Race for Life training tips

ACCORDING to running clubs, there are more women than ever pounding the pavements in Suffolk. So if the London Marathon or the forthcoming Race for Life have inspired you to join them, don't do a Jade Goody - who trained just four times and fuelled her running with curry and beer.

ACCORDING to running clubs, there are more women than ever pounding the pavements in Suffolk. So if the London Marathon or the forthcoming Race for Life have inspired you to join them, don't do a Jade Goody - who trained just four times and fuelled her running with curry and beer. In our second Local Newspaper Week feature about community sport, NANCY MARTIN brings some useful tips.

1 Running burns more calories than any other exercise

Why? Fast running burns more calories than slow running, but slow running burns more calories than just about any other activity. In short, nothing will help you to lose weight, and then keep it off, the way running does.

2 Always wear a sports bra

Why? No matter what your size, it's a good idea to wear a sports bra when you run. Controlling breast motion will make you feel more comfortable. Look for one that stretches horizontally but not vertically. Most importantly, try before you buy. A sports bra should fit snugly, yet not feel too constrictive. Run or jump on the spot to see if it gives you the support you need.

3 Morning is the best time for women to run

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Why? For lots of reasons. First, it's the safest time; statistics show that women are more likely to be attacked late in the day. Second, studies have shown that morning exercisers are more likely to stick with it, because what you do first thing gets done. Third, it saves

you a round of dressing, undressing and showering at lunchtime or later. Fourth, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, which is a great mental and physical start to the day.

4 Buy a good pair of running shoes

Why? Women generally have narrower feet than men, so when you're buying running shoes, your best bet will probably be a pair designed specifically for women. But everyone's different; if your feet are wide, you may feel more comfortable in shoes designed for men. The bottom line: buy the shoe that fits your feet. If there is any question - or if you suffer blisters or injuries because of

ill-fitting shoes - consult a podiatrist who specialises in treating runners. Expect to pay £55 or more for a good pair.

5 Running helps to produce good skin

Why? According to dermatologists, running stimulates circulation, transports nutrients and flushes out waste products. All of this leads to a reduction in subcutaneous fat, making skin clearer and facial features more distinct.

6 Women who run alone should take precautions

Leave a note at home stating when you left, where you'll be running and when you expect to return. Carry a personal attack alarm and identification (your name and emergency phone number). Stick to well-populated areas, and don't always run the same predictable route. Don't wear jewellery or run at night. If you must run after dark, wear clothing with high reflectivity/visibility. Try the range called Nitelife which has reflective piping and branding.

7 Keep an eye on your mineral intake

Why? The two minerals that women runners need to pay the most attention to are calcium and iron. (Iron is especially important for menstruating women.) Good sources of calcium are dairy products, dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, sardines and salmon, while foods high in iron include liver, fortified dry cereals, beef and spinach.

8 Don't run with headphones on

Why? Running clubs warns against plugging in to your MP3 or CD player. It distracts you from traffic and hazards. Attackers will always pick a victim who looks vulnerable, and when you have headphones on that means you.

9 Running can help boost success in the workplace

Why? Racing can help you tap into a goal-setting, assertive and self-disciplined side of your personality. Channelled correctly, these attributes can boost your success in other parts of your life, such as in the workplace.

10 You don't have to be competitive to race

Why? You'll find that lots of other racers aren't overly competitive, either. They're out there because it's fun and social, and it motivates them to keep on running. The Race For Life in June and July will see thousands of women either running or walking their way around a 5K course to raise money for Cancer Research UK. You can push yourself as hard as you want or enjoy it as a fun day out with friends.

11 Running with other women can keep you motivated

Why? Having another woman or a group of women to run with on a regular basis will help to keep you motivated and ensure your safety. It's also a lot more fun than running alone. Women runners become more than training partners; they're confidantes, counsellors and coaches, too.

12 Women sweat less than men

Why? Women are smaller and have a higher body-surface-to-volume ratio, which means that although their evaporative cooling is less efficient, they need less of it to achieve the same result. Nonetheless, be sure to drink plenty of water (until your urine runs clear) to offset the effects of sweating and prevent dehydration.

13 Running can alleviate period pain

Why? There's no need to miss a run or a race just because you're having your period. If you're suffering from cramps, running will often alleviate the pain, thanks to the release during exercise of pain-relieving chemicals called endorphins. Speed work and hill sessions can be especially effective.

14 Don't run more and eat less to lose fat

Why? Trying to lose fat by eating less and less and running more and more doesn't work. The more you exercise and the less you eat, the more likely your body is to 'hibernate'. That is, you'll conserve calories and thwart your efforts to lose fat. The better bet is to exercise reasonably and increase your food intake early in the day to fuel your training. Eat breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack, then eat lightly at dinner.

15 Women make better marathoners

Why? While no one has ever proved the old theory that women are better marathoners than men (because they have more body fat to burn), you never hear anyone argue the opposite. Men tend to use their strength to push ahead in short races, but this can backfire in a marathon. Women seem perfectly content to find a comfort zone and stay there. This makes them ideally suited for the marathon - the ultimate keep-your-cool and keep-your-pace distance. So why not be bold and set your sights on a marathon?

See www.runnersworld.co.uk for more useful information about training, nutrition and health.

The Chantry Park race on June 18 is full, but there are spaces at other events: Suffolk Showground at 7.30pm on July 19 and Nowton Park, Bury St Edmunds at 2.30pm on June 25. If you are competing for a special reason, ring reporter Kate Boxell on 01473 324789 or email kate.boxell@eveningstar.co.uk.

Weblink www.raceforelife.org


Q&A: Why I started running

Running not only gets you in to shape, it can boost your confidence and give a great sense of achievement. We asked Judith Adolphus of Ipswich Jaffa running club, to share her experience.>

Q: When did you start running and why?

A: I started running about 16 years ago, when I got married. My husband was already a keen member of Ipswich Jaffa, and he encouraged me to join in.

Q: How has it benefited you?

A: I feel more fit, and have more energy. It also helps to control your weight and you don't have to worry about what you eat. At Jaffa I have made many friends, and have a good social life, and people of a similar standard to run with.

Q: Have you entered any races?

A: Yes, I have run most of the local races over the years, as well as the Great North Run about 5 times. I enjoy the races, there is always a friendly atmosphere, and it is nice to run in different places and new routes.

Q: How far and how often do you run?

A: I usually run 4 times a week. I run with Ipswich Jaffa on Mondays. My runs are between 5 and 7 miles. At the weekend I like to go for my longer runs in the countryside.

Q: What spurs you on, when the going gets tough?

A: I try to visualise myself running like Paula Radcliffe, and imagine feeling comfortable running long distances. I look around me, and enjoy the flowers, birds and scenery.

Q: What's your advice for someone who wants to start running?

A: Start slowly, running and walking, and gradually build up to just running. Don't try and do too much or too fast until you have built up your stamina. Set a target of competing in a race (don't start with the London Marathon), and train towards it. Joining a club is a good idea, as you meet training partners, and get encouragement and motivation from them.