Vhi Herald Team Mary and Sarah Jane - Building Strength

By vhiadmin, Monday, 10th April 2017 | 0 comments

With exactly two months to go to the 2017 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, mother and daughter duo Mary and Sarah Jane Allen’s training is right on track.

The ladies from Mountrath, Co Laois exercise separately during the week but love to get out together on weekends. “We both managed to walk about five or six times a week recently covering distances of between 5 & 6.5km” says Sarah Jane who is currently studying at UL.


This week they managed to walk 6.5km in an hour and fifteen minutes, which they were happy with. They have taken my advice about changing the route to make things more interesting and to challenge themselves by taking in some hills and different terrain. “One of the routes we take has several inclines and declines which I love as it tests us” admitted Sarah Jane. 


In addition to walking, she has been going to the gym once a week in college and spends an hour on various cardio machines like the rower, stationary bike and the elliptical. She also does some bodyweight squats and is planning to use some of the weight machines like the leg press and hamstring curl to help strengthen her legs. I don’t want her to take on too much too soon so she will gradually introduce these extra exercises. The cardio machines will be of great benefit to Sarah Jane as they will help her increase her fitness. They are also generally non-impact exercises hence she should avoid aggravating her knee injury.


“My knee has been causing me more trouble since I’ve increased the amount of walking and exercise that I do. I had to take a rest day as I was struggling to walk with it”.


It’s very important to take recovery days when undergoing a training programme, particularly if you’ve an existing or old injury, as overtraining can cause more damage and could result in disappointment. Sarah Jane knows this so I’m glad she has taken my advice on board. She has decided to start wearing her knee support from now on as she finds it harder to walk once she goes past 6km.


Mum Mary has also been walking regularly but has been struggling with her back recently (she suffers from lower back pain). In saying that, she has been able to manage a decent pace when the pair walk together according to Sarah Jane “I tend to walk a little faster than Mam but I’ve noticed the last few times she has been keeping up with me no problem”.


I had recommended some weighted exercises like press ups against a wall for Mary which she has taken on board but she does finds squatting difficult. In this case using a chair to assist with a squat is recommended as it makes it easier.


The duo plan to increase the distance they are walking to approximately 8km over the next few weeks and will gradually build it up as June 5th gets closer. I’ve advised them that they should aim to reach the 10km mark at the start of May and no earlier. The recent spell of good weather also boosted their motivation to exercise but my motto is to get out hail, rain or shine as, if the past few years are anything to go by, we could be in for any weather on the day itself!  


With just 3 weeks left of college for Sarah Jane it is beginning to get a lot more stressful for her as her study workload is increasing daily. Understandably training won’t be the main priority with deadlines and exams approaching but even the odd walk will certainly help relieve her stress.  Overall, preparation is going well for the ladies and their training is right on track, they can look forward to crossing the line feeling fit and healthy on June 5th.