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Posts from the ‘Exercise’ Category

The 4 Best Bits of Running 26.2 Miles

Having just completed my 2nd marathon in Dublin this weekend, these are my 4 best bits.

Best Bit #1 – The Start Line

The excitement is palpable, there is alot of nerves bouncing around, everyone is super keen to start running but you have to have a calm head and avoid sprinting out of the traps, there is a long road ahead. You have spent 16 weeks and ran over 500 training miles to get to this point and it is a super experience to soak up.

Best Bit #2 – The Supporters

I have never ran another marathon anywhere but I think Dublin is pretty special in that so many people come out to support the runners on the day. The streets are lined with people, all shouting encouragement and offering sugary treats. It can carry you through the dark patches.

Best Bit #3 – The Fundraising Experience

This time out, I chose to use my experience and challenge to raise money for a children’s hospital to help them continue to provide their life-saving work for the kids of this city that need it the most. I did it because I owe them one, a big one called Benjamin. You can read more about my story here and if it resonates with you, you can donate to this very worthy cause. I managed to raise over €3000 for this cause in what was a very humbling and rewarding experience.

Best Bit #4 – The Finish Line

There is nothing quite like the pain you go through when you put your body through those 26.2 miles, all of which disappears the minute you clap eyes on the finish line. Every step is a step closer to it but for most of the 4 hours I was out there, it felt a long way away. You can literally feel the rush of endorphins when you cross that line and give yourself permission to stop running. It is incredible.

Best Bit #5 – The Food and Drink

I know I said 4 but probably the best bit of all is the guilt-free eating and drinking that you can indulge in after this event. Eat and drink whatever you want, you have earned it!

A few photos from around the day.

 

 

 

Mind over Marathon

With only a few days left before I embark on my 2nd marathon, I am trying to pause to reflect on the journey so far.

Training for a marathon will take you about 16 weeks and you will run over 500 training miles in the process. Your body (especially legs) will change over time, muscles become used to the impact of the movement and you will find yourself with a clearer head and better sleep. These are only a few of the benefits but the ones that I have felt most clearly.

I view it as a gift. To be able to complete this training is a gift. To have a body that can endure the miles and recover for the next run is a gift (note there was a time not so long ago where the most I could ever manage was 5km). To have access to a world of nutritional information at our finger-tips is a gift. There is a lot to be grateful for. The reason I say this is because I am a firm believer in the idea of how you view something has a great impact on the result.

Do you generally view things as obstacles or opportunities? Most of us might say the latter but the reality might be the former. Viewing hard tasks as opportunities to learn and grow certainly does not come naturally to me, I have to make a very deliberate and conscious decision to view something this way.

The lens you choose to look at the world through has a big big impact on your level of enjoyment and fulfilment in your life.

I will be resting up for the next few days, with no running whatsoever, to be fresh and energised come Sunday for the marathon. While I do hope to better my time from last year, my primary goal is to raise funds and awareness for a Dublin children’s hospital, to which I owe a great debt of service. You can read about mine and Ben’s story here.

bty

Benji Wonder Boy

 

When the legs give up, the mind takes over. Mind over marathon. Bring it on!

 

How to recover from a long distance run

Today I reached a personal best for both distance and time/pace in my preparation for the Dublin City marathon at the end of October 2018. When you put your body under that strain for that amount of time, knowing how to recover from that bodily stress will help you start walking properly again in no time!

22miler

Tip #1

Recovery from a long run actually starts in the run itself. Minimise your dehydration levels by taking small sips of water mixed with coconut water often (every 2-3 miles works well for me) to quickly replenish lost salts and electrolytes as you sweat. Always run on grass where available – you will cut your risk of injury in half.

Recovery from a long run actually starts in the run itself.

Tip #2

Epsom salts. When you get home, run a piping hot bath and throw 1-2 cupfuls of these amazing little minerals into it before you get in. The two main ingredients here are the minerals magnesium and sulfate which are both readily absorbed through the skin. They help to ease pain and reduce inflammation which will help your sore muscles recover faster. Plus you will really enjoy a soak in the tub after all that road time. You can get a big tub (4kg) in any pharmacy for about €12-€15. I use the UltraPure range below at the moment and find it really helpful.

ultrapure range

Tip #3

Try to eat within 1.5 hrs of finishing your run. For me, this is a tough one as it takes at least that amount of time for my appetite to return but when it does I turn into a caveman. You will need a mix of complex carbs and good quality protein for recovery. Right now I am really enjoying a halloumi burger with sweet potato fries as my post-run reward meal. Delish!

Tip #4

Have a beer or whatever is your tipple of choice that evening. Small reward systems are important and should not be overlooked as they improve the psychological experience of what you are doing. You deserve it!

Tip #5

Rest is the best performance enhancer on the market today. Underrated and omitted from today’s “hack” culture, getting good quality sleep both before and after a long distance run can make all the difference in terms of how you feel and your recovery. Sleep your way to improvement.

Tip #6

The next day, go for a small run. I know this may be the last thing you want to do but trust me this little step will pay off in spades when you go for your next proper run. I usually do 0.5 to 1 mile run with my kids the next day and have some fun with it. It helps to loosen up the body and get rid of any remaining lactic acid in the joints. Trust me on this one.

Apply these tips to avoid this.

 

 

 

Avoid hacks and embrace the long road

There is no shortcut to good health, despite what the magazines and media tell us. It is in the doing of the hard work, that we really learn more about who we are and who we can become.

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