Hannah’s Top Tips

Hannah Nolan - Why Weight Ireland

The Best of Hannah’s Top Tips Chosen By You

Over the past few months I’ve given tips, advice, motivation and encouragement so I thought it would be a great idea to summerise some of your favourite top tips, so based on feedback from you, the readers, here are a few of the “TOP” Top Tips from over the last few months.

Early Morning Exercise for Greater Fat Burn

There is a lot of research that suggests working out in the morning (before you eat) will help to maximize the amount of fat you burn. Working out on an empty stomach mayHannah's Top Tips burn more fat which is fantastic for those trying to lose weight – but also has its cons to be aware of.  Some people may find that they lack energy and therefore cannot complete the stated time for their workout, or find that half way during the run they end up finishing up walking. The problem with this might be that although they are intending to burn more calories, the workout itself has to be cut short – or the intensity is much lower due to lack of energy. So moral of the story, if you find you can complete your workout without compromising on time or form then go for it and try and burn the extra fat. If not, then try and add a small snack in the morning an hour or so before you exercise to ensure you can still give your workout your all, but keeping the calories at a minimum to keep that fat burning! 🙂

Add Some Strength

When your main focus is running or cycling or swimming it is easy to forget about adding extra sessions with weights into the mix. Now these don’t have to going to the gym and pumping iron or lifting heavy weights – I’m talking about using low weights and repeating the movements many times. The benefits of adding some resistance exercises into your routine are again the reduction of injury and added strength and support to the muscle and joints. Our legs are the main movers in most sports so of course adding the squats and lunges will be a great addition to improving your lower body! Even though most of our exercise will use our lower body, the upper body is still moving all the time too – so adding in the upper body resistance training exercises can also help give overall balance! Shoulders and pain in the shoulders when running can be a common problem and doing these upper body exercises can really help relieve that pain and tension! You should be performing your resistance exercises 2 -3  times a week minimum and repeating the movement 15 – 20 times for each exercise and then repeating again (2 -3 sets 20 for each exercise!)

Warm Up and Cool Down

The warm up and cool down is SO important but overlooked by most if not all of us at some stage! I know of a fair few people who do absolutely no warm up at all and just go off for a run starting off at their full throttle training pace and just keeping it there for the whole run. This will increase your chance of getting injured though so please please warmWarm Up & Cool Down Top Tips up! Whether it is running, or cycling or whatever exercise you are doing you need to WARM UP! Not only for your muscles but for your heart too! When you suddenly start exercising your heart rate increases dramatically, so it is best to start off at a slower pace and gradually build up. For running I would usually jog it our for half a mile, then steadily increase my speed over the next half a mile (on trail for some reason it takes me closer to 2miles to feel warmed up…..) Avoid stretching before you have started moving, trying to stretch completely cold muscles can also cause injury – so if you feel you must stretch, then warm up jog for a little bit first before hand! There should be no problem adding a warm up section at the beginning of your run or workout. Your training sessions should be at a lighter pace anyway so you should not be concerned about this affecting the overall pace on the Garmin watch since you are training not racing! If you ARE racing, then simply do a small warm up before the race starts (at least 5 – 10 minutes very easy pace).

The cool down and stretch is also important. Reducing the pace for 5 – 10 minutes after your main workout and slowly bringing the heart rate down. Then make sure you stretch each major muscle group that has been involved in your exercise and hold each stretch for 15 – 30 seconds!

When Injury Occurs

When you feel that first niggle try and get it sorted straight away! If you are exercising and suddenly feel pain…..STOP! I am guilty of this one too, but so many people will just keep running “just to see” if the pain goes away. If something doesn’t feel right, you need to stop. If it doesn’t feel too severe then walk it out for a bit and see how it feels otherwise give up the ghost, go home and use the R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)Top Tips on Injuries

Seek advise of your physio – many injuries will appear in one area but are actually originating from somewhere else completely! My foot was caused by my muscle at the front of the shin, a knee injury I had was actually caused by tight hip flexors! Often the root cause of the problem will not actually cause any discomfort itself but will manifest the pain somewhere else, once you get to the physio you will probably find there are sore spots you never even knew about!

When you do feel that the injury feels better, go back SLOWLY. Do not start any kind of speed work until you have had a few easy sessions with no pain!

Set Some Goals

Sounds really simple right? But if you don’t actually put pen to paper those goals can soon slip through your fingers with one or two skipped training sessions, or 5 minutes less here, 1 less interval there. Draw yourself up a plan of action on paper for 6 – 8 weeks at a time outlining your goals and training times, speed sessions etc and then stick it on the fridge and stick to it! Once its in there in black and white it is much more difficult to avoid and you are much more likely to see consistent improvements!

Mix Up Your Training

Try to mix up the type of training you do each week. If you are running several times a week, then mix up the type of training, adding interval sessions and tempo runs as well as the longer, steady and easy runs. With the Speed sessions – keep mixing them up! Sticking to repetitions of 1-minute intervals each week might seem the easier option, but the body thrives on change! So every time you do an interval session change it up! Change the time/distance of the intervals and change the recovery sessions to so that you make sure you are constantly challenging and pushing your body in different ways 🙂

Get Your “Start” Records

A great way to measure your improvements is to keep a record! When I first started my weight loss journey I didn’t really want to take my measurements – but now I really wish I had so I could see how far I came! Now I’m all about taking measurements and tracking progress! For my running of course I use the Garmin 610, and my heart rate monitor to see how my heart health is improving!

  • If you are shaping up by losing weight then take your measurements with the tape as well as the scales! The more you tone up the more the measuring tape will come into play as you gain muscle and lose inches!
  • If you start a new training plan why not check your starting fitness levels? A VO2 Max test is a great way to measure many different aspects but will give you a brilliant in depth analysis of your current cardiovascular fitness! Don’t be scared by these kind of tests! These are not just for elite athletes but for you too! It will give you a detailed breakdown of your individual fitness profile and give you the information you need to reach the next level of your training! What’s more – once you have your start reading it will really give you that extra buzz and motivation to set those goals in stone and see your improvements with your retest after a few months! After being very nervous about taking one of these tests I took the plunge and booked one! It was actually pretty painless and amazing motivation to see the breakdown! You can also get them done at a fraction of the cost of what they used to be! For just 60 euro you can get your test and full in depth analysis! (Email me at Hannah@d1459786-92704.blacknighthosting.com if you want more info on getting this done!)

Get Stuck In and Don’t Forget to Reassess

Once you get stuck into your new regime – don’t forget our bodies change quickly, and some people may see results quicker than others! If you feel like you are flying, then don’t forget to recheck and reassess your goals! Keep moving the goal posts! The same goes for if you have had a slip up and are not as on track as you thought – no worries, just reassess and get stuck back in! 🙂

And don’t forget – KEEP MOVING AND KEEP IMPROVING! Whatever your goal is – you are always another step closer when you keep trying, you can only ever fail if you give up! I hope you have enjoyed the Top Tips and if you ever need any questions answered feel free to drop me an email. Also, if you have any running questions you’d like to have answered in the Irish Runner Magazine please drop me an email and your question could be in the next edition.

Keep Moving & Keep Improving with Hannah Nolan's Top Tips

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Hannah x

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