Get Running

Coach Mary Jennings answers your questions

Mary Jennings Mon, May 12
LIVE: Get Running

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  • 20:55
    Evening all.....Mary Jennings will be along at 9.0 to answer your running questions for this week. You can submit them through the website here:
  • 21:01
    Okay, we're up and running and should have the first one question along now in a minute....
  • 21:07
    Mary: Hello everyone. I just wanted to write a few words to say well done to everyone who is sticking with the running homework. It was so lovely to meet some of the Get Running students at parkrun at the weekend, and great to hear all your stories and running experiences. I am so delighted that the programmes are working so well for you. Thanks so much to everyone who has take the time to send emails and chat to us at events recently. We will have big heads from all the compliments.

    I also know there are many of you who are overwhelmed by work, family and everything else and running can sometimes take a back seat. I know when you get your email on a Sunday, many of you can’t believe the week has pass so quickly! So many of us have good intentions to go running but time disappears on us. Please remember you can start our Get Running Programmes at any time - so if you have struggled to keep with the running routine, make the effort to get started again. We have lovely long bright evenings for the next few months. Make the most of them.Rope in a friend to start with you; that will help you both stay on track. You will never have the time to do this… You have to make the time.
  • 21:14
    Dee: Delighted to report that I ran my 1st ever 10k race yesterday in 1 hour 6 seconds. For a 49 year old woman, who took up running for the first after Christmas, I am feeling very proud of myself! I am also very grateful to the Irish Times for coming up with this great programme. Any advice for what to do in the days following a big run? My hips are a bit stiff today & I'm feeling a bit tired. Should I go ahead & do my usual 2 x 30 minute midweek runs? Dee

    Mary: First of all Dee many contratulations on your first ever 10k. No doubt indeed you are feeling very proud of yourself. I do think rest is important after such an event. It is such a big milestone, and not alone does the body need to recover, but the mind too, especially if you were nervous or anxious about the race. Its done now, and you should enjoy the post race buzz. No need to rush back into running. Take it nice and easy and maybe a couple of gentle jogs for the first week or two. If you are tired and stiff, listen to your body and let it rest. I have written up a few lines on some recovery tips for yourself. A week or so after the run you will be itching to book another one,. In the meantime, enjoy the 10k buzz.
    Here is the link to the article on the recovery tips :
  • 21:22
    Jean: Hi, Despite feeling able for the training and actually enjoying the longer runs, I’m still struggling to get myself to do all the ones I’m supposed to. How can I keep myself motivated. Jean.

    Mary: Hi Jean, I can promise you that you are indeed normal. We all feel like that sometimes. I find having a particular race/goal in my sights keeps me more focussed and encourages me to go out the door as I know I will enjoy the race more if I am prepared. Other than that, there are lots of things you can do to motivate yourself. Having a running buddy really makes a difference as you can’t make as many excuses to them. A few weeks ago I wrote an article on how to vary things to make your running less boring. You can check it out here:
  • 21:26
    David: On some of the longer runs, basically most of the ones over half an hour or so, my knees start to hurt. I’ve never had any problems with them before. Could it be down to my shoes which are quite cheap and bought off the shelf. Should I get fitted for new ones.

    Mary: Hi David, I think you have answered you own question there. Certainly it may be worth looking at your running shoes (check out all the old QnA sessions for tips on choosing new runners). Also, I would recommend you try and come off concrete paths and try and run on softer surfaces like grass if you can for a bit and see does that make a difference. Technique also is worth looking at. Try and apply the tips from the Chirunning Technique that we have covered about being light on your feet and hopefully that will help you too. Hope that works for you.

  • 21:30

    Paula: I have really enjoyed this running program, I had NEVER run before and found the first 8 week program amazing. I live in rural Italy and had to laugh the other week when Mary brought up the idea of hills...I had to deal with them from day one!!! we live at 450m , up down all around! Thank you Irish Times and Mary.

    Mary: Many thanks for your email Paula. Lovely to hear from you. Not only hills but you have Italian Summer Heat too - you certainly don’t have it easy. Glad to see the hill technique will be relevant for you. You probably know yourself but as the summer heats up try and get out early in the day and be mindful of hydration. If you can master hills, you will find the flat so easy. We should get a campaign going to film the next instalment of Get Running in Italy I think...........

  • 21:41
    Jo: Any tips on how to run at your own pace in a busy race. On my own I manage to run at a comfortable pace, even doing this week's 8km this morning!   At the parkrun I always seem to end up out of breath and with a stitch by the 2nd km.

    Mary: Hi Jo, I think many of us are guilty of this. It is so easy to get carried away at the start of the race - the adrenaline, the nerves, the hype. There are a few things you can do to help you with this. To make you start slower, and not get carried away, here is what I suggest you do:
    1. Be sure not to start too close to the front. Let the main pack runners off ahead, it’s a much better feeling to be overtaking people in the end to have everyone overtaking you.
    2. Use the first 1km as a warm up. Focus on relaxation with the aim not to be out of breath, just to be comfortable.
    3. Some of the parkruns now have pacers, these are super, as they do the thinking for you, and you just follow them.
    4. If your parkrun doesn’t have a pacer, keep an eye out for someone who is similar level to yourself, and try and follow someone who runs evenly paced (one of those people who overtakes you every time in the 2nd half).
    5. Use a watch/app which tells you your pace as you run along, and beeps when you go too fast.
    6. One final thing, I’m not sure if you warm up before the parkrun but a gentle few minutes jog might help too.
    Try those tips out and hopefully you will notice the difference.
  • 21:47
    Jodie: Any advice for the big-of-bust? I'm fit (from gym) but a big bust means it hurts to run. Literally! Would love to solve the problem.

    Mary: Hi Jodie. Having the correct fitting sports bra will make a great difference. Its also needs to be one for high impact exercise (not just for gym). You can get fitted for the sports bras in good running shops. The key is to find a sports bra that fits snugly and your chest moves with your body - not in the opposite direction! That said, you still need to be able to breathe so make sure it’s not too snug. Some women also find that wearing a 2nd tight top over the sports bra makes a great difference to support though.
      Sports bra aside, posture is hugely important. If you are looking down when you are running, or bending at the waist you are making running much harder on yourself. It will impact your back and shoulders and your legs will have to work much harder. You will also make your breathing harder. Focus on running tall. Try out the tips on posture in the notes in the early weeks and if you an manage to not let the chest make you bend forward you will feel much more comfortable. Hope that works.
  • 21:56

    Margaret: Hi, I’ve tried to keep up with the 10k programme but for a few different reasons haven’t really been able to over the last few weeks. I’m not sure now whether to try to catch up or stop and try part of the 5k one again which I found more manageable Any suggestions?

    Mary: Hi Margaret. The most important thing is that you enjoy the training. If you find it too challenging you are more likely to make excuses. Unless you have a 10k booked and need to do that in a few weeks, I would suggest you ease yourself back into the programme gradually. Go back to week one of the 10k programme and attempt that again. Then just repeat that week until you feel comfortable (take walking breaks during the first week or two if you need it). That will get you back into the routine and you will be in a position then in a few weeks to do a parkrun/5k event and decide if you want to stay at that level, or move up to 10k. We will be launching a new programme in the summer for people who are at 30 minutes and want to keep up running but don’t want to move up to 10k. That might be another options for you too, but it won’t be out for another little while, so in the meantime settle back in gradually. Best of luck.

  • 21:59
    Mary: Just a few words before we finish on injury prevention...There is nothing worse than an injured runner, so it is really important that you look after your body - sleep, hydration, good food, stretching and recovery from your runs. Take the time to build this into your routine. You have probably worked out by now that running is more than just pounding the pavements, you have to look after your body and listen to it if you, like me, want to be running long into the future. Make that your focus of this week.

    Stretching : Some of you have been suggesting you forget to do the stretches at the end of your run, or sometimes can't remember which ones to do. Maybe try playing our video of stretches on your phone at the end of the run. That way you will be less likely to rush through them and get distracted. Here is the link to the video:
  • 22:02

    Patrick: Hi Mary, Enjoying the program. I'd like to speed up, I can handle a slow 10k now, what do you recommend? I'm getting in three runs a week, two 6k, and a 10k now at the weekend.

    Mary: Hi Patrick, I recommend you continue to work on the speed - not in your weekend run, but in your two 6km runs. Use those as your opportunity to look at speed, hills and fartlek and by working on those, that will in time make your 10k more comfortable and faster. Running the 6kms at the same pace won’t do much for the speed of your 10k, so bring in a bit of variety (like we do in the 10k midweek runs). Finally, you know how much I love parkrun as a chance to push yourself over the 5k distance, Try one per month too, it will all bring you in the right direction and you can see your progress.

  • 22:04
    Okay, that's it for tonight. Thanks to Mary, to everyone who submitted questions and to everyone else who droppped by. We'll be back with Mary and a physio next week. Bye.