Wednesday 29 January 2020

Week 16: This week we do a practise run of the actual course and earmark the tricky bits

Vhi-Herald team mate Helena Goss with 2fm's Ciara King' doing a trial run with the help of Louise Heraghty
Vhi-Herald team mate Helena Goss with 2fm's Ciara King' doing a trial run with the help of Louise Heraghty
Vhi-Herald team mate Helena Goss with 2fm's Ciara King' doing a trial run with the help of Louise Heraghty

There's no better preparation for the Vhi Women's Mini Marathon than running the actual route ahead of the race itself.

So, with two weeks to go, I helped Herald volunteer Helena Goss and 2FM's Ciara King brave the hailstones (yes, hailstones) and tackle their very first 10km.

Helena had already built up to a 10km in her training but had never completed this route, and Ciara's longest run beforehand was 7.5km. Both were concerned that they may not be able to finish the run without having to stop, but either way, they were determined to get through it together.

I told the girls that we would be concentrating less on pace and more on completing the distance. Also, it was important to factor in obstacles that won't be an issue on June 1 - like waiting to cross at traffic lights and crossing the dual carriageway.

So we took off from Baggot St Upper - where the race will begin!

Ideally, we would have warmed up for longer but the conditions, being wet and windy, meant we started as quickly as we could. The first 3km were handy - a flat route past the RDS that took us up the junction of Merrion Road and Nutley Late, but here's where it got tricky! tough

Nutley Lane is very deceiving as anyone who has ever run the Mini Marathon will know - it doesn't look too hilly but it is a slow, gradual incline and can be very tough.

I told the girls to keep the heads up, take shorter strides and just think about reaching the top, which they did!

I guess the fact that we were chatting non-stop throughout the run didn't help with our speed but it's another reason for them to be more confident on the day itself - chatting can obviously effect breathing technique and can wear you out quicker. Both girls will be running alone on the day so this won't be an issue.

We headed out the Stillorgan Dual Carriageway, out past UCD, which brought us to the halfway mark at 5km just before we turned at Fosters Avenue. Sure enough, we were faced with another hail shower but instead of giving up the girls embraced it and pushed on.

Once we turned around on the Stillorgan Road and headed back towards the city, the route was flat enough and the girls were feeling good.

For many, this home stretch is where they speed up but we maintained our pace of around 7 mins per kilometre. The last 2km from Donnybrook can be tough and both Helena and Ciara were feeling their legs tiring but we maintained a good pace.

I reminded them the finish line was near. It was a busy lunchtime on Leeson St, but the three girls running towards Stephen's Green were ecstatic if not a tad out of breath!

We did it in an impressive 1hr 10 minutes.

Well done to Ciara and Helena. Now it's time to recover the legs and prepare for June 1.

Download the Vhi WMM 2015 App and join us on the journey to the start line on June 1

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