Health & Fitness: Hit the road while away for some destination running

SCENERY AND SERENITY: There was plenty of beauty in the surrounds to admire and appreciate during the Armidale Fun Run on Sunday.
SCENERY AND SERENITY: There was plenty of beauty in the surrounds to admire and appreciate during the Armidale Fun Run on Sunday.

Do holidays or trips away throw your health and fitness routines into disarray?

As I discovered on the weekend it does not have to.

While organising travel and accommodation for a Saturday wedding in Armidale, my friend thought it would also be a good chance to also do some “destination running”.

She quickly discovered the Armidale Fun Run was on Sunday and even quicker had us entered.

Running is a great way to explore and see parts of a new town or city and Armidale is beautiful with its tree-lined streets, clean, crisp country air and mountain ranges in the distance.

ACCOMPLISHMENT: The feeling of crossing the finish line of an event like the one held in Armidale over the weekend is pretty good.

ACCOMPLISHMENT: The feeling of crossing the finish line of an event like the one held in Armidale over the weekend is pretty good.

As I was running I thought exploring a new place was one of the many things I love about running. As the run continued I started compiling a mental list and these were the other reasons I came up with:

Community. Being part of a running group or taking part in a community event gives you a sense of belonging and a social outlet.

Support and encouragement. There's something uplifting about having people call out, 'Great job' while you are running or walking. Where else in your day-to-day life does this happen? 

Well-being. Running keeps my sanity. When I don't run I'm cranky and a little agitated. When I do run everything else seems a little easier. 

Me time. It might be 30 minutes, 60 minutes or 90 minutes but it's all mine. It's quiet and it gives me time to think. If you run with a friend, it give you time to connect to others.

Accessible. A lot of runs or walks now cater for prams and wheelchairs and encourage families to get out and active with a range of distances and terrains to suit a range of ages and fitness levels.

I’m not in it to win it. At the end of the day I run to feel good about myself and to see my own improvements.

Character-building. Taking on any challenge in life adds character. In running that might mean overcoming the thought and feeling of wanting to stop. It can be as much a mental battle as a physical one.

Achievement. It doesn't always feel good during a run but it feels pretty good when you see the finish line then cross it.

Fitness. Obviously walking or running on a regular basis has a range of health benefits.

So, if you are heading away, plan ahead and see what runs are on while you are there.

HEALTHY EATING

Peter Mullen of Mullen Natural Health Centre has been offering some of his healthy eating tips for spring. This week it is a recipe for Peanut Butter Chia Pudding. He says chia seed puddings are a good way to keep your energy up through the day:

Ingredients: 1/2 cup of chia seeds, 1/2 cup water, 400ml can of coconut cream, two heaped teaspoons of maca powder, two heaped teaspoons of mesquite powder, two heaped tablespoons of peanut butter (Peter suggests using a good quality peanut butter). Method: Blend/whisk until smooth. 

SPRING LOADED WORKOUT WEEK #11

Incorporating different exercises and harder sessions into your fitness routine can challenge you.

Here is a session to try if you are looking for more of a challenge:

20 squats with one-armed press, 20 shoulder throws with light hand weights, 20 lunges/lunge jumps, 20 bent-over rows, 20 ab rotation with light hand weights, 20 supermans with alternating leg and arm.

Run/walk 5 minutes. Make it harder with intervals.

Repeat with 15 repetitions of each exercise, run/walk 5 minutes then repeat with 10 repetitions and run/walk 5 minutes.

UPCOMING FITNESS EVENTS

XRACE, November 17, Stockton: XRACE is a family adventure race comprising 10 mystery challenges along the way. www.xrace.com.au/03-newcastle.

Variety Xmas Walk Newcastle, December 10, Speers Point Park: A good excuse to get the family, workplace or group of friends outdoors and moving as Christmas-New Year approaches. www.variety.org.au.

Newcastle City Triathlon, February 25, Newcastle Foreshore: Offering a range of distances to suit all, be it novices to the advanced and a good challenge for the new year for individuals or teams. www.newcastlecitytriathlon.com.au.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. r.valentine@fairfaxmedia.com.au.