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Success story: Amy gets fighting fit for her first half marathon


March 2011 

Driven by motivation to lose a few kilograms, tone up and get physically fit, Amy has signed up for her first ever half marathon. "I have always been a bit up and down when it comes to exercise: I start out going to the gym three times a week but life gets in the way, boredom with the routine kicks in and I start slowing down, then eventually stop."

"When a friend of mine told me she was signing up for a half marathon, this struck a chord. I thought the training would keep me focused and I had time to increase my fitness to the necessary levels before the event in October." To escape the cycle of gym visits and classes Amy has taken her training into her own hands.

When Amy first started training she was wearing an old pair of runners that she'd used for all round gym work, exercising and walking. "It didn't take me long to realise that you really need to invest in a good pair of running shoes." A few weeks ago Amy got shin splints. "Road running is very different in terms of the pressure it puts on your body, decent shoes are a must!"

Starting out training

"At the moment I'm running three mornings a week. I get up at six and head out first thing. I'm out for about 45 minutes in total including the warm up and cool down." To supplement this and ensure she's using more muscles, as well as to keep it fun, Amy is still going to classes. "I went to a Booty Shake class last Thursday. It's good to mix the self-motivated and instructor-led exercise up."

"Six in the morning is a great time for me to go for a run, I'm far too tired at night. I plug in my iPod, switch on some Bowie, and head out before most people are awake." To keep track of how her training is going Amy uses a pedometer which measures the number of steps she takes. "I'm doing about 25,000 steps on the days I run and I take a different route each time to make sure I don't get bored."

The plan is to up the routine as she gets closer to the day of the half marathon, from running three times a week to at least five. "I'm hoping to increase the distances gradually over time, as well as to start running longer distances over the weekend by the end of July."

Eating a balanced diet

As well as increasing her exercise routine Amy has taken a look at what's she putting into her body too. 

She is on a protein rich diet, and always allows herself a totally diet free day once a week. "I've cut out white bread and brought in brown rice. I eat a lot of vegies, chicken, beans and tofu. I've also cut out sugar, so no more sugar in tea and coffee, which you get used to surprisingly quickly."

"I have always loved cheese, but I've been shopping around to find the low calorie options. I had some amazing haloumi with chilli the other night which was pretty healthy."

The combination of focusing on eating a healthy diet and upping her exercise routine has left Amy feeling good, healthy and motivated to continue. "I guess the main thing is to find something that works for you. I needed a long term goal to keep motivated on a day to day basis, and training for this half marathon has really given me that."

Amy's tips

  • Get a good pair of runners.
  • Start off slowly (short distances, not too frequently) and gradually build up.
  • Train when you feel most energised. For me it's in the morning, but evening might be better with your lifestyle.
  • Think about your diet and what you need for energy when you are training a lot.
  • Use a pedometer. There are lots of phone apps available too. It helps keep track of how you are doing.
  • Sign up to relevant newsletters – you'll get lots of good tips and ideas.

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