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Time to go nuts and grab some berries in marathon fitness routine

If you keep yourself motivated while training correctly then you are well on your way to remaining mini-marathon fit. First off, set yourself some goals and targets, whether that's running next year's mini marathon instead of walking it, or improving your time or even training for a longer distance. Setting a realistic and achievable goal will help you stay focused and motivated. Also, by writing your goal down you are three times more likely to achieve it.

Why not find out when some running events are taking place? During the summer months there are plenty of well-organised 5km and 10km runs around Dublin and the country.

These will not only help to maintain your mini-marathon fitness, but they will also help your training for working towards whatever goal you have set yourself.

Start goal-setting now, don't leave it too long as it can be more difficult to maintain a regular training regime if you don't actually know what you are aiming for.

To help keep a weekly training regime get a training buddy with similar goals. Training with a partner will help to keep you both focused and motivated.

Alternatively, you could try a local running club. As with a training buddy, a running club will help keep that focus and advise you on a training schedule and running techniques to help you improve. So, once you've set your goals, and you know what it is you want to achieve, ask yourself what is the best possible way for you to train so that you can improve?

Variation is key, so always vary your programme, and don't repeat the same routine consistently. Otherwise the motivation you once had will fade and you won't enjoy your training any more, no further improvements will be made and fitness levels will plateau.

Incorporate interval training into your routine, and instead of running at a steady pace for 30 minutes, change the intensities.

For example, try a hard run for one minute then a slow jog for one minute and repeat this for 20-30minutes. Bringing your heart rate from high to low will not only help to improve your fitness but it also keep our bodies' metabolism higher for longer.

metabolism

Running at a steady pace causes our metabolism to stay high for approximately one hour after we finish training compared to it staying high for up to eight hours following interval training.

In addition, combine your interval training with some weight training, as getting stronger will help your fitness levels and improve the efficiency of your running. So, perform some squats, lunges and planks in your exercise programme to strengthen your core, legs and glutes which are essential for running.

Weight training should be performed twice a week to see benefits and for between 45minutes and one hour.

Now you have your goals set and your training schedule organised, what about nutrition? There is no point in training really hard and then eating poorly.

Remember, food is fuel for our bodies, in order for our bodies to run efficiently it needs the right food.

Eating the right amount and types of food regularly, every three hours will help to control sugar levels and help stop those sugar cravings.

Making sure that each meal contains protein (such as chicken, lean meat, fish or eggs), carbohydrate (such as fruit and vegetables or wholegrain rice) and finally fat. Essential fats that our bodies need can be found in raw nuts, avocados and oils like walnut, olive or flaxseed.

Before training, a good pre-training snack could be some berries and nuts, to be eaten about 30 minutes before your session, as this will give you a nice balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein.

Don't forget to stay hydrated, drinking water before, during (when possible) and after exercise.

Remember to enjoy your training. So set goals, get advice, organise a weekly training schedule and fuel your body correctly.

Amanda Kelly is a personal trainer at BodyByrne Fitness. Follow her @amandabodybyrne on twitter, or alternatively see www.bodybyrne.ie


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