#grtwproject26.2 ‘Having different training zones has transformed my running’

Our third #project26.2 runners, Kerrie Flippance, shares how recovery runs and training zones has transformed her running…while she contemplates a 5am start as she juggles marathon training and motherhood 

Kerrie at her weekend cross country race

Manchester Marathon will be my first marathon and I ‘panic entered’ last August after reading a friend’s Facebook status which led me to believe it was about to sell out. To date there are still places left!  After I entered, I tried to forget about it, ignoring all my friends’ excited social media messages about who was training on what days and where could we run to vary our training.  I was in denial. 

Until I received an email from Girls Run the World, informing me that I had won one of their amazing marathon coaching packages. I never win anything, well except four tickets for a gig from a phone-in competition in 1992.  I was filled with excitement and utter terror.

 

My first thought was, ‘If I have a coach, I’ll actually have to run 26.2, I can’t make an excuse on the day that I’m not well enough or or fake an injury.’ And I also knew that I’d have to stick to a plan and I was scared I wouldn’t be able to. A month into my plan, it has been the best thing to have happened, having Rachael from Girls Run the World as my virtual coach.

Receiving my first two weeks of the training plan (they’re delivered in two week blocks to help accommodate what may happen within a fortnight), it was great seeing all the varied sessions and to be given ‘zones’ based on my pace, something I’d never thought about before. 

Although I’ve always done a variety of training runs, a long slow run and a weekly track interval session, I’d never really thought about what my pace was and the importance behind knowing different zones and how they impact progress and recovery; for instance, there’s a pace for recovery runs, one for interval work, tempo work, etc. Now I can really bore my husband and non-running friends with even more talk about running! But, more importantly, I now understand how training can improve my running.

BUT over the first two weeks, I was shocked at seeing five rest days in my training diary and that made me panic! I knew the importance of rest days, I’d read about it time and time again, and been told so many times by running friends that I needed a rest day, after I’d moaned about how tired I felt.  But FIVE days off running? 

This has been one of my biggest learning exercises so far.  I’ve followed the plan to the letter and the rest days have been tangible.  I use them wisely by following the stretching, yoga or core work that’s been set on the plan or go for a swim.  For the first time ever, I’ve never felt tired on a run, a first in ten years of running.

I know this may not be the case throughout my marathon journey but I am surprised by how good I feel and this is down to a plan that is personal and allows my body to recover ready for the next run. 

I felt pretty rubbish for a few days during week three of the training block after competing in our county cross country champs, but I’d raced hard.  And whereas usually, I get to the point where I want to slow down, and feel like the hills and the mud are breaking me, I was able to keep pushing.

My two running pals, who normally catch me at the half way point, still caught me but rather than the distance between us growing, we stayed together. It was the most consistent performance I’d put in for a cross-country race, and I believe this is down to a carefully tailored plan.                                    

My high so far was my long 15 mile training run last weekend. I’d been dreading it as I had only ever run that far once before. Plus, the training plan specified to run the final three miles at my marathon pace! No way was I going to be able to do this, I thought, not after already running 12 miles. Rachael warned me that it would be hard and I really thought that this run was going to be my first ‘fail’ on the plan. 

But I ran the 12 miles at the easy pace recommended by Rachael, and I felt pretty good.  I’d run with my husband for the first four miles and a friend for the next seven miles, but told her that I wanted to run the last four on my own so I could focus.

My watch beeped to let me know when to change pace and it was like someone had fired a starting gun or given me a huge slap on the backside. I instantly changed mind set and went for it and my legs went from feeling tired and sore to feeling great, they wanted to run at this pace. 

AT first I thought I was probably running too slow  when I looked at my watch, I was running at 30 seconds per mile faster than my marathon tempo pace.  The shock of feeling so in control with a good amount of energy in the tank really spurred me on, although Rachael has told me that I need to be more disciplined on future runs or risk undoing all my hard work, but it was a great confidence boost.

So far, I’ve loved my training butI live in a  beautiful part of the country with lots of trails that pass by castles, canals and cycle paths. And my training hasn’t interfered too much with life, although this will change over the next few weeks when my children’s social lives will interfere with my weekend runs (I’m envisaging having to get up at 5am to get my long run done, or worse still, doing it after they’ve gone to bed). 

So, four weeks in and I am no longer in denial, I’m excited and ready for the challenge.  I love not having to think about what training I should be doing, and whether I am doing too much or too little!  I’m not having to think very much at all which is amazing when you have a very busy life.  Rachael and my carefully devised training plan think for me and all I have to do is lace up my trainers and run.

#project26.2 ‘Marathon training is the same as any other running, just longer, right?’

In her first block of virtual marathon training as part of Girls Run the World Project26.2, Catriona Ward Sell, 31 has learned that running longer distances requires a totally different mindset…

 

Catriona, volunteering at junior Parkrun

I recall, at about age 8, going to football practice with my wee neighbour, John. Unable to kick the ball hard and fast, he became frustrated. “The trouble with practising...” he exclaimed, booting the ball away, “is that you have to practice and practice and practice, just to be any good at practising!”

Surely no truer words have ever been said about marathon running, either.

I am a middle distance runner. In my year-and-a-half of club running, I’ve reached a decent local level; I can consistently run a sub-20 parkrun, am knocking on the door of a sub-40 10k, and perhaps slightly fluke-ishly, qualified for a Club Championship place at the London Marathon by running two sub-1:30 half marathons.

I perhaps clicked “apply” to the London Marathon too light-heartedly. How different could marathon training be? You just run for a bit longer, right?

Oh, you naïve former self. Marathon training, as I have discovered with Tara, my excellent coach from Girls Run The World, is a whole different ball game.

Firstly, there is a lot of slow running.  I’m an adrenaline junkie; I like doing intervals as quickly as I can, turning the treadmill to a level where I risk flying off, or putting my pride on the line by challenging the guys at work to a race (to contextualise, I am in the Army, so extreme physical challenges are pretty much encouraged in my vocation).  Marathon training does not appeal to adrenaline junkies. Marathon training requires slowing down.

Secondly, there are a LOT of kilometres to cover in a week. This was expected but I thought the bulk of the distance would be in the once-weekly designated Long Slow Runs (in runner’s jargon and Insta-hashtags, LSRs). Nope. The distance of every run during the week will increase.

And lastly, at this stage, the types of training runs aren’t ending with my lungs on fire. This might seem like a welcome break to some of you, but I love the feeling of a hard run. It gets the endorphins flowing, and, yes, I feel more justified in reaching for an extra doughnut when I’ve reached that maxed-out zone.

Getting used to longer, slower runs has meant I’ve had to work on my mental game, find a space to put my mind.  Because, on longer slower runs, you have a lot of thinking time, and depending on how the run is going, your head can take you to some downbeat places.

Learning to focus on mental strategies with the miles

For the first few weeks, I felt frustrated and bored. The first run which I enjoyed was my second LSR. I’m new to the area in which I live, and I found a beautiful wooded trail which goes on uninterrupted for miles. I did 16 kms here after volunteering at Junior Parkrun, and both experiences helped me to remember a different side to running – its inclusivity and offers of exploration.

Neither of these are better or worse motivations than chasing PBs, which I expect will always be my main goal. But is a different side of the same medal, and deserves equal recognition within the sport.

I was also worried. My speed seemed to be zapped from my legs. A Cross Country outing with the Army in the middle of week two wasn’t in my training plan – but when, in the military, your boss tells you to run, the only acceptable response is to ask “how fast?”. Although I finished second female, I was slower than usual.

This week, however, has been much more positive. Within a couple of runs, I’ve managed to glimpse my old 10km time (4:00 min/km). Although in time I aim to be faster, for this marathon training cycle, I was scared that I was just getting slower.   Perhaps, as was first feared, that isn’t happening. Perhaps it’s just my body getting used to the extra miles.

But back to the task in hand: I’m not sure yet if I’m looking forward to the actual marathon, nor if I’ll do another one again. It’s too early within this training cycle to say, and frustrations, fears, anxiety and – just this week – some kind of nervous hope has created mixed emotions. But one thing’s for sure: John, you were definitely wiser than your 8 years. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, even feeling like you’re training for running takes a lot of practise.

Target: To finish fast

Goal finish: 3 hours, 17 mins

To follow the progress of our #grtwproject26 runners, search for the hashtag on Instagram. 

Girls Run the World offer personalised virtual coaching for all distances and all levels. For more details click here

 

#grtwproject26.2 How running slower is making me faster

After winning a virtual marathon coaching package as part of the Girls Run the World project26.2, Marie Knight reflects on her first month where she discovered the value of recovery runs… 

Marie, at the start line of the Maverick Race

I can’t quite believe it’s the end of week four of my training plan, and it’s been a learning curve; getting to grips with new running shoes, new training app (Girls Run the World use Training Peaks to deliver personalised plans from their team of female coaches), a new approach to nutrition, not to mention learning to programme my Garmin watch correctly, which I’m ashamed to say I’ve owned for 2 years without ever doing this. And then there is the small matter of the running itself.

I usually take part in GRTW Runuary to kick start my year of running without any particular focus for each day’s run other than the fact that I know I need to complete one at some stage. So it’s been an exciting change to having weekly plans delivered to my in box detailing distances, pace, focus, tips on form and type of run, all designed to help me to achieve running the Brighton Marathon in a time of approximately 4hours 35 minutes.

I’ve loved being able to look at the plan for the week ahead and shift things to fit around work and play. I’m also enjoying not having to worry about what training I’m going to do each day, trusting the coaching process to get me where I need to be in the end.

I’m a classic over-thinker and I would already be panicking about having the week off for skiing I’m having in February and what impact this would have on the rest of fitness and plan.

The biggest thing I’ve learnt is the value of running slowly…which sounds a funny thing to say as I’m not what you might consider a fast runner to start with. Settling at the correct recovery pace has been so challenging but it’s also given me the chance to focus on form, breathing, cadence. It’s also been the hardest thing to nail because it often feels like I’m barely moving faster than walking pace.

But most interestingly of all, it’s helped me to achieve more during the speed interval sessions , as well as providing valuable time on feet with active recovery. I guess the clue is in the name? (D’oh!)

The strength and core work included on my plan via the Girls Run the world YouTube channel have been a love/hate addition to my plan. It’s the area of my normal fitness routine that I’ve always abandoned when training for half marathons, thinking I didn’t have the time.

It turns out these short, guided, 20-minute workouts can fit in but they leave me feeling more exhausted than the running (which I know is exactly why I need to include them) and deadbugs have become my new personal nemesis. 

My favourite run so far has been the Maverick Inov-8 West Sussex, which was part of the GRTW January meet up. Stunning scenery to distract me whilst tackling brutal, muddy hills and undulating forest routes.

The focus that I was given was to treat it as training rather than a race  by keeping at easy pace throughout (which I eventually did after starting off way too fast with the excitement of the starting line), running alone rather than with run buddies to help give me a feel of how it will be during the marathon, and completing the distance without the use of gels. The theory being, your body can fuel aerobically using fat storage and if you get your body too used to gels, it won’t be able to get the maximum benefit when racing.

Marie, finishing strong, gel free after a 14 mile trail race

I hadn’t even considered it possible to run that far without gels and it felt great to finish and know that I have the endurance to run without gels, allowing my digestive system a chance to be without them for a while. It’s also given me something to think about in terms of using them for future training runs at easy pace, as I clearly don’t always need them.

It was a tough and challenging 14 miles all-round, but I got to the finish to be cheered in by a smiling GRTW crew. Plus a beer in my goody bag to go with the medal.

If you want to follow the journeys of our four Girls Run the World Project 26.2 runners, follow the IG #grtwproject26. Lend them your support and learn through them as they journey towards the marathon finish line. 

Girls Run the World offer personalised virtual run coaching from £92 per month. For more details email info@girlsruntheworld.co.uk.

 

WIN! Welcome to our Queens of Speed giveaways

Fancy getting your hands on some of these fab prizes? Read on to find out how you could win some Girls Run the World booty, including a goodie bag of Pukka Herb products or our top prize, the Hoka One One Mach 2 road shoe, which hits the streets in March**

The Hoka One One Mach 2

launches in the UK this March and is perfect for road running, being both responsive and cushioned so that it absorbs the impact without sacrificing the ‘feel’ of the road to help you maintain your pace. It’s a low weight shoe and has an upgrade from last season’s Mach with the addition of a dual density ProFly midsole, which means a softer heel with a more responsive forefoot for a better take off. Perfect for all your Spring road marathoners out there. Price: 150 euros

And the amazing people at Hoka One One have offered the Girls Run the World Queens of Speed participants the chance to win a pair. (If you’ve missed out on our Queens of Speed virtual challenge this year, read more here and make sure you’re ready for 2020).

How to win the Hoka One One Mach 2, £125: 

Run 5km with each 1km being progressively faster than the last, ending with a final 1km at your 5km pace PB, or as close to it as you can. You will need to share an image of yourself with your post run glow, and a screenshot revealing your kms split to us on Instagram with the #grtwqueensofspeed plus @g_r_t_w and @hokaoneone. The winner will be the runner who most accurately showed a progressive run consistent with their running ability.  Closing date: Feb 14th 2019.

 

Pukka Herbs Goodie Bag

Win a goodie bag containing Feel New Tea, £2.99, a Pukka mug, £11.99, Turmeric Active Tea, £2.99 and Turmeric Gold Latte, £4.99.

This goodie bag contains the kind of drinks that are perfect for winter running, with delicious ingredients like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon and saffron which can help relieve inflammation and hence your recovery after exercise. Plus, these ingredients are delicious and warming too, perfect for post winter runs.

How to win the Pukka Herbs Goodie Bag  

All you have to do to get your hands on this bounty is share a picture from one of your runs or post runs, and tell us how running makes you feel. Include the hashtag #grtwqueensofspeed, and tag us @g_r_t_w and @pukkaherbs. Best response will be awarded the prize. You can enter as many times as you like. Closing date: January 31st 2018

Badger Sleep Balm

Running is fantastic for your mind, body and soul but fitting it in can be tricky, which is why we often find ourselves having to run after work or just before bed. Which is not great as it gets the adrenaline pumping and the cortisol levels rising. Which is where the fantastic Badgers Sleep Balm can be useful, containing Lavender and Bergamot to help you relax and sleep.

Apply to your pulse points and add some of our Running for Yoga stretches and workouts from our channel YouTube and it could help even more.

How to win the Badger Sleep Balm 

Share a picture on Instagram which sums up your way of relaxing post run. Include the #grtwqueensofspeed and @g_r_t_w @badgerbalmUK. You may enter as many times as you like. Closing date: 31st January 2018.

Bare Biology Lion Heart Pure Omega 3 Fish Oil, £47.50

The Daily Telegraph dubbed this oil ‘the Rolls Royce of fish oils’. This is because, unlike many other other fish oils on the market, this contains high grade fish oils from wild fish meaning that it gives you over 2000mg EPA and 1000mg Dha per teaspoon dose.

It’s perfect for runners because it works as an anti-inflammatory, is great for mental health, heart and blood pressure.

How to win BareBiology Lion Heart Pure Omega 3 Fish Oil

Let’s have fun with this. Share an image on Instagram or Twitter from your run that illustrates best your courage on a run or route – your lion’s heart! Include the #grtwrunuary and include @barebiology and @g_r_t_w.

 

**Please note these competitions are only open to participants of the Girls Run the World Queens of Speed virtual challenge. 

 

 

Welcome to the new wave in women’s running

Two things happened last week which made us all cheer (and swear a little too) at Girls Run the World HQ.

Firstly, Jasmin Paris became the first woman to win Britain’s most brutal race, The Spine Race, beating the the overall course record by 12 hours.

If you don’t know much about this race, here’s some facts; it’s 268 miles taking in the Pennine Way and has over 37,000 feet of climbing and you have to carry your own kit.

It took Jasmin 83 hours, 12 minutes and 23 seconds, with just seven hours rest, during which she also breastfed her 14 month old daughter Rowan.

It is one of the most outstanding achievements in female ultra running, even more impressive when you consider the fact that Jasmin is not a pro runner. While she is sponsored by Inov-8, she works as a vet and is currently studying for a PhD.

Reading this, you are probably wowed by her achievement but may also be thinking, ‘I could never do that.’ But to our minds, she’s an everywoman.

 She fits training in around her lifestyle, and entered the race as a way of gaining motivation and inspiration after having a baby.

Maybe as a consequence of contentment, my motivation to train took a definite nose dive,’ she said. ‘I found it harder and harder to leave my bed for the cold darkness outside, and realised that I needed a new focus.’

And how did she manage the training? Like most of us. Juggling all the demands on our time.

A lot of running has taken place really early in the morning so that’s kind of the how I squeeze it in and still balance it with spending time with my daughter.’

Jasmin is indicative of the new wave of female runners who have the confidence to aim high, set their goals and work towards them.

And the other news that showed that female runners are now demanding more and believing in their ability  is the response that Ironman UK received when they launched IronGirl UK, a 5km evening ‘fun run’ last week.

In a statement to announce the event they said: ‘This particular event opens up the Ironman weekend to even more people – not everyone wants to do an Ironman but some might quite fancy a 5k run with their friends.

It caused outrage across the UK, amongst runners including ultra runner Susie Chan. One female runner responded on the organiser’s event Facebook page:

On a day a woman has not only won, but beaten the course record, in the MIXED Spine race, you decide we are only good for 5ks? This woman had a baby 14 months ago and was pumping milk at rest stops by the way.’

Other, such as Jackie Hassan Twitter poked fun with this comment:   “Ooh fantastic! Can I stop half way to do some knitting and put my husbands dinner on? I may need to redo my hair ribbons and make up too! Absolutely shocking concept. Sort it out.’

And they did. Kind of, rebranding it as a 5km evening run for everyone.

But this notion that women are only capable of a ‘fun run’ and that we don’t like a challenge is endemic amongst many race organisers. Just take a look at Rat Race UK’s event Girls Get Fizzical.

A 5km or 10km race with ‘top flight’ obstacles, which judging by their website includes wading through soft balls like at a baby’s soft play area. But hey, that’s alright because you can finish with a glass of Prosecco. God forbid we might actually want to race for the challenge and sense of achievement.

Thankfully, things are beginning to change. Maverick Races for instance are doing their bit by having a female trail running division to help encourage more women to hit the trails.

And it’s why we launched our virtual Queens of Speed Challenge this month, inviting women to become the best runners they can be with our online training to improve speed over the month of January.

But as female runners we can do more and make our voices heard by using our feet, and running in the kind of events that challenge and help empower us while inspiring other women to participate.

Jasmin Paris is an inspiration to us all and illustrates exactly what you can achieve if you define your goals, take ownership and work towards them.

(Psst. And as the temperature drops around the UK, it might be worth knowing what Jasmin wore in her race, which can see lows of -20 Celsius and 45 mph winds – it was the Inov-8 Long Sleeve Half Zip Mid-layer, £55 under the Inov-8 AT/C Protec-Shell Waterproof Jacket, £270.)

Review: Hoka One One Torrent

If you’re looking for a great trail shoe to get you through your training to the Spring, then look no further…

Features

  • Open engineered mesh construction
  • PROFLY midsole
  • Multidirectional lugs
  • Protective outlays
  • Weight: 254g (size EU 42)
  • Forefoot height: 18mm
  • Heel height: 23mm
  • Drop: 5mm
  • Colourways: Lichen/seaport, sodalite blue/very berry, nine iron/steel grey (wouldn’t you love the job of coming up with the colour way descriptions?!)
  • Price: £105

At Girls Run the World, we’ve always been fans of the Salomon Speedcross but on our recent training camp to Ethiopia in November, which saw us taking our runners out into the eucalyptus forests and trails around Addis Ababa, we tested out the Hoka One One, Torrent, £105.

Created as a trail racer, it is lightweight helping you to stay agile while also boasting cushioning, which is useful for long, steep downhills. Plus, unlike many trail shoes, it offers enough traction to make you feel sure of your footing on rocky and muddy trails alike, without being so pronounced that running on anything else feels uncomfortable.

And yes, we appreciate that not everyone gets the opportunity to run in Ethiopia (although, you can you know…join us this November for our next training week), but the Torrent is also great on the muddy trails of the UK too.

 

Rating

Style: ****

They look a tiny bit clunky, even though they are lightweight. But then, that is a characteristic of Hoka One One shoes.

Performance ****

Best suited to those who need some cushioning comfort when they run. If you’re a mountain goat, these may feel a little bit constrictive.

Terrain: *****

A great all rounder, as great on rocky trails as the red earth of Ethiopia and the very muddy trails of the UK countryside in the winter.

 

Introducing our #grtwproject26.2 runners

At the end of 2018, we ran a competition to win a virtual marathon training package with us. These are the four women who won and who will be sharing their marathon training journey with the GRTW community over the next four months…

 

Kerrie Flippance, 43, legal executive and mum of three, Warwickshire 

Instagram: @kerrie.runs.26.2

Goal race: Manchester Marathon

Target finish: 3 hours, 50 minutes

Why Kerrie applied: Support in juggling training with being a mum of three

It’s my first marathon and I so I’d love some help and support to know what to do and how to train, particularly around my job and juggling family life.

This will be my first marathon. I am scared but excited. I am worried about hitting the wall, about being away from my family for far too long whilst training and also whether I actually get to cross the finish line without being taken away in an ambulance. I also thought these things for my first half and now it’s my favourite distance.

My dream goal would be to one day get a good for age for London.  I want to do something for myself but hope that this will also inspire my children.

Current PBs

  • 5km 22.12
  • 10km 49:02. 
  • Half Marathon1:49:01

Marie Knight, 40, export manager wine industry from Brighton 

Instagram: @wightyknighty

Goal Race: Brighton Marathon

Target time: 4  hours, 35 minutes

Why Marie applied:

I have a busy work schedule that involves travel and time away from home so I need help with a flexible training plan, that will offer support when things change at the last minute! My previous training plans for half marathons have fallen down when I’ve become ill and slipped behind and lost confidence.

I have always said I would never run a marathon and I now find myself 16 weeks away from race day. It honestly still feels like something I could never do despite having watched so many fantastic runners of all different levels complete the Brighton marathon this year. I’m genuinely terrified and that in turn makes me even more determined to train properly, complete the 26.2 miles and enjoy every moment! I was also asked by a friend of mine to join in fundraising for their 3 yr old daughter who needs a life changing operation to give her the chance to walk. Little Ufi was born 3 months premature and suffered severe brain injuries which mean she cannot walk amongst various other learning disabilities. There’s a little girl determined to walk, and it feels like there is no good reason for me not to show the same determination to complete a marathon to give her the chance to walk. 2019 is the 10-year anniversary of the Brighton Marathon and having started running in 2016, I would be super proud to be running my first marathon in my home town. Running has been an important part of settling into a new life in Brighton, making new friends with an amazing and inspiration group of women of all ages and fitness. I’ve been lucky enough to run with the GRTW runners at a huge variety of events and always been encouraged to give everything my best shot and supported even when I was one of the last runners the finish line. It would be great to start 2019 with a clear and focused ‘end in mind’ plan to get me to the point of crossing the finish line feeling strong, happy and knowing that I’d raised money for a fantastic cause.

Obstacles: Work travel often puts pressure on ability to train / run as I planned. Usually week days with tempo / speed sessions but occasional weekends which then impacts long slow runs. Previously with half marathon training I’ve struggled to ensure strength training happens as well as the running part of the plan.

Strength – enjoy speed work / tempo sessions. Weakness – technique on hills, overstriding, can talk myself out of a long run when on my own.

Personal Bests

  • 5km, 27.38
  • 10km, 1:00:43
  • Half Marathon, 2:12:45

Catriona Ward Sell, 31, a soldier in the British Army, Ipswich  

Instagram: @_thiscatcan_

Goal Race: London Marathon

 

Target time: 3 hours, 17 minutes

Why she applied: Wants to get faster

 

I started running more seriously last year, and improved quickly with a 19:18 5km, 40:28 10km and 1:29:15 half marathon. Now, I’ve stalled and I don’t know how to progress.

Also, I wanted to be part of a female running community as only 9% of women in the Army are female. I can give the guys a run for their money, but ultimately their training styles, intensity and routine is different to my own. They don’t understand what it’s like to have short legs and a faster cadence, nor do they understand certain monthly cycles that we females have to deal with.

Personal bests

  • 5km, 19.18  
  • 10km, 40:28
  • Half Marathon, 1:29:15

 

Rachel Sparkhall, sales and marketing manager, 43, Bedfordshire 

 

Instagram: @rachel.sparkhall

Goal race: Paris Marathon

Target: 3 hours, 59 minutes

Why she applied: How to juggle training with work and migraines

‘Running my first ever marathon and would like to do really well, but I suffer from migraines and juggling work commitments so need  guidance to get me there.’

I enjoy it but it has also really helped with my general well being, having suffered with chronic migraine for +20 years. Exercise helps to keep them under control.

Recent PBs

10km, 49 mins

Half Marathon, 1.47.48

 

These women will all be sharing their trials and tribulations with us via their Instagram channels and via our blog once per month. 

If you are interested in receiving virutal marathon training with us, please get in touch. Rachel and Cat are being coached by Tara Shanahan and Kerrie and Marie by GRTW founder, Rachael Woolston.

 

Project 26.2 – who will win our marathon training package?

In November, we launched #project26.2, which is going to provide four lucky women with the chance to win virtual marathon training and mentorship with GRTW founder, Rachael Woolston and head Brighton coach Tara Shanahan. Between them, they’ve run around 15 marathons and have seen their times drop to just under 3 hours 16 minute. 

We thought we’d share some of the entries out of the hundreds that we’ve received so far. There’s still time for YOU to apply yourself though. Entries close 17th December. To read about the terms and conditions and to enter, click here

 

 

Mona Sorenson, mum of two

Mona, is an experienced runner but with two young children, finds it hard to devote the time or headspace to achieving what she would like in marathon running.

Being a busy working mum especially means I don’t really have the luxury of time needed to really coach myself or take myself to the next level.’

 

For Rachel, it will be her first time running a marathon; ‘A marathon is my ultimate running goal and my best chance of achieving it is by committing to working with a coach to train for it. I’ve only been running regularly for three years, but if I were to win this competition I would learn what I am capable of.’

Judith: I’ve got a charity place to run London for MyelomaUK, a charity close to my heart as I have Myeloma and AL Amyloidosis.

I’m in remission at the moment. I’ve been building up my running over the past year and completed a trail marathon in the summer. Running on roads isn’t my thing so I’ll need a lot of support and advice to help me complete London in a time and way that will make all my sponsors proud.’

 

The hardest thing about running a marathon is not the race, but navigating the training and that’s where we step in with our silver and gold service packages. We write your plans personalised to YOU, taking into consideration not just your running background but what’s going on in your life too. After all, what’s the point of following a 70 mile per week training plan when you’re juggling work, family and relationships? Running should reward and challenge, not punish and add to your stress levels.

 

 

Why strength training can transform your running

If you want to avoid injury, improve your running form and progress your running fast, the missing magic ingredient is strength training

Strength training which works for women
(copyright Girls Run the World)

Over the last ten years, I’ve coached hundreds of female runners from beginners right the way through to sub 3 hour 30 minute marathon runners – and the one thing that stands out as making the biggest difference to improved running is strength training.

To help the women we coach understand how vital it is to improved running, I like to use the analogy of ball that is pumped up and one that is slightly flat; the pumped up one bounces up high off the floor, the flat one can not lift off the floor or does so poorly.  That’s the difference that a conditioned muscle makes to your running form compared to a running body that has not been conditioned.

How strength training helps you as a runner…

  1. You’ll be able to keep running consistently without having to take time off for injury
  2. It improves your running economy by up to 8%, making you more efficient which means less tired and faster
  3. Improves your ability to create force – exactly what you need to be able to do in order to drive your body off the floor and land with every stride
  4. Improves your V02 max by up to 4%, which is a measure of your aerobic capacity

All of this matters hugely if you’re training for endurance, whether that’s a half marathon, marathon, triathlon, or ultra.

If you take one thing from this post, it is this – in  Sieler’s Hierarch of Endurance Training needs, which ranks eight fundamental training practices in order of proven impact, the fundamental foundation of training is volume – if you become injured because your body is not strong enough, that volume and consistency is undermined.

 

I recently spoke with Chrissie Wellington at the Training Peaks Endurance Coaching Summit and she spoke about her amazing London Marathon time of 2 hours 44 minutes and she credits strength work as the secret to her success;

‘I magnate to do it off the back of strength and conditioning, which meant that I stayed strong off the back of the end of the marathon which becomes even more important as we age.’

How do I fit it in?

All this is all very well and good, I hear you say, but how do I fit in marathon training, relationship, work and family?

This, and lack of understanding about strength training and how to do it are the single biggest reasons that female runner neglect strength training. But it doesn’t need to take long – 10-20 minutes of the RIGHT strength training will help transform you as a runner, much more than just slogging out the same miles at the same pace over and over again.

To help women who are training for endurance to get that secret ingredient into the running or triathlon mix, we have created a four week strength training programme, encompassing three workouts per week of approximately 20 minutes. Each workout is different and is delivered via our membership portal to your phone, and all the exercises are filmed so you’ll know exactly what to to do and how. You must have access to a gym.

It costs £29.99 and once purchased you’ll own it for life and will be able to repeat the programme whenever you like, whether you want to build strength for an endurance event or you just want to do it in order to get fit and in shape.

It will be available to purchase in December, perfect timing for anyone who is doing a Spring marathon helping you to lay the foundations upon which your volume of training can build.

We’ll be offering limited special offer deals for the first 20 to purchase the programme and these special codes will only be delivered via our newsletter. To sign up, click here. 

Launching #grtwproject26.2

Have you got a Spring marathon lined up next year? Read on to find out how to you could WIN our silver service training package worth £480 for  as part of #grtwproject26.2 2019…

With our training service, it will feel like you’ve got someone running and guiding you at all times

 

Signing up for a marathon is exciting, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth time of running 26.2 miles. But juggling training, family, relationship, work and lifestyle commitments can derail even the most enthusiastic and committed runner amongst us.

Which is why we have created our one to one virtual silver coaching package, which provides you with personalised training plans written for YOU by one of our team of qualified and experienced running, yoga and strength and conditioning coaches, including GRTW founder, Rachael Woolston and head coach, Tara Shanahan. Plus, god forbid anything goes wrong, co-founder and qualified physiotherapist will provide the support to help you get back to training.

We write a plan that fits YOUR lifestyle, your goals and your running background and experience.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced runner who would like to achieve a personal best, we’ll deliver your training via our software partners, Training Peaks, one of the world’s best training software packages,  with your progress reviewed weekly and a monthly coaching call via Skype, telephone or email.

Training plans and workouts delivered direct to your phone with email reminders

We don’t just help you with your running, but your mental approach, nutrition, stretching, strength and more, enabling you to train without the stress and anxiety of being unsure of what you’re doing or how you can fit it in. Plus, if something goes wrong – illness, injury or a holiday and your training is derailed, our plans change to accommodate this and get you back on track.

So, no stress, no injury causing you to crash out of your A race, and progress that you can measure and see to help you build your confidence day by day, ready for race day.

To launch our silver service, we are now offering FOUR women the chance to win our mentoring service taking you from January right the way through to your Spring marathon race day.

In order to be in with a chance of winning our special #grtwproject26.2 2019, worth £480, enter below and like our Facebook or Instagram channel, where we will be sharing stories of our entrants and inviting votes from our community. ENTRIES CLOSE 17TH DECEMBER 2018.

 

 

ENTER #GRTWPROJECT26.2 HERE

 

 

Terms and Conditions 

  • Only open to women 18 or over
  • You will need write a short weekly post for our blog, detailing your training to help inspire and motivate others – even when training is NOT going right
  • You can be any level, beginner or experienced
  • If you are currently injured and unlikely to be able to start training in December, please do not enter
  • The judges decision about the winners is final
  • Training will start in January
  • You must be able to commit to doing a minimum of four training runs per week
  • You will need to have a Garmin training watch
  • Training Peaks Premium account is not included