how to get more sleep

Dame Kelly Holme's Marathon Race Day Tips

So this is it, one week to go before the (insert expletive here) London Marathon.  Physically, I’ve pushed my body as far as it can go.  I’ve trained as regularly as humanly possible, four times a week since Christmas (not including the weeks I’ve had off).  I’ve taken care of my body so that I remain injury free (even though my knees creak like a deserted pirate ship).  I’ve been completely tee-total (apart from weekends and Friday nights).  And I’ve even been sleeping more than usual (alarm set to multi-snooze).

Dame Kelly Holmes

So at this late stage all that lies left is the mental preparation.  Which ironically is driving me, well, mental.  On a scale of 1 to bricking it I’m well into double figures.  Sometimes I can’t even visualise myself making it to the finish line, let alone in a good time. 

For inspiration I’ve been watching films such as Usain Bolt’s ‘I Am Bolt’ and Mo Farah’s 'No Easy Mile’.  This has helped somewhat.  My knees don’t creak curled up on the sofa.

Double Olympic Gold Dame Kelly Holmes

Fortunately I once met Dame Kelly Holmes too and she gave me some great little bits of advice fit for complete marathon novices. She said;

1. Pace YOURSELF

Every marathon runner lives in fear of hitting the proverbial wall but Holmes says there’s no such thing as a wall! “If you don’t over-exert yourself by starting too fast, I promise that you will not hit a wall”. She promised… so that makes it AOK. I’m going to run with an activity tracker to ensure that I am running as slow as I think I am to begin with.

Apple Watch

2. Run efficiently

When running uphill or on an incline, shorten your strides to reserve energy for when you hit the flat roads again to lengthen them. Use your arms to help propel you forward too. The better your running form the more energy you save.

Dame Kelly Holmes and AJ Odudu

3. Flex your temperament

Your body for all it's strength answers to the small squidgy ball between your ears, you need to harness the power of your mentality to crack the whip on your physicality. Holmes advises to "think of trigger words to give you a boost (i.e. You can, believe, fierce) and run with your name printed on your vest so that you can hear words of encouragement from the crowd too". 

26.2 miles is a long way no matter how trained you are and you’re going to feel sore and tired even before the moment you finish. Stretch, foam roll, ice bath and sports massages are all part of recovery.

Leg Stretch Dame Kelly Holmes

4. Eat Smart

"The night before the marathon I ate lots of small meals to fuel my muscles. I ate rice as I prefer it over pasta. On race day I ate porridge: a sustainable energy source that is also light". Lots of water is also important including electrolytes in water. And sleep. Of course you'll feel nervous but try to relax so that you feel fresh on race day. No multi-snooze button allowed.

5. Run With Pride

Remember that thousands of people across the globe would love to do the London Marathon and haven't been able to get a spot. We are lucky to have the opportunity to try. Holmes told me that "it's an incredible event that brings people together no matter their nationality, age, gender, interests, abilities and disabilities. The long, demanding run is worth it"!

Dame Kelly

I am so delighted to have met not only a running legend but a great, strong woman who reminded me that I must find the strength within. I still feel nervous but I hope on race day that I really can achieve and so can you!

Please share this blog post if you think it could help others and let me know if you have any other tips to avoid marathon induced panic attacks. Good luck!

xoxo 

4 Ways To Better Rest & Recovery

Who loves feeling great? I know I do but most of us miss out on that 'feel good' factor because we don't give our bodies the TLC it yearns. I guarantee you that dedicating additional time to four simple categories of sleep, stretching, hydration and nutrition will increase your energy levels, decrease your recovery time between workouts and most importantly, lower your risk of injury. So what are you waiting for? Kickass and hop onto the happy road of rest and recovery in just 4 simple steps.

High Kick

1. Sleep

Sleep is the most important time to recover in order to repair your muscles and to aid your mental and hormonal wellbeing. Everyone's got different needs based on our different lifestyles but try to get at least 7 hours of good kip per night. 

2. Stretching

This is key! You need enough flexibility to move well and remain pain and injury free before, during and after your workouts. Include dynamic stretching in your warm-ups while saving static stretching for after your workouts. Below are my favourites. 

  • Standing Quad Stretch

Standing Quad Stretch New Balance
  • Standing Hamstring Stretch

Standing Hamstring stretch
  • Overhead Stretch 

Overhead stretch
  • Front Crossover Stretch

Tricep stretch

3. Hydration

Drinking more water is vital for your health, good energy levels, better sports performance and recovery. In fact it aids all of our functions, including our digestive system. The simplest way to check hydration is to look at your pee. If it is clear to pale yellow (without having drank alcohol) you are hydrated. The darker in colour of your urine the less hydrated you are and the more water you need to drink. Headaches and drowsiness are also tell tale signs of dehydration.

How much water you should drink depends on the level of activity that you engage in, your physical health, your height and weight and whether it’s a hot day or not but I would always recommend that drinking water little and often is the best way to stay hydrated.

4. Nutrition

Everything we eat has the ability to make us feel great or make us feel awful and whilst I don't like to recommend a specific diet, it's proven that eating clean and balanced meals in moderation is effective to remaining healthy, improving our sports performance and aiding our bodies recovery process.

I know eating well in our society is not always easy as we go out to dinner, we grab lunch on the go and most social events have food. The key is achieving balance so you get the results you want but can also enjoy life. So my advice is to plan your meals as much as possible, try to choose restaurants with healthy food choices when eating out and have a go at making my smoothie recipe below for healthy fats, nutrients and an energy boost as a post workout treat:

Hope you found this blog post really helpful and enjoy your rest. 

XOXO

In this blog post I am wearing a New Balance Ice Tank Top, the NB Vazee Rush v2 trainers, printed Impact leggings and New Balance Tenderly Obsessive Bra

#IAmTheCompetition #NBAmbassador