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RUNNING ON THE LIMIT

HOW DO YOU FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN TRAINING HARD FOR THE SPORT YOU LOVE AND PROTECTING YOUR HEALTH AND HOME LIFE? CHRISTINA MACDONALD ASKS THE EXPERTS

RUN/LIFE BALANCE: GET IT RIGHT

If you talk to anyone who gets the running bug, you’ll usually be able to identify a common pattern for many people. They start running, find it hard at first, and perhaps even doubt their ability. Then they start getting fitter and feeling stronger. Mileage goes up and they realise they can run after all. They feel inspired and empowered. And so they want to run more. They start entering races, mostly 5K and 10K distances to begin with, then move on to half-marathons and maybe even full marathons. They run too much and then find themselves halted in their tracks when their body starts to break down and injury strikes.

It happened to me. I ran five miles daily in my late 20s and ended up with a serious stress fracture that put me out of action for two months. A few years later, I overdid the frequency again and ended up with a trapped nerve in my butt. I’ve also had knee issues. I’ve learned the hard way not to overdo it. But it’s taken me years to learn this and to know when to rein myself in. The hardest part is to not always run just because it’s what your mind needs, if your body would be better off with a day’s rest. The consequences of overtraining can be serious, leading not just to injury but to a compromised immune system and perhaps even illness. Recovery in between runs is essential. Your body needs enough time to do this in order to repair and get you ready for the next training session. “The key is to train effectively and recover well between each training session,” says Jeff Archer, director and healthy living expert at The Tonic Corporate Wellbeing (the-tonic.com). “Results should be judged by run times, distances achieved and effort rather than by hours on the clock. The advantage of this approach is that, by focusing your efforts carefully, you should be able to minimise the hours of your week that you need to dedicate to training.”

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About Women’s Running

Find your inner joy with the August issue of Women’s Running, on sale now! We’ll tell you how to keep your running from becoming an obsession - and hear from one woman whose compulsion to run almost ruined her life (don’t worry – there’s a happy ending!). We’ve also spoken to experts to find out how you can run your way to inner happiness. Need a bit more inspiration to train? We’ll introduce you to three women who went from fitness-phobes to incredible runners, and we’ll also show you how to keep running throughout your whole life with our guide to age-proofing your body. Plus, we’ve got a guide to making the most of every session you run, tips on running a really fast half-marathon, and a four-minute workout for really busy runners. Quick - download your copy now!
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