Walkers Sarah Jane and Mary Allen’s Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon preparation is going well, with just over six weeks to go to the big day. This will be the second time the mother and daughter from Co Laois participate in the event and they are hoping to get through it in a good time and injury free. The pair have been getting fitter over the past couple of months by exercising regularly and gradually increasing their walking distances.
Sarah Jane, who is studying at UL, is managing a 6km walk most week days while at college. She is also going to the gym twice a week which has helped strengthen her leg muscles and alleviated the pain she was experiencing in her knee. “I have actually found that going to the gym has given me more energy throughout the day, so I try to go as early in the morning as possible to set myself up for the day at college”.
Although her knee pain has eased, Sarah Jane still finds it can be a bit painful at times but wearing a knee support has helped, especially when walking. Sarah Jane is also aware of the importance of rest days and makes sure to take at least one day a week of complete recovery from exercise. As we get closer to the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon and the distance increases it would be an even better idea to take at least two days rest per week.
Mum Mary has also been keeping up her regular training routine and walks most days, gradually increasing the distance she is covering. She has completed walks of 8km at this stage and is feeling fit and healthy. Although she suffers from lower back pain, Mary hasn’t felt any strain on her back recently and is hoping it won’t be an issue in the weeks ahead. She takes two days recovery during the week to help prevent injury or aggravating her back.
Taking part in an organised walk is a great way to prepare for the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon as it gives you a sense of what to expect on race day and the feeling of walking in a crowd. Mary participated in a local charity 5km event at the weekend. She made sure to walk at her own pace and completed the event comfortably in around 35 minutes which is a pretty impressive time for a 5km walk!
The duo generally have to train separately during the week as Sarah Jane is based in Limerick which makes it even more enjoyable when they walk together at the weekends. They managed to get two, 7km walks done last weekend. After gradually increasing their distance in recent weeks they will be aiming for their first 10km training walk next weekend.
It will be a busy few weeks for Sarah Jane as college is very stressful at the moment with her last few assignments due and preparation for her final exams underway. She finds that making time for her walks is really helping to take her mind off the workload. “Regular walking has benefited my college work because I am more focused and clear headed after exercise - that’s why I tend to train before I get stuck into the books”.
As the weeks countdown to the 2017 Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, my advice to the ladies is to keep up the good work. They both train sensibly and know the boundaries when it comes to avoiding strain or injury. After they do their first 10km next weekend, I’d suggest they aim to cover the distance a few more times and record their time to get an idea of what to expect on June 5th. Other than that they are right on track and reaping the benefits of regular exercise.