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Training with Eddie McDonagh - Week 5

Sunny weather and brighter evenings remind us all of the joys of outdoor activity, as we watch nature at its best on our regular runs and walks.

For beginners, it's still tough and the next few weeks are perhaps the most daunting of all, with distances gradually increasing from one or two miles.

Don't look too far ahead and take each week as it comes. Avoid training on consecutive days, as this may leave your muscles stiff and sore.

In a few weeks, you'll be pleasantly surprised by your progress. When you look back, you'll wonder how you could have considered two miles difficult.

Training with a group provides great encouragement. Adopt a positive attitude and offer a few words of encouragement to those finding it tougher than you. These kind words are sure to be reciprocated at a later date.

Now that the weather has got warmer, be sure to sip water before and after a session. Bring some carbohydrates with you to restore your energy levels quickly, such as bananas, muesli bars, dried fruit or fruit pastilles.

Schedule 1 (Walkers)

Day 1 Walk 25 minutes (moderate pace).

Day 2 As Day 1, or alternative day's exercise, ie, aerobics, cycling.

Day 3 Walk 30 minutes (slightly faster pace than Day 1, preferably with group).

Schedule 2 (Runners -- Beginners)

Day 1 Walk 10 minutes, stretch five minutes (warm-up). Jog 15 minutes (easy pace). Walk/stretch 10 minutes (cool-down).

Day 2 As Day 1 or alternative exercise.

Day 3 Walk 10 minutes, stretch five minutes (warm-up). Jog 15 minutes (slightly faster pace than Day 1). Walk/stretch 10 minutes (cool-down).

Schedule 3 (Runners -- Reasonably Fit)

Day 1 Walk/jog five minutes, stretch five minutes. Jog 25 minutes. Walk five minutes, stretch five minutes.

Day 2 As Day 1.

Day 3 Walk/jog five minutes, stretch five minutes. Jog 25 minutes (slightly faster than Day 1). Walk five minutes, stretch five minutes.

> Eddie McDonagh is part of Dundrum's Flora Women's Mini Marathon organising club, dundrum, south dublin

See www.florawomensminimarathon.ie for more info