Get Running

Tonight’s Q&A is with Mary Jennings from Forget the Gym & Paul Gleeson performance coach

Mary Jennings & Paul Gleeson Mon, Feb 3
LIVE: Get Running

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  • 20:35
    It's February already so we thought the new year resolutions might be lagging. With that in mind we've asked performance coach and adventurer Paul Gleeson along tonight to give you some tips on staying motivated and getting out the door for your runs. We'll kick off around 9pm.
  • 21:04
    Slight change of format tonight. We are going to kick off with some tips and advice from Paul Gleeson of Turas Consulting to help keep you on track with your running. Paul helps all sorts of people achieve their goals and is an intrepid adventurer in his own right. Last summer he attempted to row the Northwest Passage and wrote about the experience for The Irish Times.
  • 21:05
    Paul: Reconnect with your motivation for doing this - There was a reason why you started this programme so take a little time to reconnect with this. Think about how good you feel after doing your running over the past few weeks. What was it that started you on this programme? If you attach genuine meaning to why your doing this, it will be a big help to keep going.
  • 21:06
    Paul: Don’t blame the weather - This is a soft excuse for not getting out there, we don’t live in a sunny, dry climate and we never have. Dress for the environment you’re in; if it’s cold, wear enough clothing to keep you warm. If it’s raining, wear the right gear to keep your core dry. Once you get going, you will not be cold and if you get a little wet, so what - we’re fortunate in this country to have the luxury of hot water so you can enjoy a nice hot shower or a warm bath after you run.  
  • 21:08
    Paul: Plan ahead - take a few minutes before the start of each week to look at your schedule and figure out when you are going to get your runs in. I find this very useful and have suggested it to a number of clients who like me and you, have busy schedules. Put it in the diary at a time that is practical and doable and make it non negotiable. I treat my own training sessions like client meetings. Once they’re in the diary, they’re happening.  
  • 21:10
    Paul: Be flexible - sometimes quite frankly “shit happens” in life. So if something comes up that is unforeseen and you just can’t get out of, don’t beat yourself and just roll with it. I’m not trying to contradict my previous point but sometimes things come up at the last minute that are just unavoidable.  
  • 21:12
    Paul: Be honest - you are the only person who will know the difference between a soft excuse and a genuine reason why you can’t get out on your run. So be honest with yourself.
  • 21:13
    Paul: Perspective - there are many people who are not in a position to run due to illness, disability or the fact that they are no longer with us. Don’t forget how lucky we are to be able to get out there and run. Personally I believe this is a very precious gift so let’s not waste it.  
  • 21:15
    Paul: Prepare - Make it easy on yourself, if you plan to go running in the morning before work, then get to bed early, have your runners and your gear ready to go. If you need to iron clothes for work in the morning, do this the night before. You might be inclined to laugh at all this but these little things do make a difference and they also say something about where you mindset is at. If you run first thing after coming in from work, then don’t get distracted when you get home. Don’t answer that call, leave the TV off, stay away from the couch, get changed straight away and get out there.  
  • 21:17
    Paul: Accept the reality - getting fit can be hard and that’s the reality of it. If you are just getting back into exercise and have been a bit out of shape for a few years, then don’t stress about it being hard, it’s supposed to be. If you persevere through these harder rough days, you will be very glad when your new running regime becomes part of your lifestyle in a few weeks time. It will become a habit and when this happens, you will rely less on discipline going forward.  
  • 21:19

    Paul: Buddy up - if you have a friend in a similar situation buddy up with them. If you are able to run with somebody or a join a running group do it immediately as it will help keep you accountable and will keep you going when you are tempted not to train. If you have arranged to meet somebody to run, it is far more difficult to cancel then if you are running on your own.  

  • 21:21
    Paul - Phone a friend - even if your circumstances don’t allow you to run with a friend or a group, use technology to help you. I am training for a long distance cycle this summer and my team mate is in Canada. Every week we send each other a simple e-mail with our training log and distances. It takes two minutes to do and helps with accountability. You can do this with anyone, they don’t even have to be training with you, it’s just a tool you can use to keep yourself accountable.  
  • 21:23
    Paul: The power of choice - you have enormous power to choose the outcome you are getting with your running. If you choose to get out there and run when you don’t feel like it, you are saying something really positive about your character. If you choose not to go out and run and take the easy way out, you are choosing this too and you are saying something about yourself. Make the choices you want and get the results you deserve from this programme.  
  • 21:24
    Paul: Capability - don’t underestimate what you are capable of. I genuinely believe many of us don’t give ourselves credit for what we can do in life. I know from personal experience that if you get your mind in the right state, your body will follow and you will go places you might not believe possible. Believe in yourself and keep going - it is possible.
  • 21:27
    Paul: Celebrate - don’t forget to celebrate your great progress. If you’ve had a tough week but you’ve managed to keep up your running, take a minute to congratulate yourself and acknowledge how great you are doing. Have a beer or a glass of wine with a friend or give yourself a little reward. I’m not suggestion you go mad and undo all your hard work but be good to yourself where you have earned it.
  • 21:31

    Paul is going to stick around if anyone has any queries and we'll go back to the more traditionat Q&A format for the last half hour

  • 21:32

    Any advice for how to maintain a training program through baker's cyst on the knee? It is quite painful, sporadic yet the knee gives way so I do not feel able to continue. Appreciate any insights, thank you, Eimear

    Mary: Eimear, I'm sorry to hear about your injury. I would suggest you speak to a local sport injury professional in your area and get advice. Certainly don't run though pain, but they may be able to point you on a path to recovery, and give guidance on your return to running. I know you will be disappointed to take a break so soon, but you must listen to the body and then you will come back all the stronger.  

  • 21:35

    Eoin: Hi Mary I am managing the runs but each session feels like a huge effort, at what stage should I start to feel comfortable running?

    Mary: Hi Eoin, Well done for sticking with the programme so far. Running is an effort - to get out the door and to keep going sometimes, but it is always worth it afterwards! I would sugges you pull back on your pace a little bit, even if you feel strong, and enjoy running slower and try to relax your body a bit more. That way you will feel more relaxed and reduce the effort on the body. Everyone has a pace they feel comfortable at, its just a matter of finding it - even if you think you would be quicker walking. Try that out and see how you go.  

  • 21:37

    Angela Power: Hello Mary and Paul. I love this programme but my left knee is sore . Is it ok to strap it up and keep running ?

    Mary: Hi Angela. As per all the injury questions which have been raised tonight and over the last few weeks, we have to reiterate that you should not run through pain. If rest and icing the knee doesnt help, we would advise you seek out a local sports injury professional to take a look at it. Avoid running through pain - it wont stand to you in the long run. Will keep my fingers crossed you get it sorted. Mary  

  • 21:39

    Michael : I'm 63 and haven't run for years but have done all three sessions for the first three weeks reasonably comfortably and am confident I'll be able for week 4. I feel my pace is awful slow though and wonder if there is anything I can do to regain a little of it. Delighted to be doing the programme though and I feel really good after each session. It's a good idea to be only giving us one week's programme at a go.

    Mary: Michael, it sounds just like you have hit that great week 3 milestone - realising you have a running habit and you might just actually do this. Its a great feeling isn't it? With regard to your pace, please try not to worry about it for now. When you are up at 30 minutes, then that can become the next challenge. I would much rather you get to 30 minutes slowly in the next 5 weeks, than get injured trying to push your pace too much for now. Slowly does it. Reward yourself for the minutes, the speed will come later.  

  • 21:42

    Trish: Hi just back from 1st week 4 run and experienced uncomfortable pain in both calves which I've never had before. Last run was fri, did warm ups etc. only thing different today was working on my posture - would this have anything to do with it?

    Mary: Trish, that is a very interesting question - First of all, fair play on doing the warmups and focusing on posture. Its so easy to forget, and it really does help, so keep at it. I have found that some people when they focus on posture tend to tense up their whole body, they lengthen tall fine, but also tighten up the shoulders, back and even legs. If you are doing this, it certainly may contribute to you being tight. What i suggest you do next time you are out is to conciously tell yourself to relax also - so maybe say to yourself 'run tall' and then 'run relaxed'. When you say relaxed let your legs and shoulders feel like a rag doll and try and feel like there is no tension in them. Give that a try, It should work for you.  

  • 21:44

    Maria: Hi was doing great up until start of week three then pulled calf muscle and now have stinking cold - feel this is going to slip away in me!

    Paul: Maria, don't panic, we all get injuries from time to time, the trick here is how you respond so I would suggest focusing on what you can control which is how you respond and your attitude to your recovery. First off don't rush back, get over your cold and focus on what you can do to heal your calf muscle. I am a huge advocate of getting good physio treatment as soon as possible to accelerate injury recovery and then do the exercises you're given. Injuries and set backs are part of an active lifestyle, don't let it get you down, you'll be back running in no time - YOU CAN do this!!  

  • 21:47
    Mary: We have had a few questions come in tonight on tight calf muscles, tight soles of feet and arches. So, I have decided to share with you a little tip which I have found works a treat for loosening the feet and taking pressure off the calf muscles. All you need is a tennis ball, or even a kids toy ball which is similar size or smaller and enough pressure in it that it doesnt squash under the pressure of your feet.  

    Roll the ball on the sole of the foot and when you come to a tender point apply a bit more pressure into that area, move around the foot with the ball and rolling back and forth, side to side, you will notice where you are tight. You can do this sitting down or standing up - even watching TV.. so no excuses. Spend a couple of minutes on each foot, and your legs will feel lighter and feel more relaxed after. Give it a try. ( I know I say not to be googling injuries, but for this if you search for "tennis ball foot massage", you get some good YouTube videos to show you how it is done)  

  • 21:49

    Therese : I have been doing really well with my new training but today at lunchtime I felt a sudden pain on the outside of my ankle just above my ankle bone. I walked back and rested it but now I can't put much pressure on my foot at all. Have never had anything like this before. Did I pull or sprain a tendon? Have been Googling it but not sure. I dont want to have to stop running for too long becuase I have only started to get used to it.

    Mary: Therese, firstly dont panic. It may pass over and be totally fine. As we have mentioned before, you have to listen to the body, so for now, sleep on it, see how it is tomorrow and take it from there. Dont freak yourself out by Googling; who knows what you might diagnose yourself with? The fact that you are disappointed about the potential about not being able to run soon is interesting isn't it? A few weeks ago it would have been a great excuse not to start - it's funny now that you are apprehensive about not being able to run. Take it one day at a time and try and rest and relax. Will keep my fingers crossed.  

  • 21:52

    Eileen: I don't have a question at the moment. I would just like to thank you for this clear and simple programme. It's friendly and makes me feel it's possible to get there! I'm retired and like the gym but I had given up on jogging. Thank you, Regards, Eileen

    Mary: Eileen, thank you so much for your feedback. I'm thrilled that you are enjoying it, and it's great to see so many people who are retired giving the running a go. We all need to set out challenges and by following the programme you will also encourage and inspire friends and family half your age to get moving too. Keep up the good work, and and let that be another motivator to keep you on track. Little did you think your running might be the catalyst to getting someone else started. Well done !  

  • 21:54

    Joe O’Connell: I'm 52 yrs of age, was a smoker, been on the E Smoker since Oct 2012 and have been on the running plan since the start..I love it but I cough a lot while running and have a slight pain in my chest at times but it's not as bad as four weeks ago.

    Mary: Hi Joe, What a turn around you have had in the few years. It's great to see the lungs feeling better and stronger in the 4 weeks. With regard to the coughing and the chest, it might be worth having a word with your GP and see what he/she has to say. I'm no expert on chest/smoking impact, but they should hopefully be able to put your mind at ease. Also, maybe try one run a bit slower than normal and see does that impact the coughing positively. Best of luck.  

  • 21:58

    Denis Ryan: Nailing the runs, absolutely thrilled for a 51 yr old novice. BUT soreness in arches of feet when walking between runs. Calves a bit too, especially right leg, old knee injury on that side. Footwear issue?

    Mary: Denis , glad to hear you are indeed 'nailing' the runs. It's a great buzz when you come in the door home isn't it? Have a try of the tip I just posted about the tennis ball massage, it might take pressure off the lower legs. With regards to running shoes, there is no particular shoe for all, its a very personal thing and your local running shoe specialist will be able to advise you based on your individual situation. Try out the tennis ball first, see how that impacts things, and then take it from there. Hopefully its just tightness and will loosen out. If no improvement, speak to a runner you know, ask them for recommendations of both running shoe shops and also running injury specialists in you area ,as they will tell more by seeing you than I can over the internet. Fingers crossed!

  • 21:59

    Mary: Before we leave you tonight I wanted to just say well done to everyone who has made the effort to stick to the programme. January was a very difficult month to maintain motivation - the weather, the dark evenings, the end of the Christmas selection boxes to be finished. You should be hugely proud of yourself for sticking with it. Even if you are a couple of weeks behind, it doesnt matter. People who have been running for years (including myself) have made excuses this January due to weather. So if you have ran through this January and are still fired up for February, you are going to find it even easier. Dont listen to those voices in your head that try and make you watch tv, or put off the run for another day. I'm proud of you all, keep it up now.  

  • 22:00
    That's it for tonight's session. Thanks to Paul and Mary for their great tips and answers.