Thursday, 24 May 2018

Stretching for the line

When we choose an activity like running flexibility is one of the most important aspects of our routine to prevent injury, joint pain, muscle damage and strains. Different types of stretches are required pre and post run.

Dynamic Stretching :
Dynamic stretches involve movement based stretching such as high knees and butt kicks.  This boosts blood flow, activates the central nervous system, and enhances strength, power, and range of motion. As a result, dynamic stretching offers a host of both immediate and long term benefits and done before every run will warm you up and put you in the best position possible to get the most from your run.

Static Stretching:
Research shows that static stretching provides recovery benefits and so should be performed at the end of a workout while the body is warm as it relaxes the muscles and improves flexibility.  Performing static stretches before running can actually hinder performance as it saps strength, while reducing blood flow and decreasing central nervous system activity.

How we breathe during our stretching routine is also important. To get the most from your stretching, you must breathe deeply and regularly. Many of us tend to hold our breath while stretching without even realising it. If you hold your breath, you likely won’t see major improvements in your flexibility, and you put yourself at risk of injury.
For more information on stretching and some easy to follow examples please read this article from Live Strong

Too Much Too Soon:
The last time either of us got injured was directly attributable to entering a race with a lack of preparation and training. A telling statistic is the fact that 80% of injuries are caused by over exercise. Doing a few 10k runs and then thinking you can go out and run a half marathon is a sure way to do damage. Your body need time to gradually adjust to the stains and stresses of longer runs. The general rule is to build up slowly by adding a mile a week to your long runs.

Tip of the week:
Listen to your body: Be mindful of your body when running, it will help you identify stresses and strains and allow you to address them before they become an issue.

To register for the Half on the Head visit our website:

Get in Gear for the Half on the Head (Ballyheigue, Co. Kerry):

Dress for the conditions:
It sounds obvious but make sure you dress appropriately. Being too hot causes dehydration and saps your energy while being too cold or wet will hamper your run. Look at the forecast for the day and pick out suitable gear.
You will always have some hanging around time before a race so it is important to keep warm. If necessary wear a light jacket, if you decide to leave it at the start of the Half on the Head we will do our best to have it waiting for you at the finish line.

Feet First:
A good pair of socks is essential. These are the barrier between your skin and your shoes and each step will create a bit of friction. Make sure the socks are comfortable and a good fit to avoid getting blisters. Try out some different brands and materials during your training to see which works best.
When it comes to footwear there is no “one size fits all” solution. The right pair of running shoes for you depends on a range of factors.  The wear on your old shoes is a great indication of your running style while most good running shops will provide good advice and offer a gait test which will help you understand exactly how you run.  This information will help you select the running shoe that’s best for you.
Experience has thought us to ignore any particular brand and to pick a pair of shoes that is both comfortable and light.

Short cuts:
The trend for women runners is towards running leggings. Make sure to test these out carefully on your training run for comfort and fit. Branded leggings are expensive but will last for years so they are worth the investment.
When it comes to shorts ensure that they are light and do not chafe, especially in wet conditions.
Top picks:

Get a top with a good wicking material to soak away any excess moisture from the skin. Make sure that the fit is good so there is no chafing during your long training runs.
Tip of the week: 

Do not wear anything new on race day especially shoes or socks. Lay out your gear the night before and make sure it has all been tried and tested.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Your food is your fuel:
To get the best from your run it is important to fuel your body properly. A bad diet will result in a sluggish and lacklustre run. If we expect our bodies to perform it is important to eat the right food. A balanced diet with a wide variety of foods is best.  We have all heard of diets such as the Atkins diet which advise us to cut out or remove carbohydrates completely. However people who do cardiovascular workouts like running depend on carbs for fuel as carbs are our main source of energy.  In the days leading up to a long race such as the Half on the Head many runners will Carb Load by eating carb rich foods such as bread and pasta.
Cut out the crap:
It is as straight forward as it sounds and is especially important when we begin to run or exercise on a regular basis. Extra effort expended through exercise will increase appetite and if we do not have access to healthy snacks we often end up eating what is convenient.  Stock up on fruit, veg and nuts in order to avoid reaching for something sugary and fat leaden.
Research has shown that being adequately hydrated will improve your running/ exercise performance. Drinking water will also give a feeling of fullness which can help to curb appetite and reduce overeating.  It is recommended that we drink about 3 litres of water a day and this need increases with exercise.
Protein after a workout is important as it helps repair the muscle that breaks down during exercise.  It is also vital to get the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals for our bodies to work at their best.  We can get all the nutrition we need from a balanced healthy diet. While supplements such as protein shakes can aid recovery after a race they are not necessary for most runners on a daily basis.   
Tip of the week:
The average runner will burn 300-400 calories during a 5k run while the average chocolate bar contains around 250 Calories. So, unfortunately, just because you got out for that run doesn’t mean you can gorge and get away with it. Need we say more!
For more tips and information or to register for the race please visit
Race Organisers Mick & Marion

Friday, 4 May 2018

The Half on the Head (Kerryhead Half Marathon & 10k run) takes place on Saturday June 16th in Ballyheigue and each week race organisers Mick and Marion will be bringing you some health, nutrition & running tips.

Why Run?
The obvious answer is “to keep fit” and it is a proven fact that running is among the best aerobic exercises for the physical conditioning of the heart and lungs.  However, there are many more reasons get out and run.
Shed some pounds: The average person can burn more than 850 calories per hour by running which makes it one of the best exercises for weight loss.  
Save some cash:  All you need is a pair of running shoes and you can begin to get fit. Who needs a fancy gym membership or the latest fitness gadget.
Anytime, anyplace, anywhere: In the park, on holidays, during lunch.  Again, all you need is your trainers and you are ready to go. Running is the most convenient sport in the world.
Stress Relief: It is proven that running benefits your mental health. It boosts your serotonin levels and recent studies have shown that running regularly produces a natural high which promotes calmness and relaxation.
Strengthen bones:  Contrary to popular belief studies show that running actually builds up strength in your joints and bones keeping them healthier even as you age.
Make new friends: Running groups are everywhere so join your nearest group and get socialising. Research has shown that group fitness is one the biggest factors in enhancing quality of life. You will be stronger, faster and more fulfilled by running with others.
You’ll eat better: Runners become more mindful of their eating habits. Before you know it you will be replacing that junk food with healthier options.
Tip of the week:
Cross Train
. Mix your running with at least two sessions per week of alternative exercise such as yoga, cycling or circuits. This has been proven to benefit core and general fitness and to improve your running times.  
Thanks to everybody who entered our competition. The lucky winner of an entry into the 2018 Half on the Head is Paul O’Connor. For more information or to register for the race please visit