Get Running

Coach Mary Jennings answers your queries on Get Running

Mary Jennings Mon, Apr 7
LIVE: Get Running

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  • 20:39
    Welcome to our first question and answer session for Get Running 10km. Our running coach Mary Jennings will be here to answer your questions from 9pm
  • 21:04
    Mary : Welcome everyone to our 10k Training Programme. Day 1 today - hope you were not caught out in any of the heavy showers earlier. 10k is a big goal, and it is important that you are comfortable over the 30 minutes before you launch into this programme. I would particularly like to welcome all the new people who have joined us this time around who were not part of the original beginners Get Running programme. I hope you all enjoy the format of the course, and we can help you move up from your 30 minutes up to the 10k distance. So here we go, thanks for all the questions, lets try to get through as many as we can in the next hour...
  • 21:12

    Eimear : In the training for the Beginners we ran took a short walking break and ran again, yet this time we start with long runs and no breaks In between. Will there be any walking during our training or will it be long runs with no walks?

    Mary: Hi Eimear, well done on completing the beginners programme. Yes, this programme will work a bit differently than the beginners. It is for people who are looking to run a full 10k so yes, all of the runs will be 'runs'. There will be no walking scheduled in the plans. Please dont feel like you need to move up to this programme if you are not yet comfortable with the 30 minutes non stop running. I would really recommend that people joining this 10k programme are able to run the 30 minutes without need of a walk break. IF you are not quite there yet, repeat the last few weeks of the beginners programme, and if you would like to join in the 10k programme then, you may. If you prefer to stay at the 5k, that is perfect too, no pressure at all to get up to 10k so soon after completing beginners.

  • 21:15

    Kate: Hi I completed the beginners 8 week course which I found brilliant. The last run I did was on the 18/03 unfortunately due to other commitments I haven't been able to get out for runs the last few weeks. In light of the fact my last run was 3 weeks ago do you think I will be able for this 10k 8 week course or will I find it hard as I have been out of running for a few weeks?

    Mary: Well done Kate, Im delighted you enjoyed the beginners programme. You are not the only one that has struggled to keep up the routine when you were not following an official plan in the last few weeks. If you are keen to move up to 10k, I would suggest maybe you try out the first week of this programme. If you find it too much, take walk breaks, and after a few weeks when you feel ok with week 1, then progress on to week 2. Remember, no rush on this. Get confident over 5k and then move to 10k. Dont put yourself under pressure to do 10k in the 8 weeks. You have just started running, don’t turn yourself off it that quick ! One step at a time.  

  • 21:21

    Cathriona: I find that I can never get my breathing properly. Any advice or tips that would help me? I ran a few 5k but I’d like to get my breathing under control to get past the 5k.

    Mary: Hi Cathriona, very good question, and one that came up many times for beginners and improvers. We will look at posture and breathing in the coming weeks in the programme but for now, I’ll give you a tip of something I try myself if I find my breathing is laboured. I pull back the pace a little bit, and I focus only on breathing out. This helps relax the body and settles the breathing. Try it out. We will be doing different paced runs in this programme too as the weeks go on. For week one, I would suggest you run at a conversational pace when you are doing your sessions, and pull back the pace to that level where your breathing feels comfortable. Lots of people think you have to be out of breath when running - to build up your endurance you will have to in fact slow the pace on the long runs to allow the body to adapt. Good luck this week, hope that helps.  

  • 21:28

    Alex: What should I eat before and after I run ?

    Mary: Eating and drinking and running is a personal thing.   Most people however would try not to eat an hour or two before running. You don't want to feel like your lunch is jumping up and down in your stomach! Experiment and see what timeline works for you. Afterwards, most of the recent research would suggest a light snack of protein and carbohydrates within 30 min of finishing your run is great. I'll give some more tips on food in the next few weeks

  • 21:32

    Breda: What kind of runners do you recommend for a beginner. I'm in my late 50s, haven't run before (though I do a good bit of hill-walking), and my knees can be stiff at times.

    Many thanks for this and any other tips for beginners.,

    Mary: Moving up from 5k to 10k your running shoes become more important as you spend double the time in them! There is no perfect pair of shoes. Everyone is different but I do recommend when you are choosing them you go to a specific running shop - they will be able to show you which are the right shoes for your body and give you options to choose. Yes it might be a bit more expensive than a general sports shop or online but all good running shops will have experts trained to help you. Ask a local runner in your area for recommendation on good shops...  

  • 21:33
    Seamus:  Just want to say a big thank you for putting the 10k plan together Mary.I have done lots of 5 k's but never seem to progress much beyond that,now I have no excuse :-)  
  • 21:35

    Anne: I completed the 5K programme and have completed this distance (and more) a number of times since, thrilled with same but honestly does it get any easier? On a 30min run yesterday and nearly stopped at 20mins, just seems so hard sometimes !

    Mary: Well Anne, the answer is that some days it is just hard. We all have days when we feel like stopping, and think we are going backwards. But you have to look at the overall picture. Compare yourself to last month, last year. I think we all get a bad session occasionally, and we do learn from those. Not every session will go perfectly, and that’s ok. If you have a bad session, I’d recommend going for a much easier run the next time just to build your confidence back up again. Even people who have been running for years have bad days. Your body will adapt and get stronger, I promise...

  • 21:39

    Chloe : I always find that I struggle for the 1st 10/15 minutes of my run - once I reach that milestone I feel like I can keep going for ages! Any advice on how to get through, what I find, the hardest part of the run!

    Mary: Chloe, you are totally normal. Most of us are like that. We spend a day sitting down and expect our body to feel good instantly. Lots of people feel stiff and tight for the first 10 minutes of the run, and then settle into it. What I have found by teaching classes is that the better the warm-up, and also the slower the pace you start running at the quicker you ease into the run. So try this for this week, start with your 5 minutes walk, (resist the temptation to start running as soon as you go out the front door), and then move into a very slow jog for the next few minutes. Then, you can start to increase your speed, and you will find that being more warmed up, your body will take less time to settle into the run. Works for me everytime. On any day I have been in a rush and gone straight into running from my front door, my legs get tighter before they get looser - especially if they are coming straight from high heels into runners! It’s all about the warmup...

  • 21:47

    Yvonne: Hi, I'm running 5km in 30-33mins and doing this 4 to 5 times a week but some days are a lot harder than others. I wonder if I am running too much and what other form of exercise I should be doing as well. I am also trying to lose weight by running and doing weight watchers and it is working but would love to know what other form of exercise I could be doing to boost my running.

    Mary: Yvonne, Thats an interesting question - this programme involves three days per week running. In my opinion for anyone moving up to 10k that is sufficient, if you do the sessions correctly. I see a lot of people who try to run every day and push themselves so that when they start a training session they are still tired from the previous one. What I suggest you do is pull back from one of two of your runs, and see if you are stronger then for the runs. You will be fresh for each session then, and able to get more out of them, especially if you are moving up your distance. What to do with your other 2 days - lots to choose from - bring in some variety. We will be talking more about other exercises in the coming weeks, but including some core exercises on your rest days would be great - pilates style exercises for starters. Try reducing your running days and see does that actually make you a fresher runner.  
  • 21:49

    Helen: I completed the 5k program & have been running 30 minutes at least four times a week since but recently I find the top part of my back feels really tired/sore for about the first 1.5k any tips or suggestions on combating this??

    Mary: Hi Helen, lots of people tend to be tired in the upper back and shoulders, a lot to do with our lifestyles of laptops, cars and general posture. What I suggest you do in your runs is occasionally shake out your arms like you are a rag doll, let them loosen out and that will relax your shoulders and any tension when you are running there. After a little while, then just bend the elbows and start moving your arms as normal. Try and notice if you tighten/lift your shoulders when you run - you want to avoid this, so if you spot them tightening, go back to being a rag doll. Another thing to notice - make sure you relax your hand grip when you are running. Tight fists means tight shoulders, so focus on relaxed hands. We will cover more of this Chirunning technique in the coming weeks. Give it a try this week and see how you get on.

  • 21:55

    Una: My question is should I really be doing the 10K plan? I fit the description of “currently dragging myself around the 30 min circuit three times a week”. Dragging being the operative word. Should I be aiming for the 10k, or continue improving the 30 minute runs until I'm fitter, leaner and it gets easier? Thanks.      

    Mary: Hi Una. Im glad you ask the question. I honestly don’t think you should be committing yourself to a 10k until your 5k is comfortable and enjoyable. What I mean by “dragging” yourself around a 30 minute run, I mean more from a motivational point of view, rather than a fitness one. You sound like you are very dedicated, but don’t feel like you have to be moving to 10k straight away. The main aim is to enjoy running, so if you feel that getting some more 5k practice would be best of you, then I would highly recommend it. Remember this course is not meant as the automatic next step for all beginners. I certainly don’t want to turn you off running 10k ,but if you are not “enjoying” 30 minutes yet, stick there for a little while and built that stronger for now. The hard bit of getting started running is done, you deserve a few weeks of actually enjoying your 30 minute achievement - it will get easier I promise.

  • 21:57

    Saoirse: I have been 11 weeks doing the 8 week 5k course but I am still not at 30 mins. I am progressing though but very slowly. I have signed up to the 10k. I wonder though, maybe I'm not cut out for running. I am 34, fit enough. Legs not sore anymore and not usually out of breath but my stamina is dreadful. Tips?                                

    Mary: Hi Saoirse, your question is actually very similar to that of Una, which I just answered, so take a quick look at that response first. Take a look at all you have achieved. To be able to say your legs are not sore anymore and you are usually not out of breath are two great bonuses. In terms of stamina, you just have to let the body adapt. Stick with the beginners programme for another few weeks and build on where you are. It will get easier. Please don’t compare your progress with anyone else - and don’t feel like you need to be running 10k. As I said to Una - enjoy your 30 minutes running before you launch into the next adventure. Please don’t say you are not cut out for running, you are, we just have to listen to our bodies and go at our own pace.. Compare yourself to 12 weeks ago....

  • 22:03

    Keelin: My knees become very painful during and following a run. Usually starts around 4/5k and prevents me running further which I would like to do. I make sure to land on ball of my foot as opposed to my heel. Is my footfall too heavy?

    Mary: Hi Keelin, sorry to hear about your knees. Next week we are going to get a chartered physiotherapist on the Q&A session to answer all the questions on niggles and injuries, and they would be in a better position to help you out than me. What I would say however, is that running form, the running surface you are running on, and your runners can all impact your knees, so take a look at all those three components this week. Be sure to raise the question next week for our physiotherapist and they will give you their expect advice. In the meantime, fingers crossed they improve for you. I can only imagine how frustrated you are.

  • 22:04
    That's it for this week. Thanks for all your questions. Next week, Mary will be joined by a chartered physio who can answer questions you might have on any niggles or injuries.