7 Science-Backed Health Benefits of Running – a professor gives the low-down

(AD) Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Multi-marathoner, coach, yoga teacher, author, wellness journalist, and proud Rotorua Marathon ambassador.

If you want to live longer and have a better quality of life – then run!

It doesn’t matter if you run slow or fast either. There are so many health benefits that it doesn’t actually matter what your speed is. Just keep running – and you’ll get better, stronger, and faster over time.

Here are 7 health benefits of running – according to Andrew Kilding, a professor of sport and exercise physiology at the Sports Performance Research Institute of New Zealand. 

I interviewed Professor Kilding for a 6-page article for the NZ  Women’s Weekly magazine on running recently and he listed these awesome health benefits of running:

  1. Running improves the function and structure of the heart. He explains that as we age, our arteries can “stiffen”. Regular running gets the heart pumping and gives the arteries a real work out. This keeps them “pliable”. The increased blood flow associated with running also helps stop fatty deposits accumulating on the artery walls, which can narrow the arteries and result in high blood pressure at rest – which is not a good thing.
  2. Being on the run burns kilojoules, speeding up your metabolism. This is helpful for weight management. “Your metabolic rate is increased for a few hours afterwards,” he says, but he’s quick to note that “you can’t out-run a bad diet,” he says.
  3. Exercise (and particularly running) also improves resting heart rate and increases aerobic fitness. Professor Kilding says a high level of aerobic fitness has been shown to be one of the best-known indicators of an individual’s long-term health. He explains that in 2016, Duck-Chul Lee, a professor of kinesiology at Iowa State University, found that even 5-10 minutes running per day at a slow speed is associated with markedly reduced risks of death from cardiovascular disease.
  4. Regular running improves the body’s ability to transport oxygen around the body, so we get more efficient at running, and other physical activities also start to feel easier. Hello feeling fitter!
  5.  Running – or habitual exercise – is associated with a greater quality of life and could also lengthen it, too.
  6.  Running improves your bone and joint health. This is because running is a weight-bearing activity. The impact loads the bones and this results in them strengthening. “This is especially important in later life. Running can be a strategy to maintain bone health,” Professor Kilding says.
  7. Running helps your mental health. “We tend to forget about the mental benefits of running. It reduces depression, anxiety and stress, and can help with cognition, memory and sleep.  Professor Kilding says “I make sure I get out for a run a few times a week. For me, it’s just about getting some time and space on my own, switching off and importantly, getting time in nature.” 

Enter a distance at the Rotorua Marathon HERE

Follow Rachel for more run & injury-prevention tips and inspiration on INSTAGRAM and the InspiredHealthNZ Facebook page.

Order a copy of Rachel’s book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness Here

Health-Inspired Xmas Gifts

By Rachel Grunwell

AD – This content is kindly sponsored by FitbitNZ. Rachel is a Fitbit ambassador and proud spokesperson.

Make your Xmas gift count this year by giving something that inspires good health and an inner or outer glow! Here are some of my top picks of things I LOVE and back…

  1. Fitbit Sense watch. This really is the ultimate Christmas Prezzie (for yourself or someone you love). This watch can help you to transform your health. It will help you to be sleep fit (monitor your sleep score!), be heart rate fit (this device can detect your resting heart rate score with incredible technology) , be brain fit (the watch can guide you through mindfulness exercises to help you manage your stress levels) and be body fit (monitor your exercise and nutrition too through the watch)! I’ve worn a Fitbit watch for about eight years now and LOVE this brand. This latest watch is Fitbit’s most advanced health smartwatch. I wear it everywhere including running (it measures steps done, kms run, distance run, run pace and keeps check on my heart rate levels). It’s so easy to use that it really is the ultimate run watch. I wear it to de-stress (the mindfulness exercise for two minutes is my fave and can calm my nervous system so quickly). I wear it to bed to check my sleep score, which has been so interesting. And I wear it whether I’m in a dress and heels or wearing lycra to teach yoga. I wear my Fitbit Sense more than jewellery! This really is the ultimate Xmas prezzie. This gift also keeps giving – it will be worn for years to come.
  2. An entry into the Rotorua Marathon event on May 8, 2021. This will inspire action on a fitness goal to get fitter and healthier – and as a ripple effect, exercise uplifts your happiness levels. This is NZ’s most iconic run event which has a fun run, 10km run through stunning and unique sulphur flats, a half marathon forest off-road run and a road marathon where you lap Lake Rotorua. Take the family for the weekend too and explore Rotorua. There’s adventure on your doorstep, great places to eat, a City full of beautiful Maori culture and lots of lakes and forest walks to explore.

3. A health inspired book. How about Luke Hines’ book Barbecue this! which has 80 quick, vibrant and flavour-packed dishes for weeknights, or for times of entertaining. Or a great book for managing anxiety that hell help you feel calmer via teaching calming breathing techniques is Dot, by Kieran E. Scott. Or of course, I’m biased in also recommending my own full colour book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness which boasts 30 global experts on how to be healthier and happier + 30 nourishing recipes. The book has tips around nutrition, neuroscience, psychology, emotional intelligence, de-cluttering, fitness, losing weight, feeling happier and more. My fave expert in the book is Shaun Achor, a happiness researcher from Texas. You can order it through this website HERE.

Balance Book by Rachel Grunwell Page 56
Here’s a recipe page from the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness

4. Natural beauty products that support your outer health. My top picks right now are Linden Leaves Miraculous Facial Oil (a light formula that’s NZ-made for more youthful, nourished skin), Nellie’s Tier’s face mist (to refresh and hydrate with the incredible perfume of a blend of floral waters), or Weleda’s Birch oil (to put on my body post exercise for muscle recovery. The fresh smell of this, feel of it and it’s purpose is pretty rad).

5. Sponsor a charity. My top pick is the Cambodia Charitable Trust which helps kids access education, and more, in Cambodia. I bought a bag of rice for $60 which will help feed a family for a month. The lawyer who started this trust lives in Tauranga and she features in my book Balance. She helps thousands of kids in Cambodia now and her work is extraordinary. Help her to make more of a difference in the world by helping this trust with whatever amount that you want. Whatever you gift will be super appreciated.

6. A voucher for a retreat. Indulge your loved one (or yourself!) in a blissful weekend getaway at Rotorua’s Mindful Moments retreat. The dates are now up on the Polynesian Spa’s website for 2021. This getaway boasts a beauty treatment at the spa, a premium good bag, lunch on both days, spa dips in the 28 pools on site at the spa, yoga, mindfulness, meditation sessions, a forest walk, a wellness workshop and more. This is such an affordable retreat as far as retreats go in NZ. A journalist dubbed it one of NZ’s most affordable and top micro retreats in NZ. I co-host this retreat and love connecting with the incredible men and women who attend. This sells out fast as only 14 guests are taken at a time per retreat! I promise you will leave this retreat feeling more calm, happy and rejuvenated.

Polynesian Spa Mindful Moments Event Image

Sponsored blog by Fitbit NZ

Declaration: Rachel proudly works with Fitbit, the Rotorua Marathon, Linden Leaves, the Polynesian Spa, and is the author of the book Balance which she promotes in this article too. She genuinely backs these as incredible Xmas gift ideas that have helped to transform her health and vitality.

Rachel Grunwell is a wellness coach, speaker, and her mission is to inspire Kiwis to live healthier and happier by aligning with partners that care about promoting good health.

Follow her on instagram for daily posts and more wellness Inso. Click HERE

5 Tips to Avoid a Hangover

AD This blog was created for those training for the Rotorua Marathon event on May 8, 2021

By Rachel Grunwell 

It’s the festive season and I too love to savour some wine and soak up social gatherings and the fun. 

I thought I’d share some tips and advice  around alcohol for those of you who love “the sweat life” too. Alcohol can impact on your performance if not drunk in moderation. So it might be helpful to know some of this stuff for when you are next contemplating how much to drink at a party or social gathering.

Firstly, a standard drink is 100ml wine (12% alcohol – and not that much liquid in a glass!) or a 330ml beer (5% alcohol).

According to the National guidelines, the consumption of any more than two standard drinks for women and four for men in one sitting is associated with increased risk of health problems (obviously if this is sustained over a period of time).

According to the Nutrition for Life book by Catherine Saxelby, hangovers are caused by dehydration and things like the substances in alcohol like congeners, such as tannins, volatile acids, methanol and histamines.

Dark-coloured drinks like red wine, brandy, and sherry can cause the worst hangovers – especially the cheaper brands, she says. Mixing drinks can also spell bad news for a sore head (and leave you witch-like the next day – likely! Or is that just me? ha ha ha ha ha).

Here are 5 tips to help avoid a hangover:

  1. Stop at one drink. That’s smart! Or have none, if you have a very long run planned the next day. I totally recommend this. I’ve drunk ONCE the night before a long run and I will never do this again. I felt nauseous!! However, some people can get away with this WAY better than me.
  2. Don’t mix a whole lot of different drinks. This is REALLY bad news for a hangover.
  3. Drink non-alcoholic drinks in-between an alcoholic one to slow down how much you drink ie water, fruit juice etc

2.   Have lots of water to combat the dehydration.

3.   Have something like milk, or cheese, before you drink – as this lines your stomach. So our mothers telling us to “line the stomach with food” wasn’t just them being bossy.

4.   Foods like toast, fruit, flat lemonade, weak black tea with sugar, boiled rice, and eggs, can be kinder on the stomach when you have drunk a lot.

5.   Sleep it off. You should feel better after 24 hours.

ps an extra tip from Catherine Saxelby is not to bother with those effervescent tablets. She reckons they are just expensive urine!

Meanwhile, when I coach clients on how to move, eat and live healthier and happier, I advise clients too that alcohol has a lot of calories (7 calories per gram). A lot of my clients are chasing weight-loss goals. So there’s that to consider too.

ps remember all things in life in “balance” can be okay. Just make informed choices about how you fuel your body and have moderation in mind.

Set your next run goal by entering the Rotorua Marathon event held on May 8, 2012. There’s a fun run, 10km, half marathon and marathon distance to contemplate. Enter HERE

Rachel is a wellness coach, keen runner (25 marathons at the last count) and Rotorua Marathon ambassador.

Rachel is also the author of the book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness.

Follow her via  Instagram @RachelGrunwell or click here for her business Facebook

5 Top Tips to Run Well on Rotorua Marathon Race Day

(AD) By Rachel Grunwell (run coach, 25x marathoner, author + proud Rotorua Marathon ambassador)

If you are running or walking the Rotorua Marathon event in 2020 then savour this moment. Covid didn’t win and the Rotorua Marathon team is so ecstatic that this event is going ahead and so many Kiwis will get to enjoy it. Nothing beats this race – the most iconic marathon event in NZ and one of the longest running run events in this country. There’s so much community connection at this race, and the Maori haka at the start is always spine-chilling.

I’ve put together 5 Top Run tips to help runners for race day. I hope one of these tips helps and inspires you to run well

5 Top Run Tips

  1. Organise everything you need for race day at least a day earlier ie what you will wear, eat and have a plan about how you will get to the start line. I always lay out my gear the night before, pin my bib, and even have all my breakfast stuff out and ready (except things like milk, of course that need to stay in the fridge). There’s nothing worse than scratching around in the cupboard trying to find a fave butter and feeling gutted if you have run out and subsequently can’t eat this as part of your pre-run race fuel! Be organised – that way you will feel relaxed heading to the start line.
  2. Don’t run too fast too early into the race – otherwise you WILL come unstuck. I share this advice because I have done it: Only ONCE. I learnt my lesson and man it sucked. There’s nothing worse than hitting the wall if you run too fast to early on. It huuuuuuuurts! Have a plan for pacing and stick to it. However, if in the final miles you have lots of energy in the tank… then you can go as fast as you want. This is the smart way to race. Whatever you do, don’t make the mistake I made…..
  3. Run your own race and don’t get swept up with the pace of other runners who are beside you when the start gun goes. It’s easy to run like a lunatic in those beginning miles because of all the excitement and crowds cheering. Just don’t be crazy and try to keep up with the person next to you. Run your own race and pace that suits you…
  4. Don’t try anything new on race day ie eat the breakfast you trust and know fuels you well, run the pace you know works for you, and whatever you do don’t try any new race fuel that you haven’t tested before. You don’t want to get the s**** or get a funny tummy.
  5. “Comparison is the thief of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt. I love this quote. Remember this quote when you get to the end of the race. Compare your run time with no one. If you finished this event then you are bloody epic and should be proud. Only a few runners are out to win this event. The rest of the field are out there for personal bests and to savour that finish-line moment. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you finished an epic, hairy-scary challenge. So many people wish they could tick off this bucket list event. If you get to do it then gloat about it as much as you like. Because. You. Are. Epic! ps Make sure you tag the Rotorua Marathon on race day because the team loves seeing your pix! Tag me too – ’cause there ain’t anything cooler than a Rotorua Marathon race day pic!

Blog penned by Rachel Grunwell. Connect with her via instagram or the InspiredHealthNZ Facebook page

Taupo runner loses 7kg

When Taupo runner Vinnie Klein signed up for wellness coaching her aim was to lose weight and reclaim back her awesome run fitness.

Over recent years she felt like her running was getting harder and slower and last year she had the toughest half-marathon she has done – despite being a seasoned runner with a lot of experience in events including marathons. The 46-year-old mum had put on some weight and couldn’t shake the extra kilos. Other health issues including headaches were also affecting her health and happiness too.

“I want to be able to run again without feeling like a sack of potatoes,” she quipped when she first chatted with me.

Vinnie had a good knowledge of nutrition, consumed little sugar and was into fitness before she came to me for wellness coaching. But I could see clearly where I could uplift her health, nutrition and fitness after our first consultation. She committed to12-weeks of wellness coaching where she checked in with me every week (via phone chats) and took on fresh ideas, and mindfully tweaked her fitness, health and lifestyle in a way that worked well for her as an individual and her lifestyle. She is a construction business co-owner and works in the office and so planned fitness around her commitments with this.

Every week, Vinnie tweaked things she was doing. I guided her in a way that was manageable and relatable – and never too overwhelming. I shared wellness tools I sensed she would be interested in. Ultimately, having a smart plan is the key to a successful wellness journey and checking in with me regularly with questions meant Vinnie could follow her plan with confidence.

Vinnie is one of my star clients. She lost 7kg over the 12-weeks, improved her running, resistance training and overall wellbeing. She did it too while still enjoying wine every week with her husband Andrew and often being away with friends socially too. Her headaches have eased considerably.

After 12-weeks away, Vinnie knows how to confidently carry on with her wellbeing journey in a sustainable way. My aim always is to empower my clients over 12-weeks so this is all they need to be with me on this plan.

Vinnie shares some things that helped her journey:

Vinnie with her dogs, Jude (left) and Maggie (right)

What was the hardest part?

“Starting!” The hardest part is getting your mind into the mindset that this is the time to take action and get going,” she says, then adds “another hard part was the strength training.”

What helped you on your journey?

“Rachel did!”

“You definitely kept me accountable. Without the help I would never have been able to improve my health journey from so many angles”.

What do you love about your wellness journey?

“I feel like I’m in control of where I am in life. I love being 7kg lighter. I’ve gone from a size 12 (it was tight) to a size 10. This helps me feel a lot more comfortable with running. My running is heaps easier!”

What is your advice to others wishing to be fitter or healthier?

“Do this when the time is right for you. Once you make that choice you will never regret it. It’s also important to have a goal and something on the calendar to aim for too for motivation.”

Vinnie’s next run goal is 10km at the Rotorua Marathon event and she’s looking forward to running strong and enjoying it! She will be running with a guide runner as her sight is impaired. She’s a proud member of the Achilles charity, which helps Kiwis with disabilities to participate in mainstream events.

ps I’m so proud of Vinnie’s success. She made it happen. In my books, she is the definition of inspiring! Don’t you agree?

Rachel is a wellness coach, passionate multi-marathoner, yogi and author of the book Balance: Food, health + Happiness, which boasts 30 global experts on how to live healthier and happier + 30 nourishing recipes. Contact Rachel via [email protected]

The book Balance is available for order via this website. Click HERE

Follow Rachel on Instagram or the InspiredHealthNZ Facebook page.

  • Declaration: Rachel works with the Rotorua Marathon crew as an ambassador and coach. This is proudly sponsored content.
  • To find out more about the Rotorua Marathon event click HERE

Inspiring Mum kick-starts her fitness journey for the the Rotorua Marathon event’s 10km run

Four hundred Kiwis entered the competition (with Destination Rotorua and The Hits radio station) to try and win the ultimate weekend getaway in Rotorua which included the help to kick-start their fitness journey so they can participate in the Rotorua Marathon event.

Auckland mum Rebecca Bowman won the comp – and she has signed up to participate in the 10km event on September 26.

She won these prizes in the competition:
2 entries at any distance to the Rotorua Marathon

Coaching from yours truly, and a copy of my book – Balance: Food, health & happiness. 

2 nights accommodation for two people

Polynesian Spa  - 2 x Deluxe Lake Spa passes

  Skyline Rotorua Gondola, Luge & Dinner at #stratosphererestaurant  for 2 people 

 Rrotorua Canopy Tours – Original Tour for 2 people 

Rebecca is starting her run journey from scratch and has less than two months to prepare. Mum to 4-month-old Grace, Rebecca aims to complete the 10km event.

“My goal is to be able to jog the whole way,” she says.

Rebecca is looking to reclaim her fitness – post having her baby Grace four months ago. She is aiming to get outdoors with Grace in the pram to get fit throughout the week (rain or shine).

“If I’m training with a pram… then I’m hoping it will be easy on race day if I don’t have to push a pram!” she quips.

I’ll be meeting with Rebecca weekly and giving her a coaching plan to progress her towards this goal with a safe, smart and manageable approach.

I’ve advised Rebecca to start with a walk/jog routine to get her muscles, ligaments stronger and her body used to being in motion.

A slow, easy pace with more walking than running is the smartest way to start a run journey. It’s also way more fun to do it this way – which is so important! And starting sensibly is a key to avoiding feeling fatigued and exhausted and avoiding injuries too. I’ve advised her to embrace re rest days also to give her body time to adapt, strengthen and recover well.

Rebecca has a great fitness background pre having her gorgeous baby Grace, and so also has the right mindset, enthusiasm and can-do attitude too that will take her far. I can’t wait to see her progression!

  • This blog is sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon event. Rachel is the Rotorua Marathon event run ambassador, a qualified coach and a keen marathoner. She has conquered 25 marathons. She loves inspiring Kiwis to kick-start a health and fitness journey so they can feel healthier and happier.

3 Inspiring Women Fundraising for the Rotorua Marathon event

By Rachel Grunwell

Tell me what breaks your heart and I’ll point you toward your purpose.

So writes activist and author Glennon Doyle in her book, Untamed.

When I read this line in Doyle’s book, it put into words the deep pain that has powered me into helping several charities over the years. Some things just break your heart and stir action. And you never regret action; You only regret inaction.

Whenever I talk to people fundraising for the Rotorua Marathon event (on Sept 26), I feel their passion. I also sense the pain that has caused their deep heart-connection to act.

These are just three inspiring (super) women fundraising for different charities via this iconic Bay of Plenty event. They are making their miles count. Please support them with a donation. Because small actions can snowball and help to heal this world…

Melanie Steen is fundraising for the Cambodian Charitable Trust, set up by Tauranga mum and lawyer Denise Arnold. This trust helps kids access education in Cambodia.

Kids at Ang Chhum Primary. This is one of the 23 schools supported by The Cambodia Charitable Trust.

Melanie says it is an honour to run this event and fundraise for this charity. She discovered the trust’s amazing work when reading about motivational people in my book, Balance (yes, I got pretty emotional over this!)

This is her “why”:

“The Trust was set up by a mother who wanted to make a difference, she saw a need to help these children have what we take for granted as a normal life something most of us give our children without really considering it a luxury”.

Denise says funds raised by Melanie will support the school communities at a time when there is no work and many are going hungry. 

“All funds will go to provide 50kg bags of rice to families struggling to feed themselves. There is no welfare system in Cambodia and with garment factories and construction sites closing and no tourism, there are many families facing a total loss of income. It is a huge problem, and so far the trust has provided 767 bags of rice. Each bag of rice costs about $60NZ and lasts the average family about a month”.

Steen has so far raised $329. To support this amazing cause click here:

https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/help-me-to-help-others-2

Melanie
Steen

Kylie Allpress is among a team fundraising for the Rotorua Hospice. She is running in memory of her dad who died of leukaemia. She backs the hospice for giving “unconditional love and support to all our families in Rotorua”.

She says on her fundraising page that her dad longed to one day run this event but he never did. She is a marathoner already and aiming for a PB of 3hr45mins.

On her givealittle page she says: “All I ask is please donate the price of a latte $5 for Rotorua Hospice, my chosen charity which gives unconditional love and support to all our families in the Rotorua community. I am forever grateful! This runs for you dad X”.

Kylie has so far fundraised $488. Please help her with a donation here:

https://rotoruamarathon2020.everydayhero.com/nz/kylie-2

Rotorua-based baker Tracey Dender is fundraising for the No Duff Charitable Trust, which helps current and former Defence personnel (and their families). Tracey is an ex war vet. She’s running the marathon in a weighted vest!

Dender (pictured below) has fundraised $2539 so far. To donate towards this worthy cause click here:

https://givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/marathon-for-mates-2020

Meanwhile, read Dender’s full story on her marathon mission in another blog I wrote just on her. Click HERE

Join these amazing women and enter the Rotorua Marathon event (either the fun run, 10km, half-marathon of full-marathon distance.). Click HERE

This post is sponsored by the Rotorua Marathon #sponsored #ad

20 Tips to Kick-Start Your Run Journey


By Rachel Grunwell

1. The hardest part about starting a run journey is making the decision to start. So, start today. Just jump!

2. Small steps work best. Start with 10-minutes twice weekly. Walk a power-pole, run the next. Repeat. Take it slow and easy. This gives your muscles and ligaments time to adapt and strengthen. It’s all about time in motion at this stage and it doesn’t matter if it’s all walking. The worst thing you can do it run too hard and long too soon.

3. Ask a mate (or several mates!) to join you on your beginner run journey. You can cheer each other on. It makes the journey more fun too. On those days that you feel unmotivated to run, it will spur you into action if you know a mate is waiting for you.

4. Spend a brief time doing some dynamic stretches before you run. This gets your body primed for moving well ie dynamic lunges.

5. Do some yoga static stretches for a brief time after your run. This brings length back to tight muscles. I’ve got run stretches on a blog on this site too – so seek that out.

6. Enter a 10km event that’s several months away ie the Rotorua Marathon event on September 26 (join me!). Having a goal to work towards gives you a reason to keep up your run journey. It scares you into action. Enter by clicking the link HERE.

7. Be okay about being an absolute beginner. Own this! If you practice anything then you get better at it. The same philosophy applies with a run journey. After a few weeks, you will feel stronger and fitter. After several weeks, you’ll notice you can run a bit more than before. It feels amazing! So, trust the process.

8. Only a small percentage of runners try to win run events. Most people – like you and me – run for our wellbeing. It’s all about that finish-line moment and this is success. Remember this.

9. The “runner’s high” is science-backed and real. I explain the hormones and science behind this phenomenon in my book Balance. It’s super interesting. When you run you can also go into a state of “flow”. This is a science-backed state too that I detail in my book too. Flow is a wellbeing secret to feeling happy. There are different ways you can find flow. Running is just one way. It’s also free (besides needing a pair of decent run shoes, that is).

10. Be okay about progression. Never strive for perfectionism. Your run journey is about uplifting your wellness journey. Every time you run or walk this is a positive thing for your body and mind. Movement is medicine. It impacts on how you think, feel and perform. It actually changes your brain. So, you are smarter if you run! Literally.

11. The World Health Organisation prescribes 30-minutes’ exercise daily. This really is a minimum. So, walking and running is a smart way to “up” your daily movement. Actually, that WHO guideline is barely a baseline for good health. Getting your heart-rate up on a run a few times a week is epic for your health…

12. Movement is part of a prescription for wellness. It’s not all about weight-management or fitness. Movement can help people better manage things like anxiety and depression too. It’s a genuine mood-lifter. So if you feel down sometimes, focus in on this reason alone and keep running.

13. A walk or run journey is a great way to inspire your kids into movement. They may not listen to everything you say (or is that only my teenagers chuckle). But they definitely watch everything you do. The greatest thing I can do for my kids is to inspire them as a kick-ass role-model on ways to be healthy. That to me is success: Healthy kids.

14. Believe you can be a runner and you likely will. Believe you won’t and you likely will never get there. ps if I can go from being an unfit mum seven years ago, to a competent runner – then I reckon almost anyone can. And I love breaking down barriers to share “how”.

15. Put your run clothes and shoes out the night before. So all you have to do is wake up, roll out of bed, get dressed and walk out the door and move. This trick helps!

16. Put in your calendar 2-3 timess weekly when you will commit to going for a run/walk/jog/skip. If you schedule in your workouts then you have something to aim for.

17. You don’t need fancy run gear. All you really need is an “I can attitude”.

18. Surround yourself with inspiring friends who are into fitness. Chat to them about your journey so they can cheer you on.

19. Tell family and friends about your new health journey. They’ll likely ask how you are doing over the coming weeks and keep you accountable and encouraged.

20. Learn to be a mindful runner. Savour being outside in the fresh air and sunshine and enjoy these moments of “me time” (away from all those devices too, right. Yeah, I’m guilty of this too…) 

Connect with Rachel on Instagram for more run inspo in the build up to the Rotorua Marathon event. Click HERE

Rachel is a qualified coach, yoga teacher & experienced runner. She’s conquered 25 marathons at last count, including guiding a string of disabled athletes. She’s the author of Balance: Food, Health + Happiness. The book has 30 global experts on how to be healthier and happier, plus 30 nourishing recipes. There’s lots of run stuff in the book ie inspiring stories, recipes to fuel your run, to experts sharing how the runner’s high works, to a neuroscientist sharing how you can lift your performance etc…

Order a copy of the book HERE

5 Ways Get out of a Fitness Funk + 2 Nourishing recipes

By Rachel Grunwell

Tough times can either grind you down and spit you out. Or tough times can make you stronger, better and even more kick-ass resilient.

You get to choose.

Yep, that’s right. You are always choosing how you view the world. This lockdown period due to Covid 19 – and the postponement of the Rotorua Marathon event to September 26 – is either the hardest thing ever, or a blessing. It just depends on what way you choose to view it.

For instance, when I messaged TV and radio personality Mike Puru (who is running the event along with radio colleagues Stacey Morrison and Anika Moa) to tell him about the postponed marathon, his reply was awesome. “Ooooh, more time to train!” He replied.

Isn’t that response choice!

Happiness researcher Shawn Achor (who is one of the 30 global experts in my book Balance: Food, Health + Happiness) calls having a brighter view on life in tough times “falling up”, instead of “falling down”. He reckons we should capitalise on the “downs” to build “upward momentum”.

So, what I’m trying to say, is instead of feeling gutted that the event will instead run in September. Think of the bonus sides to this…

Look, isolation still sucks, I get it. There are things we just can’t do right now for important health and safety reasons ie like be social and run with our run buddies. But there are things we CAN do. So, focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. Here are some ideas to get you inspired & two recipes including these yum Choc Orange Protein Packed Bliss Balls…

5 Ways to Get Out of a Fitness Funk:

  1. Take a good look at your attitude and adjust it to one of gratitude. You can still run! Just keep the Government guidelines in mind and keep your social distancing at all times. And please do it solo. You health (and the health of all Kiwis is crucial right now). With the marathon further away, it’s a bonus that you can run this event even better with more time – if you use your time well.
  2. Think about how you can build yourself up as a better runner ie are there warm up and cool down exercises and yoga stretches you can learn to keep you injury-free? Here’s a cool 1-minute yoga flow for better mobility on my insta page . Click HERE
  3. Do you have a strong core and good posture that helps to keep you upright during the long miles (rather than having that slumped over look with collapsed shoulders). Could you fine-tune your running by upping your education through wellness or run books or find a coach who can help you to get where you want to be (ps research shows that coaches help you reach your goals in a smarter way and quicker). Or do you simply want to get stronger so you have more pep in your step up those gnarly hills?
  4. View your body like a brand spanking new race car and consider how you are fuelling it. Do you fuel your body for optimum performance? Could you lose a few kilos so you are lighter and faster on your feet? Are you curious on how to eat in a way where food can aid your running better? You CAN fuel your body to perform better – and as a positive spinoff you might be able to fit your jeans a bit better, which is always a bonus. Here’s my recipe for Choc Orange Protein-Packed Bliss Balls if you are after a healthy nourishing snack. Click HERE. And here’s my Banana Chia Smoothie recipe to get you started on something yum, yet healthy.
  5. Try meditation to help you get the re-set to feel more calm and grounded. Tapping into something yin, can help you to get stronger! Here’s a 1-min meditation that’s easy peasy on my insta. Click HERE

You can work on any of these ideas NOW. You have a month with no excuses. I’d love to know how you are choosing to view this lockdown time. Tell me by connecting with me on social media. Follow me too for more wellbeing inspo, recipes and advice. I’m here on Instagram & Facebook and I love these these social communities.

Yoga can strengthen and stretch your body. Having good mobility can help you “move well”, and ultimately “run well”.

Rachel is the Rotorua Marathon ambassador. She has run this marathon four times, and the half marathon once. She’s a coach, yoga teacher, wellness magazine columnist and author of the book Balance. She’s also a Rotorua gal born and bred and she loves this race and place!

Check out the deets on the Rotorua Marathon event. Click HERE

Ex War Vet Fundraises via the Rotorua Marathon a Tough Way – for a Heart-Connected Cause

Blog by Rachel Grunwell

Ex war vet, Tracey Dender, will be running the Rotorua Marathon in May – and doing it tougher than most. She’s running 42km in a weighted vest. So those hills around the back of Lake Rotorua are going to be haaaaard, long and slow. (I know this for a fact, as I’ve done this marathon without a weighted vest and it was haaaaaard, long and slow enough. By the way, that weighted vest weighs 6kg. Can you imagine carrying around a sack of 6kg potatoes around 42km?

Tracey is also making her run miles count with a passionate purpose. She’s raising money for a Veterans support charity, called No Duff Chartitable Trust.

Why? This 37-year-old – now Rotorua-based baker – is a veteran herself. She did 11 years in the NZ Army including a tour to East Timor and one to Afghanistan.

But here’s her big WHY behind why she is making her run miles count with a true mission:

She tells this best in her own words:

“I have struggled with depression and anxiety, during my time in the Army and since leaving the Army. I am living life as best I can nowadays but some of my friends and colleagues weren’t so lucky. Some days are still tough. “Running definitely helps with the mindset and wellbeing. No Duff was set up and is run by veterans out of necessity and gaps in the support network for veterans.

“I’m passionate because there are so many veterans suffering and who need help.

“No Duff has had its funding decreased and so this is my way of helping a bit.”

This will be marathon number 3 for Tracey.

How does she think she’ll get on?

“I think I’ll go ok with the vest. It’s going be painful, but I am stubborn and have a good training group to run with (Jogging the Powerpoles, in Rotorua).”

Meanwhile, here’s a pic of Tracey after receiving a medal on Anzac Day in East Timor. This was to acknowledge working with the UN in 2002.

So far Tracey has raised $720. Please help her to make a difference for a deserving bunch of Kiwi legends by donating on her Givealittle page HERE And share this blog with anyone you know who may like to back this amazing runner. Her mission is the definition of inspiring.

Meanwhile, you can join Tracey and thousands of others chasing their own goals at the Rotorua Marathon too. You can check out the event by clicking HERE

If you’d like to know more about the charity Tracey is supporting click HERE.

Blog by Rachel Grunwell: Rotorua Marathon ambassador and passionate multi-marathoner (25 marathons at the last count including 4X the Rotorua Marathon full course). Qualified coach. Yoga teacher. Wellness expert. Freelance journalist. Author of the book Balance, which includes 30 global experts sharing science-backed hacks on how to be healthier and happier.