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.
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 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.
Whatever your goal, to complete GRTW Runuary, to train for a marathon to reach your first 5km, read these tips from these four inspiring, every day female runners who took part in GRTW Runnual – to run every day of the year – in 2017…
Hildi Mitchell, 47, teacher
Why did you decide to do it?
It was New Year’s Day when my friend, Emma told me about Girls Run the World Runuary 2017. I’d been ill all holiday and was feeling despondent but she persuaded me that it would be a great way to get back to running (I’d had to take 2 months out of my training for Brighton marathon due to injury and illness), on top of which we were at La Santa, it was sunny and there was a running track on my door step. By February, I was loving the challenge and decided to carry on.
I almost gave up when…never although there were hard days when I was ill and super busy. I had to run on a morning of my sister’s wedding after a gruelling two day interview, and once at 5am in the morning before packing all the kids suitcases to dash to the airport to fly home from holiday. Only once did I nearly not run and that was in January when I went out in my pyjamas, coat and wellies to walk the dog because I wasn’t feeling the running vibe. Then I thought, ‘What the hell!’ and ran a kilometre holding my hands over my boobs because I wasn’t wearing a running bra! It was then I realised I’d probably been making too much fuss about the effort required in ‘going for a run’ in the past.
The biggest surprise was…that I didn’t get injured because I learned to listen to my body in new ways. I adjusted my route, distance and time of day to reduce grumbles. Plus I got a 5km PB after five years, which I think came from the discipline of running every day.
My friends and family …were really supportive although my husband thought I’d get injured or make myself seriously ill. I did most of my runs with my cockerpoo, Pippin, but it also meant I ran with my sister and my daughter who did her first park run with me. We all ended up running the Edinburgh marathon relay with my daughter doing the final leg which was really special.
The best thing… about it has been all the amazing sunrises and sunsets, and the experience of the changing seasons, the light, the weather and the world around me, a special gift which I’ll never forget.
If you’re considering doing it in 2018 here’s my three best tips…
1. Commit to a minimum distance and route: it’s 1 km from my door, round the half of the field over the road that is lit by street lights, and back again. That was my go to run on bad or busy days – and it doubled as a quick dog walk too.
2. Stop washing your hair after every run. Anything you can do to reduce the time it takes means it’s more likely it will happen. Get some dry shampoo and an attitude instead.
3. Get another challenge ready for After You Finish. You’ll be setting yourself the expectation that you WILL do this, but you’ll also have something ready to keep you motivated once you’ve achieved it. I’ve signed up for a 12 mile relay swim – better get in back in the pool!
Ruth Farnell, 56 IT Project Manager
Why did you decide to do it?
I didn’t I just found myself carrying on after runuary. After a few months, people started asking me “when are you going to stop” and I had to have an answer so I said “after a year”
I almost gave up when…. I got back from a long day at work and had to go out for a short run at 11.30pm. I’ll be forever grateful to my partner for sticking my trainers on and pushing me out the door because he knew the streak was very important to me.
The biggest surprise was… finding some beautiful running routes in parts of the country and in cities where you would least expect to and the joy of running in the rain.
My friends and family…were really supportive, my four adult kids are really proud of my running in general but particularly with runnual and completing my first 2 marathons. My partner has thought me barking mad but has also been quietly very supportive.
The best thing about it has been…
1. Meeting lots of new people, especially Anne-Marie D, a quiet dignified lady who let me share her runs in a beautiful part of Belgium, South of Brussels who i met through GRTW Runuary.
2. The sunrises, which set me up for my day and helped get everything into perspective. We are tiny specs in the universe with such a short time on the planet so enjoy your running and as many sunrises as possible.
3. introducing me to a community that stretches across generations and brings you together with people you wouldn’t normally meet.
If you’re considering doing it in 2018, here’s my three best tips…
1. Use the internet and find out where people run in places you might be visiting.
2. Plan when you are going to run and do not be put off by the weather – get out there at the time you said.
3. Keep kit at work so you can nip out at lunch time if possible and to generally give you some flexibility.
Runuary has changed my running – or me – …..I’ve have developed muscles running 1300 miles this year – little and often suits me and all my times have improved and I’m much braver. Statistically women are relatively safe going out at night (women are more likely to be attacked in their own home). I’ve run places I wouldn’t have considered before and found them perfectly OK. I have also dealt with my phobia of big dogs.
Jenny, 46, project officer
Why did you decide to do it?
I split up with my husband in autumn 2016 and was looking for a new challenge to kickstart my health. Being part of Girls Run the World Runuary gave me a good reason to get out of the house every day, to run off some of the stressful emotions and to have a little time focusing on me.
I almost gave up …. on day 282, it was October, the days were getting shorter and I was working on a deadline at work so time was limited. The year was a long way in and I was feeling tired and it just felt pointless to run a joyless 1mile but fortunately my kids pushed me out the door and I’m glad I went.
The biggest surprise was… how much of a difference running every day has made. I no longer negotiate about whether I’m going to run, I just find the time slot each day that will be most convenient.
My friends and family …have all been very encouraging.
The best thing about it has been…the stress-relief, just one mile per day and the fun of discovering new places and sights to enjoy.
If you’re considering doing it in 2018, here’s my three best tips…
1. embrace those 1-mile runs – they are basically a rest day and help you stay injury-free and stop the injury risk of increasing your mileage too quickly
2. Find new timeslots in your week to run (I now run in the 30 minutes between dropping off and picking up my daughter from her flute lesson; also I drive past a park on my way home from work so once a week or I change into my running gear and get in a couple of miles before I get home.
3. I’m now a massive fan of taking running pics. They’ve helped distract me from thinking about the actual running and it has been really useful to look out for new/interesting/photo-worthy things, particularly on those local 1-mile runs that would have become very monotonous otherwise.
Runuary has changed my running – running every day means that each run matters less, so when you have one of those runs where you feel like a tortoise trudging through treacle happen, I don’t worry about it any more. Tomorrow is another day and will be different.
Wendy Davidson, Administrative exectutive
Why did you decide to try and run all year? I’d had a terrible 2016 and the idea of runnual inspired me. I thought that running was unlikely to make me feel worse, and would probably help.
I almost gave up when…. Believe it or not, apart from the odd day when I thought “Oh no I’ve got to run”, I never thought of giving up. I’ve run in rain, snow, ice, with hangovers, once I make my mind up I rarely give up.
The biggest surprise was… how much I enjoyed it and how much better it made me feel, so quickly.
My friends and family thought …I was crazy but they were really supportive.
The best thing about it has been…running with some lovely people, especially my partner in crime, Liz Shand, who was the one who suggested we do runuary and who also did runual. We’ve both lost our mojos at different times but we’ve been able to get the other one back into it We only run together 2-3 times per month but following each other on Strava has given us that support.
Runuary has changed my running – in that now I enjoy it, so much that sometimes I’d go out and run twice. IT’s also made me a much happier person and stopped me spiralling into depression. It’s lifted me further up than I’ve been in a very long time.
For many of us with our sights set on a Spring marathon, we’re already twenty weeks away from our goal race but how do you find the right training plan for YOU?
Generic plans off the internet and magazines
There are thousands of them all over the internet, printed in magazines, handed out my charities that you may be raising money for but, which one is good? All training plans are generic and we hazard a guess that 85% of them will have been written by men, who don’t have to juggle multiple responsibilities such as work, family, kids and everything else. Regardless of gender, few take into account running history, how many miles you are currently running NOW (i..e your running base), your lifestyle, or work/life commitments. Recognise this FIRST so that you can acknowledge in advance that it will feel like a clunky fit. It is.
If you go down this route here’s what we recommend
Choose one that includes at least four runs per week and starts NO LESS than 16 weeks away from your race goal. Only if you’re very fit, and regularly run marathons should you look at a 12 week plan.
Write out your plan – and add your own sessions print out your plan, or re-write it and plan in other sessions that are ESSENTIAL to help you avoid injury during your marathon training. This should include yoga/foam rolling/basic strength and continuing and sports massage at least every three weeks. Whoever said running is cheap had never run a marathon!
There are numerous training apps on the market, including Runner’s World’s MyRunPlan, and Training Peaks where you can pay for a plan, which again is generic, but it loads to a calendar as an app on your phone. It’s easy to log in, see what the run is, do it, and mark it off as done. The calendar will reward you by turning green once you’ve completed. Fail to do the session and you get a red square. Training Peak plans are good because you can see clearly what you’ve got to do but suffers the same problems of any of the generic plans that you get anywhere else – except you’ve paid for it.
Personalised training plans
Many running coaches, ourselves included, will write training plans specifically for you. We tend to send you an in-depth questionnaire, followed by a chat on the phone and then we deliver a training plan, specific to your goals, your current fitness, life-work balance. The advantage is that it’s exactly for you. The cons are that if you get injured, fall ill, etc, the plan does not change to accommodate this in the same way as anything generic doesn’t. However, with it being written specifically for you in the first place, the likelihood of injury occurring due to a plan that does not reflect your specific running history is minimal.
Mentoring & Coaching
If you can afford it, and you want to run a marathon and enjoy it, race mentoring is the gold service for any runner. It doesn’t matter whether you’re interested in achieving a certain goal time or simply want to achieve a sense of satisfaction with each training session you do, not just the final ‘race’ goal. We charge £100 per month (some companies charge more, some less) but it means you have a personalised plan that can adapt and change week by week, according to how your training is going or the unforeseeable life events that can derail your training for a week or so, leaving you unsure how to proceed.
Plus, wherever you live in the world, your training is tracked via Strava or Garmin so we know what you’re doing – or not doing. It helps to hold you accountable and to help you feel like you’re achieving something with each session, because this method if training is so closely matched to helping to challenge and progress you as an individual; if you’ve ever struggled with a generic plan, you’ll appreciate how frustrating or disappointing it can be when you’re following something too easy or too hard. Where we differ with our plans is that we have a holistic approach, recognising the many elements must be balanced when you’re a woman training for a marathon juggling multiple tasks.
THE most important thing, no matter which option you choose is to start thinking about it from about 20-24 weeks away from your marathon goal. And follow a 16 week plan as an absolute minimum.
You can read more about our marathon mentoring service here. Read about one woman’s experience of mentoring here.
It’s just a hill. And we’re going to get over it together…
Our hill training course for women in Brighton and Hove starts July 5th and is aimed at helping you to build strength, stamina and confidence to take on hills, both up and down. As long as you can run 5km or have completed one of our courses, THIS course is suitable.
Every week is different, some game-based sessions, some including strength and conditioning and some straight intervals. You’ll learn techniques to help you get up the hill and down easier, as well as build your confidence.
July 5th, no training the following week, July 19th, July 26th, August 2nd, August 9th and August 16. Book and pay online £48 for the course. Can’t make all of them? As long as you can attend a minimum of 3 you can attend at drop in rate. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Where we meet: We will meet at the corner of The Droveway as it intersects with Goldstone Crescent at 7pm promptly although not every session will remain here so be on time!
Although some people might be put off by the name of this event, it is one of the most inclusive and fun running events in Brighton. Great for building team morale and suitable for all levels of runners from total beginners to the super speedy. Here one of our runners, Sarah Crosier gives us her lowdown on the event
What is it: A relay race comprising of four team members. Each member takes it in turn to run 2.5km and then the entire team must run a final 2.5km together, ensuring that the whole team finishes together.
The Route: it is only 2.5km but with some short hills – don’t let that put you off though. It’s great fun and everyone is running different speeds so you never get left feeling like your the slowest runner.
The Weakest Link in June 2015, was the first event that I ever took part in with Girls Run the World. More a “team event” than a “race”, there were a few super speedy runners from athletic clubs ‘in it to win it,’ but my aim was ‘in it to finish it”. On entering, I’d done a few sessions of the GRTW hill training, Run for the Hills course but didn’t know anyone and was really new to running but GRTW organised all the teams and I found myself as part of a team a few other runners.
Before the day, we agreed that Karen would run the fourth lap as she was our strongest runner. It meant that she would have to run her 2.5km and then carry on running with the team without a break to finish. I’m always nervous on race days, and so I asked to go 2nd to get it out of the way. It also meant that I’d have someone to follow so I wouldn’t go the wrong way like one of our runners ended up doing!
There was a fantastic atmosphere with about 20 GRTW and runners from all the local running clubs – while there was racing it was also great for meeting people as there was lots of standing around cheering others while waiting for your chance to run. Plus, the distance is achievable and it was so informal and relaxed. Some people were even walking up the hills – not me, of course!
Our team was close to being last (or maybe we were?) but it really didn’t matter. We ran the final lap together and received a massive cheer from everyone as we crossed the finish line. I can’t wait to take part again this year. It’s great fun.