners who have done more than 15 Rotorua Marathon events to be an official member). He will run his 44th Rotorua Marathon this year (among almost 100 marathons in total). His fastest marathon is 2hr 52 mins at Rotorua previously. Last year he ran this event in 5hr 20 mins (he now walks and runs so he doesn’t put too much pressure on his heart, he says). Here are his nutrition tips:
“Before a marathon I usually have two pieces of (brown bread) toast with honey on and a cup of tea. I’ll have breakfast at 6.45am on race day.
“Then I just have water at the water stops usually.
“However I’m trialling a vitamin C energy tablet with water now while doing this year’s marathon. I tried it on a run recently and it was quite good.
“In the past I used to put corn syrup in used mini toothpaste tubes and have that while out on the marathon course. It was like a petrol boost,” he says, chuckling.
Mikki Williden, PhD, registered nutritionist and seasoned runner. Mikki is the 2005 Rotorua champion. She has an impressive personal best marathon time of 2hr 55 mins at Auckland where she nabbed a 4th placing in 2010. Check out a Mikkipedia podcast where she interviewed Kathrine Switzer. Here are her nutrition tips:
“With regards to carbohydrate ‘loading’ per se, this has moved on somewhat. There isn’t too much you need to change with regards to carbohydrate load of the diet – in effect, by tapering, you will be carbo loading and restocking your glycogen stores. That’s a really good thing! However, if you follow a pretty low carbohydrate approach, then adding in another 100-150g in the 3 days leading up can just ensure this process is on point. Think: a couple of pieces of fruit, 200g kumara or potato, 1 cup cooked white rice.
“Importantly, you want to be hydrated – so ensure you are drinking adequate amounts of water with electrolyte (such as Nuun tablet or LMNT electrolytes) – ideally not a lot of full sugared electrolyte drink as this isn’t really necessary – but you want to ensure you drink across the day and not backloading or front loading it – that you are just having it regularly. Going in to an event dehydrated can definitely impact negatively on performance outcomes. Becoming a little dehydrated throughout though, is no big deal and may in fact improve race outcomes.
“With protein load and fat load, no need to change things here, however some people feel anxious in lead up to race and therefore their stomach can play up. Dropping fat down a little bit can help. In addition, dropping out vegetables in the 2-3 days prior can also help with the overall gut-related issues that some experience – as the additional fibre at this time isn’t necessary and may interfere with your digestion and that in itself can be nerve wracking. We call this a low residue approach. For example, your meals have a few vegetables, but half what you normally would.
“Don’t make meals too big, and you might be better with a smaller dinner earlier in the day, and then a snack prior to bed in the lead up to the race (i.e. night before) so you don’t feel too loaded down with food. IE this might be a dinner at 5pm and a snack at 8pm (snack could even be just some protein powder mixed into coconut yoghurt with a few berries, or it could be banana and peanut butter or something like that.
“Dinner meals the night before are really individual. What has worked well in the past? Psychologically, it can be good to keep it familiar. Some favourites might be:
- salmon, rice, broccoli,
- chicken, rice, carrots, green beans
- sweet potato with salmon mixed with mayo and a hardboiled egg or two
- Could even be GF toast with avocado and salmon or scrambled eggs
“Breakfast the morning of, again, very individual. Don’t need a ton of food here, enough to restock liver glycogen which would have been depleted overnight, but that’s about it. Some people have nothing except coffee and cream, others have full on breakfast. Most are in the middle. Prior to my 2005 win of Rotorua I had 5 white bread buns with jam, a spirulina drink and a banana. Probably wouldn’t do that now, but looking back, it obviously didn’t do any damage on the day! Some ideas might be:
- Protein shake with banana and peanut butter
- oats + protein powder + almond milk + peanut butter
- GF toast with 2 hardboiled eggs
“These are all some options – something to help keep you from being hungry, but not leave you so full. This might be 2h or so before the start of the race.
“Most importantly, don’t try something new on race morning! I made this fatal mistake in 2010 Christchurch marathon, leading to a DNF at 40k because my digestive tract had other ideas. That confirmed for me that dried apricots were not a goer for me pre-race. A mistake that, as a registered nutritionist, I probably shouldn’t have made, but we all live and learn! Good luck!”
Rachel Grunwell, Rotorua Marathon ambassador and 25 x marathoner, who has conquered 4 x Rotorua Marathons in this tally including guiding disabled athletes through three of these races. Rachel is also a run coach and author of the book Balance, which includes science-backed tips on how to be healthier and happier. The book includes four nutritionists too.
Practicing your breakfast and fuelling for race day is a must. If you don’t, you are asking for trouble! I love porridge with cream, blueberries and maple syrup before I run a marathon and have that two hours before I run. I also like a small coffee. While on the run, electrolytes are awesome and I take fuel on board only if I run a long run, or a half marathon or marathon. Under 10km, I’ll run without eating and will just have water mid-run. These days I don’t like the gels and prefer real food to fuel me. Dates or banana is great, but I’ll take on board something like chomps in a marathon. I like the latter because you can break off a bite sized piece of the chomp bar fuel when you need it and I like the taste of it. I guide disabled athletes through marathons from time-to-time and fuelling is something I advise the athletes on while on-the-run. It can make or break the experience. One athlete was feeling tired and took on too much sugary drinks about 34km through a marathon. It ended up in him feeling light headed and puking (I won’t name and shame here but we still laugh about this learning experience together. He learnt that lesson and has thankfully never repeated it!) You learn your lessons hard on a marathon and my hardest lesson with fuelling was not taking on board enough fuel early on in an event and then hitting the wall about 30-something kilometres and my running came to a crawl (I also ran too fast in that same race by the way and so I learnt two hard lessons from that event). What saved me that day and got me to the finish line? A mate meeting me to help me get through that run and him insisting I have a flat coke drink 5km near the end. That caffeine hit had me then fired up and running the fastest average pace in that entire race. Caffeine can uplift your performance and I definitely needed it that day!
This blog was kindly sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon
Run fails shared – from an elite athlete, nutritionist, 71-year-old runner & the Rotorua Marathon ambassador
AD) Run fails shared by runners – We hope to save you from!
Simon Cochrane, shares some fails he has experienced. Based in the Bay of Plenty, Simon is an elite endurance athlete who is an official pacer for the 3-hour group racing this year’s event. He is using this year’s event to pace as a training run in the lead up to an ultra-marathon in Wellington in July. He reckons there might only be about five people racing at this hot pace and so he hopes to help them all through. Simon is a top NZ athlete. He came 3rd in the Tarawera 100km Ultra in February. He has had 5 international podium placings over the Ironman distance in his careers and has raced the World Champs in Hawaii. At the Rotorua Marathon event previously, he has placed 2nd in a half marathon (1hr 13 mins) and won the 10km event (34 mins). He is a coach too through his business, Athletic Peak Coaching. Here are four of his all time run fails below:
- Getting lost on a training run and running 20km further than planned in the middle of Summer with no water or phone reception. Ps this gaffe is unlikely to happen to anyone at the Rotorua Marathon event as there are lots of signs and experienced marshals on the official race day.
- Biting off more than he could chew. “I ran the 84km Timber Trail at night (a night run)… despite never having trained at night prior. “So I’ve learnt to train for the conditions”.
- “During the Ironman Wisconsin in 2013 I tried some different nutrition on the race and I needed to go to the bathroom way too many times! So I learnt to take my own fuel for future races because you can’t always trust what will be offered out on the course. It was lucky it wasn’t a city event and I was running through trails!”
- Ironman Taiwan was 42 degrees and I didn’t put any sunscreen on. “I think I’ve still got some scars from that. I was burnt anywhere that wasn’t covered by a tri-suit”.
Mikki Williden, PhD, registered nutritionist and seasoned runner. Mikki is the 2005 Rotorua champion. She has an impressive personal best marathon time of 2hr 55 mins at Auckland where she nabbed a 4th placing in 2010. Check out a Mikkipedia podcast where she interviewed Kathrine Switzer.
- “Don’t try something new on race morning! I made this fatal mistake in 2010 Christchurch marathon, leading to a DNF at 40k because my digestive tract had other ideas. That confirmed for me that dried apricots were not a goer for me pre-race. A mistake that, as a registered nutritionist, I probably shouldn’t have made, but we all live and learn!”
- Different Christchurch race (2003) – “I turned up on the day before to wear tights but the weather report was 30-degrees so I had to run to Rebel and buy a pair of shorts and got the worst chafing: Try to remember to be prepared for all conditions! You just never know.”
James Crosswell, age 71, plumber from Opotiki who is part of the Rotorua Marathon Survivors’ Club (this club includes runners who have done more than 15 Rotorua Marathon events to be an official member). He will run his 44th Rotorua Marathon this year (among almost 100 marathons in total). His fastest marathon is 2hr 52 mins at Rotorua previously. Last year he ran this event in 5hr 20 mins (he now walks and runs so he doesn’t put too much pressure on his heart, he says). He loves the Rotorua Marathon event for the “camaraderie” and all the “like minds who run it”. Here are his run fail shares:
- Getting too carried away at the start. “You feel fresh and excited and you can go like the clappers to Ngongotaha… but then you pay for it later on!”
- Forgetting to do the water stops early on in marathons. “The first 2-3 water stops are vital to get water on board and not get dehydrated later on. If you don’t have enough water…. you can lose your mental ability a little!”
- Not taking enough care at work leading up to race day “which saw me injured for a marathon and I felt the impact of running that event with every step”.
Rachel Grunwell, Rotorua Marathon ambassador and 25 x marathoner, who has conquered 4 x Rotorua Marathons including guiding disabled athletes through three of these races. Rachel is a qualified run coach who helps mums who want to learn how to be on-the-run. She’s just a “real-girl kind of runner” with a fastest marathon time of 4hr 06 minutes. Rachel is the author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.
- Going out too fast too soon on my first marathon – the Auckland Marathon event. “I learnt that hitting the wall feels like hell and when this happens at 32km it hurts the body (and ego) HARD. I did this once and thankfully learnt my lesson. Please trust me that this mistake is worth avoiding.”
- Having race bib magnets (instead of pins) that decided to spontaneously clump together seconds before the start gun of the Villa Maria 10km race this year. My cold paws couldn’t unbunch them quick enough and so I asked my mate Tess who was beside me at the time to chuck me one of her pins so I could secure my bib somehow. This left me trying to run at the start while pinning on a bib at the same time. Tess ended up beating me in that race by about a minute- possibly the time I took to sort my *hit out with that gaffe?. She has bragging rights now for beating me and it’s my own stupid fault!” ?
- Wearing yoga socks which had pressure pads under my socks in a Rotorua Marathon 42km distance one year. This hurt with every step. I ended up running like I was on hot coals. So trial your race gear prior!
- Not applying Vaseline in a few half-marathons. The chaffing has brought me to tears every time when I go to shower…. for days afterwards. Ouch. You’d think I would have learnt that lesson once, but nope… I’ve repeated it!”