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Training Tips with Cheesecake Runner

We have teamed up with the amazing Cheesecake Runner to offer you some weekly running tips as you prepare for a Spring Half or Full Marathon. Every week we’re adding new running tips:


Time to Start Training for Your Spring Marathon or Half

1. Get your runs in your diary.

If it’s written down, you’re going to be less likely to skip it.

First plan when you’ll do your long run.  You’ll need to find 2 – 3 hours each week for your long run, to allow for prep, post run stretching and a shower, and possibly a little more as your long runs progress.  Get those runs scheduled in first.

Then find time to fit in your mid-week training runs in.

Try to leave a day between each run to allow your body to recover, you’ll definitely need this after long run day!

2. Plan time for conditioning

Training for a marathon or half you need to include conditioning work in your week, to build your body strong and resilient for hard training.

My tip is to do conditioning work when you’re back from a run.  That way you won’t forget and you’re already warmed up and ready to go!

3. Plan your meals

As training ramps up you’ll be running and burning more calories, so you’ll probably find your appetite increases too.  Lots of first time marathoners put on weight when they train, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

Make sure you’re organised, planning healthy meals and snacks to support your training.

For more tips and advice for your marathon training, download my FREE Ultimate Marathon Training Guide 👇

Click here


Three Runs for Half and Marathon Training

A question I’m often asked

“I’m a new runner, I’m slow and I don’t take my running particularly seriously, do I REALLY need to do the different runs in my training plan?  They look SO HARD!”

The simple answer is YES!  The different running workouts in a marathon or half marathon training plan work to build up your running fitness, strength and speed as well as endurance and stamina.

First, include FAST running workouts in your week.

Running at a fast, hard pace improves your cardiovascular fitness.  This is important to deliver oxygen, fuel and nutrients to your hard working muscles when you run, even for newer and back of the pack slower runners.

Next, don’t be afraid of HILL running workouts.

Running up and down hills will help build your running strength and improve your running fitness and form.

Third, make sure to run your LONG RUNS super-slow.

Instead of running long runs at your regular running pace, slow down to run at a pace that feels easy to make changes to how your body burns fat to fuel your running

If you run your long runs too fast you won’t make fat-burning adaptations, and put yourself at risk of running out of energy when your long runs ramp up and hitting the wall just after the half way point in your race.

 

To find out more about the different types running workout that’ll massively improve your running, WITHOUT needing to run more and more each week, download my FREE Training Runs Guide.

In this guide you’ll learn about the 3 training runs that get results for all runners, faster than running more miles at their regular running pace.

Download the 3 Runs Guide HERE 


How to Train Safe Through Winter?

If you’re training to run a marathon or half this spring, you’re not going to be able to avoid running outside in the cold.

Whilst it can be tempting to take to the treadmill, if it’s not too slippery it’s always better to train outside.

Here are a few tips to train this winter.

Layer up … but not too much

It can be tempting to load up your layers before you head out for your run.  But remember, once you start running, you’ll warm up pretty quickly.  Leave your final layer off.  If you head out feeling slightly cold, you’re probably wearing just enough.

Layer up in ‘technical clothing to allow your sweat to evaporate and if it’s cold wear a hat (or a buff) over your ears and running gloves.

Be seen

If you’re running at night you need to be seen by traffic, pedestrians, dog walker and other runners.  After dusk wear a head or chest torch to light your way and make sure you’re ‘seen’ by wearing bright and/or reflective clothing.

Warm up well

It can be tempting when it’s cold to get out there and get your run done as quickly as possible.  But when it’s cold you’ll need to spend a little longer warming your muscles up for running.

If you’re running a spring marathon or half, download my marathon training guide, that’ll take you through the key things you need to focus on through your training to get fit, ready and prepared to run your marathon or half this spring.

Download my FREE Ultimate Marathon Training Guide HERE 


How to Eat Right for Marathon (or Half) Training

Training for a marathon or half is tough.  To be able to train to the max and give yourself the best chance of getting to the start line you need to make sure your diet, the food you eat each day, is the best it can be.

Here are my 5 Eat Right Essentials that will help you tune your diet up for your training.

Get Your 5 A Day

As part of a balanced healthy diet, everyone should eat at least 5 portions of different fruit and vegetables a day.  As a runner your body will be craving nutrients, so you need to eat more! 

Fruit and vegetables contain vital vitamins and minerals, as well as carbohydrates, ‘good fats’, proteins and fibre.  If you’re not getting your 5 a day, you need to start now!  

Eat Starchy Carbs

When you’re running your body uses carbohydrate as fuel.  So it’s really important to eat plenty of starchy carbohydrates, such as root vegetables and whole grains in your diet. 

Eat Quality Protein

Every time you run you put your muscles under stress from exercise small tears are made to muscle fibres.  So it’s important when you’re training for a race to eat plenty of good quality lower fat protein so your muscles can repair and recover from runs.

Ensure Your Diet is Iron Rich

The pounding action of running has the effect of destroying red blood cells so valuable iron is lost from the body.  Runners, and especially female runners, need to be mindful of this and eat plenty of iron rich foods. 

If you eat meat make sure you include eat lean red meat in your diet, and if you’re a vegetarian include lots of nuts, legumes, seeds and green leafy vegetables. 

Drink More Water

So many people go through the day dehydrated.  Through training you need to get used to drinking more fluids.  Running will increase your sweat rate, even in cold weather, so make sure that you are well hydrated at all times.  Get into the habit of carrying a bottle of water with you, and taking small sips throughout the day.

Happy Running!


Critical Conditioning for Marathon (or Half) Training

As runners we’ve all heard that we need ‘a strong core’, but why is this so important and how can you improve the strength of your core.

Core muscles are muscles deep within your abdomen and lower back, as well as muscles in your buttocks, hips and around your pelvis. These muscles keep your torso upright when you run and reduce twisting and wobbling when you’re moving your arms & legs.

Having a strong core helps keep your torso stable as you run.

If your core isn’t strong, you’ll move more in your mid-section.  This leads to a breakdown in your running form which will increase your risk of injury.

Having a strong core also improves your stability and balance as you run. So if you’re prone to tripping up you’ll recover quickly from missteps whilst running.

Exercises that are great for building up core strength include planks, Swiss ball workouts, Yoga and Pilates.

If you’re training for a race right now, make sure to do core conditioning a couple of times a week.

If you’re running a spring race, download my marathon training guide, that’ll take you through the key things you need to focus on through your training to get fit, ready and prepared to run your marathon or half this spring.

Download my FREE Ultimate Marathon Training Guide HERE 👇


the cheesecake runner running

3 Tips to Get The Most From Long Runs

Lots of runners don’t realise this, but to get the most from a long run you need to be running them slow, even if you’re determined to smash a new race-day PB. 

Here are 3 tips to help you run at the right long run pace for you.

  • Tip 1:  Tune in to how your run FEELS. 

Long runs should be run at a slow easy pace, to help your body make the physiological adaptations to become better at burning fat for energy.  When you’re running at the right pace, your breathing will be easy and your heart rate feel low. 

To make sure you’re not speeding up, or running in the wrong training zone, now and then do quick scans of your body to check how your running feels.  If your breathing is becoming harder or your heart has started pumping fast, slow down.

  • Tip 2:  Have a chat. 

You want to run at a pace that feels easy and that’s  a pace that you could have a conversation with your best running buddy friend.

Running solo?  No problem, hold a conversation with yourself or even sing!

  • Tip 3:  Change your playlist. 

If you run with music chances are that your playlist will be loaded with lots of motivational pumping beats.  Those tunes might inspire you to run, but are they encouraging you to run too fast? 

Try listening to more ‘easy listening’ calmer tunes, so you won’t’ be encouraged to pick up the pace and run too fast.

It’s easy to run too fast in our long runs and running the right slow pace is hard.  But practicing running slowly in long runs will really help you to run faster in your marathon or half on the day.

To find out more about the different types running workout that’ll massively improve your running, WITHOUT needing to run more and more each week, download my FREE Training Runs Guide.

In this guide you’ll learn about the 3 training runs that get results for all runners, faster than running more miles at their regular running pace.

Download the 3 Runs Guide HERE 


5 Tips for Your First Half

The first race I ran I was terrified.  I hadn’t been running long, I didn’t feel fit and I wasn’t prepared for the race!  But I survived, and have since gone on to run more halves than I can remember and 20+ marathons.

Here are 5 of my top tips for running your first half marathon race:

1. Get to the start 30 – 60 minutes before the race starts.

You’ll have plenty of time to warm up, visit the portaloos (maybe more than once!), drop your kitbag off and soak up the vibe and atmosphere of the race.

2. Have a target goal or finish-time.

You might have the goal of just finishing, but having a target finish-time will help you pace the race.

3. Start slow and ease into your running pace.

When you cross the start-line it’s likely lots of runners will dash past, and it can be tempting to run to keep up with them too.  But running faster than your intended pace at the start of a race could lead you to crash before the finish.

Instead, focus on running YOUR race at YOUR pace.  Start slow and gradually ease into your running pace.

4. Break up the race in to 5k blocks.

13.1 miles, half-marathon distance, is a heck of a long way, and you might be daunted at the prospect of running that far.

Instead of thinking about the full distance you’ve got to run, just focus on running the next 5k. 

5. Don’t try anything new on race-day.

Make sure you’ve tested out your running shoes and kit before-hand to make sure nothing chaffs.

The night before and on race-morning eat what you’d usually eat before a long run and make sure you’ve tested out the gels or running foods/fuels you’ll use on race day, to make sure they agree with your tum!

If you’re running a spring marathon or half, download my marathon training guide, that’ll take you through the key things you need to focus on through your training to get fit, ready and prepared to run your marathon or half this spring.

Download my FREE Ultimate Marathon Training Guide HERE 👇


How to Eat to Give You Energy for Long Runs

Have you every run out of energy on a long run?  Or after a long run, been SO HUNGRY that you tuck into ALL THE FOOD in the house?

It could be that you’re not eating to give your body energy for your long run.  Let me explain.

Your body needs fuel, to give you energy to power your running.  It gets this from carbohydrates and fat stored in our bodies.

But there’s a problem.

You’ve got an almost infinite supply of body fat, enough to fuel hundreds of miles of running.  But your body can only store enough carbohydrate to power your around about 9 or 10 miles of running.  If you’re running longer than that, you’re going to need to give it with more carbs.

What I recommend is the night before a long run or race you do a ‘mini-carb-load’ by eating a meal based around a carbohydrate, like pasta, rice or potato to get your carbohydrate stores full before your run.  Then, the morning of your run, have a carb-focused breakfast like porridge, a bagel or toast.

That way you’ll be powered up and ready for your long run.

If you’re running a spring marathon or half, download my marathon training guide, that’ll take you through the key things you need to focus on through your training to get fit, ready and prepared to run your marathon or half this spring.

Download my FREE Ultimate Marathon Training Guide HERE 👇


3 Tips for Fuelling Long Runs Right

Have you every ran out of energy 9 or 10 miles in to a long run?

Or maybe you’ve struggled in the final few miles of a half?

I often get pleas for help from runners who’ve crashed in their long runs.  Lots of these runners think the reason they’ve crashed is that they’re not fit enough to run.  But more often it’s because they’ve not got their diet or long run ‘fuelling right’. 

Let me explain.

Our bodies need ‘fuel’ to burn to give us energy to run.  When we run, we use both fat and carbohydrates, that are stored in our body, to fuel our running.

Whilst we’ve got an almost endless supply of body fat to use as fuel, we’ve only enough carbs stored to fuel about 9 to 10 miles of running.

To avoid running out of energy on a long run, first you need to make sure that your body’s carbohydrate stores are full before you set off, and second, learn how to eat carbs whilst you’re running for more energy.

If you’ve never eaten whilst running here are 3 tips to fuel your long runs right.

1. Find a food or running fuel that you like and that agrees with your guts.

Energy gels are a popular choice, but not all runners like them.  Through training test out energy gels, energy blocks, jelly sweets and other carbohydrate foods to find what’s best for you.

2. Don’t leave eating until you’re out of energy.

If you leave eating your gel/food/fuel until you’re out of energy it’s too late.  Anything you eat needs to be digested, and sugars need to get to your working muscles.  That takes time.

Instead, eat your running food/fuel at regular intervals e.g. every 30 – 45 minutes, starting 30 – 45 minutes from the start of your run.  You’ll still feel fine, but it’ll mean when you DO need extra fuel it’s available to use.

3. Drink water every time you fuel/eat.

Drinking water will aid digestion, meaning the sugars you eat are less likely to ‘pool’ in your stomach and make you feel queasy.

Finally, test everything out.  What works for one runner might not work for you.  And don’t leave anything to chance.  You don’t want to be 🤢 or 💩 in the middle of a race!

If you’re running a spring marathon or half, download my marathon training guide, that’ll take you through the key things you need to focus on through your training to get fit, ready and prepared to run your marathon or half this spring.

Download my FREE Ultimate Marathon Training Guide HERE 👇