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Marathon Count Down

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Marathon Count Down Time

The Kildare Marathon Count Down

The last few months training every day comes to an end (for now) in a few days time. It’s Marathon Count Down time now (Thank God I can hear the kids and husband say). On Sunday I will be running the Kildare Marathon.  I’ve been double checking my race tactics, triple checking race times, organising friends and family to be at certain places, organising my energy drinks, planning my food for the week too so I think I am ready – I have to be, no turning back now! This year is going to be even better as there are several of the Why Weight Ireland members also running in the full marathon, half marathon and 10km so it’s going to be a great, emotional day all round 🙂 To help with my preparation this will be my only blog post this week and next week I will only be doing one blog post too (a post marathon blog post) but all will resume as normal from Monday May 20th when I’ll be back whipping people into shape 🙂

As you probably already know I only started running in March 2011 after losing my weight.  This is only my 3rd Marathon (the 1st been the 2011 Dublin Marathon and the Spartan Challenge and the 2nd was the Kildare Marathon 2012). It’s unbelievable to look back to where I was only a few years ago to where I am now! It’s been tough work training for a marathon, especially when you are trying to aim for a certain time.  Over 6 months I had to make sure I got all the mileage into my legs, my speed work done, race mentality ready by entering into numerous races.  It’s been tough on the body and the mind (and the family).  Having to try and not get injured and dealing with any niggles that come up, and having to make sure the body gets what it needs has been tough and I’m still learning and I probably always will.

Building up to Kildare last year I had problems with my iron and B12 levels but luckily enough managed to get both back up to normal levels this year– and if any of you out there has ever suffered from very low iron, you know how tired you can get and know it’s not something that can be fixed over night!  So for all those of you training for marathons (or indeed anyone increasing their activity levels a lot especially those on a low calorie food plan) make sure you are taking your vitamins and supplements and you are getting enough iron (especially for women).

Symptoms of deficiency are extreme fatigue, dizziness and shortness of breath, which is pretty similar to exhaustion – Now for some technical but important bits: Iron forms hemoglobin and myoglobin, which carry oxygen to the blood and muscles. Less iron means fewer red blood cells, which means less oxygen, which means less energy. (Which isn’t good when training & running a marathon) Also, iron helps to combat the increased breakdown of red blood cells due to exercise. Women are at a special risk because of smaller reserves and losses through menstruation.

The best source of absorbable iron is in meat. About 20 to 30 percent of the iron in meat is absorbed, while only 2 to 8 percent of the iron in plants can be absorbed. Incidentally, heme iron (the iron in meat) is found not only in red meat, but also in poultry (especially the dark meat), fish and seafood. Dairy foods and eggs are not good sources, however Vitamin C can be added to enhance the absorption of iron. Plant sources, which provide iron, include dark leafy greens, tomato and prune juice, dried fruit, legumes, lentils, soy foods, whole grains and wheat germ.

My training for Sunday’s marathon has had its ups and downs too as I had some difficulties with my foot last month and at one stage I was almost having to pull out of the race altogether but thanks to my physio and my coach (Bill Porter) we have managed to get it under control and back running on it. Last Sunday I had the pleasure of being involved in the Laois GAA 5km & 10KM and I had the opportunity to run with one of the Why Weight Ireland members as she gets ready to take on the half marathon in Kildare on Sunday (she only started running a few months ago). I then had the Leinster Road Race Championships in Gowran (Kilkenny) on Monday which went well as we got Bronze for Wicklow 🙂

So everything is ready for Sunday, there is nothing more I can do training wise. I’ll start to carb load and increase my water intake from Thursday which just means I will be eating more high carbohydate and starchy foods like white bread, white rice, pasta etc. to pack as much energy into my muscles as possible and my body will be hydrated for the long distance run.
Show your Support - Run Kildare

For anyone in or around Kildare, The Curragh, Newbridge areas PLEASE come out and give me and all the Why Weight Ireland members and every runner a shout and tell us to get a move on 🙂 Your support is what gets us around the course 🙂

Not everyone likes to run (sure I didn’t even think I could run when I was at my heaviest and would laugh at the idea of it) but if you are considering taking it up then do; it’s a great way to get exercise, burn calories, great way to let off steam and also great way of feeling better by increasing your endorphin levels and if you didn’t already know during exercise, when these endorphins are released, they can produce the feeling of euphoria and a general state of wellbeing.  The endorphins produced can be so powerful that they can actually mask pain.  Cardiovascular and aerobic exercises are the best excises for improving your mood.

Here are some quick tips for anyone thinking of taking up running:

  1. Get the right running shoes – Wearing the right running shoes is the key to comfort and injury prevention. Visit a running specialty store to get fitted for the right running shoes for your foot type and running style & get a gait analysis done. Which is free in Elverys or Amphibian King. Also, make sure you don’t run in worn-out running shoes.
  2. Make sure you warm up and cool down – A good warm-up signals to your body that it will have to start working soon. By slowly raising your heart rate, the warm-up also helps minimize stress on your heart when you start your run. So you should start your runs with a brisk walk, followed by very easy jogging for a few minutes. The cool down allows your heart rate and blood pressure fall gradually, so it’s important that you end your run with a slow 5-minute jog or walk.
  3. Learn the proper upper body form – Improper upper body form can lead to pain in your arms, shoulders, neck, and back. Try to keep your hands at waist level, right about where they might lightly brush your hip. Your arms should be at a 90-degree angle, with your elbows at your sides. Keep your posture straight and erect. Your head should be up, your back straight, and shoulders level.
  4. Don’t worry about pace – As a beginner, most of your runs should be at an easy or “conversational” pace. You should be able to breathe very easily and carry on a conversation. Don’t worry about your pace per mile — if you can pass the “talk test”, you’re moving at the right speed. Starting out with this type of easy running will help prevent overtraining and overuse injuries.
  5. Try a run/walk approach – Most beginners start out using a run/walk technique because they don’t have the endurance or fitness to run for extended periods of time. The run/walk method involves running for a short segment and then taking a walk break. As you continue with a run/walk program, the goal is to extend the amount of time you’re running and reduce your walking time.
  6. Don’t do too much too soon – New runners sometimes get too enthusiastic and anxious to get started and end up increasing their mileage too quickly — which can lead to injury. Don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% each week. By building up slowly, you can save yourself pain and frustration, and still reach your goals. Use common sense and follow a beginner-training schedule determine how much you should be running. If you’d like to do more, you could always supplement your running with cross-training exercises such as swimming or biking.
  7. Breathing – Many new runners find they get out of breath very quickly or feel that they can’t breath or even getting a slightly suffocating feeling like there is not enough air. Slow the pace right down and really concentrate on trying to control your breathing.  How you breath while you run is a very personal thing – every person find a different technique will work for them. Some breath in and out through the mouth, others in through the nose and out through the mouth. Personally I take 2 shorter sharper breathes in and 1 longer slower breath out. Taking deep belly breaths can help prevent side stiches, which are a common issue for new runners. If you listen to music while you run – consider taking it out so that you can learn to listen to how you breath. I used to listen to music, but it was only when I took the earphones out I heard how bad my breathing sounded. Listening to myself breathing I started to control it into an even rhythm – and in turn it actually made the running easier! Getting enough oxygen to the muscles while running is important, so have a go at different variations of breathing and work out which one is right for you!

Now what are you waiting for – get up – get out – and get active 🙂


NOTE: Please note that the Tinahely Studio will be shut for the week of May 13 – May 18th as I’ll be recovering from the marathon. All classes will resume as normal on Monday 20th May when I’ll be back full of energy and ready to get you into shape 🙂 All online services will operate as normal throughout 🙂 

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Hannah x

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