Carine McGinnity is an Irish writer, runner, plant-based foodie and story and design lover. What started out as a jog around the park has turned into an apparent love for long-distance running and she's been here for the last three weeks to give a dose of running inspiration and get you pounding the pavement just in time for spring. For our final week with Carine, she is letting us in on all the best tips and tricks she's learned along her running journey, including a homemade energy gel recipe. And if you missed the first two posts in the series, make sure you check them out here and here!
I am always on the quest for the perfect pair of leggings and the best fitting running top to feel the most comfortable when running. Finding the perfect fit is really satisfying and not only helps your performance but will give you a little mental boost! Try lots of different brands to see what works the best for your body shape. For investment buys, I recommend Lululemon - the compression leggings are really worth investing in and do stand the test of time. They have great variations in bras and tops which are not only brilliant for support and comfort but look good as well. More affordable brands that I personally like are Adidas for leggings and New Balance and Asics for great fitting tshirts.
I take these pre and post long runs. They help maintain hydration and replace lost electrolytes for endurance running. I use Nuun. They are the best kind that I have found that don't have any sugar.
Vaseline and Tea Tree oil on your toes
I put Vaseline all over my feet before a long run to prevent any friction and to protect my toe nails. It really does help fight off any blisters. To protect your toe nails, I use Tea Tree oil to help lessen the trauma!
Joining a club not only helps you to meet like-minded people, it is a brilliant source of inspiration and motivation. It will make you a better runner and helps you find a buddy for those long, cold runs.
(ed. note - Psycle holds a free Run Club every Tuesday morning at 8 led by Psycle instructor & Nike Trainer Club trainer, Tameka. Book a place through our website or just turn up!)
Be more present
Running without music or earphones in can help to clear your head and be more present. I sometimes find that having earphones in makes you go inside yourself. If I don’t listen to music, I finish a run with a clearer head.
Running can be mentally gruelling and self-doubt can creep in during long runs. I have created a mantra that I repeat if my head starts to waver and become unsteady. My favourite one is "I create the possibility of [insert your goal]" I recited "I create the possibility of completing this in 3:35" on repeat for Barcelona! The other one I like is from Haruki Murakami's What I Talk About When I Talk About Running - "Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional".
Run home from work
Running home from work can rid you of the day – arriving home with a clearer head, which sets you up for a sound nights sleep. I find that during the run, I rid myself of that email that irritated me or a problem soon unravels. It allows you to leave the day behind.
The feeling of pinning your number on and being surrounded by runners fills you with nerves and anticipation. It ups the ante and instils a competitive edge as you try to get faster. The London Vitality one is brilliant as it follows a similar route to the marathon so you get to see a lot of iconic London sights. It has a great turn out and support is brilliant. It's on 30th May.
Cross-country running really mixes up your training and helps you become a stronger runner. It presents a different type of challenge and offers a great addition to road running. They are brilliant for building strength in your legs - the alternating terrain and the hills offer a great alternative to road running. They are also great for building a sense of team spirit and competitiveness if you are running for your club as each county has its own cross country leagues and you race to score points for your club. They will also get you used to racing and putting yourself in that environment.
Sports massage and alternatives
Schedule in some sports massages during your training. Having massages helps prevent injury and to keep your body relaxed and capable of enduring the constant activity. And if the price tag on a massage is not something you can justify, there are many at home alternatives. Foam rolling, for instance, is essential. I would recommend buying one to have at home and using it for all areas of tightness. I use it both before and after long runs. There are lots of videos on YouTube which demonstrate how to target particular areas. Also, using a hard ball (like a hockey ball or tennis ball) for areas that the foam roller can't get to - e.g. the top of your hamstring and your hip flexer. Hot baths are brilliant and if you have access to a sauna at a gym, they're great for helping to relax your muscles. Also doing yoga and regular stretches help reduce tightness.
After failing to find an energy gel that didn’t upset my stomach, I decided to make my own. I adapted this recipe for cacao energy gel from Thrive by Brendan Frazier.