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Use it or lose it!

The preparation and the camaraderie of the mini marathon are second to none. I've run four of them in the past, and it's very easy to feel an anticlimax after the day is over.

But you don't just stop there and put your feet up for the rest of the year. Instead, there are lots of ways you can stay inspired to keep going.

We know for sure that exercise done on a regular basis definitely reduces your body fat and body mass index (BMI).

You've probably already moved your belt in a notch as a result of your efforts. So, why give up? Your blood pressure has also benefited. Your resting heart rate will have improved also.

Your mental wellness has benefitted as well. You now know your serotonin levels increase when you exercise, so your positive side works a lot better too. It's a known fact that exercise can combat all forms of depression.

If you did the race for the first time and enjoyed the build-up, well then why not look at doing another 5 or 6km? There are so many fun runs around now.

 

Flexible

Don't let any running group you've belonged to for the mini marathon disband. Arrange to meet as you did before the race and set some new goals.

Decide to enter more races. You could take up cross-country events. You'll be amazed at what's available to keep you inspired.

Concentrate on all aspects of fitness, not just the cardio side, which running is. It's very easy to forget to stretch. However, it's really important and there are some fantastic YouTube videos you can watch on how to get yourself more flexible. This will make your running/walking so much easier.

Most injuries occur from lack of flexibility. So don't let this happen to you. My own experience is that you can't rate Pilates and fitball exercises enough.

For this very reason, I would suggest buying a good Pilates video and practise in your living room. The Gaiam videos are very good.

 

Crazy

 

Of course, another area that most runners forget is strength training. No, I don't mean body building, but resistance training to improve your muscle condition and strength.

As we get older, the two components we lose the quickest are strength and flexibility.

The condition of our muscle is very important for boosting our metabolism. You don't need to go crazy and purchase lots of weights. Check out kettlebells in Argos.

You can buy videos and practise at home, too, but I would suggest a lesson with a qualified trainer. Kettlebelling is great for powering the legs and abdominals. So if you want to sprint home, these are really good for powering you up.

Just remember that if you do decide to increase your distance and start to run for longer, that hydration is very important. So make sure you keep the body well hydrated. Basically, work out the kilometres and have at least a half litre per 3km. If you are doing your running in temperatures above 25 degrees, you might want to increase this.

Of course, avoid any alcohol the night before the race. And make sure you drink plenty of water after the race before indulging.

Lastly, consider food for endurance. Avoid all sugary drinks especially those isotonic ones. They really are only for top athletes and can in fact undo all your hard work in a split second. They are full of sugar. Eat high-water-content foods instead. They will slow release, and give you nutrition and hydration as you need it.

 

BURN

The best system of eating and the one that I recommend to all my clients is Low GI (meaning Glycemic Index) foods.

All foods have a Glycemic ranking and the lower the GI, the slower the glucose gets released in the body so you don't burn out as quickly.

Eat foods ranked between 0-50 as part of your daily diet, and a few foods ranked between 50-75. Avoid those over 75. They can be eaten only as occasional treats.

So avoid the chocolate and sugary sweets. Eat carrots and hummus, or a handful of blueberries with some pumpkin seeds, or two oatcakes with Philly cheese before the next race and see how much longer you will last.

For more information log on to www.womenontherun.ie.


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