In the lead up to a running event, you are bound to have some last-minute preparation and performance questions. So, thanks to our friends at PepTalk, we sat down with Irish rugby player Jenny Murphy (who was part of the first Irish rugby team to beat New Zealand) and former record-breaking Irish International sprinter Ailis McSweeney to get their advice! We listed six of their most game-changing pieces of advice here to support you when training for a running event.
1. Mindset is Key!
Mental toughness is so important when training. Sport is all about peaks, and troughs and setbacks are just part of the journey, whether that is missed training sessions, injury, or a poor performance in a previous race. Celebrate your victories, however small they may seem, as it is crucial to acknowledge the good days as well as accept the bad days. When settling race day nerves, remember that they are natural and healthy! Ailis and Jenny mentioned how nerves have driven them on in their career. And, above all, be kind to yourself and enjoy the experience.
2. When Struggling with Fitness Motivation, Get Physical!
Running inspiration can be a futile thing: there is always the temptation to skip a session and spend that time doing something else. Whether it’s “spontaneously” cleaning the kitchen, calling a friend, or binging your favourite TV show. Before you even let yourself think about training or the excuses not to train, do something physical to commit yourself to your session. Do as Jenny suggested – count to five and then just do it; put your gear on, get into the car, or head out the door. Once you start, it’s unlikely you’ll stop.
3. Join a Running Community!
If you aren’t already a part of one, running communities are a great way to help keep yourself accountable to your training. With a community comes set times to train together and a like-minded group to train and socialise with. Most communities accommodate all levels of runners, so there is no need to be afraid you’ll be left behind or miles ahead.
So how do you join a running community? A great place to look is Facebook, where you can search “running community Dublin”, for example. Or, check out our blog on the benefits of joining a running community and how to go about joining one. [hyperlink article]
4. Be Sensible
In the lead up to a running event, it’s important to be sensible. You’ve put the bulk of the hard work in, so now just follow the plan and make an effort to eat well, rest, recover, and complete the remainder of your training programme. Of course, the best injury prevention method is rest and recovery. But most importantly, you need to listen to your body and make sure you don’t put yourself in harm’s way.
5. Set Your Expectations – Don’t be Hard on Yourself!
There are so many reasons to join Run in the Dark each November. Yes – some people love running, some just want to come along on the night for the vibe, while others are passionate about supporting our mission to cure paralysis. If you signed up to take part but aren’t much of a runner, then don’t worry. Make sure to set your expectations: maybe consider walking the 5k? Or maybe, as Jenny and Ailis suggested, a run walk combo? They are all great options. The most important thing is to enjoy the night and pat yourself on the back when you cross that finish line!
6. Now is Not the Time to Experiment with Your Running Nutrition.
The lead-up to the event is not the ideal time to start changing your eating regime. You should gradually build up your carb intake ahead of the run, but for the most part, keep meals balanced with lots of colour in your meals and stay hydrated. As nerves can impact appetite on the day of the run, try to eat a decent well-balanced meal the night before or the morning so you are fuelled on the night and ready to take on Run in the Dark.
Find out More
If you want to learn about the benefits of joining a training community and how to join one, check out this blog.
About Ailis McSweeney
Ailis is an Irish International Sprinter who specialises in 60 & 100 meters. Until 2018 she held the Irish Record at 100 Meters and held the Irish 60m and 4×100 relay records during her career. During her time on the track, Ailis had multiple National Titles, silver and bronze medals in the World Student Games as well as reaching European and World semi-finals. A regular panellist on RTE Sport, she holds board positions at several non-profits including Paralympics Ireland and Just Sport Ireland.
About Jenny Murphy
Jenny Murphy is a rugby union player for Ireland. She was a member of Ireland’s 2013 Grand Slam winning team and part of the first Irish rugby team to beat New Zealand. Jenny was vital to the 2017 & 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup squad. She also played at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow. Jenny plays club rugby with Old Belvedere. To date, she has won 28 caps for Ireland.
Run in the Dark
As darkness sweeps around the globe every November, 25,000 people worldwide get up from their armchairs, slip on their red flashing armbands and pull on their running shoes to complete a 5k or 10k. From Sydney to San Francisco, together, we run for those who dream to walk.
Sign up to Run in the Dark from June each year, or join the waitlist and we’ll let you know when registration opens.