Team Vhi-Herald member, Niamh Bennett, has begun to practice yoga and has also enlisted the support of her school friendswho now train with her regularly.
Transition year student Niam Bennett’s training is going from strength to strength as she prepares for her very first Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon. Niamh will aim to jog most, if not all of the 10km route around south Dublin on June 6th and as part of her preparation she has been competing in Parkrun events around Dublin every Saturday for the past few weeks.
The 16 year old recently completed the Waterstown Parkrun jogging 4km and walking the last kilometre as her calves started to tighten. Aside from this slight strain she felt quite comfortable after finishing the run and really feels her fitness levels have increased since training began.
Niamh has enlisted the help of some classmates and has noticed the social benefits of group running “I usually jog around 4km twice a week with two of my friends and I find it helps to run with others as you challenge yourself more and become a bit competitive”.
In addition to the running Niamh is also continuing her spinning classes and has decided to take my advice and recently joined a yoga class in her local gym. She feels the spinning certainly helps with her cardio fitness and the yoga has already helped relax her muscles (this type of flexibility training will also help with Niamh’s calf strain and she should keep it up right until and after race day).
There are just over six weeks to go to the event and Niamh says she does feel quite nervous when thinking about completing the whole 10km –“ I have set a goal of running at least 7-8km of the whole race and I am determined I can do it but I am not thinking about timing just keeping up the run”.
This is a great attitude for any first time jogger as the main goal is to complete the race and it’s after that you can start to think about setting goals for time and speed.
It is important now though that Niamh starts to increase the distance in her training. She is currently covering 4/5km but will aim for up to 6km in the next week and she can gradually extend the runs from there- she plans to run on grass though as wants to put less strain on her legs- if you have similar worries about surface – remember that the Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon is all on road so you need to make sure you come prepared and have the right footwear!
Aside from the obvious fitness and health benefits Niamh has noticed since she started training she also finds herself in much better moods after she exercises. “Although I am tired I have a sense of accomplishment after my runs and spining classes and feel much more confident in myself”.
As the youngest member of Team Vhi & The Herald she has these words of wisdom for her peers “I would definitely advise other teenagers to get active to boost not only their own self image but to improve their mood- if they are already active I would encourage them to set a goal and challenge themselves as you feel great once you’ve accomplished something new”.
Niamh is well on her way to achieving her goal and as a first time jogger can feel proud about the great effort she has put in so far. If you, like Niamh will be aiming to jog your first 10km on June 6th in thw Vhi Women’s Mini Marathon, then you still have plenty of time to train. Gradually increase your distance over the next 6 weeks, don’t leave it until the last minute as you risk injury and disappointment. It’s not about time but about achieving your goal and crossing the finish line.