MCR TMI: 5 training challenges women face
The latest article in our MCR TMI series looks at 5 Challenges women training for a half marathon face (& the solutions)….
What about ‘that’ time of the month?
We’ve all been there. Hoping that the day of the event goes without a hitch, having done all your training and prep and everything is on track, then the night before the big day, your period arrives. Pffff.
We scoured the internet and this gem from Runners World explains how your menstrual cycle might affect your running, is a great in-depth article, so get yourself a cuppa and settle down for a good read!
Take it from the top brand, Shock Absorber!
Ladies, did you know your boobs can move and stretch during exercise by as much as 14 centimetres! If you’ve ever tried running, jumping or other such activity, without a bra (no matter what size), you’ll know what we’re on about. Breast tissue is ever so delicate and therefore can easily be damaged and most importantly, never be repaired. So, whether you’re working out, running or training, whether it’s a 100 metre sprint or a marathon, it’s super important to make sure they are strapped in and secure! Check out this video from Shock Absorber and make sure you invest in a high quality supportive sports bra that’s right for you.
All Shock Absorber products are developed in line with extensive research in partnership with The University of Portsmouth* to ensure irreversible damage to the breasts when exercising is prevented.
*University of Portsmouth 2009 (Scurr et al) – testing carried out against ‘no bra’ conditions
Pelvic Floor woes
Yes, another biggie that often gets ‘swept under the carpet’. We all know someone who has a little wee when they laugh, cough, sneeze, jump or run, don’t we?
The bad news is, this is a red flag that lets you know you have a weakened pelvic floor. Worse, continuing with the activity without doing anything to resolve it, may lead to bigger problems further down the line such as pelvic organ prolapse (POP).
The good news is, you can do something about it to fix the problem. Here are some ‘good to know’ pointers:
- Pelvic muscles simply weaken if they are not used properly or go through some sort of trauma such as pregnancy, birth, abdominal surgery. Also, exercise and persistent coughing without control, obesity, menopause and ageing are all very real factors in a weakened pelvic floor
- As we get older and go through menopause, the hormonal fluctuations have an impact on pelvic muscles and tone, and can very quickly become dysfunctional
- Strengthening your pelvic floor and core muscles using proper breathing techniques and integrating into your exercise workouts is key
- Good nutrition and hydration are also key players in improving pelvic health
- Seek help from a qualified women’s health professional who specialises in pelvic and core health https://www.holisticcorerestore.com/
Help! How do I find time to train?
Most women (and men) are very busy bees these days. Especially so if you’re a parent or carer. Juggling work, children, family, husband, housework, homework, pets and a social life can make it incredibly difficult to find sufficient time for you to train for the parents race at your little one’s sports day, let alone a half marathon! So here’s a shortlist of things you can do to keep more time out of your day for that all important hill session.
- Prepare as much as you can the night before to free up valuable time the following day
- Plan your workouts really early morning 5-6am, lunch time or late evening when you are more likely to be able to call in help/sitters
- Look at your training schedule, can you cut back on anything? A minimum 3 sessions per week is acceptable. Make one of them a 15 minute strength session, another 20 minute interval session and the third your long run, increasing mileage in increments. Allow a few minutes every day to do stretch work such as yoga. It’s the bare minimum but it is none the less a regular training plan that you can make time for and stick to which is super important. Keep it super simple!
We understand that running alone may not be for everyone, but sometimes it’s the only way you can find the time to get out there! Staying safe is of utmost importance so we’ve put together our top safety tips for when you’re heading out for a solo run which will be sure to give you the confidence you need to hit those training goals:
- Plan your route carefully and ensure you stay on well lit roads/paths in central areas
- Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back
- Share your GPS location with a friend
- Be visible* – Make sure you are wearing some form of high visibility clothing, so you can be seen by other road users
- Be vigilant – avoid wearing headphones so you can hear your surroundings and be alert to sounds around you
- Scan your path to avoid trip hazards
- Carry a mobile device in the event you need to contact someone
- Carry a small hand or head torch/light*
- Carry sufficient water to hydrate on your run
- Wherever possible run with a friend or group
You are equipped to go forth and enjoy your training! We look forward to seeing you on Sunday 13th October for the Wiggle Manchester Half. Don’t forget to share key moments along your journey using the hashtag #MCRHalf so we get to see it too!
*Remember Wiggle have created a bespoke kit list for the event, which you can find here