Friday, 9 June 2017

Half on the Head - Heading for Home

The final section of this race is where you can make up some time but don't be overeager and start sprinting down the hill. Yes, there is a good long stretch of downhill ahead but try to keep a steady speed to avoid burn out. Downhill running takes a bit of practice so hopefully you have had some training runs which included a few miles of descent.

As you make your way down towards Glenderry the panorama of Tralee Bay opens out in front of you with views of Mount Brandon, The Maherees,  and the Seven Hogs all vying for your attention. It really is breath taking so try to take some time to enjoy the scenery.

As you pass mile 10 you will see Blennerville Windmill and Fenit lighthouse in the distance at the end of a 7 mile stretch of sandy beach which runs from Ballyheigue through Banna Strand and Barrow.

Mile 11 takes you past Dromatoor harbour and the road levels out for the final 2  miles as you head back into Ballyheigue Village and the welcome sight of the finish line. Once you have had a breather and rehydrated I would recommend heading down to the beach and having a paddle in the Atlantic ocean. It really is the best massage that you can get and is just the tonic for your jaded legs.

Prizegiving, BBQ and live music will take place in Flahives Bar from about 1:30 onwards.
There is even talk of a rodeo bull.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Race Day Preparation - Some handy tips to make race day less stressful! by John McCann

So this is it! Race day is almost upon us! The nerves are palpable and you can't wait to get stuck in! The morning of the race can be tough enough to get through so here are a few tips to help calm the nerves and help you to be as prepared as best as you possibly can be!
1. Have the bib number attached to the running gear the night before - Don't go looking for safety pins on the day adding to the stress!
2. Get up early - give yourself plenty of time to digest your breakfast and mentally prepare for the days challenge!
3. Have gels packed and and ready to go - don't spend morning of the race looking for them.
4. Don't forget to charge your garmin watch - the last thing you want is for the watch to quit on you out on the course.
5. Have an old hat/refuse sack/jacket ready to keep warm at the start of the race but throw off when the countdown begins. It can be cold hanging around before the race gets going!
6. Don't panic if the night's sleep has been poor - you'll have plenty time for rest after the marathon!
7. Embrace the adrenalin/nerves - this is what you've trained for - be confident in your programme and enjoy as best you can!
8. Don't be late to the start line - an obvious one but important - give yourself plenty of time to loosen out/warm up/stretch before the race begins.
9. Take it all in! - Enjoy the camaraderie and atmosphere that only a half marathon brings.
10. Embrace the support the crowd brings - you'd be surprised how much it can spur you on at all stages of the course.
11. Enjoy it! You've trained hard enough for this - try not to have any regrets after the race is over! To get to the start line uninjured and fit and ready to run 13.1 miles is a hell of an achievement in itself!

Friday, 2 June 2017

Shorten the Road - Running with Company by John McCann

My first introduction to running was through a friend that had just taken it up and he suggested that a couple of us should get together and try running a few miles. At the time, the thoughts of running any distance filled me with instant dread but the thoughts of doing it with friends that may have the same fears about running helped ease me into it. 
We started out with relatively low mileage and the fact that there would be a group gathered to go running was the exact motivation I needed to get going! On doing those first few miles I was surprised how much I enjoyed it. It was basically hanging out with friends and an hour later your exercise was done! Simple! As we all slowly became hooked on running, talks of half marathons began to emerge and this is where having a group or a running buddy becomes very handy. 
Having to face those long miles is tough enough but, on your own makes that slog even tougher! 
Even now when one of us maybe training for a half marathon individually, we still reach out for that bit of company for even a few miles on the long runs to help shorten the long road ahead!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Importance of Stretching - Pre and Post Run

When I took up running initially, I placed a lot of importance in the pre and post run stretch. These were muscles that weren't used to moving at pace therefore they had to be looked after. As time went on, however, just to do the run was enough for me, spending time stretching never crossed my mind - and this was a mistake. Back, hip and other aches and pains followed and all because I couldn't be bothered with that extra ten minutes just to stretch!
This training programme has taught the importance of these stretches as an ache and pain that's not catered for by stretching now can result in a trip to the physio (or worse chiropractor) later!
It's quite common to experience tight calf muscles which can lead to other injuries (in my case the dreaded planter fascitis!) so stretching and strengthening these muscles as demonstrated in the link below is advisable.
The hamstrings can also cause bother for long distance runners so the exercise below may help you overcome any hamstring problems you may have.
Before you warm up if may also be worthwhile doing a few exercises like the ones below
After the run these quick cool down exercises may also help
Throughout your programme, you will undoubtedly feel knocks and strains and it may also be advisable to see your physio for a massage to counter act any long term problems which may occur if you continue to run high mileage and at high intensity.

Remember it's all about getting to that start line in the best possible shape to enable you to give it your best shot on the big day!