Advice from Ireland’s best

With just a few weeks left until run night, 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 and former Irish International sprinter Ailis McSweeney for a Facebook Live Q&A session. Don’t have time to watch the playback on our Facebook page? Don’t worry – we’ve picked some of the best pointers from these Irish sporting heroes and listed them below!

1. Mindset is key!

A positive mentality 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. Make sure to celebrate your victories, however small they may seem, as it is crucial to acknowledge the good days as well as accepting the bad days. When it comes to settling race day nerves, remember that they are a good thing; both 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 motivation, get physical!

As we are all time-poor, there is always the temptation to skip a session and spend that time doing something else. Whether it’s cleaning the kitchen, calling your Mum or binging on 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 5 and then just do it; put your gear on, get into the car or head out the door. Once you make a start it is unlikely you’ll stop.

3. Be sensible

With a few weeks left to go to Run in the Dark, this is the time 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. If you don’t have any injury concerns, maybe you can increase your speed or distance before run night in November. But, you need to listen to your body and make sure you don’t put yourself in harm’s way.

4. Set your expectations

There are so many reasons to join Run in the Dark this November. Yes – some people love running, but others just want to come along on the night for the atmosphere, 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 mentioned, you might like to do a run walk combo? They are both great options. The important thing is to enjoy the night and pat yourself on the back when you make it across that finish line!

5. Now is not the time to experiment with your diet

The lead up to run night is not the ideal time to start changing up your eating regime. You might want to 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 of the run so you are fuelled on the night and ready to take on Run in the Dark.

About Ailis McSweeney

Ailis is an Irish International Sprinter who specialised 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 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 also holds board positions at a number of non-profits including Paralympics Ireland and Just Sport Ireland.

About Jenny Murphy

Jenny Murphy is a female rugby union player for Ireland. She was a member of Ireland’s 2013 Grand Slam winning team as well as being part of the first Irish rugby team to beat New Zealand. Jenny was key member of 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.

Runners have taken part in Run in the Dark supporting Collaborative Cures

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