The H&F Challenge

This month, Siân Lewis shares her training plan ahead of the Virgin London Marathon This month, Siân Lewis shares her training plan ahead of the Virgin London Marathon.

Race day is looming, and my training has stepped up several notches. I’ve signed up to two half-marathon races, one to run at race pace and another simply to keep my mileage up. So if any of you H&F readers are running the adidas Silverstone Half Marathon on March 3 (adidashalfmarathon.co.uk), I may see you en route. If I look as red as a beetroot and I’m huffing and puffing, this is quite normal! As well as doing several short and one long run each week, I’ve been hitting the gym hard to strengthen my core and lower body. This worked for me in 2012, and kept me injury-free, so fingers crossed it’ll work this time round, too! My favourite exercises include dynamic lunges, single leg squats and bridges with a medicine ball.

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I do 12 of each, followed by two minutes of skipping, and repeat thisRace day is looming, and my training has stepped up several notches. I’ve signed up to two half-marathon races, one to run at race pace and another simply to keep my mileage up. So if any of you H&F readers are running the adidas Silverstone Half Marathon on March 3 (adidashalfmarathon.co.uk), I may see you en route. If I look as red as a beetroot and I’m huffing and puffing, this is quite normal! As well as doing several short and one long run each week, I’ve been hitting the gym hard to strengthen my core and lower body. This worked for me in 2012, and kept me injury-free, so fingers crossed it’ll work this time round, too!

My favourite exercises include dynamic lunges, single leg squats and bridges with a medicine ball. I do 12 of each, followed by two minutes of skipping, and repeat this five times. The foam roller is also my new best friend. There’s no feeling quite as satisfying – or as painful – as rolling out your quads. Simply lie on the floor in the plank position with the foam roller under your quads and roll yourself forward and backwards to massage your deep tissues. Get into a side plank position with the roller under the side of your leg to target your iliotibial (IT) band, as it’s notoriously hard to stretch out. If it’s tight, it can be the cause of knee pain for runners. Visit the H&F website for our guide to foam rolling – tinyurl.com/ HFfoamrolling.

My next in-mag report will be post-marathon, but in the meantime, keep up to date with my progress via the H&F Facebook page, facebook. com/HandFmagazine, and please feel free to share your training tips! t or ie am ard for H&F and to our guide to foa HFfoam My yofive times. The foam roller is also my new best friend. There’s no feeling quite as satisfying – or as painful – as rolling out your quads. Simply lie on the floor in the plank position with the foam roller under your quads and roll yourself forward and backwards to massage your deep tissues. Get into a side plank position with the roller under the side of your leg to target your iliotibial (IT) band, as it’s notoriously hard to stretch out. If it’s tight, it can be the cause of knee pain for runners. Visit the H&F website for our guide to foam rolling – tinyurl.com/ HFfoamrolling. My next in-mag report will be post-marathon, but in the meantime, keep up to date with my progress via the H&F Facebook page, facebook. com/HandFmagazine, and please feel free to share your training tips!

My race-day tips

To make race day as stress-free as possible, familiarise yourself with the course you’re doing, or at least replicate the conditions you’ll be racing in, including the time of day and the terrain you’ll be running on.To make race day as stress-free as possible, familiarise yourself with the course you’re doing, or at least replicate the conditions you’ll be racing in, including the time of day and the terrain you’ll be running on.

Practise with energy drinks and gels, if you plan on using them. Loading up on sugary sports drinks that you’re not used to on race day could play havoc with your insides.Practise with energy drinks and gels, if you plan on using them. Loading up on sugary sports drinks that you’re not used to on race day could play havoc with your insides.

Make sure you wear your race outfit at least once in training – wearing a new sports bra or a brand new pair of trainers is a recipe forMake sure you wear your race outfit at least once in training – wearing a new sports bra or a brand new pair of trainers is a recipe for chafing and blisters – ouch!

Taper your training. In the few weeks leading up to the marathon, reduce your mileage; this way your body has a chance to recover and feel in tiptop condition on the big day.Taper your training. In the few weeks leading up to the marathon, reduce your mileage; this way your body has a chance to recover and feel in tiptop condition on the big day.

On race day, eat a breakfast you know won’t give you tummy troubles. My faves are porridge or muesli with fruit and nuts, or wholemeal toast with peanut butter and fruit juice. I also pack a carton of coconut water and some malt loaf to eat once I cross theOn race day, eat a breakfast you know won’t give you tummy troubles. My faves are porridge or muesli with fruit and nuts, or wholemeal toast with peanut butter and fruit juice. I also pack a carton of coconut water and some malt loaf to eat once I cross the finish line!

 

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