WHAT is the one thing that carries all 45,000 Flora Women's Mini Marathon (FWMM) participants over the finish line? Perseverance? Self-belief? Determination? No – 45,000 pairs of feet!
Healthy feet mean greater efficiency and an overall more enjoyable experience. The correct footwear, support, exercises and recovery techniques (for example, foot massages) will help you get over the finish line while enjoying the journey to get there.
Getting your feet and arches analysed in a sports shop is a great way to start (find any problem areas), ensure you are wearing the right footwear (avoid damage) and get advice on some strengthening exercises.
Analysis may help you understand why you suffer from repetitive injury. Or you may need to seek professional advice. The aim is to get to the root of the problem and fix it.
Training in different environments will not only have physical benefits, it will help to keep the mind active.
Go to the park to take advantage of the softer terrain, which your joints will thank you for. Other options are sandy strands with fantastic scenery and fresh air. Fern and leaf-covered woodland trails always supply a pleasant surface for training.
Athletic tracks provide a softer surface while allowing easy pace and distance monitoring (time per 400m lap). For rainy days or just for a change, take things indoors and train on a treadmill.
Do your best to hit the roads and pavements least often.
For best results, mix up your type of training. To complement your cardio training you should stretch, strengthen and stabilise.
Yoga and pilates strengthen core muscles, improve flexibility, stabilise joints and ensure correct postural balance.
Weight-training should play an essential role in building strength and endurance in the muscles of the lower body especially. Make it fun and try kettle bells or suspension training. Seek advice from a professional if unsure what to do. Other activities in preparation for the FWMM could include skipping or substituting walking/running sessions with non-weight-bearing cardio.
Make the most of your time by fitting in a training session whenever possible – early in the morning, on your commute or even on your lunch break.
Another great way to ensure training isn't neglected is to buy some pieces of keep-fit equipment so you can train in your home.
Be flexible with training plans as unforeseen circumstances may take priority. Don't beat yourself up if you miss a session – remember what Stephen Hawking said: "Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change."