02 May 2017

Mini Marathon – Five Weeks To Go!

The clock is ticking with only FIVE WEEKS TO GO to the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in Dublin. It’s a great day out for people of all abilities and the energy in the crowd is electric!

We want to say a huge thank you to all the ladies walking and jogging for Mental Health Ireland and we hope this blog series helps you in your preparation.

Here we will give you a training plan if you want to walk or jog the course and some useful tips to help get you through it all with a smile on your face! The aim of the game is to get across the finish line and if that means running, jogging or walking we will get you there!

Don’t forget to register with Mental Health Ireland to get your race t-shirt and sponsorship card. You can email fundraising@mentalhealthireland.ie and we will send everything your way!

The Five Ways to Wellbeing

Connect – ask someone to come walking or jogging with you.

Be Active – by putting those runners on you are half way there!

Take Notice – check into yourself and how you feel when training taking notice of your body and mood.

Keep Learning – hopefully you are learning something new each week be it from this blog or how your body is working.

Give – Giving back has benefits for your wellbeing and the person or organisation at the other end of your giving



FIVE Weeks To Go!

Last week we spoke about the importance of wearing good runners, staying hydrated and a few options of how to track the distance and time of your walks/ runs.

This week we will concentrate on stretching. It is a vital part of any exercise regime and must be incorporated into your training time for every session.

It’s easy to skip the before and after stretching but by doing so you are opening yourself up to injuries and a sore and tired body.

Fail to Prepare, Prepare to Fail!


  • Stretching is an often-overlooked component of physical fitness that can help you perform better while exercising, reduce stress, prevent injury and improve flexibility. Stretching can help loosen up your muscles before and after you work out, as well as ease muscle tension and soreness.
  • If you are a beginner these nine stretches will work your major muscle groups; do this stretching routine three times a week for best results.
  • At a minimum do the last four stretches – hamstring, calf, quad, leg and lower back – pre and post every training session to avoid muscle fatigue and soreness.

 Side Stretch

  • A side stretch will work the intercostal muscles between your ribs as well as your lats and external obliques. Stand with your feet together and lace your fingers together. Raise your hands above your head and focus on lengthening your arms, torso and legs. Slowly bend to one side and hold for five seconds. Return to your starting position then bend to the other side.

Neck Stretch

  • To stretch the side of your neck, stand with your arms at your sides. Slowly turn your head to one side and hold for five seconds. Return your head to face forward then repeat on the other side. To stretch the back of your neck, stand with your arms hanging by your sides. Slowly bring your head down toward your chest and hold for five seconds.

Arm Stretch

  • To stretch your triceps, stand with your feet hip-width apart. Bend one arm at the elbow and use it to bring your other, straightened arm across your chest. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on other arm.
  • To stretch your triceps and shoulders, stand with your back straight and bend at the waist. Lace your fingers together, bringing your arms above your head and stretching toward the ground. Hold for 10 seconds.

 Upper Body Stretch

  • To stretch muscles in your upper body, stand with your knees about hip-width apart. Bring your bent arms above your head and hold one elbow with the hand of your opposite arm. Pull your elbow behind your head as you slowly lean to the side. Hold 10 seconds. Repeat on the other side.

Ankle Stretch

  • The ankle might not be the first area to come to mind when you think of stretching, but it, too, can benefit from regular stretching. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding onto a rail or solid object for balance. Lift one foot off the ground and rotate your foot and ankle eight to 10 times clockwise, then eight to 10 times counter clockwise. Repeat on the other side.

Hamstring Stretch – Pre & post training

  • The hamstring stretch targets the back of the thighs. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet resting on the floor. Slowly straighten one leg, lifting it into the air toward your body. When you stretch as far as you can without bending the leg, hold it for five seconds. Lower the leg and repeat on your other leg.

Calf Stretch – Pre & post training

  • A gentle stretch can effectively loosen the calf muscles. Stand with your feet together facing a wall, about arm’s-length away. Rest your hands on the wall, keeping your arms straight. Bring one foot back, keeping it straight. Allow your front knee to bend. Hold for five seconds. Repeat on the other leg.

Quad Stretch – Pre & post training

  • The largest muscles in your body are the quadriceps in the upper legs. To stretch, stand about arm’s-length away from a wall, with your hands resting on the wall. Bend your left knee to bring your foot up behind you, and bring your right hand back to grasp your foot. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on other leg.

Leg and Lower Back Stretch – Pre & post training

  • You can stretch the lower back and legs simultaneously. Sit on the floor with your legs out straight in front of you. Bend one knee, resting the foot along the inner part of your straight leg. Lean forward to stretch over your straight leg, keeping your back straight. Hold for 10 seconds. Repeat on the other leg.



Walkers week 2 of 6

In order to be race ready you need to practice a number of walks over 45-90min in length to ensure you get over the line!

This week you will be training four times. Rest days are just as important as your training days. This is when your muscles rest so you can train even harder on our ON days. Depending on your own schedule you can juggle workouts substituting one day for another but be sure to REST at least two days a week.


Tuesday Walk 35mins at a comfortable pace
Wednesday REST DAY or a light walk
Thursday Walk 35mins at a comfortable pace
Saturday 5.6km walk at a comfortable pace. You will need to measure this out and it will be a great indicator of the distance you are covering and the time. You can track the distance on your smart phone or by driving the distance whilst tracking it.
Sunday Long walk. This walk is not measured or timed. It is simply a walk of 55mins or longer with stops if you need. Try a walking trail in a local forest, park or beach with friends and family or music to encourage you along!


 Joggers Training Week 2 of 6

If you plan to jog/run the 10km you should not have any major health problems, be in reasonable shape and should have done at least some jogging or walking previously. If in doubt please get clearance from your doctor to jog the distance and if this doesn’t work out there is always the walking option.

Here’s some additional information on the below sections:

Stretching & Strengthening: Do some light stretching on these days. Here are two handy links for some stretching and strengthening exercises for all levels.

Cross Training: This includes walking, cycling or swimming – basically anything that gets your heart racing but is easier on your joints than jogging.

Walking: The aim of the game is to finish and if that means taking a walking break occasionally then so be it. Listen to your body and you’ll get over that finish line.


Monday Stretch and Strengthening – 30mins
Tuesday 4km jog
Wednesday 30mins cross training
Thursday 3.2km jog and strengthening
Saturday 40min cross training
Sunday 5.6km jog


Congrats… week two is over! Four more to go!



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