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

 

 

 

How was your weekend running?

From the beach to The Beast, there were plenty of unique events taking place over the first September of the month – not to mention our monthly Parkrun get together…

Pic credit: Ian Corless

 

Just when you thought we were bidding goodbye to the summer, the warm weather returned this weekend but with much more manageable heat for running, which made for some fantastic events this weekend.

There was the Kent Coastal Marathon, a beautiful road half marathon that starts in Margate and travels along closed roads to take in Ramsgate and some of the rest of the Thanet coast. Word on the street is that it’s a bit of a loopy course though…did you run it?

And it was to Margate again this weekend that the inaugural RedBull Quick Sand event took place. A one mile race of two 0.5 mile loops, it sounds easy but it certainly isn’t when you learn that the event takes place on sand and you run up and down huge hills topped with stand castles and sand trenches that sap the energy from your legs. The event is split into male and female heats and you race other competitors to either go through to a semi-final or to a qualifying round. Let me tell you, it was a killer on the quads (race review coming up). RedBull’s goal is to build this event and eventually grow it so that the format can be taken elsewhere in the world. It’s a fun format, and definitely one to do with a group. But bear in mind, a mile is not a mile when you run it in sand!

And then on to The Beast, an event that one of the GRTW the community took part in over the weekend which caught our eye. A beautiful 12.46 mile trail event that takes in place along the beautiful Dorset coastal path…which means it’s brutal. With a maximum elevation of 1697 feet, this is one off road event that is all about the ups and downs! It’s too late for this event for 2018, but The Beast is part of a Purbeck Coastal Trail Series, which comprises six races – and there are some unique ones still to come this year, including the Studland Stampede, a 12km route over the beaches on Studland Bay on October 15th.

But over to you. Where did you run or race this weekend? Did you Parkrun debut or PB? Did you do a unique event that you want to shout about? Let us know!

 

 

 

 

 

How was your weekend running?

So, I’m a bit behind with our #medalmonday post – while most of you were running fantastic races like the Two Castles Run (from Warkwick to Kenilworth) and the St Alban’s Half Marathon, I was taking time out from the purity of just running to participate in the 113 Cotswold Half Ironman

 

 

Graeme always has terrible weather at his events,’ confided one of the marshals the day before the 113 Cotswold Half Ironman, as I eyed up the lake I was due to swim 1.9km in the following morning. The next morning, I stood there again, having awoken at 4.30am to rack my bike in transition by the cut-off at 5.40am and to be ready to swim. Except we didn’t. The fog was so thick, you couldn’t see 100 metres on to the lake, let alone the buoys to swim to. And so we waited, all 1000 participants, for 90 minutes until it was safe to get out on the water.

This was my second half ironman distance triathlon this year, which comprises a 1.9km swim, 56 mile bike ride and a half marathon.

If you’re a runner who feels like they need a bit of a change, or you’re injured and need your ‘fix’ without running, or you value the importance of an all over body discipline, then triathlons are a great accessory to add to your running arsenal.

Running is my first love but I decided to take six months out of just ‘pure’ running to help my body grow stronger in different areas, try something new and give myself some ‘mental’ space from chasing marathon PBs. And triathlons have certainly given me that – as well as providing me with new mental strategies that I will now take forward to my final half of the year, focusing on my next ‘A’ race, the Girls Run the World Get Together at the Maverick Snowdonia off road race.

When you’ve got a swim, a bike and THEN a run to do, it’s easier to keep focused and not get overwhelmed by expectation, which can tend to happen with running after you’ve spent 16 weeks training for just one event. Triathlon teaches you to break everything down into manageable segments. On the bike, instead of thinking, ‘Jesus, this is so hard, I’ve got 20 miles to go,’ I focus on eating every 20 minutes, keeping my legs moving and thinking of the strategy for my run.

And on the swim, I just enjoy the vibe and think about what I’m going to do when I get out of the water as I transition on to the bike. (To be fair, I haven’t mastered this and generally tend to faff about!).

And like many triathlons of a longer distance, the runs are almost always broken into laps. As a runner, I used to HATE laps, thinking it was so boring. But when you’re focusing hard, laps have a curiously comforting element to them. This weekend, I focused on one lap at a time, putting the thought of the pain and discomfort of the entire distance away in a box.

Although a great thing about triathlons if you’re runner is that you’ll find that you often get overtaken on the bike, and then you’ll reel them all back in on the run. So,  rather than succumbing to the heat and discomfort on the run, I decided to count every person that I passed and those who passed me. I counted 346, which means that I passed over a third of the field on the run, with only two passing me.

How can I apply this to running, when it really isn’t so easy to pass people? If you tend to go off too quickly in a running race, being secure enough in your running to let others go in front, keeping your pace in check and then reeling people in is a great race strategy. I’ll be trying it.

As for the Cotswolds 113, I’d recommend it if you’re after a longer distance triathlon, friendly, and flat for great PB potential – plus some GREAT pubs to celebrate in!

Thanks to all those who kept me entertained virtually on Sunday morning by sharing where you were running, from the Chew Valley 10km to the Stanwick Lakes Half Marathon to the Parkrun mile to the Hull 10km. We’d love to hear how your running went the past weekend. Let me know!

Psst, if you like the vest design, they’re our limited edition ones, if you want to get your hands on them, give us a shout. They’re £15 plus P&P.

 

Spiced Almond Dessert Salad

A delicious post-run sweet snack, packed with protein for muscular recovery – plus it’s good for your joints too

 

Ingredients

olive oil spray

50g whole natural almonds

1 cloves fresh garlic, crushed

1/2 finely chopped red chilli

1 tsp sea salt

4 finely chopped tomatoes

1 tbs chopped coriander stem

1/4 cantaloupe melon

1 tbs blueberries

1 tbs fresh mint

Method:

1. Toss the almonds in oil and cook over gentle heat for 4 mins, tossing them around regularly. Add the chilli, salt and garlic and cook for a further 2- 4 minutes or until the garlic turns into a golden colour.

2. Remove from the heat and stir in the coriander and tomatoes

3.  Toss the melon, fruit and fresh mint together and serve with salad leaves. Delicious with a spoonful of natural yoghurt.

Explore Stanmer Park Trail Run, Sunday 20th May

It’s going to be a beautiful weekend and the perfect time to explore the trails. Why not join us this Sunday for a guided route of five or ten miles?  

 

Join our GRTW coach, Amy, as she guides you through two different loops on this beautiful trail one, the first one five miles through the beautiful Stanmer Woods (she may even throw in a few trails you don’t know as this is her back garden!).

After that, if you’re working towards building endurance, you can join her on the second, different loop that will take you up on to the South Downs before dropping down through the beautiful Falmer Village.

You can join us for a one off run explore, £12 or use it as part of your training. As long as you can run the distance, you’re welcome to join.

Details of locations and meeting points are here. Book via booking page. Starts, 8.30am.

GRTW Recipes for Foodie Runners: Ricotta Pancakes

We don’t know about you, but we often fantasise about what we’re going to enjoy eating during a long run. And so after we tried a version of these at Ott0lenghi one weekend, we had to give them a go ourselves. They’re delicious, and make for a perfect post run brunch at the weekend…

Ingredients 

1 cup ricotta cheese

1 cup plain flour*

1/2 tsp baking powder

1  tbsp caster sugar

3/4 cup of milk or non-diary substitute

2 large eggs, separated

2 tsp cinnamon

Butter for cooking

*for an added protein kick, replace the flour with almond flour although it will make for a denser, less fluffy pancake.

Method

Combine, flour, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, whisk ricotta, milk and the yolks of the eggs.  Combine with the dry ingredients and add the egg until it forms a smooth mixture. It should be a thick batter so if need be, add more milk. Meanwhile, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Gently fold into the mixture.

In a hot buttered grill pan, drop two ladles of the mixture into a hot pan. Turn the heat down and wait until you begin to see the edges brown and little bubbles appear on the surface. Now flip over. Cook until golden both sides, put to one side in a heated oven until all the mixture is done.

Serve with fruit salad, Greek yoghurt and a drizzle of maple syrup. Sit down, devour!

The best thing about these pancakes is, if you make too many, you can keep them and eat them the next day as snacks.

 

 

 

 

South Downs Trail Run, Sunday 29th April

If you’ve been hibernating or pounding out the miles for marathon training, NOW is the time to get out and enjoy the beauty of the trails in early summer…

This week is the start of our Summer Trail Series in Brighton, £45 for the entire series which runs to the end of June or you can drop in per session to suit.

We have two distances, a shorter one for those who simply want to build their endurance and start running on trails but for fun, and a longer distance that will build week by week for those who are joining us in training for the Bewl 15, July 1st.

This week’s run meets at Ditchling Beacon for a beautiful run along the top of the ridge before heading down for a loop past a local farm and back to the return. The total distance on the start of this season is six miles but it is also open as a four mile route, with runners being able to turn and return on their own should they wish.

Get fit, meet new runners, explore new trails. It is the BEST time to be on the Downs.

For details of the full season, click here. To book visit our booking page and choose the full series or book per run. 

Plus don’t miss our once a month Running Adventures, starting in May. Details coming soon. If you’re not in our Brighton and Hove Facebook group, don’t forget to join. 

GRTW Recipes for Foodie Runners: Grilled peaches with mint, honey and roasted hazelnuts

The season is on the turn and with it comes lots of delicious fruit which can make for some great, quick healthy desserts…

Ingredients

Peach or nectarine, halved

Small handful of hazelnuts

Fresh mint

Honey

Squeeze of fresh orange and lime

Method

Add a teaspoon of honey to a saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Warm through to help dilute the honey (some of the water should burn off) then add the orange juice and lime. Taste and adjust if it’s not sweet enough. Reserve the liquid.

Put the nuts on a roasting tray or a clean pan and toast for a few minutes until nice browned. Keep to one side.

Brush the peach halves with the honey liquor and then place flat side down on a hot clean griddle pan. It should only take a few minutes to chargrill. Serve immediately with the rest of the honey juice, hazelnuts and some chopped mint. Goes really well with Greek Yoghurt.