Even though it’s early February, many of you out there are already planning to do the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in June as a running newbie. You may have already started on a Couch-to-5k programme, you’re following your own training programme from a running magazine or website or have taken those tentative first strides at your local park run. Here are a few helpful nuggets to help you on your way to the starting line on June 2nd.
Everyone’s training goals and reasons for doing an event are all different but one thing should be the same: train smart and keep it consistent. Start off slowly and build up your mileage sensibly with no big spikes or troughs in your training. Think of the “10% rule”: increase your mileage 10% each week. Aim to do a dynamic warm-up before you head out the door: high knees, stride outs, heel raises, trunk rotations, heel kicks and if you’re really stuck for time, do a few jumping jacks! Also remember to factor in a recovery day or two each week. Recovery is vital to any training in every sport and should include good sleeping habits and good nutrition/hydration strategies. Keeping a training log is a great way to track your progress. It’s also really helpful to jot in a few lines about how you felt on each run because, realistically, some runs feel epic while others feel like you’re treading through mud. It’s also a useful way to spot illness or injury early.
Stretching and foam rolling are good ways to keep your body supple and to manage feelings of muscle tightness post-run. However, one of the best ways to keep you on the road is actually doing some supplementary strength training. This is not about getting bulked up and you don’t need to go to a gym for strength work either: all you need to do is a few simple body weight exercises to ensure that as you up your mileage, your muscles maintain their capacity to allow you to run further and to help minimise injury.
Some suggestions to start with are:
- Double and single leg bridges
- Double and single leg heel raises with the knees straight and with the knees bent slightly
- Forward lunges
And of course Good Luck!