Posts Tagged ‘running coach’

The Diary of a Running Mum: What to Wear

August 5, 2016 at 11:48
Posted by Rachael Woolston

At the beginning of 2016, Fitbitch runner and mum of four, Tanya Taylor took on the challenge of running every day. Perhaps not surprisingly, she’s become an expert at what to wear.

Missed Tanya’s earlier despatches? catch up with her first and second despatches here

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Running through poppy fields with my daughter, Romy in July. Miles run this year: 836 Number of feet climbed: 46,988

 

I want to take you back to the year 2007. This was the year I first started to run. I had given birth to my fourth child six months before, and had recently stopped breastfeeding. I was horrendously self-conscious of my body and felt at a total loss with my identity. I was worn out and could hardly string a sentence together without punctuating it with “I’m SO tired” every other second. I felt dull and unattractive. Having four children under the age 9 was all consuming. The frustrations of not being able to fit into the clothes I wanted to wear, in order to feel like the person I knew I was, had found me, in a roundabout way, standing at my local park about to attempt to run for the first time since school. I had signed up for a 10k race in Bournemouth with some of my friends, and training was about to begin.

 

Now at this point, I need to tell you that clothes and fashion have always played a huge part in my life. For every significant moment in my past, I can tell you EXACTLY what I was wearing and probably where I bought it. My grandmother used to style Princesses and movie stars back in the 1950’s, it’s in my blood. So when I think back to this day, I don’t remember how the run went, or how I felt afterwards. I do rememb
er the ridiculously inappropriate ‘Leroy from Kids from Fame’ running ensemble though – men’s cotton Carhartt tracksuit bottoms, vintage Nike Windjammer and an old pair of vintage Nike trainers that I had bought in NYC ten years before. NOT an outfit I can recommend!

Nine years on and I officially suffer from running kit OCD. I can now browse endless rails of lux-sportswear and know exactly what will work and what won’t. I can touch a fabric and know whether it will be gentle on my weather beaten skin or cause multiple unsightly chaffing sores. I can assess a neck line at the blink of an eye and know if I’ll look more Jeff Capes than Jessica Ennis. I need my kit to look good, feel comfortable and to ‘perform’.

More and more high street stores are now meeting the demand for women’s technical sportswear, and if you shop wisely, you can get some bargains. H&M have a great range (which my daughter also loves), and Topshop’s collaboration with Beyonce, Ivy Park, has some great pieces which I’m desperate to sample. Sweaty Betty and Lululemon always drop great prints in their collections, and their products perform well if your budget allows their above average price tag. TKMaxx is brilliant for a bargain, and is pretty well organised, so don’t be put off by the volume of stock.

Wearing good kit really does enhance your running, if you feel good from the off, then your run will start (and hopefully end) well – trust me!

Here’s my guide to the perfect capsule running kit for Autumn

  • Nike Epic Lux, £70

  • The best running leggings I’ve found so far. You can buy them cropped or in full length, and although I prefer the basic black, they are also available in seasonal colours and patterns. The waistband is high (and VERY comfortable) so there is no danger of the dreaded muffin top spoiling your instagram snaps. Try not to baulk at the price, they last for ages, I promise.
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  • Zoot Women’s West Coast Singlet, from £30

  • Light, breathable, well fitted and stylish, my favourite new find. Feels great on and has reflective details for night running. It also has UPF 50+ sun protection so great for hotter runs, holidays or the Girls Run the World trips. Available online from The Triathlon Shop.

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  • Nike Dri-Fit Knit long-sleeve, from £41

  • A brilliant layering piece for cooler days, I’ve had mine for two years now and it’s still going strong. The Dri-FIT fabric keeps you dry and comfortable, whilst the knit-in mesh fabric allows breathability. Thumbholes help to keep your hands warm, and the seamless construction gives enhanced comfort. These tops nearly always get reduced in Net-a-Porter’s end of season sales by half price.
  • OMM Kameleika Race Jacket, from £128

  • A favourite amongst Fitbitch runners, although it doesn’t come cheap. The jacket is waterproof, breathable and has a 4-way stretch making it perfect for running without restriction. It is superlight and has taped seams and lovely big pockets. The price tag reflects the technical detail of this running jacket, and it is an investment piece. Worth it if you run a lot or are thinking of taking up adventure races.

    Muji Hairband

  • If you have long hair that needs tying back, you will understand the frustrations of running with your hair falling out of your topknot and into your eyes. I have used these hairbands for many years. They are THE BEST. You will thank me for this nugget.

    Balega Enduro Low Cut Sock, from £10.56

    Great colours, well cushioned without over heating your feet, and the top of the sock doesn’t dig into your ankles to give you ‘cankles’. I love these socks! Available from Wiggle.

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  • Sweaty Betty Stamina Bra, £35

  • Hmm…this is my biggest struggle as I have quite a broad back (swimming), but smallish boobs (breastfeeding four children.) I find the ease of an overhead bra with no fastenings preferable. Try Sweaty Betty for this style. Lots of my more well endowed running buddies swear by Shock Absorber. Be aware that when you run your ribs expand with your breathing, so you don’t want the band to feel too tight.
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  • Flip belt, £25

  • This tubular running belt fits snuggly on your hips without budging and you can choose between small, medium and large. The slits are perfect for your iphone, keys (there is a key attatchment for extra security) and gels. Although they now do one with zips, the one without is perfect – it’s comfortable and there are no buckles to rub. Available in a choice of colours and machine washable.

My top tracks to get you running this month

 

Arctic Monkeys – Do me a Favour

 

LCD Soundsystem – Get Innocuous

 

Britney Spears –Womanizer

 

Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way

 

Fujiya & Miyagi – Ankle Injuries

Don’t miss Tanya’s next report coming in September.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Marathon Training Testimonials

September 4, 2015 at 5:21
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Marathon coaching helped me beat my PB by over 13 minutes

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Personal coaching with someone who is not only a running coach but who has been there, done the training and knows what’s its like to be injured is essential .

I’ve paid for lots of personal training in the past, and no one had the specific understanding of what’s involved in marathon training like Rachael did. The exercises that were set not only focused on what I needed to run a marathon strongly (and beyond – I’ve done an ultra since), but on pinpointing my individual weaknesses so that I could work on improving them.

My stability and core strength are now really strong which has made me a better marathon runner, as well as helping to improve and my endurance and ability to cope with hills and off-road terrain.

Also, having someone as a mentor who I could ask for advice really helped me to pick up tips that were real breakthroughs, such as nutrition advice. I’d often felt sick towards the middle and end of long runs and discovered I didn’t need to take on as many gels as so much running advice made me believe. I also focused on eating more protein and less carb loading.

My goal was to improve on my previous personal best of 4 hours and 13 minutes. I thought I could just manage 4 hours 10minutes but my dream was four hours, which is exactly what I got!
Having such personalised support and coaching was crucial because it enabled me to fit my training around my busy job, secure in the knowledge that the coaching was targeted to helping me achieve my goals.
I not only got a personal best but I enjoyed my training and still managed to have a social life too!
Cath Bevan, 49, paediatric consultant


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The FlipBelt, £25

May 7, 2015 at 2:01
Posted by Rachael Woolston

There are few things more annoying than a jingling bunch of keys bouncing  in your pocket when you run. And who EVER manages one of those arm bands which are meant to hold your phone? Here we put the FlipBelt to the test…

 

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Forget the need for zips, this wide piece of elastic sweat-wicking fabric has slits in one side. Slide any objects that you want to carry though the holes and then flip the belt over to keep them safe.

It also includes a key chain so that you can attach them to give you total piece of mind that they won’t somehow jiggle free. So, how did it perform?

I’d been wary of this not sitting properly and moving up and down lots but this was completely secure, even though I managed to squeeze in my IPhone 6 encased in a Survivor case, making it even more bulky. Best of all, it’s so comfortable because it sits around the hips not on the waist for a ‘barely there’ feel.

But how does it fare in races?

I wore this for the London Marathon, but it was a last minute decision as The FlipBelt does not have specific loops or a place for sports gels and so I’d bought a typical waist belt variety.

But one of my friends on the start line showed me how she’d threaded her gels into the openings and just hadn’t flipped it so she could gain access easily as she ran.

‘Don’t they fall out?’ I was dubious but I decided to give it a try, committing the cardinal sin of running 26.2 miles with untested gear (then again, I’d not used gels either but that is for another blog post).

I am so glad I did, because it was brilliant. It was so comfortable, there was no chafing and accessing the gels was easy. The only troublesome part is having to move the belt from back to front to get into the other access points but this was a small price to pay.

I’m now a total convert to this belt. Not only is it functional and performs well in race situations, it comes in a range of colours and looks more like a funky waistband of your clothing than a geeky running belt.

Available from www.theflipbelt.co.uk

All-Belts-Layed-Out



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Eight Tips for Marathon Tapering

April 2, 2015 at 1:01
Posted by Rachael Woolston

After months spent training for a marathon, tapering can be one of the hardest things to get right. Here, we speak to the experts about the dos and don’ts to ensure you arrive at the start line race-ready perfect

Looking relaxed on the start line of my first marathon, Lake Garda, 2012

Do… stay fresh

After so many months getting used to have targets, 10, 13, 15, 19 miles and so on suddenly not having a clear goal can make it tricky and easier for anxieties to flood the brain. If you’re one of these people (who isn’t?), try focusing on staying fresh.

‘If you need a goal during these final two to three weeks, concentrate on only doing runs that will leave you feeling as fresh and unfatigued as possible,’ says Caroline Wood, the British X-Country Masters Champion, V50 who runs for Brighton based Arena Athletics Club. ‘Don’t do any workouts that are likely to undermine this goal. This way you will ensure that you don’t feel sluggish and arrive at the start line feeling great.’

Don’t…cram the miles

Whether you’ve been injured or you simply slacked off and didn’t complete all the long runs that you should have done, DON’T try to cram them in at the last minute like a student cramming for their exams on a bucket of high energy drinks.
‘Any training you do in the last week will make no difference, and is more likely to be harmful,’ explains Caroline. ‘You can’t put in the miles which should have been done weeks ago and it is more likely to cause injury.’
Instead, focus on the positive runs you HAVE done. Far better to arrive at the start line able to run than ending up injured or tired as you try to cram in junk miles in the taper weeks.

DO… have a massage

So many runners neglect massage, considering it a luxury like a spa treatment. But sports massages should be considered an essential, not only to prevent injuries but as an aid to performance.
‘Regular massage helps to stimulate blood and lymph to keep the muscles, joints and tendons in optimum shape,’ explains Rosie Beale, Fitbitch sports massage therapist. ‘And during the taper period, it can help keep you feeling supple as well as aiding with last minute anxieties.’
We would recommend you leave between 24 and 48 hours between a massage and race. (To book a massage with Rosie, email info@fitbitchbootcamp.com).
Don’t… sofa surf
Don’t interpret the taper as an opportunity to not run and just eat cake.  Tapering is about giving your body time to repair, replenish and reboot ready for a fantastic race. Not running at all won’t achieve this.
So, how do you strike the right balance?
It is widely believed that you should decrease overall weekly mileage by approximately 50% before a marathon. BUT you should keep up your tempo work.
‘If you have been doing fast leg turners, you want to keep this up as it will help you to stay fresh,’ explains Rachael Woolston, founder of Fitbitch and women’s winner of the Mumbai Marathon 2013 Veteran category . ‘If you don’t you’re likely to lose your race fitness and end up feeling sluggish, which can knock your confidence.’
A review of different tapering strategies support this with the general consensus appearing to support not dropping intensity by more than 20%.

DO… eat right

Getting the right nutrition is NOT just about what you eat before a race or during a run. It is just as important to eat well during the week, particularly during the taper.
In the first week of your taper, you may want to increase your protein intake to ‘feed’ your muscles so that they can gain peak repair. Thereafter, ensure you are eating a balance of healthy fats, proteins and slow release carbohydrates. Although as Caroline points out, ‘Don’t eat anything you haven’t tried in the week before a race – keep it neutral.’

Don’t… allow maranoia to take hold

No matter how experienced a runner you are, maranoia – the fear or anxiety that you’re injured/haven’t done enough/are going to get a cold/aren’t going to finish, takes hold in the taper week. It is essential to keep this in perspective and not allow it to overwhelm you. But how?
‘Negative thinking is natural, and the only difference between those with winning behaviour, is how you nullify it so it doesn’t preoccupy you,’ explains Yehuda Shinar, Think Like a Winner, £12.99 (Vermillion). ‘Write a goal plan, detailing what you are going to do at each stage of the race, and consider having three goals, one a time that you should be able to get, one that you could get, like a past PB, and an ideal, dream goal. That way you mitigate any pressure surrounding your goal time.’

DO… focus on the positives

Whether you have done everything your plan has asked or work, family life, relationships have got in the way and you’ve missed some miles or tempo sessions, don’t panic.
We are not professional athletes and we run because we enjoy it. Always remember this. If you’re still struggling, take the advice of Gareth Nicholls, sports performance hypnotist at The Therapy Lounge (www.thetherapylounge.com)

‘As soon as your mind begins to race, visualise a stop sign and interrupt your thought pattern and let it go,’ explains Nicholls. ‘Try breathing exercises, inhaling for a count of 7, exhaling for 11, each time focusing on what you want to happen, rather than things that you want to prevent.’

And remember, while many people take up running as a way of relieving stress, when it comes to marathon training when all we do is run, eat, sleep, and think about running, it often becomes a cause of stress in itself. The solution?

Go out and do something completely unrelated to running.

Don’t …forget to drink

No, we don’t mean wine. Ensure that you drink plenty of water. A good rule of thumb? You should be urinating every three to four hours. More than this and you may be overdoing it which can be bad for your electrolyte balance.

Most of all, try to keep thinking of the marathon as an actual celebration of all that you have achieved. The hard work is over. Enjoy the ride!



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Review: Brooks PUREGRIT3, £100

August 6, 2014 at 1:16
Posted by Rachael Woolston

As we slide slowly towards September, we tested the revamped PUREGRIT trail shoes to see if they would help us keep our grip on the off road trails…

 

 

Last season’s PUREGRIT trail shoes were a bit of a disappointment. With little tread, they proved to be handy only as a cross shoe between road and minimal dusty trails. Throw a bit of mud and water in, of which there was A LOT last winter season, and they were a slippy choice. Thankfully, Brooks have addressed the issue and the PUREGRIT for AW14-15 are fantastic.

I tested these on a range of trails from the dusty, rock-strewn to the muddy, river side path and I felt sure footed on all.

The only downside was running on a muddy clay surface one Sunday where the mud became packed between the treads, making my feet as heavy as clogs. But checking with the rest of our run clubbers that day, all who were wearing different trail shoes, this was the same with everyone’s shoes.

A few other characteristics of the PUREGRIT worth mentioning includes a rounded heel, designed to help a heel striker roll more quickly forward through the foot. A bit unnecessary on the trail when your biomechanics tend to change as you run up and down hill, but it could be useful for those who use one shoe between trail and road.

And this points to another benefit, which is this shoe can be comfortably worn on trails and on road surfaces without you feeling as if you’re running in studs. It is also a light shoe, weighing in at 145g compared to the women’s Adrenaline ASR GTX at 281g. And THAT makes a difference on a trail marathon, I can assure you.

It also looks good in a fantastic cherry tomato red and buttercup for this season.

While I personally would still choose a more grippy shoe for extreme trails that I tend to run on in the depths of winter, (and we’re talking Lake District and North Wales here) the Brooks PUREGRIT would do the job for most trail runners.

For more details visit www.brooksrunning.co.uk



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Moving Comfort Endurance Hat, £20

July 24, 2014 at 1:12
Posted by Rachael Woolston

What do you wear to run in THIS heat? Fitbitch reviews the new running cap from Moving Comfort

I’ve run marathons and half marathons all over the world, from Lisbon to Mumbai, Paris to Berlin and have had to wear a running cap for many of them. And right now, the weather in the UK is not so different from that sweaty marathon that I ran in Mumbai two years ago.

So, I’ve been trying out the new running cap, Endurance Hat in Gem Crosshatch, £20 from Moving Comfort and I LOVE it.

To be fair, it is not as light as the Salomon cap that I’ve worn on most of my hot marathons. This may prove irritating to marathon runners, (sorry, but I wasn’t willing to go THAT far in the interests of research) but to half marathon distance, this remains comfortable in a barely there kind of way.

The peak is perfect size and shape for keeping out the sun, without it being so curved that it creates its own microclimate.

It also has an inner sweat band and two strips of mesh material run front to back for the flow of air. Along with a handy zipped pocket for holding keys, money or a credit card on the side of the cap, this has got it all going on.

I hate to even think about the R word but this cap is also water resistant so could be a handy autumn running accessory too.

My only caveat is that this IS heavier and thicker than my usual Salomon running cap. But for European races and training, not to mention lounging on the beach, I’m a fan.

http://www.movingcomfort.com



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Review: Trail Shoes

March 7, 2014 at 6:55
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Trail running is so much more rewarding than pavement pounding in our book but which trail shoe will help ensure you enjoy the experience?

 

 

Best for a mud bath – Salomon Speedcross 3, £95

Nothing and we mean nothing that we have tested, comes close to this stick-to-the-trail-like-superglue Salomon Speedcross 3.

No matter where you are running or in what conditions, you can run surefootedly. Fitbitch founder, Rachael has tested it running up mountains in 3 inches of snow, on the South and North Downs in the kind of sticky mud that you’re more likely to see in races like Tough Mudder, as well rocky stream trails in the Lake District.

Not only does it perform well but it’s extremely comfortable, hugging the foot through the arch to keep it stable on rocky terrain, with an easy lace system. It also has a little pocket on the tongue where you can tuck your laces away, so they don’t drag through the mud.

The only downside is that the grip is so good, running across any flat, hard terrain is uncomfortable. This is for the true trail runners.

Star rating: *****

Salomon.com

 

Best all rounder – Brooks Cascadia 8, £100

Want a trail shoe that can also handle a bit of road action? Brooks Cascadia is great.  It looks chunkier than it feels, being light with a good, solid grip in most conditions except very muddy conditions.

If you are racing and want 100% confidence in your traction, the Speedcross is a better option. But for training and races which go from trail to tarmac and back, this is a good, reliable shoe.  And while we at Fitibitch are not normally ones to support the ‘pinkisation’ of women’s sports clothing, we quite like these.

Star rating: ****

www.brooksrunning.co.uk

Best for bare foot trailer runners  – Merrell Barefoot Trail Shoe, Ascend Glove with Gore-Tex, £125

They may contain Gore-Tex to keep your feet dry but because they are shoes designed for a minimalist, barefoot feel, they ride low. Which makes the Gore-Tex slightly irrelevant in the winter when the puddles and mud are often fairly deep.

These are specifically designed for a runner with good biomechanics rather than a beginner. They have a natural, in touch with the trail feel. But they are not grippy enough for winter or muddy running. Stick to spring or summer dust trails or firetrails. That season is not that far off!

Star rating: **

Merrell.com

Best for stability runners – Adrenaline ASR 10 GTX, £125

NOT a light footed runner? Then this stability trail shoe might just be the thing.

If you usually wear a road shoe to help control excess ‘wobble caused by overpronation due to weak glutes, this will help with a smooth ride (although here at Fitbitch we believe the true answer is strength training for stability, but that’s a whole other blog post).

Adapted from the Brooks widely popular GTS road shoe, this provides enough traction for usual trail conditions but would not do the job in truly adverse conditions by which we mean rain of biblical proportions. Er, which brings to mind a certain type of weather of late.

Not sure if you wear shoes with stability? Look at the inside arch and heel. If there’s a big wedge, and usually it is coloured differently, you’ve got a stability shoe.

Star rating: ***

 

 

 

 

 



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Tales from the finish line

February 17, 2014 at 2:43
Posted by Rachael Woolston

 

You may have read a million and one articles about how to prepare for a race but the best way of knowing what to do, and what NOT to, is from those who have just finished a race. Congratulations to our first and many-time runners of the Brighton Half Marathon, and here’s THEIR tips from the frontline…

 

DO

Eat right

‘This is the first race where I haven’t been sick, had to rush to the toilet or  be helped to my room after the race feeling ill. The reason? I finally got my race nutrition right.

I had a small amount of porridge two hours before, avoided all sports drinks and stuck to a few sips of water at each refreshment table, plus jelly babies after one hour.

Plus, I paced myself instead of going off like a bullet and getting carried away by the excitement of it all. I slowed every time my pace went over what I am used to and stuck to my own race. ‘ Lisa Burstow

What we say: Nutrition wise, you really DON’T need to carbload for a half marathon contrary to popular expectation. Your body holds 90mins of fuel in the muscles, which for most people is most of their race time. It therefore stands to reason that lots of sugary sports drinks may hinder rather than help a recreational runner’s race experience. But it is alo a case of experimenting with what works for YOU.

Think smart

‘My eight half marathon and my most comfortable to date.  I ran at all times without ‘puffing’,  smiled the entire time & high fived everyone with their hands out, and mentally broke each section down in my head. I’ve only got a park run to go, I’ve swum pier to pier so I can easily run this.

Another change to my usual route was NOT listening to music. It meant I stayed focused, and although I finished a minute off my personal best, this was my best race to date. I ENJOYED it.’ Tanya Taylor

What we say: Over 50% of successful racing is mental strategy. You may have done all the training in the world but if your mental strength crumbles, you can feel like you’ve never run before.

Breaking down a race into managable chunks, rather than thinking, ‘Oh no, I’ve still got ten miles to run,’ makes each step seem achievable. And while we know many of our runners enjoy listening to music, when it comes to race time, it’s good to be in touch with your body and surroundings. It will help keep you focused.

Focus on technique

‘It was my first ever half marathon and didn’t know what to expect and was very nervous. But I focused on positive thoughts: the weather is perfect, just enjoy it and I kept reminding myself of just how far I’d come since I started training.

I also concentrated on everything I have learned in training, good posture,  and keeping to the correct pace for my race which I checked at each kilometre interval. Most of all, I felt confident after all my training and I kept repeating a mantra, ‘You can do it, keep moving that ass, girl.’ I loved it.’ Irene Maluda

What we say: Having a clear idea of  your race strategy can make for a stress-free experience. You know what you’ve got to do, you stay focused, and this puts you in control. Result? Less stress, more enjoyment.

DON’T

Gallop out of the starting blocks

‘I learned that if you run too fast at the start it can ruin your race. My legs literally ran out of energy after 5 miles!

Considering, I’ve been running more than 5 miles on a regular basis it was a shock.  I know this is what everyone says NOT to do but I felt it 1st hand today, and I just got  swept away with the fun and excitment of the race. Plus, I entered the wrong starting pen so everyone was running faster pace than I’d planned.’ Jan Dupree

What we say: Going off too fast is one of the most common mistakes that those new to racing tend to do. It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement, and at the beginning your legs can feel good. But trust your training and the experience you have built up over your training as to what pace you should run. If you’ve not run 7min miles in training, you WILL hit the wall if you try it. This is why having a training watch, is really useful. Training watches are not just for the pros. And yes, we’ve done it too.

Allow boredom to take hold

‘My first half too and I loved it. I felt confident because I knew our Sunday runs were over and above what we needed in order to achieve the half marathon.
But I have speed issues with hills and boredom and my pace dropped whenever I got to a long boring stretch or a hill.
As soon as there were only 3miles left (a Parkrun distance), I put my head down, started breathing properly and had a mantra ‘one foot in front of the other‘) and I was over the finish line, even with a little sprint.‘ Caroline Kotze
What we say: Boredom and difficulty with hills are something that we all face but it is the mental approach that makes the difference between it affecting your race and not. (Or booking up to a Girls Run the World trip so the route is new and fresh!).
Break down each montonous section into a technique workshop. For the first one kilometre, I’m going to focus on swinging my arms correctly. On the second section, I’m going to think about how my foot lands underneath me and so on. It can help prevent the boredom and speed up time.

Forget to drink water

‘I realise I need to work on my hydration as I didn’t drink enough the day before, and then drank too much on the day and had to stop twice to go to the toilet during the race. But on the plus side, keep smiling at the crowd as they smile back and it helps push you through.’
Rehanon MacKenzie
What we say: Water, not sports drinks and gels is one of the most important, pre-race strategies, not just race day strategy. The body is made up of 70% water, so it stands to reason how vital it is for the working of the muscles, not to mention the brain. You should be aiming to hydrate well throughout the week before a race, not chugging back a bottle on the start line. Particularly on the start line…you all know how bad race line toilet queues are!

Congratulations to all our amazing runners yesterday!

If you would like to join us in training for your next race or simply learning how to run for the first time, check out our sister site www.fitbitchrunningclub.com with all the details of our courses which start this week.



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How to achieve your race target

February 7, 2014 at 4:41
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Stay relaxed on the start line – run happy

Worried about not getting your race target or worse, not even finishing? The key to success and running happy on race day is all in the mind…

Don’t worry, we’re not about to get all Uri Geller on you. BUT paying attention to how you prepare mentally for a race, is just as important as your physical training and what you eat the morning of the race.

‘Negative thinking is natural, and the only difference between those with winning behaviour, is how you nullify it so it doesn’t preoccupy you,’ explains Yehuda Shinar, Think Like a Winner, £12.99 (Vermillion), who worked with the England Rugby team to help them to a World Cup victory in 2003.

Shinar recommends: ‘In the case of running, each distance has its own set of rules about how you should train, and another set that each person will learn through their own individual training.

‘Focus on these rules and write a goal plan, detailing what you are going to do at each stage of the race.’

By writing a plan, you can be prepared in advance for every eventuality to help prevent anxiety.

And when it comes to the pressure of trying to achieve your race goal,  overcome this by preparing three race goals.

One is a time that you should be able to get without too much trouble,  another a time that you know you can get, like a recent PB and the third, your ideal, dream goal.

Every mile or so, readjust according to these targets and how well you feel like you are runinng.

With this tactic, you are more likely to stay relaxed because you have prepared and have control over the outcome

So, whether you’re running the Brighton Half Marathon in a week’s time, the marathon in April, or even your first ever Parkrun, take time out to prepare mentally and you’ll run happy.

 

 



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