How to measure improvement

How to measure improvement

I’m not alone in my opinion that social media has fair dinkum stuffed the fitness industry, there is a myriad of “gurus” who like to take selfies of themselves and obsess about followers saying all kinds of things to get you to purchase 8 or 12 week packs and the like.  A lot of people pushing certain agendas leads to hugely contradicting styles and hence the person who really matters most (the consumer/athlete who is after help to improve) gets lost in a whirlwind of different theories and opinions, maybe because some dickhead with 10,000 insta followers said it, maybe because they saw that fella at the gym doing that upside down looking move, and maybe because they got sucked in to yet another bloody pyramid scheme. Its true gimmicks are everywhere, but today if you can read one thing to improve and simplify your training schedule then please read this - SIMPLE WORKS!!

We at RUNNEZ prefer to listen to the many experts who have come before us, the scientists, the physiologists, the bio mechanists and the true coaches  – Bowerman , Lydiard, Canova, Gambetta, Telford, Daniels, Hudson.

These are our gurus!!

Yes, training and performing take a little bit of experimentation, every human does respond differently to different stimuli. So, there is no one-size-fits all method. But we do have decades of data and research that has come before us to point us in the right direction.

We do have true tests in fun runs, triathlons, competitive races, individual time trials and team sport in which we can test our methodology and progress.

We can perform movement based screening to give us tangible feedback into our individual mechanics.

We can track our energy levels and our sleep patterns to monitor how we are feeling day to day.

These are great indicators as to how we are tracking moving forward.

On route to our competition or testing we must do a few things to ensure we encounter the success we deserve.

We must genuinely enjoy the journey and the process, not wishing we were 2 years down the track!

We must have an “A” and “B” goal as well as many other little goals along the way!

We must be so grateful for the opportunity!

We must work hard and intelligently!

We must also remember to recover and absorb the work!

If we genuinely do these things and believe in them, it will be an amazing journey to the type of human performance you never thought possible.

Love every minute of it legends.

Connective tissue and elastic recoil

Connective tissue and elastic recoil

Don’t let the boring title put you off scrolling down this stuff is bloody fascinating for any athlete, but more specifically running based athletes. We so often talk about the big 4 components of running performance- Aerobic power or VO2max, lactate threshold, mental toughness and running economy. All 4 we work on every day here at RUNNEZ HQ and all 4 are very trainable. In my opinion, not one of these components is more important than the other, but all 4 need to be worked on in abundance to improve, and to make the elite level all 4 need to be almost elite not one of these can be lacking.
It is another reason why we emphasise every workout having a purpose, and these variables are worked on all year round in different sessions. If two athletes have a vo2 max of 70 mL/kg/min and are both reasonably tough, the athlete with the greater running economy should usually win.

Many practices improve economy, strength training is super important, hills both short and longer hills, tempo running, long running, race pace efforts, technique cues and mobility drills.
But today I want to talk about specifically gaining some free speed from elastic recoil.
Let me explain, firstly connective tissue is made up of many elements, it connects all your bodies muscles, organs, blood vessels, nerves and other parts to one another. Some of the most important connective tissue for runners are bone, tendon, ligament, cartilage and fascia Elastic recoil occurs when we convert energy temporally stored in our tendons and fascia with each foot strike kind of giving us a free push along.
Tendons are the major contributor here, as you run energy is for a moment stored in your tendons then this is released propelling you forward once your muscles contract.
Simply with each step we take while running our Achilles is stretched, this is stored as energy. When our calves then reach a maximum safe stretch, a reflex causes our calf to contract, at the same time your Achilles tendon and plantar fascia as well as other fascia release the stored energy. This acts as a catapult and adds to the force generated by your muscles. This is further enhanced the shorter your ground contact time (higher cadence)
So here is a couple of quick tips to improve your elastic recoil and therefore help improve running economy.
1. As mentioned above work on less ground contact time aim for 180 steps a minute, If you’re a long way from this number don’t try to change it too fast just be aware of picking your feet up quicker and work on it over time.
2. Strength train – so important in every aspect of athletic performance, focus on the big movements, squats, deadlifts, step-ups, hip thrusters and split squats.
3. Hill sprints – only for experienced runners keep the sets short under 15 seconds with plenty of recovery.
4. Plyometrics – again only for those with some experience and always start out very easy. Always warm up extensively before doing any form of plyometrics. Aim at 5-10 jumps on a small box or even some light bounds where you move from one leg to the other for 20 metres driving your knee high and forward. Allow 2-3 minutes between sets. It is not about smashing out at a high intensity workout, it is about performing a proper jump or bound for the stimulus we are after.

Elastic recoil is a fascinating topic and a nice little component of running performance and in
particular running economy, have fun with a few of these and see if you can add them in to your strength training routine.



How to make exercise a part of your EVERY Day!

How to make exercise a part of your EVERY Day!

“Exercise is medicine” How much will you do today? 
I love the quote but I can’t claim it, I’ve heard it from Mick Hughes (a Physiotherapist and Exercise Physiologist from Melbourne) has been doing a great job spreading the word about daily movement. I’m unsure who originally coined the phrase – but I love it. I love physiology, I love performance coaching, but most of all I love seeing people improve themselves. 

For a long time, I’ve been drumming on about intelligent training, and this ring’s true for both competitive athletes and people who may train for health and lifestyle. 
Below I have outlined 5 tips for starting to exercise and never ever stopping. 

1. Beginners start slow -  
Whether exercise is something totally foreign to you or was part of your life decades ago, be smart when commencing. 
Depending on your level some walking will usually suffice but some may be able to get on a bike, cross trainer, rower or even some light jogging for 30-60 seconds at time.
Be smart and increase both volume and intensity slowly, allow everything to adapt in its own time- tendons will adapt slower then aerobic fitness for example. So, don’t be in a hurry this is a lifelong journey you are embarking on. 

2. Take emotion out of it -  
The first 4 months will be a dream you will be filled with neurotransmitters like serotonin and endorphins will be making you feel like the king of the world….. there will be slumps – and this is where we need exercise to be a hardwired part of our day – we wake up, brush our teeth, we go to training or if you’re a PM trainer take your gear with you in the car and just know you WILL train after work. 
Motivation is a brilliant thing but do not rely on it because it can be fleeting. 

3.  Know your why – 
A bit of a follow up from number 2 – but we need some intrinsic motivation as well – a performance goal is great but that may not work for some 12 months of year, so we all need a reason to move, for example, mental health, physical health, to be able to run around with grandkids in 10 years’ time,  or to save yourself from medical bills later (remember the old saying ‘if you’re not willing to invest in your physical health now you better be ready to fork out  for doctors’ bills later). It doesn’t matter what your why is just as long as gets you moving daily. 

4. Map out your week -  
Constructing the training week ahead can help, especially for very busy people. Your quality sessions will take precedence for example 2 -3 running sessions, 2 strength sessions and a long walk the other days may be as simple as planning to walk to the train station instead of driving. 

5. Enjoy the process - 
Don’t make exercise another stressor, enjoy every minute of it even if you’re having an easy walk day or don’t perform as you would like – always remember how bloody lucky we are to be taking part in this game called life- let’s get out and live it!  

Emotional Health

Emotional Health

Today I won’t be discussing too much from a physiological or biomechanical standpoint, rather we are going to delve into ways of improving our emotional self.

A few blogs ago I chatted about the association between our mental health and exercise, we spoke of the neurotransmitters and biochemical reactions that occur in our brain during and post a workout, and the scientific proof that renders any anti exercise ambassador’s point a moot one.

The following is along similar lines, as in we are checking in on our emotional health, it has the potential to ruin our day, sporting performance, job and even life.

Often, we don’t even know any different, and we have been in an emotional “rut” for years, decades even. You will never be anywhere near your optimum. Clearly as stated in previous posts exercise plays a major role in maintaining a balanced emotional state, but ill touch on that a little later, today we will outline some ways to help you feel great just being you.

1.       Sit back, breathe and assess where your passions lie. Once you have defined said passions then make them a priority, easier said than done sometimes I know, but just being aware of what they may be will help you prioritise – there is a very popular saying that rings true here ‘Do more of what you love”

 2.       Remove toxic people from your life- I know this may be impossible at all times- but at the very least do not let their energy affect you in ANY way. Coaching 1000’s of beautiful people I learn a lot and listen a lot, we are all human and we do get affected by what other “friends” may do or say, but every minute on the earth is a gift so if you find yourself worrying about how your perceived by someone- my advice would be to limit your contact with that person.

I’m not talking about an obvious bully or antisocial individual that would be far easier to spot and dismiss, I’m talking about a situation far more common but equally as bad if not worse. The person around you is a very good actor and may “fake” being nice really well, but each time you are around them you walk are away feeling like shit! Make no mistake there is no problem with you, it is ALL them, most likely they are severely insecure within themselves and have jealously issues. So  passive aggression, gossiping and general negativity all while fake smiling of course is their way of making themselves feel better- don’t stand for it- remove yourself form the situation. We don’t allow it here at HQ in fact it’s a sure-fire way to get black banned. One thing we should always aim to do is be wary of how we impact someone’s day- always leave a room in a better “place” than when you found it. Look out for each other you never know someone else’s story, just put simply be REAL be UNAFFECTED be a person that people feel good about BEING AROUND, just being this person will help you as well, because it will ween out the “fake nice” narcissists from your world.

3.       DO NOT SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF – again an obvious one, but not super easy at times and took me a while to be proficient, notice I didn’t say I’ve mastered it. 
There is strong link between constant worry and physical illness and injury; I have spoken previously about the stress hormone cortisol and the damage it can cause. Put simply when you find yourself worrying, acknowledge it, and then move on. Again, don’t waste your energy in a negative space.

4.       Exercise -   So bloody important, for the reasons mentioned earlier, our bodies natural anti-depressant will regulate your emotional health and make every other part of your day so much easier and more productive.   

By putting all these into practice you will be setting the foundation of an extremely healthy emotional being, and once you do just wait and see yourself flourish, nothing will be too hard, and people’s comments or things that may have bothered you earlier will be nothing more than water off of a ducks back. Always aim to impact people in a positive way, and be kind to each other.

Rick Mirabella
Founder/Head Coach RUNNEZ

Continuity is King

Continuity is King

In the sport science world, we use it almost daily “continuity is king” along with consistency it is the most often used word in our vocabulary.

The fact is consistency breeds success in EVERY thing, and in the fitness space it is remaining consistent in a combination of different variables  that yields the most bang for your buck.

The training must be consistent – clearly, but it also must be intelligent. Consistency in nutrition, hydration, sleep and attitude are crucial! 

And the biggest factor in all of this is PATIENCE. In a world of instant gratification via modern technology, we can have whatever we want when we want it.

This coupled with certain television programs, “Personal Trainers weight loss photos” on social networks, nutritional pyramid schemes, and commercial gyms spruiking 12 week challenges it’s no wonder people want to reverse months, years or decades of sedentary behaviour and/or poor nutritional choices in 12 weeks.

Unfortunately, the above “get rich quick schemes” are just that!

Thankfully most people in 2017 see them for what they are- very uneducated people trying to make a dollar with scant regard for anyone else but themselve , in physiology, patience is a beautiful thing!

In coming from a distance running and AFL back ground periodising everything is vital and in regards to the preparation phase, the longer the better!

But that is a blog for another day, today I want to focus on people who are hard on themselves because they haven’t attained the body composition or superficial results “they thought they may have by now”.

This feeling is not helped by the aforementioned myriad of confusing information put out there by people who have something to sell or have paid for a few thousand insta followers and are now self-professed “gurus”.

My advice? take a step back, breathe and assess.

Step 1 - Gratitude – be grateful for having an opportunity to improve the organism that is your body.

Step 2 - With a coach, mentor, friend, or by yourself set out some long-term goals 1-2 years or more.

Step 3 - Realistically build a plan, focus on everything- training, nutrition, sleep, hydration.

Step 4 - Enjoy the process, there are 7 billion people on earth not one is made the same, it will take time, if you are consistent with everything and take longer and longer between “blowouts” the results you are after will come, DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF EVERYDAY or in the same breath have negative talk about “how long it’s taking” – it’s akin to being at a job you dislike and looking at the clock every 15 minutes, it does nothing but put you in a negative mental state.

Step 5 - Following on from the last point embrace this as the “new normal” if you accept that this is now part of you are everyday forever,  the results will then come, and they will be a beautiful by-product of what is your new healthy lifestyle. Remember Continuity is king as long as your consistent, you will be in a far better physical state in 5-10 years time than you are today.    


Rick Mirabella
Founder/Head Coach RUNNEZ



For a more than a decade I have been immersed day in, day out in the middle and long distance running world as well as the equally high octane strength and conditioning and Australian rules football space, every day from 5 am I’m talking/yelling sets, reps, volume, intensity, frequency, distance, aerobic, anaerobic, hills, miles, marathons, triathlon. Of course, I Love it and I am hugely passionate about all of the above, I’m also lucky enough to coach some of the best people on earth.

We have always known that recovery is the key to adaptation and therefore success in athletic performance; us coaches load the stimuli into our athletes and then you guys (the athletes) eat well, sleep well, and regenerate and all things being equal, adapt and improve!  

At the pointy end of elite sport, they are always looking for that extra .1%, sometimes to the detriment of the athlete/sport- think any convicted drug cheat.

But I truly believe that there is an edge we can grasp from a tool that we as coaches and even the experts still only know a fraction about – OUR MIND.

I’m not delivering anything ground breaking I know, the practise of mediation having been around for centuries, millenniums even. But I feel there is so much to gain, and it is exciting that we as humans still have so much we can extract from our lives.

Every day we should be on a mission to go to bed that night a better version of ourselves, this includes being a great parent, spouse, employee, employer, and fitting in our physical endeavours Be it the gym, or a run, or our sport. This may include study structured, compulsory or otherwise, we are on a mission to be the best version of ourselves.

Meditation whether 2 mins or 40 mins is a great tool in grounding us and helping us live in the now!

Not the past, Not the future, but the NOW- this is the only way to succeed in anything – planning is great, but worrying about the future is futile.

This brings me back to mindfulness for sport and general population athletes.

I’m certainly no expert in the field of meditation, but I have learnt from them and we felt it important enough to include upstairs in our boutique running and strength and conditioning studio here in Melbourne Australia, it’s aptly named “RUNNEZ, ABOVE THE SHOULDERS”

And we have a brilliant, highly qualified teacher taking classes for people from all walks of life.

But if a class is not your thing, download an app, or practise on your own.

Every athlete mediates – for many reasons, every endurance athlete, footballers, lifters, dancers some big-name basket ballers are advocates, namely Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, and a bloke you may have heard by the name of Michael Jordan. Big time performers, musicians, actors and broadcasters practise.

If it is good enough for MJ surely its good enough for a domestic basketballer who works full time and studies part time, or a mum of 4 who runs a half marathon twice a year and fits in her training where she can! We the general population and not professionals or people with plenty of time on our hands, we need to be in the now even more than an athlete like Jordan.

The thing about is it only takes a couple of minutes – and the health and performance benefits are enormous, in a recent blog I spoke about exercise for mental health (see below)

Well meditation is a proven way to help decrease stress, anxiety and depression, therefore improving immune function and sleep behaviour – all while decreasing the stress hormone cortisol.

Lack of sleep and high levels cortisol inhibits fat loss and increase the chance of gaining weight.

This all usually results in an increased mood.

Apart from all these existing health benefits, the performance benefits - which I believe are still largely untapped, are crazy GOOD!! It is VITAL for optimal performance – for the reasons listed above as well as teaching us how to relax in stressful situations of a race or game, regular breathing training, visualisation training, enabling us to focus on objectives of training and goals, and the enhanced sleep promotes recovery from harder sessions! 

It’s not easy to do especially at the beginning but the leaders in the field will tell you that if you practise for 4 weeks it gets a lot easier and the benefits you derive will be noticed.

For me as a coach and an athlete the exciting part lies in that “edge” what can we achieve if we truly train our brain to be present “right here, right now” You may have heard of the “flow” state, this could be for another blog, but flow is described as “the most productive and creative state of mind in which to work”

But like anything achieving flow take time! If I want to be the world’s best golfer I better start putting, the same goes for mindfulness, like I said start with 2 mins a day.

In regards to mindfulness and endurance athletes it really could be the edge to take that extra few seconds or even minutes of your PR.

Think about a marathon – 32km and the metaphorical bear jumps on your back, and the mind starts to play tricks “am I going to feel like this for the next 10km” maybe I should slow a little” “I can’t sustain this pace” at this point 10km feels like 3 marathons combined- what if we could bring it back to this very step and this very breath – control the controllable’s, the next 10 steps and then the next 10 steps, focus on economy and form, and breathing and relaxing!!

Nothing positive comes from thinking negative, take it a lamp post at a time or a water station at a time, and you will surprise yourself how quickly that 10km flies by.

I’ve made it sound easy on paper, it’s certainly not, but practise this on your next quality or long run, It will take time, and I’m certainly no expert as I’ve already stated, but if we train hard, train smart, recover well and eat well, then I believe this is a very under unutilised tool will assist in the pursuit of uncharted individual athletic excellence.

In finishing legends, why wouldn’t you want to improve your everyday well being and health without leaving your lounge room, sit down – don’t worry about a thing – and be in the NOW!

Rick Mirabella
Founder/Head Coach -  

Why the 'Money in the Bank' term in so relative to training

Why the 'Money in the Bank' term in so relative to training

How many times have you been at training whatever it may be, and a coach or a team mate yells it out… “Let’s go! Money in the bank” Maybe you know what it means, maybe you don’t, but it always seems to be said with a purpose that indicates its importance yeah? Right! As a physiology nerd I LOVE the term and what it stands for, intelligently and robustly building up and investing in your psychological and physiological athletic profile!

In the distance running and triathlon world it’s imperative, within the team sports I work with predominately Australian Rules Footy but it could easily be soccer or most field based sports, its crucial. The distance world knows how long it takes to extract your ultimate performance, Legendary New Zealand coach Arthur Lydiard was the king of the term and the practice, he would heap “lump sums” of aerobicwork in to his athletes in the foundation phase before sharpening them up and have them perfectly peaked when it was time to “withdraw” all their hard investing (training) - most notably when he led Peter Snell to the 800m gold at both the 1960 and ‘64 Olympics as well Murray Halberg to the 5000m Gold in 1960 at Rome and at the same games Barry Magee to a marathon Bronze. Talk about the ultimate payday hey!!!

In field based sports it is often referred to in the preseason where athletes will be working for 3-4 months prior to the season commencing- but it doesn’t end there it should be a 12 month deposit strategy- think strength work, in season conditioning , recovery , nutrition ,  etc., etc.,  everything we do affects the way our next session or most importantly next race/game will be.

The analogy is so apt because the two topics at hand fitness and saving money have so many parallels.

 A common mistake people who may be training for weightless or body fat loss make is they may “check in or their savings” 3 times a day!! They weigh themselves A LOT or they may be checking in the mirror to  see if they look “different’  to yesterday- which causes some highs and some lows – the lows can then spiral and you end up on an emotional roller coaster that could ultimately lead you back to a vice be it food or the like, not to mention the mental anguish and stress hormones release from this process which alsoinhibit fat loss. Training like investing is NOT A LINEAR CURVE.

I suggest to recheck your progress monthly, or quarterly or even annually, It may be on the scales or in the form of a fitness test eg. 3 km run, or 1 km row – something objective and tangible or something similar.  Those who compete have regular objective measurements in the forms of their races or games. Do not fixate on daily improvements, but do “invest” wisely and intelligently daily it may not be a large investment of a long run or a quality fartlek , it may be a correct nutritional choice that your future self will thank you for later, or foam rolling and some mobility work for 10 mins at night- everything you do is an investment in your future self.

If your beginning your fitness journey it is easy to get carried away if you see some big changes early, congratulate yourself but never underestimate the long term nature of your task and the fact that we all should be training for life, for mental health for physical vibrancy, to achieve things we never thought possible and yes to feel great about ourselves , it may not be sexy or be made into a commercial television show and it certainly will not be explained to you in yet another of those generic  12 week challenges, but THIS investment is a long term thing.

It has to be sustainable, enjoyable , intelligent and tailored to you !

Another similarity with the investing metaphor in the principle of diversity, think about it, you won’t “put all your eggs in one basket” so they say, well training is similar take an average runners week – they won’t be running the same distance at the same pace day-in day-out, because they will get nowhere and they will more than likely get injured. Instead their week may have the following diversity – note only an example-

Monday– AM recovery run 30 min, - PM Strength session
Tuesday – Quality hill repeats – 20 min foam roller/stretch
Wednesday – AM easy run 70 min PM - Yoga
Thursday – AM Quality fartlekPM Strength session
Friday – rest day– massage
Saturday – tempo run
Sunday – long run 90 min hills

The above is only an example but shows how the athlete is investing in so many ways and it should include sleep and nutrition and hydration of course,  which play major roles in our end “withdrawal” 

The number one takeaway from this should be this- like investing, be it in an bank, the stocks or property it will always be a long term thing, you may withdraw big time (a PB Race for example) but there we always want to keep moving forward (invest in more property ), pick another race or a totally new challenge. If you train intelligently no workout will ever be wasted I promise you that,  and if this is our attitude then training will be never be a chore.

So go away, SMS your running or training mate or your coach and get out and invest in the future YOU legends!!

Top 5 tips to running your first marathon

Top 5 tips to running your first marathon

Often a bucket list event for many, the beautiful distance of 42.195km is like the Everest for millions of runners worldwide, it has a certain mystique about it and has done for many years, possibly since the likes of Frank Shorter and later our own Rob DeCastella brought marathoning into the mainstream media and into our lounge rooms via the 72 Olympics and 83 world champs respectively. If one was to google how to run a marathon they would probably be bombarded with hundreds of cookie cutter programs, quite overwhelming for a runner stepping up to the distance for the first time. The marathon is an event that is to be respected but if the work has been done the day itself could be one of the most satisfying and memorable of your life. In the following article I have outlined my 5 most important tips to finishing (well) your first marathon.

Note these are not “running a PB marathon” tips they are for another day, the below is specifically to ensure a first timer completestheir first marathon with 2 fists in the air (ah la DEEK)

1.       Evaluate exactly where you are at this very moment. – Training age – how many years have you trained for without a prolonged break, is it months , years , decades ?

This will play a big part, if you are a newer runner it will take time to build your aerobic and biomechanical base. – think about your longest run over the last 3 weeks? was it 40 min ? was it a half marathon? Was it a 2km jog/walk around the block?- the answer will significantly dictate where you begin your training plan from. 

2.       Create a plan – Either with a coach, face to face, online or just from what you can gather from some of the best coaching books around, develop a big macrocycle or full scale program, the longer the better. The “foundation” period for a beginner is very important-  for example if you have 12 months,  the first 4 months run predominately aerobically with some quality work thrown in once a week.

Then we can start getting a little more marathon specific over the following 8 months really getting into the meat and potatoes of the program for the last 4 months, with a taper towards the end, as a rule aim for your longest training run to land 21 days out from the big day. In that specific period, every workout should have a purpose, I am big on this in general, but in a marathon prep its crucial, every workout is another rung on the ladder of success, it may be a quality fartlek, or a long distance run or a progression run but always know why you are completing the workout.

3.       Strength Train – An often over looked aspect of any running plan is 1-2x 30min strength workouts a week the amount of overuse injuries that could be avoided if the subject lifted regularly is massive!! If 30 min is too long doing 20 or 15 min is ok, but it is CRUCIAL to fit it in somewhere. Big compound movements – squats, deadlifts, glute/hip thrusters, Bulgarian split lunge, leg press are vital. If you can’t do some of these that’s perfectly fine, adapt the exercises. Include single leg work as we are never on two legs when we are running and symmetry is king! Look out for our strength training for runners blog later in the month.

4.       Recovery -   This is king, if you “go the well” so to speak on a Sunday morning run, be sure to regenerate , eat well, sleep well and take a couple of easier days to allow your body to absorb the work you have put in , adapt and improve.

 5.       Find some running mates-  you don’t have to run together all the time but for some of your quality workouts and your longer runs try finding some friends to do some or all the workout with you. It’s a nice distraction when you must spend 2.5 hours on your legs to be having some light conversations with a group of your friends.

As with anything in sport or fitness consistency and sustainability is king!
Every session has a purpose -  enjoy the journey to becoming a marathoner!!  

Rick Mirabella
Founder and Head Coach  

Exercise and Mental Health

Exercise and Mental Health

We have all been there, 4.55am alarm blaring from your iPhone on your left-hand bed side table.

It seems at that moment, thousands of thoughts can spring into your mind in a few seconds (think a 1970s cartoon devil and angel on either shoulder moment) “GET UP, you will never regret a workout, and you will  feel so, so good all day” or “Oh I’m so tired… I could stay in bed an hour longer, I’ll just go tonight”

99% of you reading this would relate to the above, here’s my tip JUST GET UP! It’s ALWAYS worth it.

Once up, everything is OK, no one said you had to attempt an Olympic record off of 5 hours sleep, or smash out 10 x 400's in 68 seconds, but one thing is for sure consistency beats intensity every day of the week! You’re much better getting your consistent training in, then “going to the well” on the days where you feel capable or it is really required.   

In an era of such educated awareness around mental health it is a beautiful thing to see so many people training purely for the purpose of improving/maintaining their own psychological health.

So many studies have continually shown strong links between a regular exercise regime and decreases in depression, anxiety and negativity as well as greater cognitive clarity.

Other perks of training include greater resilience, increased productivity throughout the day, a more positive outlook, improved sleep,  greater vitality and a greater learning capacity.

A lot of very good doctors are now prescribing exercise as a big tool in their mental health recovery kit! We have all heard the term “runners high“ it is a very real thing, a very fascinating thing as well.

When we engage in vigorous exercise many significant biochemical changes occur in the brain.

Neurotransmitters like Serotonin are released, a decreased level of serotonin is linked to depression; so Serotonin is our natural anti-depressant.

Endorphin's are produced by the central nervous system these are shown to inhibit pain signals and produce a form of euphoria!

These endorphin's and serotonin releases are highly addictive, as well as all this, while exercising the stress hormone cortisol is dampened.

Increased blood flow to the brain further enhances the delivery of oxygen and glucose to neural tissue which helps to improve clarity and learning as well as make us fell bloody good!

Neuroplasticity is the brains capacity to re organise and form new neuralconnections, this happens all throughout our life, by regularly training, and making exercise a part of our daily routine we can continue to change and enhance our neural pathways , again this is partly due to enhanced blood flow to the brain.

Regular aerobic exercise has also shown to be the only activity that consistently boosts neurogenesis (the birth of new brain cells).  It is critical for so many physical reasons that all human beings move, but for the above reasons on a mental and emotional level it is crucial that we continue to exercise in some shape or form for our whole lives.

Everyone trains for different reasons, but for many people the number 1 reason is to “feel good for the day” we know the chemical reasons why this is so, but there is a lot to say for the social aspect of exercise as well, even if it is 5 am and you're meeting a friend or 20 like-minded people in a running group, there is something beautiful about training with and accomplishing something with other people.

There are lots of organisations around raising awareness of suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental illness. It is fantastic that more people are now talking about this subject as it really does affect everyone in some way, everyone will have their days and certainly no one chooses to come across “the black dog” but it is great that now people are talking, people are listening, and people are moving!!

Let’s all keep being kind to each other, we never know someone else’s struggles. If you have a friend or family member suffering or even a suspicion they may be, exercise in any form is a great way to get started on the road to recovery it may not be the only tool (psychologists, psychiatrists etc are vital in many situations as well) but it will give the individual the outlet, drive and focus that is so important to every one of us!

Look out for each other 

Rick Mirabella
Founder/Head Coach

Group Training

Group Training

It’s a warm dusty morning in Iten, Kenya one of the premier running camps in the world even though it’s far from fancy or high tech like an NCAA college lab may look like.
There are hundreds of Kenyans villages arriving for what is a almost a national tradition - a morning run. Among the large group are teachers, construction workers, aid workers, expats from Europe, US and other parts of the world who for some reason or another have landed in this running mecca, all of these people are general population runners or recreational runners who love to run for the many, many benefits to their physical, emotional, and mental health.
There are a few other runners in the large group as well, namely Olympic Marathon Gold Medallist and 2.03.05 marathoner Eliud Kipchoge an athlete who has been one of the world’s best for over a decade is “jogging” and chatting at 5 min per km pace (over 2 min per km slower than his marathon pace) with all the runners at all different abilities about their week, their occupation and their families. It may be a recovery day for Kipchoge of which he throws in a couple times a week, but its Poignant that the greatest distance runner in the world is currently training with and laughing with his fellow athletes who may cover the 42.195km or 26miles, 1, 2 or some 3 hours slower than he, or will never want to cover such distance. 
This last sentence sums  up everything about sport, running and life in my opinion and was a major driver in me creating the RUNNEZ movement at the beginning of 2007.
Athletes of Kipchoge’s level do all their ‘quality’ work in groups of similar levels, and then they do their easier or longer runs in bigger groups as described above.
My 2 sporting loves are Australian Rules Football and Distance Running I am a massive “running nerd” I love the science and physiology of running as well the psychology, but I LOVE the team aspect, the banter and the comradery of AFL .
Seeing as a RUNNEZ session is very much the athlete’s quality work out of their week It was always going to be hard to coach on the track due to so many varying abilities, so I brought it indoors and have never looked back, having coached 1000’s of great people of so many different abilities in so many walks of life.  All improve if consistent, and the consistency is so much easier due to the fact they have teammates and a coach. These general population athletes who work full or part time or raise a family, they need a coach and team mates more then the elites like Kipchoge due to the fact that being so busy often they put themselves and their own goals last, a coach and team mates of all different abilities and ambitions keep these busy individuals focused and accountable and once in the routine it so great to see people flourish and continue to improve, and take their bodies to athletic places they never thought possible.
It’s fantastic to see a 12 year old who may have mum or dad on their left and 75 year old on their right all running at significantly different speeds but the same effort level, all present for different reasons and all having a bloody great time!! 
If you are wanting to begin a fitness or sporting journey please don’t wait !!
And never think you’re not good enough or not fit enough, because it’s simply not true, join a team and find a coach that are there for you !
You will never look back
Rick Mirabella
Founder and Head Coach
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How to make treadmill running fun

Article By Kimberly Gillan Jul 19th, 2016

Can you make running on a stationary conveyor belt half-enjoyable? Coach writer Kimberly Gillan went to a Runnez group treadmill class in Melbourne to find out.

I've always had a love-hate relationship with the treadmill. On the one hand, it's a handy adjunct to road or trail running, and won't see you soaking in the rain or dying from heat exhaustion under a hot afternoon sun.

But on the other hand it's so boring staring at the digital display and I'm often tempted to just get off and call it a day.


For this reason, I gave up my gym membership years ago, instead indulging in beach side jogs or a couple of laps of Melbourne's iconic Tan Track so I can combine a bit of natural beauty with my huffing and puffing. Trouble is, if it's windy or raining, I'll stay on the couch.

So when I heard about Runnez classes happening around Melbourne, I thought I might've found the solution.

The brainchild of running coach and PT Rick Mirabella, Runnez is a 40-minute group session conducted on treadmills. It's sort of like a spin class for runners and Mirabella says at least half of his 500 regular runners are preparing for a fun run or marathon.

Mirabella came up with the idea in 2007 after struggling to teach running classes to runners of different levels.

"I had 15 people of all different levels at the track, running at different paces – it was too hard," he says.

"I figured that if they could do their aerobic, continuous stuff outside, I could take care of their 'quality' or lactic acid training inside. I found a location in Chelsea Heights that has heaps of treadmills and started with 10 people and it just went nuts."


These days Mirabella gets at least 30 people in each of his classes – there are 25 treadmills, plus bikes and cross trainers for anyone with injuries or wanting a different kind of workout. 

The classes are designed to be challenging and fitness building, but there are no set speeds or inclines – you take care of the buttons yourself.

We started with about eight minutes of fartlek training where we jogged at a comfortable pace for one minute then increased the speed to 80 percent effort for one minute.

Rick paced around the room fist-bumping everyone and giving tips on how our bodies should be feeling. The age group ranges from teenagers to 75-year-olds and AFL players attend too, so the idea is to work at your own speed and ability.

It was a good lesson in listening to my body and not trying to compete with the two women next to me. I haven't been running much for the past couple of months, so I took it pretty easy in that first bit to avoid a humiliating defeat.

We had a two-minute break after the fartlek session and I was feeling warm but comfortable so I decided to take it up a notch in the second session – Vo2 sets for five minutes.

We were instructed to push to 90 percent of our max for 40 seconds, then lift our feet onto the treadmill edges for a 20-second breather before going again. Then we finished that off with a three-minute all-out sprint before a much-needed rest.

The whole thing was repeated a second time and during the final three-minute sprint, I had to drop the speed so my heart didn't burst through my rib cage. I'll blame that on the enthusiastic Runnez whooping and cheering everybody on – I think I caught their bug.

In all honesty, it was the most enjoyable treadmill session I've ever done. I felt challenged, engaged and entertained, without having to use my brain at all – Mirabella took care of all the cues.

The odometer told me I'd run 8.5km in the session, which felt pretty good considering I haven't run in weeks and was only at it for for 40 minutes.

"The quicker you can run 10km, the quicker your marathon will be," Mirabella explains.

"And if you're training for body composition, this will put you in good stead for that too."


As for treadmill haters, Mirabella says there's no need to dis the machine.

"All the best runners in Europe and the US use them, especially in winter," he says.

"What we are trying to encourage is an increase of mitochondria and an increase of capillaries and running at speed, [whether on a treadmill or land] is equivalent."

The difference, Mirabella says, is that people turn up week in week out for Runnez classes, and even the most seasoned runner is inclined to bail on an outdoor session if the weather is bad.


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