Walk, jog, run: Which will you do this year?
We speak to Vhi Fitness Support, Louise Heraghty about training for this year’s event.
You’d be forgiven for thinking Louise Heraghty is some kind of superwoman. She is a qualified fitness instructor, an RTÉ weather presenter and a radio personality. She has run marathons, most recently, the Belfast City Marathon in May but Louise started her fitness journey at the 2003 Women’s Mini Marathon.
“The first time I did it I would have been quite young and not really into fitness so I walked it and really enjoyed it. From then, I decided I would start doing a bit of jogging so the second year, I walked and jogged. By the third year, I was fully jogging. It definitely was something that got me into running”.
Louise hasn’t looked back, she has taken part in the Women’s Mini Marathon every year since 2003 and she is all set for the 2017 event on June 5th: “This will be my 14th year in a row doing it so I am well used to it now at this stage. Every year I try to beat my time and I have gotten it down over the years by a few minutes”.
Now Louise is a Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon veteran, does she have any advice for people taking part for the first time this year?
“If it’s your first time doing it, especially, if it’s your first time completing a 10k distance, there is such a tendency to go off too fast at the start because of the crowd, there is a good atmosphere and you want to try to do it in a good time. I recommend taking it at your own pace, remember you have to make your way round the full course”.
Picking a plan
Louise has designed plans for the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon for the past few years to help participants with their training. The programmes are set for three different levels of ability: walker, beginner and improver. How do you work out which plan is right for you?
Louise explains: “If you just plan on walking and have no intention of jogging then the walker plan is for you. Someone who is happy enough to walk the whole thing, it is still a big achievement. If you have just recently in the last couple of months taken up jogging and have never done near 10k then go for the beginners plan. If you are able to jog or run for 30 minutes consistently then you could probably do the improver, the one where we build you up to a 10k”.
"Don't do anything new on race day"
The countdown to race day is truly on with the event just two weeks away. Louise has run plenty of 10k races and marathons over the years. She has one bit of advice that she has stuck to for every race: “My best piece of advice is don’t do anything new on race day. Preparation is key, whatever you have been doing for the couple of weeks leading up to the Mini Marathon, stick with what you are used to. For example, don’t eat a different breakfast the morning of the Mini Marathon, eat what you are used to. Don’t wear anything new, you have to go with what you are used to in training so no new shoes. Everything has to be tried and tested. That’s probably the best advice I have been given”.
Finally, given Louise is a weather presenter, what should participants expect from the weather and how can they prepare?
“Obviously, we have a good idea of the forecast in the days leading up to it so keep an eye out for that. You have to be prepared, for example, I would wear something light underneath and always have an extra layer perhaps a rain jacket or whatever. If it is very hot, people can get dehydrated so drink plenty of water and drink even more if it is going to be a hot day”.
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