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Training with Eddie McDonagh

It is beginning to look as if winning the Flora Women's Mini Marathon is a passport to a qualification for the Olympic Marathon.

Congratulations to last year's winner Caitriona Jennings who, last week, qualified to join 2010 winner Linda Byrne and runner-up Maria McCambridge, on the plane to London. They have given the selectors a headache in the selection for the greatest sports show on earth, as four have now got the qualifying time.

Catherina McKiernan, another former Flora Women's Mini Marathon winner, still holds one of the fastest marathon times in history with her Irish record of 2.22.23 when winning the Amsterdam Marathon.

If you followed the advice of last week and entered a local race or fun run, I'm sure you had a little extra "heaviness" in your legs for a few days. This was the result of a lactic acid build-up in the muscles. Don't worry, this will dissipate over the next few days.

When the legs return to normal, they will have an extra bounce from the muscle-strengthening effort made during the run.

We now return to the normal rhythm of our training schedules and you must ensure that there is at least a two-week break between each faster race/fun run.

As our runs are getting longer each week, the most important factor is to make sure you cover the time advised for each day.

This will ensure you have the stamina required for race day.

Make sure your footwear is adequate for the task in hand and run as often as possible on grass to ease the jarring effect on the joints.

Now is the time for concentrating on the task in hand and, when you have warmed up adequately, pick up the tempo a little on each run, while being cautious at the same time not to reach exhaustion.

This is the time when you "listen to your body" and set the pace that your body dictates as all the other everyday happenings, such as a hard day at work, or colds/viruses, may slow you a little bit. These will soon pass and you will be eager to step back into your usual rhythm.


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