How was your weekend running?

One of the biggest running events in the UK calendar, the London Marathon took place this weekend in summer-like conditions. Were you there?

A quick look at Girls Run the World Strava group (you can join here ) shows there were a lot of you running the big 26.2 mile in London today in hot conditions. We’d love to hear from anyone who did their first marathon ever this weekend (London or elsewhere) with their top tips for something they discovered on their run which they’d wish they’d known before.

Whatever race you do, it’s always the afternoon or the day afterwards that you think of a really great tip or something that you’d do differently next time, which would be helpful to ALL GRTW runners. But as quickly as it pops into your head, those little gems usually disappear never to be remembered until midway through your next race when you think, ‘Oh, I’m doing it again, why didn’t I remember?!’

Kenyan, Vivian Cheruiyot who won this year’s London Marathon remembered her tip from last year and made sure she didn’t do it again by hanging back at the start.

“Today, the two ladies (Keitany and Dibaba) were trying for a world record and they made the mistake I made last year,’ she explains. ‘I was quick to start with last year and then I was nowhere. So I decided to stay behind this time. I didn’t go with the faster group because the faster group was quicker than I was at the start. Then I came slowly, slowly. I didn’t want to race against anybody, I wanted to race alone. So I raced like that. I felt comfortable throughout and when I caught Tirunesh and then I saw Mary, then I thought I’m going to be London Marathon champion!’

But outside of London, where did you run?

For Girls Run the World,  it was the first of our get together races, where we come together from wherever we live to meet and race. This was the Angmering Bluebell Trail Race, 10km or 10miles, a stunning off-road race woodlands carpeted in bluebells.  It was a stunner and fantastic to see women from the virtual community in real life! And one of our coaches, Tara got a third place on the podium so well done to her!

Our next GRTW Together is the Snowdownia Maverick Race in September – sign up and meet us there. If you want a training plan and coaching for it, you can access this via our Virtual Training Hub where we’ll deliver a training plan to an  app, along with that all important strength training. Because this is one race that’s gonna be hilly! But what better way to give your summer focus and to work on that all important conditioning. You can sign up to find out more via our website newsletter.

 

GRTW Recipes for Foodie Runners: The Brunch

This is the perfect brunch on a lazy Saturday morning after Parkrun, or a fantastic carb-loading breakfast for a long run on Sunday…

I’ve never been to Iran or the Middle East but I do love the flavours and tastes associated with that area, with pomegranate and mint, spices and delicious creamy cheeses. Some day, I’ d love to run in Iran and meet with the female runners who defied the ban to run the Tehran Marathon and ran their own. (read their story here). For now, I’ll have to be content with trying to imitate the flavours of their food.

The brunch is egg with flat bread, hummus and a pomegranate salad with feta cheese, mixed with pomegranate, and mint and dressed with olive oil. Also try some Greek yoghurt whipped with garlic as a side to serve.

If anyone has any experience of Persian breakfasts, do let us know. What’s your favourite post park run breakfast?

Marathon Mastery Series: Secrets from the Frontline

So, this weekend is the big one, the London Marathon. We asked for the top tips from the pacers to the sports photographers to help you to have your best marathon ever…

The Race Marker

Ever wondered why you can run the same race as a friend but they have run a shorter distance? It could all be due to the magic line. At the Virgin London Marathon, you will notice a line marked on the road which shows the exact 26.2 mile distance. Stick to this for the most direct route. But be aware, a lot of runners try to do the same so it can make for a busy line!

Portable loo provider 

No matter how many times you go to the toilet before a race, you always feel you need to go again just before the race when there’s a big line. The trip to skipping the queue? Get running.

‘If you are uncertain whether you really need to go, wait,’ advises Abi Sweetman, www.loosfordos.com, who supplies portable toilets for events including the Virgin London Marathon. ‘Most big races have toilets on the course, there won’t be a queue and they’ll be cleaner.’ Study the route map for toilet locations and making a mental note before the race. ‘They are often just before or after a water station, so it’s a natural place to slow or stop anyway.’

 

The Pacer

‘If you want to follow a pacer, begin at the start line,’ explains ultra-marathoner, Susie Chan, www.susie-chan.com who has paced at the Virgin London Marathon three times. ‘If you join a group later, their pace will be different as they may have started before or after you.’ Be particularly wary in London, which has multiple starts and different pacers for each start which will be denoted by a flag of the same colour as the colour of your start area.

The Physiotherapist

It’s every runner’s biggest worry, getting injured on race day. The best way to overcome this is to  see a physiotherapist before the race if you have a niggle so that you can prepare and make an informed decision about what you’re going to if it flares up. ‘If you have ITBS, a common runner’s knee injury or instance, running will hurt but it won’t damage your knee and so you can decide if you want to push through it on race day,’ says Dawn Buoys, founder of www.bodyrehabstudios.com. ‘If it’s something more complex, make a plan in your head before the race about where you’re going to stop enroute if it flares up. This will help you feel less anxious and enable you to focus on enjoying the race.’

The Race photographer

‘Marathon photographers use telephoto lenses so you need to be ten metres away and in direct eye line contact to give them the chance of getting the best shot,’ explains Bob James, www.bobjames.com official commercial photographer for the Virgin London Marathon.

If your friends are on the route, arrange a hand signal.

‘If you arrange a sign that you’re going to make at a certain landmark, friends or family can look out for this and be ready to get you for a perfect personal race day photo as you pass.’

The Race Finish Organiser

When all your focus is on getting to the start line and running 26.2 miles, organising the end is often neglected.

‘Finishing a marathon can be a disorientating experience,’ explains Andrew Smith, who has worked as the Finish Director at the London Marathon for the last 14 years. ‘I always recommend you print out where you have arranged to meet friends and family and put it in your race bag because it’s easy to get confused or forget when you’re tired.’

As for the London marathon itself, the finish funnel is half a mile long and  ‘At London we have meeting areas signposted with letters of the alphabet for your surname, but if you walk to XYZ, it will be less busy.’  

 

 

(this is an abbreviated version of an article that GRTW founder, Rachael Woolston wrote for Women’s Running magazine. click here for the full article)

How was your weekend running?

This weekend saw the second up in the weekend series of marathons with the Brighton marathon taking part in the HQ city of Girls Run the World. Were you there?

 

This weekend is a big one in the Brighton running calendar because of the Brighton Marathon. It’s now in it’s ninth year (expect something special next year for the 10th anniversary) and it has grown in popularity year on year, partly due to it’s proximity to London and the fact that it’s a draw for those who don’t get a London place.

Add to that the fact that there is also a 10km race at the same time, along with the Kid’s Mini Mile races the day before, and the entire city turns into a running metropolis for the weekend.

We had lots of runners taking part this weekend, as well as a few of our mentoring clients (well done Verona and Kellie!) and so we were out in force cheering and supporting. (Sorry if we didn’t spot you, it’s hard if we’ve not met personally – although I’m sure I saw Vix In Lewes from Instagram!)

Well done to every single one of you who ran the 10km or the marathon, but particularly to all the first time marathon runners. You learn a lot about yourself and your running when you do 26.2 miles for the first time (er, and the second, fifth and tenth time!) You may not realise those lessons the afternoon of the race or even the next day, but over the next week, things about your race will begin to sink in, what you executed brilliantly, what you realise in hindsight that you would do differently next time. (If, of course there is a next time).

If these lessons do filter through, don’t waste them. Write them down. Because after a week has passed, you’re likely to forget them and you don’t want your race day experience to go to waste.

One of the biggest lessons I have learned from doing marathons (I think my next one will be 10th or 11th) is that the race really doesn’t start until the last 10km. That’s when you need to dig deep and really focus mentally. Of course a marathon is tiring physically, but mentally, it’s exhausting!

But as so many of the runners out there showed today in the final stages, a smile goes a long way of lifting your spirits.

Well done to you ALL and particular kudos to our first timers out there today, Verona, Vanessa, Demi, Ellie and Verona, and to all the many 10km runners who took part too.

Of course, there was another big marathon taking place today too…Boston! Did any of you run? One more biggie go to next weekend …VLM!!

Whatever distance or wherever you ran this weekend, we’d love to hear about it. AND If you ran a marathon today, what is the single best piece of advice you would give to any runner who is about to take on London next weekend? Comment below.

 

Brighton and Hove Women’s Running courses Starting w/c 16th April

It’s hard not to be inspired by watching a marathon in your home town. If it’s made you want to start running to get fit, build your distance to improve your endurance, or get faster at Parkrun or 10km, we’ve got a course that is perfect for you in Brighton…

(P.S If you don’t live locally, don’t worry our Virtual Training Hub will launch soon, giving you access to all the training sessions you’ll need, whether it’s strength work, pace sessions for 5km or 10km, half marathon or marathon plans and more –  click to pre-register)

run

Run Fun Fitness, starting Tuesday 17th April, 6.45pm-7.30pm Six Week block @ Preston Park, £48

ONLY TWO SPACES LEFT

This course is for beginners, those returning to running or those who just want to build their confidence. It’s personalised so you can tell us your goals at the beginning and we’ll incorporate them into your training.

The focus in this course is on having FUN. We help you improve your running technique, endurance and fitness with a series of games led running exercises so that you’re running  without you even thinking of it as running. But we’ll also ensure you build your strength so that you build your foundations to become a runner who is able to develop with less chance of injury.

Smash Your Parkrun or 10km PB, starting Weds 18th April, 7-7.45pm, six week block, @Hove seafront, £48

To become a faster runner, you just have to run faster. Sounds simple but it’s hard to do if you’re training on your own. You need to challenge your fitness system in order to see improvements and this is what we do in this six week course, but within a group environment so you feel motivated, inspired and see improvement. You’ll not only learn about running economy but begin to understand more about your own individual pace and how to work with that to see improvements. You need to be able to run 5km to join this course.

Strength for Running, starting Thursday 19th April, 7.15-7.45pm @ Hove Park

ONLY THREE SPACES LEFT

One of the most neglected areas of training for any runner, beginner or experienced and the single most important part of training alongside the running itself. Strength brings you stability, which means you don’t wobble around a lot when you run which causes stresses on your body which result in injury. You know those race photographs where you’ve been caught looking like you’re collapsing into yourself or almost bent over? That comes from a lack of strength.

Build strength and stability and from that, you become a more economical runner, which means you use less energy and you can become faster too. This is suitable for ALL levels from beginners to advanced. The class is small so you get the attention you need. Don’t just think you need strength for marathon running, it’s for ALL running.

 

Trail Run Explore or Trail Endurance, Summer Season, starts Sunday 29th April, £45 or £12 drop in.

Whether you just want to enjoy some short hour long runs off road to keep your fitness in and explore the downs or you want a fresh focus that will help you build your endurance, our Summer Season is for you.

We have two different options within the runs, a shorter route of between 5-8 miles and runs that will build you up to 15 miles for the fantastic Girls Run the World Get Together Bewl 15, a gorgeous summer off-road race around Bewl water which ends with a pint of Harvey’s and some lovely cake.

You can drop in as and when, or pay for the full Summer Season. locations vary according to the route.

 

You can book all our courses direct via our Booking page by clicking here

And separate to ALL of this are our Yoga and Trail Running Weekend in July, Ethiopia Week in November and our upcoming Valencia Marathon and 10km trip in December. 

Marathon Mastery Series: Race Day Tips

This week, we chatted with GB Endurance Coach, Tom Craggs about tips for marathon race day….

Keep your nerves in check

As you’re eating your pre-race breakfast or walking to your starting pen or think about five to ten key positive statements to help you keep calm. It doesn’t matter what your training was like, there is alway something that you did well in the 16-20 weeks, whether it was a good core exercise or hill session. Focus on that.

Let everyone run away from you

The first 10km will feel REALLY easy. Stick to YOUR race. Let everyone run away from you. Then, they become targets for you later in the race. Just because it feels easy, this is  NOT a reason to go fast. If you’re really gutsy, run the first 10km slower than your race pace.

GRTW add; – sticking to your pace is CRUCIAL. Running faster doesn’t mean you’ve ‘got miles in the bag’ as we’ve heard so many women say when they first start racing. It means you’ll find it much harder at the end. Be disciplined.

Don’t allow the crowds to push you past your pace

Through Cutty Sark, there will be so much noise and the atmosphere is so amazing, you’ll be pyschologically pushed out of  Greenwich and  then you’ll hear Tower Bridge about a mile away. And suddenly, you’ll find you’re running the second 10km faster than you should. Enjoy the crowds but HOLD back.

GRTW note: Likewise if you’re running Brighton marathon and it’s your home town and you know so many people who are out there to cheer you on, watch you don’t start running faster when you go past them. AT the latter stages of the race (final two miles) it can be helpful but NOT when you’re only mid or even three quarters of the way through. 

It’s going to get tough

At some point in a marathon, it’s going to start feel tough, that’s why you’re doing it. The so called wall? No one builds a wall at mile 20. It’s created by you going too fast at the beginning and not fuelling properly or your head.

GRTW note: Accept that the marathon is a huge battle. You don’t escape the fight, no matter how fit you are. No one escapes the mental struggle that you will face. How we do differ as runners is how we decide to handle that struggle.

You have a choice

You will come to a point on a race day where you have a choice to keep going, to keep pushing, or to slow down. Tests show that the key limiter in endurance is not our body and our muscles, it’s our minds. You need to build your mental strategies and that you’re going to go to when you get to that stage. I use runners 20 to 30 metres in front and work on overtaking them. This helps  you to apply your focus away from the pain that you will be feeling.

 

You CAN do this

Every single one of you can get to the end of 26.2 miles.  If someone you love needed your help and they were 26.2 miles away, you could make it.

 

 

GRTW Recipes for Runners: Recovery Ice Cream

Apparently the weather next week is going to be warming up! Hurrah. So why not try your hand at these healthy recovery ice-creams and refreshing slushies, the perfect way to recover after a long summery run

 

Chocolate & Raspberry Ice Cream

One scoop of chocolate protein powder

200-250ml Rude Health almond milk

Handful of frozen raspberries, more if you wish

Dash of water if needed

Whizz in a food processor until fully combined and then pour into an ice cream or individual blancmange mould. Freeze overnight and serve.

 

Blueberry, apple & ginger

OK, so it’s not an ice cream but it’s like drinking a delicious cocktail in ice form!

Handful of frozen blueberries

Juice of one apple and inch stub of ginger

Combine in a food processor, pour into a mould and freeze.

How was your weekend running?

This was a big weekend for running, with Rome, Rotterdam, Manchester and Paris marathons setting off the Spring marathon series, along with some more unusual races such as the 24 hour track race

 

Paris marathon was only my third marathon back in 2013, and so it holds a special place in my heart.  Although it was freezing cold on the start line when I ran, so much so that I couldn’t feel my feet (you can read about it here), I know from other participants who that it can often be unseasonably warm, which appears to have been the case this year with temperatures hitting 22 degrees.

We had runners in both Paris, Manchester and the Berlin Half Marathon and all but one of these races (go on, guess which one?) looked baking hot, so well done to ALL you runners who reached the finish line.

And spare a thought for Lizzie Roswell, who ran the Paris Marathon today and will continue running ‘In the Footsteps of the Fallen,’ via the Western Front finishing with the London marathon – that’s 360 odd miles in about two weeks!

If that inspires you but makes you run for your slippers, what do you think of Girls Run the World Ultra marathon coach, Sarah Sawyer who won first female at the Crawley 24 hour track race this weekend, running a total of 127.5 miles in 24 hours. Crazy, huh? Once she’s had a chance to recover we’ll be interviewing Sarah in a podcast about the mental strategies she used to get her though it. But running doesn’t HAVE to involve big long distances to create an enjoyable challenge that works you hard to give you that endorphin buzz.

This weekend, I missed my Half Ironman training (oops !) to take part in the Sussex Road Relay Championships, a 2 mile, flat-out, bust-your-lungs, eyeballs-out relay race. Just because they’re shorter, they’re no less anxiety provoking at the start but they are over much more quickly. And they’re fun. Yes, it hurts but there is something absolutely exhilarating about trying to go as fast as you can over a short distance.

So, if you have just finished or are just about to do a marathon and are wondering what your next goal is going to be, don’t assume it always has to be another marathon or a longer distance. Taking time out and moving your body in a different way – which it does if you run faster, can be a good way of pushing the reset button.

Well done to all your fantastic finishers of whatever race or training you did, including all our GRTW runners who came together for our Girls Run the World Get Together Parkrun this weekend all over the UK.

 

If you are in town for Brighton to support friends or to run, please let us know by commenting. We will be at mile 19/22 so if you want to join us in support or want us to give you a special cheer or call out (and those miles can be crucial) comment with your name and race number. 

Marathon Mastery Series: The Mental Game

We’re now just a few days away from the start of the marathon weekend extravaganza that is Paris, Manchester, Brighton, ending in London. You’ve done the physical stuff, now it’s time to ensure you’ve nailed your mental game..

Seville, the one where I managed to avoid the cracks!

Some of what you’re going to read now is going to see so obvious, you’ll be thinking, ‘Jeez, I’m not THAT clueless.’ But really, it’s amazing the impact that pre-race marathon anxiety can have on your mind so do everything you can NOW to nail  your mental game.

Race pace

So, you’ve probably been training using your race pace for certain parts of your training for between 12-20 weeks by now. But write it down anyway, and keep repeating it.

What to do: Perhaps even write it down on the back of your hand on race day. Seriously, I can’t remember the amount of times I’ve stood on the start line and had a panic about what my race pace is because I suddenly can’t remember it.

Prepare for the marathon mile crunch points

I’ve run about ten marathons and every event I’ve had crunch points at the same mile markers. These are where a chink appears in your mental resolve, which can quickly turn into an ever widening fault line if you don’t have mental strategies in place. Personally, my crunch points are mile 15 (‘Oh jesus, I’ve got to run nine more miles at this pace?‘), mile 18, (seconds after you think, ‘Wow, I’m flying,’ you realise the remaining miles are going to feel like a 10km race and there’s no flying feeling going on with that) and mile 24, when you’re SO close but suddenly calculate those miles into pace and how much time that means is left on your feet (personally, two miles seems less to me than calculating time).

What to do: Everyone has their own mantras and strategies for getting through the battlefield that goes on in your brain when you’re running. If you don’t, write them down now, whether it’s a memory of a training run that you didn’t think you were going to get through, a reason for why you’re running or even organising someone to be at what you think will be  your crunch points to help get you through. Mine is very boring, I just count backwards from 100 to filter out the voice telling me to stop.

Beware the wormhole

You can get so deeply introspective when running a marathon, it’s easy for one negative thought to send you down a wormhole until you feel like you’re legs are like lead and you’ve convinced yourself that you’re crap and you won’t ever finish.

What to do: Break the pattern, look outward and talk to someone else. In fact, if you pass someone who looks like they’re struggling, encourage them. It can take your mind completely off your own struggles and you’ll probably be fine within a few minutes.

The positive panel 

So many women do this; they think of all the miles or the training sessions they didn’t do, or the runs that went badly and have all this shored up when they stand on that start line. Bin this. You all rock, you’re on the start line!

What to do: Write down all those training runs where you felt fantastic, where things went to plan, the tuning races that you did to get where you are, the friends you’ve made along your training journey. Have this front and foremost when you hit that start line.

 

What mental strategies do you use when running a marathon. We’d love for you to share them so do comment below and help others.  

 

 

 

 

South Downs Trail Run, Sunday 8th April

Work off that Easter chocolate frenzy this weekend with a beautiful off-road eight mile route from Rottingdean

This is a challenging but stunning route with as many lovely, recovery downhills as uphills to build your strength and endurance on hills (particularly beneficial for those of you joining us for the Girls Run the World get together at Angmering BlueBell Trail Races or the upcoming Snowdonia Maverick Race in September.

The hardship will be rewarded with stunning views, gambolling baby lambs and a route that overlooks Breaky Bottom vineyard (who produce some delicious sparkling wine!) before heading down through Saltdean and along the cliff for a stunning sea side finish.

Will it be 8 miles, or will you add some more at the end to really fire up your face finish for the Bluebell 10 mile trail race? Remember that dastardly hill? Whether you’re taking part in the event or just joining us for the runs, this is a beautiful run that takes in Downs, sea and even a glimpse of Breaky Bottom vineyards!

Location: bottom of Bazehill Road, Rottingdean here/ Parking free.

Footwear: Road shoes will be OK but trail shoes are preferable!

The run is open to all as long as you are regularly running this kind of distance. This is our LAST run before the BlueBell Trail Race. Summer Season starts Sunday 29th April when we drop distance again.

Book online under weekend runs. Lift share via our Girls Run the World Brighton and Hove Facebook group.